Tag Archive | bad

Bad Habits – Cutting Corners And Skipping Steps

'Gee, I don't know. Can I see this in another mirror?'

I did something that I have not done in at least 15 years. I went to the store, picked out 6 pairs of denim pants in my size, took them to the fitting room, tried each pair on, selected the pair that had the most acceptable fit of the six, then purchased that pair of pants. This experience got me thinking about several things.

First, why was I buying Ready To Wear (RTW) pants?

As you can tell from the recent slow down in the frequency of my blog posts, life happens, and the only sewing that I have been able to do recently is a little mending here and there. Thankfully I knew quite awhile ago just when these life changes were coming.

life-change-aheadBecause of that I took the precious little sewing time that I still had left to make myself a couple of new pairs of work pants, but I did not get a pair of casual denim pants made before my time ran out. At the time, this was fine. It was still summer, and I was wearing shorts on my days off, but it’s starting to get colder now, and I need long pants to wear most days. Because of this I had to make a decision, either quickly whip up a pair of denim pants cutting as many corners as possible to save time, or to head to the store to  purchase a pair of denim pants. I choose the later.

My  first thought when I decided to purchase a pair of pants instead of making them was the famous minion refrain ”WWHHAATTT?!?” “You’re a seamstress! You have the tools, the fabric, and the notions! Get your butt in there and sew yourself a new pair of pants!”

'I knew there was part of the pattern missing!'

But, with the very little time that I had available to make the pants, I would have had to cut every corner possible to get them done in time. I would not have washed and pre-shrunk the fabric. I would not have finished the seams properly or completely, and I wouldn’t hem the pants to the proper length either. I would have just rolled the hem under and hope that it stayed with a quick ironing or a big safety pin.

This lead my next thought to be, “Is this really the way you want to sew something? Do you want to do a poor sewing job just to get the item done in the time you have available?” The answer was easy for me. No! I did not want to wear a pair of pants that were sewn that way!

deadlines-1p2cpw7There was a time long ago when I first started sewing that I sewed only for the end result, regardless of how poor of a job that I did. When I first started sewing, my mom, who is a advanced and skilled seamstress, trying to encourage me, would say, “Oh, it should only take 30 minutes for you to make that t-shirt”, or “You’ll have that dress whipped up in an hour.” She was trying to let me know that sewing was fun, quick and easy and, in no time at all that I would have a finished wearable item.

But, I misinterpreted my mom words at the time! I made sewing a timed event. When it took me 2 days instead of 2 hours to sew something, I figured I was a failure and that I was doing something wrong, so to compensate I would try to sew the item too quickly, cut corners, and skip steps to complete the project in the allotted time.

02d0fcf10d4a027a72e27973cf29abc7My goal was only to get the item finished in the proper amount of time. When I finally figured out that every sewing project did not have a deadline, and that I could take the time that I needed to complete a project properly, I enjoyed sewing a lot more. Sewing became fun and I began to enjoy the process, plus my finished items were of a much higher quality and they wore a lot better.

Another reason that I was willing to cut corners and skip steps to get the finished item completed quickly, was that when I was first starting to sew I grew tired and bored of a project. I just wanted it to be done and over with so that I could start on another project. I would often say “I should really unpick this and sew this again, but I’m not going to. I will just do better on the next project.” I quickly learned that when I did this, I was not pleased with the finished item, and I was not enjoying the sewing process at all because I knew I could have sewn it better.

SLIGHTLY Irregular Designer Jeans.

So, when it came to going back to poor sewing habits just to complete a pair of pants, I decided that I would rather use the little time I had to carefully sew a few seams on a current project, or thoughtfully plan a future project, or, if I just needed to sew,  I would just make a baby sleeper or two. For a needed pair of pants though, I would just see what the Ready To Wear world had available for me instead. I would leave the poor sewing in my past.

Hopefully, life will change again soon, and I will have more sewing time available to me in the future!

Until then, sew forth and enjoy the process on!

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A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…

a long time ago SWDuuh Duuh da da da Duuh Duuh da da da Duuh Duuh dun-dun-dun-duuuuh…

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…

I BECAME A STAR WARS FAN.

It was in May of 1977 when my love of all things Star Wars began.

As I watched the action of the original Star Wars movie on the big screen of our small town theater, the Force moved over me and I was hooked for life…

I wanted to join the rebel forces immediately and be lead by Princess Leia to defeat Imperial Forces of Darth Vader, the Storm Troopers on the Death Star. I wanted to stand side by side with Luke Skywalker and feel the force flow through me as I applied Obi-Wan Kenobi’s lessons to become a Jedi Master. I wanted to interact with the coolest robot droids ever, R2-D2 and C3PO. And who didn’t have a crush on the handsome and rugged Han Solo or want to fly the Millennium Falcon with Chewbacca?

