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Just gathering for a chat!

BarnLizard | Posted in Gather For A Chat on

Hi, I’m BarnLizard.  I just saw the Basketweave Coat online and believe I have finally found my niche in sewing! I have spent many years making my own, husband’s and children’s clothing, among other things, but I am now an empty-nester looking for more challenging things from sewing. I have done a little bit of draping; the coat will be a lot more of a challenge but it will be something new and exciting. (BTW, the name BarnLizard was a creative way to combine two of my hobbies, horseback riding and collecting lizards for my 5 boys, at the time the internet was new!) My coworkers at my new position at the police deparment where I work will be an ideal testing ground for creative and decorative clothing; they are the kind of people who appreciate unique ideas.  I am proud of my sewing.  A long time ago (over 20 years!) I won our State Fair Grand Champion Ribbon for Sewing a winter coat.  I am still proud of that and still have the coat! I have, over the years, sewn wedding and bridesmaid dresses, worked for fabric stores and sewn sample clothing, and done varous crafts (but I don’t like crafts as much as I do clothing). Sometimes it is hard finding the right fabric for clothing; it seems that everything is for crafts and quilting anymore.  I don’t have the patience for quilting.  I get squares half cut out and then can’t stand any more!  Well, enough from me.  How about hearing from others?


  1. JeanM | | #1

    Hi BarnLizard and welcome.   I have been a member for years but only recently began posting.

    There are a lot of knowledgeable people here and they seem to always be willing to help.

    You are looking for more challenging sewing?  It seems almost everything I sew provides a challenge.  LOL.  The "sad part" is that I have been sewing for years.  Sewing bridal gowns and coats seems like a pretty big challenge to me.  Apparently you want to go beyond that.  How about using some hard-to-handle fabrics, sewing all-bias garments, or using patterns from independent companies known to be rated as Advanced?  Does fitting provide a challenge or do you have a handle on that?


    1. katina | | #2


  2. CarolSewsAZ | | #3

    Hi Barnlizard,

    I too, have been designing and sewing for my family all my adult life. At one point, I fashioned a camo poncho for duck hunting in Louisiana that really turned out great.  My granddaughter tells all her friends that her Grammy can make anything (really made my head swell to overhear that).  What I really like to do is to use a pattern as a basic design and embellish it with added design elements.  I have been a subscriber to Threads magazine for years and when my creative juices start to slow down, I go back through all those old issues to get ideas for new designs.  What a great resource they are.  This is the best forum to get help with a sewing problem or just to browse to see what others are sewing and to get ideas for a new project.  It will also keep you laughing as it does me.  Welcome!  

    1. MaryinColorado | | #5

      I love hearing about "unique" fiber arts!  Your duck hunting poncho project is a great one.  Thanks for sharing! 

      1. CarolSewsAZ | | #6


        Thanks, all of it was done without the benefit of a pattern.  The poncho was the easy part.  What made it so hard was making the hood and getting the spacing correct and attaching that to the poncho.  Once I got that figured out, sewing the two pieces together was easy.    I have friends who are also clever at making things.  We seamstresses are a very creative bunch of ladies when given a challenge. 

        1. MaryinColorado | | #7

          I think I enjoy the challenge part the most.  Except when it comes to fitting my "midlife figure" with very small bone structure, boobs that I should've known better than to wish for, and of course that bothersome tummy area and flat bottom).   At this point I need to combine size 6Petite with a size 12 and it's just too irritating! 

          Glad your poncho worked out for you, it sounds cute and cozy!  Mary

          1. CarolSewsAZ | | #8


            Sounds familiar, I think I have your figure!  The good part about sewing for so many years is that I pretty much know what alterations to make.  I have a basic sloper and that is a great help when working with a new design.  Once I have refined a pattern I do use it several times with a few changes so my wardrobe doesn't all look the same.   

          2. MaryinColorado | | #11

            Are you vertically challenged like me too?  I admire you for making your own slopers!  I gave up making my own clothes for a few years due to illness.  When I decided to start again, I met this body in all it's glory and was overwhelmed with the prospect.  Since then, I've made quite a few things with lots of alterations along the way.  Then I got into making things for others and learned to quilt last year. 

