Friday, March 26, 2010

Two for the Price of One

I just got a message from my mojo. She was very apologetic about leaving without notice and said she was on her way back home. I knew she would come back. She always does. But I'm not waiting for her return. I'm working on two –count 'em – two blouses. Here's the story ……

When my daughter came back from Morocco last year, she brought three pieces of fabric for me. Her host mother (a professional seamstress!) selected the fabrics and I was supposed to make some Moroccan caftan-like garment. I'm not really a woman who wears caftans so I selected a tunic (Burda 06-2009-135) instead. The fabric is a crinkled cotton and I also have an aqua/turquoise piece. After I laid out the tunic, there was enough fabric left for another project, as long as it didn't require lots of yardage. I searched my index for a blouse and found Burda Plus Fashion Spring/Summer 2006 #402. The blouses differ enough so that no one should notice they are from the same fabric. I would really like to have the long sleeved tunic finished before I go to Virginia to visit my daughter next week even though I'm sure she won't recognize the fabric unless I remind her.

I really want to use the trim DD and her host-mom selected. I won't use the trim unless I can come up with creative way to do so. So far, the best I've come up with is the put a small bit of trim on the tab. Using trim along the hems would make the tunic look retro and that isn't the look I was going for. I think of Summerset's perfectly embellished, prize winning art pieces and the best I can do is a three-inch piece of trim on a placket! Life really isn't fair.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Sewing Ministry

My sewing mojo is AWOL. I've learned how to deal with my missing mojo. If you love your mojo, set it free. Invariably , I'm more hungry to sew by the time my mojo comes back.

In the meantime, I have a project that doesn't require a mojo. My church has started a sewing ministry. Our first project is making baby clothes for a women's shelter. So far we have 5 "willing workers". I suspect some women wanted to join the ministry for free sewing lessons and they didn't make it past the first organizational meeting (Praise God). We made Kwik-Sew 3309 t-shirts in an assembly line. One person cut, another person sewed the neckband, another person sewed the sleeves and since I was late, I sewed on the neckband and sewed up the sides. I don't care for assembly line sewing. With four different people with varying degrees of experience working on one shirt, the finished product is a little quirky. A few of the shirts were sewn wrong side out. Our "Minister of Sewing" and I took a pile of the shirts home to hem. I never really liked sewing knits and putting a narrow 1/4 inch hem in a knit was not really that much fun. I finished the edges with my serger using the differential feed feature. Then I used the serged stitches as a guide when turning up the hem. Finally I used a twin needle to sew the hems. I was trying to eliminate the waviness and I was moderately successful. The wavy seams and hems are the reason I never liked sewing knits. However, I am glad to be "sewing for the Lord". I like sharing my sewing skill somewhat anonymously. Hopefully, more sewers will join the ministry once we get rolling.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

When is a SWAP not a SWAP?

Can a SWAP be a SWAP if there was no plan? I guess not. Then it would be a SWA.

I played with the idea of a SWAP or a mini wardrobe for years. But I'm not good at staying with long term sewing projects. Spending weeks on one project held no appeal for me. However, I've managed to make a MWBA : Mini Wardrobe By Accident.

After making my last outfit, I had enough of the black plaid fabric left over to make a skirt using Burda Plus Fashion FW-2008-414. I made the blouse (BWOF 07-08-133) in 2008, but never wore it. I never even moved it out of the closet in the sewing room. I think there was a problem with the pants that were supposed to be worn with it. With two bottom pieces of the same fabric, I had the basis of a mini-wardrobe. I mixed and matched the following patterns:
  • Skirt Burda Plus Fashion FW-08-414
  • Blouse – BWOF 07-08-133
  • Pants – Burda Plus Fashion FW-06-409
  • Long Blouse – Burda Plus Fashion SS-07-416
  • Knit Top – Vogue 8151

If I'd really planned this wardrobe, I might not have chosen these pieces to be worn together. Long blouses are out of my comfort zone.

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I've also made pieces that are well within my comfort zone. I bought the wool blend for the pants without buying coordinating fabric for a top. Fortunately, I was able to find the fabric for the top from Vogue Fabrics by Mail. Both the pants (405D) and the top (404) came from the Fall/Winter 2007 issue of Burda Plus Fashion. This fortunate experience might just encourage me step even further outside of my comfort zone and to buy more pieces that don't coordinate. It is possible to find two fabrics that go together on two different occasions and from two different stores.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I Heart JoMar

I used to be such a snob. I've lived in the Philadelphia area for over 30 years and I never went to JoMar. At one point, there was a JoMar location about a mile and a half away from me and I was too much of a snob to ever go there. But lately, it seemed every sewist I know raved about JoMar. I felt left out because I'd never been there. Actually, I did go once. In the Summer of 2008 I think, I was early for a lunch date so I ran in and out in about 15 minutes – hardly enough time to form an impression.

At the PR Weekend Planning meeting, my colleagues talked about the JoMar in Norristown and I decided to make that location my first "real" visit. I was very pleasantly surprised. I found two really nice pieces for 20% off the regular price. That was 20% off $2.00! $1.60 a yard!!! Even the fabric buyer/department manager complimented my selections. I left with 10 yards and I felt great!

I couldn't wait to try the South Philadelphia location. It was closer to me and I hoped the fabrics and selection were just as good. When I finally I went to the South Philly location I found two more pieces to make a nice summer outfit.

Five yards of fabric and a zipper came to about $11.00! I was so happy I could have cried. There is a down side to JoMar, however. Every roll of fabric is not a gem. As is the case in every fabric store, there are rolls of cheap, ugly fabric, but they can be avoided with careful shopping.

Discovering and loving JoMar is really about changing the way I shop for fabric. I used to believe JoAnn, with it's one-stop shopping, was the only place to buy fabric. When I wanted to sew something, I went to JoAnn, chose a pattern and bought the fabric and notions all in one trip. JoMar is not conducive to that type of shopping because you never know what you will find there. I still buy an occasional piece of fabric from JoAnn, but it's become the exception rather than the rule. Now that I've finally found JoMar, I'm going to take my newly evolved attitude there as much as possible.