Sunday, January 22, 2017

NEXT...Sunday Miscellany

First, you may have noticed this year that I didn't do a tribute post for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. I don't even know the last time I didn't write one and am to lazy to look it up. There was a two-fold reason for that, that whole Twitter war with Congressman John Lewis just gave me the hebbie gebbies but most importantly I was SICK as a dog and had no energy to move out of my bed!

Instead of blogging and sewing on Monday, I was laid up watching QVC. I don't know how much you know about QVC, the television shopping network, but every day they feature a "Today's Special Value (TSV)" which is supposed to be the best buy of the day. Monday's TSV was a pair of denim jeans by Isaac Mizrahi.

Isaac appeared in about five shows during that day...each one started off showcasing those jeans (btw I did not buy a pair) and then all of these tops he's designed. I didn't buy any of those either but after watching about 10 hours of jeans and tops, cardigans and jackets, I got a clearer idea of what I need/want to be sewing.

See I've made some tops but I just don't get that down in the bones thrill that I get from sewing a dress. I'm sure some of this is because I didn't really need tops in my former life. I made a couple here and there but they weren't up to the standards of some of my dresses. I didn't even have a TNT top/blouse pattern which is why I've probably been flailing a little when it came time to actually sew them.

Of the tops I made my first year only the button down shirt - Butterick 5678 and the tunics from McCalls 7095 are still being worn. I've worn both of the Simplicity 8094 tops a lot since making them and I've actually thought of another version I'd like to make...other than that I've struggled.

Now that I have a clearer idea of what I want to sew and wear, I'm revising some of the top patterns that I shared on Instagram. I have another knock-off from QVC that I want to make using Simplicity 8094 again...well y'all know I like a TNT pattern! *LOL* This one is so comfortable to wear that there will probably be more incarnations.

So tops will be up next...



More Simplicity 8059 Cardigans ~
I finally got some sewing done.  I made four versions of Simplicity 8059. I started these around Christmas time. I got it in my head that I needed more of them and then I just started cutting fabric and making plans. I had a fifth one in my head but I need to move on, there are so many more things to sew.

Here's a quick peek of them, I'll have a blog post as soon as my daughter arrives to photograph me in them.




Meeting Claire Kennedy ~
I've wanted to meet Claire Kennedy, who blogs at Sew Artistry for some time. Claire has impeccable skills and sews for very high end clients back in Oklahoma. For some reason Claire seems to really like my sewing and features it in her newsletter for which I'm so honored. 

She is in town this weekend (probably flying home as this is posting) and we connected at Metro Textiles for some fabric shopping with her and her companions, Susan Theobald from Oklahoma City and Susan Knowles from Shreveport.


Kashi doing what he does best!

I was lucky because Friday I had time to spend with them since hardly anyone was in the office, so I took a long lunch and headed to Metro Textiles. 

Here are a few photos of their adventures ~


Susan, Claire & Susan checking the stretch on a knit

Claire and Susan checking out the wools

Claire checking out one of the pleated polyesters

Let me say these women came to shop! I loved how they went through and pulled fabrics in their colors, for their needs, and bought at least 5 yards. I got a vicarious thrill just hanging with them! Of course some of that fabric shopping rubbed off on me and I did need some retail therapy to soothe my aching soul since it was inauguration day...*sigh* 

Here is what came home with me ~


3 yards of an embroidered denim

3 yards of a border print ponte

While they were shopping, I had time to speak with both Susans and Claire. Susan from Shreveport showed me some pictures she'd taken of an Alabama Chanin skirt she'd recently completed. It was sooooo beautiful. She graciously shared some pics with me...


Detailed view of the hand stitching and beading

Susan wearing the skirt with a black turtleneck

Back view of Susan wearing the Alabama Chanin skirt she made

It's a gorgeous skirt isn't it? I'm always in awe of sewists that take the time to make garments using the Alabama Chanin stencils and hand stitching!

