Woo hoo! You really like me!

Sorry, I couldn’t resist quoting Sally Field’s famously odd and endearing reaction to winning her second Oscar. It’s really lovely to have someone let me know they appreciate my struggling little blog.

Thanks to Karen of Blinky Sews for the Liesbter Blog award! I really appreciate it! Like Karen, I was given this award once before, and didn’t have the wherewithal to accept it properly at the time (sewing a wedding dress and planning a wedding are quite a thing!). So thanks also to Ashley of Craft Sanctuary for recognizing me too.

The Liebster award, as I understand it, is meant to convey enjoyment and to help us all discover more small blogs like mine, with fewer than x (200? 500?) followers. To be frank, I have no idea how to determine how many followers I have, because WordPress followers have to get my posts in their email (something I would never do, as I get enough clutter in my email already), Bloglovin is just not a platform that I enjoy, and I mainly use an RSS feed, which reports how many people are following a blog through that reader specifically. So I shall do my best in finding other small blogs that meet the criteria.

Here are my 5 favorite small/new blogs:

CSews: Chuleenan makes dresses with great care, hats I could never in a million years wear, which look wonderful on her, and runs the Bay Area Sewists’ Meetup! I’m really looking forward to finally meeting her at our June meetup, if my sister’s baby comes at a complementary time!

Custom Style: Brooke may very well have over 500 followers on all aggregators, but she’s only got 100+ on Feedly, and I think you should know about her if you don’t already. She is a costumer by trade and I have learned so much from her already. We’ve been twitter and Instagram friends for a few months, and this wonderful gal actually put together a 12-IG tutorial on how she marks and sews darts when I asked, because her darts were so beautiful. She has a ton to share with the sewing sphere, and I feel lucky to ‘know’ her!

Sally Bee Makes: Sally is a young woman with a sewing talent and an adorable daughter named Faith, for whom she also sews. I like Sally’s enthusiasm for life, careful sewing, and really, Faith is freakin’ adorable. I’m so grateful that Sally sews for her and quotes her to the twittersphere.

Pelly Melly Patterns: Jane is not only a charmer, but she has taken pattern cutting courses, sewn for years, and last year she decided to grace us all with her knowledge. She does a crack job of showing how to do FBAs (full bust adjustments), beyond the basics (like sometimes you’ll want to add a dart, make sure not to add length to a piece until after you’ve done the FBA, etc.) and her clothes are just lovely, including knitted projects. Do go check her out!

The Finished Garment: Shannon sews for her very lucky kids, makes great use of quilting cottons (how about those Koi pants??), and has assembled some wonderful lists of Canadian resources, including indie pattern designers—how appropriate for Sewing Indie Month? He photography is great, and I have to admit, looking at these blogs is giving me serious blog and camera envy!

Now, Karen kindly supplied me with questions to answer for you, plus I am supposed to add some “random facts.” here goes!

1. Why did you start a sewing blog? –I started sewing in earnest three years ago and learned so much from the blogs out there that I wanted to participate. Turns out I haven’t yet found my stride as a blogger, but I’m getting SO much fun and connection from twitter and IG these days that it’s helping me warm up my blogging muscles.

2. Do you have a favorite sewing tip? –This week it’s got to be GET A NEW SEAM RIPPER! I can’t believe how much better my experience is after replacing my . . . 7 year old one? The new ripper cuts through threads like they are made of morning dew, or something more logical that’s also no likely to be hard to cut through.

3. What is your favorite sewing notion? –Hmmm, not sure. Thread was the first thing that came to mind, since I have a spool rack now and it looks so pretty on my sewing center shelf. I’ll go with that, and not over think it.

4. What is your dream sewing machine(s) if money was no object? –I should some day go try one of the nutty Berninas at the dealer where I have bought my sensible Babylocks. Maybe I’d love to have one of them. And to be honest, I use my dream sewing machine all the time—this January I splurged on the Babylock Evolution and I LOVE THAT THING. I have tried to figure out how to make out with it, but it’s got too many pointy bits. And I’m a married woman. But if it were possible and appropriate, I would. 😉

5. What super power would you like to have? –I’m a flying girl. Although I notice that this isn’t the usual “Flying vs. Invisibility” question so I will think a little bigger and say teleportation/tessering. If I could travel instantaneously I could live where I want, work where I do, hang out with friends around the world, and yes, life would be awesome!

6. What is your dream job? –I think I have it. I work as a product manager for an enterprise (read: big businesses use it) software company, and I love that I get to combine organizational, communication and negotiation skills in many tasks every day. It’s creative, it doesn’t get boring, and my only real complaint is that I have so many meetings that it’s hard to find time to make good on all my “action items!”

7. Where would you like to visit? (Where are you from?) –I’m ready to go back and visit the UK for real. I got robbed in London when I was 19 (not in person, thank goodness; my backpack was stolen from the hostel while I was out for the day), and I am eager to go back and tramp all over with my smart husband, who tells me amazing things whenever we go to museums or historical sites (He reads a LOT.). I’m from Los Angeles, live south of San Francisco, and I’ve lived in New York City, Berlin and Vienna too.

