Stash Therapy

To stash or not, that is the question, and here is how one of the newer and more productive “Material Girls” (if you read this blog, you are a material girl) dealt with it recently:

Hi Ladies,

I can only tell you this – no one else would appreciate it.
So, I think something finally clicked and I now know how to manage my stash a bit better. I’ve been feeling chained to my sewing room with all of this fabric I’ve accumulated – a stash stresses me out!

Today I didn’t want to sew so I decided to organize my sewing room. I threw out all my scraps and leftovers- whew – I felt so freed!
Then I noticed I have some real color stories going among my stash fabrics. So I started pulling color families and stories together.
I then arranged the color stories into seasons. (And I realized I really love all the fabrics I have in my stash.)
Then I went through my patterns and created a line for each season (did I mention I’ve also been watching Project Runway on Hulu? And I think the Christine Johnson article helped too)
I have a page for each season with my notes for what each fabric could be used to create.
Each season has 3-4 fabrics. Finally I put each season away with my notes and potential patterns for the outfits.

I feel like I actually accomplished something and my stash will hopefully no longer create stress in my life. I hope to really enjoy some benefits from this work.

1. Working on 3-4 outfits a season won’t make me feel as rushed. I’ll hopefully have the time to enjoy the fabrics I’m working on and not feel stressed about the other ones in the closet.
2. I’ll speed up my work- by working in the same color families – not having to re- thread with each new project, etc.
3. My line isn’t necessarily a complete wardrobe concept – too much pressure- it might just be a jacket and two tops.
But I think I’ll enjoy the finished product more because it will be seasonally appropriate and the jacket will work with the tops
if I choose to wear them together or as separate items (usually I’ve just been creating one off items).

I forgot to add that this will also help me shop more productively. After going through and grouping the fabric – I can now see where I have holes. So, as I shop I can buy fabric that has a home – and will fill a need, instead of just buying random fabric-which I may or may not ever use.

So, was this idea inspiration – or have I finally just been listening to what you guys have been trying to preach?

Best, Carrie

Oh, if we were all this organized! How do you deal with your stash and the little voices in your head (am I the only one that hears them?) Carrie, let us know how this works for you- maybe you should be the main speaker for Dress Your Best!

Please add your stash management strategies to the post-or are you one of those disciplinarians who has none…..

New Sewists!

We had a great group of new sewists at Make It Sew last night-well, there were varying degrees of experience, from absolutely none to one who made a very nice cover for her eBook reader-without a pattern!
Anyway, they all started with a pillowcase, complete with hot dog roll and french seams. One student made two so she could welcome her husband home with a beautifully made bed, one made a boy themed case, another a girl themed and then there was a great bold print paired with batik.
Would it surprise you if I said they all chose a different skirt pattern for next week’s class?! SEW ON!!

And just in case you haven’t seen the new “skins” at Make It Sew-here’s a picture. I’ll be showing the Sophia Trench with one of them for the lining at Fashion Sewing Club in April.

Make It Sew is Open

A new fabric and sewing store to check out in the western suburbs! Cathy Guy and her team have done a great job of setting up the new space. Half the store is fabric and a large classroom space and the other half houses the Bernina portion of the store. New fabric coming in every day.

Make It Sew, 600 Market St., Suite 110, Chanhassen-near the movie theatre.

Everything is 20% off through this Saturday to tempt you!

It even smells new!


July could be a busy month

My sons just spent their last days in my house as single men(!). We had a great family potluck shower at my sister’s and now the weddings are becoming a reality. Decisions need to be made, etc., etc., etc.

July Fashion Sewing Club will reveal a few dresses as options for the mother of the groom but I’ve got to admit that Nordstrom’s is my fall back. Club meetings begin this Thursday at Associated Sewing in Bloomington (10:30 and 6:30) and Saturday at 10:30.

You may want to take in the Eagle Creek Garage Sale in Shakopee on Saturday (9 am-2 pm) after Club. I haven’t been for a few years but I remember some great vintage notions and fabric. Click here to go to the website.

On Tuesday, we’ll be at Treadle Yard Goods (10:30 and 6:30). Their big summer sale goes from July 8-18. Some of their dress silks are on my MOG dress list.

We’ve had a few requests to hold Fashion Sewing Club at The Sampler (551 W. 78th St.) in Chanhassen, so this is our trial month. Wednesday, July 14th we’ll have our meeting at 6:30 pm only, but we will have it no matter what. We’d like to see eight people to continue the meetings into the fall. Email us or call The Sampler (934-5307) to let them know you’ll be there. Bring your friends-first timers are free (at any meeting). The store is starting to carry more fashion fabric so support them if you want great fabric in a west metro location. Pics of some of the fabrics are below.

Remember Kathy’s scarf from last month? Here is a picture of it laid out. It’s a 32″x22″ rectangle and 7″ wide until it goes down to the points. Hopefully we’ll see a few from the serger class at Club meetings this month.

And then there’s the half of an oak tree that fell on my deck last night. No one woke up, no holes in the roof or broken railings-at least as far as we can tell at this point. Someone is coming later this afternoon to get the tree off so we can look more closely. Life is never boring!

One last clean up detail-last month Sarah Tufford told us about a group in the Madison, Wisconsin area. New homes are found for sewing machines that still work, and in the process gives new hope for the future to poor people. They sew for themselves, their families, and to make a little money to live on. Here’s the website: thesewingmachineproject.org. Some of us have been thinking about a trip to Gayfeathers in Madison and a trunkful of donated sewing machines would be a great impetus! Any takers?

