Side Projects

One of the drawbacks to sewing for profit, is that personal projects seem to take a backseat.  At least in my case they do.

Earlier this summer on one of our many trips to the fabric store, my daughter picked out an adorable pink printed knit that she wanted.  It was on sale and she was being very patient that day so I agreed to pick up a yard to make her a dress.  She’s in this phase/stage where she loves to wear knitted dresses — the short sleeved ones with the touch of shirring at the neckline and a ruffle at the hem — so I hoped if I made something for her she’d wear it often.  Plus I figured it wouldn’t be that difficult to whip something up.

Every time she came into my sewing “studio” (sounds so much nicer than “room”, doesn’t it?) her eyes zeroed in on that pink butterfly knit and she reminded me I’d promised to make something for her.  Promises of “soon, honey, soon” escaped my lips and she was pacified until the next time around.

Well, “soon” finally came.  Last week I opened up a pattern I’d been anxious to use and put this together.

Now all we need is for the cooler weather to stick around so she can comfortably wear it!

Saturday’s Pattern Sharing 8/28/10

We’re at the point around here where she whom I have affectionately termed, “baby girl” no longer needs or wants to sit in a booster seat at the table.  At almost 4 years old, and far from a baby, she’s big enough to sit by herself but once in a while it would be nice if she had a little extra height underneath her to minimize the mess at dinner.

Phone books are no longer the option there were to us 25+ years ago and sitting on her knees results in tingly feet after a few minutes.  So I was super excited when I saw a tutorial over at Smashed Peas and Carrots for booster seat cushions using vinyl tablecloths as the out fabric!  What an incredible and ingenious idea!

Booster Seat Cushion Tutorial

Happy Sewing!

A Plea for Help!

After the craziness of the last year (brain surgery and all), three of us started a new business in early June –Amanda, Jan and I (Viki). With her newly expanded brain, Amanda is trying her hand at being an honest to goodness seamstress and has opened a shop on this place they call Etsy.  She certainly loves what she does.  Although I’m a little biased, I think her work is fantastic.

It’s quite simple really.  There’s a division of labor amongst the three of us that rarely changes.  This division works well and when running smoothly, the three of us work together really well.

  • Amanda is the creative center: picking patterns and fabric, cutting everything out and coordinating the production/manufacturing.
  • Jan does the grunt work: serging raw fabric edges, gathering fabric for ruffles, rolled hems.
  • Viki (yours truly) does the aesthetic finishing work: top-stitching, decorative stitching and other fine techniques that are too delicate for Jan to handle.

We have a problem right now though.  Lately Jan doesn’t want to cooperate and is giving Amanda fits.

We’re supposed to be sewing this gorgeous fabric into a beautiful twirl skirt:

Instead Amanda’s fretting. Muttering about “loopers” and “tensions” (with an interjected curse word here and there).

Turning fabric over and scrutinizing stitches.  Muttering about “loopers” and “tensions” (with an interjected curse word here and there).

Twisting knobs to the left and right.  Muttering about “loopers” and “tensions” (with an interjected curse word here and there).

Feeding the same piece of beautiful, albeit scrap, fabric through the machine over and over again.  Muttering about “loopers” and “tensions” (with an interjected curse word here and there).

Did I mention the muttering?  And the cursing?  Okay, I did.  Just checking…

You can tell that Amanda is NOT happy.  And the saying is very true around here…when the boss ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!

This unforeseen and highly frustrating slowdown is forcing me to sit in the corner, neglected, and not so patiently wait for my turn to sew.

It makes me sad.  I just want to come out and play!  I’m too pretty to sit in the corner with the dog hair and forgotten dinner crumbs.  I want to sew beautiful stitches on that delicious Freebird fabric by MoMo.  I want to put the finishing touches on that adorable skirt and make Amanda proud.  In the time that we’ve worked together she’s never muttered at me, never cursed at my work nor gotten up and walked away to regain her composure.  I’m steadfast and reliable — swooping in to save the day when Jan is too sick to fulfill her responsibilities.

