a trip to the Martha Market

Martha Pullen puts on a sewing expo in Arlington every year and I’m always glad because we don’t get much of that sort of thing around here. I’m also glad that Louise Cutting participates in this show, because her booth and classes are always the highlight for me.

This year I took a class with her in which we made the vest from Discover Something Novel. There were little kits all prepared for us that included the pattern and an assortment of fabrics (this pattern lends itself to creative color blocking or mixing of fabrics). I chose ye olde black-white-red combo. Class included stitchers with all levels of experience and I have to hand it to Louise, she made sure that everyone got lots of personal attention. Big thumbs up. I could have finished my vest if I had been working on a familiar machine, but Baby Lock supplied machines and sergers for the class and I spent a little time figuring out some details like needle position and such. This was also my first serger experience. I’ll write more about that below…right now I want to get some pictures up near the top of this post!

Here’s the sample DSN vest from the class. It was made up in lightweight batik cottons, all with delicate color contrasts except for the one accent piece. This is Sandy’s piece, and she had quilted it to a lightweight kind of silky backing – about like organza but it didn’t feel as crisp. The quilting was in vertical lines with colored thread, and it really added something extra to the garment.

Sandy also gave a White Shirt class, with lots of suggestions for switching up a pattern and adding details gleaned from other sources. Some photos:

Above shows a double collar and a vertical pocket inserted into a front placket. Seam allowances for the collars are sandwiched in between them, so there’s no need for facings.

I forget which pattern this was – maybe A Subtle Twist – with a scrunch collar added on. The sample fell very gracefully, and I want to try this sometime with a lightweight, drapey fabric. My neck is not long enough to handle a collar like this in crisper fabrics.

The pictures below are of sample garments from the booth…Anything But Ordinary

Nifty embellishment bands on A Subtle Twist

All – black DSN vest with interest in surface contrasts and the placement of the stripes.

The Ebb top from Ebb & Flow

Of The Moment jacket. I haven’t made this and wondered what to wear it with – looks like a good time to try one of those scrunch collars.

These are the fabrics I bought! From top left: rayon (that I am cutting out today for the Relax A Little top), blue cotton, and one of the fab Japanese cottons. I also picked up a few of the Cutting Line patterns that I don’t already have, including the new One Seams. That re-issue was timely for me, since I had made up my mind to replace my old copy. I bought it before I knew that it was smart to trace patterns, so it is tattered and sliced and I wanted to have a clean base copy. Also the new details are worth having.

On the serger — I’m not sure I would use it for anything other than seam finishing. I’m a real miser when it comes to spending money on machines and gadgets, preferring to spend the money I have on fabrics. But maybe a low-cost machine dedicated to seam finishes? It would sure make projects go faster! I’d love to hear your thoughts on whether a cheap machine would be a total waste of money. There’s a basic Brother that’s easily available and gets solid, although not raving, reviews.


13 thoughts on “a trip to the Martha Market

  1. Sounds like it was a great class! Love all the pics. I have yet to make a Louise Cutting pattern but just bought two from PR want-ads. Must give them a try. Love the shirt details you posted. Re the serger – seam finishing is what I use mine for the most.

  2. Robin – I used a lower level babylock serger for years because I primarily used it for seam finishing. I only upgraded this year because after 20 years of fiddling with tensions, I decided the machine should do it for me. So if the reviews are decent and you just want to do seam finishing, I say go for it!

  3. Those fabrics are beautiful and so are the sample garments! Thanks for sharing what you saw and learned. I love it!

  4. Those fabrics are gorgeous.

    I”m on my third low expense machine. Even though I can hardly sew without my serger, I don’t find the machines to be worth big bucks. The extra features are really just so much frosting. Primarily I use the 4 thread, 3, thread over locks and the rolled hem. Mine does flatlock, but other than experimenting with the stich after I first purchase the machine, I’ve not found a use for it in my sewing.

    • Good to know, Bev. It’s starting to sound like a low-cost starter machine is the way to go. Rolled hem is something to think about…that’s one feature that might get used.

  5. I have had a serger for years. Bought my first when I was doing professional dressmaking and really needed to have seams finished nicely. That is all I use it for, even now. I just prefer to be on the regular machine, and doing regular construction techniques. But love the serger finish. By the way, I have a 3-4 thread Kenmore, that is about 6 years old now. My first was a Juki that was bottom of the line.

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