Tag Archive | show

New Sewing Tools – Part 2 – In The Pink

DSCN4050The sewing process for the sweater started with the plan to use my second new sewing tool, a new pair of pinking sheers. When reading about sewing fleece, one of the suggestions for finishing the seams of fleece was to just pink the seam allowances with a pair of pinking shears. I used to have a pair of pinking shears many years ago. I loaned them to a friend and I never saw them again. I haven’t really missed owning a pair until recently though, so I decided to reinvest in a new pair of pinking sheers.

DSCN3982When I looked into buying the pinking sheers, I found that I could spend a lot of money for nice pair or a much smaller amount of money for just a pair of the sheers that people had reviewed and said worked well for them. As you and I know, a good pair of scissors is a valuable sewing tool. So, when it comes to buying sewing scissors, I believe that you should spend the extra money for a nice pair of sew scissors. But is that true when it come to pinking sheers I wondered? I decided to go against the grain and buy the less expensive pinking shears for now. Later, if I found that I used the pinking sheer all the time, and I needed a nicer pair, I could then invest the money and buy the more expensive pair.

I sewed up the seams of the sweater, ironed the seams open and pinked the seam allowances. This was easy to do, but it was time consuming to line up the pinked edges. When the seams were done, the pinked seam allowances looked good and pinking was a fine way to finish the edges, but I still think that I like the look of a serged edge better. A serged edge to me is just a cleaner look.

DSCN3721In the end I was happy that I did not spend a lot on money on the more expensive pinking sheers. I just don’t think I will be pinking all that often, and the less expensive pair will be fine for me for how often I expect to use them. Although, if I was going to be using pinking sheers on the majority of my sewing projects, I would definitely invest in the nicer, more expensive pair of the pinking sheers since I know how much better a project goes with good scissors.

Sewing the bias tape on was next. I learned quickly not to let the fleece stretch too much as I sewed the bias tape on. My plan was to sew the bias tape on, fold the edges over and to stitch in the ditch on the front, catching the bias tape on the back. This did not work for me though. I remembered to not trim the bulk from the seam allowance of the bias tape but to leave the bulk to even out the fabric from the heavy fleece to the thin bias tape. I did trim a little of the bulk off the edge to smooth the edges, but not much.

DSCN3974The problem with leaving the bulk is that after going around the bulk with the bias tape, the bias tape was too short on the back side to be caught by the stitch in the ditch seam from the front side. Rather than arguing with the stitch in the ditch seam, I decided to sew on the edge of the bias tape on the front side. Now, there was no problem catching the bias tape on the back side. I was using nice matching thread so the sewing on the edge looks good, probably better than the stitched in the ditch seam would have looked.

DSCN3723The last step was to apply the velcro closures. As I cut four one inches squares of velcro to sew to the sweater, the husband shock his head no. He said he thought that buttons would look better. Since this sweater is not for an infant, there is no worry about a chocking hazard with buttons, so I decided that using buttons instead of velcro would be fine. I asked the husband what he thought about sewing the velcro on as the closure and the buttons on top of the velcro for decoration but he thought that the buttons as the closures was better. He did not like idea of the Velcro closures for a three year old.

DSCN4045Because the sweater is unlined with no facings or interfacing, I put a piece of tearaway stabilizer under the fleece to help keep the fleece from stretching as I sewed the buttonholes. This worked out great! The stabilizer held the fleece steady as the buttonholes sewed and gave the buttonholes themselves more durability. The extra stabilizer was torn away so you won’t even know I used it nor will it ruin the look of the buttonholes inside the sweater.

DSCN3976Soon the buttonholes and buttons were sewn and the sweater was all done!

I think that this sweater is just adorable! I had a lot of fun making it and I learned a few new sewing things and I got to use my new sewing tools as well. I will keep this sweater in mind for the next time I want to make a fun and simpler sewing project.

Until then, sew forth and pink on!

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New Sewing Tools – Part 1 – Cutting The Curve

DSCN4045I love to go to craft shows, but I rarely buy anything. I am one of those people that professional crafters hate. I walk around and see what they have made, borrow their ideas, then I run home and make one for myself. That is what happened this time, with my latest fleece jacket/sweater project. The lady at the craft show had made a simple infant unlined fleece sweater, finished with bias tape edges and velcro closures. The sweaters were just adorable, simple and cute, and since I was in the mood for a light project, I decided to make one of these sweaters myself. Plus, I could practice making and sewing bias tape and use two new sewing tools that I had recently acquired.

