SEWING DILEMNA? Ask Londa's FREE advice!!! a sewing educator for over 35 years, designer, and author with experience as a sewing machine dealer/fabric shop owner, custom dressmaker and more...I'm most happy to answer ANY and all questions to the best of my ability. Just contact me HERE with your question.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I'm AGAINST National Health Care

While I agree that health care is a mess - I also believe that the bills as have been put forth so far will be MORE of a mess. As a politically active (independent) Christian woman, my stand against this is based on 2 simple facts.

1. It is obvious to me that our "greatest generations" (my parents, and mine - of the Baby Boomers entering retirement age) will undoubtedly be denied health care we desire. The government will be deciding for us when our lives are not 'worthy' of the all-important $$$$. In the most popular program being considered is included "Every 5 years have a discussion with my doctor about end of life measures"???? THAT is a personal,moral, religious decision - one that I base on the sanctity of human life - and NOT One that I care to have my government involved in.

2. My tax dollars (AND a huge debt for my children and grandchildren) will be forced to pay for abortions! Planned Parenthood (largest provider of abortions in our country) is included in this program. I am completely and without any reservations TOTALLY AGAINST abortion. Yes, even in the case of rape or incest - as if, as an infertile woman in early marriage desperately wanting a child, I had been given the option of adopting a baby from those circumstances, it would have been a way to create something good out of something bad - and I'd have easily said yes. The programs being discussed all include tax $ being used for abortion - denying our future generations life. NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have many tasks today, but first I am contacting the 'Blue Dog Democrats' (contact lists easily found via Google)saying THANK YOU for being the roadblock, and encouraging them to hold fast against this railroaded program.

I believe that entitlement mentality - selfishness is king here
. My hubby and I - like many of the baby boomers, are looking at the end of the 'formal working years'. His employer-provided health care is not great, and we have to pay dearly for mine though that program. We would love nothing better than to just do my business - traveling doing Sewing Expos, guild and shop engagements, and my website business. The thing holding us back is that we're not old enough for Medicare yet - several years away (he turns 60 soon and I am 'just' 57). Therefore, it would be easy to selfishly think that a government plan would 'solve our dilemna'. Well - I really don't think it would. AND, the 2 reasons I've stated above ON MORAL, RELIGIOUS grounds - prevent me from endorsing any such program - REGARDLESS of the 'benefit' it might appear to provide our situation.

If we could just all forget ourselves and what WE want NOW - and put others and our children and God's laws FIRST - most of our problems today would be immediately solved. As the man I most admire right now (Mike Huckabee) says - 'Just Do The Right Thing."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pressing Matters

Find my selection of pressing equipment HERE

The article "Going to Press" by Cecelia Podolak in the current THREADS magazine issue 144 - Sept. 2009 - page 70 is the impetus for sharing a bit of my learning curve regarding Pressing with you....

I remember I was SEW frustrated with trying to find - for myself, and to sell in my shop (1990-2003) - an iron that would stand up to the demands of my sewing and household tasks. Finally - a gentleman explained to me that an iron is a heat-resisting/producing piece of equipment...and will NOT last forever. Once I heard that - and took it to heart - my expectations were re-adjusted, and I actually just take it for granted that my investment in an iron is NOT one that will last forever - especially with the demands I have. Honestly, if I make it a year with an iron - I consider myself lucky!

When Cecelia explains on page 71 in the first paragraph below the chart that a too cool iron will NOT produce steam..."Water will just dribble from the iron" - She is SO CORRECT! You just must comprehend that (in all but steam generator iron systems), steam is created by water dripping onto a sole plate that is hot enough to create steam! If the sole plate is NOT hot enough (meaning you don't have it on at least the cotton setting), you can simply NOT expect steam! Expect water dribbles instead.

Cecelia says "It's important to add moisture to the fabric, if it requires it, and then dry it out to set the press" and that reminds me of how I saw and learned from my mother how to 'iron'. I distinctly remember her 'sprinkling bottle' - a 7-up glass bottle outfitted with a sprinkle cap on a cork that was shoved into the top. Once my Dad's shirts were laundered, she sprinkled them thoroughly, then tied them up in a big cloth so that the fibers migrated throughout the shirt. THEN, at least half a day later - she'd carefully get them out one by one (closing up the 'package' of ironing so that the others would stay moist) and IRON them with a DRY iron. Worked like a charm - and I can remember steam rising as she worked...the effect of HEAT - STEAM - and her loving ARM PRESSURE created amazingly crisp shirts for my Daddy.

