Sunday, July 29, 2012

Long Beach Quilt Show

               Long Beach Quilt Show 2012

  We Rode, we walked, we shopped, we were exhausted (both physically and fabrically)!  Lisa Shepherd (my sewing partner in crime) and I met the bus at Chocolat end Cotton early yesterday morning to ride down to the annual Long Beach Quilt Show.  It seemed to take only a few minutes, as we chatted and laughed the whole way down.  Once we arrived, we got our Show bags and our little orange entry bracelets and anxiously waited in line.  Once the gates were open, we had to do our parade wave to show our bracelets and then we were in!  We did notice a shipping office as we were taking the escalator down to the show floor.
     We both had our lists and were very diligent in trying to find the perfect fabric that we were looking for.  Lisa's list was longer than mine, so I graciously offered to help her look for her things too!

     Right off the bat, I found something that was not on my list - a button print that is a companion print to the vintage 50's girl's dresses fabric (see my post on July 14, Fabric Finds).  Could not pass that up!
     Next, I found a cute fabric, very instructional (and not on my list)

on how to iron a shirt.  #1 starts with Get our your ironing board, followed by #2 Plug in your iron, all the way through to #12 Hang shirt on hanger, it is ready to wear. (Remember, if you click on the picture, you can make it larger so you can actually see what is on there).

     Another cute fabric I found, vintage thread spools and bobbins. (Again, not on my list.  I thin I see a trend here).

     Cute sewing fabric!  I liked this one for 2 reasons - #1, it has a pink background, and if you know me at all, pink is my favorite color, although I am drawn to black and red fabrics), and #2, it not only had sewing things, it has embroidery things too!

     When I saw this fabric, I could not help but roll my eyes........and then I bought some!  I do not sew very much for either of my boys (22 and 24), but they both would love this and get a kick out of wearing a shirt made out of this.  what is a mother to do?!

     Next came the candy bar fabric.  If you look close, the names ae all a little 'off':  Sneckers, Kit Cat, M & N, etc.  While I do have a sweet tooth, I bought this to make pillowcases.  During the school year, there are a couple of classes that I sub for fairly regularly, and I have areading contest.  The winner gets a pillowcase (win win - I get to sew up fabric that I love, and they are reading).  I usually make a couple of different pillowcases and the winner gets to choose, and they always want a candy pillowcase.   I had run out of candy fabric, so I just filled my stash again!

     We shopped first for a few hours and then stopped and checked outrbags (no rolling carts allowed and fabric is HEAVY).  Guess that shipping office will come in handy for out-of-towners.  We ate quick bite and then went back and decided to look at quilts before we shopped anymore.  This was vary calculated on our part.  If we finished shopping and then looked at quilts, we could possibly have heavy bags to carry.  If we looked first, (remember, we had just checked our packages), then we would not be straining our muscles quite yet.
     There were many, many quilts to look at - modern, historical, art, etc., and we enjoyed seeing them, but the rest of the booths were calling us back (we had to be out the bus by 5:15).  We finished looking at the rest of the booths, went back and shopped at the 'Let me think about it first' booths, made our final purchases and headed out for the bus, with a quick stop for a Rice Krispie Bar along the way. 
     As we rode on the bus with a beautiful view of the ocean out the window (we came home along Pacific Coast Highway), I ran though my list.  While I found several pieces of great fabric, I did not find one single thing that was on my list.  Hmmmmmmmmm.  I guess that will be an excuse to go to some more fabric stores.
Have a wonderful day!
Happy Stitching,

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Making a Pattern

                                 Making a Pattern

     I have been working on my new Sleeveless Yoke pattern and I thought I would share some pictures with you.  I am on the tail end of this one, so the pictures are from about 75% of the way throught he process.

     I already have the pattern in the system and it is graded.  I need to get it in the correct form to have it printed.  I do this at StyleCad, which is in the LA Garment district.  They are a pattern software company, and I am something of an anomoly to them.  Almost none of their customers print the patterns, other than for samples to test them.  Usually, once they pattern is finished an laid out, it is sent electronically to the cutter and the automatic cutter takes care of cutting out all of the pieces.  We have learned lots of tricks to get their system to do what I need it to do to be able to have all of the information on the pattern and to be able to print it out in an economical way.
     As you can see in the picture above, all of the pieces are laid out on the screen.  This process is called making a marker.  When you call up the pieces, they are laid out on the 'fabric' (the computer screen) and the marker maker arranges them so that the most pattern pieces can be arranged with the least wasted fabric.  The more fabric waste, the more money you throw away.
     I have an engineering background, which comes in handy in doing this kind of spacial relationship stuff.  It took me a while to play with all of the pieces, but I was able to reduce the total printing size by 25% (which helps to keep the price of the patterns down).

Once I have the pattern laid out the way I want it, I send it to the printer so I can make final check for typos, placement, sizes, notations, etc.  Once that has been OK'd, then I print a good copy, which will be the master that the patterns will be made from.

     Sorry this is hard to see - I thought it would show up a bit darker.  This is part of the Master - yokes and collars.

     When they get back from the printers, hopefully nest week, they will be ready to roll!  Ta dah - a new pattern!  I am going back again tomorrow to grade and start labeling my A-Line jumper.  Can't wait!
     Saturday, Lisa Shepherd and I are taking the bus from Cotton and Chocolate (our local quilt store) down to the Long Beach Quilt Festival.  Not as big as Houston, but PLENTY of fabric for me to see and collect (hmmmmmmmmmm)!  Will take plenty of pictures!  I also started a new smocking class.  One of the gals called me 5 years ago for info and finally got around to signing up.  Another smocker has no grandchildren (although she wishes!), but wanted to learn to smock.  She went to Bali to learn how they dye their fabric and learned how to dirt bike there.  She has continued that hobby here and walked in with a chic black cast on her right hand/arm (it actually took me a few minutes to realize she had a cast on, it blended so well with her jacket and slacks).  She crashed when she was dirt biking with her childless son.  You go girl!

Happy Stitching,

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Richard the Thread

                          Richard The Thread

     I found what I wasn't even looking for the other day!  I am taking a class and needed a big sheet of wax tracing paper.  After a few posts from the teacher and students, figured out that I can get it in the NY Garment District (I wish), or Richard the Thread, which is in LA.  If you order, minimum is 9 sheets, which would last me 3 lifetimes.  Since I had to go to the LA Garment District to work on my patterns, I decided to take a detour and stop in.  Look what I found!

     Where the name Richard The Thread came from, I don't know, but the store is as unusual as it's name.  It carries supplies for corsets, millinery and costumes. 

     Many of their customers are theaters and costume makers.  They have many products that are 'nuts and bolts' type of things.  For example, in their Hook and Eye section, they have:
TuTu Hooks
King Henry's Hook
Falstaff Hook
Pavarotti Hook
4 Pelican Hook
Nuevo Laredo Hook
along with your basic Skirt Hook and Pant Hook!

     They have busks and boning for corsets, magnetic closure strips (which have warning messages along the twill tape - NOT TO BE NEAR ANYONE WEARING A PACEMAKER!) FYI - boning are the vertical supports in the corset or strapless gowns.  Busks are the closures (see picture above).  They are made from 2 corset bones with hooks on one side and eyes on the other.

     They also have fabrics you don't often see - buckram, horse hair braid, haircloth, French Collar Canvas.  They have a crimper for aglets, and supplies for hoops.

                             Word of the Day
     An aglet is usually metal or plastic and is crimped to the end of a lace or a ribbon to keep it from ravelling.  When they were used in the times before buttons, they could be ornamental and be made of gold, silver, or glass.

     Richard the Thread also has several period patterns:
Gothic, Renaissance, Elizabethan (shown above), Restoration, Bustle, Civil War, Victorian, Edwardian, etc.
     My mind was buzzing as I walked around.  Most everything was in drawers and boxes, but they did have some beautiful heavy brocade ($50 / yd), but too heavy for anything I am going to be doing in the near future.  I now know where to go when ever I ma looking for anything like this.  It sure would be fun to play with some of this stuff!

Happy Stitching!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Girls and Their Dolls!

Girls and Their Dolls.....From times Past

This the cover from the May, 1911 edition of "The Modern Priscilla" magazine.  Thankfully, even today you can find little girls palying with their dolls.  It is hard to see, but on the floor next to them is fabric, scissors, and thread.  I love to look through these old magizines!  It always amazes me to think that some of these are over 100 years old!  And while many things in our world have changed, it is nice to see that some things stay the same.

   Embroidery for the Wee Baby!  I tried scanning this in a few times on different settings, to no avail - the picture in the magazine is black and white, so the detail is hard to see, but the front of this is all embroidered in white.  Very sweet!

Here is a page of Peerless Patterns that is being advertised.  I am soooo glad that women's styles have changed!

