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Recently, I attended The Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Baltimore and attended a class where the instructor demonstrated a way to pre-sew each individual piece from a pattern together with its lining piece, in order to have finished seams. It's a cool technique and but hard to describe with words, so I promised some folks I'd do a quick tutorial.

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Before I start, I should introduce the major players. Here is my 1925 Singer 99--previously featured in this blog in handcrank form, but last summer I scored a 3/4 sized treadle table (which isn't really 3/4, but describes the size sewing machine that will fit in it). Barney (the 99) is really enjoying life as a treadle, but he was born to sew, so it was a no brainer :) Also pictured is my supervisor, Trini.

Now to get started, suppose you wanted to make a very simple lined skirt with an elastic waistband (I've reduced the size of the pieces for the purposes of the tutorial)_. the top and bottom seams to the skirt pieces would be finished when you rolled over those edges (the top for the elastic waistband, the bottom for the hem. The two side seams would be raw edges inside the lining, but installing the lining would be done after sewing the outside facing pieces of fabric. This method shows how to make each piece of fabric and its lining as one piece of fabric before sewing the garment together as usual.

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So here we have the two outside facing pieces of fabric along with their lining pieces. Note that the lining pieces are 5/8" wider than the other pieces. Take one piece of the skirt fabric and one of the lining. Put them together with right sides facing in. Sew a 1/4" seam allowance with raw edges matching.

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Note that when sewn together, the lining piece will not lie flat.

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Turn the pieces right sides out and iron the skirt fabric completely flat, edge to edge. This will result in the lining fabric wrapping around the raw edge of the skirt fabric.

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Now sew the pieces together as normal, with the skirt fabric pieces rights sides together and the lined side facing out.

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Press the seam open, sew the other side seam, and there you have it. A lined skirt, with the side seams already finished by the lining. Now it's ready for the waistband and the hem.

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Check it out! I have a granddog!!

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He's a beagle mix, but I wouldn't fall over from shock to learn some of the mix included basset hound. See what I mean?

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Either way, he's adorable! Can't wait to meet him!

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Even after moving the non-sewing storage out of the sewing room area of the basement, I realized that I was constantly cleaning down there because the open joists above meant dirt and dust were constantly falling onto the work areas below. And the room was pretty dark; the walls were dark and the joists swallowed up the light. So to help with both problems I decided to bring in a beadboard ceiling. I had no plans to formally finish the room; just put up enough of a barrier to make for a cleaner work area.

Here are some before pictures.

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Keep an eye on that metal cabinet in the left corner of that last picture; you'll see it again.

The first thing I wanted to do was brighten up the walls. The old white paint was dirty and peeling in places so I scraped where necessary and dusted and vacuumed the walls and then painted the cinder and red bright a light creamy yellow.

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That was the easy part. :) Adding the bead board was labor, but I think it did the trick. (I used a ladder with a box inverted on top of it to add height to hold up one end of the pieces of beadboard while I attached the other end.

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With the ceiling in, it was time to work on layout. And to unpack an Ikea Expedit (2x4) shelving unit with a desk attachment. I'd already brought in an Ikea kitchen island as a cutting table/ironing station.

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For a more close-up view:

The Work table where I can clean and restore machines:

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The "old ladies"--a work area of my antique Singers:

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And the desk for my modern machine. It also shows my cutting table/ironing station with the ironing cover on it. It's just a rectangle of fabric, pinned at the corners with batting underneath. I have two other covers, so I can swap them out to wash.

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Two parlor cabinets with treadles inside and the metal cabinet, all spruced up and ready for my fabric stash.

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As much as I like the bushes in front of my home--okay most of them anyway--they need annual pruning and it's been several years since they've been seen to. Mostly because having to maintain bushes is a new thing for me. But also because the house stood vacant for a couple years even before I moved in. Granted, they got a good make over for the sale brochure.


However, even with some hackery masquerading as pruning this past spring, the bushes were getting out of control. This is where we stood on December 24, 2012.


Yes. I was starting to worry about the bushes overtaking the house :) So this past weekend, I got to work and took care of everything but the holly bush. That's also going to get a good pruning, but I'm going to give myself a week or two to recover. In the meantime, house!


