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There is no substitute for community

There are so few absolute truths in this world.  But, here’s one we know for sure:  There is no substitute for community.  Today, Suga Puddin’ hosted its first in-person guild “meeting,” the Little Black (Knit) Skirt Sewing Workshop.  We ate.  We drank.  We measured.  We cut.  We sewed.  We un-sewed.  We re-sewed.  We made new friends and reinforced that absolute truth.  Across generations, we had such a good time in each other, and we caused such a ruckus at PIF (Pay It Forward) Gallery, that people kept coming in OFF THE STREET to try to join in with us!  Community energy is magnetic. We are so glad to be here – together.

Thank you to PIF Gallery and Asya Abdrahman for hosting us!  Your beautiful energy and warm, roomy space made everyone right at home.  There will definitely be a next time.

Let’s Get Together, Shall We? (SPG’s first in-person workshop!)

We’re so excited, we can hardly contain ourselves!  The 30 for 30 Project was a great, and illuminating experience.  And, one of our greatest takeaways was that feel-good feeling of communal activity inspired by the Project.  Even when we were working away individually in stolen moments throughout the month-long challenge, we still felt connected to one another, because we knew other people were doing the exact same thing.

We wanted more!  So, we decided to take the whole thing a step further and organize in-person workshops!  Squee!!

Our first workshop is The Little Black (Knit) Skirt Sewing Workshop on January 23, 2016 from 10a.m. to 2 p.m.  We will create custom little black skirts, all while sewing with knits (or learning to), eating, drinking, and socializing with a great group of creative ladies.

If you’re in the Bay Area, join us!  All you need to bring is your sewing machine, a pair of scissors for fabric, and a strong commitment to having a good time.  We will supply everything else.  Register here.

Sugapuddin Black Skirt Sewing MachineClick here to register.  We can’t wait to meet you!

#30for30 – Day 30

Has it really been 30 days already?!

Allysia

What was your plan? To work on some sewing. Between my class sloper and some projects started over the weekend there was much stitching to be done.

What did you do?  Pin and stitch. Lots of pinning and stitching. Since I have so many projects going at once I decided to work on some processes around efficiency. Having this many projects at the same stage is rare for me.  Thinking about it in terms of process is seeming to work out and may end up changing how I work on projects in the future.

How did you fit it in? Well Monday has some scheduled time  for class. Plus after all the calendar obligations for the day I set to work.

How did it make you feel? Productive! Creative time is usually meandering which I don’t mind one bit. However when I have some self-imposed goals and deadlines that I’m working toward it felt good to flex my get ‘er done muscles.

Ronné:

What was your plan? To figure out my next creative move.

What did you do? Cut out McCall’s 7126 again. Why? Well, I really like the top but I can do it better. I have this bit of white knit fabric laying around that would look great as a top so I’m going for it.

How did you fit it in? I don’t even know. I think the munchkins finished all their homework and were reading or something. All I know is that it was suddenly quiet in the house so I made my move.

How did it make you feel? Like I might know what I’m doing. Like, a little. *hee hee*

Jill:

What was your plan? Today was a class day, so I planned to continue working on my skirt and bodice slopers.

What did you do? I worked on the slopers and practiced sewing darts.

How did you fit it in? I already had it on calendar.

How did it make you feel?  It felt so normal to be spending dedicated creative time, that I completely overlooked the fact that this is our last day of Project 30 for 30! I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed. I’m looking forward to continuing this tradition and to looking back over the 30 days to see what stands out for me. To those of you who are doing the project with us, what stands out for you?

#30 for 30 – Day 29!!!

Day 29?!?!  Here’s how it all went down:

Ronné:
What was your plan? To finish McCall’s 7126 and put her to bed already! She needed sleeves, a peplum and finishing.

What did you do? I finally did it!!! Since this is my first top and first time following a pattern I was a little intimidated by the set-in sleeves. I read the instructions a whole lot of times and didn’t get it, so I checked YouTube to see if I could find a video to walk me through it. Sure enough, I found a few and after watching them it clicked. I finished the top but after trying it on I realized the pelum sat too far below my waist so I took it off and removed 1.5 in. from the length of the bodice. I sewed the peplum back on and made it do what it do!

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How did you fit it in? My mother-in-law called out of the blue asking to see her grand babies. And who’s gonna say no? Me? Nope.

