I’ve been away, but now it’s May! YAY!

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I have not blogged in a bit.

I guess this might be a long picture filled post…

It was Jen Beeman from Grainline Studio who stated in her recent  blog post that “photographing yourself and blogging is a muscle that atrophies fast if not used”. I agree!  Once you fall out of the habit of blogging and  posting, even the haphazard  uneven pattern of blogging and  posting that I have, you tend not to post.  Since my last post,  I didn’t even do Instagram good. And no tweet was Twittered. Oh well…

I would add that this past  winter was just too darn long  for me!! I was  ether preoccupied with starting my post Masters degree life (besides working my regular job ,  I am now adjunct faculty a local college..) or  I was sewing just what I needed to keep myself WARM or  mildly entertained during the winter months. That means I did not do much of anything,  and I also did not do much  “pretty”  or profound with my sewing machine- just practical. And yet they are  all pretty to me!

Now that Spring seems like it has FINALLY ” sprung”, and I am thinking that I might not see anymore snow, I may take the #MeMadeMay theme and run with it.  Or at least do a slow mosey walk, with it. I can use some of the new patterns I bought online while I was  cooped up inside from the cold.

What follows is me  making my own pictorial record on my  of what I made or did during the fall/ winter months 2017-2018.  It’s purely selfish documentation of very little sewn, but me  keeping memory  that  I did SOMETHING  related to sewing during the winter besides feeling too cold for too long.

I  did not make the dress  but I made the hat pictured for Easter  Sunday 2018 thinking it would be something nice  for the  Spring- but wouldn’t ya know it, we had 4 inches of snow– day after an early April Easter in my town. Cray Cray weather!   Anyway , if you’re looking, enjoy the pictures.

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2017

Camp Workroom Social 2017: Good friends. A time to assist w/ teaching class.   Beautiful upstate NY Fall foliage..IMG_3441.jpg    IMG_3437.jpg

Some practical sewing…

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NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017

Snow and cold in my home town..

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Hangin’ with friends at the grand opening of Gotham Quilts in Manhattan….

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Taking inspiration from Gotham, sewing to stay warm, and a start to a Christmas tree skirt to keep entertained…

I wanted a yellow quilt, so I made one…

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The answer is: YES, Teri- I pieced and put on the binding, but I quilted by paycheck!!  My long arm lady did lot-o-loops.. 🙂

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Flip side of yellow quilt!

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Attempting to clean out my stash( and stay warm..) made a simple rainbow strip quilt from various yard pieces…

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Another quilt pieced and binding by me but quilted by paycheck. WAY happier a for me that way…
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Flipside of Rainbow Strip Quilt

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DECEMBER 2017:

Started a Christmas tree skirt  from my own design  in December to be finished for  Christmas 2017 ( Yeah- that WAS the plan….) Actually did not complete until April 2018.  I comforted myself by thinking that  in April it’s Christmas SOMEWHERE in the world, and the tree skirt would be right on time.  For the few who might doubt my Christmas tree skirt color choices  out there… I’m a New Yorker.  Black goes with everything. And if Black and red is good enough for Santa’s boots and suit, It’s good enough for me. Merry Christmas!

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Hand sewing around underside of circular edge binding

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JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018

Winter still in fill swing in Jan / Feb, but at least I have quilts keeping me warm. Visited a  fairly popular  bronze statue temporarily located in the city (named “Fearless Girl” ) and got another glimpse of  a more full exhibit of Downton Abby costumes temporarily located in Midtown.

