Saturday, June 26, 2010

UPDATE: Stinky Olfa Cutting Mat Issue Resolved!

You may recall my post Is your Self Healing Cutting Mat Smelly?"  from about a week ago. At that time I had just bought an 35" X 70" (3-24"X36" mats that clip together) Olfa cutting mat which was giving off a strong chemical odor. 

After reading reviews about this and seeing it mentioned on the Olfa website I was concerned about whether or not I would be able to get rid of the strong odor. Well I decided to forgo the vinegar/water bath tub soak suggestion that was recommended by others and the Olfa website and instead directly called Olfa to inquire about a remedy to the problem.

Well I talked to a nice lady who gave me a couple of suggestions to try. Now at first I must admit that I wasn't sure if any of these treatments would work. But after 2 separate times of soaking my mats in a bathtub of cool water and lemon dishwashing liquid overnight, rinsing them and allowing them to air dry (both outside in the evening air and in the garage) for a couple of days--- I'm proud to announce that the horribly strong smell has dissipated and I'm LOVIN' MY NEW CUTTING MATS! I've always loved using my rotary cutter and am happy I have a large enough cutting mat surface to do so!!!! Cutting fabric is my least favorite part of sewing so using my rotary cutter helps to speed things along.

So I have to strongly recommend the Olfa 35"X 70"cutting mat, especially if you're looking for a large cutting mat for your sewing table. If your mat has a strong chemical smell, try soaking it and air drying it as suggested to see if you can remedy the issue:)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sewing my First Swimsuit......

Well after receiving several inquiries from Serenity Love Sincere Peace Earth about the swimsuit I planned to sew for this month's goals, I knew it was time for me to get to work so I'd have one before the month's end. Thanks SLSPE for the swift kick in the butt:)

It just so happens that I have family coming into town for the July 4th holiday and we're planning an especially fun trip for them to the beach. What better time would it be for me to debut my newly sewn swimsuit. Although I don't need it until next weekend, I've got lots to do until then. I also plan to hopefully sew another maxi dress (from my last post), provided I can settle on the right fabric! I really want a pink paisely printed knit!

 In regard to the swimsuit, I've been doing a good deal of research for the last few days and have gathered all of the supplies I need. Here's my pattern, fabric, lining, and stretch twin needle. I plan to use my serger to sew my swimsuit and attatch the elastic and my twin needle to do the topstitching. I would like to add cups to this swimsuit although there are no instructions in this pattern to do so. I'll just have to rely on the info from a few books I have. From what I can tell it shouldn't be too complicated......I hope!
I've already cut out a muslin from some burgundy swimsuit fabric I have in my stash. I'd like to test the fit to make sure I don't have to do a shorten the back pattern piece or make any other adjusments like hollow out the armhole or leg holes if they're too snug.
Since this is my first time making a swimsuit, I plan to thoroughly document what I do from start to finish. You know I'm just methodical like that.  I'll post my progress in a couple of days. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Simplicity 3503....Maxi Dress

This was one of those dresses that I honestly was holding my breath on. With such a bold fabric, I was certain that the color and fabric print were just going to be a little too much. To be quite honest I kinda haphazardly planned the pattern layout and fortunately it doesn't look too overwhelming. Well I'm happy this dress turned out great and I have to admit that I'm in love with this dress! Once I finished the dress I had to let my husband (my biggest fan and at times biggest critic--but in a good way!) see it. Well he gave me two thumbs up but noticed the front where I did get a little sloppy and didn't sew the neckline evenly on both sides ( I think I was up sewing late). So I'll have to go back and fix that by hand but aside from that I'm really happy with the results. Here's the review....
Simplicity 3503

Pattern Description:
Knit dress with halter top

Pattern Sizing:
I cut the size 10 since I wanted it to be a bit fitted. Normally I go for a size 12 in knits.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Absolutely!!!! I was VERY pleased with the results!!!

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Very much so!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
There wasn't anything that I didn't like about the pattern. I have to admit that I was a little nervous about making a dress with such a narrow midriff. Since I'm short waisted sometimes the style isn't very flattering on me. But I think elongated the bodice by 1" helped.

Fabric Used:
Matte jersey in a risky bright green and white with large circular prints

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I did the following:
*Omitted the pockets
*added 1" length to bottom of front and back bodice.
*added 2" to the length because I'm tall but in the end since it was super long I ended up chopping 4" off. Let me tell you that's a first:)
*I didn't use the elastic guide for the upper back bodice but rather draped it on me to make sure it wouldn't be too loose. There's nothing I hate more than when the back bodice won't stay up on a haltered dress.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Oh absolutely yes!!!! If you're into maxi dresses this is a great pattern. This is my kind of dress. It's SOOOO comfortable, cute, and perfect for hot weather!

This pattern is AWESOME and I'm sure I don't have to convice anyone of that since it's been reviewed so many times.

