Saturday, September 19, 2015

Random Threads # 15 and a giveaway drawing

Thoughts! I have so many sewing related thoughts lately - really they are opinions. Perhaps it is the change of season which brings out new patterns, wardrobe discussions and planning, thus giving me lots to read, look at and discuss in my internal dialog. So time to let some of this out. Plus a drawing for a small but useful item to add to your sewing toolbox.

Let's start with some planning. I am starting to think it's time to do a purge - as you can imagine - I have a lot of clothes. Mostly sewn by me and I don't like to part with them. Thus I rarely think I need anything. But since sewing is my favorite pastime more things will be sewn and needing a space in the closet. In fall my mind turns to jackets (although it is supposed to be 100˚F here on Sunday so there is no rush :) This Burda jacket caught my eye, it is just different enough from anything I have to make it interesting to sew. Of course their example is shown in a shade I hate with a fiery passion. Hmmm fiery... how about a warm red color?  That might be nice for winter. The rounded shoulder shape is interesting (code word for possibly weird).  I might keep looking.

Burda Jacket Idea
Next topic: fabric or pattern, which causes the problem?  Ever sewn something that you knew just didn't work, but you couldn't figure out which was causing the issue. Was it the fabric or the pattern? Sometimes the pattern is just not right for you - and I will say that this is a case of learning about patterns and shapes on your body  As for creating a happy marriage of pattern and fabric:
  1. some people just have a knack for pairing up pattern+fabric (let's all agree we sorta hate them)
  2. trial and error, some expensive mistakes along the way = lessons learned and skill developed
  3. stubbornly choosing a fabric and sew it up with the pattern wanted at that minute whether it is right or not
If I could give some advice based on being a living embodiment of all the above points ( learning, luck, mistakes) that advice would be use your sense memory and squeeze the fabric. What? Ok, here goes. Sense memory - when you see a pattern you want to make, use your memory bank - review that type of garment and shape - think about nice version of the silhouette or garment you have seen previously and really concentrate on the good ones - then think about what fabric was used. Use your experience to think about why it was that a certain fabric gave you fits on a certain feature - it could be the bindings were impossible to make, or it didn't gather properly, the clipped corners raveled to bits, the pleats never pressed. Whatever it was you learned something from the experience and use that to choose the next combo of fabric and pattern. 
My second piece of advice was to squeeze the fabric. Yes I squeeze - scrunch - rumple - and otherwise always treat the fabric as the human body does once you wear it. Granted, I am not fond of wrinkles  - rarely sew with linen or something like that - but who wants to make a lovely wool coat or a well fitted dress and then dislike the rumpled result? Especially with wool - if you are going to make a coat or jacket, then you want it to look great for a long time. Some fabrics, and this is totally unrelated to price, just have less body, perhaps it is the fiber, or the weave, but if I don't like what I see on the scrunch test I won't buy it. If it bounces back, seems to have good recovery and yet have a good natural fiber feel, then I buy it. Same goes for silk, cotton, etc. I fold it up and see how I like the feel of several layers together. Something that looks good on the bolt can suddenly be very thick and stiff when folded back on itself, and you figure that a garment is made up of a lot of junctions that are 2, 3 or even 4 layers of fabric together. So scrunch away! I wonder if they think I'm a little nuts at Britex, I walk through the store and anything that catches my eye, I grab a fistful and scrunch. Even if it is $400/yard. Actually I bet plenty of people do it. Do you scrunch?

Most frequent recent question:  what is the fabric I use for knit linings? Every time I show a knit dress with a lining I am asked this question so today I took a pic of the bolt end. It is nothing magical, just a 100% polyester knit fabric that they have at Joann's. Which I never purchase without a 50% off coupon. Today's coupon was 60%! Score!  Anyway - it is shelved with the solid color knits or with the dance wear fabrics. It has a good drapey quality, doesn't stick to jersey or other knits, comes in all the basic colors. I use this color a lot, also black, white and I think they have navy blue. A knit dress with a full skirt or some of the complicated Vogue patterns with the twisty skirts get quite heavy and pull down the bodice so by using a lining it supports the skirt. Or often the knit fashion fabric is too sheer, as in this dress. Also the swimsuit lining can work, that is nylon/lycra so you can use that in a more body-con style and get a bit of a Spanx effect which can be helpful :)  example here.

