First off, I want to wish you a Happy New Year and I hope you are off to a great start in 2015! So far so good on this end J
I started the year with a mini-vacation up north. Although, the snow didn’t arrive until after the mini-vacation, which resulted in another mini-vacation at home, not all bad J
yes, I took this fuzzy photo and it’s on the new years list to get better
I am not big into New Year’s resolutions, as I would hate to set myself up for failure – that being said I still have a very long list, as I do every year: work out, eat healthier, go to bed early and get up early, take more time for friends and family, get organized, get rid of clutter, and on and on …… I have to ask, why not just take time each month and re-evaluate life – wouldn’t it be so much easier to try changing and improving on things one month at a time versus an entire year? What a novel thought, that ultimately has become my New Year’s Resolution!
Resolutions #1: Get in Better Shape
To start, I bought Jillian Michaels ripped in 30 workout DVD and a slew of new workout clothes. You can’t work out properly without the proper clothing, right? (even if I am working out in my own living room … and yes, I bought them as I didn’t have time to sew them)
Day 1: REALLY?!? Have any of you tried this workout?!? I really thought I was in pretty good shape – she had no problem proving that different! First day, thought I would die in the middle (remember this only 30 minutes – longest 30 minutes of my life!)
Day 7: Let’s just say, this is going to be re-evaluated at the end of the month – as I am SO out of shape! And thank heaven’s I can do this in my own house and no one is taping me!!!! Oh – and by the way – I will not be offering before and after photos! J
Resolution #2: Learn How to Cook
As many of you already know, cooking is not my forte. I am not ashamed of that, as those of you that have read my book already know, for the first years out of college – my custom apparel business was my main focus and the kitchen cabinets were only to be used for fabric storage – they made excellent storage if I might add. My last cooking attempt was 7 years ago, 3 days of it and it was catastrophic, so let’s give it a go in 2015. What the heck, don’t they call it the 7 year itch J
First, let me just say, I have the best husband ever! Winn, loves to cook and he is really good at it, so I am a bit spoiled. In order to not starve the man the death, I will attempt cooking while he is away:
1st Recipe: Cooking Light Magazine – Parmesan and Pine Nut – Crusted Oven-Fried Chicken (Winn’s up north ice fishing, perfect opportunity!)
Take 1: Spent 2 hours in the grocery store trying to find all the ingredients, got home and was way too tired to attempt.
Result: Dinner served is cottage cheese and triscuits.
Take 2: Ready to go … everything went well until the “sauté the chicken for 3 minutes” and mine turned black instantly!
I will just give you a hint, Tyler (the cat) is more like a dog and love’s people food. Last weekend, my husbands chicken dish:
My dish? He snubbed, in the kindest way:
In fact, if it wasn’t for Ranch dressing (which makes anything taste good) Tyler’s dinner was even looking a bit enticing.
Cooking is just like Sewing!
This is when I realized cooking is so much like sewing! When I teach a class, I assume you know how to do certain things, just like these recipes:
2 TBSP Pine nuts, toasted (for us beginners, how do you toast these – in the toaster LOL J )
Sauté for 3 minutes or until brown – well, mine turned black so fast, there wasn’t a brown option! (Maybe the author had a better quality pan?)
Cook for 10 minutes or until chicken is done: what if my oven is hotter than yours? What if I use convection cook?
As I am pulling a blackened chicken breast out of the oven, two things occurred to me. Sewer’s have this same problem. For example: interfacing – What is it? What kind? Where do I put it? How do I press it in place?
I can just picture a new sewer in Joann fabrics staring at the rack of interfacing, as I am in the grocery store staring at the spice rack – totally lost!
And then the comparison of sewing machines and sergers to stoves and ovens. They are all different. I read the recipe and followed by the book, but maybe the person writing it has a gas stove, did they bake with a convection oven, or were they using a different pan?
After botching my dinner, I sat down to answer my online class questions and had to laugh when I got to one of my serging class questions: my gathering foot doesn’t gather like you showed. WOW! This is exactly what I am experiencing with cooking! My serger is different and all serger’s don’t offer the same stitch quality or feet accessories. See where I am going? There are so many factors to creative learning.
And to help my fellow beginner sewers, I have fun plans for you this year! I can’t tell you them all yet, but my blog will feature a “Back to the Basics” section to help you learn the basics of sewing as I am learning to cook! Let’s learn together J For my advanced sewing fans, don’t worry, I have a lot in store for you too!
