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Finally today I was able to sew four seams on the georgette mentioned here.

That was more than enough for my back to tolerate, so I’ve been giving it a rest since then while I consider how to finish the top of the skirt. Skirt? Oh, you’re right. I forgot to tell you that somewhere in the last few weeks I decided to go with a tried and true solution for me: a long gathered skirt.

I now have the skirt draped over the silk that I plan to use for an ‘underskirt’ – I’d like to make it so it can be worn separately, rather than just as a lining or a slip. I have another silk fabric, wiry and fairly sheer, that coordinates with the under skirt fabric (but not so well with the georgette) that I may use for a jacket or something in the future.

The georgette snags and pulls and shows pin marks (even brand new Iris Silk pins) and is generally a pain to work with. On the other hand I’m very pleased with the stitches I’m getting from my ‘new-to me’ Bernina. I’m using a size 60 universal needle and Mettler Metrosene thread; I have a Gutermann thread that’s a bit closer match, but by just eyeballing it the Metrosene is finer/thinner and still a good color. One good thing about snags and pulls is that it is very easy to straighten the grain on this fabric by pulling on a crosswise thread! 😀

If I want a fairly long 41″ skirt (floor length would be 44 inches from waist to floor with flat shoes and .5 inch seam allowances top and bottom and no hem allowance) I have barely enough fabric for four panels. When testing how much gathering was most flattering for the skirt I found I needed four full panels, so I left the selvedges on for the seam finishes so I could use the full width of each panel (I prewashed and machine dried the georgette before cutting and the selvedges did not shrink.)

I’ll be using a narrow turned machine-stitched hem, I think. The shiny parts of the fabric make the hem a bit stiff, but those areas aren’t large and I hope will disappear once the skirt is hanging. Does anyone have experience with this? I could actually make bias strips of the more firmly woven under skirt fabric and face the hem with that. It would give it a more substantial look which might be good. Hmmm. How wide would I make the strips? Unfortunately I have only one small scrap of georgette to do all testing on; it measures 8 inches wide and about 1.5 inches high.

Next I’ll double-check to be sure the hem line is straight and on grain. I’ll gather (or softly pleat) the skirt onto a strip of the underskirt silk and then either run a drawstring or elastic through that added casing. I always have to shorten the center back of any skirts so they’ll hang straight, so I’ll get to figure out how much to cut off before I add the casing. This could be tricky with this slithery fabric…

Tomorrow or Monday I’ll share an excerpt from a letter we received yesterday – a neat story about my FIL that really gave me a a better idea of what he was like as a younger man.


I guess the only bad part about that is when you lose your father-in-law it really hurts. He passed away peacefully last night; it had been a long slow many-year goodbye starting with polyarteritis nodosa about 10 years ago and eventually the dementia diagnosis and finally a stroke several weeks ago. Interestingly he kept his friendly demeanor and cheerful requests for peppermint candies and coffee even when he had a lot of trouble functioning in most other areas of life.

So I’m posting this Off-Topic post to let my online friends know that my brain isn’t firing on all it’s cylinders today due to lack of sleep and the need to prepare for some of the public stuff that will come in the next few days. I’m not willing to predict when I might next post. Maybe it’ll feel therapeutic to post; maybe not. I guess we’ll see…

This is a third post in a series on my thoughts on integrating this blog with my web site.

There are some good reasons NOT to promote my web sales here on this blog. For one thing, I’ve never considered my readers to be likely buyers of the items I sell. Secondly, I’ve heard that WordPress doesn’t allow commercial sites; now I’m not sure exactly what that means, but it worries me some. I definitely would not be selling things on this blog, but where is the line drawn on promotion?

I’ve seen people mentioning their online classes. And links to books they’ve written. I’ve spent some time looking through a bunch of pages and help files for WordPress but haven’t found specific guidelines yet. I’m not even sure what I’m looking for. Or what sort of promotions I’m likely to do.

My sister also sells on the website under the URL. She’s one of the biggest fans of my sewing hobby, but she doesn’t do too much sewing beyond mending and making / designing costumes for her son. She does do very nice hand needlework – crewel and crazy quilting embellishment / embroidery.

I have sold a few used textile-related books on the goodworks1 site, but most of my books are listed elsewhere and I don’t really see any particular benefit of linking to those sites as the books are quite a hodge-podge of subjects and origins.

I could promote a few of the products that sell well on the site, like the beginner quilt kits, the scrubbies and dishcloths, precut quilt fabric squares, and the back issues of weaving magazines, etc. However, I guess I still wonder if that’s a good idea.

