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Archive for the ‘Garments’ Category

Unboxing Minerva: the new Janome M7 Continental!

Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

What a BEAST! I think this machine may be able to do everything but cook and do the dishes (Janome: hint hint LOL!). While visiting with Janome America staff (Regena, that’d be you) at International Quilt Market in Houston, I was thrilled to learn that Janome wanted me to take this beauty for a test drive, blog and share and sew on it for the next year! THANK YOU JANOME, and yes indeed-y I am shouting! I’ve been beyond lucky to be a Janome Artisan since 2003–don’t ask me how I’ve lasted this long, I’m not sure, but I’m just really proud to be affiliated with them (I’m not an employee but all opinions are honest and unvarnished).


Today I’ll share a quick video of the unboxing. Then I have Christmas gifts to make, so I will share various things and features that I have found. So far I know I’m going to miss the flip-up chart of the stitches, but there are so many other beyond **amazing** features that I can cope–and photocopy the pages in the manual for ready reference! I’ll get to learn about the new AcuSpark phone app that one can use for tutorials and tips using the on-screen QR codes on how to use the machine, and I am in love before even turning it on with the new built in antenna thread stand, the fact that the antenna collapses so I can actually USE the COVER on the machine easily, not to mention the massive harp space. One bit of advice: you may need help hoisting this machine onto your table!

This box is so big that *I* could fit inside it! Widgeon is so impressed (and deaf and nearly blind) that he doesn’t realize he has a cookie on the floor in front of him!

As for the name: the Janome 7700, from some years ago, was the most beautiful ruby red on the front. I’m not much of a red fan but boy do I miss that face plate! So, as a fan of the Harry Potter books, I named that beastie Rubeus Hagrid (the gamekeeper). When I had the 15000 top of the line on loan, of course it had to be Albus Dumbledore, the greatest wizard of all time. Later, the silver-faced 9400 (and its heir the 9450) became Gandalf the Grey, because we love the Lord of the Rings, too.

BUT, I decided it was time for a POWERFUL WOMAN, so I have named her Minerva McGonagall, headmistress of Gryfindor and one of the bravest, stronger, most powerful and wise witches of all time. Here’s to Minerva!

Dress forms and democracy

Friday, June 14th, 2019

Or, a catch-up post! As usual, when I end up beyond-crazy-busy the blog gets even more neglected, so that means I’ve been crazy busy! I have finished a 30×50 quilt, but I can’t share it–at least until after jurying is complete at the end of the month. I’m also slamming on two new projects for Janome America to use: portraits of the dog and the cat. As you can see, I have just begun!

The dog….It will be titled “I Love, Therefore I Am”
Here she is expanded. I haven’t discovered her name yet. Gladys, named after Flavia de Luce’s bicycle (crime novels, delightful) is a possibility. So is Rose (meh). Betty given the era (also meh). So I’ll think on it.
I thought she’d feel more comfortable (and warmer…basement still chilly) if draped, so I grabbed a vintage tablecloth I dyed that turned out blotchy. It looks great. Wish my waist were then svelte……but I’m not willing to give up ice cream, so there we are!

And last but not least, it has been a Very Busy Spring for my duties as a Town Selectman for Hope. Last night was the Annual Town meeting, which is democracy in action in its purest form. All citizens of Hope are invited. You get an orange card if you are a registered voter, then you vote on things like the budget, which covers everything from snowplowing to town salaries to cemetery maintenance. The moderator asks for Yes votes, raise card. Then asks for No votes, raise card. Citizens are allowed to make amendments from the floor to change the recommendations of the Select Board and the Budget Committee.

The Hope Elementary School gym for the Annual Town Meeting


Anyway, Dick decided to not run again and really retire this time, and we had a full field of four candidates for two slots and Mike is a quiet kind of guy, so he won’t be returning. Plus our town bookkeeper who is AMAZING will retire next April, so I thought we should have a class photo. So here we are: the five Selectmen and the three office staff who both literally and figuratively here always have our backs. We will greatly miss Dick and Mike.

Back row: Chelsea (town clerk etc), Samantha (town administrator, etc), Mary (town bookkeeper etc)–the et cetera because they all wear at least a dozen hats
Front row: me, Dick, Mike, Brian and Wendy
Even though I’m the lone liberal of this group of five, it has been a rollicking good group, always respectful, sometimes witty and funny, friendly bunch. Here’s to more of the same with the two new guys!

And that’s it for mid-June in Hope, Maine. Back to the fusing station….I’ve got work to do!

Free and quick Shannon Cuddle Fleece Hat pattern!

