Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Know Thy Machine

Shruti at 13 Woodhouse Road is hosting a Know Thy Machine blog hop. And, I thought it'd be fun to answer the questions here!
1. What machine(s) do you have? Brand and Model.
I have a Shark and a Janome 4120QDC

2. When and where did you buy it? What were the reasons for selecting this(these) particular model(s). What was its approximate cost.
The Shark was the machine my husband bought for me for our anniversary 2 and a half years ago--he bought me a cheaper machine because this was my first 'step' into sewing and I wasn't sure how I'd like it. I think it cost around $100.
My Janome is the machine I bought after a year and a half of fighting with my Shark. I bought this one after researching certain features I wanted in a machine and then I had my eye set on a Pfaff Ambition I believe. But, when I gave them a test run in the sewing store, I fell in love with this one and was not too impressed with how the Pfaff sewed. (It had some quirks that caused me a lot of grief with my Shark that I wanted to avoid at all costs like major bunching of the thread in the back mid way through sewing.) Oh and the approximate cost was around $800 I believe.

3. What do you like about your machine? Have you named it? Have you made a cover for it?
I really like how my Janome sews knits--I don't need a serger. (This was a major selling point as well--that it did knits really well!) To do this, it has a foot presser pressure dial and some great stretch stitches.
Ha, and what do I like about my Shark? Well, not a whole lot anymore--it's a bit of a clunker and I'd not recommend it to anyone! Though it did me well for a year and a half and I sewed on it a lot!
Other than naming the Shark, 'the beast,' I have not named myJanome or sewn a cover for it! I got a hard cover with it when I bought it.  

4. Does your machine give you any problems? Could you tell us a few?
The only problems my Janome has given me was a tension problem after I had tried mending some thick neoprene dog vests on it--yes, not a good idea! Other than that, I have no problems with it yet and I'm quite pleased with it!
The Shark had all sorts of tension issues, it clumped thread in the back, it was loud, it ate fabric, etc.

5. What do you sew on it mainly? Quilts, Clothes, Bags etc. How much time do you spend sewing on it? What are the features of the machine that help you improve your work?
I sew a lot of clothes, some diaper bags, rag blankets and other small items! I don't spend hours a day sewing--I have 4 kids five years old and under. But, I do usually spend at least a couple of hours a week on it!
The features that help me are the two I mentioned above (foot presser pressure dial and stretch stitches) plus needle down, thread snipper, and some really neat stitches to add a special touch!

6. What advice would you give others when deciding about which machine to buy?
Ask around and try a bunch of machines. Make sure you have a list of features you want in a machine and think about what you may be doing with it in the future as well!

7. Will you share with us a special memory associated with your machine?
I'm not sure if I have a special memory other than it was supposed to be my birthday present but I was too impatient and got an early birthday present!

8. If you had unlimited resources in the world, which machine would you choose to buy and why?
I honestly have no idea--I really like this machine although I've heard some good stuff about the Juki machines!
What kind of machine do you have? What are its pros and cons?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

PJ's Times Three

Remember the PJ pants I sewed for KCWC days 5 & 6? Well, I sewed up another pair plus finished off the required tops.
The pants are again the same pattern out of the Sewing for Boys book. But, I cut the length to size 4/5 for the Sweats pattern and again took in the width an inch or two. This one has less room to grow in length for some reason but it is unlikely I'll actually take the time to re-hem the pants. More likely they'll just get passed on down the line though it'll be a couple of years before my 9 month old will fit them! Oh, and the fabric is again some flannel that I bought a couple of years ago for, I believe, $3 per meter.

For two of the tops, I bought long sleeved tops from Walmart and appliqued the pictures from the accompanying pants onto them.
For my oldest son, I had enough fabric to make a shirt from the same fabric I had used for the pants. Plus, I added some red fabric--a bamboo rayon/cotton baby rib knit from Fabric.com. The pattern is McCalls # 4283 view D. I used size 3 (even though my son is 5) and just lengthened it. He is quite skinny and I had made this pattern before (before I had a blog) and I knew it ran wide and short. I am quite pleased how it turned out except the arms are a teensy bit short. He was slouchy when I tried it on him to gauge where to cut the arms!