I want to further quote Cecelia's last paragraph on page 71 - because I think it is so TRUE! "When uncertain about the temperature and amount of moisture to use, always begin with low heat and a dry iron. If the pressing results are unsatisfactory, increase the temperature; if the dial is in the steam range, add a little setam. Proceed in this manner until you are satisfied with the results." The chart of Heat sensitivity, Iron temperature and Fiber content above on page 71 alone is worth buying this THREADS issue in my estimation! Copy it, laminate it, and put it in your sewing room!

Another piece of info - "Hot Forgets, Cool Remembers". This applies to everything - even your hair. I have very, very thin hair, and when I 'do' it - whether it is styling with a blow dryer and round brush, or with a curling iron - once I 'curl' it - I have to let it COOL before I can really style it...playing with it while it is hot - I may as well not have bothered, as the 'curl' I just got will quicky disappear if I comb it without letting it COOL and REMEMBER. It is the same with fibers!

SEW...HEAT, STEAM and PRESSURE is what it's all about. Page 72 refers to pressing tools...I'm adding my own comments and links to these products on my website for each...

Iron Features - I need GREAT steam. I've had Rowenta irons - many models. I've been happy with most of them - (except those that the water container removed to be filled). I've also had professional gravity feed irons - a Sussman (where the water hangs in a bottle higher than the iron and gravity feeds the water onto the hot iron soleplate, creating steam). I believe I had that for a couple of years during my custom dressmaking years... During my shop years, I sold Euro Pro ironing systems. Those were good too - for a while. I have NOT invested thousands in a system like the Laura Star - nor have I used a vertical steamer. Some swear by an old Black and Decker...whatever works, that's the thing. This Spring, I invested in a Euro Steam iron at a show - $200, with the all-important tasks of creating my daughters' wedding gown foremost in my mind. It is a pressure cooker type of system where the steam is made inside the iron under pressure. They demo that it doesn't burst a balloon, and that you can set it on a sequined gown without burning it. I like it - though it is a dry steam - different from most. Therefore, it won't shrink the great new Texture Magic shrinking fabric. I don't entirely actually understand it - (I heard different tips from 2 different saleswomen now), but it works. It just uses OODLES of water! I find I use it for creative work pressing, and my Rowenta for ironing my hubby's shirts. Just keep realistic expectations for lifespan...

I also had and sold the Elna Press. Those type of presses apply wonderful pressure over a large surface area and can't be beat for applying fusibles - a la fusible interfacing in a tailored jacket! Other brands are available. I'll just add though that we tried to teach ourselves how to do my hubby's shirts with it - and ended up with only burnt arms to show for it.

Auto-Off or Not??? I never used to think that I would like an iron that automatically turned itself off - but I have one right now, and honestly - I LIKE IT! Actually, I find that am really more economical in my movements, sewing everything possible before needing to shake the iron to 'wake it up' and then proceed to many pressing tasks. All the energy-saving mentality, 'green' thinking of today has gotten to me I guess, but I do feel better not knowing I'm wasting energy the entire time I'm sewing just so that I can have a hot iron exactly when I need it. Then... there is the safety thing. I have to admit that I HAVE left an iron on - overnight - and when I realized it, was mortified! Gheesh - I remember WAY back when I was in K-2nd grade and pretend playing with my 'toy' iron that actually plugged in and heated! I figured out that the only way to let it get hot enough to really iron my dolly's clothes was to leave it on overnight! You don't want to know what my Daddy said when he discovered THAT....!!!

Water? I AM convinced of 2 things: That using Distilled Water and emptying the iron after you are done using it are two keys to success in extending the life of your iron. A salesman once told me that when iron instructions say you can use tap water - they are just insuring your next purchase, because tap water will kill your iron - sure thing.

Ironing Board Pads and Covers

You MUST pad that board - of THAT, I'm 100% convinced. Golden Hands makes a great pad - OR, get old 100% WOOL blankets and cut several layers to cushion your board. You are after a pad that wicks the moisture away from the cover and keeps the cover dry. No molding is a good property as well.....

