Sunday, January 27, 2019

My Dollars Count

I read Carolyn's post about the pattern designers defending their refusals to make patterns for the plus size community. I started out trying to add a comment to her post but it turned into a post here. I'm at a point in my life where it is easy to support my sewing habits. I spend my money where I feel valued. I read the comments on SBCC’s IG account from designers defending their position and I’m going to call it BS. I had to stop reading the comments because it is frustrating and offensive to be dismissed because I wear a size larger than 18.
There is well-documented research that plus size women are willing to spend money on clothing. ModCloth is an example, they made $18,000 at their beginning. They are now grossing $150 million. They are so successful that Walmart purchased them in 2017.  Lane Bryant, Eloquii, Avenue and others are examples of successful companies catering to plus size market demands.  I read an article that Modcloth’s plus size customers account for 8% of their customer base but outspend the traditional size customers by 7%.   
Hot Patterns and Cashmerette are two successful small pattern companies that cater to the plus size community. If companies are trying to say that the market is not there to support their R&D, again I’m going to call it BS. If you only want to market your product to the smaller sizes then be honest. No one has issues with niche marketing but be honest about it.  You can’t complain about the size of your business if you are not working to meet market demands.  It is disrespectful to be happy when sewists post about grading up their patterns but complain about the work of developing plus size slopers.

Sewing is not an inexpensive journey when you are plus size, I use more fabric and notions that others. I know that this is the price that I pay to make my own clothing. It is frustrating to look at the size range for a pattern and know that it needs more grading that I’m willing to do with my limited sewing time. I use a computer drafting program but sometimes I don't want to design a pattern. More and more, I’m buying Lekala patterns because I can find patterns that fit my lifestyle. I don’t have a problem with making changes to get the fit that I want and need. Even with Lekala patterns, I have to make a few adjustments. 
Sometimes, I find Indie patterns frustrating because the focus seems to be more casual garments. I'm looking for patterns that I can use for work clothes. I want patterns that challenge my skills and that is not easy to find.
Learning to fit patterns is an ongoing education. LaSewista just posted a two-part series about fitting  Standards of Fit. She pulled together some great information and resources that I can learn from as I continue to learn about fitting. 

Needless to say, I'm going to spend my money where I feel valued and buy patterns that cater to my needs. 

Sunday, January 6, 2019

2019 - Welcome To My World, Happy New Year

Last April, I was getting ready to go on a cruise and decided that I didn't want to wear black. I didn't want to look like I was going to a funeral on a Carribean cruise. I went searching through the stash and the blue fabrics won and blue became one of my core colors. I sewed a lot during the summer but have slowed down over the last few months. I wore a lot of the me-made garments and loved what I made. The biggest disappointment was the denim knit fabric from Mood. I made multiple garments using this fabric and it started pilling as soon as I finished sewing the group. Everything is packed away waiting for warm weather. 

Stitcher's Guild 2019 SWAP has started. One of my goal for this year is to complete a collection. You are required to use two neutral colors. I picked blue and red. The other garments can consist of 1-5 accent colors. I suck at sticking to a plan so I decided to make a group of coordinating garments. At the end of the challenge, I'll try to pick out a cohesive collection that meets the rules.

Christine Jonson Pick One, Sew Two posted a wardrobe building concept that didn't make me feel intimidated. You start with one garment and sew two coordinating garments. She has a PDF document that you can use to plan your group. Instead of starting with a garment, I decided to start with blue silk for a blouse. When I went to cut it out, I found a stain so it has to be pre-washed again. I cut out a long sleeve turtleneck and a cardigan from a navy blue modal knit that's been in the stash for a few months. Yesterday, I cut out a 10 gore knee length skirt for a muslin. I used PMB to draft all of the patterns. 

I have a stretch navy blue wool crepe suiting that I bought for the swap. Most of the fabrics that I need will be coming from the stash except for the inspiration fabric.  There were a few things that I needed to start sewing. I found my stretch lining at A Fabric Place last weekend.  The other stuff that I needed was elastic from FSS and thread from Wawak.  The only thing that I missed ordering was seam binding. I still need to check to see if I need anything for the red group. 

