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To Sew or Not to Sew

January 15, 2011

It seems my studio and my sewing machines have a positive effect on me even when I’m not immersed in actually using them. Since the press of holiday schedules I’ve not been able to spend any time doing my favorite things – well, sewing that is. I have been spending a lot of time with a new friend – Kindle. In between reading a couple very good books, and re-commiting to running, I have mostly thought about projects. It’s somewhat day dreaming I suppose, but I’ll call it planning and building a strategy for the best approach. It’s part of my creative process. It’s also a fallback since I’m just worn out after working a day job and trying to get back into running.

What I find myself doing most recently is going into the studio to re-organize this or that, then I pull out fabric or my pattern portfolio, or even my most recent issue of Threads and hand me down inspirational magazines. I’ve taken some time to read about new techniques and look forward to incorporating them into my next projects. I plan what to do with these things, jot down some notes, and lay things out in preparation for a project. It feels satisfying. Almost as though I’ve accomplished something.

I have some free time coming up this week and I am almost giddy with anticipation. Now the issue is, what is the first thing I want to do. I have a lot to choose from. I have a stack of t-shirts Stan doesn’t want and I took one to re-shape it into a women’s t-shirt for my niece. It looks great on her! I plan to do two more of them using a variation on finishing the neckline using binding made from bias strips of a sheer fabric. The bias cut will allow shaping around the neckline, and the sheer quality of the fabric will just look nice. By using my serger to apply a wider bias strip it will allow the sheer fabric to be highlighted.

I also used three of the shirts to make a scarf by layering the fabrics in preparation for a reverse applique design on the ends. The rectangles are cut and in place. The technique involves using free motion sewing to form a spiral design where the curves touch regularly as you go around creating crescent shapes. Once sewn together, you are supposed to cut away pieces of the top layer to revel the underlying fabrics creating texture and color. I had to have a demo from Mom on how to do free motion sewing. Even though I understood it, I had never seen it done. She certainly made it look easy and provided good tips such as sewing faster works better than slower. I intend to use a top-stitch weight thread in a contrasting color to better showcase this design.

I have a box of beautiful sample fabrics from an interior designer that are begging to be transformed. The small ones are perfect for little totes to carry sunglasses, cell phones, coins, or to cover journals. I’ve revised a couple of patterns to accommodate the fabric weight and have been quite pleased. I made the first one for my Mom. I think I’m going to make some more. I will finish them with grograin ribbon or leather straps and accent them with some of the awesome buttons and jewelry pieces in my “collection”. These are quick and nifty projects that bring a smile to your face. I like to do them as warm ups and quick pick-me-ups.

I’ve also committed to a couple of home dec projects I’m looking forward to. The first one is for my son’s office. It’s a small space that he has transformed nicely with a custom designed shelving/desk unit and furniture. He chose two beautiful fabrics; one for a window treatment and a second to recover the couch. We’ve measured and purchased the fabric, now it’s time to cut and sew. It will pull the whole room together and really isn’t complicated. Time was the missing ingredient.

All of these projects have occupied my thoughts daily, and especially when I’m being held hostage by the day job. It gets me through my days to ruminate on the minute details and how to use new techniques. Even when my evenings are disappearing before my eyes I have snippets of time to interact with the materials and supplies in preparation for actual completion. It seems whether or not I’m actually in my studio, I’m in my studio. This coming week my daydreams will be in motion along with my sewing machine.

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