Thursday, January 14, 2016

No New Resolutions!

For the past two years, the Sewphisticuts have declared sewing resolutions to start the new year, hoping that making a list (and declaring them publicly) would provide impetus to really get to those projects!  Well, that didn't happen very often - fun while it lasted, though.  So we tossed last year's resolutions right out the window and moved on.

We used this month's meeting to do some brain-storming.  Everyone contributed some ideas and wishes and we were able to block out a schedule for the upcoming year.  We have some pretty interesting stuff coming up!

For next month's meeting we are going to explore knitting and crocheting, specifically as decorative edgings added to items we've sewn or purchased.  Everyone is invited to bring books, patterns, samples, or directions related to this topic.

Judy agreed to do a program on making bias binding.  Date to be determined. 

Several of us want to know more details about making handbags, such as interfacing choices, to achieve a more professional look.  We hope to find someone with experience to do a program for us.

Ronnie suggested an exploration of crazy-quilts, so I agreed to present some research on these at one meeting (probably in March), with the following month being devoted to sewing some samples.

June will be our sewing room tour - Peggy volunteered to show hers again since it has been redone since we were last there.

July is planned to be a Pillow Project sewing meeting to make pillows for the hospitals and rid Connie's attic of donated fiberfill.

Everyone wanted to return to doing Make-a-Difference-Day;  Connie volunteered to organize it.   We made a list of possible groups to benefit and Connie will get back to the group soon about projects.

Also on the table - some field trips in the nicer weather, most likely on a Saturday, perhaps to FIT's museum in NYC.   Suggestions for any other interesting places are welcome.

We had some Show-and-Tell also.  Pictures follow.

Kathia made a portable ironing pad.

Kathia made a "waste can" for sewing scraps.
One of 4 placemats Maura made to match her inherited china.

A machine-embroidered quilt by RoseAlice

RoseAlice's paper-pieced quilt

Judy's slacks made of brushed twill.

Maura's fake mink vest, not quite finished

Maura's corduroy slacks - fabric from last May's tag sale.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Free and (not so) Easy Sewing

The program at this month's Sewphisticuts meeting was Free-Motion Sewing, presented by Judy L.  Although sometimes called free-motion embroidery or thread-painting, it encompasses much more than those two categories.  Basically free-motion sewing means that you are making your own path, sewing by moving the fabric in all directions under the needle without turning the fabric.  A couple of tips:  don't look at the needle but instead look at where you want to go next; sew at high speed and keep the fabric moving at a consistent rate.  Although a speed adjustment setting is not required for this technique, it is helpful since limiting the speed to a slower setting lets you keep a consistent speed at a rate that is still manageable for sewing.  Two requirements are a special machine foot (darning, free-motion, or similar), and dropped or covered feed-dogs.

After hooping some muslin-type fabrics, we practiced the looping motions we would be using once the hoop was under the machine foot.  Then we began sewing, just getting the feel of moving the fabric smoothly under the foot:  too fast and you get big stitches, too slow and you get stitches piling up in one place.  It took some time but a few of us began to actually make some halfway decent curves and loops, trying to achieve a stippled effect.  By layering fabric and batting, then outlining designs, we could imitate trapunto.  Cindy tried some thread-painting, using some decorative thread and sewing back and forth within an area to lay in color much as one would with a paintbrush.

The techniques we learned could be used in a variety of ways, from quilting to garment embellishment to home-dec.  Some of the methods also have a steep learning curve.  But it was interesting to try out something we might not otherwise explore on our own.
Judy shows an example of outline work and some thread painting.

Kathia works while Connie watches.

Cindy tries some thread painting. She used garden gloves for better grip on the fabric.

And we had some Show-and-Tell.

Peggy's Christmas ornaments
Tree made at the Sew-In

Peggy's blouse - great motif placement!

Maura's yoga pants

Peggy's cutlery holders