Monday, June 30, 2008

Getting to Know You...

Well I finally did turn around! It's a pretty easy to operate sewing machine (once I got past the fact that you have to unplug to foot control to use the bobbin winder!) Does anyone use the button rather than the foot petal? Am I old-fashioned??

My first project on the Brother Innov-is 40 - is a cover for her made with some great barkcloth I got on eBay recently (12 yards of it!) I figured it was a good place to start. Someone asked me yesterday if I have named my sewing machine - I have not, yet.

I also created a scissors pad/stitch palette as a way to get to know the machine (Pearl?). It's a good landing place and reminder that there should always be a pair by the machine, as well as a visual reminder of what the decorative and overcasting stitches look like.

Good news from the US Mail today! - a check from a wholesale client I had pretty much given up on finally arrived. I also received an inquiry from another shop (to open soon). It's all making me feel pretty good today - especially now that my hair is cut the way it should be! (critical to my sense of being right with the world!)

I'm wearing the apron that I made for myself last week. I have wanted to make a "shop" inspired apron - the kind you might see on a female gas station attendant. The 44 is for my birthday, but it might look like a lodge number or something like that. I wore it to see "Superior Donuts" at the Steppenwolf on Saturday. No one asked me about it, but I did overhear a woman say "well that's different"! I'll take that as a compliment, thank you!

Friday, June 27, 2008

I'm Stuck

I'm having one of those days when I can't seem to move in the direction I need to be moving. My new sewing machine is right behind me and I need to turn around and introduce myself.

I packed up my beloved Viking yesterday. I wish I had the room to have both of them up and running, but I just don't. I looked at quite a few different machines and the Brother Innov-is 40 is the one I liked best. I finally found a computerized machine I like. I don't like number pads - it has a dial, which my analog brain seems to need. I don't have to remember any sequences, I just turn the dial to the stitch I need and I'm on my way (eventually!).

My Viking has some significant tension issues - it's fine when I'm doing simple sewing, but when it comes to applying pockets or anything with more thickness, the bottom stitching is not right. I did take it in for servicing, my sewing machine guy said that it's days were numbered. I finally came to terms with it last week, and purchased the machine yesterday. I'm going to take a page from She's So Slye and start out with something simple - an apron I started on the Viking - it will be a hybrid I guess!

I'm going to turn around now... (or very soon anyway).

Monday, June 23, 2008

Jack Winter Vintage Pants

I love the label in my new vintage pants - so excellent. I knew they were too big when I bought them yesterday, but if you know how I feel about plaid pants, you know I had to get them anyway. They are constructed just like a pair of pants I made a few years ago, so I turned them inside out and placed the similar pants over them to get an idea of where I needed to alter. It was clear that I needed to separate the pant legs in the center (fortunately the zipper is on the side, hidden in the pocket). I resewed the inner thigh of each pant leg, and then put the 2 sides back together. It was then that I realized that the front pleats needed to be increased also, they werea little balloony in the front. Once I did that, they fit pretty well. And the way they go with my favorite Ship N' Shore top? I almost wonder if at some point these 2 items were worn together, possibly by a gal named

Fabulous embroidered pillowcase found at Unique yesterday.

Jack Winter pants paired with Ship N' Shore blouse, perfect for a summer day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

To O With It!

After I finished Deanna I was feeling pretty jazzed. I posted images on flickr, I blogged, and then I went to the O magazine web site and looked for the place to contact the editors. I sent them a short note about my business, particularly about the Deanna apron and the custom apron concept I enjoy so much. I immediately recieved an automated "we received your email, thank you for your interest etc" message. The following week I received a non-automated email from the editors! They love my work, and encouraged me to send a sample to the style editor in New York! I had been having a particularly difficult week, finding my way back daytime employment continues to be a painful process. The timing of the email from the O editors couldn't have been better.

Now to choose a sample... which apron to send? I considered Kitty-kitty, and Cockadoodle, but finally decided to send Who's Counting. It has my signature faced pocket with ric-rac. Next was to think of something to embroider on it. I initially thought about the O logotype, but ultimately decided that was too obvious - they must get a lot of items with the O logo applied to them, even hand-embroidered I think it would miss the mark. It also wouldn't tell them anything about me, or Practically Necessary. Humor plays a big part in my work, so the piece of cake with the caption "Who's Counting?" felt perfect.

Next came crafting the press release/introduction letter. I wrote out the basic letter - covering the important points, then with the help of my brilliant editor/husband Marc we culled away all of the unnecessary words - such hard work! Marc even helps me pick out the images to include. He has very strong opinions about my work - it really helps in the editing process.

I mailed the package today and I feel great about it. The apron is my best work - and the letter of introduction says exactly what I want it to say. I can't ask much more than that of myself. Tomorrow it's back into the employment trenches - I still need a day job, and I hope to find one that can balance out my life. I'm starting to dream a little big about it and to picture it more clearly. I'm feeling more hopeful that I will find my place again in the employment universe!

On my way to the post office with a package for O!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Custom Apron Show and Tell

I thought it would be fun to show how I created my latest custom apron. Pauline, my client, bookmarked my site when it was featured on Daily Candy in January. She contacted me in May and we met last Friday. She had a whole shopping bag full of clothes that the recipient (Deanna, getting married this summer) wore as a child. I was a little taken aback at first. Usually people give me kitchen textiles - but after a few minutes I saw how it could work.

I figured I could use some of my fabric, and use the clothing pieces as a border, pocket, ties and facings. One of the best pieces she gave me was a hand-embroidered bib. I put that on some gingham dress fabric for the pocket. I added a little pink flower - it needed a little accent, AND it covers a small stain - necessity really is the mother of invention! There was also a 1 piece pants jumper which became the border, and the ties. I accented the pocket and the sweetheart neckline with yellow ric-rac. This piece has really expanded my concept of what fabrics can be used for a custom piece, and I'm pretty pleased with the way it came out!

That crafty little flower accents the pink in the border, AND covers a tiny stain!