Spoiler Alert- SewHere Box Bonus

The delightful mom and daughter duo, Zede and Mallory, of SewHere have shipped their 3rd edition of their quarterly sewing notions box.  The "Knit Ninja" SewHere Box is chock full of fabric, thread, and incredibly useful notions for working with stretchy material. The ladies often include several surprises or box bonuses in these. Upon opening my box, I was incredibly surprised, well, honored really, by a special item and this post is about what I did with it.

If you ordered one of the Knit Ninja SewHere boxes, haven't received it yet, and want to save the surprise for your own unboxing, by all means DON'T READ OR SCROLL ANY FURTHER. Otherwise, carry on...

Well, a little back story before I get to the meat of this (and to give you another chance to look away). Mallory has an incredible Facebook group for the fans of their sewing podcasts, Self Sewn Wardrobe (SSW) and Sewing Out Loud. What makes the group incredible is the diversity of the members and the good-natured, yet snarky and witty tone. The group members participate in challenges set up by Mallory, congratulate one another on their sewing successes as well as commensurate in their defeats. Sometimes things derail, but it's always thought provoking and downright fun.

The group has somewhat recently started a member-driven recurring event, the SSW Happy Hour. Once a week, typically on Friday or Saturday evening, a member hosts a thread welcoming everyone to share a drink (of any variety, alcoholic or not) and something they are working on. Sometimes, the host picks a theme or suggests beverage options. Bottom line- it's a unique sewcialist opportunity and it's fun. I'm telling you about SSW Happy Hour, because you'll likely want to join the group to drink with us (if you aren't already a member!) and because this graphic I cobbled together has become the image signaling the event.

Ok, so maybe you noticed the syringe. I'll explain. I'll explain!

Around the time this event was adopted, Mallory announced she was pregnant. Part of her prenatal care included progesterone shots to prevent premature labor. So while some of us were imbibing, she was doing 'shots' of another variety.

Now back to the box bonus. LAST CHANCE TO LOOK AWAY.

LOOK! There's my masterpiece!

LOOK! There's my masterpiece!

At the time I'm writing this post, the full details for this custom printed fabric that looks to be for the purpose of making pattern weights have yet to be disclosed. While pattern weights would be great I just couldn't resist this other idea I had.

COASTERS! Simple 3 layer coasters for happy hour or anytime! Three different construction variations follow.

I started with the demerit one. Zede loves handing out demerits for whatever she chooses, typically for using sewing methods that depart from The Zede Way (and I've earned my fair share of demerits). Well, I had special plans for this coaster given how I know Zede feels about pinking sheers.

I just layered up the backing, batting, and front in the finished order and sewed all the way around, then TOOK MY PINKING SHEERS TO THE EDGE. Eat your heart out, Zede.

This is hilarious on so many levels.

Hang on. I'm still giggling.

 

Ok. I'm done. On to the next coaster-

I wanted to try another technique here. It's the "buttonhole trick" Mallory and Zede talk about for making it easier to achieve interesting shaped pockets. (Listen here. Skip to 25:45). So while this isn't a pocket, it was an opportunity to try this method.

I added a buttonhole to the back fabric (analogous to the pocket lining) before assembling.

I picked this mod floral and tried to disguise the buttonhole in a stem, using embroidery thread because that's another tip I learned from the wise Zede.

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I opened the buttonhole with this stupendous chisel. (This is one of those game-changer tools. You can't live without one.) The materials were layered up (right sides together this time) before I stitched completely around. (I went with another circle, but maybe I'll get more creative with the next one.) Again, I didn't need to leave an opening for turning because the turning is done through the buttonhole. Clever, eh? 

Oops. A little smudgey from pressing. I ought to have used a pressing cloth, me thinks.

Oops. A little smudgey from pressing. I ought to have used a pressing cloth, me thinks.

