Friday, May 23, 2008

My Samples

The past few days have brought about some talk of samples out here in the sewing world. This is how I handle mine. I make samples for just about everything I put to the machine. Sometimes it is just pure play. Other times it is purely functional. On the left are some woolen samples I did. I made a jacket in the houndstooth and did the bound buttonholes with a purchased whipped piping. It was black with copper whipping. Loved that jacket and its still tucked in the back of the closet.

This is a great way to get to know your machine, stitch by stitch and foot by foot. At one point I had the samples in sheet protectors in a binder but that got too cumbersome. So now I just keep them in a plastic box. I refer to my box often, sometimes just for inspiration and other times for specific technique. Sometimes I forget I know how to do something!
When I make samples I do all sorts of trial runs with different stitch lengths, threads, needles, tensions, etc. When I firm up on the way I like the technique best I take a Pigma pen and write on the sample all of the above and any other pertinent info. I use abbreviations, N-needle, SL-stitch length, T-tension, etc. If I am trying a technique I have seen in a book or magazine, I abbreviate that too.
If I am trying a technique I saw in "Fine Machine Sewing" on page 47, I will take the pen and write "FMS-47" and now I know exactly where to look up the technique if I need further info. If the technique comes from a magazine, ie, Sew Beautiful, page 28, it will say "SB-28.
I have found this to be time really well spent. It can be mindless fun or a garment specific endeavor. Either way, I end up with lots of samples at the ready next time I need a little inspiration.

The finger is a little better. I didn't do any sewing today but did manage to clean the pink cave.

As we sip our lemonades and grill our burgers, lets remember those many who have given the ultimate sacrifice so we can embrace our freedoms. May we never forget how much they gave. I say that for all the generations of men and woman who have gone before as well as our soldiers who are now serving. May they come home soon to enjoy their own freedoms and families in this wonderful country of ours.


  1. Hmm. I make samples, too, for everything, but I rarely keep them so organized like you. I keep them as a reference for the duration of the project and then get rid of them. It doesn't help that I rarely sew the same fabric thread combination anyway, especially with the art garments. I'm actually going to sew samples tonight if I have time!

  2. A loud AMEN ! to your words on our soldiers. Glad your finger is coming along, take care and let us all remember to pray for our troops and our veterans.

  3. That's a brilliant idea with the samples. Hope your finger keeps improving!

  4. The finger is better and I am back from our weekend off. I can't wait to get sewing and posting again. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

  5. Bunny, found a website I wanted to make sure you knew about! Elegant stitches
    I was able to buy a bunch of sewing notions, and saw that they have a lot in the way of smocking, so I thought of you!


  6. How nice of you to show how your samples are done & well-categorized, Bunny!!
    Warm greetings,
    Rhonda in Montreal (PR)

  7. Thanks for the link, Kristine. Going to check it out when done here.
    Hi neighbor!Thanks for stopping by, Rhonda. I am about 55 minutes from Montreal in way upstate NY.


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