DeedleandThread in Boston Part 1

Somerville, Mass and surrounding attractions

Mural of Somerville, Mass and surrounding areas

Curvy SewingCollective logo
Curvy Girls Unite! Creative-folk and Sewers Alike!! Join me on a trip to Boston….well, through this post anyway….the wonders of the internet and this sewing-in-common thing amazes me. I am here in Boston as I write this post in my daughter, Shannon’s, apartment about to share with you why miles don’t matter when it comes to making connections these days. You don’t have to actually come to Boston to meet Jenny, but is sure was nice to meet face to face. Taking about fabric, sewing and fashion…Hoowhaah!

In anticipation of this trip, a few words were emailed to Jenny (one of the creators of CurvyGirlCollective) and before you knew it, there we were, drinking tea last night at a wonderful place in Boston called Flour Bakery in the Back Bay area  sharing our sewing trials and tribulations! Oh, and on Jenny’s recommendation, I ordered the Spanish Gazpacho summer soup. Good thing you can order their cookbook for all the great recipes.

Flour Bakery, Boston

Flour Bakery, Boston

More about Jenny…..
light good
In case you haven’t hopped on over to this fun and funny sight (also on my blogroll), Jenny, from the wonderful blog, Cashmerette, shares her approaches to fitting her unique body shape. And let’s face it, aren’t we all rockin’ a unique body shape? She has her FBA (Full Bust Adjustment) down pat and knows the silhouettes that work for.  I always admire women who are so clear about their styles and as a result, always present themselves in the best light possible.  Jenny was wearing one of her magnificent wrap dresses she writes about  in her blog.

Speaking for myself, this meet up was thoroughly enjoyable as I listened to Jenny’s perspective on what is lacking in the pattern world for curvy girls. Tents, moo-moo’s (mu-mu?), shapeless body bags are not well received by the body-positive crowd, so the challenge for me is to learn how create some silhouettes STARTING at a larger bust size. Sound good? Let’s skim the body, show some va va voom without going too hoochie-mama. Since I have a ‘D’ cup bust, I think I’ll start there. Stay tuned.

We also talked about the Curvy Girl Collective, which is a sight to visit and learn about the other ladies’ fitting issues. It is filled with tips, techniques, pattern reviews, tutorials, independent pattern companies to explore, and overall great information. There are photos of the victories Curvy sewers are having adapting and changing the available patterns out there that offer current, stylish, and flattering garments. Check it out for some inspiration.

Here is my take away: I encourage you to seek out at least one person in your travels who shares a similar interest and do the face-to-face meet up. You’ll be glad you did. Thanks, Jenny!

Now, on to the fabric.  When I Googled ‘fabric stores in Boston’, I had quite a selection from which to choose.

Sewfisticated fabrics, Boston, Mass.

Sewfisticated fabrics, Boston, Mass.

Day 2:  Today, we visited Sewfisticated Fabrics, which happens to be a discount store with a small but respectable selection of  silks, linen, woolens, cottons, knits, home decor fabric, trims, notions, zippers, and some Simplicity and McCalls patterns.  It reminded me of the the mill end store in Tucson.  Be aware, you are better off knowing what you want and getting it yourself here.  I didn’t get even a ‘hello’ even with a camera hanging around my neck.  That was my experience, so take it for what it is.

Hunting for bargains in Sewfisticated Fabrics

Hunting for bargains in Sewfisticated Fabrics

I spotted a 60″ linen/cotton blend that looks like denim. Five dollars a yard.  Yes! I took all of it which ended up being a bit over 5 yards. In turns of wrinkles, it laundered up better than I expected, especially because of its content. But remember, I’m a weirdo who finds ironing relaxing.

IMG_3920

The home decor wall, Sewfisticated Fabrics

The home decor wall, Sewfisticated Fabrics

Day 3/Last Day: Off to Grey’s Fabrics and Bead and Fiber

Bead and Fiber, SOWA Boston, MA

Bead and Fiber, SOWA Boston, MA

Here, a knitter, beader, fiber artist, would go crazy. So much to look at and enjoy.  Plus, it happens to be a really cool, industrial space with windows and brick all around.

