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Monday, July 27, 2015

ASG Conference, 2015

Well I'm just back from six glorious days at the ASG Conference in San Diego, CA.  I enjoyed every minute of it!!!!  I took some fabulous classes and got to catch up with lots of fellow sewing friends!!!!!

I took two very good classes:

1) Bra Fitting with Monica O’Rourke Bravo of BravoBella!!!  She's the daughter of bra making expert, Anne St. Clair.  I took a bra making class from Anne in 2011.  Both ladies are experts in the bra making business.  Although their approach is slightly different I gained some cool techniques in bra fitting/making from Monica.

She subscribes to the theory that there are two breast shapes:  oval or round!  I'm clearly a round so I look better with a three-seam bra vs. the one-seam bra.  The more seams, the more support!!! 

I loved the way Monica ran the class.  She crammed a lot of information into the day-long class.  Each person was fitted in front of the class, which gave us the opportunity to analyze various shapes and sizes.  Helpful if you want to make bras for others.  

So I'm once again armed with a great fitting bra pattern and supplies!!!!  This time I vow to make a few colorful well-fitting bras.  I'll take it a step further, I will make one bra before September 1, 2015!!!!

Class #2 Drum roll please!!!!!  The Chanel Jacket with Claire Shaeffer!!!!  Yes Lady Chanel herself!  The one and only official Chanel historian in the sewing world!!!!!  This lady is walking Chanel dictionary!!!!  A two-day class just wasn't enough.  I was disappointed when I first learned that we were only working on the three-piece sleeve, not the jacket.  What was I thinking, we're talking Claire Shaeffer!  This lady knows what she's doing.  After constructing my three-piece sleeve, I am now armed with all of the necessary techniques to complete my very own Chanel jacket!!!!!  The sleeve was mostly hand sewn.  We used the slip stitch, stay stitch, and basting stitch.  The term "couture" is so widely misused today.  Basically couture means hand sewn!   The sleeve we made is from this very popular pattern Vogue 8804. 

The sleeve is made into three pieces because Chanel liked the sleeve vent to face forward so that it could be seen.  It's so pretty it deserves to be seen!!!!

We used a wonderful basting thread and a Mettler for all other sewing (hand and machine). 

Couture trim made by sewing a strip of the fashion fabric to a strip of bias cut chiffon.  Fold in half and sew tiny zig zag stitches to the edge press and fringe with a sewing needle.  Turned out beautiful, perfect matching trim every time!!!
Trim is hand sewn to the sleeve!
Quilted the lining to the sleeve fashion fabric...this will be done to the entire jacket. 

Hand sewed Wigan into the sleeve hem.  I can't wait to start on my own Chanel Jacket!

With all the hand sewing we were doing, someone had this handy gadget!  I couldn't wait to get to the vendors and purchase my own. It's the best needle threaded I've ever used!!!!

Here are some of the goodies I purchased from the Conference Vendors:
I can't wait to embroider these lovely ladies --- tote bags anyone!!!!
Scissor-themed cotton fabric, what shall I make?? The white stuff is tricot and jersey for making bras.
This is an adorable notebook.
Interfacing purchased from Gail Yellen's booth.
Note cards and pattern tape.  It's supposed to withstand head.

My dear sewing friend, Marie, made our little group these adorable bags for our sewing nations! 
Beautiful neoprene for only $5 a yard!!!!

This beautiful chiffon border print was only $3 a yard!  I'm thinking a maxi dress overlay or maxi skirt????  Oh the possibilities?????

Next year's conference will be held in Indianap

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Projects, projects, many, many projects

Well the hot weather is here and I love it!!!  Being an August Baby I claim this as the reason why I love hot weather!!!   We have more thunderstorms than I can remember than last year though...that part I can do without!!!

