Sew Grateful Week – Reflections Day

Today is the day of Sew Grateful Week where we are prompted to think about what sewing has meant to our lives, the support we have received, and what the sewing community has meant to each of us.

For me, sewing has been a new and exciting creative outlet. It’s also helped me connect with my love of history and fashion, since I sew almost exclusively from vintage patterns. With vintage, you can’t always find some of the pieces you want, or maybe you can find them, but they aren’t in wearable condition or aren’t in your price range. Learning to sew and using vintage patterns gives me a means of building up my vintage wardrobe, but without the cost and time-consuming hunting. Sewing has also meant a tangible connection to the past because women used to sew their own clothes many years ago, and it feels like I’m continuing something that’s bigger than just me. My grandmother sewed (though she stuck mostly to quilting), and now that I’ve learned to sew, I feel very sad that I never wanted to learn when she was still here to teach me. I don’t often think about what my late family members would say/think about choices that I make, but this case is different; I think she would have been proud of me.

The last two aspects of my post dovetail quite nicely: what type of support I have, and what the online sewing community has meant to me as a sewist. In terms of support, most of mine actually comes from the online community. People have been so kind and encouraging, even when I was just starting to blog, and it’s meant a lot to me. I do have some support in meatspace: my husband is usually excited when I’m working on something new (even more so if it’s for him), and some of my family and friends know I sew and always say such nice things about my work. But they only see the end results, and I don’t share much with family and friends with respect to my sewing. Ironically, I’m shy about my accomplishments and hobbies; it was impressed upon me as a child that it was rude to brag about things like that, so I tend to keep quiet about my creative pursuits with people who know me. But online, I feel free to share what I’m working on and get excited, because so many of you are also excited about sewing. I’ve been so impressed by the online sewing community: people are so proud of one another, so positive, so generous, and so kind. It’s sort of the opposite of what many of us think of when we think of online interactions, I think. I don’t comment on most of the blogs that I follow, but even just reading along and reading the comments sections is inspiring. And I can’t say enough about how exciting it is to get email notifications that someone “liked” a post I wrote, or followed this tiny blog, or left a comment. That kind of real-time support from strangers (some of whom are becoming acquaintances, since we comment back and forth!) helps me stay positive and engaged.

So this week, as I try to be mindful of my sewing and all the joy it brings me, I’m especially grateful for the following things: other sewists online, dumb luck, vintage patterns and notions, the support of a few close friends/loves/family, the abilities that I have (which, though not the best, are good enough to help me make nice things!), the people who read this blog and who leave me such wonderful comments, the historical significance that sewing has for me, and the creative opportunities that sewing affords me.

I wish I could express my appreciation for all of you adequately, but I feel like that’s not possible! I’m so happy to be a part of such an amazing group of people who embody so many of the best aspects of human nature and who possess such immense talent and creativity. You all have helped make my life better and more meaningful, and I’m “sew” grateful for that. (Sewing pun FTW!) Thank you for being awesome!

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Pattern Review 2014 Fitted Blouse Contest!

Why does it seem like I can’t get motivated to finish a project unless there is a contest or sew-along or event involved?!? I suppose I shouldn’t complain because hey, it makes me productive, right? 🙂

Pattern Review is having a new contest starting on March 1: sewing a fitted blouse!

2014 Fitted Blouse - Skill Level BEGINNER

I have been signed up for Pattern Review for several months now, and I’m sad to say that I don’t make use of the site as much as I could. (Come to think of it, I need to submit reviews for some of the patterns I’ve sewn…) But what little interaction/experience I’ve had there has been really good, and I’m excited to participate with their community! Apparently this is a new type of contest for them, since competitors are divided by skill level: competitors must classify themselves as Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced. I appreciate that as a novice, simply because I wouldn’t feel quite so confident going up against expert-level seamstresses, even with my best work! I’m madssews over there–are any of you on PR?? I’ll make sure to blog about my progress here, of course; I’m hoping to do better with my finishing techniques this time around, at least! I’ve already got a pattern in mind, naturally. I’ll be using a pretty shot cotton from my stash, and I’m hoping that I’ll have some buttons in my collection that will work nicely. If not, that should be the only notion (apart from matching thread) that I need to buy–hooray! I’ve got a pretty decent button stash now, but I don’t know if I have anything that will work with the color of my fabric. Looks like I’ll have to go digging tonight! 😉

I’ll have another post today for Sew Grateful Week, but that will have to wait for later. Hope you lovelies can handle two doses of Mads in one day!

So, “Sew Grateful Week” Is A Thing…

…and while I’m not participating in the generosity-driven portions of the week, such as giveaways and sharing lots of resources (having just learned of this tonight kind of makes that tough), I plan to write a post for tomorrow at least. I’ll probably try to do a roundup post with some tutorials that have helped me or my favorite Etsy shops for patterns or fabric, because that shouldn’t be too hard, right? I love this concept, and am glad that Debi at My Happy Sewing Place is hosting it! If you want to learn more about Sew Grateful Week, go here!

