Saturday, December 6, 2014

Before and After

First it was a pile of DVDs ....

and then it was a book!

One year ago, the very first piece of mail arrived in our new home. Amid movers and mountains of boxes was a large manila envelope with a lot of DVDs and a transcript. Claire Shaeffer's work was temporarily complete and my work began. She had conceived of the entire project and worked with the fine folks at Taunton Press to record the video and provide all the content for the book.

My job was to watch all the rough footage to pinpoint the perfect freeze-frames for step-by-step instructions and to use the transcript to lay out all the pages of the book - filled in with the many tutorials, tips, tricks, and information. In concept, that doesn't sound so hard, does it? Lots of people could do that, but I had crossed paths with Claire Shaeffer and she asked me to be her technical editor.

Just in case you are wondering, YES I DID FEEL VERY FORTUNATE! It was surreal to be in this role with someone whose books & videos I already owned and had devoured. I could have never tackled this project had it not been for the generous and thorough advice and guidance from the editor of the previous book in this series, Kathy Marrone. Yep, it was pretty awesome.

This right here was my reward. 

So, it wasn't just Kathy's help, it was also Tim and Shawna at Taunton Press who helped me along. I was very open with both of them about my editorial experience, which was light, to say the least. And, of course, Claire was supportive and responsive. She always answered my emails within hours, if not minutes. That allowed me to finish the bulk of the work during the time I had taken off from my full-time job. My holidays last year were a blur of cardboard boxes and a couple of computer monitors temporarily set up on my ironing board. Honestly, it felt like a super-human effort, but when something is important to me, I am the type to go for it. And a few of my friends listened sympathetically when I was afraid it was all too much. Thank you Shams, Elizabeth and my other Facebook sewing friends, thank you!

OK - so now, does anyone out there have any strings they can pull? Can you help me win the lottery or something? I don't have it in me to pull off any more super-human efforts while I am working full-time. But dayum, I liked doing it! If I do say so myself, I make a pretty good editor of sewing related stuff. In fact, it would be a dream to work with more authors - and more topics. What kills me is that I like my full-time job, too. I just like too many things!

There are TWO horse farms within driving distance that rescue horses. They need volunteers. I don't want to own a horse, it's too much responsibility. Volunteering would be perfect for me, but do I have time? Nope. Well, I guess this is a good problem to have, right?

FYI - the book will be released on January 6, 2015. 

If I were to make a boucle skirt, this is the direction I would take:
via Pinterest

Sunday, November 30, 2014

vests and knits: my winter sewing

I recently sewed a new lounging /pajama outfit. I used TNT patterns so it was a very fast sew. The fabric is really fabulous - I love a nice beefy cotton shirting that doesn't wrinkle too much straight out of the dryer.

I think this is about the nicest shirting I have ever used, and it's a good thing because it was a little more expensive than I usually spend. Boy am I picky about my fabric! Anything touching my skin has to feel wonderful or it bugs me the whole time I wear it. When did I get so spoiled?

Speaking of fabric, I have my winter 2014-2015 pile going. I seem to have become a seasonal sewer. I did this last spring, too; I bought a pile of cute fabrics and sewed my way through the pile as spring rolled into summer. When it started getting cold here, I found myself desirous of simple long-sleeved knit tops.
Most of these knits will become long-sleeved tops.
These next two fabrics will become vests. I often wear fleece vests in the winter and I decided to step up my wardrobe with some nice wool wovens. The top one has a bit of a fleecy texture, but way more sophisticated. I love black and white, and there is plenty of it in my wardrobe, so this piece will work into my wardrobe easily. I love the plaid below it, too - the colors make me so happy. Now I just need to decide on patterns. I have a few options in my stash of Burda World of Fashion magazine patterns. I only have a yard of each fabric, and I am glad to have that limitation. If I had bought any more, I'd be pressuring myself to sew jackets.
The plaid reverses to a purple with little stripes in it - so cute! Both pieces will become vests.
My Happy Place
I just realized that our one year anniversary in this home will be next weekend. And you know what? I was right about how long it would take me to settle in. In the early days, when I took stock of the whole situation, I knew it would be a year before I felt completely organized and decorated. I am so picky about what I like and extra picky about how my home feels. I need to walk in the front door and feel a warm welcome. I am not saying everything is finished, but the main living area is definitely comfortable and soothing and I love it.

