May 24, 2015

Buttons

The other day I needed buttons for my project and went to my small button stash. I was able to find what I needed but the options were limited. I thought "wouldn't it be nice to have a good assortment on hand so I don't have to go to the store for buttons every time I want to finish something?"

I checked out eBay and found some nice vintage assortments, in great shape, on cards, for the right price! Here are some of my favorites:

These square guys, made in Italy.

Fun green and white buttons, made in Holland.

Love this color!

Someone used this button card as scratch paper...

These cost 100 cents rather than 1 dollar.

Tea tins are a favorite storage method and lord knows I produce enough empty tins.

Some of the loose buttons on the work table.

There were tons of green (they took up an entire tin!) which is nice since that's my favorite color, lots of black and white, assorted other colors, and oddly, only 3 cards of blue.

May 23, 2015

On Buying and Using the Right Tools

I used to be very much a Jerry-rig/make do kind of woman. For some things I still am but I'm beginning to recognize the value of having the right tools for the job and using things that actually work when you need them to. I don't know if this is because parenthood has cut my free time to almost nothing or I'm just not as interested in spending time messing around with some tiny thing, on the way to a larger project, when I could just be doing the damn project.

We recently had to get a new stove because ours was nearly kaput. I mean, it was an improvement over a camp fire but it had become unreliable and half the functions didn't work (pepper season is imminent and I will have roasting of peppers to do!). I didn't realize how unreliable the old stove was until we got a new one and suddenly cooking was easier and faster. Dinner is taking half the time because the thing gets hot and it gets hot quickly. Amazing!

I feel this way about my tape dispenser too. For years I used whatever random, old (read: covered in dust and dog hair) roll I could find. It was annoying. Sometimes the thing broke and then it was a pain to tear the tape. Sometimes it lost its stick. And of course, dog hair and dust. After a few months of taping printed sewing patterns together and making fitting adjustments on pattern paper I decided to get crazy and buy one of those weighted tape dispensers that takes refills. Not only was this option cheaper and created less waste now that I tape all the dang time but it is so much easier to use! All my sewing related taping tasks go so much faster.



Here are some of the other good tools that have made things faster and less frustrating:


I'm not just crazy neat with my pins, that's the super strong magnet at work! I toss the pin in the general direction of this thing and SPOING!, it falls into line.



After reading a blog post all about seam grading I decided to splurge and get myself some 5" Gingher tailor's shears and it turned out not to be a splurge at all but rather the correct tool for the job. Lots of things were easier with these shorter scissors.

I feel this way about my iron too. After years of a leaky Rowenta (leaking almost since it was new... not too happy with Rowentas) I looked for recommendations from my favorite sewing bloggers and, after talking myself off the ledge of getting a gravity feed, went with the recommendation on Closet Case Files and got a not very expensive Panasonic. It is working WONDERFULLY and my sewing is much better because my pressing during construction is much better.

And of course there is the Raskog cart. That has made a WORLD of difference. It used to be that I had to wander all over the place to put things away after a sewing project. Containers for all my tools were in different places. Since this was a pain it tended not to get done things were a mess. Now, I just roll my cart over and put everything right back where it goes. Love it. 

See? Right tool, right job - magic.

May 7, 2015

Sewing Cart

Check out my new sewing cart! It's Ikea's Raskog cart. For a while I've had all my supplies in jars and tins on the window sill, in the closet, spread across my desk... it was kind of a pain. Now I don't have to get up and wander around every time I need something plus I'm more likely to put things back. Shortly I'll be moving my sewing into the common area of the house so this cart will live in my closet (with a lock on the door so Small can't get to all the sharp things) and can be easily rolled where I need it. I'm thinking about getting a second one for my iron, distilled water, pressing ham, etc. It's so handy I might end up with a flock of them...


3 shelves (center is adjustable) with wheels

I added S hooks. The one on the other sides has my ruler and French curve
These are the things I use most often.


May 6, 2015

First Sorbetto

My first Sorbetto took 5 muslins! I turned it from a 2 piece pattern with 1 set of bust darts to a 5 piece pattern with 2 sets of bust darts and under bust darts. A little clunky but I'm pretty proud of my first attempt. Here is my bad selfy:


Since I took this pic I undid the front hem and under bust darts and took a lot of ease out from the front. It was just too blowsy in the front. There are still fitting issues, of course, but I think it turned out well. It's certainly wearable. The back has princess seams and a center back seam. I don't think I needed both of those but that's how it turned out. The neckline is higher than I like and that's with cutting it down. The center pleat is cute but I think I'm going to use that space in the pattern to try some other things.

May 2, 2015

New Farbrics


I swatched a ton of fabrics so I'd be able to make quick decisions and then get the fabric here as soon as I am ready to start a garment in order to take advantage of my limited sewing time. I pinned the swatches and some images of patterns and inspiration to a curtain that acts as one of the closet doors in my sewing room. It's kind of like a billowy bulletin board.  One of the fabrics that was on my short list for a low yardage shirt (because it is pricy!) is this Liberty lawn (which, confusingly, seemed to go from in stock and reorderable to unavailable forever very quickly).

The other day, tempted to buy some chocolate flocked silk chiffon that was the "special of the day" from Mood, I was browsing and saw what appeared to be the Liberty lawn I had my eye on listed as "multi colored floral printed cotton voile". I pulled out my swatch and they are the exact same pattern only this fabric was nearly a third of the price! So I ordered a few yards for a future top. It turns out that it is the same pattern but a slightly different colorway... less pastel and more saturated jewel tones which I actually like much better. I don't know what the deal is but maybe some other Liberty fabrics will make an
appearance incognito at Mood. We can hope!


May 1, 2015

Links

 Things I've been reading...


  • I know it sounds ridiculous but steak is my new favorite thing. I just did not eat steak before we got an eighth of a cow as a present. Holy moly! Might try this Miso Glazed Flank Steak from Chocolate and Zucchini.
  • These critiques of the accuracy of the period clothing on Outlander are cracking me up! By historical clothing enthusiast Very Paige.
  •  "All the time we spend inventing reasons is probably better spent responding to what occurs." The Tyranny of Random Numbers on Seth Godin's blog.
  
Broccoli is so pretty when it goes to seed.

April 29, 2015

Spring Gardening

We are so behind in the garden! There was all that rain. Then we had to take down a giant pecan tree that was rotting in the base (and standing next to the house). Then there was more rain. And more rain. And more rain. I'm slowly finishing the planting while also trying to tame this jungle of a property. Lots of fun stuff to do! Also, I can't find my camera so pictures today are brought to you by my terrible cellphone camera.

In the past few weeks I have planted:

tomatoes - Matt's wild cherry, Illini star, Illini gold, San Marzano, Blue Berry (which I wasn't crazy about last year flavor wise but it did grow spectacularly so it's getting another shot) and Cherokee Purple. I might find a spot or 2 for a few extras once everything else is planted.