The Refashioners 2015 - Community Challenge!

Posted on August 03, 2015 by sarah grey | 0 Comments

I am participating this year in the Makery's Refashioners 2015. There are around 20 bloggers refashioning shirts in celebration of remaking and reusing textiles. 

Now you can join in! We are offering a gift certificate and many other participants are giving away equally cool prizes! Details here. Now go sew something, fellow Refashioner!

Sewing Blind (Hems)

Posted on July 23, 2015 by sarah grey | 2 Comments

Hello, me lovelies. First, a spot of business - our blog address has changed. I was hoping to be able to get it back to the normal address, but with our platform that is just not happening. Adjust your readers to and all will be right with the world.

Ok, on to funner matters. Pfaff has been making these awesome li'l videos to showcase their feet and I just had to share. The first one that I saw in the series is for the Blindhem foot, which comes with all the Pfaffs that we sell. You may have wondered, "What is this crazy thing good for?" Well, Pfaff is here to explicate using the power of FILM (Well, pixels. You get the idea.) Behold:

What is your favorite foot, dear Pfaffsters? (And other brands, I guess... ;) ) You know I'm #teampfaff! My fave is the narrow edge foot. Hope they do a video on it soon!! 

The Refashioners

Posted on July 14, 2015 by sarah grey | 1 Comment

I am very excited to tell you about a sewing challenge that I am participating in. The lovely Portia of Makery has put together a list of 20 sewing bloggers (including my little ol' self!) who will be transforming a button up shirt into... something amazing.

Refashioning is not, typically, my strong suit. I'm more comfortable starting from scratch. This will be a great way for me to step out of my comfort zone and try some new techniques. John happened to have a white button-up that he didn't particularly care for due to its French cuffs, so now I have a shirt to work with! 

This is my starting place: a men's button up from Banana Republic that would otherwise have sat in the closet. Will I be able to find a use for these neat-o French cuffs?? I DON'T KNOW! THE SUSPENSE IS KILLING ME!

I was super honored when Portia asked if I'd like to participate because the line up is truly stellar:  from Heather Lou and Oonaballoona to Cashmerette and Sunni and beyond. It's really blowing my mind. Check out the full description here.

But wait, there's more! Everyone can be part of the fun! Make something from a shirt and share it on Instagram with the tag #therefashioners2015 for a chance to win an amazing prize package. Will we be contributing? You can bet your shirt, sweet sewist. Check out Portia's post for more details! Exciting, non?

Stay tuned for further adventures of Sarah the Refashioner! 

Projects for Laminated Fabrics

Posted on July 06, 2015 by sarah grey | 1 Comment

You may have seen our selection of brightly patterned laminated fabric and/or oilcloth at the shop and wondered what you could do with them. Well, wonder no more! Apartment Therapy has a great round up with lots of different projects that are perfect for this type of fabric.

Here is a great pic of one of Apartment Therapy's projects: an ultra-useful little storage cube!

(pic from Apartment Therapy's tutorial.)

There are actually two distinct types of fabrics in our "coated" category. The burgundy fabric pictured here is a laminate and the stained-glass inspired one is a traditional oil cloth. The oil cloth is a vinyl textile, printed on one side. It's thicker and more durable than the laminates and is great for projects that require a tough fabric. At 45" wide, they're a little narrower than the laminates.
The laminates that we carry start their lives as 56" wide printed cotton and are then overlaid with a BPA-free vinyl. Ours are all from Westminster Fabrics, the company that produces both Rowan Fabrics and FreeSpirit Fabrics. These two companies print Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, Kaffe Fassett, and so many other great designers' work. 

The oil cloth is tougher, but less flexible, so it can be harder to sew with. It is more hardy, though - the laminates can't be machine washed or ironed, or they would start to separate. Not that you would want to iron one of the oilcloths either, but it's less likely to come up due to their texture. The laminates feel more like fabric and the oilcloths, more like the straight up vinyl that they are.

They each have their benefits: want a rain jacket? Laminates will sew up much more like normal textiles. Want a cute easy-care lunch bag? Oilcloth will be very durable for holding your snackers. You can also just pink the edges of oilcloth without worrying about unravelling. The laminates, on the other hand, tear surprisingly well (and straight!) if you get a good, fast pull on them.

Can you think of any summer projects that you'd use laminates or oilcloth for, sweet sewists? I might need a new picnic blanket in my future - now I just have to choose which cute fabric to use!



Introducing Zeena!

