10 Darn Good Reasons Why I Sew

It’s September, and that means National Sewing Month! Today I am going to tell you a few of the reasons why I sew, and throughout the month you will also get the chance to hear from some of my favorite sewing pals. We are going to celebrate sewing in all forms around here!

Sew Maris and Berninas

I sew because…

1. …I.Must.Make.Things. I believe that all people have a creative drive within them. Some people make paintings. Some people write stories. Some people create beautiful buildings. I make beautiful, handmade, clothes.

2. …I love to pet fabrics. I am a very tactile person. My mom used to tell the story of me as a little girl, visiting a five and dime store (this term shows my age!), and literally being physically incapable of not touching everything I could reach. Much to my proper, rule-bound, mother’s chagrin.

3. …I love the idea of following a tradition that all the women of my family enjoyed. Some were more skilled than others, but my mom, both my grandmothers, and both my aunts were all darn handy with a needle. Tradition!

4. …I like my clothes to look unique. As my mother used to say, I never “meet myself coming and going” in a garment I have made.

5. …others who sew are my tribe. We speak the same language. We have an instant bond. The sewists I have met are among the nicest, most generous, interesting people on earth. I have made loads of friends through ASG, and others through the fantastic online sewing community.

6. …making beautiful things with my own hands makes me feel beautiful. And proud of my accomplishments.

7. … it is fun! Sometimes I giggle, or even chortle when I am sewing. At my craziness, or mistake-making. You just never know what sounds you might hear coming from my sewing studio.

8. … I think it is special to share my homemade-with-loads-of-love creations with my family and friends. Yes, I could buy pajama pants for my family for our annual Christmas Eve present. But purchased pants are not the made-by-Mom-or-Nana PJ pants.

9. …I know that in this one area I am not paying other human beings slave wages so I can buy cheap, disposable clothing. My actions alone are not going to turn the tide of our discount, throw-away fashion culture, but at least I am not furthering it.

10. …it is HARD. I tell my young students that stupid people can’t sew—it’s too hard for them. I am happy that sewing is difficult. I like problem-solving. Figuring things out. Making 2-dimensional patterns and fabrics into 3-dimensional forms. It stretches my brain in all kinds of great ways. If you have a growth-mindset, you know that working through challenging problems is good for you. At any age. So get on it, people. Find something that challenges you and start working it!

What about YOU? What about sewing lights you up?

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

 

Bloggin’ in Ashland

My DH and I are off for a few days enjoying our anniversary weekend in Ashland, Oregon. A few plays, some lovely meals, and relaxation are definitely in order.

Fabric of Vision store in Ashland by Sew Maris

Umm, guess what I found? Of course. A darling, eclectic little fabric shop, Fabric of Vision. Just the kind of store I love. Small. Nicely curated. Unique and interesting fabrics. Not.So.Much.About.The.Quilting. Even tho they advertise themselves as a quilt shop and fiber arts gallery, I was thankfullynot overwhelmed by quilty-ness. See all those upright bolts against the wall? Lovely selection of interesting garment fabrics. Also some nice Japanese cottons in the shelves towards the front left corner.

sweater knit fabric by Sew Maris

Can you believe this beautiful sweater knit? Screamed twinset to me, to be worn with jeans, black pants, and black skirts. It is sooooo hard to find relatively stable sweater knits for twinsets in pretty prints. Loads of solids. Loads of stripes. Loads of chevron-y things. Not so many pretty prints. I know I don’t NEED more fabric. But this jumped onto the cutting table and begged me. Begged me to take it home! It was lonely and wanted a good home, so actually it was an act of kindness of my part.

ashlandfabric1-1-3

I had a lovely chat with Delaney while browsing thru the fabric selection, and purchasing the sweater knit + a pattern for DGD. So refreshing to meet a young woman who GETS why sewing is cool, and understands fabric. Why buying quality fabric is IMPORTANT. Gives me hope for the universe.

Fabric of Vision store in Ashland by Sew Maris

Check out Fabric of Vision if you are in the Ashland area. I think it is a little gem of a fabric store. It is easy to find, located right on the main drag, E. Main St. Maybe I will have a chance to meet Sandi, the owner, on my next visit.

