Big Gypsy Fashion

Thelma Madine

It all started over in the United Kingdom with dressmaker, Thelma Madine.  I got a glimpse into the world of Gypsy weddings.  And I was hooked!

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Each week, I’d tune into TLC’s My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and considered running away in hopes of getting an internship with Thelma.

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Although I loved the enormous blinged-out wedding dresses she made, I was head over heels about her children’s creations.

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Her Communion and Flower Girl dresses rivaled those of even the tackiest ones here in Staten Island, New York.  The more tulle and Swarovski crystals, the better!  Her Christening dresses were breathtaking!  If you’ve never seen the show, you can buy My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding – Season 1 and 2 on DVD!

Thelma Madine and her workers in her factory

Thelma’s newest show is called, “Little Shop of Gypsies.”  She takes on 10 Gypsy girls to teach them how to make fabulous dresses.  It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these girls who rarely get to finish high school.

Thelma has recently published her first book, “Tales of a Gypsy Dressmaker.  She has an incredible story which includes a stint in prison…LOL!

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Not to be outdone by the UK, enter the fabulous Sondra Celli, dressmaker of TLC’s My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding and Bling it On!

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Her creations are spectacular!  That woman and her crew can make dresses that dreams are made of!

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The wedding gowns are over the top…hundreds of yards of tulle, thousands of rhinestones and enough fabric to cloth half of a large city!

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But she doesn’t stop there.  She’ll bling anything from shoes to

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baby strollers!

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Sondra has a team of girls who are called, “Blingettes.”  They spend hours upon hours applying crystals to her creations.

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Channel Guide Magazine did a great interview with Sondra.  Great read!

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All this BLING reminds me that I need to order more Hot Fix Crystals from my friend, Suzie aka The Hot Fix Queen!

With friendship,

Lisa

DomesticDivaBannerAD

Quick Sewing Room Clean-Up

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Don’t laugh…This is the current disaster in my sewing room.  I’ve completely neglected it over the last few months (yes, that’s my pink Christmas tree that I never got around to decorating).  But now with the new year, it’s time to get my act together.  You know your sewing room is in the same state of disorganization, so let’s get it cleaned up quickly.

A few years back, I wrote The ABCs of Spring Cleaning Your Sewing Room over on SewMamaSew.  There’s even a printable PDF for your convenience.  I know it isn’t Spring yet, but heck, you’ll be getting a jump start on it!

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While going through the piles of crap on my cutting table, I found lots of treasures I had forgotten about.  Yes, the bags of fabric from Joann’s Black Friday Sale were yet to be unpacked.  It’s mostly more flannel that I don’t need.  I know…don’t judge me.

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I did find all the goodies I purchased during a recent NYC shopping adventure with my dear friend, Sara Norris.  Sara and I met online about 7 years ago while sewing children’s custom boutique clothing.  When she told me she was coming to New York City for a few days, I just knew I had to show her my fabric playground (aka NYC’s Garment District).

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Sara and I had a ball while her husband, Mike, waited patiently as we went treasure hunting.  Our first stop was Pacific Trimming—an old favorite of mine for rhinestone buttons and buckles.

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We discovered a trim shop, Hai’s Trimmings Inc.,  I had never visited before.  This place had more high-end trims than the other shops I usually go to.  I was even able to finally find 24 row rhinestone trim to recover my bathroom switch plate!  This place was AMAZING!

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Sara surprised me with the cutest spool of velvet trim she found at Antropologie.  Love it!

Now it’s time to find a home in my sewing room for all these sewing things.  Hopefully, once I get my kid back to school tomorrow, I’ll get back in the groove!  Hoping to sew a lot more this year than last!

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Sew Unbalanced

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Seems like my life is just dashing past me.  I have such good intentions, but spend my days doing projects for others.  Rarely do I get any creative “ME” time these days.  And I don’t know about you, but if I don’t get my crafting time, I get bitchy.  Really bitchy.

And yes, I’m selfish like that.  Although I love my friends, I need my solitude.  I need to spend time inside my brain.  There’s so many projects in my head that it becomes overwhelming at times.  Not like crazy.  But more like frustrated that I can’t do MY OWN stuff.

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Selfish Seamstress – buy it HERE!

However, sometimes it’s not busyness.  It’s laziness.  Wait…maybe it’s not laziness at all.  Maybe I’m simply EXHAUSTED!  By the time I finish taking care of everyone else’s crap, I have absolutely no energy to do the things I want to do for myself, my family and my home.

