Red Pillow – update

When I last worked on this project, it was just looking too white or blah or something:


Between then and now, I bought 3 different red and pink fabrics to try to jazz this up.  This weekend, the Airflute and I sewed up some of the red and the pink.


I’m still not sure about the red.  It may just be too much.  In a vacuum, with the small square strips removed, it looks good, but all together just doesn’t look integrated.  Plus I love the pink – so that red border may get swapped out for more pink.  I love the crewel work and then love the mini-squares with the pink; the question is that border for the crewel.

I also auditioned a background fabric that will surround the whole project.  Not sure which way to go but I may continue with the pink check fabric.  I want to work on the Medallion Quilt this week so I’ll likely drop this project again for a couple weeks but it was super fun to get to know the Airflute on this project.  I worked a lot with tension settings and also stitch length.  It took some futzing but I think the Airflute is going to work out very well.  I’m very pleased with it.

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IMG_0190What to do?  Going to let this mentally marinate for a bit.  Any preferences among you guys?  More soon.


DIY Pressing Board


Airflute comes up the long hill from the car, courtesy of my sherpa BF, Iowa.

With the addition of the Airflute to my bf’s home, the only thing keeping me from doing machine work upstate at the Craft Nook North was a pressing situation.  Given that our camping cabin is 10X10 (including a queen sized bed), a traditional ironing board wasn’t going to work.  So yesterday, I set out to make a pressing board, following this great tutorial I found via the powers of google.


I mostly followed her instructions.  All told it took about 2 hours and that was probably longer than it would take someone else.  I wanted to learn how to use the saw (as opposed to just having Iowa cut the board down), so that added a few minutes.  (Iowa was impressed by my ability to really stick to the cutting line but really it operates visually just like lining up a sewing line with a presser foot.  Convenient!)

I sanded the edges and back, and then, because the back of the board was so rough, I decided to glue a piece of fabric across that with craft glue so that took a few minutes.


To complete the pressing side, I laid a piece of batting over the front and then a second larger piece of fabric atop that and used a staple gun to fix it to the back of the board.  I toyed with turning the edges of the fabric under to make the underside of the board super clean but decided that was too fussy for a camping cabin ironing board.



I skipped the suggested felt bottom as it seemed fine as is.  The final dimensions are 15″ X 22″ to fit perfectly on my small table up there next to the Airflute and I also sized it to fit in a large ziplock for storage/travel.  The only thing I had to buy outright for the project was the craft glue – the rest were leftovers I had on hand (the wood was Iowa’s cut off).  All told it cost about $5.   Fabric is home dec weight from IKEA.





I sewed all weekend getting to know the Airflute a bit (so far so good, although the bobbin winder is wonky and likely needs pro help).  Being able to sew upstate  made being up here a lot more satisfying for me.  It’s always fun here but I’m often just reading or seam ripping small things that need to come out (ugh) – the crappy projects.  Ultimately, I often choose to stay in town when Iowa comes up here just so I can get something done.  Now I get to accomplish things AND see my bf and enjoy the birds.  Looking forward to many hours of sewing up here.  Excellent!



FIU15! – Blue Pillow for Bedroom

Now that FIT is done for the summer, I’m getting back to my Finish It Up ’15 project (which, in the back of my mind is always abbreviated as “F it Up ’15” – less positive!).   I made a list of WIPs and tonight decided for an easy win – The Blue Quilted Pillow I was making for my bedroom. The  idea/pattern is from Crazy Mom Quilts.  I love the combination of bright fabrics in a sea of white.  My apartment is filled with color so white is always welcome. This project was done but not assembled.  Tonight to finish, I needed to cut a back for it out of fleece, insert a zipper and sew and finish the edges. The pillow form for this pillow is the guts of an old chenille pillow that was falling apart.  As the chenille was a favorite of my boyfriend (due to the soft factor), I decided to skip the back I originally made and use a soft fleece so at least one side would feel like his old pillow. After that, the only challenge left was the zipper.  I still don’t feel solid on zipper insertion (although I’m getting better) so I decided to try a ‘simpler way’ I found online.  Mistake.  The instructions really did not work.  Next time I will suck it up and just do it the FIT way with basting, etc. I had to actually sew part of it by hand to finish it (the tutorial ended up missing some steps – the dangers of the internets!). Zipper in, side seams sewn and finished all around and here is a close up of the finished product: Front.  It’s ditch quilted around each square: IMG_0134 Great fabrics, right?  Photo of soft fleece back: IMG_0133 Close ups on some favorite fabrics.  The fish are making an appearance in the Modified Modern Medallion Quilt as well.  The final pillow is 20X20.  Love it! IMG_0137 IMG_0138 IMG_0139 Good night all!


So, this happened.

I’ve been wanting to make a duct tape dress form for a while and I finally wrangled/wore down? the boy into helping me do it.   He likes SciFi so I suggested that the duct tape would sort of replicate an alien fantasy chick –  not only that but I’ve sort of got a whole Alien Librarian vibe going here. I’m really hitting all the points :-)

In any event, I’m pleased with how it came out.  From the back:

IMG_0124All told we used 1.5 rolls of duct tape (75 yds).  Then came the stuffing.  It took 100 oz of polyester fiberfill and most of a Sunday NY Times.  If you’re like me – big chested and big bellied – you will be using a lot of filler to get it right.