How can I ever thank you all for participating in my wardrobe challenge of 2014, the response in email, flickr, and pinterest was phenomenal. My wardrobe challenge started with the idea to inspire you to fill your closet with clothes sewn by you! The best part was getting sponsors to offer great gifts to inspire you even further: Brother, WAWAK sewing,Threads and SewStylish Magazines, Coats & Clark, It’s Sew Easy Tv, and myself. As you know, I extended the deadlines into 2015 for many reasons and look forward to awarding the final winners. This contest was an inspiration of mine to get you all to fill your closets with your own sewn clothes! I will be announcing a slew of past winners this week and giving you the last challenge for the grand prize, don’t worry the last challenge is the easiest J
Happy New Year! Can you share some of your resolutions for 2015? I would love to hear J
Leather is a major trend this season and continues on into the spring, yes leather for spring and summer! Here are a few tips to get you started:
TIP 1. FABRIC
Check the fabric for flaws, especially in faux leather you might find scratches or cuts that you will need to work around when cutting out the pattern pieces.
Consider the weight and feel of the fabric for the design. For example a biker jacket will need a thicker fabric than say a peplum style jacket. Also, squeeze the fabric in your hand and if it has deep creases or wrinkles, that is how it will look after wearing it (better to know now :))
TIP 2. NEEDLES
Use a Leather Needle in the sewing machine. Start with a size 12 or 14 for light to medium weight fabric.
Go up to a 16 or 18 for heavier fabric, but be sure to CHECK your sewing machine as to what is the largest size needle it will accommodate. One of my older machines will only allow up to a size 14.
For sewing faux leather I prefer using a Jean Needle size 14. If you are having a problem with skipped stitches try this needle.
When it comes to hand-stitching, standard needles have a difficult time piercing the fabric. Instead use a Leather Hand Needle, this needle has a triangular point that pierces the fabric. Just be careful, the tip is REALLY sharp!
TIP 3: NO PINS
Just as difficult as it is to pierce leather / faux leather, once you do pierce the fabric the hole is there forever! Use fabricclips to hold the fabric instead of pins. They are lightweight and don’t damage the fabric.
TIP 4: TAPING SEAM ALLOWANCES
When sewing garments, pressing the seam allowances open with a Tailor’s Clapper is the best option. Unfortunately with leather, faux leather, vinyl, and suede, even if you safely press the fabric with an iron shoe, the seam allowance will not stay open. The best solution for securing seam allowances and hemming is either topstitching or leather tape (a special double-sided tape).
This is how easy it works:
1. Place a strip of LEATHER TAPE in the seam allowance with the sticky side down.
2. Remove paper backing, revealing the other side of the tape.
3. Fold back the seam allowance or hem allowance.
I use the 1/4″ wide tape for seam allowances and 1/2″ wide tape for hems.
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Step 1: On the wrong side of the fabric, mark the center of the pant leg (could be front or back, wherever you want the zipper).
If marking an existing pair of jeans, rip out the hem at least 5″ from each side of new mark. Press the fusible interfacing along the newly marked center line.
Step 2: Mark the hem, hem allowance, and the length of the zipper opening down center of the pant leg.
Step 3: Determine the width of the zipper opening (depends on the width of the zipper teeth). Draw in opening, top edge, and then add a triangle from the center cut line to each corner (as shown above).
Step 4: Cut along center marking. Cut each triangle point (if you are worried about the fabric fraying, add Fray Check to the top corners)
Step 5: Press the seam allowances back and press triangle tip up.
Step 6: Line up the zipper with the metal teeth in the center of the opening. Check the placement of the zipper stop and zipper tab.
Step 7: Fold back the zipper tape and press in place at the hemline.
Step 8: Pin zipper in place.
Step 9: In this example, I am using standard polyester thread, cotton or silk thread would work too. Set the sewing machine to a triple stitch and lengthen the stitch length to 4.0. (Note: if you don’t have this feature, use denim thread, straight stitch, stitch length 4.0)
Step 10: Stitch along the edge of the zipper. Open and close the zipper as needed in order to get the foot by the zipper tab. Step 11: Notice how I have lined up the edge of the zipper foot with the metal teeth, a very easy to get a straight stitch … or this would be a great time to utilize the laser vision guidefeature on your machine! 🙂
Step 12: Press up the hem with the tailor’s clapper for a crisp crease. By the way, did I mention WAWAK Sewing is now carrying my tailor’s clapper! Yeah!
Step 13: Hem the jeans and move onto the other leg.
That’s it! Now this is just one quick, easy way to install a hidden zipper. I will give you some more ideas next time.