Also, Happy Early Father's Day to all the wonderful Dad's out there and in particular, my AWESOME Husband, Jimmy. Happy Father's Day Babe!!!! The "Wee-One" and I think you're the BEST! Our world's wouldn't be half as fun without you! Love you!!!!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The "Boppy" Knock-off /Sewing for Shoes!!!!

My green dress ( from my last post) just got moved over a bit so I could fulfill a promise to my Sister-In-Law and my "New" nephews. Two months ago we welcomed my twin nephews, Jaydon and Jordan, into the family. They came a couple of months early and Jaydon has gotten up to weight and has just been released from the hospital. We're still waiting on Jordan who should be out in a couple of weeks. Their arrival has been a long time coming. I promised my Sister-In-Law that I would send her nursing pillows with a cover of her choice. Let me just say that this is one baby gift that I always love to make for my family/ friends and their new babies and it's so easy to do. The Nuture Nest form is found at Jo-Ann's fabrics and with a 50% off coupon you can leave the store with it for only $10. The pattern is on the back of the pillow form bag and aside from that you need just a little over a yard of fabric and a 14" zipper (I make mine with a 20" zipper to make it easier to slip on an off). I've made these more times then I can count and for sooo much less then the $30-$40 a Boppy can cost you!

Well I whipped up the 2 you see in the above picture tonight so I can mail the off on tomorrow. My Sister-In-Law wanted them covered in "Finding Nemo" fabric, and fortunately for her, I made my own nursing pillow out of this fabric (can't believe it's been almost 3 years ago---sniff, sniff) and had a bunch left over. So here they are and I hope her and the boys like them.

Ok, so now since my promise is fulfilled I've got to get back to my green dress and also have to begin working on my Father's Day dress. I planned to make this a while back but am revisiting the idea.

 I'm still undecided but hopefully I will make up my mind.  I told my husband I was making a dress for Father's Day and he wondered why I would make a dress for a holiday that wasn't "my day".  I told him I was simply trying to look good for him.------Nice save, huh? LOL! Holidays are the best reasons to sew something special!  No seriously, I think I'm really trying to find a reason to wear these shoes I bought from Ross' Dress for Less a few weeks ago! LOL!

 Man, I looooovvvveee SHOES!!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Is your Self Healing Cutting Mat Smelly?

 Yesterday, I made a purchase I'd been considering for quite some time. I've wanted a self healing mat the size of my sewing table so I could cut out patterns with my rotary cutter. The thought of using a rotary cutter instead of scissors used to make me nervous but since I own pattern drafting rulers (see pic below), I know I can use them and straight rulers as a guide for my rotary cutter. I was visiting Tany's Blog the other day and I noticed that she had a large self healing mat and used it religiously. I admire her advanced sewing skills (she's an expert in her own right), I felt inspired to get one of my own.

 Now I actually didn't do any extensive research on buying a larger size self healing mat.  I knew they were pretty pricy anyways so I stopped looking for a while. I do own a smaller size olfa mat--the 24"X36" and use it every once in a while for smaller jobs. Well while in JoAnn's yesterday I spotted the 35" X 70" Olfa self healing cutting mat. They're remodeling my Jo-Ann's so this was a new item they'd gotten in. It was exactly what I was looking for.

 Since I'm familiar with the brand I didn't have any questions on how it would perform.  Of course I inquired about the pricing and I won't lie, the $174 price tag was a REALLY alarming. But of course I had a 50% off coupon and in addition to that had a $15 gift card and $55 from doing some clients work (I love clients, they fund my sewing endeavors). So by the time I was done, I only really footed $30 or so for the mats. So in my book that wasn't a bad deal. However, I did note that this mat is sold online for roughly $114 and up. Jo-Ann's inflated the mat price since they offer coupons.

(Various pattern drafting rulers from Fairgate (one's not pictured and somewhere in my sewing room). I bought this set a couple of years ago for when I tinker with pattern drafting. There's a ruler for any curve I may need to cut with my rotary cutter.)

When I did some further research on product reviews I noticed everyone for the most part loved their mat but complained about the awful smell it produced. Some people have compared the smell to that of a skunk.  And true enough, after leaving it downstairs for several hours it managed to stink up the area. So I put them in the garage to air out, as some reviewers suggested. I also plan to do as Olfa suggests and wipe them down with a 1:1 mixture of white vinegar and water. I hope this works. I was shocked that this was a huge problem but when you think about it, it makes since.  Here's what some ladies at Pattern Review had to say about it

Well, whatever they coat this mat in makes it durable but also really stinky.I've read that most self healing mats have some smell to them. Some mats are just more then others.  Do any of you have one of these mats? Did you notice the smell? Were you able to get rid of the smell? Just curious. I haven't used mine yet but before I do I probably should make sure that I can get rid of the smell. I appreciate any helpful info you can provide.