I’ve got my sidebars about where I want them, but still haven’t changed my header! I simply have no appropriate photos, so it looks like I’ll have to come up with some ideas and take new photos. Should be a fun challenge, and it will be nice to have limitless possibilities for what my header could look like!

I’ve got my muslin laid out for the playsuit pattern, so hopefully I can start that soon. (I know, I know: I’ve said that for like 3 weeks now!) I also finally got my envelope project finished, so all my patterns have safe and properly labelled homes to go to now–hooray!

It’s bedtime at the Mads House, so I’ll catch all of you beautiful people later for Day 2 of Sew Grateful!

I’m On Bloglovin’!

Hello again, dearies!

If you glance to your left, you will notice that I finally claimed this damn blog on Bloglovin’–woo hoo! I use Bloglovin’ to keep up with the sewing corner of the Web-o-sphere (because seriously, there are SO many great sewists who blog and without a reader platform, I’d never keep up!) and I just learned that I can claim my own blog there, as well. So yay!

I’ll be spending my lunch hour tweaking the blog a little bit (rather than napping like I usually do). I’m tired of how boring and “stock” it is, and I want to make it more reflective of my personality. Themes on WP are a little limiting for that, I know, but the least I can do is add a more appropriate header photo. I’ll also add links to Flickr, Instagram, etc. in the sidebar so I can do more sharing of photos as I take them, rather than waiting until I have the time to sit down and write a new post. Thanks for reading!

Snow Day Show-Off: New Stuff and Plans Galore!

I don’t know about all y’all, but we’re having a snow day here in Ohio! (My office is open, but I took some vacation time today; no sense in driving in a Level 2 emergency when I’ve got time left.) One thing I plan to do today is clean up and organize my sewing area, which at present looks like a pair of toddlers tossed stuff all over the table and didn’t put it away. (Nope, no toddlers here…can I blame my cats somehow? :P) I’ve got lots of pattern envelopes that I photocopied, so I’d like to be able to tape those to the mailers I bought and put the pattern inside and then file them in a (cute) box.

I’ve also got big plans for myself with respect to actually sitting down and sewing, though I don’t expect to get far with that stuff today. I’ve gotten lots of new patterns lately (I know, I know: I need to stop already!) and when I came across a particular pattern and fabric on Etsy last week, I got super-inspired. Behold:

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My future playsuit!

I’m really excited about this one, you guys. I’ve wanted a playsuit pattern for a LONG time (we call them rompers now, right?), and this 1950’s iteration is almost exactly what I had envisioned. (I got it here, but there are other copies of it at other shops, too.) When I saw the vintage 1950’s fabric in another Etsy shop, I just knew it was meant to be! And our store just happened to get a small jewelry consignment last week, and it contained two mother-of-pearl vintage buckles; this one was calling my name, and I’m so excited to have found the perfect use for it already! You may be thinking, “Mads, what kind of crazy bastard makes a 1950’s playsuit in the dead of winter in Ohio??” If you’re thinking that, you totally have a point. But for me, striking while my inspiration is actually functioning is a necessity; besides, what better way to give winter the big middle finger than to sew a summer piece to lift my spirits? (Especially since this winter has destroyed the drain pipes to our upstairs bathroom with its freakishly freezing temperatures, but I suppose that’s another post for another day!) I’d like to get this pattern muslin’d by the end of the week, so we’ll see how I do!

Also in the works is the bra pattern I bought a few weeks ago. I’ve got my mesh and ribbon and cotton, and I’m ready to try out lingerie for the first time:

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All this stuff may eventually turn into a bra–not magic, but close!

The cotton I’m using for the bra was bought on sale at the sewing shop down the street as part of a remnants sale they were having last year. I’ll have plenty left to make a blouse out of it, too, which was my original plan for the yardage.

My last photo dump features notions that I’ve racked up recently: more buckles (art deco this time!) and some antique buttons!! I also got some vintage lavender-colored buttons that I seem to have lost somewhere in the house, which is a bummer, since I’ll need them for that blouse I mentioned in the last paragraph. I hope I find them! =(

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Almost too pretty to use…almost. =)

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Hand-painted, even. Whoa.

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Some didn’t photograph well, but I promise that they’re awesome!

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Wow. Many deco. Such buckle.

FTR, my reaction to those buckles was not unlike Homer Simpsons’s gurgling noise when he’s thinking about delicious donuts…Seriously, I can’t believe how awesome they are! And they’re mine. (But the Etsy shop where I got them has more!)

That’ll do it for this entry–gotta get to work in that sewing room so that this day off isn’t a total waste! Hope you guys are warm and safe today, wherever you are!