Subversive Sewer

{January 19, 2012}   A New Blog

After a lot of thinking, I realized that I don’t dislike blogging. I dislike blogging about sewing.  And let’s be honest, this blog didn’t exactly develop a big following like others have.  So, I’ve decided to end this blog and start one with a broader focus so I can write about all of my interests.  So, please follow me at The Crafty Citizen.


{October 28, 2011}   My new endeavor

My website was launched this morning! Please visit and share:

It’s mostly hair accessories, but I plan to add more as I go. I really enjoy making these!

{August 31, 2010}   Help!

Can someone take a look at these pics and tell me what is wrong?

The first problem is the wrinkle in the left side of the “V.”  The second is really hard to photograph.  It’s the center back seam below the point of the “V.”  The seam goes in, then out, if that makes sense.  These types of seams are so hard for me to get right.  I think I’ll rip it out AGAIN and try hand stitching it, plus redoing the top of the center back seam.

I was doing some research on which fields have the best employment prospects and came across this sad bit of information:  several of the jobs on the “fastest declining” list are in the garment and textile industry.  While this isn’t particularly surprising, it’s still very sad.  We’ve known for years that much of the clothing we buy that is manufactured overseas is produced under deplorable working conditions.  Yet we as a country do little to nothing to stop it.  Instead, we fully endorse it with our dollars.  In addition, shipping items halfway around the world is hardly good for the environment.  Instead, we could produce what we need domestically, reduce our carbon footprint, and provide good jobs for US citizens who need them now more than ever.  It really speaks volumes about where our priorities are as a society.

As for me, I’ll continue producing clothing, for myself, right here in the USA.

{April 30, 2010}   Tissue fitting, again

Tonight I’m preparing my pattern pieces to try tissue fitting McCalls 5859 again.  This time, I cut a size 12 and I think I transitioned to a 14 on the bottom.  Stay tuned.

{April 27, 2010}   2 Dresses

How is everyone in blogland?  I have a couple completed projects to show you!

First up is the navy knit dress, New Look 6922, that I made a week and a half ago (my 5-garment weekend).

Not sure if you can tell, but this is a disaster on many levels.  First, I apparently temporarily forgot what I’d learned about flat pattern measuring.  There is not enough room in the belly area, so it draws attention there.  Dealbreaker!  There’s also horizontal lines where it’s pulling across the bust… FBA needed there.  So since the fabric can’t skim over that area, I get this weird effect above  the bust.  I’m deciding whether to Goodwill it or hang onto it for summer PJs.  ETA: Costs: pattern: $4, fabric: $6.37

Next up is Simplicity 2377.  Once in a while I make my daughter a dress, which she is mildly interested in and happily wears.  We’d found some Wow Wow Wubbzy! fabric at Walmart before they got rid of their fabric, so we bought a yard and a half with the idea of eventually making it into something.  She didn’t have any ideas (not realistic ones anyway), so I made this dress last weekend.  She wore it to school with tights yesterday:

Cute, huh?  I measured her and was shocked… she’s all over the place, size-wise!  She’s only a 3 in chest, waist and hips, 6 in height, and an 8 (!!!) in the torso!  My mom makes her pajamas with a peasant style top, and I’d always noticed that the tops were really baggy.  Well, this would be why!  I’ve got a tiny supermodel! LOL

I still have to get pics of a couple projects: Jalie yoga pants (wearing them now!), McCall’s long skirt (forgot the number), Kwik Sew 3592, and a Burda wadder top.  Stay tuned!

{April 25, 2010}   Sweatshop Saturday

I think I’m going to turn this into a regular thing.  Now that I have my sewing area in the living room, I’m sewing more, just as I expected.  Today started with my friend Alicia coming over so I could help her shorten some curtains she bought.  She’d never used a sewing machine before, so I had her sew part of a seam.  I don’t think I’ve converted her to a sewing fanatic, but it was fun anyway!

Next up, I cut and sewed a dress for Sofia.  I’ll do a post on it tomorrow when I can get a picture of her in it (she’s with her dad on Saturdays).

After watching the Project Runway Finale online (no cable for me), my back was still hurting, so I put off the McCall’s 6031 halter top I cut out last weekend and cut the pattern and fabric for New Look 6918, which I bought yesterday.  I used a suiting fabric with a pinstripe, and I actually remembered to match the stripes on the pockets and yokes!  Yay me!

I’m hoping to work on the halter tomorrow.  If not, maybe I can get some cutting done.