How did it make you feel? Over the moon! I’m so glad I chose this top. I learned how to read a pattern, make adjustments to fit my body, thread and use my serger, to work with knit fabric and sew set-in sleeves. This was the perfect project to broaden my skills and I’m satisfied with the finished garment. Things can only go up from here!

Allysia

What was your plan? To try something new

What did you do? Try something new!  I made some little flowers.   I was flipping through one of Jill’s library books  ran across these cute little flowers in Chic on a Shoestring by Mary Jane Baxter. The flowers provide a great project to upcycle  tights and stockings that have gotten runs and are on their way to hosiery heaven.  It seemed like such a good idea so I thought I would give it a shot! Cue stockings, wire, glitter, glue, beads, and sparkly bits- speaking my language!

How did you fit it in?  After a little post-brunch lay down to cool off  I spent some time designing these little ladies while sipping a frosty beverage.

How did it make you feel?  These were fun to make!  It was funny trying something new and getting to play around with designing and decorating them.  As a devout multi-crafter it’s always grand to try my hand at a new crafty adventure.

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Jill:

What was your plan:  I don’t even know.  My head has been spinning these past few days!

What did you do?  Well, I first noticed a curious package sitting on Mama Said Cut You Outmy front porch when I came home from church.  So, I opened it, only to realize two things: 1) Amazon delivers on Sundays (really?!); and, 2) MY MAMA SENT ME FANCY SEWING SCISSORS FOR MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!   Say whaaaat?!  So, I did what one does when she gets new and unexpected shiny dressmaker shears in the mail on a Sunday:  I cut stuff.

How did you fit it in?  I immediately stopped whatever else I was doing, and commenced ta’ cuttin’!

How did it make you feel?  Connected.  My mom asked me several weeks ago what I wanted for my birthday.  I don’t get too jazzed up about birthday gifts.  I love them and welcome them, mind you.  But, I don’t require them.  So, shopping for me can be a little hard.  That she went out of her way to find something that I would like means a lot to me.  And, in the way that loving gestures do, it prompted a phone call, where we talked for over an hour.  Good stuff!  (Oh, and the scissors are Gingher spring loaded dressmaker shears – 8″.  They cut like a dream).

#30for30-Day 28

We’re 28 days in. Here’s how the day shook out:

Allysia

What was your plan? To continue working on Moneta dress started yesterday.

What did you do? Work on the Moneta dress.  It’s now at the point where I can put the whole thing on and check fit.  I had to make a couple modifications once I saw how it was coming together. All that’s left is to fix a couple unlivable custom design moments and hems on neckline, sleeves, and skirt.

How did you fit it in?  It’s Saturday. I woke up feeling creative and wanting to get into to it.  So instead of starting the day with the house chores and laundry folding that I was supposed to be doing I went to my happy place of the serger and sewing machine with a podcast playing in the background.

How did it make you feel?  Ummm, sitting at my sewing machine, making a dress, with morning overcast before the fog burns off, cup of coffee in hand, and podcast playing in the background on a Saturday morning. [I don’t really think I need to say anymore about that.]

Ronné:

What was your plan? I hoped to fit in a little sewing on my peplum top in the midst of a busy day. All that’s left are the sleeves and the peplum. After watching some YouTube videos and reading up on it I’m not as scared of set-in sleeves anymore so I’m ready to give it a go.

What did you do? Absolutely nothing related to sewing. An impromptu play date, a college homecoming game, and an impromptu dinner date with an old and dear friend made sure of it.

How did you fit it in? Well, I didn’t and that’s alright.

How did it make you feel? Fantastic! I’m working on saying “yes” to things that are outside of my regularly scheduled programming. It was great to be in the moment and go with the flow without wishing I was doing something else. The peplum top will keep until tomorrow.

Jill:

What was your plan?  No plan.  Day 27 wo’ me out!

What did you do?  I baked a cake and spent time in the company of hilarious women.

How did you fit it in?  This one was on calendar.

How did it make you feel?  Reminded of something that I always know, but sometimes forget:  The power of community is irresistible.

