Monday, June 29, 2015

I Still Sew! My Sorbetto!

No, I didn't give up on my blog or on sewing! I just haven't had a minute. First there was this:

And this:

And then there was this:

Apparently Titan, our Rottweiler who isn't afraid of thunder, is afraid of the combination of the loudest thunder you've ever heard combined with getting his leg stuck in a hanging attack cord. He ran with everything he had and took it all with him. About 75% of it survived (so did Titan!) and since everything was still so small and the name tags went everywhere, I now have kale growing in my flower pots and flowers growing with my vegetables. Good times!

Also, our embroidery business has still been keeping us very busy and that cuts into my personal sewing time! Ha! 

I did get all of these denim squares cut on my Accuquilt cutter. I sold my manual one and got the electric one and it is SO much easier. I think some of them were harder to turn than others and mine was definitely one of those! I'm making a denim quilt for our camper. Should keep us nice and warm because it gets sooooper cold at night where we camp. I got a longarm quilting machine FOR A STEAL thanks to Mr. SmileDog Stitches. More on that later!

Oh, and I taught myself to crochet so I could make a granny square afghan like the one on Big Bang Theory. Sorry for the poor quality photo!

We've also been making t-shirts with our t-shirt printer. My husband made me this one at my request since I'm letting my gray grow in. That is SO liberating let me tell you. My hair grows so fast that I was coloring it every 3 weeks. And it was getting so dry it wasn't taking the color very evenly anymore. And I hate putting those chemicals on my scalp all the time. Who knows what that's doing to my already crazy brain! Even though I have those dreaded roots I'm loving it. Loving it I tell you! Check out some of the gorgeous gray photos on Pinterest. So many classy women!

I think we're all caught up. So onto my Sorbetto! I'm not sure it's really my style although I'm not sure what my style is! I initially decided to make it because I was going to use it for a Craftsy fitting class. But, and I don't know if this will make any sense, I think I need more experience on my fitting "issues" before I take the class. You see, I have always been pretty thin until this past year when I left my "real world" job and started working from my studio on our property. I thought I'd work out more since I've always been a workout junkie, but turns out I worked out less! I think my body just needed a break after 35 years of it! I probably should have done a swayback adjustment back then but I never did. It seemed like everything fit pretty well. Now though, not so much! I am back to working out a lot and that was another reason I hadn't sewn any clothes. I didn't want to sew and then lose weight and have it not fit. Do you do that? I finally decided to just do it anyway. If I lose weight great. If not, great! 

I started with a size 6 on top but had read that the armholes can be too small. So I decided to cut those at a 12 (I read that someone else did that so I did it too!). But I thought that would be too much of a difference so I cut the top at an 8 and graded down to a 10 in the hips. Well, lemme tell you what. Not only was it too big up top but I had the pool party of all pooling going on at my middle/lower back. Of course I didn't make a muslin because that would be smart. So I ended up taking a 2" seam down the center back. That took care of the gaping at the top of my neck/back and a lot of the pooling, although as you can see, still there. My little Stretch kept jumping on me while I was taking pics. You can barely see him behind my tush!

I still had a bit of gaping around the front neckline. So I made a little pleat on each side of the center pleat. Oh yes I did! Honestly I didn't know what else to do and I knew I would never wear it if it gaped like that. It worked!

I feel like the armholes might still cut into me a bit. This seems a common problem of mine. It doesn't really sit super straight on me, or on the table for that matter (!) but I think it's kinda cute anyway. Until it cuts my arms off. I definitely have a lot to learn in the fit department! 

I really should start making muslins. Do you guys make them?

Well, I'm so torn on what to make next. I want to quilt. I want to sew clothes. I want to finish my granny square afghan. I want to do it all! I need to sew faster so I CAN do it all! 

Til later (or hopefully sooner),

Monday, March 23, 2015

Crazy Dog Lady Sewing Challenge, Take 2

We have been crazy busy with our business lately (which is a good thing) so I got a bit behind on what was to be my second piece for the Crazy Dog Lady Sewing Challenge. I tried to squeeze in bits of time here and there and then I actually thought the extended deadline was yesterday, not the day before (Saturday). Don't ask me how I messed that up! We spent Saturday embroidering a bunch of jackets that have two things on the back, something on the front and something on each of the leather sleeves. Needless to say that didn't leave much time for sewing. No problem...I still had Sunday, or so I thought! 

