Tag Archive | box

The Sewing Studio – Part One of Sew It Begins

It’s Ready!” That’s what I declared the other day as I looked around my new sewing studio. The machines were in place and plugged in, the notions boxes were empty with the all the notions stored in their appropriate baskets, and the stash was organized. It was now time to sew. After almost a year of not sewing anything, both the husband and myself are in need of new shirts so that is where I decided to start sewing.

You may have noticed that I did not say that the new sewing room was ready for sewing to start. That is because I now have a sewing studio. Now, it is not as glamorous as it sounds. Since my sewing and crafting has now taken up three rooms in my new home, instead on just the one and one-half as in my previous home, I am calling my sewing space a studio. Plus a sewing studio sounds bigger and better and more exotic. Who wouldn’t want a whole studio for their sewing and crafting over just a room.

I started my first sewing project in my new sewing studio by going into the stash room where I found just the right fabric for me and the husband a new shirt and retrieved our basic sloper patterns for the pattern stash in the stash room. After laundering the fabric, I took the fabric to the prep and cutting room, which is also the crafting and amigurumi assembly room. Here, the fabric was ironed and the patterns cut out. Next, the pieces were carried into the sewing room where the sewing machines and notions reside and the sewing of the shirts began.

It took longer than expected to get to the point of sewing again because I decided to unpack the stash from the many boxes it has lived in for so many years. I placed the contents of all those boxes on wire racks so that the stash is fully visable and readily accessible. I gave the “unpacking of the stash boxes” a lot of thought before I started. I had my picture organizing method in place and it had served me well for many years, but as I organized the boxes in the stash room and opening some to see just exactly what was in each one, I realized that having the stash on the racks was a better way of organizing and using the fabric than the pictures. The husband helped be picked the correct size, weigh and style of racks and helped me assemble the racks. It was then my job to unpack the boxes. I had mixed emotions as I unpacked the stash boxes. My emotions ranged from glee and excitement to see all the precious pieces of fabric I possessed, to terror and fear that I might actually be a true fabric hoarder.

It is great fun to be sewing again. Sadly, I feel that my sewing skills had diminished with the time off, but happily, they seem to be coming back quickly. I am super excited to be sewing and crafting again.

Stay tune for details on the new shirts.

Until then, sew forth and sew on!

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Hello Old Friend

Hello, it’s me again.

Did you think that I had forgotten about you?

I did not.

Actually, I have really missed you and I am thrilled to be back with you.

This is the conversation that I had with each of my sewing machines as I unpacked them from their boxes and set them up in my new sewing room.

They made their cross country move over the holidays admirably with very few issues, and are now set back up and ready to start sewing again.

img_1243The sewing machines, sewing tools and notions were not the only thing to make this long move to their new home. The stash moved as well, and lets just say, I am a little more than embarrassed by the enormity of my stash of fabric. As I packed each box and prepared it for the move, I was stunned by the number of boxes I had labeled fabric.

Had I really let my stash get this big? Did I really own all this fabric?

img_1245Buying it a piece at a time, I really had not noticed just how big the stash was getting and how much fabric that I owned. The actual size of the stash was not nearly as big of a problem as the fact that there was no way of hiding the number of boxes I had loaded with fabric from the husband any longer as they were loaded into the trailer to be moved.

I thought for a brief moment about labeling some of the boxes, kitchen or bathroom, but if the husband opened one of these boxes to find fabric, it would be much worse than admitting just how much fabric I have in my stash at this point.

img_1242Luckily the husband is a great guy and he just rolled his eyes as he loaded the multitude of fabric and sewing boxes into the moving trailer. Needless to say, it took an entire trailer just to move my previous sewing rooms contents and the fabric stash. And of course I find myself once again vowing to purchase no more fabric and to just sew items from my existing stash.

img_1246Actually, the entire trailer was not just full of sewing tools, notions and fabric.

The same trailer also carried the yarn stash and my crocheting supplies.

But this really only took a fairly small portion of the available room in the trailer.

 

Crochet hooks are just not that big and I can stuff a lot of yarn into one box.

I am very close to having my new sewing room set up with all of my sewing tools and notions in one place and ready for me to start sewing again.

And I am super excited to get back to sewing again.

Stay tuned to see some my newest creations.

Until then, sew forth and move on!

Buttoning It All Together

I need a bigger button box! cz4mwl6uy_m

 

Or do I?

My button box is currently full, right to the top. I can hardly close the lid on the darn thing!

So, it must be time to get a bigger box to store my buttons in right?

Or maybe it is just time to stop being lazy and sort and organize my current button box so that I have an easier time using what I already have.

While staring at all of the buttons that were just randomly and haphazardly tossed in my button box, I decided that a bigger button box was not the answer. What I needed was to take the time to sort and organize what was in my current button box.