One requirement was to pick a print that spoke to you for your inspiration. I looked for a couple of weeks before I found what I was looking for. I found quite a few fabrics and pictures that inspired me but all of them were too dark. My focus is a spring/summer collection so I wanted a lighter print for my inspiration.  I finally found a print at that spoke to me. This is a knit that I will use for a blouse. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

2018 Sewing Projects - first quarter

I'm participating in the 2018 SWAP which is in progress at Stitcher's Guild. When I should have been sewing SWAP garments, I was fixated on sewing coordinating garments.   My favorite garments so far are a top from Lekala 4633  and Louise Cuttings Relax a Little Skirt which is OOP.

The fabric came from Metro Textiles. Tee sponsors a trip every year and I basically lose my mind and buy a bunch of fabric.  Each year I have the fabric mailed home. It's not that expensive. I'm not dragging a bunch of fabric around NYC. That would be exhausting and keep me from having room to carry around more fabric.

The fabric is a medium weight knit and was a joy to sew. I thought I only had enough fabric to make the skirt but I had a big scrap left. I got creative and cut the top on the cross-grain. This made me a happy woman. One of my goals is to use the entire piece of fabric and not return leftovers to the stash. Scraps are donated to a fellow ASG member.

Lekala 46333 needed a few changes -  narrow shoulder adjustment, rounded back adjustment and I had to raise the neckline. It is too low for work. I've made 4 versions out of this pattern. I need to remember to add 1/2 inch to the center front. I'm going to add cap sleeves to the next version. I hope that this is going to become a TNT pattern. 

The skirt is an easy sew because the directions are excellent. Louise Cutting has the best directions for her patterns. I've made this skirt several times. I've lost weight and the first skirt is too big. It is in the giveaway pile. The second skirt is part of the swap. I plan to make a lot of skirts out of this pattern. It works great for skirts for work when I don't want to wear pantyhose.

I have managed to finish 5 swap garments using a black ponte knit from FM. 3 bottoms are done - slim leg pants, pencil skirt and RAL skirt. 2 sleeveless tops are done - one from Lekala 4633 and one PMB draft. Everything needs a trip through the washing machine and dryer before I can take pictures. Hopefully, this will get done next weekend.

I'm currently working on two skirts from a black floral print from Another pencil skirt from PMB. The pattern for the second skirt comes from Pam Howard and it is called the Flirt skirt. It has a fishtail hem. The pattern matched across the back seam until I had to remove 2 inches. I have a few more garments that I need to add to the blog. Another goal this year is to document my sewing on this blog.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Back to Blogging - Updated Sewing Room

Ejvc started a thread about fixing up your sewing room for the month of September on Stitchers Guild. This year August was devoted to getting ready for September - Pimp Up Your Sewing Room projects. I was reading the thread and realized that I wasn't sewing much because I was dissatisfied with the sewing room. It was cluttered and disorganized. I'm a little OCD about certain things and stuff sitting around in my room makes me out of sorts. I decided that I need to clean, re-organize and fix up my sewing room. I've been working on the room in bits and pieces and I think I'm finally done.

I started in August by getting rid of a lot of stuff that I was holding onto just in case. I haven't missed one thing I tossed or donated. By organized the threads and buying a parts cabinet, I was able to get rid of three storage containers that sat under the table. The printer was originally in the bedroom but printing did not work when DH was sleep. I had to buy a new laptop when DGS knocked over a glass of water and fried my old laptop. The Janome 500e is my latest toy. DH and DS talked me into buying it. I need to sell the 300e. We just never bonded.

This is the long table holding the Janome babies. The embroidery machine and the coverstitch. Under and to the right of the table are containers whch hold way, way too many patterns.

There is a shelf above the table which holds the sewing threads, coloring books, markers and other small stuff. The small containers came from Walmart. I found a couple in the store and tried to order them online. I ended up sending DH to a store and he bought all that they had. The containers were out of stock the last time that I tried to find them. I have six empty ones left. DH made me a happy woman. There is a strip of LED lights under the shelf. 
I ordered the 6-quart containers for the serger thread from Walmart on-line. Each color has a separate container. Next to the serger threads are my books and magazines. 

