January 19, 2017

WHY I SEW




I was reading a fellow blogger's blog Anita by Design, she announced her 1-Year Anniversary of blogging and she was having a GIVEAWAY, you had to comment by telling her something about yourself, such as "How long you've been sewing, what do you like about sewing, do you sew for yourself only or for others?", then there was another post asking "Are you a blogger?". Well, I posted a very long comment about why I sew, how and why I started sewing to the wrong post.  I posted my comment to the "Are you a blogger?"  LOL!!!  I spoke with Anita to let her know what I had done and that she could remove it since it was posted to the wrong blog post.  Anita is such a sweetheart, she said she will leave it "because she thought my post was a powerful one, and in her heart, she truly believe someone out there needs to hear it."  I told Anita I would post my comment to my blog, so below is "Why I Sew"

I began sewing in High School. My mother was a single mother at the time, we didn't have a lot of money, I'm the oldest of five children, I have two aunts, we are 3 and 4 years apart in age.  When it was time for us to get new clothes, my sisters and brothers got new clothes and I had to wear my aunts clothes because we were close in age and just about the same size. Moving forward to High School, when it was time for me to take Home Economics, it was a choice between cooking and sewing. I didn't want to learn how to cook, I wanted to learn how to sew, so I wouldn't have to worry about wearing someone else's clothes again.

The sewing class was only offered for one class session at that time, after I completed the class, I asked the sewing instructor if I could come to her class during one of my free periods to sew?  She told me "yes", but I would have to sew in the back of the classroom so I wouldn't disturb the class while she was teaching.  I agreed, so I would take my materials to school and I couldn't wait for my free class period to start.  I would head to her classroom with my sewing materials and sit in the back of the class to sew.

Moving forward, I started reading books and I grew so much in my sewing that I would make a skirt at night at my dining room table and wear it the next day.  As I grew in my sewing, I would go the mall and look at clothes that I wanted to duplicate, I would take pattern pieces from several patterns to create a unique garment (in sewing it's called "Frankenpattern").  I was sewing as a "hobby", my friends kept telling me I needed to take my sewing to the next level. I didn't see what they saw in my sewing.  Some of my friends told me I didn't have the confidence in my sewing to move forward.  I didn't like hearing that, I tried to force myself to see what they saw but I couldn't see it so I continued to sew as a "hobby".  I was making 90% of my clothes at that time.

Years went by before I would see for myself that I was a very good sewer (I didn't consider myself a seamstress at that time).  One day it was as if a light bulb went off and that's when I saw what everybody had been telling me for years.

In 2006, I created my home based sewing business "CreationsByLaToria".  I started sewing for others and I advertised on Craigslist and I would leave my business cards in Hancock's Fabrics that was near my house.  At that time, 80% of my business came from Hancock's fabrics because the employees knew me from stopping by there on a regular basis and I would help other customers pick their fabric and supplies when I saw them looking confused.  I made a name for myself in that store.  LOL!!!  The employees told me to leave my business cards in the store and with them too so they can pass them out to customers who are looking for a seamstress.  During prom season, just about all of my clients were referred to me by the employees at Hancock's fabrics.  My business started booming, it got to the point that I stopped advertising on Craigslist (I'm glad I did because of the horror stories I would hear about people answering ads on Craigslist).  Now about 80% of my business comes from referrals.

Also in 2006, I joined the American Sewing Guild as well as a neighborhood sewing club where I'm still a member.  Being a member of a sewing club allowed me to be around like-minded people, learn different sewing techniques, make projects I would not normally make and I enjoy our annual trip to New York's Fashion Garment District.

In 2010, I was unemployed due to a contract ending, I needed some extra money to make ends meet.  I was talking to one of my girlfriends on the phone about trying to find a way to make some extra money.  She told me "you have it in the palm of your hands".  I looked at my hands, LOL!!!  I was confused.  She said "teach sewing".  I said "Really?"  She was teaching Interior Decorating at a local Community College, she was well known there.  She told me to call the college and ask if they have a need for a sewing class and to let them know she referred me.  I did just that.  They did not have a sewing class but they were open to me creating one. 

The Administrator told me to submit a proposal describing the class I want to teach, what days and time I want to teach.  I submitted my proposal and it was accepted with NO changes.  I started teaching sewing in 2010 and my business blossomed from that.  I teach different levels of sewing, i.e, Beginning I and II, Intermediate Sewing, Advanced Sewing, and Fitting.  I now teach at several Community Centers in my area, and also at home as well.

