Monday, August 11, 2014

New Blog Goes Live!

In July, I talked about how I feel like this blog isn't a good fit anymore.  Well, it took a while of futzing, but I finally got new my blog started up!

While I'll be sad to leave Sewing on Pins behind, I feel a lot more free in my new space.  There's a few posts over there already, and I have so many post ideas, I'm torn between crafting and blogging right now!

I had a hell of a time coming up with a name for my new space.  Every single name I wanted was in use - usually by someone who made one single post 4 years ago and never again.  :(  I was stumped for a while, until a friend asked me what I wanted my blog to be about.  My answer? Things I Make.  Plus Rocks.

Oh hey, that'd make a good blog name!  Does what it says on the tin, after all.

Anyways, please have a gander over at my new blog, if you're interested in the things I make.  And the occassional post on rocks.  :)  I think it's going to be a fun new place!

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' 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  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 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!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Me-Made Panties: a Trial Run

Yep, that's right, I spent a rare day in my sewing room.  I've been itching to get in there for a while now, so you can probably imagine the contented smile on my face right now.

Sadly, only half of the last 5 hours was spent sewing.  This morning was spent digging out my sewing room from the epic storm that seemed to blow through.  Cripes, how does it wind up such a disaster without any sewing going on?! 


I've been wanting to make more of these suckers for a while.  I'm still wearing two of the pairs I made back in 2010 since they're the most comfortable panties I own and I don't ever want to give them up!  Yikes, that's a long time ago.  Definitely time to make some new ones!

I'm not going to go into much detail about the construction or tracing the pattern, as they're very similar to how I did the last set and I added some useful links in that post.  I did spend some time yesterday reading through Zoe's (of So Zo...) series of blog posts on making panties, and she has a free pattern available if you don't want to try tracing your own.  Really helpful stuff!

These were really just a trial run of the pattern I traced this afternoon from a pair of beloved-but-sadly-unwearable La Senza panties.  This time I was smart and traced them onto some stiff muslin fabric to create a more durable pattern.

For the trial run, I cut up an old comfy-but-indescribably-unflattering top I originally found at a thrift shop and has been hanging out in my To-Be-Reconstructed Bin for years.

This was the first time I've sewn elastic like this, first stitching the elastic and fabric right sides together, then flipping the elastic under and using a three-stitch zig-zag overtop.  Boy do I need practice keeping a straight zig-zagged seam on wiggly elastic! 

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with them, other than the horrible job I did on the elastic.  And you can't really see once it's all said and done - at least, not from the front.  I've learned to use a light coloured thread when using a light coloured elastic - boy does the underside look horrible.

The traced pattern turned out to be really comfortable!  I love how odd the leg holes look flat, but they have good bum coverage because of it, yet doesn't dig into my legs in the front.  Though one thing I'll need to remember in the future is to tighten up the elastic as it goes over the bum area of the leg holes.  The elastic wound up a bit too loose in that area, and tightening it up should snug it up to my bum a bit more.

Things you all obviously need to know.  You're welcome.

So yeah, I'd call these a success.  Time to start cranking these suckers out, assembly-line style!

Have any of you converted to me-made panties yet?  I sort of want to replace all of my current stock with them!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Camp Knitting and Project Plotting

Between a trip to Manitoba, a busy rotation in camp, and a fantastic camping weekend in the middle of Nowhere, Yukon, I've been far away from the sewing (and knitting) community.  Heh, I'll probably be popping into quite a few blogs in the coming days, making comments on all sorts of old posts as I catch up.

Got one twist repeat finished on Saturday...

...and completed (nearly) another repeat on Sunday.  This photo was taken at 11:20 pm, btw, and in natural light too.  I love living in the North.

 Inspired by Michelle, I worked on my Just Beachy while sitting around the campfire.  (I definitely did not get as far as she did during her camping trip!)  It's definitely a project you park yourself to do, because there's so many balls of yarn to handle.  This was great because my boyfriend kept refilling my drinks!  Sadly, it meant sitting in the rain while I dropped down stitches to correct a cable twist direction.  The Boyfriend and our Buddy were laughing pretty hard at that.  Jerks.

I'm so happy to be back home now though, mostly because there's so many projects I want to work on. 

My favourite cousin is getting married this summer, and I'm helping her out with her wedding favours.  I'm sewing up a ton of little burlap, cotton, and lace bags.  I have lots of ideas on how to make these up, so be prepared to see these in the coming weeks.  So stoked to find a use for my vintage lace collection!

