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Tools, Feet, and New Additions (6 years ago on 30 May)

June 19, 2017

As I’m winding down the long weekend, I’m wrapping up my most current projects as well and admiring the finishing touches. What’s significant about many of them is the opportunity to use special tools to accomplish little feats that used to be just a bit harder to do. I keep turning the shirts I’m finishing up for Stan to this weekend to look at the pockets on the left fronts. That perfect top-stitching was made because I used a new presser foot designed for edge stitching. It has a narrow guide near the center of the foot that rides lower than the bottom edge of the foot and therefore, along the edge of the fabric allowing you to stitch perfectly straight and narrow top-stitching. It’s a beautiful thing. I think top-stitching is one of the finishing touches that when done well makes a piece look stunning, and when done poorly leaves you with something less than happy.
Another tool getting lots of use with my current projects is the tailoring tool my son had custom made for me for Christmas.


And on a Side Note…

June 19, 2017

I miss working in my studio, but I think today may be the beginning of my recovery of studio time!! In the meantime I’ve had a topic come up from a variety of directions, so I want to share it here. It really has no direct relationship to my studio, but then I guess I do promote these tactile skills that I discuss here. It’s Vocational Technical Training. So, I’ve had these discussions with many people for different reasons: An acquaintance who consults with companies on continuous improvement, another who wants to invest in a new business, one who is looking for a new career, and yet another set who enjoy the intellectual stimulus of discussion.

The most recent reason this topic comes to mind is because the POTUS once again spoke on jobs creation, but without stating any real strategy. That alone frustrates me. I have this idea which I shared on his FB page. I recognize that is really a black hole of commentary, but I did share it nonetheless. Here are my thoughts on one way to create jobs in America – for the long term. 

Vocational Technical Training must come back. If you want Americans to work in manufacturing, then Americans need to know how to do the work in the manufacturing sector. Return vocation technical training to the American education system as a core track that runs parallel to our college track. It is only natural that not all children should be on the same track – college – and they know this. They drop out, because right now the only two educational options are HS or college bound, and if they aren’t considering a white collar profession and a delay into the workforce, many don’t see the value in graduation. Not everyone wants to be a doctor, lawyer, or engineer – and that’s okay! Let’s prove that.

When vocation technical education is provided in the core skill sets required to run manufacturing, you are then targeting a interrelated set of issues: Drop out rates, jobs training, manufacturing in America, and middle class strength. The only place where people receive training for working in manufacturing now that is not for profit/payment is A school in the military. When our veterans leave the service and enter the workforce they have received vocational training in some areas, but now we are cutting back on those opportunities with a reduced requirement for inductees. If we want to strengthen America, we need to return Vocational Technical Education to our education system.

One reason I think this is proven to be a necessary step is that there really isn’t a need to create jobs. The jobs are there already; the skilled workforce is not. Our company for one has a long list of personnel requests open, but candidates with the right skills haven’t been found. The advocacy association for our regional manufactures has an ongoing group with the primary focus to figure out how to find people with the skill sets they require to function properly. It’s considered a crisis in manufacturing that the skilled workers are retiring and there is no one coming behind them to fill the void. Electricians, machinists, mechanics, sheet metal workers, and the likes are what we should be training. Provide basic education, then the opportunity to prepare for college or the skilled trades and we will see a rise in graduation rates and employment rates, as well as the long term strengthening of American manufacturing. 

Now, I’m off to carve out some studio time. 

So, I’m cleani…

June 19, 2017

So, I’m cleaning and organizing after another in my series of creativity bursts when it occurs to me I may have a problem. No — not one that pops up from outside and can be dealt with by delegating or reflecting. Nope, this one is all about me and fabric scraps. Hmm. If it sounds familiar, I’m quite sure you probably won’t be able to help me. Here’s the issue. I have lots of fabric scraps. Some are small, some recognizable, and some are almost big enough to do something with that may be useful. this is not a small deal. It’s becoming a big problem! 

Constructing a Daydream

June 19, 2017

I thought I’d use this forum to journal my progress on my current project. Upon completion I’ll fill in the details you may find lacking here. There’s a reason for it.

I’m currently making a cocktail dress featuring organza, leather, layers, and a banded hem in the season’s latest colors and textures. This is all driven by my client’s design for this garment, and the model’s vibrant red locks. First step was to interview my client to learn what silhouette shape his vision took. Then we worked through a number of usual details such as neckline, sleeves, length, fit, volume, and such. We both dove into Mood’s online store to fulfill our material and supply needs.

I met with the model for overall measurements and then when the muslin arrived I created a mock up of the basic top and bottom allowing for fitting and designing. Off I went to meet the model and move our muslin closer to the final look. Perfect session. Just a few tucks and tweaks to get the fit we were after, and then our stylist used fabric markers to add design features.

While evaluating the updated muslin, the stylist introduced.

What’s New. (Post from 10/2016)

June 19, 2017

I attended the #TedxJax event on Saturday and found it to be the best thing I’ve done in a long time. The event itself was managed extremely well with everything running smoothly from registration to presentation, catering, entertaining, and stimulating conversation and thoughtful activities. The presenters were varied and provocative with a hefty agenda feeling smooth and over too, too quickly. The audience was impressive and diverse in age and all other ways to define a group of people. I left feeling encouraged that Jacksonville has some energy from the #TEDxJax community behind an amazing tipping point. I recommend you connect with #TEDxJax and partake of the upcoming salons and then next year’s annual event. You won’t be sorry. At all. Thank you everyone!! Honored to be an attendee.

How does this relate to me, and my plans.

How we used to die; how we die now

January 24, 2016

Source: How we used to die; how we die now

Oh my gosh. How do we get this point across, that when the end of our lives draw near, we want to meet that end with grace and in comfort. No heroics please. If it’s time; it’s time. I realize I have a fear of invasive, medicine although I do admire modern medicine. Just don’t conduct intervention at the end of life. Leave me to my graceful death.

Check In

April 23, 2015

It’s been quite a while since I’ve checked in here. It doesn’t mean I haven’t had my imagination immersed in my studio and been daydreaming through projects. It does mean I haven’t carved out time to just sit and sew. Dang it. It really leaves me lopsided as my tactile, creative side is not being exercised very much. To help balance this, I bought fabric!! Of course! Now, before it looks like fabric bingeing, let me explain how it started.

I have been exploring up-cycling. Specifically, men’s shirts altered into interesting women’s tops. I love this idea. And I love some of the great examples I’ve found. I was ready to go with a stack of hand-me-down shirts from MVOPC, of which I like the fabrics. Note, I really like shirting, cottons, and little stripes and plaids so up-cycling men’s shirts seems like a good match for a satisfying project to me. I started with a shirt I could live without just in case my first attempt didn’t make me happy. Off I went.

The first step once I had my idea sketched was to disassemble the shirt where necessary. Oh. Yeah. Then I remembered how much I dislike alterations. It’s this first step. And all of sudden this felt like alterations. It. Is. So I fiddled around with this project for a while, slowly building up my aggravation – albeit to just a low level; but aggravation is not satisfaction.

I closed up shop for the day and went off for a good night’s sleep. All I dreamed about were sewing projects, and they weren’t altered – I mean – up-cycled shirts. Refreshed, I went to the store in the morning and bought some pretty, coordinating quilt fabrics from which I plan to make some lounge wear; a pair of PJ pants, sleeveless top and cover up tunic or robe style top.

I’ll get back to the up-cycled shirts because I have some great design ideas! I’m just warming up with some straight forward construction that requires no destruction first. Happy sewing!!