life through the eye of my sewing needle and very little, to be honest, about sewers

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

At the end of every hurricane that's downgraded to a tropical storm...

there can be a rainbow--depending on your stash of fabrics.

Honestly, I don't so much sew as I buy fabric. If you buy enough fabric--and I'm not sure what the exact amount is--you are a sewer. Lots of people haven't sewn for years, but they bought fabric like yesterday. Why? Because they're sewers who need fabric even though they aren't sewing.

You bring the bolts up to the counter for cutting. A yard of this, a yard of that. Oh, OK, I'll take the rest of the bolt. Snip, snip. Fold and fold, pay.

So buying fabric is sewing AND looking at fabric is, I think, sewing, too! If you keep buying enough fabric, it takes longer and longer to look at what you've got. That's called sewing time! Having a sewing machine is nice and, visually, it does ground one in as being a sewer. But necessary? Debatable.

Having lots of fabric means never having to confine your thinking to, "I can use one of those five red fabrics that I have to make that fox." It's going knee deep into the bin of red fabrics and finding mystery yardage -- fabric that you absolutely do not remember buying. Sort of like drunk dialing. Maybe. I don't know.

In a recent swap we made wrist cuffs. One of my partners loved rainbows so I patched together pieces of fabric, in ROY G BIV order (or, at top, VIB G YOR order). I had so much to choose from, I got tipsy. The quantity of fabric alone was to blame, but I was also thinking maybe I should air out some of the bottom fabrics more often. In any event.

Having lots of fabric means you get to see a rainbow whenever you want to. During Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene, I absolutely found it comforting, just by itself, to spend time with mine.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hungry Monster: Another Reason Why We Need Each Other

Come ON! One of these is just plain SCARY! The other, beeeeeep!, scary CUTE!
On the site, my friend Leslieshappyheart and I join other crafters in swapping things that we make especially for each other via questionnaires and crafty STALKING.

We are currently co-organizing a swap called the Hungry Monster Nom-Nom swap which was created, under the name Monster Tooth Pillow, by Ellen at Being the sloppy sewer that I am, a condition which seems resiliantly chronic, I did a trial run before bestowing one on an unsuspecting partner. It's a simple and lovely pattern that works so great with so many fabrics.

In what is like a 7-step process at most, I ran into trouble. I didn't realize it until I put candy in the monster's mouth and saw that its teeth were BELOW the candy. Worse, I just couldn't see where I went wrong. Do you ever have a mental block over the simplest activity?

Well, if you are lucky enough to have a LesliesHH in your life, whom I have been so gifted to have out of nowhere, you plead with her for help. No. You don't even have to do that at all. You mention it and the next thing you know, she posts a step by step picture tutorial on her blog Leslies Art and Sew right here on blogspot. The woman can sew the way my cats can shed on dark fabrics. Insanely. Besides clearing up my problem with positioning the teeth, Leslie also noted that she went further in on the fabric to place the buttons than the original tute. Yup, she threw that in for free, and that also made a big difference. Every little creative thing can just change EVERYTHING.

So, sew,  in the time it takes me to thread a needle, ahem, I went from Scary Bad Hungry Monster to Scary Cute Hungry Monster.
I wish you this: that you all have or get soon a friend like Leslie. And not just because she helps you out of your sewing messes. Though, you have to admit looking at this picture, that that would be reason enough.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Magic of Inside Out

Inside out: Fabric is right sides together
The fabric is pulled through a 
opening which is then sewn closed.

When evening winter weather reports say there's a chance of a snowstorm, New Jersey kids do something we didn't do in New York.

They go to sleep with their pajamas inside out.

In the chill of the night--which is difficult to remember at the moment--phone calls begin or end with reminders of what to do and kid after kid in house after house turn their PJs inside out before giving kisses goodnight. 

It's  meant to bring on the storm. Showing your seams to the sky somehow tilts the odds in favor of so much snow falling they have to cancel school.  Nobody knows how it works but, when it does, it's the magic of inside out.

Sewers have the magic of inside out, too. It starts with fabric RST--Right Sides Together--like this work in progress above. Then stitch, stitch, stitch almost all the way around, leaving just enough of an opening to reach in and pull all that fabric out.

It's a funny thing every time, to go from working on the wrong side of a project, to pulling it through, (which itself seems sometimes miraculous and, to me, reminiscent of childbirth) and then seeing that fabric, with its colors and markings, in the shape you stitched it into.I kept it unfinished for a couple of days before putting on the finishing touches--um, like a face. I really like the stage where something has formed but it still has the possibilities of looking like absolutely anything!

And this is what she ended up looking like!

The Sloppy Sewer

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fabric on the Cheap

I got about a yard of this fabric at a garage sale this summer for a dollar. For the right person, on the right project, it could also be good for appliques. I just kind of like that line look and for the price, I could not walk away.

The Joann's nearest me had a huge selection of remnants this week because they were having inventory taken. I got just under half a yard of this peacock feather cotton print for $1.04. I think it's super. 

This yard came from the same garage sale as the first fabric. Though I wouldn't say celestial is a theme I go for usually, it all works together pretty well and, again, for $1.00 it's a welcome addition to the stash.

It was a pretty good summer for me, fabric-wise.
How about you?
The Sloppy Sewer

Ripping seams and's only an OPTION, like a sunroof

There are plenty of men associated with the invention of the sewing machine: Thomas Saint, Josef Madersperger, Barthelemy Thimonnier,  Elias Howe, Isaac Singer. It's like every country wanted to have a piece of that. Anybody want to take a stab at guessing who wants the credit for inventing the seam ripper?
Right. Nobody. The best it can be narrowed down is maybe one of the Duponts or somebody who worked at Dupont or somebody who knew somebody who interviewed at Dupont but, trust me, there's no bronze statue of Aloyisius Seam holding that thing in the corporate lobby.

Because it is an instrument of defeat.
Avoid it and you are creating something different, going it your way, engaging in spontaneous sewing.
Pick it up and you are shouting it out, 'I  screwed up." And from there it's  like a ride down a waxed thread.

Pick--crap--pick pick--I really hate this project plus I'm a jerk. Pick--OUCH--pick. I need to wash my face/take a nap/move to another city. Pick, pick tearrrrr! Hole! Worse!

Oh, blue handled scepter of feebleness.

There's a time to reap and a time to reap-rip. (Was that Scooby-Doo?) But, in my opinion, there's a lot of people who could just keep forging ahead like I do. Sewing. Sewing on top of the sewing. Tucking some wild-ass piece in and sewing over that to keep it from jutting out in that peculiar way. Next time you realize you have inches and inches of errant sewing you can reach for the ripper or you can reach for something that tastes good, but will likely leave some kind of residue on your fabric.

I'm shrugging because the choice seems obvious to me.
The Sloppy Sewer