Saturday's Womens March ~
Lastly The Women's March was yesterday. I had planned to go to the march in NJ with my daughter. However, I'm still coughing up a lung and I didn't think another weekend out in the elements would help me get better any sooner so I stayed home and cheered from the sidelines.

I posted this to my Instagram account early Saturday morning ~

I'm so thankful to all of the amazing women who came out and marched both in the US and around the world! It made a statement that we are not going quietly into the good night! May I add that we have to follow this up with activism both politically and contributing to the institutions that this administration is threatening the existence of ~ even the National Endowment of Arts is being targeted!

Finally, I did get to spend some quality time in the sewing room this weekend. It has leveled off my equilibrium and while I still have a cough, I now feel more like myself!

This is what's currently laying on my cutting table ~






...as always more later!

Friday, January 20, 2017

The End of an Era...

Earlier this month I celebrated my 11th anniversary of blogging, during that time Barack Obama has been President of the United States for the last eight years. 

Today a new administration enters the White House. It is the natural progression of events in our national politics. I don't need to reiterate how I feel about the incoming administration because my views haven't changed AT ALL since November 9th.

However, since change is coming, I am acknowledging that fact by giving my blog a makeover. It is with so many mixed feelings, I'm removing President Barack Obama's picture from my side bar. While leaving the background color the same, I am making it cleaner and simpler...removing some things that have been around for the last eight years...moving forward lighter and leaner for the fights that I will be passionately fighting along with my fellow Americans in the next couple of years.

I will continue to keep this as my safe sewing space but know this, this election has made me more determined to be active in and protest for the things I care about. To donate my time and money to a more compassionate, inclusive America where every citizen is free to pursue life, liberty, happiness and the American Dream. To love who they want to love...to vote and work...for women to have the right to their own bodies...for immigrants of any color to come here and seek the American Dream as immigrants have come in the past. Also know that there will be times when an opening line will be, step out if you're not here for politics or religion. My blog...my writings...my thoughts.

On that note, I was suppose to head to Trenton this weekend to march in my state's Women's March but I still haven't managed to kick this cold. The cold that has impeded my sewing so far this month. So I will be in the Sewing Cave choosing not to watch the pagentry and spectacle that is happening in my Nation's Capital this weekend...cause in the cycles of grief I'm stalled at anger...and while the new occupant of the oval office will be President of America...he's just not mine.

Hopefully new items will be coming to the blog sooner rather than later. Also, I feel compelled to say now that if my attitude disturbs you and you'd rather not come back to visit, I totally understand...and I offer the love of Jesus and his blessings upon you and your family!

For everyone else...

...as always more later!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Pledge Broken...

...so I'm gonna dust myself off, confess my stumble, and move on making today the first day of my new pledge.

Here is my confession ~
I broke my fabric pledge. I had sewing friends scheduled to come to town this weekend and we were going to spend the weekend together fabric shopping in the garment district. However, this is not what broke my vow. I can shop the garment district and not buy since I now work in the midst of the district, I don't feel any pressure to buy. 

What made me break my vow is that Chic Fabrics posted to Instagram that they were closing at the end of January because they lost their lease. I didn't partake in the Paron's closing sale because I felt I should have done more to support them but I'm in Chic Fabrics at least once a month. So pledge broken.

Let me back up and tell you how I spent two wonderful days and one night with an amazing group of women. Cennetta and I had been speaking about her coming to NYC in January for a couple of months. Airfares and hotel costs are the cheapest to NYC during the months of January through March so we planned for the MLK weekend. 

During that time a few other sewists joined in but we ended up with a small group of four ~

Friday Evening ~
I get off work at 5pm and almost everyone was arriving in NYC after 8pm so I took myself to see Hidden Figures.  If you haven't seen this movie, please see it as soon as you can because it is AMAZING. The story it tells about these three women is awesome and the 60s fashions are all fantastic. I will be seeing this movie again because it was just that good!


Katherine G. Johnson, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan 
and the actresses who portrayed them.

