Domestic Diva's Kreative Kreations
Alterations for Bridal, Prom, Special Occasion and Everyday Clothing! Plus Dressmaking Too!

Domestic Diva's Kreative Kreations

Alterations, Tailoring and Custom Fashion

Write from Kathy's Desk

An online coffee klatch to talk about fashion, decorating, music, sightseeing in St. Ignace and Mackinac Island, ongoing projects, and other things of inspiration to me and my clients.

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Quilting - I Did it all on a Domestic!

Posted by Kathy on March 26, 2013 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Over the weekend I had made a matching reversible apron and potholder set, to send to a silent auction for the Royal Oak Rotary.  I had quite a bit fabric left.  I figured that instead of folding up the left over fabric and putting it away, only to have it take up space in the already over crowded studio/sewing room, I would use that leftover fabric. 

Since aprons and potholders are classified as kitchen related items, I figured I may as well make more kitchen items.  First up is a quilted table runner.  The table runner has quilt blocks in tea pot and tea cups fabric and herbal leaves fabric.  The border consisting of green on green tea leaves fabric.  The backing is an Italian food themed fabric.  After piecing the top and quilting the top to the backing I used the small leftovers to piece together into on large strip for the binding. 

I commonly use Gloria, a Domestic 153 Deluxe sewing machine that was my grandma's from 1950, for piecing the quilt pieces.  After piecing everything together I normally use Hope, a 1978 Kenmore 158.1914 I picked up from the Hope Chest in St. Ignace, MI, for the quilting. 

Hope is a terrific can-do-all machine.  She was considered state of the art during her time and is still coveted by vintage Kenmore collectors.  When I bought her she came with all the original accessories.  Although I had to purchase a walking foot from a seller on eBay.  Fortunately it was the original coveted Kenmore walking foot, not a no name after market part.

For this project I decided I did not want to pull Hope out of her cabinet and have to thread and adjust the settings.  In the apron project I used Gloria for a stitch in the ditch to attach the quilt side to the the solid side, using the basic straight stitch foot.  The apron itself does not have any quilting, just a quilted look on the fabric.  Yet I still needed to keep everything to stay just as I would need to do on a quilting project.  I was very pleased with the way that turned out.  I also used Gloria for quilting the potholders, and was pleased with the results.  I decided to be brave and attempt actual quilting using Gloria, on a larger project. 

Since Gloria is a vintage rotary style machine, there was never a walking foot made for the machine.  Neither during back in the day, nor aftermarket.  So I had to do this old school.  There is a quilting foot attachment included with the machine.  It is similar to the traditional straight stitch foot but it is more like a modern open toe foot, with the "toes" being shorter. 

 As you can see from the photo above, I used pins as opposed to basting.  Even the the instruction manual states to baste when quilting with the machine, I felt I had more of a tighter control of the top with pinning.  I did need to tighten the presser foot pressure more than when simply piecing the cotton together.  Even though the manual says to loosen the pressure.  But that may be due to the quilting the manual was talking about was when quilting on top of the fabric.  I also needed to raise the feed dogs on the bottom, in order to move the fabric through smoothly. 

In all, I think Gloria did a really good job.  If not better, at least just as good.  I did have to run the machine a bit slower than I would using a walking foot on Hope.  I am not sure if this is due to the technique or I am just not used to quilting with Gloria.  The end result gave the quilt a more old fashioned "puffy" look on the top.  The stitching on the back had more of an old fashioned "softer" look.

As for the binding, I think I got even better results using Gloria than Hope, for attaching the binding.  I switched back to the straight stitch foot for the binding. Even though the straight stitch foot is just a slight pinch less than the standard 1/4 inch for attaching binding, somehow the stitching did end up being 1/4 inch. This may have to do with the bulk of the quilting.

In all, would I use her to work on a larger quilting project?  I am not sure.  I think I may work more on potholders and table runners with her before attempting a full size quilt.  Perhaps a small lap quilt is in the future for Gloria.... 

