Tag Archives: organising

in search of …

Over on the left is a photo of a much loved, 10+ year-old tunic (nightshirt? minidress?) I’d love to re-create. It’s never piled, feels absolutely wonderful, but has developed holes along strain areas—elbows and sleeve head, etc.

Last year I tried shortening the sleeves and adding a remnant, but the fabric just didn’t work. I couldn’t face making a new version, but I kept the original.

After resurrecting it again during Autumn’s Wardrobe Review & Grand Purge I thought again about recreating it. If only I could find a similar fabric. So the search began.

There’s no fashion fabric store nearby, so online is my only option. After searching a few sites, I got to Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, just outside Chicago.

After finding an option or three and procrastinating for weeks as we do, just to be sure, I finally tried to order swatches. Paypal seems to be permanently blocked, or their system can’t handle my having used two different emails over the years, so I called the store a couple of days later.

In talking with the office I realised they sell past copies of their seasonally-curated collections—$3 for over 40 swatches, some of which would be out of stock, but not the ones I wanted. And they also had a swatch card of all their combed cotton-Lycra knits (17 swatches for $5).

The downside was waiting a week before these were mailed, and 3 more days before receipt; however, no postage fee. If memory serves, they didn’t list a faster service unless I wanted to fly to Chicago & pick up in-store. Not!

What else is new? Two full bags of donations waiting for a few more additions before being dropped off at Goodwill… Finished another great Louise Penny book and am in the middle of her A Rule Against Murder… A nice holiday on Thursday followed by a long holiday weekend, lots of wonderful fabrics to be grateful for and continue sewing, and some of the nicest sewing friends all over the world.

🍂 🦃 Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates this week, and Happy Week to those who don’t! 🦃 🍂

creative permissions

discovered kit

I remember learning to sew in the dim, far distant past. In those Dark Ages one did not vary from the pattern. It Was Not Done.

As independent pattern designers began trickling onto the scene, there was one who included a permission slip inside each pattern, giving the sewer permission to make changes. Fast forward to now, with everyone hacking up patterns right and left.

But a concept can linger on in dark corners . . . Follow me into last weekend.

I was on a search amongst my two rather large and thoroughly tangled boxes of fasteners, zips, embroidery threads, ribbons, laces, felt squares, and other crafty bits & bobs.

Having a 13-disc mystery to listen to whilst sorting made it much more enjoyable. . . 😉

mending

Remember my linen top mending project? I have a hazy idea for a solution, and that was the impetus for the sort out.

Then I discovered the above little kit, picked up several years ago even though I didn’t like the colours or the method – punch needle. (Lime green??? 😱)

But what have I been learning from blogging friends’ embroidery posts? You’re allowed to make changes. So-o-o . . .

I’ve been giving myself permission to do just that, and left lime green & turquoise on a lime background, for a russet butterfly on mossy green background using satin stitch. And maybe a touch of blue somewhere.

What do you think? Have I gone too far? I’m not trying to copy nature, it’s just what I was drawn to.

If creativity is about freeing one’s soul and spirit, it’s interesting to realise there are still plenty of boundaries to overcome.

a winter purge ?

We left off with crossed appendages and plans for non-electricity-needing projects. My neck of the woods fared well—many thank-you’s for everyone’s good thoughts. 😘😘

Not so for other folk, and if any of you spot organizations accepting clothing for them, please let me know. I’d be delighted to send things along to those who need literally everything.

Have spend time both increasing and working on The Mend/Refashion Pile whilst listening to P.D. James’ Murder Room on cd. Excellent story, and am so impressed with the author!

I seem to remember Adam Dalgleish being on TV years ago, but cannot remember the name of the series. Does anyone else remember? Roy Marsden in “The Sandbaggers” comes to mind, but I’m not sure that was P.D. James.

Going back to the M/R Pile… Finally decided to add the second pocket to these, and only had to rip one side out once. An improvement!

Am having a heck of a time with my wardrobe planning, chiefly because I cannot figure out what descriptive words to use. As I am no longer office-bound that professional suit stuff can finally be ditched… except for maybe one navy pants suit. Just in case. 😉

The rest of my Dream Wardrobe is nebulous. The heat down here lasts about nine months of the twelve, so I’m trying to accomodate that. But my heart has always belonged to “a good piece if wool” as mum used to say.

Deep sigh…

I think more trousers are needed, but weight and style is very undecided, as are tops to go with. And dresses, for some reason, which I am finding difficult to even consider. Veddy strange for moi.

