Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Prewashing my Fear Fabric

A Fear Fabric can be scary for lots of reasons. Maybe it's expensive, hard to sew, or the care of it will be too difficult. Last week I posted a photo of my Fear Fabric on Instagram and admitted a huge roadblock--prewashing!

This is a terrible overexposed photo of my fabric, to show you the open spaces in the knit. I don't know nothing about no knitting, but in my ignorant terms I'd call this a sort of crocheted lace? I've only had one run-in with this type of fabric before, and when I casually threw it in the washer/dryer it tore. Whomp whomp. I definitely did not want that to happen again!

After my plea for help on Instagram, Girl Charlee responded that I should try using a wash bag. My plan had been to hand wash, but I liked the wash bag idea much better (I'm lazy). I found the above bag at Wal-Mart for about $4. It was kind of tricky, because most of the bags they had were small lingerie bags, not ideal for 2 yards of knit fabric. This bag is big enough, but it's divided into 4 compartments. Luckily, the "walls" were mesh as well and I was able to smash them down and fit in the fabric. Yay! If I couldn't do that, I probably would have just cut out the walls.

Hopefully this will do the trick! The bag is in the wash as I type. The fabric is a cotton/nylon blend and I definitely want to take care of any possible shrinkage from the cotton. Even if you plan to hand wash a garment, if you don't preshrink natural fibers, they can shrink with steam/pressing. Bad news bears! 

A big thank you to Girl Charlee for coming to my rescue and for sponsoring the Fear Fabric Challenge. Read all the details about the challenge and giveaway here. And check out the first entry, a fantastic Halloween costume, in the Flickr group!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Project Runway rehash!

Tim Gunn was on Sesame Street this week. It was awesome. He played a character named Bill Ding (although Elmo kept calling him Mr. Gunn, which was hilarious) and he was some sort of architecture critic. He was judging houses that the Three Little Pigs were building, which of course kept getting blown down by the Big Bad Wolf. Every time the Wolf blew down a house, Tim ended up completely disheveled. Yes, friends, Tim Gunn had his hair askew on national television.

I couldn't find a photo online so you'll have to accept a picture of my TV. And yes, I DVR Sesame Street. Don't judge.

Spoilers ahead...

Highlight: Rome! Beautiful, in such a strange way. So many of the places they visited had a dark and deadly past, despite being feats of  architecture for that time period.

No challenges! No eliminations! Wow, that was refreshing.

Lowlight: I HATE how little time they have to get ready for Fashion Week. Five weeks? Didn't contestants on older seasons get something like 12 weeks? It also didn't seem fair that Kini got his visit from Tim weeks before Sean did.

Best mini-collection: I was crazy about Kini's when I saw it in progress, but then Sean's ended up being so much cooler. I like the fringe, and his silhouettes are interesting and innovative. Kini has a chance if he changes up his styling. My husband and I both were appalled by the amount of eye shadow they were applying during Kini's makeup consultation.

Worst mini-collection: I was meh on both Amanda and Char. I don't think either of them can/will win. There were pieces I liked (this tunic jacket ugggghh WANT), but the collections weren't wow-ing me. I think Char's final show will be totally haphazard.

Best line of the night: "Nina's not the dictator of fashion, she can't tell me what to do." --Sean

I'm excited to see the collections, but sad for Kini that he's in such a bad place right before Fashion Week. I know they're being hard on him because the judges are rooting for him to win. But I almost died when they flippantly told him to lose the coat. My heart! I can't even imagine how many hours went into that thing.

For once, I don't hate any of the designers in the finale. I think it's clearly a race between Kini and Sean. Simplicity versus tailoring. Either could win, based on whatever whims the judges feel like indulging that day. Your thoughts? Are you rooting for someone in particular?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Grey and White Stripe Renfrew

How is it possible that I've only made two Renfrews? You can see my first one here. I made today's version a few weeks (months?!) ago, and I've been wearing my two constantly. Like, never-make-it-to-the-hanger-straight-out-of-the-wash-onto-my-body kind of stuff.

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to take photos after running errands in the rain. Sorry I look like a wet dog. Also, growing out bangs sucks.