Another page of Peerless Patterns advertisement.  Check out the Christening gown with the lace insertion and tucks.  Still beautiful and stylish today!

This regular column, Mother and Child, was conducted by "a Mother" and the Motto is:  "By Loving We Learn to Lead".  My favorite is the Education of the Backward Child.  So many of the ideas then are relavent today.  One of the comments is that some shildren can not remember what is told them because they are not used to thinking.  I sub at our local schools and many of today's parents should read this!

     Another great article," Keeping Your Child Happy" by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey.  The point of this article is that children develop and learn through play and constructive play (the opportunity to make and do) makes them the happiest.  I wish today's parents would take note!
     I was down in the garment district today - worked on my patterns and went to a new shop called Richard the Thread.  More about that next time!

Happy Stitching,

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pretty Piping

Tutorial on Pretty Piping!
To me, there is nothing that finishes a garment better than piping, and for most children's clothes (and adults) I prefer petite or mini piping.  It is refined and adds a small detail that says quality!  Susie's Ready to Smock and Children's Corner both carry mini-piping that is already made, but many times I can not find quite the right color or I don't have time to wait for it or I want something a little bit different.  The sample I am showing here goes the next step beyond basic petite piping (also known as mini-piping). I used the fabric design to create a pattern in the piping - polka dots down the center of the cord.

To start with, you have to have the correct cord.  The very first time I made my piping, I used what was handy...............postal twine from my kitchen junk drawer.  Let's just say that was not the best idea!  Did you know the postal twine is not pre-shrunk?  Need I say more?  I used to use JP Coats Speed Cro-Sheen, but they donot make it anymore.  They now have a product called Aunt Lydia's Crochet Thread.  Eventhough it is supposed to be the same size, I find that it is too fine for piping.  I carry the piping cord that is uded in pre-packaged mini-piping and it works quite well.

I cut out the bias strips specifically to accomodate the design element that I wanted.  You can see in the picture that there are 5 rows of dots.  The uneven number lets me have the center row follow along the cord.

I placed the cording in the center if the bias.

If I am making piping where exact placement is crucial to the finished look, I will use my Wonder Clips to hold the cord in place.

It is a bit hard to see, but when I am making the piping, I use a 5 groove pintuck foot, placing the cord in the 2nd groove from the left, and I put my needle position 2 (out of 5) positions to the left.

When I finish stitching, the dots wrap around the cord.

Next comes attaching to the first fabric.  Again, I use my 5 groove pintuck foot.  I put the cord in the 2nd groove from the left and keep the needle position 2 to the left of center.

You can see the stitch line is right on top of the piping stitch line.

Once the piping is attached to the fabric, I pull out about 1/2 inch of the cord on each end.

I clip off the cord and then pull the piping to pop the cord in.  This will give you 'empty' piping at the ends. so there will be less bulk in the seams.

You can see the stitch line on the wrong side of the base fabric.

Next you are going to attach the top fabric to the base fabric/piping.  When you make this stitch line, you want to stitch as close as you can to the piping without actually stitching on the cord.

I stitched the 2nd pass (base fabeic/piping to top fabric) with red thread so you can see that the last pass (in red) is closer to the cord than the first pass (white).

Tah dah!  You can see the polka dots on the piping are right along the cord!

Happy Stitching!

Fabric is Like Fine Wine

Fabric is like fine wine...........
It has to age properly before it can be cut!

     It is still in the 'worse' stage (as in it has to get worse before it gets better).  I have started organizing the drawers, and already I am wondering if I will have enough room.  Yes, I did go through and cull fabrics.  Many charity organizations now have an infusion of fabric to speed them on their way!
     Presently, I am organizing several different ways.  My basic cottons are organized by patterns.  This is my floral drawer.

     This is my stripe and polka dot drawer, with some cupcake and candy fabric thown, along with a couple of other 'themed' fabric.

     Christmas is always fun - many of these fabrics have been aging nicely.  I also have some Halloween, Valentine's Day and Easter fabric here, but alas (or oh! goody!, depending on how you look at it) I just foung another box of Christmas fabric, so I thin this drawer will be totally dedicated to Christmas and I will have to rearrange the other holiday fabric.
     I also have a drawer of silks, a drawer of wool and a drawer of nice shirting cottons that I have picked up at Mood (both in LA and NYC) and BJ's Fabrics.
     Stay tuned for more......................