830px-Got_A_Bad_feeling

It was a few years later, but still very much a long time ago in a galaxy far far away when my love for Star Wars increased when I said “I Do” to the husband who, believe it or not, was an even bigger Star Wars fan than I was!

And, it was still a few years after that big event that Star Wars would have a HUGE impact on my sewing, embroidery and crocheting skills.

 

R2-D2 Embroidery Design

This is the very first hand digitized design that I ever made! R2-D2 for my Husbands Shirt.

My first sewing and crafting Star Wars adventure began with the purchase my first embroidery machine a long time ago. And even though I now had the tools to put any design that I wished on any of my sewing projects, there was sadly a lack of pre-made Star Wars embroidery designs for me to purchase. This lack of embroidery designs was the beginning of a whole new sewing and embroidering adventure for me, learning how to create my own embroidery designs.

The Force was not strong with me at all as I began the task of digitizing my very first Star Wars designs, and I made a lot of mistakes along the way. But as time has passed, I have grown skilled in the Force and my digitizing skills have improved to where I have a very nice selection of Star Wars designs to call upon whenever the need arises.

Occassionaly other sewing Star Wars fans have appeared with some of their own embroidery designs to help increase my selection. I won’t bore you here with the details of how to create your own embroidery designs, but if you want more information on how to do that you can click HERE for my “How to digitize your own custom embroidery designs” post.

Star Wars Miscellaneous Embroidery Designs

Some of my current Star Wars Embroidery Designs!

Over the years, I have created, sewn and stitched many items for the husband and family members with Stars Wars designs embroidered on them. Many of these were made way before the days of blogging, so sadly I have no links for you to read about them, and for that I am sorry.

My favorite Star Wars sewing project so far though is the gray Darth Vader shirt that I made for the husband to wear while we were at a Star Wars Weekends event at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studio’s Park in Florida. img_0901

DSC06157And my sewing ego about burst as the husband received compliments on his custom made Darth Vader Star Wars shirt from several of the actors of the Star Wars movies while we were there including Anthony Daniels (C-3PO). Click HERE to read about the making of that shirt and click HERE to see my hand crocheted Domo Kun Plush having a great time while at a Star Wars Weekends event. And for an added bonus, click HERE for some sewing advice from Han Solo.

han-solo-300x240It wasn’t until 22 years after watching the first movie in 1977 with the release of Star Wars Episode 1 in 1999 that I was finally able to purchase my first piece of Star Wars fabric. It was a cotton print of a flaming Darth Vader helmet on a black background. I had wonderful plans for this fabric when I purchased it, but it was quickly brought home and placed in the precious fabric stash unused and that is where it still lives today.img_3405

But, the second piece of Stars Wars fabric that I purchased, a fleece remnant with Darth Vader on it, was used to make the nephew a blanket with when he was a youngling. And the Force was strong with this blanket. It was the first blanket that I ever crocheted and edge around and it was the beginning of my crocheting and amigurumi making adventures. To read more about this blanket, click HERE. Since then, I have always purchased Star Wars fabric whenever and wherever I could find it.

star-wars-force-awakens-official-poster copyToday, “As The Force Awakens”, you can find item from the Star Wars Universe like R2-D2, C-3PO, BB-8, Rey, Finn, Captain Phasma and Kylo Ren, everywhere including in the sewing and crocheting world.

Over the last year, I have seen Star Wars sewing blog posts pop up everywhere as the Force is again re-embraced by the younglings. There are many new Star Wars related designs made with gorgeous new Star Wars fabrics to be seen and read about everywhere I turn.

Star Wars Fabrics

A few of the MANY Star Wars Fabrics I now own!

And I now see bolts of wonderful Star Wars fabrics lining Walmart and Joann’s shelves every time I enter their stores (And, YES, before you ask, I have purchased a fair amount of this fabric to live in the stash.).

And the latest thing I have seen is the new Star Wars Amigurumi crochet book and kit (And, YES, before you ask, I have already purchased that kit too) to let you crochet all your favorite Star Wars Characters for yourself.

SWCrochetBookNeedless to say in the 38 years since my “first awakening to the force” Star Wars sewing and crafting has come a long, long way. Far beyond the days of me struggling greatly while trying to digitize my first Star Wars designs because nothing else was available.

I am very excited for the new Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens movie to open on December 18th. I certainly won’t be the first person in line to see the new movie, but I might be the second :-).

I would like to be one of the first to start sewing and crocheting with the new fabrics and patterns that the buzz for this new movie has created, so hopefully you will see some fun new Star Wars projects from me on here in the very near future!