Knit lining label


Next topic: It's a mystery to me. Some patterns. Like this one. Ok, not my taste.  And so many tee shirt patterns. Wow, there are a lot of knit shirt patterns. Do people try them all? That seems like an expensive way to get a tee shirt. I have a few favorites which are Jalie 2804 and 2005 (I still think the Jalie is the best value as you get the range of size from little girls through women's size in one pattern and 3 necklines). Burda 6990 envelope pattern sewn here. this one also has multiple neckline variations. And this year I made McCalls 7046, a dress and top which has a ruching on the sides but the neckline, shoulders and sleeves fit like a dream so I am thinking of using it as a plain t-shirt base.

Time for a giveaway: 
I am finding these Frixon pens invaluable - I love my Chalkoner markers and I use a regular lead pencil on a lot of things, but these Frixon pens are magic! They are erasable on paper, and on fabric they disappear with heat. So a quick press with the iron and they are gone. Perfect for marking tricky stitching lines, pattern markings etc. Although their benefit is also their downfall - as they disappear, poof! with the touch of the iron so you have to remember to stitch first and press second.

Pen markings using Frixon pen
anyway  - there is this crazy old-fashioned office supply store in Honolulu. The type of store that is long gone from most places. Although this is a giant warehouse. They sell individual pens. Like ANY pen you can think of. One at a time! and every type of notebook, school supply, post it, notepad, paper supply, ink, art stuff, office furniture, mechanical pencil, binder, clip, tape and on and on. Are you a sucker for office supplies? Are you alway seeking the perfect pen? I hate it when you want to buy pens and you have to buy a whole pack or a multi-color pack and it includes stupid colors you will never use, ok I am ranting but the wall of pens at Fisher is a dream. Plus you can try them. I think this store is like the "land that time forgot" because if you wander down the aisles you will see things that were probably discontinued 20 years ago, but they still have them on the shelf. Like those books where the receptionist used to write the messages, and it had a carbon copy, and perforations  to tear out the little notes? Stuff like that. I guess you want to know the name, it is Fisher Hawaii Office Product Warehouse, link here. In kind of a warehouse district, and no air conditioning. Like I said - time has forgotten this spot. It's like the anti-Staples.  Kind of like how Stone Mountain fabrics in Berkeley is the anti-Joann's. Ok more rambling.  On with the giveaway.

Let me know in the comments if you would like to be in the drawing for a set of these Frixon pens.
They are pink, blue and purple so good for various color fabrics. I will choose one name to ship to a US address and one to an international address so be sure and tell me what State or Country you are in. How about until next Wednesday Sept. 23? I will post next week Thurs. or Friday with the names so check back then and you can contact me with your address.

Pen giveaway

Last topic: Plumeria or frangipani?  that was a fun discussion in the comments recently when I showed this flowering tree. In Hawaii they are always called plumeria and often used in leis or worn in the hair. (I bet that happens everywhere they grow, so pretty and the fragrance is heavenly). So frangipani - I have heard that word but didn't know what it was. I think most of the world actually uses frangipani, and a quick look at Wikipedia shows that the plant is Genus: Plumeria. But the nicest thing I learned from that Wikipedia page is that in Persian the name is Yas or Yasmin and the Hawaiian name is Melia, those are both such pretty names for girls and now when I hear them I will think of the lovely flower.

Pink plumeria

So that was quite a random assortment in this Random Threads post, no?  In case you are wondering why I go to office supply stores on my vacation, my sister used to live in Honolulu for 10 years so she was the one that found that store. And appreciates a good pen selection, as one does. So for fun if any of our family is over there and in the neighborhood we stop in.

Up next, a few more things I sewed over the summer and then onward to autumn. Sigh. And a Vogue pattern I just sewed which seemed like a terrible mistake at 10pm but appeared far better in the light of day. That is a topic for a future random threads post - nighttime sewing nightmares.

I hope all your sewing is daytime dreamy!  
Beth

52 comments:

  1. Plumeria or frangipani? Here in Thailand they are called leelawadee.

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  2. Hi Beth I would love to go into the international draw for the pen set. I live in New Zealand. Fingers crossed.

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  3. Purging,planning, scrunching, patterns, lining, yep all over the place today. As always, insightful. I took a look at my pattern purchases over the last year and they are all tops with too many t-shirt variations. I realized the one I keep putting on is the Ottobre with different neckline variations. Old pattern that is perfect for me. Scrunching? Now I never thought of that - definitely will give it a go. Love it that you teach even in random thoughts. Please enter me for the drawing. Karen in Illinois.

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  4. Lovely flowers, whatever they are called. That office supply shop sounds like fun, although too far from me in the UK. We are having a nice autumn here, after a wet summer so summer clothes are still being worn in this house anyway. Jennylarking at gmail dot com.

