Saturday, September 29, 2012

Challenge Accepted!

Isn't it amazing when you have been thinking about something for awhile and suddenly you find someone has written it out so succinctly? I want to introduce two challenges I recently found in the blogosphere that I am happily accepting!

Cindy of Cation Designs has decided to fill out her me-made wardrobe by making what most often ends up in her laundry. She even designed this cute button for those of us who want to participate.

I had already started doing this since I am taller than average and Ready To Wear doesn't always fit right. Plus why pay extra for something that may be long enough when I enjoy sewing it for myself and can get the perfect length!

The second, and actual challenge is from Mari of Disparate Disciplines. You must go check out her fascinating thoughts on sewing the basics v. foundation pieces and how clothing effects our moods.
Disparate Disciplines
Here, in her own words she defines a FOUNDATION GARMENT.
     "What is a foundation garment say you?
  • A garment that goes beyond the simple, solid colors, materials, or construction of basic garments.
  • Any garment that can anchor multiple outfits as the focal point.
  • Often a garment upon which you can layer other things."
She has even given us a deadline!! January 1st we are supposed to have everything done so we can start the new year feeling brilliant. This challenge will help me take the time to focus on making sure I will actually wear what I sew and it will fit into my existing wardrobe. I love the idea of taking something necessary and basic and turning it into something a bit more special!

The third reason I am doing this.... 
That, my friends, is a huge pile of mostly knits that lives on the floor of my sewing/bedroom and it NEEDS TO BE USED! I have a very large pile of woven fabric that needs attention as well but I can only confess so much in one post. So I will be fulfilling these challenges with my stash!! No more fabric shopping for me! (I will probably need reminding of this down the road.)

I think I have set myself enough challenges for this fall. How about you? Do you have any amazing fall sewing projects? Do you have a stash threatening to overwhelm you?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Listen While You Work

Creating is a mostly solitary occupation. For me it’s lots of quality time spent with my sewing machine, ironing and cutting boards. While I enjoy the silence when I am thinking through a pattern layout or a tricky bit; background noise is usually welcome. Maybe it comes from my Mother reading us stories after lunch and in the evenings as kids, or maybe it is just my love of a good story but I enjoy audio books.

Here’s a few of my favorite places to listen on the web!

  B. J. Harrison has a lovely clear deep voice and reads very well. You can subscribe to his Itunes channel or buy some of his very affordable audio books. He has been on several car trips with the family and his podcast is listened to regularly. Need more reasons to love him:
  • He started Classic Tales and is trying to make a go of it just like I am. Hurrah for small business.
  • It’s classic literature, which I happen to love. He has recorded some of my favorites, like “The Scarlet Pimpernell” and “The Phantom of the Opera” He also has titles I haven’t heard and I feel I am improving my mind as I work. He introduced me to Jeeves as well!

It’s chock full of books in the public domain and read for free by people just like you and me. While the quality is not as good as professionally read books they are free and read by someone who loves the story. I’ve spent many hours there listening to the Father Brown mysteries and other tales.

I confess it is a website geared for children, but who doesn’t love a good fairy tale? Especially when it’s read in a perky british accent. I listen to these online so they take more clicking and are much shorter than the other two sites but I enjoy the lightheartedness. They have great quality and download options too. I liked their original Awaking Beauty series. If you are a crafting mom maybe you can steal some time by inviting your kids to listen while you work!

So what do you listen to while you work? Music? Movies? Audio Books? If you find anything great on the sites I mentioned please let me know! I’m always ready to hear a good story!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Farm Girl Feedsack

When I picked up several feed sacks on our road trip back East I knew I couldn’t part with them all. This was my first attempt working with one. I was so surprised at the still vibrant colors and the quality of the fabric.

I decided to try out my new dress form and started draping away. Not that I have any experience with draping. But a girl can play can’t she? Plus there is not very much fabric in a feed sack and I wanted to make sure I used it all! I loved the gold ribbon and white lace and needed to add some room at the bottom so I would be able to walk in the thing. 

After choosing black for the accent color I used the yoke pattern pieces from Butterick 7162. Once I realized I could pull it over my head I eliminated the buttons.
I pinned open darts into the back and front on the dress form then had a friend check the fit on me. This added some much needed shape.

I finished the armholes with some bias tape and put in a tiny hem. The small hole near the hem was stabilized from the back with some iron on interfacing and a rose applique hand stitched on top.

I wore it to a city wide yard sale and the pool. It is so easy to throw over my head and go. It’s definitely one of the most interesting things I have made thus far. My brother offered to buy it from me and burn it. I also got told with the white strip down the center I looked like an old fashioned radio. A four year old told me I looked like a slide as I sat on the couch with her. What do you think? Super cute and creative, or just a little out there; like it should have stayed out there in the barn? 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Let The Children Choose

While I enjoy watching the different challenges presented each week on Project Runway I was recently given my own when I decided to play a little game with the children who have adopted me as Aunt. We played a game called "Ugly or Not?" I held up pieces of fabric from their mother's stash and they decided which pieces they liked. Now I had my challenge! 
When he cried as his mother put the fabric in my car I knew I was going to have to make something special. I pulled out my new favorite sewing book for children. Kwik-Sew Method Sew For Toddlers by Kerstin Martensson. It comes with the master patterns for your little boy or girl's entire wardrobe. It also includes a handy size chart.

