2018 | Go-Go Kim

sewing + social media + so much more

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Lovely Fussy Cut Economy Blocks { free pattern link}

If you have never made Economy Blocks or Square in a Square blocks, STOP whatever you are doing at this moment and pay attention!

These sweet little blocks are fast, fun, and a fabulous scrap buster to boot! There is no end to the variety that can be created with this simple pattern.

I have found that choosing the fabrics, in some cases, takes longer than sewing these precious blocks up!

The pattern is free and available in multiple sizes on Generations Quilt Patterns. I have been making the 4" blocks.

To make the perfect fussy cut centers, I have a tutorial for How to Create Perfect Fussy Cut Economy Blocks that is a must see! It takes all of the guesswork out cutting into your favorite fabrics and eliminates the " will it fit" question.

The few blocks I made today have fussy cut fabrics by Kimberly Kight and the frames are Liberty of London Lawn fabrics.

Working with Liberty Lawn fabrics is a little different than quilters cotton. Lawn fabrics are thinner and move more. When using them, especially with bias cuts, starch is your best friend!

I use the cheap whatever is the 3 pack at Costco and have honestly never had an issue. So don't fear using Lawn cotton, just do the prep work to make the fabric easier to use.


The strawberry is my favorite today with the Fall weather hitting hard and cold in Virginia!

My goal is 100 Economy Blocks. There are more cut out and in the line up on my cutting table.  Wondering if I can make that happen by next week!


Sunday, October 14, 2018

How to use Vintage Fabric!

Thrift shops are magical places where you can find things that are no longer available in other shops. There are fantastic finds and sometimes you get especially lucky like I did last week!  I popped into a smaller local shop that I love because they have a very good sewing section and found fabrics. These were vintage 60's fabrics!

 How do you use vintage fabrics? Make garments! 

If you sew, making garments is one of the best ways to use yardage when you are fortunate enough to find some as fantastic as this fabric!

In my stash there was a pattern on my shelf that I had been waiting to make.  The pattern was The High Waisted Skirt from Simple Sew.

The pattern instructions are easy to understand especially if you have sewn a skirt with darts previously. The pleated panel in the bask was a draw to me. This is the first skirt I have made with a pleated panel and again, this is simple to do if you have made a box pleat skirt.

The sizing guide is good and there was only minor adjustments that I needed to make for the darts in the back. I have to adjust for my slight sway in the back and the difference in size from my hips to my waist.

The pleats in the back are a nice touch and make this pencil skirt a little fancier. I had originally seen a skirt similar to this in Kansas City in 2012 when I attended my first Quilt Market. It was in a shop window and I had to go inside to ask about it.  Ever since then, it has been on my mind. Not sure why it has taken me so long to make one.

Trying to keep in the era, I paired the skirt with an eyelet  J. Crew top with a Peter Pan collar, Moschino heels, my grandmother's pearl earrings and a vintage starling rhinestone pin. 

The rhinestone pin was also discovered at the same shop on a different day.

I may need to start making posts about my thrift finds!

On the selvedge of the fabric it was marked with Thompson of California.

I looked it up on the internet and I found Jim Thompson Fabrics

The company has an interesting history.

Jim Thompson dedicated his life to organizing a network of artisans, helping to upgrade their looms, introducing new techniques and designs thereby enabling Thai weavers to create silks that would dazzle the world. By 1950 he had founded The Thai Silk Company, majority-owned by Thais, aimed in part at sustaining the traditional livelihoods, culture and dignity of local weavers and silk farmers.

Reading more about the company makes this find even more special! Especially since they are still in business. 

The truth is there are numerous ways to use vintage fabrics.  This is one way to take lovely finds from the thrift shop, Etsy, or even from the stash from someone you know and turn it into a new lovely item made just for you by you!


Friday, October 5, 2018

A Splendid Sampler Quilt Top Finish

The Splendid Sampler was started by Jane Davidson and Pat Sloan. It seems like a million years ago now. This one of a kind sampler that included not just one quilt block technique but a variety of techniques. The blocks were released every week for everyone to learn and grow together.

The blocks included were designed by 80+ of the quilting industry's best and me 😉

I found some of my blocks in my WIP basket and decided it was time to either sew them or throw them! 


At some point in every quilter's life there has to be a breaking point. A place where what you have, no matter if it is fabrics, quilt blocks, batting, notions needs to become useful or go to someone that can make it useful. 

Personally have very few quilts I have made.  They have been given to charity or to friends or family. The studio has been purged numerous times with a variety of items going to friends or people in need. It brings me great joy to be able to provide in little ways. 

The layout is simple. I used Zen Chic's for Moda Modern Backround fabrics  to tie in all of the block backgrounds.

