Merry Christmas!! (or Happy Holidays if you rather)

Published 12/22/2013 by Donna Kennedy

Wow, how time flies!  Seems like I just posted to here a few days ago, only to see that it has been more like 6 weeks.  It’s that time of year when our lives get busy.  We are wrapping up yet another year with celebrations of our friendships, our work, and our faith.  All are good celebrations!

I started a little contest for the last part of the month to see what sort of response there might be.  For each class booked and held, the student will be entered into a drawing that has three prizes (a free class, a half price class, and a class for 25% off).  So far, interest has been pretty light, but the inspiration for this idea was a little late, so it’s all good. 😉

Let’s see……what HAS been happening since I blogged last….

Please join me in welcoming some new faces and a little update on what is happening with both new peeps and others!  Hmm….where to start?  I guess I could just pick a name and go from there.

Katie M. (newbie!) continued her t-shirt today and ended up altering it to fit.  She had wanted to learn alterations, so this was a start.  At the end of today’s class, all she had left to do was hem her shirt and then it will be ready to wear as she flies home to see family on the East Coast tomorrow.  Katie has done some sewing previously and simply wants to up her skill level.

Carolyn F. is working on PJ’s last time we met and likely has them finished by now.  The fabric she chose is really cute!

Erica M. has gotten wild and crazy and has been making unitards for use when she teaches yoga classes and for wearing when she does contortions.  She also altered them all on her own for a fabulous fit.  Her husband has also benefited from her endeavors as she has made him tops for wearing under martial arts wear and he has then had them screen printed with his logo.  Guess he is also proud of her efforts.

Andrea M. has set off on making her annual PJ bottoms galore for her family.  Not sure how many she will make this year, but probably more than the dozen she made last year!  Grandma Nan has been acquiring a pair for each holiday…LOL. Her family does love them so!

Jennifer G.  (newbie) is off to a GREAT start!  She’s made a gorgeous holiday apron (well, it IS cranberry color trimmed in cream!) and has completed a serger class.  I see fabulous things coming out of her future plans.

Jeravae C.  is working on a leotard for her husband as part of a ballroom dance ensemble.  Swimwear fabric presents some unique challenges, and she is handling them very well.  She also puts crystals on her gowns-so very pretty!

Kimberly S. has done her shopping trip and has her first class session scheduled.  She gets honorable mention for saving a bunch of money on her first time at a fabric store.

Laura L.  has some great ideas for mixing and matching some fabrics for a boho look that will be darling once completed.  She is hinting to the man in her life to upgrade her machine for her for Christmas.  Wish her well in the hopes that he will do this.

Leigh Ann W.  is starting some baby doll jammies.  She loves Disney princess fabric and is very much the girly girl.  Can’t wait for her to finish them, can you?

Malea S. (newbie) is off and running.  She did her potholders, apron, a top, slacks, and currently is working on a dress.  She’s working on a garment portfolio as a part of her application to attend F.I.T. in New York.  She tends to push the envelope a bit by choosing tricky materials to work with and has the patience to do what it takes for the desired end result.  She had an end of the semester event for a UNLV class and was able to see firsthand why ironing during construction is so important.

Merry D. (newbie) started in a bit of an unusual way.  We met by accident while she was purchasing a machine.  One thing led to another and we worked together on African styled clothing for a woman attending a wedding locally.  Fabulous brocades mixed with gauze is very tricky to work with but oh so beautiful.

Piyatida N. (newbie) is planning a children’s line of clothing.  She is working on her first outfit for a toddler and practicing her English at the same time as well as trying to learn American yardage and measurements.  We work with a blend of American and metric measurements which is good for everyone involved in sewing or pattern making to learn.  Many of the sewing machines have already converted to metric measurements and others are in transition to this as well.  Oh yes, I hope to learn a little of the Thai language along the way, but its really hard!!!

