Sewing Vloggers

Sunday, March 14, 2021

I've Got A Notion

I have been working away on the portrait project. I believe I've remade the eyes twice and the mouth at least 3 times but it does look like her. I've played with threads, stitches, paints and pencils and in the midst of my inexperience have come to some sort of agreement with all of that. One of the issues is that there are so many different techniques for doing this sort of sewing. All I know is that I will finish this portrait and do the next one differently. It is not that one method is any worse or better than the other. It is just that one technique is more likely to give me what my brain was envisioning. After all, this is a lot like making my first dress. So, lots more to come. I won't sew a garment until I am done this project. That decision is also fueled by the ability to shop for fabric down near Boston. I will be post my two vaccines soon and plan to make a day of it with my sister. I hope new fabrics will inspire as we get into warmer weather and get out of slouchier clothing. We'll see how that all plays out as well. I just know it is lookin' good out there now!!!  Each day we are closer to a happier, more huggable world and I can't wait! 

I've got a few notions for you to check out here, two new, one not so new but so indispensable. 

First are my Clover Pressing Strips. These are new to me. I saw them suggested somewhere on line and immediately went to order them. I cannot tell how many times I have ironed bias tubes and wished I had a strip to put in side that would take the heat of the iron and let me iron the seam open and then let me turn the tube and line that seam up evenly down the length of the tube. My vision has the seam line going perfectly down the middle or the side of the tube. Oh, I've done it but fingers get burned by steam, and it is a touchy, aggravating process. I have slipped a thing or two down a tube or two but they have always turned out to be something that got too hot and burned me or didn't come out of the tube very easily. I can't wait to try these. The package gives you lots of widths from spaghetti strap width to 18 millimeters, roughly a bit less than 3/4 of an inch. They are called Clover Loop Pressing Bars and are available in many places online with prices ranging from 8.00 to 9.50. I paid 8.00 and free shipping. 


My next great notion, and one I use A LOT, are my Derwent Inktense pencils. I know you have heard me mention these before. I've actually done a demo on them where I showed how to make a buttonhole on a print fabric a using a white thread, preferably cotton but poly can work too, and using the pencils with water to color the parts of the buttonhole thread  to match the parts of the print. The  BH literally disappears and it is really awesome. Another use is when you cut a buttonhole  and that white interfacing or that white back side of a fabric is showing on the front of the BH which may be made in a thread of an obvious color, say red  or blue. Once again, you can dip your pencil in a tiny dot of water to turn into paint and paint the inside edge of the BH where that white edge is sticking out. Looks so much better. Pressing anything you've painted with your Derwent pencils, which are technically "watercolor pencils" makes them permanent and I have had no problem with that. They are also great for mending and hiding those light thread ends. On this notion I say go  big or stay home. I have the 36 count tin which goes for around 50.00 but it is so nice to have all the colors to match up when I need them. I  have used them on my daughters face in my portrait project. They can be blended as well. I consider them a must have sewing notion at this point. I think if you get the smaller set you will wish for the larger one in no time. Make sure you get the INKTENSE pencils as Derwent makes many different kinds of pencils. 

My last is another new discovery and wow, do I love it! it is , let me take a deep breath here, "Acorn Precision Piecing Products Seam Align Glue", whew!  I must tell you, sewists, you do need to hang around the Local Quilt Shop. You will find amazing notions to really help any garment sewist that are not found in most places that have garment fabrics. OK, we've all heard of fabric glues. I've used many over the years from Aleene's  to Elmer's white school glue  to a fairly good product called Roxanne's Glue Gaste It and all in between. I use Wonder Tape a lot as well. This Acorn stuff, which my official name for it, from what I understand, is meant for people who do paper piece quilting. It is awesome for garment making as well. You have to use it in seams but that's the idea. It holds seams together. You put the tiniest dot imaginable  down in your seam allowance and then hit it with the iron. If you have one of those tiny applique irons that has sort of a leaf shaped end to it that gets really hot, that is perfect. (There is actually a picture of one on the front of the package of the pressing bars.) You heat that up and keep it carefully close by. You dot your seam allowance, press the fabrics together, hit with the tiny iron, or a big one, and boom! you're stuck and you can sew with no shifting. Needless to say, this has been great  for the tiny pieces on my portrait project. I also used it on a large mending project I did for a friend and it worked great. This glue has worked better than any I've tried over the years. It would be great to stick an underlining to the fashion fabric in the seam allowances before sewing to prevent shifting or to hold down those bias strips on Hong Kong seams that you wrap to the back and then topstitch, hmmmm,,,,How about some plaid matching too?  Warning, this glue looked ridiculously expensive on Amazon but it was in a 4 ounce bottle. My bottle is one ounce and from my LQS. I may have paid around 8.00 or so. I have used it a lot and it has barely moved in quantity. If you can find the one ounce bottle, I suggest trying that out first. I think you'll really like it. 

So these are some notions I am using right now, two of which I very recently discovered. I just have bumped into them and have no connection to anyone selling any of these products, just wanted to share a good thing.


There is something really weird about walking into your studio when you haven't been in there for a couple of days and turn on the light to see your daughter's face looking up at you from under the presser foot on your machine. Haunting,,.:) ............Bunny

Saturday, March 6, 2021

A Difficult Topic

photo courtesy sixty and me 

Let's set the platform first here.  This topic has been brewing with me for a long time as I have been witnessing its expression online repeatedly, each time with quite a sting. Now, I know you are immediately going to jump to an assumption here. You are going to say, " Bunny is an older woman. She is feeling slighted. So what? So she writes a blogpost." No. This topic crosses a broad spectrum from our newest sewists to our oldest and most experienced. They all have prejudiced assumptions made about their abilities, their skills, THEIR STYLE, their experience and more. It is across the decades of sewing experience and practice and really needs to be acknowledged, discussed and stopped.   

Ageism and the Sewing Community

Ageism is practiced, like all prejudice, from a viewpoint, one nurtured by upbringing and ignorance and reinforced by our culture, media, workplace, and social associations. Let me give you a perfect recent example. 

I recently was on a FB page that I really enjoy, one known for its inclusivity which I  appreciate and respect. It has a broad spectrum of followers and experiences which makes for interesting reading and I like that every now and then I am truly inspired and helped and that once in a while I can help someone with their sewing challenges. 

A proud sewist showed a picture of her daughter, who appeared to be thirty  years of age or less with her puppies. I only mention that so you get an idea of the posters possible age. The young daughter was a teacher and facing the difficult challenges of teaching remote and through teacher friends of my own I know how difficult this has been and can sympathize. She keeps her  classes interesting by having theme weeks and decided with students to have, and I quote here, "old people" week. Her mom made her an outfit she would be wearing all week to teach the kids remotely and similar little outfits for the dogs. If you remember Ruth Buzzi from Laugh In, it was similar and the image my brain immediately went to. She wore a pink turban,  a dress made by Mom from a sheet and a long white cardigan. If you saw this costume it was a total "joke" of what any old person would wear and I would venture that you haven't seen anyone dressed like that over 60 in the supermarket in decades, if ever. The "old person" looked like someone from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and would be the image the Mom  and Daughter complicitly would present to their students for a week of remote learning about "old people."  I immediately expressed my feelings and why to the administrator of that page and she  removed it which I appreciate and shows her stand on inclusivity and prejudice is real. I thanked her and thank her again here. 

That was Ageism in the Sewing Community.

It is a good thing my daughters weren't being taught by this teacher as I would have gone straight to the Superintendent of the school district and rattled some serious chains. 

You may think you don't see Ageism in the Sewing Community but it is there every day. At least every day I see someone post a lovely dress or outfit, beautifully made and fitted and someone asks/says "Wow, how old are you? and the maker responds with her age. What then proceeds is a lot of "Wow, you don't look 63!" or fifty or 70 or whatever the age is.  I am going to paraphrase Gloria Steinem here when she was interviewed on her fiftieth birthday by some famous journalist, forget who. 

Journalist: I can't believe you are fifty. You look great. 

Steinem:   This is what fifty looks like. 

Can we just tell our makers they are beautiful, fabulous in their new outfit, made an incredible garment, the fit is amazing, etc. Why does their age have to be a measure of their accomplishment here and asked about?  I see this over and over and it bugs the heck out of me. 

There is more to this topic before you think I am being one sided here. How many negative  pages have you read on social media about "entitled Millenials"? There are scores and scores in the sewing community. I have read  many  of these types of comments, actually pages, just on PR. Different generations do things differently and all generations inherit the future. Millennials seem to be advancing in age and a newer generation of sewists is on the horizon now as well. Newer sewists are just as guilty of Ageism as the longer experienced. I've often witnessed an assumption of lack of computer capability by older sewists on the part of younger sewists. Another is the assumption that if the knowledge is not from Youtube it is not worthy of learning and therefore experience is devalued.  That is a big one I see too often.  Newer sewists need to assume nothing about experienced sewists and what and how they learned all they know and vice versa. It is still knowledge. It goes both ways. 

I would like to make a couple more points about Ageism in the Sewing Community. 

Too long, aging has been something that is the brunt of a joke. Just like that original FB post I mentioned, the teacher made being old a joke to her students. Being old is presented as a joke all the time. Be aware of this and how you comment, post and live on social media in the Sewing Community. Millennial jokes are just as offensive as "old people" jokes in our community and only serve to separate any sense of community that exists. 