Am considering trying a pattern with different cup sizing, just to see if there’s a difference, as I seem to be on the lower edge of all that. Just to try something different.

Above A.L.L., everything has to be comfortable. After spending too many years in offices wearing things a little too tight and heels with pointy toes, have had it with anything not totally comfortable.

So, how to express that in two or three words eludes me at the mo. But am trying not to allow that to stop me from going through the three rather large containers of cold weather clothes.

A good sort out is definitely in order. Give me strength! And maybe additional dark chocolate rations… hehehee! 🤣 🥰 🤪

what i didn’t do on my summer vacation

A couple of days into my impromptu Labor Day Week of vacation somebody decided it was time to pay a visit. Perhaps you’ve heard? A little thing called Dorian.

This is one dangerous, dithery dame. Definitely not to be taken lightly. Certainly not a dame to be invited into a sewing circle. So I had to drop a few plans to start prepping.

Thus, vacation is being “extended” until she decides to “make that turn” away from the coastline and hopefully into the total oblivion she so richly deserves.

My ickle sewing spot is positioned far enough off the coast to avoid a direct visit, if she makes that turn. Everybody cross your extremities, pleeze!

So. What have I planned to keep me occupied Thursday and Friday?

Those thoughtful Canadians, Caroline & Helen of Love to Sew had a great podcast last week about planning your dream wardrobe. If anybody needs that, I do.

A HUGE Thank You to you both!

As the eagle-eyed amongst you may observe, there’s also a PDF in that piccie, ready to be assembled and tried out. You know, in case one should have nothing to do.

🤣 L.O.L.!!! 🤣

Fingers & tootsies crossed, will be back with you shortly with a wardrobe report. Meanwhile, be safe, Lovely Ones. 😘 ❣️ 😘

PS/Mystery lovers, did you see this article? I can vouch for Tey as being extremely enjoyable… 😁

PPS/(My thanks to she-knows-who for printing. 😉)

little books

very late Thursday night…

Today marks two little books coming into yours truly’s purview.

The lovely little one (left) is full of positiveness and support — things we in the sewing community hold dear, and which author Karen Ball (Did You Make That) has in abundance.

(Added: Click the book to go to amazon U.K. to order. This is mailed to other countries; the download Kindle oversion is not available in America. Don’t know about other countries. Sorry. ☹️)

The other book isn’t small. A large dark chocolate egg might help. I suspect the first book will be an antidote for the second. Meanwhile . . . . ✂️ ✂️ ✂️

Patterns are cut out, fabric awaits, and the holiday weekend is upon us. Time to crack on! 🤣 🤣 🐣 🐥 🐣 🤣 🤣

scraps

I tackled the scrap drawer Saturday afternoon after ignoring its’ overflowedness for months.

Using bits from Marie Kondo’s books, plus bits from Hila’s video, the unwanted items are gone. Oh, one does feel virtuous after diving into chaos and ending with order… perhaps a too infrequent sensation. 🥴

Next up is the clothes closet, but that will have to be done in stages, as the weather is fluctuating between hot Spring and warm Winter temps.

Walking across the street yesterday, the hot humidity of approaching thunder storms brought back memories. Unfortunately, they weren’t of ❄️ & 👢&🧣& 🧤.

From this week’s weather forecast it looks like anything resembling “cool” might not occur again until November or December. 😣 Where did those 50’s and 60’s go??? Couldn’t Mummy Nature crank out a few more before melting the tarmac?

Meeeeeeeeeeeee-eh. 🥺 Even blackberry muffins aren’t consoling. (Yes, it’s muffin time again, yummy-yum-yum!)

Guess it’s the closet next. . .

Trying not to dwell on that thought, have almost finished The Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame; Ernest H. Shepard, illustrator). And it is so good I wish it would go on and on. Sigh.

Even the first chapter of Dorothy Sayers’ Have His Carcase can’t tempt me, and with an opening para like this that’s hard for me to believe.

“The best remedy for a bruised heart is not, as so many people seem to think, repose upon a manly bosom. Much more efficacious are honest work, physical activity, and the sudden acquisition of wealth… Harriet Vane found all three specifics abundantly at her disposal; and although Lord Peter Wimsey, with a touching faith in tradition, persisted day in and day out in presenting the bosom for her approval, she showed no inclination to recline upon it.”

Meanwhile a certain stripey brown caftan has been laundered, and after ironing just might find its way onto the cutting table with a trouser pattern on top.

