A Little Progress

All of the main body "My Flower Garden" pieces
I have all of the pieces cut for the My English Garden quilt flowers. I stacked them all up, grouped by flower petals, flower centers and green diamond leaf pieces for each block all grouped so I could just grab the top one and start sewing. I left them on the cutting table over night. When I got up they had been scattered and mixed up like puzzle pieces. While I can't prove it Dot, the cat is getting the blame.  

I put them back in order and covered them with tissue paper, unrolled over the whole cutting table so she would not play with the pieces while I was away. Tonight I had time to sew one of the flowers. I did not have time to place the 60 degree diamonds. The stack is pinned to one of the petals and I will work on the diamonds once I have all of the flowers sewn so I can still opt to change the colors of the leaves. I am not completely sure I got them all back like I wanted them after Dot shuffled them. 

Once the diamonds are attached around the flowers each block will be a hexagon shape.  Where the green leaves match up it will look like a tumbling block. 
First Flower
Tonight I sorted the groups by flower color, blues, reds, purples and stacked them so that I would not have to change thread colors so frequently. The purple stack is above the flower in the photo on the left and the reds are on the right. The blues are by the sewing machine so not in this photo.  

To speed things up a bit, instead of making Y seams and working my way around the flower, I attached each petal to the center leaving all of the petal side seams open. This allowed me to keep the blue bobbin thread and the yellow sewing thread until I was ready to sew the side seams. I also did not press the flower center seams until all six petals had been attached; then I pressed the yellow center toward the dark color petals. While I was at the ironing board I also pressed the petal side seams. This felt a little backward to how I might normally sew hexagonal seams and it gave me a nice line to use for the seam line and insured the petals stayed perfectly flat and in place. 

I sewed most from the outside to the center but others from the center to the outside. That was determined by which side I had pressed under and which side I pressed flat. I am not going to press the petal seams open or even all the same direction as in all clockwise or counter clockwise because with hexagons it is better to let them be where they want to be. You will know what I mean when you sew a few. I pressed them so that they fit best and naturally lay flat. When I add the leaf section I will start by matching the wider point side to the petal seam, stitching from the center to the edge.

This quilt has 18 full flowers, 4 half flowers with centers, 6 two petal partial flowers without centers and 4 one petal partial flowers. None of the larger full flowers have any repeated colors but all of the partial flowers are repeats of the full flowers. Each block is 15 inches across so this will be a full size quilt. I will decide on what kind of border after the main top flowers have been joined. It will also be quite vibrant. I just couldn't see making these pretty flowers in any kind of muted colors. 

From Online Etymology Dictionary:

hexagon (n.) Look up hexagon at Dictionary.com
1560s, from Latin hexagonum, from Greek hexagonon, from hex "six" (see hexa-) + gonia "angle" (see knee).


So, Sew, Sow, Snow Day

Stack of fresh pressed fat quarters and scraps.
Spring is just around the corner and I can hardly wait for the warm days, new flowers and fresh green plants and tree leaves. I really need to be sewing spring and summer clothes for me but it is snowing and I really don't want to sew summer clothes on a snowy day. I don't have to go anywhere and it would be a good day to sew a quilt. 

I am going to make a hexagon flower quilt top using a 5.25" finished hexagon so it should go pretty fast. The flower centers will be yellow and gold. The flower petals will be reds, blues and purples with small green 60 degree diamonds making the flower blocks into a big pieced hexagon. I have always loved the hexagon flower quilts. Yes, they can be a challenge to sew but I prefer that to the sashing in square box quilts. This one only needs 18 full blocks and a few partial blocks. 

So while it is snowing sideways out side, making it hard for cars to get up this little incline, I am going to sow the flower seeds for my next quilt and sew some copies of the flowers we will be seeing soon. 

It is snowing sideways out there and cars are slipping on this little hill. 

