New Workspace & Dress

A few weeks back I was getting frustrated because my desk was too small and the space I had it in was too cluttered.  As a result, I spent most of my free time not at my desk.  A few hours at Ikea later, I have an incredible workstation.  My old desk will go to my little sister when David and I next visit my parents.

This set up also replaced a bookcase I’d scavenged several years ago which didn’t take very well to moving; it was all but ready to fall apart.  I labelled the baskets with small strips of vellum by tucking the ends into the weave.  I’ve also moved the crates around since I took the picture so that my Singer has a “garage” where the green box used to be.

One of my favorite things is this shelf I found on Etsy.  It’s meant to be a key rack with a vase, but I immediately saw it as a scissors rack with a jar for seam rippers and the like.

The many baskets and the wide desk space make it really easy to work on projects in small increments.  I’ve just completed a really fun and easy dress. I’ve had this fabric for 8 or 9 years now, but never found a use for it, because it has a slight shine that I’m not too keen on.  Except that it makes getting a good picture more difficult, I think the shine works for this dress; it dresses it up slightly.

The biggest issue I ran into was never having worked with knits before (and how did that happen?), so I didn’t realize that a ball-point needle is necessary.  I had some serious trouble with skipped stitches that no amount of adjustment would fix before I resorted to Google and found out that I had a fundamental problem that could only be fixed with a trip to the fabric store.

Conveniently, I had lace trim and buttons that already worked with the dress; I used those to add contrast to the fabric.  I also put a small pocket on the front of the skirt for decoration and the useful sort of pockets along the side seams.

I’ve been thinking of adding a second strip of lace (see photo below), but I’m not sure if I’m going to.  What do you think?  Bear in mind that the lace had to be attached by hand.

I’ve been working on several other projects, some large, and some small and quick.  I’ll try to get those up here as I finish them as well.

This last photo is of an item that was intended to be useful for me.  I haven’t been able to use it in quite some time, as it is inevitably occupied almost as soon as I sit down.

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Settling in…

We’re finally starting to feel as if DC is home.  Admittedly it’s still a shock when we drive down the street and see the Pentagon or any of the many postcard-familiar monuments we now see every time we go out.  But our place officially feels like home (instead of someone else’s home that happens to have all of our stuff).

David’s working like crazy.  The move brought about a back-log of work that he’s try to catch up with.  I, of course, am seeking work.  After looking at my options, I’ve decided to do something that ten years ago I would have told you I’d never do.  I’m sewing for a living.

As a kid, people would ask why I wasn’t considering fashion school and didn’t I want to be the next fashion star? (Project Runway wasn’t underway until I was in college, or I’m sure it would have come up.) I’d tell people who asked that I was afraid sewing for a living would make me lose the joy in it.  Time will tell whether there was truth in that, but I’m hopeful that sewing is the right choice for several reasons:

  1. So far when I do something else “for a living” I haven’t become passionate about what I’ve engaged in; I know I’m passionate about sewing.
  2. Doing something else leaves me without any time to sew, so there’s no sewing to be taking joy in.
  3. It’s something I can take pride in.  I’m an excellent seamstress, all bragging aside, and I particularly take care with the details and the finishing work.  When I make something for someone I know it’s excellent work and that they’re getting everything they’re paying for.

I’m getting started with a boutique that has shown interest in my work and is giving me a trial to see if it works out. I’ve heard from a couple of bridal shops that may be interested in contracting me as well.

This is the sample piece that they’ve asked me to do as a first piece.  The collar will have a closure, but it will be added by the boutique owner.

Since I was sewing anyway, once finished the blue dress above, I decided to try a project suggested on a blog I follow, The Crafty CPA.  I think it turned out really well:

Ginger has been settling in well, too.  She likes that David and I are both working at the house, and has settled into a regular routine that involves breakfast the moment I get up, then a nap, and once it gets dark, going out onto the porch for a bit.  Lately she’s found some very odd napping places: