Thursday, February 28, 2013

Technicos: Sharpening Flannel Buttonholes (Green Sewing)

Green Sewing with Leftover Stabalizer Scrap
The irregular hole on the left hand side remains from the fabric's
previous life supporting machine embroidery.
Plenty of area remains to help out my buttonholes.
(Originally published in my Sewing Blog Me Encanta Coser/Enchanted By Sewing) When I made my first test buttonholes on my birdie vest, the first thing I learned was that two layers of flannel, even though they were interfaced on the inside, did that gummy thing under the needle. I bet you know how that gummy thing works, the fabric just doesn't move through right. Two layers of flannel will do that to you. They just want to stick together.

I've used different kinds of stabalizer in various ways when it comes to buttonholes. Having recently been working on sewing area cleanup, it occurred to me this time to try out some of the scrap pieces I've saved from machine embroidery. There's such a lot of stabalizer leftover around the design. (Yes, I can't help but keep it. Occasionally I use it to write project directions on for myself.)

In this case I was able to pencil my buttonhole measurements and guidelines onto the sheet and sew through onto the buttonhole. Not only did the fabric slide really well, My buttonholes came out nice and straight!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Pull Up a Chair in My California Driveway (Garden)

I sure appreciated the opportunity to spend an hour gardening in my driveway. The drive is the only place we get much sun. The birds and I love all the trees and bushes, but roses, succulents and geraniums do better on the drive. Another good reason to stick with only one car! 

Do you like gardening in pots as much as I do? They are definitely less challenging than real yard stuff, which takes more expertise and long-term thought and planning. I also planted some citron and deep blue colored hostas and iris in the yard. Hopefully they'll flourish. Also hopefully the slugs and snails won't be leaving too many calling cards. I understand coffee grounds help with that. First we have to see if those bulbs sprout. I was trying for a native plant garden in the shady spot I dug up for those today, but no dice. Native plants are, of course, harder to establish than domesticated European ones.

You have to know when to call it quits when it comes to busted chairs. It was a lovely antique'y looking thing, but had broken in a no-good-way-to-fix-it manner.  It came out of the house and sat forlornly in the drive, supposedly waiting to go out on big garbage day, then O'Malley Cat took it over.  O'Malley is unhappy with me for taking over his old cat nap chair. However, he still has full access to a spot on our bed, as well as several benches in the yard, and a variety of other cosy warm spots on the car hood, along the fence, etc.. I think he'll survive my theft.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Weeping Flowers (California Historical Scene)

Weeping Flowers in California

Quick Tutu Keeps a Girl Happy (Doll Sewing)

Kaity Rose (above) likes to imagine  herself
on stage at the San Francisco Ballet
Kaity Rose had been after me for a tutu of her own, ever since she heard me speak about my fascination with that garment in the final Pensamientos/Reflection part of the Enchanted by Sewing January Podcast. Of course I had made the mistake of mentioning that I had a piece of tulle and a bit of purple satin in my fabric bits inventory, not to mention a sparkly embellishment or two. Any doll would bug you once they knew that.

Did I use a pattern? No.

Is this costume going to hold up to the rigors of long-term play? No.

But I did make one doll happy. And if another little child ever comes along who wants to play with a ballerina doll, then I'll just get busy and sew up a sturdier version.

I may focus on sewing for my own wardrobe, but occasional sewing for dolls is another one one of the things that keeps me Enchanted by Sewing.

You may also enjoy Cracking Nuts at the Opera House

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Junípero Serra: The Mission Man

Junípero Serra was not exactly the good old buddy of California native people that he imagined himself to be. Were his missions indeed like old-time concentration camps for the enslaved native population who didn't manage to escape the rule of the Conquistidores? Likely many of the diseases that decimated local people spread from the missions.

This statue's up behind a roadside rest stop off Highway 280, one of two major arteries on the peninsula that runs between San Francisco and the Silicon Valley. That freeway still bears the name of this man, though many of us don't relish the connection.

What are your thoughts on the man with more than one mission? 

References: 1491 : new revelations of the Americas before Columbus / Charles C. Mann.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Blogging on Hold Due to Family Medical

Hope you are all taking good care of yourselves, drinking lots of fluids and eating your leafy greens every day. I know I am. I will return to blogging once things are better settled with the family member who has been in the hospital and has just returned home.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Holly's New Vest (Doll Clothes)

A California Gal Can Always Use a Cute Vest Topper

I sewed this vest for Holly the Dolly when I was prepping for my January Enchanted By Sewing Podcast. The show theme was vests, and I was reviewing the steps I described in the Technicos/Techniques section of the podcast. I really like these minimal hand-sewing vest construction method I learned from my class at the Cañada Community College, Fashion Sewing Program.

We're talking a little green sewing here. This fabric is one I saved from a dress I made myself way, way back in college. You're right that the style wasn't exactly up to date. But some prints continue their appeal, right? I didn't hold onto this material just to be environmentally correct. I simply never got over loving it. The rest of my one-time dress will either go into a vest or buttercup purse for me.

Holly is getting a lot of use out of these new-to-her threads. That's one doll who's as enchanted by sewing as I am.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Alternative Energy: One Cat At A Time (CA Point of View)

All over the world there are cats generating BTU's
And nobody's taking advantage of that fact
to Reduce our Reliance on Fossil Fuels

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Finding History at MacWorld 2013 (San Francisco Field Trip)

MacWorld's not what it used to be. These days it's more like a recreation of the good old days in the 80's and 90's to remember when it showcased the marvelous new apple computer products we were all so hyped about. 

It's a short BART trip from my home in Silicon Valley up to the expo.  So I went, still hyped about my mac and all it's associated mobile devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod), and my work on IOS app development. I mostly saw business apps, some hardware and tons and tons of accessories - cleaner, cases and covers. This stuff I can buy on the web. I didn't find any of the educational apps I was interested in contrasting with my own work. The app display area ("Appalooza") had plenty of room to sit in comfort, as there were so few vendors. 

Upstairs I found some of the tech listen-in sessions that used to excite me, but I just couldn't get my enthusiasm up. So I went for a good long walk to enjoy a little more of the history of San Francisco.

Thanks for the memories.
It's all happening, it just isn't happening here anymore. 

Antique Threads:My Life in Costume Drama (Poldark)

Demelza Poldark, in one of her beautiful
Empire Style Day Gowns,
Shown here giving husband Ross a piece of her mind
in the BBC series "Poldark",
Inspired by the novels of Winston Graham
In college and high school I sewed a goodly number of frocks along the lines of Demelza's in the BBC television series Poldark. The high waistlines of Empire dresses spoke not only to the style of the English Regency era, they were how we imagined we would live our lives. Did you live your life as though you were part of some kind of drama when you were that age too?

Nowadays I look to Demelza's dresses more for sewing inspiration as to color, pattern and  details then as clothing I might wear for a walk in the park. As I mentioned in the Enchanted By Sewing December podcast (Ench-004: Good Night My Someone), this kind of gown still inspires my nightgown sewing. I've been mulling over creating a romantically styled spring/summer nightgown inspired by this sort of dress and the Folkwear "Beautiful Dreamer" nightgown pattern I've got tucked away.

It's the men's clothing from that era that inspire my daytime, for-public-view garment sewing. I love the buttons, lapels and fabrics of men's vests and they way they combined with what we might now call a poet shirt.

Imagine what a Buck like Demelza's husband Ross Poldark would have said if he had met a time traveller from today and learned that one day, women would wear trousers as tight as his own!