There are amazing sewists of a more advanced age out there. They have terrific style and can sew like magic comes from their fingers. One of my favorites is Margy of  A Fool for Sewing. While she has stopped blogging a quick jog through her blog will impress you with her skills and incredible style. 

A Fool for Sewing

Another fabulous sewist who impresses me nearly every day is Ms. Vera  of Alterations and Design by Vera of Savannah, Georgia. She is an extremely hardworking designer who does highly skilled work all with a smile and loving every minute. Her work will blow you away. She can sew or fix ANYTHING as you will see as you go through her page. Ms. Vera, once in a while, will regale us with a new outfit she made for herself for church or a new hairdo and makeup she chooses to share. She doesn't miss a beat when it comes to trends and always looks stylish  in rare glimpses of her personal life. 

ETA: There are many platforms in social media. I don't partake in Instagram, at least not yet, because I just simply don't have the time. I enjoy writing and the depth of socialization that blogging has provided me over the years. I also enjoy FB as I can get quick inspiration and also help others as well and they  often help me, too. But you have to draw the line somewhere so Insta is not on my agenda. I do listen to sewing podcasts a lot and enjoy having them in the background as I sew and organize and plan. I feel like I am with friends and getting to know others in the community. Again, it is that depth of the experience. I have tried Insta a few times but just find it very shallow and it doesn't hold my interest. 

Listening to podcasts made me realize some things. Where are older sewists? Where is the voice of experience? It is nearly nowhere,  people.  I want to commend podcasts that have really broken that rule and I ask WHY have not others? There are only two podcasts I listen to where an older sewist is part of the team. Their participation greatly enhances the quality of the podcast. We all know our tongues get looser as we age and the more seasoned team members here are no exception. They are delightful. And their knowledge is priceless as well.

First, there is Clothes Making Mavens. If you have not heard their podcasts you are really missing something. They are working seasonally now and will re casting soon with a new season but all of their casts are still on line and worth listening to.  Barb Emodi, long time blogger, writer for Threads magazine, book publisher and all around sewing expert, is on the team with Helena, Lori and Hila, talking about very interesting topics in the sewing world. They never run from controversy and are great conversationalists. They always admit what they don't know and when they have been stumped and failed and when they have scored and succeeded. They interact wonderfully with Barb discussing particular topics where her experience is valued and clearly shown. It is all pretty loose, or seems enjoyably so. Barb contributes tons of wit and wisdom and can be counted on for laughs and giggles and an occasional shocker or two. It is clear the other members of the team really value her input. Why aren't other podcasters making experienced sewists part of their regular programming?  Are they afraid to look less experienced? I don't know but from what I have seen (heard) it adds greatly to the entertainment value of the podcast, never mind what we learn from such a wealth of knowledge.

Another podcast I would like to acknowledge for its clear acceptance of all in the sewing community is The Self Sewn Wardrobe and their podcast "Sewing Out Loud". This podcast is quite unique in that is broadcast by two women, no biggy, right? Well, these two women are biggies. They are a mother and daughter team, both extremely knowledgeable sewing professionals who have done it all from owning sewing related businesses to now podcasting and every sewing related activity in between. There is classic, mother daughter chatter, often hilariously pitting the two generations, and always informative and  entertaining. Mom is into aerial acrobatics and makes her challenging costumes and Mallory has small children and a husband, while pursuing a busy professional life. One of the hall marks of  Mallory and  Zede's businesses, besides, skill, and experience, is acceptance of all. 

We need more Self Sewn Wardrobe and Clothes Making Maven type podcasts where those doing the casting are not just talking about their own personal experience but talking with those who have a longer, wider sewing experience than they do. I just don't hear it out there. From where I listen, I here other podcasts that consist of not much more than discussions of new patterns and how to sew certain fabrics. I have heard Barb Emodi and Zede Donahue add a great depth of knowledge to what other casts cast out there. They can't be the only ones and shouldn't be. I think we need to demand that all voices are heard in the sewing community and not just those who have sewn only Indie patterns. Experienced sewists have sewn Indie patterns as well but for some reason they are not being brought into the podcasting community with interviews or as team members. Barb is a great example but just check out Pattern Review to see many others older sewists sewing Indies. Many have done so for a long time. 

There are countless more  women like the ones I have mentioned above, women of high skill and style. They are valuable members of the sewing community and DO NOT look or sound or make clothes like the depiction of an old person that the FB poster put out to her students. Crap like that has got to stop. Comments about entitlement and millennials does too and really is so yesterday. It is still always so wrong to generalize a whole generation. ANY GENERATIONAL PREJUDICE IS WRONG, SO JUST STOP IT AND SEW ON. Share the love and the passion. Always in peace and love,,,,,,,,Bunny

Who owned this pattern?

Recently I've had the opportunity to charge ahead on a long anticipated project, searching down some great thrift shops. This has not be...