Last one. I did this one just like the first, only I finished the edge with a decorative bias trim instead of pinking. Just followed my marking all the way around, CUTTING AFTER SEWING. This is another Zede Way suggestion. Instead of cutting the circle shape out of all my fabric layers, I sewed them first and then trimmed off the excess. 

There you have my coasters, 3 ways. Just add #sewingbeer! 

Hope to see you at the next SSW Happy Hour! Cheers!

 

 

Yes, they ended up different sizes. No, I don't care.

Well, not enough to do anything about it. ;)

 

Drafting Lesson: EasyT

Having sewn for a couple years now, I'm pretty comfortable with making just about anything, so long as I've got a pattern. It's especially easy (usually) with an indie sewing pattern. They often have diagrams or pictures for every little step of the assembly process, as well as a social media forum where you can ask questions. But since fun is my MO, I thought I'd give drafting a try. I'm probably not going to be drafting many patterns, but I wanted to gain some insight into the process and learn something.

If you don't know already, I'm a fan of the SewHere gals. Mallory and Zede have 2 podcasts, The Self Sewn Wardrobe and Sewing Out Loud. They are as knowledgeable and experienced as they are fun and snarky. At the time I'm writing this, their course for drafting your own simple tee for wovens, or EasyT, has been out for a few months and they have a leggings course in production.

You can sign up for the video-based course on the SewHere website, OR! (through some magical friendship that I don't know the backstory of) you can get the course through LA Finch Fabrics with several yards (5, I think) of fabric. It so happens I love Josie and the LA Finch crew too, so of course, I went with the route that resulted in more fabric in my possession.  

Now, there's likely plenty of other ways to learn about drafting a shirt. Books. I imagine those things with paper pages are still being printed and sold, or even loaned out from places called libraries for free. You read them. So I hear. Craftsy. They have no less than 8 gazillion courses you can purchase. Surely they have some on drafting. But, like I said, I love Mallory and Zede. It really feels like they personally care for all the stitchers they interact with. I'm buying whatever they are selling. Ice in Alaska. Take my money.

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The course includes a printable worksheet for recording body measurements and calculating drafting points. Mallory runs through the best way to get accurate body measurements using a few simple tools.

And then comes the drafting. She makes it look so easy and straightforward. The EasyT is living up to its name. 

My trouble came when I ran out of length on my tracing paper, which really was parchment paper. Because it's what I had on hand. It wasn't ideal, but I made it work. Also, I had grabbed my small cutting mat from my sewing space and brought it down to the dining table so I could draft while the kids were up to their usual shenanigans. The small mat is only 24" long, so with a high shoulder point to hip length of 27", I ran off the end of my grid. Plan ahead!

Tracing with Ikea craft paper. Cuz kids.

Tracing with Ikea craft paper. Cuz kids.

The other aspect that wasn't clear to me was the ease. There's 2" of ease added to the calculations made on the worksheet for the bust and hip and it assumes that one's waist is smaller than both of those measurements. It's possible, if you're apple shaped that you wouldn't fit this model well.

So here's my first muslin. 

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I hope you enjoy these poorly lit fit (unhemmed) pics with goofy selfie faces. I found the fabric was dragging across my bust and there was a bit much fabric under the arm from the dolman sleeve. I double checked all my measurements. And I was off by 2 inches for the distance to my bust. That's right. My bust was 2 inches lower than yesterday. I'm doomed for these suckers to be hanging between my knees in no time at all. But in all seriousness/fairness, I wear really cozy nursing-friendly bras right now. I said cozy. Not supportive. 

Re-draft in blue.

Re-draft in blue.

So I moved a few points and re-drafted the side seam and sleeve line/underarm curve. And upon Mallory's suggestion, I adjusted the sleeve/underarm curve a bit more. There's some written material to accompany the course. I, being special, didn't find it until after I was done. If you're gonna get the course too, make sure you find the course outline. There's some extra info and diagrams in there.

