Monday, September 26, 2011

A Break!

Wow, I didn't realize how long it had been since I last posted - I've been so swamped with orders from Jules Ford Maternity that I literally haven't had a moment left to myself to work on blogging - only time I've had to myself was spent on two days' worth of migraine, ugh.  Yeah, it's a break - just not the right kind.

Since I last posted I've added six more maternity dresses, 13 bibs, 2 onesies (samples that might show up at the Sweet Tart Lab), a baby blanket for the marching band director and his wife's baby shower - which I totally forgot to photograph, as that was finished just a few minutes before the freight train went crashing through my upper cranium - a blanket cover and another pantry door curtain for my neighbor, and a meeting with the newest client to my ever-growing list of projects completed.

Oh, yeah.  Add one 35 foot by 35 foot Magic Veil to that list.  The one that nearly did my serger in.  Sheesh.  That project took two days' time all by its lonesome.

That's me, there - buried in my work.  Literally.

I wish I could say that I was glad to see it go - I mean, I was - but now we have to plan and execute the production of 150 matching mini-veils for everyone in the band and colorguard.  This is going to be one very interesting show.....

So now I have a bit of a break.  My client (from Jules Ford) is going on a trip for about 8 or 9 days, and left me with about 7 garments to make up while she is gone.  That seems almost too easy, considering the amount of production I've been doing lately, LOL.  If you had told me even a couple of months ago that I would be able to have this kind of output, I would have told you that you were crazy.  And yet, here we are.  

Most of the dresses I've been working on lately have been duplicates of ones I've already done, but here are a couple of new styles you haven't seen yet:

Meet Frankie.  She's available at Jules Ford

Doesn't look like much on the manni - but just
picture it with one of those trendy "bib" necklaces.
Dusky purple satin crepe.  

Now meet Andie.

Andie comes with these lovely over the shoulder ruffles.
Which are supposed to be narrow hemmed on a regular
sewing machine.  MEH.  Never liked how it looked.  So...

Here you can see I've roll hemmed it on the serger.
A MUCH nicer finish, I think.

The cap sleeves are a bugger to sew, especially because
this baby is completely lined.  I solved the bulk problem
a bit by basting both layers together at the armhole, then
trimming off most of the seam allowance of the lining.  Then I
turned the hem and it laid a little flatter than it had in
previous renditions.  

The back of the dress.  

The Sewing Assistant is feeling much better these days, more like his old self again - chasing the older cat down the hall, begging to be played with, eating up the new prescription diet dry food and whizzing up a storm (which is VERY good - better for his urinary tract).  Still sleeps on the job a lot, though:

He did help us set up the newest cutting table, though.  My old one - around 15 years old and made of cardboard - was in the process of completely falling apart and had bowed in the middle so badly that cutting something out was becoming an arduous process due to unexpected dips of the scissor blades - that means making mistakes in the cutting, which isn't good.  Unfortunately, the newer table I bought at Joann's Fabrics turned out to be a minor headache for my two sons - every single pilot hole for the screws needed to be redrilled, as they were ALL in the wrong place and would have rendered the table unusable, had we placed the hinges where the holes originally were.  Pretty pathetic.  But it was made in China.  Should I have been surprised?  

Neko's version of "helping."

We had to put him in the bedroom before he broke one of his teeth on these table legs.  I guess he was giving us his opinion on matters.  Either that, or he thought it was one giant kitty treat. The table is on rollers, though - he thinks it's great fun to go for one of his Kitty Bus Rides on top.

Off to bed - tomorrow is my day to play with the new machine (a Janome MC6500, for those of you who haven't been following all the time) - along with its walking foot.  Then a project for the newest client, and maybe I'll actually have some time to do something for myself!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

OMG - My Dressform is Preggers!


