Scarfpin Collection at Evanston Stitchworks

Since my foray onto sewing I have been eager to incorporate fabric into my wax and wire designs too. The Ladybugs with fabric scraps are holding up well. Then a few weeks ago while popping by Evanston Sticthworks Amalia asked me about making scarf pins. I had already designed a safety pin for a friend, which was well-received.

I sat down with that design and made a prototype for Amalia to test.

Then the pin-top got dremeled and filed a bit to ensure no one pokes themselves.

We both like the result.

I was given a lovely array of fabrics to experiment with.

Last week I sat down and created a bunch of clasp-y designs.

I freewheeled with Brenda’s Now That’s a Jig! pegs, not anchoring them to her jig but just wrapping shapes by hand.

Then I added the fabrics that wanted to be paired with the shapes.

Each type of fabric has its own reaction to heat and wax, but on the whole the designs worked.

I delivered 7 pins to Stitchworks on Tuesday, and a customer already called dibs on two!

We arranged them on a lovely hand-knit sweater.

The prototype goes beautifully with Amalia’s hand-knit scarf.

I also prototyped some stitch markers and got feedback on which ones Amalia thinks are most useful for her purposes, so I have some homework to do!

Exacto knives don’t work well with warmed waxed fabric, so I got some special scissors to use on the next designs.

There is a plethora of other fabrics to make pins out of, and lots of different wire designs to experiment with!

Evanston Stitchworks offers a wide array of artisan designed fabrics, great sewing patterns, hand-dyed yarns and all the knitting supplies you need with those.

The store is located at 906 Sherman Avenue in Evanston and offers a variety of excellent workshops as well.

Can you pick a favorite out of these lovely fabrics?

They’re all so lovely in their own way, even if I say so myself.

I’m excited to add more to this collection, and figure out the stitch marker assignment too!

Dressmaking part 2

Earlier this year I took a dressmaking class at the lovely Evanston Stitchworks.

Then when my mom came to visit, instead of heading to the Mall we picked out my new future wardrobe based on the gorgeous fabrics owner Amalia curates at Stitchworks. It was good to get a second opinion on some of the fabrics I had been eyeing.

My first mission was to re-make the dress I had learned to do in class. What I learned is that I had some serious beginners luck with the blue version.

I prepped the new fabric and impatiently waited for it to dry.

Because this fabric has birds flying in a specific direction, I already needed help in the cutting stage, not sure how to account for the direction of the fabric based on the layout in the booklet. I swung by Stitchworks with photos, and I was directed along the right path.

I also cut up the other pattern, so I checked the interfacing template against the old dress just in case.

Then, I realized that it had been a long time since the workshop, and I forgot the steps to many sewing parts. So I consulted notes and a sewing manual to jog my memory.

I pinned everything together and started following instructions.

Soon the shoulders, sides and skirt were joined. I tried it on to make sure the darts were in the right place.

Then I realized that Amalia had helped me along on the dress-fold in a different way than the pattern instructions. The instructions called for sewing the dress sides before the skirt fold.

With French Seams, this made for some bunching on the sides. It had already taken me 3 tries to get the side seams right.

In my bonus session, we had actually sewn the top and skirt together first and then closed the side seams, but I had been too engrossed in following the written pattern instructions this time around.

I didn’t want to rip up the sides of the dress (again!), so, I soldiered on with ripping, re-stitching, and ripping again for the pleat. After a few adjustments, I made peace with attempt 3.

Replicating the perfect collar seams was a challenge too. While there are a plethora of Youtube tutorials out there, finding the one resembling what I learned was a challenge, so I did what I could.

I know the flaws the armholes have, but hopefully the fabric will detract from all the (re)stitching. Then, in the final stretch, it turns out my neckline was larger than the bias I had cut out.

Oh seamripper, here you are again…

Thankfully I had purchased bias tape for a future project that matched the current fabric, so with the help of YouTube tutorials I was able to finish the dress in time for the Evanston Made Sip and Shop. I took pictures for visual reference next time.

I actually like the accent, so this mishap was a blessing in disguise.

It was fun to meet friends and hang out with local art for the final night of the exhibit.

Amalia was happy to see the dress finished in time as well, and rocking her latest creation.

