Thursday, February 18, 2016

New fabric stash

Assembling and cutting PDF files seems to be the perfect night shift activity.  If  I knew more sewists close by, I could hire my services out for this.

going on at my house since I bought the serger.  And, no, I haven't actually sewn anything with the blasted thing yet. To be fair, I have been washing said fabric and assembling purchased PDF patterns, no small feat.  I've also been quilting on the periwinkle, pretty much some daily. I'm grateful for every time I fought to reduce bulk on that sucker, because it is indeed a bulky sucker and a challenge for using a ruler with.  It should improve my technique significantly, even though it may not actually show on this quilt!

One bumpy seamed sucker.  I made many pains to reduce bulk, but there are so many seams coming together in relatively small spaces.

I caught a great sale at Style Arc and purchased 6 or 7 patterns from them, and then went over and got one more from Hot Patterns.  Most of them required knit fabric, of which I only had a few in the stash.  Of COURSE I had to get more.

This is where the picture of the overflowing pile of new fabrics should be. Having prewashed any with cotton content and then folding them all neatly in an ugly cardboard box, I forgot.  So instead here's a shot of yet another delivery truck in my yard, braving the sideways rain that knocked panels off my neighbor's fence again. 60 degrees the day after surprise accumulation of 2" of snow.  I haven't got tired of winter this year, it keeps spinning off in different directions.

Fabric Mart was my first internet stop.  I've never bought from them before but have read their name on some great sewing blogs.  I purchased 4 lengths with specific projects in mind, then threw in a mystery "grab bag" of 6 yards of their choice.  I wasn't blown away with the package on arrival.  None of the 4 specifics were exactly what I had in mind. The best of the four was this mind-blowingly HUGE floral stretch twill.
I bought this on purpose!
I thought it was smaller (because who would use that huge of a print for what?) and when I hold it up and imagine it as tight capris I just have to laugh.  I've pondered making a jumper or jacket with it, but it still remains very very huge and quite colorful.  I may just have the chutzpah to carry it off though.  Drapery style from the 80's  squeezing up on my 5'11" 270 lb 50 something year old frame, going to walmart and then the slots.  I'd just have to remember to grin or scowl, and keep the lipstick fresh.

The knits I picked for the active/leisure wear seem somehow wrong weight/stretch, though they might work.  A ponte I picked for dress slacks has a ribbed appearance selvedge to selvedge that may look odd with the legs cut lengthwise grain.  The surprise bag had some pleasantly nice pieces, probably nothing that I would have personally picked but I think I'll use it all.  Quality of the whole lot appears to be quite good, and prices were excellent.  I'll just have to get better at internet buying fabric, a tricky business for an old sewer like me.  I use to spend hours in fabric stores, feeling, scrunching and stretching.

I then went to Mood online and purchased a lovely, appropriately grandma and (bland, safe, oh, what's that word for socially normal?) khaki stretch twill. It did take 10 days to get here, a little long in my opinion since I can actually DRIVE to the NYC metro bus station in 4 to 6 hours, depending on driver and conditions.  Shipping is cheaper, but one day I'm going to have to go in person. 

The lovely Fabricmart person who packed this stuff gave thought several times about color coordinating me. The indigo sheer in the back will have to work into some details with the knit print on the bottom.  There's enough for a scarf that could go with the tourist print.

Subtle shimmer, sweet lightweight knit. The classic tourist petting it.
The tiny mirrors throw off  multi color lights.
ANYWAY, I gave FabricMart another try.  This time they had the grab bags at buy one get one free.  12 yards for 10 bucks.  I know, if it sounds too good, etc etc.  But I didn't get any obvious garbage in the first bag, and there's always wearable muslins to be done.  It was only 10 darn dollars. Well.  I was thrilled!  There was some pretty good stuff in there!!!  Maybe I would never pick out that lacy tiny mirror embossed fluid knit stuff, but you know, it's really cool.  It will make an awesome dress, or part of one because 3 yards would be a smallish dress on my afore-described frame. Or a fabulous top, just not to wear with the billboard capri pants.  There was some very lovely slightly gold shimmery t-shirt knit, some bodacious bold cotton sateen print, a great sheer nylon net in a nice modern print that exactly complements the swimsuit fabric I purchased separately from the grab bags. Finally, a classy but kind of modern cotton plaid that is perfect for a summer shirt.  All  in very  useable lengths, thank you very much!

mustard colored lycra on bottom, chiffon-like sheer print happy on top

My fabric storage is filled, there is no room to store any of this. I need new clothes.  I guess I better start sewing!

Monday, February 1, 2016


to quilt the periwinkle, FINALLY.  Projects sure get paused at my house. I started out on the singer 15-91 because I had read on several reviews/forums/blogs that it was superior for free motion quilting to my 201-2 because the 15 has an oscillating bobbin.  The 201 has a drop in bobbin and the thread is more likely to drag they say.  I was playing with the straight ruler and the 15 would not play nice.  Then I tried just free motion and I couldn't get the groove going there either.  The feed dogs drop in both machines, but seem to drop further down in the 201 and I wonder if that was a contributing factor.  Even with dogs down and stitch length at zero there is still a little up down movement of the dogs on the 15. I wonder if I push my layers down enough for them to enter the hole and drag.  Or perhaps that machine would be happier with a darning foot that does not hop. I have one good one right now that I prefer to hop on the 201, so I'm not modifying it.  Besides, the 201 has more harp space and I like the sound of the motor more.  It does resist slightly for side to side quilt movement compared to forward and back, but I've learned to adjust my fabric manipulation for that. 
All that said, the going on the 201 was a little rough too.  I guess you should quilt every now and then if you want to be good at it.  I have two blocks that need the little hummingbird center quilting all ripped out to redo because I didn't play on practice blocks (imagine).  I figure I'll probably be 1/4 to 1/2 the way done before I really get a smoother consistent stitch size and better in the ditch and just better.  But it'll get done and  maybe I'll do another before a year is up.  I hope so, because I've still got that sampler quilt in the back of my brain and a box under the bed.
Speaking of ambition!  I saw a great sale at Style Arc for 30% all of their  downloadable patterns, one day only.  I bought 6.  Then ordered 2 more in paper.  I haven't sewn a real garment for me in many many years.  But I DID get that serger and need to break it in.  And I really need some new clothes, as I haven't bought much of anything the past few years, and nothing but underwear and socks for the past 18 months or so.  I COULD be motivated AND ambitious.  We'll see.
(UPDATE THE NEXT NIGHTSHIFT: I've just spent 2 1/2 hours combing fabricmart online for deals and will be awaiting a nice package of knits from them to start the garment sewing.  Exciting!)