Monday, August 31, 2015

Blogiversary Giveaway and SewPhotoHop Roundup

Blogiversary Giveaway

My Tablecloth skirt, made with one of the pleated Paris stripes from Smuggler's Daughter.

On my sixth blogiversary post I promised a giveaway, and here it is!

Susan, of Smuggler's Daughter Fabrics has generously donated a $50 gift certificate to one of my readers!

If you would like a chance to win the gift certificate, please leave a comment below. I will draw a name randomly in a week or so. This contest is open to international folks.

Thanks for your generous gift, Susan! And, if you haven't checked out Smuggler's Daughter yet, please do! (You can also follow Smuggler's Daughter on Facebook.) The story of why Susan used that name for her business is rather interesting...

Good luck!

(Do remember to check back to see if you've won. If I have no way to contact you, and I don't hear from you within a week, I will draw a new name. Thx!)

SewPhotoHop Roundup

I've mentioned that Rachel, of House of Pinheiro, organized a "SewPhotoHop" event on Instagram. As you can see in her announcement photo above, each day featured a theme topic.

Hundreds of people participated. In fact, as of this writing, almost 15,000 photos have been posted using this hashtag.


Here are the photos, with text, that I posted. I really thought about each topic. Though, on some days, I felt a bit rushed getting the image made and posted. While I enjoyed it, I'm glad it's over!

And what did I learn? What did I get out of participating?

Well... a couple things.

First, I quickly learned that Instagram prefers a square image, and it (very annoyingly) crops images that use a portrait orientation. I googled and discovered that Instagram's ideal image size is 1080 by 1080 pixels. OK, I can do that. I started cropping, collaging, and resizing my images, as well as adding text on top, mostly using Preview and Omnigraffle. This helped me improve some of my meager graphic skills!

Secondly, I "met" new sewers on Instagram. IG is a lively community with lots of enthusiastic sewers! If you've found my blog through Instagram... Welcome!!

Without further ado... the pics.

Day 1. Introduction. Hello! I'm Shams and I'm 57... Or 56. I can never remember and who cares?! I've been sewing since a little girl and blogging at Communing with Fabric for almost 6 years. I work as a tech writer but sewing for my uber busty body, in my kinda weird aesthetic, and blogging about it, is my passion! This is going to be an interesting month on IG! #sewphotohop

Day 2. Things I can't live without. In this order: 1) inspiration, and plenty of it, 2) time to create and 3) my beloved tools! (This is just a sampling.) #sewphotohop

Day 3: Colorful. I wear a lot of black but love to throw in a pop of bold color, especially red and lime green. Today I am wearing red tennies and the other pic shows a chartreuse poncho I just bought from Ping Wu, a contestant from season 7 of Project Runway. Long live color!

Day 4: Work/Play. I work as a tech writer for Google, so I am on the computer pretty much all day. The pic on the left was taken on May 2014 as I worked at a walking desk. At home, I am online much of the time, being a blogger, and all. The pic on the right was taken today. In between, I squeeze in as much sewing as possible! My kids, who grew up watching me work at home for most of their lives, pretty much declared they didn't want such a "boring" job. Little do they know! #sewphotohop

Day 5. Silhouette. I often say my shape is that of "a potato on toothpicks." In other words, lots up top and little below. I can wear skinny pants, leggings, and short pencil skirts made from wild prints or white. But I have to avoid wrap tops, waterfall designs and excess fabric or frills up top. I spend a lot of time on FBAs and altering top and jacket patterns but, for me, pants are easy. A recent study in the UK showed that only 8% of women have my shape and I sometimes envy pear shaped women with actual waists who can wear so many fun tops that look atrocious on me. #sewphotohop

Day 6: Pattern that changed your life. I think it would have to be my Tablecloth Skirt. Several years back a friend saw a Lynn Mizono dress on Artful Home's website for $500 and asked me how to copy it. I didn't know. But months later I was looking at it online and a flash went off in my head and I realized it was quite simple. I posted the instructions on my blog and it was a hit. I've made at least five of them myself. About a year later #VoguePatterns came out with a pattern for Lynn's dress, though it is now OOP. But you can use the pattern for the dress or the instructions for my skirt. It's a win-win! #sewphotohop

Day 7: Sew up close. A closeup from my last make. You can see the fringed bias edging (fringed with my thumbnails) and one of the snaps covered with a scrap of lining. #sewphotohop #winsewphotohop @fabricgodmother

Day 8: Sewing playlist. I listen to TV shows or movies, generally things I have seen before or programs that don't require my eyeballs. Here is a sampling. #sewphotohop

Day 9: Stash. <ahem> Enough said. #sewphotohop (Note, I found this cartoon on Facebook without attribution, so I don't know who created it.)

