Sunday, February 21, 2010

New Babies


I have contemplated this for over a year.....I finally made the commitment a few weeks ago and I have no regrets!  I'm proud to announce the addition of two new babies to my family (my sewing family, that is!)...Baby Lock Eclipse SX and Baby Lock Coverstitch

I've had a high-end Bernina server/coverstitch combo machine of almost 8 years.  It does it all--serging and top AND bottom coverstitch.  Let's that time, I've used the top coverstitch feature ONCE.  I've used the bottom coverstitch less than 20 times, I'm sure.  I've used it for lots of serging and rolled hems, but even then, it seems to require a lot of tweaking to get the stitch just right.  Coverstitching was always a tense moment--trouble feeding fabric evenly, trouble going over seams, and frequent thread breakage.  And who am I kidding--I hated switching between serge and coverstitch...especially for a single project.

Within the last year, I dusted off my 22-year-old Singer Serger that had been sitting on my sewing table, unused, since I got the Bernina combo.  It was rather squeaky, but I oiled it up and guess what?  It produced a perfect stitch--with no tweaking.  I've been using that machine for most of my serging needs for the last year.  It's a 4-thread serger, but doesn't have a differential feed.  The cutting width is adjustable--with a screwdriver, not a knob.  And converting to rolled hem requires switching the throat plate.  This trusty old machine (which was a Christmas gift from my Mom) has served me well, helping me win a blue ribbon a the State Fair this last year for a plain old white t-shirt which the judges said was the epitome of serging.

For many years, I have steered clear of sewing with knits--primarily because of hemming.  Yes, I know you can get a nice look with the twin needle on a regular machine, but it's just not the same as RTW.  I have been seriously considering a stand alone coverstitch machine for well over a year.  I did lots of research, asked a few people what they have, and decided that the Baby Lock BLCS was the model for me.  I also considered the Janome CoverPro machine, but I've read some complaints about the Janome models and have yet to find a single dislike about the Baby Lock.  I can't even begin to tell you how pleased I am with the performance of this machine.  It just works, and it works beautifully!  Of course, a big shout out to Debbie Cook's Coverstitch tutorials....I wouldn't be where I am without these!

Then, since I wasn't happy with my Bernina serger, and my trusty old Singer was lacking in features, I decided maybe I'd treat myself to a new serger as well.  I decided to stick with Baby Lock because sergers are what they're known for.  I wanted a basic 4-thread with differential feed and adjustable cutting width--all features which most basic sergers have these days.  The Eclipse SX was perfect for me.  No jet air threading, but believe me, threading this thing could not be easier.

I ended up not trading in either of my old machines.  Obviously, the Singer is worth nothing.  Plus, it still works just fine and I'm sentimentally attached to it.  The dealer told me I'd get more for my Bernina by trying to sell it on eBay or Craigslist.

Here's the first project from my two machines--a black cowl neck sweater (of course, you can't see any detail in the picture because it's black!)....a combo of Jalie 2805 and the cowl neck from BWOF 2005-10-114

This isn't the only thing I've whipped out...more posts coming soon.

Monday, January 11, 2010

First Jammies of the New Year


Big surprise--another pair of Kwik Sew 3234.  My kids love these jammies.  Megan picked out the ducky knit fabric from JoAnns.  I really do love sewing these...quick and easy!

My son has requested "a pair of pajamas with fish and a zipper".  He's 5.  We did look through my Kwik Sew pattern book (special offer from Kwik Sew a few weeks ago) and picked out these.  Now to find some lightweight fish fleece--probably easier said than done.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A couple of WeeCare gowns


I've been hanging on to these way to's good to have the finished.  I'll turn them in at our monthly SAGA meeting this coming Sunday.

On the first, I tried to mimic the trim with my stitching.  I tend to try new techniques and stitches on WeeCare gowns.  It turned out well right next to the neck binding, but not so well farther down--it looks best when the stitches remain close together.

The next is a light yellow gown.  On the sleeves I did a bullion picot stitch...a technique we learned in our local chapter many months back.

Here's a closeup of the sleeve edging:

My WeeCare goal for 2010 is one gown per month.  It really doesn't take that long to stitch one up, and WeeCare is such a wonderful program.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2009 Summary


I read a lot of sewing blogs, and everyone seems so productive compared to me...especially Dawn--95 items!  Holy crap! 
So I thought..what the hell...I'm going to open a spreadsheet, try to remember everything I made, and see what I really accomplished in 2009.  Turns out I was more productive than I thought, making or working on 69 items total. 

Honestly, I had no idea I had made so many pajamas!  My kids love pajamas and every Christmas, I make coordinating PJ pants for all of us.  I guess that adds up!

Since I made so many pajamas, it makes sense that I used Kwik Sew patterns so much.  Kwik Sew 3234 is my TNT pattern for the kids knit PJs.  The SAGA stuff accounts for all the Wee Care gowns I worked on.  And the kids and I are in love with the fleece socks from Green Pepper.  I've had the pattern for years but made them for the first time this past year.

If I had to pick a favorite item from 2009, it would have to be my daughter's First Communion Dress that I posted about here and here.  It is quite possibly the nicest thing I have ever made, and I'm very proud of all the handwork.

My goal for 2010 is to use more Ottobre and BWOF patterns.  I've subscribed to Ottobre since 2003 when they started publishing in English, and I became a BWOF (or whatever it's called now) subscriber beginning in 2009.  My daughter would really like some more doll clothes for her doll...maybe I can up that number as well.

Oh, and I also plan to blog more.  To be honest, I hated the Blogger interface, so I'm trying out this ScribeFire thing...we'll see how it goes.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!


So I haven't been so good at blogging the past few months. I've been good at reading blogs, just not posting! Just a quick note to wish a very Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Kick to the Chest


That's what if feels like when you get a shock from your ICD. For those of you not familiar with common cardiac acronyms, that stands for implantable cardioverter defibrillator. My device was implanted just short of 5 years ago. A few months ago, I was told there was a "recall" on my lead...the wire could crack and cause "noise" that the device interpretted as an abnormal rhythm, resulting in an unnecessary shock. Long story short, that's what happened to me last Thursday morning....I got shocked not once, but 4 times. Not fun. Not fun at all. So I spent a couple of days in the hospital--got a new lead put in and a new device as well, since my battery would be drained in a couple of years anyway. It feels good to be home, and recovering from a replacement is not nearly as painful as the original implant.

I missed State Fair judging last Thursday but found out from my friends that I won 4 or 5 blue ribbons--I entered 7 items this year. Pictures and details will come in mid-August after the Fair is over.

Also missed a trip to Door County with my sisters and niece....but they stopped on their way back home and spent the day with me. It was nice...we don't get to see each other that often....maybe only 2 or 3 times a year.

I can't believe August is almost here. I'm looking forward to whipping out some last minute summer items. DD has been begging for some new dresses, and almost-5-year-old DS is open to a shirt as long as it has snaps and not buttons.

Did you catch the connection ICD was implanted just short of 5 years ago and my son is almost 5 years old.....long story there....

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Princess Charming


It's been two weeks since my daughter's First Communion, so I'm a little late in getting this post up.  However, we're also building a new house, and thing are in the hectic stage right now.  We should be moving within a month, so it's a very exciting (but hectic and stressful) time. are the photos from my daughter's special day. 

In the next post, I'll provide more details of both dresses--materials, patterns, smocking plates, etc.

A family photo: