Monthly Archives: June 2006

Happy Birthday, Honey – Final

When I was ironing a couple of Tommy Bahama camp shirts the other day, I noticed that the edgestitching on the facing stopped at the top vs. turning the corner and meeting the collar stitching. I thought I’d give this a try – I’m not sure whether I like it or not. It certainly was easier.

I made an extra thin piece of bias tubing for the button loop. I stitched about 1/8″ from the fold of my bias strip and then turned it with a needle and thread after trimming the seam allowances close to the stitching. Just for kicks, I sewed this entire shirt with Mettler Silk-Finish cotton thread. I must say, I really liked it for the topstitching. The thread melds into the fabric so much better than polyester. I’ll have to see how it holds up in the construction.

Here’s the finished collar area. This is the first time I’ve added the loop. It’s really just decorative since I didn’t sew the necessary button under the collar. The pattern (Kwik-Sew 2935) directs you to cut the loop 1.75″ long which is just a wee bit too long, in my opinion. I think I’ll try 1.5″ on the next shirt.

Tone-on-tone embroidery is a big thing with executives these days. Advertising with a whisper. The embroidery looks a little wonky but that’s because I had it draped over a pile of fabric on my pressing surface when I took the photograph.

Of course, I made him open it tonight before we went to bed and he loved it! He is wearing it tomorrow to the closing.


Filed under Embellishments, Kwik-Sew

Happy Birthday, Honey – Part 2

Naturally, I am running way behind schedule on my husband’s birthday shirts. Something came up yesterday and I was away all day. By the time I came home at 9:30 last night I was ready for nothing more than a small snack and bed. I know better than to start cutting when I’m tired. That meant that I had work to catch up on today so I wasn’t able to start cutting until tonight. I only cut out the cream silk. Because I volunteered to help out at the restaurant on Friday, I only have tomorrow to sew and I must do it quickly and in between my other work! At this point, I’ll be happy to have one shirt to give him on his special day. I wish I were more like Carolyn and could crank out beautiful things under pressure! And, yes, if you are wondering, that is soil separator cloth that I used to trace my pattern. Every time I use this pattern I am reminded how much I hate soil separator cloth. I can’t stand the way it feels and I can’t read the notes I’ve written on the pattern. I really should retrace it onto something else.

Happily, I found some really pretty mother-of-pearl buttons for the cream silk in my button stash. I always try to use mother-of-pearl buttons on my husband’s shirts. They seem to be more and more difficult to find and my stash is dwindling. I looked through my entire button stash and couldn’t find anything to go with the raisin-colored rayon, never mind anything in mother-of-pearl. I think I have a pretty good button stash but I could be wrong. Maybe I should stop buying fabric and vintage patterns and concentrate on buttons for awhile.

I guess that means settling for some ordinary plastic button from JoAnn’s. Maybe I’ll get lucky and find something in wood. Better yet, maybe I’ll cut the wood buttons off of that orange Tommy Bahama shirt of my husband’s that I hate so much. ;-) Button shopping will have to wait until the weekend. I really don’t want to waste an hour going to Fabric Hell. You know how it is – I’d have to sit and look through the pattern books and just generally look around to confirm that they have the same old stinky fabric they always do. My mother always said I was a dawdler and she was right (about that anyway).


Filed under Kwik-Sew, Notions


I love lizards, they are so cute! I spend some time rescuing them from my cats just about every day. My cats obviously have no regard for how many bugs lizards eat, hmph. Check out this cutie hiding out in my mailbox. He let me take a couple of pictures and then ducked out of sight. He’ll probably scare the bejesus out of me when I get the mail this afternoon.

Last Friday, one of my customers pointed this one out to me. He (or she, I don’t know how to tell) was just hanging out, sunning himself. No big deal. Except that, by my estimation, he was between 10 and 12 inches long! Imagine the number of enormous bugs this fella needs every day! I can only hope he’s lurking around my yard somewhere enjoying all of the bugs that seem to be munching on my pesticide-free plant life. Speaking of which, I’ve been wanting to buy some ladybugs to keep the aphids under control. Have you noticed that ladybugs are pretty scarce these days? I wonder if lizards eat ladybugs?


Filed under This and that

Happy Birthday, Honey!