The fabrics in the blocks are a smattering of this and that from my stash. I have Liberty of London, Amy Butler, Laurie Wisbrun for Robert Kaufman, and so many more.

The block on the top left is not one of The Splendid Sampler Blocks but one I decided to make on my own. It seemed to fit into the mix and felt right.

It looks perfect!

I had my handy dandy helper with me today. As usual the photo session went a tad longer than the in house 11 year old wanted and so he revolted!

And, I, of course,  allowed it to happen becuase he is 11.  Kinda didn't blame him because the  first place we went was 30 minutes away and the conditions were dismal.

Really, I am very lucky to have such a great kid that does not complain too much when I say, " Hey, I need to get a photo!"

Making these blocks challenged me in ways that I did not expect. It was great fun to take part in the event, to be part of the Facebook Group and to learn new techniques that I avoided or had never tried.

Jane and Pat have a new bunch of designers and all new blocks with The Splendid Sampler 2. If you have never tried something new, give this a go! You will love the blocks and the community!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Rainbow New York Beauty for Tie One On Blog Hop

It is FINALLY my day to Shine for the Tie One On Blog Hop for Scott Hansen's stunning Batiks for Banyan Batiks!

Today is the final day for the blog hop and my contribution! Save the best for last...am I right 😉

New York Beauties are the perfect way to share a rainbow of colors!

New York Beauty free pattern

Last Monday  I shared my flat lay for the full collection and how bright the colors are in these batiks.

Deciding on making the New York Beauty was really a no brainer. The light grey background fabrics allow the saturated colors to pop without having too much contrast.

The New York Beauty is a free pattern. The block I made is 6.  I have yet to decide on what this will end up to be but I can ALWAYS use a new sofa cushion cover!

These colors are to LIVE FOR!!! It needs a bath and to be blocked still but I am really very happy with the results.

When making a curved piecing block, I found a trick to cutting more accurate arcs!

And to make this Blog hop even more THRILLING>>>

Make sure you stop by each of the stops on the Blog Hop tour!

Remember each of us will be choosing one winner for fantastic bundle of Tie One On Fat Quarters!

To enter to for your chance to win Scott's fat quarters from my blog:

Leave a comment telling me the BEST sewing tip you ever learned!

This giveaway will be open until 05 October and I will choose a random winner on or about 07 October. 

Visit every stop on the blog tour for more chances to win fat quarters of Tie One On!

9/22 – Teri Lucas 
9/23 – Robin Long
9/24 – Sue O’Very
9/25 – Cheryl Arkison
9/26 – Linda Sullivan
9/28 – Debby Brown
9/29 – Blair Stocker 
9/30 – Kim Niedzwiecki

Monday, September 24, 2018

Tie One On Blog Hop with Blue Nickel Studios!

I am so excited and a few days late for the wonderful Tie One On Blog Hop for Scott Hansen's new fabric line for Banyan Batiks!

Scott and I met in 2012 and have been friends ever since. He is the kind of quirky that is just so endearing to everyone! When he shared that he was a fabric designer, it was the best news ever!

To be part of his blog hop celebrating  the release of this stunning line of Batiks is quite thrilling!

I mean...really...check these beauties out! 

Projects are always an issue for me because the brain inmy head NEVER STOPS! What I wanted to show the most was how not muddy the colors are in these batiks. They are bright and depp and rich and oh so stunning! 

Finally, it came time that I HAD to make something and there was only one way to show the world the beauy of these fabrics ( hint hint). I could not resist sharing a little sneak peek of my project that is on my sewing table now!

And to make this Blog hopeven more THRILLING>>>

Make sure you stop by each of the stops on the Blog Hop tour!

Remember each of them will be choosing one winner of a fantastic bundle of Tie One On Fat Quarters!

9/22 – Teri Lucas 
9/23 – Robin Long
9/24 – Sue O’Very
9/25 – Cheryl Arkison
9/26 – Linda Sullivan
9/28 – Debby Brown
9/29 – Blair Stocker 
9/30 – Kim Niedzwiecki

****** CONGRATULATIONS Jane Bitz **********

Friday, September 7, 2018

Pattern Hack for Colette Patterns Ginger Skirt

The most exciting part of making garments is the moment when you realize that you can alter the patterns to make them how you want them!

One of the patterns that I love to and highly recommend is the Ginger Skirt pattern by Colette Patterns. You can see more of the Ginger skirts I have made in my post How to Sew Garments for Beginners.

This simple A-line skirt includes 3 waistband options and sizes from 0 to 18.  Every wardrobe needs an A-Line skirt...or 20!

Aurifil thread

If you are looking for a starter pattern, this one has lovely paper pieces that are easy to handle and refold. There is a pocket for the pattern at the back of the pattern booklet and a special place for notes.

