Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Corduroy slippers

If you're still wondering about this sneak peek I gave you on Monday,

you need wonder no more! Nope - not a bag this time. Slippers!

They're made from Jess's upcoming (in July) Spring Quartet babywale corduroy fabric and faux sheepskin. Also, you can't see it, but the bottom is navy pleather.

Here they are on Jess's (ahem) dainty little feet.

I made them following a tutorial by Melly Sews. She has a ton of tutorials, found here (you have to scroll way down to "Sewing for Men", although the pattern is a women's size 6!), but you only get access to the tutorials by subscribing to her newsletter. Fair enough, I'd say. By subscribing, you get to learn about new tutorials as soon as they're available.

This wasn't one of my favorite or neatest sewing projects. The tutorial was easy enough to follow, but it was the faux sheepskin that gave me trouble. I got some through Amazon (which actually came from as per Melly's suggested link in the tutorial, and I found it challenging to work with because it was thin, stretchy, and MESSY! I had little bits of fluff everywhere!

It even plugged up the eye of my sewing machine needle at one point. It was also kind of hard to see where to sew the seam, so I don't know how good a job I did on that... and by that point I really didn't care. Ha.

It was also somewhat hard to get a good fit, since Jess wasn't here to try anything on, although she'd traced around her foot and sent me that for something to go by. There was a lot of adjusting to do in the pattern pieces. These ended up somewhat too big for Jess, but better that than too small. Yet the hole for putting them on was almost too small... even for my smaller foot. That might have had to do with the non-stretchiness of the corduroy, so if I were to make them again, I'd adjust the pattern and leave that hole bigger.

All in all, they were quick to make, the tutorial well-written (with a demo video included), and they'd have gone much better had I used a fleece fabric for the lining... which I might try sometime.

One thing I did differently is that I added a layer of foam just for a little cushioning, and I think that was a good idea. I sewed it to the bottom of the lining sole. Well, I sewed ONE to a lining sole. I forgot to include the other one until I was all done and picking up my stuff to head upstairs and discovered the foam piece still lying there - AARGH! So I ripped out the turning hole and stuck the foam in that way, which was rather challenging, to say the least. Then I pulled it back out because it was bunching up because I should've trimmed off the seam allowance! THEN I got smart and used my forceps to get it back in because it had been so hard the first time around. That worked well. Finished, finally. A day in the life of a sewer. ;-Þ

Monday, January 23, 2017

New lighting... and some peeking

As some of you know, my sewing room is in the basement. The lighting is not the best, especially for sewing on something dark... especially at night. I wanted to brighten things up a bit, so I considered getting one of those LED strip lighting sets made for sewing machines. (I'd kept trying to win one every time SewCanShe had one in their giveaway, but that never happened. I was delighted, however, when my friend and faithful commenter, Annie Dee, recently DID win one! Yay!) 

I went to to look for a lighting strip, and in doing so, I found one of these which I purchased instead. It's an LED light on a flexible goose neck that has a magnetic base. I love it! I can adjust it to wherever I need it the most (or could even take it to another room for a different project if I wanted to). Very bright and helpful. 

(Side note: Apparently my sewing machine is not magnetic, which totally surprised me, so I had to rig up an alternative way to attach it. It was easy and worked very well, so if anyone wants to know how I did it, tell me in the comments and I'll do a separate post about that.)

A couple of weeks ago I got to thinking about how long my sewing machine light bulb has been in use (years), and I decided I should buy a new one to have on hand. I went back to Amazon (who doesn't shop on Amazon?!) to look for one, and much to my surprise and delight, I found LED sewing machine bulbs! So I bought this one.

It makes a world of difference! Here's a shot of the old incandescent bulb's brightness (or lack thereof)...

... and below is the brightness of the LED bulb.

To compare more easily, here they are side-by-side (LED on the right), with color comparison of a piece of fabric below them.

Quite a difference, eh? I thought some of you that sew might appreciate knowing about the availability of the LED bulbs. Some newer sewing machines come with them, so you'll have to check yours. But if you have an older machine, you might want to invest in one. They cost more, of course, but they should outlive the incandescent bulbs many times over, plus the extra brightness is well worth it!

There are two different kinds of sewing machine bulbs - a screw-in and a push-in, so be sure to check your bulb type before ordering. Mine above is the push-in type. I was also given the tip that you should handle the bulb by the base, especially with the push-in type, because they push in kind of hard, and handling it by the bulb itself might cause it to break.

On another note... a few weeks ago, Jess ordered something fun - a box of leather scraps to use for trim pieces on bags, etc. It was a nice assortment of colors and sizes, and the quality was great. Inspector Josie approved wholeheartedly. Annabelle seemed to appreciate the box more (which, as you can see, was again from Amazon - no, they are not paying me to advertise for them - ha!). You can expect to see leather-trimmed items in future posts.

Just to let you know I've not been sitting idly doing nothing, here's a sneak peek of my latest sewing completion, made from Jess's new Spring Quartet corduroy collection (which unfortunately has been pushed back for a July release instead of March, and the new Holding Pattern barkcloth will be released in March instead) for Cloud9 Fabrics.

I'll be showing you the rest soon. Jess should receive the package today and will be taking more photos for me.

I also have another project over half done, but it's on hold for the moment, pending a new zipper technique I'm waiting to learn about. I can't wait to get it finished, though, because I love it a lot! Hopefully I'll get to show you soon. Meanwhile, my mind is clicking away with all kinds of project ideas......

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Winter scenery

I thought I should come back and let you know I'm still alive. I don't have any new sewing projects to show you (Christmas kinda got in the way there), but I am now working on a couple of things. Courtney finished a project that I forgot to post about, however I'm going to see if I can get her to write a guest post about that. She didn't come here yesterday because she was home sick, so maybe next week we can get caught up.

Our winter weather's been crazier than usual this year! We had a very warm November, which boasted these lovely mushrooms on the 28th!

Two days later, it looked like this around here.

It was a bit hard to take after being so spoiled with the warmth, but it did make for some pretty photographs. Minor compensation.

Then we had an extremely cold December, with the temp going down farther than -20°F one night, which produced lovely frosty decorations on the windows.

I had posted the photo below on Instagram, and someone who works for ABC TV asked permission to use my photo on TV! I said yes, of course, but whether it got used or not, I'll probably never know, because I didn't see it. Anybody remember seeing this?

Here are some more frosty pretties.

Believe it or not, we had heavy RAIN on Christmas Day! It was also very windy and near freezing, which resulted in a power outage for a couple hours or so.

We've also had some colorful skies, like this sunrise on December 30th...

... and plummeting temps brought these sun dogs a few days later (I had to take the pics from two different windows, so I spliced them together)...

... with this amazing scene that evening after the sun had just set!

The cold is good for something nice to look at, if nothing else!

One more scene, not so nice to look at...

... was these persistent turkeys sneaking across our backyard. Ugh. This was the first time we've had them during the winter. NOT my favorite birds! ;-Þ