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As I grow older, I want to grow to be fearless…

Never wanted to live in “Downton World”! Not my thing. ALWAYS wanting to be as goodly skilled  a  tailor and dressmaker as  Downton World. ALWAYS my thing !! That’s why I always go and look…

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MARCH  /APRIL 2018

Busy months  working and teaching for me. Had the moment to spend the day in Edison New Jersey to do charity sewing for an organization called CINDERELLA’S CLOSET. This is a national organization that has local chapters and volunteer organizers.  Businesses donate EVERYTHING a young woman might need  to wear to go to her  senior  high school prom, but could not otherwise afford it. The girls meet certain criteria set by their teachers or schools in accordance with criteria from Cinderella’s Closet organization. They come to the site by the bus load and chose gown, shoes, everything- in order to look good for their upcoming  prom.  I joined up with  sewing friends from the  New Jersey chapter of  the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals.  Once per year they volunteer to do on the spot sewing alterations for Cinderellas Closet. We set up a sewing shop ( machines sergers, iron etc..) and do simple alterations on site , but then  some of the ladies do take gowns home to complete the  more involved alterations. We had a men’s tailor onsite as well for the boys and the suits they were able to pick from. This year the event was  held in Edison High school gym. It was a busy day. We  did  the sewing ,laughing , shared sewing skills and tips, and sewing stories. Felt good to donate sewing skills to support young people.

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AND LASTLY—For Spring ,  I enjoyed my  hand made tea cozy with tea. A simple  quick sew item  made to enjoy the simple things in life- like a hot cup of  tea on a chilly day. Really I just wanted to use another piece of fabric  and extra quilting batting  and move it out of my fabric  stash and into LIFE use.

And then there was the fresh cut flowers and white ribbon I used to create my Easter bonnet for 2018. I did this  THINKING Easter would mark REAL Spring arriving. I was wrong —4 inches snow the next day after Easter. Anyway….

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AND NOW IT’S MAY  2018 !!! Yay !!

Weather is finally turning warmer and staying a bit more consistent with the change in season.. That is a boost to my mood and  possibly my sewing endeavors.

Will try to get my blogging/ Twitter/Instagram muscle to have more exercise.  PEACE !

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The Ellsworth Coat. Had fun. Now it’s DONE!

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So last year, as some of you may  know or had seen pics of me, I attended Camp Workroom Social  in fall 2016( ok honestly people–I feel like the middle “Radio City Rockette” in that current WS  camp webpage picture).  Anyway…

I took Christine Haynes Ellsworth Coat class at 2016 camp. Fun class to take. Fun group of people to sew with.  Good pattern to work with.  Christine’s a great teacher. Easy to create the coat in one weekend as you make the time  for yourself and  follow the instructions given with the pattern( yes even with inserting the lining..)  Many  in the class did have a finished coat or, depending upon their own skill level, a majority finished coat by the end of the weekend retreat. Or in my case  it may have been how much I was being “social” at Camp Workroom Social  and didn’t get work done.

But I decided to challenge myself and see how much I could “beef up ” my own coat in one weekend sewing session by adding some light tailoring details to the existing coat pattern.  I decided to do this quietly– not disturbing the rhythm of what Christine was showing the rest of the class. Just wanted to have fun with the pattern and see what would become of it all. OK –I WILL OWN IT!! In some ways that was a good idea of mine. In other ways- not so much!

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Here’s a bottom line: Tailoring takes time!!  Especially if you  desire to do the work of hand sewing the details.  YES-I was ( and am ) an experienced enough sewist to KNOW  THAT going into the project for the weekend, but as I said, I wanted to try and challenge myself within the timeframe I had.  Ya know— if you don’t challenge your sewing skills, how do you ever flex that sewing “muscle memory” in your fingers and  sewing skill set you’ve got in your head, and make it grow up to the next level?? OK preaching done!

What you don’t know about me in my coat in all the pictures from 2016 Camp WS is that the coat I am wearing is half  done: lining not inserted yet, hand stitched twill taping not done,   hand sewn bound buttonholes show that they were “rushed” and kind of rough at the edges etc, etc, etc. Sorry if I sucked all of the “magic” out for you, but I am just keeping it real.

On a more jovial theme–Because of my ardent attempts  at doing all of the light tailoring work on this coat  that I tried to accomplish the one weekend, and  for my decision to “go rouge”  and do things “outside the box” of the standard  sewing instructions given for the Ellsworth,  friends at Camp WS gave me the  “Queen of Rouge Couture  Award”.  LOL  and So wonderfully “camp-y”. The patches sewn into the front flap of the coat were given out at camp and reflect activities that I participated in while at camp. I think a lot of us “campers” got them. I got similar patches like these when I was a kid camper  at sleep away camp. They serve as memories of the experience and I just thought they belonged in this coat. Yes- very camp-y!!