I'm also hoping to do some home dec stuff for around our house.  I really want to put my person touch on our home.  Although first I need to do some serious spring cleaning!

And part of that spring cleaning is going to include digging out all of my clothes and getting rid of most of it.  Seriously, my closet is in dire shape, and I need to see what I need to replace (hopefully by sewing).  We'll see.  I may take you guys along for that ride.  :)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Finished Project: Eastwood Cardigan


Although sadly for the wrong season.  Seriously, have you ever seen a sweater that screams FALL!!! half as much as this one does?  I doubt you have!

That's okay, I love it anyways.  Even if I have no idea what to wear with it.  Might need to experiment with my closet when I get out of camp!  Perfect timing too, because hello spring cleaning!

The pattern is Eastwood Cardigan by Allison Dykhuizen, knit up in size 40" (based on bust size) using Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Tweed in Autumn Heather and Prussian Heather colourways.

I didn't make any changes to the design, although I might consider lengthening the body a bit more if I were to make it again.  It was frighteningly short in the back before I blocked it, and while it's much longer now, I think I'd like it another inch longer.  But this is a knit, so it'll probably still lengthen with wear.

It's kind of hard to see the striping in some of these pics because my camera is a utter prick, but they were fun to do.  You knit both front panels first, the pick up stitches along one side of a panel and knit side-to-side in stripes, and then pick up stitches for the pockets and sleeves.  It only started to get boring when I got to the sleeves, and that's only because...well, sleeves.  The only difficult part was detangling the two balls of yarn in use at all times!  Oh, and seaming, because I had a heck of a time getting the second panel seamed onto the body.  GRRRR!  Need to practice that more.

But look at those nearly-jogless stripes!  Seriously, I didn't do anything special to get that.  AHA so proud!

Probably the best part is the pockets.  And also the ribbing, which just makes me happy to look at. 

Love the neckline, especially at the back!

I don't know if it's the most flattering garment on me that I've ever made.  Those panels add bulk to my hips and draws you eyes right to them, making me look even hippier than I am (and I'm happily hippy to begin with).  Even when I wrap up the front, the pockets add a lot of bulk to the high hips and makes me look wider.  But you know what?   

I don't care one bit!  This sweater is the best fitting one I've made to date, looks fantastic, and is so comfy it's like wearing a blanket with pockets!  And I managed to knit it in 12 weeks, thanks to the Holla Knits KAL I've mentioned a few times before.  I even won a free pattern of my choice from the Holla Knits line-up.  I picked Just Beachy by Emma Welford.

Which, of course, I cast on immediately.

And I thought two balls of yarn was annoying to work with.  Let's try three balls at once!  ::headdesk::

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Yarn and WIPs and Seduction (Oh My!)

Long time no blog!  Aha yeah, it's been a crazy and stressful month.  Luckily, knitting has kept me sane.  Mostly.  Remember that KAL I told you about a while ago?  Where I'm trying to knit a sweater in 12 weeks?

I FINISHED IT!!  It's blocking right now, and I'm hoping it'll be done by tomorrow so I can take photos before returning to camp on Thursday.  The KAL is finished on Friday, so talk about cutting it to the last minute!

I loved knitting this sweater, but boy am I glad to be finished.  I've been itching to start something else, on my own time, without a time limit.  I've caught myself cruising through dozens of patterns instead of knitting my cardigan, so obviously I'm ready to move onto something else.  Heck, I've bought yarn to make 2 or 3 other projects, and they've been whispering to me ever since, trying to lure me away with their softness and delightful difference from my exclusive 3 month project.

This is Classic Elite's Mountaintop Vail, a fingering weight alpaca and bamboo yarn I've bought to make this gorgeous cardigan.  Yes, I have another cardigan planned.  Don't ask me silly questions like "why?!?!", look at the pattern and you'll see why!
I bought this gorgeous wool/alpaca/silk worsted weight yarn at our brand new yarn shop, and I'm going to make this shawl/scarf out of it.  Actually, I'm planning on starting this tomorrow.  This yarn is yummy, SO YUMMY.

Yarn can be horribly seductive.

Anywho, I'm mostly just babbling to give an update.  Believe it or not, but I have done some sewing.  Remember that top I hinted at in my last post?  Yeah, it's nearly done.  Been nearly done for over a month now.  All that's needed is a sleeve hemmed, and maybe a bit of shaping added to the front.  Uh...I'll probably get to that when I get home next time. 