Until then, sew with the Force and crochet on! And may the Force be with you always!

 

Four Wings and Two Prayers

Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 11.55.09 AMA long time ago, I purchased the book Adorable Amigurumi by Erin Clark. I loved every design in the book and thought I could not wait to get started crocheting patterns from it, but I guess I could wait. After admiring the cute designs in the book, I placed this book on my book shelf with my other amigurumi books and I promptly forgot about its adorable designs until just a few days ago. While perusing the yarn section at Walmart recently, I found this turquoise blue skien of Red Heart Love yarn and I immediately thought of the adorable dragonfly pattern in this book. I bought the yarn and went right home to start crocheting this dragonfly.

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P1030525As I got started, I noticed that the patten did not state the number of stitches per round. This is not a big deal but it is nice to have this number to help keep count of the stitches and rounds as you go. So, I decided to add the stitch count to the pattern before I got started crocheting. As I started counting the stitches for each round in the pattern, I found that there was not a round 17 in the head. I figured that maybe this was just a typo in the book, so I kept on counting but I then noticed that the head went from 48 stitches in round 16 to 36 stitches in round 18. Now, I have made enough amigurumi’s to know that is quite a sudden drop in stitches, especially if you want a round head instead of the back of the head being flat. I decided at this point to stop counting and get start crocheting to see what I got. Sure enough, the head started out nice and round and then went flat after round 18. It looked funny and not at all like the pictures in the pattern had looked. So I undid my crocheting back to round 16 and started my own decrease in stitches and rounds to get a nice smooth decrease and a round head.

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P1030498After that, I continued on to the thorax portion of the body. The rounds and the stitch count seemed to crochet the shape that I had expected, but when I reached the abdomen portion of the body, something was wrong. I could not get the stitch count per round to match the number of rounds in the pattern. I was very flustered at this point with the whole thing. I felt like I had put too much work into this project to stop and call it a loss though so I continued on. I worked my way down the abdomen, counting and shaping it to something that looked like the picture as well as a shape I thought the dragonfly’s abdomen should look like.

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P1030497Upon completing the dragonfly’s body, I was so flustered with this pattern, I really did not want to finish it. Now, I’m not really a great amigurumi designer even though I have created a few of my own. That’s why I bought the book, so I could just make something someone else had already spent the time to create and test out. So, I was not happy that a published pattern in a book that I had paid for was not tested and edited better. Now, it might just have been me. Maybe I had missed something somewhere in the pattern, but if I did it was not obvious to me what I had missed and I did study this pattern very carefully to try and find what step I might have missed.

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P1030528The legs, eyes and antennas crocheted up much more smoothly and I was able to follow the pattern ok when making them. In fact, I like how the eyes turned out very much. They are nice and big and round and full of life. There were minimal instructions for stitching the dragonfly parts together, so I turned to the photos in the pattern to get an idea. I noticed right away that the designer had stitched the legs on both the thorax and abdomen of the dragonfly. In nature this would be incorrect. A dragonfly’s legs are only attached to the thorax. Now, I know this is a crocheted cartoon like dragonfly and it does not have to be scientifically correct, but I just didn’t want to stitch the legs down the dragonfly’s abdomen. What I did find out was that there was not enough room to put all three legs on each side of the thorax. And so to get evenly spaced legs, I ended up stitching the third leg where the thorax and the abdomen connect together. This is still incorrect but it looks better than the legs crowded and unevenly spaced on the thorax. I did learn a lot when attaching the chain legs to the body. It would have been a lot easier to have attached the legs as I crocheted the thorax, before it was stuffed. But, that is a lesson that could only be learned by experience. Now I know that if I make another dragonfly from this pattern, to make the legs first and then attach them to the thorax as I crochet before stuffing the thorax.

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P1030530Even with all the issues with the round and stitch count, this dragonfly did turn out super cute. I have not named this dragonfly or found him a home yet. I have, though, decided to keep this book. Because the end results of this dragonfly are so cute, I have decided to try another pattern from this book. When I do, I hope that the bad dragonfly pattern in this book is an exception for the patterns in this book and not the norm. I will have to try out making another pattern from this book to find that out. Once I do, I will let everyone know what I have found.

The Tale of Two Diets and the Weight of a Wait

So several months ago my husband told me I was getting fat!

Well, ok that isn’t exactly true.

His exact words were more along the lines of: “You know dear we are getting older and we probably need to loose some of this extra weight we are carrying around so that we feel better and have less medical problems as we continue to age.”

But of course being a woman, I wanted to hear none of that! All I heard was “You are fat!” Now don’t get me wrong, I KNOW I am fat, since I have been considered “FAT” according to the Medical Definition of the term since I was about 3 days old.

