Friday, July 31, 2009

Gadgets are a good thing

One of the sewing bloggers I follow (btw, can anyone explain to me why Blogger's internal spellchecker flags "blogger" as a typo, at least in the plural or the possessive? Anyone....Bueller?)
....where was I?

Oh yes, one of the sewing bloggers I follow was sharing her experiences with her new Singer buttonholer. I'm sorry I don't remember who it was, I was getting caught up on a few weeks' backlog and lost track somehow. Anyway, whoever you are, Thank You!

My first sewing machine was a Singer 401 my parents bought for me used about 25 years ago or so. The disks for the ornamental stiches had long been lost, as had most other accessories, but the machine sewed straight and zig-zag stitch forwards and backwards at an incredible speed with many layers of fabric, if neccessary. I couldn't make button holes, so I substituted other fastening options. Overall, it was and still is a wonderfull machine.

When I read about the Singer buttonholer mentioned above I thought that it sounded like a great tool, but one that didn't apply to me, since my Singer Futura does buttonholes nicely enough. Still, I went to see the linked clip that showed how the buttonholer worked. That clip showed the gadget on an old fashioned crank machine and I suddenly realized that I could look for a buttonholer for my 401.

I checked eBay last night and as luck would have it, they had one for just that model number, still in the original packaging (basically, it's new). I just won the auction for $4.99--squueeeee! I am looking forward to playing with it. If it works, I will probably set my Futura up as a permanent embroidery machine and use the 401 for most of the day to day sewing (which will suit me better, since the Futura, being all electronic, has a govenor and is irritatingly slow to sew with). Now I am looking for the disks that I need for the many decorative stitches the machine offers (not to me, of course, since I am missing those disks, but it would if I had them).

Okay, back to work....

Why is there no time to sew?

I checked my Stitchers' Guild profile earlier to see when I had posted last. Apparently it was the summer of 2007. At the time I was very excited to participate in the SWAP, especially since my DH had just started on the first of what would be 2 year-long Army Reserve activations with assorted deployments. It seemed to make sense, he would be away and I would have more time to sew. It was a great theory. I ended up using all of the "extra" time to start working on my next degree. Homework cuts into sewing time. I am sure to remember that statement next month, when I start school again, after having taken a year off for his second deployment (my work schedule had changed and I was no longer able to pull it all off in the time left to me).

For now, for this month at least though, he's back home and on vacation and I don't have homework yet. The garden is already a mess, so it can wait a few weeks longer to be cleared up. My plan is to move into to my new sewing space over my upcoming weekend. I moved a few stacks of fabric and some books last Tuesday, just to get an idea and have something to inspire me. Most of the fabric will need to be refolded over time for the doors of the cabinets to close completely, but that can wait.

For now, I just want to make the space workable. I want to pull 4 garments worth of fabric, notions and patterns out of my stash, which should be easy, since I was all set for the SWAP and a few additional projects. In other words, I should be able to do the WiaW, as well as a few more projects after that without having to set foot into a store. Hmm, now that I think about it, that does not sounds all that attractive, lol. Seriously, though, my goal is to do 4 garments from scratch for the WiaW, after that I really need to sort out the UFO situation. Most of them are between 80-95 percent done, they all still fit, as far as I know, there are no major issues, just some fiddly bits to be completed, and all of the items are great fall/winter good-for-work items, so it's time to get them off the board.

I hope that being able to access my machines without first having to set them up, having access to supplies, iron and board, as well as my cutting table and having a door to hide it all behind during the week, will enable me to "pop in" and work on things 15 minutes at a time. This may all come to a screeching halt once school starts up again, but I hope that the short term intensity of the WiaW will help prime my sewing mojo again.

In the mean time, I am looking forward to a weekend sorting, moving, upacking and repacking. I will get to move my fabrics around which always kicks off ideas, I will sort through patterns and pull out some candidates for the WiaW and I will find out where I am with the UFOs that I know are packed up in several bags throughout. I almost can't wait until Sunday!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

So it begins

I love to sew. I love the creative aspect of sewing, as well as the opportunities it gives me to puzzle things out, rearrange things and make things uniquely mine-well, maybe not so very unique but at least different from RTW.

I seldom sew. In fact, I haven't sewn a garment for double-digit months. I made nice curtains for my remodeled kitchen as well as the newly decorated living room, I have mended some fabric grocery bags, I have even fixed a hem and re-attached a button, but I have not made a garment in far too long. I could explain it, there are good reasons, it all makes sense, but I have decided to just let it go and try for a new beginning.

Our daughter left the nest a few years ago, but of course her room was still as it had been while she lived at home. She just spent 4 lovely weeks with us before moving to Korea for a year and while she was here she sorted and packed a lot of her things and we moved them all to a storage unit. I am moving my sewing things from the itty-bitty studio I share with my husband (who paints and airbrushes figure kits) to our daughter's old room. The little studio is a lovely space with great light and storage and work surfaces galore, but it has no floor space. No cutting or laying out of fabric and patterns can be done in that room, the sewing dummy can not be used and there is entirely no room for a mirror.

The "new" sewing room is very nice. For now, I am keeping the layout and style as it is, but after I live with it for a while, I expect that I will make a few changes. The room has everything I am looking for right now: a long and sturdy desk that can hold several machines as well as a laptop (to run the embroidery unit), internet access, a long wall of Ikea "Billy" cabinet units, with doors on the bottom and shelves on top and a nice view. There is room for a fold down cutting table and a sewing dummy ("Emmi") and even a little room for sewing related decor (an old hand-cranked table top machine etc). I started moving some of my things into the room on Tuesday, but due to my odd work schedule I will not be able to work on this again until Sunday. With a little effort, I should be able to be "moved in" by, if not before Wednesday, who knows, I may even be able to look through my UFOs.

About those UFOs, it's a good thing I have a fairly classic taste in clothes and do not change size too drastically over time. Some of those UFOs have been with me for some time. None of them has been entirely abandoned and a few of them are mere stitches from being finishes, so one of the goals is to figure out what needs to be done on each and to finish them. This is very sensible and a really good idea, but it is a bit depressing, so I am going to treat myself. I think I am going to take part in the "August Wardrobe in a Week" . This is much less ambitious than a SWAP, the timing is great, I have tons of material, patterns and notions and the split between the prep week and the sewing week seems like an excellent idea. As a matter of fact, I think I will pop over to the site in a little while, introduce myself again (after a too long absense) and "sign up".

If I manage to make this work, I will be posting about my progress right here.