Friday is my husband’s birthday. It also happens to be the day he is closing on the restaurant he’s buying. He had mentioned to me that he wanted some nice Tommy Bahama-style camp shirts with the restaurant logo on them. Perfect – a nice birthday present for the man who has everything. After he left for work this morning I searched my stash. I pulled out a cream sueded silk and a denim-blue silk linen. Sadly, I didn’t have enough of the blue silk for a camp shirt. Darn, I guess I’ll have to use that for myself.

Then, I made the ultimate sacrifice. I hopped into my car and drove to Ultra Fabrics in Pembroke Pines. I was disappointed to see that they are still closed (hurricane damage). Not to be deterred, I drove to Elia’s Fabrics in Hialeah. Lots of gorgeous suitings and a ton of polyester silkies. I left empty-handed. On the way back I decided to stop at RM Fabrics in North Miami. It was on the way back to the highway and sometimes I get lucky there. I found this beautiful raisin-colored sueded rayon with a paisley jaquard pattern. Only $6/yd so I bought the whole bolt. I don’t know why I do that. I will have to age the leftovers for several years so that DH and I don’t accidentally end up matching. Old habits die hard.


Filed under Fabric

Bonus tank top

I love to wear tank tops around the house so I was thrilled to see that I had just enough of the Pucci-inspired fabric left over to squeeze out a Loes Hinse Tank. This tank top is really easy and fits nicely. I like the fact that my bra doesn’t show – even under the arm. To finish the edges I used some ruffled lingerie elastic. There isn’t much black in this print but, believe it or not, I didn’t have any brown or beige elastic in my stash that didn’t look like it belonged on a pair of panties. So, I made due with what I had on hand. I added the flat bow because it just looked like it needed *something*.


Filed under Fabric, Loes Hinse

Pucci print dress!

Many of you know about my cutting mishap with this Pucci-inspired fabric. Even decades of experience do not make one immune to silly mistakes! But, thanks to Sherry Doty, who so generously offered me her piece, the dress is now finished! I used the same vintage pattern, Simplicity 6672, that I used for my graduation dress back in May.

The dress will be making it’s debut this evening at my father-in-law’s birthday birthday bash.


Filed under Fabric, Patterns, vintage

Industrial Sewing Machines

Let’s talk about industrials for a moment. There seems to be a misconception among home sewers that “industrial” means heavy duty. Not so. There are industrial machines for all different types of work. An industrial dressmaking head will no more sew heavy materials and be able to handle heavy nylon thread than whatever home machine you are working on. Nor will a machine intended to handle heavy materials work well if you are making a dress.

Let’s compare:

This is an industrial zigzag – a Singer 20U-33. She used to be blue but she had a face lift last year. :-) I use her mainly for uniform work in my embroidery business (sewing on trims, tackle twill numbers, etc.). She also handles home dec projects very well (dust ruffles, draperies, pillows, etc.) and doesn’t mind lightweight garment leathers. However, she does not like heavy work, nor does she like heavy thread. Believe me, I tried it *very carefully* last year and ended up breaking the hook.

This is an industrial walking foot machine – a Consew 206RB. She LOVES heavy work! She will sew through bulky layers of leather or awning canvas like a hot knife through butter. Heavy thread? No problem! I use her mainly for sewing heavy leathers but she will handle anything and everything from canvas on up. My friend Sandy uses the same machine in her upholstery business and my friend Sharon uses a similar model (the 226) to make tapestry purses and pressing boards.

What really peeves me are unscrupulous Ebay sellers who list plain old domestic machines as “industrial”. Just because it looks like an iron horse doesn’t make it industrial and if it is industrial doesn’t mean it will handle heavy work. Do your homework – I cannot stress this enough! If you don’t know someone who is knowledgeable about the model you are considering, a wealth of information can be found right here on the internet.

Here’s a good one. This machine is being sold as an “industrial walking foot”. Check out the sticker! ;-) It even uses “industrial thread”! You mean, like cone thread? Wow.

And look! The seller has cleverly disguised the “industrial walking foot” as a plain old zigzag foot. Read further and you’ll find that the walking foot is “detachable” – a dead giveaway. Honestly, how do people keep a straight face when they are typing up these listings? Even worse, how do they sleep at night?

The seller says he has sold this machine for nearly $1000 new in the box but you, my dear Ebay buyer, can buy it for just over $100. My local dealer sells this budget-friendly home machine for $99.


Filed under Sewing Machines