DSCN4316Looking in my button box, I noticed right away that a lot of the space in the box was being taken up by the buttons packaging, mostly the cardboard cards the buttons were purchased on. So, my first step was to remove all of the buttons from the cards.

As I pulled the first buttons off a card, I thought to myself “This will take no time at all!” Boy was I wrong!

As I pulled more buttons off the cards, the staples holding the buttons to the card were staying attached to the buttons, not the cards. I did not want to store the staples attached to the buttons, and I did not want the staples to scratch the buttons while in the box. So, I started the long and tedious task of removing the staples from each of the buttons.

With the use of pliers, scissors and a staple remover, I slowly worked at removing the staples from the buttons. The husband was even given some buttons to remove the staples from. (That will teach him to walk into the sewing room and inquire what I was up to.) After a couple of hours and some sore fingers, I had all of the buttons removed from their cards and the packaging and all the staples and threads were removed.

DSCN4308Now that I had piles and piles of buttons all over the cutting table, it was time to sort and package them up more efficiently. I started by sorting my miscellaneous buttons from my button can. I matched the buttons from the can with the piles of buttons I had on the table. I was surprised how many single buttons from the can matched with one of the piles of buttons. Next, I retrieved my small jewelry zip lock baggies from the closet. I love these baggies. I use them all the time in my crafting and sewing so I keep them handy in a couple of different sizes. I placed each sorted pile of buttons in its own little zip lock baggie. Any single buttons without mates went back into the button can.

DSCN4317Now that I had several piles of buttons all stored in little baggies all over the cutting table, I started sorting the buttons by color. I was pretty liberal on what color the buttons were as I sorted, and soon I had just a few larger piles of buttons in little baggies of like colors sitting on the cutting table. These piles where then placed in larger quart or gallon ziplock bags to keep them further organized.

DSCN4320Looking at the large ziplock bags of buttons, I was pleased with the cleaning and sorting of my buttons. The large bags easily fit back into my current button box with some room to spare. I was very excited. I really like my current button box and I did not really want to replace it with a bigger one so this worked out great!

I have looked for buttons for a project a few times now since sorting my buttons into the bags and the new organization system has worked great. I merely pulled out the bag of buttons in the color I was looking for, then I quickly sorted through the little baggie inside to pick the exact buttons that I needed for my project. Through the clear bags I can easily see the buttons I have and how many of each of them I have, and since they are not attached to a card, the buttons can easily be placed on top of a project while still in the bags to see how they will look and match. Plus, this baggie system has been easy to keep organized as I add new buttons to my button box.

DSCN4315With the buttons finally sorted and back in the button box, I was ready for my next sewing room adventure!

Until then, sew forth and button on!

Have You Ever Heard of A Box Spider?

DSCN1224“Can you use these?” asked a friend as we stood in his garage with him holding a box full of wooden cigar boxes.

He explained that he had quit smoking cigars years ago, but thought the wooden boxes were cool and that he would find a use for them. He had not, and it was now time for them to leave his garage. I should have said no but my creative mind went wild. Yes, these boxes were super cool and I could… Or maybe I could… Mmmm, how about…. Never mind, I will think of something to do with them later!

And, with that, I am now the proud owner of 20 wooden cigar boxes. As I packed the box of wooden cigar boxes in the trunk of my car, my friend jokingly said, “Those boxes have been living in the garage a while now, so make sure and return any spiders that might be living in them.” Haha I thought at the time, but now the joke is on him. I went right home and found a great pattern for my next amigurumi project.

DSCN1225A GIANT SPIDER!

I got the pattern for this spider for free on the internet. I read through the pattern and it looked easy enough, so I started crocheting the pieces of this spider. The head and body were crocheted in the round but the legs are crocheted in rows and then stitched together to form the legs. The pattern did not really give any instructions on making the legs, so after giving it some thought, this is how I made this spiders legs.

I knew I wanted to stuff the legs with pipe cleaners instead of stuffing so they would hold the spider up and be posable.

DSCN1228So after stuffing and stitching the head and body, I threaded my large eyed needle with a pipe cleaner and pulled it through the spider so that one pipe cleaner made two legs, one on each side of the body. Next, I folded up the end of the pipe cleaner into a loop, so the pipe cleaner would not poke out of the crocheting. Then I measured how long the leg needed to be, folded my row piece of crocheting around the pipe cleaner and stitched the crocheted piece together to make the leg. The pipe cleaner was already inside the just crocheted leg and I just had to stitch the leg to the body. On the other side, I measured the leg again, folded up the pipe cleaner to match the needed length, folded the crocheted pieces around the pipe cleaner and stitched it together and then to the body. Two legs were done. This worked great, and it was easy to finish up the other six legs.

