Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy Couponing!!

Happy New Year from Sew To Speak! To get you started off right we have a special coupon for you!!
Just mention this coupon and we will give you 25% off one cut of fabric or one piece of mechandise. You don't even need to print it off but you can if you like. It's only good until January 15th, so come in soon. Happy Sewing!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Happy Holidays!!

I got three more stockings done before the big night. I made a total of six this Christmas and I feel pretty good about that. I didn't finish stockings for Jim and I but there is always next year. 
These three are for (from left to right) Karl (Buckeye fan), Camilla and Aelyn. I went into my stash to create the ones for the girls. This is a great lesson in hording fabric. I bought these with no project in mind and the girls ended up loving them for stockings. The purple one is an older Heather Ross for Kokka. The funny thing is the princesses are actually upside down. No one, even April noticed my boo boo. The last one is Suzy Ultman fabric. I pieced it to get the most out of it. Aelyn wanted to feature the worm house.

I hope you all had a Merry, Merry Christmas and The Best of the New Year to you. I have a couple big projects lined up for the new year. One is a queen size quilt for our bed and the other is new laptop bags for Jim and I. What are you planning to sew in 2014?

Much love and happy sewing,

Friday, December 13, 2013

12 Days till Christmas

For Esther (her Dad disapproved but I think this one turned out sweet)

For April (nothing less than Melody Miller)

For my boy Ricky (my grand daughter calls it Nacho Libre)
Only 5 more stockings to make by Christmas eve! I think I can do it. They go together really quickly.
Happy Count down to Christmas!!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Twenty Days to Christmas

Oh yeah, I am a bit stressed. I need to make 8 stockings by Christmas eve. This wouldn't be such a feat but my son started his wrestling season (senior year) and I am spending every Saturday and most Wednesday evening biting my nails off at meets.

This gorgeous stocking is what I hope to emulate, a versions of it. This one was made by our own Mary Dugan of Molly Flanders. She's been teaching folks to make these beauties. We still have a spot or two left in her December 9th stocking class.

Jim wants a traditional stocking, white fur and all. I'll use a red dotted fabric and will have to scrounge some white fur somewhere. I'll use the Suzy Ultman doll fabric to make Camilla and Aelyn stockings. Esther will get the beef cake! I want one for me out of the Charley Harper and what about April? I'll check my stash. And for Karl? The blue Santa fabric will work for him. Below is for Ricky (my wrestler)...

An early snow storm may get me to stay home and sew tomorrow. Happy Holidays and...
Go Whetstone Braves Wrestling Team!! 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gift Ideas and Penguin Softie Contest

Gift Sewing Season...
It's pre-season for celebrating, but that means now is the time for holiday sewing. There's plenty of time to sew up gifts that are sure to bring cheer. And don't stop with gifts; you'll need stockings, napkins, table runners, table cloths, a christmas tree skirt (don't forget the partrige in a pear tree). Come in to see what's new in the world of sewing. 'Tis the season to get inspired.
We have lots of great holiday fabrics and gift ideas, like these Caroyn Friedlander sewing patterns, Threadfollower animal softie patterns & kits, and Camper or Chirstmas themed tea towel sets.

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MAKE A PENGUIN - Softie Contest!!
Our Annual Holiday Softie contest is here again! You may remember our previous softie contests... this year's theme is Penguins!
Deadline for entries is Saturday, December 7th, 5PM.
Here's how it works:
Stitch up a penguin and bring him or her in to Sew To Speak by December 7th. Starting December 8th until 21th customers, including you, will vote for their favorite and on December 21th, from 11-3pm we will host a Holiday Party. The votes will be tallied and winners will be announced!
The official Contest Rules:
1. Your penguin must be sewn. They can have other embellishments (embroidery, crochet, knit and etc.) but the body must be sewn.
2. They can be as small as you like but no bigger than 30 inches tall.
3. You can use a pattern, book or create your own.
4. Softies must stay at the shoppe until December 24th and then they are yours to take home.
5. Your penguins need to be given a name, so we know what to call them!
6. All entries must be in by close (5pm) Saturday, December 7th. One entry per person.
1st place will take home a $50 gift certificate
2nd place a $25 gift certificate
3rd place a $15 gift certificate
 All children who enter a softie will receive a special little something just for participating! 
Take a look at our "Penguin Parade" Pinterest board for some seriously sweet ideas and imagery :)


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Take a look at our "Penguin Parade" Pinterest board for some seriously sweet ideas and imagery :)

Happy Sewing!!!! 
from Anita, April and the team at  Sew To Speak
We will be open Sundays, Dec. 1-22, 11-4 PM

Friday, October 11, 2013

Hollyburn Skirt

When I was growing up, Mom always had a sewing machine set up in the dining room. She didn't have a sewing room since all 4 bedrooms and the basement were filled with her nine children! What she did have was a large dining room with an enormous cutting table (our dining table) and a sewing machine set up facing out the back window. I didn't realize it then, but now I think, "What a perfect spot for sewing!" She could put a roast in the oven and be steps away to start the mashed potatoes. Poor Mom, she spent 30 years cooking and cleaning. Her outlet was the same as mine... stealing away to create at the sewing machine.

In the 70's we took Stretch and Sew Classes. That was tres cool. I remember one of my favorite pieces was a white polyester skirt with pin tucks that gave the appearance of pleats. I felt thin and pretty in it.

We didn't go shopping much in those days, but she would buy me patterns and fabric. At age 15, I started working at the neighborhood drug store and I could buy my own fabric. Town and Country Shopping Center was a close enough bike ride. The JC Penney had an amazing fabric department in the basement. Remember button cards? Pennys had those huge metal frames with plastic covers that contained millions of button choices. Most everyone sewed in those days out of necessity. Today it seems that the sewing craze is back but the world of sewing has changed from the rigid perfectionistic, "Shhhh, I hope no one can tell I made this," to a warm, wonderful creative world of, "OMG, did you make that?" Seems everyone wants to learn to sew today because it is just fun and feels so good to create something, especially something wearable.

I am easing my way back to sewing clothing. I dislike shopping these days so I am working my way through garment sewing. I have recently made two Staple Dresses but I wanted to try some of the other fabulous independent pattern makers' work. I started with Tasia's Sewaholic line, the Hollyburn skirt. Let me just say, "I love it."

I wanted to get a good fit so I cut out the waist band in the size that I thought would fit. I tried it on to be sure. I decided to cut the pattern between the 8 and 10. This pattern sizing runs a bit smaller than ready-made. I wear a 4 or 6 in ready- made. But do note that the body measurements on the package are correct.

I chose Brussels Yarn Dyed Linen which is a rayon linen blend with a fabulous drape. Jim and I started some swing dance lessons and I wanted a skirt that twirled. My dancing moves are not too swift yet but I am going to look good regardless.

I started with a good fit on the waist and then cut out the rest of the skirt. It is four pieces cut on the bias which makes the fabric hang "sweetly." The problem with bias cut pieces is that the fabric grows and this linen blend grew to large proportions. So much so that I thought there was a mistake in the pattern. When I went to sew my skirt (4 panel pieces) to the waist band it was three inches larger (that's a bunch). I took out my ruler and  measured the top of the actual paper pattern pieces and the paper waist band. The math added up perfectly (nice job Tasia). The problem was the fabric stretching. Tasia has an option for adding ease to the top of the skirt before sewing it onto the the band. You put gathering stitches and pull it in to fit but I didn't want that look. I think it could be cute for a cotton skirt but I wanted this one to lay smooth so I cut off some of my skirt edge. I cut off an inch from each side of the front seam and then half an inch from the back and then the skirt fit the waist band perfectly.

I got brave and made my first attempt to cut out a pattern with a rotary tool. It works well but remember you need to have a large enough mat to spread your pattern out. I was impressed with how much control (and I do love control!)  I actually had with cutting this way.