Anyway! The fabric I used is a cotton/spandex knit from Girl Charlee. I can't find it online anymore--sorry! It's a good weight, though I realized when I was finished that it's not completely opaque. As long as I leave the neon blue nude bra, we're cool.


This is a size 4, with short sleeves and a V-neck. On my first version, I removed quite a wedge from center-back using this tutorial. I got it in my brain that I could stand to remove a bit more (I have pretty narrow shoulders) so I took another wedge out. I think that was overdoing it, and it's a little tight across the back. It looks fine in these photos, but the first shirt is much more comfortable in terms of movement.

I'm always impressed by what a quick sew the Renfrew manages to be. It usually takes me 2 days (one to cut, one to sew) but that is fast by my standards. The only fiddly bit with this view is the V-neck, but I think it's worth it for that extra touch of femininity. One tip for the V-neck: use a scrap piece of knit interfacing (I got mine at Jo-Ann's) on the point of the V (on the shirt bodice) and it will keep your fabric from stretching all crazy. I also recommend basting the neck binding around the point before serging.

This wasn't on purpose, but I did manage to match the stripes on the bodice and sleeve.

...y'know, on one side only. Le sigh. Oh wait, I don't care! Sometimes it's nice not being terribly picky.

What else is there to say? I love this pattern and I've traced off the 3/4-length sleeve and scoop-neck bodice to make a few for fall/winter.

We're halfway through October, have you picked out a Fear Fabric yet? You could win a $35 gift card to Girl Charlee!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Vintage Pressing Tools

Proper sewing seems to require a lot of tools. One that I've managed to live without is a clapper. Most of the clothing I make is loose in silhouette, or a knit. Tailoring isn't something I do on a regular basis. But conquering jeans has been on my to-do list for quite some time, and I know from my experience with hemming jeans that it was about time I got a clapper.

My five year wedding anniversary was last week. My husband and I usually stick to the traditional gifts (paper, cotton, leather and flowers so far). Five years is wood. So guess what I casually suggested he get me? Along with a clapper, I also mentioned a wood tailor's board (like this one from Jo-Ann's). Being the amazing gift-giver that he is, my husband totally floored me with what he ended up buying.

Not just pressing tools, VINTAGE pressing tools! Yeah, I was drooling. 

He found both of these items on eBay. Even though they're used, both look almost new, especially the pressing board. I love love love the box and instruction booklet that it came in, they're so cool!

Armed with these tools, I might be inspired enough to make another wool coat, even though I kind of swore them off after my last experience. Maybe an Albion for me?

Do you have any vintage tools? Honestly, I never even thought of checking eBay for this kind of thing, random finds at garage sales are more my speed.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Second Annual Fear Fabric Challenge!

Today I'm SO excited to announce the Second Annual Fear Fabric Challenge! If you remember last year, I challenged my readers and fellows bloggers to use the month of October to tackle a scary fabric. What's that one textile that makes you quiver in your boots? What would you hesitate to take even for free? Last year we had some amazing entries, including lace, leather, brocade, and those slinky silky fabrics we all hate. This year, I'm kicking it up a notch, and there will be a fantastic PRIZE for one lucky participant! You want more details, right? Well read on!

It's oh-so-easy to participate. All you have to do is pick a fabric that scares you, and sew something with it! You're the best judge as to what qualifies as "scary" to you. You can sew a garment, a bag, home dec, or even a Halloween costume. Go crazy! Just have a photo of your item ready by October 31st.

To submit your entry, please join the Flickr group and upload ONE photo there. Not on Flickr? No worries, email me your photo and I can add it for you. One person will be RANDOMLY SELECTED from the Flickr group to receive a $35 gift certificate to Girl Charlee! Woohoo!

Girl Charlee offers knits, specialty woven fabrics, and there is even some talk on their Facebook page about faux fur and leather coming soon. I should basically buy stock in their company since they take all my money! They also offer a 10% discount on orders for new customers, and free shipping in the contiguous United States for orders over $99.