Saturday, December 1st, 2018

Hi everyone…is anyone else madly trying to figure out what to do for Christmas gifts?  Here’s a FREE pattern by me, with major thanks to Shannon Fabrics for the Cuddle fleece.  Literally you can make a couple of these in an hour or so–give yourself three hours and a yard and you can make half a dozen in production-line mode!

How many selfies do you need to take to eliminate many chins or no chin? LOL! I love my soft hat!

And here is what the hat looks like, flat:

Two hats…I mean I used up EVERY LAST BIT of scraps! One hat for me, one to send to Shannon for them to use as they wish!

Here’s the pattern in PDF form…and typed out below:

Shannon Fabrics Cuddle Hat in an Hour

You’ll need:

¼ yard (about 8 ½ lengthwise grain by 22-23 inches) fleece for main fabric

5” by 22-23 inches for contrast

Scraps or yarn for hat tassels

How to:

  •  Measure your head around the forehead:  ______ + 1 “ =  ________  cutting width

Tip: In my case, my head measures 22 ½”.  I found that I wanted my hat to be snug so it would stay on in the wind, so I used a larger seam allowance.  My hat **finishes** at 21 ½” or one inch smaller than my head circumference. Depending on what you find comfortable, you may find that a cutting width exactly the same as your head circumference is just perfect.   

  • Cut main body fleece 8 ½” high by cutting width.  Make certain that the lengthwise (not-stretchy) grainline runs vertically and that the stretchy cross-grain is what goes around your head!
  • Cut hat band fleece 4 ½” by cutting width (if folding under) or 3 ½” by cutting width (if using raw edge).

Option:  vary the width of your band depending on how warm you want it to be and the pattern (if any) of your fleece.  My main fabric is not fuzzy on the inside and I wanted soft, so I have 1 ¼” of the red checked fleece on the inside and about  1” folded under on the outside edge so that there are two layers of fleece to keep my ears warm on a windy winter’s day.

  • Pin seam and test the fit: now is the time make adjustments to snug it up if needed.
  • Sew seams on hat body and hat band using a narrow zigzag, about 1.0 width and 3.0 length.
  • Pin the seams open.
  • Place the hat band and hat body WRONG sides together, matching the seams and overlapping about ½”. Stitch with a serpentine (wavy multi-stitch), 3-step zigzag or narrow zigzag to secure each raw edge.  You will sew two lines of stitching, one on each side of the overlap.
  • Because the fleece is thick, and because I wanted the soft part next to my forehead, I didn’t use a typical garment seam. Instead, I overlapped the two fabrics, wrong sides together, and sewed them with a serpentine stitch. I did this twice, on either side, so I would catch both edges of the overlap.

Sewing the other side of the band

I then turned the plaid to the outside and brought it up above the seam that joins the top of the hat to the “cuff.”

  • Turn the hat band to the outside of the hat body and turn up.  If you are making a thicker band, turn under about an inch; if you are not making a thicker band, simply fold up.  Pin the edge in place; carefully put on the hat.  If you want a narrower contrasting band, now is the time to trim or fold under more.
  • Sew the top edge of the contrasting band using the serpentine  / 3-step zigzag / narrow zigzag stitch.

Optional:  make some tassels. I used a 1” strip of fleece from the selvedge (leftover from another project) and folded it in half wrong-sides together and sewed with the serpentine stitch.  Cut into 9-11” (or thereabouts) lengths.  I opted for four strips which I then folded in half. 

  • Turn the hat inside out. Centering the seamline in the center back, pin right sides together.
  • If using tassels, tuck them into the seam at the corners so that the folded edge is even with the raw edge of the seam.  I placed two at each corner.
  • Sew the seam using a narrow zigzag.

Tip:  sew from the center to the outside edge, pivot at the end and sew back to the center about ½.”  Repeat from the center to the other end.  This is easier than sewing all the way across beginning at the bulky outside edge.

  • Turn right side out and wear with joy!

 

 

 

 

The last bits of fleece make an easy peasy hat!

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

So I decided to use up the very last bits of my buffalo check fleece.  I began with 4 3/4 yards of the 58-60″ wide cloth.  The second photo shows the last bits!   These hats are SO FAST to make…including figuring out the best sewing sequence it took less than an hour for the first one.  If you wanted to make a half dozen, you could do that in an afternoon–quick and easy winter gifts!

How many selfies do you need to take to eliminate many chins or no chin? LOL! I love my soft hat!

This is all that is left of 4.75 YARDS of fabric….that is 10,260 square inches. Under 200 left! I even made some tassles/trim out of the selvages!

This hat will be a free pattern soon–not sure yet if it will be here or at Shannon’s site, but you can make one of these in well under an hour from scraps.  Truly, I used maybe 10×25 for the white part, 5 x 25 for the bottom, and a bit more for the tassles/dangly bits.   I just sewed two tubes to fit my head, one of the white print, one of the buffalo plaid.  The white print is here at Fabric.com.