The only real issue I had with this pattern is the zipper instructions. It is a centered zipper but could easily be an invisible zipper. I like the look of a centered zipper so that is what I put in. If this had been my first attempt to install a zip I would have been lost. Many of my customers are intimidated by zippers and I can see why. The instructions were very brief, way too brief. I always tell people to use the directions on the zipper packet, preferably Coats and Clark. The Coats zipper directions are very well written. Being a sewer most of my life, I still get a little nervous with zippers but this one went in well. It had just one tiny pucker that ironed out to almost invisible. You will have to stop in the shoppe and see what a great job I did on my zipper! I have been wearing the skirt but when I am not wearing it I hang it in the shoppe to show it off.

I couldn't resist adding a bit of color to the pocket. The pocket instructions on this skirt are very easy to follow and come together nicely. I used a green/gold Crossweave by Moda.

Jim took my picture in our garden. I haven't had a chance to go dancing in it yet but we signed up for a full Saturday of Lindy Hop lessons for next weekend. Check out "Swing Columbus" if you want to join us sometime.

I have fond memories of my Mom and Dad leaving the kids at home and going out dancing. Mom made most of her clothes for date nights. I remember this one maxi skirt she made from velveteen. She was so glamorous with her hair done up and her homemade dresses that looked ready-made. Neighbors marveled at what a talented seamstress she was. She even once made my dad a leisure suit, the Stretch and Sew method. It was a bit tacky, but he wore it proud.

I currently have this pattern on re-order for the shoppe. Tasia is in Canada and the pattern should be here in a few days. I am already dreaming about making another one. We have a few wools that I think would look amazing for this skirt. I made this one longer but I think I would cut the wool one at about the knee.

Oh, and a word about linen after Labor Day... I have thrown out that old saying, "No linen or white after Labor Day." Who cares!! I will be wearing this linen blend skirt all year round and especially on cold days with tights and boots. Linen is an beautiful, durable and versatile fabric that screams to be worn anytime!

I hope you will make yourself a Hollyburn Skirt and then come dance with me!!

Happy Sewing,

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Scarf Season is Here...

We just got in some amazing Japanese double gauze. The top three fabrics are voile but the bottom two are the cotton gauze. If you have never touched this fabric you are missing out. It is truly luscious. It is two layers of cotton gauze tacked together. It washes and dries in the machine carelessly.

 I just had to make an infinity scarf from the gauze and the weather is perfect for adding one to a blouse or tee shirt.

I chose the bottom one because I love gray but I may have to make another scarf from the big dotted fabric.
April sporting hers! 
I bought one and seven eighths (1 7/8) yards because I did not want to piece it and then I could make a second scarf for my sweet daughter. An infinity scarf is just a giant circle. It wraps twice around the neck. April and I are petite so I went with a lesser length. This fabric was perfect because it has a lovely "wrong" side. You can also use two fabrics to get the two sided look if you like.

Start with a cut of fabric 67 to 72 inches long by 18-22 inches wide. If using one fabric make a french seam to join the short ends and then finish the long edges with a rolled hem. If you use two fabrics you can join the short of ends of each fabric individually and then sew the two circles together right sides together. Be sure to leave an opening for turning. We teach this scarf in the shop... Sew To Speak Classes.

The double gauze is going out the door fast so stop in if you need some. We also have a beautiful store sample made from voile. I am thinking of making one from our cotton velveteen for chilly days.
Happy Sewing, Anita.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Curtain time!

I am sick of living in a fish bowl. We have been in this house over three months and it is time for curtains in the living room. Not that we are doing anything we need to conceal. We don't run around without clothes (oh my, not at this age... plus we have young adults coming and going at all hours). It would just be nice to sit down and watch "Orange is the New Black" without wondering if Elvis is looking in. Yes, I said Elvis. We have an honest to goodness Elvis impersonator who walks our street pretty much daily (and nightly). A few weeks ago we were sitting at our dining room table and my friend Ron, who was eating with us said, "Elvis just walked by." Elvis seems nice, a bit flirty but harmless. I just don't want him looking in on me in my PJs. So it is Curtain Time! (at least for the front window).

This is a pretty big area to cover. 103 inches across. We could do 3 separate curtains but I want to be able to open them all the way evenly on both sides. The linen I plan to use is 54 inches wide. They will look flat when pulled shut but I am good with that.
The texture of this linen is luscious. It is a very white (what happened in the photo, I know not), which I think is a great choice for window treatments. Even if I choose to use a fabric with a pattern for another curtain I will go with white for this house since I want it to have a very clean, fresh feel.