I went out in  -5 degree weather to hang them up outisde and try take some decent pictures. A bit of a fail as I was shivering and trying real hard to hurry on such a blustery cold day! Do you see that snow there on the ground? It looks rather wintery out here except there is no foot of snow yet--just a dusting.  

A neatly folded stack of warm, cozy PJs all ready to be worn tonight!

Monday, October 15, 2012

KCWC Days 5 and 6

So, I sewed up some PJ pants for my oldest boy and for my girl for days 5 and 6. I know, 2 days to sew up two pairs of PJ pants is pretty sad. But, the first day was spent mostly cutting out and adjusting the pattern used and then cutting out the fabric.

I'm so glad I adjusted the pattern--the pants would have been enormous!
The pattern is from the book Sewing for Boys--the Kickin' Back Sweats pattern which if lengthened is the Sweetheart PJs and if shortened the Bobby's Bathers.
For my oldest son, I used the size 6/7 sweats length and size 2/3 width. He's almost 5 and this worked great--it has a nice wider hem so I'll be able to lengthen it if I don't just make him a new pair by that time.

For my 2 year old daughter I used the same pattern but I used the size 2/3 length and took in the 2/3 width by about 2 inches. Again, I'll be able to lengthen the pants if I want.

I had to add a tag to each so they (and I) could tell what is the back and what is the front.

The fabric used for both is flannel that I got for around $3 a metre. Pretty good deal I'd say! Unfortunately, almost two years ago, I was not wise enough in the sewing area to realize how much I'd need to make a full set of PJs. I'll probably have to buy some shirts from Walmart for cheap and applique to make them match. Or, I can try piecing things together--we'll see what I do.
But, that is a project for another day!
That's it for my KCWC. It was a challenge for myself to get an hour in every day, but I think I managed and got some stuff done that otherwise takes a back burner. A success I'd say.

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Winner...

So, I plugged the 2 comments into Random.org and the winner of the London Pants giveaway is:
Elisabetta said...
thank you so much for this nice giveaway! I am your new GFC follower and my favorite patterns are Olivia Skirt and Anya Dress
London Pants for Boys and Girls 12M-8Y PDF Pattern & Instructions-Cargo style-Rolled up hem-Flat front with elastic waistline-big pockets
 And, welcome to my blog where I post mostly about my sewing projects but once in a while about life in general.
I sent an email to Wong from Petite Kids Boutique and she should be sending you your PDF copy of the London Pants pattern shortly! 

KCWC Days 1 thru 4

And, here is my first KCWC update...
Heh I know, I know...I wasn't going to post until the end. But, I'm excited to share my busyness the last 4 days. Only 2 more days for me to go and I need to think of some other project!
First, I sewed up my daughter a top to match her London Pants. 
So, I now present...
The peasant top:
I know, it's kinda summery--made out of a linen from Fabric.com and again that same quilting cotton I received from a friend. And yep, the stars make a comeback as well. It's a very simple peasant top but I cut it a bit shorter and added a ruffle to it.

She's pretty thrilled.
Speaking of thrilled, my oldest son had once requested that I save a John Deere section of my husband's old t-shirt. And, I did. And, it sat in a box for a bunch of years. He asked every now and then, 'Mom, when are you going to make my John Deere shirt?'
I thought this would be a great time for that.
It's made out of an interlock knit from Fabric.com as well. I have had it in my stash for years. A good John Deere green. Well, actually a kelly green but it works. So this is the Raw-edged Raglan Tee again from the book Sewing for Boys. I know--I finally sewed up one for my own boys. I did do some things a bit different than the pattern called for. I only did the top the raw-edged way and the side seams I did normal--not inside out. I also hemmed the bottom and sleeves. This is a size 4/5. Next time, I think I'll sew up a 6/7 for this little man!

He wore it yesterday and made super sure that it stayed clean so he could wear it again today--he wiped his hands on his pants instead of his shirt. And, he also wore his John Deere hat out today so I had a John Deere boy in my company today:
I just couldn't resist adding this picture--he was having a grand time 'posing!'
But, I didn't leave my second son out. He requested that I reuse the balls on his old shirt from Children's Place.
This one the sleeves and neck band are made from that same kelly green interlock knit. The grey is a baby rib knit in heather grey. That one is also from Fabric.com. I used the same pattern again--the Raw-edged Raglan but in size 2/3. I made the same changes as I did to the John Deere one. So that is two Raw-eged Raglans for my own boys!

