Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lazy Day

Lazy day = handsewing little details on wedding favour bags with a cuppa tea, some chocolate, and Project Runway Season 6 marathon.  Later on will be knitting in the sunny backyard.

Oh the life of rotational camp work.  :)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Thoughts on Blogging, Poor Fits, and a New Start

I love blogging.  I love getting inspired by other people's projects, reading about their progress and setbacks, and solutions to overcome those set backs.  I love seeing you all showing off the clothes you've created and your proud smiles.  I love inspiring others with my own projects, sharing the disasters and getting feedback on how to fix them.  I love sharing in this wonderful online community, making contacts and friends, and just being a part of this creative world.

Blogging keeps me going on projects that I sometimes would abandon, because I know that there are people out there curious to see how it turns out, and that makes me curious and excited to see a project to the end.  Even if they get put on hold until I can stand looking at them (I'm looking at you, pants).

I'm sure a lot of you have noticed, but I'm just not blogging as much anymore.  It's not that I'm not creating.  There's barely a day that goes by where I'm not knitting or sewing or planning a new project or doing something creative with my hands.  It makes me sad that I'm not sharing some of these fun projects.


I've been doing a lot of thinking about this, trying to work out what it is that keeps me from opening up this New Post window and excitedly sharing all of these projects, and I think I've worked out why. 

Sewing on Pins was created when I was in grad school, doing a very technical and somewhat dry project.  I loved it, but needed a creative outlet, and I happened to pick up sewing.  The focus of the blog was to chronical my adventure through learning how to sew clothing, and it was a fantastic creative outlet and resource.  I fell in love with sewing, the online sewing community, and all of the fantastically creative people in it.

But I'm no longer that Grad Student, focussed entirely on sewing or thesising.  As I've moved on to a job I love, a new home, and a great relationship, I find that this blog just doesn't...fit anymore. 

While I still sew, I also knit and crochet, I'm starting to embroider and garden, I love canning, I have plans to refinish furniture, and we're starting to do renovations on the house.  These are all creative things I'd love to share on my blog, but Sewing on Pins doesn't feel like the right place for all that.

I know, I know, it's my blog and I can post what I want to (*sings* POST WHAT I WANT TO, POST WHAT I WANT TO!  Haha sorry, couldn't help myself), but I can't help but feel off about it.  This is blatently a Sewing Blog, and I can't help but feel guilty when I post on other topics. 

So I think I'm going to start fresh.  I don't have a new blog home set up yet, still working out some details (like what to call it) and whether to stick with blogger.  When I do, I'll post a link to the new blog.  I hope you'll be willing to follow me over there!

I know this is the right decision, because as soon as I made it, I suddenly had a flood of post ideas and the excitement to post that I've been missing the last couple years.  Funny how a new start can bring inspiration all on it's own.

Oh, and I hope you've enjoyed pictures of my canoe garden!  It's one of those projects I've been wanting to share, and I think it'll be one of the first posts at my new blog home!  WOOO LOOK AT ME I'M GARDENING!!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Burlap Wedding Favour Bags

NO NOT MY WEDDING.  My favourite cousin is getting married this summer, and I happily volunteered myself to make up her wedding favours!

She's planning on having a country wedding at my Grandma's country farm house.  She showed me all of her plans when I was visiting in April, which involve a lot of burlap and candles and lace and haybails and all sorts of gorgeous ideas.  And she's trying to do it all on a dime.

Her wedding favours will be a candy table, and people can fill up little fabric bags with which ever candies they'd like.  It's a cute idea that I've seen before, and a ton of fun.  Especially since everyone will be higher than a kite on sugar!

But their plan was to just get whatever fabric they could find and toss together these little bags.  I looked at the mismatched bits of satin and cotton and polyester they'd gathered together, and I admit, made a bit of a face.  It just wasn't going to match with the rest of the theme. 

Since I really wanted to help out despite being so far away, I (of course) volunteered to take over this project.  My cousin seemed more than happy to hand it off, especially after the ideas I tossed out.

Here's my first attempt at it!  They're about 6.5"x5" in size.  I'm going to walk you through how I made them.  Just because.  :) 

I was able to source some free burlap in the form of coffee bean jute bags from a local coffee roaster.  Which are soooo cool because they have all of this great graphics printed on them!  I washed them a couple of times, dried them a couple of times (the second time to try to get rid of more of the fluff they generated after washing), and then spent most of today ironing out the plethora of wrinkles that set in.


It took a healthy dose of heat, steam, and a lot of arm muscle to press those damn wrinkles out!  And holy crap is there a lot of fluff all over my sewing room now.  


I LOVE the graphics!  Seriously, I'm saving one of these bags to make up into a burlap messanger bag for myself.

Because these bags will be used to hold candy, I lined them with some tight-weaved but light-weight cotton.  I'm actually considering using plastic instead for the next batch, which I didn't think about until just now.  Actually, I might just include some plastic sandwich bags to go inside of them.  Might be easier, on me and my sewing machine.

Once I basted the fabric to the jute bag, I cut it into 15 inch wide strips.  These strips were pressed in half length-wise, and the raw edges folded over and sewn down to create a draw string loop on the top of the bags.

Then I zig-zagged some lace just underneath the draw-string loop.  Finally found a use for my vast collection of vintage and modern lace!

Here's the other side.  You can see the lining and the folded over tops for the draw-string.

Then I just folded the strip in half again, cut them into 5 inch wide bags, and zigzagged along both edges just below the draw-string loops.

Thread some lace and jute through the draw-string loops...

And voila!  Seven adorable favour bags finished...


...only another 200 to go.  Sweet peanuts...

