A Celebration of Hand Sewing

When I see the phrase National Sewing Month, I wonder what sort of people buy into that.

For starters, Ronald Reagan is the president who brought it into existence in 1982, says the organization’s web site. That brings to mind the Genesis song “Land of Confusion” and the part-lyric, “Superman, where are you now?”

I go to the sewing web site and find that it costs $50 a year to be a member of the ASG (American Sewing Guild). And that the United States has a whole bunch of neighborhood chapters, even one in my little town, and the project they’re going to work on this month in my town is a pumpkin pin cushion.

The web site has a link you can click on that transports the viewer to a list of benefits one can obtain by becoming a member of the ASG. I feel that I already belong to way too many groups, but I wonder if I am recklessly disassociating myself from fellow sewing aficionadas by not joining?

This knitting project became a sewing project when I hand-sewed the knitted blocks together to form a Martin Storey Alphabet block baby blanket.

hand sewn knitted blanket

hand-sewn knitted blocks

I can really get into hand-sewing sometimes. Especially luscious Rowan felted tweed knitted blocks. It’s a sweet way of celebrating!

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Same-Old vs Something Different for National Sewing Month

I’m interested in knowing if any readers are beefing up their sewing agendas in honor of National Sewing Month. I know my friend Ethel has been busy making curtain tie backs. Check out this cute pair of scissors she brought with her to Knitting group last week:

scissors

Ethel’s scissors

So far, I’ve done several “same-old” projects for the sake of doing something, anything, for Sewing Month.

Besides the things I’ve already posted, I’ve also done a few others:

Jalie leotard

leotard Jalie 3354

baby blankets

flannel reversible receiving blankets

McCall's 4185 pattern

fleece quilt McCall’s 4185

I’ve made the fleece quilt so many times before I can’t even count them all. McCall’s pattern 4185 is now considered a “vintage pattern” and can be found on ebay and Etsy and such places. For me, a remnant hoarder enthusiast, it’s the ideal thing for using up smaller pieces of fleece that one has bought 50% off regular price, in the remnant rack at the local fabric shop. This time, I used 3 different Curious George fleece remnants, plus a couple of non-printed remnants in contrasting colors red and blue.

fabric

remnant repository

I hesitate to show the part of my sewing room that houses some of my remnants, as viewers might be offended by such excess, but there it is. I also had plenty of fleece binding in either red or yellow, purchased on clearance.

fleece binding

fleece binding

Good thing I had those extra remnants of binding, because I needed just a few more inches and a little extra length saved me from opening a brand new package.

fleece binding

yikes! need just a few more inches of binding

fleece quilt

finished Curious George fleece quilt

Here’s an excerpt of the conversation I had with my DH this morning in honor of National Sewing Month:

Me: I’m so excited about the project I made with those Curious George Remnants!
DH: Oh, you finally opened up the barrel and found them in there?
Me: Yeah, I think I hurt my elbow trying to reach them!
DH: You might be able to sell that as a Vintage Quilt. That fabric must be as old as that monkey.
Me (cracking up laughing)
DH: So what are you going to make this afternoon?
Me: During The Bloodlettin’?
DH: Yes. During the Gator game when we play Alabama…it’s probably going to be a slaughter…
Me: I thought I would try to do something new…

Meshing Around for National Sewing Month

Part 3 of the swim set, the mesh cover-up.

bathing suit cover up

mesh coverup for bathing suit

Er, I didn’t use a remnant fabric here, but I did buy it from a fabric.com clearance-sale at a very cut-rate price a few years back. So it’s been waiting patiently in my stash (AKA the island of misfit fabrics) for rebirth as a project.

I got the idea for a cover-up from the Summer 2014 issue of Burdastyle US magazine. This article is a cross between two patterns I saw in that issue:

Burda 2014

Slam Dunk, #127

and
Burda pattern

Catching Waves, #130B

As I wrote in the previous post, I deliberately added a blue contrast stretch fabric to the Jalie silver skirtini, because I knew I wanted to use this blue and white mesh, and I thought the silver, blue and white would look good together.

If you’ve done much sewing from Burdastyle magazines, you know that you’re going to have to start out tracing the pattern pieces from one or more of the inserts.

Burdastyle magazine pattern inserts

tracing the pattern

You may go ahead and skip the following rant if you want to.

Burdastyle, the UK edition, is issued every month. Included are inserts for ALL the patterns you see in the mag. I once subscribed to this edition, and I thought it was incredibly awesome, except for the huge cost, probably due to postage. Burdastyle, the US edition, just became available last year, and I was so excited! Until I discovered that only part of the patterns are included in the magazine. The others, you’re going to have to download, for a small fee each (about $5), from a web site, and print them off on your own printer, using your very own printer ink and paper—lots and lots of paper, that you have to tape together, and then trace the size you want. I looked on the web site’s forum and saw that some patrons were also complaining that some of the US magazine’s patterns are not brand new cutting edge fashions, they are re-hashes from prior magazines. Rip off!

So I see the “Catching Waves” cover-up and it looks cool, but I’ll need to download the pattern if I want to make it. Instead, I use the pattern for “Slam Dunk” which is included in the magazine, and is pretty similar. Wait a minute, is this whole scenario just a test to see if we are gullible enough to pay more money and use our own printers, when we could alter slightly the pattern we already paid for and have a similar finished product? Does this company think its American audience is stoopid?