#30for30 – Day 27

We are three days away from finishing what we started 🙂  Here’s how Day 27 went:

Jill:

What was your plan?  I planned to cut out M7127 using some mystery knit that I picked up from JoAnn’s a while back.  There are only a few reviews of this pattern, and they are decidedly mixed.  They report fitting wonkiness, so I thought I should make a muslin of this one before cutting into my virgin swan feather fabric 🙂

What did you do?  I cut out the front piece.  Then the day went to h-e-double hockey sticks, and I realized the sleeve and back pieces would have to wait.

How did you fit it in?  I’m not sure.

How did it make you feel?  Like “life will out.”  Have you ever heard that saying before?  It’s a weird way to say that life will find a way to continue itself.  Today, it was a good reminder that life is not all one thing.  I’ve been having a hard time these past three months or so – lots of stuff going on and all the feelings.  And, some days, it seems like the universe just pulls a bully move and piles on yet more.  This was one of those days.  But, the reminder inherent in this creative commitment is that weird little phrase:  Life will out.  Maybe it’s because creativity requires us to change the world we’re in.  Maybe because it’s distracting, so we can give ourselves a rest.  Who knows?  All I know is that I cut a bodice front today.  And, that tiny little execution on a creative idea is sitting on my dining room (slash cutting) table as evidence that something else exists in the world, apart from the bits of stressful junk that tend crowd out everything else and convince us they are all there is.  Today, cutting out a pattern piece was a creative sword for me.  Huzzah!

credit: Museum of Women's Resistance

credit: Museum of Women’s Resistance

Allysia

What was your plan? To work on one of the Fall wardrobe pieces. I didn’t know which one when I set out.

What did you do?  Spent some time looking at patterns and fabrics to decide what next since everything can’t be a tunic (see Day 24-26). I settled on the Moneta Dress by Colette Patterns.  It has been a popular one that has made the rounds. I’ve had the pattern for about 6 months. I also have this fun rib knit partially sheer fabric that has been in my stash for months. In my head the fabric has been a Monetta for a LONG time. So today was the day to marry vision with action.

How did you fit it in? At the end of the day after all the other stuff was done.

How did it make you feel?  Relieved.  It feels satisfying to finally be getting to this project.  All of that strikes me as a little oddball when considering there was no one else saying I had to do it or stopping me from doing it sooner. Either way I’m going to run on to see what the end is going to be on this one!

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Ronné:

What was your plan? To figure out the problem with the tension on my sewing machine, attach the front and back pieces of this peplum top and maybe the sleeves.

What did you do? I’m glad I took time away from the machine so I could see the problem with a fresh pair of eyes. I realized that thread had gotten wound into a weird spot and was causing the machine to stutter. After turning it off I used my serger tweezers to unwind the thread and voilà! Back in business. I got the front and back pieces stitched together and checked for fit. The sleeves and peplum pieces will have to wait until tomorrow.

How did you fit it in? I had a lazy afternoon with the munchkins so we all stayed in our respective corners and relaxed.

How did it make you feel? Excited! When I’m done with this one I’m sure I’ll make another. It’s my first pattern and first top (I typically make skirts and purses) so I’m learning a boatload of new skills. Yayyy me!

#30for30 – Day 26!?!?!

We’re up to Day 26 (?!?!). Here’s how it went:

Jill:

What was your plan?  Oh, who knows?  I’m always planning to do all the things.

What did you do?  I went to the library!  Seriously, the brick-and-mortar, check-out-a-book library!  I was there for a different reason, but I landed on some interesting books (duh!  because, library…!) and I had to have them.

How did you fit it in?  I don’t know if I can credit myself with fitting this one in, so much as I took advantage of a moment in the middle of other errands.

How did it make you feel?  Big.  The local public library was one of the first places I was allowed to go on my own as a child.  My library card was the first card I got in my own name; the first official paper I got to apply my signature to.  Apart from birthday cards, the notices and bulletins from the library were the first pieces of mail I received that were addressed only to me.  The library, for me, has always represented “big-ness” and possibility.  You can learn anything in there!  ANYTHING!  Gah! So, every time I enter a library, there’s at least a tiny prick of wide-eyed amazement.

Allysia

What was your plan? For the sake of answering even though we all know, I didn’t have one.

What did you do? If one is good then two is better!  Made a second tunic. This time I shortened both the tunic and sleeves a bit to have some variation. This one went much faster. I was able to streamline the steps.  With use of the serger for a good bit I managed to do the whole thing without having to take my double needle out of the sewing machine.