DSCN1263The hard part was next. Should I make a realistic spider? Should I make I a black widow with a red hour glass on it’s belly? Should I grab the brushes and make it fuzzy? Or, should I make a scary spider with red eyes and fangs? Should I give the spider two eyes or multiple eyes. What shaped design should I put on its back, or should I leave it blank? Or should I make a comical, fun spider since this was part of a joke? Decisions. Decisions.

After googling pictures of spiders, I got out my googly eyes and starting taping them to the spiders head. It was not long before I picked the large green eyes with the smaller eyes around them for my spider. This lead me to pick the bright green yarn to make the star on the spider’s body. I debated about the green smile, but in the end, I decided that this spider was for fun and so the green smile stayed.

DSCN1275My spider was a tight fit in the cigar box. So it didn’t get lonely in the mail, I added a variety of plastic bugs and spiders and two snakes to keep the spider company on his journey back to my friend’s house. With the husband’s help I wrapped the box in brown paper and he decorated it to look like a wooden crate. My friend should not be surprised when he receives the box in the mail. He told me to return any spiders and so that is what I did.

I hope he likes him!

Until next time, crochet forth and spider on!

Catting Around With More Pleats – Part 2

DSCN0853DSCN0854With the bodice now completed, the skirt was next. Unlike the box pleated skirt that I made previously, I did not want a pleat at the center front and back and side seams of this skirt. I wanted the knife pleats to fold away from the center front and back. So, I started by pining these points, center front and back and side seams.

With the skirt divided into fourths, calculating the pleat became much easier. I started folding and found that two pleats per quarter would gather the skirt to the circumference of the bodice. I folded the pleats towards their respective side seams.

Once folded and pinned in place, I sewed around the top of the skirt to hold the pleats in place. With that, the knife pleats were done. I believe this skirt was easier to make than the box pleated skirt was because of the time that I spent and knowledge that I gained in making it. I had already experienced a lot of trial and error on the box pleated skirt, making this knife pleat skirt much easier to calculate.

DSCN0329This time I decided to not hem the lining and top fabric together. This also gave me an idea on how to make the stitch in the ditch seam easier. Instead of sewing the top fabric of the bodice to the skirt, folding the lining up and stitching in the ditch, I would sew the lining to the bodice, fold the top fabric up and sew around the folded fabric.

You would see the seam and there would be a fold, but I felt that would be fine. If it wasn’t fine, oh well, this was a trial dress to learn from and I wouldn’t do it that way again.

DSCN0330It felt odd sewing the lining to the bodice first. It felt like I was sewing it backwards. After completing the sewing, I ironed the seam up and ironed the fold in the top fabric of the bodice. I then positioned the folded top fabric over the lining/bodice seam and started sewing. There was a lot of play in the fabric, so I had to sew carefully to get a nice seam, with no folds or tucks.

With the stitch in the ditch seam, you can ignore a small tuck or fold or a crocked seam here and there because it is all done inside the dress. With the seam on the outside, there could be no tucks or folds or crocked seams since it would all be visible from the outside. Once this seam was sewn, I thought the look was good. The exposed seam and the fold looked fine. But, I don’t know that it was really any easier to sew than the stitch in the ditch seam due to the care that had to be taken sewing to this exposed seam.

DSCN0858DSCN0857I hemmed the lining 2 inches shorter than the top fabric so it would not be seen.

And with that done this dress was completed!

It turned out very cute. Cuter than I expected with the cats and the stars. The knife pleats came out great and the reversed stitch in the ditch seam looked fine. I hope some little girl will be happy wearing this dress.

Until next time, sew forth and cat on.

Catting Around With More Pleats -Part 1

DSCN0321Since I was feeling confident about box pleats, I decided that my next project would be another little girl’s dress but this time with knife pleats. I also picked shoulder cap sleeves instead of full sleeves for this dress.

DSCN0324Selecting the fabric was both easy and difficult. The easy part was that I had just purchased a lining fabric with cats on it for $1 per yard at Walmart. The difficult part was picking the dress fabric. After looking in the stash I found this beige and blue star piece which seemed like it might work. The colors matched ok, but did stars and cats go together? It looked ok to me. Once again, the idea for this dress was to try out some knife pleats.

DSCN0291After selecting the fabric, I cut out the pattern. Because of the pleats, I cut the back of the skirt on the fold with no back slit. This time though I remembered the troubles that I had previously when attaching the bodice when the skirt had no back slit. To get around this problem, instead of a row of buttons down the back, I would make a keyhole button loop and button at the top of the back of the bodice. The back of the bodice would be one piece at the bottom making it easier to attach to the skirt.

DSCN0287Wishing I had embroidered something on the plain green cotton bodice of the last dress, I picked an embroidery design for this bodice. Of course, it had to be a cat to match the lining. Embroidering the design was the first step in sewing this dress.

