Art Journal

Nature Ramblings ~ Past Times Time Travel ~ Romancing Daily Life

Monday, January 27, 2014

Ench By Sew-16 Quinceañeras, Weddings and More – A Local Sewing Business

An Interview with Sewing Business Owner Esther
The latest Enchanted by Sewing Podcast has been published!
Two Ways to Listen
Option I)You can listen to the show right on the web by clicking on the this link
OR ~
Option ii)  Click on this link to iTunes  to download this and other Enchanted by Sewing shows to your mobile device (iPhone, Android, etc.) free from iTunes
Did I miss any links mentioned in the show? If so, please post here and let me know, or else email me EnchantedBySewing AT gmail DOT com
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Quinceañeras, Weddings and More – Tocci, Quinces and More - A Local Sewing Business 

This month’s show is an interview with Esther, owner of a local sewing business, Tocci Quinces & More
Highlights of our conversation include:

- How Esther learned to sew on the job sewing in Mexico for a maquiladora in Mexico City and how her desire for a different life for herself and her daughters, motivated her to come to the US, where she trained for and worked at medical jobs for several years
- Eventual acquisition of her business
- Esther’s dreams, experiences and plans for the sewing and business education, that are helping her to grow her business.
- Flights of fancy from both ladies in regards to sewing inspiration for specialized Mexican techniques and garments

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ma·qui·la/ maquiladora

maquila is 
another term for maquiladora.
 An excerpt….
“In Mexico, a maquiladora (Spanish pronunciation: [makilaˈðoɾa]) or maquila (IPA: [maˈkila])[1] is manufacturing operations in a free trade zone (FTZ), where factories import material and equipment on a duty-free and tariff-free basis for assembly, processing, or manufacturing and then export the assembled, processed and/or manufactured products, sometimes back to the raw materials' country of origin.
Currently about 1.3 million Mexicans are employed in one or more of approximately 3,000 maquiladoras 
The term maquiladora, in the Spanish language, refers to the practice of millers charging a maquila, or "miller's portion" for processing other people's grain 

A More Political View of Maquilas

Ester’s first home was Chiapas –  just north of Guatamala:
She then moved to Mexico City

Esther's business in Fremont CA is Tocci Quinces and More

An excerpt from her business site….Welcome to Tocci Quinces & More your One Stop Wedding & Quinceaneras Shop!
Tocci Quinces & More is a Wedding & Quinceaneras Shop focused on Wedding Gowns & Quinceaneras Gowns, Favors, Ribbons, Decoration and much more. Your wedding day is one of the most special days of your life. Trust us to create the most beautiful Wedding Gowns & Quinceaneras Gowns for your special day.
Our products and services include:
Wedding Gowns & Quinceaneras Gowns | Favors | Ribbons
Decoration | Alterations | Ribbon
Imprinting |  Personalized Favors
We provide guaranteed work with complete customer satisfaction. We have been in this business for more than 2 year.
We serve in Bay Area, Tri-City Area, Newark, Fremont and Union City, CA.

We also offer:
Wedding Gowns, Wedding Decoration, Wedding Accessories, Quinceanera Dresses, Quinceanera Gowns, Ribbon

3768 Peralta Blvd,
Fremont, CA 94583

- About Quinceañeras  NOTE there are a number of Latino communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Just because people speak Spanish, and have some common ancestral roots in Spain or Portugal, and come from Latin America, doesn’t mean they follow the same traditions and celebrate occasions in the same ways.

WHAT is a quincinera?
A few excerpts….
“Quinceañera, also called fiesta de quince años, fiesta de quinceañera, quince años or simply quince, is the celebration of a girl's fifteenth birthday in parts of Latin America and elsewhere in communities of people from Latin America.”

Quinceañera (pronounced: [ˈɲe.ɾa]; feminine form of "fifteen-year-old"), also called fiesta de quince años, fiesta de quinceañera, quince años or simply quince, is the celebration of a girl's fifteenth birthday in parts of Latin America and elsewhere in communities of people from Latin America. This birthday is celebrated differently from any other birthday, as it marks the transition from childhood to young womanhood. The celebration, however, varies significantly across countries, with celebrations in some countries taking on, for example, more religious overtones than in others.
In Brazil, a Portuguese-speaking country, the same celebration is called festa de debutantes, baile de debutantes or festa de quinze anos. In the French Caribbean and French Guiana, it is called fête des quinze ans.

In regards to the discussion of LANGUES Laurel and Esther encounter in their communities

Tagalog is one of the primary languages spoken in the Phillipines. There is are sizable enclaves of people in the San Francisco Bay Area, who have migrated from the Phillipines.

Mexican Cultural Techniques and Specialized Styles We Discussed
Corte y confección

Foklorico Skirts/Baile Foklorico

Beautiful foklorico costume photos!

Huichol ( pronounced \wē-ˈchōl\) are a member of an American Indian people of the mountains between Zacatecas and Nayarit, Mexico

Huichol textiles (embroidery and weavings)

The Huichol people live along the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains in the Mexican states of Jalisco and Nayarit. Traditionally, Huicholes live in communities called ranchos, where everyone shares life's responsibilities. These ranchos are structured around ceremonial centers and the growing cycles of crops. For the Huicholes, life is rich and prosperous when the community is healthy, the harvest is successful, and its people are in harmony. The participation of all members of the society foster this complex, social fabric through communal work, prayer, and ritual which maintains this harmony and balance for generations to come. How different this is from an urban society where materialistic gain can seem to be an obvious indicator of a successful community. However, even the Huichol are not immune to the impact of other cultures. Over the years, many Huicholes have moved to the cities in search of education, economic support, and medical care for their families. These cities include the capitols of Tepic, Guadalajara, and Mexico City.
Archaeological discoveries can place the Huichol people in their current environment for the past 1,600 years….. continued at

Esther bought her silk cotton fabric at Thai Silks. Laurel loves this business too.

Thai Silks isn’t paying me to promote their business. I just included my latest newsletter promotion. Great local and online business with long-time presence in the sewing community.  High quality silk fabric.
25% OFF NOW!!!
Valentine's Sale!!!

Discount Code C960K

For a limited time only, receive 25% off all non-sale fabrics and colored scarves. All lingerie and artists scarves are always on sale. No further discounts on these items. 

Minimum order to receive the discount is one yard or more of each item selected.

Colored scarves are on sale. And ALL non-sale fabrics are 25% off!! These popular fabrics are on sale!!

Enter Discount Code C960K during check out to see your discount.

Otherwise, remind us of your 25% off all non-sale items in the comments box when you place your order.

Sale expires February 17, 2014.

Thank you for your business!!!
Everyone at Thai Silks!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Field Trip: Santa Cruz Monarch Butterflies (haiku)

This Danaus plexippus is vacationing in a valley of
Eucalyptus trees at Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz
Monarch Butterfly
Just a flew months, then you fly
Off to make babies

Monarch butterflies generally leave the Rocky Mountains to visit us in the fall and stay on until February, at which time they return home to their stomping grounds in the Rockies.  You can see them at Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz, as well as Pacific Grove, Carmel, and a few scattered locations that people might tell you about, if you're lucky enough to be let in on the secret.

Another reason to always be nice and friendly!

~ ~ ~

Natural Bridges State Beach:

Monarch Butterfly Migration:

Bustiers: Not a Corset! (Plus Free Printable Ephemera)

This imaginary bustier is the inspiration for my bustier class project. I plan to create my first bustier in dark blue denim, with an exposed zipper.  The pink roses on this illustration, are simply a princess touch for this bookmark/luggage tag*!

Since I started Lynda Maynard's bustier sewing class at Cañada, I've been pinning a lot of bustiers, imagining what I hope to sew myself.

There's some confusion out on the web about the difference between a bustier and a corset (I think some images that I've pinned may really be corsets, but the fabric and embellishments are so pretty I can't resist!). Here's what Lynda taught us about the difference between these two garments.

A Bustier 
... derives it's shape from the figure

A Corset
 ... imposes a shape on the figure. A corset compresses and reforms the  figure, usually diminishing it by at least three inches. (And yes those three inches have to go somewhere!)

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Laurel's Bustiers Board on Pinterest :

And stop by and check out some of my other sewing boards!

Cañada College Fashion Program, Redwood City, CA

Lynda Maynard

Bustiers: Class Pattern
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Printable Ephemera

Feel free to drag the bustier graphic off to your desktop, and print it to use as a bookmark or luggage tag. I insert mine into a Word file , duplicating several of the images on one page and sometimes resizing it to fit the document boundaries. Then I print those images on card stock paper. I hole punch the marker at the top, and loop a piece of decorative ribbon through that. A few beads or pearls on the end of the ribbon would add a lovely touch!