This dress has soooooo many issues I can't even begin to tell you all of them! I thought I'd just throw together something quick but my fabric is very thin. So I figured I'd just line it. Yeah. Because that's quick. And easy. Or not! I had no idea what I was doing either. So now the question I try to fix all of my fitting issues or do I use it for practice on my long arm quilting machine? Mr. SmileDog Stitches thinks it's really cute (yes, he actually used the word cute!) and that I should try to save it. I dunno! The dress and I definitely need some time apart first.

Another thing that has been keeping me busy is that we sold our monstrosity of a 5th wheel and bought a truck camper! We looooove our 5th wheel with its enclosed back porch and all (the dogs love the back porch too!) but it's such a huge production to get it ready to go camping. It's 35 ft...I can't believe we actually considered a 40 footer! Because of our business, we need to be able to go quickly (almost caught up on jobs - let's go camping!). So I have been unpacking it this week, as it heads to its new home Wednesday. WOW...I can't believe all of the stuff we had in there! What on earth will I do with it all? And I never used most of it, although sadly we only used it 4 times and didn't get a chance to get out last summer at all. I mostly transferred everything over from our know, all the stuff we didn't use in there either. Anyway, I'm really looking forward to some truck camper camping! I do need to make some new curtains, etc. I never did that for the 5th wheel because it was new and I didn't want to tear it apart. But, fun, fun!

Til later,

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Matchy, Matchy

First project for the Crazy Dog Lady Sewing Challenge is complete! When I heard about this challenge I knew I had to join in. After all, I'm already a crazy dog lady of 4 wonderful, rescued dogs! Anyone else interested in getting in on this awesome challenge has until March 15th to sew up your poopster-related item(s). 

Titan, Stretch, Digby, Larry
I must say that it's funny how all 3 of my Boston Terriers weigh almost the exact same, yet all of their sizes are different. Larry is short and stocky (and when he goes running by he looks like one of those little cartoon characters), Stretch is long and skinny (must be all the stretching he does...hence his name!) and Digby seems pretty normal. And let's not forget Titan the Rottweiler who thinks he's a Boston. He's very small for a Rottie, maybe due to how sick he was until we adopted him at 7 months old. Apparently his parents were very large. We love his size though!

Since all of our Bostons are different sizes, Mr. SmileDogstitches embroidered their names on each coat to keep me from going crazy trying to figure it out when it's time to go for a walk! Or camping. The little guys get so cold at night by the fire when we're camping.
Larry & Titan
I really can't trust Mr. SmileDogstitches to make sure my hair looks okay in pictures. I mean, what a mess! It's no secret that I have crazy hair but eeeek! Oh well, Larry and Titan look good so that's what matters (isn't it? ISN'T IT???). I tried to adjust the hoodie pattern before I cut my fabric this time. Last time it was sooooo big on me (I made the medium and I should have made the small this time). But that really didn't work out so well. It's still big and I also got some horizontal pooling at the back which makes me think I probably need a swayback adjustment in the future on things I make.
Matchy, Matchy!
When I made the bike one blogged about here, the coverstitch stitches pretty much disappeared into the fleece. This time that didn't happen. I suppose I should have changed out the thread. But I really didn't want to have to stop and re-thread my machine for this one. Call me lazy!

I accidentally purchased some super cute Boston/Frenchie (it's hard to tell...I think it's whichever one you want it to be!) fabric that I thought was fleece when I ordered it. Turns out it's flannel. I must have been so excited when I saw it and the price at under $3/yd. that I didn't read it properly! And I got A LOT of it! 
Boston Terrier? Frenchie? Frenchton?
I didn't think it would work great for the pattern I was originally using for all the dogs, but I think it will work well with the pattern I used for Larry and Titan in the end, without the sleeves on Larry's. Plus, I think I might like to make the short Carolyn Pajamas pajamas by Heather at Closet Case Files. Aren't these adorable?
Heather -
I have one more thing planned for the Crazy Dog Lady Sewing Challenge (not the above pj's but...). We'll see if I can crank it out in time!