 

Modeling in Fashion Show

Posted by Kathy on March 22, 2013 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Went to the Hope Chest in St. Ignace, MI today.  The Hope Chest is a community involvement thrift shop, with a food pantry/food bank attached.  It is a co-op through all the local churches and charities.  And the best part?  Purchases are at will!  That means that none of the items have prices, buyer pays an amount they can afford or would like to see go towards the charity.  There is also a bi-weekly silent auction, where the starting bid is set and the winner is contacted after the auction end.

Anyways, for my purpose of being at the Hope Chest today.  They are holding a fashion show with some of the hip, happening and modern clothing items available for purchase.  Some of them being formal wear too.  Too young for me, but the dresses were super cute.  I tried on a few items.  That's right, I'm gonna be modeling in the show!  How cool is that?  Being in my thirties and all, I had to be careful not to choose anything too young looking, but not too older either.  I donated a formal dress and a jewelry set for the show, that they can keep for purchases too. 

I won't give away too much, but of the items I picked out one was a leopard print top.  I found a couple dresses to wear.  One totally accentuates my curves.  It is newer, but it is so tres Bettie Page!  I won't be surprised if I get a couple proposals from strangers when the fellas see me in this ;) .

The show will be held at the Little Bear East Arena in St. Ignace, MI on April 28.  I was told most likely at 2 pm.  But that is tentative.  I will add the info to the Upcoming Events Page, and update as I receive more information.

Updating the Website Part IV

Posted by Kathy on March 21, 2013 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (0)

This is a continuation of the previous three posts Updating the Website Parts I, II & III.  Read all posts below to catch up.

Some of the things touched on in the previous posts was social networking, items for sale, Pay Pal and using my own personal experiences with online shopping.  Let's get more into how I utilized my own personal experience onto the website.

One of the main issues is when I land on another websites page is I like to be able to find the link to the home page if I like the content that I have viewed.  I am sure this is the case with many.  You will notice that with all but one or two of the pages there is a large pink and black banner at the top with the Domestic Diva's Kreative Kreations name.  Clicking on this banner will link viewers directly to the home page.  This is easier to see than looking for the home page at the top of the pages crowded with all the other page links. 

Another issue at hand is social networking.  I have added liking and sharing buttons for the major social networks that most people have accounts with, at the bottom of all the pages that allowed me to add them.  I have also added widgets to the right hand sidebar for the Facebook page and my Twitter profile updates.  Wesite viewers can catch up with what is going on through either of these pages/profiles.  They can even choose to follow me on those sites.  For the Twitter widget, you can even respond to my tweets directly from this site!  On some of the relevant sites I added a Pinterest widget at the bottom with previews of postings on my Pinterest account.  The postings there are a combination photos of my own work and photos other users have posted that inspire me. 

The update that is probably of the utmost importance is adding albums to the photos page.  With the combination being a fashion based business and working from home I need more than ever to show what I am able to do.  Not have a storefront hinders that somewhat.  Through the website I have the ability to show my work.  Most of the albums are before and after of alterations work and sewing projects that show the start to finish process.  I have not kept that page up on this site.  I have added a multitude of photos to the Facebook page.  I will be going through the photos of projects I posted there and gradually copy them onto this site. 

Another issue of significance is being able to let potential customers know what sewing projects I am available to do.  When you click on the links at the top of the page for certain types of sewing will give exact details of what I can do in those categories.  There are also links of importance to residents, visitors and workers on Mackinac Island.  I give details on how arrangements can be made for alterations between St. Ignace and the island.  Due to not having a storefront it is very important that I have a page for location and hours.  There is also a Google map on that page where you can view how to get here. 

In conclusion I hope to continue any updates that I feel are needed and will make the website as easily navigable as possible.  I welcome all questions and suggestions about the website.

Updating the Website Part III

Posted by Kathy on March 21, 2013 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (0)

This is a continuation of the previous two posts Updating the Website Parts I & II Read both posts below to catch up.

