Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Craft Fair Part 2

So one craft fair is done this year, two more to come.  The next one is in two weeks.

The one we just finished, A Community Affair, has been going on for over 30 years.  I can't remember if they said '32nd' or '37th'... they kind of sound the same.  I can't say enough about the helpful staff and the wonderful organizers!  They made us feel welcome, they had lots of helpers there to wheel in your stuff or bring you chairs, and they had runners to deliver lunch orders and coffee, and even desserts in the afternoon!

The crowd was fair-to-middlin' as they used to say.  I thought there were too many lulls but maybe that's how it goes when it's drizzly and cold.  There were a lot of people who walked by our table, admired, and walked on. 
I thought we had awesome stuff!!  Our booth was very attractive...

...although it was crowded because our booth partner had big stuff, those are deco-mesh wreaths.

We had everything from dresses and sweaters to doll jewelry.

Socks and slippers and mittens...

Sleeping bags and pillows...

And robes and PJs... and that's a basket of tutus.
Who knows what people are going to want and what they're not... we sold no robes, one dress and one tutu!  We had adorable leggings to go under the tutus.  People bought the leggings...
What went?  I have to do a final inventory but we sold sweaters, slippers, PJs, sleeping bags and pillows.  Oh, and hats.  Lots of hats!
We were competing with three other vendors selling doll items.  They weren't exactly alike, but one vendor had made hundreds of party dresses and fancy coats and costumes.  She said she was disappointed in sales but I have no idea what she was measuring that against.  Another woman had lots of doll furniture and some sports-themed stuff... Badgers and Packers.  She also expressed dismay at her sales.
There were lots of people walking by with no packages, but we weren't near the exit so maybe they bought once they passed us.
The two extremes:  The woman next to us sold NOTHING.  Not a blessed thing, all day.  And the woman across the way was selling little people made out of old cans like there was no tomorrow.
We did OK... that is we made enough to earn back the registration fees, pay for lunch, and take home a respectable amount split between us.  I wish it had been more, but oh well.  I just enjoyed myself a whole lot in spite of it!
We did learn a few things... we need to get some better display racks, since ours kept falling over.  We need to get our own booth; sharing a space with someone selling other merchandise cramps our style and doesn't allow us to display to our best advantage. 
And despite our best efforts to colorize and make 'outfits', little girls will always want the red, white and blue sweater with a pink hat. 
Our inventory is pretty good for the sale coming up in two weeks.   Maybe this weekend I can finally get to sewing something for myself!
Sew on...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ready for the Craft Fair

What have you been doing since I posted last?  Did you miss me?

I have been a busy person...

At work we had our Fiscal Year End on October 3.  This year end is not to be confused in any way with any type of Happy New Year.  For a week, the finance people shut the systems down, and we're expected to finalize all our numbers without it.  I pulled together many reports for people who needed to adjust something or fix something or make something go away or come back.

Then hubby and I celebrated 43 years of wedded bliss.  Well, celebrated may be too strong a word.  We were both sick with whatever kind of crud is going through the school system, courtesy of our middle school grand.   

We spent the evening partially in the pharmacy staring at all the choices.

 None of them worked very well.  I lost a whole weekend like this:
 Went through at least three boxes of these...
 And a whole lot of this:

I'm better now but DH is still coughing some.  Of course you know whatever HE gets is SO much worse than anything I get.  His is always a situation of 'critical condition'...

Then I work on my craft fair stuff.  I think I'm ready for this weekend.  We're setting up on Friday night and opening Saturday at 9 a.m.  The show is called A Community Affair.  It's in Menomonee Falls, WI, so if you're in the neighborhood, stop by.

I'm furiously knitting tiny slippers, but here's my bin... can you see my feet at the side of the picture?  Well, maybe it's my legs.  The plastic bag is full of knee socks.  I have dresses on hangers, pants, sweaters, tees and leggings, PJs... I hope I have enough to last for three sales.  If not I know what I'll be doing at night instead of sleeping!

Here is our door prize:

A pink robe and PJs at the left, a little hat, sweater and mittens with a denim skirt, and a pillow and sleeping bag.  If I get a pair of slippers done to match the robe I'm sticking that in there too.  Total value around $50.

I'm trying to sew some Christmas dresses, some more tee shirts, and maybe a few more sets of pajamas for winter, with flannel bottoms and long sleeved tops.  I know dolls don't care, but moms do and they're the ones who are buying!

Sew on...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Some Sewing Got Done...

I've had the pleasure of a couple of days off work recently.  I did some housecleaning (yuck) and some shopping (not yuck!) and some catching up with medical appointments, etc.  But I did get a chance to spend some quality time in my sewing studio.

