“in the works” bin

Creating requires time management.  Serious time management.  Most of us don’t have all day everyday to work on our projects.  That’s why I have an “in the works” bin in my sewing table.  I allow myself to have up to 2 projects “in the works” at a time.  Without this restriction, I’d have 7 million things going on at all times, and none of them would ever get done.

Right now I’m in the middle of one of the more time consuming projects I’ve worked on in a while.  So if you haven’t seen much of me lately, it’s because I’ve been lost in this…

What do you have in the works?

on big necklines

Remember way back when I introduced my shell spiral technique?  For that project, I spiraled my material before cutting out the pattern pieces, so it was intended all along, but in this case it was actually a solution to a problem.

I made an adorable dress for Lenna, but when I slipped it on the neckline was huge.  It kept falling off of her little shoulders. I don’t give up easily, but I also don’t usually put in much effort.  So all I did was twist at the neckline and sew some cute buttons in place to hold the spiral.

I love it so much more now!  One of those happy accidents, I suppose.

I’ve even used this method to bring up the necklines on some of my own shirts, but rather than sewing, I’ve just pinned the spiral in place temporarily with a brooch.

I linked up here >>

FREE sewing with kids lesson

The Sewing with Kids course is for sale in the Sewing E-Courses page, but I thought I’d give you a little sneak peak at what the course is really like by offering one of the lessons for free. The lesson I’ve chosen: Sewing on a Curve (with kids).  Keep in mind, these lessons are meant to be a teaching resource for a supervising adult, and should be read thoroughly before teaching a child.

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Sewing on a curve is even more tricky than sewing a straight line. Learning to sew on a curve is the “turning” point in sewing. It’s when a kid starts to feel like they’re really doing it. With a curvy printout, a curved seam demonstration, and hands-on practice, this lesson will point out ways to teach your child to sew on a curve.

I got a bit more technical in the Sewing on a Curve lesson in the Intermediate Sewing Techniques course than we’ll get in this lesson. Honestly, it’s okay if their curves aren’t perfect. Most sewing projects at their sewing level have plenty of wiggle room for error as they sew.

LESSON PREPARATION

Print out the swirvy curvy template for practice.
Cut out two pieces of scrap fabric with a concave curve, and two with a convex curve, for practice.

DEMONSTRATION

First, you guessed it, show them how you sew on a curve. Let them see you direct the fabric this way and that with your hands, reminding them that they don’t need to push, just steer. Relate sewing on a curve to turning a corner on their bike. They’ll want to slow down, time it just right, and steer to either the left, or to the right.

If you need to refer to the sewing on a curve lesson in the introduction to sewing course, you can find it here:

Let them practice on paper first, fabric second. Print out the Swirvy Curvy Template, or draw your own curved lines onto a piece of paper. Let them use that as a guide to help them practice sewing on a curve. Let them try it a few times, and keep their best work to display in their sample book.

Almost always, they will naturally try to turn their fabric the wrong way when they first approach a curve, it’s completely alright to get in there and help them guide as they sew. Just warn them to sew very slowly.

Now get out the curve samples. Once they’ve practiced sewing curvy lines, they can practice on fabric, using a 5/8″ seam allowance. This can be confusing because the fabric won’t line up at the 5/8″ marking (which we marked with masking tape earlier). All that matters is that when the fabric is going past the needle, the edge is lined up at the 5/8″ marking. To emphasize this, draw an arrow on the masking tape right in line with the needle to show them where the edge of the fabric should line up.

Let them try sewing along the concave curve using a 5/8″ seam allowance.

Repeat with the convex samples.

Once both samples have been sewn (even if they aren’t perfect), they can add them to the sample book.

If you think they’ll understand clipping and notching, you can teach them, but if it might take the fun out of it, it’s okay if they learn that another time. None of the projects in this course will be ruined if they don’t clip and notch their corners and curves!

HOMEWORK

‘Sewing with Kids’ Lessons:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

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I’ll be back tomorrow with the project that goes with this lesson.  Until then, take a look at the Sewing with Kids E-Course and see what you think!

And lastly, I’m considering offering a giveaway for this e-course.  Would you be interested?  Let me know, if I hear from you, I’ll make it happen!

her $41 wedding dress

her $41 wedding dress

My sister recently got married, and this, is the story of her semi-handmade wedding dress.

She had asked me and her mom to go wedding dress shopping with her (aaah).  After a few days of local bridal shops and looking through pattern books, we still hadn’t found that perfect dress.  She was describing her dream dress as an elegant hippie dress.  Hard to find when you live in the middle of nowhere like we do.  BUT, when hope was nearly lost and she was ready to settle for an expensive dress that she didn’t completely love (which no bride should have to do) we decided to take one quick stop to check out TJMaxx.  That’s right, TJMaxx, for a wedding dress.

Believe it or not, we found this, for only $24.00:

When she came out of the dressing room she was squealing, “this is my dress, this is my wedding dress!”

It was exactly what she wanted, but it did have a couple of minor issues: 1 it was too short, 2 she needed more coverage on the mesh top, 3 the sleeves needed just a little something, and 4 the elastic waist was comfortable, but looked too casual.

So, we made a quick stop at the fabric store to buy some similar mesh and lining. $17.00.  First, I cut the dress at the elastic waist.  Can I just say how terrifying this was!  I just chopped her wedding dress in half.  In half, people.

I picked out the original lining on the bodice and put in a new lining to add a little more coverage (marked with the safety pins in the photo above).  I was worried that this would look silly and homemade.  When it was said and done, however, I thought it looked great!

After the top was re-lined, I used our purchased fabric to make a very slight a-lined bottom, with the hem at the ankle in the front, and a small train in the back.   The skirt shape was simple, but the hem took the most time.

At the last minute (as in the night before her wedding) we made a little covered button pin so she could bustle her dress off to the side when she’d be doing a lot of walking or dancing.

And, my ever-talented mother-in-law whipped up this perfect little waistband to put over the elastic waist.  It even had a beautiful bow on the back!

A few hours of sewing, hundreds of dollars saved, and the dress of her dreams.  At least she says so to make me feel good about it!  She may have been wearing $41.00, but she looked like a million bucks!

Have the happiest of years together.

I linked up >>

just thought i’d bobbin to say hi

You know that feeling you get when you’re sewing like a maniac, really in the groove, only to realize that the bobbin ran out miles ago? And then you have to take the stupid thing out of the machine, yank the upper thread all out of place, set the machine up to wind a bobbin, wind the bobbin, and then RETHREAD EVERYTHING? Worst.

You’ve felt that? Hmmm…. I guess I just can’t relate. Okay, okay.  So I do sort of know how that feels. Back in 2006 I started working as a seamstress at the University I went to. My boss had a system of winding several bobbins of the colors we used most all at the same time. So when you realize you’re out of bobbin thread, all you have to do is pop a new bobbin in. You can skip steps 2-4 from our earlier frustration. You might do this already, but once upon a time somebody taught me this little trick, and I figured I’d pass it along. In case.