Sunday, September 30, 2012

It's a Wrap!

If you’ve been here from the start you know, during National Sewing Month my writing focus has been totally on sewing. Throughout September, it was my hope to
inspire and encourage,
create an atmosphere
benefiting those who stopped by. I also hope along the road a new technique or tip or share helped in some small way.

This month, I also wanted to give others a platform to share insights into their world of sewing. I hope everyone enjoyed getting to know some of my family and friends.

Again, my humble thanks go to:
(in order of appearance)

Linda (my sister)
Jackie (BFF for over 45 years)
SueEllen (friend met through my sister)
Gail (neighbor/friend)
Arleen (met through the FB Sewist Group and now Facebook friends)
Leola (High School teacher and long time friend)
Joyce (met at the Burnet, Texas Arts/Craft Shows & we’re now Facebook friends)
Oleta (my mother)

 Another year, another National Sewing Month is over.

It’s a wrap!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Oleta's Insights

And, last but not least, our guest post today is from the person where I get my inspiration. She is my teacher, my mentor, my mother, Oleta.

Who taught you to sew? 
Being the youngest child of six girls and one boy, we all sewed. Our mother helped us and we learned from each other. When I was five and my sister next to me was seven, we would take turns paddling the treadle sewing machine for the other to sew. I remember clearly, we made doll clothes. 
Why did you start sewing? 
Never really wondered why I started sewing. It was just something we did. Everybody sewed either by hand or machine, even our neighbors came over and sewed with us. 
What inspires you? 
I get inspired with the designing aspect, especially making formals and wedding dresses. I love listening to another’s description of how they want their special dress to look. I then sketch it out until it meets their vision, and then make it happen! 
I’ve made special dresses for both my girls and both granddaughters, and a niece, and my girls’s high school teacher who did not have a mother to do it for her. In fact, for Leola, I designed the whole wedding, picked out the material, beading, lace, and even designed and made the hats worn by the bride and bridesmaids.
Leslie & Leasa getting ready for prom night

Leslie's dress
Leslie's petal sleeves

Working on Leasa's dress
Leasa's finished dress



Leola and Oleta

Leola's soft train

The Ladies

Close up of Bridesmaid dress

What do you love most about sewing? 
Making it right the first time without having to rip out the seam and start over. 
What are your favorite things to make? 
Things that a family member would like to have. 
What is your favorite sewing tip or trick? 
After testing first on a scrap, always press anything that has a nap to it by first laying out a terry hand towel then place the garment face down on the towel. Lightly put the iron on the wrong side. 
What is your favorite project you have created? 
One day I brought in a large brown paper sack filled with pieces of white, shaded with blue, fur skins and the tape I’d gotten at a furrier. From the pieces, I made a fingertip length coat. I only had it a year, before someone took it during a home burglary. 
Another favorite project was the designing and making of my high school Senior Day outfit. It was a red linen two piece dress with a bright print sash, a white hat with a band of sash material, and white shoes with a band of the sash material. I received the opportunity to model it and present my fashion drawings to the Dallas Sportswear Meeting of Representatives. This effort resulted in winning the Neiman Marcus Design Scholarship to Southern Methodist University in Dallas
What are you currently working on? 
Well, I was going to make a print skirt for a yellow jacket I have to wear to a last club meeting before Fall arrived. But, that was before I stepped on a needle and had to have eleven stitches in my right foot! Maybe I can get it done before next spring!

Thank you, Oleta, my sweet momma, for sharing insights into your world of sewing! I hope everyone stopping by leaves her a comment!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Noise vs Silence

What “noise” surrounds you while sewing at the machine? Are you listening to music or a book on tape/disk? Do you have a television set going? Do you prefer sewing with background noise, or in total silence except for the hum of your machine? What floats your boat?

Since I’ve temporarily moved my sewing space back in the guest bedroom, rather than being in the living room, I’m one room removed from a television set. Sometimes I miss the tv as I love sewing while watching/listening to Perry Mason reruns! The majority of the time, however, I’m so grateful not having to listen to… well, I better not list the unending reruns, game shows, or the screaming woman that I don’t particularly want to hear!