For the cover, the way I see it - there are 2 schools of thought - either you like a cotton, absorptive ironing board cover, or you like a shiny teflon or other modern-type surface that reflects the heat back onto the fabric. Some claim that a reflective property cuts ironing tie in half. Perhaps that is true for IRONING - like ironing shirts for your man. However, for PRESSING - I really personally believe in the concept of pulling heat THROUGH the fibers and letting the fibers cool - is preferred. The vacuum board we sold at my shop from Euro Pro really, really did that - and it was amazing. I think some of the more expensive systems still use that system. I really like a 100% cotton duck plain ironing board cover myself. Golden Hands is the manufacturer and the owner of that company is at lots of the sewing expos, and you can find his line at Regrettably, I can't get that cover from my supplier right now. I'll stock up when I see him again and let you know! Cecelia Podolak sells a similar one on her website - and NOT any of the reflective covers, so that speaks volumes to me on the side of pulling heat through fibers rather than reflecting them...try both and decide what meets YOUR needs.

Pressing Cloths

My favorites are Press It, Silk Organza, and even a piece of the garment fabric itself. When my dear daughter (good new wife that she is) asked for a pressing lesson and supplies, be assured I gave her a 1/2 yard piece of cream silk organza!

Ironing a Shirt

I think I'll have my son tape this process - but it is how my Grandma did it, how my Mom did it - and how I've done it for years. A wrinkled shirt just says "I don't care" to me! Not on my men - much less myself!

1. Wrong side collar - then right side collar and stand

2. Back Yoke - point of iron extending into sleeve area and down the front yoke area

3. Sleeves - back side first, then front - then cuffs

4. Body - starting with the yoke area of the shirt's right front, then move to do around buttons, and rest of around back of shirt body, and then to left front.

I welcome your comments - add to this posting - let's talk and share!

New Fluffy Italian Trim Piping

A creative designer at the Project Runway competition in Novi at the American Sewing Expo in 2008 purchased my Italian trim in Black and created this great fluffy piping. I kick myself for not recalling her name (write to me if you are her - VERY tall)and for forgetting to include it my newest DVD: Londa's Refined Embellishments for Creative Clothing.

Here is the Italian Trim as you start with it (on the left) and how it ends up (on the right.)

Simply (keeping in those controlling chain stitches!!!), fold it in half and stitch along the edge like this:

Now you have piping that you an insert - just like any you this look as an insertion...

Or this look as a piping on an edge....

If you look closely at this last photo, you can see the chain stitches still controlling it - those need to be removed for it to 'fluff' yet in a controlled way.

This idea is DEFINITELY BULKY - but in the right place, (for example a collar in and of itself!), it could be spectacular!

Send me your photos and I'll include them here.....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

DVD Production SAGA

Ahhh - my basement corner is filled with DVD's - LOTS each of my newest:
Londa's Refined Embellishments for Creative Clothing a 2 hour 40 minute dvd of everything I know and do in creative garments. in a DVD case - all DVD - no text files - though an outline for taking notes can be found HERE. Sheesh - it is even shrink-wrapped!

Creative Sweatshirt Jackets - Ultimate Edition - Version 2
This is a new version that will work in any computer (regardless of age) to easily access the pdf files of the Gallery and the 'Book'. Print them out and you'll have 2full notebooks! In addition - the hour of me 'talking and moving' in your DVD player - TV or computer. Well - there's a story behind this one, a mistake in the original master led to our receipt of 1000 shrink-wrapped discs that I found out were missing the pdf files! So - we promptly ordered new discs - and will have the fun of opening all of them and inserting the new, correct discs! shrink wrap - not a big deal. Lessons learned - lessons learned.
We're just thankful that these were only sold at one show - Cincinnati Creative Festival, and anyone who bought one there just needs to email me at with their mailing address and the COUPON CODE from inside the DVD to verify their purchase.

Sew...instead of throwing them away - we've decided to sell them for just $10 each. Find these HERE. Half of the money made on selling these will go to my current charity project: Miracles in Action - where they sell sewing machines to women and teach them to sew to improve their lives.

Journey to Creativity - or something like that - will (hopefully) be taped yet in August for fall production and distribution. The design and execution (sewing) of at least one jacket - perhaps 2 - will be the topic of this one. Black velvet is still hanging here in my basement 'filming studio'. Workaholic here thought I could do this after return from Cincinnati with my super helper Cyndi, but God put a stop to that with a little house accident. Whewww - what it takes to get my attention and slow me down!

