Thursday, December 24, 2015

If you'd like to attend sewing nirvana...

Come join the tens of thousands of fellow stitchers attending the Expo in Puyallup, Washington State, USA.  The show is:

        Thursday Feb. 25, - Sunday Feb. 28. 

Check out the catalog, Sewing and Stitchery Show Catalog 2016, so you can start to plan which seminar(s) you'd like to attend and see the amazing list of vendors. 

The Paganoonoo sessions are titled 1656, Upcycle Sewing! 
and will be given on: 

Thursday @2:30,  
Friday @4:30,  
Saturday @2:30

I'd love to see you there!
Paganoonoo will also have a booth so look for us.

Happy Upcycling,  Michelle

P.S. - Buy currently released patterns here

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

New favorite sewing tool this year

When I was in Puyallup at the Sewing Expo in February earlier this year I found an AMAZING sewing tool, the Quick Ripper, which is a battery powered seam ripper.

P. S. I'm not getting anything out of recommending it.

After 40+ years of sewing I still use a seam ripper constantly. In addition to fixing mistakes, sometimes I'm just disassembling garments for upcycling. This battery powered seam ripper looks like a hair trimmer.

It works reliably and rips through seams very fast. I've saved  hours of hand ripping this year.  I did need to learn how to hold it so the fabric doesn't get ripped.  Wouldn't recommend it for delicate fabrics but it is a dream for most others.

I keep mine next to my sewing machine. It rests in a pink glass bunny just like this:

Don't you just adore a new and useful sewing tool?

Happy upcycling,


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Solutions for zippers that unzip themselves, scratchy tags, and prickly monofilament thread

When I notice I'm not wearing something I start to ask myself why.  Sometimes I'm just avoiding discomfort without even really thinking about it. In some cases all a garment needs is a simple fix to make it wearable again. These are some of my favorite solutions to garment irritants.

Irritant: Pants That Unzip Themselves 
Why do pants unzip themselves when we sit down or bend over?  Usually the top of the zipper is being pulled apart by the structure of the garment/waistband.  When the top of the zipper is pulled into a Y shape it unzips very easily. 

The culprit is often a buttonhole that is too big causing the button opening to shift too far to one side, pulling the top of the zipper into that Y shape. This happens in jeans  as the buttonhole is stretched and worn down over time

Here are the solutions that work for me:  
  • Permanent fix - Shorten the buttonhole. Close the end closest to the front edge so the button can just squeeze through. Use your sewing machine to tack it closed with a zig zag stitch.
  • Temporary fix - In a pinch use a safety pin to pin closed part of the buttonhole.  This can be hazardous if the safety pin is strained too much and opens spontaneously so use this tip at your own risk.
P.S. I've also seen posts for jeans where a metal ring is put through the zipper top and then hooked over the metal button. 

Irritant: Stratchy Tags
"I know what to do!" you say, "just cut them out!" 

But what if you'd like to be able to resell the garment so you need the tag to stay in?  Sew a cover over the tag, then when you are ready to sell remove it. Oh the blessed relief when the tag is covered!

Irritant: Poking Threads

I purchased a new bra recently and when I put it on there was a scratchy area. Darn! You may have noticed that many commercial garments are sewn in part with clear microfiliment thread, like fishing line.  

The pokey bit can hardly be seen but can be felt it against the skin.  Here are the solutions that work for me:  
  • Emory Board:  For pokey bits inside a garment or shoe use an emory board (nail file) to rub it down. The thread can be clipped back, but this often still leaves a sharp bit that needs to be dealt with.
  • Patch:  When an emory board fails to do the trick, put a small patch on top using fabric glue or stitching it in place.  This would probably work for underwires that come out of the bra casing.

Check out my Pinterest board Celebrating Repairs and Mending.

Happy Mending!  Michelle

P.S. - Buy currently released patterns here

If you would like to see new example garments, get links to my video tips, hear about sales, new patterns and events, please click here to be added to the Paganoonoo mailing list, never sold or shared.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Original 'Advanced Style' Ladies, San Francisco

Several years ago I was in San Francisco with my husband George having lunch when we spotted The Twins out the window.  
 As always, people were asking to take pictures with them and with gracious patience they posed with every single one of us.  
 I had seen the twins in San Francisco before over the years.  Every time felt magical.  They always dressed alike and with flair.  
 Marian & Vivian Brown were icons of San Francisco as surely as the Golden Gate Bridge.  