Well now I took the time to finally piece the thing together  and it’s done. There are some things that will never be pretty on this coat for me ( YEP- once you cut that bound buttonhole opening, it IS what it IS. And the general rule is  that bound buttonholes—those suckers should NEVER be rushed)  I tried to redeem the “look” of  what I thought were outward flaws on the coat with topstitching or pressing or other sewing tricks I have learned along my sewing journey.  MEH– But  whatever–the coat now IS what it is.

I now have an early fall coat that I can quickly “throw on and go” and  be comfortable in.  Love the Burberry stripe lining.  I can still claim I made it- even though I know I did not have the time to put my best sewing skills forward into it because of overall too little time and too much ambition in making it. No matter. The coat’s not for a client. It’s mine.  I will wear it  happily  and go apple picking.

Chuck it all up to to another sewing experience, grateful now in 2017 to have another  year old sewing project OUT of my sewing room and into my closet- FINALLY , and  then move on!!

HAPPY FALL Y’ALL !!

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Been Busy. Now it’s chill time!

Greetings all

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HAPPY SUMMER !!

Well the draping class   that I mentioned in my last post 3 months ago when well. I always have a great time teaching at WORKROOM SOCIAL. Jennifer ( the WS studio owner…) has a knack for making both students and instructors  feel welcome and comfortable  in her studio so that a good time is had by all, and good sewing and draping work can get done. After the draping workshop completed, I finished  two things.

First, I finished sewing up an Easter outfit  for April -using this vintage outfit as inspiration.

IMG_2864.JPG I found  this picture SOMEWHERE on the internet and decided  I liked it  for Easter. I took a pattern out of one of the many books I have on my bookshelf and modified a simple jacket and skirt pattern in it  to  create the look.  The original Jansdotter pattern did not have a lining, so I drafted a facing and lining patten for the jacket and skirt lining pattern and inserted them into the garments.  I already had the hat, and shoes, and bag in my wardrobe. I took a 1 1/4 yard long piece of  6″ wide white ribbon out of my  ribbon stash and tied it around the hat crown for the look. I used  light mustard yellow 100% linen  for the  jacket and skirt shell and grey silk charmeuse for the lining. Both fabrics from my fabric stash. Did not have enough linen for the dress, so I made a skirt instead.IMG_2866.JPGIMG_2868.JPG  I wore it all with a $20 black and white striped  T-shirt I bought at J-Crew. Worked for me ,and was comfortable that day.

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Second thing I did was GRADUATE in May!! WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO ! I  am finally DONE with my Masters degree. It’s official: After 2 1/2 years I IS EDU- MA- CATED, y’all !! 😉

IMG_3054.JPG  It is now officially CHILL time for the summer. Will continue sewing of course, but I am not sewing fast for anybody’s deadline anymore. I have fired all my clients.  No more “grad student sewing for food” or being “nickeled and dimed”  by clients and fighting to be paid for what my skills are worth. It really is sewing for me time. Thanks Mom for the sewing skills. Thanks Mom for the inspiration to pursue higher education! We did It!!

Let the summer fun and relaxing begin!

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Going 3D and draping!!

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Hello!

Come on out and play with fabric on the small mannequin!!

I will be teaching a  Weekend Draping intensive at WORKROOM SOCIAL  on May 20–21, 2017 (Saturday and Sunday)
10am–6pm

This is a fun two days where you will learn what I call “3D pattern making”.   You will learn how to drape and form fabric on a dress form to create the basic building blocks of all clothing styles— called slopers. Once you gain an understanding of how to create the basic sloper, you will learn how the foundational sloper style can be creatively re-draped, re-shaped, or changed to create style variations. You will  learn and  understand how  your own favorite  fashion style  is created from the pattern stage up to finished garment.

