Postcards from Summer Camp – Part 3

It wouldn’t be camp without some awards to take home to show mom and dad. So, in no particular order, here are our Oh2Sew 2010 Summer Camp Champ trophy winners. (Winners: feel free to print out the badge on the left and display them proudly!)

OmniGlide Trolley

Sewing Machine Luggage: Omniglide Trolley

Most Popular Camper Award goes to Wendy’s new Omniglide Trolley. This hard-case puppy with foam insertions kept Wendy’s sewing machine safe, snug and sound to travel. Gliding on four wheels, Wendy easily rolled her full-sized machine to through the airport and to class. The Omniglide Trolley caught everyone’s eye. You can find this shiny friend at Nancy’s Notions. This case was also featured in Threads magazine’s November 2010 issue.

Magical Galaxy-Where the Silvery Moon Meets the Sky of Blue by by Susan Van Swearingen

Magical Galaxy-Where the Silvery Moon Meets the Sky of Blue by Susan Van Swearingen

The Spirit Stick goes to Susan Van Swearingen for being so generous with her assistance to Liz to help her with the loaner machine from Day one and for sharing her knowledge when Nancy and Tina got a little lost on exercise #13.

Susan also brought some of her bee-uuuu-tee-ful and imaginative designs that have won her a few of Bernina’s creativity contests to share with the summer campers. Did you feel the earth move with the unanimous ooh’s and ahh’s? Why does she go to these extremes of dyeing her own fabric and detailed hand-beading? Because she loves it! Susan also admits that she enjoys winning the machines. Good luck to many more winning designs, Susan!

Watch out Sew Chicago members — Susan is taking up our Curvy Girl Prom Dress Challenge for next year. Start thinking about color combinations and embellishments because I’m sure Susan’s donation will be a visual treat! (More announcements to come about next year’s Curvy Girl Prom Dress Challenge. We’re hoping to make it more exciting for Sew Chicago and other ASG neighborhood groups to participate.)

Most Unpopular Camper goes to Exercise #13, variations one and three. These neckline facing variations had all of us perplexed. One included mitered corners and a pointed opening. Nancy and Tina pinned and unpinned several times. Liz finally decided to show the pink fabric who was the boss and boldy threw her first sample into the trash — TAKE THAT! For her courageous action, Liz is awarded the Plucky Stitcher Award for not giving into the mockery of the fabric.

Our last day at Louise Cutting’s Oh2Sew Sewing Intensive Weekend workshop was filled with exercises to work on our bright pink 1/2-sized samples. Some of the more complex and brain-taxing exercises were done on the last day. We left camp both physically and mentally exhausted. When Louise Cutting says “intensive workshop,” she means it!

Sandy Miller - always smiling

Most Patient Camp Counselor goes to Sandy Miller for endless repeating of exercise #13. Of course, it’s hard to explain when you’re doing these exercises because there’s very little context of direction of the fabric and how it fits into the whole garment. But Sandy was patient and explained, demonstrated and reviewed each participant’s sample at each step of the exercise. Always with a smile.

Thumb’s Up Award goes to…our thumbs. We all had an “aha!” moment when Sandy showed us the correct way to use a point turner. You simply lay the fabric on your thumb and place the point turner on top, then flip the corner over the point turner. Here’s a short video to demonstrate. Please forgive the slight blurriness; it’s our first video and I’m still trying to get my arms around my editing software. Hopefully, there will be many more tutorials and videos from Sew Chicago in the future.

Tip Alert: If you place your point turner too far to the corner, you will poke through the point or get too tight to the point that you actually create a teeny tiny fray at the end. Ask me how I know. So, you do need to find the right nook to lay your point turner.

Keep your finger pointed to yourself as you pin.

The It’s All About Me Award goes to the index finger. Or, if you’re singing “Where is Thumbkin,” it’s Pointer finger. Instead of sewing a basting stitch around the sleeve cap and pulling your thread to ease the sleeve in, you can add the ease while you’re pinning. Here’s how:

  • Point your index finger to yourself;
  • Place the shoulder piece and the sleeve so the sleeve is on top;
  • Match your center sleeve cap with the center shoulder seam and pin;
  • Move the two pieces together over your finger, wrapping the two fabrics around your finger and pin so the pin prick is right at your seam line and perpendicular to your seam line;
  • Keep doing this until you get to the end;
  • Return to your center point and go in the other direction.

What is happening is that the sleeve fabric has to use more fabric to wrap around your finger than the bottom shoulder fabric. So, it is creating the ease as you pin. Once you’re finished pinning, you’ll be able to finger trace your stitching line and see if you need to adjust any puckers. This can be a very time-saving technique, but it takes time to learn it. Nancy and I also figured out that more pins help, but also it will depend where on your finger that you are wrapping and pinning. We figured out that I needed to use the upper, fleshy part of my finger to achieve the right amount of ease. So, you’ll have to play with it a bit to figure out where the right spot on your finger is. Oh, and don’t worry about pinning yourself to the fabric — ummm, it doesn’t hurt because you’re barely getting the first layer…and, well, you kinda get used to it. 🙂

To sew the sleeve in, you’ll place the sleeve side down, which will be the pin side. Since you pinned perpendicular, you’ll still be able to see your pin heads as you sew. This also follow’s Louise’s rule for deciding which side goes to the feed dogs side.

Tip Alert: Remember the B’s when placing your fabric on the feed dogs: Bigger, back and bias go on the bottom. This means when you are sewing anything where one piece is slightly larger, such as with ease, that piece will go on the bottom next to the feed dogs. This is because the feed dogs do the grabbing and pulling, which pulls at a slightly more take than the top glide under your foot. It takes an extra moment to think about it, but your edges will be much more even when you get to the end.