When asked what he wanted, my nephew specified a LONG sleeved shirt. I guess he is getting ready for winter too.

Knowing he is tall for his age and wanting room for him to grow I added three inches in length and cuffs to the sleeves. It turns out he is growing so quickly that the shirt fits him perfectly now.
A couple of hours to trace my patterns, cut and sew yielded results we were both happy with. He was absolutely tickled to open his birthday present and see his new Mickey Mouse shirt. 

How about you? Do you sew for children? Have they ever presented you with sewing challenges that delighted or refreshed you? I certainly enjoyed this relaxing change from the hustle and bustle of my usual day's work. Have you ever sewn with "Sew For Toddlers"?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Peek Into The Past

I ran across this pattern today and all its little details captured my imagination. First we have this lovely quote which is always something I have to remember when I am led into design and trimming excesses.

This very worn pattern has survived since the early 1930s. According to Katherine this pattern was issued sometime between 1933 and 1935. We know this thanks to this little stamp.
This NRA is not the National Rifle Association of today but the National Recovery Administration that was part of FDR's New Deal. The stamp was put on products of companies that said they complied with the new regulations. At the time this seemed to be necessary to stay in business. What it tells us is that this pattern was produced during a tough time in the USA. This young girl, whose gorgeous signature is pictured below,
could have had a father or grandfather who had lived through WWI. Now she would have to be tough and face the economic hardships that were shaking her country. See her carefully planned dress ideas.

I wonder if she chose this pattern like I sometimes do, for its versatility. Did she think it would make her practical separates or be easy to alter? Maybe she chose it for the beautiful plaid dress with its eye catching bias front panel. I do know she was an amazing seamstress. Have a peek at her directions.
Love the header's font and detail

I wonder if they printed the patterns crammed on one sheet for economy? I do think the seamstresses of the past were better than most of us simply because they had to sew EVERYTHING while we sew for our own pleasure, in most cases.
Did Lura Boow enjoy her dress? Did it last through the Great Depression? Her pattern has survived the years worn but intact. Did she survive WWII? 

Friday, September 7, 2012

You Don't Have to Be Perfect!

How often do we get caught up in trying to be perfect? Today I was stressing out about my next blog post and taking pictures of my sewing projects. I rearranged the living room only to have picture failure when the dress print didn't photograph and feeling like I looked like the stupidest person on the planet. Why don't models smile? Cause they feel awkward and stupid. At least that's how I felt today. So I gave up and was depressed. 
I had planned to have a beautiful blog so I would look fun, approachable and professional! I was going to write an amazing blog with relevant content that would engage readers, and all that blah. Pictures are what the internet is about and mine looked like junk. Boohoohoo... (the attitude wasn't helped when I found out my blood sugars were high either). I ended this by walking away, watching Project Runway and cleaning.

When I came back to the computer I checked out one of my favorite blogs: So Zoe
and somehow ended up here! (sometimes the blog world amazes me with its multiplicity of opened windows and links)
I read her post on her newly knitted blagatha. Several things immediately stuck out to me:
* this girl has serious knitting skills! I need to persevere with mine.
* this girl thinks her photos are junk and I don't think she looks too bad. 
* this girl thinks her photos are junk yet still posted and still has a following who loves her! (I loved her!)

So here I am once again reminded that we don't have to be perfect in this world, in fact this world is craving realness. All we have to do is be genuine and do our best. 
So thank you LLadybird for that timely reminder. 

Brace yourself World! Next week the wind will be blowing some sewing projects, crazy thoughts, and not so great pictures your way! 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Baby Boot Debut

Hello Babies Everywhere!!

I am so excited to bring you the first collection of EmSewCrazy’s baby boots! It was an idea born over two years ago and I am excited it has finally come to life! 
As you can read on my Etsy About page: this was my father’s idea coming from his background in boot making and my long struggle to find a niche for my sewing skills. I think it is important to realize business success doesn’t happen overnight and even when you have a great product it still takes time to develop and market.
 At long last my first collection is finally available!
These adorable little gems come in two sizes
Newborn: Measures 3 3/4 in. long and 1 3/4 in. wide at the sole. Standing 3 3/4in. tall.

3 to 6 Months: Measures 4 1/2 in. long and 2 in. wide at the sole. Standing 4 1/2 in. tall. 

  You can order them with or without Bootstraps.

The whole collection can be viewed in my Etsy store: EmSewCrazy

I have big plans for my boots including some new lines:
* Boys Will Be Cowboys
* Customized Initials

* Beautiful with Bling
* One of A Kind Pairs

* A Vintage and Upcycled Line

As you can see some are still in the dreaming stage and some are already coming to life!

So what do you think? Do you have a favorite pair?