Day 10: Who would I exchange closets with... While I wouldn't exchange closets with anyone, these women own the closets I would most like to plunder! Margy, Dorothy, Ann, Heather, and Sarah have exquisite taste and own wonderful shoes and accessories, including many art pieces, as well as stunning clothes, many of them self made. I am fortunate to have these women in my life! #sewphotohop

Day 11: Bucket List. I don't have a bucket list but I didn't have to think more than 2 seconds for today's topic. One day I hope to travel to Paris with Marcy and Katherine Tilton!!! #sewphotohop

Day 12: Motivation. I am equally motivated by garments I see in real life and by garments I see online. (Pinterest, anyone?) #sewphotohop

Day 13: Sewing space. This is where it all happens, baby! #sewphotohop

Day 14: Style. It's hard to choose but this pic, and outfit, sums up my style fairly succinctly. I am a bit goofy, geeky, funky, and don't mind standing out when I dress to my aesthetic. My clothes need to feature interesting "twists" and/or details; they must be at least somewhat flattering on my uber busty, waistless, and tiny-hipped figure and, above all, they must be comfy. This coat, which I call my "grommet duster", is made from pinstriped denim and features almost 300 grommets and funky bellows pockets. I started with a Butterick dress pattern. You can read more here. I have been twirling since I started blogging 6 years ago, and that represents me, too. :) #sewphotohop #winsewphotohop @stylemakerfabrics

Day 15: Secret corner of shame. Oy. Some sewists collect buttons. Not me. I collect zippers. I adore zippers. Here is a pile of my zippers. Confession 1: These were on the floor. So after taking this pic, at least they went into a bag. Confession 2: They had outgrown the previous bag! Confession 3: THIS IS NOT ALL OF MY ZIPPERS! #sewphotohop

Day 16: Tiny vs Big. Did I mention that I collect zippers? #sewphotohop

Day 17: Proudest achievement. This was a tough one for me. My proudest achievement is raising two great kids. (Raising them is much tougher than giving birth to them!) And I wouldn't call this an "achievement", exactly, but I was mighty tickled when Vogue Pattern Magazine asked to feature me as a "Star Blogger" in their Dec 2013/Jan 2014 issue. #sewphotohop

Day 18: Sewing resolutions. I am not a fan of making resolutions which can quickly lead to a sense of guilt and failure. I have lots of ideas and I choose a project based on what has the most "juice." I like a challenge...even though they often intimidate me. :) #sewphotohop

Day 19: Boldest fabric. It would have to be this beauty, which has been aging in my stash since buying it six years ago. 100% wool, it has the look of Yohji Yamamoto. The large holes are the size of dinner plates. #sewphotohop

Day 20: Learning & Practicing. I am ALWAYS learning and practicing. ALWAYS! It's important to be fearless in taking on challenges. I learned this smocking technique and then used it at the hem of my pants. #sewphotohop

Day 21: Shades of summer. One of the summer-iest things I've made. I used a rayon challis border print from @britexfabrics on a 60-degree angle bias, and I sewed the entire thing by hand to control the bias better. It is one of my favorite things to wear on those rare days I find myself in hot weather. I also included a literal pic of my summer shades! (This pic was taken this summer when Mari of @Seamster patterns came to visit!) @plushaddict #sewphotohop #winsewphotohop @ddisciplines

Day 22: Last thing I made. #sewphotohop

Day 23: Favorite sewing technique. This was almost impossible to narrow down, but I guess I choose mixing! Mixing fabrics, fibers, elements. The coat used a wool from @britexfabrics and I knit the sleeves and collar. The shirt used a fabric panel from @marcytilton as well as a rayon challis and two quilting cottons, one a batik and the other a Japanese fabric. #sewphotohop

Day 14: Worst part of sewing. DITHERING! Dithering is a huge part of my process. I also dislike taping patterns together. #sewphotohop

Day 25: Behind the seams. I finished this linen duster with bias tape. I positioned the Geisha's face so that she's "got my back" (on the back facing). #sewphotohop

Day 26: Labor of love. I guess I'd have to say my wedding dress, though I made an even more involved dress for my SIL a year later. The year was 1989 and I was 29. We had a garden wedding so I didn't want a train. I used glass pearls for the back because they had a better hang. I spent ages beading the lace with more glass pearls. I used boning, horsehair braid, the works. 'Twas a long time - a lifetime - ago! #sewphotohop

Day 27: It's been awhile. Several years back I decided to do at least one needle felting project per year. Its been several years! #sewphotohop

Day 28: Trims & Haberdashery. I don't use trims much except using a selvedge as a decorative edging. I am a fan of zippers, but I've covered that in other posts. So here I've decided to acknowledge some of the other hardware I've used. I love hardware! Toggles and closures of all kinds. Rivets. Grommets. (The denim duster has 2 gross of grommets.) Studs. Weird ass metal thingies-I never did figure out what those were for but I put them in my self drafted cowl. I love it all! #sewphotohop #winsewphotohop @girlcharleeuk

Day 29: Eye level. This is what I'm looking at today. I'm hand sewing a binding. #sewphotohop

Day 30: Favorite era. This one! I'm not enamored with any particular decade and I love that today we can wear whatever we like, pretty much. But, if I could, I'd climb into Issey Miyake's brain and watch the 70s, 80s, and 90s unfold. Miyake, born in Hiroshima, survived the bombing as a child, worked under some of the biggest French designers, and opened his own design house in 1970. He started publishing patterns with Vogue in the early 80s. His designs were completely new and incorporated origami, complex pleating, and technology. His innovations are still being copied today and continue to look avant garde and fresh. He retired from his design house in 1999 to pursue research. He also created 100 black turtleneck shirts for his friend, Steve Jobs. :) I love you, #isseymiyake! #sewphotohop

Day 31: Last thing I bought. Some fun fabrics! The colors in these photos are a bit misleading. A) Perforated purple wool coating. B) Tattered white linen. C) Black (yes, black) textured cotton with mesh between each square. --- @houseofpinheiro, thanks for organizing such an interesting photo hop with such thought provoking topics! #sewphotohop

Bonus play: Buttons or zippers. I did mention that I love zippers, right? Even my glasses have zippers! #sewphotohop