As a New Year’s resolution this year, I promised myself that I would not volunteer to help others with their projects.  You may think that’s rotten of me, but understand that everyone thinks I have nothing to do all day.  Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t need me to do put together a small gift basket, do a little alteration on their new dress, or help them with a quick craft project.  Although I want to scream, “LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE!”…I succumb to the pressure and give in to their requests.  And this builds resentment.  And quite honestly, I’ve had enough.  I really need to take the advice of Elaine, the Selfish Seamstress.

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photo source

But here’s the thing—I genuinely LIKE helping others.  Actually, I probably thrive on it.  Sad, I know.  So I’m thinking my problem is more one of BALANCE.  Yep.  How the heck do the rest of you do it?  Between family, friends, housekeeping, school, blogging, sewing, decorating, etc.—Tell me how you find balance in your life.

lisasiggie2

Sew Small…Miniature Sewing Room

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Last Summer when Servane came to the BBQ, she fell in love with my miniature sewing room.  So, since she has been working so hard on her children’s clothing line, I figured I’d surprise her with a miniature sewing room of her own.

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I found most of the miniature sewing items on Ebay and my local Dollar Store.  I even found a camera on a tripod, a pink telephone and of course…

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a bottle of beer…LOL!  Servane loves a good beer.

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Don’t her great pictures make my miniature sewing room look pathetic?  Yep.  I really need to redecorate.  And maybe add a few bottles of wine.

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Sewing a Ruffled Bed Skirt aka Dust Ruffle

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I had put off sewing this project for so long, because my Socialite Sister™ wanted to change my Godchild’s bed from a Queen size to a Twin Size.  That never ended up happening and in the meantime, I got distracted.  But it was now time to get cracking on this Queen Ruffled Bed Skirt.

Using this tutorial, I spent hours tackling this project.  Lots of yardage.  OMG.  I have a new respect for my Mom who always sewed Home Decor—everything from King Size circular bed skirts to ornate pillow shams.

If you’re going to make one, I strongly suggest you buy a cheap bed skirt and use the decking (base fabric that sits on the box spring) instead of buying wide width material.  For $13, it was more cost-effective than ordering oversized material online.

Rip off the cheap polyester bed skirt from the decking and serge the decking edges (or sew a zig zag stitch to keep it from fraying).

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This one-way print was a nightmare.  I suggest you find an all-over pattern to cover up any mistakes you make.  I had to sew 14 panels together to get the required length for the ruffle panels.  And then I realized the fabric was off grain…UGH!  So I did what every good seamstress would do…I fudged it.  Hopefully, it won’t be noticeable.

The bed skirt requires 3 lengths of fabric:  2 long side panels and the bottom panel.  To help me keep track of which panel was which, I used quilter’s clips—one clip on panel one, 2 clips on panel 2 and 3 clips of panel 3.

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Since I don’t have a gathering foot for my sewing machine and I can’t estimate the amount of ruffling needed using my ruffler foot, I opted for my 5 Groove Pintuck foot and did things the old fashioned way.  It’s times like this when a Cording foot would come in handy.

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Anyway, the pintuck foot has a groove on both the top and bottom.

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I used buttonhole thread (you could use any thick thread), placing the spool on the extra thread stand.

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I then passed it through the groove in the front of the foot and pulled it through the back, leaving a long thread tail.

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I lined up the top edge of my fabric panel and stitched a wide zig zag over the buttonhole thread.  Make sure you don’t catch the buttonhole thread in your zig zag stitch.

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I then divided both my fabric panel and decking into quarters (mark with a water-soluble marking pen).  Match up the quarter marks and pin at each quarter.  Now pull the buttonhole thread at each quarter to gather up the fabric panel to the size of the decking.

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Space out your gathers evenly and pin to the decking (right sides together).

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I then used my Edge Stitching foot to sew the gathered fabric panel to the decking.

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Then I ran it through my serger to give it a professional look.

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Oh…and one thing I should mention:  Extend your fabric panels around the side if you have corner bed posts.

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Overlap the fabric panels.  This allows the dust ruffle to hang nicely.

Done!  Another UFO crossed off my list!  Next up…two matching pillow shams.  But that will have to wait until next week.  I have a big BBQ this coming weekend!

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Happy Sewing!

With friendship,

Lisa

Sew Tuned In

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I must have been living under a rock.  Two new sewing shows?  Oh yeah!