Most Versatile Camper is awarded to Steam-A-Seam2 fusible tape. Louise Cutting loves this secret helper. Most of the Cutting Line Design patterns include using Steam-A-Seam2 to help you along. For those that aren’t familiar with this notion (which I wasn’t before taking Louise’s class), it’s a double-sided adhesive that you press to activate the glue. It can be used for a temporary “basting” or you can depend on it for permanent adhesion, such as the hem of your One-Seam pants. Steam-A-Seam2 can be found at JoAnn’s, Clotilde, Hancock’s or almost anywhere you purchase your notions. Don’t worry about matching the box color; they change their packaging frequently. Steam-A-Seam2 comes in 1/4″ and 1/2″ rolls or sheets.

Tip Alert: When you place your length of Steam-A-Seam2 remember which was the end that came off the roll first. Think of this as the start of the strip. When you pull the paper backing after pressing the first side down, pull the backing paper from the opposite end of your start end. This is because your start end has been handled more times the glue is more frayed with the melting. For whatever cosmic reason the backing paper will likely fray when you try to pull it. However, if you pull from the opposite end, the backing paper will come off more easily and in one strip.

Tina's final fitting for Louise Cutting's OneSeam pants

Tina's final fitting for Louise Cutting's OneSeam pants

The Nice Try To Convert This Skirt Girl Into Pants award is a tie! To Wendy and Louise! Wendy persevered in trying to convince me (Tina) that pants are a worthwhile garment to have in my wardrobe.* Louise’s fitting did result in a pair of great fitting pants, I have to admit. And, upon seeing the rest of the Sew Chicago team in their final fittings, everyone hit a perfect fit with Louise’s pattern and technique. Oops! I forgot to get a picture of all of us in our pants!

*I wear skirts 99% of the time. I do wear leggings, yoga pants, jeans and snow pants, but the rest of the time is all skirts, all the time. Even to bowling…but that was by accident because I forgot to put on some leggings.

Tip Alert: The secret to Louise’s OneSeam Pants great fit: “Sing like a soprano” when you measure your crotch depth. So, pull that tape measure to fit snugly around the “fine china.” The design and the drape of the fabric make these pants feet just right while looking great in the front and the rear views. There’s no bunching nor bagging in the front, nor do you look like you’ve got a full diaper at the back view. I’m going to try to modify this for a yoga/pilates pants fit.

Left-Edge Topstitching Foot

Left-Edge Topstitching Foot

Factoid: Did you know that Louise Cutting invented the left-edge topstitching foot? “The underside of this foot features a higher edge on the right side so the thicker edge (binding, collar, cuff, pocket, etc.) is on the right as you sew. This is especially nice for cuffs and other small areas when you sew using the free arm.” For more information how to use the left-edge topstitching foot, Husqvarna has a datasheet on the foot’s uses. The foot was designed for Husqvarna, so if you have another brand machine, you will need to ask your dealer if your machine has a similar foot.

Organization: It's a Good Thing

Wendy came to the workshop with her sample blocks cut and organized in sheet protectors within a 3-ring binder. I’ll admit that I gave her some grade-school ribbing about it, but after Sandy distributed two sets of handouts for the 17 exercise instructions and patterns and an additional set of 1/2-scale patterns to play with darting and pattern adjustments, I had horrific vision all my papers, paper dolls and fabric spilling over the table into a jumbled mess. Not so for the very organized Wendy. She was able to quickly file her instructions and patterns into their appropriate sheet protector pocket with its waiting raw fabric ready to be assembled as soon as Sandy announced which exercise we were working and later ready to be pulled out for reference when Wendy returned home. Touché, Wendy!

There were soooo many techniques and shortcuts that we learned; these three postcards from camp haven’t covered all of them. As we continue our sewing journey this year, we’ll be sure to share more techniques and shortcuts along with our finished projects.

We had a great time learning from Louise and Sandy in addition to getting to know all the workshop ladies. We enjoyed getting to know so many other enthusiastic sewers from Tennessee, the UK, Florida, California and Michigan. After class, the four of us had a lovely time hanging out in our pj’s and spending time together…what a great girls’ weekend!

Read our other postcards from camp:
Postcard  #1
Postcard #2

P.S. This was the first long workshop that I’ve attended. I learned a lot of new techniques and learned the “official” name for other techniques that I had learned from my mom. After class, the four of us laughed and enjoyed each others’ companies that we don’t often get to do when we’re home and have families and work that call us. I’m so glad to have had this chance with these ladies. Cheers! — Tina

9 thoughts on “Postcards from Summer Camp – Part 3

  1. Tina this is a great writeup. Camp is as much fun to read about as it was to experience. Actually much more fun, with respect to Exercise #13. Your pictures and demos are amazing. Thank you!

  2. I wanna’ go to camp!!! Your awards were ingenious and we hope we will see some of these pants at your fashion show! Madison Area Sewers

  3. Thank you for posting this – the point turner video was beautiful – and so new and informative that I feel like I’ve just learned a new language!

  4. Pingback: Postcards from Sewing Camp – Part 2 | Sew Chicago

  5. Your blog helped me decide to go with the class this summer. I will be sure to bring a binder with pockets. That was a great tip. I am usually like Pigpen when I go on a sewing holiday, totally disorganized and cramming my samples into my suitcase and trying to remember what I learned. Great blog.

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