Sewing is no longer a hobby for me, it's MY PASSION!!!!!  

Thanks for visiting my blog.


Your talent is God's gift to you.  What you do with it is your gift back to God.  
                                                                                                       Leo Buscaglia




December 30, 2016

2016 IN REVIEW

Hello Everyone,

WOW!!!!  I can't believe 2016 is coming to an end already!!! It seems like it just started.  I was busy the majority of 2016 with sewing and teaching others how to sew.

Part of 2016 was very challenging for me with the loss of a job, from that challenge my passion for sewing grew which led me to teach more sewing classes.  I taught people I met on Facebook as well as people that were referred to me by friends.  I've developed some long lasting friendships through my sewing and teaching.  I'm happy to say, I'm back working and I'm still sewing and teaching others how to sew.

I didn't blog as much as I wanted to in 2016, I'm going to make a conscious effort to blog more in 2017.

First let me thank GOD for this talent HE has blessed me with.  This talent has allowed me to make my clients visions come to life, it has allowed me to bring life back to sewing for those people who told me they haven't sewn since high school or they haven't sewn in the last 10, 15 or 20 years.  I will be remiss not to mention that this talent has also been a source of income to pay bills or to save money to purchase more fabric (that I really need, LOL!!!) and to purchase sewing supplies.

Let's take a look at my sewing projects for 2016.  

WARNING!!!! This post is picture of heavy.

January



February 



March


April

May

June

August


September


October



November






I wish everyone a Happy New Year and may GOD continue to bless you.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

December 25, 2016

CLASS TRIP TO FABRIC STORE

Hello Everyone,

As some of you know, I'm a sewing instructor as well as a seamstress.  I teach sewing at various Community Centers in Prince George's County Maryland and I'm also an Adjunct Professor at the College of Southern Maryland located in LaPlata, Maryland.

Normally, I give my students a supply list and they go purchase what's on the list by themselves, BUT they come back with a lot of complaints from not being able to find the right fabric, they don't get help from the store employees, they don't understand how to read the pattern to purchase the right size pattern or the correct amount of fabric....and the list goes on.

I decided to try a different method.  At the beginning of the class, I spent half the class time discussing the project, taking body measurements for their garments and I spent the other half of the class time going to the fabric store with the students to help explain everything to them.  They really appreciated having me there to answer ALL of their questions.  This method was a BIG HIT!!! Moving forward I will make this my standard method for the first day of my NEW classes.

The students are looking through the pattern books to select a pattern. The class project was a blouse.







These two young ladies are picking out their notions for their blouse.



I'm letting this student read and understand the pattern herself first before I step in to help her.  She is really concentrating.



She figured out how much fabric she needed, now she's at the cutting table.



She's getting more fabric cut.


Thanks for stopping by.

December 24, 2016

COLOR BLOCKING

Hello Everyone,  I love "color block" clothing.  I try to make my garments colorful.  I LOVE colors, every room in my house is a different color.  When I saw this Vogue 1329 pattern, I fell in love with it.  I'm late making it, a lot of sewers made it about 3 years ago.  It was always my plan to make it, because I sew for other people, I had to push it aside.  Every time I thought I had time to make it something happened and I couldn't make it.  When I finally found the time, I hurried up and got to sewing.

Because I have some junk in my trunk, I have to add 2 inches at the lengthen/shorten line to my dresses and skirts so the back is not high and the front hangs low.

Adding two inches to the front and back (what you do to one pattern piece you have to do the same to the other pattern piece)





You have to even the side seams on the the pattern pieces.







I bought care labels to put inside my clothes, just like ready-to-wear (store bought) clothing.


I also put my label and size tag in my clothing.





The pattern shows two colors, I wanted to make my dress with three different colors, instead of having the same color on the side and across the top, I decided to make the top one color, the side another color and the front and back the same color.








I really enjoyed making this dress.  I love the fit as well.  This is the FIRST pattern where I was able to cut one size (size 18) for the ENTIRE dress.  Normally, I have to cut one size for my shoulder, another size for the bust and another size for the remainder of the dress.

When I wore it to work, it's was the first day of our week long Executive Board Meeting.  As soon as my boss saw me in this dress, he said "you look nice today".  I thanked him and told him I made it, my coworkers know I make my own clothes.

