Friday, August 26, 2011

Been A Busy Week!

Not only did I have two custom orders to fill this week, along with two other standard orders, but I've been working like crazy to get things ready for the marching band's first field show performance tomorrow - we'll be having a BBQ, a raffle, and Alpaca Chip Bingo at the same time.  Since I'm VP Ways and Means (i.e. fundraising point person!), that means I've been working double time - needed to come up with a few good raffle items without spending an exorbitant amount of money.  Oh, hey - that sewing machine of mine happens to double as an embroidery machine - how convenient!

So now, in addition to a few other really cool prizes (like a couple of donated tickets to Disneyland!), I have managed to come up with some things we're hoping that the Royal Regiment parents & students might want to buy some raffle tickets for:

Embroidery unit hard at work!

The finished embroidery - well, not quite.  You weren't supposed to see the
jump stitches, there.
The finished towels.  (Shh...don't tell anyone - they came from the Dollar Tree.
They're custom.  C.U.S.T.O.M.  One-of-a-kind.)

Back in action!

Oof.  It will look better after it's ironed.
If you embroider at all, you'll recognize the trouble spots:
fabric too thin, stabilizer too thick, stitching too dense, and needle too large.
 I was in a hurry.  It's for a stuffed animal.  I can live with it. 
Ladies and gentlemen: meet Mr. Al Paca.  Proudly
wearing his custom-embroidered bandana!

"Don'tcha want to take me h-o-o-o-o-o-o-mmmme?" 

The Sewing Assistant is going to be so sad.  He doesn't know that his bestest buddy in the whole wide world for the last couple of months is going to go to a new home.  We don't know how to break it to him.  

Oh, Al - you smell so new!  And furry!  And new!
Oh, Al!  I luvs you!  You're so snuggly-soft!

Mom.  We have to talk.  Al's gone missing.

To be continued...... (and maybe I should buy a couple of raffle tickets.....)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Another Maternity Dress - A Different Kind of Prop Cover

Seem to be cranking these out lately:

Another maternity dress in a medium grey jersey

Close-up of the front

Ties in the back - handy for keeping the top UP

You learn something new every day.  With this dress, I learned a really nifty way to turn very narrow fabric tubes (to make straps/ties like these):  cut the fabric about an inch and a quarter wide; fold in half lengthwise, wrong sides together; sew the long side about 1/4 inch away from the fold; thread a large needle with very strong thread (or use double or triple strands of regular thread); knot the ends; take a couple of tiny stitches at one of the ends of the tube; insert the needle BACKWARDS (eye first) into the tube and work it through to the other end of the tube, gathering as you go, until it comes out - then pull the tube right side out.  It helps to hold the seam allowance while pulling the needle through so the fabric can slide along itself easily.  I have turned tubes with a hook type tube turner (usually a disaster and it can make huge holes in the fabric), a bodkin, safety pins, chopsticks, pencils, and a tube-turner device called FastTurn.  This needle trick worked far better than any method I've used before.

This dress was used for a photo shoot for - not sure when she'll be posting it up on the website, but hopefully soon.  During the fashion show (for which this dress was made), the models were wearing tummy props, but I'm thinking that the photo shoot will be using a pregnant model.  Will be interesting to see it "live!"

Speaking of props, one of my upcoming tasks is to make a 35 foot by 35 foot prop cover for the marching band, with 22 matching "shrouds" for the colorguard.  Oy.  That will be the largest item I've ever sewn.  Photos to follow, if I don't keel over first.

Apparently, someone still hasn't gotten the memo that he's been fired:

Here, he is sleeping on the job.  Literally.

Memo?  What memo?  I din't see no stinkin' memo!  Har, har, har!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Post and Run!

My life can be pretty chaotic at times - right now I'm in the thick of working out prop covers and colorguard "shrouds" for this season's fall show - can't show you photos yet, or I'd have to send my "cousin" Guido to your house to ensure your silence.  The fabric is very sheer and very mysterious looking - works with the theme of the marching band show.  I can't wait to see all of this in action, especially the rifle tossing.  WITH shroud.  I've also been training the person who will be taking my place doing uniforms for the band.  We got really lucky - she's very organized and efficient, so I can feel confident I'm leaving that post in capable hands as I move on to more difficult things - like fundraising.

In addition I'm also doing a lot of work for the maternity wear client - she actually had a fashion show today that I needed to do a rush order for:

Black matte satin lining with black lace overlay

Close-up of the neckline, which kept wanting to curl to the outside
so bad I had to topstitch it into place - and that was AFTER
understitching the lining to the seam allowance.  

Another invisible zipper that isn't quite as invisible....

My favorite part - the scalloped hem of the lace overlay - I hemmed
the lining short enough so that the scallop really showed up.

If I'd had more time, I would have replaced this
with a black one.  It was all the client had on hand.
At least you can't see the whole zipper....

Sorry they are blurry - I was shooting on the run out to deliver the dress.

I couldn't be there for the fashion show today, though - because I was up at church, doing this again:

 Needed to coordinate these flowers for a marriage validation ceremony tomorrow with a wedding that will be happening afterwards.  The coordinator asked if I could do hot pink to match the attendants at that wedding.  Hot pink is expensive.  I sure hope that bride & groom will be making a donation to the church to say thank you for the free flowers.....

The roses are just luscious, some of them are double:

DOUBLE!  So full!
It was pretty amazing to be able to find matching
gladiolas in the same hot pink!