I knew that I wanted to use this bear fleece that had been in the stash for many years. In fact, it was one of the first pieces of fleece that I ever purchased. Since it was never picked to be used for a blanket, it was time for it to be a sweater instead. I picked a brown cotton fabric for the bias tape, but when the husband saw the bear fleece he said to change to a red bias tape instead. It was no problem to pull some red cotton out of the stash to make the red bias tape with.

DSCN4052I cut 2 inch strips on the bias of the red cotton fabric to make 1 inch bias tape. The cutting and sewing of the strips went smoothly. I am getting better at this process each time I make bias tape. After a lot of ironing, I had a pile of red 1 inch bias tape made. I did not know exactly how much of the red bias tape I needed, so I just made a fair amount since I knew I could make more if needed. If I had extra, I would just save it for another project.

Now it was time to cut out the sweater. I was on my way to the pattern stash to find an infant jacket pattern to use when I spied my Simplicity 8902 pattern laying by the cutting table. Why not just use this pattern? It is a tried and true pattern for me, plus the size 3 was already traced and ready to use. I had envisioned this project for an infant but there was no reason that a 3 year could not wear a teddy bear fleece sweater as well so that is what I went with.

DSCN4046As I cut out the pattern pieces I added an extra inch to the fronts for the velcro overlap and I got the chance to use my first new sewing tool. I wanted to curve the tops and bottoms of the overlaps so I used my new french curve ruler I had picked up on clearance recently. Usually, I would have looked for a plate or bowl to cut the curves, but it was nice to use the curved ruler with the markings to make more accurate, even curves with. Plus, the rotary cutter cut much smoother around the edge of the ruler than it does around the edge of a bowl or plate. It did not take long to cut out the pieces for this sweater and to begin the sewing process.

Stay tuned next time for the sewing of the sweater.

Until then, sew forth and curve on!

Bye Bye Baby So Long – Part #2

This is a continuation from my previous blog post regarding the first time I have sold any of Amigurumi creations.

P1010766Three sales stood out for me that evening. The first started when a lady took an interest in T-Bone, my skeleton. My heart jumped with anxiety. When the lady asked how much, little beads of sweat, popped out on my forehead. Could I actually sell T-Bone? The voices in my mind erupted. NO! Tell her “Sorry, he is not for sell, just for show.” or I could give her an outrageous price and just scare her off, or just grab T-Bone and run away were some of the things that went through my mind. But, after calming those voices, like Snoopy, I asked the lady for a reasonable cost for my time and materials and she agreed. I was still not certain that I wanted to part with T-Bone at this point though so I began to talk with the lady. I learned that she was a fellow knitter and crocheter and owned a yarn shop where T-Bone would live on display. Phew! What a relief it was to know that T-Bone would be in a good home. She would take care of him and I now had some money to buy enough yarn and stuffing to make myself another skeleton.

P1040460The next memorable sale that night was to a young girl about 7 years old. She looked at all my amigurumi’s carefully and then asked what she could get for a dollar. I explained to her that I really did not have anything that I could sell her for just a dollar, but she continued to study the amigurumi’s and I started to look around for her parents. I did not see them anywhere, but after a few more minutes, she left.

She came back a few minutes later with $7 in ones and some change, and the question was asked again, “What can I get for this?” So, I asked her what she wanted. And as she was studying the display some more, I started asking about her parents, and I came to learn that her parents owned a restaurant down the block. After some thought, she decided that she wanted one of my one-eyed pocket pal monsters. How much? I looked at her $7 and said “How about $2?” I had sold the other pocket pals that evening for $5, but this was unique sell so I lowered the price for her a bit. She quickly grabbed the monster and holding up the remaining $5, she repeated the question, “What can I get for this much money?” After getting her a bag, we started to pick though the table. She decided to purchase a couple of other small amigurumi’s at a discounted price.

P1020517Now with only $1 left, the question was asked again. What could I sell her for just a buck? I then spied the two little bean monsters that I had made a long time ago and were not my best work. “How about a little monster?” I asked. She agreed and was trying to decide which one of the monsters she wanted for her $1 when I picked them both up and tossed them in her bag for her. A huge smile crossed her face as she was peeking into her bag at her purchases. As she started to leave, I called her back and told her that for being one of my best customers of the evening, I had something for her, and I gave her one of the small ghosts I had made for Halloween decorations. As I dropped the ghost into her bag, she grabbed me around the waist and gave me a big hug. My heart melted. At that point she could have had the whole table. It did my heart good to have someone want my amigurumi’s as much as she did.

IMG_1659 - Version 2The last sale that I want to mention from that night was my made by my sister, bless her heart. She and my two nieces came to my show to support me and purchased several of my amigurumi’s. Although I did give her a good price on them, I still felt guilty charging her money. They are family and I should have just given the amigurumi’s to her and my nieces, but they wanted to pay for them to support me at my first show.