Plans and experiments for some non-burlap bags...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Wardrobe Purge Progress

You guys are awesome, reading all of my blatherings on wardrobe purging and sharing your own stories!  While emptying and ruthlessly purging my closet, I kept a lot of your advice about keeping some garments for the fabric (and in a few cases, buttons).  I forsee a lot of new panties in my future!

These three piles are to be donated.  Yes, there's a pair of fancy panties on the front pile.  I bought them (for a ridiculous amount) and never ever wore them after trying them on at home.  Yes, I washed them before adding to this pile.  THE LAUNDRY I HAVE DONE TODAY, YE GODS.
This pile is going in my reconstruction bin, mostly to scavange the fabrics for other projects.  There are four me-mades in this pile.  Also a bra with a hole in the rib strap.  I'm keeping it to maybe incorporate into the swimming suit I'm hoping to make someday...
I'm not completely done.  I think I was a little too soft about some things, especially me-made makes.  But I set up my new camera and tripod up in the living room and took (poorly) modeled shots of me in them garments, and it helped me really look at them as a useable (or not) garment and not a beloved make.


The pictures above show some of the garments that I waffled on until I took the pictures.  The upper left is a floral bag dress I bought at a thrift store ages ago.  I do love it (it looks much better with a belt), but I just don't reach for it anymore.  TIME TO GO.

The upper right is this top, which I really do adore, but the neckline in the front is too high and the front is finicky because of all the fabric in the back, and while I want to wear it, I never do.  Scavanging the buttons, lace, and fabric (maybe?).

The bottom left is this top.  This photo (and the blog post I just dug up) almost convinced me to keep it, but it's just not a style I wear anymore.  It's too office-y to me (probably because I always wore it to the office part of the Job From Hell), and that's just not my life anymore.  Really fun pattern created by Tanit-Isis though (links in that blog post), and I'm so keeping the piece to be recycled.  Or possibly to slip back into my closet OMG I HAVE A PROBLEM GIVING THESE AWAY.

Th bottom right is my cute little Jaunty Jacket, the last contribution to my PR Wardrobe Contest 2010 entry.  While it's adorable and I love the corduroy, I only wore it through the Self-Stitched September right after the contest, a handful of times in the months afterward, and not a once since then.

Looks so cute here!  They're the Jaunty Jacket, the Petal Skirt, and the Sheety Blouse.  I'm keeping the blouse for fabric and those lovely covered buttons.
So so not me anymore.  And that skirt is still so annoying to wear.  Why did I keep it for this long?  Oh yeah, sentiment.
In fact, I'm getting rid of my last three pieces from that wardrobe contest.  ::sadface::  WHY IS THIS SO HARD.  I tried the whole outfit on again, and it really showed how much my style has changed (I hate the whole look on me).  Also how much weight I've put on. *ahem*

I hate posing for the camera.
There are a few surprising saves though.  Those three jackets were shoved into the very back of our awkwardly constructed closet, and I totally forgot about them.  Annoying, because I was really lacking sprint jackets this year.  So SAVE.

I'd fully planned to donate the red polka dot faux-wrap dress until I tried it on again and omg love.  LOVE!!!  Seriously, LOVE.  It's going back into the closet (for now), but I really would like to replace it with something less polyester.  I always forget how awesomely I rock faux-wrapped bodices.

I'd also planned to get rid of the green (thrifted) blouse, but it's just so...me.  Funky weird fabric design, casual fit, 3/4 length sleeves, and a perfect length.  It's going into my clothes cupboard now so I won't forget about it in my closet.

All told, I think I did a damn fine job...so far.  My cupboard is looking much less packed and filled with clothes I'll actually wear, and I'm donating two garbage bags worth of garments (plus adding a bunch of fabric to my recon bin).  But there's still a computer chair filled with closet stuff that I probably should've been more brutal with, and I kept a lot of tank tops I don't wear that often...

...may need to revisit those bits again...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Blathering on about a Planned Purge

So tomorrow is going to be The Big Purge.

I've been planning this for a while, but have been hesitating because of Reasons.  See, I have a closet and cupboard full of clothes, and yet, not that much to wear.  So much crap.  So many ill-fitted garments.  So many worn out pieces, mismatched pieces, pieces that I hate.

Why do I keep them all?  Some of it's probably because of that whole 'I have nothing to wear, so don't get rid of anything or else I'll be NAKED' thought.  But I think it's mostly because of sentimental reasons or value reasons. 

'I bought this top last year and have barely worn it - I can't toss it out!  It's practically NEW.' 

'I've had this top for years and it's gotten me through many a crappy day.' 

'My Grandma gave it to me.' 

'I made this top when I first started sewing and I can't get rid of it!'

And so much more.  I think another big part of it is that I really do want to have a me-made wardrobe, and keep thinking that I'll just replace garments with me-mades.  Sadly, I both don't have time to replace everything in the time span that I want, and I don't actually replace anything.  I just add to the whole mess.

So, purge.

Honestly, I've done a bunch of clothes shopping lately (yes I know, fast fashion and cheap crap - I know, but there's not many other options in the Yukon right now, and I need clothes now), and I think even including camp clothes, I have more than enough to just purge nearly everything older (and send to the local Sally-Ann), and still get by.  Hell, I'm making it work on what little I wear out of my vast collection of crap.  And it should give me a chance to really look for the holes in my wardrobe, and work on filling it as needed (hopefully with my own makes). 

My head and heart are fighting about this already, and I'm going to be keeping a bunch of sentimental pieces, I just know it (here's looking at you, dress in which I defended my M.Sc.), but it's beyond necessary at this point. 

*sigh*  Wish me luck!
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