On a more serious note though (and the intent of this post), I think Jan is really sick.  It’s been going on for a few days now, this giving Amanda fits.  We thought she was fixed the other night but I guess that isn’t the case.  This is the second time she’s had to be taken into the doctors in the last 3 months.  I think this time she won’t come home with us; she’ll have to stay until they figure out what’s wrong and decide how to fix the problem.  With Jan gone, our creativity will halt considerably.  When creativity halts, business does the same.

Although I appreciate the extra attention that comes with her absence, I know it makes Amanda sad.  I keep thinking that maybe if we got a new partner, one who has my work ethic, we wouldn’t continue to run  into these problems.  We could serge and sew to our hearts’ content.  Making beautiful twirl skirts, peasant tops/dresses and pretty fall ruffle pants.

I guess I’m in a common place that so many people find themselves in–working alongside a coworker who calls in sick more often than acceptable, seemingly slowing the entire team down but never getting fired because when they DO work, their work is invaluable.  I long to be on a team that runs efficiently but I know that Amanda’s not in a place to replace Jan.

Out of my loyalty to her (I really do have life well here, I can’t complain at all about her expectations and treatment of me) I’m going out on a limb and trying my hand at winning her that beautiful new Husqvarna Viking s21 Serger thatwill be given away over at Sew Mama Sew’s Blog in September.   So please, readers, throw in your two cents about how much Amanda deserves a headache-free machine to work with and help me win this for her.  It would be really wonderful if she could have a beautiful new serger to work on our team.


Amanda’s Husqvarna Viking Emerald 203 (aka “Viki”)


**Disclaimer: Amanda wants family that contributed to the purchase of her Janome serger to know she truly appreciates the gift and has gotten great use out of it.  She just really wants something nicer and less temperamental to work with considering her workload now.**

Saturday’s Pattern Sharing 8/21/10

I’m always on the lookout for great sewing blogs (my blog reader has over 50 of them that I follow!); especially great blogs that pass on awesome sewing tutorials.  I stumbled across an absolutely adorable tutorial this morning for a baby sleep sack made using upcycled dress shirts for the material.   With the new baby on the way I quickly bookmarked it for future use and mentally thumbed my way through hubby’s closet, wondering if he’d *really* miss a shirt or two here and there.

It also gave me the idea of creating a weekly blog post where I share some of the great patterns I’ve found.  Some of this stuff is just too great to keep to myself!

Today’s Pattern is by Lindsay at The Cottage Home:

So, go!  Raid hubby’s closet for a long lost shirt he no longer wears, dig through that pile of discarded stuff you’ve been meaning to donate or even hit the thrift store — the possibilities are endless!  Then pull out your scissors or rotary cutter, do a little destruction and let the reconstruction begin.  Start sewing and have fun!  Don’t forget to let me know (and Lindsay at the The Cottage Home) if you make something using this tutorial.  😉

Wedding Wear

After making that adorable eyelet sundress I knew it was the perfect pattern for my daughter to wear to a wedding we had in Washington!

I didn’t want to do it in white since she wasn’t the flower girl, so I opted to use a colored eyelet. My hope was that she’d choose for me to do it in purple (the main color used in the wedding) but alas she voted for pink. It wasn’t a surprise at all since she adores all things pink but still a slight disappointment for me. Especially since my husband was in the wedding and would have purple accents on his tux.

No matter what the color, it turned out beautifully — although I’ll admit that I still think the white one with the ribbon detail is prettier — and I got a ton of compliments from other wedding goers.

School, Already?

Around here the countdown has begun.  Now that the beginning of August has made its presence known, parents (and children alike) are beginning to gather themselves and the supplies they’ll need to head back to class.

So for the month of August, Stitch To Stitch is running a back to school promotion.  Upon checkout enter the code “SCHOOL” and you’ll receive 15% off your order (shipping charges excluded). Doesn’t matter if your child is actually going to school or not, take advantage of this promo for a great deal!

Watch for some new items in the store in the next week too — some great new shirts and skirts that your little one will love to wear this fall.

**Due to the quirks of Etsy, and the inability to enter “true” coupon codes, you will initially pay the full amount and after your transaction has been processed, I will refund you 20% of your order total.**