Friday, August 26, 2011

A Visual Update of My Sewing Life

Hello lovely readers! My posting these pasts few weeks has been quite sporadic and in all honesty I just have had little sewing related topics to blog about. Thankfully, I have survived the first week of classes and did come out of the mess with an overpriced parking sticker. Infuriatingly, the parking situation on campus is the worst I have ever witnessed. There are about double the number of cars than there are spaces and the administration keeps posting letters on Facebook, how charmingly professional of them, to pretty much tell us we need to suck it up and deal with it. Sure, I'll just park on the 80 degree hill in the overflow lot after I battle a professor for a space, since even the professors are routinely having their cars towed for parking in the grass beside the faculty lots. Thanks for listening to my rant, now let's move on to sewing stuff, shall we?

I have decided to put the dress that just wasn't quite working out aside for now, but I do plan on returning it to it one day. Those might be my famous last words.

This is the pattern that isn't going so well.
So, as I mentioned in my last post, I want to make one more summer dress, as some sort of last hurrah. I am dreading the impending winter, even though a Virginia winter is laughably mild compared to some. So, what pattern is up next? Take a look below. ( You can't see the fabric, but it is a plain, natural colored linen.)

Also, in other sewing related projects, I have decided that it's finally time to recover the sleeve board that I picked up an estate sale a few months ago. I will update this post with a pic soon. I cannot seem to get the sleeve board pics to load.

I'm off to browse all the new releases from the pattern companies.

Happy Sewing!

P.S. I have added lots more things to the Esty shop, 19something, and I'd love if you'd come check it out.

Monday, August 22, 2011

An Actual Update About Sewing ( Plus Some Other Things Too)

Good evening, lovely readers!! These past two weeks have been quite a whirlwind for me.  Sewing has been non existent and even thinking about sewing has been at a minimum.

I'd like to think everyone who took time to stop by my Etsy shop. Today marks the third day that my shop has been live and I've already had two sales. This fact makes me quite the happy camper! However, getting everything set up has been quite a time consuming endeavor. I still have about 30 more vintage patterns to list, some of which have up to a 47" bust, but I have yet to count the pieces to make sure they're complete. Counting pattern pieces is so time consuming and about as exciting as watching paint dry. I'd never sell a pattern that I hadn't checked though, so time consuming, monotonous counting it is. I have some more vintage dishes to list as well, so hopefully I can get some good pics during the daytime. Hopefully my Etsy shop will flourish so I have some Christmas shopping funds.

Secondly, school starts back for me tomorrow. Luckily, I only have classes that meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but school is 50 miles away, an hour long drive. My semester should be pretty easy, that is, until my three online classes start mid October, then I will most likely drop off the planet for 8 weeks. I have yet to buy my books for my classes yet, which will probably lead to me crying for a week because all my fabric money will have vanished. Seriously, textbooks are so overpriced! Don't they know how much fabric I can buy for $500? Also, please don't be alarmed if I write a post tomorrow that makes me come across as the most whiny person on the planet. I have to stand in line to get my parking decal, which usually takes close to an hour, where I will undoubtedly be met by a disgruntled campus cop. Did I mention that the parking stickers cost over a hundred bucks?

Now, lets get to some sewing take. I have been working and working and working on a McCall's halter dress but have hit a roadblock. The band that forms the halter strap and sides just does not curve in the same manner as my body, causing it to stick out in a very unsightly way. I have tried multiple things to fix it, including cutting down the piece to make it smaller but so far no luck. I think I'm going to take it over to my aunt's one day for her to help me try to add a dart to it. I really don't want to give up since I used mock french seams, and there are six seams! Not to mention, the rest of the dress fits oh so perfectly.

I do need another project though. I have a simple summer dress cut out of a natural colored linen that I can hopefully stitch up in the next week or so. I want to be able to wear it at least once before I have to toss a cardigan over it in the early fall. I think that my mojo has returned, though we shall see once I begin stitching up this dress.

I do have a few other sewing projects that I need to make myself do, but I am so dreading. Mending. Mending is a dirty, nasty, filthy, word that should never be uttered from any self respecting seamstress. I hate mending with every fiber of my being. But, no matter how much I hate it, I really need to buckle down and get it done. Seriously, some of the things I need to do include tacking labels back down onto vintage jackets before they fall off. It would take 5 minutes tops, but I avoid it like the plague. I need to stitch up a one inch tear in a jacket lining, and even though I can sew, the thought of asking what the dry cleaners charges has crossed my mind. Making a seamstress mend is like insisting a gourmet chef prepare you a Hungry Man meal.

So, there you have it. Ramblings and blurbs about my life and my sewing. I promise there will be some productive sewing soon!

Friday, August 19, 2011

My Etsy Shop is Live!

Hello my dear and lovely readers!! I thought that I'd stop in and let you all know that my Etsy shop is now live and running! I am quite excited, like a proud mother. I will be adding more and more items over the next few weeks Posting things is a bit more time consuming than I had anticipated. I'd love it if you'd come over and take a look.


