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11  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: How do you organize your stash? on: August 09, 2011 05:26:47 AM
ha ha kidding. This was the great fabric sort of 2011 a month or so ago. I dont have a craft room so I organized everything in tubs according to the type of fabric and labeled the containers to stack nicely in my garage!
ROFL, looks like the pooch enjoyed it, too!

I've actually started making plants to build some wooden chests for fabric storage.  Ultimately I'll use cedar because it keeps bugs away and all, so it should be good for wools, but I'm going to start with whitewood because it's cheaper and I don't really know what I"m doing so far as building yet.  I made a model in Google Sketchup.  I might procrastinate by making another model in Blender.  But Google Sketchup is generally better for stuff you plan on turning into something real.  But building virtual things I already have some clue about!   Grin
But anyway, my stash is.. uh.. kinda taking over..  and the parts that don't have "real" storage just aren't pretty.  I'm figuring with some wooden chests, I'll have fabric storage spots that can double as benches/tables/footrests and generally make everything look less cluttered.  'Cuz I have massive sewing clutter. 
12  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: Will I Always Be "Becky-Home-Ecky?" on: July 26, 2011 01:57:37 PM
Maggiedoll- thanks for all those sources!  (Yet another thing to distract me at work... Wink)  And I've always thought that I don't do enough sewing to make a blog interesting at all, but maybe I'll just do it anyway...what's the worst that could happen, right?
Worst thing I can think of is that you'd start thinking of it as a popularity contest and get discouraged if you didn't have "enough" followers or post "enough" or generally started making value judgments about your merits as a blogger. 

There are all those "how to blog well" articles that say things like "there are three kinds of bloggers: those who are successful, those who fail, and those who are delusional and think they don't care how many readers they have."  I consider that a supremely awful mindset to have for sewblogging, especially if you're trying to chronicle what you're learning.  I think it's better to approach it from a "publicly-accessible journal/record of your progress" angle and think of it as a method of recording your own progress that also doubles as a method of receiving feedback on your work.  Sew-blogging is a very niche-y thing, there aren't many sewing blogs that are "successful" by the definitions a publisher would use.  I think the sewblogging world is more like a forum bound together by links and blogrolls than it is like published writing. 
13  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: Will I Always Be "Becky-Home-Ecky?" on: July 25, 2011 07:04:40 PM
Fishstix, why don't you start a blog?
Really, even reader comments aside, it's a great way to think about what you've made, explain it to yourself and other people, and consider ways to improve it.  
They always say that to really understand something, you have to teach it.  Blogging is a great way of approaching that.  

Oh, and one more thing.. the other day I was criticizing the envelope photo of one of the new Vogue patterns (1251) and someone commented about how they better be careful about putting their own stuff up since that looked more than fine to them.  But it's a different standard.  It's Vogue's pattern, and it's an advertisement photo, meant to get people to buy the pattern.  And they get to pick the model!  If the company making the pattern can't make it look well fitted and pressed on the model chosen to model the pattern, that says more about the pattern than some imperfections in the final garment made by anybody else.  It's their pattern and their advertisement, their design and all their choices.  They can pick somebody with the perfect body type to make the pattern fit correctly, even if it's a difficult-to-wear pattern that would look right only on an unusual body shape.  That envelope cover should make the pattern look as good as it could possibly look.  If it doesn't look perfect, it makes you wonder if there are just flaws in the pattern.  I wouldn't criticize an individual seamstress in nearly the same way.  

I'd love to hear what sewing blogs other people read.  I'm always looking for new and interesting sewing blogs, but I mostly find them just through blogrolls-- searching never seems to work very well.  Usually I stumble across new blogs by chance.  
I'm especially fond of costuming and corsetry blogs.  (Already follow Bridges on the Body..  and the Corsetmakers LJ group..)

ETA: Oh, and smaller beginner blogs, of course.  Especially blogs of other crazy people who, rather than starting by sewing things that are easier, just dive in and make corsets and jeans and such.
The little blogs that can establish all sorts of fun interblog commenting and referencing..
14  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: Essential tools and notions for sewing? on: July 24, 2011 05:42:52 PM
Help!  I've gotten up the nerve to make a Civil War corset, but can't find the steel boning/busk I need.  Does anyone know of local sources in the DFW area?  Don't mind driving, but don't want to wait on an on-line order.  Need the corset before I start trying to fit dresses.  Thanks!!!! 
Getting corset supplies locally is next to impossible. 
There's Laci's in LA
There's Vogue Fabrics in Illinois, which is the US distributor for Farthingales, and I'm not even sure if they have them in their actual store. 
There's Grannd in New Jersey.
And to the best of my knowledge, that's about it so far as brick-and-mortar corset supply stores.  Unless you want to drive literally across the country, you're probably going to have to bite the bullet and order online. 