There is an option for a designated online store for this website.  But with the subscription I have with the web server, I can only add 10 items at a time.  Actually the main reason I had opted to sell on Etsy was the ability to sell an unlimited amount of items on the site.  But each listing is charged a listing fee, plus in addition to the Pay Pal seller's fee, Etsy charges a percentage after the item is sold. 

I found a way that I could create an individual page to sell items, using the website.  I was able to create a page for certain categories.  Create two columns on each sale page.  Post a photo for each item, along with a description for said items.  Then I created individual Pay Pal buttons to go along with each item.  This does take a bit more work than listing on Etsy, or even on the designated online store for the website.  But in the end it is worth it.  I am given more personal control of how things are displayed.  I can leave the items on the site for however long I choose without being charged.  Plus, I only get charged a seller fee from Pay Pal. 

Besides items for sale, I also offer gift certificates for sale.  Gift certificates can be purchased for online purchases.  Simply have Pay Pal email the certificate to the recipient or print out the certificate to give to the recipient.  They can type in the code after they have selected their purchases.  Gift certificates can also be purchased for in person purchases.  Those certificates can also be purchased online or in person.  To purchase online choose the button that corresponds to the amount you would like to purchase.  I will send the certificate to you through the mail or email to be printed out. 

Speaking of Pay Pal; one of the updates to the site is adding Pay Pal buttons.  One of the frustrations I have when online shopping with an online shopping site I have never purchased from is trying to search to see if Pay Pal is one of the payment options.  I want customers to see that, yes, I do accept Pay Pal as one of the options.  For those new to using Pay Pal, they can click on the Pay Pal buttons that will direct them to the Pay Pal site giving them all the information about Pay Pal.  From there they can get a Pay Pal account.  Pay Pal is my preffered method of paying when I am shopping online.  I can use the funds directly from my Pay Pal account, debit card or bank account.  And whether the site is for a large corporation or a small business, the company will not be able to view any of my personal financial information, making it a safe and secure transaction. 

Updating the Website Part II

Posted by Kathy on March 21, 2013 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

This is a continuation of the previous post Updating the Website Part I.  Read the post below to catch up.

Well, it is winter here in the upper peninsula, and do I mean it is WINTER. I was quite busy during the end of November and December, up to just before Christmas. I thought the projects would never end.  Then things started tapering down towards the end of January, to almost nothing at the middle of February to current as of this writing.  I am getting in quick fixes and I still have the bridesmaid project that I am waiting on for fittings of the college age girls, then I can forward on that.  (For more information about the bridesmaid project scroll down on the blog for that post.)  With St. Ignace being mainly a spring/summer tourist town the slow periods are to be expected, not just with alterations but all over the area.  It can be rather a bummer to not have work to do in these times. 

I had started making items for sale to sell on Etsy back in the begining of November, to have for back up for the slow periods.  Sales were so-so.  There are some good and bad about Etsy.  The good is that many people have heard of Etsy.  It is the go to place for those looking to buy handmade goods.  The bad is that there are so many other sellers on there.  Sellers can get lost in the shuffle.  

A friend suggested that I use my website to sell the items I have for sale.  What are those you ask?  I have quite a variety of items for sale.  Many items are crafts using leftover fabric left from personal projects and/or customer projects, along with clothing too.  The fabric crafts come in a variety of items, from change purses, wine bottle gift bags, potholders, casserole carriers, winter hats and scarves, and much more!  I also have an eclectic array of beaded jewelry, designed and made by me.  Some jewelry is made using vintage crystals from older necklaces that were given to me or that I had picked up at thrift stores and garage sales.  The glass beaded jewelry is made with new beads, with a fun artsy twist. 

Not to leave out my favorite project; is the Rockabilly collection.  These are made with glass beads that have a modern angular shapes.  They are inspired by the older costume jewelry that persons of my generation could find in their grandmother's jewelry boxes, but with a couture refined look.  The inspiration came from  iconic mid-century songs, pop culture and of course the car culture of the time.  The color schemes are bright, bold, cool, funky and mostly tu-tone in nature. 