At the end of the month, I will be posting my Fear Fabric project, made with this crochet lace from Girl Charlee:

It's super cool, but the open-work knitting totally scares me! Let's hope I can conquer my fear, and also provide some tips for working with this type of fabric. There will also be some fabulous ladies participating on their blogs as well!

Andrea from Four Square Walls
Jane from Handmade Jane
Nakisha from Sew Crafty Chemist
Shannon from Shanni Loves

So get your imagination working and pull out that stash fabric that has been intimidating you for so long. I promise you will learn something, and hey, you might even win a gift card! To recap:

  • Sew an item using a fabric that scares you (garment, home dec, bag, whatever as long as it's sewn)
  • Take a photo and either upload to the Flickr group OR email to me for upload (sew110creations (at) gmail (dot) com). Upload only 1 photo please. Emailing me your photo gives me permission to add it to the Flickr group.
  • One person will be randomly selected to win the $35 e-gift card to Girl Charlee Fabrics
  • Optional: link to your blog in the comments of your Flickr photo

Questions? Email me or leave a comment on this post. In fact, comment anyway so I can see who is playing along! I can't wait to see what everyone makes!

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. We're finally home from the hospital and looking forward to the next steps of recovery. If you're so inclined, continued prayers are always appreciated!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Important Things

"It's funny what things you think are important until they aren't anymore."

So says my Dad just as I sit down to write this post. He's talking about his own job, his own to-do list that he has put on hold while my life feels upside down. But he's right, and his words apply to me. If you saw the Fabric Mart blog, then you know that I had to pull out of the Fabricista competition. Even now I struggle to find the words, to balance information with privacy. Please, bear with me.

Friday night, just as I finished up the muslin for my little red dress, my husband came in the house complaining of a sudden terrible headache. Fast forward through two ERs, one helicopter, four brain scans, and one night sleeping in a waiting room (me, not him) and we finally had some answers.

He will be okay, eventually. It turned out to be less serious than we initially thought (though still serious). My husband is the most healthy and active person I know, not to even mention his personal willpower, and he WILL bounce back from this.

But until then, some things aren't as important. I will have one additional post this week or next about a long-planned October event, but after that no promises.

Meanwhile, do me a favor and hug your loved ones. Be nicer to them. Don't wait for a reminder.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Project Runway rehash!

Guess who made it to the next round of the Fabric Mart Fabricista Challenge? Me!! Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me. Next week's challenge is to create the perfect little red dress...so many possibilities! Don't worry, I won't be making anything like the red number Char whipped up last night.

Spoilers ahead...

Highlight: I don't know if it was editing, or if these designers somehow grew a soul, but FINALLY we had a "real woman" challenge where nobody complained about their model. I mean, the designers chose who to approach, which helped I'm sure.

Lowlight: So much second-hand embarrassment while the designers were in the park. How horrible. And what about Sean rejecting the woman who was too short? Cold. I don't know if I'm sad about this or not, but it was too bad that it was a makeover challenge and nobody seemed to need one. A professional ballerina?? C'mon!

Best garment: I don't like Korina. She's becoming a "one-way monkey" as Dmitry would say. Haven't we seen this exact jacket before? Anyway, let's pretend I've never seen her jackets, I liked it and thought the dress was cute. AB has a dress with a pleated skirt like that, and I've always wanted one for myself. Zac is right, it's very difficult to do (impossible in polyester) so it is impressive that she could accomplish that in her time frame. But if she becomes even more insufferable I might have to fast forward through her face.

Worst garment: Alexander's definitely seemed like the worst, although I can't forgive Amanda for showing off a random stranger's butt. TOO SHORT!

Best line of the night: "This is one of the most hideous things I've ever seen in my existence." --Tim

I wonder what would have happened if Alexander had finished his ugly garment. I think Char might have gone home instead, because they mostly slammed him for how unfinished it was. About the whole zipper thing: if it had happened to any one of the other designers they would have done the same thing. They would have wanted a bit of grace or time to fix it. And does anyone want to stay in the competition because Char's model broke a zipper? Isn't that a little petty? What do I know, right!?

Next week: More unconventional team nonsense.