Til later,

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Shoe Patch Machine

One of the things I love about having an embroidery business is that I'm always surrounded by various machines, thread and fabric. It's really heaven for a seamstress! We have a lot of requests to sew patches onto hats, shirts, uniforms, etc. Trying to jam a hat into any of my flatbed machines or even a machine with a free arm just ends up smashing the hat and giving me fits. And stopping production on the embroidery machines to set them up to do that is really not good use of our time. So I traded one of my other industrial machines I wasn't really using for this one. It will do everything the traded one did and much more! Fixing chewed up heavy duty dog beds and easily sewing through dog collars is one example. Sewing patches on the Wyoming Army National Guard uniform arms today will be much easier!

It was interesting to see that these machines haven't changed much at all since the late 1800's/early 1900's. Just take a look at the picture below. I had actually seriously considered an old Singer from the early 1900's but since I made a trade I got a new one. BUT...that doesn't mean I won't still end up getting a vintage Singer with a treadle table if I find a good deal. It would look great in our studio and then the new one could go to a new home. I just love vintage machines!
Til later,

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Bicycle Fleece Hoodie

Hello hello!

Well this took longer than it should have! I signed up for a Craftsy class on sewing with knits because I liked this hoodie. And I thought I could possibly learn a thing or two (I've actually signed up for a number of Craftsy classes). The class was pretty slow moving and I only made this first project. I'm not sure I'll do any more from it.

Apparently Mr. SmileDogstitches didn't notice I had two pieces of hair sticking out sideways when he took my pics. Well, you know what they say. Love is blind. HA! I must say I love this hoodie as much as I thought I would. It's super comfy. It has a little crisscross at the front neckline. I did take a picture of me with the hood on since you couldn't really see it from the back, but I look like a goof. So trust me when I say it's a hoodie. I made the medium but ended up taking in the side seams 3". The pattern is made to be more roomy than I wanted. I should have made a small. But I left the arms alone except for the underarm. I took that in about an inch. Must be my big guns requiring the larger arms. Yeah. I added 2 inches to the arm length because I hate it when my sleeves are too short. And I love longer sleeves. The first thing Mr. SmileDogstitches said was, "That's awesome (bless him). And sleeves just like you like them." After 22 years of marriage he knows what I like...and he knows what to say!
Jazz hands. Because they help show sleeve length.
On the hems I used my Juki industrial coverstitch. I wasn't going to use it because I have it threaded with white thread and, well it's a lot like threading an overlock and I really just wanted to finish and not have to re-thread it again just yet. But I haven't used it yet other than toying around with it so I really wanted to try it in real life. The thread kind of sinks on the front side of the fabric (I did two lines of stitching) so it didn't really matter that it was white. Here's the stitch on the wrong side of the fabric. It's nice and stretchy. 
The seams were done on my industrial Juki overlock, in bright colors like I always do, even though the instructor didn't finish her seams. 
I'm still having some machine issues which is part of the reason this took so long (yeah sure, blame the machine!). I'm getting a replacement machine from the company for the industrial straight stitch that has been giving me so many issues. In the meantime I ended up scoring an awesome, used Juki 5410 which is an industrial needle feed machine. I found it on Craigslist and it was in the same town I'm in. That never happens! And bonus...the woman I purchased it from teaches all sorts of sewing related classes including fitting and pattern drafting. I do want to make my own cycling jerseys, so I'll probably be paying her a visit. She even showed me how to sew knits on the Juki straight stitch needle feed (she sewed lots of lycra stuff on it for a living for a number of years so she's an expert). But it's so extremely dry here that I couldn't get it to sew the fleece that way without skipping lots of stitches even though it did other knits perfectly every time. I even tried a little oil on top of the bobbin case and along the thread itself up top. It didn't work. I ended up having to use a Singer that I have (for the zig zag and buttonholes) and doing a zig zag stitch. I think I might make one more and just use my overlock and my coverstitch machines. Even when I'm having issues, I still love all of my machines (except the one that's getting replaced!). 

We had such nice weather here last week that I got outside and rode 3 January! The close up picture of my bike looked cooler on my phone while I was out riding, mostly because I can't see small things without my reading glasses. I was pretty sure I'd come home and need to enter it in some sort of photography contest. And I'd win. Nope. 
I did run into my new friend Ron on my Thursday ride and we rode back in together. You might remember he's 75 years old and he's amazing. I met him out on the road. He's training for his first of four cycling tours this year. The first one is in March and it's 6 days of riding, 360 miles! Once again I tried to take our picture but I suck at selfies! So here's Ron. I like to share because he's such an inspiration!
Off to my next project!