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  5. I went to Joann's yesterday and left swearing I would never return! Internet here I come...
    I have been wanting to try those pens.
    Mary
    North Carolina

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  6. They are called frangipani here, too and they are mostly cream with a yellow centre. But the perfume is glorious no matter what colour. I live in Western Australia and would love to go in the international draw. Thanks.

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  7. Would like to be in the international draw for the pens. I'm in Canada.
    I enjoy your random threads, no matter how random it may be.
    Happy days :)

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  8. Yes, I scrunch and have for over 40 years. If you don't you have no idea of what you have and what it will look like after you sit in it. Love those pens and even though all 6 colors in my pack work on all fabrics, I always grab for the hot pink one. Love the fact that you can mark both sides of the fabric if you hold it long enough to soak through to the other side. Perfect for doing lots of altering after you pin on the right side and need to sew the seam from the wrong side. That lining is divine and recently a client brought a chunk of it to me to use behind a lace panel to enlarge her dress...looks just like skin...fabulous!

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  9. Oh, thanks so much for your ramblings - I enjoyed that a great deal! Also, thanks for the info on knit lining fabric. I guess I will go to Joann's today and buy some (with my 60% off coupon!). I, too, go to office supply stores when on vacation. In London and Paris you can get the best gifts at office supply stores - really! I would love to win the Frixion pens - I have one (blue) and it is great. Thanks for the giveaway chance!
    Georgia (US)

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  10. I scrunch, mangle, flutter, stretch,....I would love a frixion pen. I have never tried them.

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  11. I have never scrunched, only ran the fabric through my fingers, but I will change my ways! :-)

    I love your blog, and I love the word "frangipani," which I first heard in Australia. We just moved to Florida from a 3-year stint in Honolulu, and we have several plumeria that we grew from seed! We bought a piece of plumeria at the flea market when we got there, and it grew a seed pod. We were successful with 20 of the seeds, and gave many plants away for gifts. Do you grow them at your house?

    I would love to win the pens! I'm sad I never discovered that place while in Hawai'i...I love pens!

    Thanks for all your great posts!

    :-)
    Lisa G

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  12. I would LOVE to be entered for a chance to win these pens--I just read about them recently elsewhere and have them on my wish list for Christmas!~

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  13. Here in Houston they are called frangipani but I call them Plumeria since i first fell in love with them in Hawaii.

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  14. I always enjoy the pictures you post of flowers. Please enter me to win the Frixion pens. Beverly in West Virginia (USA).

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  15. Please enter me to win the frixon pens also. I would love to try them but have never heard of them.

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  16. I hear great things about the pens. I'm in SW Virginia. Thanks for all your great posts.

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  17. Love these random threads posts...well all the posts on your blog, I learned a lot from them and I'll admit I one of the people who asked about the knot lining a while back..used that stuff ever since-thank you! I do come from a long line of scrunchers...I scrunch fabrics and also clothes before I buy them...I am surprised at how many people don' do it,....I would love a frixion pen. Thank you!

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  18. I love real office supply stores too. When I was in Japan a few years back, it was an office supply paradise. I still think about those shops and still use some of the supplies I bought there. So, please enter me in the giveaway - I'd love to try out the frixon pens! Thank you!
    Jen (New York)

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  19. Just a caution about the Frixion pens; they were made for paper NOT fabric and they leave a ghost image after heating. This apparently can be removed with ink stain remover but I haven't tried it. Also the colour marks return if the garment gets cold.

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    1. Thanks, that is good to know. I haven't had any issues with a ghost image or color returning. I will say I mostly use them in seam allowances, or to mark a stitch line, also I tend to make dots or broken lines instead of a thick line so you are right, always better to err on the side of caution!

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  20. Thank you for all the planning tips!
    I've been curious about those frixion pens.
    So, thanks for the giveaway and count me in.
    :-) Chris

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  21. Would love to try the pens! Brenda W. from Texas

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  22. Scrunching. I have lifted bolts and let the fabric swing, folded it into layers, but not scrunched. For one who is not too experienced, you gave some really great pointers. The fabric v pattern (v body) is quite the conundrum. I'm in New York and would love to be entered into the giveaway. Thank you! Jen.

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  23. I wish our fabric bolts had such clear instructions on fabric care and composition. I would love to go into the draw for the frixion pens as we don't have anything like this available in Rotorua, New Zealand. Thanks for the draw and I always enjoy reading your blog.