8. Do you have a favorite pattern or item to sew? –I sew a lot of knits. I am just about full up on t-shirts now, but not quite done making what I call “pajama dresses” (more on this later in the week). I have really gotten my skills in order for the knit garment, and I like that. It’s about time to turn my focus to excellent woven garments, I think! I hope the next favorite will be skirts—I could use some!

9. What do you like to do when you are not sewing? –Running! We’re training for a half marathon this year. And cooking, reading sewing blogs, and . . . I’ll admit it, we watch a fair amount of TV. Excellent TV, however, served fresh off the DVD or Netflix, sand commercials.

10. What is your favorite food? I hope that in my lifetime I can have a vat-grown beef hamburger, because I really miss cheeseburgers! I am really glad to be a vegetarian for many reasons (pretty, sweet cows!) but I sure did love a good cheeseburger in my meat eating days. Now I think it’s probably really fine pizza, like they have at Pauline’s in San Francisco.

Whew! You’d think I like writing and communicating, or something.

Random facts:

  • I am a dual German and American citizen.
  • I owned my first house before I was 25. It was in Staten Island and treated me very well.
  • I married very young, at 22. I thank my stars that I got out of that one at 30.
  • I met the love of my life on OK Cupid. Don’t underestimate the power of a great algorithm, folks!
  • I am a very slow sewer! I can’t even begin to believe the speed of some of the ladies and gents out in our blogosphere!

And with that, I am almost done. Chuleenan, Brooke, Sally, Jane and Shannon, if you choose to play along with this favorites game (Liebster means “favorite” in German), please nominate 5-11 little blogs like ours, tell us 5 things about yourself, and answer the following 10 questions, so we can learn more about you (with thanks to Karen for all the questions I’m cribbing here):

1. Why did you start a sewing blog?
2. What’s your proudest sewing achievement?
3. What crazy-expensive fabric would you sew with if money were no object?
4. What sewing task would you happily never do again, if fairies would do it for you?
5. What super power would you like to have?
6. What is your dream job?
7. Where are you from?
8. Do you have a favorite pattern or item to sew?
9. What do you like to do when you are not sewing?
10. Who taught you to sew?

Thanks again, so very much, Karen! This has been a blast!

Sew Grateful Catch-Up and Giveaway Winner

What a fun, busy, BUSY week I had last week! I work very closely every day with a supervisor who is based in the Washington DC area (as well as software engineers who are based in Shanghai and Bangalore), and my “boss” (he is my boss, but we work very collaboratively) was in town last week. It always makes for a very busy week.

This means that I only got ONE Sew Grateful post up, but hey, at least it was a giveaway! And today I’m happy to announce the two winners:

For Set #1, without covers, our random number generator chose Maryall, of http://maryall.wordpress.com/.

Three funky, funky patterns!
Three funky, funky patterns!

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 7.24.08 AM

For Set #2, with covers, our random number generator chose Alison of http://heavenlyhandmades.blogspot.co.uk/

Two lovely patterns with plastic covers!
Two lovely patterns with plastic covers!

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 7.24.30 AM

I’ll send you both emails momentarily to get mailing addresses. And I even already have padded envelopes! There’s hope that I may send the packages in March. 😉 Seriously, though, why does the post office have to be so dang inconvenient for working people??

I did actually plan two other Sew Grateful posts, but I’m having serious blog photo backups. I have a free pattern project post–the fabulous Deer & Doe Plantain pattern has come off my serger not one, not two, but THREE times this past month.

Who’s Got the Funk? SewTigerSew’s Sew Grateful Giveaway

Three funky, funky patterns!
Three funky, funky patterns!
Two lovely patterns with plastic covers!
Two lovely patterns with plastic covers!

Today in honor of Sew Grateful Week I’d like to offer two lots of vintage patterns, one with plastic covers and one without. (I had no idea how to split these up, so covers it was!) Click each picture for a larger, more detailed view.

These came to me through a super-fun swap in 2011 at Mena’s (of Sew Weekly and TypePad fame) place, and I have made up two and found both to be awkward for me. They just didn’t fit the way I’m used to things fitting, and I had to realize that I’m just used to modern ease, etc. I think it’s time they moved on to new homes.

To enter, leave a comment telling me which lot you’d like to win and which pattern you think you might actually make up. I’ll be happy to ship worldwide, so please enter from anywhere! I’ll use a random number thingie, assuming more than two people leave comments. 😉

Update: I’m keeping this giveaway open through Friday, February 28th, so please feel free to enter throughout the week!

Sew Grateful Week

Well, I’ve mainly missed Sew Grateful Week, but today still counts, so I’m grateful for that! It’s been a busy week with work and keeping up with our fitness and good eating . . . and most importantly, wedding planning! That’s been really fun and exciting too, but it takes up the same kind of time and energy as my sewing usually does.

However, I’m here now, and boy am I really very grateful! Doing laundry yesterday, I realized how many of my clothes, and my favorite items, are now Tiger-made. Some are obviously not perfected–I have to do a swayback adjustment on my Renfrew pattern next time I make it up, for example–but in the main they fit so much better than RTW. And this is only getting better as I learn more!

