Ideas on Pattern Organization Needed

2 Jan

Well, Jordan didn’t think folding fabric was fun. At all.  #whomp So, that’s on hold until I can talk Liz or Trena into coming and helping.

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So, he mixed champagne cocktails and I took a hard look at my pattern collection. As noted, my patterns reside in this IKEA cabinet. I do want to buy a metal filing cabinet this year and I will. But, I need to get an additional shelving unit for fabric storage first.

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What I did was pull all my cluttered patterns out (sorry, no before photo). And sort them by brand. By far, I have more Vogue Patterns between the regular envelopes and the designer patterns.Simplicity is second.

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I also have all my traced (mostly BWOF) patterns in a drawer. I’ve used two different envelope sizes over the last ten years. So, larger ones are vertical, smaller ones are horizontal.  Someday, I’ll go through and put pattern numbers in the appropriate corners of these traced envelopes.  Or, pay a niece to come over and do so.

New Look, Burda envelope and Kwik Sew are horizontal in the middle.

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Larger Vogue designer patterns, Jalie and Hot Patterns in one drawer going horizontal. With horizontal McCalls in the middle (you can see the numbers / names easier this way for these lines) and a few fragile vintage patterns vertical in front.  Oh, what are you storing your Jalie patterns in once you’ve opened them?

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Simplicity, Butterick, Vogue in another going vertical. Again, easier to see the numbers on them. I might get those in numerical order some day too…

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So, here’s my question. I’ve got all the patterns back in and neatly.  In some cases (ok, only in Vogue’s case) they are even numerical.

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I wasn’t surprised at the number of patterns I have (I actually think I don’t have *that* many). I was surprised that I didn’t know what patterns I have! I need a filing/ sorting system similar to my Burda program.

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There, I’ve photocopied the line drawings page, printed them out and have them in a binder. So easy to flip through and find a pattern.

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So, tell me, how do you organize your patterns? Spreadsheet? Databases? Photo flash cards? How do you find patterns you are looking for? Oh, and please share what you’re doing with your Jalie patterns once they come out of the cellophane.

2013: The Year In Which I Sewed the Least

31 Dec

For the first time in seven years of blogging, I have no year end recap. I haven’t sewn this little since I was in college. This year was an emotional roller coaster. From the Ravens winning the Superbowl, taking a new job, getting engaged then married within seven weeks to losing my mom within three months of her diagnosis and the Ravens not even making the playoffs for the first time in like five years.  I’m feeling kind of… battered to be honest.

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Over the weekend my friend Liz came over and we started folding fabric. And folded. And folded. While what is on the shelves represents about three bins of fabric, you can see I have many more to go (and two aren’t even pictured)! I’m going to need to buy a second shelf shelf about three feet wide from Costco/ Sam’s Club. And convince Jordan that folding is fun.

Oh, I was in NY for work yesterday and bought a some necktie material at Mood. Yes, I’m going to make neckties again :-)  But, I managed to leave $75 worth of fabric on the train!! After several frantic calls  (starting at 12:30 a.m.) to Amtrak’s lost and found in DC, Baltimore and New York, my bag turned up! Trena’s going to swing by Union Station in Washington and get it for me. I’m considering this my Christmas miracle.

Anywhoo. My dad is here visiting for the holidays and we’re off to the movies then drinks with friends and dinner with more friends. I can’t believe how much my life has changed from this time last year. And, who knows that 2014 has to offer? I’m hoping many more weekends at home with my sewing machine.

Happy New Year my friends.

Sewing Room Installed

14 Dec

In the midst of what is generally accepted to be the worst week of my life, my sewing room furniture was installed. I’d like to also thank each and every one of you who left a comment about my mom. Especially those who have lost a loved one or a mother. Your advice and words of comfort mean a great deal to me. I am incredibly touched that you care about her passing because you care about me (and/ or are not horrible people without a soul).