My little sewing nook is perfect, too. If you look closely at my corkboard, there are my sketches of potential dresses for my daughter's wedding party and I have a few swatches of fabric on the half-scale dressform.


I don't know yet whether I will be sewing a lot of dresses or just one for myself. When the bridesmaids are in town for the holidays, we will go shopping and see what's out there. If we find the absolute perfect dresses, then I won't be sewing.

You know, once upon a time I assumed that I would sew my daughter's wedding gown and all the bridesmaids dresses. But I feel surprisingly flexible. It's not my wedding, on so many levels. I am her sounding board, and I comprehend that I could make myself miserable by pushing some agenda or I can have the time of my life by going with the flow. It is SO MUCH BETTER to go with the flow.

So this is basically why I don't have any big sewing projects laid out for myself. I will sew through that pile of fabric and add basics to my wardrobe. And I will see what shakes out in the wedding department. I know I will feel happy either way.

Did you have a nice Thanksgiving? I did. Some years are hard and some years are medium and some years are just really good. I had a good one this year. Whatever the case may be for you, I thank you for visiting and reading. I enjoyed the comments from my last post and it feels good to be back.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

about GOMI

I have been learning all kinds of things on For example, stunt sewing is a thing. I've done that. I am laughing that I even sewed this dress 2 years ago:

Even the shoes are stunt shoes. I got them cheap at DSW and they are black suede booties that I can
wear for about 15 minutes before I must remove them or my feet will cry real tears.
I am still sewing. But I never feel like my garments are interesting enough to blog about anymore. I really do just want to wear tops and jackets that *fit me - so sew I must. But I can buy RTW skirts and pants, and I'd rather spend my time doing other things than trying out the new Ginger Jeans pattern by Closet Case Files because it looks like it might be a great pattern for me. That's not enough of a reason anymore. RTW pants fit me, so why not just order a few and wear them and be done with it? Well, that's what I am doing.

I am definitely exploring dressmaking options for the members of my daughter's wedding party. I will take the bridesmaids shopping and if we find dresses that look good on them, well I am just gonna buy them. If we don't find great dresses, then YUP I WILL DESIGN AND SEW CUSTOM DRESSES. Or maybe I will just sew my own, and offer to sew for Laura's stepmom and maybe the mother of the groom would like a dress, who knows?

About GOMI - yes, I have been on that website. There are some nasty comments, and, there are also some really intelligent and interesting comments. It's a bit like shopping at a Thrift Shop. You take the best and leave the rest.

I am on Instagram and Pinterest, but I just don't feel the old passion coming back for blogging. I guess I am a go-big-or-go-home girl. I mean, I used to spend like 20 hours a week on my blog. I was driven and I loved every minute. So that was nice.

*My Fitting Adjustments, or, The Summary of What I Learned from 2006 - 2014:

My back waist length (from nape of neck to waist) is about 1" longer than patterns allow for. All the fitting books tell you to add an inch at the waist, but the fitting books are wrong for my body. I need to add that extra inch up at the neckline, redraft the neckline, redraft the shoulder seams, redraft the sleeve heads and if there is a collar involved, redraft that, too. FUN, right?! I don't mind doing it, but damn it was hard to figure out. I spent countless hours and dollars studying with all the celebrity sewing teachers. Each one of them diagnosed a piece of the puzzle and I eventually put the pieces together.
I am 5'9" but do I have long legs? no. All those 32" inseam pants fit me just fine. All of my height is stuck up there in my neck. [BUT! Yes, of course, I am truly grateful that I can buy RTW pants. Pants are hard to fit, too.]
This is the only type of top that fits me without alterations. Cute but it does get boring after a while.