Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Christmas in July?!

Every year I decide that I'm going to start Christmas earlier and earlier to meet the demands of my family, despite my views on the whole thing. Well this year I started two weeks ago. Ornaments are well underway on my embroidery machine, embroidered gift bags are being sewn together, and garlands and lace are tossed out on the floor. It’s a bit of a mess down here; I've been forced to keep most of the mess contained to my bedroom due to the bathroom being gutted. I probably have close to 100 meters of organza in a laundry basket for these ornaments, it squishes nice and you really wouldn’t' believe its 100 meters. Its enough to do 1000 big ornaments, I'm giving sets of 15 to friends, family and co-workers, and there’s enough left over afterwards to sell. Things will slow down this week as I figure out my agenda and how long certain things take to make, and I'm running out of WSS.

For Christmas, for the bulk of the gifts they're getting, 15 ornaments, a jar of home made vanilla (to be started in mid august), and some folding reusable shopping bags; most places here are charging for bags.

On top of this are the gifts for my immediate family and friends. My sister is getting her wolf quilt, my boyfriend is getting some dress shirts, and my best friend, hopefully is getting her NBC quilt. I'm not to sure on what to do for my parents yet.

I'm glad I'm starting now as I’ve also got two small crib quilts for my cousin’s baby and a bunch of receiving blankets for her. It gets rid of a bunch of flannel just hanging around from years ago that I bought just because they were cute.

I'm trying to sew/paint for 5-8 hours a day where permitted (work has some funny shifts), as it’s the only way to get stuff done, and with deadlines approaching, I have to get more motivated than I have been. I've brought home over 200 meters of bargain centre fabric from work in the past two weeks, most of it organza’s for my ornaments (organza is so useless to me during the rest of the year I never keep it around), a bunch of brushed twill for winter pants, tonnes of taffeta for bag linings, some cotton voiles for dresses, nice stripped shirting for boyfriend’s shirts, wool coatings, and a bunch of drapey materials for skirts. All of it just being tossed into the bargain centre because of inventory. I love it, great materials at an insane price.

I'm STILL working on my portfolio, I have about 6 weeks-8 weeks to get it finished, then physically drive it in to Calgary for review. Deadline is October 1st. My goal is to get a bunch of this Christmas stuff done this week, cleaned up enough or organized to be pulled back out at a later date, and then pull out all my paints once again. I can paint in my room while my embroidery machine is running; acrylics are less messy than pastels so it should all work out in the end.

Today I'm planning on finishing some quick skirts up from fabric I bought in the bargain centre this weekend. McCall’s patterns: 5431, 5056, 4783. I've made all of these patterns many times and they take about 1 to1.5 hours each. I'm also going to cut out McCall’s 6084, its a fast cardigan pattern, I might not get to it today, but Thursday for sure and Butterick4520, again its a fast pattern, but I’m opting for a satin type material so it will take about 2-2.5 hours. I'm also itching to cut out Simplicity 2774 in view E. I'm more confident with knits know and I think i can tackle this one. I won’t be able to touch this one until Friday morning however, but if it’s cut out I can just hit the machine first thing. I also cut out a vintage (early 70's) Simplicity knit dress. Next week my hours at work go back to normal and sewing up some very quick knit tops will be added to the list.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Vogue Dress 8489

Carbon copy from Pattern Review; will change later.

Pattern Description:
MISSES' DRESS: Mid-knee or mid-calf dress with fitted bodice, has self-faced neck band and midriff, sleeve variations and center back zipper. A: contrast neck band and midriff. D: contrast neck band, sleeve bands and midriff. I made view A.
Pattern Sizing: B5(8-10-12-14-16), GG(18-20-22-24) I cut a size 10 and sewed between the 8/10. Always cut the larger size and adjust from there.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were relatively easy to follow, there are a few sections were it was easier to view the picture or disregard the instructions completely. These sections were in regards to the contrasting areas of the midriff and neckline.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The zipper. It's a knit dress. As I mentioned there were a few chunks of the instructions I didn't like as well. If you are a busty person or have larger shoulders I would defiantly use the zipper, I did not, have no bust and am very petite. The dress slides over my head with no problems.
Fabric Used: A polyester blend jersey from Fabricland. The fabric was purchased after I bought some really 80's inspired shoes in teal and magenta. This leopard print in teal was MADE for those shoes.
Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Omitted the zipper. Because the waistband and neckline ARE interfaced if you are anything over an A cup you may want to put the zipper in. Omitting the zipper made sewing the back a lot easier, less seams to play with.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I'm definitely sewing this dress again. It fits so well. Because of the zipper placement in the dress if I sewed a true size 10 instead of a hack between an 8/10 I might be able to get away with it in a chiffon or a matte jersey that has less or no stretch than the 4-way I used. Knowing me I'm stubborn enough to try it at least once.
Conclusion: I love this dress, it matches my shoes so well and it's a fun dress to wear to work or out for dinner. It's a modern dress with some flair. I'm making it again and very soon.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Embroidery, Updates, Mayhem and More

I have no word processor on this computer at the moment, so spelling and gramer mistakes will be rampent and things will be mostly point-form style again.