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I worked from home the last week so it made sense to have the furniture installed while I could be here.  It took two guys about six hours to get the job done. Do you hear angels singing? I do. I was so pleased with the installation, I just walk in the room and stare.  It looks like a little sewing shop!! Like a *real* studio!!

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I’m now able to have all my sewing machines out! Singer 301, blind hemmer, Babylock serger, Brother coverstitch.

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I’ve put the ‘finishing’ machines on the right (blind hemmer and coverstitch) since I won’t use them throughout construction. There’s a little space off the side  on the right for what I hope will be my sewing pattern cabinet or my dress form. I can also keep my folded cutting table along that wall too (or in the closet).

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All my sewing books are now in then bookshelf along with my Singer 221 / Featherweight. I’m going to try displaying it. But, I’m totally freaked out about it getting grimy, etc.

I would like to put a peg board up between the bookshelf and the countertop. I’m saving those empty spaces on the book shelf for plastic bins. I also need the electrician to come out and give me some more outlets. Possibly at countertop level too.

The drawers are empty. Liz and I are going to go out and buy foam core and do some serious fabric folding. The comic book backers won’t really work for the kinds of fabric I have. But, I’m keeping them to do elastics, interfacing, ribbons and other thinner items. It’s tempting to save the drawer space for patterns, but I would like to keep my fabric dust free if possible.

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On the wall below, I am debating a metal shelving station or another IKEA cabinet. I need someplace for my sewing pattern magazines (mostly Burda).

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That’s it! All I moved in were machines and books. There is so much work to be done. I have two old sewing cabinets down in the basement I need to Freecycle. Fabric that needs organizing. Notions that need sorting. It honestly may take a snowstorm for me to really get to this.

Oh, while I use an IKEA piece to hold my patterns currently, it’s gotten a bit wobbly. I did call  the company that makes pattern cabinets for Mcall, Vogue, Butterick (not Simplicity they said). They are so far out of my price range (think $600). That I’m going to start stalking Craigslist and store closings. I found a legal size filing cabinet on craigslist that could also work too. Anyone use a legal cabinet for filing patterns?

Oh, and of course I now realize this installation is going to make it real hard to refinish the floors in my house. Or paint. Doh.

“I Am At Peace”

5 Dec

There are many things I want to tell you about my mom. About how she bought me my first sewing machine. How she avidly read my blog and encouraged my writing. How I called her at least once a day. How she remembered information about my friends and would ask about them individually.  There’s the way she would call me from Korea in the middle of the night to ask me how to double space her documents in Word. Or, wake me up on church morning to do her makeup or curl her hair. There’s also that point in my life when she started seeking my advice — while continuing to give hers.

But, I am so very afraid of not being able to fully capture how remarkable she is and how very much I will miss her that I hesitate to say more than, she was my best friend.

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Thanksgiving, 2011

We lost her this week and my heart is literally broken. I’ve posted her obituary here. My mom, ever the planner, wrote the bulk of it herself.

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April 2011

This time last year, we were talking about her visiting this Christmas to go to the seasonal decorations at the White House. My mom always said, “Tomorrow isn’t promised to you.” She was right.

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New South Wales, Australia

When  she told me her diagnosis, I broke down in hysterical tears and told her how much I loved her. She told me she accepted what would come next and  said, “I am at peace.”

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My friends, time is a precious gift. I am so thankful I could say good bye.

Sewing Room Solution, Part I

1 Dec

Guys!! I was so inspired by your encouragement on the IKEA post I decided to stop by Baltimore’s Second Chance. Second Chance is a salvage warehouse that does workforce development and job training here in the City. When Liz and I went in, we were looking for kitchen cabinets that could be mounted. What I found, was this:

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Beautiful in all it’s formicaness, right? It was a custom desk that was there for $500. I’d mentally budgeted about three times that for my IKEA sewing room fantasy. This one has the wall cabinets I wanted (setting on the desk on the left), plenty of sewing space for my machines: sewing, coverstitch, blind hemmer, and serger. There’s also a ton of deep drawer space too. I was feeling REALLY good walking out of the warehouse!