The first issue was what type of curtain rod to use. And mostly, where to get them? Locally? Maybe that's not possible. I think these inexpensive rods are fine if the fabric is going to stay covering them. Hardware stores like, Beechwold Ace carry these guys. But I want to be able to pull the curtain back and see something more finished looking in a rod. I was a bit disappointed by the selection at Lowes. They are nice and sturdy but most of the finials are huge. I wanted something simple and minimal. Also, keeping in mind how far you want your curtain to sit out from the window, the Lowe's curtain brackets sit out about 4 or 5 inches, not the look I want. I wanted the curtain to sit in close.

 Looks like Two snakes spooning... not pretty!

I like to shop local of course, but what local retailer sells decent curtain rods? If you know please tell me. I did some browsing on line and I really liked the look of the Crate and Barrel rods. Problem with these is you can't just go pick them up at Easton. The Crate and Barrel rods have to be shipped. You can see them at the store at Easton but they have to ship them. I just ordered them on line and am keeping my fingers crossed.

I was very pleased when these babies showed up by UPS!!

Since we have really nice wood trim I want to let as much of that show as possible. I will hang the rod about an inch below the opening and as close to the edge as possible. (that old bracket is about to be removed).

Another problem with large areas is bracing in the center. The rod I got will expand to 120". I only need 103" but it still needs to be braced.

Because I decided to hang the curtains lower on the window frame I could not use the center support bracket that came with the rods. It needs to be in the wood. We put a single nail in the wood above the rod in the center and supported it with wire. It is hardly noticeable and we get to see lots of wood.

A bit about curtain making...

1. Always remove the selvage from the fabric. The selvage is woven tighter and if you roll it into your side hem it will not drape the same as the body of your curtain and over time the weave of the center will sag and the side seam will stay tight. This is easily avoidable by just trimming.

Cut it off just past the holes. Using a rotary cutter is fast and you get that nice straight line.
2. Sew the side hems first. If you sew the top seam first you will close up your sleeve. A very skinny side hem will do. I first turn it 1/2 inch with my iron...

and then turn the raw edge under as I sew. This helps me avoid burning my fingers while doing a tiny hem. Linen takes a finger pressing beautifully. I highly recommend sewing something with linen. You will fall in love with this amazing fabric. Did you know linen is very durable??

3. I did a fairly tight casing (sleeve) because I like how it looks bunched up around the rod. 3/4 inch rod and 1 1/2 inch casing. If you want the curtain to slide very easily you need to make a bigger casing. You can sew a basting stitch first to see how it will slide.

Simple and clean looking rod, finial and bracket. Sweet!
4. I only sew one seam for the casing. In the olden days I would sew a seam about a quarter inch from the top, along with my bottom seam. It makes a ruffly feature at the top of the curtain, but I like it better without the top seam... less "country."

5. I hang my curtains with the hem unfinished to allow the fabric to settle for a few days (or years). I'll hem them next weekend. (These curtain hems are hidden behind the sofa. Who knows when they will actually get done?)

See that fuzzy vertical line in the window. It is not my photography. It is our glazing ready to fall off. All of our windows in this old house need re-glazing. Yuk!
 6. A nice fullness for curtains is a measurement 1 1/2 times your window width. You can do 2 time the width but it can look too full sometimes. Play around with it. Think about if the curtain will be open or closed most of the time. A flat look is very "Parisian."

They are sheer but enough to keep Elvis from seeing in at night. I love how they add just a bit of warmth to the room but no heavy feel to this small shot gun style living room.
Oh, I do love this linen!!!
I am only getting started on this old house. I hope you will come along with me as I add my Sew To Speak touch to each room. And King, if you read this... I really am a fan. I remember the day they said you died. I was working in our neighborhood drug store and it was announced on the radio. "Media ploy," I thought. The King lives on... in Clintonville. Just tell me one thing... "How do you like my curtains?"

If you need curtain help... stop in at the shoppe. If you have your measurements it is easier for us to assist you.
Rock on and keep sewing!