Because the fleece is thick, and because I wanted the soft part next to my forehead, I didn’t use a typical garment seam. Instead, I overlapped the two fabrics, wrong sides together, and sewed them with a serpentine stitch. I did this twice, on either side, so I would catch both edges of the overlap. My finger is pulling the two pieces apart so you can see the overlap.

I then turned the plaid to the outside and brought it up above the seam that joins the top of the hat to the “cuff.”  I pinned the fabric at both edges so that I kept the amount of black that shows at the bottom even all the way around.  As I mentioned in my earlier posts about the throw and the jacket, the inside of Cuddle is slippery, so pin well. Because the fabric does not ravel, I didn’t need to turn under the upper edge of the plaid cuff.  I used the serpentine stitch to it down.

Finally, I made some dangly bits using the trimmed off selvages (they were about 1″ wide plus lengthwise grain of course):  fold in half wrong sides together and use serpentine stitch.  Cut to length, insert two, each folded in half, at either end of the seam at the top of the hat, and sew the final seam.  Because of the bulk from the dangly bits, I found it far easier to sew from the center to the ends, lock off the stitch and repeat for the other side.

Two hats…I mean I used up EVERY LAST BIT of scraps! One hat for me, one to send to Shannon for them to use as they wish!  Talk about a quick and easy Christmas gift!

 

THANK YOU Shannon Fabrics for this wonderful fabric and an October full of fun, fast and easy fleece projects.   I look forward to making more…I’ve got some Christmas gifts already made which I can’t share due to friends looking at my blog, and another big length of fleece to use on a snuggle quilt for winter!

Fleece Buffalo Jacket/coat!

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

Hi everyone…preparations for teaching at International Quilt Festival Houston are nearly done, so I can return to somewhat regularly sporadic blogging!   In addition to that snuggly lap robe/blanket in Cuddle fabric, I also recently made a hooded jacket using two layers of fleece and a Simplicity pattern.

Cuddle-y two-layer fleece jacket–I may not want to take this off this winter!

As I’ve; mentioned in earlier posts, I totally fell in love with Shannon Cuddle fabric at the Janome Education Summit this past May. Here’s a link to the buffalo check (temporarily out of stock as of October 30) Shannon scarlet and black Cuddle.

Here’s the pattern I used, Simplicity D0761. I purchased 2 3/4 yards of both the ivory cuddle and the buffalo check. I would recommend an extra quarter yard of the check if you plan to match the plaid as I did at sides and sleeves.  The pattern is cool because the hood is cut with the fronts as one big piece.  The only fiddly part in the entire thing was the shoulder-back neck-shoulder seam, and even that worked a charm with careful pinning.   A confident beginner could probably tackle this.  

The pattern is designed for a two-sided fleece such as the sherpa/suede.  Instead, I made two jackets.  I cut the outer jacket perhaps 1/8″ larger than the pattern and sewed it with a 1/2″ seam allowance, not the standard 5/8″.  I sewed the ivory inner jacket at accurate size and with a generous 5/8″ seam allowance.  This allowed the fluffy Cuddle to fit inside.   HOWEVER, the back side of the Cuddle is slippery.  If I were to make this again, I think I would cut my fabric pieces slightly oversized, sew them together as if quilting (wrong sides together) along the black stripe, THEN trim to final size and sew it as if it were ONE fabric.  Currently, even though I tacked the coat at the neckline, it has a propensity to wiggle and sometimes bubble at the hem.

Hood down and open. 

The pattern doesn’t have a closure, but I have some black toggles on faux-leather and may use one.

And a side view showing the hood.

Thanks as always to Janome America…sewing this on my Janome 9400 was a DREAM.  I used the acufeed foot for pretty much everything and the serpentine or lightning stitches.  I used the lightning (a type of zigzag) for seams at 10 width and 3.0 length, which accommodates any stretching.  I used the serpentine on all the turned-over white bits.  Since the Cuddle does NOT RAVEL at ALL, you don’t need to turn under the edges so the serpentine was perfect and it hides in the pile of the fabric.

I’ll repeat the tip I gave before on the blanket:  minky type fabrics are known for shedding fluff.  To minimize the mess, cut from the back side (with a scalpel type cutter if you have one–I don’t so I just used scissors; I also cut from the front to stay on the lines!).  Carefully put everything including the scraps into a plastic bag, carry it to your dryer, and set it on air dry for maybe 5 minutes.  The fluff ends up in the lint filter, so remember to empty it out and perhaps use a damp cloth to wipe out any stray bits.  This reduces the shedding by about 90 percent!