A church scene with the women dressed in their Sunday Finest

The black computing staff at NASA

After the movie, I met up with Gaylen (Gmariesews, CarriageCornerB&B) and Andrea (knitknac) for dinner while we waited for Cennetta's (Mahogany Stylist) plane to arrive. I had the best dinner, dessert and conversation with these women.

Saturday in the Garment Center ~
Cennetta is one of the Mood Sewing Network Bloggers but she'd never been to the Mood Store in NYC. She purchases her fabric from the Mood website. Because of that we made Mood our first stop where we spent a good portion of our time.

Cennetta with Eric, Owner of Mood Fabrics

Here is what I bought at Mood with a lot of enabling from my fellow sewists ~
L to R - Lt. Blue Tencel Denim, Paisley Print Cotton Stretch Twill
Roberto Cavello Denim w/Lycra that three of us purchased

Our next stops were SIL Threads, Spandex House and Pacific Trimmings. After that we took a quick break at Pret A Manger to rest and regroup. While there it started to snow, so in the snow we headed over to Chic Fabrics, our last stop of the day.

Here is what I bought at Chic Fabrics ~

L to R - a white pique ponte, a printed stretch jersey
and a border print ponte in black, red, grey and white

We talked to the owner about his situation and future plans. Of course, the Landlord has raised the rent, but an offer was made to make the space smaller and let him stay. If it's not accepted, he will move all of his stock out at the end of the month to a warehouse and look for another space in the district. Though after speaking with both him and Eric at Mood Fabrics, the rents that are being charged in the district are rising at alarming rates. We may see other fabric store closures in the future.

In the snow we trudged back to the hotel to wait for our dinner reservations at Rosa Mexicano. I have no pic of this although Sheila (sheila-ctz) and Olgalyn (O! Jolly! Crafting Fashions) both joined us for dinner. This is because while Rosa Mexicano has great Mexican food, the lighting is not conducive to taking photos. When we hit the street, it was still snowing, cold and dark. Yeah we were making it to the subway back to the hotel.

A few selfies that I got from Andrea ~

Andrea and Sheila

Gaylen and Andrea

Gaylen and I headed out after that. She graciously drove me home before heading back to the Inn. It was a wonderful couple of days. There were so many great conversations, a lot of fabric buying and quality time with fellow sewing sistahs who love our craft as much as I do ~ even though there was a lot of knitting going on! *LOL*

I'm headed back to my sewing machine since our offices are closed for MLK Day tomorrow. I have to finish up the cardigans that I started weeks ago.

...as always more later!


Monday, January 09, 2017

Why didn't Simplicity Patterns just apologize?

Imma tell you right now that if you only come here for sewing flip out now. I'm getting ready to talk about something that is not all "happiness and sunshine" and recently happened in the sewing community.

Okay if you're still here - let's talk. This was posted on Simplicity's Facebook and Instagram pages this weekend.

UPDATE!!!: 
Simplicity has issued an apology on their Facebook page. Thanks to the Simplicity Team for listening to our objections and taking them seriously!  It is appreciated!



I'm sure if you don't see color or glanced at it quickly, you thought nothing of it. Or if you don't know anything about the movie "Hidden Figures" again it was just a post. However, let me give you a synopsis of the movie.

This is the "Hollywood Bio" of the movie ~
This is the untold story of three brilliant African-American women at NASA - Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson - who serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation's confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world.

Here is the real tip ~
These women were smart and worked in mathematics and science when black women weren't encouraged to be more than maids. They fought to attend college, for positions that should have been theirs because of their knowledge and ability. They didn't have the right to vote. They couldn't go to the bathroom with white women because the bathrooms were segregated - one for white women and another in a different building for black women. They were considered lesser than just about everyone.  

They worked as human "computers" at NASA because white men thought it was a demeaning job when they could be engineers. BUT these women were the actual mathematicians behind the successful launch of the first space shuttle. Their knowledge of math and science figured out the necessary equations to make the trip around the earth work. 

