Friday, August 26, 2011

RTW Suit Taunts Until Machine Embroidered

For a while now a lovely rose coral suit has hung in my closet . . . really taunting me for embroidery.  At last it became a summer sewing project.  This suit was a steal when I bought it - a $200 suit for only $19.99 with the bonus that it is fully lined and fits perfectly.  

My first step was auditioning embroidery thread colors.  I wanted cheery colors.

Then I played with a few different designs and created a few stitch-outs.

This design is one of 2000 in Creative DRAWings.  I had seen it seemingly a million times on my laptop and never really liked the design, yet remained curious about it.  So after stitching a sample I realized that for this suit project, the design would be quite nice mirror imaged on the center lower back jacket above a soft gathering line.  By the way I had to rip out the jacket hem to release the lining.

The embroidery stitched out easily.  To add more interest the little floral design was replicated and centered between the horizontal design.  Seemingly I thought this project was finished, but now I am wondering if a few little orange dots in the empty design area might finish the design better. 

I will be wearing this suit at a variety of consumer shows this fall.  If you see me vending or teaching, look for the orange dots.  If I decide to add them, I need to do so this afternoon as I will be wearing it tomorrow at Baby Lock Tech.  A SCHMETZ Embroidery 90/14 was used.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Curtain Ties

A while back when my husband and I moved into our new house, we found ready-made floral print curtains that were not too boisterous and were insulated.  We really like these curtains for the protection they provide from the weather extremes in Chicago land.  Time has past and dust was settling noticeably on the curtains, plus there seemed to be a smudge mark on the coordinating sheers that I just happen to know was from chocolate ice cream.  :)  Anyway, I dust the house quarterly, but I admit the curtains had never been vacuumed nor cleaned.   Yes, this was a summer project.  I tell this story not because of my valent cleaning spree, but because sewing was involved.

One whole weekend was devoted to curtains - washing, tumble drying and although I really wanted to just hang those curtains with just a hint of wrinkles, I just could not do it, so ironing - lots of ironing was involved.  Although I discovered a certain zen to the process, the sun was shining through the very clean windows that my husband washed inside and out.  Yes, he scored huge points with window washing!  ... and I had a chance to watch a few old black and white movies that I had never seen in their entirety on TCM including Spartacus and Mutiny on the Bounty. 

Even ceramic wildlife were recruited to keep valance corners from rolling until I had a chance to iron.
When the curtains were purchased all fit the windows perfectly, full length to the floor except for one over the sliding glass doors.  I really hated having to alter the curtains, but only one length was available.  About 8 inches were trimmed from the curtains, then I remembered in my stash were a couple different upholstery trims - perfect for curtain ties.  Yeap!  My sewing machine was soon purring away making the 5 ties needed.  A Jeans 110/18 was used with upholstery thread.  An old pair of khaki slacks were cut up as lining for the ties and two plastic rings were hand stitched to the back side.

 My curtain cleaning spree is over for about another 6 years, while dusting around the house will get done again in the fourth quarter... unless chocolate ice cream is involved!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Nordstrom Rack Bag Embellishment

Like a good sale?  Always on the prowl for another sewing project, I found an adorable bronze textured leather shoulder bag last fall at the Nordstrom Rack.  This $20 bag called for my new mission . . . embellish the front flap.  With lightly gathered leather on the flap and a fully lined interior, my challenge was how.  Here's the finished project.  Let me show you what I did.
Last week Bob in the warehouse was wondering what to do with these newly found wonderful glass bead tassels.  I said "I will take them!"  This 3 berry tassel on a satin ribbon inspired me to finish the bag.

The previous week I had embroidered several medallions - experimenting with different stitches, threads, dimensions and stabilizers.  Finally I settled on stitching the medallions on black tulle stabilized with Sulky Solvy Medium Weight Water Soluable Stabilizer.

It was fun using Sulky's Water Soluable Stabilizers.  Here are a couple medallions soaking in water.  You can easily see the black tulle.

After drying my next question was how to apply the medallion to the bag.  Bob's timing was perfect when he found those cute little berry tassels.  Using heavy upholstery thread and a hand needle I threaded the satin ribbon through the center of the medallion, then through a hole in the leather bag and lining created by my trusty brass stiletto.  The hole in the bag and lining was not too large, so effort - rather a struggle - finally pulled the satin ribbon through both layers.  The ribbon was cut in half, then run through two eyes of the button and knotted for security. 

The embroidered medallion and glass berry tassel add a whole new and exciting personality to the bag.  Someone asked "Why use tulle?"  The embroidery stitches need support.  The black tulle provided stitch support while also disappearing on the textured leather bag. 

I still have a handful of the glass bead tassels.  No doubt somewhere along the sewing journey those little tassels will show up.

Summer is almost over.  Do you still have sewing projects to finish?  I do!  :)


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Two Finished Sewing Projects

With this intense summer heat I have been inside sewing in preparation for fall SCHMETZ classes.  Recently I dedicated a weekend to just cutting out garments.  Projects were lined up in the guest room with their respective patterns, thread and any special notions.    Here are the first 2 finished sewing projects that I will be wearing at sewing shows this fall.

I was curious about this Connie Crawford pattern.  The suggested fabrication was wool, fleece, lightweight wovens and sheers.  What about an open knit fabric ... that just happened to be waiting in my stash? 

At first I was afraid that this loosely fit jacket may look too much like a tablecloth, but after trying it on a few times I'm going to have fun with it.  This pattern was very easy to cut out - although a huge cutting table or floor is needed.  It was also easy to sew thanks to my serger, although a sewing machine could easily get a similar effect.  All edges were serged, so my challenge was how to finish the edges.  The thought crossed my mind to just leave the serged edges alone which is frequently seen in the stores, but really I like a finished edge.

So I used my trusty SCHMETZ twin needles.  The neckline facing was secured with a Universal 4.0/80 twin.  The serged hem edge was turned up 1" then stitched with Universal 2.5/80.  Since the fabric had a decorative open pattern, I was a bit concerned that the twin needles would push the fabric into the throat plate.  After stitching a few samples, my suspicions were unfounded.  Both twin needles stitched beautifully and gave a nice finished edge to the jacket.

Jan Bones' V-Neck Camisole pattern was used for this cheerful top cut on the bias.  There is a small bit of topstitching along the neckline.  I used a Microtex 80/12 for precision stitching.

I have been playing around with my serger, learning different stitches and overall experimenting.  So all raw edges on this little top were serged.  What I really like is the serged hem - this gentle and flirty lettuce hem. 

Although I didn't plan to wear these two items together, they certain look terrific.  With a pair of white slacks I have the perfect outfit for Janome Institute - a wholesale dealer show - next month in Orlando.  Plus I have a cheery Swarovski daisy pendant that will be perfect bling. 

 ....... just 10 more sewing projects to go!

See my teaching schedule at consumer sewing shows at