IMG_2019How did you fit it in? After all the day was done it was me and my tunic while peeking in on Scandal and Project Runway.

How did it make you feel? I was really excited about the process I was able to build in to streamline the assembly.  I am a system and process chick. So thinking through the most efficient way to do it was a fun exercise for me.

Ronné:

What was your plan? To sew until my heart was content.

What did you do? I sewed until my machine started to give me trouble with the tension. Why won’t it let me be great? After while I gave up and went to bed. My heart wasn’t content but my patience had had enough! At least I finished the front bodice and got the back pinned and ready to sew.

How did you fit it in? I worked from home so I took time before and after a meeting. Being able to shift work around during the day to accommodate my creativity is a real luxury that I don’t take for granted.

How did it make you feel? Lightweight defeated BUT I’ll be back at it again tomorrow. I’m sure it was just user error (I’ve had this machine for only a few months) so I’m not ‘shamed back up and step away from the machine in moments like these. It’s still all good!

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#30for30 – Day 25!

Day 25 was all the way live! Here’s what went down:

Ronné:

What was your plan? Now that I’ve made my pattern adjustments and learned how to use the serger I’m ready to dive in to sewing this peplum top (McCall’s 7126) and get ‘er done within the next few days.

What did you do? I pulled out my pre-washed chevron print black knit fabric (yaaaasss, honey!), then laid down the pattern pieces and got to cuttin’!

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How did you fit it in? I’m tellin’ you, once those chirren leave the house it’s like the whole world falls silent. I can get a lot done in that hour between getting them to school and going to work.

How did it make you feel? Like a boss!

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Jill:

What was your plan? I planned to work more on my McCalls 7127. But, the day had other plans.

What did you do? I went to school. Specifically, I went to a curriculum luncheon, where I was introduced to a host of creative classes and I’ve pretty much decided to take them all!

How did you fit it in? It was over lunch.

How did it make you feel? I felt like I was nurturing something important to me. I am a “school” girl. I like classes and the whole school environment. So, this was right up my alley.

Allysia

What was your plan?  Again with the plan thing? I decline to answer on the advice of counsel.

What did you do? Learn about learning! I attended a program to learn about some class offerings for the Spring.  So I was able to start making some class selections and PLAN. (How’s that for learning and growing.)

How did you fit it in?  It was conveniently a luncheon.  So it was an eat and learn.

How did it make you feel? Excited!  I’m always amped about learning new things and improving skills in things that are on my interest list.

 

#30for30 – Day 24!

The “wind down” trombones are beginning to play on Project 30 for 30.  We can’t believe it!  Can you?  Here’s how Day 24 went down:

Jill:

What was your plan?  I planned to start working on the fall sewing list I mentioned the other day.

What did you do?  Drumroll…I actually started working on it.    I cut out McCalls 7127, which I plan to make using the most delicious (French??) terry in the land!  I mean, this stuff is as soft as the feathers of virgin swans!  I want to live in it always.  And, I lucked up on it for about $4 / yard at one of my favorite local fabric haunts, so … WHOOT!  Let’s sew her up, Betty!  But, I digress … I cut out the pattern.  And, I decided to try a trick that Allysia told me about to make the pattern tissue more sturdy: I ironed it onto freezer paper.  I haven’t made any pattern adjustments yet, so the freezer paper step might have been premature.  I was so eager to try it, I didn’t think about that.

How did you fit it in?  Did it immediately after work, before any other productivity could sneak off with my afternoon.  Actually, it wasn’t after work, so much as it was a natural break time during the work day.  I’m like that.  I can only plow full steam ahead for so long before I need a break.  Like, a shut-it-down, step-away-from-the-computer, do-not-think-about-this-any-more kind of a break.  If I can get that, then I can usually return to work without much productivity loss.  It’s a big “if” much of the time, but that’s what I did today.

How did it make you feel?  Like Fall is made for winning!  I mean, between the skin tenderizing effects of my oily bath salts from yesterday, and the virgin swan feather fabric for this shirt, there’s gonna be nothing but baby-butt softness in my life this Fall.  Who doesn’t love that?

Ronné:

What was your plan? To cut out the fabric for my peplum top (McCalls 7126) using the pattern pieces I copied yesterday.

