Monthly Archives: August 2006

Brooke’s wedding gown

I have several pics from the process of Brookes wedding dress. I’m very frustrated with how blogger loads my pictures (always at the top, never where my curser is) so I don’t know how many I’ll actually show you before I start cursing.

Brooke is having a simple garden wedding. She wanted a formal gown that reflected the casual feel of the intimate outdoor wedding. Here’s how it’s going:

This is the coutil interlining. My opinion is that almost every gown should be able to stand up on it’s own if you hold it at the waist. My gowns consist of self/shell underlined in silk organza (yummm…I love what silk organza does for a gown. The crispness, the body, the full look of the seams, the swish when you walk…), then the coutil layer with spiral steel bones and grossgrain waist stay, then the lining. Sometimes I put a layer attached to the bottom of the coutil with netting to fill out the skirt. That just depends on the style.

Here’s the progress on the shell:There are obvious issues with the fit over the bust. I think I cut the self and the under lining the same instead of remembering to make the self 1/8″ bigger per seam, which is what I usually do. Also, it’s not clipped on the curved seams yet.

This is the “bustled” view, forgot to snap a pic before we pinned up to measure for the bustle hook. I’m hoping that the addition of the waist stay and grading will take out the stress lines pointing towards the waist in back. The pins over the hips are due to Brooke wanting the skirt more fitted on her hips than originally planned.

Another fitting for this one on Wed to determine:
* if the take up at hips is enough
*to look at edge finishing samples
*to re-visit the puckers over bust after minor alterations have been made
*to determine if waist stay and grading to enough to eliminate waist stress in back
*exact zipper placement

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Totally bad mom

Ummm…where’d the summer go? I thought I would get so much done this summer, but ended up being MORE busy with the kids to watch 24/7 than I was before school let out. School starts again Monday. Yipee.
Umm…Kevin, you’re not aloud to read this. Turn away, go back to doing whatever you were doing. I haven’t done anything. Yeah, I know… the last time I said that was when I got pregnant with Quentin, but I didn’t do that by myself buddy.

(Is the room clear?)
O.K. I have to fess up. This happened to me yesterday. I’m totally
embarrassed. Olivia’s best friend Karen spent the day with us b/c her
mom works at the school and had to work today. When she came to pick
up Karen, I was down in the basement working on a fitting with my
babysitter Kelley, just sewing and chatting, blah, blah, blah.

Kelley is a saint. She’s babysat my kids all summer long when I’ve needed to run to the store or whatever, maybe a total of 25 hours over the summer. She’s done is totally for free and I’m exchanging sewing business clothes for her. She’ has…um…”figure issues”. She loves button down tops, but they don’t fit her. So I’m making her custom fit clothing for school (she’s a teacher)

Anyway, I’m just down in the basement sewing away on her muslin, trying it on her here and there and all of the sudden I realize that Quentin (my 4 year old) sounds like he’s talking to someone upstairs. Then I realize it’s time for Karen’s mom to be here. oops!
So I go up and she’s just sitting in my living room chatting with
Quentin (who …um..I left watching tv while I worked with Kelley). I think she may
have been there several minutes already. Then, get this…I don’t
know where the girls are. OMG. Well, I had told them they could go
play at the neighbors house about an hour before and the neighborhood
girls all move from house to house, nothing unusual, but really not
what I needed right then. Then, (oh, I’m not done yet), when I do
find them, they’re all red in the face, too hot or sunburned, couldn’t
tell right away, they’d been jumping on a trampoline at the
neighbors). I’m wondering if Karen will ever be aloud to come back!
I think I could get some bad mom award for that one.

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What am I doing wrong?

I just spent an hour looking through all the other sewing blogs I’ve bookmarked. What I can’t figure out is how you people have soo much time to sew. Why don’t I? O.K. O.K. maybe spending an hour blogstalking isn’t the best way to have spent an hour. Maybe I could have been sewing. Well, not really. I currently have 4 children upstairs slamming doors, screaming, and trying to get the littlest one to streak buck naked down the street. It seems that retreating to my sanctuary in the basement might be somewhat neglectful.

I want to sew! I can’t wait for school to start Monday, maybe, just maybe…I can actaully sew then. A friend asked me if I was excited about the kids going back to school. I said “somehow 1 1/2 out of 3 just doesn’t really feel ‘there’ for me yet”

Olivia (8) = 3rd grade
Zoe (6) = Kindergarten (um, for the 2nd time, we’ll not talk about that)
Quentin (4) = home with me. preschool was too dang expensive.

So, this is where unprotected sex has gotten me. 🙂 No sewing. Only naked little people running down the street. Well, at least my lifes got flavor!

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Navella’s placemats


My dear 76 year old friend Navella asked me to make her placemats to match her new lovely decor. umm….in January. They’ve been on the back burner for so long, I can’t believe I finally got them done. I love a finished project just sitting there all lovely. Here’s some pictures of the process, including my neat little trick for burying the french knot after hand stitching the bias binding.