It's been kind of hard to be inside this week.  The weather, always iffy in the Midwest, was lovely.  Nice cool mornings and warm sunny afternoons.  Except for a few small rain showers and a bit of wind it was a great weekend!

My bin of doll items for the craft sales is filling up!  I have to scrounge up some buttons for a few more doll sweaters and put the finishing touches on a few other items but I'm feeling very prepared!  Anything additional that gets done will be gravy.

Sweater that needs buttons -- self striping sock yarn.
Fleece hats.  Zebra is always a hit.

I made at least a dozen little dresses like this.

There are dresses with a holiday theme!

And printed denim jeans...

I love this fabric!

Denim skirts and sweaters...

I'm using my favorite fabrics and the stuff is turning out so well!

Mix and match PJ bottoms...

And tee shirt tops!
The first show is called A Community Affair and it's in Menomonee Falls, WI on October 18.  Hopefully it's a good show, and I can sell enough of these little items to earn back my registration fee!

We will have more variety and more items.  My business partner is knitting ponchos, making little hat/scarf/mitten sets with fleece, and some fleece robes to go with my PJs.  I've also made a couple dozen pairs of doll socks to match some of the dresses.  Those are fun, but I didn't take any photos.

We were going to make some doll Halloween costumes too, but the best laid plans sometimes go awry.  She did make some tutus and some aprons.   And we enlisted the help of the grands to make little necklace and bracelet sets.  Too cute!

Now if I could just make my own stuff this fast!  I did pull out a pattern for some pants for myself, and went so far as to prewash some fabric. 

Maybe next week... lol!

Sew on...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Colors -- Fall and Otherwise

This morning the temperature outside was a chilly 48 degrees F when I left my house.  Brrrr...

The summer we had in Wisconsin was not all that summery.  We didn't have a single day where the temperature exceeded my ability to tolerate it, although the humidity did its best to make up for it.  Many days the air conditioner was running just to take the moisture out of the day or night.  I will admit that I can't sleep if it's sticky out. 

So normally right now I'm thinking about my wardrobe shift -- pulling out sweaters and jackets that I haven't been wearing all summer.  Except that I HAVE been wearing them all summer...  lol!

The changing color of the trees and leaves starts a process for some of us who live where that happens.  We are familiar with the term 'fall color' here in the Midwest.

From the Weather Channel... it's just starting here.
This is what it will look like in a couple of weeks... brilliant!
But those are not my best colors, even if they are lovely in nature.

I'm more on the top half of this color wheel -- and toward the center, brighter colors in blue, green, purple.  Although I do wear lots of red that's blue-red as opposed to orange-red, and brown that is darker, red-brown as opposed to yellow-brown.

This time of year I love to shop for school supplies too.  Many times I buy a new box of crayons for myself just because I can.  I like a big box, with many colors.  96 is not enough!

Did you ever wonder why Crayola doesn't colorize its boxes?

See how cool that looks when they transition?  Like a rainbow.
 Personal color and quilt color are two very different concepts too.  What looks really nice in a quilt, like what looks good in nature, is not necessarily what you want to wear. 

Good either way.
Not so much...

I am trying to find some time to sew up a couple of pairs of dress pants for myself.  I'm tired of black.  I'm even a bit tired of navy.  I picked up some olive and some gray fabric at Gayfeathers in Madison.  They should coordinate with my pseudo-wardrobe pretty well. 

Now where are they selling the extra time??

Sew on...

Friday, September 12, 2014

On the Needles

Last week I got a bag of freebies at the gathering of the sewing sisters... the stuff outside of the plastic bag was a donation from my auntie who was cleaning out her sewing room.  She's preparing to put some additional cabinets in there, so she emptied the whole room to clear a space.  She says she's only putting back what actually is intended for projects.  I am the beneficiary of some of the overflow.  These partial skeins of pastel yarn will make some very nice doll items.

Actually this picture is of stuff sitting on the end table at my house.  You can see my toes at the left, and they look mighty far away!!

What I was knitting last night is another doll sweater.  This one is with self-striping yarn.  I wound two balls with what remained from knitting the back, and I did a pretty decent job of lining up the stripes on the two fronts. 
The sweater fronts laying sideways in my lap.
 You do that by unwinding enough of the yarn to match the next color change, then back up to the shortest end and cut the longer one to match.  Then you cast on the same number of stitches from each ball of yarn respectively.  Being a few stitches off is no big deal, but they should line up fairly well.  These will match better after the pieces are blocked.


Then I sew the pieces together at the shoulders and pick up the sleeve stitches along the edge.  The trick is always to mark the 'ending' spot for the sleeves in the same place on both sides of both sleeves -- 4 matching points!  On stripes it is just a little easier, but it's important to get it right.  If you don't, when you sew up the side seams you'll have a tough time.

