The Joy of Twin Sewing Needles

I was introduced to sewing on my mothers black Singer machine in the 70’s. Based on the serial number back then, surely the machine was already 20 years old. The work area was illuminated by a single bulb that I swear to you was larger than outdoor Christmas tree lights. Obviously there wasn’t dual needles back then.

Here’s the thing, I love stretchy fabric. It breathes, it flows as a woman walks, it lays on your shoulders and hips like butter but I could not stand sewing it. My language made me portray a NYC Sanitation Worker as I threaten to €%#}£ Its &@%+! neck and throw it into the ?&@<#%!! wall. Today, I caved. I decided to use a dual needle, have a conversation with God and pray on it. My main machine is a Brother Innovis 1250D and I must admit, the dual needle was never used. Because I was attempting to make my daughter a jumpsuit (see previous entry) with a lightweight stretch knit, I didn’t want to screw it up.

Surely you are wondering “why would I need a dual needle?” I will tell you, your stretch fabrics are being bullied by your feed dogs so so why not make it less painful? A dual (or triple) needle sews parallel lines on the top of the fabric as it zig zags under into a single line. This process decreases the unwelcome tension that may occur when you sew knits fabrics and provides you with a professional, yet finished look.

The next time you are sewing knit, check your owners manual to find out if and what type of dual needle your machine supports. You will be surprised and happy with the results!

– Smooches 💋

A Little Something for My Daughter – @McCallPatternCo Vogue V9116

My daughter asked for gauchos and I cringed. I thought of something that would complement her frame. A summer flare legged sleeveless jumpsuit. With an Obi belt and cute wedges, I’m sure that she can rock it!

This was made using Vogue pattern 9116. Quick, simple pattern consisting of four pattern pieces (this is style “B”), elastic and a light jersey or lightweight knit fabric. You can dress it up with accessories, a cute pair of heels and a chic blazer or you can dress down with a pair of flip flops!

Repurpose your USPS Boxes!

As many seasoned Mary Kay consultants do, I have a rather large quantity of USPS shipping boxes. Recently, I found a neat way to repurpose boxes. Using a craft knife,I cut them on the fold and use them as “backing”. I then fold the fabric inside out and fold it along the board which allows me to place them on book shelves. What an efficient way to catalog my fabric stash on shelves so that I can quickly feel the texture, see the color, etc. instead of opening containers, bags or boxes or better yet, buy what I already have at home because I can’t locate it.

I filled one shelf and began pulling fabric out of bags so that I can catalog the rest tomorrow and complete my shelves.

I know for a fact that I need help (and Jesus)…

I went to my office today. Yeah…. Go on. I know what you’re thinking: “she works?” Yes, I happen to be an IT Risk Manager by day believe it or not. My mind though is wandering all day and I suck my teeth every time someone calls my office or IM’s me.

What next? Charmeuse? Gingham? Ikat knit? Do I want a fitted waist or elastic? All day I longed to sew. Every time my manager walked over to me and said “Hey Trace…”, the Chris Tucker in me is screaming “Man! Don’t you see I’m in sew zone? Aren’t my eyebrows bunched? Yeah! Well, I’m thinking! Go back to your desk man!” Suddenly my face gives it away and I give him the evil “Cookie” eye and he slithers away apologetically. (Sorry dude)

I want to do right and although it’s my first day leaving my lab in 5 days, I’d rather be home creating, cutting, pinning, humming ecstatically as I piece garments together.

It’s after 5 and know that I can’t turn back the time but if I only had 3 more hours of sunlight, in front of my sewing machine, this would be a beautiful thing. I thank God that I work remotely tomorrow. At least I can shave off time behind the wheel to sew and can sew during lunch.

Yeah, I have issues but they say the first step is admitting that you have a problem. I’m well aware of my issues. It could be worse. It could be drugs and until someone goes to the Betty Ford clinic for sewing addiction, I do not have a problem but I do need Jesus.

Pray for me…

– Smooches 💋

I’m Going on Hiatus

I’m going on hiatus again.

It was a great two weeks chatting it up with family and friends but thanks to the FedEx guy, chica is going underground til:

1. I run out of fabric

2. I run out of thread

3. There’s a major power failure, or

4. I run out of ideas

I have officially turned off my Twitter and Facebook light until I create a minimum of three new additional garments. It’s like Christmas Day every time the FedEx guy delivers my fabric. I don’t know which one I want to sew first. It’s 1969 and I’m in my parents living room opening gifts. (the Barbie doll or the tea set?). Mommy, sedate me quick. I am experiencing fabric euphoria. What style? A skirt, sexy blouse, dress with a side slit, palazzo pants??

Aw heck! Grandma is going to need a glass of wine and her asthma pump. I’m so excited I’m wheezing. Breathe, Tracy, breathe

Til I post again…

💋 Smooches

Why do I have medical paper?


I’ll tell you a secret: I can’t read patterns. I grew up the last of 6 children and most of my clothes were hand me downs or because I was so thin, my mother made 80% of my wardrobe since she felt it was a waste to buy clothes and have to cut 3-4″ off, and sew it back together so that it fit me properly. Fortunately, I learned early what a blessing “fitted” clothing was. After dismantling so many garments, Mother became proficient enough to eyeball and piece garments together. She and her BFF of 40+ years, Miss KayKay, would sit and compare ideas, bolts of fabric like their rent depended on it. By the time I took Home Ec, I was confused. I could not comprehend why my teacher wasted a period on laying out patterns. We didn’t do this at home. We knew what a sleeve looked like, just cut it in the fold, knew you needed 2 and boom, it was done. By the time we laid it out in class, pinned it and cut each piece, the bell rang. Frustrated, I’d go home and make it myself, wait for the class to catch up on Friday and throw mine in the mix with an attitude like Sexual Chocolate dropping the mic.

