Another cat

After making the bear using Cuddle fabric, I wanted to make more. So I went back to Paulas’ cat pattern to make another cat.

These are the scraps, yup, even cuddle sheds like crazy, but it’s not flimsy like most minky fabrics.I went through a lot of these lint roller sheets.I like using a touch of quilting fabric and since the person who is getting this cat doesn’t have any small children, I can use these eyes.Flat cat.Begining to bulk up.I used more than one bag of polyfill. I think it’s because of the Cuddle fabric, it has more give than quilting cotton.Love how the tail stands up in the air.I love working with Cuddle, people are making garments with this, but I’m just loving it for stuffed animals. Which means I’ll probably be making more soon.And here’s the label.Two critters together, I may be giving the fox as a gift as well….

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Leah

Making a fox

I have a real weak spot for making three-dimensional objects from fiber, be it sewing or knitting.  A while ago I discovered Paula from Funky Friends Factory, She has the cutest animals around.I have already made the cat, now onto Fifi the Fox.  I have no idea if I am giving this away or keeping it for myself. I guess it won’t be a baby gift since I’ve put on those ‘safety eyes’. They aren’t safe, doesn’t matter how I install them, even if I add glue to the process – a baby can chew those eyes off. The body is complete, just waiting for the stuffing.What a difference fiber-fill makes!!  I have made many stuffed animals, some better than others. Paula has a real understanding about the shapes and how to render them flat and yet, they sew up into remarkable three-dimensional creatures.It’s a small thing, but the ears have real personality.I need to order more labels.Just to leave you with a happy smile.

I’m already working on another one, this time, it’s already got a recipient.

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Leah

Looks like I have a shirt factory…

I’m on a big clothes sewing binge right now. I even went to Mood to buy some more fabric. Only to discover that the rent on La Brea must be way too high and they have moved much closer to downtown LA.I don’t even know how old this sign is, days? Weeks? So I went to International Silks and Woolens instead. Costumer service will have an effect on my buying habits. I picked up a few knits, really nice quality. I asked one of the salesmen if I could leave them on a cutting table while I continued to shop, he wanted to cut them right away, I wanted to wait. I was then looking for shirt material, thinking of plaids.

Well, next thing I know, my knits are gone, I mention this to another salesman and he says: maybe someone put them away. Doesn’t offer to help find them, anything.  Within a few minutes, I leave – even though there were very nice fabrics there. It’s a good thing I did, cuz look what I found at home.A really nice plaid I bought downtown last year. It even has a gold thread running through it. Festive! As much as I enjoyed my latest class, I also love my serger so on the shirt I decided to do the felled seam after serging, not folding over.I agree, a full felled seam is beautiful, but I’m the only one who sees it. So when the mood strikes me I’ll use it, otherwise, the serger is a great tool.
I was being very careful about matching the plaids. Somehow when I inserted the collar the left side ended up lower than the right. Good thing I checked!I was able to fix it without a problem.  Experienced seamstresses make mistakes all the time. It’s knowing how to fix them that matters.I’m not sure you can tell, but I cut the plaid collar and stand just a tiny bit smaller than the previous shirt. Most people may never see the underside of the collar, but I like the contrast.Another fun thing with plaids is playing with bias, in this case, the pocket and the yoke.I could have really spent the time and had a center seam going down the middle of the yoke and had the plaid mirror image. Then again, I think this looks just fine.The front matches beautifully! I am so proud.Another very successful shirt.  I love how sewing has enriched my life.

Leah

Another shirt, with quilting fabric

I really enjoyed making that shirt, I am now on a roll. A while ago I bought some wonderful fabric from Alexander Henry that is full of owls. How could I resist. I used a different pattern, same methods.Took my tripod out in front of neighbors houses, the ones who have lovely Christmas decorations.I do enjoy combining fabrics, not just in my quilts but in clothing as well. On to another house. Can I tell you how pleased I am with the sleeve slit, the pleats, and the cuff?  I have tried more complicated slits, it’s not worth it, as I get older I am learning that simple is often the best. This is probably more about the decorations that the shirt. How many times do you need to see a shirt.Ok, one more since I am very proud of how clean and professional this is.I do try to accessorize well. How cute are these owl earrings with the shirt?!?  I bought the earring, couldn’t resist.

Then I wore this outfit throughout the day and at the supermarket, the cashier commented on both the shirt and the earrings. I thanked her profusely, so the woman behind me said: I also noticed! Well, thank you as well!

