Wow, it’s been so long since I blogged that the interface of WordPress has changed.

When did that happen?

Well it’s been since August that I shared anything.  Oopps!  Sometimes life gets a little too busy and I drop the ball.  Here is a little montage of what has been going on.  It goes from Party Dress to Christmas.

A party dress for playing!

But that is just the beginning-  I have been sewing (and cooking!?!) up a storm these last few months.  Some of the other sewing includes but is not limited to:

I have also been marinating on some ideas for a line of clothing and/or soft furnishing 100% re-purposed for the thrift store.  I have found some AMAZING textiles at some of my favorite “digs” here in Seattle like the Dearborn Goodwill or its sister store the Goodwill Outlet (if you are a Germ-a-phobe this place is not for you).  I guess I just don’t know if people would be as excited about reclaimed leather/ linen/ cotton as I am.

And I have been cooking, here are some recipes I have used over the last couple of months:

There are other things that I heard about so created my own version like the fennel and sausage Quiche:

The only cooking that I managed to photograph.

We have also been doing a fair amount of juicing over the last month and we also might commit to a juice fast for the New Year… although I really don’t know if we can do that… I mean I am a meat and potatoes girl.  I know it will be good to clear out the system but it is going to be kind of torturous.  My husband suggested it at the beginning of this month and I logically pushed it back noting that Christmas would be hard and that the New Year is great for gimmicks like that.

Also I did finish the bridesmaid dresses I talked about rolling out but I don’t have photography of any of it yet and the wedding dress is in mock-up form so I did not completely drop the ball on that idea.  It’s a slow build!

WOW…. has it really been since November?

So obviously I have been ignoring this here blog.  Soooo Sorry!

Here is what has been taking precedence:

http://www.coyotecentral.org/

I have been teaching a design, sew and embellish class for middle school students.  We have been doing lots of sewinging.  I will also be having a workshop for “Nick Cave inspired” art in conjunction with an exhibit of his work at the SAM called “Meet Me at the Center of the Earth”.  I am really excited about this and have become quite a fan of Nick Caves work and those of you who know me can probably see why:

I will keep you posted on how our own Soundsuit inspired art goes.  One of these days I will actually take pictures of my class and how much fun we have for you as well!!

I have also been sewing:

I made this dress by quilting recycled leather,  recycled wool and silk for the bodice with silk organza skirt.  There is a fully boned corset inside and a heavy exposed zipper down the back.

I am also costuming a play for Theater Schmeater here in Seattle.  It is The Twilight Zone 2011.  I am really getting my Mad Men fix off of this one.  It opens on March 18th and it is sure to be a fun time!!  We are doing three episodes:

The Obsolete Man

Time Enough At Last

The Monsters are Due on Maple Street

And it is going to be done pretty much to that late ’50s early ’60 feel even for Obsolete Man which is set in the future.

Stay Tuned!!

FREE- pattern… pleated skirt with exposed zipper and grosgrain.

sailor skirt with pocket

I call this the math skirt.  This skirt is fun and easy with sweet detail like ribbons and lace.  It can be the perfect plaid school girl skirt or if its done in denim or corduroy yer cowgirl skirt. It could be a great summer skirt in an eyelet (lined, of course) or a winter wool staple with tights.  Any way you sew it- this little equation will be sure fire PROOF!

Fabric:

1 1/4 yard of fabric

THE MATH:

Waist Measurement _____ + 40″ = __________ /2 = ___  (width)

(Example: Waist 32″ + 40″= 72″/2 = 36″).

Other Supplies:

18″ separating zip (I coordinate this with my fabric)

2 1/4 yards of 1/2″ ribbon

4 1/2 yards of 1″

waist + 4″ of wide single fold bias tape or 1″- 1 1/4″ wide grosgrain ribbon for waist facing

Zipper foot

Wash fabric, ribbon and lace if the skirt is going to be washed after it is sewn.

CUT:

Cut two rectangles that are width measurement from above x 20″ long.

STITCHING THE DARTS:

At the center point of the top edge of these rectangles, chalk a 4″ line on the back side of the fabric perpendicular to the grain line.  Measure 1″ to each side of this line and clip a notch in your fabric.  Line up your notches and stitch from notch to the end of your chalk line to create a hip dart. Press flat lining up center line with stitched line.