I've been busy sewing away....I just finished altering a beautiful wedding gown.  The bride wanted some of the tulle underskirt removed and need the gown bustled.  However, when I tried to zip her gown it was extremely tight!!!!  I checked her seams and there was enough fabric to let them out just enough to accommodate her size.  The only thing that worried me was the lace overlay didn't have any side seams.  I feared that letting the seams out too much would cause the lace to stretch and possibly tear when she tried on her gown.  I gave her strict instructions to eat no "white" foods (starchy, sugar, flour); no fried foods; to drink only water, tea, and coffee' to eat only chicken, fish, and/or turkey.  She also said she would be increasing her walking exercise program.  I had my doubts as most people who say they are going to lose weight don't.  Two weeks went by and to my surprise I was able to zip her gown with a tad bit of room to spare!!  I cautioned her to stick to her routine until after the wedding...I also suggested that she maintain not lose any weight for fear I'd have to take it in at the last minute.  Here she is in her gown....beautiful. 

I convinced her that she needed to keep some of the tulle to maintain the mermaid look, whew!!!!
I added a French (under) and American (over) bustle to this gown...I wanted to be sure it would stay put during the reception.

Up next are my outfits for the American Sewing Guild Conference's fashion show in San Diego.  The theme is "On the Wild Side."  I'm making dress Vogue 1234 and a self-drafted maxi skirt ensemble.  I'll post pics after the show. 

Here's a sneak peak of the skirt!

My next client is attending a conference for "Bedroom Kandi" in Atlanta, GA, and wanted a sexy, yet classy outfit.  I found this outfit and thought it was a great staring point for her look!

I drafted her skirt in Wildginger and used Simplicity 1650 for the peplum. For the halter top I used OOP (OUT OF PRINT) Vogue 8191 View B. See this is why I never throw away my patterns!

At the fitting she decided she wanted her peplum a little more asymmetrical in the front.  I think this will look great too.  Here's a pic of her in her fitting muslin before the adjustments are made.  I will rotate those bust darts out as I don't want them in the final look.  I'll re-cut this and work on it when I return from conference.

Here's her fabric choice
The back view
This will be my last post until conference next week....happy sewing & thanks for stopping by!!!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Heaven just got a bit more beautiful

We laid to rest one of my dear friends, Regina W.  She gained her wings after a long battle with cancer!

I made this memorial pillow for her adult children.   

Although Regina was a statuesque beauty, she loved her high heels!
Rest In Peace my love...

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Great balls of fire!

I got an urgent call from my GS a couple of weeks ago.  He said he had been trying to text me, but it didnt work.  LOL. He wanted to put in an order for a bow tie and suspenders.  He said his moving on to the first grade program was coming up and he had to have a special outfit!  He picked out his own fabric!  Mee Mee to the rescue!!!!!  I freehanded the bow tie and decided to just make suspender covers due to short notice. The bow tie has an adjustable neck band.  I think they turned out great!!!!  Until next time!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

New sewing table

So my DH called from work and asked if I wanted a table his employers were tossing. He said he thought it was what I had talked about. So after looking at the pics he text me I said yes honey, bring it home!

Now I already had a sewing table, but he knew I wanted something with a bigger surface.  My dear friend at church modified it so that the sewing machine would sit flush with the top.  I originally planned to place two sewing machines on it, but decided to use the other dropped area for notions. I moved most of these notions from the top back edge of my cutting center.  This was awesome as it freed up six inches of space on the cutting surface, and now my sewing notions are at my fingertips while sewing!   My other table had a small drawer in the center.

I've had this table for several weeks and love it!  It was adjustable so I was able to raise it a few inches higher than my old table.  Guess what, I not experiencing the back pain after sewing for long periods like I did the other table!!!!!  I guess my old table wasn't ergonomically correct!  

Here's my new table.  I have the Juki and Babylock serger on it. Since taking this picture, 
I've since placed my Janome 1600P into a modified Gidget Table and placed it here beside the existing table.  I now have a "U" shaped sewing area.

The pill bottle is for old sewing needles, I change them often
I decided to put my old sewing table on one of my Facebook sewing groups.  Since it was gifted to me, I wanted to pay it forward.  The lovely Alana came and picked it up.  She was so sweet, she gifted me with a Dritz Twin Fit dress form.  She let me know the other day she is enjoying her new table.  In fact, she said she is sewing on one end and teaching her aunt to sew on the other!!!!