Anyway, I ran into another snag: both patterns call for the notion “lycra binding,” in a 1.5 cm width. I was not able to find lycra binding in the local big-box sewing supply stores. I could barely find it online, finally locating some (20 mm wide) at the UK site MinervaCrafts. But did I really want to fork over the equivalent of about $30 for a couple of meters of it, and wait several weeks for it to arrive in the mailbox? No, so I instead bought some Dritz 5/8″ fold-over elastic at JoAnn’s. It looks pretty good. I used almost all of three 1-yard packages at $2.99 apiece. Shockingly expensive, for me! I may break down and order some lycra binding tape from a Ft. Lauderdale Etsy shop, wildnsweet. But it costs $4.50/yd from that site, not including shipping and handling. 😦

One good thing: I used my serger to cover-stitch the hem and it didn’t screw up at all! That’s a first!

And I should tell you that I use a designated “stretch” needle for sewing lycra/spandex fabrics, and I don’t have any trouble with skipping, like I have with other types of needles. I like to start in the middle of the seam, then sew to the end, then turn the piece around and start at the middle and go to the other end. This bypasses the machine’s tendency to mash the beginning part of the seam down into the throat plate. I’ve seen other sewists allow for this by inserting a little square of fabric to start sewing before the seam, and then cutting off the sewn-on square.

hem

cover-stitched hem and elastic-bound side slits

Happy National Sewing Month!

Sewing a Silver Swim Set

Just a quickie post to show part 2 of the triple swim set. Yesterday was the tankini top. Today, the southern part, changing it to a skirtini.

Skirtini

Skirtini

I made the top from Jalie 2447 Choice of Tankinis, view B (the full-figured version). The bottom I made as a combination of 2447, the full-figured view, and Jalie 3023, Skirtini. I added a pattern piece, a wide waistband with a hidden panel of power mesh (remnant, naturally) that was a variation of the high-waisted tankini bottom in 2447, so that it could have the play of contrasting colors and feminine, flirty skirt as in pattern 3023.

power mesh remnant

power mesh remnant

My plan to pair the silver remnant with the dark blue will pave the way for part #3 of the ensemble, which I hope to work on tomorrow, the mesh cover-up.

remnant sewing

throw some mesh into the mix

Are you participating in any festivities for National Sewing Month?

Fashion and you

National Sewing Month. 😎

Designer….sewing….clothes…music

As I post this, I’m watching Fashion Rocks on CBS, a new concept: watch famous recording artists perform on TV and go to Macy’s web site and order the outfits you see the performers parading around wearing.

Money…glitz….moving….looks

Leather….lights…screaming!…fashion

some of it is absolutely embare-rassing

You and I can be a player in our own little microcosm…that lil ol’ fashion designer, sewist, shower-chanteuse, and rescuer of fabric from the landfill…here I am/we are!

Here’s my latest sewn thing–part of a triple piece swim set;

jalie tankini top

Jalie tankini top

Featuring a little remnant of silver stretch spandex.

I should also mention that using a special “stretch” needle is the way to go when sewing lycra-spandex. I’ve had better results than when using a “ball-point” needle.

Jalie tankini pattern

the Jalie Pattern for the top

Here’s a pic of my fashion-forward great grandparents in their tankini’s.

great-grandparents

Great-grandparents

What have you saved from the landfill lately?

Another National Sewing Month Bites the Dust

National Sewing Month, where hast thou gone?

Today is September 30th, the last day of National Sewing Month, but I don’t have a tribute. It passed me by. I have no triumph to present, no crafty coup of which to boast. I blew it.

ain't no Superman when it comes to sewing: at Metropolis, IL

ain’t no Superman when it comes to sewing: at Metropolis, IL

Sew Mama Sew wasn’t a slacker; that blog had a Super Online Community Match, which I began but didn’t get very far. I got some of the materials to make the first challenge, an A-line skirt, but it is still uncut and unsewn.

NationalSewingMonth.org had a contest, for which today is the deadline to enter. I blew that, too. The focus of this year’s contest was to Take Your Skills to a Higher Level. I have a tendency to stick to the basics, mostly. The items that I did manage to sew this month were pretty stock, pretty standard in my limited repertoire: 3 shopping bags, 2 1/2 nap-time pads, 2 baby blankets, 2 fleece blankets, replaced a missing button, and hemmed a pair of suit pants. Seems ignominious in the light of the 1982 proclamation by the President of the United States that

“Tens of millions of Americans sew at home. Their efforts demonstrate the industry, the skill and the self-reliance which are so characteristic of this Nation.”

On the Holiday Insights web site, the month of September, and various days within the month, are the subject of lots of bizarre and memorable holiday celebrations (but Sewing Month is not on their list.) Today is also the last day of Chicken Month, National Blueberry Popsicle Month, and Better Breakfast Month. Did you realize today is actually National Mud Pack Day? You still have time to tie one on!

So as the last day of the glorious Sewing Month fades into midnight, I reflect on my own mediocre achievements, wondering if the effort is truly worth it. Of course, I hope that the recipients of my projects will be touched and pleased. But I fear that I miss the mark, and they would much prefer cash or gift card to exercise their own hunting and gathering prowess. The world today is so, so full of anything and everything a heart could desire. One need no longer “make it do, or do without” but may choose good, better, or best in any venue.

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