I'm making a post this weekend, because I know next week is going to be super busy for me, and I already have a lot to tell you. Last week, we had my art group meeting, and I have tons of wonderful photos to share with you. I need a little more time to put that post (or it may be posts, because there are so many photos) to share. So, come back later in the week for that.
In the meantime, I wanted to show you what I did yesterday. I had such a busy week, I really needed a nice break. I had signed up to take a class with Mary Lou Hallenbeck on Saturday and was looking forward to it. Then, earlier this week, I heard about a class up in Grand Rapids I wanted to take. But it was scheduled on the same day as the Mary Lou Hallenbeck class. Dang it! Well, to make a long story short, the Mary Lou class ended up getting cancelled due to low enrollment and will be rescheduled. So, I could go to the class in Grand Rapids! Yippee!
The class was with Pam Danour, who does really cool home dec sewing instruction....You know, like how to make good cushions, professional curtains, neat trims (like piping and ruching), etc. In the morning, she did an awesome trunk show that showed us how to use a lot of these ideas in our sewing. I found it really informative.
You may have heard of her, or you may have seen this book. (Photo from Amazon.com) You can also get it form Pam's website. I did not realize who Pam was when I signed up for this class. (Sorry, Pam!) I just wanted to come and learn some more home dec techniques. But when I got to the class and she started talking about this book, I said to myself, "I know who she is! I have that book! My mom gave it to me when she gave me her Viking! Mom didn't want to give the book away, because it was her all-time FAVORITE pillow book. She said I had to have it." Well, I was so excited to realize that's who I was listening to. And it made me miss my mom a lot. I wish she had been here with me today. She would have loved it. I had to call her on the way home from class and tell her all about it.
In the afternoon, we did "hands-on" sewing. I was very excited, because it was a "techniques" class, not a project class. (Yay! I didn't come home with any new UFOs!) We practiced the techniques on scraps, and she had a handout explaining each one. We then tucked the handout and sample into a sheet protector for later reference. I loved that!
Let me give you a run-down of what we did:
First, here's Pam with her adorable little pooch, who travels with her.
How do you like her little fashion jacket? Pam made it out of an old quilt block that she wasn't sure what to do with. That was something that was informative about the trunk show...she showed us how she took unfinished quilt tops (some her own, some picked up on e-bay and the like) that she no longer wanted to finish and made a headboard, bedskirt, or Roman shade out of. This was just another example.
Here's an example of the kinds of things we did. You can see my sample piece, with the instructions and page protector behind it. This was ruching...inserting a "ruffle" in the middle of a project. I already have an idea for how to use this in a quilt I'm going to make for Amanda Herring, The Quilted Fish. I will be using my Delighted! fabric. Stay tuned for more on that!
One thing that was especially enjoyable about this class for me is that we used all kinds of different feet that I usually don't use. Some I don't even own for my Janome. For example, this is a ruffler foot on my neighbor's Viking. I have my Viking at home, and I do have a ruffler foot for it. I should have brought that machine to sew on for the class today. It would have been a good opportunity for me to start learning to use it better. Oh well. Next time. Anyway, back to the point, we learned to use this foot, along with our piping/double welting foot, and several others. It was really educational for me. (Why am I so afraid of anything other than my standard foot, quarter-inch foot, free-motion foot, walking foot, etc?)
We learned out to make and install flat piping. This is piping with no cord inside of it. This piece has finished edges on the red plaid. If this was a curtain panel, then you would fold over the raw edges on that each fabric to form the side hems, and you'd still have the nice finished edge on the flat piping, without it being caught up in the side hem. Very cool. I have used this on a quilt once before, but never on an edge like this, because I couldn't figure out how it was done. Now I know! I'll be using this one again shortly. I have an idea for it, too.
We learned to do a mitered corner. I've done this before, but only once. So, it was good to have the practice again. I would like to learn how to do this so it's finished on both sides....like for a napkin or placemat. Another time!
This was really fun. We learned to make perfect pleats using Pam's special pleating tape. On the left hand side, you see a typical 1-inch pleat. On the right side, you can see 1-inch box pleats. I thought this was very fun. I left the tape on my pleats so I could remember how I did it. Can't wait to try this out on something either.
We practiced making a mitered, french fold binding. Of course, I've done this many times, but some people in our class never had. So, I helped my neighbor with hers. She is just getting back into sewing after a long hiatus.
We also practiced putting a binding on a scalloped edge. I've only done this once before, too, and this was a new technique for me today. We did it a little different than I've done it before, so that was informative.
And we learned how to install this zipper. Pam showed us how she does this for pillows. We made a small bag to practice. I have to tell you, this was the easiest zipper I ever installed, and it turned out better than any other I've made. Pam makes her own zippers, which have some special qualities that make them easier to install. You can completely separate the zipper to install it on either side and then easily zip it back together. Her zippers come in a long tape, so you cut off what you need and add the pull yourself (the pulls come with the zipper tape). I asked Pam if I could design a bag and teach you this strategy on my blog. She was very gracious and agreed to let me do that. So, stay tuned for that. I'll teach you this one!
In summary, it was a great class. I learned a LOT! I had a lot of fun learning these techniques and was inspired more than once. I met some new friends, too. One thing I liked a lot about the class was Pam's irreverent sense of humor. I was cracking up more than once. I like that sort of thing. I like sarcastic people.
I ended up buying some of her DVDs, because you know I like sewing my own curtains. I want to learn to do a Roman shade for the study. I need to recover some furniture (she has a DVD on that). I like making pillows (multiple DVDs on that) and others. The person I was sitting next to said she went to a class the day before and Pam taught them how to make a bedskirt and how to finish the corner really nicely. She showed me the sample they had made, and I was in awe! I have been wanting to make a bedskirt for our guest bedroom and for Sweet Pea's bed, but I don't know how. That may be a project in the next year or so! I'll have to get that DVD.
If you live in Michigan and are interested in getting to see Pam teach, you have some opportunities coming up! She will be at the American Sewing Expo in Novi, MI next weekend!
Visist www.americansewingexpo.com for details. I was not aware of this event (as usual), but it's apparently about the second biggest sewing event in the country! (Second only to the one in Puyallup, WA, which I am familiar with, having lived in Washington and Idaho.) She says it happens every year, the last weekend of September. Who knew?! LOL.
Anyway, she still has room in her class on Thursday, where she is teaching how to make a Roman shade. Wish I could go. I teach two classes on Thursdays.
She also has room in her "Fashion Meets Function" class on Saturday from 12-3. In this class, they will make the little doggie vest I showed at the beginning of this post.
She is also doing some lectures and free stage shows: Her lectures is Righting the Decorating Wrongs (there's still room in that one). Her stage shows are A-Cording to Pam (daily from 11:00-11:30) and 10 Ways to Put in a Zipper (daily 2:45-3:15). You don't have to sign up for the stage shows, apparently.
I need to plan to go to this event next year. I think it would be fun. Anyone want to go?!
She also has a show on SewOnTV.com...you may want to check it out. I know I will.
Well, hope to see you back here later this week! I have my guild meeting this week (with Mary Lou Hallenbeck as our speaker) and Friday Night Sew In. It promises to be another hectic week.
Until next time,