May 19 2012

In Bloom

The first sprouts are coming up

It's working!

Carrots, lettuce, and beets are sprouting

Close-up of carrot and lettuce sprouts

5/11: Only a few days have passed since planting, but things are starting to sprout! I’m pretty excited. So far, I can see that beets, carrots, and lettuce have broken through. Some of the lettuce looks like it was planted too close to the carrots, and some carrots look like they were planted too close to one another…I blame the fact that the seeds are tiny and it was a little breezy when I planted. If need be, I’ll thin the plants, but we’ll see.

Next steps: Add compost, and keep watering.


May 19 2012

Finally…A Garden!

5/8: It’s been years since I’ve updated this blog, and a ton of things have happened, changed, etc. All these changes have led up to a great opportunity for me–The space to start my first “real” garden!

I’m pretty excited. I ordered my seeds from Seed Savers Exchange: Detroit Dark Red beets, Scarlet Nantes carrots, Striped Cavern tomatoes, Yellow of Parma onions, and a Seed Savers lettuce mix (including Australian Yellowleaf, Forellenschluss, Pablo, and Red Velvet).

After clearing out my garden-to-be, I tilled well and added several bags of organic planting soil. When the seeds arrived, I plotted and planted; onions require full sun and only need 6″ between rows, beets need to be planted with 20-24″ between rows, lettuce can thrive in partial shade, etc. Admittedly, I was planting a little later in the growing windows than would be ideal, but the weather this year has followed unusual patterns, and I figured maybe that would somehow work to my advantage. Basically, I made various rationalizations in an attempt to support the bottom line: Screw the ideal dates..I wanted to start the garden now!

Once the seeds arrived, I planted them, watered, and hoped for the best…


Jul 3 2009

Transformation

For my birthday, one of my friends gave me a men’s XL t-shirt. She said that she learned to sew by making alterations on garments like large men’s shirts, creating new pieces and experimenting with techniques and styles. So, because she’s very thoughtful, she gave me a shirt so that I could do the same. Personal, yet practical. Awesome.

The pictures above show what I created out of the t-shirt. It’s a boat neck tank top, and it fits really well. The arm holes fit much better than in the previous shirts I’ve made, and the length is perfect.

I may have cheated a little on the concept of altering a t-shirt to make something else, because I really just used the t-shirt as fabric. Regardless, I’m happy with the final product.


Jun 14 2009

From Skirt to Scarf

Maker Faire was a couple of weeks ago, and this year it also featured a Swap-o-rama-rama – Meaning that the organizers provided sewing machines, thread, screen printing, and other materials/services, and participants brought old clothes to donate to the communal pile.

A free-for-all of grabbing, digging, pulling, and claiming various articles of donated clothing gives way to the hovering over of occupied sewing machines, waiting for one to become available. If that happens before the interested party gives up, the task of cutting, pinning, and re-purposing can begin.

I had fun at the event, regardless of the chaotic scene, but I didn’t create anything worth mentioning. I did take home a skirt, though, to use on a later project, because the paisley pattern caught my eye. I finally started working with the material the other day, and so far have one of two scarves completed.

Although it should be longer, and I had a bit of trouble coaxing the tips of the triangular ends out toward the right side of the garment, I think it’s totally wearable. Much more so than the table runner other scarf I made.


Jun 10 2009

Scarf/Table Runner

I set out to make a scarf as a birthday present for my friend. I didn’t think the construction through properly, though, and sewed the green fabric to the printed fabric before attaching the backing. Bad idea. I had to rip the seams apart and do it over, this time attaching the green and printed fabric to the black fabric at the side seams.

The seams actually came out looking good, although the lace trim is a little rough. Unfortunately, the piece as a whole looks more like a skinny table runner than a scarf. Oh well. It’s fun to learn lessons the hard way, right?


Jun 5 2009

Second Skirt

I’m pretty pleased with how this one turned out. I started it while the first skirt was still in progress, so that I could practice and remember the techniques Diana was teaching me in class. Obviously, this one has a decorative band around the bottom, whereas the first skirt was all one material.

My first attempt at constructing the band was aesthetically unsuccessful. I hadn’t laid out how I was going to attach the band to the skirt, and neglected to go over all the options to determine which would make the most sense. Instead, I just sort of went for it.

