Thursday, January 31, 2019

Pants-Fitting Delayed by Polar Vortex!   

I have never enjoyed Michigan winters.  Now with this polar vortex thing, winter has become an even bigger ugh factor for me.  I do not like being cold and I especially do not like being confronted with cold winds when I venture outside.   However, Michigan has been my home for many years and I have adjusted to the winters as well as I can.  I usually go about my daily life and manage to get along until Spring makes a return. 

Winter is different this year because it is seriously interfering with my Wednesday sewing group!  Yesterday was the third Wednesday in a row I was not able to attend that group due to inclement weather.  Usually if the weather prevents me from being a part of the Wednesday group, I just sew at home.  Then I only miss the social aspect of the group, which is a big deal but I can still sew. 

The last three Wednesdays, I missed more than just the social aspect of sewing with friends.  I missed my opportunity to fit pants on someone at the sewing group so I could post on how to fit and sew pants on my blog.   I assumed I would have the pants-fitting post ready by the first of February.  Unfortunately, that is not going to happen.

I sewed the muslin to be used for fitting the pants and studied the details of the pattern so I would be ready to fit the pants on the volunteer model at our Wednesday sewing group.  I usually have at least two different sewing projects going at once.  However, I was so excited about the pants fitting project that I did not have another project in process.  So, when this weather thing hit, I needed to find a project to do.  I decided this would be a good time to focus on an on-line class to learn more about the operation of my Pfaff Creative Icon sewing machine.   Yesterday and the day before I viewed videos and took notes.  Today I will probably sew a couple of samples of the techniques I learned yesterday. 

Yesterday when I needed a break from watching videos, I looked for something to sew.  I decided to work on the American Sewing Guild (ASG) Lansing Chapter’s charity project.   This year we are making drawstring bags and bags with zippers for Helping Women Period.  This organization provides feminine hygiene products to homeless and low-income women in this part of Michigan.  They will fill our bags with products before giving them to needy women.    We will be working on this project through the end of this year.  We hope to have lots of bags to contribute.  If you live in this area and wish to contribute, please go to  for information on how to participate.  You can also participate with our ASG chapter by contacting me.  Pictures of sample bags are shown below.

My post of April 10, 2017 on this blog gives instructions for making drawstring gift bags similar to those pictured above.

The snow has finally stopped.  It looks beautiful from the inside looking out, but I can’t be deceived.  I know the temperature outside is -11 degrees and the wind chill is -30 degrees.  It is predicted our temperature this Sunday (3 days away) will be 45 degrees with rain.  Hopefully, both my model and I will be able to attend the sewing group next Wednesday.  If that happens, my post on how to fit pants will probably be up sometime before the end of February.  That is, provided we do not get another polar vortex!

Stay warm and keep sewing!


Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Purple Raincoat             

The purple raincoat is finished!  I started fitting the pattern for this coat last August when I was at the Lansing Chapter American Sewing Guild’s sewing retreat in Shipshewana, Indiana.  I planned to use the pattern to make a purple raincoat.  I chose Vogue pattern V8884.  The pattern had a front and back yoke with a collar and collar stand.  I made a muslin to check the fit of the pattern.  The first muslin was so big I decided to make another muslin one size smaller.  However, I did not have any muslin left.  I did have some fabric in my stash that would be appropriate for a winter coat, not a raincoat.  I decided to use that fabric to check the fit instead of muslin.  If the coat fit, I would have a new winter coat and if it did not fit, I would simply toss it into the trash.  The second attempt was successful and I had new winter coat.  I posted about making this coat Oct. 14, 2018 (My Accidental Winter Coat).

I still had the purple water-repellent fabric I purchased from Field’s Fabric to make a raincoat.  I also had a pattern I liked that would fit, so I started the raincoat.  The coat went together well because I was familiar with the pattern after using it for the winter coat.  I wanted a purple print fabric for the lining.   However, that was difficult to find.  Although I found and purchased a purple print fabric, I hesitated to use it.  It appeared to be too thin to use as a lining.  I think it would be more appropriate for a scarf.  So, that fabric remains in my stash! 