Here's my old table...

We're having some painting done so I'll be home babysitting the painters for at least three days!!!  Can you say sew-cation!!!!  I'm working on various projects and sewing two garments to wear in the ASG fashion show in July so my blogging will be kind of sparse for the next few weeks.

Thanks for stopping by.  Happy sewing!!!!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Me time!!!

Prom season is over, now I start with the bridal alterations.  In between all of the "bridezilla" moments I made this fast and easy top.  I got to use my coverstitch a lot on this one!  I'm loving this pattern (Simplicity 1463).  This is the second top I've made.  View A ran a little big on me so I made View C in a small and the fit is perfect!!! I purchased this knit print fabric from Metro Textiles on one my Garment District shopping sprees!  The pink lace is from  I love the colors and can pair it up with black, white, or rose!!!!  Really I haven't had a "bridezilla" yet!  Whew, I hope I haven't jinxed myself!  LOL

Here I am wearing my top and matching head band with a pair of white crop leggins I made last year out of a cotton spandex type fabric also from Metro textiles.

Thanks for stopping by!!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Re-post - I hope you enjoy it as much as I did...

Judge Allan A. Fradsham is a Provincial Court Judge in Calgary, Alberta.  He delivered the following speech to a standing ovation on Saturday, May 1, 2010 as part of the final evening celebrations at Quilt Canada 2010 held in Calgary.   I came across the speech on one of the blogs I follow on bloglovin!

When, some years ago, Gloria told me that she was going to build upon her years of sewing experience, and take up "quilting", I thought she was telling me that she was going to take up a new hobby or a new craft.  I was completely oblivious to the fact that what she was really announcing was that she was taking up membership in a tightly knit (if you'll pardon the expression) group of individuals whose loyalty to one another makes motorcycle gang members seem uncommitted, and whose passion for their quilting activities makes members of cults look positively disinterested.  As is the case with many husbands, I was completely unaware that there existed this parallel universe called quilting.  

Now, I will readily admit that we husbands are, most often than not, oblivious to what occurs around us.  I suspect it is the product of some sort of genetic or evolutionary process designed to keep us from interfering with and impeding the running of our lives by our betters, or, as they are more commonly know, our wives.

However, to be completely unaware of a world-wide sub-culture operating right under our noses and in our homes is a bit obtuse even for husbands.  But there it is, and here you are.  And, most oddly, here I am.  You might wonder how all this came to pass; I know I certainly do.

I cannot now identify what was the first clue I detected indicating that Gloria had entered the fabric world equivalent of Harry Potter's Hogwarts.  It might have been the appearance of the fabric.  Bundles of fabric, mounds of fabric, piles of fabric, towering stacks of fabric.  Fabric on bolts, and stacks of small squares of fabric tied up in pretty ribbons (I later learned these were "fat quarters" which to this day sounds to me like a term out of Robin Hood).  The stuff just kept coming into the house as thought it were endless waves crashing onto a beach. And then, just like the waves, the most amazing thing happened: it would simply disappear.  It was as though the walls of the house simply absorbed it.  Metres and metres (or as men of my generation would say, yards and yards) of fabric would come into the house.  It would arrive in Gloria's arms when she returned from a shopping excursion.  It would arrive in the post stuffed in postal packs so full that they were only kept together by packing tape (these overstuffed Priority Packs are the equivalent of me trying to fit into pants I wore in law school).  These packages would arrive having been shipped from unheard of towns and villages in far away provinces or states or overseas countries (I am convinced the internet's primary activity is not to be found in pornography; that is just a ruse, the internet's real function is to facilitate the trafficking and distribution of fabric).  Wherever we went, be it in Canada, the U.S., Europe, wherever there was a collection of more than three houses, Gloria would find a quilt shop from which she would pluck some prize from some bin with the enthusiasm and unerring eye of an archaeologist finding a new species of dinosaur.