You will be working on  the pin-able, half scale mannequin, and will have all your notes, class handouts and  a sample book of all  your draping creations to take home as  future sewing  reference.

Check out the Workroom Social website for details.  Looking forward to seeing you in May!

Sharon

A First for Nancy!

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OKAY-OKAY – I’m getting CLOSE to showing garments sewn by me, and  made FOR me, with pictures of me in them  here, but at least at the moment I get the chance to boast about sewing friends.

SO- the owners at Gotham Quilts  decided that they would take a chance on my teaching skills, and allow me to teach a garment class at their shop. They made a wise assumption that people who quilt do not necessarily sew garments nor want to. They also wisely assumed that not everyone wanted to stay home and watch the Superbowl- not even WITH good commercials or a halftime show.

A  few brave  quilters got the “hankering ” to  have a small deviation from the “piecing path”, and  a sewing session featuring the   Grainline Studio Willow Tank dress was offered.  All   teaching and sewing went well during the session. One of the attendees  named Nancy created her first garment ever.  Above is the photo  that Nancy to sent me after she finished sewing the bias binding around the neck and armhole openings. She created it from a softly draped linen like fabric  with the gentle leaf and branch print. The fabric came from her stash.  I like how clean and polished  Nancy’s stitching was on this simple garment.  Makes me get the hankering to sew up a couple of these for myself for the upcoming summer. Will be sure to post when I do.

Congrats to Nancy on her  first  journey  into “garment sewing land”. May it be the beginning of a wonderful addition to her sewing journey!!

 

2017 New Years’ Resolution part 1-DONE!

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Ya know -I always looked  at people who took the time to organize their sewing spaces and became secretly  a little jealous.  I mean —some people’s  sewing space, when you see them on a blog, always look like  the space was ready for a photo shoot  for  THREADS or QUILTING ARTS magazine, or some publication like that. There’s  always seemingly  a polished, tranquil, organized sewing  space, that yielded itself to productive, creative, beautiful sewing  work, that  the sewist could readily display to the THREADS camera when they showed at any given moment and  at the drop of a dime. Not my space–  and certainly NOT my fabric stash!!

Heaven forbid that the world would see  my voracious addiction to fabric displayed  in some unorganized and  unruly manner, in a blog post. Lord help me if someone would find out just how much fabric I CRAMMED into that poor  wooden cabinet in “anywhichway” fashion.  NOOOO—I kept   the secret behind closed doors!!  Just as long as the doors to  the cabinet did  not POP open from too much yardages stuffed into  it, I was OK !!  Even on some days when  doors  did pop open, I still was OK. After all, it’s MY un-organization.

In the picture shown above and  in the sliver of the upper part of the picture that follows  you can see a small measure of the cramming of fabric. And that is just the upper cabinet. I have not  taken pictures of  the lower cabinet, nor  of the other  opposite room surface areas  covered in cottons and denims and wools.  Nor a picture of all the fabric I own taken out and put into one huge pile on the cutting table and floor.

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Now, I know I am not as bad as some, but I do know I could be a little worse than others with my stash (heck- I got sewing friends  in other states who NEVER go into their basements or attics anymore because they hate climbing over boxes of fabric. The NYC friends just don’t have any closet space anymore, as they climb over boxes and boxes of their “good fabric”.)

What I really came to decide is that I was sick of looking at unorganized piles of fabric every time I opened up the cabinet doors. Worse -I was buying more fabric without knowing what it was I already had for a project. I didn’t know because I could not SEE  what all of what was in my stash. Well the New Years resolution was not so much to head to the gym. I resolved  to head to the sewing room and get organized ( part one), so that I could see what I have in my stash as a whole, and then begin the process of  really sewing clothes  for myself ( part two ) with some clue or direction of what I am working with out of my stash.

NOW   I see why those people like being organized.  It’s not about THREADS or QUILTING ARTS. They like to go shopping  !! They like to put fabrics together  and create  a project. I get it!!  With my  fabric stash organized, I feel like  I am going fabric shopping in my own private store ( i.e with all the fabric already paid for..)  Maybe not for anyone else, but for me , it feels good when I want to start a project, to shop and combine fabrics at home like I do in the store. (Duh- tailorchick- what a concept?)

