DeedleandThread in Boston Part 1

Somerville, Mass and surrounding attractions

Mural of Somerville, Mass and surrounding areas

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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…..
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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.

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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

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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.
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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”

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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.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Mug Cover and Mug Rug

Mug Cover and Mug Rug

This is a little late getting posted, but I thought it might be worth it to give a few ‘guy’ ideas for future presents. It is easy to come up with girly projects to sew, but I have a harder time coming up with ideas for the males in my family. My husband is no exception. He is truly appreciative of anything I sew for him….as long as it is masculine and useful.
So here are my three picks for this year’s Father’s Day:
1.) Handmade shirt
2.) Mug Rug (or small place mat)
3.) Mug Cover (fancy pen and pencil holder)

Mug holding guy stuff

Mug holding guy stuff

I think this may be my tenth mug cover gift because they can be personalized with cute fabrics and they hold SO much stuff. (Also great for manicuring tools, sewing supplies, etc.) Here is the pattern and the link at Simplicity here:

Mug Cover Simp 2450

Mug Cover Simp 2450

Simplicity calls is ‘Buckets Gone Wild’, but I think of 5 gallon buckets when I hear the world bucket, so mug cover it is.

I buy the standard vacation souvenir mugs at the thrift stores for a buck or less or re-purpose some from my collection. I then rummage through my cotton fabric and bias tape stashes. I just maaay have to go to the fabric store to look at the fat quarter combinations if nothing seems to be coming together.

The next idea is a version of a mug rug. I was lucky enough to receive one of these as a gift from Rachel, my student/friend (Sewredy.wordpress.com) She has perfected the applique mug rug and other projects. I wrote a little something about her new blog here.
Here is my version with rounded edges:

Camping Fabric Mug Rug

Camping Fabric Mug Rug

I rounded the edges simply because I find it faster and easier to apply bias tape or self-made bias strips. No pattern is used. These can be made many different ways, but the basic dimensions are approximately 13″ X 8″-ish.

The fabric is a camping motive cotton remnant and I edge finished useing dark brown single fold bias tape from my stash. I used the same fabric on the other side because the drawings are entertaining like the Air-stream camper. If you want more info on how I apply my bias tape, I wrote about it on the thermal iron cover post I wrote here.

The last project is a hand made shirt. I have lost track of how many I have made for him, but it it is a my ‘go-to’ pattern.

McCalls 2149 Men's Camp Shirt

McCalls 2149 Men’s Camp Shirt

Okay, so no hanger appeal. I see that here, but it DOES look better on a human, I promise. I chose version “B” from this McCalls 2149:

Great Pattern for Mens shirts

Great Pattern for Mens shirts

You can tell by the low pattern number that it has been in the pattern book for a long time. I think many of the new McCall’s patterns are in the 6000’s.

I bribed my husband with homemade blueberry pancakes to model the shirt.

Husband in his Father's Day shirt

Mr. B in his Father’s Day shirt

Now that’s a little better. You can see the shirt filled out better and that it had a casual, loose fit.
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Since we love to dance, looser and more comfortable clothes are mandatory to do all the fancy moves. The fabric is a rayon from my stash in what I call ‘Builder Beige and Brown’.

Buttons and collar

Buttons and collar

Here you can see I used the standard men’s brown/tan button which blends in so well, it cannot be seen except for up close.

The ‘guy’ list continued:
4.) Neck pillow or lumbar pillow
5.) Personalized pillow case (Great for travel so you don’t accidentally leave the beloved pillow in the hotel)
6.) Shoe bags (Keeps shoes protected and off clothes in suitcase)

Can you think of some more great handmade gift ideas?

Until next time, keep creating.
-Dana