I went home, measured my guest room. Liz helped my shove everything in to the ‘study’ including the twin bed. Yes, those are all my shoes in the left corner. They got kicked out of the second closet in my bedroom. My fabric that lived in the basement is in the bins.

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When they came to deliver, everything came in just fine. And, because of the orange of the walls and the tint of the floor, the formica isn’t nearly as offensive as I thought it might be!

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Except, for the L-shaped countertop. The countertop is nesting in my dining room for now.

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This 10 foot long long honker was not going up my steps.

The neighborhood handyman is coming out on Monday to mount the cabinets for me (they are setting on top of the desk on the left in the first photo). And, I’ll have him cut the countertop and reassemble it with glue and clamps upstairs.

The room will be a work in progress for a while.

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I *think* I will still put in an IKEA Expedit bookcase in this room for all my Burda magazines. Do you like how the one above used to hold all my sewing supplies and fabric back in 2008? HAHAHAHAHA! I’m happy to say I’ve easily sewn 85 percent of what was on the shelves. I actually only see three unsewn fabrics.

I now have about eight years worth of Burdas that fit perfectly in my Expedit storage system (the purple cubes) and don’t really want to give it up. I need to decide if I’ll move the one from the study (it’s also my desk) or get another one. Plus, I can use empty cubbies for all my sewing books that are in the study and basement.

The drawers pull out REALLY far, are super sturdy and very deep. I assumed I would not store fabric in there. But, after some suggestions on Facebook, I’ll be looking for cardboard that I can cut to width and store fabric upright — like files.

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I’ll need to store my cutting table somewhere too — probably the closet in the guest room. Right now it holds my formal dresses and vintage clothing. And, I might make one of the table tops an ironing station so I don’t have to pull out a separate ironing board. I’ll also want a peg board between the desk and the wall cabinets. So many things to think about! I’m really happy to make a real investment in my sewing space. Clearly, we’re not moving anytime soon! Stay tuned :-)

Sewing Room Ideas from IKEA

25 Nov

As I have blathered on about here, I am currently without a real sewing room. So far, everything is mushed in my guest room (at some point to be sewing room).

While going through IKEA yesterday, I was totally inspired by this set up from the Besta collection (that’s my 5 foot tall friend standing for reference)

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Doesn’t that look like it could totally work? I’d never really thought about hanging cabinets in my sewing room, but it would be a terrific use of space. This could be one side of the room and the other side would have sewing tables and my cutting table in the middle.

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Fantasies, all! But, it at least has me thinking about how I want the room to take shape. And, that my ‘solution’ doesn’t need to be as simple as tables from Costco and some shelves. I really like the idea of turning that room in to a real creative sewing space!

The Last Wedding Post (I promise)

11 Nov

We got our wedding professional proofs yesterday. And, I am so thrilled I can’t sit still. I hope you can stand one last wedding related post.  And, if you can’t, I don’t blame you. I have been there. Bored off my rocker. I did poll two sewing/ internet friends and they said it was acceptable for me to do one last wedding post.

Here’s the slideshow the photographer made. And, below, one I’m working on for our post-wedding party next month. I needed to do a separate slideshow with more family photos included. It is obviously not as good as our photographer’s. Because, she’s amazing. If you need a photographer in the Tampa Bay area, I can’t recommend her enough.

I’ve been asked how we pulled off a wedding in six weeks. The answer is internet shopping and friends. We could not have done it without our friends and family.  A very talented photographer friend of mine told me years ago that expensive weddings are great to photograph because they have lots of details and are pretty. So, I was determined to (not spend a ton of money) make sure there were plenty of details to photograph.

I also got over the idea of having a timeless wedding per se. It doesn’t exist. Your wedding is of the moment because it’s what is happening to you at that moment and captured on memory card forever. I fully expect these to look dated in a few years. I chuckle now when I look at my parent’s album from the 70s or photos from the 80s. There are totally trends in wedding photography.