Got another maternity dress and a maternity tunic done for my client ( just in time for her to swing by on her way home from the L.A. garment district.  While I was busy packaging up the two garments, my Sewing Assistant got busy getting to know her 11 month old son.  That was a riot - Neko had never seen a human that was his size before, crawling on the floor.  They were both really curious about each other, and then they mutually decided that a (slow) game of tag was just the ticket to celebrate making new friends.  His mother and I were laughing so much that I forgot to go get the camera.  Ah, well....with my sadly incompetent photographic skills, the most you would have seen was a blur, similar to this:

The Sewing Assistant, racing to his next assignment.
Apparently making a comment on my photo skills.
Or lack of.

The dress for today you've seen before.  The tunic I sent her home with was this one:

This is called a Lulu tunic. Name seems fitting. 

What the.....HEY! Someone got my dressform pregnant!
The Sewing Assistant has a lot of 'splaining to do!

An Extreme Close-up of the shirring and the narrow hem
on the sleeve.  The shirring is done by sewing in single-fold bias tape,
threading the elastic through (with a very small safety pin, the only thing
that would fit), then whip-stitching the ends of the bias tape together
where they meet.

Narrow hem!  Way better than the narrow hem foot on my machine does it -
that often leaves part of the raw edge hanging out - this method is more
time-consuming but leaves a much better finished edge.

Some things are better done slowly - I think this is one of them.
Here is a tutorial on using the narrow hem foot for your machine:
Personally, I've been using them for years and STILL haven't mastered them.
Maybe next time.... 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

An Explosion of Sewing and Bad Photography

So far this month I have bested my personal record for the number of projects sewn, and it's still only mid- September.  Here's the list so far:
2 curtains for my neighbor's pantry doorway
2 custom towel loops for the same neighbor's boat towels
1 repaired pillow case (Yeah - same neighbor.)
3 maternity dresses (done September 7th)
1 black lace refashioned t-shirt
1 tote bag
2 maternity dresses (for September 12th)
2 pair pajamas for myself, since I'm going through withdrawals (September 12th)
1 maternity dress (Sept. 13th)
1 maternity dress (Sept. 14th)
2 maternity tops cut and ready to sew for tomorrow, with 3 more maternity dresses still to go.....

I'm still waiting to hear from the new client about when she'd like to start on her upcoming project.  When that happens,  it looks like I'm going to be sewing around the clock.  Really excited to start that project, since I just invested in a used Janome MC6500 that came equipped with a walking foot - sews like a champ and it will come in handy - the walking foot will be able to handle the new client's cushy fabric a walk in the park, if you'll pardon the trite simile.

Speaking of projects, we'll not mention the huge 35 foot project for the band, shall we? Cutting commences this the band room, since I don't have anywhere in the house I can lay out that much yardage.  Not without attracting the attention of the Sewing Assistant, who I'm sure would love to put his little claws through all that sheer fabric...

Now for photos:
The refashioned black t-shirt - that's stretch lace!

The new tote bag, using home-dec fabrics.
Too big for me to use, and I'm bummed.
Know anyone who might want to buy it?

Best fitting pajamas I've ever had, either made
by me or store-bought.  It's So Easy,
Simplicty 4418.  Easy to make.  Even easier to wear.
Can't say much about the photographer's skills, though.
Even more to come - several new maternity garments coming right up!

If you want a tutorial on the refashioned black lace t-shirt, check it out here:;postID=3457423827583060255

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Getting Things Done

Well, unless you count blogging.  These days Jules Ford Maternity is keeping me so busy I don't really have time to blog about my sewing, which will have to change.  Along with all the housework I'm not getting done, LOL!  Just have to adjust to working nearly full time again - it's been awhile.  I do remember going through this after the boys were born, juggling at home work with their schedules, doctor visits, picking up and delivering jobs (at the time I was working for toy companies), etc.  Come to think of it, that's about when the housework went to pot.

I also interviewed with another potential client this week, and that one sounds promisingly like it will take up every spare minute of my time, so I need to get busy and figure out how to juggle again.  I hope very much that I will be able to work with this gal - we have a lot in common - she made me laugh when we were talking about sewing & crafting and mentioned that she's always wondered if there was such a diagnosis as Crafting ADD.  (ADCD?)  A lot of us would be accused of "suffering" from it, I can tell you.