The result was an ill-fitting band, poorly sewn and way too bulky. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’d constructed a rolled hem on the black-and-white fabric and then sewn the black fabric over it. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it quickly became apparent that it was actually a very amateur idea.

I took the skirt in to Diana on the day of my last class, and she patiently illustrated the best way to attach the band. I took her advice, and the finished product is a hundred times better than my previous attempt. I’m really proud of this one, and although it’s a little big, it looks pretty cool.


Jun 3 2009

Finished Skirt

My first skirt is officially complete! I’m really excited, because it came out even better than expected, and it fits surprisingly well. Many thanks to Diana, my sewing instructor (http://www.betterlivingthroughsewing.com), for her unending patience and her willingness to share techniques and wisdom. I also really like her cat.

If you’re in the Bay Area and are looking for extremely well-priced lessons with an instructor that knows what she’s talking about, I highly recommend dropping her a line.

Regarding the skirt I mentioned in my post yesterday, I decided not to take pictures of it yet, because it needs some work. Diana gave me a plan of action to remedy the hem disaster I created, so I’d like to rework that part before I go public with it. =)


Jun 2 2009

Sew Crazy…

(Please pardon the cheesy title to this entry…I couldn’t help myself.)

I realized recently that I’d forgotten to share pictures of the fantastic birthday gifts my parents got me…Then, I realized it’s already June and my birthday was in April, so I better get on it. The sewing kit and machine case are really adorable and very, very useful, since my previous sewing kit was a cardboard box and my previous method of transporting my machine was to carry it. The tools and gadgets they bought to go in the kit have been extremely helpful, and helped jump-start my foray into the world of sewing. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

It didn’t occur to me at the time to take pictures, but David’s parents also sent me some really terrific sewing-related birthday gifts. A cutting mat, ruler (see through -  a must), rotary cutter, and other tools have been integral in my attempts at creating non-amateur-looking pieces. Many thanks to all for the generosity and thoughtfulness. =)

Tomorrow is my last sewing lesson! I’m excited to finish my skirt. I’ve started on another skirt, in the same style as the first, to practice the techniques I’ve learned in class. It’s almost finished, actually, and I was going to post pictures of it, but the lighting in my apartment is not ideal for photography, so I’ll wait until daylight and try to get some good ones. Unlike the skirt I’m making in class, this one has an invisible zipper and trim on the bottom. Naturally, I screwed up the trim. I really need to work on hems and seams. You know, the two most important parts of sewing.

I have to keep focused, and be conscious of the fact that I will not be a perfect seamstress on my first, second, or fifth attempt. It’s frustrating sometimes, because it feels like I’m wasting time and material and resources to create pieces that look bad. On the other hand, you have to start somewhere. This may not sound politically correct, but how do kids in sweatshops do it?!? Amazing.


May 27 2009

Progress

My skirt is almost finished! The only things left to do are install the zipper and waistband. I tried on the skirt at the beginning of my lesson this morning, and it was immediately apparent that it would need to be taken in. Diana showed me how to pin equal amounts of fabric on each side seam, mark the pinned fabric, and sew new seams. I also finished all of the seams, rolled and stitched the bottom hem, fused the interfacing to the waistband pieces, and stitched the waistband pieces together.

I think it’s going to look really cute when it’s finished. Like, wearable-cute. Maybe I should come up with a tag that I can print onto the fabric or attach to the inner waistband! Something to show that it was made by me, perhaps with a fun design of some sort. On the other hand, tags aren’t very comfortable, so maybe that’s not such a great idea. Something to think about, though..

I will post pictures of the finished product next week. Since we’ll probably have time leftover at my lesson, I’m going to bring in some clothes that I want to alter, which is exciting. It makes me feel powerful to think that I can adjust clothes to make them fit me better. Muahahaha!


Apr 22 2009

Another Shirt

I want to retain what I learned from my first shirt-making experience, and I think the best way to do that is to apply the knowledge to a second shirt. This one is similar to the first, with a few significant differences. I used the same pattern for both garments, but this time around I altered it slightly. As you can probably tell from the images, I chose to go with a high-neck halter top instead of a v-neck. I’m also going to use elastic in the waist band and along the top back seam. Instead of sewing the neck band together, I’m going to attach snaps.

More pictures and details to come after it’s finished!