Hopefully I will have a sewing related post soon. Life and a lack of mojo both seem to be affecting my sewing output at the moment. I'm ready to dig out a fresh project and get some instant gratification.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'm Back! ( And I'll be on Etsy Soon)

Sorry about my unannounced absence dear readers! A very special person was in town last week and the last thing on my mind was my sewing or my blog. Hopefully I will get back to posting soon, though I do have a busy few weeks coming. My fall semester resumes on Tuesday and I am in the process of opening up an Etsy shop to sell vintage items.

So far I have only created my shop, 19something, and hopefully I'll load it up with goodies in the next two weeks or so. I plan on selling all kinds of things from the 20th century, provided that it's vintage of course. I have been digging though my vintage stuff looking for items that I'm willing to part with, as well as hitting the thrift stores to find some items. So far I have about 15 or so vintage patterns in a 40" bust and up which will be listed soon.

Does anyone else run an Etsy shop? If so, any tips?

Monday, August 8, 2011

How do You "Like" Me Now?

Hello wonderful readers! Tales of a Wannabe Seamstress now has it's own FB page! I'd be quite honored if you'd come on over and "like" me. You can find my page here.

Supposedly, nothing in life is free, but I beg to differ. Here is what you'll get for free if you "like" Tales of a Wannabe Seamstress. ( Hurry! We can't do this all day folks!)

  • A smattering of information about me, my life, and my sewing machine. 
  • The ability to post on my wall. Though I'd prefer cute and cuddly posts, like a baby seal, snide, great white shark like, comments won't be deleted. Why, yes, I did enjoy shark week!
  • I promise to reply to posts on my wall. Want to know what I ate for dinner? Ask me! Want to know what I'm sewing? Ask me! Want to know what you should have for dinner? Ask me! Want to know what happened that one time at band camp? Ask me!
  • For all my VIPS,  you might even get a sneak peak when I finish garments, that is, if I ever get my current dress done. That's right, you get first dips at compliments and criticism. ( I really do welcome constructive criticism, I promise.)
Come on over and join the party! I promise you won't regret it! Be advised, however, the party is BYOB and BYOSR. ( Bring your own seam ripper.) The latter will be needed because of the former.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Intersection of Sewing, Critical Thinking Skills, and Math

Hello lovely readers! Today, I thought that I'd delve into a topic that fascinates me just a bit. What do sewing, critical thinking skills, and math have in common? Lots, actually! You see, I am drawn to sewing for more reasons than simply the tangible results of my efforts. I find that I really enjoy the problem solving aspects, as well as the constant use of math.

According to The Critical Thnking Community,"critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying,analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action."

Critical thinking and sewing go hand in hand! All of the actions described in the very definition of critical thinking can be applied to the art of sewing without any true effort needed to adapt the definition to the task. From the planning stages to the final stitch, critical thinking must come into play if you wish to have a successful outcome. You must be constantly mindful of the task at hand, you must be constantly aware of measurements and other numbers that come into play, and you must be ready at any given second to find a "detour" if a problem does arise. When you sew you must be on your "A" game.

So, where does math come into play? First, foremost, and most obviously, math comes into play when you're measuring to choose the correct size or when you're sewing seams of your garment. But furthermore, math comes into play if you want to grade a pattern, when you're making fit alterations, or especially if you're "frankenpatterning" and you need all the pieces to come together. Math is everywhere in the sewing process, and you can't avoid it by simply opting for consumer math, instead of calculus.

It seems that society, particularly higher education academia, tends to separate the abstract and the physical. Many students are taught concepts and critical thinking, but are never given the opportunity to put those lessons into practice.Now, don't get me wrong, I think that concepts should be taught. I would wholeheartedly argue that higher math is critical, no pun intended, in teaching critical thinking skills. While the average algebra 2 student is most likely adamant that they will never need what they're learning , the truth is it isn't so much about retaining the proper way to complete the square as it is to learn how to think about how to complete the square. Higher math teaches critical thinking skills, and critical thinking skills help with life, as well as sewing.

The idea that different people learn in different ways, as in physical, visual, and audible, seems to be quite prevalent.I disagree, however, and I would cite sewing as an example to back up what I choose to believe. I think that it is reasonable to say that whatever is being taught inherently possesses a method that works best for it's delivery, and each person's particular learning style is secondary to that. Let me explain. In order to sew well, one must have, at a minimum, an understanding of basic math. However, one does not learn those math skills by sewing, but they can be strengthened by sewing. However, the math and sewing can be blended together in order to create a delivery method that teaches how to sew, while at the same time strengthening math skills, which in turn strengthens critical thinking skills. And with that, a beautiful cycle of learning and excelling has been created!

So, what I am saying is, the physical and the abstract must harmoniously work together when sewing. Sewing is so much more than creating a new dress, it is about using your mind, and solving problems using your creativity and your mathematical skills. Sewing is proof that you cannot put "physical" and "abstract" into to different categories. You must, instead, put them in a Venn diagram, with sewing firmly placed into the overlapping section. Sewing, math, and critical thinking are a match made in Heaven.
So, readers, I'd love to hear your thoughts about this! Chime on in!

P.S. Check back in a few days for part 2 of this post, if you'd like to hear about why I think sewing should be taught in schools again, and why I changed my major after 2 1/2 years in a teacher education program for high school math, and what in the world sewing has to do with it all.  ( I told you it fascinated me!)