SERVICE & REPAIR

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Well, it’s upon us.

The holidays, I mean. Maybe it’s because my family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, or maybe because Thanksgiving is the big to-do for my clan and so December has an ambience of emotional ebb, or maybe it’s just because the whole ritual has always seemed a bit much to me, but I always approach the gift-giving season with a touch of dread ringing around in my head, like a yuletide carol. For the sake of my friends, who expect to exchange presents, I force myself out to stores, on the lookout for products that can somehow, materially, bespeak my love; no matter how well I do, I always feel I’ve come up short. And then my bank balance, besides.

But this year, I don’t think I’m alone in feeling grim about gifts. There’s the sudden onslaught of news reports about green giving, for one thing, all of them dancing around their own guilty premise: Secret Santa parties, holiday gift wrap, presents piled high under the tree, none of this is even remotely green, nor can be. Then there are the stories about the credit crunch, the American shopping spree suspended as homes are foreclosed upon and stocks topple in on themselves. The article that really caught my eye, however, was a recent piece about the decline of repair shops; apparently, no one thinks much about fixing stuff anymore. Why pay someone to tinker with your twitchy DVD player when a new one will only set you back a cool $50? (Or less, if you’re willing to skimp on bells and whistles.)

All of which got me thinking. I’ve got my own wish list for this Christmas, and it boils down to this: I’d like to fix up the stuff I already own. The A.P.C. snorkel parka I’ve worn day-in, day-out for three winters; there’s a button missing, it needs some patching and a good dry clean, but I love it, and I want it back for another season. Totally fixable. My iPod: The battery died over Thanksgiving, and I teased myself in the Apple store, debating whether to get one of the new video Nanos, but no, what I really want is the iPod I have, the classic one that’s served me so well. While I’m at it, the keyboard on my laptop needs replacing, and the wiring is shot in the vintage lamp I got a few years back, and my favorite handbag requires a new lining. I possess a half-dozen shoes I’m unwilling to part with and unable to wear; maybe this Christmas, one of my friends will donate a date with the Russian shoe repair guy down the block. Perhaps the holiday season has gotten to me after all: I’m feeling rather thankful for everything I have.

In the spirit of fixing and repairing instead of just trashing what once was dearly loved, Nikkishell will start a new section in the blog that is covering that theme. Learn how to alter and repair your favorite clothes that otherwise would have landed in the goodwill pile.

SEWING UNIVERSE NEWS FEED 27 Nov 07

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sagefemme on Craftster just posted a great recon of sweaters

that were out of date and funky fitting. The <a

href=“http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=210336.msg2255459#msg2255459&#8221;&gt;&quot;Franken-Sweaters&quot;

turned out great.

Fashion goes green for folks in the bay area. aWear is an Eco

Fashion with guest speakers, DIY workshops, exhibits and a clothing

swap. Read more

about it on Going San Francisco.

SEWING UNIVERSE NEWS FEED 27 Nov 07

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It’s hard to resist a fantastic new fashion resource, and Emily at

BeSewStylish confesses to caving in to the lure of a book cover. <a

href=“http://besewstylish.taunton.com/n/blogs/blog.aspx?webtag=besewstylish&amp;entry=190#alink_190&#8221;&gt;

She’s reviewed American Fashion – a history book of sorts -

and it seems that her impulse purchase was a good one. Read more on

the BeSewStylish blog.

Com-pleated!

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It’s all done! I finished my Liz blouse today and love it, it’s so light and airy and is perfect for this summer weather. I decided to use the same fabric for the inverted pleats which I added to the princess seams in the front for extra bump space. I think they worked really well. One thing I think I would change are the sleeves, I feel that they gape a little too much but I think this could be fixed by shortening the sleeves slightly towards my shoulders and under the arm. I added a little length to the blouse to make sure it covers my bump and I also added ties in a contrasting fabric which I attached to the side seams, this way I can tie them in the front or the back. Just look at my bump though isn’t it getting big?! I’ll be posting a mini how-to later this week for sewing inverted pleats so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Now those jeans you see me wearing in the photograph don’t fit me around the waist anymore. I’m embarrassed to say that they’re actually held together with an elastic band, oh the shame! Plus it’s getting far too warm to be wearing jeans for this pregnant lady so of course I need to make a pair of trousers for my next project and really I can’t pass up making the ‘Nichola’ trousers can I? Considering they’re my namesake. So my plan is to lower the waistband at the front for it to fit underneath my bump. I may also look into making the waistband slightly larger than needed and adding some elastic to the back to give them some room for growth. What are your thoughts on these plans? Do you think they would work? I have some delicious chocolate brown linen in my stash that should work beautifully with this pattern along with elastic and most probably a zip but come to think of it, I may not need one. If I make the pants a little less figure hugging along with the elasticated lowered waistband I may be able to get away with having one altogether. So these pants should cost me $0 since I already have everything in my stash. I like that!