I also have beading and sewing supplies, new, used, vintage patterns, and also some household goods for sale.   How do you purchase these items?  Simply click one of the links to the right under Handmade Items for Sale.  Or choose from the drop down menu under Items for Sale at the top of the page.  I accept Pay Pal online.  Even if you don't have Pay Pal you can use your debit or credit card through Pay Pal.  I am always available for anyone to view items in person.  Contact me for an appointment. 

Updating the Website Part I

Posted by Kathy on March 21, 2013 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (0)

For at least a year, possibly longer, I have been neglecting the website.  I merely assumed that people would just randomly find the wesite with the stale content; a photo page with no new photos, a blog with no updates, etc. 

My theory was that I could reach a larger audience on the Facebook Page.  From there I could post photos of before and projects, my own projects and custom projects for customers.  Update page fans on projects and local happenings in the area and northern Michigan area.  Share interesting posts I found on Facebook of classic cars, retro/vintage things, and of course fashion!  Page fans would like and share the posts.  Their friends would see what I had to offer.  But I was wrong. 

Don't get me wrong.  Facebook is a great social media tool for spreading the word about Domestic Diva's Kreative Kreations and available work.  Despite how many fans a page has, only a fraction of those fans will be reached.  The only ones who will see the posts are those who are logged into Facebook at the moment an update has been posted.  Even still not everyone logged in at the moment will see the post.  Combine that with the fact that those seeking alterations will not search for alterations work on Facebook. 

I have a Twitter account.  I have mostly used that just for socializing.  On occasion I would type in quick updates, in 140 characters or less.  Link to the website.  But when the content is stale, as mentioned above, that is not going to generate much business.  It gets rather boring for followers to see same old same old repeats.  Even with Twitter, only a fraction of followers who are logged on at the moment will see the links and content.  When posting links and updates, I need to remember that some followers have seen the content already.  Some followers have not seen the content yet.  It's a balancing act of not seeming like a broken record nor making the "first timers" feel out of the loop.

Getting Professional Alterations Done

Posted by Kathy on February 26, 2013 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (0)

When your clothing may not fit quite right you may need alterations done.  But how?  That's a good question.  Depending on your own sewing ability and the task at hand, you may be able to do it yourself.  It depends on your own ability and how "perfect" you want the end result.  When original stitching needs to be torn out and stitched "on the inside" to make the outfit look like it came off the rack that way, you may not want to do it yourself.  Formal dresses with lining is a very good example of this.  Because of the delicate construction one must be VERY careful in ripping out seams.  Even if you don't touch the satin with the seam ripper sometimes the actual threads will rip the satin while taking them out.  Replacing a zipper in heavier items takes careful prepping.  It is not as easy as taking out the old zipper, pinning and running under the sewing machine.  Hemming is not too complicated.  Measure where you need the new hem to end.  Unless you are lengthening, cutting will be involved.  It is best to have tracing paper in different colors.  Mark, figure out how much turn under you want, and cut according to the turn over NOT the hem.  It is best to have a rotary cutter.  When done properly, mending and darning can be done with as minimal showing of the spot.

Now that it is has been established that you will prefer to hire someone to fix your items how do contact a seamstress or tailor?  Look in the phone book, online or ask around town.  Many of the dry cleaners and clothing stores will know who to contact.  Now that you have found someone who can fix your items how do you contact them?  If you find them online there will usually be a phone number or email address, or they may even have a Faceook page that you can contact them that way.  The person in your town who referred you to them will have their contact info.  Once you contact them they will schedule you for an appointment or you may be able to get in right then.  But it is best to call first, as they may be in a fitting with a customer and the customer may get embarassed by someone showing up while they are being measured.  

What will happen at your appointment?  Depending on the task it may just require dropping off the item and giving your contact info.  Or you may have to try on the clothing and have it pinned.  Bigger jobs will require measurings.  The seamstress or tailor will be sensitive to this.  He/she will tell you where they are going to measure and tell you how to pose while being measured.  Sometimes she may tell a silly joke to lighten the tension.  If she tells a stupid joke, just ignore her, she means well.     

