Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Waist Stays and Weddings

Two weeks ago, I had the great fun of traveling up to Chicago to see one of my close friends get married! Her elegant and classic taste had me scrambling for the perfect dress to wear to the occasion. Good news: the dress was already in my closet. Bad news: it was strapless...and I can't keep up strapless dresses. I blame it on my long waist.

As the day approached, I found myself web searching for the best method of making a strapless stay put. I hear tape. I heard rubber glue. I heard (in my own head) the sigh of frustration as I hiked my taped and glued dress up for the umpteenth time. And then I heard waist stay and extended boning.

Don't get me wrong; I am a supporter of bandaids. But when it comes to an option that might suffice or one that will ultimately solve the problem, I vote problem solver! By extending the boning and adding a waist stay (a loop of ribbon that hooks around the narrowest part of your waist and is sewn to the bottom of the boning), I could allow the dress to sit on my waist, simultaneously eliminating slippage and taking strain off of the zipper. I followed Jenna's tutorial and voilĂ ! The dress could withstanding jumping and dancing and raising of arms! Even raising my arms above my head while I jumped and danced!! Problem solved.

I did make three edits to the tutorial:

1. Minimize the Hand Sewing:
Instead of hand-sewing my hooks and eyes, I opted for a bra mending kit that provided me with two size options and no hand-sewing.

2. Flatten that boning.
Following Tasia's instruction on Sewaholic, I soaked my boning in boiling water for ten minutes to allow the plastic to relax from its curled state and then pressed the pieces under a book for another ten minutes to ensure flatness.

3. Keep the anti-slip from slipping.
Somehow the boning I purchased had "anti-slip" cords wrapped around the plastic boning. When I removed the boning from the fabric casing, I had trouble getting the cords to not slip and unravel. Worse, as I fed the boning into the channels of my gown, the cords would bunch up.  My simplest solution was to dab a little elmer's glue on the ends to hold it in place, and that worked like a charm.

It's that easy. (And bear in mind that I am not a clothes sewist.) If you have a structured dress you absolutely love that simply doesn't stay up, I would encourage you to try this! It took me one Saturday morning, and now I have a go-to favorite dress that I feel comfortable wearing to swish away the night. Absolute win.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Beginner Quilting Class Next Week

A short week from today, I will be teaching my first quilting class at the lovely gift shop and co-working space Gather downtown Cary, NC. If you have a yen to quilt but feel intimidated by the many steps, this is the class for you!

Dive into modern quilting, and join us for a fun evening of sewing. A beginner class, we will specifically explore flying geese—the building block of many a quilt pattern—as we piece a mini wall quilt or potholder from starting design to final binding stitch. This hands-on experience is sure to introduce you to every step of the quilting process and prepare you to embark on quilting adventures of your own.

If you're interested in signing up, register on the Gather website. I can't wait to meet you!

I've spent quite some time prepping for the class. From brainstorming project ideas to trying some out on my boyfriend to gauge class length time with a true beginner ;) it has been a blast. This past week was spent building a removable "Learn to Sew Flying Geese with No Waste" poster board that I'm pretty pumped about. I even consulted with my boyfriend's mother about what is the icing on the cake for a quilting class. The answer? Background music, snacks, and potentially some take home kits to practice again for yourself. I am a teensy bit nervous but mostly just unbelievably excited to get to share this skill with new quilter converts.

How many of you have taken a quilting or sewing class in person? What were parts that still remember today—the good and the bad? What is the icing on your porverbial quilting class cake?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Wiksten Tank and a Broken Pedal

It has been exactly fifty-one weeks, since I purchased this fabric and pattern from Sew to Speak on my roadtrip down to Raleigh, and it is finished at last! After whipping up a muslin to test the pattern about a month ago, I was pretty happy with the fit and pumped to do the real thing. With my boyfriend in town for a couple weeks, sewing progress slowed significantly, but I pulled him along to sewing night with me, and I knocked out the cutting, pockets, and French seams while he pieced three blocks for a charity quilt. That's my man :) 

Poised to stitch in the bias tape binding, I realized just how much my machine needs a little TLC. The foot has been going out for awhile, but it had reached the point where there was no slow and no medium speed. Just FAST. Imagine: push your foot down no motion, push your foot down no motion, just a little further no motion, then WHOOSH, OFF WE GO. The delicate striped fabric couldn't really handle such yanks, so I decided last Friday that it was finally time to bring the old Bernina into the shop.

The friendly man informed me that it might not be my foot but my machine, and that I would have to leave the whole kit and kaboodle there. I was heartbroken.

Well, heartbroken might be a slight exaggeration, but when he told me I needed to leave my machine and not just the foot (I have another foot, so I assumed I'd be able to keep sewing even with the one foot in the shop), my distressed response was emotive enough to turn heads in the shop. He wheeled my Bernina into the back room, and when I asked for the fourth or fifth time, if I had to leave the machine as well as the foot, he asked me why I didn't want to leave it. Simple, right? I wanted to sew that weekend!

Lights dancing in his eyes, he chuckled a little and said that I could simply borrow a machine from the shop. Free of charge. !!! He sent me home with a Bernina 350, the new new improved version of my machine! Trading up for the weekend. It was like butter sewing the bias tape binding. I followed Grainline Studio's tutorial for getting flat bias tape necklines, and of course forgot a step on the neckline that I remembered for the arm holes, but I don't care. It is finished.