Ryan S. (newbie) came on board and is also off to a good start.  However, she is off spending the holidays with her fiance in Switzerland.  Must be rough….  She will resume once she returns after the beginning of the new year.

Shemika L. (newbie) is just underway.  She chose a new machine, did her shopping trip and made her first potholder while getting acquainted with her machine.  She is a LOT of fun!

Tiffany T. (newbie) was gifted a machine from a friend who got it for a steal.  It’s a great beginners machine and Tiffany handles it quite well.  I think she will likely finish those Star Wars PJ’s for her boyfriend after Christmas.  A word to the wise-we learned that licensed fabric is sometimes narrower than 45 inches, even though it is a higher thread count, so take heed when purchasing ANY fabric to be certain of the width before you choose the yardage.

As for my Christmas plans, well…….as of this writing they remain a secret.  I’m in hopes of actually having some time to do some reading…….or maybe some sewing…..for me??  Wouldn’t that be something special?? I think so.  So on that note, I want to wish each and everyone a very  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. With out a doubt, I’ve missed a few of you, so please don’t feel slighted.  Hopefully I’ll catch you here sooner or later!   If you would like to sew between now and January 1st, give me a call.  I’m only closing for Christmas Day and New Years Day.



Published 11/09/2013 by Donna Kennedy

Traditionally November and December have been a bit quiet, but that is changing with a decided increased interest in sewing.  Later today, I am meeting three new individuals for their guided shopping trips.  That’s a first to have three in one day!  This is going to be so much fun, and I will likely talk myself hoarse in the process (just kidding!).  Evening classes are filling quickly so for best choices, I recommend that you book early and/or at regular intervals if you so desire.

Evening update-  All three individuals have completed their shopping trips successfully this afternoon and evening, and each one is eager to start her first in home class in their respective homes.  Those will begin in just a few days as they have been scheduled during each individual’s shopping trip.  Piyatida S. plans to make children’s clothing, where Ryan S. and Malea S. are preparing to enter fashion design programs.  Please join me in welcoming them!

November Update

Published 11/08/2013 by Donna Kennedy

Hi All!  Well, November is already here and the realization that I’ve not posted to here for quite some time has just been noticed.  😦

As has become the norm for my students, new ones come and old ones go.  I’m always sad to see someone leave.  However, I am consoled by the fact that it’s all about empowering the individual to learn new skills.  That is far more important than anything.  Not everyone wants to learn in the same way or learn the same things, and that’s the beauty in what I do.  I do appreciate everyone and the wonderful experiences that I have had the privilege to share as each one grows their skills.

Here is an update as to what some of my students are doing, in no particular order……

Andrea M.  continues on and the variety of projects she chooses is pretty wide.  She recently made a three piece set of cushions for a window seat using tapestry fabric, zippers, and piping.  The end result was pretty amazing and done perfectly!

Erica M. took a lengthy break for personal reasons but will be resuming classes shortly.  I do know her potholder count was in excess of 20 at last count.  I look forward to welcoming her back!

Dyana F. and Jessica B. are new and are working on developing a swimwear line.  In their earliest days, and in the absence of an iron initially, they had me in hysterics when they brought out a flatiron for hair to use for ironing on their aprons.  So… the line is……no iron, no ironing board, NO problem! Ha!  Working with the two of them is a riot from beginning to end!

Leigh Ann W. is starting on a set of baby doll jammies following an emergency Jo-Ann’s run.  I apparently did not coach her properly in measuring and pattern selection, but it’s all good as we were able to find an acceptable choice for her jammies.  Go Leigh Ann!

Jeravae C.  is becoming nicely acquainted with her sewing machine at this time.  In the next few days she will be shopping for supplies to make a unitard.  She is looking forward to the challenge as she does competition ballroom dancing.  Short term plans are underway to begin making wearing apparel for Latin dance routines for her use.  We will be enlisting the assistance of a mannequin for this.

