Friday, June 30, 2017

A little stash busting.

I know that not everyone owns up to having a fabric stash, but I know that most of us do (and in some cases, not just fabric, but ribbons, laces, trims-the list could go on). Well I will own up to having a stash of fabrics, which for at least the last five years or more I have tried not to add to. That resolve has worked and most of the things I have made in that time have been made with fabrics (and other items) from my stash.

Every now and then I find something to make that helps me bust a little more of the stash and that is easy and quick to make. This week it was the idea to make fabric coasters. The 'How To' directions and videos are all over the Internet, but I thought I would take my own Step-by-Step photos and and share with you on the blog, just in case you too want to bust some of your stash!

Cut five x 5 inch coordinating squares- one square will be your back piece. (This is the most tedious part, unless you have pre-cut quilt squares that size).

Five 5 inch squares. The top one will be my back square.

Interface the back square (I used light weight iron-on interfacing).
Back square interfaced

Place the back square right side up on your surface.

Fold one of the 5 x 5 squares in half and place the raw edges to match the raw edges of one side of the back square.

Square 1 folded and placed onto back square
Fold the second 5 x 5 square in half and place it at right angles to the first one, matching the raw edges.
Square 2 folded and in place

Fold the third 5 x 5 square and place that at right angles to the second piece, on the third side to of the back square, matching the raw edges.
Square 3 folded and in place

Fold the last 5 x 5 square and match the raw edges to the last side of the back square. Lift the corner edge of this square up, and also lift the same corner of the first square. Place the corner of the last square down (to touch the back fabric) and then lay the corner of the first square on top. You should be able to see a square of all four pieces on top of the back square.
Square 4 folded and on top
Lifting the corners of  square 1 and 4
Square 4 in place, with square 1 ready to go on top
All four squares in place. You can see a square of each design on top of the back square.

Pin the pieces to hold them and machine each side with a 1/4 inch seam.

Trim the corners and sides.

Turn to the right side using the opening in the centre of the squares. Push the corners out. Press both sides and you have made your first coaster!

They get a little addictive to make, as you can use themed fabrics such as Christmas. I have made some for table favours for a Christmas luncheon and some for goody bags for a sewing retreat. The great thing is that some of my fabric stash has been used to make something handy and useful.

The triangular version is made the same way with 5 x 5 inch squares, but fold the square diagonally in half to make a triangle. Place the raw edges to match the raw edges of the back square and finish the same way as the square version.

How are you busting your fabric stash, if you have one?!!!!


Saturday, June 24, 2017


How often you you de-fluff?

No, that is not a personal question, but in reference to your sewing machine.
My machine feed-dogs just a little fluffy.

For many years I did not remove my machine throat plate or look around the bobbin case and when I did I removed a piece of hard felt! Since that time I have been more diligent in de-fluffing and try to remember to do it after every project, especially if the fabric is itself a little fluffy.

My de-fluffer covered in fluff!

What to use to de-fluff? For a long time I used a nylon paint brush, as the nylon became static and would pick up the fluff like a magnet.

Now I use what I call a pipe cleaner, but are now sold in craft stores for making fluffy items.
 I fold it in half and use it as I did the paint brush and the fuff sticks easily to it.

Fluff from the bobbin case area

The good thing is these are very inexpensive ( I picked up a pack for $1) and can be discarded if they get too dirty.

Now how often do you replace your machine needle?
Maybe I will leave that for another Blog sometime........

Monday, June 19, 2017

SAGA Contest for St. Louis

There will be another contest at the SAGA St. Louis Retreat in October.

The contest is again


Read the rules that follow and get started on your entry for the St. Louis Retreat!

1. The item must be an original entry using any one or more of the four SAGA areas of study (EMB, FHS, FMS or SMK).

2. Must be a completed entry.  (No UFO's!)

4. One entry per site, per person. Entry must be different for each location.

5. One winner per site determined by attendee ballot.

6. You need not be present to enter or win. Entry must be able to fit into a medium flat rate box. FED EX 12 3/8" x 3" x 17 1/2" or USPS 12 5/8" x 11 7/8" x 3". Return paid shipping label must be supplied and included in the box.
(This is so everyone has an opportunity to participate even if they cannot personally attend). 