Happy Stitching,

Monday, July 16, 2012

Remembering Mom

                     Remembering Mom
     As I was cleaning out drawers, I found this old Dritz ruler that is cut and warped, but it sure did put a smile on my face!  This was my mother's ruler - I remember it hanging on the wall in the pcoket organizer that I made for one Christmas (with my grandmother's help), along with other odds and ends.
     My mother was very creative and was always doing something.  When I was 8, she got a new sewing maching for xmas/anniversary/birthday, with Nanny pitching in.  It was a new Viking and it cost $400!  The first thing she did was to make new drapes for the living room.  The up side of this new machine was that now she had an old machine, so I learned to sew.  My grandmother (Nanny) was one of 9 girls.  They grew up in the Depression and were very handy and could do anything.  They were also very close and often Great Aunt Jerry and Great Aunt Renie would come and visit when Nanny was here. 
     Aunt Jerry and Aunt Renie were a force to be reckoned with.  Aunt Jerry's husband died when she was about 30, with 3 young kids.  Aunt Renie's husband also died young - she didn't have any kids and she did not get remarried, so she moved in with Aunt Jerry to help with the kids (these were my mom's first cousins, who were her age).  As the kids grew up and started their own families, Aunt Renie and Aunt Jerry continued to live together.  They lived in Toledo, Ohio, and we would stop and see them on our way to Michigan in the summer.  I LOVED to stay at their house.  They had a 4 bedroom house, and they each had their own bedroom and THEIR OWN SEWING /CRAFT ROOM!  I can remember being 8 years old and thinking that was the neatest thing ever.
     While my mom and Nanny were busy sewing drapes, Aunt Renie taught me how to sew.  She had sewn in a garment factory during the war, so she knew her way around a sewing machine.  I started out making bean bags (big hit with  all of my brothers and sister), and then moved to an actual garment.  I wish I still had it!  I had to use fabric that was in Mom's stash, so the picking's were slim, at least to the fashion tastes of an 8 year old in the 70's.  The fabric was beige with line drawings of chickens all over.  The garment was a one piece jumpsuit - long sleeves and long pants with a zipper up the front.  I was so proud!
     That started me on my love of sewing.  As I got a bit older, mom did sew for us, but nothing fancy - more along the utilitarian lines (although I do remember a dress she made out of Raggady Ann fabric that we bought in Michigan - it had Raggaday Ann and Raggady Andy appliqued on the pockets).  Isn't it something that I can still remember where and when I got that fabric 40 years ago?
     My mom went on to other things - she knitted and crocheted and then fell in love with toll painting.  She started going to toll painting conventions and eventually started to teach.  When she passed away, her unfinished wood and paint stash would rival any fabric stash that I know of! 
     I already had all 4 of my kids when she died (way to early, at 59), and I was already an avid smocker/stitcher/sewer, and she was very appreciative of what I was doing.  It would have been fun to go to convention or classes with her, and fabric stores would have been dangerous!  She would have fit right in with my smocking friends at convention or at my quilt guild or ASG meetings.  If your mom is still around, treasure the time you have!
Happy Stitching,

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fifties Fabric Finds

                                                Fifties Fabric Finds!
     Here are more fine fabrics!  This one I bought when I was at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup - it was in the same fabric family as the little girls' dresses from the post yesterday.

      This one I bought at BJ Fabrics in NYC when I was there in April - I used this to make a ruler holder for one of my class samples - I used this fabric on the back and for one of the pockets.

     This one I found when I was on the Quilt Run here in So Cal a couple of weeks ago.  Very whimsical and it had my favorite color (pink), so I knew I could find a home for it in my sewing room.  
     I really need to have about 8 more hours each day............the things I could get done!  I just found some vintage ladies' magazines fro the early 20's - i am going to look through them again tonight and will share soon...........
Happy Stitching,

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fabric Finds!

Fabric Finds!

     Here are a couple of fabrics that I found at the Sewing & Stitchery Expo in Puyallup this year, and I decided my fabric stash just couldn't do without them.

     What I really liked was that I HAVE some of these old patterns in my collection.  I love the look of these little girls when they looked like little girls!

   My oldest daughter (who is now 20) was never much of a girly girl - she was and still does have a more tailored style.  My youngest daughter (18) was what we called a 'twirly girly' - when she was 2, she put her jewelry on every morning before she got out of bed!  She loved dresses with full skirts so she could twirl, and she wore all of these styles of dresses.
     These fabrics always out a smile on my face when I see them, so I think I may make a tote or something that I will use all of the time.  Sometimes, fabric just makes me happy! 

Happy Stitching,