I love sweaters and shawls, especially since I am always cold in the air-conditioned restaurants (not that we have needed air conditioning in Michigan this summer!). Thinking of the wardrobe challenge, sweaters are one of the items that I end up buying. Yes I do know how to crochet, yet trim on a jacket is about as far as that usually ends up. A small knitting machine sits in the corner of the studio (on my bucket list to learn how to use 🙂 ).
I was recently sewing a fringe skirt and the tweed scraps falling on the floor reminded me of meeting a women wearing a really cute, long, loosely woven (sweater looking) vest. It was at the annual conference for ASDP, so I had to ask the question that only sewer’s are allowed to ask each other “did you make that?”. She had indeed! I was really intrigued when she mentioned using water-soluble stabilizer and scraps from her last sewing project – yes, scraps!
Below is an example of using scraps from my tweed skirt:
Decorative Yarn, tweed fabric threads, or other scraps
NOTE: WAWAK sewing has offered my readers a discount for July – yeah!
Purchase a minimum of $30 and receive 10% off your entire order – Use coupon code WAB714 when checking out (expires July 31st) Thank them when you order, they are the best! :))
Lay out one layer of water-soluble stabilizer (54″ for a scarf)
Randomly place yarn, scraps, hairy yarn, etc.
Place another layer of water-soluble stabilizer (same length as the first piece) on top of the yarns
Using long pins, pin through all the layers
Starting at one end, stitch down the center of the stabilizer, stitching through all the layers. Be careful not to sew through any pins, stitch all the way to the end. (Draw a straight line down the center if you need something to follow).
From the center, align the edge of the presser foot with the first stitched line. Stitch a second row, and a third, and 4th, until you get to about 1″ from the edge of the stabilizer. (If your machine has a Laser Vision Guide, like my BrotherDreamweaver, this would be the perfect application!)
Continue stitching rows along the entire length of the stabilizer until you have the desired width.
Turn the fabric and stitch a row from side to side, across the width of the stabilizer.
Continue to stitch row after row until the entire length is filled.
The width of the stitched rows depend on how tight you want the weave of the new fabric or lace. Just be sure to keep it somewhat tight or the yarns will fall away.
The next step is easy! Rinse the fabric panel in warm water and watch the water-soluble stabilizer disappear or throw the fabric in the wash on a hand-wash cycle, again with warm water.
Above you can see the stabilizer has disappeared and I am left with a loosely woven fabric. Notice the stitching lines, this is good to keep in mind when you choose the thread color.
Who would have ever guessed
could go so far!
A few more tips:
Throw the fabric in the dryer to soften the hand
The stabilizer and yarns shrink up after washing and drying, keep that in mind if you need a specific length.
The more yarn and scraps, the thicker the fabric
To make an outfit, stitch all the pieces together before washing out the stabilizer
That definition pretty much leaves the door open for ultimate creativity, wouldn’t you say? One idea includes designing your own fabric or altering a fabric into something totally different, which is what I did with the above jacket.
The fabric used for the applique trimming is a polyester / satin. A lightweight fabric with fabulous drape, perfect for a blouse or lining (both of which I plan to add to jacket). That fabric, if left alone, would be a nightmare to create appliques or cut-outs, so I fabricated – sounds like a bad word 🙂 !
The trick – Heat N Bond, now available from my favorite placeWAWAK Sewing and comes in 5 yard and 35 yard pieces. At first I wasn’t too sure about this stuff, but basically you iron it to the back of the fabric and it makes it easier for you to cut out an applique – especially if you are using the Brother Scan-n-Cut
This is how easy an applique can be:
Choose a design – for the sleeve I enlarged a design already in the scan-n-cut memory.
Place the bonded fabric onto the cutting mat (the paper backing on the heat –n-bond makes it easy to stick)
Press the start button (told you it was easy!)
Peel off the backing and place the appliques on the garment.
Once you have the perfect placement, use a press cloth and press the applique in place. Notice I attach the appliques before sewing the sleeve together.
Even though the cut of the scan-n-cut prevents the fabric edges from fraying, I still stitch the applique in place. I choose the blanket stitch and stitched around each applique. That took some time, but it looks great. Almost looks like leather!
I followed all those steps for the jacket front and again used a blanket stitch.
Of course I could cut these appliques by hand, but I really like the fact that all the front pieces are exactly the same! By the way, don’t look too closely at my studio – can you tell I have been working 🙂
Well, that’s one fun way to fabricate. Have you ever tried appliqueing apparel?