Introducing Sit and Sew

Our group is small but it is mighty! I’m cheating a little here. This photo is one of the few times we could all gather on the same night so I am including this picture to show you the gang. Call it Stitch & Bitch, Sew and Sip, Unpick and Vent, whatever. But mostly we laugh, while getting serious about our sewing and have a great time.

But this is how the post should have started….
After months of mulling over and wondering how and what commitment could I make for the long haul, it’s was finally time to offer a Sit and Sew group near my home. The clubhouse in my complex rarely gets used and even in it’s 70’s decor, it will serve us beautifully for our gatherings. Here’s a picture of our treat table. Check out the revamped jewelry-box-turned-tea-chest below at the end of the table.
This is how I found it at the thrift store. A little sanding and paint and now it has a new life serving up tea.

Anyway, back to the room. Lots of space, a little kitchen, bathrooms, ceiling fans and air conditioning (an absolute ‘must’ here in the desert), radio, plenty of tables for sewing machines and cutting out. The ironing board will fit off to the side with plenty of room to spare.

Some of my students have been asking for another way to learn about the details of sewing. By offering a 3 hour session bi-monthly, I hope to offer encouragement and an upbeat environment to further the love of sewing. I am providing snacks and beverages (no wine, but that may change). The plan is to be available for tips and demos as well as questions. To start, the group will be small so that the right amount of attention can be spent helping, advising, etc. It may grow over time, or maybe not. We’ll see.

So much of the learning curve of sewing is accomplished by seeing how a technique is done. When I was teaching, I was always a little concerned about the project that was dictated by the corporation for the beginning sewist. It was either too complicated for the time allowed in class to properly finish (layout and cutting was not considered in the time frame) or it was not a project that drew people in to sign up. I tried to keep in mind that I could make the class fun and focus on the skills being learned. Reviewing the steps at the end was meant to encourage the student to go out and practice, find similar projects or repeat what we had just completed. The repetition helps hone the skill. What a relief that the students can choose their own projects!

It is difficult to find the time to sew when life can be so busy. My goal is to show how I squeeze in the little bits of sewing time into my day/week/month and share that with others. I hope to do that with this blog, as well.

Having a place to bring machines and projects to complete can be an outing for yourself….concentrated sewing time without phones and other distractions.

Do you have a sewing group in your area? What kind of format would work for you?

Simplicity 4032 Fleece Jacket In July

Simplicity 4032

Simplicity 4032

It’s summer in Tucson and the recommended class is a fleece jacket! As a teacher for Jo-Ann’s, I teach projects selected by the corporation.  I often wonder what is involved in the decisions when projects are selected. There is not enough time allotted in class for cutting out or making any fitting adjustments, which is a crucial part of the learning process for beginners. The end of class is spent explaining the finishing steps necessary to complete the project at home. My preference is that students get to bring home a completed project. How many of us have enough UFO’s (UnFinished Objects) at home already?

Anyway, Tucson can’t be the only area with over 100 degree temperatures, and yet this was the project to offer at the beginning level. On one of my recent visits to buy notions, I noticed how many customers were in line buying fleece!  Who knew? Planning for the Fall projects, I suppose.

The view required for class is View A. This is an unlined jacket with some raw edges. Finishing seams with a serger or zig zag is optional but not necessary. It has great princess seams and a classic shape. Because the fleece is a little stretchy and very forgiving, setting the collar and sleeves can be done with little frustration. Small pockets can be added to hold keys or tissue, etc.

What are some of the my and hints?
Because you asked:
1.) To keep seams to lay flat, I serged and top stitched them down to finish it nicely.
2.) Be sure to cut as carefully as possible so that there are no jagged edges ( or maybe use a rotary cutter/mat on the exposed edges if you want).
3.) The bow detail on the collar is a styling option. It is removable or it can be left off completely to have a standard shawl collar.
4.) Consider view A in a tweed if you’re looking for a retro look.
5.) The collar edges will have to be finished somehow or lined. Any of these styles will look great for early fall/winter layer over a tank or tee.

Simplicity 4032

Simplicity 4032

Back View of Simplicity 4032

Back View of Simp 4032

Up Close View Of Bow, Raw Edges

Up Close View Of Bow, Raw Edges

6.) The bow consists of two tie pieces inserted into a slice in the upper jacket area and then tied with the collar enclosed in the knot. The nice touch here is that you can remove the ties and smooth out the collar and the slice does not show because it is under the shawl collar.

So even though it is a warm fabric to work with when the air conditioning is tirelessly working away, I suppose it is a good idea to plan now to have something sewn and ready for the chilly weather to arrive. This might explain why I am often not prepared for the upcoming season with newly sewn items!

This is a quick jacket to whip up and is great for gifts for friends who walk early in the morning, or need a layer to wear to the gym. Because it is an easy care fabric, you can keep it in the car for the unexpected weather change. I will consider making up any of these styles again.