Friday, March 28, 2014

Procrastination, Thy Name is Liberty

I should be knitting the three projects I really need to finish in the next month.  But I'm frustrated by all three projects (especially the toddler sweater I need to restart for the third time.

So instead, let's play with some gorgeous Liberty of London fabric I ordered from Hyggeligt Fabrics and a TNT shirt pattern!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Introducing Genie Singer!

Singer 354 Genie
Hello again!  I'm back from camp and have a fun find to share with you all.  Isn't she a beauty!

I found her at a normally ridiculously overpriced consignment shop in town.  The place is packed to the gills with tonnes of overpriced (and often broken) furniture and all sorts of do-dads and treasures.  I literally tripped over one of three sewing machines tucked in the back, and after disregarding the other two, found this little girl!

Singer 354 Genie

And it not only worked (so far as I could test at the shop without any fabric and thread), but it was only priced at $45!  I had to get her to repeat it because I thought she must've for sure meant $145.  But nope.  I bought it on the spot and brought her home to clean up.

Singer 354 Genie
She's a Singer Genie Model 354, made around 1974 in France.  There's been some great write up's on her, in particular Sally Ann's review and even Peter of Male Pattern Boldness, who owned one before he started blogging (see his pic series here).

I'm not ashamed to admit it took me about 10 minutes to figure out how to open her:

Singer 354 Genie
Singer 354 Genie
Singer 354 Genie
Sneaky!  And even sneakier is where the cable and pedal is hidden:

Singer 354 Genie
Singer 354 Genie
Apparently not a few people have gotten good deals on these because the seller thought the cable was missing!

Singer 354 Genie
Despite first impressions, she's the same size as Maggie Kenmore!  I really thought she was smaller.  She's definitely lighter, being made of plastic instead of metal.  Definitely more transportable than Maggie.  BTW, I've named her Genie Singer.  I know, bask in my creativity.

Singer 354 Genie
As you can see above, there's a bit of damage on the faceplate itself.  The needle seems to be moving into the slot fine, so I'm not sure how this happened.  I gave Genie a good cleaning and oiling.  She was actually in pretty good shape, a bit of fluff in the feed dogs and a bit of old grease.  Took me less than 10 minutes, and only that because I had to figure out how to remove the faceplate.  And then I realized it's been a really long time since I've cleaned and oiled poor neglected Maggie.  THAT took me nearly an hour, she was in a shameful state.  I apologized profusely to her, but considering that I then immediately put her away to play with Genie, I'm sure she'll never forgive me.  Poor thing.

Singer 354 Genie
Off the hop, I'm having trouble with straight stitching with Genie.  The stitch lines are looking a little drunk, but I suspect that it's more of a tension issue than anything else.  But what I really wanted to try was all of her zigzag options.  Look at them all:

Singer 354 Genie

Maggie can only do the standard zigzag (and then do some fancy stitches that Genie can't do, so she's still a few up on Genie).  Genie can do the standard zigzag, a blindstitch, a funky heart monitor-like zigzag which is apparently better for sewing elastic, satin-stitch, and a multi-stitch zigzag - which I've coveted in other machines!  And boy do these stitches look gorgeous (although again, the multi-stitch zigzags look a big drunk because of my wonky straight stitch).

Singer 354 Genie

I'm pretty excited about them!

Singer 354 Genie
It didn't come with the originally included accessory bag, nor the manual.  Luckily you can either order a paper manual or download a free PDF version of it here at the Singer website.  I'm also really lucky because many of the feet I use most often on Maggie will fit on Genie.  I liked to pick up the lifter piece that allows the faceplate to be raised above the feeddogs for free-motion sewing (the feed dogs on it don't drop down), but honestly, I can do that on Maggie, and I'm happier with her straight stitching.

Singer 354 Genie
Genie does have a drop-in bobbin set-up and uses smaller plastic bobbins, but luckily I was able to find them at Wally-World, so that's less hassel than I thought it'd be.

Anywho, that was a looong blog post, but I'm pretty stoked about the new addition to my sewing room (if you couldn't tell).  I'm planning on spending the day sewing, so I'm going to get on that.  Two things though:

  1. I know my photos are bigger than usual.  Flickr has changed thing (again), and this is how they're showing up on here.  I might have to switch to a different photo hosting site, because I'm unhappy with the process right now, but we'll see.
  2. Does anyone have any suggestions for fixing Genie's straight stitches?  I'm going to play with tension and stitch length, but input from you smart folks would be appreciated!
Happy sewing all!
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