I didn’t mention that I made the shirt, but yes, this is a big reason for sewing my own clothes. Not everyone will comment, but I know that people notice and I love it. I remember reading a book years ago how at 40 women become invisible. I was still in my 30s at the time. Well, guess what, 40 is in the rearview mirror and what can I say, I’m not invisible at all.

Leah

The classic button down shirt

I sewed another button down shirt. A number of years ago I took a Craftsy class with Janet Prey, she teaches all kinds of ‘industry’ techniques. Which is all well and good, but I’m not trying to sew in an assembly line. I want a good result. Unfortunately, although my shirts look good, I was really having problems with the collar and collar stand.When I was in Albuquerque I was wearing one of my handmake shirts, of course, one of the sales-women at a quilt store had to inspect every aspect of it. She was impressed, but she recommended taking Pam Howards’ class on Craftsy. I am so glad I did!The fabric is a Liberty Lawn, this style print is much more indicative of Liberty. The fabric is beyond amazing for a shirt. Lighter than quilting cotton, it is lightweight with a tight weave. I loved working with it. The pattern itself is a little simpler than the one I’ve been using up until now. Since I love sewing these shirts out of prints, I see no reason to go back to a pattern that has a separate placket, or a fancy sleeve vent.I usually don’t put on a pocket. I did this time for two reasons, I wanted to follow Pam’s instructions to see how it’s done. I also worked hard to make sure that the print flows without a break.I can’t tell you how pleased I am with the collar! Turns out, working slowly and methodically, doing some hand-sewing as well leads to much better results than fast and quick techniques.I’m loving the sleeve vent, pleats and cuff as well.When sewing, I am always using my serger to achieve nice clean seams. In this class, I learned how to sew the shirt with fell seams, even the sleeve. The inside is as neat as the outside. Pam joked that one could wear the shirt inside out.  The button plackets.The side seam where it meets the sleeve.Inside the cuff and vent.

I am so happy with this shirt, it fits well, it looks more professional than any shirt I’ve ever made. I can use some of these techniques on other garments that have collars and cuffs. I will also be making more of these shirts. There is a short sleeve option, which I intend to make as well.

Never stop learning, never! I immediately ordered two more of Pam’s classes, sewing a jacket and sewing with knits. Since it was the weekend after Thanksgiving, I got a great deal. But at this point, I would have paid a little more. Pam Howard is an amazing teacher!

Leah

Sewing for cooler weather

I’ve been sewing clothes for the cooler weather, and we get a heatwave.This is a Liberty Corduroy, a very soft, pin wale, it’s not heavy at all.You can see how tiny the wales are on the back of the fabric. This deserves a hand-sewn hem.I love the print! Not the cutesy flowers that Liberty often does, but bold shapes and colors.I made this in time for Thanksgiving, but as yet, I haven’t worn it, that darned heatwave!

Then a friend asked me to ‘help’ her make some Christmas stockings, she had started on her own, but she needed my ‘help’ to sew up the rest of them.There are so many things I love about Christmas, I get to enjoy other peoples lights and trees. So I had a lot of fun making these, even if I did give her a hard time.These were the ones I made.She did hand embroider them herself, so it’s all good.

 

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Leah

Knits

It took me 3 months to knit a sweater. I redid the button bands and collar 3 times and I’m still not that happy. The sweater is fine, I was hoping for something that fits a little better. This is the problem with sweaters, you just don’t know until you are done.It is meant to be worn like this, I don’t think I was supposed to put that top button there. But the neckline is way too big. When it’s cold there will be a massive shawl or scarf underneath.The pockets are a nice design element, the sweater itself it a little too boxy. I didn’t like the instructions. I bought the pattern from Ravelry, the designer went to great detail, but it wasn’t written like most patterns. So I plugged along and knit away.I’m down to knitting just one sweater a year. I have many left from years before. I don’t knit as much, so socks and shawls will be it for the rest of the cold season.I know I’ll get good use out of this. I usually don’t like to knit pullovers, but I’m thinking it might be time to try again.

And then there is sewing with knit fabric. Being the fabric snob that I am, no ITY or polyester for me. I went to The Fabric store and bought a merino blend. Their color choices weren’t great, I made a dress last year in the red family.This is more purple and is a different pattern, but I do like variety. The fabric is delicious, warm and very cozy. I serged most of the dress, I used my sewing machine for the keyhole opening and to install the collar. Oh, and to hem the skirt and sleeves.It’s a fun pattern, can be made into a shirt as well, which I am thinking of doing, maybe using two different colors.Yes, knits are my friends.