            I consider myself to be an intermediate seamstress and love the creative part.  I just think I'm like a stubborn child when it comes to fitting me.  I'd love to have someone really good at fitting make some slopers for me.  I know, the epitomy of lazy!  But I'd still love to do it one of these days.  I wonder what they'd charge?  Mary

          3. CarolSewsAZ | | #14


            Because of the constant alteration problem, I also got discouraged sewing for myself.  I took a pattern making class at the community college and the teacher was excellent.  Part of the class included a detailed physical analysis and everyone was measured and received slopers.  I then saw an article in Threads magazine #79 'Your Sloper as a Fitting Tool'.  It showed how to take the sloper and make adjustments to a pattern.  I would suggest to anyone who has fitting problems (don't we all), to get together with a sewing partner, do fittings on a basic pattern, and make slopers.  It has saved me a huge amount of time and frustration, and now I know before I cut into fabric that my garment will fit.  If you want a copy of the Threads article, give me your address and I can drop it in the mail to you.  I hope this helps.


          4. MaryinColorado | | #15

            Thanks for the offer!  I will look through my Threads mags. and see if I have it tonight.  Mary

  3. MaryinColorado | | #4

    Love your callname, BarnLizard!  The story behind it is interesting and I love anything unique, that's what's kept me sewing for over 40 years.  So glad that you decided to come out of hiding and share your love of fiber arts with us here!  I look forward to your posts and hope you will post photos too.  Mary

  4. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #9

    Hello and Welcome.  Cathy

  5. User avater
    JunkQueen | | #10

    Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly.... Just kidding, just kidding. Welcome aboard. I like hearing about each person's background. This is such an interesting group. Helpful and gracious, as well. I've sewn everything from modifying parachutes when DH and I were skydiving, back in the day, to a 20' teepee, when we were shooting muzzle loading rifles at rendezvous like the Indians and mountain men did, to clothing to costumes for plays. Currently I am primarily recycling and reclaiming fabrics/clothing. I'm also in the process of making house shoes from fulled woolen sweaters, since Christmas is looming, although I've had to take a break because of cataract surgery and an allergy to the eye drops.Glad you are here.

    1. MaryinColorado | | #12

      Oh I am so sorry to hear that you are having troubles after your cataract surgery!  I hope they have a solution to your allergy to the eye drops.  God bless You and I hope everything will be okay!  Mary

    2. Josefly | | #13

      I would love to know how you're making house shoes from fulled wool! I've some great sweaters that need reclaiming. Can cable-knit, bulky sweaters be used? What are you using for soles?So sorry you're having trouble with the eye drops. Have you found a substitute?

      1. Ceeayche | | #16

        I'm sorry to learn you're having challenges with your recent eye proceedure.  Here are prayers from VA to you that it clears up soon and that you are back enjoying your creative urges!

        1. User avater
          JunkQueen | | #18

          Thank you, thank you. I am getting really antsy to get back to my sewing shop, so I know my eye is improving. It is astounding how quickly the eye heals. Just a bit of blurred vision left, and most of the irritation is gone. I'm using over the counter artificial tears with no preservative, but mostly I've quit putting Prednisone in my eye three times daily. I appreciate all the kind words of encouragement I've gotten here on this forum.