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First up is It’s Sew Easy!  The scheduled initial air date was Thursday, June 30, 2011.  It replaces America Sews with Sue Hausmann.  Here’s some info I found on their website:  

It’s Sew Easy offers a new concept to Public Television viewers. The program does not feature a main host, but is based on designers and education that revolves around the experts. The focus is on contemporary style, not age. The goal is not to stress perfection, but rather concentrate on easy ways to accomplish a great project. Projects will be easy enough for beginners but creatively challenging, combined with interesting style elements to pique the interest of all sewing enthusiasts.

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Special guest designers appearing include: Valerie Mayen and Suede (both of Project Runway fame), Bobbie Bullard, Colbey Decker, Shannon Dennis, Stephanie Kimura, Nancy Odom, Eileen Roche, Peggy Sagers, my beautiful Sheree Schattenmann, Angela Wolf, Linda Augsburg, Pamela Damour, Tricia Waddell, Londa Rohlfing, Janet Pray, Cindy Losekamp, Gina Moorehead, Rebecca Cornell, Christy Howden, and Trish Preston.

The format will include two main projects per week and one shorter technique segment. Shows will be themed. Each project will include project instructions and a pattern with a link to the instructions found on the It’s Sew Easy website, plus additional related projects and patterns.

Show themes include: Apparel Details and Embellishments, Simple Sewing-Easy Tricks, Dress Up Ready Made Home Décor, Garment Construction Tips, Surface Embellishment, Restyling, Fun Fabrics, T-shirt Surgery, Gifts, and more.

It’s Sew Easy taped in March, 2011. It will be available to all Public Television stations across the country. The shows are shot and posted at EDR Media’s Beachwood Studios Production Center in Beachwood, Ohio.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find it on my TV lineup.  I do, however, get Sue Hausmann’s show, so maybe I’ll get it soon.  Fingers crossed.

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Next up is Sew It All TV!  Use the TV station finder to see if it’s available in your broadcasting area.  If not, write your local TV station and request it!  And no, I also don’t have this show in my broadcast area.  FML.

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Ok…with all this talk about sewing shows, I have to tell you…I have only TWO things on my Bucket List.  Yep.  Just two.  The first is to visit Tahiti.  I’ve been many places, but never Tahiti.  I’ve spent hours and hours surfing the web learning everything I can about Tahiti, checking airline prices, swooning over beautiful little huts in the water.  Mr. Diva said he won’t go, so in the next few years, I’ve decided I’ll just go myself.  Maybe I won’t come back.

Thirty years ago, I had plane tickets to Tahiti with this guy.  I was only 19 years old and my older brother wouldn’t let me go (fearing I would become a missing person).  He was probably right considering that guy ended up stalking me for two years until someone went and had “a talk” with him.

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And that brings me to the second thing on my Bucket List—my own TV show.  Don’t laugh, but for years I’ve dreamed about having my own TV show.  No, not like Oprah or Martha.  More like Diva.  Yes, there would be sewing, decorating, cooking and organizing.  But it would be different, because I have no desire to make my own laundry detergent (nor of folding fitted sheets properly).

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My show would have to be on a cable television network, because I curse.  A lot.

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Oh crap.  There is already a Diva TV over in the UK!  But I’m not going to let that stop me.  I just have to figure out how to pull it off.  Any suggestions?

So tell me…What’s on YOUR BUCKET LIST?  Because I need some ideas.  Having just two things on my bucket list is sad, right?

With friendship,

Lisa

DIVABROADWAY

Sew Cuts Like A Knife

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Like most of you who sew, I, too, have an obsession with scissors.  Heck, I’ve had this obsession long before I saw my first sewing machine.  I’m almost positive I’ve given one of my siblings a haircut in my younger years.

Well anyway, a few months ago when I went to Eileen’s Spring Fiesta in Mechanicsburg, PA, she gave me a tour of her new sewing room.  And what do I see?

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Giant Scissors on her wall!

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Don’t you think they look AWESOME in my sewing room?  They look perfect on my Idea Board!  Thanks Eileen!

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So, to compensate her for my thievery of her Giant Scissors, I bough her some cool fabric out of guilt (Mrs. Sews and Sews).  I’m sure a nice friend.  Now all I have to do is actually mail it to her.  Maybe I’ll save on postage and just have her pick it up when she come to the big BBQ.  Yep…sounds like a plan.

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How cool are these giant scissors by Design Dragon?  I’d be afraid to hear how much they probably cost.

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Or what about these Huge Scissors?  Those things should be considered a weapon!

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Would I be nuts to get these Scissors Nail Art?  They do scream, “Seamstress.”  Actually they probably scream, “Cutter.”  I think I’ll pass.