Posted on July 03, 2015 by sarah grey | 2 Comments

You may have heard the news that the lovely ladies of By Hand London have just released the Zeena Dress Pattern. I was a lucky duck and got to test it out before the release! The Zeena is a super-fast sew and I found it extremely flattering. It has Dolman sleeves (no sleeve to set in! so speedy!) and the both the bodice and skirt are shaped with pleats. I added a few pleats to my skirt for some extra body when twirling.

It's unlined and thus great for summer. There are facings on the neckline, which I stabilized with my favorite iron on interfacing: Touch o' Gold. The dress itself is made from Aves Chatter Voile by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery. It's a wonderful drapey fabric and I know I'm going to get a ton of wear out of this dress.

To be completely honest, I didn't to a perfect job of matching up all my pleats. It's dark fabric and won't be noticeable, and this little gold belt that Laney-belle gifted me will be perfect for that extra little bit of concealment. 

I just adore the scoop of the neckline and the cut of the dress in general. This will be a fab dress-in-an-afternoon project for you veterans and a great first dress for those who have only made very simple garments before. 

Here's a rundown of the supplies I used:

Zeena Dress Pattern

3 yards of fabric (it calls for around 2 yards of wider fabric like this voile, but I opted to make the skirt fuller)

22" invisible zipper

1 yard seam binding (at waistline - I used French seams for the main body of the garment)

1/4 yard lightweight interfacing

matching thread

Happy sewing, loves!

Coachella Shorts - Meow!

Posted on June 25, 2015 by sarah grey | 0 Comments

Helllo lovelies! It's been a while since I posted anything, let alone an actual sewing project, but one of my mid-year resolutions (is that a thing? it is now!) is actually to shoot and blog more often. Here are some shorts I whipped up the other day using the Coachella Shorts Pattern by Striped Swallow Designs that just arrived in the shop and less than a yard of Anna Maria Horner linen/cotton home dec fabric in Domestic Cat, Aqua that just makes me so happy every time I see it. The waistband is 1" non-roll elastic.

I left the trimmings off the shorts, even though that is a big selling point for a lot of makers. It's really just not my gig, you know? You could use pompom trim (we're trying to find some for the shop) or ribbon, or even some sassy bias tape. I just happen to like mine simple, so don't feel that the pattern is only for bohemian free spirits. I do not consider myself either bohemian or a free spirit (the occasional #iamafreespirit hashtag on Instagram notwithstanding - that just means that I use Free Spirit fabric, after all!) I'm really more of a neurotic worrier, but I digress! Back to the pattern!

These shorts would make a great beginner's garment and they're also awesome for that little teensy bit of fabric that you keep saving because you love it, but that isn't big enough really to make anything with. I have another pair planned, for which I am prewashing the fabric tonight. I didn't prewash these, so I washed them carefully in Soak afterwards. I think I should be able to toss them in the washer after wearing because the fit is quite relaxed, but I ought to have prewashed. Autocorrect keeps wanting to turn "prewashed" into "preached". I am not a great prewasher, even though I always tell people to do it. Guess I need to practice what I preach.

Welp, here are some photos:

I'm wearing a bamboo lettuce-edge top I made a million years ago that is still treating me right and drinking a caipirinha from a fancy glass. I'm at my folks' house in VA right now. They're trying to sell it, so if you know anyone who needs a house outside DC, then have I got a deal for them!

And here's those shorts getting a good Soak.

ttfn, lovelies.

Posted in sewing clothes

Bra Class Recap

Posted on May 07, 2015 by sarah grey | 0 Comments

Whew, time is flying! I can't believe it's been so long since our bra class.  Feels like it was just yesterday that I was in Boston, hanging out with these amazing ladies, who came from all over the country for our workshop:

Norma was the most amazing instructor. She is so knowledgeable (and uber-organized!) that she was able to address our questions and concerns with ease. Everyone worked so hard and came away with not only a finished and custom-fit bra, but the ability to make so many more. We were all pumped at the end of the workshop and ready to go home and sew some sassy brassieres!

And now some images, in no particular order. Sewing clear elastic to stabilize the top of the lace:

Cutting out our main body fabric. I love those 18mm rotary cutters to death!

Sewing the lace to the upper cup:

Expanding the back band:

Sewing the cup to the frame:

Mmm pretty lace!

I've made 2.5 more bras since I've been back in Michigan and I'm hoping to finish up that third one very soon. I also can't wait to start Norma's new panty patterns: the Montgomery Brief and the Kingston Thong. SO CUTE.

Thanks again to all who attended. We're hoping to make this a more regular occurrence chez Grey. You can buy Norma's book, Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction, from us if you'd like to get started sewing underwire bras. It is an amazing resource. The Marlborough Bra pattern can be purchased directly from her and be sure to check out her blog here.

Pix from the party and cocktail recipe to follow!

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