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A box of linen thread

18 Jul


Who doesn’t need a 12 spool box of No. 35, 3 cord white Barbours Linen thread?  They are all intact so I couldn’t test it to see if it is even useable.  It is just so gosh-darned cool looking!

Lovely little dressform

16 Jul


Such a little cutie, just sitting in the thrift shop and only $5.  It is a Perfect Fit Ajust-o-matic dress form made of heavy card stock.  If you zoom in you can see the little slots where you adjust for the Perfect Fit!


Back view.  This lady was petite, but had a long waist and teeny, tiny hips.


I desperately wanted to bring her home with me, but just could not justify the purchase.  Brilliant concept though, as it could have been flat packed, assembled by the owner and has quite a lot of adjustability.

My rule for such purchases is that if it is still there the next time I go in, I can buy it.  I somehow doubt she will still be there the next time I go a-thrifting, but you never know.

A Google search turned up an ad/article about the Adjust-o-matic.  Read all about her here.

Two birds

14 Jul

I have been playing with McCalls 6571 for loose fitting pants for ballroom practice.  I made a test pair, a working pair that I made from wicking fabric and I LOVE them.  They are nice and cool and don’t look too horrible with the black oxford style practice shoes I usually wear.

But I wanted something dressier, yet not quite as dressy as this skirt and top. A friend had given me a chunk of slightly stretchy pinstripe that I thought would look great, but it didn’t stretch anywhere nearly enough.  Hmmmm….  So I cut out the pattern with 2 1/2″ margins all the way around (except length) and made up a muslin out of an old sheet.  It kinda fit!  So I made up the pants, took them in a bit along the sides, which effectively made a side seam and was quite sure I would have to put a zipper in the back.  Nice surprise – they slid on over my hips but weren’t too wide at the waist.  a nice wide elastic in the waistband made a nice fit all around.  Yay!


The magenta top and chain belt are bargains from Ross:-) I asked on Pattern Review about how to wear the belt over the top and have found through just wearing it around the house that it just stays put and looks pretty good.


And yes, I know the shoes are undone.

Quick post…

19 May

A local sewing friend decided to de-stash her fabrics and I scooped several nice pieces.  Yay!  Thanks Sue!

Time for a new practice outfit.  I did not get photos of the process, but I expanded a skirt panel and made the bottom of the skirt straight (after viewing a few pattern backs and seeing they were simple shapes) and made a 4 panel skirt with a sort of handkerchief hem.



Making a belt

24 Mar

It seems that I build in a new challenge for myself with each gown and this one is the belt.  This is a pretty much involuntary thing and typically I arrive at a place or two where I wonder why on earth I decided I needed this special element in the gown, but there you go.  Why do simple?

Here is the beginning of the belt.  Naturally, there were great intentions of more photos through the process that didn’t get taken. I get a little cranky with bloggers who do this, but this time I did figure out a couple of  reasons why this happens.  Either the thrill of having a project go well or the intensity of focus during a tricky part of the process seem to keep the “take pictures for the blog” portion of the brain turned off.

Anyway, here it is – three pieces of heavy power mesh, 5 pieces of poly boning sewn in place.


A closer look.  The boning is sewn into one layer, which will be on the body side of the belt.  Plastic sew in snaps will be in the front panel and nice flat purse magnets will hold the back of the belt more or less in place.  I hope.


Notion inspiration. The thread tree.

3 Mar

The thread tree.  Basic cheapy from the fabric store.  Plastic and wobbly, but does the job.


It has holes for screwing it onto the sewing table, but as I move machines and things around all the time, I was not interested in that.  Plus, it would put holes in my lovely Freecycle computer desk!  Though about mounting it on a board, but that never happened.

But today I saw this:


Little cup full of computer screws, which we have by the billion around here.  Since there are no small kids here anymore, they are a bit like our Lego.  Step on one of these little beauties and it will make a big impression.  Get it?  Anyway, I was about to dump the works into a container to make yet another pattern weight, which I don’t need, when I thought of the thread tree;


Took it apart.


Flipped the base over.


Filled it with screws, removing all the light plastic whatsits for max. weight.  Traced the outline onto a plastic yogurt container lid.


Glue gunned it in place.


Reassembled the tree.  I know glue gun glue doesn’t bond perfectly with plastic, but it feels pretty firm so far.  I can always add some tape around the edges for security.  Worst case scenario, I have a bunch of screws to pick up one day.  In the meantime, the tree stands firmly and doesn’t rattle around!



Sewing stuff on vacation

10 Feb

What a wonderful surprise to see in an outlet mall!  AllSaints in California with dozens of lovely old machines in their front windows.

IMG_0521 IMG_0522 IMG_0523 IMG_0524 IMG_0525 IMG_0526

And fantastic art in the Portland OR airport using pattern pieces.




Sewing machine woes.

2 Aug

This is why people are hesitant to take machines of all kinds in for servicing.  My super wonderful awesome $5 thrift store machine is fantastic.  It is quiet, it isn’t fussy, I never have to fidget with settings etc.  But then it had that little seizing up problem and I took it in to be properly serviced by an actual professional.  And now it is gradually skipping more and more stitches, the bobbin thread is showing through onto the needle thread side and I can’t figure out why.


It doesn’t skip on wovens (this is a piece of flanelette) but you can see the bobbin threads popping through.  If I loosen the needle thread enough to match this, the seam becomes ridiculously loose.  *sigh*  Can’t deal with it today, but I will be visiting Sawyers next week.

Eyes and feet

8 Jul

Did the big eye checkup this morning so had to kill some time waiting for my eyes to un-dilate.  You don’t want to be driving when your eyes feel like they are too big for your eye sockets.

So I did a little thirfting and found some nice IKEA halogen lamps for the sewing room!


They have telescoping arms and long cords so I will be able to angle and move them to whichever machine I am using.  The original owner glue gunned some felt to the bottoms, probably so they would slide nicely over a table or desk.  Since mine sit above the serger, which vibrates enough to send those cute Muppet figures raining down on me from time to time, I will be replacing it with some waffle mat.

View under the sewing machine desk:


Two pairs of Birks and ballgown-trying-on shoes.  Step 1 – wear shoes. step 2 – kick off one shoe to sew, step 3 – kick off other shoe to walk over to the ironing board, step 4 – wonder where all shoes have gone!

Eyes still feel weird and up close vision not great.  No sewing for now.  Just lunch:-)

Summer dress makeover.

28 Jun

I love New Dress A Day and love the whole idea of remaking and reusing all sorts of things, but have never seen the perfect thrift store piece to work on.  Until now!  I grabbed this dress for cheap (under $5) and almost thought I could wear it as is.  But no.


A bit of a bag that wasn’t helped with lifting and belting and the usual ideas to save a garment.  What it did have was a lovely soft cotton/rayon blend with a nice drape and “hand” plus sequins and beading!

So this was a simple case of making an unflattering dress into a nice skirt.


It was nice and even, so it was easy to just draw a straight line across the dress. And it was wide enough to go over my hips so a simple elastic waist was going to be easy.  I turned the raw edge under 1/4″ then the width of the elastic I was going to put in and stitched around leaving a spot for inserting the elastic.  Inserted the elastic and stitched it down in a few places so it wouldn’t roll.  One issue I had was stitching over a couple of beads at the very top of the design.  I ended up sewing the area with the beaded side up so I could carefully guide the needle over and around the beads.  If it was a lot of beading, I would have removed the beads from the area I had to sew on.


And now I have a great skirt to go with my red shoes!

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