From Online Etymology Dictionary: 

so (adv.) Look up so at Dictionary.com
Old English swaswæ "in this way," from Proto-Germanic *swa (cf. Old Saxon, Middle Dutch, Old High German so, Old Norse sva, Danish saa, Swedish , Old Frisian sa, Dutch zo, German so "so," Gothic swa "as"), from PIE reflexive pronomial stem *s(w)o- (cf. Greek hos "as," Old Latin suad "so," Latin se "himself").
The adverb so at the beginning of a sentence ('So I'll pay for it!'), probably of Yiddish origin, occurs frequently in conversation. [M.Pei, "Story of English," 1952]
So? as a term of dismissal is attested from 1886 (short for is that so?); so what as an exclamation of indifference dates from 1934. So-so "mediocre" is from 1520s; so-and-so is from 1596 meaning "something unspecified;" first recorded 1897 as a euphemistic term of abuse.

sow (v.) Look up sow at Dictionary.com
Old English sawan "to scatter seed upon the ground or plant it in the earth" (class VII strong verb; past tense seow, pp. sawen), from Proto-Germanic *sæjanan (cf. Old Norse sa, Old Saxon saian, Middle Dutch sayen, Dutch zaaien, Old High German sawen, German säen, Gothic saian), from PIE root *se- (cf. Latin sero, past tense sevi, pp. satum "to sow;" Old Church Slavonic sejosejati; Lithuanian sejuseti "to sow"), source of semenseason (n.), seed, etc. Figurative sense was in Old English.

sew (v.) Look up sew at Dictionary.com
Old English siwian "to stitch," earlier siowian, from Proto-Germanic *siwjanan (cf. Old Norse syja, Swedish sy, Old High German siuwan, Gothic siujan "to sew"), from PIE root*syu- "to bind, sew" (cf. Sanskrit sivyati "sews," sutram "thread, string;" Greek hymen "thin skin, membrane," hymnos "song;" Latin suere "to sew, sew together;" Old Church Slavonic sijo "to sew," sivu "seam;" Lettish siuviusiuti "to sew," siuvikis "tailor;" Russian svec "tailor"). Related: SewedsewingSewing machine is attested from 1847.

sash (n.1) Look up sash at Dictionary.com
"strip of cloth," 1590s, "strip of cloth twisted into a turban," from Arabic shash "muslin cloth." Meaning "strip of cloth worn about the waist or over the shoulder" first recorded 1680s.


Behind the Scene Sewing Journal

2013 Sewing Journal
At the beginning of the year I picked up this journal. I use it to keep notes about projects I am working on and ideas or inspirations for future projects. I thought taking notes, especially on the projects that have several construction steps would be helpful when I get ready to blog about the how-to details of the project. The journal is a big help to keep me on track to complete the sewing by only stopping briefly to write quick notes about the construction order and details, without long stops to blog and edit.  

It has been my intention to blog about blue jean construction for a while, but every time I start to write about it it felt familiar, kind of a deja vu feeling. So instead of finishing the write up I would write about something else until I had time to review past posts and be sure I was not repeating something unnecessarily.  

After convinced myself that I have not written even an unpublished post on this yet I picked up the journal to read over the notes and start the project and there it is. I have written about it. It is all in the journal. All I really need to do is type it up, match the photos and post it. I haven't decided how many posts it will take, but I think I may post it out with the same stopping points I used along the way during construction. This means I will be writing the whole process before I post any of the instructions.  

From http://www.etymonline.com/

deja vu Look up deja vu at Dictionary.com
1903, from French déjà vu, literally "already seen." The phenomenon also is known as promnesia. Similar phenomena are déjà entendu "already heard" (of music, etc.), 1965; anddéjà lu "already read."

journal (n.) Look up journal at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "book of church services," from Anglo-French jurnal "a day," from Old French jornel, "day, time; day's work," noun use of adjective meaning "daily," from Late Latindiurnalis "daily" (see diurnal). Meaning "book for inventories and daily accounts" is late 15c.; that of "personal diary" is c.1600, from a sense found in French. Meaning "daily publication" is from 1728.



Doll Clothes from Scraps

What do you do with your scraps?  If you sew you probably have a few; or even a few boxes.  Cotton scraps are wonderful for smaller craft projects and quilts, but what do you do with your fashion fabric scraps? 