He's pretty happy about having his own mommy-made shirt as well.
Now I have to start thinking for today and tomorrow!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

KCWC--I'm Sewing Along!

Alright! I am sewing along with KCWC over at Elsie Marley's.

I started on Monday the 8th, didn't get quite an hour in on the 9th but made up for it last night.
I'm not going to post any pictures until I'm done the week but I'm quite excited to be sewing along and getting a number of items done in a week!
I won't be sewing on the 14th as it's Sunday and tomorrow I will be teaching sewing to some girls but I hope to still get some sewing in tomorrow evening as well as tonight and hopefully Saturday during the day.
Stay tuned!

Friday, October 5, 2012

London Pants for Boys

I gave the London Pants pattern from Petite Kids Boutique another whirl--for my 3 year old son.
I used a corduroy fabric that I got at the second hand store and a very neat fabric--Off to the Rescue Hydrants in Blue by Becky Taunton for Newcastle Fabrics. I bought that from the Fat Quarter Shop. But, it looks like it is sold out now.
I like the flat front on the waist--it makes the pants look less babyish. And the elastic in the back is always a good idea for quick bathroom trips!

I made some minor modifications to the pattern--I left off the tab and left out the lining. Instead, I just hemmed the cuffs. This son of mine does not generally enjoy having his pants rolled up--it would have been a waste of fabric on my part!

And, if you're looking for the London Pants pattern giveaway, go here.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

London Pants and Giveaway!

I'm super excited about this! I've got a great giveaway lined up for you! 
 I was recently able to test a pattern for Petite Kids Boutique--the London Pants.
London Pants for Boys and Girls 12M-8Y PDF Pattern & Instructions-Cargo style-Rolled up hem-Flat front with elastic waistline-big pockets
 This pattern is for both girls and boys from size 12m to 8y and has so many neat little details that it was a blast to make!
I made a size 2 for my daughter. (And, I'm working on a size 3 for one of my boys.)
The brown fabric is from the second hand store--it's, I think a type of twill-ish fabric. I have no idea what it actually is. Ha, I had thought I had grabbed my linen only to find that it was still on the bottom of the stack, un-cut. And, the contrast fabric is a quilting cotton I received from a friend. I'm not sure where it's from or what it's called but it's cute.

The cute star buttons come out of bag of mixed buttons from Walmart.

It fits great--no adjusting needed at all and that is pretty good for my skinny girl! Plus, she'll be able to wear them for years lengthwise--just unroll the cuff.
I'd highly recommend this pattern for anyone with skinny kids.
And, now for the awesome giveaway!
Wong from Petite Kids Boutique has agreed to give away a copy of the London Pants pattern! It is brand new--just up for sale!  
London Pants for Boys and Girls 12M-8Y PDF Pattern & Instructions-Cargo style-Rolled up hem-Flat front with elastic waistline-big pockets
To enter, be or become a follower of my blog and leave a comment telling me your favourite pattern in the Petite Kids Boutique shop!
The giveaway will close on the 12th of October.
**Giveaway now closed**

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

New Medium

In a week or so I'm hoping to teach a quick sewing class to the girls in our homeschool group. I am nervous! I have never taught a class before and I'm trying to think of a cool project to do in two hours after giving them the low-down of the sewing machine. In my quest to find a project for them, I turned to the book, Improv Sewing.
There are a lot of super neat, quick projects in here. But, I chose to give the Custom-Stitched Card and Envelope a try.
Three tries actually. One card is just boring on its own. Two is an incomplete. But, three is a perfect set.
This is one of the first times I've sewn on paper. And, I like it. Not as much as I like sewing on fabric--I still really like the feel of the fabric in my hand as something emerges from my sewing machine. But paper is neat.

I'm thinking because of the need to decrease the amount of pressure on the presser foot, I won't be able to do exactly this for the girls. I may need to practise some more and play around a bit more with my machine--using normal presser foot pressure for the curves.
If you're interested in these, I did add them to my shop--I don't often send cards--I actually forget to send cards most of the time. So, they're up for grabs there for $7 for the set.
If you've never visited my shop, go have a look! There is a giveaway (and auction) for 20% off any one item in my shop going on hosted by Little Dragonfly Boutique.