DSCN0483At the end of the night I had sold about 1/4 of my amigurumi’s that I had brought to show. I was surprised by which amigurumi’s sold and which ones did not sell. No one wanted Porcine the pig or Paulie the Penguin? As surprised as I was I put my remaining amigurumi into three bags and packed them away in the trunk. The next day, we stopped by some friend’s to visit them. The conversation turned to the show and the sales of my amigurumi’s.

These friends had not seen all the amigurumi’s that I had made recently, so I retrieved the three bags from the car to show them off to them. When my friend fell in love with Porcine and her husband liked Corny, the candy corn guy I made last year for Halloween, my friend asked if she could buy these two amigurumi’s from me. Sure I said, but would you like any of the others? Her response was yes and she proceeded to go through the bags and wanted to purchase all the amigurumi that I wanted to sell. She said she is always looking img_0248-1for gifts for nieces and nephews and neighbor kids. So after this final sale, I came home with just one bag of amigurumi’s left. And I now have just enough fingers to count the number of amigurumi’s that I still own.

I have very mixed emotions about the selling of my amigurumi’s. I am sad that I have parted with them and I won’t be able to look at them daily, but also so happy that they are being enjoyed by others too. Plus, I have still great memories of making them, and now will not feel guilty when I purchase more yarn and stuffing to make more in the future.

So all in all I would call my Art Show Sale a sweet, but somewhat sad success!

Until next time, crochet forth and sell on.

Bye Bye Baby So Long – Part #1

IMG_1665Last month, I was asked to be the featured artist of the month, displaying my amigurumi’s, for a downtown business during their monthly art walk. I did not have to sell my amigurumi’s, just display them as art works, but I could sell them if I wanted to. As I looked around the house at the many amigurumi’s I had made that still needed a home, and seeing that I needed to purchase another bag of stuffing after completing Kevin the Moose and Porcine the Pig, I decided I would sell some of my amigurumi’s if anyone was interested.

I wandered around the house gathering up all the amigurumi’s I had recently completed. The pile included the amigurumi’s that I considered mine, like Roxie and Red the cows, Sara the dinosaur, T-Bone the skeleton, and the DSCN0300 - Version 2husband’s ninja army. I did not really want to sell MY amigurumi’s but they would be nice to have in the display as fill in’s so I stuffed the pile of amigurumi’s into four garbage bags. I had no idea what to price my amigurumi’s for, so I priced them based on the supplies that would be needed to make them again, and how complicated each one was to make, plus a little extra cost for the ones I did not want to really part with. I also decided to have a raffle for a Snowman blanket that was made many years ago, and to give the proceeds from the raffle to a local charity. The last preparation for the show was to make a portfolio of my work so people could see what I do. I decided to include some of my sewing projects, the little dresses that I have been sewing, some baby sleepers and blankets, and some of the kid’s t-shirts I have made in the portfolio. I would not have these sewing items in my art display since I just had a small display space, but if someone was interested in them, I would certainly be willing to sell them.

DSCN0302The day of the show, I arrived early, excited to set up my display. The husband thought it would be best to set my display up on the sidewalk in front of the business rather than inside the business and I agreed. The weather also co-operated and was a gorgeous fall day for an art show. I purchased some 12 packs of soda pop to make a stair stepped display for my amigurumi’s and then I covered the boxes with some fabric to make it presentable. With my amigurumi’s all out on display, I waited for potential customers to walk by and view all of my lovely creations.

DSCN0215After a few passerbys, my first customer arrived. He was out walking his dog. Guess which amigurumi’s caught his eye? Yup, you guessed it, Snoopy and Woodstock. If I sold only one item, why did it have to be a Snoopy? He wanted to purchase the last Snoopy that I had made and the Woodstock who was supposed to go with the other standing Snoopy that I had made and brought for the show. Whether this Snoopy was officially mine or needed to go to a good home, when the idea of parting with him was on the line, he immediately became MINE and I really didn’t want to let him go. When the man asked me how much, I gave him a higher price than he probably needed. Now it wasn’t a preposterous price or anything, but one I thought was higher than I would get for a crocheted Snoopy. But what shocked me even more was when he said very simply “Sold” without even trying to bargain with me! What? My Snoopy! Not my Snoopy! What had I done! I could not part with a Snoopy! The husband took the money from the man and I placed the Snoopy and Woodstock in a bag for him. Tears started to well in my eyes and I could not believe that I had sold a Snoopy that I had made to a stranger. What on earth was I doing? Oddly enough, this man seemed to understand, but then what did I expect from a fellow Snoopy fan? He explained how excited he was with his purchase and that he was going to take them right home and place them on his desk, easing some of my separation anxiety. As he walked away, I could tell the Snoopy and Woodstock were going to a good home.

