Monday, October 24, 2011

DREAMING OF FABRICS

I admire Genine's blog. Absolutely brilliant and creative person. When I read that she will have a line of fabrics by cloud9fabrics, I knew I have to get them.  There was a time I bought so many fabrics from etsy, shipping them all the way from the US. That was the start of my sewing journey and my endless frustration of good and beautiful complementing cotton designs here.  Buying them online and shipping them from the USA is still way cheaper than buying locally.  So, I had a huge stash of FQ and 1 meters of wonderful fabrics, thankfully, nothing got lost in the post. That was way back when I did craft sewing and had a paypal account. Such buying was addictive but not good for the pocket. Therefore, to stop the buying, I cancelled the paypal account. No more buying of fabrics from US. However, the frustration for beautiful fabrics locally continues...but it's okay because at the rate I sew, I can never outsew the stash.

When I read about Genine's new line. I know this is it. Time to re-connect with paypal again - soon. That is no good, but I am waiting impatiently for these to be on sale early next year.


I am in love with those 2 birds design.  When the time is here and ready, I will order lots of them and I do know that they will cost a lot, but one has to get what one needs. That black fabric with birds is my favourite and I have so many thing running through my head to make with it.

Photos arent mine, pop over to Cloud9 for their best selection ever.


Till then...paypal and credit card is safe..for now.

Monday, October 17, 2011

MOOD BOARD and in love with WHITE, AQUA and RED

I have a medium sized sewing room, and I assume everyone has a sewing / craft room, or at least a sewing space.

I have been obsessed with white and aqua.  About 2 years ago, I painted my whole room white with an earthy feature wall. That was before sewing and crafting.

Ever since I started sewing, I wanted to re-paint my feature wall aqua, and maintain everything else white.  I bought every furniture in white. Changed my ikea table legs from iron to white boxes-legs, best ever, because then I can put more stuff inside and be organised.

This picture is not mine, it belongs to the very talented Alicia Paulson. I love that whole aqua thing-y, love the lanterns (gave me more ideas) and most of all, I love that it opens up to a garden. I live in a corner lot with land and one day, wish I can renovate and have my sewing room facing the garden and fish pond.

Somehow, in many craft rooms, aqua and red are a great combination.



This is one of 2 mood or inspiration board - both white, with this one much smaller.  Here's a corner of that white board.




BUT, aqua dream aside, I also love red.  So,  when I came across these red  gift wrappers in Chinese motifs, one(left) is dedicated for Chinese weddings and the right one is just floral but somehow matches the wedding theme.  So, this is what I am staring at every time I look up from my sewing machine.



White furniture make-over is almost over...except the black glass floral table top I have from Ikea, just too pretty to throw away...but soon, that's making way for a proper white top.  Can't wait to re-paint the wall aqua.

OWL TAPE and SEWING


One of the largest bookstore cum cruise ship, Logos Hope was in town, so we hopped on board. Its not often we get on board a cruise ship, so the family was there. Grabbing lots of books at very reasonable pricing.  There were some books on sewing but mainly beginners, so I didn't buy any.



I did buy this cute owl-tape-pin cushion.




I sew a cover for my vintage sewing machine, Singer brand, aged more than 40 years old, still working very well and inherited from my mom.  I used the same material from the earlier machine cover. On the reverse, I had the light blue with small strawberries fabric..always a favorite choice of mine.





I wondered for the longest time whether I should keep the vintage machine, considering the sewing room I have and wanting to have a proper cutting table. Then I bought this mini sewing board from Ikea - love it! - on when put on top of my good old vintage machine, it was the perfect height. Without fail, having a sewing board is extremely handy, and to think that for the longest time I sew without ironing just because I was too lazy to climb up to our first floor where the iron was placed.



Finally, I managed to sew a dress for my teen daughter from this vintage pattern. Having 2 girls at home means also a lot of pink fabric and as usual, I do wish I have more time to sew for them. It was very easy and I had to tweak the darts at the bust and it fitted them very well. So, I cut up a 2 more fabrics for more weekend sewing.



Just a few stitches away from completing this dress, the sewing machine stopped. Obviously, not working and going nowhere, I sent it back for service.  After a couple of hours of waiting and it was ready. No fun waiting but no choice either.  The good part was I bought another foot, the walking foot which was good for quilting and sewing thick layers. I've got a pattern churning in my head for a quilt and once I am done with all the dresses and a another long list of 'to sew', I'll try the quilt...which may take a long time!  So, I guess, that's the good part, buying that extra feet, plus, back home after service, the machine is whirring away like new! The repairman reminded for annual service.

So, it shall be a very busy weekend...dresses, skirts (done!), blouses, bags for the kids.....never ending.  I need more time :)





Monday, October 3, 2011

ROTARY CUTTERS, TAILOR DUMMY


I am all for accessories.  I got my healing mat, wide ruler and rotary cutter a year ago while into making bags and pencil cases for the children.  For anyone doing quilting, these are a must as it gives precision and makes our cutting/sewing life so much easier. That said, I hardly use them at all, havent sewn a quilt yet and there seem to be so many things that I want to do but dont have enough time to do them.