And of course, the reason that there are quilt shops everywhere is because there are quilters everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE.  A few years ago, Gloria had been visiting her sister-in-law in Kelowna.  While there, she found and purchased a Featherweight sewing machine.  I understand that making such a find is a matter of such joy that it may eventually attract government taxation.  When it came time to fly back to Calgary, Gloria worried about what the people at airport security would have to say when she tried to take the machine onto the plane.  She need not have been concerned.  Now, airport security takes pride in preventing me from carrying onto a plane a small squirt of toothpaste left in a rolled up toothpaste tube if the tube in which it is lodged did at some point in the distant past, contain a prohibited amount of toothpaste.  My spot of toothpaste is a national security threat.  However, when it came time for Gloria to go through security with the Featherweight, which is made of metal and has needles in secret compartments, airport security came to a standstill.  Why?  Were they about to confiscate the machine, and detain the person who dated to try to board with it?  Of course not.  They gathered around it in awe and admiration, asking Gloria questions about where she had found it, and expressing admiration for her good fortune in finding it.  And why did Gloria get such warm treatment when I am shunned for trying to maintain some degree of oral hygiene?  Well, the answer is obvious; the assembled airport security staff were all quilters, complete with the secret handshake.

Maybe I should have twigged to what was happening when the washing of all this fabric led to having to replace our washing machine, which was clearly not designed for such industrial use.  Now, let me pause here.  I understand that there is an intense debate within your world about whether or not fabrics should be washed upon purchase.  I do not wish to be caught in any cross-fire between the two camps, for all I know, as an outsider, I may not be authorized to even know of the controversy.  I do suspect that if men were making the decision, quilting would involve  lot less fabric washing and a lot more beer drinking.  

I did eventually discover where all the fabric went.  It went into drawers, cupboards, shelves, and, eventually it completely filled up a closet, which took up one full wall in Gloria's newly built "sewing room".  What we now call Gloria's "sewing room", we use to call "the basement". 

I have discovered that one of the art forms mastered by quilters is the ability to purchase container loads of fabric, conceal it in the house, and camouflage the purchase so that it slips right under the nose of the unsuspecting spouse.  As a loving and obedient spouse, I have on many occasions found myself in quilt stores where I serve two useful functions: I can reach bolts of fabric stored on top shelves; and I can carry numerous bolts of fabric to a cutting table.  However, I have also started to listen to what is said in quilting stores, and one day, in a little quilting shot in the heart of Alberta farming country, I heard something that made it clear to me that quilters are so clever and, dare I say, devious, that there is really no sport for them in fooling we naive husbands.  Gloria had decided to buy some fabric (which is similar to saying that Gloria ha decided to breathe), and had gone to the till to pay for it.  Upon running through Gloria's charge card, the clerk quietly said, "Now, when you get your credit card statement, don't be alarmed when you see an entry for our local feed store.  We run our charges under that name so that if a husband looks at the credit card statements, he will think that the entry is just something he bought at the feed store for the farm".  That sort of financial shell game would make Goldman Sachs proud.  I knew at that moment that there had been a major and probably irrevocable shift in the world's power structure.  I concede it is basically over for the non-quilting husband.  

As you have been told, I sit as a criminal law judge, and as such I often find myself sitting on drug trials, or  issuing search warrants in relation to drug investigations.  I must say that the more I learned about the quilting world, the more I started to see similarities between that world and the drug world.  It has caused me some concern.

We all interpret events from our own perspectives using the lessons we have learned through life.  When I saw the extent to which Gloria's collection of fabric was growing, I began to worry.  In the law relating to drugs, the amount of a drug one has in one's possession is an important factor in determining the purpose for which the person has the drug.  For example, if a person is in possession of crack cocaine (to use a drug with an addictive power equivalent to fabric), one look at the amount of crack the person possessed.  If the amount exceeds the amount one would realistically possess for personal use, then one may reasonably draw the inference that the purpose of the possession is not personal use, but, rather, it is for the purpose of trafficking the drug.  So, you can imagine what I thought when I saw Gloria's collection of fabric grow to a point where she readily admitted that she could never use all that fabric in several lifetimes.  I reluctantly concluded that I was married to a very high-level fabric trafficker.  Mind you, in order to qualify as a trafficker, one does have to part with fabric, and I see very little evidence of that happening.  