IMG_0128I’m going to use my mic stand to hold it up.  I rough cut a cardboard bottom for it to sit on.  Hopefully that will be enough:

IMG_0129It took about 2.5 hours to make (plus a second trip to Michael’s for fiberfill as I had only bought 60 oz beforehand so for us, it took all day) and I’ll let you all know how it works out in real life.  It cost approximately $35 to make (Fiberfill $25 and Duct tape $10).  It really does look like me so I’m pleased to have something that replicates my sloped shoulders, belly, boobs and sway back.  Pretty cool, right?


The Airflute. Supermatic!

Konichiwa, friends:

Iowa (the boyfriend) and I spent the past week sunning and funning down the Jersey Shore.  Part of the ‘funning’ was a trip to our favorite thrift store which, this time, had this baby for sale:


Based on this fantastic questionnaire, I believe it is a Singer 15-30 Japanese knockoff.  According to this blog, 15 companies made over 5,000 different brands of machine in the post-WWII years in Japan.  There’s almost no documentation on them available.  Mine clearly says ‘made in Japan’ and lacks a serial number or any identifying marks other than “Airflute” “Supermatic” or “Deluxe”.  It is in excellent condition and despite having definitely-the-wrong-bobbin supplied with it, it sewed well enough to fix my boyfriend’s shorts which had conveniently ripped that day.

Back view:


It will live AT the boyfriend’s since he has the space and I’m there on weekends, etc.  I’m planning to download a Singer 15-91 manual (15-90 manuals seem to be lacking online and I think the 91 is close enough) and purchase new bobbins and oils to appropriate lube my new baby.  Exciting!


FIT Shirt is done!

Behold. For buttons, I used these sweet white pearlescent ones $1 for 7 at Dakota – nice.   I got the buttonholes done at Jonathan Embroidery – what a treat.  $3.50 for all $7 and done in 20 minutes.  I was going to make them myself but due to time constraints… let’s just say that their service is a total mental ‘spa treatment’ when you’re in a rush – fast, cheap and they look gorgeous. Done.
IMG_0090Close up:


Spent tonight’s class putting in a hem (see above).  Mucho basting and it only came out okay but she was pleased with my work.  I got an A on this project, an A on the skirt and As on both my homework assignments so I’m pretty sure I’m getting an A in the class (she also evaluates work as we go so who knows).   More importantly I learned a TON.  I am really impressed that I made such good looking garments.  I learned a ton of techniques – I’m very psyched to put them to work in my own projects now.

A shot of the back:


Now, I’m off on vacation.  See you all on the other side.


FIT Shirt – Almost there!

We spent last Thursday setting up the sleeves to be set into the shirt.  I have to say the trickiest bit was the gusset near the cuff.  Readers, never EVER take that little area for granted in your purchased clothing.  What a total pain in the ass it is to set in.IMG_0083Mine is not the best.  The teacher told me to leave it – that this type of thing takes many many tries to get right and that it was good enough for a first effort.  The rolled-around piece is a bias piece so there are stretching issues and also, you are sewing down to a point which can’t be at all off left or right so it is tricky.  Here’s a photo of the inside:

IMG_0084We set in the sleeves last night and you can see how close to done we are:

IMG_0075IMG_0076IMG_0077Looks like a shirt, right?  I love the fabric but unfortunately this will be too small for me to wear.  I may pawn it off to a tiny friend although I’m told we are to keep it for our ‘admittance to the program’ – for when we all apply to school to become Fashion Designers.  :-)

The rest of the night we spent finishing up the inside.

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We hand sewed down the color ‘invisibly’.  Yes, you can see my stitches but I am using contrast thread – also this is on the inside of the garment so I’m not too worried about it.  We also sewed by hand the front facings to the yoke (2nd photo).  Tricky but I made it work.

There is one area I had a blip in the collar.  I had cut it down in the wrong spot leaving a hole.  It looks – miraculously – fine from the outside since I had to sew it down by hand on the OUTSIDE but the inside…. meh but okay enough.  This is a very busy fabric so I think I can get away with it but I suspect I’ll not get an A on this project because of it.  Still, I will likely not make that mistake again.  I think I just didn’t understand what was going on in that insert.  Now I know.

Outside 1st photo.  Inside 2nd.

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A few last images of inside details:

Inside of the cuff – also hand sewn b/c at FIT you do couture (you can also see a french seam back there).  And the tailored edge on the inside front facing.  Today I’m off to Jonathan Embroidery for professional buttonhole insertion and button purchase.  Personal buttonhole insertion not required by professor but ‘you can do it if you want – doesn’t change your grade either way’.  2 days out from vacation I am totally treating myself to the pro insertion.  And then, that’s it!  Tomorrow we slap a hem on this sucker and then I am done – successfully completing my first class at FIT.  Pretty shocked I made garments that look this amazing.  Go me!

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