Now the important thing ~ 
Did you know about these women before the movie came out?  Where you taught about this in school?  Did you know that John Glenn trusted "the little black girl" to make sure that he got home safely? If not, you will now understand the name of the movie, "Hidden Figures." So many contributions that People of Color have made to our American society have been shoved to the side, hidden and devalued. 

Look at the picture again...can you see the problem with this picture now?

Of course there was a lot of conversation surrounding the picture, more vicious on Facebook and more moderated on Instagram. When sewists asked Simplicity about the picture, it was removed from Instagram and the post on Facebook with the subsequent conversation was taken down.

Here's the point of my post. Yes the picture on both Facebook and Instagram was insensitive and a very poor marketing attempt of a pattern, but it shouldn't have been removed. Simplicity should have come out and said they made a mistake.  That sewists of color are important to them and that they would try harder in the future to be more inclusive. 

Instead, they HID the picture and tried to ignore the uproar.  If Dairy Queen can apologize for the racist rants of one of their owners or Chili's can apologize for a free meal that was denied to an African-American Veteran, then shouldn't Simplicity, as a corporate entity, apologize also?

More importantly, Simplicity missed an opportunity to talk to their customers white, black, and hispanic.  They missed the opportunity to really support this groundbreaking movie for ALL women. They are probably going to miss some dollars from a group of sewists who were perturbed by how the situation was handled...and they lost the respect of a segment of their community.  A community that's a niche market as it is.

If anyone from Simplicity reads this post, I highly suggest that you rethink your position on this issue. 

If you haven't heard about this movie, here's a clip and an interesting note. Katherine Johnson (played by Taraji P. Henson) was not only a human computer at NASA but she sewed a large amount of her wardrobe.



I hope you will support this movie because it does celebrate one of our own, a sewist!

...as always more later!





Sunday, January 08, 2017

Eleven Years

I've been blogging pretty consistently at this spot for Eleven Years. 

* I've written 1,883 blog posts.
  
* I've moved three times and changed jobs just as many times.

*My daughters have grown from teenagers & young womanhood to wonderful and amazing women...and still I sew and blog about it.



Along with changing jobs, I've changed the types of garments I sew. When I started this blog I was wearing business casual. Pants and twinsets, skirts and blouses with a cardigan, a dress or two ~ I was really a skirt girl at that time. I sewed a lot of them, long and knee-length, flared, straight, a-line and pencil.


Then I moved to the job that ate up all my time. I took it knowing that it would be more involved but my daughters were getting older and no longer needed me as much, I was divorced, so I thought working a little more would be a good thing. Plus I had to sew a whole new wardrobe because the dress code was really professional. I sewed some amazing dresses during that time.



Now I work in casual central ~ where relaxed and comfortable prevail. I've detailed some of the challenges I've experienced sewing for this new adventure. Recently I've adjusted my attitude and am now embracing the challenge of sewing for a new lifestyle.



Through everything I've sewed and blogged. Job changes, new places to live, changes in my daughters lives and becoming a grandma, I've sewn and documented everything here. I've reinvented my sewing space. I've detailed 90% of my adventures right here on the blog - shopping trips, museum visits, fabric scoops, sewcations, sewing techniques, #wineandcheesewithkashi, being a Star Blogger in Vogue Pattern Magazine, even a turn as a Mood blogger - all documented here. I've made some amazing friends through sewing and I appreciate each and every friendship!



It doesn't seem like it's been 11 years. It just seems like one great big sewing adventure. I have no thoughts of stopping now. I will probably be one of the last sewists blogging now that there are other forms of social media that allow sewists to share their passion. Even though I participate in a few, I still love the story that's told on a blog ~ the pictures, techniques and reason(s) why that garment came to be.


Maxidresses in 2015 & 2016


I would like to thank each and every one of you that have stopped by, left a comment, followed me for years as I've sewed on, just started following me, gave me your friendship because it's made me kinder, copied a garment I made and on and on. 