Bought my second rotary cum pinking cutter online from Singapore.  It's quite frustrating to note that sewing supplies are not easily available and when they are, it's expensive.  Even buying from Singapore and having them flew in is cheaper for now. Pinking cutter is great for those who does not have a serger - like me - and I pink my cotton most of the time on areas like armholes and necklines.  They do fray over time though. Again, this is hardly used.




A weekend shopping trip to a mall nearby and I found a thrift shop. A good one where there were loads of interesting things to buy - interesting and usable, not just cheap rubbish stuff nobody wants. So, I got this mini cutter for RM5 or USD1.60.  Thought I will use it to cut bias tapes, etc. Since its so cheap, I will buy a few more the next round. No refill though, just simply throw away and buy a new one.




Cutting by the layers seems to be a breeze..it's easily ten layers here, though I am not sure if I am supposed to cut so many at one time. I have this lovely pink batik which I wanted to make something, not sure what yet. The wide ruler and healing mat with lines makes measuring so easy.





Done in a jiffy! The entire stack here finished in less than half hour. If by hand, that will take a long time!




Meanwhile, I sew a 'necklace' for Sopie - tailor's dummy! She had these pins all over her and for the longest time, I didn't like the sight of needles everywhere.  I am not really happy with the result, so I will make another one this weekend.  Talking about this dummy, I find that I hardly use her....so I just might want to sell her off or just keep her in my sewing room. I find it such a pity to let go of her after taking such a long time to find and buy her, but still....space is precious in my sewing room.


Happy sewing.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

SEWING FEET

I had been thinking about adding new accessories to my current ones. My machine came with these feet, all 7 of them. I must admit when I bought the sewing machine a year ago and with little experience in sewing, except sewing with a 40 years old Singer machine, I didnt know much about these feet. It took some time, trial and error to figure out the feet. Luckily for this machine, it came with 135 different sewing style and each style indicate a specific feet to use.





Now, wanting to explore more on the feet and feeling a bit more adventureous, I contacted the machine company and got their contact. I went over to their office and they gave me the brochures and I was do delighted to find that there were so many varieties of feet available....maybe its only me.  So, I ticked a few feet off their brochures to buy but they only had 2 available and I bought them anyway.  Here are 2 new ones, plus an invisible feet I bought not long ago.I do love that picot foot on the right.


Here's the picot feet sewing, great for sewing ruflles as decor or even sewing up the hem on lining.


The middle feet, which was a pintuck took a little more time to figure out despite its detailed instruction.  I was wondering how to put the additional thread spool since it require a twin needle but luckily found out somehow. Finally got to use the twin needle.


Here's the result. Row of neat pintucks and very easy to use. Definitely beats sewing the conventional fold and pin-sew way. Fast and those grooves gives a precise spacing. I am confident now that there will be lots of fun using this new feet.



Happy sewing!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

SEWING MACHINE COVER

I've had my Brother sewing machine for almost a year. Often I read that simple upkeep of the machine is important, dusting and oiling and also to cover it all up. While I love this machine, I must admit I've pretty much neglected it as even though it came with a hard cover, I never use the cover.  So, over the weekend I peered at the back of the machine and found that it had collected loads of dust all over. I took out the small brush which came with the machine and dusted off pretty much most of the dust from the outside.  Took some thick tissue and gave it a wipe with some organic cleaning liquid and it looks good.  I also finally ticked off "to and must do" project from a long list of other projects circling in my head for the past 6 months.  I made a simple cover. Nothing fancy or difficult, just a plain reversible cover that covers up the machine.

I chose this fabric for it's bright colours and love the bird motives.  It was an imported fabric and precious to me.


Paired it with my all time favourite fabric of baby blue with sweet pink roses at the reverse.


I cut the blue slightly smaller than the blue and use the excess bird fabric to cover the edges. Super easy. 




Here's the completed cover. I added some red polka dots on both sides of my Michael Miller birds fabrics for some fun and love them.  Here it is showing both sides.





I simply drape it over the machine and found that making is slightly larger than the machine means there is no need for ribbons or button. I like it like this, simple and easy..or it can sit prettily on top of any table top and can be used for many other purpose should I want to make another piece. It took no more than an hour to complete this project. 

If you dont have one, make it soon :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The shopping never stops!

I promised myself that I will - or should not buy any more new cloth until I have finished sewing my stash.  A promise that is close to impossible. The husband kept asking, 'why do you need so many fabrics?', 'when you will finish sewing the fabrics' and on and on.  I have my own sewing space and as much as I wish it were 3 times more, it's confined to a medium sized room. Growing fabric collection also means the need for more space and honestly, I could not sew fast enough to exhaust whatever collection I have.