Mackie R. (now 11) has completed her first quilt for a cousin’s new baby.  She is currently working on Mommy & me aprons for the holidays.  Her mom, Diana, is a great facilitator for the projects Mackie chooses.  It is such a joy to spend time with them watching Mackie’s skills increase.  She is working with a full size sewing machine and will be “growing into” it for a good while to come.

I’m certain this doesn’t even come close to mentioning everyone, but I wanted you to have a sampling of the variety I see on a regular basis.  Probably you can see that life is never dull for me!  This has been a great year thus far and I look forward to the future with all these wonderful individuals and there are others yet to come.  Thanks everyone!

Just a little update

Published 05/04/2013 by Donna Kennedy

Hi and thanks for visiting my website.  I don’t often post here myself as I don’t want to have folks think I am here to blow my own horn!  But don’t think I won’t if I get a chance to!  🙂

Let’s see…..time for a little update….. Of late, the pre-teen students are beginning to come on board.  I currently have 2 ten year olds that I am working with (moms included here!) and a 7 year old in the wings that I expect I will be meeting shortly.  I typically prefer to start children at about the age of 8, but there are some that are ready sooner, it’s just so individual as you well know.  Any child that shows an interest and has the capability to focus on a task within their age range, is more than welcome to become a student.  Children will start with simpler projects, many of which involve sewing in straight lines (not perfectly of course!)  I do expect at least one parent to be actively involved here as the child needs a resource in between classes, so moms, you also get to learn for the same class fee that you pay for your child!  I consider it a win-win situation for all.  Hope you will as well!

Other developments since this website has started….  We have had an apron queen-at last count, Jessica M. had made over a dozen aprons.  Not to be outdone, next comes Andrea M. with PJ bottoms numbering at least 12 if not more.  To her credit, she took the pattern that is taught here and changed it up in size to fit the slightly more generous figures of some of her relatives.  After that, she got even more creative and has added contrasting ties and other fabric contrasts to the jammies.  Next comes Erica M. with at last count 11 potholders.  Who knows, she could have even more made by the time I see her next week!  So if you have something that you learn to do, and love to do, I wouldn’t be surprised to see your name appear here as well.  Absolutely everyone needs to be given a pat on the back for their efforts.  Next comes Hope R., who wears suits as an executive.  Her issue is in order to get the jacket to fit, she needs a size larger than her slacks.  The high quality suits she was purchasing, did not have the option to buy the pieces separately.  Last week, she deconstructed then reconstructed a pair of those pants and got them altered (with a bit of help) to a fit she could be proud to wear.  I’ve no doubt that she is going to go on to more involved and difficult alterations fairly quickly.

I will try to post a bit more often with project updates, so check back now and again for the latest news!

2012 in review

Published 12/30/2012 by Donna Kennedy

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 9 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Sewing Your Own Corset – Link Roundup

Published 11/23/2011 by ShardsOfBlue

Corset Samples

Have you ever wondered how to sew a corset? If you’re involved in Steampunk, Renaissance fairs, or other period dress-up, you’ve probably ogled those lovely corsets on sale at the vendor booths, often for hundreds of dollars.

If you’d like to save a little money and embark on a new project, here are some great links for learning how to sew them, as well as where to find the supplies.

How to Sew a Corset:

Where to Buy Corset Supplies:

Vintage Corset Ad by Deja Vecu

The History of Aprons

Published 09/13/2011 by Donna Kennedy

Author Unknown

Jenn's Apron

Photo by Eric Skiff on Flickr. Apron by JennKish on Etsy.

I don’t think our kids know what an apron Is.

The principle use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath. Because she only had a few, it was easier to wash an apron than a dress, and an apron used less material. Along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

Girl With Chicken

Photo by J E Theriot on Flickr.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.Vintage Advance Apron Pattern

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ‘old-time apron’ that served so many purposes.

Grandma Used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw. They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

*   I don’t think I ever caught anything from an apron (except Grandma’s love). *