I continued my search for a lining fabric and found it a couple of weeks ago at JoAnn Fabrics.  It is a multi-color print that includes purple.  Although it is a silky-feeling fabric it appears to be sturdy enough to work well as a lining.  It gives the purple coat the pizazz it needs. 

I purchased buttons for the coat from Sticks and Strings yarn shop in Lansing's Old Town District.  The buttons have a textured look and work well on the raincoat.

Pictures of the coat are shown below.

My next project will be fitting a pants pattern on a model.  Sewing pants is easy, but getting the proper fit is necessary before the sewing begins!  In February I will post about fitting and sewing pants.  I plan to talk about the steps in the fitting and sewing process and will show lots of pictures.

I hope you are planning many new projects for the new year!


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Planning for the New Year    
Day one of the new year 2019!  This is the day to reflect on how the last year went and how the new year will go.  We can all wish for a better year.  But in order to get a better one, we need to put forth some effort and really work to make the changes needed to reach our goals.  If you want a better year financially, you will want to examine your income and try to increase it and/or maybe you need to save more of your income to prepare for the future.  If you want your new year to be healthier, you may need to change your lifestyle and include exercise and healthier eating.  Perhaps you want a year with better family relationships.  Then you need to decide which relationships need improvement and if you have any way to facilitate a change.

Pick one or a few things to pursue in your new year and work on a plan to make changes that will help you reach your goals.  Don’t be discouraged if you don’t reach all your goals.  If you at least make progress on your goals, that is a positive result.  You can continue to make changes necessary to reach your goals.  Also, if your goals include actions from other people, remember you can control your actions and efforts, but you may not be successful in getting others to change with you. 

If you like to sew and you want to improve your sewing or accomplish more finished projects, you have total control over that change!  I suggest taking a few moments to think about what projects you want to sew this next year.  Write down all those that come to mind and then number them in the order you plan to sew.  Don’t worry if you don’t think you have the skills to do all of them.  You can always research the techniques and learn them before you begin a project or even as you sew the project.  You can probably find a video on the internet that covers almost any sewing technique you want to learn.  If not, try to find a book that describes the technique or ask a sewing friend to help you. 

I looked back on my blog to see what changes or resolutions I had for 2018.  In my post of January 1, 2018, I said I would sew a summer 12-piece wardrobe.  I was able to complete that one.  I started on the first of January and finished the project Oct 4, 2018.  I was able to make 72 outfits from the 12 pieces.

I also planned to review and organize my fabric stash.   I started by organizing the fabric I kept in my sewing room.  I have two shelves under the eight-foot cutting table in the room.  I filled see-through containers on those shelves with fabric for current projects or ones that I anticipated sewing in the future.  I moved fabric from two bedrooms and added that to fabric held in storage containers in the basement.  This was an enormous task, but it did make sewing easier.  I was able to place all the fabric for the 12-piece wardrobe in the bins under the cutting table, so the fabric was easily accessible when I needed it.  Although, I did not complete this task, at least I made progress on it.  

The third change I wanted to do in 2018 was to consider fabric in my stash before buying new fabric for my projects.  That one I also accomplished.  Most of the 12-piece wardrobe was made with stash fabric.  I also made a winter coat in 2018 and that, too, was made from stash fabric.

I have been thinking about what I will sew in this new year and I am not certain.  I am currently working on a raincoat which will be finished soon.  After that, I am not sure what I will pursue.  I may make jeans and blog about each step in the process and any techniques I use.  I need to give some more thought to which projects I will sew.  This year has just begun, so maybe before I finish the raincoat, I will get some inspiration for my 2019 sewing projects. 

What are you planning to sew in 2019?  Please share your plans with me.  Maybe I will get inspired by your projects!

Happy sewing,