More Details About Prom Dress Contest

Posted by Kathy on February 23, 2013 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Yes, there has already been a backer for the prom dress project.  The monies is already available for the project once the winner has been chosen and she will choose the fabric and other supplies, such as lining, netting, embellishments, etc.  I am always willing to accept more donations, for which I will give the donor credit unless they wish to stay annonymous.  What will happen is I will contact the person who nominated the winner.  They in turn will ask the family to contact me.  I will set up a consultation with the young lady and her mother or guardian.  She can show photos of what she is looking for and/or I will show her photos of patterns and dresses.  Once the style has been established we will search online for the farbric and supplies needed.  I will only use the highest quality farbric and embellishments available. 

While $50 may seem like a low amount compared to what dresses cost online and instores, most of what you are paying for is the labor.  Which unfortunately the majority does not go to the person sitting behind the sewing machine.  Depending on the factory, the sewer may only see pennies on the dollar for the work done, if even that.  Most of the monies goes to the corporation selling you the dress.  You, the consumer are only paying a fraction of the dress towards the fabric.  These dresses do take a while to make, which is why you will pay a lot towards having the dress made when made by an independent small business. 

Again, I will not be charging labor for making the dress.  The winner will not be paying anything for supplies.  According to the modern styles, the $50 should be more than enough to cover the total cost of the dress.  The most amount of fabric I should be needing is 3 yards, if even that.  I may need to order fabric for lining; lace, chiffon, contrasting satin, crystals, pearls, sequins, etc. for embellishment; nylon netting for crinoline underneath or above.

To nominate yourself or someone else simply go to the https://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/Domestic-Divas-Alterations-and-Tailoring/250371067920" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Domestic Diva's Facebook Page and leave a comment on the timeline as to why you think this person should win a free prom dress.  Or a girl can simply post a picture of her dream dress.  The girl must be a La Salle (St. Ignace High School) student eligible to attend the 2013 prom.

Win a Free Prom Dress!

Posted by Kathy on February 23, 2013 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

All LaSalle High School girls who are eligible to attend prom are eligible to enter the contest. Nominate a young lady, or yourself, you think is deserving of a free custom made prom dress and why. Please be sensitive to the fact that this is teenagers we are dealing with. So do not post too personal of details. Talk of her school accomplishments or work ethic outside of school, for example.

This will give a young lady a dress that absolutely no one else will have. She will be able to pick out the exact fabric she wants for the style she would like.

Contest starts now until February 28, 2013 at 6pm. Winner will be chosen by Facebook fans or the local community. After a winner has been chosen I will immediately schedule a consultation with the young lady and her mother where we will pick look, style, color, fabric and any embellishments.

An anonymous $50 donation has been made towards the project. If any business or individual would like to contribute I will give that business/person credit, unless they choose to be anonymous.

Working on Bridesmaid Dress

Posted by Kathy on February 23, 2013 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Today's agenda? Gonna finish up one of the bridesmaid dresses for the Septemer bridal project I am working on. I worked a good portion of it yesterday. I made the chiffon bodice and skirt.  Today I need to add the chiffon skirt to the bodice.  Attach the chiffon to the dress.  Make the loops in back and make the ribbons to go through the loops.  The embellishments are still enroute as of this writing.  The final dress will not e revealed until after the ceremony.  Depending on time contsraints I may start in on the satin bases of the other dresses, readying them for the fittings. 

I have already taken pictures and emailed/Facebooked to the bride.  I'll tell ya what, pink is a fickle color when it comes to photography.  The color looks really pretty in person and photographed in natural light.  Which I am certain the professional photographer the bride hires will be able to make the dress colors look correct in the photos.  As for me, I just have a simple hot pink Cannon camera, mostly for home use and trips.  The color looks better at night indoors than indoors during the day.  This is a good thing as the ceremony will be outdoors in the afternoon and an indoors reception in the evening.


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