Til later,

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My Gingers are Finished!

Yes, you heard that right. Finished I say! My Gingers took me forever. And ever. Most of it had to do with machine issues and getting bogged down with our embroidery business during the holidays. Oh, and I think I ripped out every single seam in these jeans throughout the process, at least once if not more! But I love these jeans!

I freakin' made these jeans! Stretch is doing a happy dance!
I've never made fitted pants before. I did have someone who kindly offered to help me sew a "pantsuit-ish-thing" years ago but the pants were verrrrrrry loose and she went through everything so fast. Honestly I don't remember a thing other than feeling very rushed. No fun!

Brrrr...good thing I have extra fabric at the knees to keep me warm!
For my Gingers, I cut out one size but really needed a smaller size for my waist and apparently my legs. I wasn't sure how to grade the pattern and make it work. So I didn't. I hemmed and hawed over that issue for 2 weeks before cutting. Finally I just cut right into my fabric. Lesson learned! I had to do so many alterations on my fabric since I only fit them for my hips. I mean, it's not like I have the biggest hips in the world (except for right now because man oh man did I overeat during the holidays...why can't they coincide with cycling season??!!). I should have also cut a smaller size in the legs because they were HUMONGOUS! I still have a bit of "gappy knee" and gaping at the waist, which I thought I had taken care of, but nope. I was afraid I was over fitting. I think next time I'll try a couple sizes smaller to start with. 

I'm moving my locks out of the way so you can see my tush because my hair's that long. 
I'm not sure what my malfunction was, but for the LIFE of me, I couldn't grasp the final step of the waistband. No matter what I tried and how I configured my fabric, it didn't look like Heather's did in the pictures on the sewalong (which was great!). I finally found this this video online and voila! I'm not sure it was the same process but it worked. I also couldn't get my button or rivets to stay on. I kept smashing the tip. I'm pretty sure it's because I don't know my own strength since I lifted weights this morning. Yup. I finally had to have Mr. SmileDogstitches do it. On the first try. Ugh! 

I love using fun colors on my overlock! Happiness is an inside job!
As for my machine issues, I might have mentioned before that I purchased a used Juki overlock machine (which I much quieter than my Pfaff 4852 was and than my little Brother is) and although it was supposed to be in great working order, it was missing a part. That caused one of the upper needle threads to continually break. Frustrating! But I didn't know the missing part was the culprit because the part was so tiny. So I fiddled and fiddled and fiddled with the tension. All of our cleaning rags now have overlocked edges. So pretty. After I figured out a part was missing they sent the wrong part. But it's working like a champ now. I also sort of recently got an industrial straight stitch machine. It's brand new but leaks oil like mad. Trying to figure that out (with the place we got it from) and get it to stop has been a nightmare. Although it has a servo motor it won't sew very slow and it should. And the tension is super super duper fussy. Originally I was going to do all the topstitching on that one but I just couldn't do it that fast. The company is replacing that machine so hopefully in the next month or so those issues will be gone. They are in LA and I am in Wyoming so it has been a logistical challenge. 

So there you have it. A marathon post to go with my marathon Gingers. Mid-process I swore I'd never make pants, pj's or anything else with 2 legs again, let alone jeans. But now...I can't wait to make them in various prints and colors! It was all worth it in the end!

Til later,


Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas Sewing

Hello! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and is enjoying some Merry Christmas long weekend sewing! I got to work on my Gingers yesterday and on Christmas Eve. I have the zip in. But I broke a needle yesterday on my industrial straight stitch and although I found all the pieces my stitches were a mess after that. I'm still working on it. Sheesh! After finally getting my Juki industrial overlock working (it was used and missing a part so it kept breaking thread), now this. One step forward, two steps back. Ha! I hope I didn't mess up the timing somehow by breaking a needle. I don't even know how I'd know? But still, I'm getting to sew, sort of!

Here are two of my Boston Terriers in a very happy Christmas picture from a couple of years ago. I especially like the look on Larry's face (he's on the right)!

Merry Christmas weekend everyone!