Epic fabric cutting in progress

Robson Trench - black bias binding

There is going to be a ton of fabric cutting for my floral Robson trench.  This weekend, I started to make a dent.  Above, feast your eyes on approximately 12 yards of bias binding.  This took me an entire afternoon!

Robson Trench - flannel interlining fabric cut

I also cut out all the flannel interlining…

Robson Trench - starting to cut floral cotton sateen

… and started on the main floral fabric.  Confession: I almost cut out these front facing pieces with the print upside down!  I’m so glad I caught it in time.

Lots more cutting to go, including the slippery rayon lining which I always hate cutting.  I need to find a zen-like state of inner peace before I attempt this.  🙂

I won’t finish this coat anytime soon, but I hope you’ll enjoy seeing little bits of progress here and there.  Stay tuned!

Do you finish raw edges before pre-washing?

Finishing edges before pre-washing 1

When I first started sewing a few years ago, I read somewhere that you should always finish the raw edges of new fabric before tossing it in the wash.  Of course, I totally ignored this and proceeded to deal with the huge tangles of thread that would form in the washer and strangle, mangle, and distort my precious fabric.  WHY I ignored this very simple piece of advice is beyond me.  What can I say?  I’m hopelessly stubborn!

Finishing edges before pre-washing 2

About six months ago, I finally decided to give this whole “finishing the edges” thing a try.  I used a wide and long zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine to wrap up the edges of my wovens, tying the ends in knots to secure them.  Once I got my serger, I switched to serging the edges but continue to knot the ends.

And you know what?  IT WORKS BEAUTIFULLY.  Who knew??  🙂  No longer do I have to get out my scissors and surgically remove the huge knots of thread from my freshly washed fabrics, nor do I have to worry about the threads wrapping so tightly around the fabric in the wash that they actually hinder the washing process.  It only takes a few minutes to zip the raw edges through the serger, and I save myself so much drama and aggravation.  I am shaking my head at my former, stubborn self.  🙂

New fabric from Gather Here sidewalk saleThe fabrics you’re seeing are newly purchased from the semi-annual sidewalk sale at Gather Here, my local fabric shop.  There’s something about a good sale that completely annihilates my usual discerning shopping habits – it’s quite amazing, actually!  I surprise myself with the fabric choices I make when price is no longer an issue.  Behold: I totally strayed from my color palette and bought a bunch of cheery springtime prints.  The 4 on the left are cotton voiles and quilting cottons, and the deep print on the right is one of the new Art Gallery rayons.  I’ve never worked with this rayon and am excited to give it a try.  I’m picturing loose tops and floaty skirts for all 5 fabrics.  Yay!

In other news, I have a finished floral Archer to show you, but due to various maladies that I’ve been dealing with this week, I’m not quite photoshoot-ready.  Suffice it to say that this week hasn’t been the greatest, but at least I have a pretty new pile of fabric to enjoy, pre-washed and free of knots and tangles.  🙂

So tell me, do you finish the raw edges of your new fabrics before pre-washing, or do you happily deal with the thread tangles?

A floral top for “sprinter” (and various sewing updates)

Floral Renfrew - finished

Get it?  Spring + winter = sprinter?  The calendar says spring, but clearly the weather hasn’t gotten the memo!  Since my brain has officially switched over to spring/summer sewing but it’s still below freezing here in Boston, I sewed up a pretty floral top that hints at the upcoming spring but still keeps me warm while I (very impatiently) wait for its arrival.

Project Stats:

Pattern: Sewaholic Renfrew (yes, I know, my millionth one).  Do you think indie pattern designers should start giving out awards for extreme pattern use?  Tasia, any thoughts?  🙂

Fabric: My second Art Gallery knit – Recollections by Katarina Roccella in “flowered engrams delicate.”  The fabric is 95% cotton and 5% spandex.

Modifications: Nothing new, just my TNT modified Renfrew pattern.

Level of crafty satisfaction: This fabric makes me smile!  For a simple top, I’d say this is a winner.

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Fabric shopping and meet-up in San Francisco

Britex shopping bag

I had a fabulous trip to San Francisco this past week!  Everything work-related went well, but the highlights of the trip were sewing-related, of course.  🙂

The shopping bag you see above is from Britex Fabrics, which pretty much blew my mind.  I’ve never been fabric shopping in the NYC Garment District, but I suspect the shopping experience at Britex is similar.  This place is hardcore.  The store is completely devoted to apparel fabrics and notions with a small home dec section, and it was my first time shopping for fabric in a “non-crafty” store.  The selection was as astounding as the prices, and needless to say, I had to go back several times throughout the week to soak it all in!