It looks like I'll have to figure the juggling thing out myself, though, as the Sewing Assistant seems to be checking out of reality an awful lot lately:

Is this normal?  Wonder if he's dreaming of noms....

Well, he deserves it.  He's been through a lot lately.  I just wish I could get him to eat the special diet food the vet sent us home with.  He hates it.  Our older cat who has been incredibly picky his entire life has suddenly decided that everything the young cat gets is HIS - he often bounces Neko out of the way to get to his special food.  Neko, on the other hand, has taken to jumping on the kitchen counter to get at Tom's food, which we put up there to get out of his reach because he's not supposed to be eating dry food.  Now Tom's bowl is on top of the refrigerator.  My kitchen is like a three-ring circus these days - pick one up out of the Neko's reach, wait until Tom is back in the kitchen, and then switch bowls.  Repeat.  Ad nauseum.

While I'm not juggling food dishes in the kitchen, I'm busy in the sewing room:

A custom version of that coral dress, called Shane.

Still haven't been able to figure out how to solve this sagging problem.
The weight of the fabric, no matter how light, becomes very heavy
when pleated with abandon.  

The back came out really nicely on this one, done in a custom fabric in soft Williamsburg blue.
I think this is going to make one very happy, pregnant momma.  

A new dress - called Gemma.  Done in
black crepe, completely lined.  Very dressy looking except it looks
like it's just hanging, here.  My dressform was set too small (for another
project) and so it doesn't fill out the dress properly.
The sleeves are set well into the bodice, completely lined, and hand
draped & tacked to the lining.  

The back.  

Looks much better in person - crepe is difficult to photograph, especially when you're behind deadline and in a hurry, ha-ha!  Jules Ford has loaned me the use of a faux pregnant belly to put on my dressform to make sure these garments can fit over a real one - but it will come in handy to photograph as well.  Her whole ideal is to make sure pregnant women can wear these garments both during and after the pregnancy, instead of having them spend huge amounts of money for a garment they can only wear for a couple of months.  So expect more dresses to show up on my blog looking more like they would in real life - I may just have to get one of these belly things - you can actually find them on!  

More to come, soon!

Friday, September 2, 2011

What a Week

For those of you who don't know me personally, this has been a rather difficult week.  My Sewing Assistant suddenly took ill and we needed to take a trip to the emergency vet at about 3 a.m. on Monday.  He was in ICU with a complete blockage of his urinary tract, a bladder in danger of rupturing, hooked up to IVs and a catheter, on pain meds, and basically really miserable.

The dog in the kennel next to him that was whining 24/7 wasn't helping his disposition any.

He's home now, resting up and trying to regain control of his regular functions.  New diet, limited activity, no more dry food, and meds, meds, meds.

Of course all of this doesn't stop the work coming in - and I was grateful for the distraction because I'd probably worry myself to death if I didn't have something to do.  And bless his heart, my Sewing Assistant appeared to be up to the challenge as soon as I got him home.

Don't worry, I cut all this out on the floor.  Rotten for my back, but I didn't want to take a chance on him jumping down from my usual cutting table height.

First duty - inspect all incoming packages.   There might be noms in there.

My name is Neko and I approve this design. 

Resting a bit.  You can see where they shaved him for the IV.

Where they shaved him for the catheter.  This particular area
seems to really bother him - I don't now if the adhesive on the tape
is what is doing it or if it's the hair starting to grow back.  

A good view of his doped-up eyes - he was actually on
a scheduled drug for the pain - I had to sign for it at the pharmacy.

Back to work.  Inspecting pattern layout. 

Pattern weight.  And lots of it.  The vet at intake nicknamed him "The Tank."

Last duty: re-inspecting the incoming package.
Because you never know if someone might have dropped
some noms in there since the last time he looked.

Time to rest, now.  The sewing chair looks like a good spot.
Sigh.  I can't move him, he really needs to sleep, rest, and recover in a quiet location.  The work can wait a bit.