Anyway....for a person who loves sewing and going to a fabric shop is like going to a candy store for any kid.
There are too many to choose from and I have tons of ideas on what to do with the fabric...if I can find the time. I find that organization is the key.  Do the mundane stuff first, trace (not anyone favourite, certainly not mine) and cut the fabrics. I keep to 2 - 3 easy project a week. I have been sewing many skirts as they are super easy and can sew up to 2 a day without interruption. So, 2 - 3 skirts are a breeze.  For more challenging ones like some patterns I have never tried before or a dress with full lining, that I give a full one week. I guess a professional seamtress can easily tackle that in a day...but I work full time and have limited sewing time at home.

I always buy from a fabric shop near my home, not more than 10 minutes drive away. Each time I go there, I am dissapointed. This shop seems to cater for specific people and their cotton selection is always very limited. I seem to be seeing the same stuff week after week.  One day, I thought I'd pop over to another shop just 20 minutes away from home. I had in mind something equally lame as the previous shop but I was very surprised.  Rows and rows of cotton and many Japanese cotton too! So, I bought more - what else.


Love the pinkish peacock-feather like and want to something for the girls. They have in other shades too.



After seeing boring cotton designs from my previous shops, I told my husband and I wont be going back there for a long, long time. Not when this shop has a huge array of Japanese cotton like the following.




Bought more black and dark blue fabrics, very good quality Japanese cotton, thick and yet soft, just perfect for my skirts.


Here's the latest stash...and there will be more buying in store this weekend as I intend to go to their other outlets.  More fabric heaven there for sure!


This very light weight cotton was bought 2 weeks back at a trip outstation. I felt that I have over paid too much for it, but liked it then. Not a fabric for clothing but I was thinking of using part of it for some project...not sure what as of now.


Bought a few meters of this from that 'boring' shop at another outlet earlier.  And this is definitely Japanese cotton as it has the brand Lecien stamped at the bottom. Cant get more authentic than that.


What exactly is Japanese cotton. I bought 2 Japanese cotton from an online seller based in Japan a few months ago and fell in love with them. The quality was extremely high, slightly heavier feel and yet so soft to sew anything.  However, I find too many online sellers market their fabric as Japanese cotton, but many times when I bought them, they are just plain ol' cotton which I could buy for a fraction of the price I paid. So dissapointing at times.  I ranted about buying online and promised myself not to buy anymore...but I never listen to whatever I promise myself all the time. So...I ended up buying 2 sets of aha! Japanese cotton online, captured by the beauty of how good it looked online...paid, received in order, and again, it was dissapointing.   It was not Japanese cotton.  So, it's back to good old fashion fabric hunting, feeling them myself and paying a very small price for that one beautiful cloth!

Yay to more sewing!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dress

When I received my batches of patterns, this was the first thing I had in mind to sew. I love the necklines and the front pleats.


So, I sewn this blue dress, as a test. So far, I've only made one muslin. I've never done any other muslin to test as I find it's just a waste of time...time is something I do not have. I've sewn many blouses and countless skirts - easiest ever to sew. However, I always hesitate with dresses. Unsure of the fit, pattern and worried how it would look on me, but I did it anyway and though its been long finished, I still havent worn it.  It's fully lined and since I do not have a serger, I covered the sleeves seam by hand sewing bias tapes. No one will know what's inside but when I peek inside, I feel happy of the little extra I did.


Now, with a little more confidence, I am sewing my first vintage dress. I cut it and basted the whole dress with pins and tried it on. I was very happy, will post it when I am finished :) Meanwhile, July is a month of buying 'way too much' fabrics. The cabinets are bursting and I still haven't started anything yet, seems such a lazy month with so many activities buzzing on the weekend. This is one of the fabric I am dying to try. Very light cotton with gold flowers.


I think its perfect for a 'summery dress' since there's so much showcasing of summer dresses. I don't know why I am excited over summer dresses, considering that it's practically summer here everyday. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

FEMALE - SEWING MAGAZINE, JUNE AND JULY 2011

Good news for those who love sewing but cant find the proper patterns and cannot get hold of Burda here, or have to spend tons of money to import your own patterns from the US - not to mention the risk of having the whole parcel missing.....and other than getting Japanese sewing books with patterns, there's FEMALE. Not the fashion magazine, but the sewing version in Japanese.  I have both the latest copies, one bought in Singapore and another....surprisingly, available in certain bookstores now. 






Similar to Burda, there's more than 30 style and patterns available in this magazine and at a very low pricing. However, this is more for the younger set but if you can do simple modification, you still can easily change some of the patterns to suit your needs.





This will be an easy peasy tunic to make.


Another raglan sleeves, did I mentioned I hate sleeves. Despite setting in many blouses with sleeves, I still struggle everytime...and this is the reason why I love raglan sleeves. This one has some folds/pleats in the sleeves, so should be also very easy.


Very girlish and young, but I like the sleeves.



Cannot read Japanese? Don't need to. Most of my pattern books are in Japanese and I manage to learn the instructions fairly easy. In fact, after a couple of months of sewing, I won't be needing the instructions much - just the pattern will do. One day, I hope to self graduate to be able to 'draft my own patterns', then I'll be super happy.

D