Friday, March 19, 2010

Sewing Machines

I am on my 2nd sewing machine.  When I was 13, my grandparents gave me a brand new Bicor.  I loved it.  About 14 years later it started acting up.  I'd clean and oil it and it would be fine for a few more months...then I'd have to do it all over again.

It finally quit on me in 2008.  There are so few places that actually repair sewing machines that I figured it would cost an arm and a leg.  So I borrowed my mother-in-law's (MIL) sewing machine.  She hardly uses hers so I had to clean and oil it before I could use it.  It worked, but it wasn't the same.

Then my birthday rolls around.  Hubby had been asking me to recommend a sewing machine for someone he works with who wanted to buy one.  He gave me a choice of a few and I gave him my honest opinion of them.

We get together with Hubby's family to celebrate my birthday back in January and out comes this large gift.  I was hoping for a bunch of new teas for my Keurig, but it was even better because it was a sewing machine.

Hubby had me pick out my own present...and I didn't catch on!

I have a Kenmore and I love it.  I do have one complaint:  I miss the option to select a long stitch.  My old machine had an option for what was about 1/4 of an inch, I used to for things like stay stitching and decorative stitching.  However, it has an automatic button hole feature which I love.  I could never get the hang of doing a button hole free hand.

My old machine would break the sewing needle if it hit a straight this one.  Below is a picture of what this Kenmore can do to a pin!

Some things to consider when selecting a sewing machine:

-What do I want to use this for?  This way you know what features you need and what features you don't.

-How much do I want to invest into this?  Are you just learning?  You may want to consider a less expensive machine with less features until you know whether or not sewing is for you.

-How much will the "extras (replacement needles...bobbins...etc)" cost me? 

-Will I set this up and leave it in one place or will I have to sew on my kitchen table and put it away when done?  You don't want to have to lug a heavy machine around.

These are just a few things to consider.  Make sure you read reviews and ask questions, too!

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I love sales!

I went to JoAnn Fabrics today looking for some new fabric to make more plastic shopping bag holders.

I was welcomed by a sea of red and white sales tags.  40% off this...20% off that...I was in heaven!  But it was around lunch time and the kids were cranky because they wanted to eat, so I just went and got what I went there for.

I get up to the checkout counter and notice that the pre-cut "Fat Quarters", as they are called, are ringging  up at only $0.90 instead of the usual $1.29.  OMG!  They were on sale too! 

Now I'll have to go back either tomorrow or Saturday and get more.  Their sales usually run Sunday-Saturday...but I didn't see this one advertised so I have no clue when it will end.

I'm really happy about saving $8!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

There is the cheap way to do things and then there is the right way to do things.

When someone says "I'm sorry, but that's just too much [for that hem my pants...etc]"  I get a little upset.  I set my prices to what I feel is fair.  And if I'm not sure I know a great group of smart women who I can bounce my ideas off...and they won't sugar coat anything.

I was in discussion with someone about making a custom gown for them...from a picture...with no pattern.  Ten to twelve hours of my day, at least, to make something custom for you.  Yes I want $150 to do that, that breaks down to about $13-ish an hour.  You are paying for my expertise for something you can't do.

Why do I spend the extra time on lining the dresses I make?  Because I think it looks nicer and is therefore a better product.

Why do I make a sample of anything before I make one for sale?  Because if something isn't right I can correct it with the cheap fabric and not waste the better quality fabric.

Why do I do all this?  Because, as my father is fond of saying, there is the cheap way to do things and then there is the right way to do things.

Everything I make is done the right way.  It might be a little more expensive to do things that way, but it will last longer and it looks better.

I suggest that with everything you make, whether to sell, to gift or for yourself, that you take into consideration that there is a right way and a cheap way to do things...which way would you want it done?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pinafore dresses...old fashioned yet cute!

I love the way little girls look in dresses and for some reason they are so much more so when you add a pinafore to the dress.

I like the look of having buttons attaching the pinafore rather than the look of the ties on the shoulder.

You know, pinafores were first used so children could get more wear out of their clothes?  Back before washing machines and dryers it saved mothers from doing tons of laundry.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What to do with all those plastic shopping bag?

If you are like me, you like to reuse those shopping bags as much as possible.  I keep them around as a place to put wet clothes in case of an accident while we are out...or to hold stinky diapers so they don't smell up my house...or to put meat in to keep it separate from my other groceries when I go to those discount stores that charge you for bags.

They are very handy little things...but they also go all over the place if you just look at them wrong.


Bag holders!  I love these things.  I bought mine about 10 years ago at a craft fair and it's still holding my plastic shopping bags.  You just hang them on a nail, use the opening at the top to put the bags in and then pull them out of the opening at the bottom.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Boo-Boo Bags

Ever heard of these?  They are great!  Just bags of fabric in different sizes filled with things like corn, rice or flax seed they can be heated in the microwave or chilled in the freezer and used for what hurts you.

And yes, they actually work.

I use them when the kids gets bumps I use these instead of ice.  When they have gas, I heat one of these up in the microwave and place it on their tummy.

I love to sew, it keeps me sane :0)

I got my first sewing machine at 13.  I made all my formal dresses throughout high school.  About 2 years ago, my first sewing machine started to die on me.  As my ability to sew went down, my stress level went up.

For my birthday this year, I got a new sewing machine and I am a happy woman again.  I can spend hours in the fabric store just looking around an planning projects.  I love making clothes for my kids.

The latest project?  Smocks.  The kids can still be messy eaters and according to my 4 year old "I am a big boy, only babies wear bibs"...what he does, his sister follows, so no bibs.  Smocks, however, are cool and they will wear them.

The first picture is the back of my son's smock and the 2nd picture is the front.  The 3rd picture is the back of my daughter's smock and the last picture is the front.