I have decided smaller fashion fabric scraps that I would not use in quilts, are best used to make doll clothes.  My time saver method is to lay out the doll clothes patterns in the waste areas of the fabric I am working on and cut them out when I cut out the garment. Then I can throw away the smallest scraps and stringy pieces.  I usually just cut out the doll clothes and place them in a box.  On those days that I want to sew something, but don't want to cut something out I can open the box and sew doll clothes.  It is a great "rainy day" project.  

18 inch doll shirt pattern in waste area 
To make this even easier, I use my personal printer/scanner/copier to copy the small doll clothing pieces.  This lets me keep all of the original pieces in the regular pattern envelope and have copies for ones that are ready to sew.  I don't lose the pieces or have to worry about not being able to cut just the right piece out for the scrap size because I can have duplicate patterns ready to cut.

18 inch doll coat on wool waste or scrap area.
The best part about the copy is printing paper is much sturdier than the tissue paper patterns and on very small doll clothing with big darts and tucks I can cut the whole dart out of the pattern, which leaves an opening and makes it easier to mark the dart with chalk so I can start sewing quicker.  This is extra helpful on the smaller doll clothing. 

12 inch doll pattern with darts cut away for easy marking
Doll clothes are a wonderful gift for a younger family member and can be a big seller at craft fairs.

from Online Etymology Dictionary: 

scrap (v.1) Look up scrap at Dictionary.com
"to make into scrap," 1891, from scrap (n.1). Related: Scrappedscrapping.

scrap (n.1) Look up scrap at Dictionary.com
"small piece," late 14c., from Old Norse skrap "scraps, trifles," from skrapa "to scrape" (see scrape). Meaning "remains of metal produced after rolling or casting" is from 1790. Scrap iron first recorded 1823.

bonus (n.) Look up bonus at Dictionary.com
1773, "Stock Exchange Latin" [Weekley], from Latin bonus "good" (adj.); see bene-. The correct noun form would be bonum. In U.S. history the bonus army was tens of thousands of World War I veterans and followers who marched on Washington, D.C., in 1932 demanding early redemption of their service bonus certificates (which carried a maximum value of $625).

surprise (n.) Look up surprise at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "unexpected attack or capture," from Middle French surprise "a taking unawares," from noun use of pp. of Old French surprendre "to overtake," from sur- "over" (seesur-) + prendre "to take," from Latin prendere, contracted from prehendere "to grasp, seize" (see prehensile). Meaning "something unexpected" first recorded 1590s, that of "feeling caused by something unexpected" is c.1600. Meaning "fancy dish" is attested from 1708.

"New" Toy

Oops, I did not mean to let so much time pass between posts, but while I was writing about words and tools, I was also spending more time sewing.  I finished a pair of jeans, a blouse and a doll dress. The doll dress is made from a scrap of the blouse fabric.  My intention is to write a post about the blue jeans construction, but it will take several posts to include everything.  I just have not had the time to write the proper instructions, but I will.

I really like my sewing machine and it does a great job, however, I have also decided I wanted something that I could dedicate to sewing denim, canvas and other heavier fabrics, so I have been busy looking around for something basic that would do the job.  Look what I found:

This is a Singer 99K, made in Great Brittan in the 50s.  It has a good little motor and is in relatively good shape.  However, it was advertised to have all of its original parts. As far as that goes, all of what it has are original I am sure, but it is missing a few things.  Presser feet, faceplate, light diffuser glass and the pin that holds thread, but I am looking for these replacement parts and will have them all gathered together soon I hope.  It could also use a new belt, which I have not looked for yet, but I am confident that I can find one. 

I learned to sew on my mom's machine that looks just like this.  With the feet attachments it can do quite a bit, like make ruffles and button holes.  It is a relatively simple machine with an exterior motor that will sew a straight seam all day.  In its day it was quite the work horse.  No fancy stitches, just straight line stitches but it will sew through tougher fabric without having to be babied. For being a "portable" machine it is pretty heavy duty. They just don't make them like this any more.  I am picking up presser feet for it today and still looking for some of the other parts.  I am looking forward to having it all together and in full working order.