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it's been a while since I shared a quilt, so this is this summer's project. John's cousin, Jessica, had a baby in June, and I'm only now getting around to making the quilt (Bad, SortofAunt!!!).

The predominant colors in the top are mint green and chocolate brown, and the motif is monkey. And since there are little bits of yellow in the fabrics *and* the quilt mostly reminds me of mint chocolate ice cream, the backing fabric will be banana yellow flannel. Hence, Mint Chocolate Monkey. :D

Here are the fabrics:


I wanted to make a fairly simple top, in terms of piecing, since I was so delayed in making the quilt. But I also wanted to do a feature block that had a monkey face centered. I thought about, and quickly rejected, applique. I wanted the quilt finished before Baby Colby started kindie, after all. then I thought of a bow-tie block, origami style. These are fun to do, and fast and by making all but the center fabric the same, I would get the effect I wanted.

Here's a quilt top I made with traditional bow tie blocks.


And here's a fun little website to show a fun way to make them without a lot of different sized blocks and trimming and such--it's often called the origami bow tie, but I kind of love how these folks call it the "cheater" :)

The Cheater Bow Tie Block

Anyway, what I wanted was to feature the center square in this block, so I made all the outside fabric blocks the same and my little fussy-cut monkey face took center stage!


Originally, I wasn't going to make more than 7 or eight fussy monkeys, but as you can see, the quilt top just needs more monkeys!


So I made more fussy monkeys, and took out the dots/stripes fabric. I'll be using that as a wide border on the top. and I'll use more of the brown with white polka dot fabric as the binding. Here's a picture of the top (Now, With More Monkeys!) but without the border.


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It's been nearly 18 months now that I've been in house and without a dedicated sewing space. Longer than that, since I dismantled the sewing room at the condo in January 2011 when prepping the condo for sale.

After setting up the dining room area to be a shared dining room/sewing space, I turned my attention to the basement and the area (under the living room and master bedroom) which will become the sewing room.

Here's the "before" (quotes because I've been working on moving non-sewing storage out of that space to other areas of the basement).




Since these pictures, I have dismantled the empty set of storage shelves and they're ready to head to the scrap metal pile at the dump. I have also moved the full storage shelves into the space by the oil tank and the furnace. Then I scrubbed the every-loving potty words out of the floor in there. That was heinous--possibly even worse than dismantling the shelves with all the screws underneath and covered with the spider web/spider egg sack nirvana. Ack.

Anyway, the metal storage closet will move into a corner at the back of the house, near the metal shelves with the extra machine heads. The sewing machines (most of them) will move to the front of the house. There will be space in the center of the room eventually, for a set of kitchen cabinets for storage with a butcher block counter (with at least a foot of overhand all around for a cutting table/ironing board.) There will also be a work table (probably the yellow formica table Mrs. Ridgely left behind) for working on cleaning/restoring machines and a set of the 5x5 Expidit shelves.

Here is the newly cleared out front of the room. Well, cleared out of the storage shelves; then all the machines got pushed into this area so I could scrub the floor in the back half.


The back half, cleared of all but the sewing machine shelves.


The ceiling is my next project. I'm going to partially finish it. I'll use full sheets of bead board, painted a bright, glossy white, tacked into the joists with dry wall screws. They will NOT be closed up to make a full, connected ceiling. This is deliberate, because it prevent my needing a building permit at this stage of setting up. I just want something above the machines and the future cutting table to keep dust and dirty from the ceiling above from falling onto sewing projects. Also, painting the bead board bright white will make the room brighter and show colors more accurately when I'm working on projects. I plan to buy the bead board next weekend and paint it and then hope to borrow my son for an hour or two while we tack up the boards (fingers crossed :)

Eventually this space WILL be completely finished and I'll get the permits when that time comes, but for now I'm just trying to make the space functional. I've missed having a dedicated sewing space :)

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It's turning out to be a big posting weekend for me, but finally finishing the dining room/living room curtains is reason to celebrate (and post). Since I bought the fabric last August or so. Managed to handily beat the amount of time it took me to sew the living room curtains for the condo after buying the fabric (6 years...possibly more).