{April 7, 2010}   Why I’m Over Pattern Review

This thread epitomizes the insipid bullshit that makes me not visit Pattern Review too often anymore, save for entering my new patterns into its pattern catalog feature.  Sorry I can’t be bothered to give a shit, but after returning from a day at work which consisted of reading about such things as a toddler raped by her father, it kinda puts things in perspective.

Now, if I can remember to get a pic tomorrow, I’ll post about the massive stack of fabric I got from Denver Fabrics.


{April 3, 2010}   New Fabrics and a Birthday

Yesterday was Sofia’s 6th birthday! She got a membership to the local science museum, which has reciprocal agreements for like 300 other museums, so she’ll get to go to a museum whenever she wants! She loves science (didn’t get it from me, lol).

I placed an order with Denver Fabrics a few days ago, and I’m hoping it’ll arrive today, even though it isn’t likely, and I have plenty of projects to keep me busy for awhile. Once I get motivated (not a morning person!) I plan to make a knit top that’s all cut out and ready, and then who knows what else. I’ll post whatever I get sewn today!

{March 25, 2010}   Where’d everybody go?

So many of you nice folks asked me to post pictures of my fitting shell to help me diagnose fitting issues.  I did, but I only got one response!  (thanks, Colleen!)  Please?  Help?

{January 28, 2010}   Pattern Review Rant

I’ve been stewing about this for a couple years now.  Call me a crybaby for all I care, but I’m gonna say it.  To my knowledge, I’ve posted more reviews than anyone else on Pattern Review.  And I’ve gotten no recognition or sign of appreciation.  I know, I’m an adult and shouldn’t need that, but I also think that by contributing that much one should receive a thank you.  Last year they started the “Pattern Review Awards” and had a category for most prolific reviewer.  They had some algorithm so that newer members would get an equal chance to win it.  That’s bullshit.  Needless to say, I didn’t win.  I guess writing 300-some reviews is not prolific enough.

I’ve been a member since 2003, and a paying one for a majority of that time, too.  I’ve contributed a hell of a lot.  Granted, I’m no expert, but I don’t think you need to be one to be valuable.  I feel very slighted, to the point that I’m going to reconsider being so faithful in reviewing every pattern I make.  If people want to see what I make, they can read my blog.

It’s also not the same community it was a few years back.  I really felt like I belonged.  Maybe it’s just gotten too big, maybe it’s because most of the people I liked so much are gone.  Who knows.

I’ll end things on a positive note.  I’ve gotten some very nice and thoughtful comments on my recent posts, and I appreciate it.  I ordered a used copy of Fitting Finesse from Amazon, and look forward to its arrival!

{January 26, 2010}   Pattern magazines aplenty??

Several months back, I had this fab business idea to be a US distributor of international pattern magazines.  However, between my lack of capital and language barrier, I gave up.  Fast forward to today.  A former client was in the office speaking with my coworker on a mutual case.  As we were chatting, my coworker complimented my dress and asked if I’d made it.  I said yes, and then it reminded me of something.  The former client is Dutch and thus is fluent in that language, plus Spanish!  Knip Mode is a Dutch magazine… Patrones is Spanish (I believe).  Her mother still lives in Holland, and said woman was familiar with Knip Mode because her mother has bought the magazine in the past!  I told  her about my business idea and suggested it to her.  As a stay at home mother of children with special needs, a home business would be ideal.  I explained the demand for these magazines in the US and their good reputation.  She was excited about the idea and plans to call her mother to find out if she has old issues stored away, and if she’ll pick up some copies and bring them when she visits next!

I’ll keep you all posted if this all comes together!!

{January 3, 2010}   Sewing Goals for 2010

OK, why not… I’ll set some goals for myself this year.

  1. Learn to make bound buttonholes and/or welt pockets.
  2. Make pants with a waistband that don’t look like crap.
  3. Make some lingerie.
  4. Make at least 50 items this year.

I think that’ll do it!  I still have my job and parenting and housekeeping, so I don’t want to overextend myself!

{December 29, 2009}   Vacation Sewing

I’m in the midst of a week and a half off of work!  Sewing time!  To prepare, I ordered some fabric from along with the 11/09 issue of Burda Style, plus a Jalie pattern.  The fabric I ordered was for a couple Simplicity patterns I recently bought.

I ordered some rayon/Lycra jersey to make the dress from 2934:

The plan was to make the dress from the silver-gray and the yoke from the blue.  However, when the fabric arrived, I decided it was too thin for a dress.  Scratch that idea!