5/7/11 Update: I should have posted this update alot sooner. Soon after calling the Olfa rep helped lots. She suggested I soak my mat in warm weather and add a little lemon dishwashing lemon. A couple of overnight soaks in the tub helped alleviate that smell!

BTW, I'm currently wrapping up my latest project. Here it is, pattern and fabric. I hope to review it tomorrow since I'll be spending the rest of the day taking my little one to a friend's bday party. At the moment this could very well be a great project or a wadder in the making. I'm not sure yet but hey I'm willing to take the risk. We shall see....

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Just call me the "Jacquard Hunter"!

This past weekend the family and I thought it would be a great idea to take a quick trip out of town. Well we decided to head on down to Jacksonville, Florida (only 1.5 hours away). I don't have to tell you what my main focus was on (aside from spending family of course)....... FABRIC stores Of Course!!! I had to know how many fabric stores were in a 20 mile radius of our hotel. Are you laughing at me? You know you do the exact same thing!!!  Besides looking at fabric is one of the main ways I relax (the other ways are sewing, reading sewing books, planning my seasonal wardrobes--but you must believe that aside from sewing I do have other interests---LOL!!!) Well it turns out that there were 3 Jo-Ann's (that's all I had to work with) in proximity to me and my AWESOME Hubby took me to all 3 in a 2 day period. He actually volunteered---he's so AWESOME and SUPPORTIVE! For the record--he NEVER accompanies me in the store, but will always gladly wait for me in the car:)

Secretly I was delighted that I'd get to visit so many Jo-Ann stores. Mainly because I had a deep, dark secret. I've been trying to hunt down printed jacquard fabrics for the last few weeks. You see, my serious obsession with printed jacquard fabric began a couple of months back and has driven me to the limits.  In April I spotted a beautiful black and white floral printed jacquard, stared at it for 5 minutes, picked it up and stared at it some more,  and reluctantly left it on the shelf after spotting the $14.99/yd price tag. At the time I couldn't think of a project to use it on and I was so focused on buying fabric for my Mother's Day dress so I passed it by. What was I thinking??? I saw this fabric again when Erica B made this Wonderful Dress. At this point I knew I had to track this fabric down. So armed with a few 50% off coupons, I began the mission to track it down. And tracked it down is what I did!  I managed to find 3 different types of jaquard's I liked in Jacksonville and added it to the one I already had. So I've got 4 cuts of jacquard prints and can't wait to find nice projects for each of them. They have an awesome print in addition to a great texture, which is characteristic of jacquards. These 2 combinations make for a very lush looking fabric with a great hand.

(These are 3 printed jacquards I picked up in Jacksonville. There was only approx 1.5yd of the b/w and the multicolor one on the end. Not much to work with but I'll figure something out--maybe I'll do a strapless top. I have about 3 yds of the blue/green jacquard in the middle. So I really plan to make something cute with that). 

(I've posted this pic before in an earlier post, but here is the first printed jacuard fabric I bought (second to the left).

 Ok, I think I've got my printed jacquard fabric fix! I can't wait to begin working with these. Definitely expect a fancy little number from at least one of these fabrics before Summer's end. If you have any suggestions I'll definitely take them. Stay tuned:)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

McCall's 6119

I bought this pattern a few weeks ago and thought the handkerchief hem was pretty eye-catching and flattering. So when I ran across this multicolored fabric in my stash I thought I'd give it a chance. Plus it gave me a reason to use wooden beads on the straps, which went very well with the tan and brown colored circles in the fabric. So this is the result and I'm pretty happy with this top. The pattern review is below.

Pattern Description:

Halter top with elasticized back bodice

Pattern Sizing:
I cut the size 12 of view A

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

 Were the instructions easy to follow?
Very much so!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked how easy it was to assemble and of course the results! I also love the suggestion of using beads on the halter straps. That's what really attracted me to this pattern.

 Fabric Used:
I used a cotton/poly blend of some sort. I'm not really sure but I'm guessing it's not straight cotton since it doesn't wrinkle easily.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I made the following changes:
* I took out 2" out of the back bodice and skirt bottom.
*I raised and curved the front bodice for modesty's sake.
*added 7" invisible on left side

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I think I might make this one at least one more time.

Overally this is a great top and is very easy to make! I give it an A+!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New Butterick & Simplicity Summer patterns

I was pretty happy to get my little paws on some of the newest Summer Butterick & Simplicity patterns. Of course I had to wait until they made it to my JoAnn's Fabric/ Hancock Store and were on sale for $0.99. My laptop's down, until I can get a replacement power cord, so I can't really elaborate on each of these patterns since my Hubby's waiting to use his laptop, which I'm currently hogging up! But here they are. Sigh. I just like to let my imagination run WILD. I hope to tackle one of these in the near future:)
(All Simplicity's are new with the exception of the the upper right pattern, I can't remember when that one was released)

Well here's what I just finished and I'm just waiting the time to get my hubby to take the picture! It was pretty fun to make:)


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