Some of the stories behind the development of the products might make interesting blog posts, though. Hmmm.

What do YOU think?

Yesterday I talked some about the ‘late’ textiles group at OTWA. Today I’m continuing the discussion of integrating a sales site and a blog based on some things I’ve read recently. I’m also thinking through a bit more about why I originally started this blog.

I’ve been reading at the thread: Web site Talk – Building Blog Readership about some of the issues of combining blogging and online income production. I’m starting to think that there may be a legitimate place for a blog along side a store or other things like Kathleen‘s book sales.

On the other hand, when I started this blog it was mostly because I needed to share my sewing and love of textiles in the worst way and didn’t have a good way to do that otherwise. I also figured that if I committed to posting about what I was working on I’d be more likely to work at it more consistently. I’ve never been very good at keeping a record of the stuff I design or make – I tend to keep the scraps and the notes I’ve taken and the other bits and pieces all in a box or something, but never really ‘recorded’ anywhere. Friends and family members keep showing up with stories of me making stuff for them that I can barely remember working on. In addition I figured I might keep some of my memory more accurate if I record things as they happen – Even in 4 months I can barely remember where I purchased some of the fabrics I’ve used or which pattern I used to make a specific garment. I spent a full afternoon last month fixing factual errors and inconsistencies in the few posts I’ve made since I started the blog. That was eye-opening!

But I didn’t start this blog to advertise. I have posted a link to the store, but that was so people who know me from years past can find where I’m currently spending time. I also maintain a couple other online sites that aren’t textile related at all – my used book sales and my dh’s site where he sells a few pieces of used farm equipment.

I’ve been wondering for several months how (or IF) to integrate my web sales with my blog. I finally decided to write about it here.

Some background: For about 8 years I co hosted a textiles forum at OTWA (Online Traders Web Alliance) until the site closed down about a year ago in July 2007. Mapledr and I hosted an online group for folks who loved textiles and also sold on eBay or on their own websites or on group collectibles sites like Ruby Lane.

In addition we helped many people track down IDs of their textile related items, helping date older fabrics, helping come up with good titles/search words for ebay auctions, etc. We didn’t project ourselves as experts, but there were enough of us with widely varying interests and backgrounds that we often were able to be a big help to folks looking for ID help, etc.

It was a lot of fun and I made many good friends. When the site closed with fairly short notice we didn’t quite know what to do with the group and the information we’d amassed and consequently didn’t pursue setting up another one somewhere else.

At OTWA it was assumed that everyone who participated either sold stuff online or was a buyer. Because of that we did some buying from each other and got some exposure to other online buyers without doing direct marketing there other than signature links on our forum posts.

Since OTWA closed I’ve noticed some big gaps. For instance, I’ve barely maintained my online store (and a move to a different host left me with degraded photos and loads of work to redo it all.) It feels as though I lost a lot of the connections and some friendly pushes to improve things in my online businesses, yes even some healthy competition.

Visit stitchin fingers

Sharonb has started a textile related social group at

Check it out!

I hadn’t heard of until Sharonb announced her group today on her blog, In A Minute Ago. Take a look at her announcement to see more of the possibilities of such a group.

Paula tagged me for the latest literary meme. Here are the instructions:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Turn to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people and acknowledge who tagged you.

This was harder than I thought.

The nearest book on my right was Julie Parker’s All About Silk, which has 92 pages.

The book under that was Wrap and Drape Fashion: History, Design & Drawing by Elisabetta ‘Kuky’ Drudi and there are only pictures on page 123.

To my left, stacked under my mouse (I’m standing at the computer these days) is Textiles in America {1650-1870} by Florence M Montgomery. Luckily it does have text on page 123. I found the fifth sentence; the next three are on page 124:

“The reverse was also practiced; from the late seventeenth century some furniture was finished in muslin over which was placed a richer covering of damask or velvet made as a slip case. A set of Queen Anne chairs in the Victoria and Albert Museum finished only in coarse linen is provided with slipcovers of handsome red and green patterned velvet neatly fitted to the seats and backs. They are held in place by tabs of buckram with eyelets made to slip over nails beneath the seat frame.”

I’m tagging:
Eva who has the most fabulous SWAP shown on her blog, Das Morzel. Eva lives in Germany and she started sewing in 2006!

Becky of Sew and So blog who has refashioned a J Crew man’s long sleeve shirt into a Anthropologie knock off she calls the Doolittle Blouse.

MaryPat who writes her Merry Patter blog about the sewing she does for herself, is “a work at home mum, running an Irish Dance costume company.” Mary Pat writes from Canada.

