Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Tale of the Serger I Wanted to Smash

A few weeks ago I shared this image and many commented & chorused my misery. We were sisters and brothers, bound together by a single life altering experience. We all wanted to smash our serger machines to smitherines. (Wondering what is a serger? Click here)

As it started, my first purchase of a home serger was nearly 8 years ago. I purchased the Singer 14CG754 Profinish Overlock Serger on sale one day at Joanns for around $200. Up til then, my boys' tees had been constructed on my sewing machine with a simple zig zag finish- but I felt that in order to have an official business; making/selling custom clothing I needed to produce professionally finished seams for garments with a serger. Basically that's all I knew when I went to the store that day. Oh and from what I read on the internet I would dread threading the machine or altering the tension in any direction for fear of never getting a balanced stitch again. When we got home I set the machine up for a 3 thread overlock and that's the only stitch I ever ran.

I believe there's a worse fate for a sewing machine or tool of any type, beyond smitherines. That's sitting in a corner collecting dust. Eventually that little Profinish filled me with frustration (which I recognize now to be several factors: I was afraid of the machine, which is silly. I never took time to understand the mechanics of how a serger worked. I bought crumby quality thread that broke.) and I packed it back up in the original box where it sat in the corner for a few years. At this point- I, personally, was confident enough in my knit sewing skills that I could construct any garment "well enough" and despite the fact it took me twice as long to complete one. I felt it was justified for the comparison in time I fiddled and fumbled around the serger. Slowly the Profinish got covered in by a scrap pile and was never heard from again.

Until more recently I've lived a blissful serger free life. That's what I thought until one day I found myself behind the seams of an industrial overlocker/serger. My heart skips a beat when I think about that moment- I was sewing up tees and gosh how smooth and easy (and all that table space!!) That experience compared to my Profinish got me thinking about the serger in a whole new way. I no longer want to smash my serger to smitherines and I urge you not to do it either! (I also no longer have a Profinish!)

If you're experiencing a love/hate relationship with your overlock/serger, are considering buying one, own one and don't know how to use it or have any questions I'd love to hear from you in the comments- What are you biggest frustrations or fears when it comes to serger sewing?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

What I'm Working On Spoiler Alert: It's NOT Quilt Market Related

Last week I went on a mini shop hop tour and visited some of my favorite local quilt shops. Now, you should understand that I use the word local very loosely. Here in my hometown- there are zero quilt shops. The next town over has a small shop but it's primarily very traditional fabrics and the colors range from mauve to mustard to snow flakes. We do have a Michaels and a Hobby Lobby though if I get in a tight pinch. On any account, if I need some good Floriani or OESD (embroidery products) or want to grab a new presser foot for my machine- I'm driving at least an hour away.

With all of that being said I don't often make it out to my dealer, or any of the others as often as I'd like. However, I've started stitching up samples for my upcoming lectures at BERNINA University in July- and I need fabrics (and some other supplies too) so I dropped by both Pennington Quilt Works in Pennington New Jersey and Steve's Sewing, Vacuuming, and Quilting in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania this week.

Choosing fabrics, is like a thorn in my side. I love admiring prints and colors but when it comes to pulling things together all of the options make my head spin. It takes days. Weeks! I call in back up for help and I'm grateful that I have talented friends who put up with me and my fits. I started with this color palette.

This particular lecture is geared towards designing an eco home. Before I'm even sewing samples I'm thinking about how the room will be set up, the items displayed (not just laid across a table!), the colors used in my presentation the fonts etc and what roles they play in the overall experience.

We have some fabrics here and much of the work from here will be behind the scenes- but I'll be sure to share a few glimpses on techniques and other fun things along the way. I'm excited to share more about the new overlocker/serger too!

In addition to prepping for BU, this weekend is our local Comicon so I've been doing some final touches on costumes. Plus I'm still working on a collaboration quilt using beautiful fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics.

Wishing everyone heading to Salt Lake City an amazing and connected time with friends and fellow makerlys folks. I'll be here hopping between projects. Do you work on more than 1 project at a time? Don't read this- So You Think You Can Multitask? Think Again.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Monday, May 2, 2016

Welcoming May with Music

Welcoming May, in some ways it gives me a sense that I can gasp again at fresh air! My calendar was packed in April and the warm sun in the skies has been keeping us outside on on adventures longer. Yay!

I had a wonderful time down on The Perfect Christmas Tree Farm Saturday, celebrating Earth Day with the Lopatcong Creek Initiative Project. In addition to the REuse Market there were demonstrations, hay rides, and much more. I brought along the #bigballoftshirtyarn and demonstrated some no sew upcycled t-shirt crafts from The Upcycled T-Shirt through out the day.