In fact, the more I thought about the parallels between the quilting culture and the drug culture, the clearer the similarities became.  Consider the jargon.  I have learned that this vast collection of fabric, which is stored in our house, is a "stash".  Well, drug dealers speak of their "stash" of drugs.  Gloria speaks of doing "piece" work.  In the drug world there are often people who bring together the crack cocaine dealer and the buyer; think of a real estate agent, but not as well dressed, through perhaps somewhat less annoying.  Those people speak of breaking off a "piece" of crack as payment for bringing the parties together.  Sounds to me like a type of "piece work".  Those who transport drugs are often called "mules"; I have frequently heard Gloria refer to me as her mule when I am in a quilt store carrying stacks of fabric bolts (or did she says I was stubborn as a mule?).  Well, it was something about mules.  And I should think that this whole conference is a testimony to the addictive qualities of quilting.

In my role as a Sherpa, I have accompanied Gloria on various quilting expeditions, and I have been impressed by many things.  One is, as I have mentioned, that no matter where one goes, there will be a quilt store.  The proliferation of quilt shops makes Starbucks outlets seem scarce.  One day Gloria led me into a hardware store, which seemed odd to me, that is until I discovered that, as I walked towards the back of the store, the store had become a quilt shop.  The metamorphosis was extraordinary, and very crafty (if you will pardon the pun).  At that moment, I knew how Alice felt as she followed that rabbit down the rabbit hole.  Suddenly, one was in a different universe.   

Another thing I have learned is that the operators of quilt shops have great business acumen.  In one of Gloria's favourite shop, upon entry I am greeted by name and offered a cup of coffee.  If the grandson is with us, he is allowed to choose a book to take home.  It is all so friendly that I don't even notice that I cannot see over the growing pile of fabric bolts which fill my arms.  I wish that my doctor did such a good job of distracting me when it is time to do a prostate exam.  

I have learned that quilting is both international in scope and generous in spirit.  I have learned that quilters are quick to assist those in need, and that they have always been prepared to stand up for what is right.  For example, I think of Civil War quilts, which often conveyed messages about the Underground railway for salves escaping to Canada.  I think of the One Million Pillowcase Challenge, and the Quilts of Valour project.  At one point, I thought of suggesting the creation of an organization akin to "Doctors Without Borders", but decided that an organization called "Quilts Without Borders" would be illogical.  

And of course, there are the resultant quilts.  We have quilts throughout the house.  They adorn beds, chesterfields, the backs of chairs.  They are stacked on shelves, they are stored in drawers, they are shoved under beds, they are hung on walls.  There is even one on the ceiling of the sunroom.  They complete for any space not taken up with the fabric, which will eventually result in more quilts.  I live in a cornucopia, which disgorges quilts instead of produce.  I have decided that quilts are the zucchini of crafts.  But who can complain?  Quilt seriously, each one is a work of art, and an instant family treasure.  While family members and friends are delighted to receive them, I churlishly begrudge seeing them go out the door.

Though I tease Gloria about the all-consuming nature of her obsession, I am constantly amazed at the skill necessary to create those works of art.  I stand in awe as I water her do the mathematics necessary to give effect to (or correct) a pattern.  When she quilts, she combines the skill of an engineer, a draughtsman, a seamstress, and an artist.  Her sewing machines require her to have, as she does, advanced computer and mechanical skills.  She knows her sewing machines as well as any Hell's Angel knows his Harley.  She uses measuring and cutting tools and grids, which would challenge the talents of the best land surveyors.

In short, I am very proud of what Gloria does, as each of you should be proud of your own skills and creations.  They are impressive and very evident at this Conference.  On behalf of those of us who wouldn't know a binding from a batting, I simply ask that when you finally and formally announce that have already taken over the world that you find some simple tasks for us to do to justify our existence.  You might call those tasks... the QUILT PRO QUO.

Gloria and I very much appreciate your warm hospitality this evening.

In closing, the hotel management has asked me to remind you that those found cutting up the table clothes for quilting fabric will have their rotary cutters confiscated and forfeited to the Crown.