Nothing promised, you understand… but caftans or long skirts are sometimes things I make before deciding what to really do with a fabric. They don’t require much cutting into… if you catch my drift. 😉

❤️❤️ Meanwhile, may your bobbins never run out! 😘😘

puttering into coincidence, fabric stashes & joy

anticipating a holiday weekend of sewing

This was supposed to be about receiving fabric for a weekend of three blissful days spent sewing.

Except the fabric didn’t arrive, it rained all weekend, and I hardly sewed anything.

So have been feeling a bit… fraught trying to account for lost time, feeling guilty, but clearly (in hindsight) just needing time to putter.

So I caught up on chores, read blogs and sewing videos. I enjoyed The Fold Line’s Sewing Summer Trends  and tried hard to find something to suit my summer heat & humidity ~ absolutely can’t be doing with anything tight. It was nice to hear what’s doing on the high street s of London.

speaking of hiding – decided to get this duster out and try to remember how i’d meant to piece together a sleeve & front after packing it all away some….. 2 years ago?

Then had to check out Hila, over at Saturday Night Stitch. There were two videos I hadn’t seen. Goody!  It was great fun seeing what she’s up to, and her industrious stash sort-out made me feel curious about what might be hiding out in my own.

Before watching Hila’s video on organising her stash, perhaps I should give a little heads up: Hila’s stash is sooo luscious I get mega fabric envy and want to move to (or order from) N. Yorkshire’s shops. So hide your plastic, Ladies!

(If any of you Lovelies think you have a huge stash, you might be surprised. However, she has FOUR Little People and a Hubs she sews for.)

I also caught up on the blog over at The Confident Stitch (TCS). (No, I didn’t order more fabric!) In fact, reading one by Kate (owner of TCS) on tidying up fabric stashes she mentioned a book. It reminded me that Hila had, too.

Being in procrastination mode, that was enough of an excuse a reason for me to spend time reviewing both and confirming it was the same book: Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. Has anyone else read it?

Now being firmly in exploratory mode after finally putting my unmade heavy winter fabrics back into stash, I grabbed a white plastic sack of fabric I’d bagged up for donating months ago. That’s how I discovered some dark green fabric I’d been hunting for pillow coverings. Dub – what was I thinking when I piled it in there?

It was the ending of Hila’s video that really inspired me, because also in that bag I found a lovely summer cotton sheath I’d totally forgotten. I loved the slightly heavy cotton fabric, but hadn’t gotten it made up into something practical enough to wear in summer heat.

I decided to spent the evening ripping it apart. I’m determined to remake it into something wearable – probably a simple top. I’m also going to take time to enjoy my fabric stash.

As Hila explained about her fabric, “What is this life if we can’t stop and feel the joy in fabric?!”

 

fabric updates

the green collection
1 & 3 are silk
4 & 5 rayon viscose
2 is a blend with slight stretch

I was contemplating where to begin sewing The Green Collection (left) when everything halted for the move.

Unpacking led to relocating bits & pieces used for packing, which led to…

Deciding I really need a casual green duster to accompany numbers 4 and 5, currently thought of as dresses. Which led to…

Ordering some swatches from Vogue Fabrics, two-thirds of which are to hand and none will do… which led, whilst awaiting swatches, to. . .

vogue swatches Lt to Rt:: double knit, cotton gauze, 2 rayon viscose

Making more order amongst heavier fabrics (a.k.a. winter), which led to . . .

Me realising I’m not sewing heavier fabrics because the climate’s too hot to wear them.

Ooohhhhh.

Oh me oh my.  Horrors! 😱

Does anyone else buy impractical fabric??

my very appropriate penguin copy

books
Am delighting in the latest Durrell volume, My Family and Other Animals, because its lyrical, hysterical, and utterly charming.

     “We had agreed that we would not invite a lot of people to the party; we said we didn’t like crowds, and so ten guests, carefully selected, were the most we were prepared to put up with… Having unanimously decided on this, each member of the family then proceeded to invite ten people. Unfortunately they didn’t all invite the same ten…”          From “The Enchanted Archipelago” chapter.

Am wending my way through Ann Cleeves’ Shetland series, watching each episode after reading the book, and using both as antidotes for summer heat.

Finally have gotten a copy of Julie Summers’ Home Fires and couldn’t put it down. Although quite different from the PBS programmes, a very enlightening read!

 

off topic: reducing photo file size for online use

is this a big file or a little file? compare them!
is this a big file or a little file? compare them!