This just makes me smile, I don't know why...just so bright & cheerful, maybe. 
Now, on to cutting out more dresses (three due this week, including one in custom fabric) - but only after I go lay down for awhile.  Doing these large arrangements always takes such a toll on my back.  Wish we could find one more florist for the church.  This weekend is the Ministry Fair - hopefully we will get lucky and find someone who has the experience who can handle large floral arrangements like this.  So I won't have to.  

Friday, August 12, 2011

I'm Seeing Things

And they are good things, LOL!  This has been a really busy week, and I finally got to do some work for the second new client.  I'm so grateful to have the work, I can't say it enough - but it has kept me hopping while trying to keep up with everything else here at home.  I did another one of my massive floral arrangements this afternoon for the church, and managed to finish it just as the bridal party arrived for tonight's wedding - my arrangement is actually for ANOTHER wedding tomorrow - and Booyah, the colors coordinated!  Gotta love that!  Couldn't take a photo of it, though, I just hope I remembered to sweep everything up off the floor....I need to make about 14 pew bows tonight & tomorrow so when I deliver those I'll try to remember my camera, too.

As always, after making one of those monstrous bouquets, I have a heavy date with some muscle relaxers & pain meds (wait, maybe I shouldn't do the pew bows tonight after all....).  So, dinner first and then a movie so I can lie down and let the prescriptions do their thing.  In the meantime, here's some pics of the work for the latest client:

I can see why her new vendor ordered these - so cute & bright!

Bet you never imagined the State bear in vivid pink.  I know I didn't. 

Similar shirt, different placement & colorway.  But still very cute.

Maybe this weekend I'll actually get to sew something for myself....funny how while that's all the work I had not too long ago, I was wishing I had more work for other people.  Now it's the complete opposite - but that's a good thing.

After doing nearly 30 of these, I'm seeing the State of California in my sleep, though....but if you like what you see, you can get one here: 

It's so neat to be working for these Mom-preneurs!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Busy, Busy

My short break was very much appreciated - even though I LIKE being busy, it is nice sometimes to have a breather!

Back to it, and very grateful to have the work - off my needles today is another McCall's M6240 for the same client (only this one is for her sister-in-law), and in a lovely navy jersey:

Again, the dressform doesn't really do it justice.  I'm hoping for some photos from the event that these women are attending (since I've now outfitted three of them for the same event) that will show the work in much better light and in more flattering circumstances!

While I had the cutting table out, I decided to finally cut out another purse project.  There is a decorator fabric store nearby that has a cast-off bin - when you come in, you can pick up a cut of fabric from this bin for free, and every other piece you take is only $2.00.  It is impossible for me to walk into this store without coming out with a bagful of these "scraps" - and I use the term loosely, as some of the pieces are pretty generous and most of them are about 54 - 60" wide.  Lots 'o' fun to be had, there:

Decorator weight fabrics - amazingly, they coordinated very well!

Someone, however, was in disagreement.  

Contemplating disaster.  Or fuzzy thoughts. 

I think you need to take THIS piece......

...and move it over......HERE!

I was going to work on it tonight after I finished the navy dress, but the Sewing Assistant had other ideas and is now quite happily dreaming of kitty treats while curled up in my sewing chair.  So much for working on a project for myself.....

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Couple More Dresses and Then....A Break!

Brief, maybe, but a break nonetheless.  I am grateful and blessed that I have work coming in from all directions at the moment!

Off my needles this week:

A lovely one-sleeved dress in a matte jersey print
for a client going to a wedding.  Turns out this knit
is perfect for traveling, and this dress will pack into
a space about the size of an envelope!  

As promised, the newer maternity dress in a fabulous,
"Look-at-me" orange.  No wonder this client has this
dress flying out the door as fast as they are produced!

NOW you can see all the fabulousness that is the pleating!

The back, with starburst pleats.  What an amazing dress!

Next up:  another one-sleeve in navy (for an envious sister-in-law of the client, LOL) and a new purse for moi.  Just to change things up a bit.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Having Fun With Stretchy Knits

You learn something new every day, as long as you're open to the experience.  Just finished making this for one of my new clients, and while it was a much stretchier knit than the pattern was meant for (actually, it was meant for wovens, which could have spelled disaster), in the end it worked out beautifully.  I learned a couple of really good things:

  • When you are working with a fine jersey, you need to sew much more slowly than you are used to.  If you can help feed the fabric into the feed dogs, while slightly holding up progress behind the presser foot, you can help keep the fabric from stretching nine ways to Sunday while seaming.
  • I used a fusible knit tricot interfacing for the first time on this dress and I'm going to have to buy some serious yardage, both in light and medium weights.  Where has this stuff been all my life?  To make this dress in the future for the same client, I'll need to invest in the lighter weight tricot - by the time I sewed through the midriff, the interfacing, the midriff lining, the bodice (gathered), the midriff band (doubled) and the band interfacing, it was much thicker than I'd bargained for.  I think the lightweight might help to reduce that bulk.  
  • I can sew an invisible zipper.  Like a PRO.
I mean, just LOOK - can you see it?  (Maybe I should dub this the No-See-Em zipper...)

Yes, ladies & gentlemen, this is not a back seam with a decorative pull-tab.

See?  I iz telling the truth!

It looks strangely forlorn on my dressform.  In real life,
it is a beautiful, cuddly-soft shade of coffee.
Amazingly enough, the manufacturer dubbed it "Potting Soil."
C'mon, couldn't their marketing panel come up with something a
little more....enticing?

My dress form has some serious cleavage, just not the right kind.

To see this amazing dress (not this particular one, but one that was sewn before today) in way-better-photographed-gorgeous-gloriously-pregnant-with-REAL-clevage mode:

Now I'm off to cut out more dresses.....