 They left us in 2013 and 2014 after bringing joy to probably millions of people.  What a simple gift they gave and what a huge contribution. 

We lost quite a number of family members this year. Each of them contributed in a unique way and is sorely missed.  

With so many losses happening in senseless ways, it reminds me that I should give my best now, and everyday, because you just don't know whose life you touch, the difference you make, and if you will have a chance to do it again.  

Happy Holidays, Michelle  

Friday, December 4, 2015

Persimmon Cookie Recipe, Best Ever!! Happy Holidays

Hello and Happy Holidays!

My friends and neighbors Steve and Sharon have a magnificent 20 tall persimmon tree with huge and beautiful persimmons.  This year, as every year, I've received a bag full of newly harvested persimmons.  I want to share this favorite cookie recipe.

If you haven't made anything with persimmons before you are in for a treat.  These are cake-like drop cookies with a delicate flavor probably closest to pumpkin only better.  They freeze very well and we enjoy them through the spring. Enjoy!

Michelle Paganini’s Persimmon Cookie Recipe (doubles well)

Note: Use the larger persimmons with a pointed end (not doughnut shaped).  They need to be very ripe, translucent under the skin and mushy to the touch or the cookies will be dry and bitter.  Ease the skin off leaving as much pulp as possible -or- if they are ripe enough (completely translucent) you can pull the stem off and squeeze the insides out of the stem hole.

In a large mixing bowl:
Mash 2 cups ripe persimmon to a pulp
   (2-4 depending on size) (it is okay if some strips of persimmon remain) 
Add in:
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp nutmeg     and mix well. 
Note:  Make certain there are no lumps in the baking soda or powder before you mix.
Mix remaining ingredients in the order given:
2 cuts nuts (optional, but not according to my husband)
2 cuts raisins (optional, but not according to my daughter)
2 cups sugar
2 beaten eggs
1 cup of oil or melted butter
4 cups of flour* 
*Stop and check the dough at 3.75 cups, the dough needs to be somewhat stiff, but not so stiff that utensils stand upright in it. You can also try baking one cookie.  If the dough is just right the cookie will spread out a bit as it is cooking.
Spoon cookie dough onto ungreased (or parchment lined) cookie sheets and bake in a preheated oven at 350o ~14 minutes or until golden on top.  If they are not a bit golden/brown on top the flavor is not as good.  The recipe doubles perfectly. The cookies freeze very well (separate with wax paper). Enjoy!

*While you are ripening them, place them stem side down on a newspaper lined cookie tray at room temperature. It can take weeks for them to ripen, so I leave them in the garage.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Super Easy Hostess / Travel Gift 2.0 - Travel Bag for a Wrap

Post Part II of easy hostess / travel gifts made from vintage linens.  

When I travel I like to bring along a wrap, especially for airplane flights. 
I don't want to wear the wrap all of the time and having a balled up wrap in my purse or carry-on is a recipe for a wrinkled and snagged disaster.  Vintage linen bag to the rescue!  Some of those smaller hand towels and dresser scarves are just the right size to make a wrap case.Making the casing is as simple as sewing two to three seams.  The instructions are the same as on the first post. 

Fold the wrap into a long double or triple layer. Make it about the same width as a small collapsible umbrella.  Then roll the wrap into a tube.  Rolling decreases the wrinkling and makes it easy to slide into the tube shape.  Check the size against the linen you would like to use for the tube. 

You can see here that the tube not too tight, but the friction of the two fabrics together will keep the wrap from sliding out. 

Ideally the wrap will slide in past the opening an inch or two to provide the most protection.

Want to know the super unexpected bonus?  When the wrap is in the casing it can be used for neck support.  Got to love dual duty.

I don't know about your thrift/charity shops in your area but in San Jose, CA, I see pashmina scarves for under $5 all the time.

I take them home and wash them in the machine (seems wrong, I know) and they almost always turnout fine, perhaps a bit more felted. So with an inexpensive piece of vintage linen and a thrifted pashmina you can make a wonderful gift.

Part three of the travel set to be posted soon!

Happy Upcycling,  Michelle