Saturday, October 31, 2015

Meet Tia

You might think from my lack of recent posts that things have been quiet around here with nothing to write about.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  The last couple of weeks have flown past in a blur.  I've been sewing costumes for the school play, turning long trousers into knee length trousers with decorative bows, working on my daughter's ball gown (also for the play) and making decorated buckles for shoes.  I will have pictures eventually!  I've also been painting scenery which I love doing too.  Additionally I've been having physiotherapy twice a week on my forearm after doing some damage to the muscle and elbow joint while lugging my bag around England this summer.

On top of all that we have been preparing for a new addition to our family......

Meet Tia.

Tia joined our family this afternoon.  She is a two year old retired racing greyhound.  She is black and white with stunningly beautiful amber eyes.  We adopted her from the Golden State Greyhound Association here in Northern California.  The adoption process has been grueling and taken several weeks with a home visit and lots of reading and being tested on our new knowledge.  We didn't know for sure we'd be approved to adopt a greyhound until this last Thursday.   Today we picked her up.  What a gorgeous girl.  She is small for a greyhound but still seems pretty big to us!  She is conked out right now, fast asleep on her cushion near us as we watch an episode of Top Gear.  She is happy and relaxed and not in the least interested in our two cats.   

And so begins a new chapter......

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Costume Updates

I had totally planned to have this bodice finished and photographed before now but on Sunday night I woke up with a raging sore throat and a fever so I haven't been doing very much of anything this week.  I am still feeling a bit wobbly but at least my throat is less sore!

The bodice is almost finished.  I decided it was too plain for a ball gown so I have plans to add more trim as you will see, all I need is the energy to pick up the needle!

I thought I might add some gold trim in a criss cross design with some extra trim up the sides of the "V" shape.  

Originally this bodice was intended to be worn with a skirt from the drama department but when my daughter tried both on, it was clear they were not going to work together.  Now I must find some fabric in a similar shade to make a long, full skirt!

Below are two pairs of trousers for the King and one of the other guys.  I was given several pairs of long trousers and asked to make them into knee length trousers or "knickers" with extravagant bows at the knee.   The actual length was marked for me by the drama teacher.   I love this kind of sewing, no pattern just improvisation and imagination.  

I made the lace and bows separately and stitched them to a small piece of felt before stitching that carefully to the trousers.  The gold trousers are naturally for the king!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ball Gown Bodice For The Three Musketeers School Play

 Following on from my previous post, I used the fabric pattern pieces that I had carefully adjusted so they fitted my daughter perfectly, and cut out the main fabric.  The main fabric has no nap, or patten so the only thing I had to worry about about was the grain of the fabric and that was pretty obvious!  

Once the main fabric pieces and the lining with interfacing ironed on were all stitched together I tackled the boning.  It is not hard to use boning, it just takes some time.   Plastic boning comes in a cotton sleeve in either black or white.  You cut the lengths you need according to the pattern and then remove the plastic boning from the cotton sleeve in order to stitch down the sleeve on your garment, leaving one end of the sleeve open so you can re-insert the boning.  The boning pieces on my pattern are different lengths so I marked each sleeve and corresponding plastic piece with a number in pen so that I didn't get in a muddle!

Below the lining and main fabric pieces have been sewn at the top edge and then basted everywhere else.  Now it is ready for the zipper but I forgot the pattern has the wrong size listed and so I had to go and replace the one I'd bought previously!  After the zipper it is time for the sleeves which I am making out of chiffon.  It's tricky stuff to sew, chiffon!  It's delicate and a bit slippery.  

I finally got both sleeves in at about 11.30 last night by which time I was starting to make mistakes and called it a night!  This morning I added the big bows to the sleeves and began on the trim.  It has to have a little sparkle but cannot outshine the Queen's costume in the play!!  I looked at lots of pictures on Pinterest for ideas.

This is some of my trim stash!

Some of the trims can be machine stitched but others like this pearl trim must be hand applied.  

Next time I will have pictures of the finished bodice.  

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Costume Sewing Project

My daughter is in her school's production of The Three Musketeers this Fall and I am helping with costumes.  I have a small stack of costumes that need altering but first I have to make a bodice to go with a skirt that she has to wear for the Ball scene.  Remember this dress from last year?  I made this when my daughter had to be Queen Elizabeth1st for something at school.  

