The thoughts, sewing projects, and fabric oglings of a dedicated sewist.

OSB: Obsessive Sewing Behavior

I finally bought the Ikea shelving I've been saving up for to help organize my fabric stash.  I like having all that fabric out and visible - all that beauty is inspiring to me and I've found fabric to be a great sales tool with clients.  And, since I'm now a bit embarrassed by the sheer amount of fabric I have, I think having it out will stop me ordering any new fabric anytime soon.

Home Dec & Quilting Cottons

Apparel Fabric - wovens on left, knit/jersey on right

Getting the shelves sparked a sewing room reorganization, specifically all my fabric scraps and bags of to-be-refashioned clothing.  Organizing my scraps seemed perfectly practical to me, but my husband thought I'd gone down a rabbit hole of OCD behavior.  It took about four episodes of Damages (crime shows are my trash TV of choice), but I managed to divide the scraps into five categories: jersey/woven scraps for scarves (which includes t-shirts that aren't good enough to be refashioned for wear), jersey scraps for flowers, woven scraps for facings, woven scraps for flowers and zippered pouches, and good-for-nothing scraps that needed to be thrown away.  And here's what I ended up with:

Jersey Scraps

Woven scraps

Everything all tucked away (don't ask about those other tubs)

Good-for-nothing scraps

I use the scraps in my own projects and also in camps/classes, so this all seemed perfectly normal to me.  But earlier in the week I got a call from my friend Nancy who had several large bags of cut out patterns that she needed to give away.  And not just the patterns, but fabric cut to go with the patterns.  Nancy had already pulled the ones that she wanted and there were still three large bags/boxes for me to go through.  Nancy's first job as a costume designer was with a one-woman shop in a small town in Illinois.  Nancy recently heard from the woman she worked for there, because she was clearing out her sewing room.  The woman is sick and doesn't want her husband to have to go through her sewing room after she's gone.

Nancy and I just didn't know what to make of the cut fabric/patterns.  Just to give you a sense of scale, here's what I brought home:


Oh yes, I also got some serger thread and a bag of odds n' ends.

That's 11 patterns with fabric already cut out all tucked into baggies (and some baggies had multiple sets of fabric in them).  And there were at least two large bags of these baggies left at Nancy's. 

Cutting out fabric is my least favorite part of the process, so I will sometimes spend a day cutting out a bunch of stuff so that I don't have to do it again for a while.  But the amount of work that went into cutting about all of these patterns just boggles my mind.  Nancy and I couldn't fathom why she did all of this work - there was at least a year's worth of sewing in the bags that Nancy brought home.  One of Nancy's friends suggested that maybe she wasn't well enough to do the actual sewing, but cutting out the fabric was comforting in some way.  Maybe.

So I have this new treasure, thanks to another woman's illness and obsessive cutting.  And I now feel responsible for finishing what she started.  It will make for some poignant sewing.

Sewing Injuries and Pattern Alias

Hey, it's Friday!  I'm hoping to make some progress on my Craftsy Couture class this weekend now that I have waxed tracing paper in hand and I've traced my pattern pieces (just need to add seam allowances).  I wonder if this mom can steal a little time on Mother's Day to hide out and sew.  Is it rude to disapper from the celebration?

I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one to have had a run in with an iron.  An anonymous commenter on my last post managed to pick up the wrong side of the iron - I can hear the sizzling sound that would have made!  My other major sewing injury happened about twenty years before I actually started my sewing career.  I was sewing a patch on my favorite pair of jeans and dropped the needle onto a carpet floor while trying to thread it.  I stood up to look for the needle and put all my weight straight onto it.  And, of course, I was barefoot.  The needle completely disappeared into the flesh of foot and my aunt had to squeeze it out like a splinter.  And yes, she is One Tough Aunt.

Another anonymous commenter tracked down the true name of my New Look pattern: New Look 6164.  And now that she said that, I do notice that the pattern pieces have that number on them.  What's that about?  Did 0172 get married and change her name to 6164?  Or is 6164 on the lam, hiding out in 0172's pattern envelope???

Anyway, here's what the pattern looks like:

She looks like she's hiding out, doesn't she?

Here's the front bodice + band that comes with the pattern:

And here's the back band piece that I created by copying the general shape of the band:

I tried to be scientific about how wide I made the band, but then gave up and just guessed.  I used this same piece for the front and back on my recent dress variation, and just folded under the straight side until it was about 1/2" to 1" less wide than the skirt piece (I wanted to increase the negative ease for the band so that it fit snug around my waist). 

Thanks for checking out my last dress creation and let me know if you have questions about how I got there.

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mamas!

Another Variation on the Simplicity 2580/New Look 0172 Hybrid

Oh yes I did.  I made another variation on my favorite pattern combo, that sweet marriage of Simplicity 2580 and New Look 0172.  I was feeling a bit down this weekend and hadn't sewn for myself in a while, and this was just the fix I needed to get some mojo back.

By the way, I can't find a picture of this New Look pattern anywhere online - it's like it doesn't really exist.  I found mine on a sale rack at Hancock's and it could have been sitting there a good long time.  I don't think I ever wrote about the straight-up version of this I made for myself, so here it is:

I don't really like how the pattern calls for just a thin piece of elastic in back, so when I made this for a client, I created a back band and that's the way I've made this pattern ever since.

But back to my new dress.  This time I lengthened the Simplicity 2580 bodice by three inches so that the front/back band would end up around my natural waist.  I also shortened the skirt by the same amount (from the top).  I experimented with a different back alteration to combat my ongoing upper back/lower neck gaping, and I think it worked.  This time I did a high round back alteration which was a bit counter-intuitive, but I think it might be right and, since it's an easy alteration to make, it could become my go-to.  Here's what the pattern pieces looked like after all my futzing around:

Back bodice with 3 inches added to length.

Close up of high round back alteration.  I added a center back seam and then
curved it more at the top after trying it on mid-construction.

3 inches folded up on skirt

I used the band from New Look 0172 for the waist (when folded in half, the band has ruching on one side and is flat on the other).  And voila!

The fabric is an ITY from (big surprise, huh??) and it's called Evening Windows.  It actually has some sparkle in it that you can't see in this picture.  I've had it in my stash since last summer so it is, alas, no longer available.  I love these colors!

It's a little hard to see because I forgot to move my hair out of the way, but the top has a cowl neck:

And check out the upper back!  No gaps!

I don't know if you can see it very well, but on the back of my left arm there's a faint scar line.  This is from a sewing injury.  I was sewing on the machine and reached behind myself without looking to grab something.  Unfortunately I had left my iron facing the wrong way and I seared my arm.  Mmmm yum, BBQ-ed Lisa.  Anyone else have a good story about a sewing-related injury?
UPDATE: You can find more info on the New Look pattern and a picture of my hack back band here.