Next up, I found this green eyelet embroidered cotton with a scalloped border.  My plan was to make 2690, view B.

Being a bad matcher of pattern and fabric, I decided to make a muslin.  While it was helpful in telling me I needed to add 1 1/2″ of length to the upper bodice, I realized that since it was not the same weight/drape as the eyelet, it wouldn’t tell me if gathering this fabric would make me look preggers or not.  I’m going to err on the side of caution and make something more structured with it instead.

I had planned to make another top, but the fabric was too narrow for it.  Ugh.

But it’s not all bad.  I used the silver/gray knit for the previously mentioned top (I’d give the number, but it’s not on the pile in front of me and I have a cat on my lap), and cut out 2934 from a poly jersey I’d forgotten about.  The Burda Style arrived today and I’m loving that.  I think I might even consider making pants,  which I’d sworn off making since I suck at them so much.  Maybe if I slow down a little, they might turn out better.  Let’s hope!

{December 28, 2009}   Play Kitchen Set

This is not about sewing, but I have to share it with you anyway.  After seeing some homemade kitchen sets on the Ikea Hacker blog, I was inspired to make one for Sofia.  The problem is that I have no carpentry skills.  My friend’s husband kindly agreed to help.

He just happened to be getting rid of some old cabinets that we both agreed would be perfect as the base for a fridge and stove/sink unit:

Gary used some 2x4s and 1x4s to build a platform to raise the cabinet to a comfortable height.  He also had the idea to include a backsplash and upper shelf for small appliances.  There is also a shelf on the bottom for storage.  We continued working on the stove/sink unit first, starting with turning the left door 90 degrees to simulate an oven door.  Gary moved the door catch and tied a shoelace to 2 screws to prevent the door from opening too far.  Gary cut a hole in the door and placed a piece of plexiglas for a window.

For the counter, we got a premade laminate shelf, which saved ourselves a lot of work.  For the sink, I found a 9×9 brownie pan at Dollar General.  Gary used a jigsaw to cut a hole in the counter and attached the sink using clear caulk.  For the faucet, we used a PVC pipe from the electrical section at Home Depot.  It was gray, so I primed it and painted it white.  Gary had leftover wall board from his and Alicia’s kitchen remodel, and the pieces were the perfect size.

At this point, I started painting it.  I first primed the pieces with Krylon spray primer.  Then I used Krylon spray paint in Gumdrop (light purple) to paint the outside.  I felt the inside looked OK the way it was, but the shelves did get a little painted.  I  probably would  have painted the inside had it not been 4 days before Christmas!

Finally, the wallboard was glued and secured with a few finishing nails.  Gary drilled a big hole in it for the faucet, using an elbow joint type thing from the plumbing section at Home Depot to secure it in back.  For the burners, I measured and then traced circles with a peanut butter jar lid that was in their recycling bin- handy!  I used black paint, which was from a tester bottle of house paint.  I think I need to varnish over it, because it’s been scratching off.  The burner knobs were Attest knobs from Ikea, and were attached loosely to the backsplash so they could be turned.  Finally, the oven and cabinet handles (Lansa handles from Ikea) were attached.

Next, the fridge.

This piece underwent a big transformation.  First, The doors were removed and discarded.  I didn’t want 2 doors, and they had grooves in the front, so that wasn’t going to work.  Next, Gary cut some pieces of thin wood for the sides.  As you can see in the photo above, the edges of the wood stick out further from the side, so it’s not flush.  (I’m sure there’s a better way of explaining that, but I don’t know what it is.)  I primed the front edges while he did that.

I decided to paint the inside of the fridge because, unlike the other cabinet, the inside was pretty ugly.  To attach the shelves, Gary cut grooves in 2 pieces of wood and attached them to the insides.  You can see one of them in the photo on the right, above.  The paint made everything uniform.  The shelves just slid into place.

Besides my amusing cat, Mr. Bonkers, in the above photo you can see the shelves, plus the baskets on the door, which I found in the bathroom storage section at Ikea, for $2 each.  Gary attached 1x2s to the door to screw the baskets to, since the door was 1/4″ MDF and thus  too thin to screw things into.

We got it done on Christmas Eve and loaded everything into my Hyundai Santa Fe.  The next morning, Alicia and Gary came over so they could see Sofia’s reaction as she saw her present.  I was very appreciate of Gary’s help.  He actually told me that he really enjoyed building it!

And below is Sofia with “Miss Alicia” and “Mr. Gary.”

et cetera