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Check out this neat Runs With Scissor machine embroidery appliqué design by Claire!  Love it!

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What about these awesome postcards?

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Even better for this southpaw…a magnet for my refrigerator!

Happy Sewing!

lisasiggie2

Show Me Your Sewing UFOs and PHDs

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Source:  PhD Decal

An article from Threads Magazine got me thinking about Sewing UFOs (Unfinished Objects) and PHDs (Projects Half Done).  l recently reorganized my sewing studio and came upon a bunch of sewing projects I didn’t finish for one reason or another.ufocart

I had to decide which UFOs and PhDs might actually get completed.  I had a pile of over 30 different projects.  There was absolutely no way I would ever tackle them all.  So I sorted them into 3 piles:

1.  FINISH – These projects would be my sewing projects for the next few months.  Most of these were either important or nearly completed.

2.  REUSE – Most of these projects were barely started.  The fabrics for these could be put back in my fabric stash and used for another project.

3.  DUMP – These projects were ones that went terribly wrong or no longer held any interest.  Out in the garbage they went.

Once I sorted through my pile, I evaluated each of the 13 projects that made the cut.  Here’s what I ended up with:

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UFO #1

Project:  My Godchild’s Bedding which includes a Queen Size Quilt, 2 Pillow Shams, Dust Ruffle, Throw Pillows and Doll Bedding.  This is a massive project that I started at least 2 years ago.

Problem:  This project was first delayed, because the fabric had been discontinued and it took me more than 3 months to locate enough yardage.  But that was only part of the problem.  See, I don’t know how to quilt, nor do I really want to learn.  And then there’s the Queen Dust Ruffle:  ‎630 inches aka 52.5 feet aka 17.5 yards = panel of fabric I had to sew together to make the Queen Dust Ruffle. Did I mention it’s a one-way directional print?  That’s 14 sections. And honestly, the thought of having to gather 630 inches is a bit overwhelming to me.  Lastly, I have to find some oversized sheeting material for the Dust Ruffle deck (base) that is at least 80 inches wide.

Progress:  So far, I’ve only completed two throw pillows (a ruffled one and a print one) and some doll bedding.  This week, I managed to cut, serge and sew all 14 sections of the fabric together for the Queen Dust Ruffle.  I smartened up and solved the oversized sheeting problem by purchasing a Queen Dust Ruffle for $13 to use for the base.  I ripped off the tailored bed skirt and serged the raw edges of the base.

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Plan:  Once I gather the 630 inches of fabric, I’ll attach it to the base for the Dust Ruffle.  For the Queen Quilt, I found a great tutorial on Sew4Home for a Queen Duvet.  I’m going to use the diagram to make the quilt top.  Then I’ll send it out to be quilted and bound (because if I don’t, it will never get done).

Probability:  High.  Serious Guilt Factor.

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UFO #2

Project:  Four Embroidered Bath Towels and 4 Embroidered Hand Towels for my Sister-in-Law.  This project started 5 years ago when my Sister-in-Law asked me to make her some embroidered towels for her bathroom.  I finally purchased the blank towels this past Christmas.  Gave her them all gift-wrapped and then took them from her.

Problem:  My son busted my dongle (necessary key) for my embroidery software, so I had to order a new one from Husqvarna Viking (which took about 3 months to receive).

Progress:  Washed towels to shrink before embroidering.  No other progress.

Plan:  Need to design a monogram in my embroidery software, test it and then stitch it out on the towels.

Probability:  Medium.  Will become a high priority as we get closer to Christmas.

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UFO #3

Project:  Silk Curtains for the Bagel Store

Problem:  This project is stalled until my BFF decides what height she wants to hang her curtain rods.

Progress:  All that I need to do is sew the headers and bottom hems.

Plan:  I’ll sew the headers while I wait for her to hang the curtain rods.  That way all I have to do is sew the hems when she’s ready.

Probability:  High.

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UFO #4

Project:  Baby Ruffle Pants, Baby Shirt and coordinating Burp Cloths.

Problem:  After spending time on this project, I find out the recipient is having had a BOY!  FML.

Progress:  I finished these Baby Ruffle Pants.

Plan:  To figure out what to make for the baby boy.  Something Blue.

Probability:  Pink – Low.  Blue – High.

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UFO #5

Project:  When my 9-year-old son outgrew his favorite Yankee shirt, I thought it would be perfect to make him a simple pillow out of the fabric.  That was more than a year ago.

Problem:  I could not bring myself to throw out my son’s $27 NY Yankees baseball shirt.  Only problem is I’m too lazy to just get it done.