This weekend we also celebrated a 7th birthday. SEVEN!? It's hard to believe my little man is already getting so big. Which just reminded me... there's still ice cream cake in the freezer and no one else is home! I'm still unloading and reorganizing after the weekend, making a few tutu's, just added eat cake to my list even though I really want to catch up on sleep - while listening to this mix the perfect reminder to just keep pushing through.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Spring Clean Your Studio

I absolutely love getting a chance to breathe in the creative spaces of others and recently I had the chance to spend some quality time with my friend Jess of Quilty Habit in her home studio. As I at her desk and looked around at stacks of projects, scribbled notebooks, (oh my goodness her pretty fabrics!?!) and not to mention the freaking amazing quilts EVERYWHERE can honestly tell you I didn't notice a n y messes. She apologized for them, but I was honed in on soaking up inspiration all around me and asking her as many questions as I could. We always have such a great time when we get together!

This morning as I sat down to write this I thought, I wish I could the same thing with/for all of you. Invite you over, pull up a chair & just chat about anything. As luck would find us, Cheryl my darling friend invited me to join her annual Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop. Behold, us! (link, in case you want to see what we look like in real life) Welcome to where the magic happens, or at least parts of it. I'll show you around. First, let me say Hello! and introduce myself a little to any new readers- I'm Jenelle! I design sustainable sewing projects, sell upcycled ruler bracelets, am a published author, and have a clothing line for boys called TrashN2Tees. I live in New Jersey (and miss my old Kentucky home everyday- I'll go on about it for days if you let me) with my honey & our two boys. When I'm not sewing; we're out discovering treasures at local flea markets and thrift store, firing up the coal forge, and eating pizza.

My studio space is always evolving, because 1. I'd much rather chase down ideas than clean up and 2. I'm always evolving as a designer. Curiosity is tickling the tips of my toes right now, can't wait to get back to work! What I'm trying to say is, it's okay to try new set ups and tools or move things around- nothing is permanent and at the end of the day you want to have a space that feeds that desire in your belly to make something beautiful.

There ya go, not a picture I'm proud of putting on the interwebs. A hot freaking mess- this space ends up being a catch all for everything and anything in the mix. Time for some spring cleaning...

My 'stash' takes up quite a bit of room. It's not traditional fabrics- but hoards and hoards of discarded textiles and t-shirts. Those are kept quazi sorted in my basement and storage. The fabric you're about to witness in the next picture is almost the total amount of quilting cotton or ya know regular ole' fabric that I own. 

On my travels I collect little vintage dodads, scissors, seam rippers, they go with the 15 vintage machines I have down stairs. It's a sickness. I keep what I can around the house and in my studio space without looking like a hoarder! This display of sorts sits upon an old black set of drawers that keep all of my branding materials for shipping products- business cards, mailers, inserts, so on. The jars are sitting up on old drawers from a Singer Treadle. 

I wimped out on the challenge, because I didn't clean off my desk- so just to keep it honest I'll sign off with a glimpse. I hope you've been enjoying the blog hop so far and thank you for joining me here on the TrashN2Tees stop! Be sure to check out all the great studio spaces & share your own by linking up tomorrow on! 

April 20th- Toni Smith -
April 21st - Sam Hunter -
April 22nd - Tracey Mooney -
April 23rd - Pepper Cory -
April 24th - Lisa Chin -
April 25th - Andrea Davis -
April 26th - Misty Cole -
April 27th - Amalia Morusiewicz -
April 28th - Jenelle Montilone -

April 29th - Cheryl Sleboda -

While you're here be sure to read up on Protecting Your Sewing Investments When Disaster Strikes

Monday, April 18, 2016

Fabric Manipulation and Textures with Knits

The ebb and flow of this creative journey is alluring isn't it? I truly never really know where I'm heading- even when I've written out a concise clear color coded plan. (It doesn't turn out quite like I try to plan!) But even so... I continue to embrace the opportunities and explore those that tickle the utmost wanderings and desires of my heart I feel a little like Goldilocks bouncing from chair to chair testing out.

Lately you might be noticing some quilting and lots of experiments with textures like this on the back of a quilt. It was done by adding layers of knit, line quilting, and then meticulously cutting between the rows careful not to go through the front. I'll be sharing a few more textures in the upcoming weeks here and you can always see more works in progress on Instagram

Monday, March 28, 2016

Instagram & The Fear Of Missing Out

Before I even had a cup of coffee this morning, I knew today was going to be different. The shifting began a few weeks ago when Instagram announced they'd be shaking up the order you see posts on their network. Many of you watched, and some even joyed, as hundreds of people I know personally flocked to Ello. I'm not even clear on what Ello is, still. I'm stubborn and a tad bit too lazy to take on yet another 'fad' network.

As I tucked myself in this morning preparing my soap box full of love and get over it my pal Cody of Lu & Ed sent this pretty post across my screen:  Why I'm Not Asking Instagram Followers To Turn On Notifications
Cody wrote everything I was thinking and then some- including excellent tips on keeping your followers engaged and (zoinks!) how these changes can actually benefit your brand. Head over there and check it out.


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