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Voila! All finished and hemmed and now I have a sweet little pattern I drafted that I can play with and truly call me-made.

And here's the best blurry shot I was able to get with my tripod and the timer. Because lord only knows where my remote has run off to.

What's in the box?

Having received the shipping confirmation on a Wednesday, I decided a special unboxing of my Dressmaker's Delight SewHere Box was in order when it arrives. It's special because I waited 3 months for this box of sewing goodies. (The scissors are to blame for the hold up. I'll get to that later.)

First, you might be wondering, what's a SewHere box? It's a bundle of sewing stuffs packaged and sold by the SewHere.com. This box was the second edition and like the previous SewHere Box, some of the items are a surprise until received.

Second, maybe you're wondering who's behind SewHere? Only the coolest sewlebrities ever, Mallory Donohue and her mum, Zede. Together with their staff, they are pretty much the best thing in the internet sewing world. Yup. Super witty, crazy knowledgeable and experienced. Mallory's Self Sewn Wardrobe FB group is a tremendous amount of fun. Join. You won't regret it. But don't join if you're a dick. It's one of the last amazing spaces left on the interwebs.

But you're not a dick. You're an awesome person with a lust for sewing. JOIN.


Now it's Thursday. I'm stalking my box, obsessively checking the tracking. My box is reported to have passed through Indianapolis, IN and is scheduled to arrive Saturday.


Friday morning, the first surprise arrives! I get an email that my box is actually out for delivery a day earlier than originally scheduled. Waaaat!

It's here!!!

It's here!!!

Spoiler! It's not Gywneth's head.

Zede's FAVORITE SCISSORS. These are the buggers that held up the box a wee bit (like 2 months). Mallory had to bust some balls for these. It REQUIRED a stern email. But they were worth the wait. They feel glorious in the hand. And that sweet little charm. A lovely little surprise touch.

A personalized note came with every box. Mallory and Zede hand-wrote them all. It's those personal touches that are the icing on the cake. (Though, honestly, I'm slightly disappointed my note was so G rated. I was promised a note with explicit content. We get a little saucy in the group sometimes. Did you join yet? It's fun!) 

So the box was chock full of amazing stuff. Things I can't wait to try and things that I think will take me and the things I sew up a notch. THANKS, SewHere!


Update and funny story-

There's a few other exclusives included with the box and I completely missed the secret site. Mallory and Zede have a fabulous unboxing video and some bonus downloads as well, BUT YOU WOULDN'T KNOW IT IF YOU DON'T TURN OVER THE CARD WITH THE DISCOUNT CODE.

Also, it's come to my attention that on mobile you can't see the captions for all the items in my post (that I painstakingly wrote in between catering to my children's every need this morning). So this post is a bit of a bust. Wah. Time for a #bloggingbeer.


Now that I've actually had a chance to use some of the goodies in my SewHere Box, I feel the need to gush a bit about some of my favorite things.

It goes without saying that the scissors are incredible. I never want to cut with anything else ever.

The Snap n Slide tape measure is really handy. I mean REALLY HANDY. It makes getting your own body measurements so much easier. One end snaps onto the glide, which keeps the measurement marked, even upon release. LOVE THIS THING. Don't let your kids get a hold of it. They will love it too. And you'll never see it again.

The thread ended up being perfect for the next project I sewed. HOW DID THE SEWHERE GODDESSES KNOW?

The organdy feels superb. I've yet to use it in a sewing project, but I can tell it will work well, and I'm grateful to have a large sample to try. This SewHere Box feels like a special gift from sewing experts that really care about sewists and helping them succeed. 


More goodies have been put to use!

I opened the up the flexible curve ruler. A whopping 36" of bendy awesomeness that holds its shape. Cool beans.

Here's that mysterious Hugo's stuff in action. It's a clear plastic band that sticks to itself and can be used and reused for bundling fabric or, as I've done above, keeping your thread tidily on their spools.