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  24. I would happily use those Frixon at my sewing room/office/cat palace anyday! I live in Spain, so international it is. Those flowers are beautiful! I have never seen anything like them around here :)

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  25. Oooooh, definitely plumeria!!!! Please add me to your frixon pen giveaway contest list, I would love to try them out!

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  26. I am an absolute scruncher! I do it with RTW clothes as well.
    I love linen - and there are some linens that are much more scrunch-friendly than others, particularly those with some rayon content. My scrunching (and draping) is about figuring out if the fabric will crease badly on wear and how it will behave (or not) on the body. I'm getting much better at purchasing fabric with a garment in mind - based on its qualities and pattern - rather than if I'm seduced by it's colours and/or pattern... you would think that might save me money... not at all LOL I'm just making fewer mistakes!
    I've always had strong clothing preferences and I tend to stick with them when I sew. I sometimes try something new but always veer back to 'my thing'.

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  27. As a landscape designer I prefer the botanical name, so Plumeria. There are often many names for the same plant, as you've mentioned and confusion ensues when you want a specific plant. This plant is not as bad as many I come across. The problem comes up when there are a dozen different cultivars called by the same common name.
    I love the jacket; for you, red would certainly be in your wheelhouse. Oh, and please add me to the Frixion drawing please. I've never seen the pink and purple.

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  28. I'd love the pens- a souvenir from Hawaii without having to go there!

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  29. I love friction pens! They're great for everyday writing and marking sewing. If you decide that you want to see the lines again, put the item in the freezer for a while. They'll come back faintly.

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  30. This is one of my favorite posts of yours. I love all your thoughts. :) I would love to be entered in the drawing for the pens. I haven't tried them, but they sound like the best thing since sliced bread. :) I'm in Alabama.

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  31. I've never tried Frixion pens either so would love to receive these! And I always enjoy your random thoughts posts which we all can relate to. Kathy in Arkansas

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  32. I'm a newbie sewer. My friend has decided to take me under her wing and she has the coolest gadgets that I am going to start collecting too. I would like to win these pens!

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  33. Funny I just added this jacket to my 'Favorites' on the Burdastyle site earlier this week. Yes great pockets and collar but I really want to try this sleeve/shoulder type. My sewing instructor was suggesting I should use "softer", mor rounded shoulder pads and this goes right along with the softer shoulder theme.

    I'm not a scruncher but perhaps I ought to be. I buy most of my fabrics online so not much scrunching on the screen; squinting maybe.

    Frixion pens are the best! You an put me down for US delivery.

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  34. Randomness is so cool and it just goes to show how many great tangents are minds take on a regular basis! I love to sew and would love to try Frixiion pens. They sound magical! US delivery here. duchick at gmail dot com

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  35. Would love to try the Frixon pens, I'm in New South Wales, Australia. We call them Frangipani here.

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  36. I don't understand some patterns, either. Clearly it's a case of "to each his own". But I do have to say the fact that the Simplicity pattern description actually used the descriptor "granny frock" made me laugh! I'd love to give the pens a try!

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  37. Thanks for the lining info!
    From the US

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  38. Thanks for the lining info!
    From the US

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  39. I love all your posts, particularly some of your "pattern whispering" ones. It would be fun to win the Frixon pens. I live in the Netherlands.

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  40. Thank you for the advice. I don't think I have been scrunching fabric enough when selecting. I will now. This is very helpful.

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  41. I'm just learning to sew so your tips on scrunching fabric will be really useful. Thank you, I'll do that next time I ho fabric shopping. I'd like to put my name in the hat for the giveaway. I'm in Britain.

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  42. I have that Burda jacket on my to make list but won't get to it until next year. I'd love to see how you would tackle that pattern. Also, please add me to the give away list. Those pins sound great. Thanks!

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  43. I'd love to try those pens in the UK Beth!

    I'm with you on feeling the fabric before buying.

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  44. I'd really like to try those pens

    Alice, UK

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  45. Ha your observation on the simplicity pattern made me laugh: how is that doing as well as it is? Anyway, I'm here in the UK and so throw my hat in the ring...p.s. Frangipani!

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  46. Plumeria - I always bought a lei as I left Hawaii, the scent is heavenly. Next time I'll have to check out the office supply store, too!

    I enjoy your blog, thank you for taking the time to post your sewing adventures.

    I would like to try the Frixon pens, please enter me in the US drawing. I appreciate the opportunity!

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  47. I always appreciate when an experienced sewing blogger share tips and tricks newbies in the area needs to know about like me. I’ll keep your advice in mind as well as the things I learned from Kayla Green when I create my next project!

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