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Summer’s almost over, what I’ve been up to (obviously not posting!)

I’ve just realized that I’ve really only posted a couple of times this summer. How is that possible. I’ve had a running blog post going on in my head it seems like constantly. Summer is so chaotically insane around here. I’m 34, my kids are 4, 6, and 8. Between swimming lessons, trips to the mall (air conditioned, our house is not…welcome to Colorado Springs), neighborhood kids trucking in and out the door, peanut butter sandwiches, playgroup, and some strange virus that just won’t leave our house…there apparently hasn’t been much time to post.

School starts Monday. (wait, I have to get up and do a little dance…o.k., I’m back) I can’t wait to get back into the regular routine again, especially my sewing routine.

I’ve had a series of professional dissappointments lately. I’ve been searching for contract sewing work. I’ve done this in the past. It can be somewhat tedious, but I consider it like wholesaling. It’s a larger amount of cash for less effort in advertising.

First, a children’s wear designer in Houston contracted me to work for her. She sent me an extremely vague sketch that my 8 year old could have improved upon, asked me to just “interpret” the design. I asked her a million questions and she continually said “just do what you think is best”. So I sent her the finished top:

This is a really bad picture, I don’t have a child size dress form. Anyway, when I sent it back to her, she was EXTREMELY angry that I used 1 1/2″ ruffles instead of 2″, that the skirt portion was 14″ instead of 12″, etc., etc. She also said my sewing skills were sub-par and refused to pay me for either the design work or the sample sewing, or any of the notions I used. Lesson learned. Contract sewing= contract in writing first.

Next, I had a local company contact me about making re-usable menstal pads for them. Yes, very strange indeed. We had an initial meeting and everything sounded like it would run smoothly. They were a start-up company and I even gave them quite a bit of advise and access to local networking avenues that they didn’t know about. Then I told them I would charge $20 per hour. They completely freaked out and backed out of the deal. I’m not a sweat-shop. I really don’t know what they were expecting.

Next (yes, it just keeps going) I was in contact with a western wear company that made shirts for equestrian shows. She was also a bit of a start-up company (she had been producing small scale locally, but was looking to launch into the national market). She sent me to web sites that were selling $800 shirts and asked if I could duplicate them. She sent me some sample fabric and her pay scale.

Well, you can’t see the details very well, but it’s a very basic top. The problem is that it’s an extremely stretch knit. She didn’t want the front zipper opening or the underlining for the collar or cuffs interfaced. AND she insisted that the seams NOT be serged. Really? Amazingly, I ended up spending 2 1/2 hours making this top. I’m really not for sure how that happened, but there it is. I think I spent more time working on it b/c it wasn’t properly interfaced. It had little sparkles all over it and I spent at least 30 minutes cleaning that up out of my studio. Then I looked at her pay scale. 10 bucks. (stunned silence)

She sent me another shirt as a sample and the craftsmanship on that was about the worst sewing job I’ve ever seen. …and I’ve taught beginners. Here’s a portion of the hem on her sample:

I really just can’t be involved with a company that is not going to attempt to be professional. She seems like such a nice person and I wish her well, but I just can’t do the work for the amount of money she’s willing to pay. I’ve had a bit of a family emergency going on and really won’t be able to do anything other than the work I’ve already got scheduled through sept, so I’ve pleaded off working for her.

Lastly, I’ve had a bit of some success. A woman from Gunnison, Colorado contacted me about doing some design work for her. She’s wanting to make hunting apparel for women. She’s an avid hunter herself (as well as her young daughter) and has limited sucess finding clothing to fit while she’s hunting. She really sounds on top of her game as far as what it takes to start a company and I’m really looking forward to working with her. I’ll let you know how that’s going as we go along.

I’ve also be doing massive alterations. Ugh. I hate alterations. I remade a bridesmaid dress for my babysitter. It’s strapless. She’s a size 6 and a 34F bust.

Here it is…like a monster with it’s fangs laid open, ready to eat me. Such cheap fabric. I hate alterations.

I’ve also had several contacts about bridal sewing lately. This is actually my chosen profession. I love making bridal gowns. Pardon my saying so, but I’m very good at it as well. I offer my clients quite a bit as far as services. I source fabric for them, often purchase it for them. I purchase everything else for them (thread, zippers, buttons, interfacing, lining, coutil, spriral steel boning). I do all the patternmaking for them, often working just from a picture. I do a full toille to work out all the details. I make a full corset interlining of coutil and spiral steel boning.

I usually spend about 1/2 hour on the phone with these people educating them on what I can offer them. 75%-80% of them never call back. That is so frustrating. It all seems to hinge on price. I really feel that I’m extremely reasonable. Apparently they do not. I’m working on a website that will hopefully do most of the educating for me. We’ll see how that goes.

Hopefully, I’m back to posting regularly again. I really enjoy reading everyone else’s posts about current projects and use-ful gadgets. I’d like to contribute something to the greater creative sewing community out there, even if it’s just a little something.

Happy Sewing!

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