DSCN0294The next step was to sew the bodice together. Normally, to do a keyhole button loop, the front and back of the bodice are cut on the fold, then you would add a v-shape in the neck line, sew around the neck line, and finally cut the “v” open and turn. There would be no seam in the bodice back, but then the armscye would have to be sewn differently so the neck could be turned. With a back seam, the armscye could be sewn as usual. I did not want to rethink sewing the armscye, so I did not cut the back of the bodice on the fold. Instead I added a back seam, but I did not add the extra inch for the buttons. I would change the sewing of the keyhole button loop and button so that a back seam was involved.

DSCN0297How did I do this you might ask? I will tell you. Step one, I serged the edges of the back seams. Next, I sewed around the neck line, then sewed the back seam of the bodice and lining separately, stopping 3 inches from the top on each seam. I pressed the seams open, then placing wrong sides together and adding the keyhole loop, I top stitched a box to complete the back seams and attach the loop, then I sewed on the button. This is basically the way the pattern said to finish the back seam of the skirt when you have one. It worked out great. The bottom of the back bodice was one piece, but it still had an opening to get the dress on and off.

Because I did not change how the armscye’s were sewn, attaching the cap sleeves went smoothly, especially since they did not extend to the bottom of the armscye. I then sewed the side seams together and with that the bodice was complete.

Up next, the knife pleated skirt.

Until next time, sew forth and cat on.

The French Box Top

DSCN0651Having successfully completes the box pleat skirt for the little girls dress that I recently made, I wanted to continue practicing by making more box pleats. With that, I picked this box pleated top as my next project. It only had one box pleat so it would be a fast sew, but I would still be practicing another box pleat. Because I felt comfortable with sewing the box pleat, I decided to finish the seams off with French seams. This top would then give me practice on two sewing techniques that I had already tried, but that I could still use some practice in making.

DSCN0661The pattern for this top was a free one that I found online. I had just enough ladybugs and green cotton scraps left over to make this top with. So I printed out the pattern, taped it together and cut it out. As I cut out the paper pattern, I noticed that the facing and the front pieces of the top did not match up. I knew that if I cut the pattern out based on the pattern pieces, I would have a mess with mismatched facings, and I would get flustered while sewing this together and not get good results. Knowing this, I discarded the facings pieces from the pattern and just used the top pieces to cut a facing instead.

Sewing the top started with the French seams to piece the ladybug fabric and green cotton fabrics together. The French seams came out great! They are clean and finished. Since the green cotton is heavier than the ladybug fabric, I sewed the French seams to the green cotton rather than the other way around.

DSCN0212Next came sewing the box pleat. This time, I sewed the seam down the back of the pleat, flattened the pleat and then stitched across the top of the pleat to secure it. I did not top stitch the box onto the pleat like I did for the skirt. I wanted the pleat to open up if needed on this top.

DSCN0250Next up, I sewed the shoulder seams and then it was time to apply the facings. After reading the pattern guide for how to sew the facings, I decided the pattern guides instructions would not work for me. So I threw the pattern guide away along with the facings pieces from the pattern. I decided to sew the facing to the top as I had learned from making the bodices of the dresses that I had made before. I sewed around the neck and down the back, and then around the arms. Next, I stitched the side seams together. Because the side seams were exposed after the facing ended, I did a French seam for the side seams. But, as I tried to sew the French side seam down, I ran into trouble. The French side seam on top of the French piecing seams was just too thick. I broke 3 needles before I gave up and decided not to stitch down the French side seams. I don’t believe that having the side seams not stitched down will affect the wearing of this top. Next, I hemmed the facing.

DSCN0653Once again because the facing did not extend to the bottom of the top and because I had abandoned the pattern guides instructions, half of the back seams were left exposed. So to finish off the edge, I folded the edge over on each side of the back. This gave me four layers of fabric at the top where the facings are and two layers down below the facings. I did not apply any interfacing to the button placket because of the 4 layers, but as I sewed the buttonholes and buttons to the top, I wished that I had added some interfacing below the facing where the top was only two layers thick, especially on the thinner ladybug fabric. The buttons and buttonholes came out fine even without the interfacing. There was no way my buttonholer would sew over the French seams, so I had to carefully measure and place the buttonholes so that I would not have an issue making them or sewing on the buttons. The last steps were to hem the bottom of the top and topstitch around the arms and neck.

DSCN0655I am pleased with the end results of this top. It was great to practice with the box pleats and French seams, but what I am most proud of is that I was able to identify the pitfalls of the pattern and the construction early on in the project. And that I was able to use my sewing knowledge to circumvent them instead of suffering through them, and to find a better way for me to complete the project. Usually if there is a hard way to do something, that’s my way of doing it, but this time that was not true. I hope I can keep up this forethought momentum as I move on to my next project.

Until next time, sew forth and box top on.