STITCHING THE FRONT:

Mark center front and center back on each rectangle.  Find the mid point between dart and CF and notch. Pin and stitch a 1″ deep and 9″ long pleat at this notch.  Open and press this pleat flat aligning the notch and stitching to create a box pleat.  Find the midpoint between the dart and the pleat and notch.  Repeat the steps to create the box pleat.  Find the mid point between CF and your original pleat, clip, stitch and press another pleat here.  There should be three box pleats between the side dart and the center front on each of the rectangles.

STITCHING THE BACK:

Finish both CB with either a zigzag or a serger.  Stitch center backs together (careful to line up waistlines and hemlines) with a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Measure 2″ in along waistband from the CB seam and notch.  From this notch measure another 3″ in and notch.  Continue measuring 3″ in toward the side dart until you have 5 notches.  Create a 1″ deep 9″ long box pleat using the method described above at each of the notches.  When you are finished there should be 10 pleats between the two side darts. Press all darts… again.

Note: Now is a good time to fit this garment to you.  Wrap it around yourself and adjust the fit at the center back and at the side darts if necessary.  Remember there is 1″ seam allowance at the center front.

Baste waist edge of skirt securing all pleats and darts.

ZIPPER

Fold and press 1/4″ of the center front toward the wrong side of the fabric.  Fold another 1/2″  and stitch  first fold into place finishing the raw edge.  Pin zipped zipper on top of the hemmed center front of skirt aligning the top of the zipper tapes with the waist edges and the center front hemmed edges.  Hand baste the zipper to the skirt to ensure it won’t move while machine stitching.   Unzip zipper (make sure it glides smoothly with out catching your basting.)  Here you can experiment with stitches like using a zigzag or a feather stitch while you are machine stitching the zipper into place.   Continue stitching past the end of the zipper to the hemline.  Note- there is a plastic coated section of zipper tape at the end of the zipper teeth that I some times have to hand crank my needle through.  Remove hand basting after zipper is secure.

FINISHING-

Waistline-  Stitch ribbon or bias tape on top of the waist edge at 1/2″ (wrong side of ribbon/tape to right side of skirt) leaving 1″ on each end.  Fold tape toward the back of the skirt and press this facing into place tucking in the ends of the ribbon under the facing trimming of necessary.  Stitch ribbon or bias tape to wrong side of skirt to secure the facing.

Hemline-  Finish bottom edge with a zigzag or serge.  Fold up 1″, press and stitch hem.  Stitch decorative ribbon over this hem stitching.  Using a long stitch on your sewing machine, gather the lace up enough to fit the bottom edge of the skirt. Edge stitch skirt hem on top of the gathering stitch on the lace to attach.

POCKET-

I did not use a pattern for the pocket.  I just started cutting into some scraps until I had the shape that I wanted (Yes, you can too!!)

Dude…. I just won a $3500 dollar sewing machine!!!!

Yes... I am fully addicted.

Yes... I am fully addicted.

O. K. so every year Nancy’s (my day job) goes to the Puyallup Sew Expo put on by Washington State University and held on the Washington State Fair Grounds.  We are a vendor and we sell off lots of fabric… mostly stuff that is on sale.  It is the biggest Sew Expo in the country.   It is definitely not my crowd, but it is different then my usual work day so I like to go.  I call it the SEA of quilted vest with to much shit tacked on the surface, mullets, and sparkle pins declaring “I love to sew”…. yes gross but good for people gawking.  I just wish I could turn off the flash on my camera phone so I could inconspicuously post some prime examples here but I am technically deficient. 

There are a few vendors that I look forward to see.  Pendleton brings out there wools.  I don’t do southwestern themed blankets but their plaid are freakin’ amazing and good price.  For the first time EVER I saw an Eco- friendly Eco Wise wool that was actually Cradle to Cradle CERTIFIED.  I have read a lot about this type of sustainability certification but had never come across a piece of cloth that measured up to the standard (I have a whole blog planned for this topic but need to do some more research.) Very well done Pendleton!! 

I also get drawn into The Wool House from Toronto.  They are A) really good sales men and B) have amazing cashmere.  Point made.