While enjoying the silence, I find myself “thinking” a lot. I’ve wondered what I would do if I didn’t or couldn’t sew anymore. How would I fill my days? I don’t know why, but lately I find myself trying to envision a life without sewing.

Right now, this moment, I sew because I love working with fabrics, especially when I’m creating doll clothes. I’m extremely grateful that I can do what I love. I will never take the ability and opportunity for granted – no matter where my mind goes while I’m sewing!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Joyce's Insights

We have Joyce for our guest blogger today! She shares with us her insights into the world of sewing!

Who taught you to sew? 
My mother 
Why did you start sewing? 
Mom made most of my clothes and my brother’s pants – we were hard to fit back then (‘60s). When I turned 9 or 10, I started making these stuffed mice out of left over fabric and selling them at school for 50 cents each. Then I tried my hand at dresses and elastic pants. I’ve given up clothes sewing – that leaves me more time for other projects! 
What inspires you? 
Sometimes a pattern will inspire me to find the right fabric to make it out of. Other people’s projects are very inspirational so I love seeing other creations on the internet. My husband has been a good source of inspiration – he will find a fabric he likes and talk me into making a shirt for him out of it. Holidays and celebrations are another “reason” to create something special for those I love! 
What do you love most about sewing? 
What are your favorite things to make? 
BAGS, BAGS, BAGS – it’s an addiction! I also like making teddy bears and cloth dolls. 
I made this horse for Mom's day care center when she was keeping Maggie, Renee & Mark, Lindsey, Miranda & Cameron - so figure out how old that is. The years & hours of play had this feller looking pretty bad and I used Aunt Lydia's rug yarn on the mane & tail (if you remember that stuff then you know how old this horse is). Eyes were discolored, fur was all dirty, so I brought it home, took it apart, threw the pieces in the washer, then reassembled it with new stuffing, new leg joints, new mane & tail with a high dollar, super soft, bumpy yarn. I was real pleased with the results now I think I'll donate it to some worthy cause.

2012 First Place winner at Burnet County Fair
 What is your favorite sewing tip or trick? 
I don’t have any! 
What is your favorite project you have created? 
I just finished a suitcase sized bag from a Simplicity charity pattern with lots of zippers & pockets. I used a cotton print and machine quilted it first, then put the bag together. I even added purse feet:

What are you currently working on? 
Finishing up a few projects for a November craft show.

Thank you, Joyce! I so hope everyone who stops by will leave Joyce a comment!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Leola's Insights

Today's spotlight is on Leola. Through an interview, she shares a bit of insight into her world of sewing. I hope you enjoy...

Who taught you to sew? 
My grandmothers, Maude Ramsey and Elsie Taber encouraged me to start, but I don’t remember how old I was. I wanted to be like them and do what they did. I did take homemaking in the 9th grade which was when I first made a skirt for myself to wear. Decided as a junior in high school to major in Home Economics and teach. 
Why did you start sewing? 
So I could make my doll’s clothes and quilt tops for their bed. 
What inspires you? 
Beautiful fabrics just jump into my arms. Then something has to be done with them. Never tire of looking at fabrics. Must be an addiction for me, but then, there are worse addictions. 
What do you love most about sewing? 
I’m not sure. 
What are your favorite things to make? 
Made most of my own clothes for years until middle age distorted my body. 
What is your favorite sewing tip or trick? 
Not sure if it’s a trick, but I press everything and try to have everything and seam. Try to have everything I’ll need for that project ready before beginning. Even cut out and attach interfacings and make all markings before joining pieces. 
What is your favorite project you have created? 
A suit made from the mattress ticking off the mattress of my grandparents, Frank L. and Maude Ramsey’s, bed. Due to stains on it and age, it was going to be thrown away. Looked at it and thought it was pretty. Got some scissors and began cutting around the edges of both top and bottom. I then had 2 large flat pieces of fabric. 
I took them to D. D. French Cleaners in Dallas and told Mr. French I didn’t know if they could be cleaned or not. 
Amazed at what I’d brought in, he inspected them and said they would. And they did. 
Loved wearing it as it was quite a conversation piece.

