THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

November 30, 2008

The Dish

Filed under: Georgene,Inspirations,Musings,sewing — georgene @ 12:00 am

It’s a dilemma we have all faced: how to carry the hot dishes to an event. This Thanksgiving we headed over to my brother’s place, and once again I was creating a makeshift newspaper wrapped package to get my Pyrex dish in one piece, still piping hot, to the table miles away.

I couldn’t find a pattern for the first one I saw several years ago: a quilted insulated casserole carrier with handles. There are some clever versions to make. Now I can carry that pie in style. It would make a great gift, too. You can dream up your own versions easily.


I have a few people on my list that would appreciate it. The other DIY gift I am working on this year is a simple chef’s apron. I have lots of people I know who could use one. I don’t know about you, but for me this is the year of the homemade gift.

Here’s instructions for a square cover with handles that uses different inserts to keep your dish hot or cold.

Look at the great quilter’s version with the wooden spoons for handles.

Here are the instructions for round dishes with the drawstring hole in the top for the pan lid to poke through.

I love this one with the rings to pull the handle thru. That makes it very adaptable to for many different sizes and shapes of dish.

A bread blanket is useful too.

Besides using up all your bits and scraps from the stash, you may need to invest in Insul-Bright thermal batting, or Thermaflec, that reflective silver coated fabric. (It comes in plain and quilted.) I am thinking of using this to make a tea cosy, like Rusty Bobbin. It’s great for hot pads and oven mitts too.

Don’t forget about hot rice packs, too, for a great homemade gift idea. (I love the faux hot water bottle idea.)

Keep it warm this winter, and enjoy.drawstring-1

November 25, 2008

A Public Service Video – How To Iron A Shirt

Filed under: Tutorials,Uncategorized — phyllisc @ 12:34 pm

Since the holidays are upon us, this video may come in handy if you can’t get to the cleaners.  The only thing I do differently is the collar and sleeves are done first to keep wrinkling down as much as possible on the body of the shirt.  I also like to use a silk organza press cloth, a hot iron and lots of steam and spray starch.

November 11, 2008

Learning from the Past

Filed under: Designer,Fashion,Inspirations,Uncategorized — phyllisc @ 7:48 am

mo1The fashion scrutiny of Michelle Obama has begun, and I hope she stays as on-track as she did yesterday during the Obama’s meeting at the White House.  Michelle’s dress appears to be based on the same sloper as the blue Maria Pinto design she wore to the convention.  This version has a different neckline, bodice (set in sleeves instead of dolman) and sleeve length, and also is not as skin-tight as the first version.  I also detect a set of discreet shoulder pads, which balance out her wide hips.  The raised wiast looks good on her because she is short-waisted for her height; if you compare her waist length to that of Laura Bush they are actually quite close, and Laura Bush is much shorter.  The hem length is perfect and I love that she did not go with black pumps, which of course is the cliche way out.  This dress also appears to be a knit, which means no wrinkles; a great choice since the Obama’s probably came straight from Regan National to the White House (notice that the President elect has some, ahem, crotch wrinkles in his trousers from the flight.)  I think Laura Bush’s choice of color may have been intentional; perhaps she didn’t want to steal any thunder from the Obama’s.  But she looks really matronly in that design unfortunately, and the poor lady sorely needs a better fitting bra.

The Obama’s are also wearing red, white and blue: a subtle and perfect color metaphor.  Michelle has clearly taken a page from the Jackie Kennedy/Nancy Regan book of White House fashion: figure out what works for you, and stick with it!

November 8, 2008

Industrial Buttonholer

Filed under: Gigi,Tools — Gigi @ 11:40 am

Well, here it is. It’s a beastly-looking thing, isn’t it? I’m not sure how much I’ll use it but I’m anxious to try it out and see how it works. Thank goodness the instruction booklet is a bit better than the typical translated-from-Japanese manuals that often leave me scratching my head.

Since some of you asked, this is intended for use on an industrial straight-stitch machine but will also work on a commercial zigzag (like my Singer 20U-33) set for straight stitch. This is basically just the industrial version of the old Singer/Greist buttonholers made for straight-stitch machines – the ones that came in the old dark green (for vertical needle) or maroon (for slant needle) plastic boxes. The attachment moves the fabric back and forth but width and length has to be set manually since there are no templates.



November 4, 2008

Cool tools!

Filed under: Gigi,Machines,Tools,Vintage Sewing — Gigi @ 9:03 pm

I was so bummed out when I saw the super-fantastic Bernina invisible zipper foot #35 wasn’t made in a version to fit my Bernina 1530. 😦 I have a really nice, all-metal invisible zipper foot for my industrial machine and wanted something similar. Up until now, I have been using (and been perfectly satisfied with) the 3-groove pintuck foot to install invisible zips. Still, I was complaining to my friend Greg about how unfair it was that Bernina doesn’t support the older machines. Then he got that Aha! look on his face and wondered aloud if the only difference between the classic feet and the Artista/Activa feet was the shank. I immediately called my friend Sharon (who works at a Bernina dealership) and asked her to bring me the foot in question. We popped off the shank and replaced it with the shank from an old #0 foot I found laying around the shop and there you go – an invisible zipper foot for my 1530! I just love it when a plan comes together. 🙂


While rummaging through my friend’s shop lately I’ve found some really, really interesting things. Many, many buttonholers, for one. To be honest, I’ve never had any interest in buttonholers because my machine makes really nice ones. Then, I started playing around with them. Now I own three! This first one is a low-shank buttonholer for use on a straight stitch machine. It actually moves the fabric back and forth – so cool! And check out the awesome buttonholes I made on a scrap of rayon jersey! And, yes, you can adjust the distance between the beads.


I stitched the buttonhole on the left once and the one on the right twice. You can stitch around up to three times.


Then Greg thought I might prefer the Singer Professional (for zigzag machines) instead so I tried it and bought two: one low-shank (vertical needle if you are looking on Ebay) for my Singer Genie, Pfaff or my Bernina (using the low-shank adaptor) and a slant version for the Singer 600-series machine which I’m going to keep set up just to make buttonholes. The Singer Professional even has templates for bound buttonholes and a beautiful eyelet. Seriously, these are so inexpensive everyone should have one even if for nothing more than a good keyhole buttonhole!


Now I can’t wait to try the industrial buttonholer that Greg gave me for my Singer 20U!

Speaking of the Genie, I bought another one recently. I sold mine a few years ago and have always regretted it so I’m happy she’s back. Boy, this one sews like a dream and, at about 11 lbs., is the perfect little machine to toss in the car and much less precious than my Featherweight! This is model 354 (which has one more stitch than the original 353) from 1974.



Lastly, as I may have mentioned, I have been helping my friend sell some old inventory on Ebay. His father opened the shop in 1967 and I don’t think anyone has ever gotten rid of anything so the walls are closing in on us!

We found some really amazing vintage feet and attachments as we were going through boxes, one of which was this wonderful Singer one-thread embroidery attachment (#26538) from the 1920s. Specialty thread, cord or yarn is fed into the attachment and twisted around as the machine stitches the cord down. It’s really incredible. I did a little research and found that the last one sold on Ebay for $169 (!). He said that if I sold two of them for that much he’d gift me the third attachment. Well, he wasn’t joking because, despite my objections, this little gem is now tucked away in my sewing room. I’ll use it to embellish something as soon as I get a chance. How lucky am I?


There you go, I don’t post for months and then you can’t shut me up!

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