Bead and Fiber Shop and Gallery

Bead and Fiber Shop and Gallery

Bead and Fiber items for sale

Bead and Fiber items for sale

There was such a great selection of beads, buttons, leather for crafts, stringing materials for kumihimo or other jewelry, woollies to make or buy, books, clay, yarns, jewelry closures, glues and adhesives, you name it! Check out the website to read more here about what they offer, and if you are in the area, maybe a class would be of interest???  Speak to either Andrea, Rhonda, Nicole or Bruce.  They will get you excited about some crafty project, for sure.

Craft Table in the middle of the store

Craft Table in the middle of the store

IMG_3894

I SPY: It doesn't get any better than this

I SPY: It doesn’t get any better than this

Shannon is getting a closer look at the collection of vintage chains, closures, trinkets, charms, etc., to adorn necklaces, bracelets, or any other speampunky idea you might have.  You can see her money well spent on leather strips and metal closures to make her own bracelets below.  Don’t they look professionally made?

DIY Bracelets from Bead and Fiber

DIY Bracelets from Bead and Fiber

Items purchased from Bead and Fiber and Grey's

Items purchased from Bead and Fiber and Grey’s

The items on the left are from Bead and Fiber.   After seeing a cuff covered in Fish Leather, I purchased some in turquoise to cover a tarnished cuff of my own.   I also purchased Crystal Clay, which is a two part epoxy.   I purchased the black for $10.00.  It looked easy to use.  Three reasons to like it:
1.) Cures without heat
2.) Molds like clay
3.) Adheres to all surfaces
I feel a tutorial coming on….
Unfortunately, I didn’t see any of this clay available for purchase on the website, but I am sure the staff would help you with it over the phone. 617.426.2323
And, of course, I didn’t want to leave without my OWN leather bracelet, so I have a double wrap cognac colored leather strip here. Just takes a little glue…
Now, on to Grey’s.
Literally, these two stores are a stones’ throw from each other in the same plaza.  Wasn’t THAT nice planning of them.
IMG_3913

Grey's Fabrics, SOWA Boston, Mass.

Grey’s Fabrics and Notions, SOWA Boston, Mass.

Inside Grey's--Hey, it's grey in here!

Inside Grey’s–Hey, it’s painted grey in here!

What a cute store! Higher end fabrics to use for garments or quilting or crafts, notions, and the Patterns! Wow, what a great supplier of some of the independent patterns out there, check out this wall:

Dear and Doe, Collette, Sewaholic, Grainline, and more

Dear and Doe, Collette, Sewaholic, Grainline, and more

They have a great website HERE to read more about what they offer.  I couldn’t help myself, I bought the Sewaholic Renfrew pattern because of it’s great reviews, and some rayon 60″ Anna Marie Horner Fabric.  In Tucson, rayon is my FAVORITE fabric to wear.  I’m a sucker for it every time.  Plus, I happen to love Anna Marie’s command of color and arrangement.  Butterflies!!

Anna Marie Horner Rayon Fabric,

Anna Marie Horner Rayon Fabric, “Field Study #3”

IMG_3912
With goodies in our bags, we grabbed a little lunch at a nearby pub and then off to the airport. Goodbye Boston!  It’s been hot, humid, and oh SEW fun.

Somerville, Mass and surrounding attractions

Mural of Somerville, Mass and surrounding attractions

Mom and Daughter, Boston, Mass., August 2014

Mom and Daughter, Boston, Mass., August 2014

Thank for stopping by. For more pics of Boston, go to another post here.

A Shout Out for SewRED-y…A New Blog

Sewing With Cats_0002
I am thrilled to share a link to a new sewing blog on the scene. It is SewRed-y from my student, Rachel. I’m so glad she has taken on the sewing obsession and wow, is she a natural! She took a class from me when I taught at Jo Ann’s and with a little guidance from me, some love and support from the hubby, and some fierce determination, off she went! Read up on the details, like how she fits in sewing with many furry creatures at her house here.