To the right of the long sewing table is the pressing area.
I bought some new pressing tools - shoulder stands and point presser from Gaylen and Jay. They have a B&B in PA that I hope to visit soon. 

The flat point presser came from Angela Wolf but I don't see it on her website now. A new gravity feed iron joined the club. All of these purchases forced me to get the shelves organized above the ironing table. I had stuff stuck in baskets and bins. It was frustrating. The white magazine holders helped get the paper off the tables. I have a small basket that holds the pressing cloths. The three drawer cabinet holds strips of tricot interfacing in different widths. Cup hooks under the shelf hold scissors, thread nippers, and clamps  

To the left of the long table is a short table that holds the sewing machine and serger.

I tried to have live plants but this is the only one that has survived. You would think that I learned my lesson when I killed my husband's cactus plants several years ago. The window gets great morning light.

To the left of this table is the cutting table. These is where it gets interesting.
One night I decided to put some pattern boxes on a shelf. The next morning, the shelf was hanging off the wall and everything was on the floor. There are big holes in the wall. Plus I lost important storage space. I was devasted. These are lathe and plaster walls. I realized that the plaster is separating from the lathe and the entire wall needs to be replaced. In the middle of the winter, there is no way that I'm going to let them tear up my sewing room. I had some red paper that contractors use to cover new floors. I glued two sheets together and then used mod podge to cover them with old pattern paper. At the end of the table are two containers with interfacing and the other two hold WIP. Everything that I need to draft, alter and cut out patterns is in this area. The only thing that I need to add is some Crayola washable markers. On the shelf above the door is the light colored interfacing. 
I had to be creative when figuring out how to store my scissors to keep them out of the hands of a very busy two-year-old DGS. He carries the ottoman around the room to climb so he can touch stuff. Plus the magazine holder was from the stash. The scissors that everyone can use is on the top. Everything else is off limits especially my Kai scissors. My favorite cutting tool is the Kai rotary cutter. 
Under the cutting table is a store display cabinet that holds
various notions and trims. I found the cabinet on Craigslist several years ago. I need to find a specialty glass company so I can replace the cardboard. In the meantime, I'll cover the cardboard with something attractive.

Everything is organized. Each sewing machine has a pair of scissors and a magnetic pincushion. Everythin that I need is within reach. Each notion has a permanent home. At the beginning, I had to forced myself to always but stuff back when I'm finished. Now it is a habit. I can clean the room in fifteen minutes.  My sewing mojo came back as the room became more organized. When I sit down in this room, I feel calm, peaceful and relaxed. My sewing mojo came back from vacation as the room became more organized. I'm done.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

SWAP 2016 Towanda's Indecision

Today is the start of the 14th Annual SWAP Contest  at Stitcher's Guild. I've been thinking about this contest for awhile and have decided to enter. My plan has changed several times and will continue to change as time goes by because I have a commitment issue, lol which is why indecision is the name of my collection. I will be sewing a spring/summer wardrobe so that I'll be ready when the weather warms up if it ever gets cold.

My goals are:
Finish all of my garments by the deadline date
Use as much stash fabric as possible - only buy fabric and notions that I need to finish garments. I'm trying to use up any fabric that I pull from the stash so nothing goes back on the shelves.
Make simple garments that I will wear on a regular basis

I know that I have too much fabric because I can't find a piece of black seersucker that I want to use for a blouse. It will turn up sooner or later.  Pulling out fabric reminded me that I really don't need to buy new fabric. I'm proud of myself because I've only bought fabric a few times this year. I think that there is only one piece that I didn't like. This is a picture of fabric that I'm thinking about using for my collection. Not all of the fabric will make the final cut.

Starting point

This is my tentative plan
Capsule one -
Vogue 1347 Ralph Rucci  pants suit. I plan to eliminate the ties on the sleeves. I will need to make some fitting changes to the pattern. I will be using a lightweight black suiting fabric.
PMB drafted sleeveless or cap sleeve shell - using the black & white sheer print fabric. The top will need to be lined.