Smaller Size for Printing
Larger Size for Printing

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Technicos: Show it Off and Be Proud!

Sometimes I'm really tempted to note in this journal all the stuff I'm not happy with in my sewing projects like.....
- The quality or composition of the photo (or both)
- How I stood or where I was, when wearing it for the photo!
- The fit of the garment - It's never perfect!
- My sewing technique
- The color just isn't me
- The fabric is cheesy, or not right for the style
- The style is not flattering for me, or maybe for anyone
- the list could go on and on

But I don't! The art of presentation is just one more technique I've picked up from sewing class.

In class we always have a presentation day at the end and/or middle of the semester. On that great day, we stand up in front of everybody and show off our creations. And of course, quite often, half or more of the class tells you everything that's wrong with their work ...
This makes me look fat! I should have increased the seam allowance by 1/4 inch.
Usually these $30 Vogue pattern ensembles are perfect for me, but I wish I'd chosen another pattern. 
This expensive, silk charmeuse fabric was really hard to sew with, and so I made a lot of mistakes. I mean look at this hem! Look at these seams! 
I spent so long on the pattern and it fit fine in the muslin, but when I cut it out in my fabric, it looks awful. And I didn't have time to do anything else but make this thing I'm never going to wear.

Then it's my turn to stand up. I think to myself .. Gee their fabric is much more luxurious than the budget stuff I used. They finished every seam on the inside and pick-stitched their zipper. Their figure is model-perfect and they can wear styles that fits like a glove! If they think that about their garment, they're just going to laugh at mine.

Then I remember what I practiced saying to myself, stand up straight and tall. No matter what I think of the garment at this point - and I'm often pretty sick of it (!) - I say something like this...
I bet we've all sewn the
Bee-Bop dress at one
time or another!

Wow, I just love this Bee-Bop dress. I thought the pattern looked great when I saw it on the freebie counter, and  knew it would be perfect for this yellow and virulent green polyester caterpillar print I've had in my fabric inventory since somebody gave it to me back in 1972! It's got such a vintage look and I'm really looking forward to wearing it to my next college reunion. 

And the funny thing is, that suddenly the Bee-Bop dress starts to look kind of cute and people are complimenting me on it.

Sometimes, it's putting on the right attitude that keeps me....
Enchanted by Sewing 

Take Five (Hiking Edgewood)

Aphelocoma californica - CA Scrub Jay

Did you get my good side?
This Edgewood local knows the girls are checking him out!

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Aphelocoma californica - Western Scrub Jay (CA Western Scrub Jay)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Draping Holly: In Progress - Valentines Day Already!

Not too long ago, I posted about Holly, the tee shirt I quickly draped for the Holly-days.

For those who haven't yet been bitten by the draping bug, here's the way it feels for me, when I'm creating a work of fabric art. 

I had a lot of fun seeing how fast Holly went together, especially compared to Lucy. Lucy is a linen dress, my final project for draping class. I like her a lot, but she was quite a lot more involved than Holly.

In Lucy's case, I created a pattern I can reuse. Holly is a one-off. No other tee shirt will ever be quite like her! I draped the fabric directly on the form - just like the really fancy, schmansy couture customers get. Nobody else will ever have a tee just like Holly! :-)

With a change of necklace,
I'm already in a Valentines mood
So far I've worn Lucy once and Holly four times.  And, as you can see,  I've already swapped necklaces and turned her into the perfect Valentines tee. No, it's not too early!

Hummmmmmm. Yeah, both were worth the effort I put into them.

I can see that draping is another newly developing skill that's going to really keep me.....

Enchanted by Sewing!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Highway Five (haiku)

Central Valley Way
Fruit, Nuts, Cotton, and Chavez.
Vital world food source.

 ~ ~ ~
Cesar Chavez Short Bio of an Important Labor Leader

History of CA Agriculture :

Why is the Central Valley in California so Important?

Major Languages Spoken: English, Spanish, Hmong, and 27 other languages as well

English-Spanish Dictionary Links for Agriculture:

National Hmong American Farmers

About Rich Language Mix in Central Valley

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Technicos: Strip Strap Sewing With Ease (Spaghetti Straps - No Tube Turner Tool)

I have made spaghetti straps or fabric tubes using a standard tube turner tool. But I much prefer this technique. I may have learned about it originally, in a reader letter in Threads magazine, but I'm not sure. I just know I've made a lot of fabric tubes this way with very little fuss. However I don't hear about other sewists making them this way. 

