Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My baby turns 5 today!

WOW! Where has the time gone?! My baby turns 5 yrs old today! I am so happy and proud to be this little guy's momma. He is such a kind-hearted and compassionate little boy. He always puts others before himself and helps anyone he can whenever he has the chance. He protects his little sister from anyone and everything (including her own risk-taking self!) and is mature beyond his years.

Jonathan (a.k.a- Juice) is an amazing boy! 

He's my sous chef!

He helps with the gardening!

He harvests his own veggies!

He loves to sew!
At age 3.
At Age 4.
We made this doll together!
He's a quilter, too! 

He enjoys doing some sort of art project every day!

He loves to check out library books on snakes!

He read his first book this year! 

He loves building with Lego blocks!

He enjoys his karate class... and has great form!
{Wish him luck! He has his first belt test this afternoon... on his birthday!}

And he loves and takes care of his sister like no one else!

Happy 5th Birthday, Juice! I love you more than words can express! 
We are all so blessed to have you in our lives!

{P.S- If you want to see my little man sewing up a storm, click to watch him in this video. He's pretty amazing!}

Friday, August 15, 2014

Top 5 Tools for Sewing Clothes

{Disclaimer: This post includes some affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from one of those links I will earn some $$. Thanks for your support!}

This year I've been making clothes to fit my new slimmer body. It's been a lot of fun and I still have plans to make more. You can see pictures of some of my garments if you follow me on Instagram. 

Recently I've been going through my patterns, reading reviews online, pinning cool outfits or accessories that inspire me on this Pinterest board. You know, just getting my stuff together now that summer travel is coming to an end. As I gather my supplies I thought I'd write up this post on what my five must-have tools/supplies are when I'm sewing garments.

Keep in mind I am not a garment sewing expert or professional. I'm self-taught, people. No coutoure garments here. I'll leave that to the pros. I did take a tailored jacket workshop recently but I'll do a separate post on that soon. For now, let's keep this thing in hobby-mode, okay? Great. Aside from a sewing machine in good working order here are my top 5 must haves for garment sewing.

My Top 5 Tools for Sewing Clothes

#1: Fine glass head pins

These are not your cheap ol' pins. They are a bit pricier but so worth it. For starters you can press your pieces with the pins in place and not melt the head off of it. Ever had plastic goo on your iron? Not a good look. Also, I like to get these because they are finer and work better with lightweight {and more delicate} fabrics than some other pins. Some even say they don't leave holes in your fabric. I also like that they don't cause my fabric to pucker or distort while pinned because they are so fine.

#2: Dressmaker shears 

This is a touchy subject because you will find dressmaker shears at your local fabric store for less than $10 and then you'll see some cost upwards of $100. Is there really that much difference in a pair of scissors? Well, yeah. But personally, I'm still not gonna dish out that kind of cash on a pair of scissors. But that's just me. I'm cheap. I rather buy more fabric with that money! I have over a dozen pairs of scissors in all kinds of sizes.  When it comes to garment sewing these are my favorite ones at the moment. I can cut through two layers of a nice stable ponte knit without struggling. If it can do that... I'm happy with it. {Note: My rotary cutter is also very handy! I have been known to cut around a pattern with curves and all. I do not recommend this unless you are super steady and precise with a rotary cutter.)

#3: An iron

 I don't care if it's a $6 iron you got at a big box store or a $200 iron that shuts itself off when you clap your hands. Whatever you can afford, get it. Pressing your seams will elevate your sewing {and quilting} projects to the next level! This is a must. No cutting corners here, please.  Did I say, please? {Note: When I use my cheap iron I don't put water directly in it because it's 100% guaranteed to spit & sputter. So, I keep a spray bottle with water nearby. I spritz the fabric with the H2O and then hit it with a hot, dry and clean iron to activate that steam. Works like a charm!}
These are the irons I currently have and use interchangeably: This one and a $10 iron I got at a big box store 7 years ago and is still working fine. For smaller projects, piecing quilts or traveling I love my little mini iron. 

#4: Clapper

Never heard of it? It's a tool traditionally used by tailors and they are pretty much non-existent today. Not sure why! This thing is amazing and a must-have in my studio. Ever since I saw Angela demo it on It's Sew Easy I was intrigued and had to buy one from her.  It's custom made in the U.S. (Michigan, to be exact!) And once you see what it does you will want one, too. Trust me. They are a little pricey but after this demo video I was convinced I had to dish out the cash and get one. Click here to get yours.  Use coupon code: CRAFTYGEMINI10 to get 10% off your order! {Note: You need to use steam for the clapper to work properly.} If you want to see me use my clapper check out this sew along series. 

#5: Tailor's Ham

This is a bulky little thing that comes in different shapes and sizes and is an amazing tool to use on garments. I use mine especially for pressing areas that are rounded to fit certain areas of the body like your bust, shoulders, etc. Usually one side has 100% wool fabric and the other cotton muslin. I also came across this site for custom made tailor's hams, pricey but very cute! You can also buy the basic and affordable hams at your local fabric store or online. Click here to get yours. You can also try and make your own from this tutorial but I've read that a lot of people who DIY it aren't happy with how un-full it is no matter how much they stuff it. I made my own and it turned out okay. Definitely not perfect... but functional. You can see me use it in this sew along series. 

What are some of your must-have tools for garment sewing? Leave me a comment and let me know!

 Looking to get started with some garment sewing basics. I recommend the following classes:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Paper Piecing Class Recap

Two finished Mod Mushrooms blocks! That's Margaret Travis of Eazy Peazy Quilts on the left!
Can't believe she came to my class! Sooooo cool!
I was in Lakeland, FL this weekend teaching my Mod Mushrooms paper pieced block to a wonderful group of ladies at the Fabric Warehouse. It was so much fun! I'm working with the shop now to schedule in some more dates for me to come by and teach some other classes.  Although Lakeland is about a 2.5 hour drive for me it works out nicely because my mother lives nearby.  I can head down for a few days with the kids to teach and she gets to play with her only grandchildren. Win-win!

If you live near Lakeland, FL be sure to check out the calendar for September/October 2014 in the next few weeks to see if you can make it out to one of my classes! That would be awesome. I love to meet Crafty Gemini followers in real life!

Fabric Warehouse shop in Lakeland, FL

My Mod Mushroom block turned out to be a hit with my students.  I taught them some paper piecing tips and tricks, provided the templates, explained what paper I like to use and why, what sewing machine settings to use for paper piecing, etc.  I really enjoyed seeing their fabric choices. They were all so different but perfect for these funky 'shrooms.

paper pieced mushrooms quilt block
My sample Mod Mushrooms quilt block.

paper pieced mushroom quilt block

We started off with paper piecing basics to get them in the groove.  It's all about practice when it comes to paper piecing!  The first block they pieced was the little starburst looking block you see on the left in the image above. After they got that down we moved into cutting the fabrics for the Mod Mushroom block. I provided the students with a print out that included all the fabric dimensions they needed to cut out for all the sections of the block.

cutting fabric for quilt block
Cutting and sorting... so organized!

cutting fabric for a quilt block
Cutting up some gorgeous solid fabrics.
paper pieced mushroom quilt block
I love solids, too!
ladies sewing at quilt shop
Busy sewing bees!

I had a great time in Lakeland at the Fabric Warehouse and look forward to returning again next month! I hope you can join me!
ladies at quilt shop paper piecing class
Almost all of my students and I at the Fabric Warehouse in Lakeland, FL. Fun times!
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