What are you currently working on? 
I’m slowly making a black and white print shirtwaist dress. I never had time to do crafts or other types of needle work. Now regret that I didn’t continue crochet, but just didn’t have the time or time to learn to knit.

Thank you, Leola, for your insights! I hope everyone leaves Leola a comment!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Online Community of Sewists

Have you heard of Threadbias? It’s an online sewing community where you can “share your projects, sell your patterns, and join conversations”! It’s easy to sign up. It’s free, too! I’ve joined, but haven’t yet set up my studio.

You’ll find another community of like-minded folks on Facebook – the Sewists Group. Send a request to join and I’ll approve you as soon as I see it!

Yahoo!Groups has a slew of support groups. For example, I just did a search for “embroidery” and it found 2043 related groups! (I need to find one! I need help learning about my machine!)

I belong to several different Yahoo!Groups already. Some of the characteristics I look for before joining a group:
  • Membership required – weed out non-serious folks
  • Moderated – yes!
  • Recent activity – I want an active group!

Once you’re a member and the group doesn’t meet your expectations, you can always “leave the group” without any problems.

Do you know of any other online community for sewists?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Arleen's Insights

Today's guest blogger is Arleen! Grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and enjoy reading Arleen's insights into her world of sewing!

Who taught you to sew?
My Momma, who was my first hero, and a single parent to three girls and one boy. Although she taught herself to sew, most of our clothes were store-bought during our elementary school years. But once I learned how to sew and was able to buy/translate patterns for her, she created some of my most memorable outfits in high school as well! 
 Why did you start sewing? 
The summer before I turned 13, my Mom came home from visiting a friend. It was summer school vacation in a border town in Texas, 1967, and not much to do. She was put off when she found me and my other two sisters, ages 10 and 6, just watching TV. 
 So my Mom threw the challenge out by saying that her friend’s two daughters, ages 10 and 9 had been sewing their school clothes when she had stopped by. It was the good old “shame on you” tactic and it worked. 
 I like to think that part of the success came about because the 60’s and 70’s were the most awesome time (style-wise) to sew in America. There was the “mini” – the “maxi” – the “midi” – hot pants, bell-bottomed pants, the “granny” dresses, the poncho, the peasant blouse, dresses with cutouts, I even remember a short stint with paper dresses! Add to that, the fall of 1969 was the beginning of my high school years and the disco era was another hook into sewing for me. 
What inspires you? 
When I first started to sew, it was the opportunity to have many outfits at a very low cost, something that was doable for my single parent. Then the inspiration was fueled by styles of the 60’s and 70’s and the ability to own one-of-a-kind outfits. 
I did try to sew some shirts for my husband early on but somehow men’s clothes were not fun for me. When my daughter was born, however, that was a whole new “territory” to explore. Dresses on a small scale, “new” fabrics to sew with, wow! It was like Alice in Wonderland falling down the hole all over again! 
When my son was born in 1980, I found out that infant/toddler clothes for boys were very limited. So I sewed for him as well. Sometimes, both of my kids reminisce about the MC Hammer pants/shorts era when Mom used to sew those whacky shorts made of different colors/prints! My son, who is now 31 will say, “Mom, I can’t believe I wore those shorts!” My answer is always, “You weren’t the only one, but no one else had your shorts and I didn’t pay store prices for them!” 
Today, my inspiration comes from my six-year-old granddaughter (and soon, my new infant granddaughter).  She loves dresses. She gives me the opportunity again to explore a whole palette of colors and to go back to an era when little girls dressed like little girls.