      2. User avater
        JunkQueen | | #17

        Oops. I don't know how I missed replying to you earlier. Please forgive.I've used fulled cable knit. The wool shrinks and becomes so dense, the cabling often doesn't affect the wear. However, you can inspect the cable and if it appears to have ridges that would affect comfort on the sole of one's foot, you can use that knit for the tops or sides of the slippers. I have used fulled pieces from two or more sweaters a few times. It's fun to put them together. Sometimes, I just make a simple slipper with no sole or inner sole. It sort of depends upon my mood. Cut a pattern from paper. I often use a purchased inner sole (comfort factor) and cut the sole from that, but I add an inch all the way around for seam allowance. You can let your imagination run wild with your construction process. I.E., cut a ... oh, ... 3 inch strip that starts at the heel, goes up the side, around the front of the toes, back down the other side past the instep, and meets at the heel. Or you could cut that in two pieces with a seam at the heel and toe. Just remember seam allowances. Then cut the piece for the top of the shoe... I've made them of one piece of wool, and wrapped it so that there is a seam down the middle ot the foot on top, and then cut at the heel and sewn. There are some wools that won't full. They've been treated to prevent shrinkage. They will usually say washable on the label. Or wool blended with synthetics like acrylic, of course won't full either. It's not easy finding woolen sweaters here in the SouthThere are several ways you can handle the soles. Many people just leave them plain, but they are a bit slippery, and I think dangerous, for that, especially for children or older people. You can also reclaim soft leather or suede and make soles from that, which can also be rather slippery. I sometimes paint a non-skid coating for rugs on to the soles -- either the entire sole or just the ball of the foot and the heel. Also, you can use Jiffy Grip, the fabric used for the feet of children s footed pj's and stitch it onto the sole of the slipper. I really like that method and a combination of the reclaimed leather (from old jackets, skirts, handbags, etc) painted with the rug backing. One of my friends has used the material made for dipping small tool handles into that you can get at hardware stores, Home Depot, or stores of that ilk. The shoes can be decorated with embroidery crewel type or on your machine. You can make a casing and have drawstrings and a bow on top like loafers. I hope this helps and maybe inspires???

        1. Josefly | | #20

          Oh, thank you so much for those details. I AM inspired, and just in the last few days came across a slightly moth-damaged wool sweater, multi-colored stripes, that I think would make great slippers or maybe a handbag, maybe I could squeeze out both. I believe it will full well in the washer, but I've never tried that, except once long ago, by accident!The paint-on stuff used for rugs? Where do you find that? And I assume the tool-coating stuff is painted on also - what, in stripes and dots?

          1. KharminJ | | #21

            Hi Josefly!

            The paint-on stuff that I've used (eons ago) is "intended" to be used straight from the can - just dip the handle end in it, let it drip off a bit, and dry.

            But, that doesn't mean that we can't re-purpose i! ~ I love the idea of stripes and dots! Just use something disposable to apply the rubber-liquid, and decorate to your heart's delight!

            Only possible drawback is that it only comes in very basic primary colors, but that can probably be creatively "cured" too!

            Have fun!


          2. Josefly | | #24

            At least I know I can find it at Home Depot, which is very near me. What kind of tools did you dip? Can this stuff be used to touch up the chipped-off coating on my dishwasher racks? I may as well find out what else I can use it on, besides the slippers I haven't made or even felted the wool for! :>)

          3. KharminJ | | #28

            Josefly ~ We (ex-DH and I) just used it for typical tool handles - pliers and wrenches, like that. I was so-o-o-o not being "creative" in those days! I imagine it would work fine on the dishwasher racks, too. OOooh! I'm seeing bright blue rack-tips - kewl! Kharmin

          4. Josefly | | #29

            Chortle. Why not an individualized dishwasher interior? Circus colors?

          5. Gloriasews | | #30

            Nothing like having a happy, cheerful dishwasher, eh? :)


          6. Josefly | | #31

            Actually, I've taken a close look at my dishwasher rack, and I think the whole rack needs to be replaced. There are rust spots which are marking my dishes. I wonder what causes the coating on the rack to come off? How long does a dishwasher last, usually? I've had this one since a remodel 11 years ago. The one I had before that lasted much longer, and I don't remember having a problem with the racks like this. (Sorry, this has nothing to do with sewing, obviously. I really intend to use the rubbery stuff on some slipper soles, if I ever get around to making them. :>) )

          7. Gloriasews | | #32

            You might be able to buy new racks - check with the dealer, if the dishwasher is still working well & it in good shape otherwise.  I've had that happen, too, in the past (the rust marking your dishes).  I think it's caused by a cheap or thin coating on the racks, then the heat & detergent eventually deteriorated them.  Dishwashers, like other appliances, are expected to last only 10 years, & that's why the interiors aren't built as well as the old ones used to be - those lasted for 20 or 30 years.  If you can't get new racks, you might clean/sand the rust spots & coat them yourself - IF that coating can withstand heat & water - make sure you know that before you go to all that work.  Otherwise, you'll have no option but to buy a new dishwasher :(. 