Progress:  None.

Plan:  Cut out a square and sew it up next time I have Gray thread in my serger.

Probability:  Low.

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UFO #6

Project: In order to get my sizing perfect for this Christening Dress, I made two other silk bodices.

Problem:  I simply couldn’t throw the unused bodices out in the trash…so they need to become baby dresses.

Progress:  None.

Plan:  None at the moment.

Probability:  Very low.

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UFO #7

Project:  This turquoise silk was supposed to become a beautiful little girl’s dress.  I dyed the purchased entredeux and some vintage lace bright orange. 

Problem:  I was new to sewing entredeux, so it didn’t come out perfect like I had pictures.

Progress:  I recently purchased a beautiful soft orange netting to use as an underskirt for this dress.

Plan:  To daydream some more about this magnificent creation in my head.

Probability:  Someday I might finish this dress, but don’t count on it.

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UFO #8

Project:  I started this silk baby jacket back in September 2007…umm, that’s 4 years ago to match the silk baby bottoms.

Problem:  I got the pattern from the Baby Couture book (and no, I don’t recommend buying this book–it’s one of the worst I’ve seen for children’s garment construction).  The collar pattern was so wonky that I trashed it.

Progress:  The base of the jacket is sewn.

Plan:  Hem the sleeves and the bottom of the jacket.  Then draft a new collar pattern and finally finish this jacket. 

Probability:  Yeah right.

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UFO #9

Project:  Started these two pairs of girl’s capris probably more than 5 years ago.

Problem:  Took so long for me to get them half-done that they no longer fit my daughter.

Progress:  Solid black pair needs waistband casing, elastic and bottom hem.  Polka dot pair only needs elastic in the waist.

Plan:  Complete them for another recipient.

Probability:  Medium.

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UFO #10

Project:  Started this peasant top for my Godchild when she was a size 2T.  She’s now a size 6x/7.

Problem:  The arm elastic was too tight for her.

Progress:  All I needed to do was gather the ruffle, attach it to the bottom and topstitch it. Complete!

Plan:  To give this top to another little girl.

Probability:  DONE!

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UFO #11

Project:  Three pair of boys pants done with the exception of the inseam and bottom hem.

Problem:  Too many projects.  Easily distracted.

Progress:  Inseams done on two pair now.

Plan:  Finish 3rd pair of inseam and hem all 3 pants.

Probability:  Medium.

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UFO #12

Project:  I started this boy’s beach shirt in May 2007.

Problem:   It’s done…only need to add 5 snaps.  Talk about lazy!

Progress:  None.

Plan:  To attach the 5 snaps.

Probability:  Low.

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UFO #13

Project:  Silk Christmas dress for my Godchild.

Problem:  She didn’t like it.  That and I hate doing buttonholes.

Progress:  Need to make buttonholes and attach rhinestone buttons.

Plan:  To wait to find the right recipient before attaching buttons (to ensure perfect fit).

Probability:  Medium.

Ok…so there you have…my shameful UFOs and PhDs.  So tell me, how bad is your pile?  What keeps you from finishing yours?

lisasiggie

Where I Sew – SEWING ROOM TOUR

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Kathy of Pink Chalk Fabrics is hosting a Where I Sew sewing room tour.  Go check out all the awesome sewing rooms around the web!

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Thought I’d share a quick tour of my Sewing Room prior to the expansion.

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Sewing Room Expansion

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WOW!  Talk about a lot of work!  I decided to expand my 13’ x 16’ sewing studio in the unfinished basement dungeon to 13’ x 35’!!!  You know, because I didn’t have enough on my To Do List.

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First, I moved my Wall of Fabric (3 black storage cabinets) that once sectioned off my office from my sewing studio.sewingroomexpansion4

Now the cabinets line the side of the sewing room dividing it from the laundry area.

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Here’s the other side of the new sewing studio.  I still have to move my massive desk, internet cables, etc.  Then I can set up all my industrial sewing machines along the 35’ wall.

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Here’s the other side of the basement which will soon become my new office.  But before I can set my desk up, I have to figure out how in the world I’m going to move those huge industrial cutting tables into the sewing studio.

I also have to cover up the unfinished walls.  Luckily I still have some pink pleather fabric like I used on the existing sewing studio walls.  I even found some gray pleather fabric for the office area.

This is turning out to be more work than I had thought.  But I WILL get it done.  Come on over if you’re not doing anything.  I’ll even pay you in fabric!

lisasiggie

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