Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Going on now until May 10, treat Mom to the special day she deserves at Mary Jo's! Enjoy crazy deals on Baby Lock sewing machines and serger machines, $5 in MJ Bucks for every $25 you spend on gift cards as well as 'must have' hobby tables!
Part 1Here at Mary Jo's Cloth Store, we consider ourselves family. In that same spirit, we decided it was time to introduce our family to yours! Take a few minutes and get to know our instructors, aka the 'Sew Sistas', on a personal level.
Sew Sistas Q&A with Mary Sue Christenbury
Birthday: January 16
Can you tell us a little about your life story?
I was born in Summerville, SC. Graduated from Clemson University with a BS in Marketing. I also have CE credits from Greenville Technical College in Pattern Design and CE credits in Sign Language I, II, and III.
After college, I worked as a manager for Uptons in Greenville, SC. My family relocated to NC in 1992 and have lived here ever since.
Currently I have many jobs. Through high school, I worked in retail and when I was in college.Since that time, I have taught in a private Christian school, been a teacher’s assistant in the public school system, and a substitute interpreter for the deaf and hearing impaired. I currently am the CFO for Kings Mountain Crisis Ministry and own a home based screen embroidery, sewing and screen printing business. I also do minor home repairs, painting, pressure washing, and cleaning or whatever else needs to be done.
How did your love affair with sewing come to be?
I’ve been sewing since I was 11 years old. It was very difficult for me to find clothes that were tall and that fit properly, so I started sewing. A very sweet lady from our church came over to my house for about an hour or so and showed me a few things and I’ve been sewing ever since.
What is your favorite project?
My favorite sewing projects are ‘one of a kind’ items. For example: Custom Designed & Embroidered Window Treatments, Wedding Dresses, Bedroom Ensembles, Custom Embroidered Reupholstered Furniture, and Original Dresses.
What is your favorite class to teach?
I enjoy teaching Sewing Concepts and Pattern Drafting. Both classes present their own set of challenges, but I truly enjoy sharing and teaching what I know and seeing the results when someone is amazed at how it all comes together. I truly enjoy the facet that students can take and use the information learned in these classes and apply it to any sewing or designing project.
If you could have any superpower in the world what would it be?
I think my ‘super power’ would be making people smile even when they don’t feel like it. We’ve all heard, ‘if your happy, notify your face.” Well, I believe that we should smile at people every day. You never know what people are going through and what a difference you can make with a simple smile. A simple smile is good for others around you, but it may also change your attitude as well. So SMILE!
Get your smile on with Mary Sue in her Pattern Drafting class this month.
Class: Pattern Drafting
When: Tues May 13, 6pm - 9 pm Description: Learn how to take exact body measurements and make a Body Glove Pattern out of muslin. Learn to cut & spread body glove to make a pattern that fits you perfect. Adapt body glove to make your own Pattern. Fee: $100
Please call the store at 704-861-9100 to reserve your spot today!
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
We have a special guest contributing to our blog today; Cammie Berger, owner of Cammie Berger Interiors, a custom drapery workroom located in Charlotte, NC. Cammie is sharing a very special sewing project. We love this story, and know you will too! Thank you Cammie for sharing this story with us.
|Cammie Berger with a special friend in Guatemala|
Sewing for a living is a wonderful thing, but the real joy comes when I can use my gifts to serve others. Many years ago, my church, Christ the King Lutheran in Charlotte, NC started supporting Casa Bernabe orphanage outside of Guatemala City, Guatemala.
Over the years, this ministry expanded to a more needy area called Chimaltanango. While the children at the orphanage are clothed, fed, loved, and educated, many of the children in “Chimal” sleep on a dirt floor every night and spend their days rummaging through the city dump where they live, trying to find something useful to sell for food. From the beginning, I felt a calling to go, but the timing was just never right. (I have since learned that the timing is never right, so don’t use that excuse like I did. Just go!)
One of my sisters in Winston-Salem started sewing pillowcase dresses for another mission group, and I became curious. When I mentioned it to my Pastor, he told me that another girl at my church had already started making them for the next team going to Guatemala. I found an easy pattern online at Nancy’s Notions (see a copy here), put a collection box in our church foyer and we got right to business. We called our mission “Lots of Little Dresses” and the simple supplies of pillowcases, elastic and bias tape came pouring in!
I have a large studio space in my home, which is used during the day for my wholesale drapery business, so it was transformed at night and on weekends into a pillowcase dressmaking studio!
There were women from all parts of my life…neighbors, friends from church, co-workers and relatives. They either carted their own machines over, or used one of mine. If they couldn’t sew, they would cut out the armholes, or iron. At one point there were twelve people doing various jobs at once; it was quite the production line!
Since most everyone in Guatemala is very small in stature, we made mostly small and medium sizes. Some of the pillowcases were cut-off, to be made shorter and we even cut some down in width. When we ran out of elastic, we would use ribbon. When we ran out of ribbon, we would use bias tape. When we ran out of bias tape, we would make our own out of scrap. You get the idea!! We did use mostly pillowcases, but also some sheets, and some regular fabric.
What a great feeling to come together for a unified purpose; to help clothe our fellowman. These are the bare necessities of life and we were being used by God to provide them. The first year we made around 80 dresses, and the second year we made over 200! The feeling of community that you experience when you are working towards a common goal is like no other. Sharing the gift of sewing, and then seeing the joy on a little girl’s face when she puts on her very first new dress ever…, well, it just doesn't get much better than that!