The bodice and skirt are two separate pieces so I am going to use the same pattern for the new bodice I need to make.  

It should be a bit easier this time around because I'm familiar with the pattern and will know how to use the boning!  Also I won't need to make that big lacy stand up collar!  There is a dark green and burgundy skirt from the drama department that she will wear so I needed to find some fabrics that coordinated and this is what came home with me.  The dark fabric at the bottom of the pile will be the main fabric.  On top of that is a soft cotton for the lining and on the top of that is a dark red chiffon type fabric for the sleeves.  

I've started by making a fabric version of the pattern which I pinned together and then fitted on my daughter this evening.  This step takes extra time but ensures a really good fit.  Tomorrow I will take out all those pins and mark the adjustments before using those fabric pieces to cut out the red fabric.  

I'm enjoying having a different kind of sewing project to work on but I'm still working on some pincushions as well!  It has been 100f again here this week so this has been a good excuse to stay inside and sew!  

Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday Musings

It's been a busy week, lots of sewing, lots of being here and there and trying to get all the things done that need be done.  

I'm up early on weekdays, and after my husband has gone to work there are a few minutes before I have to wake my daughter to begin her day.  It's a few minutes of quiet, not quite dark but not quite light time.  At the moment I am greeted by a crescent moon and Venus shining brightly.   I usually sit on the sofa in my family room, with a cup of tea, and am joined by one of my cats.  Together we check email or sit quietly and look out of the window watching the sky change.

Happy Friday....


Wednesday, October 7, 2015


I thought I'd share how I package orders today.  I've posted here about how I print brown paper bags but this is what I do with them!

When I'm shipping pincushions, I first wrap them in white tissue paper (you can see that in the photo above) and then put a strip of corrugated cardboard around them.  This protects the pincushion while it's on its travels.  I ship things around the world as well as all across the U.S. so they need to be carefully packaged.    

The order gets placed in one of my bags and tied with a red gingham ribbon.  After that it's into a padded mailer and on it's way!  Packing things carefully and attractively is very important to me.  It is my way of showing I value my customers and I want their whole experience to be an enjoyable one.  I include a packing slip with a handwritten note and a business card.  If it is a gift and not actually going to the purchaser, I add whatever note the purchaser wants to add, on a little hand stamped card.   

Bon Voyage!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

On My Worktable

I've really enjoyed the cooler temperatures this week that have allowed me to pull out a favorite sweater in the mornings.  There were some crisp, sunny days with the kind of light that almost hurts your eyes it is so clear and we even had some very dusty rain!  Up on the mountain where we have our cabin, they had the first snow of the season - bring it on!  

I've had three sewing projects going on this week in addition to the copper leaves in my last post and I've been trying to get my Etsy shop up to date with fresh listings.  I've been working on some boston terrier needle books.  Someone who bought a boston terrier pincushion at the quilt show last weekend, contacted me to see if I could make a coordinating needle book.  Well yes of course!

I've also been sewing some log cabin pincushions which turned out to be quite appropriate with the first snow of the season arriving this week!  On the side of the pincushion, I've embroidered "Let it snow" and there is a small flurry of pretty snowflakes.  

I've also started on some more TARDIS pincushions which are currently out of stock in my shop.  I have two people waiting for them!  I really like sewing these!  

The quilt show last weekend went well but it was very hot on the Saturday afternoon which kept people at home I think.  Saturday morning and Sunday were both busy though and when I did my accounts, it wasn't as much down on last year as I thought it was going to be.  I met some lovely people and exchanged email addresses with a couple of other local artisans.   I also met the president of the local chapter of the Embroider's Guild of America and was invited to attend their next meeting which I will try and do if I can.  I love interacting with people at these shows.  I'm usually pretty shy and I'm not good in large social gatherings but this is different somehow.  Sadly I didn't get time to photograph the quilts in the show.  I must try harder to do that next year.  

Stitch-along part 6

  Stitching the ridge tiles to finish the ornament Take one ridge tile and wrap it over the ridge of the roof as shown below.  Using two str...