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

 

 

 

Let’s Celebrate SEWING

Hey, have you heard? September is National Sewing Month!

NSM_lg

OK, EVERY month is sewing month in my house, but still. Sewing is worthy of a little champagne and caviar, right?

I am going to celebrate this month by sharing some wonderful stories with you from some of my favorite blogging friends. They are going to share a bit about why sewing is important in their lives, and I hope you join the conversation and leave us a comment about your own sewing journey. We want to hear from you!

Happy sewing, most awesome readers ever!!

Maris

 

Yearnin’ to Release Your Own Patterns?

Have you been longing to get started designing your own line of patterns, but aren’t positive how to get started?

(note: all links are affiliate links! I might be able to retire if you purchase from my links! ;-)

Here’s an idea for you: check out the Pattern Workshop online course using Adobe Illustrator to create garment patterns. In 32 online video lessons, Lauren Dahl shows you how to get started bringing your designs to market.

This is the weekend to take the plunge, with a $20 off coupon, now thru Labor Day. Yep. Just use the LABORDAY20 code to save$20, and get started learning how to create your own patterns. Who knows—maybe you will have a whole collection ready for Spring 2015. ;-)

But hurry – the Labor Day Blowout discount ends on Labor Day, Monday, September 1 at 11:59PM MST. Buy Pattern Workshop today, and don’t forget the coupon code LABORDAY20.
Happy sewing!

Maris

Please join me on BurdaStyle!

What are you doing that is more important than listening to me on Thursday morning? Because you COULD be learning more about the Do’s and Don’ts of Designing a Garment!! Yep, I am honored to be presenting another BurdaStyle webinar, this time chatting about design, color theory, and how to pull it all together into a successful garment. Sounds fun, right?

Burda-Design

I know, this is shameless self-promotion, but these webinars are fun, and IMHO reasonably priced. Only $19.99! So if you can attend I would love to have you join me, and if the timing is not ideal for you, register anyway and you will receive a full transcript of the event. Easy peasy!

Hope you can jump in, and thanks for considering!!!

Happy sewing!

Maris

Let’s Talk About Designing Your Garments

So you think you are NOT a fashion designer? Well, if you select patterns, fabrics, and trims to create a unique outfit, you ARE a designer.

Burda-Design

 

If you feel like you have started mastering some of the construction techniques of sewing, but are on shakier ground when it comes to “pulling it all together” into a well-designed garment, please join me on August 28th for another Burda webinar. I will talk about the principles and elements of design, and give you some practical techniques about how you can apply these “rules” to actually creating the look you want.

The title of this webinar is The Do’s and Don’ts of Designing Your Garments, and it will be live August 28th from 8:00-9:00 PDT. If you are interested in the topic but can’t attend, you can still register and will receive a full transcript of the webinar. Almost as much fun as actually being there!

I hope you can join me—this is a fun topic!!

Happy sewing!

Maris

Almost Too Late for a Sleeveless Archer

I am either way ahead of the game for summer 2015, or struggling to get across the 2014 summertime finish line with all my tires smoking. Your guess which it is. ;-)

Raspberry Silk Sleeveless Archer by Sew Maris

The picture on the right is my inspiration for a new shirt, and after making my first Archer, it was the obvious pattern choice for a pretty new sleeveless blouse. And since I happened to have some lightweight raspberry silk in my stash, that also seemed like a no-brainer choice.

Jen has a few tips about pattern modifications for making a sleeveless Archer on her website to help you determine how and where to trim the armhole edge and yoke.  I tried on my Archer-with-sleeves and measured where I wanted the armhole for my sleeveless version to end, and then trimmed an inch pretty much according to Jen’s diagram from the front, back, and yoke  shoulder edge.

Raspberry Silk Sleeveless Archer by Sew Maris

Did I mention I am using silk for this blouse? I don’t have any low-temp fusible interfacing appropriate for silk, so silk organza it is for the interfacing. Hand basting with the silk basting thread and super-sharp Japanese needles I sell in my Etsy store. I get a point for slow sewing, right? Maybe two?