Just one more week left for the Lydia sewalong. I’ve been procrastinating big time about sewing my dress version of this pattern. I need to get over my fear of cutting into the jersey fabric and just go for it. Maybe I’ll get started on it tomorrow, maybe. Someone please give me a boot up the backside and tell me I just need to go for it. Thanks, I appreciate it.

I’ve not seen anymore Lydia creations on the site so if you’re taking part please post your finished creation and let us know your thoughts. Are you happy with the outcome? Did you make any alterations? What would you do differently next time? I have started a new thread in the forum for deciding what our next project will be, head on over there and cast your vote.

Happy Sewing!

SEWING UNIVERSE NEWS FEED 26 Nov 07

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“>Individual Chic has started a tutorial on how to make an Obi. She’s using it to jazz up a dress she already has in prep for the holiday party season.

SEWING UNIVERSE NEWS FEED 26 Nov 07

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hellagabrielle has posted a tutorial to her shirt to cardigan post over on Craftster. She’s provided simple instruction on transforming a plain t-shirt into a snazzy, fitted v-neck cardigan.

SEWING UNIVERSE NEWS FEED 25 Nov 07

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The Glasgow School of Art Library web site points to the Vintage Sewing Reference Library – a not-for-profit organization that provides free access to primary source reference material on vintage fashion and lifestyle.

If you’d like to make clothes on a smaller scale and for a good cause, check out the Twirls for Girls project where you can get free, downloadable patterns to make doll clothes that will be donated to local Toys for Tots campaigns.

SEWING UNIVERSE NEWS FEED 24 Nov 07

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The deadline for the Sublime Stitching/Chronicle Books Handmade Gift Swap is less than a month away. With some amazing gifts and fun sponsors, you’ll be grabbing your needles and floss faster than you can say, “Embroidery Hoop.”

Craftster and Alternation are sponsoring a Thrift Store inspired contest – Super Ugly to Super Awesome. The window to post submissions to Craftster is December 1-5. Read more here.

SEWING UNIVERSE NEWS FEED 23 Nov 07

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Head over to The Domestic Diva’s Disasters™ and follow through her Sewing Room Organization Challenge. The challenge is over, but her information and pictures are still great.

Not sure what holiday gift to get for your fellow sewing enthusiast? (or need a few hints to pass along to the folks who will be shopping for you?) Sewing Sunsets has a post on shopping for sewing fans that will help you find or hint for gifts for the sewing inclined.

SEWING UNIVERSE NEWS FEED 21 Nov 07

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A bit of inspiration and wool felt transform a thrift-store find into

a

“> fabulous new outfit.

Is your sewing room in disarray and need some inspiration to get it

cleaned out an organized? Check out Material Mama’s sewing room

makeover by her daughters.

Back to Basics- Laying out a Pattern

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Just starting to use patterns? We know some people are hesitant to use patterns, but its really quite easy! Everything you need to know is right on the pattern, and once you start, you’ll never stop! But before you start, you need to understand the importance of laying out a pattern. In the fashion industry, the layout of the pattern is one of the most important processes, because it maximizes the use of the fabric and that can really help cut costs in the long run. Whether or not you are a pro, you can check out the cutting layout provided with a pattern in order to save yourself future frustrations that can occur if, say, you are like me, and just cut any which way until you realize you are out of fabric! So whether you are a beginner, either new to patterns or new to sewing all together, or a veteran who could use a little brush up, you can check out this How To on layout out pattern pieces to make sure your pieces are cut perfectly every time. Hope its a helpful lesson for everyone, and look forward to next weeks How To for a translation of all those crazy symbols all over your patterns!

NEW NEWS FEED!

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Starting today, we’ll have a regular Sewing Universe News Feed for you, written by our new member and contributor AverageJaneCrafter. We met her at STITCH AUSTIN where she told us that she reads ‘a million craft blogs a day". Perfect for us! She’ll be finding you news, tipps, and tricks from clothing reconstruction to organizing your sewing space. Posts contain 1 or 2 news and will be 1 – 2 blogged times per day, so stay tuned!

And here’s your first dose of web highlights:

VenusZine has a “No-Sweat” project guide on turning a sweatshirt into

a wrap-around skirt here

If your jeans are feeling a bit too full in the legs, grab the “Skinnies Tutorial” from underpressure on Threadbangers and skinny ’em

up! Look here.

SASSIEST BOY IN AMERICA

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One of the compensations of going to a Florida high school filled with stick-thin, beach-blond, snub-nosed cheerleaders was knowing that a decade or so hence, they’d all be fat and boring, working HR at some midsize company in the suburbs, shuttling between play dates, voting Republican. And I, meanwhile, would be all awesome somewhere: Trendsetting in the big city alongside people who waited, as I did, with bated breath for My Bloody Valentine’s follow-up to the shoegazing classic “Loveless;” dating someone like Ian Svenonius, Sassy magazine’s first and only “Sassiest Boy in America.”