Please see SAGANews Volume 38 Issue 3 for the entry form and address for mailed entries 
(this issue will be out mid-August)

(The dictionary definition of Accessory- an object or device that is not essential in itself but adds to the beauty, convenience, or effectiveness of something else).

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Preserving Dignity

I recently had some experience of seeing hospital gowns in action so-to-speak and it made me think how poorly designed they are!

There are many different styles of gown, but nearly all of them involve an opening which is usually down the back. Even if the gown has a cross over flap, quite often the tape ties are missing and it can't be tied to cover the dignity of the person in the gown. And those tape ties-most people wearing the gown can't get to them to tie them, and it seems hospital staff don't much bother about them either.
                                              Updating the Hated Hospital Gown - Next Avenue

The gowns I saw a lot of also had snap closures from the neck to the sleeve edge, which did work well but they also had a pocket on the front for a heart monitor to be carried which was attached through a hole at the back of the pocket to the patient. This too was a good idea, but what the designer had not thought of was the weight of the monitor, which dragged the neckline of the gown down and being a large neckline, again exposed more of the patient than maybe was needed.
I know there are many different reasons people are in hospital and need to be wearing a gown. And that staff and doctors need easy access to various parts of the body, but surely by now there could be a better gown or gowns for patients to wear? How hard would it be to have a gown that meets the needs of most medical situations?

Anyway, this was something I was thinking while sitting about at the hospital. I also got a little stitching time in too. Happily my patient is home now recovering slowly and able to wear street clothes!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Region One Meet-Up: Visiting McCall’s Pattern Company

Today's post has been written for me by Past SAGA President, Lisa Hawkes as I was unable to attend the Meet Up due to events beyond my control. My thanks to Lisa and I hope you enjoy the virtual visit!

SAGA members were treated to a wonderful day of visiting with good friends, eating delicious food, and given a glimpse into the wonderful world of sewing pattern creation as they toured McCalls pattern company at the Meet-Up hosted by Region 1 Rep, Kim Gimblette. Members from as far north as Boston, to as south as Virginia met in New York City’s Financial District at the Trinity Place Restaurant to enjoy a delicious luncheon in what used to be an old bank vault. They then walked across the street to the historic Equitable Building and McCall’s offices for their tour.
The SAGA Group at Trinity Place Restaurant Vault.
Picture taking opportunities were limited since the staff is busy working on patterns that have not been released yet, but the members were excited to learn about the company and its process. It takes about a year and half for a pattern to go from concept to a printed pattern that one can purchase. The designers had recently been into the offices to begin work on the 2018 spring line and the photoshoot for the Vogue Patterns Holiday issue was starting tomorrow!

Our ladies were full of questions as we walked through the offices and heard about the process. McCalls is the home to McCalls patterns of course, but also Vogue, Butterick, Kwik Sew and CosPlay. Between its offices in New York, and printing center in Kansas, it produces over 250 patterns a year, the pattern books that we peruse in the fabric store, and Vogue Pattern Magazine. With just around 70 employees in New York, it was amazing to realize the volume that this company produces.

We were surprised to hear that you can call McCall’s customer service and they will be happy to assist you with a difficulty you are having with a pattern. The lady who mans the phones has all the patterns there at her disposal so she can pull out the pattern and answer your question. McCall’s would also appreciate hearing if you find a mistake so that they can fix it for a future run. Upper management daily reviews their Facebook page and Pattern Review and appreciate feedback on styles that you like, and want to see what you are making with their patterns!

The SAGA group at the McCalls Offices NYC

We all left with a goodie bag from McCall’s, that included the new issue of Vogue Pattern Magazine and some free patterns. Some ladies headed off to the Fashion district (via the maps provided by Kim) to purchase fabric for their next creation, but all were inspired and impressed with the work and detail that goes into producing a sewing pattern. We also appreciated all the hard work and time of Kim Gimblette who put together this amazing day!
Thank you Lisa and I hope to return to normal service very soon!