Here she is at one of our Sit and Sew sessions cutting out a pattern: (pre-short hair cut)
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Loving the idea of me taking her picture…
IMG_1512
Now I get to stalk another blog and add it to my blog roll. Way to go, Rachel!

Sewing Bee Coming to the U.S.!

Casting Flier US Sewing Bee
If you are not familiar with the Great British Sewing Bee, it is time to go onto YouTube and check it out to get ready for the U.S. version.   I wrote about it in a previous post here.

Those I know in the garment sewing world, are thrilled we are now going to have a version in the United States. This is a flyer requesting contestants to inquire, but you must be living in the Connecticut/New Jersey/New York areas.  I hope it becomes popular and sweeps across the country.  The format should be welcoming to the beginning level sewist up to advanced level, but we will have to wait and see how they pick the contestants.  Spread the word!

Are you, or anyone you know interested in entering?

Loes Hinse Sewing Seminar

005I debated back and forth with myself about writing this post because although I had a great time with my mom at this seminar, my little point-and-shoot camera was new to me and I wasn’t in the habit of taking commemorative photos of the event.   I hope the photos are enough to give you an overview.   We attending about three years ago, but the seminars are still taking place and I (we) would recommend checking this out for yourself.

My mom and I had been contemplating which sewing seminar we wanted to attend together and this one came out on top as a way to spend time together sharing our sewing, lunching, shopping.  The format of the seminar appealed to us.   Five days of open sewing with Loes’ (pronounced ‘Loose’) supervision and instruction in Carmel, California, and Sharon providing fabrics for purchase from Casual Elegance Fabrics.  Their partnership also was intriguing…how does that work?   Loes in Carmel, Sharon in Chico, CA?

I had been introduced to Loes Hinse (pronounced ‘Hin-sah’) years before when she came to Tucson to do a trunk show at a little fabric store called Buttons & Bolts (great name) now-defunct-fabric store.   I started with a few of her patterns and got hooked.   I wanted to learn more from her.  Mom was game.   The seminar lodging was within walking distance to shopping, dining, and the beach.   Beautiful surrounding area accompanied by gathering with ladies who sew..what could be better?  To top it off,  it was more affordable than other seminars….let’s try it.

Since the time we attended, both websites have undergone big changes and Loes’ prior website had a little more information on it about the lodging and seminar details.   Now, the information is on the new Casual Elegance Fabrics  website directing you to call either Loes or Sharon for most details.

Anyway, all questions were answered by Sharon, who was warm and friendly.   The recommended lodging was a local and quaint Dutch-inspired motel,  where the seminar would be held.   We packed our sewing machines up and shipped them to the hotel, where the staff were more than happy to store them until our arrival.

We landed in a small airport in Carmel and took a taxi to the motel. We arrived a day before in order to get checked in and walk around a little.   After settling into our rooms, we ventured by foot to the local deli for snack foods for our room and then lunch.

The seminar room was a conference room overlooking the pool with large tables set up for machines and all the accompanying sewing paraphernalia.  I think there were 8 women total?   Not sure, but we all squeezed in with enough room for Loes to do demos and for Sharon to set up her portable fabric store.
Hinse class copy orig

Sorry for the fuzzy pictures.   I hope you get the idea anyway.   This is the conference room with a professional iron, cutting tables, and a few of us getting set up.   It was quite messy by the last day after we had been working feverishly on our projects.
Hinse class  2  orig size
Talk about time flying!   The objective for everyone was different.   For a few ladies, completing as many garments as possible was the goal, some wanted to have one-on-one fitting assistance, some wanted to be in the company of other sewers and so a little sewing, and others wanted to be there to get as much out of the whole experience as possible. There were a few women who were ‘returners’–this was their third or fourth trip back for more.