Mostly though I want to thank you for reading my ramblings and joining me on my sewing journey. If you didn't read and comment, I would just be someone posting pretty pictures and spitting in the wind. You have given me a platform and you have discussed everything with me from politics to sewing for years...even when we didn't see eye to eye...and for that I THANK YOU!

In a totally self-serving moment, if you've been following along for awhile or even just recently, would you mind leaving a comment and telling me what garment or event encouraged you to keep coming back and sharing my journey. Thank you for leaving a comment because in 11 years, I'm still a comment ho! *LOL*

So it's been eleven years...here's to eleven more! 

...as always more later.



p.s. The garments pictured in this post are some of my favorite makes from the last 11 years!


Sunday, January 01, 2017

The First Day of Twenty Seventeen

I'm sitting in the Sewing Cave today after 9 days on vacation and I haven't sewn a thing...not one thing! I bought some fabric and I'm putting it away but that is the closest I've gotten to sewing.

I don't know what it is with me and the end/beginning of the year and getting sick but another year end/beginning and yet again I'm hacking up a lung. I know I don't feel well when I have no desire to sew. I didn't even start on the afghan that I want to crochet up in time for my daughter's birthday.

Actually I came home Thursday afternoon wrote a blog post about my adventures with Gaylen and went to bed. I'm just venturing out today and can tell that I'm headed back shortly. Yes, that means that I spent New Year's Eve in bed watching the ball drop and poor Mariah Carey's awful performance. I'm scheduled to go back to work on Wednesday so may yet get a little sewing done but I'm not counting on it.  

Chico's Chic ~
So the point of this post is not to discuss my lack of sewing but to discuss why I call my sewing style "Chicos Chic."  First let me say that Chico's uses no such term. I coined that term to try to describe the style or type of sewing that I'm doing now.

To review, I work in a very relaxed workplace with a lot of 20 and 30 year olds. I haven't worn jeans every day since I was in college 40 sumthin' years ago. When I started working, "professional work wear" was encouraged in the workplace. Women wore stockings and heels, jackets with skirts and dresses and NO jeans. 

I seem to have more challenges sewing for myself when the weather gets colder. I want to be stylish and current yet not dress better than my boss. I also don't want to look like a 20 year old. I know that I prefer classic styles to trendier styles. I like my trend to be on point with colors and details, that's why I've gravitated towards sites like Chicos, Talbots, Lafayette 148, Coldwater Creek, JJill and The Avenue & Torrid for a plus size point of view. I use these sites for ideas only since I have no desire to purchase clothing from them. 

Pictures of a few pieces that have caught my eye ~






Some accessories pictures ~


I want to wear more of my pearl necklaces


Another comment made was that I sew a greater variety of pieces now and that is true. It's also the reason why it takes me longer to complete an outfit. Most of my garments are no longer made from TNT patterns. As we know a pattern fresh out of the envelope comes with fitting challenges that must be addressed.

Goals for 2017 ~
I'm stating these sewing goals here because I want to be held accountable. I'm hoping that will help me stick to it.

  1. No fabric buying until July.
  2. Along those lines no more denim purchases. I have quite a bit of variety in the collection now and need to use it instead of collecting more.
  3. No pattern purchases until Memorial Day weekend/early June.
  4. More discriminate pattern purchasing...after seeing Gaylen's stash of patterns, I own way too many.
  5. More sewing for the grand babies.

I don't have any sewing challenges or techniques that I want to use. I don't even have any special fabrics I want to work with since I either own it already or don't particularly like to sew with them. Truly the results of having been sewing for years. 

However, my main sewing goal for 2017 is to enjoy the process more. Reworking my TNT patterns and developing a new style have truly zapped some of the joy from my sewing. Hopefully now that I've been in this space for a minute, some of the joy will return.

I hope 2017 brings all of you ~ many sewing journeys full of discovery, joy, creativity and much fulfillment!

...as always more later and Happy New Year!





Friday, December 30, 2016

The First Few Days of my Christmas Vacation

I'm blessed that my company is closed during the week between Christmas and New Year's ~ this meant a 10 day break this year. Of course, I spent time with my family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Then I did something I haven't done in years, I left home during Christmas week instead of burrowing myself into the sewing cave and just sewing. I went to Intercourse, PA to spend a couple of days with Gaylen and her husband, at their new B&B - Carriage Corners

I hadn't seen Gaylen since she was on the east coast during the summer so it was good to see her and her husband again. However, it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G to spend some downtime away from home in her wonderful B&B. Let's start my adventure at Carriage Corners with a few pictures!





This is the Lonestar Room where I stayed!

I wish I'd gotten a picture of the Gazebo at night because
 it was beautiful lit up with Christmas Lights

...and a few of the countryside. I couldn't get over how stunning it was and it is the dead of winter.  All of the crops had been harvested and the trees were bare but it was stunning...especially at night when there were no lights...just acres and acres of farmland stretching out into the horizon.




Monday evening we had dinner at Fireside Tavern in Lancaster County. Not only was the atmosphere beautiful but the food was delicious! 

Trip to Fabric Mart ~
Tuesday after Gaylen handled her Inn duties, we headed off to Fabric Mart which is located only 30 minutes from her B&B. I was especially excited to go because the last time I'd been to Fabric Mart was with Shams and Peggy in 2011! OMG ~ I thought it was just 3 years ago but here's the blog post to prove when it was! 
Entering Sinking Springs...

Gaylen in front of the Fabric Mart sign




Melanie was shopping in the store and reads my blog!

My haul - 32 yards

I was rather restrained even though one of my Christmas presents was gift certificates to Fabric Mart!

After lunch Gaylen and I headed back to the B&B because she had more guests checking in for the evening.

Strolling Around Kitchen Kettle Village ~
Since both Gaylen and I are fabric fanatics, I really only wanted to experience the fiber related stores this trip so on Wednesday afternoon we headed over to the Village to explore.



Yarn from Lancaster Yarn Shop
Pattern from The Old Country Store

Our first stop was at Lancaster Yarn Shop where of course Gaylen has already made friends with the owner, Wendy. It was a lovely shop and I did buy some hanks of yarn and a crochet hook. I thought I would start on an afghan that one of the daughters asked for, but of course, buying was as far as I got!



Then we stopped at Village Quilts. This store is a smorgasbord of handmade quilts. The artistry on display in that store was just awesome! Personally I don't understand cutting up fabric into small pieces and stitching it back together but I can truly appreciate the hard work and creativity that goes into each quilt. There were some beauties there that just took your breathe away. I bought one of the plaques below to add to the sewing cave - Gaylen gifted me the other!


Plaques for the Sewing Cave wall

We crossed the street to visit The Old Country Store which had an entire section of quilting fabrics and notions. I love quilting cottons because they are vibrant and when arranged well in a quilt store they are a visual feast. Gaylen purchased quite a few of the Christmas quilting fabrics especially since they were 30% off. However, I bought odds and ends, things that appealed to me because I was on vacation.


Rick Rack, a postcard and a fabric panel that appealed to me 
I'm sure because it was on sale!

After that it was back to the B&B. Dinner was pizza made by an Amish family running the local pizza parlor that was delicious. Couldn't tell the difference between it and local pizza ~ seriously!

I left Thursday afternoon after spending some more time with Gaylen and her wonderful family. It was a great four days away!

Sew In at Carriage Corner B&B ~
Now if you've made it to the end of the post, here is a scoop! 

Gaylen will be hosting a Sew-In at the B&B, March 24-26, 2017 and I will be there helping people with fitting challenges, working with your Tried 'n True pattern or anything you want to work on. There will also be a trip to and tour of Fabric Mart with time to shop. 

We just have dates now but follow the Carriage Corner Instagram and website for further information. Gaylen will post the registration information there!  I hope that you can come out and sew with me!

...as always more later!



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