Electra Designs Corsetry is in TX.  You could try contacting them, but it's a long shot, Alexis Black is a corsetier, not a supplies retailer.

Corsetry supplies just can't generally be had locally. 
You could do a mockup of your corset using cable ties or duct strapping for boning and a heavy duty zipper or front lacing for the front closure if you just need to be able to have a temporary corset for fitting your dress. 
15  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: Will I Always Be "Becky-Home-Ecky?" on: July 24, 2011 01:40:11 PM
I don't know what sewing blogs you're reading, so I don't know just what you mean by "expensive fabrics and couture techniques." 
Nice fabrics are all well and good, but a) you don't want to sew nice fabric before you feel your technique will do justice to that fabric and b) nice fabrics can be gotten at major discounts, especially if you're not looking for something incredibly specific.  My favorite is FabricMart (fabricmartfabrics.com)..  I've gotten some really nice stuff from them at really really great prices. 
Also, when someone is critiquing their own work on their blog, or even somebody else's, part of the purpose of that is to look at the details and consider what could have been done better.  It's not necessarily a value judgment on the already-finished garment-- it can be a reference for the next one. 
And one of the biggest things people are usually looking at when talking about the quality of a garment is the fit.  Most sewing blogs are very disparaging on RTW clothing.  That may be because people are more inclined to sew if they have trouble buying something that fits, but it should also put some perspective on the general criticism. 

I don't know just how many people take classes, but most do read books.  And tutorials. 
I love old sewing books.  They tend to have a lot of information, a lot of technique, and they're nice and cheap!

The whole "couture" thing is.. complex.  Theoretically, "haute couture" is the dressmaking equivalent of bespoke in menswear-- made to measure garments built from the ground up for a particular person.  But "couture" has become a bit of a buzzword.  It seems to be used a lot to describe any technique that would be time-consuming or "advanced" or focused on detail.  And then to some extent when a blogger refers to something as a couture technique that may just mean that's what it was referred to wherever they learned it.  I think newer books refer to a lot of things as couture techniques that would be covered in older general sewing books but not called couture.  Especially things like pattern matching and anything involving hand stitching or hand basting. 

Have you looked at any of the more beginning sewing blogs?  One of the neat things about sew blogging in general is that people can chronicle their own progress, and at the same time, get some feedback and advice on it.  And blogs can be a great way to LEARN some of those "couture techniques." 
Jilly at JillyBeJoyful just did a "Do you have mistake-o-phobia?  Do I?" post http://jillybejoyful.blogspot.com/2011/07/do-you-have-mistake-o-phobia-do-i_18.html  She also did some great welt pocket tutorials awhile ago. 
Then there's dfr at Sewing Miss Adventure http://sewingmissadventure.blogspot.com/..    Erin over at the Amateur Sewist (http://amateursewist.blogspot.com/) has been doing mostly home dec stuff lately because she just moved.  Gloria at GloriaStitches (http://gloriastitches.blogspot.com/) sews sometimes..  and it's always exciting!   Those are mostly the PR chat crew.. 'cuz they're who I know..
Then there's the Slapdash Sewist (http://theslapdashsewist.blogspot.com/).. Rebecca over at Tales of a Wannabe Seamstress (http://talesofawannabeseamstress.blogspot.com/).. Sew Silly (http://kimsewsilly.blogspot.com/) .. Yarndiva at Sew Old Sew New (http://silkmothsewing.blogspot.com/) who commented on one of my posts awhile ago and I followed her back to her normally-sewing blog to discover her pickling recipe..  and now have a crock of pickling cucumbers pickling in my fridge.   Grin
I've been blogging more about gardening and pickling lately.. that time of the year.   Wink

I hope some of that was helpful.. and that I didn't leave too many people out..
16  CLOTHING / Clothing Sewalongs / Re: Festival dress sew-along anyone? on: July 23, 2011 03:25:52 PM
I guess I misinterpreted it too.  Here in Scandinavia we also have festival season in the summer, but here it means music festivals. 
Wait, now I'm not sure..  I figured she meant Renn Festival, and then bdunn started talking about a venetian gown.. 
But now I'm looking back and thinking you're right.. 