Finally, when you have 20 people, you can kind of do whatever you want. We used a pop-up wedding company that set up the wedding site. We went to a nice restaurant for dinner. Easy peasy and really really perfect. I was low stress and high happiness.

I just wanted to share some quick details from the wedding that made it really special.

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It’s Veteran’s Day here in the US so I’ll start with a photo of my mom.  I am wearing the pearl necklace she gave me for my 30th birthday. The headband is an eBay find. My earrings match my ring and were a gift from our officiant and my dear dear friend. My ring is a vintage piece that he picked out with the help of my friend Liz. I had nothing to do with it other than saying, ‘I don’t want a diamond’.

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These shoes were the devil.  Pretty, right? Evil. I wore them about five minutes (no, seriously. Five minutes) before I switched to a more comfortable pair. Who knew flats could make your feet burn like fire? Thank you Zappos for taking them back!

We chose to have an interfaith wedding since neither of us are converting and our religions are mutually important to both of us. My father walked me down the aisle instead of both my parents. We recited both Christian vows and Jewish vows and had readings from both the new and old testament. There were prayers in English and Hebrew. And, our Jewish officiant, who is an internet ordained minister, spoke about the role of marriage and the church. We also had a chuppa, Jordan wore a talit, broke glass, we signed a ketubbah (designed by an artist friend of Jordan’s) and the men in his family wore kippahs. I love that our service reflected both our religions and cultures. I’m Caribbean and he’s a nice German Jewish boy :-)

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Jordan wore his father’s prayer shawl. We talked about using his late grandfather’s, but it was already framed. And I got him the Baltimore Raven’s yarmulke as a gift. The buttonaires are from Etsy.

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As are these menus and program fans. Both are from Etsy.

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The fans were a total wash. It wasn’t warm, it was super breezy. No one needed a program. But, they look really good in photos.

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Kind of the same for our invitations. By the time I mailed these, everyone coming already knew about the wedding. But, I wanted an invitation for framing. And, again, they look good in photos. You’d be horrified to know how much 10 nice invitations cost. I can’t fathom sending 100 of these!

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We hired a steel drummer who played Caribbean music for the ceremony as a nod to my West Indian roots. TOTALLY WORTH IT.  Before we walked down the aisle, my dad was singing to me and we were dancing to the calypso. It was g-r-e-a-t.

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My flowers were just ok. I wanted to upgrade from the included package, but couldn’t stomach $210 for flowers. Isn’t that bananas?? I added pins to personalize them.

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The US flag for my parents who are immigrants. The Baltimore city flag because that’s where we met. And, my sorority pin since none of my sorors could be there that day.

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Here are the plaques Liz made in action.

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And, here is the ‘Besheret’ banner she made too. Besheret is a running joke between he and I. It’s the name of the blessings column in the Baltimore Jewish Times. It was my faux dream to get featured in Besheret when I worked for a Jewish organization. Don’t think I won’t still submit it now!

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Our cake topper is really fun. Also from Etsy. Liz sent me the link while in China and I just plugged in the information to customize. She even added the headband!  The cake was a gift from my friend Julia. I was so exhausted by the fast planning that I emailed her from China. I was hysterical. I just wanted a cake and everything was crazy expensive (like $200+ for a GROCERY STORE CAKE) and they were asking me questions that I just didn’t care about (colors, flavor, fondant, etc.) She swooped in, ordered the cake and had it ready for us day of. Truly, a lifesaver.

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This figurines were the cake topper for Jordan’s German great-grandparent’s wedding. His grandmother brought it down from Maryland for us. Sadly, we won’t be eating cake for our one-year anniversary. We managed to leave it all in the freezer of the hotel :-( Sigh.

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I also brought these vintage cameras to Florida from home. You know what? I bought these in Australia with my mom! Heh. Again, more props to work with.

I also hired someone to do my makeup in Florida. Obviously, since I have never looked so good in my life, it was worth it. I found her through wedding vendor reviews. And, Google found us our amazing photographer.