Somehow more fabric has been coming home with me lately. In the past few days I have totalled 60.85 metres of fabric, quilting cottons on extreme discounts and some canvas' for bags and totes. To date I have brought home 211.90 metres of fabric and none of it seems to be leaving the house. I've failed on my one resolution I beleive. I havent' been sewing too much, trying to get more artistic projects finished and into my portfolio. I am in dire need of work clothing and some nice summer dress' and skirts. After Sunday I get another 3 days to work on some projects and hopefully finish some.

I have a total of 11 embroidery designs stitched out and ready for bags, just need to finish putting them all together. Once finished I will be selling them to recoup some of my costs. Bags will cost about $30 CAD. I have a box of 112 colours coming from ontario's Designs by Sick to enhance my embroidering. I'm runing out of stitch patterns to use as i lack some pretty key colours.

I have come up with an idea that may help more with my portfolio. Aside from making embroidery designs I'm in serious need of more peices to include for entrance to ACAD. "Quilting art" if the first one works out may be the answer to a few of my troubles. For starters it uses up some of my exponentially growing stash. I swear the fabric breeds if left long enough. The problem though is the projects are large and often quite messy if I bust out the fabric dyes, stencils, paints, yarn and other embelishments. Solution: Pray for very very nice warm weather.

As for acutally painting, i have started a few but am not capable of leaving things out to dry or set due to the lack of space. At "Powerama" I took quite a few new shots of the cars and have been wanting to paint them but have had to look for other sourses of creativity to fill my portfolo. I do require a lot of traditional peices and can't keep this up. I need 12 more peices before October 1, 2010. Taking into account that I am required to physically drop my portfolio off it gives me 20 weeks to finish 12 peices. 1 Traditional is half way finished, a pastel painting. I still need some acutal acrylics and watercolours. 2 quilting art peices are planned, both lap quilt sized for sanity's sake. I have 1 solid entry with my AMCA logo design/stitch pattern. This still leaves me with 9 or 10 peices to compleate.

Aside from the 2 art quilts planned I have 3 traditional ones planned. Two baby quilts for my cousin in California and one for my sister. The quilt for my sister is cut out and ready to go and once finished (full queen sized) will eliminate 10-12 metres of fabric from my stash.

In other news i've lost my camera charger. I'm borrowing my fathers camera for now to keep taking photos of the designs i'm doing and the final products. I have no clue where it went to but I really do need to find it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Extra Time and Easily Side Tracked: a very brief update as to what’s being going on since December.

1. Working with the Juki, having a few troubles with the threading of the machine, twists, and poor button holes. Will be working with it over the next few weeks on simple projects and scrap to work out the kinks and bugs as well as practice. Sews through heavy denims, cords, canvas, tarping and more. Seems to have a few troubles with lighter weight materials such as quilting cottons.
2. Wardrobe completions: Working towards adding new clothing to my boring wardrobe, many new skirts especially Marfy will find their way into my closet. UFO’s are a major target and several items have been finished.
3. Working with Knits. Pulled out the old Babylock serger to work with knits during the Olympics. Still need practice but knits are no longer as scary as they once were, several knit tops and dresses are among the new wardrobe projects for summer.
4. Quilting: Have completed the top portion to a baby quilt started in December, it is the second quilt I have ever made and will soon be the first to free motion on either the Juki or Jenome. Two quilts are in the immediate future one for my sister which needs to be completed for May 15th, it is a full queen size, second is another UFO from 2 years ago for my nephew.
5. Embroidery projects: I have started designing my own embroidery. These take a great deal of time and are of great use to my ACAD portfolio. I plan on doing a lot of embroidery over the next few months and aim to try and squish in some supplemental income through small items like embroidered tote bags. I will post images of the first design digitized as well as the smaller projects associated with it.
6. Painting: I’ve acquired a vast number of “Pan Pastels” over the past few months and have prepped canvas ready for the acrylics, with the summer now here its time to go outside and paint. My room has been shifted around and may soon accommodate a drafting/drawing table so that the computer doesn’t get torn down every time I wish to use pastels or paint. I have over 60 gesso’d canvas’ and have been brushing up on my colour theory and watercolour techniques.