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October video sewing update

Today I’ve got another video sewing update to share with you!  It seemed like a good time for another video since a lot of sewing-related things have been going on lately, but none of them have resulted in a finished garment to photograph (yet).

In the video, I talk about getting to know my new serger, my in-progress Moss mini skirt, some upcoming sewing plans, and a few recent fabric purchases.  Yay, new fabric!  I actually have a stash now, albeit an extremely modest one.  🙂  I also talk briefly about something that’s been in the works for a few months now: setting up a permanent sewing studio in my tiny apartment.  You know, one that doesn’t require rearranging all the furniture every time I want to sew.  My apartment is REALLY tiny, so this has been a fun challenge.

I hope you enjoy the video!  It’s been fun experimenting with this new medium, and I really like how an occasional video brings the blog to life a bit.  We’re all real people outside of our blogs, right?  🙂

You can view the video directly on YouTube here.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

A super funky dress in the works, man

Cuttinig Sgt Pepper dress - fabric

After a really long and stressful week at work, including working on my birthday yesterday (which I hate doing!), I finally had a Saturday afternoon to myself to indulge in some much-needed sewing therapy.  And look at what found its way to my sewing table!  This EPIC FABRIC SCORE from Gather Here – a funky late 60s Alexander Henry print called “In Crowd.”

This fabric is so me – I loved it instantly.  It reminds me of the Beatles, only the later, drugged-out, hippie Beatles.  The soundtrack for this fabric is basically anything from Sgt. Pepper, but especially “Within You Without You,” one of my all-time favorite, super-trippy Beatles songs.  Hence the birth of the Sgt. Pepper dress.  Love it already.  : )

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Sewing expedition to Plymouth, MA

Joann's haul - fall skirt fabric

Confession: I don’t think I’ve done any real sewing for the past two weeks!  Eek!!  This past week was an absolute whirlwind of work and traveling and general exhaustion, but thankfully the weekend is now here.  : )  I had to drive down to Cape Cod for work yesterday, and I decided to make a little side trip to Joann Fabrics in Plymouth along the way.  Yay!  Now, Joann is a discount fabric and craft store, and is generally not something to get overly excited about, but since I don’t have access to one without a rental car, I was pretty excited to be able to stop by yesterday.  Behold my haul!

(BTW, for any history enthusiasts out there, Plymouth MA was the site of one of the first American colonies and the site of the first American Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately all I saw was the mall, ha!)

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Luscious magenta tie-dyed jersey

Luscious magenta tie-dyed jersey

OMG I am so in love with this fabric!  No joke, when it arrived in the mail, I wrapped it around myself and pranced around my apartment in my makeshift magenta toga while squealing and giggling like a little girl.  : )  It’s a tie-dyed 100% cotton jersey from Mood, and I got 1.5 yards to make another Renfrew.  I cannot WAIT to wear this top and prance around places outside my apartment!

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More jersey for more Renfrews

My credit card slipped and I ordered more jersey from Mood.  OOPS.  : )  My quest to create an entire drawer full of Renfrews is moving right along… oh yeeeaaaaahhh.

Leopard jerseyCoral zebra jersey

Blue striped jersey  Magenta tie-dyed jersey

Losing my Mood virginity

Mood bag with fabric

Oooh, what’s this?  A shiny bag of delicious fabric from Mood!  Squeal!!!!  : )  And even better, my first ever fabric purchase from Mood!  After about a year and a half of sewing, I was finally tempted by all the lusciousness (and huge selection) at this designer fabric mecca.  I tore open the box like it was on fire and proceeded to pet my new fabric like a crazy woman.  So sue me, I was excited.  : )

What’s funny is that I lived in the NYC area practically all of my life before moving to Boston, and I could have gone to Mood in person anytime I wanted.  Too bad I didn’t start sewing until after I moved!  Oh the humanity of it all!!  Le sigh.

Maroon and orange jerseyAnyway, I’ll take online shopping over nothing.  : )  For my first purchase, I picked up two pieces of medium weight cotton jersey in fall-themed colors: a deep burgundy (or is it maroon?) and a bright orange.  Not particularly exciting fabric choices, but since I’m not well versed in jersey, I wanted something simple (and not too expensive) to practice with.

The colors don’t go particularly well together, which is fine because I’m planning on making two separate garments.  Any guesses as to what this fabric will turn into?  : )