Capsule two
White slim leg pants - need to order white suiting fabric.
Black print top  using the black print fabric
Black and white pleated swirl print - have enough fabric to make a skirt (not part of the swap)

LC blouse using the red & white ikat linen
Wrap skirt using red linen

Wild cards
Black raincoat - may use SB or Marcy Tilton pattern
White skirt or gray slim leg pants
Red knit top - pattern to be decided

?? Garments
2 black print sleeveless dresses
White pique ABO jacket

All of this is subject to change based on my indecisive mind and lack of impulse control. I'm like a magpie, something catches my attention and off I go. I actually plan to make more garments by sewing an endless chain. Right now, I'm stuck on the color gray. When this color lets my mind go, I'll start sewing with my favorite color - black.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Welcome to 2015 & The Beginning of a Great Year

I'm glad to start a new year, I am declaring that 2015 will be a great year.

As you can see, I deleted all of my blog posts out of frustration. I really suck at blogging but realize that it is a good way to track sewing projects. I might add a page for some projects from last year. I should commit to blogging more often but I won't promise what I may not deliver. I'll take it one project at a time.

I participated in the fast for the 2014 RTW Fasters. I did really well and the only things that I bought were two pairs of jeans, camisoles on sale, underwear and hose. Everyday, I wear at least one garment that is me made. I am relieved that I'm not depending on RTW to get dressed everyday. I hate clothes shopping.

I've sewn quite a bit since I started my new job in May. I am enjoying this job and look forward to going to work everyday. I'm back in management and I'm in charge of a brand new clinic.  The company is great and the people are really cool to work with. I hired a team that I really like. Construction is almost finished. They just need to finish the punch list. It has been interesting to be involved from the beginning of the construction to seeing the finished project. We start moving in next week.

One of the things that I love about this job is that I got to help set the dress code. We decided that the non-nursing staff will wear business casual. The clinical staff wears the same type of scrubs. For me this translates into the dressier end of business casual with a mix of professional outfits. This year, I'll spend a fair amount of time doing public speaking (not one of my favorite things to do). The best part is that I can sew the garments that I enjoy making. I love wear dresses and skirts but pants are more practical sometimes.

This month, I have been thinking about my wardrobe and what I want to sew in the future. I wear a lot of black and feel really comfortable with the color. A lot of women complain that they can't wear black but it works for me. Black ponte knit is my favorite fabric to use and I always keep it in the stash. I wear a lot of cardigans but I need to develop a TNT pattern for a jacket. I think that I have a TNT pattern for a pencil skirt and slim leg pants. I need to add more solid colors so my wardrobe is more versatile. My core colors are black, white, blue, gray,& red. Accent colors are purple, beige and greens. All of these colors are already in the stash.

I really enjoy the ASG group that I belong to. They are a really great group of women who enjoy learning to sew. I'm looking forward to another year sewing with them. I've been thinking about starting a sewing group at my church but that will have to wait for a while. My plate is a little full at the moment.

I still use PMB for 95% of all of my patterns. I did use a few commercial patterns in 2014. There are a couple of Vogue patterns that I have used several times. It's time to try more patterns that are in the stash. I have decided that I really need to stop collecting patterns that I don't use.

Missions for this year:  SEW MORE
1. Slow down the fabric buying, the stash holds a ton of fabric that needs to stop occupying space on the stash shelves and turn into garments in the closet. It will be interesting to see how long I can go without buying fabric. It is useless to commit to fasting because I like buying fabric. It is cheap therapy.
2. Slow down buying new patterns, I have gotten much better but we'll see what happens when new patterns come out.
3. Continue to work on developing a set of TNT patterns. There is something really nice about using a pattern and not having to worry about fitting issues. At the same time, I want to learn how to combine commercial patterns and PMB.
4. Analyze my closet to see what I'm missing. I purged my closet so it left a lot of holes. There are a few older orphan garments that need a companion garment. I know that I need to add a wrapped blouse to the wardrobe in different colors.
5. Work on a complicate project divided into manageable sections along with a easy garment. It will help keep my stress level manageable.
6. Learn  & practice more complicated techniques. This was a goal for 2014 that I didn't touch.
7. Look at the Craftsy classes that I have bought, lol.
8. Continue to work on jewelry making. I find beading to be very relaxing.
8. Enjoy life, it is too short to be miserable.