Jan has a blog, jansblog, where she shows us a lot of vintage sewing articles and patterns and talks about her life as a dressmaker in Shropshire, UK.

The Everyday Sewist has been writing about what motivates us to sew and do some of the other things we know we should do; she’s trying some unusual ways to make it work… Check it out!

100% cotton pillowcases. Remember those freshly washed sheets and cases from your childhood? None of that sticky and clammy polyester for me!

I’ve been collecting (and sometimes using) older cotton pillowcases for 30 years or so. These were acquired a few weeks ago and although I haven’t washed and pressed them yet, they have some interesting embellishments that I thought I’d share.

This set has just a small line of pink embroidery and crocheted edging. Not so fancy that you’d be afraid to actually USE them, but very tasteful.

This is one of the first sheets that I remember that weren’t all white, that were actually printed with a colored pattern. It was still 100% cotton though. Now we expect our sheets to come in a rainbow of colors and prints, but when I was growing up all the sheets in our household were cotton and were WHITE.

Here’s an edging I haven’t seen before in pillowcases. Blue appliqued squares in a diagonally set checkerboard arrangement.

Here’s some more blue! the edging on the top case is made with blue and white intertwined rickrack, with edging crocheted with a variegated blue and white cotton thread.

RWB Log Cabin pieced and quilted by Doris Bachman

Since I’ve not been productive sewing-wise, I decided I could show you some items from my past…

This quilt was pieced and hand quilted by my mother-in-law as a gift nearly 15 years ago. She was taking her first steps toward quilting as a hobby and said she’d make us a quilt if I picked out the colors. Since I wanted a ‘scrappy’ quilt I also got to pick the fabrics. Such a sacrifice. 😉 I also cut all the strips. It’s huge: 120″ x 120″ but it still looks great as the topper on our king size bed. The blocks are about 20″ square.

The fabrics for the logs came from my great-aunt Mary’s bits of indigo, leftovers from my sister’s quilted jacket (I show you that later), scraps from my MIL and mother. The fabrics I purchased included prints that reminded me of parts of our past and present lives: sewing tools, golf clubs, chickens and chicken wire, ladybugs, buttons, needles/thread, morning glories, dogs, batiks, birds, radishes and cows. Yes, my husband and I both grew up on farms in Illinois. I have always been of the opinion that a person should stretch the boundaries of “what goes with what’ when picking fabrics. On the other hand each of the fabrics did have to more or less fit into either the dark blue or the white sections of the cabins. I do think fabric selection was somewhat more difficult in the early 90s, than it would be currently with all the nice reproduction fabrics that are currently available. In any case, it was fun!

The centers are 4X the standard size to emphasize the red and yellow centers. I had seen a photo in Quilters Newsletter Magazine of a similar quilt taken in front of a quilt shop in Paris in the 1980s sometime and had written myself a note to remember the colors and layout! It would still be just a memory if it weren’t for my very practical and productive (and wonderful!) MIL.

Some day soon I’ll need to replace a few of the antique fabric strips. I’m still looking for just the right indigos.

For more than a week now I’ve been considering what to write here. For the first three days I just felt like crying and whining and I’m pretty sure no one wants to hear that. Even I was getting tired of listening to my inner self rehearsing what I might say.  😉

Then I had a lot of ideas for blogging; realistically though, I couldn’t manage to locate the resources I needed to get it done.

So now that I’m a little less emotional I can tell you all that I’ve spent the last week either lying flat on my back or standing or walking. No bending, no squatting, no sitting, no reaching, no lifting. That translates to no sewing (for those of us who do most of our sewing by machine), no pattern prep or cutting, not even able to pick the asparagus that is just beginning to emerge in my garden.

Turns out I had done WAY too much the past few weeks (although it seemed like so little at the time) and now I’m paying. But at least this time there’s a payback–my back does seem to be healing; very gradually, but definitely improving. Yesterday I was given the go-ahead to do some gentle stretching, sitting for five minutes at dinner, and a few careful squats (asparagus!) in addition to the standing, walking and lying flat diet.

But every hour includes at least 30 minutes of being flat. I’m not very good at switching gears; once I start writing or emailing (standing at one computer or straining a bit to see the laptop while I’m flat) I hate to stop. I’ve been using the timer and that does help, at least when I don’t reset it!

So my goal to help overcome this inertia is to write several short posts each day; I’ll be allowed to edit them or combine them later if I hate the result, but I do want to develop the regular writing habit. I’ll be back with some of the ideas I’ve had for posting while without my sewing fix…


May 2008
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In honor of my late father-in-law