All stories aside, I think it's important to remember, that no matter how polished someone's blog looks, everyone forgets steps, messes up, procrastinates fixing things, accidentally draws stares in the fabric store, and gets a bit of a grainy photo here and there. You're in good company.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Wiksten Muslin amidst Summer Adventures

My my, it's been much too long since I've been here. Life can get away from you like that sometimes, can't it? Well, I haven't been busy sewing, but since the summer quilting break was for enjoying life, I think I can consider it a successful July. 

I finished the muslin for my Wiksten tank with Olivia Pope and company battling away beside me. Our government may be a little more corrupt than I gave it credit for, but the tank fits better than I expected! (If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out the TV show Scandal. And yes, I know it's fiction, but it does make you lose a little faith in humanity and the President.) The Wiksten is pleasantly long and has a good neckline and strap width. I only thought it needed two alterations:

1. I took it in about a half inch at the natural waist on both sides.
2. I look forward to a more draped fit with the double gauze.
3. Okay, it might need to be taken in slightly at the back of the neck, but the double gauze could solve that as well.

I've already started sewing it up with the real fabric, and holy cow. Sewing with good quality fabric is dreamy. I have informed my boyfriend that we will be stopping at Sew to Speak on our roadtrip through Ohio to see if they have more lovely light-weight cottons to stitch up. I can't promise that I will be back here sooner than this last gap, but I will have a finished Wiksten Tank and some sand in between my toes. Back soon!

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Lotta Napkins and Yogurt Pops

Every time I go into Joann for velcro or canvases or cheap fabric for pattern testing, I'm drawn to the Lotta Jansdotter and Cloud 9 fabrics there. Problem is: these days I just don't really sew with prints, and if I do, they're my own designs. This has been an unimaginably good way to stop me from buying fabric.

That said, I've also been wanting cloth napkins for quite some time. Bonnie teaches cloth napkins to the new sewists in our Wednesday night sewing group, and I've been itching to try. Up until now, quilting projects abounded, but what better time than a quilting hiatus to whip some up. And what better time to buy some Lotta fabric than with a 60% off coupon and a very specific project! Hello, no better time than the present, is what I'm sayin.'

I waited in the dreadful cutting table line (are all Joann's somewhat poorly managed?) and waited some more in that since-you-have-to-stand-here-look-at-some-crappy-things-that-only-cost-a-dollar line and at last, the Lotta was mine. Two hours of pressing seam allowances, marking out mitered corners, greek yogurt pops, and way to much chatting and giggling to make quick headway later (don't you love the good problems to have), here I have them: four cloth napkins!

And where better to sneak pictures than the cute old Ford truck bed parked outside my apartment?

Gosh I love projects that you can finish in one sitting.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Stone + Bloom : New Mini Quilt Collection

The new quilt collection is finally in the shop! These mini quilts are the perfect gift in all their crisp geometric organic goodness. Each quilt has been hand-printed with a bold and crisp design before being carefully free-motion and straight-line quilted. The quilt is bound with mitered facing and affixed to a 10"x10" stretched canvas with velcro. The canvas allows for simple hanging as well as a flattering shadow to highlight the piece. A shadow box can also be used to give the quilt added emphasis and dimension. Although the shadow box does not come with the quilt, it can be easily purchased from IKEA or your local frame shop.

These quilts are the perfect size to grace an office or a small wall in the home or at work. They make lovely gifts for that special teacher at the end of the year or to show a family member or friend how much they mean to you. From Mother's Day to weddings to house warming gifts, this modern and handmade treasure will brighten any room and express your love and appreciation.

What do you think? Where would you put it? Who would you give one to?

framed modern red printed quilt, crisp and gorgeous | by Lovely and Enough

modern red printed quilt with free motion and straight line quilting, crisp and gorgeous | by Lovely and Enough

modern mint printed ohio star quilt: crisp, subtle, and gorgeous | by Lovely and Enough

modern mint printed quilt with free motion and straight line quilting: crisp, subtle, and gorgeous | by Lovely and Enough

modern evergreen printed ohio star quilt: crisp and gorgeous | by Lovely and Enough

modern evergreen printed ohio star quilt with trellis and free motion quilting: crisp and gorgeous | by Lovely and Enough

modern cornflower printed ohio star quilt : crisp and gorgeous | by Lovely and Enough

modern cornflower printed ohio star quilt with straight line and free motion quilting : crisp and gorgeous | by Lovely and Enough

Follow the process here; from the first idea to the piecing to the printing.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Wiksten Begins

preparations for beginning the wiksten tank with grey double gauze | Lovely and Enough

As the first project to kick off my quilting recess, I'm finally going to start the Wiksten Tank! I picked up the pattern from the lovely little shop Sew to Speak in Ohio on my roadtrip down to North Carolina last August along with some lovely double gauze. Unfortunately quilting has been stopping me from starting. No longer!

I can't wait to begin, and I imagine I might be wearing the top quite a bit with this hot summer we're having! Any tips for a sewist who hasn't tackled clothes in quite some time?

the popular wiksten tank pattern | Lovely and Enough

lovely neutral double gauze for a sewing project | Lovely and Enough

the popular wiksten tank pattern | Lovely and Enough

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