P1040374Over the years I have given away many of the amigurumi’s I have made, and I have never had any problems parting with them before. I guess this was because I knew who they were going to or I had made a specific item for a specific person. This was different though. I was selling my work for money and had no idea who was taking them or if they would be in a good home or not. But, after I watching the Snoopy and Woodstock leave, the selling of my other amigurumi’s became easier. In fact, I had to use a little salesmanship at some points during that night. “Hello there! You look like you need a penguin?” “Don’t pass by without seeing the dragon!” Some sales were easier though, as “I just MUST have that monster! It’s so CUTE!” came from one customer that stopped by. And away she went with a homemade monster amigurumi. And so it went on into the beautiful fall evening…

I have more to say about the art show, but I will stop here for now. Stay tuned for part 2 of this post!

Until next time, crochet forth and sell on!

To Live and Buy in LA

IMG_1659I Love LA!

The lights, the beaches, the entertainment, the movie stars, the glamor, the shopping! Oh yes the shopping!

Of course it was shopping in the fashion and garment district that in LA that I loved the most!

I recently journeyed to Los Angeles, CA to attend the 56th Annual Grammy Awards show and the Grammy’s Tribute to the Beatles show, and then the next day the husband took me to the LA Fashion/Garment district (LAFD) to do some fabric shopping. Wow! I was in heaven! Even with as many times that I have been to LA over the years, I just hadn’t previously made the time to go and see the downtown LA fashion district. I had done a little research before I went on where I wanted to go and what I wanted to see, so I had some idea of what I was in for, but it was still very overwhelming. The beautiful rolls of fur, satin, silk and lace that lined the streets in every direction for as far as the eye could see made my mouth drool and my head spin like a top. My creative mind swirled with idea after idea. I was ready to shop, ready to buy and ready to create something ASAP!

IMG_0002-1From my research I knew I wanted to go to Michael Levine’s, so I decided to start there. It was a fun store but it was a little disappointing to me from what I had heard about it. It was a nice fabric store and the prices were reasonable. You could find pretty much any sewing item you needed. But, for a bargain hunter/stash collector, this was not the place for me. So I next made my way across the street, and headed for Michael Levine’s Loft.

IMG_1715On my way to the Loft, I stopped at a shop that had $0.99/yd satins displayed outside. I needed some of these satins for some current projects that I was working on. And while I was purchasing several yards of several different pieces, I found a fabulous knit for the husband a shirt but I did not want to pay the $7/yd even though it was a big name designer fabric. The shop owner said he would go down to $6/yd and I’m sure I could have got him down to $5/yd, but I just could not pay that price for fabric to stash in the closet, so I past on this fabric and I am glad I did. Because in the LAFD you just never know what you might find if you look hard enough!

IMG_1722We made our way into the Loft, and I was in bargain paradise. All fabric at the Loft was in big card board boxes and you have to dumpster dive to see what there is. All the fabric in the Loft is sold by the pound for $2.50/lb. I dived right in to see what treasures I could find but after several boxes, I could see that the husband, although being a real trouper, was starting to waver, so I decided I was done. At least I thought I was until I just happened upon a scrap piece of the the $7/yd designer knit fabric from the other store.

Now the hunt was on!

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Even the husband got involved in the hunt at this point. After digging though several more boxes and finding a couple more scraps, and it was still not enough to make the husband a shirt, we decided to call it quits on the hunt. But as we started to leave, the husband spied the desired fabric in another box, and this was a big piece of more than 2 yards in length that would be enough for him a shirt. I ran and grabbed the scrap pieces, which were about 3/4 yd each, plus some snowman lace and some black satin lace for lining, and headed for the scales to check out. I now have a little over 3 lbs of fabric, about 7 yards in total for just $7.50! Or just slightly more than the price of 1 yard of the same fabric from the store down the street. I was so excited! Not only was I going to get a shirt for the husband, but I would still have plenty of scraps for all kinds of kid’s clothes, as well as the snowman lace and lining, which was so light that it was practically free!

IMG_1718After leaving the Loft we continued to make our way down the street, and as we did I touched so many different gorgeous fabrics along the way, especially fur in styles and colors I had never seen before. I had already purchased way more fabric than I needed, because I really didn’t need any, so I started to bemoan the storage of my purchases. Why had I picked up that snowman lace? What P1040004was I going to do with it besides have it live in a box?