A little over 18 months ago, I was working for a non-profit organization and my earnings were enough, but not all that ample. Add to that a tough summer without my partner, during which I put on some weight, and I found I needed some new clothes on a budget. Well, with my amateurish sewing skills, a discount fabric store and the internet, I managed to get myself clothed in pieces I enjoy and which still fit me now that I’ve lost the weight. (I was very careful to choose patterns that would do that–empire waists, knits, etc.)

More importantly, however, I found the sewing blogosphere, where I learn new things every day, celebrate people’s successes, and get to know people all over the world with whom I share values and interests. One of my desires this year is to comment on more posts so that the people I feel familiar with have a chance to get familiar with me!

There are some really great values represented in our crowd: love for ourselves and our bodies as they are, belief in our abilities, creative adventure, ethical interaction with people and resources, and lots of both practicality and fancy. We have created amazing resources for each other, from Gertie‘s great book full of tailoring and drafting tips, to The Slapdash Sewist‘s very thorough and detailed pattern reviews, to StephC‘s wonderful patterns, tutorials and source roundups, and of course Debi‘s wonderful social enterprise, Weaving Destination. Dozens more offer each other free patterns, hack ideas, refashioning tips and so much more! We’re a very giving group.

I shortened the midriff band a bit all around, and this eliminated any swayback issues.
I shortened the midriff band a bit all around, and this eliminated any swayback issues.
Tira Full
I went for a nice relaxed fit, and will enjoy this dress in the summer for sure!

Due to time constraints, I’m going to combine reflection and project here in one post. I’ve also had the luck to make up one of StephC’s Tiramisu dresses in a fabric that she sent to me, all the way from Australia! And today I’ve finally hemmed it, so here it is, my very own Circus Tiramisu! I know I flog my love of Steph and her patterns and blog rather often (or is that just in my own fangirl heart?), but really, she’s amazing! This dress went together beautifully, and the pattern and sewalong really held my hand through the fitting process. I just love it!

As I really can say, truthfully, I love all of you in your own special ways. It take a brave person to show off her hobby to the world, a generous person to share the things he’s learned over time, and fun, funky, friendly people to grow together into something like a community from our far-flung sewing spaces and laptops. I am so grateful to you all, and to this hobby, and to myself, for sticking it out and continuing to learn and pursuing something so enjoyable and productive!

Tira No Gape
See! I fought hard, and now it doesn’t gape!

A Sweet Swap!

Goodness, but it’s hard to find time to blog in this busy resolution-full month of January. What with my resolve to work out 6 days a week and to make healthy meals for myself, plus going to work and doing laundry and cleaning house, and all the usual, it’s a busy month!

The good news is that I’m getting used to the early mornings again, which I almost always drop for a time in the month of December due to winter blues and just plain indignation that it’s still dark when I come back from the gym. The mediocre news is that either the shift in weather or taking on a little too much has given me a headache that lasted from last night through to the morning–no fun, but on the other hand, I’m going to make sure it doesn’t descend into the flu that’s going around by taking today mostly off of work, and taking it easy.

Which frees up time for some blogging! Hooray!

So, I planned this post two weeks ago, and it’s not a big one, but it’s lovely–I participated in my first swap, Vickikate‘s Sew Very Merry Christmas Swap. We each got to let our hostess know what we wanted to make, and she matched us up with fellow bloggers to send each other fabric for the make! It was a combination of many of my favorite things: planning a project, searching for just the right fabric, and getting something lovely in the mail.

Susie Homemaker, M.D. and I were matched up, and it was so fun exchanging information on what we like to sew, wear, and shop for. My only regret about the swap is that, as the holidays approached and preparation for our own trip to see family heated up, I became concerned that I wouldn’t make it to the post office in time. That’s one thing about living in the city–even though I have a car, there are certain chores that are just much harder than when I lived in a more suburban place. The post office is definitely one of these.

So, after looking at fabrics at Joann (totally uninspiring) and Britex (always a pleasure) I opted to have Britex send the order to “Susie,” rather than risk my perfectionism or busy schedule derailing the trip to the post office. I chose a wonderful pale grey cotton print for a blouse, and had them send it off for me!

“Susie” did herself proud, shopping her own stash, and I got this wonderful little bundle for a Sewaholic Alma blouse!

SwapThe great thing about “Susie” eventually deciding on something from her stash is that the fabric is pre-washed for me. As a city dweller with no laundry in our apartment building, it’s a little hard to force myself to take fabrics to the laundromat for prewashing before starting a project. I ~do~ know how important it is to prewash, but it’s great not to have to. Also, matching thread! How awesome is that? I wish I’d thought to send some thread off in my order. Sigh.

Here’s a closeup of the contrast printed fabric.Close up swap

I think I’ll use it for the ties on the long-sleeved Alma, but am also considering adding an area of contrast fabric to the body of the blouse, as I did with the Night Forest Shirt:

Night Forest Blouse and Skirt
Formal night on our cruise

What fun altogether! I look forward to the next swap!