I also like Vouge Fabrics from Chicago…. but I did not buy anything from them this year:(

AND FINALLY….

on Sunday ’bout 4:30 I get a call that I don’t recognize so it goes to voice mail and about 10 minutes later I check the message.  “Well hello Angela, this is your lucky day.  You just won the Sew Expo Door Prize- A Brother Sewing Machine….” I really don’t hear anything past that as I turn to a co-worker and scream, “I just won the door prize.”  I race over to the Door Prize booth to discover that I freakin’ WON a $3500.00 dollar Brother sewing machine donated by Quality Sewing and Vacuum.  I cannot fully believe it…. holly sh–molly!   It is the brand new Porsche my world.

Will someone just pinch me!

Will someone just pinch me!

Buying a sewing machine??? Here is my (humble) opinion.

Sewing Machines- Where would some of us be with out them?  Hell, we would all be wearing pretty much potato sacks with out them.  I know that I am not an expert but I sew everyday and I work in a place where I talk about sewing and trouble shoot sewing issues pretty much everyday, so people are constantly asking about sewing machine recommendations.  Here is my list.

1.  The golden boy of sewing machines is (currently) Bernina.  These Swiss machines are built with precision and durability giving them the highest resale value of any modern brand of sewing machine.  Their bottom end machine run about $1000 (might have to wait for a sale for this price) but I have seen Berninas for 8- 12 thousand dollars*.  I lust for just the $1000 model because it gives you every thing that you need to make clothing that looks like store bought clothing  and does very little embroidery.  Berninas also have TONS of accessories and feet, including pattern fitting software.  Again, if you have the means, this is the brand that you want.

I personally do not own one of these machines but it will be a fine day in the Flowers household when I purchase my first Bernina!

2. I think that Pfaff makes a good (more affordable) sewing machine.  These are German made machines that have just as many accessories (no fit software) as Bernina and are smooth running and solid built.  A bottom end model will set you back $200-300 and this is a GREAT choice for the beginner.  Again, top end models are ridiculously priced but I have helped many a friend find love in sewing because of this bottom end Hobby Line Pfaff machine right here.

3.  The Viking/Husqvarna or Husqvarna/Viking (whatever) is also a good Swedish built machine.  I own both a sewing machine (bottom of the line) as well as a Husky Lock serger.  Both have lasted through pretty regular use for about ten years now and there is no signs of quiting on me now.  I service both machines… semi regularly (meaning when they stop sewing or cutting, I take them in).  All ‘n all, these machines have payed for themselves over and over again with the work I do with them.  My one complaint- I hate the zipper foot and there is no narrow hem foot for my model.

4. WhiteKenmore (Sears brand) , Janome are all machines that I have heard good things about.  Good reputation goes along way in sewing machines, no name machine- I no go there.  As long as you buy name brand machines from an authorized dealer you should always have some where to go if you have questions or need parts and servicing- this goes for ALL sewing machines. When purchasing used machines make sure there is an authorized dealer/ service center near you.  Unfortunately when you buy some no name brand from Target or Macy’s you have a harder time finding somewhere to ask questions, get the right parts, and get good service.  All sewing machine are prone to get off time now and again so you will eventually need to get it fine tuned again.  I love this GIF from MaterialMama of the workings of a bobbin to illustrate the precision.

5. The Singer story.  I also own a Singer that I inherited from my Grandmother that I call my Big Bertha machine.  She is a brut of a sewer and heavy as hell.  I know it sound weird but in sewing machines-heavy sewing machine usually meant that the mechanical parts are all metal. This is a very important aspect of a good sewing machines because of precision and durability.  I would never buy a machine that does not have metal mechanical parts (always ask a saleman).   Singers were the Golden Boy of sewing machines since the industrial revolution but, thanks to globalization are now made in China out of plastic parts … allegedly.  So in my opinion only buy vintage or antique Singer sewing machines.  If you can get a hold of Featherweight Singers, these are worth money!  They were considered travel sewing machines during their hay-day (late 1930’s to 1964) and they are pretty darn cute!

*I have never done machine embroidery so I know nothing about these machines, and I have no interest in knowing.  Personally, if you are going to pay upwards of $2000.00 for a sewing machine it should sew the darn clothes for you!