One of the many exclusive benefits for attending the seminar is the access to Loes’ newest pattern(s) recently drafted.   These may be designs that may or may not ever make it to press, but we could get to trace it anyway (for free).  She had the pattern pieces prepared out of the manila pattern paper there to trace onto whatever paper you brought with you and then sew it up right there with her verbal instructions.   The collection of all patterns were there for sale and she offered ‘tweaks’ to change up some of the design details to some of the patterns.   Because Loes’ training is in European pattern design, fitting and construction, you can help but be inspired by her quick approach to building a timeless, classic wardrobe in limited time.   She also shares so many tips on how to care for the fabrics, the reasons for not using interfacings, wardrobe planning concepts with her patterns, and new ways to approach sewing in general.

I learned of a simple pattern weight idea using huge washers.   When I arrived home, I showed my husband these and we purchased some from  an industrial supply store to pick a few up. When not in use, they hang on a peg hook in my sewing room.
There were so many tips and product ideas to take away from the experience.   We found the environment cozy and intimate with enough time for everyone to get a little of Loes’ personal advice, coaching and humor.   The interplay between Sharon and Loes was great-an example of opposites attracting and complimenting one another.

On our off time, we walked down to Loes’ store front shop where she sells the garments for retail.   Most, if not all, of the garments she sells come from her patterns. She also sells coordinating jewelry.   We had to take a peak.
010

Binny taking a photo of shop

Binny taking a photo of shop

Dana in front of Loes Hinse shop

Dana in front of Loes Hinse shop on arrival day

My suggestion would be to try a Loes pattern out and get a sense of how her drafting, fit and instructions work.   Although I have almost all of her patterns, my favorites are The Gore Skirt Group, The Tango Skirt, The Tank Dress Group (which includes tank tops), The Sweater Set, The Oxford Pant, The Perfect Tee, and The Kimono Jacket. Many of these styles are in my wardrobe.   Whenever I want to whip something up quickly to get that immediate satisfaction, I sew up one of these favorites.

I really enjoyed going with my mom and having someone with whom to pal around, although it isn’t necessary to go with a companion.   Going alone suited many of the ladies because it was a creative get-away.   If you are interested, check out the sites and learn more about Loes Hinse and Sharon at Casual Elegance and also by signing up for the newsletter, “The Look”.

Fourth of July Sewing Day

Simplicity 1803 Project Runway Pattern

Simplicity 1803 Project Runway Pattern

It is a day off and I get to sew! Today’s project is to whip up a quick dress for the sweltering heat. Does a dress with pockets ever get old? Never. I chose Project Runway Simplicity 1803. This is a very comfortable dress for the heat we experience in the desert. Fabric is a cotton from Hancock’s. The bodice has some interest and the skirt is full due to the gathers at the waist. The pockets are sewn closer to the center front in vertical seams rather than in the side seams. I prefer this method because it doesn’t add bulk to the hips. I lengthened the bodice by 1″ because I have a long torso and bodices always run a little short on me.

It is more loose fitting than the picture shows because I changed the side seams by cutting straight down from the armhole to the waist instead of tapering it in. It was easy to gather the skirt into the bodice, positioning most of the gathers in the front and back, and fewer on the sides. I did a centered zipper application because I had a standard 22″ zipper in my stash and I can install it pretty quickly.

IMG_1293

This area needs to fit properly across the chest because if not, it will buckle open and not lay flat. A good way to check this is to compare the finished bust measurement on the pattern tissue to your full bust measurement. If possible, have someone hold the enter back seam together before installing the zipper. This will give you a good idea about the seam allowance needed to get the best fit.

This pattern has some cute options available. However, I find the calculations for the fabric to be a it generous by the time I add up all of the fabric needed for add-ons I want. There is WAY too much fabric required which leads me to my Tip-Of-The-Day:
My Go-To Project Runway Pattern Method:
-Buy the Pattern First!
-Cut out all necessary tissue pieces and layout on your imaginary 45’/60″ widths. Measure yardage needed.
-THEN go to the store and buy fabric, trims, contrast fabric, etc.

Do you find the fabric requirements on Project Runways patterns accurate? How do you calculate accurately?