My mind is always in the garb gutter.   Grin
17  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Re: Considering industrial or heavy-duty machine - some questions on: July 22, 2011 06:07:25 AM
You say you're looking for a machine that will sew heavier fabrics and leather.  In what sort of context are we talking about? 
Like Michael said, an industrial machine for heavy fabrics would be designed to sew them day in, day out, and perfectly.  Usually machines for sewing heavy fabrics are walking foot machines (not the same as a walking foot attachment) and the newer ones usually have needle feed too.  That, with a servo motor for speed control, would be the ideal setup.  Speed reducers for clutch motors are also available. 

But if you're just looking for something that will sew through heavy materials, you can use most vintage machines.  They're not designed to be doing it constantly, and whenever you're using a machine not specifically designed for thick fabrics, you do have the limitation of what will fit under the presser foot, but just sewing through heavy fabrics isn't usually much of  a problem.  There can be problems with shifting layers, which is why machines specifically designed for heavy fabrics use compound feed systems. 

I find walking foot attachments (which, like I said, aren't the same as having a walking foot machine) to be a PITA.  There are also teflon and roller feet that help minimize shifting too, though. 
Use the correct needles, too.  I love those microtex sharp needles.  And of course if you're sewing leather, use a leather needle. 
If you use a high-shank machine, you can use most standard industrial feet-- which are about three zillion times less expensive than domestic machine feet. 

I've been on the prowl for an industrial compound feed machine for awhile.. maybe I'm hoping for an unrealistic deal, but it's not like I need one urgently, so I figure I can be patient and see what pops up.  But my main reason for wanting one is to stop corset layers from shifting as I'm sewing them. 
I used to use an older-but-newish heavy-duty Taiwanese Necchi as my main machine (oddly, "Heavy Duty" is the only model information on it,) but ever since I got my BU Mira (older Italian Necchi) that's morphed into my main machine.  I don't really sew leather, so I haven't tested out the Mira on leather, but out of curiosity I did test how my "Heavy Duty" machine felt about sewing leather.  It went right through six layers.  (not sure just how the thickness of the leather I used compares to other leathers.  it was from a bag of assorted craft leather I got from a FabricMart mix-up.)  The "heavy duty" machine didn't like topstitching thread, though-- Mira handles it perfectly. 

It sounds like you're talking about getting an industrial machine before even testing what a domestic would be able to do.  If you're just looking at making some pairs of jeans and purses and such for yourself, I wouldn't call an industrial machine necessary.  My best suggestion is to start on a solid old domestic, and then start thinking about industrial machines based on any complaints you end up having about the performance of the domestic.  Unless you come across a too-good-to-pass-up deal on Craigslist, of course. 
18  CLOTHING / Clothing Sewalongs / Re: Festival dress sew-along anyone? on: July 21, 2011 08:13:19 PM
There have been garb sew-a-longs and corset sew-a-longs over on PatternReview fairly recently.  
..and we sorta end up talking garb most nights in chat.   Grin
 Tigerkin, they mean Renn faire/festival dresses.  

Bdunn, I don't believe that the Venetian split-bodice gowns were worn only by courtesans.  Although that depends on how you're defining courtesan.  Apparently the term first referred to any female courtier and it wasn't until a bit later that it referred to the upper tier of prostitutes.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Courtesan  But anyway, there are quite a lot of period portraits of ladies wearing wearing that style.  

I've been working on a camicia from the instructions on Realm of Venus (http://realmofvenus.renaissanceitaly.net/library/camiciahowto.htm)  ..did all the hand-pleating yesterday.  I just it's sorta a mockup-- I'm using a cheap white broadcloth for now, hopefully I'll be able to use handkerchief eventually.  But hand pleating takes practice! 

Were you going to start the Venetian gown with a particular pattern? I've never seen an actual Venetian dress pattern, but I haven't figured out just what would be the easiest to modify into one. 
19  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Selling Crafts on Etsy.com / Re: Shady pricing scheme on: July 21, 2011 07:03:52 PM
You should be able to report that.  I dunno about Etsy, but Ebay certainly takes fee-dodging very seriously.  Sellers may get away with things that annoy other sellers, but fee-dodging directly affects Etsy's profits. That's a whole different ball game. 
20  CLOTHING / Costumes: Completed Projects / Re: 12 in 12: May - Aqua/Orange Striped Ball Gown on: July 21, 2011 06:32:34 PM
Oh wow, that is stunning! 
I love the way all those beautiful fabrics go together.  And I just adore iridescent fabrics.   Grin
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