And the STUFF??  Fabric  Stuff  I ain’t seen for years  came out of the deep recesses of  that cabinet and is now up on that new Home Depot  wire shelf. It’s all “new” to me!! Whoo Hoo !!

IMG_2761.jpg   YEP– Believe what you see in the picture of that 72″ high shelf in the box.  I wheeled that sucker home on the subway!!  Ok -I call myself a real New Yorker with a deep belief that a  small hand truck, couple of bungee cords,  and roll of duct tape, fixes EVERYTHING!!   We don’t need no stinkin’ delivery charge!!  Nobody in the subway thought I was strange. People saw me coming  with that box  and  they moved  right out of my way (The answer to the question is : YEP -Rush hour!).   I just kept it  real ,and kept it moving right along. ( Yeah ,yeah I know– Here is where I pause and allow Cindy ,Terry, and Rosie the moment  to finish laughing .. OK! I can pause for that !  😉

In any event. Part ONE of  2017 New Years’s resolution DONE !!  Feels good. Fabric stash organized.  Yep– each piece tagged with yardages available and whether or not I already pre- washed it  or gave it a preshrink.   Not boasting here. Just making sure I don’t get confused  in the future and over process the goods before using it.

Now that the fabric stash is done, I now tackle the pile of UFO’s before starting some thing too big and new.   But that’s another blog post. The  sewing journey continues ….

Happy Sewing!

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Happy New Year 2017!

Dorothy's Evening Jacket 001
Gold colored Chinese silk evening jacket. Handmade knot closure

There is an old Chinese proverb that I have heard quoted, and adapted, and retold many ways. It goes something like this:

” Give a man  a fish and he eats for a meal. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime!”

My “sewing version” of that phrase says “Sew a woman a coat, and she wears it for a fashionable moment. Teach a woman how to sew, and she sews for a fashionable lifetime!”

The same can be said for teaching a man or a little boy to sew.

The sewing knowledge  usually spills over into that one  person sewing for husbands, wives, Aunties, kids + babies, Meemaw’s, Popop’s, or cousin Sue’s— many other of the “lifetimes” that cross their particular path. Better yet, the sewing knowledge  of the one spills over into that person teaching others to sew. It really doesn’t matter what level of sewing that you are at, when you teach someone else to sew, even the basics of  sewing skills,  then those others can have  potential to gain “fashionable lifetimes”.

So that is my sewing New Years resolution- Not only to try and be intentional about sewing  for myself, but  to expand more on the encouraging  on of  others as they learn how to keep the craft of sewing alive and  make it their own.

OK yeah — resolving to do more sewing for myself IS just like making that  New Years’ “exercise resolution”, but I will attempt to make it work.

Some of you may be thinking ” Cut the conversation, Tailorchick, and cut to the chase scene!!. Does that mean more  sewing tutorials on this blog for the new year?? ”  Probably. But be warned,  my opinion is that there is fundamentally  nothing  new under the “sewing sun”  that someone else has not done before or executed  already on another excellent  sewing blog. The sewing machine  technology may be new every year, but most sewing skills  and techniques needed for the job do not change.  Changing technology may change how you do a sewing technique, but having well  practiced, experienced, sewing skills in your own two creative  human hands is priceless for your own sewing  “fashionable  lifetime”.

Am I now getting too serious about sewing and taking all the fun out of it??  Hope not. Being serious about sewing and wanting to better my  core sewing skills  is my form of having fun with it all.  But I will try to keep you onlookers interested somehow with what comes out of my sewing room as I attempt to keep my  sewing resolution.

Am I an expert at this sewing thing?  Not by any means, and I think I have mentioned  that within this blog many times.  But other women and men  have taken the time to teach me the craft. I can only take some time to encourage  others  and do the same.

I trust that anyone who learns anything from me will  take it to the next creative level and  make  the skill their own.

Anyway….

Happy sewing to you  in 2017! May  all your sewing resolutions come true!

Happy New Year!