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Monthly Archives: October 2014

  • Houston Quilt Market!

    Those of you who quilt likely know the biggest quilt festival in the world occurs in Houston at the end of October every year. You might have also noticed I wrote Houston Quilt Market, instead of Quilt Festival. Quilt Market is for fabric-shop owners to connect with wholesale suppliers. I was able to attend the Market because in six months, I am opening a fabric shop in Missoula, Montana. I'm so excited! My basement is filling up with fabric!

    A quilt/dress made of Free Spirit solids. A quilt/dress made of Free Spirit solids.

    I will primarily carry garment fabrics, with only a few quilting cottons. Thank goodness, because if I were getting ready to open a quilt shop, I would have been completely overwhelmed!  There were so many beautiful quilting cottons to choose from. And, many of the companies that traditionally carried only quilting cotton, have now branched out into voiles, double gauzes, knits and canvas. The uber-cool Cotton + Steel gals were the Big Women on Campus (by "big," I mean popular, not actually large). Their new fabrics are to die for. But, Art Gallery has super fine voiles, Monaluna, Cloud 9 and Birch have some great hipster organics, and Amy Butler has knits and canvas in her great designs. Here is some eye candy for you:

    Birch Fabrics double gauze dress.  Birch Fabrics double gauze dress. 

    Art Gallery knit dress.  Art Gallery knit dress. 

    Art Gallery voile dress. Can you tell how fine the voile is? Art Gallery voile dress. Can you tell how fine the voile is?

    Cloud 9 canvas coat and bags. Cloud 9 canvas coat and bags.

    Riley Blake home-dec weight coat. Yes please! Riley Blake home-dec weight coat. Yes please!

    I did not buy much fabric during the market because company representatives are going to visit me in Missoula with samples, but I could have ordered a few thousand bolts and still not purchased everything I liked! What is your newest favorite fabric?

  • Preparing to Sew

    If you're like me, you want to finish all your projects quickly and perfectly, and sometimes the two don't go well together. I frequently sew past the point of exhaustion. I'm so excited about wearing something that I skip steps and call it "good enough." When I actually wear the item, I can see all its flaws. I don't feel proud to wear it.

    The things I make during an in-person or Craftsy class turn out much better because I move deliberately and I don't skip steps. So the "new me" breaks her makes into bite-size pieces, and only spends a few hours at a time sewing. I am making fewer things, but more wearable things. Here are my bite-size pieces (by bite-size, I mean I step away from my sewing area for a few hours or days before I start the next step):

    Fitting and altering the tissue for a princess-seam top. Fitting and altering the tissue for a princess-seam top.

    FIRST I fit and alter the tissue. I love Fit for Real People, and I have taken many classes from Pati Palmer and Marta Alto, so I never skip this step. I now have a number of altered patterns that don't need to be tissue-fitted, which makes them easier to create.

    Burgundy linen underlined with gray voile. Burgundy linen underlined with gray voile.

    SECOND, I cut out, mark, and apply interfacing to the fabric. By completely preparing the fabric for sewing, I spend less time going back and forth from cutting table to sewing machine. Everything is completely ready to go. For the StyleArc Katherine pants I am currently sewing, I also underlined the linen. For underlining, I follow Gertie's instructions from a few years ago.

    Bobbins ready to go. I lucked out and had 2 partially used bobbins with almost the right color in them. Bobbins ready to go. I lucked out and had 2 partially used bobbins with almost the right color in them.

    THIRD, I assemble all my tools and make sure my machines are ready to go. I wind a few bobbins in the correct color, make sure I have the proper needles in my machine(s), and experiment with topstitching colors and stitch lengths.

    Tan, Taupe, and Black topstitching experiments. Tan, Taupe, and Black topstitching experiments.

    FOURTH, I practice the tricky bits or new techniques on fabric scraps. For these pants, I am going to create a button fly. I found instructions in Making Trousers for Men and Women by David Page Coffin. It's my first button fly, so I practiced it. I think it will be easier and better than a zipper fly!

    FIFTH, I start sewing! The sewing part only takes a few hours because of all the preparation. Stayed tuned for the finished burgundy pants!

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