We both lead very active lives and since my being overweight had not stopped me from doing anything that I had wanted to before, I just hadn’t really paid much attention to the issue. I’m very lucky to have had a very loving husband for 25 years now who doesn’t really see my weight as an issue and since we were pretty much both overweight when we met, when we were dating, and when we were married, it just wasn’t a high priority item on either of our lists to get the weight off.

At least it wasn’t until we reached our 40’s. Once you reach a certain age and things start to become more difficult for you,  like getting in and out of a car, or a chair, or those leather hot pants you bought back in the 80’s and thought were just “The Bomb” back then, you start to think about your future in different ways. Thoughts that when you are younger and in your 20’s and 30’s, you would never even have considered having.

So starting on January 1st, 2012 we both went on that most despised of despise’s, dreadful of dreadful’s, evil of evil’s. Yep thats right. The D word that we dare not speak it’s name or it will come and haunt us in our dreams while we sleep forevermore!


DUTCH CHOCOLATE CAKE!

Oh wait! That’s not it! I wish that were it! I’d actually “LIKE” to hear that D word!

No it was the other one that sounds a lot like DYE IT!

Now don’t get me wrong. Over the years like most modern women I have been on and off of several “weight reduction plans”. But for me anyway, mostly off.

I had done the New Years Resolution Fad Diets, along with every other woman on the planet for the last 30 years trying to get rid of a few of those extra “Holiday Pounds” we all seem to gain every year during the holidays.

But this year was different. This year about 6 months before January 1st rolled around my husband had started to compile data and do some research like he always does when he is getting ready to make a change to something in our life. And by January 1st, 2012 he had created a “Lifestyle Modification” for us.

When he first told me what it entailed I told him he was “Crazy in the head” and that there was no way we could do what he was asking. But three months later and 52 pounds lighter and several pants and shirt sizes smaller, I have to say he wasn’t so crazy after all. Well maybe crazy like a fox. He has lost more weight than I have in the same amount of time, but since he is more than a foot taller than me and male, that was to be expected.

He insists that since this isn’t really a diet, and instead is something we change in our daily behavior so it’s really more a psychological thing than a physical thing, that we should be able to stick with it over the long term rather than the two week’s and I’ve had enough holiday diets of yore. And I must say, it is nice to be back to my 10 year ago weight, and to not have had to give up too much to get here. My next goal of course is to get back to my 20 year ago weight and I think given some time and effort I can get to that point too. All in all I am excited for what the future brings.

Now some of you may be saying at this point “Super! You lost a few pounds! Now what does this have to do with sewing?”

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Well, I’ll tell you what it has to do with sewing!

Since I have lost the weight,  I now need to make several new articles of clothing to fit my reduced size and you should see the fruits of those labors showing up on here very soon! At least that is the plan.

The F Word

Today I am going to talk about the “F” word. And yes, you guessed it, I mean the F word FABRIC.

Wait? That wasn’t the F word you were thinking of?

Man I didn’t know there were any other F words. Well ok, maybe FLEECE or FLANNEL, but I think those are the only 3 F words I know. Well, I guess that isn’t exactly true. I do know a few others but the three I just mentioned are probably the only ones I use most often! (Unless I am having issues with a sewing project.)

But today, the F word Fabric really is a bad word. I have been cleaning out the stash. Well, not really cleaning out, but cleaning through it and trying to reorganize it as best I can. As I have sorted through the pieces of fabric in my stash, I have tried to part with some, but without any luck. I have tossed several pieces into the goodwill box but then promptly removed them and placed them back in the stash.

Fleece fabric is a double whammy F word because of its bulk. I can not box the fleece up like I can most of the fabric I own. Each box would only have 3 to 4 pieces of fabric in it, which is a waste of boxes, so I need to stack it somewhere safe, but accessible, and I don’t know where that is, so the whole issue is causing me distress. (The top of the closet is already full of larger cuts of fabric that will not fit in boxes so that is out.)  My new obsession with flannel fabric has also made it a double whammy F word because I now need a whole new section in the stash to house the many pieces of flannel I have purchased in the last few years to make blankets and jackets with.

I have one more F word for this whole experience and that is figured. I have figured out from this trial that I have way too much fabric to clean it up and get it organized, so I am going to try a different approach. I am going to sew more frequently and fervently in order to decrease the amount of fabric in my stash, and forbid myself from buying more. Yes I know how that will probably work out already. And I think that will probably push me over the edge, and force me use one of those OTHER F-Word’s that I’m not supposed to say, like FLIP as in “I’m going to FLIP OUT if I don’t decrease the amount of fabric I have soon!”

Well dear readers, that is all for this weeks rant about the evil’s of fabric. I hope you enjoyed it! It was great stress reliever for me to write it out.