I encourage everyone to take notes while sewing! In case there was something that was not expressed in a way that you could process the information ( this happens to me all the time) or you found a way that makes more sense to you while sewing the pattern that you will want to remember for the next time you sew it.

That is what happened this time when I was making this skirt!

As it is written, the Ginger Skirt has two sections that make the front. I am not crazy about the seam down the front of the skirt. Especially if you are using a large scale print, directional print ( you would require extra fabric) or even ditsy prints it can look not professional.

I decided to make the front one piece and placed it on the fold of the fabric.

The method is super simple and creates a seamless skirt front!

I am using muslin as an inexpensive way to show what I did. If you are unsure, please make a muslin first!

Place the pattern piece A skirt front on the right side of the folded fabric following the grainline. I am using the v.1.

DO NOT cut the small v of fabric where the pattern deviates.

Cut the pattern piece out.

Find a pattern you trust ( if you don't wish to figure out darts yourself) that has a single front piece with dart markings that you can copy to guarantee the perfect darts for you.

If you don't have a large pattern selection. Start checking out local thrift shops. I regularly find patterns that are as low as .10 to .50. I will use parts of the older patterns to help adjust other garment patterns that I do have in my stash.

For this skirt, I am using McCalls 3830. I made skirts a few weeks ago with this pattern and love the darts.

Place the pattern piece in the center of the wrong side of your fabric front. Line up the center line and mark the dots using a Pilot Frixion Pen.

Flip the pattern piece over ( you will see the wrong side), center it and mark the opposite dart marks.

Using a ruler, connect the dart marks.

Grab a few pins and put the pin through the dots at the end of the widest end and a couple more pinning making certian to pin through the line on both sides to secure a straight line.

The dots at the end will not require a pin and is your fading out point.

I used the #1 foot on my Bernina to follow the line I had drawn.  Starting at the edge not at the final dot, sew the line. I use a 2.10 stitch length.

**do not look at the backward pin, I was trying to get a fast shot)

Trail off as you get to the end of the line where the final dot is marked. Pull more thread out than needed to make a knot at the end. This helps create flatter more natural looking darts.

Press the darts in place!  SO EASY!  They are perfectly flat and lovely!

The rest of the skirt remains unchanged in how the pattern is constructed.

I had the great JOY of using luxury linen to make this skirt. The brand is Vittoria from Salerno, Italy and the quality is out of this world!

Honestly, if I had to choose only one fabric to make my entire wardrobe, it would be this one for sure!

This skirt was constructed on my Janome serger, Bernina 440QE and I used Aurifil 40wt 3ply thread.

All of the photos were taken by my in-house 11-year old that is becoming quite the photographer.

I hope you will give the Ginger Skirt hack a go and let me know how it works out for you!

Please feel free to share and pin this pattern hack! Sharing is caring  💓

I hope this will encouage you to BE ADVENTUROUS in your sewing! My nearest and dearest Jack the Seamripper is my guarantee that things can be made right time and time again!

Also, if you would like to collaborate on something, give me a shout at kim@gogokim.com!  My calendar is filling up fast!

Monday, September 3, 2018

Two Separates Sewing Patterns You Cannot Be Without!

Sewing garments continues to bring me great joy.  It is interesting to see how many of the techniques I had been using for making quilts also applies to garments. This can only be made better when you find Burberry fabric in your stash that was purchased 11 years ago and put away for safe keeping, moved from California to Virginia and stored in a closet for 9 years.

Over the Summer months, I made quite a few garments.  They are so much faster to finish than quilts, making them lovely for when you need a sewing fix but don't have the time for a full quilt. A house full of kids, getting one ready to leave for college and Summer in general makes fast sewing fixes necessary.

I found the aforementioned faric then went in search of what I could make that would be worthy of the timeless classic print. For these separates, I found in my sewing stash, a Jiffy pattern 1364, that was originally printed the year I was born ( 1966), and McCalls pattern  3830

Style A was my choice. I am not a big fan of sleeveless tops for myself.  I do have sleevless shirts in my wardrobe but if I am making something to wear out, it must have sleeves.

Fitted garments are my style. I find too many patterns are made boxy that is not very flattering on any shape or flowy that look more like a maternity dress and at 52 and after 4 kids, I am not a fan of appearing to look like a box nor pregnant!

This top pattern is rather clever.  Although it is a looser fitting garment, it has darts in just the right places, hits at just the right area above the hips and even has little darts in the elbow area to give a more finished look.

It took me longer than I had anticipated to finish, but I am thrilled with the construction and fit of this top!

The Skirt is McCalls Pattern 3830.