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Experience something different this summer, and learn how to master a new skill at summer camp at Mary Jo's Cloth Store!
Mary Jo’s Quilting Summer Camp
Who: Kids 9 and up
When: Monday – Thursday, June 23 – 26 & July 21 – 24
Camp includes fabric kit and thread
*In this camp kids will learn all key steps while making their first quilt. Camp includes fabric kit, with thread, and a BL9 Bbay Lock sewing machine.
Pricing: $230 with take home machine and fabric/thread kit
Mary Jo’s Sewing Summer Camp
Who: Kids 9 and up
When: Monday – Thursday, June 16 – 19 & July 14 – 17
Camp includes fabric kit and thread
*In this camp kids will learn all key steps while making fun projects. Camp includes fabric kit, with thread, and a BL9 Bbay Lock sewing machine.
Pricing: $230 with take home machine and fabric/thread kit
When you visit our store you will find a lot of fabric! Yes, we love fabric and try to keep a wide selection for our customers. Our hope is that you find the perfect fabric for your quilting, garment and home décor projects!
Sometimes the fabric is “perfect” because of the color. You may have purchased twenty-five yards of a beautiful damask fabric for new curtains because it was just the right shade of yellow, but when you returned several months later to purchase more fabric to slipcover a chair it didn't match. How can this be? It is the same fabric!
|An example of cuttings of the same fabric from three different dye lots|
What happened is the new bolt and the old bolt were from different dye lots. A good explanation of dye lots can be found in the book Textiles: Fabrics, Application and Historic Style by Karla J. Nielson.
“One batch of dye solution is referred to as a job lot or dye lot, and the dyed or printed textiles within that dye lot are exactly the same. When subsequent batches are mixed according to the master or standard formula, they may be slightly different. This means that a set piece-goods bolt may be just off from the standard, and a precise match may be impossible”.
For this reason it is always best practice to purchase all the fabric you will need at once. Never assume you will be able to buy more of the same fabric later. If you do return to our store, looking for additional yardage of the same fabric, bring a cutting of the original fabric to compare.
|The dye lots of this chevron fabric are slightly different, one is darker than the other|
This applies to all types of fabric from quilting to upholstery – dye lots can vary slightly or a great deal. The good news is that this is not a common problem, but one that should be considered as you plan your next sewing project.
Monday, April 7, 2014
During the recent Spring Fever Event, our friend Susan Woodcock, owner of HomeDecGal.com, was in the store sharing how-to make a variety of upholstery projects including a pretty headboard, updated dining chair seats and a fun ottoman made from cardboard storage tubes.
The ottoman project was a big hit with our customers! You can make one too, following the instructions below.
Upholstered Ottoman Step-by-Step
*Note: Cardboard tubes are available from Mary Jo’s Cloth store. Ask at the front counter for sizes available. They are not stored on the main floor.
- Cut the cardboard tube 3 inches less than the finished height. Cut a circle to fit the top out of ½ or ¾-inch plywood. Cut four support pieces from 2 x 2 inch lumber the same as the height of the tube. Assemble the pieces by placing the supports upright, inside the tube and screwing through the tube from the outside. Space the four supports evenly around the inside of the tube. Attach the top by screwing through the circle piece and into the supports.
- Cut a piece of 2-inch foam the same diameter as the ottoman. Attach the foam to the top of the ottoman using spray adhesive. Wrap the ottoman top and sides with two layers of polyester batting, using spray adhesive to hold the batting to the ottoman base. Add a little extra batting on the top for a softer “crown” on the seat.
- Cut a circle of fabric for the top 1” larger than the top diameter (before adding batting). Cover welt cord using strips of fabric cut on the bias and sew around the top circle piece, clipping the seam allowance to ease around the curve.
- Measure around the diameter of the ottoman and cut a piece of fabric wide enough to wrap around plus 1 to 2 inches extra, and tall enough to wrap under the bottom several inches. Sew the base piece to the top circle piece, lining up the pattern if you are using a patterned fabric like this. Sew close to the welt cord so that no stitching shows.
- As you sew around the top, stop a few inches from where the fabric meets together. Line up the edges to fit, pinning the fabrics together and sewing down the length to join the fabrics. Trim excess fabric leaving a ½’inch seam allowance. After the seam is completed, finish sewing to the top piece.
- Press the seam open. Turn the ottoman cover right-side-out and iron out any wrinkles if needed.
- It is time to pull the cover over the base. It will be very tight! Slowly work the fabric cover over the top, going around and pulling a little at a time. Wearing gloves is a great idea! Gloves with a rubber texture work great for this. Continue pulling and smoothing the fabric towards the bottom. As you pull, check the top to make sure the welt cord is even around the edges.
- Turn the excess fabric under the bottom, pulling taut and stapling to the inside of the base in the center between the support pieces. Then continue adding staples, working towards the support pieces.
- Cut away excess fabric at each support piece, leaving about ¾-inch to turn under. Tuck the raw edges in, and staple in place.
- Continue stapling the fabric under the edges around the entire ottoman. At this point, a piece of fabric can be stretched and stapled over the bottom for a more finished look. Or, you can leave it open.
- Attach feet or casters to the bottom. For this ottoman, end caps from the drapery hardware department were chosen for a clean look. Tip: Choose the leg or foot and measure the size before cutting the cardboard tube.
- Your ottoman is finished! Upholstered ottomans can be used as side tables and for additional seating. Made shorter, they can be used as a footstool.