That Sassy article came out in ’91, and to be honest, I hadn’t thought much about Ian Svenonius since. I remember listening to his first band, Nation of Ulysses, but I don’t really remember what they sounded like. I was semi-into his later band, Weird War, back when they were briefly called Scene Creamers, and I even went to see them play; about a year ago, I picked up a copy of the short film he’d made, but I haven’t gotten around to watching it yet. So, I’d thought about him, but I hadn’t thought much about him. For me, “Ian Svenonius” is like one of those words you have rolling around in your head that you never have reason to use. ‘Disembarkation,’ say, or ‘perambulate.’ He’s a totemic presence, a figurehead of natural cool.

But Svenonius is back on my brain, because the Sassiest Boy in America is up to his old tricks. The second season of his webisode series “Soft Focus” launched last month on VBS.tv, the mostly-excellent online network produced by VICE. “Soft Focus” sees Svenonius play Charlie Rose to a host of indie rock heroes, and season two takes the act to London town. There, he’s accomplished mission impossible by getting My Bloody Valentine mainman Kevin Shields to commit, on camera, to an MBV reunion and the sixteen years-awaited “Loveless” follow-up. It’s nice to see my figurehead restored to his rightful glory; it’s nicer yet to anticipate the album that I, like most MBV fans, despaired would never appear. Half a lifetime later, I feel the moment of my awesomeness has finally arrived. Take that, cheerleaders.

OPEN CALL FOR DESIGNERS

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The darkest days of the year are upon us again. Last light leaves the sky long before we trudge home from work, and the cold of winter settles in. We bundle up, hunker down, put extra blankets on the bed. As we settle down for our long winter’s nap, instead of visions of sugarplums, let’s imagine something even more delightful and inspiring . . . SUMMER IN THE CITY!

What do we want to wear when the days get long and warm again, darlings? We want you to dream up the summer fashion forecast, design it, and share it with everyone on BurdaStyle!
Though we decided to leave Workingland and instead jump into a world a bit closer to home, we will continue to look for submissions in these three categories: Women’s Trend, Women’s Plus Size, and Men’s Basic.

We hope you might find some time over this Thanksgiving Holiday to get started, though you don’t have to rush that much because the deadline isn’t a week away this time! But be sure to have your easy to wear, stylish, and creative designs to us by December 22nd! For more information and registration information, see here.

Liz- Almost Com-pleat!

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It seems that I had cut out the correct size for my Liz blouse all along, what wasn’t right was that my printer’s settings had been changed somehow and was printing the pattern out larger than it should have been hence the very large muslin I had to show you last week. So this week I started out by altering my muslin to a more suitable size and marking any changes I needed to make straight onto the fabric. I’ve lengthened the blouse slightly so it will cover my bump and I also marked just under the bust on either side where I intend to start the inverted pleats in the princess seam. I printed out the pattern again and cut it out in the correct size then I went ahead and used my intended fabric. My blouse is now sewn together and all that is needed now are the inverted pleats. I’m wondering how wide to make them, maybe about 8-10cm? I’ve also realized that I should have cut the pleat extensions as part of the front pattern piece but it’s a little too late for that now. I’m thinking a contrasting fabric would look nice inside the pleats, maybe a white or green to match the colours of the fabric pattern. Once the pleats are in I’ll hem the blouse and I’m done, except for a ribbon or band to tie around under the bust. What do you think would be best, some matching ribbon or a band made with the same fabric inside the pleats which I would attach to the side seams and tie at the front? I’m leaning towards the matching bands I think.

I’ve spotted a finished Lydia creation here on the site already, altered to have long sleeves and a sash around the waist. Very cute! For my version of Lydia I was going to start with the basic pattern and add a little extra in the front for my bump but I’ve been inspired and think I may try making it into the v-neck dress instead. I need airy clothing and by making the dress rather than the top I won’t need to wear trousers. I have some red jersey that has been sitting in my stash for far too long which would be perfect for this pattern. I’ll probably lengthen it to just below the knee and add the extra in the front for my bump. I’m also going to give the dress short sleeves since it’s so hot here at the moment, I’ve been sweltering this past few days in our 38 degree summer heat, I’ve even taken to switching on the air conditioning and I rarely do that! Being pregnant in the heat isn’t much fun, I feel slow and sluggish and all I want to do is lay around like a beached whale (I feel like one!). I did treat my aching feet to a pedicure today though, much deserved I think!

As always, please leave your comments and suggestions below, I really do love reading them and having you involved with what I make.

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