Word of the day from Online Etymology Dictionary http://www.etymonline.com/:

renew (v.) 
late 14c., from re- "again" + Middle English newen "resume, revive, renew" (see new); formed on analogy of Latin renovare. Related: Renewedrenewing.



Zipper Box on shelf with other sewing tools 
Zippers are an important tool we use to fasten clothing and many other items. Even though it is an amazing engineering wonder, it was not an overnight success. Elias Howe, inventor of the sewing machine received a patent in 1851 for an "Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure".  He did not make any effort to market the device. 

In 1893 Whitcomb Judson, supported by Colonel Lewis Walker created the Universal Fastener Company to manufacture a "Clasp Locker", which was similar to Howe's patent but served as a complicated hook and eye shoe fastener. The clasp locker made its debut about 100 years ago at the Chicago World's Fair. It was not a big commercial success. Judson got the credit for inventing the zipper because he was the first to market it.

Gideon Sundback improved the design of the early zipper by increasing the number of teeth and changing the slider. The "Separable Fastener" was patented in 1917. It was not even called a zipper until 1923 when the B.F. Goodrich company put them into galoshes and called it a zipper. The name stuck and the zipper began to have many more practical uses.

The earliest zipper working parts were metal teeth on a fabric strip. Today zippers are made from metal, plastic, and nylon. They are available in many colors and almost any length, even just long strips that you can measure out by the yard. Whether you want plastic or metal depends on where and how you use the zipper.    

Zippers from the Zipper notion stash box I keep handy.
In addition to being available in metal or plastic, there are zippers that only zip down and back, others that unzip and separate, zippers that are reversible because the zipper pull can slip from one side to the other.  

Several types of zippers, including parka, separating jacket, jean, invisible and standard 
Below I have photographed the ends of a separating jacket zipper with metal teeth. This zipper is suitable for heavy coats and would be one of the more durable zippers available. 

Separating zipper with metal teeth

Both ends of a parka zipper
The parka zipper can be metal or plastic, but is very useful in coats. The zipper is available in very long lengths and has the ability to unzip from the bottom giving extra leg room and the freedom to bend or sit without breaking the zipper. 

Zippers in packages
Zipper packages have not changed much in recent history. In the 50s they were wound into small plastic cases, now they are packed in slender cardboard envelopes. The outside of the package will tell you what kind of zipper it is and the length. Even if you do not feel confident to know exactly how to sew a zipper there are instructions inside the package to walk you through the steps to sew in a zipper. Below are three common zippers, a metal jeans zipper, this one is 7 inches long, but they are available in shorter and longer lengths. 

The middle zipper is an invisible zipper. Your machine probably has a zipper foot attachment to help sew in the zippers, but the invisible zipper has a different foot. The invisible zipper foot has a channel for the zipper teeth to ride through that opens out the teeth. The channel holds the teeth away from the needle, allowing a very close seam so that the zipper is completely concealed within the seam allowance. The third zipper featured below is the most common zipper used in dress making. It has plastic teeth and you can see them unlike the invisible zipper where the teeth are on the bottom side of the cloth zipper tape.

Zippers out of the packets with instructions.
Zippers are available in almost any color to match your fashion fabric. Most fashion zippers are concealed in the seams. Vintage clothing from before the 1950s will often have a zipper in the side seam. After the 50's a zipper down the back of a dress was more common and the latest fashion trends include incorporating the full zipper tape on the outside of the garment as part of the design element. In keeping with this trend now you can purchase zippers with the fabric tape in polka-dots, stripes, and bright unexpected colors to use as part of the design and decoration on the outside of the garment.  

Keeping with this year's blog themes, the word zip is an onomatopoeia.

From http://etymonline.com

onomatopoeia (n.) 1570s, from Late Latin onomatopoeia, from Greek onomatopoiia "the making of a name or word" (in imitation of a sound associated with the thing being named), fromonomatopoios, from onoma (genitive onomatos) "word, name" (see name (n.)) + a derivative of poiein "compose, make" (see poet). Related: Onomatopoeic; onomatopoeial. 

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zipper#History - who quote a lot more sources than I used.