Leah

Sewing and Knitting

Time for long sleeve dresses. I had bought this fabric a few months ago, it’s a lovely Voile, which means thinner than quilting cotton, much better for garments.Here it is, a fun colorful dress.With pockets! Pockets are always good! these aren’t in the side seams, they are in the middle of the dress, very interesting construction.I had a weekend of visiting Art shows so why not wear something artistic? Good thing I did, at the Brewery Artwalk I met Teresa who commented that the print looks like one made by Barij. Yes indeed! I had recently bought another one of her prints on rayon – also destined to become a dress. Then I met Teale who also recognized the fabric. Others around the brewery simply commented on how they like the dress, even if they knew nothing about the fabric designer. I love getting those kinds of reactions.I knit a sweater for Eyal, perfect color for the season.It is probably a little big right now, that’s ok, he’ll grow.

 

 

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Leah

I love Mayhall’s

I promised an update on my sewing machine. So here it is, I took the machine to Mayhall’s, the best sewing repair place around!  I was concerned that I’d be waiting months for the part.

Lucky for me, Jerry is an amazing technician. Within a few days, I got a call, he was able to repair the broken part, and he fixed another problem I was having.He replaced the pre-tension disks with one from Singer. It works, I have never changed any tension there, so I doubt I’d be starting now. I was having problems filling my bobbins, turns out there was thread stuck in there.  I wasn’t charged for that part of the repair – so yes, all my machines will be going to Mayhall’s for service. Juki has come out with its own ruler foot. Yay! Maybe having the correct foot that really fits the machine will stop my thread breakage problems.Here is a quilting ruler, butted up against the foot. Because the foot is thicker, the ruler won’t bounce under the foot – which could really cause some serious damage to the machine.I got busy and used the rulers on the central medallion. Uh oh, still having thread skipping and breaking.Same problem I’ve always had, when I move from left to right or move down to up, threads skip and break, not a problem in the other two directions. Even if I am working on the diagonal this happens.So I drew some lines and tried it free-motion, yup, still same skipping and breakage.So I tried good old-fashioned fmq, not a problem at all. Is this because I am moving in all directions?I had been using Organ Needles size 90, you can see the problem in the lines up top. I had heard that Janome Purple needles are the way to go. So I ordered some and as you can see on the lower lines – yup, more breakage.

I am very frustrated, next I am going to sign up for a class with a live teacher. I will be very very careful transporting my machine, but I need another person who is very good at this needle work to sit down at the machine. Maybe then we can figure out what I am doing wrong since clearly, it is user error.

 

 

 

 

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Leah

First project I made on my Featherweight.

I was itching to sew on my new/old sewing machine.  Last year I saw pictures from Houston Quilt Market, one of them was an adorable cat made by Funky Fiber Factory. I found the pattern in a quilt store in Las Vegas. I was so anxious to start, I made some mistakes sewing the head together. Luckily I was able to remove the ears and recut some of the face pieces.Still awkward looking, but this is correct.Interesting construction on this one. I had to read the instructions very carefully. Some things weren’t clear, but reading slowly, really stopping and paying attention, paid off. So how was it working on the Featherweight? Interesting. Irene had told me that there is no reverse. I guess by 1948 they included a reverse stitch, I found this out by accident, very lucky accident.

Like any new tool, I need more practice, most of the seams I was sewing are curved seams. I had to rip out quite a few and resew them. Every machine has its own temperament. All in all, I think this is a wonderful little machine, we just need to get better acquainted. Here he is, all sewn together, just waiting to be stuffed. Then it was time for pictures, I decided to combine a Sunday walk with pictures of the cat.After a horrible heat wave with a massive local fire, we had cool overcast weather on Sunday. So off to Lake Hollywood, we went.  Yes, I got smiles and interesting looks, kitty didn’t stay put in the bag.He came out to walk himself.To lord it over all those dogs that aren’t allowed here.To climb on pipes. He had to stop on the walkway on the Mulholland Dam, everyone needs to pose with the Hollywood sign in the background. A father and son stopped to admire him, I told them he already has a special home to go to. You got it, he is going to my fifth grandchild. Here he is looking down, lording it over the dogs.So I guess certain dogs are allowed here after all.Posing with Smokey. Very good advice indeed! Especially since the Hills on the valley side are one fire.

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Leah