I am happy with how it all turned out, and looking at both dresses cheers me up. I may shorten one of the hemlines, but haven’t decided on that yet.

Next up is a more complicated project, for which Amalia warned me to start with a sheet to get the sizing worked out. I’ll be planning some tutorial trips over to Stitchworks for that one. I am looking forward to having a studio dress in addition to then trying on a bolder fabric for outside wearing.

The Fall workshop line-up is in the works now, so check back on the Evanston Stitchworks page for new patterns and techniques to be taught. Meanwhile, I have many fabulous fat quarters awaiting conversion into pendants.

It’s fun to play with how the wax interacts with cotton and the different effect that has with the wire.

These are bigger pendants than my usual preference, but I know they will find homes.

One dragonfly stake with my blue dress fabric is undergoing garden testing in Germany right now. My own outdoors dragonfly is still doing well after a few storms and heat waves.

 

Reconnecting with the Sewing Machine

During my corporate life, I took a pencil skirt class at Vogue Fabric and of course gathered materials to build on that, except that my inherited sewing machine thwarted me and I gave up.  Eventually I got a brand-new machine, but I only used it for small projects and never went back to my UFOs, especially since my size changed over time and the pattern might not apply anymore.

Enter Evanston Stitchworks, a lovely store along Evanston’s Main-Dempster Mile offering sewing and knitting classes for teens and adults, along with all the supplies for those projects. This “Stitch Lounge and Studio” has been in business for a few years, but moved to the Sherman Street location last year.

Owner Amalia curates beautiful high-quality and fabrics, findings, yarns and patterns. I love the vibe of the shop and the beautiful array of fabrics. Her store reminds me of the doll-shop my mom made for me as a child.

Intrigued by Amalia’s workshops since the beginning, my schedule finally worked out to where I could take the Willow Tank Top Dress class she hosted in February.

For three Wednesday evenings, four of us gathered at Evanston Stitchworks to learn to make this lovely pattern by Grainline Studio. It was hard to decide on a fabric, but with Amalia’s guidance I settled on a lovely Birch Floral Periwinkle print by Rifle Paper Company.

On the first evening, we traced our pattern onto an interfacing fabric, and spent the remaining time cutting out our pieces. Tracing our pattern keeps the original pattern paper intact, allowing for size changes, which I love.

The next week, we started sewing half of the pattern together.

One selling point of this pattern is that I learned to make darts, which are a useful skill for my anatomy.

We learned machine threading, bobbin winding, and how to adjust needle and stitch settings during this session.

Lots of pinning was involved.

My classmates did just the top, so my dress portion took a bit of adjusting by Amalia. We decided I would come in for an extra session the next day to get me caught up with the rest of class.

I sewed the fold, fixed a wrongly attached collar, and received confidence boosters on my sewing capabilities.

Sewing class also involves tutorials on pressing seams.

Then decided to go home to figure out my own machine for the other half of the dress.

A few days later, I sat down with my manual to check out the difference between the Stitchworks machine and my own machine settings. Photo references helped me make sure I was doing the right thing with the arm holes.

Getting the attachment removed for the arm holes took some googling, but I got it figured out and was on my way.

Then I befriended the seam ripper some more due to a sewing snafu. I bet no one else has accidentally folded fabric into the seam mid-way through a garment. 😉

Seam rippers are lovely tools.

With all side seams connected and the hems all pressed, I was all caught up.

The final class was spent sewing the collar, arm holes and hem up to complete the dress. A side exercise was avoiding pinpricks during this round-about fabric feed.

I got some ironing tips for the darts, photos of our end result were taken, and we all went home happy with our creations.

I cannot wait for the weather to warm up so I can wear this fun dress out!

Overall, it took about 9 hours to put it together. Having Amalia supervise every move was affirming and confidence building. Knowing that my home machine is compatible also helps support future projects.

Now I need to incorporate the sample fat quarter fabrics I picked up on Small Business Saturday into my wax and wire creations.

I already gave an old pendant a makeover with a dress remnant.

My next quest is deciding on the next fabric to make the dress again.

Evanston Stitchworks is located at 906 Sherman Avenue in Evanston, Illinois and hosts monthly drop-in events that are posted on FacebookCheck out upcoming classes and online shopping opportunities here. You can also cheer up your Instagram feed by following Evanston Stitchworks.