Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Spontaneous Giving

I love spontaneous acts of giving. Especially when everyday people are surprised by the act of kindness.  Unexpected love shows up in all kinds of places and I'd like to share with you some of these acts that have been happening where I live.

Earlier this year, a kind hearted man bought 500 coffees at a national coffee chain and gave them away.  His generosity sparked a chain reaction of coffee gifting across the country.   How cool is that.

In September quilters donated nearly 350 quilts to help residents who were affected by the flooding in Alberta this summer.  I'm sure they feel the love of the person who made it every time they snuggle up in their hand made quilt.

This week, WestJet Airlines surprised the guests on two flights with gifts at the luggage carousel.  The video of he event has been hugely popular on You Tube this week.  If you haven't seen it yet.  Be sure to check out WestJet's Christmas Miracle.   It's just awesome.


I hope these acts of kindness inspire you.


Friday, December 6, 2013

McCalls Early Spring Collection

McCalls recently published their early spring collection.   I'm wondering if they also ship an early spring along with the patterns, we're in a deep freeze here with temperatures dipping to -30C before you account for the wind chill factor and -42C if you include it.!

The collection can be found here McCalls early spring collection.

I adore the fabric in M6883.   I'm not really interested in the pattern because it's such a basic style and I'm sure I have similar patterns in my stash.  But, dear McCalls do tell me where I can find the fabric.

I'm also drawn to M6905, what a cute duo of tote bag designs from Tiny Seamstress Designs. 

I can hardly wait for spring...what about you?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Craftsy Class Sale...Whoo...Hooo...

Earlier this week I reviewed a Craftsy course and at the end of my post I suggested not to pay full price for a Craftsy course as they go on sale.    Well here it is, a rockin' Craftsy Sale.   I piked up three classes from my wish list at $19.99 each.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Craftsy Review

I purchased and iPad a few months ago and now I've become a Craftsy and You Tube junkie.  There's a ton of sewing related videos on You Tube and the Craftsy platform is great for inspiring new sewing projects. My iPad is seeing a lot more of the sewing room than I had expected.

I must admit I've watched more Craftsy classes than I've created projects for.  My review is for one of the courses that I've create a project for.  Design your Own Handbag with Brett Bara.

Brett is a great teacher with lots of experience and tons of great ideas.   The methods that she uses in the class will allow you to create a beautifully finished handbag.   She provides you with the foundation skills and inspires you to add your own design details.  My challenge was picking the details that I wanted to use in my bag.  I decided to keep it simple for my first bag.

The course starts you with planning your project and then walks you through all the steps needed to create your bag.  You'll want to watch course once from start to finish before starting your project as the videos are organized based on construction concepts and don't flow exactly from start to finish.   Although Brett's Craftsy course provides you with the pattern specs for you to draft the pattern, you could also use this as a foundation for any handbag pattern.   

Here's my project based on the pattern included with the course.

Now that I've got the foundations down, I'm exploring all kinds of options.  My Pinterest sewing board is full of handbag samples and the Craftsy platform also allows for students to post their projects.  So, I've got lots of ideas flowing. Currently on my cutting table, is the Metro Bag using the Clover trace and create templates.  I'll be using some of the techniques I learned from the Craftsy course on this bag as well.

I'd definitely recommend Brett's Craftsy course and I have a bunch more Craftsy courses in the queue.  If you are into making totes, bags or zipper pouches there are also a few free classes on the Craftsy platform for you to enjoy as well.

I've also learned not to pay full price for a Craftsy course, put them in your wish list and wait for a sale.   Thanks to all those Craftsy sales, I now have huge list of Craftsy courses in my library for future enjoyment.

Happy Sewing

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sewing Machine Review Janome Memory Craft 6000

A  couple of weeks ago SewMamaSew requested sewing machine reviews from bloggers.   I've seen machine reviews posted on many websites, but this request was different.   The request was for sewing machine reviews for any make or model regardless of age.   So here goes, I'm reviewing my circa 1985 Janome Memory Craft 6000. 

It's an oldie but a goodie, and it's served me well over the years, I bought it new and I paid around $1500.00 . So, in terms of todays dollars it would be $3260.00 based on the Consumer Price Index Inflation Calculator.   In it's day, this model was the top of the line, and the first generation of the computerized home sewing machine models.   Today, it would hardly compare with the top of the line machine.

This machine has been a real workhorse for me.   It's sewn everything from the finest of silk to leather and jeans.  It's seen a miles of thread and many needles through the years.   Although I don't sew as much as I used to, during the first 15 years of it's life it was operating for at least an hour a day 6 to 7 days a week.   It has only seen the repair shop a few times for a tune up.  Now having said that I'm a stickler for quality needles, quality thread and regular cleaning of the machine.

It features basic and utility stitches, buttonholer and some "embroidery" stitching.   Novelty stitches include an airplane, alligator, penguin, parrot, butterfly, umbrella, numbers and 26 letters of the alphabet in script and block.  The numbers 0-9 are also included.   The size of these designs is quite limited when compared to today's machines, and programming is quite the exercise in a patience as each design is associated with a numeric value that needs to be entered followed by the M button, so to write SUE you would have to punch in 58M 60M 44M. 

There is a wide variety of utility stiches which I have used over the years.  The buttonhole quality is good and you can easily make a corded button hole using the button hole foot.  One unique feature of this machine is it's overclock stitch and foot.  Before I purchased a serger, I used this stitch a lot to finish seams.  It doesn't cut the seam like an serger, but it does a good job of simulating an over lock stitch (considering it only has two threads to work with).

The machine comes with lots of feet that are neatly stored in the top of the machine, each foot has it's own special slot.  I'm sure that saved me from losing them over the years, I still have all the original feet.  The zipper foot is a bit unusual, but does the trick.  The regular foot has a neat feature on it that allows you to sew over "fabric bumps" quite easily.   Hemming jeans is a breeze with this machine.  Over the years I've purchased a number of specialty feet from various suppliers and an ruffler attachment works well on this machine.

If someone is in the market for a machine and can find a well cared for Janome Memory Craft 6000, I'd recommend it.  Definitely take it for a test drive, as machines of this vintage can vary greatly in condition.

I'm considering an upgrade to a new machine in the next year or so. Mostly to take advantage of the computerized embroidery capabilities in today's machines.   Will I ditch the old work horse, absolutely not, I know it well and we've become good friends over the years.


Show Studio Website

A few weeks ago,  I discovered a really cool website that I wanted to share with y'all.   Show Studio the Home of Fashion Film.   Be sure to checkout the fashion and the free patterns they have for download by searching on the term pattern download.

Head over to the Home of Fashion Film


Thursday, July 11, 2013

In doing your own custom dressmaking, be enthusiastic about it—it is a thoroughly fascinating sport!

Don't you just love the title of this post.  I can't take credit for it.  It comes from a 1930s publication called Paris Frocks at Home.   Earlier this week I stumbled up on a website VintageSewing.Info.  It's loaded with great sewing resources from the 1900s to the 1950s.  

I really enjoyed the 1930s lessons from Paris Frocks at Home.  

Here's another sample.

To do successful home custom dressmaking observe these cautions:
  1. Never economize on fabric. Someone has said a garment is never better than its fabric. Do not risk the misfortune of having a shabby garment before the season is over.
  2. Always buy the full amount of material called for by the table on the pattern envelope. Skimping always shows and makes your dressmaking so much more difficult and so much more time-consuming.
  3. Always hold the paper pattern against you to be sure of lengths and widths and general positions of lines, taking note of necessary changes. There can then be no unpleasant surprises in store for you.
  4. Don't copy the best selling design in the biggest department store in your city. Almost anyone can own a Ford.
  5. Pick out a pattern embodying lines which you wear well. This little book contains definite suggestions for doing this if you need to be reassured on this point.

And how about this:

Be yourself as you are and as you want to be. The frocks you wear will achieve this ambition for you. You can create a charmed circle of admiration wherever you go simply by the way you dress. Cultivate your gift for clothes. The puritan virtues concerning dress, while still virtues, are no longer in fashion. Enjoy your clothes.

I'm having so much fun reading these lessons, I hope you will too.