Ask me how I know this!  <wink wink>

Happy birthday tomorrow to my favorite son. 

Son behind the tree -- grandson with big fish!
Keep calm and knit on...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Utility Sewing and a Patty Project

Sewing is a life skill that is so useful in the general stewardship of all your worldly goods.  I'm glad I know how to do it, and so are many of my family members.  However, sometimes the challenges are too great.  And I am not the world's biggest fan of mending. 

The darning stitch by hand...  Not my thing!
Last night I was out at my quilt guild meeting so I got home late, after most of the household was in bed.  My hubby said Miss A was over looking for me to fix her sock.  Now with Miss A, who has been known to wear her socks outside without her shoes, this can be anything from a tiny hole in the toe to reconstruction.

I didn't see the sock, so I can't tell if the circle my husband made to illustrate the hole is right, but according to him it was humongous!  He said the entire heel was gone... although if he's told you any of his fish stories there is some doubt, if you know what I'm saying.

He told her it couldn't be fixed.  She said "Gramma can fix it!  These are my favorite socks!"

We'll see.

Two of my sewing cousins have a sister who doesn't sew.  She's the baby of the family.  Isn't that normally the way it goes?  She brought several projects over the last time we had sewing night.  Nancy took the pants and I took the top and a swimsuit cover-up.  THAT was going to be a challenge. 

I love a challenge!

Patty bought this garment in Hawaii and she's sentimentally attached to it.  And I was hoping to help her get one more cruise out of it...

It was one of those colorful tropical sarongs and she's been wearing it for a number of years so it's nice and soft.  And thin.  Very thin.  The fabric is loosely woven to begin with.  The two cut ends are fringed with about a dozen or so threads pulled into a knot every inch or so along the entire length.  These are natural tearing places!

There was a quarter-sized hole in one spot further into the garment, and a six inch tear along one side, at the spot where I am sure she ties it together at the hip. 

Big shredded tear right up the dolphin's back...
The only thing to do was to reinforce it and hope that the other non-reinforced parts don't tear in protest.
I had purchased some silk organza on my fabric acquisition road trip.  I cut a bias strip, rounded the edges and laid the cut area on top, right side up, pinning very carefully.  Bias cutting was to keep it from raveling.  Silk organza was to keep the patched area soft, because now she's going to have to wear the patch inside against the skin.

I don't know if you can tell from these pictures, but the fabric does have a right side, the black is a bit brighter.  I had a choice of using black thread and having it show on the yellow, or using yellow and having it show n the black.  I decided that the second option was least distracting.


I tried the mending stitch on my Viking but that was too much thread weight.  I ended up sewing with a multiple step zigzag stitch.  Then I put a line of normal zigzag on the two fringed edges just to help in case any of the other fringes decided to separate from each other.
Then I made a round patch and used the zigzag stitch to fasten that in place on the hole.  That was mostly yellow so it didn't show much at all.  At least it won't get any bigger.
Patty was leaving on the cruise the next weekend so I dropped it off and told her to have a good time.
And PERHAPS look for a new sarong when she reaches those tourist market place!  Even the best mended garments only last so long.
Sew on...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sewing Methods

When I'm in a sewing mood, I want to just sew... that is, I want to sit down at the machine and make something.  I don't want to be planning or choosing or cutting out.

Sometimes I want to be in my sewing room but I don't want to sew.  That's when I do that planning, choosing and cutting.

For doll clothes, especially if you're going to be selling them, it's good to have a large quantity of things cut out, because the sewing isn't very time consuming.  It's not like making a garment for a real person, where fitting might have to take place.  The doll clothes fit, and if they're a little loose or a bit snug, the doll does not complain!

Usually I make the same thing multiple times.  I have my favorite top, dress, skirt and pants patterns, they fit well on most of the 18" dolls and are easy to make.

In order to keep the patterns in good shape, I often trace them out onto a non-woven gridded pattern paper.  Some of this product goes by the name of Swedish Pattern Paper.

After lots of cutting, the corners of small pieces can get kind of ratty looking.  If you're not careful cutting, your pieces can get smaller the more you use them!

See how the edges curl up?  And the side seams are losing a little width.

I traced my favorite doll skirt pieces onto the pattern paper.  This stuff actually sticks to many types of fabric so pinning can be minimal.  Too many pins in tiny pieces can distort the fabric so you get seams with jags or points.  You can sew around them but then your seams look messy unless you're using the serger.
Tonight while the football game was playing upstairs, I watched Project Runway and sewed 9 pairs of leggings and two tee shirts for my craft fair stock.  I was not impressed by the show, however I am getting lots of things done for the October craft show!
Sew on...

Warm thoughts...

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