Today, I am trying to improve my mothers teaching and sew garments for myself now that I have grandchildren and a semblance of free time. To ensure that I can make something again, I use medical paper to create my own pattern pieces and jot instructions in OneNote for future use. Medical paper is durable yet not stiff and has proven to be an excellent source of pattern paper. It folds well into 6×9 envelopes that I can file for future use and does not tear as easy as pattern paper. Plus, I comprehend my instructions and write on it. This explains why I have rolls of medical paper.

My rediscovery of sewing:

In December 2014, I decided to open the box containing a sewing/embroidery machine I purchased in late 2012 (Brother Innovis 1250D) after my brothers passing. This was because my pastor-friend suggested that I find something to relax my weary mind. Unfortunately, trying to accomplish this when the wound was raw, was too soon. I was in mourning for so long, I was not aware. Then one day I walked in the guest room and the box screamed “Heifer, you paid $1,400 to stick me in a corner and abandon me?” Yeah that was stupid so I took a few classes at my local Sew & Vac to learn quilting (something Mother wasn’t into), I watched embroidery videos like it was the LSAT order to create and donate baby blankets to 501©’s. It’s something that I do in effort to give back. That’s why I launched my blog TheSelflessSeamstress. Shortly after my last big charity event, I began reading articles on sergers. Now, I know and you know my mother never owned one with 6 kids. Within two months of comparing features, checking them out in the store, drooling under the blanket while watching videos like it was porn, I felt defeated. I HAD to own a Babylock but it was outside of my budget. Eventually, I met a fellow self proclaimed seamstress who “thought” that she could sew for a living who offered to sell me her 6 month old Babylock Eclipse DX at 40% off, still packed in the styrofoam, with all parts still in the plastic securely taped closed. I bought it the following payday.

God? Where have sergers, namely Babylock sergers, been all if my life?? What use to take me days (yes plural) is quick and easy today. Durable stitches, even and I don’t need to cut!!!! Again, I watched videos on YouTube by others who had the same model, used scrap pieces and played around. I played around so much I damn near sliced my fingertip off. On day 2, I found out that knives on quality sergers are extremely useful and dangerous. Within 36 hours I fixed everything in my closet that needed adjustment on the serger. I have already outgrown my Innovis 1250D and will soon upgrade to a faster, heavier machine with multiple LED lights because my sewing room is small and doesn’t get major sunlight. I don’t “need” and embroidery machine but having that feature is a plus. I prefer one that has a large bed area that will enable me to make Queen/King quilts no less than 1,300 SPM. I would love a machine with laser light indicating the needle drop point (or camera) but considering m wish list and the two models I have in mind, I’m talking in the $5,000 range. The Lord will provide and I know that it will be mine in a year.

Lately, since I began sharing some items on Facebook, people say “you should open an Etsy shop” “Can you make me a …” Or “I will pay you…”

No.

It doesn’t work like that. When I shift in that direction, it becomes work. “Hobby” made an exit. I already have a job I love and in reality, you can’t match their rate nor do I want a second. I sew for others under two conditions: One, my charities are my priority. People that touch me are second. The later is never planned. I may get an idea, jot it down, come home from work, make it and send it to you and I haven’t talked to you in weeks nor mention that it’s coming. When I feel it, I give. I will be honest, there’s a 99.999% chance that if you ask me, I can’t. Sewing is like music, it’s a feeling that overcomes you, pulls you in and talks to you, massages your senses and stirs your creativity. If I don’t feel a connection in the touch of the fabric or if the hue doesn’t say something about you, I can’t do it. Better yet, I won’t do it. For now, I will continue the deed of blessing others with my hobby (not work), and sewing for my charities. When you are in position to give freely, considering the recipients joy without your own or wanting anything in return you are selfless. I love every piece donate because I know there are so many babies and small children without. My quilts and baby clothing come with love and blessings.

So please, continue enjoying my blog and I will return in a few weeks when the moment hits me again. I need to pay attention to my husband and will be taking a breather from sewing…. Well, until my next FedEx shipment of a fabric arrives!

💋 Smooches

This Dress Right Here???

This Dress Right Here???

(In a moment of a “Rockstar Seamstress mode, I yank the plug out of my sewing machines, pour kerosine over them, throw a match, turn off the light, shut my sewing room door and proudly strut out of the room to Run DMC’s “Rock Box” rapping “‘cause Calvin Klein’s no friend of mine, don’t want anybody’s name on my behind!”)

If my grandkids knew the kind of music I listened to during my teen years their mouths would drop LOL #proud

A Lil Something for Work – Vogue V9004

A Lil Something for Work – @McCallPatternCo Vogue V9004

I had a Dr’s appointment today. He was conveniently located next to the fabric store so I had to stop by and pick up some white gabardine to blend with some red that I had at home to make the blouse from Vogue v9004. This pattern is simple and requires an invisible zipper for the rear and interfacing for the arm and neck. Assembly is easy and its a comfortable bodice. It was the first handmade item that I wore to my current job and received over 5 complements.

Modifications: None

Would I make it again?: Yes! I’d like to try this with a print and solid fabric.

Difficulty: The only thing I ever fine “mumble-worthy” are zippers.  The pattern instructions and assembly were simple.

My Custom Made Spool Rack


          

I am definitely the handiest chick out of all of my girlfriends hands down! This is a 24″ x 36″ spool rack with a shelf for my sewing rulers,  I made to store all of my sewing and serger thread spools. It was less than $35 in lumber purchased @HomeDepot but required precision and patience.  With a coat of white paint after I repainted my sewing room, will I finally be able to discard the Ziplock baggies and wicker baskets that hold my thread.

I cannot stop looking at it. I am truly a proud woman!