Other calendar details (listed on the website)-Join us Tuesday, July 27th for a trip to SR Harris. Imagine the treasures to be had when a bunch of us start looking! We’ll car pool up to Brooklyn Park and have lunch because it will be hard work 😉

If you’re looking for a sewing related getaway, you may want to consider the Sewing Expo in Novi, Michigan. What if we got a group going together? Novi is supposed to be THE expo for fashion sewing. Here’s the link to the registration: americansewingexpo.com. The dates are Sept. 24-26.

Well, that’s all for now folks. I better get back to my sewing. The tree is being removed piece by piece (and distracting me just a wee bit). Every once in a while everything shakes as it falls more and more! Glad I slept through it.

Knits at The Sampler
More Knits

Kathy's scarf
Tree Down

Trench Coats and Fabric Snobs

As I was listening to my fellow Material Girls at the March Fashion Sewing Club I wondered if we were becoming fabric snobs. Most of the fabric we purchase is from Treadle Yard Goods-but not everyone shops there or even knows of the store. Christopher Straub of from Project Runway fame hadn’t even heard of it, for goodness’ sake!

Anyway, in defense of our exclusivity, or just plain love of so many Treadle fabrics, it takes time to shop and since we mostly find ourselves at Treadle, that just happens to be where we buy our fabric. When we were teaching classes and holding Club at Hancock we also found fabric there.

However, an email from a frustrated Trench Coat Class student was the final nudge I needed to make a special trip to Hancock Fabrics at Southtown. That and the niggling feeling of fabric snobbery and hearing that the store had undergone some rearranging.

So here are my happy finds for trench coat fabric at Hancock. I’m not including prices because I didn’t write them down or even look in some cases. Most of the fabrics are in the upholstery section but the last picture of the solid color fabric is in amongst the regular fabric and is labeled as jacket or outerwear. The colors-a gold/brown, silver/gray and blue/black are especially distinct and appealing (to my eye, anyway). Let me know if you want more specific directions to the location of it.

There’s still room in the Trench class-see the class listings at the top of the site.

Marcy’s Jacket Finished

What began as a great pattern, ended as a great pattern. Here is the finished product. I was thinking it would be scary to have Marcy see it up close but the sewing techniques make it fairly easy to avoid many of the “this is so homemade” telltale signs.
I’m very pleased with the way the different elements of the fabric came together-even if it is subtle. I’m wearing it today to the Puyallup (pew ahl’ up-according to the locals) Sewing and Stitching Expo in Washington. Having a great time-cherry blossoms and daffodils are out-raining and fifties. An added bonus is that I’m running into my Paris traveling companions!
More later…

Sewing Through Marcy Tilton’s Patterns

After going to Paris with Marcy Tilton I decided to work my way through her patterns. So far I’ve made the vest, tee shirt and skirt. I’ve been very happy with the results. Today I got a good start on the jacket pattern. The fabric is a beautiful purple and blue on a gray/black background. It’s available on Marcy’s website (click to link). It has a large repeat which I thought would work very well with the pattern. Most of the jacket pieces are straight so I could use different elements of the fabric (top section is purple hearts, lower section is more of a fleur de lis). I’ll be using other elements of the pattern for the collar and cuffs.
The pattern directions are very clear and take small steps so it’s easy to read the pictures and figure out what to do. Marcy also takes advantage of the serger-something many patterns don’t do.

Jacket before collar and sleeves
Fabric Closeup
Another fabric element closeup
Fabric repeat

Keeping up

It’s amazing how quickly we get hooked on technology-my internet has been sketchy of late. But I’ve got a window here so a few things on which to follow up-I did make it to the Envision Style Show that kicked off the MN Fashion Week events. I got a friend to go with me and then ran into a Club member there! See Doreen’s comment. It was fun to be in a different crowd and I didn’t even use the earplugs that I had stashed in my purse at the advice of one of my kids. I only stayed for the first show and was surprised at all the fur-not that I object-there was just an abundance of it. My favorite designer was Peloria who had about five dresses all playing with the same theme of collars and asymmetry. I would certainly go again.

And my online fabric arrived this week! It’s Gorgeous and I can’t wait to get at the sewing of it.

We had four people make the Silhouette Yoga Pant at a class this week. Hands down approval of the Treadle (they are having a sale this week) Ponte Roma knit and the fit of the pattern. One student had her pants sewn in an hour. We hope to see them at Show and Tell this month.

Are you working on your list of classes to take at the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo? The first section of classes is even named “Fashion Sewing”. Lots of great things to learn and do.

Speaking of…I stopped at Creative Sewing in Apple Valley and since many of you may be Babylock serger owners or wannabees-they are having a Babylock educator in town next week, Oct. 9 & 10. Great time to see the new serger or maybe get a deal on feet. I will be there.

Hope you are staying warm and finding comfort in your sewing endeavors. See some of you next week at Club.

Knits on Sale!

I’m taking the plunge and trying out buying fabric online. I’ve been looking for just the right geometric knit to complete my outfit and when I opened the email from Gorgeous Fabrics, there it was-and on sale. So I just sent the order off. We’ll see how long it takes and all but it’s very exciting to find what you’re looking for. There are many knits to choose from-solids, patterns, wools, silks and, of course, poly’s.

Just in case you should be tempted-try filling in Material Girls when the form asks you how you heard about Gorgeous Fabrics. See what happens??