What’s on your sewing table right now? Are you trying to cram in the last few summer garments, or already thinking about fall styles?

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

 

 

 

Quick Tip Tuesday: Sewing Knit Seams Without a Serger

If you love to sew with knits and do not own a serger, you can still easily create a slightly stretchy seam by using a crooked straight stitch. Any sewing machine with a zig-zag stitch capability can create this kind of seam—it’s easy peasy!

Set your stitch width between .75 and 1.0, and the stitch length between 2.5 and 3.0 Experiment with a few different settings on your fabric to see what you like best. On a thicker knit you might even need to increase your stitch length to 3.5.

By adding a slight amount of width to a regular straight stitch you create just enough stretch to help prevent your knit seams from popping during wear. Try it!

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

A Slice of Seattle Sewists

On Saturday afternoon the lovely Amy of Sew Well hosted a fun meet-and-greet at her house for Seamstress Erin, who recently left the San Francisco sewing and blogging scene and joined us way-cool Seattle-ites. Thanks Amy, for your hospitality, and the chance to meet some new Seattle sewists!

And that got me to thinking……

Seattle Sewing Mavens

…about community. Specifically, about the sewing community.

Do you have a sewing community? Is it exclusively a virtual, online community, or do you meet in person as well? Do you associate only with people of a similar sewing ability? How many people from other countries do you “know” or communicate with? What do you like best about your community? What would make it better?

My first “real” sewing community was the American Sewing Guild, and I am blessed with so many wonderful friends in our Seattle chapter. I have really only been active in the online sewing world the past 3 or 4 years, but I LOVE all my online pals just as much as my ASG sisters. And it is especially cool to chat with sewists in countries other than the U.S. Some things are just the same, and some things are unique to each locale.

Alright, your turn! I’d love to hear about your sewing community. Do tell!

Happy sewing!

Maris

 

 

 

Alright, I Admit It

I overcommitted myself this summer. Too many sew camps. Too many private lessons. Too.Much.Everything.

Is this the curse of creative spirits? An innate inability to say NO? Or is it just me? I have always been the kind of person who thinks that if a little is good, more has got to be better, right?

Well, not always, I guess. I love getting new students turned on to sewing. It is hard for me to say no, because I know the options are limited for people to learn how to sew, and particularly, to sew well. But I have not been able to pursue some new creative endeavors this summer, and I am frustrated by my lack of time/energy for some of these new things. Also not enough time for SEWING. Which is what we are all about around here, right?

So, all that to say SORRY for some radio silence around here. I miss you, dear readers. Part of my silence of course was my $#*^#$ hard drive failure. And part of it was exhaustiona bit of overwhelmed-ness. If that is even a word.

So, do tell. What have you been sewing?

Pattern Weights by Sew Maris

I have been irritated by those little lumps of lead pellet/pattern weights I bought at Joann’s. You know the ones—a package of 4 made by Dritz. The seams have started opening up, and those little pellets fall out and roll around the sewing studio. That is kind of a safety hazard, not to mention annoying. So I have been wanting to mimic a different size/shape of pattern weights that a good friend of mine bought ages ago, and I can’t seem to find them anywhere. She called them wiggle weights.

Pattern Weights by Sew Maris

Here’s how I made these little Seattle-slug-o-pattern weights.

  1. Cut bias strips 2 1/2 – 2 3/4 inches wide
  2. Serge into a tube, and turn right side out with your handy Fasttube turners.
  3. Cut into 8 or 9 inch pieces.
  4. Secure one end. (I just tied embroidery floss in a square knot, and wrapped some more around, and tied another square knot)

Pattern weights by Sew Maris

5. Fill with lead pellets or something heavy. Or get some cute kids to do it for you. Sometimes a chunk of a plastic straw might be helpful.

6. Secure the other end.

Pattern Weights by Sew Maris

Ta-da!  Plop these little guys down on your pattern pieces and get to cutting. I don’t know that my system will hold up any better than the purchased ones, but I am giving it a try anyway. Oh, and I used home dec weight fabric to increase the sturdiness factor. You could also interface.

Happy sewing!

Maris