Thursday, March 21, 2019

Topeka Horse Sale (This Really Does Have A Connection to Sewing!)

Twice a year my husband and I travel to Topeka, Indiana for the Topeka Horse Sale.   Topeka is a very small town with no hotels, therefore, we usually stay at the Blue Gate Garden Inn Hotel in Shipshewana.  Although we sold our draft horses several years ago, my husband still loves to be around horses and visit with others who love horses.  I know it is healthy for all of us regardless of age to focus on hobbies and things of interest.   My husband supports my love of sewing by waiting patiently in the car for me while I shop at fabric stores.  He doesn’t mind if I invest in sewing equipment and/or notions to make my sewing easier.   So, when it is time to make the trip to the Topeka Horse Sale, I am always ready to go.  I know there will be much more than horses involved with this trip.

We began our trip on Monday of this week and returned Wednesday.  It was just a short, three-day trip but one that renewed my energy and my creativity.  While my husband watched horses and horse equipment and products sold, I visited fabric and quilt shops in the area.  Our neighbors, Connie and Dale, stayed at the same hotel so we had two vehicles at our disposal to pursue our separate interests.  My husband and Dale took one and went to watch horses.  Connie and I took the other and went to check the area for everything sewing-related and more. 

We stopped at Gohn Brothers at 105 S. Main in Middlebury.  I needed ¼ inch ribbon for the fabric gift bags I make and I can purchase it at Gohn Brothers for only 20 cents a yard.   I purchased 25 yards each of Christmas red and green.  I also bought a Dritz tape measure for 69 cents and a seam ripper for 49 cents.  If you are in the Middlebury area, this shop is a great place to get basic sewing supplies at very reasonable prices.  David Coffin mentioned Gohn Brothers in his book Shirtmaking – Developing Skills for Fine Sewing.  He listed the store under “Sources of Supply” on page 164.  As I indicated in my post of 4/14/18, this store has been in business for more than 100 years.  It still has the original wood floor and tin ceiling.  As soon as you open the door, you realize you just stepped into a by-gone era.  You can hear the sound of the commercial sewing machines working in the upstairs sewing factory where they make denim pants and coats for Amish (plain clothing).  They also make Colonial era shirts and stock high top shoes for both men and women.  I enjoyed visiting with the employee in the store.  When I exited the store, I was relaxed and happy with my purchases.  My shopping experience was pleasant and I look forward to returning.  It was exceptionally nice to be greeted and helped by someone who displayed a love for helping people find what they want and a love for their job!

Another stop for us was Zinck’s Fabric Outlet in Ligonier.  It is 15.2 miles South of Shipshewana on State Road 5.  I never know what I will find in this store.  Sometimes I find nothing and sometimes I find just what I didn’t know I wanted!  This visit I found a pale green knit fabric to make a summer top.  I also found some light blue 14 inch ribbon for my gift bags and some felt for a project I am making for the youth group at my church.  The staff at Zinck’s Fabric is always helpful and pleasant.  Another relaxing place to shop!

I even found time to relax at the hotel between shopping trips.  I took along a small stack of old Threads magazines just in case I had time to peruse them.  I am always amazed at the inspiration I get from these magazines.  I read them completely from front to back when they arrive at my door, but when I reread them several years later, it is like I never saw them before.  This time I found an article entitled “Design Ideas from a Miyake Shirt” from the May 1998 issue number 76.  The article describes in detail how to make a shirt similar to one by Japanese designer Isssey Miyake by using a simple jacket or shirt pattern that you already have.  I like that idea.  The author, Tara Arnold, showed several different design variations.  I am going to make a copy of the article and stick it to a closet door in my sewing room so I don’t forget about it.  I would like to try to sew one of these shirts for summer.

No trip to Shipshewana would be complete without a visit to Yoders Department Store.  My husband buys all his jeans from Yoders because they carry his size and, if they are out of the size, they will order it for him.  He also loves the Darn Tough brand of socks which come with a lifetime guarantee.  I love the shoe department.  I can almost always find a pair of shoes that want to come home with me.  This time I found three pairs.  How could I say “no” to those shoes?  After all, Spring is here and who knows what condition my shoes from last year are in.   I had to bring those shoes home.  I absolutely could not risk having to go barefoot this summer!

I hope you save some time in your schedule to relax and be creative.  Let’s get those summer projects started!


Saturday, March 2, 2019

 Denim Purse          

I had to put my plans to post about pants fitting on hold temporarily.  Michigan’s winter weather has prevented me from meeting with the model to finish fitting the pants.  I missed yet another Wednesday sewing session due to the inclement weather.  Now due to our schedules, it will be the end of March before we can meet for another fitting session.  Hopefully, the article on pants fitting will be posted sometime in April. 

I am working on an article about sewing pants that I would like to post immediately following the pants fitting article.  I am considering reversing the order and posting about how to sew pants first.  While I am making this decision, I decided to make something I could use for the Lansing Chapter American Sewing Guild’s (ASG) sewing challenge.

The challenge this year is to make something inspired by denim.  That means we can sew a denim article or we can sew something that would normally be made from denim, but use another fabric.  For example, we could use a jean jacket pattern and make the jacket from a fabric other than denim, such as silk or knit.  The possible projects are endless.  We can make articles of clothing, home d├ęcor, purses, etc.  and we have until our meeting in October to complete our projects.  I encourage all members of the Lansing Chapter to enter the challenge.  The reason for the challenge is simply to get our members to sew more!  All those who enter will be eligible to win a prize.  There will be drawings for several prizes and the prizes are usually gift certificates or products from sewing retailers in our area. 

I decided to make a purse from denim for my challenge project.  I searched through a large shoe box of purse patterns to find one I liked.  Yes, I have a stash of patterns as well as a stash of fabric.  I found an Indygo Junction pattern by Amy Barickman.  It is no. IJ925, Country Courier Bag.  The bag measures 15” x 14” x 3”.  I suspect this will be a little large for me, but I can always use it as a gift.  Pictures of the bag and pattern envelope are shown below.

I used fusible fleece to interface the purse and the strap.  After I sewed the front and back pieces together, I was not entirely happy with the fusible fleece.  I thought the purse still needed a little more shaping.  I decided to interface the lining with Pellon Craft Fuse to see if that would help the purse hold its shape.  I believe it did help, but if a make another purse with this pattern, I think I will try using a foam stabilizer. 

Notice on the pattern envelope, the first view shows two green buttons on the pocket and flap of the bag.  I added two red buttons shaped like flowers on my bag, but they don't show up very well on the busy print.  I think I will probably remove them.  Sometimes less is more!

Michigan is expecting its second Polar Vortex this winter.  If you are confined to the house due to inclement weather, this would be a good time to turn on your sewing machine and start a new project.  That is, if you don't loose your electricity.  We experienced that last Sunday during a wind and snow storm.  Don't despair!  Spring will be here soon.