Albuquerque & Branson Vacation Report

I've decided...I prefer green over brown and hills over flat! It had been YEARS since I was in the southwest (like 1976!), so I was excited to go to Albuquerque and hoped to slip in Santa Fe as well. Sew..the Annual Conference of the American Sewing Guild where I taught and had a booth was a wonderful opportunity. My hubby and I have worked shows for all of his vacation time since 2005 - so we decided it was long overdue to take (for the first time) a 2 week vacation!
Venturing out with prayers that Barney the purple Club Van would get us there - outside Missouri the "Check Engine" light went on. To Autozone we go - and that fixed it for a bit. Then in the middle of Oklahoma on a Sunday morning - it comes on again - but God showed up again providing an open place that fixed it right off the highway.
Onto Santa Fe we go - and it comes on AGAIN! I'm not technical enough to share what was wrong - something about mix of oxygen and gas - but there we went to a great guy at the Auto Angel - right down the street. I DO know to always look for ASE as a designation of an honest good mechanic - and each of these were just that!
Santa Fe was great - though lots of stucco and hot! Dry hot? Doesn't make much difference to me - hot is hot and I don't like it! Certainly got our dose of art! Wish there was more fiber art - but there just wasn't. Were excited to schedule a cooking class with some other couples - but then it got cancelled. If you go to Santa Fe, be SURE to take in the Loretto Chapel with the winding un-supported miraculous staircase. Another God thing...
The Conference went fine - but by this time my foot that I must have fell on in some way during a fainting spell (over site of blood!) at my home 3 weeks earlier got aggravated - puffed and hurting like crazy.

Onto Branson, MO. Ahhhh - rolling hills and GREEN! Yea.... Loved it, loved it. SIX was our favorite show - 6 brothers that make absolutely every sound - no orchestra, recordings or anything - definitely our favorite show. Saw old friends lucky enough to live there - and it was goot to re-connect with Marth and Ken. Even looked around at places to buy - move to - a definite possibility in the future!
Went to a DR. regarding my foot - a broken toe! PUt me in a splint up to my knee and crutches - which I quickly determined was medical overkill - I'd have broken my neck on those crutches.
The other thing we loved about Branson is that it is true AMERICANA - patriotic, Christian, plain, simple, down-home: my definition of America. EVERY show gave tribute in some way to our veterans and those currently serving.
Can't recommend Branson, MO highly enough..... go!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Read Good Books - Inspiration for Life!

I love to ties with sewing these days - when I don't need more clothes, and sewing which has turned into my work. I escape with reading - and God speaks to my heart through good Christian writers. I've discovered 2 new favorites these last few months...Robert Whitlow and now Terri Blackstock. They join Neta Jackson and Karen Kingsbury in my list of favorites. Both write mysteries (hey - I loved Nancy Drew as a young girl..) that challenge the problems of life - especially suffering - and face it head-on with God's word. No Pollyanna stories here - but true life, displayed in all its ugliness, hurt, and consequences of bad decisions - held up against the lives of the characters who know God through the life of Jesus...who know the Bible and let it live in and through their lives.

I praise God for these Christian writers and the others He has yet for me to discover. The lives of their characters are growing me - enriching my life as I think God planned all along when He gave this talent and this insight to these writers.

My church library has offered all this to me - and I'm very, very grateful for it. Reading stops my brain from working - and many days, that is just what I need.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I'm OFFENDED - Michael Jackson is NOT the King the first song played at his funeral was written to honor!

OK - like the rest of the world - I'm watching the Michael Jackson funeral on TV ...
I'm crying in sadness for this apostacy...
"Soon and very soon we are going to see the King" - sung for Michael Jackson!????
This song was written in honor of my Lord, and Saviour - the ONLY KING worthy of praise - God's son, Jesus the Christ.
The very, very sad thing is that our society has been so tricked by the evil one - that we conflict such a wonderful Christian Ballad for this human-made king. When will we learn? I can see God crying...

However, I do see that Michael Jackson did grow the God-given talent that he was blessed with to the fullest and it has blessed the world. That is a model we are all well-advised to follow. ANd WOW - could he ever dance!

The message of love and caring that some of his songs send is the one that we all need to embrace. In the end, however, it seems to me - in my humble opinion - that Michael let himself, or allowed others to let himself get in the way. I just fear that his fans have made him into an idol, a 'god' that - perhaps - he never wanted to be.

I do pray that he knew Jesus and is living in everlasting peace that seemed to elude him on this earth.