But then the husband said, “Why don’t you put it over some velvet and make a Christmas dress for the little neighbor girl.” I don’t know if he had this brilliant idea before seeing the next store, or if the idea came to him beforehand, but the next store had some beautiful crushed velvet for $1.99/yd. I promptly purchased what they had left on a roll of black. This is going to be a beautiful Christmas dress for the little neighbor girl. I just need to get it made now, in between my other projects and before next Christmas rolls around.

IMG_1731At this point both I and the husband were getting tired, and the purchases that the husband was being a dear and carrying around seemed to be getting heavy. And even though we had only been on one street so far today, and only in a fraction of the many stores we had walked past, we were ready to call it quits, or at least that’s what I thought until I saw the next store with nothing but notions. As made our way across the street to go and see what the notion store had, we passed a shop selling fleece so of course I just had to stop there too.

Outside the fleece shop they were displaying all of the different sporting teams fleeces, so we stopped in really quick just to see what they had. The salesman told us it was $10/yd for the fleece. That was not a bad price for licensed prints. He then mentioned that inside, the fleeces, although not licensed prints, were $6/yd. That was a great price so I had to step in just to see. The entire wall was covered with rolls of fleece 4 and 5 rolls deep. There were so many different prints, dogs and baseballs and monkeys and princesses. I started to pick out everything that I wanted and then I stopped. $6/yd was a great price but was more than I wanted to pay for fabric just to live in the stash. Seeing that he was losing a sale, the salesman piped up that if I would purchase 20 yards of any print, he would sell it to me for just $2/yd.

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What?!? $2/yd?!? SOLD!

As I began to pick out all the different prints I wanted, I happened to glance over at the husband and saw a tear in his eye. He did not want to tell me no, but he was not sure how I was going to get 200 yards of fleece home or where in the stash 200 yards of fleece was going to live. And he was right. I really, really, really did not need any more fleece! I have barely sewn up any of the fleece that I already own and so I put the rolls of fleece back and we headed towards the notion store once again.

The notion store was great, full of thousands of buttons and threads and zippers and lace. I was very unprepared to shop at this store though. I have white zippers for sleepers but did I need pink or blue or yellow? I need separating zippers but what sizes and what colors? I use three buttons on every shirt I make for the husband but what color or size would I need next? What color of thread do I need for my next project? What is my next project? My head was still spinning and I was feeling faint. So, I purchased some various buttons in sizes and colors that I use often and we left.

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Finally totally exhausted we headed back to the car, but not without a stop for a world famous LA Bacon Dog on the way! If you haven’t ever had one, it’s a bacon wrapped hot dog with grilled peppers and onions usually cooked on a cookie sheet on top of a shopping cart scattered everywhere throughout LA’s downtown street corners.

In the end I had a wonderful first time shopping at LA’s garment district. And I plan to return there again some day soon. I can already hear the monkey fleece calling me back!

Let’s Make A Deal

Remember the old game show with Monty Hall called Let’s Make A Deal? I  loved that show! Remember how the contestants were offered either what was in the box, what was behind door number two, or what was in Monty’s pocket? That is how I felt the other day as I opened the three mystery boxes of fabric hidden in the bottom of the sewing room closet.

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When we moved into our current home, most of the fabric made its way from the sewing room into the spare bedroom closet except for three boxes that were tucked at the the bottom of the sewing room closet. These three boxes were quickly covered with everything else, patterns, fabric scraps, UFO’s, mending, ironing, and so on. At this point, they were more of a table in the closet than boxes of fabric. After the devastating trip to the stash a couple of months ago, I knew it was time to pull these three boxes out and see what surprises they held.

On the day of the opening of the boxes, I had to start by clearing off the boxes to get down to them. This proved to be a big job in itself. After I pulled the three boxes from the closet, I opened them one at a time, and found gorgeous pieces of fabric that I forgot I even owned. I piled all the fabric into neat stacks around the sewing room, and then the hard part started. I really did not want to just poke the fabric back into the boxes and the boxes back into the closet, so, I decided to part with some of the pieces. After much touching of fabric and debating its possible uses, I had one third, one box, of the fabric put in the donation pile.

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As I sorted through the remaining pieces of fabric to keep, I ran across 4 pieces that really caught my eye and I decided that they would not be returning to the boxes at all. Instead they would be sewn up next. There was one piece for me a shirt, one piece for the husband a shirt and two scrap pieces of fleece, enough to make a couple of kid’s sweatshirts. The remaining pieces were placed back in the two boxes and moved to the spare bedroom to be counted among the rest of the stash.

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Although I am missing the table they had made, I am loving the extra space in the sewing room closet. Plus I am excited to get sewing on the beautiful pieces of fabric that I had found hidden in the boxes.