So, that’s it. I promise. Last wedding post :-)

Burda Magazine 12-2010 No. 102: Alexis Carrington Dress

8 Nov 2e2fc03f-64e5-4e10-8f22-188f961b56b8_zpsdbdc8736

There are several patterns from Burda I’ve had my eye on for years and years.  This wrap dress with the drapey sleeves is one such. I sewed it way back in August to wear on my dativersary. But, it seemed too late fall for what ended up being a warm summer night. Plus, I thought it was more mid 80s corporate takeover than va va voom.

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I meant to wear it and take some photos before two months passed. But, wonderful and terrible things happened at the same time and now I’m just getting around to actually wearing it and taking pictures!

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I was drawn to the drapey sleeves and the wrap style (totally flattering on me) and the relatively straight skirt.

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For this dress, I went in to the Carol Collection and chose these blue with purple maple leaf motif. Do you like that my dress has maple leaves and there are maple leaves on the ground? Do you? Yes? The fabric is a polyester print with a thick silky hand (confirmed by my burn test).

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It’s totally Alexis Carrington from Dallas, no? I also considered naming it the Oh, Canada Dress by virtue of the maple leaves.  I loves it!

I didn’t change too much here. I made a FBA (and of course forgot to make the same adjustment to the facing). Yep. I  sewed the facing too. I don’t know why I’m not hating facings like I used to. On this, I love the smooth and firmness of the wrap. I reinforced the neckline, armholes and waist for support.

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The hems on the sleeves and skirt are finished on my blind hemmer

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I don’t have terribly much to say other than I really love this dress. You’ll never find something like this in the store. And, it’s somehow ‘dressier’ than my other work dresses.

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I don’t think my sleeves look anything like the draft nor the model’s. Mine don’t seem quite drapey enough.

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And, the obligatory photo of the back

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Nice pattern. Will def be making it again in the future. Especially since it has sleeves!

Office Valet

4 Nov

Youse Guuuuuyyyyyssss!!!!

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This is an Office Valet. I’ve wanted one for the last year. When I was dropping Trena’s serger off at ‘THE’ repair shop, they had this one on sale. For $25. And, they delivered it to my house.

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Best of all? It’s a Gingher branded product. I didn’t even know they were based in Pennsylvania. Scranton. Heh. Can you hear Scranton without thinking about the US version of The Office? I assume Gingher gave them out to companies who sold their product.

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I’ll use it for guests since my hall closet is stuffed with all my coats (and some new additions from my new housemate)

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I spotted one of these at a city government building back in April and immediately started searching for them on line. They were popping up online. For $225. I tried to get the agency to surplus it to me. They were not having it. So, big old SCORE for ME!

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Things are moving along here at Casa Rosensamuelfeld. Still looks like a hoarder house as we merge two households.  There is way more laundry now and the food bill has doubled… In (my) big news, I decided not to change my name. I tried out a second last name for three weeks and it just seemed strange to me. Maybe because I married older. Maybe because it was the name I was born with and it felt so odd to be referred to by a different name. The Husband was like, ‘it’s your name. Do you want you want. I wouldn’t want to change my name.’ I’m attached to my name not just because it’s mine. But, also because it’s a very British name. And, Jamaica (my father’s home country) was a UK territory.  My mom’s maiden name is a very Scottish name. Which speaks to Grenada being settled by the Scots. My last name to me speaks to our history as Caribbean people. So, I kept it.  Trust, I wont’ be upset by being referred to as Mrs. R. I think it’s cute. But, legally, professionally and mostly socially, I’m keeping my name. Plus, I have years and years to change my mind again :-)

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November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

1 Nov

Pancreatic Cancer is one of the most challenging diseases physicians face today because it responds poorly to treatment and quickly spreads to surrounding organs. This is why November is so important: to raise awareness around early detection and prevention as well as highlight current research to help find a cure for pancreatic cancer. from here