Perhaps because yours truly started with the old Apple iWeb in ’08, before progressing to WordPress blogging, I discovered early on there’s a little program called iPhoto that comes pre-loaded on Macs.

Its less technical than Photoshop, so a quick and easy way to alter photos before publishing on whatever platform you use. And it sits on your platform, not someone else’s (under someone else’s idea of “security” 😉).

 

One of the handy-dandy things it can do is reduce the size of your photo file. I went hunting for this because I was a mite concerned about on-line photo theft. Yep. Even way back then.

Smaller photo size means photo quality is also reduced. Not a good thing if you want to print an enlargement, or to re-use a stolen pic in huge highway signage (it’s happened!).

  • Smaller file size = Fewer potential thefts/mis-use.
  • Smaller file size = Doesn’t bulk up your online storage (i.e., your WordPress Library).

My current WordPress Library capacity = 8%. That’s eight.
Notice any quality issues with my photos? There’s a tiny test up top for you!

I discovered, and continue to use, an easy method for decreasing MB photo files into under 100 KB photo files that look just as nice on-line. And yes, all the huge files of photos are stored off- and/or on-line, depending on age & whether or not I choose to archive them.

[Sorry I can’t recommend a free programme for non-Mac users, but betcha some Lovely Readers can . . . please enlighten us in the Comments – THANK YOU!]

iPhoto basic: get ‘em in, reduce ‘em, get ‘em out
add photos: Either download directly from your camera or use this command string:

File/Import to Library/pop-up screen to choose which & where files to Import are located/click Import.

[In iPhoto there are organisational choices for how you want to organise your photos. Personally, I organise using Events, which I label by years. There are also options for location & facial recognition, which I don’t use.]

export smaller file photos: Click on photo(s) to download, then use this command string:     File/Export/window pops up & I use JPG/Medium/Medium Size/Use filename/ click Export/window pops up asking for where you want photos to go/click OK.

And that’s how I don’t fill up my online WordPress Library.

Hope it all makes sense, Lovelies, and you soon have all worries behind you!

Please ask questions or provide answers below. And don’t forget to give a guess as to which of the photos is the larger file!

my chaotic pdf pattern storage

organised chaos? 😱
organised chaos?
😱

(To the lovely uninitiated, a pdf sewing pattern is one you pay for, download, print out, and then tape/glue/somehow stick together to form an entire sheet(s) of pattern pieces, which you then cut out before attaching to your fabric, cutting out, and sewing. Clear as mud? Hmm…  Think of NOT waiting 2-3 weeks for a paper pattern from around the world to arrive in your mailbox.)

Yes, we sewers are a bit different, and not just in wardrobe choices. We also buy patterns and translate instructions… but that’s another story for another day. 😉

Sewing pal Jen (aka Let the Sewing Begin) and I were talking the other day. We’re in the same country and time zone. Whee!

I asked her how she was storing her pdf patterns, and promised to send her photos of what I was doing.

See all those odd-shaped pieces of paper hanging where my haberdashery storage shoe boxes should be stacked? In that photo on the left, above…? And the photos below are more, but not visible above ’cause they’re hanging to the left of the above photo. That’s what we were talking about: How do we store those pesky pdf pieces of paper?

Jen said she folds hers up, and puts them and the directions into a plastic bag.

Having already spent our talking time resolving other, more earth-shattering world problems we decided to table further discussion, and I promised to send her photos.

Ah.   The moment of truth.

So that night I took an honest look .  .  .

Then I had a 4-close-up-of-improvementthought… If I’m using clothes pegs, sent by dear friend Ali, for some of the patterns… why not just clothes peg them all onto a skirt hanger or two instead of the metal shelving? Then they wouldn’t take up so much space.

So I tried that (on the left), but quickly realized it was impossible to ~

  • keep pieces from intermingling
  • keep the taller pegs from getting stuck in the metal shelving
  • get a pattern off the hanger without everything falling off

Oh. And then one fell off on its own.  Scratch that idea. Deep sigh.

hmmm... all clippies are NOT created equal . . .
uh … all clippies are NOT created equal . . .

Then I saw those big clips I’d stared using. You know, the ones from office supply shops that take up space in a desk drawer. (over on the right)

But with only 3 of them I couldn’t really do an adequate test. Not with eight pdf’s, and probably at least 2 more  somewhere, which we won’t go into right now.

At which point I gave up for the evening, having taken these photos and deciding maybe it was time to call in Those More Expert.

Lovely Readers, how do you store your pdf’s?

 

Submitted for today’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.