What did you do? The ladies came over to my home and gave me a jumpstart on tackling this project. First Allysia walked me through how to add length to the bodice of the top since I’m a tall chick and the peplum should fall at my natural waist. We also talked about grading patterns for a better fit. Then Jill took me to school with a step-by-step tutorial on threading a serger and tension settings.

How did you fit it in? I had already scheduled myself to work from home so the ladies came in the afternoon with sandwiches and root beer and we got busy.

How did it make you feel? Loved! I’m not new to sewing, but new to patterns and sergers. These ladies are taking such care to show me the ropes and build my confidence to sew for my wardrobe. They poured out their sewing wisdom and I was running around the house looking for cups to catch it all. It was a SugaPuddin’ moment!

Allysia

What was your plan? To work on Fall tunic take 2.

What did you do? Fall tunic take 2!  Because sometimes I’m in push mode it’s DONE.  Pattern grading was required.  So pattern traced, cut, then lengthend.  Fabric cut, basted to check fit, then sewn/serged.  Hems and done.  Take 2 yielded a much better product than round 1.

How did you fit it in? I did part during sew-a-long time mentioned by Ronne.  Then I returned to it later in the evening.

How did it make you feel?  It was great to get a wearable result from one of my Fall items.  It also felt good to complete one that I was happy about how it turned out. I also used tested some skills on pattern grading and adjusting  with good results. All around winning!

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#30for30 – Day 23!

There is ONE WEEK left in Project 30 for 30!  Where did the time go?  Here’s how Day 23 shook out:

Jill:

What was your plan?  I planned to make some oily bath salts.  Yep, that’s what I said.  Oily.  Bath.  Salts.

What did you do?  I made some oily bath salts.  Say it with me now:  Oileeeee.  Baaaaaath.  Salts.  See, I love bath-y things.  And, one of my favorite handmade shops makes a salt scrub that I absolutely lurve.  It smells divine, like coconuts and cream.  And, my eczema-prone skin loves it, too!  But there’s a wrinkle: A tub of that stuff (think, two cups’ worth) costs about $30.  I KNOW!  I told you – it’s a wrinkle.  And, it’s a complete non-starter with McT, who, loving husband though he is, will never eeeever understand spending $30 on a tub of salt.  It’d be more efficient to harvest the salt from my skin after a sweaty workout and use that, than it would be to try to convince him that $30 worth of bath salts is a good use of money.  So, I only get the magic tub of bath salt love when I have a gift certificate.  Well, today I’m fresh out of gift certificates and fresh out of salt scrub.  Both my skin and I shed a single, sad tear.  That is, until I sourced some salts from a wholesale supplier – enough to keep me in salt scrubs ’till the next Super Moon!  I whipped some in the mixer with a couple of scoops of coconut oil and bath oil, and I’m back in the lap of oily bath salt luxury!  Now, it’s not the same as my handmade shop’s.  I swear, they must mix that stuff with magic and eau d’awesome.  But, mine is pretty good, if I do say so myself.  And, at about $5 a tub, McT approves.

How did you fit it in?  I ate cereal for dinner and skipped a meeting this evening.  I know.  Oily bath salts make me do things sometimes.

How did it make you feel?  Like I need a banner:  “Mission Accomplished!”

Allysia

What was your plan?  Say it with me… plan schman.

What did you do?  Read style blogs and watched a show featuring a food tour of Italy.  Normally I do something more engaging but today all those felt taxing. One thing I won’t do i creative as a chore instead of something I want to do in the moment and love. So reading and watching felt like right and so it was.

phil

How did you fit it in?  At the end of the day once all the classes, meetings, and things were done.

How did it make you feel? There was a split second of second-guessing if it was enough to “count” as creative time. Then my gut kicked in to remind me that my creative time is what I make it and there’s no right or wrong about how I spend it.

Ronné:

What was your plan? I wanted to re-start my peplum top project (and finish it this time!).

What did you do? I traced the pattern pieces with tracing paper, transferred the markings and cut them out. This way if I need to go back and cut a different size in the future I’ll still have the original pattern in tact.

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How did you fit it in? Got up early and stole a few minutes before the house woke up and then after the munchkins left for school.

How did it make you feel? I feel like I’m actually going to finish it this time. No more UFOs (UnFinished Outfits) for me. Yayyyyy!