Anyway, without further ado, the dining room window.


Hanging the rod in this space was a little tricky, since there wasn't a lot of room for the filials, but I made it work.

Then the front living room windows (don't minding the quilting equipment on the treadle cabinet--I've been working with quilt blocks today, too).


And the side window in the living room.


I'm really pleased with the fabric and the look of the curtains--casual but not frippery :) With the wooden blinds from Ikea, the lined panels will make the room cozy, but not cave-like come winter.

And in case you were wondering, this was the quilt block I was working on earlier.


Known as a 'string spider web', the blocks are created by 4 triangles put together to create a 'star' in the middle. But when the blocks are assembled, the stringed sides create 8 sided circles of multiple strips that resemble a spider web. This block is for my Lancaster TOGA (Treadle On Gathering) exchange blocks; the center is to be navy blue, and the strings are to be warm colored fabrics.

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Still working on removing non-sewing items out of the sewing room space, but now I can show a bit more about how the ultimate room will be organized.

First, c'mon downstairs, turn right and you're in the "Laundry Room/Kitchen Storage zone", with a set of storage shelves with seasonal and infrequently used kitchen supplies. Temporarily stored under the stairs are extra bedframes, but I'm planning to put them up on Craigslist--It's not like I have bedrooms to put them in.


On the opposite side of that space are the washer/dryer and laundry hampers, as well as another shelf with both laundry supplies and more kitchen items on the lower shelf behind the rolling hamper. I keep a hanging hamper on the door at the top of the stairs and then bring it down anytime I go downstairs--saves having a big pile of tossed laundry at the bottom of the steps.


Walking through the laundry/kitchen zone, brings you to the sewing room area. This view is half of the space I'll be using. The shelves on the left (the empty ones) are ready for me to list on Craigslist. Along that wall (the front of the house), I'm planning a long workbench/table with cabinets under a stainless steel worktop with pegboard above. This will be where I clean and restore sewing machines.


Still referencing the picture above, I'm planning some sort of cutting table/pressing surface. I haven't yet decided if this will be a space created with kitchen cabinets for a fabric cutting area or some other construction (like this Ikea table another woman used here Ikea table used as Cutting Table). This will go where the two small parlor sewing cabinets are placed. The shelf along the backwall will be emptied. Some of the bins and boxes on there will end up in the oil tank/storage area of the basement because they're non-sewing related (like Christmas decorations, etc.). The sewing bins will be regrouped on better shelves, like the sort that are in the laundry area now. Those hold more on a smaller footprint. And then that shelf will also go on Craigslist.

Entering into the sewing room and turning right:


The shelf with the cat carriers will be leaving the room. the carriers and Christmas bins will go in the storage area. The sewing bins will stay but on other shelves elsewhere in the room.

The treadle machines will most likely line the long wall and along the chimney where the shelving unit is now. I'm going to install a large or medium Expedit set with a desk (

Expedit shelves with desk) under or next to the Window. The desk will be my sewing table for my electric sewing machine and serger. The cubicles will hold my sewing books, patterns and the electric machines when I'm not using them.

My long term plan is to completely finish the room as a work room (studded walls with drywall, and an enclosed, drywalled ceiling, with a tile floor. But in the near term I'm going to paint some beadboard white and screw it into the joists in the ceiling to provide protection for my sewing projects, from stuff dropping out of the ceiling.

The most immediate "next step" is to continue buying shelves to move storage into the oil room area and to get the sewing bins and supplies centralized. After that, get the Expedit cubicles and table set up. There's also a metal storage cabinet (with doors) that will be moving out of the sewing room and *probably* into the oil room.



Finally, introducing the future 2nd bathroom.


This is the space behind the stairs and in front of the chimney. And may include more of the space under the stairs, depending on if local zoning will let me :)

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Young House Love had a blog post yesterday about their leaky roof and asked if any of us had leaky roof stories to share. I don't have a leaky roof, but I thought I'd share my adventures in fixing the issue of my leaky basement door.

