I had 2 comments on yesterdays blog post; one addressed complexity with sewing and the other addressed the machines. I’ll address the machines first. Then, I thought I would share a couple of things I have made for the grandchildren in the last 2 years. I took a look back at some of the clothing items I have done, and viewed the varying complexity. These were all made using my Brother 6000ci from Wal-Mart.
I would still be sewing on it all the time had it not taken a hard fall in the driveway! Dear husband Bill, who bought the machine, felt terrible about dropping it, and I felt terrible about asking him to put it in my car for “sewing day” at church. The drop loosened a board inside and broke off one of the main stability feet, so even though it “runs” it has gotten quite wobbly. Still, I used it for another 3 years regularly, but it became very difficult to machine quilt anything very big. I will continue to use it as my “road” machine, but now it has a rolling tote.
Last month, our quilt guild co-sponsored the Kent Sussex Quilt Show, and I shopped with a vendor there, and drooled on a new machine. I was really going to hold out for the IQF in Houston, but felt the local sewing center was giving me a fair price. I like to buy locally – especially from a small family owned business. I’m hoping I will have good service and support. I did get a great one-to-one lesson on the machine that lasted for several hours going over all the machine features.
I have a big tote for the Janome 8900 on my Christmas wish list. Because I sew upstairs, above the garage, I don’t think I want to lug the new machine up and down and take any chances with it, so it will ONLY go to a retreat. Workshops at the guild and church will just be the little Brother.
I learned yesterday that a member of our “bee” recently bought the same machine I just bought, and she used to “teach” sewing in a school and thinks the Janomes are work horses. I’m glad I made a good choice. The reason I picked this machine was the 11″ of space between the needle and the body of the machine for big projects. I was also dazzled by the salesman sewing through 9 pieces of denim, folded over in big ridges and the machine not balking. Not many thick seams in quilting, but have encounted them when sewing a Camo vest for the oldest grandchild.
My sewing experience comes from 7th & 8th grade Home Economics class where we learned all about 5/8th seams and clipping curves. I never learned button holes or zippers in school, and have managed to read the owners manual on both sewing machines and get the button hole where I want it.
Sometimes I struggle with pattern instructions because I either just can’t comprehend them, or have never encounted a technique that must seem “common” to experienced sewers. Not ever having a friend to ask about sewing has long been a problem. Since I started quilting, I have found a wide range of experienced people, and know who would answer my question thankfully! I think bloggers are like that too. I am a “charge ahead” person and hate to wait! My results have improved greatly. My daughter encourages me to sew for the kids, and they (the grandkids) make great test subjects! (Is she being nice or does she really let the kids wear what I have made??) I would encourage anyone to start “simple” if sewing for the kids. I still don’t “get” stretch fabric and sure could use some training in that subject, so for now, I will stick to cotton. Stick with me after the photo’s…I’ve got a couple more comments…(of course…..)
Now, the fun stuff….speaking of the Camo vest — I thought it would be fun for a little boy when he was 3
And here are a couple other very simple sundresses I made –
The next one had inset pleat…it was a little more difficult to make –
and then there are the matching dresses I made this fall for the granddaughters (see blog – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/sundresses-for-grand-daughters/ )
And, here is the rest of my “grandma advice” for the would be sewist —
When speaking of using cotton fabric for clothing, and especially for kids….wash & dry the fabric (buy more than the pattern says), and iron with a little spray starch before cutting out your pattern. You don’t want it to shrink after you did all that work, and cotton will shrink. You don’t want to come up short on your fabric -buy more than the pattern says. ( I do NOT wash my quilt fabric before cutting, but do wash it after the quilt is finished). Look for “simple” – “easy” patterns; invest in good tools – scissors, measuring tools, etc. Don’t disregard those cute fabrics that have the shirring already on the top that make up into quick and easy sundress. (Measure the chest, and just add straps and one seam.) Practice with stuff nobody else will see, night gowns, pillowcases, play clothes, aprons. Get to know somebody at the local sewing center! Take a class. Let me tell you , my confidence in quilting has grown because of the classes I have taken. And being able to share your work with others who quilt and sew is very helpful.