Maybe you'll like doing them this way like I do. And you will never have to figure out where you last put your tube turner again:-)

Fabric - A strip somewhat longer than you actually need. It should be more than twice as wide as the tube/spaghetti strap you want. In fact, if X is the width of the desired strap and S is the amount of seam allowance you are going to use it should be 2X+S wide. 

For example - If I want a tube 1/2 and inch wide and I plan to sew a 5/8 inch seam allowance, then my fabric strip should be 1 and 5/8 inches wide, because (2 x 1/2) + 5/8 = 1 5/8

If I need a total of oh say, 72 inches of tubing, I would probably add another 5 inches just to be on the safe side. (That's very conservative). Because I will be cutting away some of the end of my tube. 

String or an old piece of bias tape, or cord or other stringy thing that won't break apart easily . I keep a roll of packaging string around, but even jute string works. Just make sure the string/cord doesn't get sewn over as you sew along the long edge.

Cut your string/cord longer than your fabric piece. Add five inches total to be really safe.

1) With RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER- Press the length of fabric  you are making into a tube or spaghetti strap, in half down the middle, going the long way.
2) Lay the string/cord down the middle, right up
against the fold and away from the raw edge.
Leave a tail of string/cord sticking out
on both ends
of your fabric.

3) Sew back and forth over one end of the folded piece
securing the string/cord really well. You are going to be
cutting away this end later on, so you don't care
what it looks like. Just make sure the cord can't come out down here.
Also, make sure you leave a little tail end of the cord
hanging out beyond this stitching line to be
absolutely sure the string/cord doesn't pull away.

4) Now, keeping the string/cord on the fold side,
 sew along the long end of your tube.
Don't catch the cord in your stitches!

Leave the second short end open when you finish this long line of stitching.

Make sure you have another tail end sticking out of the open end of your tube! That's the second short end, the one opposite the one you secured so well back in step 3.

5) Trim along in the seam allowance, close to your stitching line.
You don't want fabric in the way of next step.

6) Start pulling on the end of the string/cord tail that's sticking out of your open end.
As you pull the fabric will ruffle up.
That's good!

Push those ruffles back toward the secured end as you keep pulling. Just work them along. They'll be a little hesitant, but you be the boss!

At a certain point you will be able to push the first bit of ruffled up fabric
up and over the original
short end you secured.

7) Oh look what's coming through!
There is the nice little fabric tube you've been looking for.
The seam allowance is on the inside!!!!
Keep pulling until it's all out.

When you're done you'll have a long piece of string
hanging off the secured end. Cut that secured end off now.
You might be able to reuse the string/cord for another tube,
if that tube is a little shorter than this one :-)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Drought: Deerweed for New Years (Hiking Edgewood)

Lotus scoparius is commonly known as deer weed
(click on the illustration for more fiery detail)

Hot, dry, New Years Day
Oh! Lotus scoparius 
Keeps Edgewood aflame

Terminado! Lilacs and Liberty - New Shirt for a New Year

This shirt symbolizes my plans for 2014. It's one of several projects, sewing and otherwise, that  I've been wanting to complete.

Finishing Lilacs and Liberty in time to wear it out to a movie on the last day of 2013, gave me a good feeling about starting the new year out right.

The lilacs part comes from the lilac gingham. The liberty because the accents are from one of the smaller pieces of Liberty Tana Lawn I bought on a trip to London. I wrote and podcasted about that trip in June. This Liberty print is named Mauverina (the link is for another color variation).

The pattern I used for this shirt, B5526, is the one my friend Susan altered for me. I've sewn it twice since. The first time it was my No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency shirt. This time I altered it by adding tucks in the front and fish eye darts on either side in the back. I also used the pocket in the pattern but made a little kind of heart shaped tuck in the front I'm really happy with.

I interfaced the pocket, color, cuffs and hem with silk organza, that's a new thing for me to try.

I'm really happy with the way I grouped the buttons in groups of threes (except the top button stands alone, and it can also be left unbuttoned) - one every inch apart and then a space of 3 inches between each grouping.

I'm also happy that this long shirt is flattering over the jeans I made in the fall.

Knowing this is a piece I'll be reaching for again and again in my closet, keeps me....
Enchanted by Sewing

~ ~ ~

I like to pin swatches of Liberty's Tana Lawns