The problem is many faceted--or at least several faceted. Here's a picture of the area...well, most of it; I'm grabbing pictures I already had on photobucket and will augment when I get home today.


This gives a fairly good picture of everything but the steps to the basement which begin about halfway back on the house and come forward to the front, with the basement door under the kitchen door (more or less--they may be offset a bit). but you can see the hip roof, the slope of the property from back to front and the raised kitchen doorway landing.

1. In heavy downpours, water will sometimes overflow the gutters which have covers on.

2. The patio slab is more or less neutrally sloped, but the areas directly next to the house don't shunt water to it. And the grading near the house foundation has slowly eroded enough that water tends to flow parallel to the house down that main grade slope rather than away from the house to the driveway and then down. So when it hits the basement stairs, it keeps right on going.

3. The house is 60 years old, so the basement stairs landing at the bottom is only about one inch lower than the basement door. And the kitchen door, with a raised landing is directly above, and tied into the house directly, but also 60 years old. And the soffits of the roof, being 60 years old, onlu stick out about a foot from the walls. So over 60 years' time, 60 years of rains have worn the concrete slab tied into the house that provides a way out of the kitchen AND provides the cover for the basement doorway has worn so that water flows to the brickwall (which has been well waintained. And no water flows into the brick--but gravity, doing what it does, THAT water all ends up in the basement landing too.


You can see how the kitchen door entry is raised. The basement door entry is directly below.

So with water coming from 4 major sources, not all of which were originally planned for, when we have those deluge rains, the drain in the basement stairs can't keep up, the water rises to the level of the bottom of the doorframe and pours under the door.

And since the basement floor was poured 60 years ago with a design for a sumpump halfway across the room and NOT to the new pump right in the corner behind the door, the silly water actually flows right past the working sump pump and towards the no longer existing sump pump...and then wanders aimlessly around under my washer and dryer trying to figure out where it should be. Silly water! Never more than an eighth of an inch, so shallow enough to walk around in safely while using a floor squeegee to herd water to the workin sump pump, but deep enough that I wouldn't try to use the washer or dryer until the concrete is dry again.

Since I'm not planning to reexcavate the basement floor and repour concrete, nor demolish and rebuild the basement stairs and kitchen door landing, I have just completed step one of a two step plan to limit the water going down the baement stairs. Which was having a kitchen patio awning (aluminum W type awning with square aluminum framing and supports) installed to cover the entire large patio to the driveway, the kitchen landing and the length of the basement stairs. The awning has a built in gutter system, so overflow water from the roof will automatically flow out to the gutters near the driveway, the kitchen landing stays dry so no more water flow down the basement walls OR eroding the concrete slab suspended over the basement entry.

And step two will involve digging out the grassy area right next to the part of the patio at the back of the house, building a one or two foot raised flower bed box, while installing on the bakcyard edge of it a drain to trap water flowing from the back and direct it out away from the house towards the driveway, whichis the third source of unplanned water. Plus it will give me a flower bed framing the back end of the patio and look nice :)

At $3K, the awning was kind of pricey, but since excavating and rebuilding/pouring concrete in basement and stairwell w ould have run in the tens of thousands of dollars, it's definitely a much lower budget way to go. And I do like the look of the awning.

I'll try to remember to take more pictures of the area and post them here later today.

Current Mood: peaceful peaceful

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It's only taken me a couple months to get back to pulling up the carpeting in the master bedroom--I got started and then saw something shiny and never got back to it.

Here's a few pictures of what it looked like before I got distracted.




I was sort of my own worst enemy in this--I started pulling carpeting before I took the bed apart. But I didn't pull up the carpet tacks or staples on the part where I'd removed carpeting, so that was kind of hanging over my head in terms of getting back started again. Once I got that part done, tho, the rest (even dismantling the bed) just flowed. I had everything done (including getting the first set of tacks/staples pulled) and the bed back together in the time it took to play one disk of Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth version).

So here are the afters




I'm really happy with the result. NOw I just have to move the side tables and dresser back in. (ewwwwww :)

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