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Showing posts from 2016

Santa Came Early! Why I Chose a Babylock

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After several years of serger lust Santa came early - delivering my wish for a Babylock Imagine serger. A good friend gently seemed to suggest that I explain why I chose this brand and model. Babylock air threaded sergers dorank as the more expensive models and many brands offer excellent sergers at a much lower price point. So why Babylock and why an air threaded Imagine?My first-and only- previous serger was a circa 1992 Pfaff Hobbylock 788. My sewing life went into an almost "quilts only" phase not long after making this purchase and making a few fleece garments (that I still use!). At this point having a serger that I liked using became a rather moot point. However, after reading some influential books about "fast fashion" I became interested in making clothes again a couple of years ago though. Usiing a serger returned to the "front burner". The Pfaff is a solid machine; well built and sturdy. From the 'get-go' however, I had fits with th…

A Sappy Fall Tale & Lessons From Tilly

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It's been a bit of a trying time for me. A week ago last Thursday I had a fall...tumbling backwards into a few immovable, hard objects. The pain was the worst I have experienced to date. Breath-taking...quite literally. The following day I decided that a trip to the doctors might be in order since the weekend was fast approaching and I worried about how I was going to mange if it got worse. DH carefully loaded me into the card and off we went. After a couple of hours and 15 x-rays I went home to wait for a call. The initial thought was that I had a broken hip and/or collarbone. When the call came there was good news and bad news. Good news that my hip and collarbone were fine, and, best of all, that the metal-works in my back were still in place. The bad news was that I had two spinal fractures (L4, L5...near where one of the fusions is).
I have been encamped in/on my "easy-chair" for a week. Sleeping in bed was much too painful and although sleeping in a chair is less th…

Aurifil's New 80wt Appliqué Thread

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The changes that getting older bring can be amusing at times. When I was younger I eagerly awaited hearing about a new job or pay raises, what the weekend might bring, what art I hoped to make soon...those kind of life experience kind of things. Lately though, my 'awaiting moments' are far more simple. Thread! Yes, I have been eagerly waiting to try Aurifil's new appliqué thread...an smooth, strong, 80wt cotton. It seems that my 'making' life has been dominated by hand sewing and hand appliqué lately. Therefore, anything that tends to make my stitches look smaller and blend better is on my radar. Over the years I have used a lot of varieties of appliqué thread. Who doesn't love stitching with silk thread?! It's soft, lustrous and blends so well! My issue with sewing with most silk threads was that it tended to break a lot. I tried to love Superior Threads Bottom Line poly and Wonderfil's Invisifil poly. The problem? I really tend to be old school and …

A New Dress No.2

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Lately, most of my time has been dedicated to the several large quilt projects that I have in progress. One these projects is quite fiddley and requires focus, attention to detail and commitment! Sometimes I just need some more or less instant gratification and lately that has meant making a new garment.I love this simple dress/tunic from 100 Acts of Sewing. Called simply Dress No.2. One of my pet peeves seems to be untidy, unfinished seams and so this entire dress if French seamed. It looks so much nicer....better for this kind of of sew than even serger seams I think. Makes me pleased. I lengthened the sleeves and added a partial sleeve lining so that if I turn the cuff up it still looks nice.nect time I want to raise the front neckline just a bit and add a few other other details like in seam pockets. The fabric is more hefty than I general use. It is from Lonni Rossi and her "Geishas and Ginkos line (not recent). It is a deep Chinese red and black - not the pinker color that …

What Is A"Worry Bird" and Why Is One On My Dress?

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What, you ask, is a 'worry bird' (shown above) and why would I add it to a new top? Well, let me explain....... I was looking for a pattern for a simple but stylish pull over dress/tunic. As I searched for "the right one" I started to wonder if the image that I head in my head was just too simple to have a pattern. I did not want to 'reinvent the proverbial' if I didn't have to and, considering that I have not yet drafted a pattern, it would much easier if I could find the simple shift of my dreams! After a lot of time spent web searching among the "big 4" pattern companies and assorted Indie pattern companies I happened upon "the" pattern on Etsy. It is simply called, "Dress No.2" from 100 Acts Of Sewing (there is also a Dress No.1...more of a v neck and it too is on my list). I admire the look of a simple 'dress' (or call it a tunic) like this worn over slim pants...or leggings and I wanted simple design like this t…

"Within Limits" & The Value of County Fairs

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When I first moved to my little slice of paradise I had never been to a County Fair and barely knew that they existed. I grew up in NYC and the greater metro area and Fairs (other than art faires) were few and far between. I jumped on the proverbial band wagon 25 years ago though when my first fair entries were photographs. Although I comsidered myself a quilter at the time I did not enter anything in that division for some years. As it turned out, that was a very good thing because my quilting hubris was much larger than my quilting talents were at that time! What I did not about quilting is, in hindsight, embarrassing! Over the years I learned a lot from the amazingly talented local quilters. My skills increased and I even managed to take a few classes over the years. In the last few years, for some reason, I have not entered many items in the quilting section and almost did not again this year. But........Of course, County Fairs acquire funding based on number of entries and so I d…

When Perseverance Pays...or Adventures With A Dinosaur Serger

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My ancient Pfaff Hobbylock 788 serger...or a photo of one just mine. I bought it in about 1991. Yes, it's old. What's more it was always an incredible hassle to thread the loopers, and thus, it never saw much use.My newly rediscovered love of making clothes made me realize how much easier some projects would be if I could use my serger. In all honesty, I hanker (lust) for a Babylock Imagine with easy, breezy air threading and auto-tensioning...but alas the state of my personal exchequer does not allow for such a purchase.Today I was determined to figure out how to be able use the old Pfaff for a current project. After all...how hard could it be to get a simple machine in working order? Right?!
I started at 10:00. I wanted to be able to thread this darn machine and, as importantly, I also wanted to understand how this machine works. All went well until I decided that I had to get the hang of changing the threads...I generally just tie threads off and gently pull through the mac…

An Umbrella Workshop & A Guild Friendship Block Exchange

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This year I have these "have-to" projects that I have mentioned ad nauseum lately. It always makes me happy to consider projects for all of the time I like to think that I will have "after". Better yet is taking the time for a break from have-o's now and then. Nothing better to get ou loosens up and ready for more. Our Textile Guild invited Joan Buse, otherwise know as "Umbrella Joan" or "the umbrella lady" to our island to teach a class. I am not a huge umbrella kind of gal, but that is partially because they tend to be so boring. Shelter from both sun and rain can be appealing at times though and I was eager to take the class. Our team leaders, Tori and Robin, helped to make to sure that we were all well prepared by encouraging us to cut out the pattern in advance of the class. Robin had made them before and so the pattern was available and she graciously opens her wonderful home to those of us who waned to her up on the pre-cutting offer…

An Unlikely Shirt Among Quilts

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What?! Me wear this???!!! This is most definitely NOT the kind of shirt that I would usually make or wear. I am not much of a floral kind of gal and I am just beginning to embrace my inner appreciation of blues (with the exception of deep indigos and navy's which have always appealed to me). That being said, yesterday I just felt a compulsion to make something wearable. Something easy, loose and summery. I wanted something quick and something that I could make without fear of 'wasting' my 'good' apparel fabric. What I had on hand that fit that order was plain muslin...meh...and this piece of 2013 Robyn Pandolph "Notinghill" fabric that was a slight mess of several leftover pieces from a wide quilt backing. Since I had a very limited amount of the fabric left I had to address a few considerations. I did want the the large bunch of roses enhancing an area of me that needs no enhancing what-so-ever I wanted to consider a trying a few slight pattern alteratio…