Truth be told, my first impression of this skirt was *meh*.  From the illustrations, it seemed ill fitting and more like the boxy patterns I do not care for in clothing. I had put it at the back of my make list for years.

Not sure why I chose it this time but that is what happened and I could not be more pleased.

This pattern, hands down, is the best commercial pattern I have ever tried.

Read more on my Sewing Garments for Beginners post where I try out both independent and commercial patterns, what tools I use, and a short list of things you can try for more successful garment sewing.

This pattern was not written in a language that can only be understood by master seamstresses, it breaks everything down in easy and understandable step by step instructions.  There is a lovely kick pleat in the back and darts in both the front and back creating a more fitted skirt. 

The pieces together look polished either tucked or untucked. As separates, they make a fantastic pop to anything from jeans to a simple black sweater ( I have about 100). 

All of my garments are made on my Janome Serger using Aurifil 40wt 3 ply thread and my Bernina 440QE using Aurifil 40wt 2 ply thread.

I was especially pleased when the in-house 11-year-old said he would help me take photos in the sweltering heat.  He is owed an ice cream from Carl's for sure. We were both dying by the end but he really has a great eye without my being too bossy! He is SO HIRED!!!!

If you are looking to try a garment pattern for the advanced beginner, Jiffy 1364 and McCalls 3830 get 2 thumbs up from me!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

How to Make Yellow Plastic Look NEW! From Drab to FAB!

We have all been there!

In a thrift shop, garage or estate sale and see the vintage machine at an incredible price. You lift up the lid and there it is...the yellow plastic 😒

The machine is not to blame! It is not made cheaply, it is the plastic.

I am going to share with you now how I took YEARS this lovely New Home Memory Craft 6000 and made it look brand new using only a few items I happened to have right here at home ( and I bet you do too)!

refurbish your sewing machine

Plastics are useful but over time can become discolored from a variety of factors but the most common is UV:

"Exposure to UV radiation can cause plastics to change color (turn yellow), crack, break, shatter or even melt!"

Polymersolutions.com has more to read on the topic of yellowing plastics.

I turned to the hive mind to find out what they knew about how to undo the ravages of UV on vinatge sewing machines. I asked in my Instagram stories and there were a few amazing people that gave me leads.

The best one ended me up at The 8 bit guy on YouTube.

It was everything I needed to know! I reccomend you watch the video! This guy is BRILLIANT!

To better demonstrate how this process works, I wanted bigger model to test out.  This vintage Kenmore 12 stitch cover was pretty awful ( bless her heart).

It was so yellowed, this was the best photo I could get! It came with a fantastic machine but was definetly showing her age. And at $7.99, I simply could not pass this great machine up!

** Before I start, I am not a professional scientist nor am I a sewing machine technician, I am doing this using my personal machines only. Please try this at your own risk**

The tools needed are easy to find and inexpensive to boot!

Saran Wrap
30 Volume Deveolper
Disposable gloves
paint brushes ( variety of sizes depending on what you are working on)
a plastic or glass dish
safety glasses ( I wear glasses so I was safe)
Drop cloth

Pour a good amount of the developer into a plastic bowl or bin and fill up your brush.

Apply a nice thick coat onto your surface.

This is where the magic starts!

Cover the area with saran wrap. This step is absolutely necesssary, if the developer drys out, it stops working.

If you have your hair lightened, you will recognize the use of the wrap!

Oddly enough, the very thing that caused the issue is the thing that will make the yellowing better! The next step it to put it in full sunlight! You can use a UV light if you have one but I don't and I cannot imagine buying one.

After 4 hours of hanging out at the spa, I brought the case back inside, gave it a quick clean up with clear water and paper towels ( please use the rubber gloves for this step also).

Can you believe the difference in the before and after?

It is amazing that it only lifted the discoloration and not even the scuff marks.

Here is more of what the big reveal for the New Home Memory Craft machine looks like after the treatment.

But first...

This is the before...

These are the brushes I used and how I placed the saran wrap.

I used very small watercolor brushes to work around the sides. I did not take apart the machine. If you are someone that is comfortale taking your machine apart and dunking the plastic pieces in the developer,  go for it!

The taking apart is not the issue for me, the putting back together is a whole different issue!

And a great progress shot of how fast this technique works!

Just like new!

When putting the machine in the sun, I had her on a small table and propped the top up so that it was flat and even to keep the developer from moving too much.  I checked frequently to quickly blot up with q tips any areas that were threatening to go into creavces.

The change is amazing! Now to set her up and start sewing!

It is a thrill to understand the whys of this issue and how to undo the damage to reveal something of beauty!

I hope you will give this technique for how to remove yellowing plastic from your vintage machines a try too!

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