And close on the heels of my granddaughter, is my love for dolls. I’ve sewed for dolls when my daughter was a child and didn’t pick it up until about a year ago for my granddaughter’s dolls. It’s gotten to the point that I’ve started to buy my own dolls, including a vintage “Grocery Store” doll I recently purchased because it looked like the one I used to have! 
My granddaughters and my dolls, they are my inspirations! 
What do you love most about sewing? 
Spring and summer are my favorite “sewing seasons.” I love the fabrics (whites, pastels, summer prints) and styles for those seasons. Because I live in the southern California desert where temperatures can reach 118 degrees in the summer and winters are paradise, I’m able to indulge myself. Our “spring” is ready to go as early as mid-February and our summer heats are still with us into late October. 
What are your favorite things to make? 
In my younger and working days, women’s dresses and suits. My favorite styles were in the 1990’s when all pattern companies were cranking out beautiful jacket styles. 
Today, the vote goes straight to little girl dresses, from infant to size 8, and doll clothing. Unlike my granddaughters who will one day “outgrow” those sizes, doll clothing is a journey that will always stay the same “size and age.” 
What is your favorite sewing tip or trick? 
That’s a tough one since sewists, whether you’re just starting out or been at it for a long time, we’re always learning new/better/smarter ways to do things. 
But one of the tips that I will teach my granddaughter as she learns to sew, is visualize, visualize and visualize. It’s important to learn how to “visualize” what your finished product, especially an outfit, is going to look like before you even begin. How is it going to fit YOU?  Do the colors fit my skin tone? Is this print too loud/not appropriate? Will the fabric fit the style? 
It sounds like a lot, but once it becomes second nature, it actually becomes part of the shopping pleasure we experience in a fabric shop – or at least, I do! 
What is your favorite project you have created?
When my daughter was about 16 months, I made her a denim overall, with matching fleece-lined coat and bonnet. It was a hard project for me at the time but I got so many compliments from other moms with children the same age, I’ve never forgotten it. 
What are you currently working on? 
I’m planning and currently working to establish myself on-line to sell my homemade dresses and doll clothing. I am currently laying out plans to find a clientele of Moms who still like to outfit their infant/toddler daughters (and their dollies) with clothes appropriate (and fun!) for children. 
Towards that end, I’ve been adding to my doll “family”, exploring the Internet (wow! and is that overwhelming!), putting together “libraries” of tutorials, help sites, notion vendors, looking for vintage sewing patterns, “inventorying” my supplies, etc. 
Oh, yes, and admiring all the beautiful creations of my fellow sewists!

Thank you for sharing your insights, Arleen! I hope everyone who stops by will leave her a comment!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Where Do You Sew?

Do you have a space dedicated just for sewing?

Are you looking for ideas how to better organize your stash and supplies?

What about submitting (2) pictures of your space to share with others on the website!?!

Won't be like this for much longer!

It’s easy for me to get lost looking through the pictures others have submitted. It’s how people like you and me make space to sew! For example, one woman shows how she’s utilized a closet! Another set up hinged screens to hide the sewing space within a living room. And, sometimes the pictures make me feel much better about my own sewing space!
A temp arrangement

I look for ideas to someday implement in my sewing space. Sometimes from one little picture, I find the perfect solution I’d been looking for! Check it out when you have a minute (or, like in my case – an hour or two).

Would love to hear about your sewing space – 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Autumnal Equinox

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, Fall 2012 begins in the Northern Hemisphere at 9:49 a.m. CDT – TODAY!

Debbie Mumm's Fall Forest - Leaves Rust
Who loves working with fabric in vivid vibrant fall colors? I do! One of my top favorite designers, Debbie Mumm, never lets me down when it comes to finding the perfect fall fabric! Check out her Great Harvest line, or the Fall Forest! Amazingly beautiful! It's hard to select just one piece, but I'm thinking this is my favorite: 

Have you ever been to Debbie's website? Sometime when you have a chance, check out her Free Projects

"Even if something is left undone,
everyone must take time to sit still
and watch the leaves turn."
Elizabeth Lawrence

"I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air." Nathaniel Hawthorne

Mr. Hawthorne was right on the money! It's getting more and more difficult to work inside at the sewing machine! Maybe I should set everything up out on the porch? Ah! Now, that's an idea!

Happy Fall everyone!