There are more of the dress coming with different kinds of color blocking, so be on the look out for them. 


Construction of dress:
  • Pattern:  Vogue 1329
  • Alterations to Pattern:  added 2 inches to the front and back pattern pieces at the lengthen/shorten line
  • Fabric used:  Ponte Double Knit
  • Lining: Tricot
  • Notions:  22 inch invisible zipper


Thanks for visiting my blog



December 4, 2016

INSPIRALIZER

My new kitchen gadget is the Inspiralizer, I'm trying to eat healthier and I love veggies.  I was given some fresh veggies from one of my girlfriends, one of the veggies were sweet potatoes.  I knew I didn't want to cook them the conventional way so I turned to "Google".  I found a recipe for sweet potato noodles with garlic kale and pork chops, I don't eat pork chops, so I replaced them with chicken breasts.



This recipe was quick and delicious.  I will definitely make it again.


I enjoy spiralizing (if that's a word, LOL!!) my veggies.



I marinated the chicken breasts over night with Goya marinade Mojo and Napa Valley Cabernet & Roasted Garlic marinade.  The two together gave the chicken a wonderful flavor.


I cooked the chicken breasts for a few minutes before transferring them to the oven.


I put the chicken breast in a pan to go into the oven at 350 degrees for about ten minutes.


I sauteed the spiralized sweet potatoes using olive oil and salt and pepper until they were tender.


I added minced garlic and onion soup to the kale greens.



 I cooked the kale greens in a Wok until they were a little wilted but still had a crunch to them.


November 28, 2016

IT'S A WRAP

Hello Everyone,

This year I've fallen in love with all types of outer wear cardigans and wraps.  I like them because you can wear them instead of a coat.  Now that I drive to work, I go from my garage at home to a garage at work, so I seldom wear a coat, I don't like to drive wearing a heavy coat.  The outer wear cardigan is perfect for this situation.

One of my students gifted me a ponte knit fabric, she did not like so I kindly took it off her hands.  As usual, I didn't know what I was going to make with it.  I found in my pattern stash McCall's 7262, my fabric is a little heavier than what the pattern required, but it still worked.  I can see me wearing this on the weekend to run errands and it will look great with a pair of jeans or leggins and boots.

Although the description on the pattern is "loose fitting sweater coat", it resembles a wrap coat because it snaps at the opposite shoulder then it crosses the front of your body.  







I also love the way it looks when it's open.




Whether it's a loose fitting sweater coat or a wrap, I love it.

MATERIALS USED:
Pattern:  McCall's 7262
Fabric:  Ponte double knit


Thanks for visiting my blog.


November 27, 2016

MAKING THE BEST OUT OF GIFTED FABRIC

Hello Everyone,

For the past three years, I've been blocking out the months October thru December to sew for MYSELF.  I don't get to sew for myself as much as I would like to because I do a lot of custom sewing and I'm also a sewing instructor, and I work a full time job, so my time is limited to sew for myself.  

I'm a member of a Neighborhood Sewing Group where we meet once a month to discuss sewing projects, participate in sewing challenges and also give back to the Community. One of our members was moving to Orlando, Florida; at the last meeting that she would be able to attend she bought to the meeting a lot of her winter fabrics that she would not have a use for living in Florida. We were able to take what we wanted for FREE.  I grabbed a few wool pieces of fabric and a beautiful piece of yellow fleece.  I didn't know what I was going to do with it but I had no doubt I would find something to make with it.

As I searched through my patterns, I found McCall's 6444, I made View B, it was the perfect pattern.  I love wearing thick jackets during the winter months with leggins and jeans.



As I was putting the pockets onto the jacket, the instructions said to place the opening of the pocket to the side, I didn't think anything about it because I thought it was a unique way to put my hand in the pockets but as I looked at the pictures on the outside of the pattern envelope, the pocket opening was at the top.







Once I realized the instructions were incorrect, I had to take the pockets off the jacket and place them correctly on the jacket.  Once I did that, the jacket came together very quickly.  

I serged the inside seams of the jacket with a multi-color yellow serger thread.

The outside edges of the jacket were to have a 5/8 inch narrow hem, I decided to serge the edges and leave them because of the multi-color serger thread. 


I really like how this jacket turned out.  I can't wait to wear it.




Thanks for visiting my blog.