Gail's Insights

Our guest blogger today is Gail! In the following interview, Gail shares her insights into the world of sewing.

Who taught you to sew?
Mom taught me how to sew on a button and I did some simple embroidery as a child but in high school, I took home ec and finally got my hands on a sewing machine.
Why did you start sewing?
The spark began by wrapping little fabric scraps around a doll and calling it a dress, I remember my girls doing the same to begin experimenting with the fashion world. When I got to high school I wanted to make “real” clothes and did so for the next 30 years, then I discovered quilts!
What inspires you? 
Magazines, but mostly the creativity of other people.  I love attending quilt shows, in small towns especially, to see the wonderful hand work. And playing with color is really my biggest inspiration. To see the finished project inspires me to do the next one.
What do you love most about sewing?
It is so relaxing to be at the machine; unfortunately, my life has become so busy I haven’t worked on a project for months.
What are your favorite things to make?
I am currently only piecing quilts, occasionally I will make a wearable art piece.
This the first and only quilt I have made completely by hand.
Started in July/August 2000, in Hawaii.
Hand appliqu├ęd and hand quilted.
I finally put a border on it in 2009 and have it hanging in the house where I can enjoy it.

Beacons of Light quilt displayed at the Lampasas Show in 2008

Finished 3/7/2012
What is your favorite sewing tip or trick?
Hmmm? Too many to think of a single one to share. 
What is your favorite project you have created?
I love each and every one of my quilts, but my favorite is a crazy quilt Christmas jacket. 
What are you currently working on? 
I have a cheery Mary Englebreit quilt in my new frame to be hand quilted.  Gotta get un-busy so I can sit and stitch on it!

 Thank you, Gail! I hope everyone stopping by will leave her a comment!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Essential Tools

Today I thought I would share what the surface in front of my sewing machine looks like. It is here I keep the essential tools used when sewing at the machine. Don’t mistake this as an organized person sharing something. It’s a lazy one!

 When sewing, I must have these items nearby. Not just simply “nearby” but RIGHT there!

Curved clipping threads scissors
Small scissors
Seam ripper
Corner Poker Outter
(have no clue what the white thing is called, just what it does!)
Pins & Pin cushion
Wide stitch pressure foot
(so I don’t forget when I change to a decorative or zig-zag stitch)
Scrap fabric to begin stitching before fashion fabric
Bobbin ready to fill
Sewing glasses

Not every time will I use or need some of them, but when I do, I don’t like having to search for that perfect tool. It’s frustrating to waste time looking and looking, especially for the seam ripper – so I bought several and have them at different work stations. It’s not that I make bunches of sewing mistakes and have to rip out stitches. I do a lot of machine basting for guides and once done with that guide, will rip out the threads.

NOTE: Neither pair of scissors have finger holes - which is an awesome attribute for my hands!

Do you recognize the tools? Is there something I use that you haven’t yet tried? Why, for what, do I use such and such? Leave me a comment and I’ll be happy to explain further!

P.S. Check back tomorrow for another guest post sharing insights into her world of sewing! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

SueEllen's Insights

Today’s guest blogger is SueEllen! She shares a bit of insight into her world of sewing–

Who taught you to sew?
I first learned to sew in junior high home economics class.  It was only a 2 week segment of that class, so we only learned the basics.  After that, my paternal grandmother helped me whenever I got “stuck”.  She was a wealth of information and knew a lot of shortcuts from having worked in the garment industry.  I fondly remember working on her Singer treadle machine.
Why did you start sewing?
At the time, I was between girl sizes and misses sizes.  There were no size 0-6 at the time either.  Clothes went from girls 14 to misses 8.  So, I started sewing all my own clothes, and my grandmother taught me how to fit a pattern.  I loved to stay in my room and sew all weekend.  I even made my prom dresses, then my wedding dress and one of the bridesmaid dresses.
What inspires you?
I love to ‘surf the net’ and look at what others have done.  When I find something I want to be able to find again, I pin it to Pinterest.
Now, I mostly enjoy quilting and sewing for my granddaughters.  I love to make things for other people and see the joy on their face.  In quilting, I enjoy the design and deciding the colors the most.
What do you love most about sewing?
I can do it at home anytime, and I can share my love of sewing with others at local shops and take classes to learn new things.  I love the social aspect of ‘sit n sew’ groups.  I attended my first quilt retreat in August and really enjoyed it.  I’m going again in October!
What are your favorite things to make?
Dresses for granddaughters, pillowcases, and quilts for family.  I made a pillowcase for all 8 grandchildren last year – and put their gifts inside and tied it with a bow!
What is your favorite sewing tip or trick?
I have really appreciated the sidewinder bobbin winder I bought.  I no longer need to unthread the machine to fill a bobbin.
What is your favorite project you have created?
Last Christmas I made a quilt for my mother’s bed.  She lives in NH and the winters get very cold.  I made it using the Summer Breeze and Wildflower fabrics to cheer her during the long winter.  I also made pillowcases to match.

Summer Breeze Quilt made for Mom, 2011

Summer Breeze Quilt

This quilt was made with love for Mom
Christmas 2011
To bring some Summer cheer to the
long cold nights of winter in NH

Blueberries – for the bush by the lake
Texas Bluebonnets
Daisies to remember our Easter dresses
with matching capes
Birds – look for a red breasted Robin
to know it is Spring

Blue – Mom’s favorite color
Pink – Sue’s favorite color
Yellow – for Sunshine

By SueEllen George

What are you currently working on?
I am almost finished making a t-shirt quilt for my niece who just started college in Kansas.  I just lack sewing the binding, then it can be mailed off to her.  She wants to use it on her bed in the dorm.  She played volleyball all through high school and gave me those t-shirts to create her memory quilt. Soon I hope to start my first Carpenter’s Star quilt.  I intend to keep this one for my own bed!  All the quilts I have made I have given away! I also have a wedding ring quilt in process using paper piecing. I just found out today, our 9th grandchild will be a boy!  He is due Feb. 12, 2013.  So, I need to get started on a quilt for him, too! And, I plan to make table runners for the 5 kids for Christmas presents.  Not sure yet what I will be making for the grands for Christmas! So much to do – so little time!                            

Thank you, SueEllen for being a guest blogger at Lanettta’s Creations. I hope everyone leaves a comment for SueEllen!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

We've Come a Long Way - Baby!

Oh, my! It’s amazing the advances made in sewing machines over the past century. Thank goodness! I know my mother learned to sew on a machine like this:
Circa 1910, Kheel Center, Cornell University
I’m so thankful I didn’t have to learn to peddle and sew and chew gum and think at the same time!

What is your favorite feature of your sewing machine?

For me, my #1 love: push a button and the needle will stay down whenever I stop sewing. This is great when removing pins before sewing over, making any adjustments, or pivoting at corners. It’s difficult for me to sew on a machine without this feature!

What feature will you get in your next sewing machine?
NOTE: One can never have too many sewing machines! EVER!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jackie's Insights

Today we have another guest blogger to share insights into their world of sewing. I hope everyone enjoys what Jackie has shared with us in this interview. I know I have, especially her lovely pictures!

Who taught you to sew?
My Mother
Mother made this prom dress for my oldest sister, Freddie

Why did you start sewing?
I liked the feeling of accomplishment of something I created.

What inspires you?
 Sewing for my grandkids
Christmas 2010
Christmas 2011

What do you love most about sewing?
Losing track of time.

What are your favorite things to make?
Anything that I know will make someone else happy, but I love, love, love machine embroidery.

What is your favorite sewing tip or trick?
Using a glue stick for the extras such as piping.

What is your favorite project you have created?
Santa Claus outfit out of red minky fabric.

What are you currently working on?
Just completed a Big Sister outfit for my granddaughter to wear at the hospital when her new baby brother arrives (in 2 weeks) and getting ready to attempt a belly dancers costume!

Thank you, Jackie! Please everyone, give her a shout out by leaving a comment below!


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