            Our postings do tend to switch subjects in mid-stream, eh?  Just like actual conversations around a table!  As for the slipper bottoms, I'm going to get the Safe Tread (the sew-on fabric with the vinyl dots that is used on the feet of children's sleepers).


          8. sydneymath | | #33

            Hello, my name is Sydneymath.  I just joined the forum tonight and have read clear through several threads.  Oh, unintentional pun, honest! 

            I had that problem with rust on my dishwasher racks.  I have copied and pasted an item from Miles Kimball catalog that I solved it with.  It has been quite a few years ago that I used this "goop" but I don't remember any problems with it.  Their stuff usually works pretty well.


            I have loved this last hour while I've read a lot of posts.  I'll be back.



            P.S.  What time zone are you in?  It's 2 am in mine--Pacific Time.  I don't know if the times posted are just each person's own time, or what.  I'm up pretty late tonight, trying to finish a table runner for Thanksgiving.

          9. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #34

            Hello and Welcome!  Lots and lots to read here.  And a few giggles too.  Thanks for posting the link.  Most helpful for us do it yourself types, tee hee. 

            I think the timezones are for your area, so that you know when the posts were done in relation to where you are.  Since we all come from all over, it tells us who posts when in the middle of your night, or who posts when you are online.   Cathy

          10. Josefly | | #35

            Thank You! That product looks like a surer thing for my dishwasher than the tool-dip stuff, though it may be similar.And welcome to the forum. As you've seen, our minds do wander - which makes it fun sometimes, but I imagine it's frustrating for someone trying to speed-read a thread in search of particular advice.The time you posted shows up on my computer as 4:56 a.m., so yes, the time shown pertains to each user's time zone. I'm in the Eastern zone.It's been a long time since I stayed up that late sewing, largely because I need daylight to see well enough to sew. But I remember the good ol' days when I didn't want to stop sewing. Tell us about your Thanksgiving runner.

            Edited 11/23/2008 8:24 pm ET by Josefly

          11. JeanM | | #36

            Hi and welcome.  To set the time you want click on your profile.  At the top is Preferences, click on that and scroll down to Time Zone and there you can set it.

            I've never had a problem with dishwasher racks rusting, but it is good to know that there is a way to take care of that short of buying a new dishwasher.

          12. Ceeayche | | #37

            Welcome Sydneymath!!!!  I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

          13. Sancin | | #38

            I had a dishwasher 20 years ago that had rusted racks. I got rid of it but some of my rather good dishes still have rust marks where they rested on the racks. Anyone any idea how to get the rust marks off the edges of my stone wear?

          14. Josefly | | #42

            I've had success getting it off my dishes by using a little Comet on a wet sponge and rubbing gently, very gently. You might want to try baking soda, since it's not as abrasive as the other, but I think the bleach in the Comet may've helped. My dishes are made of something called "Ultra bone", a type of bone china.

          15. Gloriasews | | #43

            Have you tried CLR or SOS?


          16. Sancin | | #47

            I have tried everything, including soaking in bleach. I just bought a rust remover for clothes, so will try that. Thanks for the suggestions. BTW - Comet will take the glaze off the dishes. I also just bought pink solution for other things but it says it will not remove rust.

          17. Josefly | | #48

            I know the Comet will scratch the glaze. That's why it has to be used very very gently; sometimes I use just a little dampened and dabbed on with my finger, then softly rubbed onto the rust spot. I haven't had any problems with my dishes staining or anything where I've removed the rust in this way, and I can't see any difference in the luster of the glaze. A soak in chlorine bleach might accomplish the rust removal, but I know most dishwasher detergents contain bleach, and the stains don't come out in the washing cycle.

          18. Gloriasews | | #50

            I hope you find something.  CLR on a cloth, rubbing gently, worked on my dishes. 

            BTW, Wal-Mart here has Guttermann thread.


            Edited 11/24/2008 1:51 am by Gloriasews

          19. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #52

            Have you tried to soak them in a vinegar rinse?  I found that helps.  You still have to rub them a little, but it takes a lot of marks off of china, glass and stoneware.  Use hot water and about a half cup of vinegar in the sink.  Cathy

          20. damascusannie | | #53

            Chlorine doesn't work to remove rust because chlorine acts as a setting agent for iron. That's why you never use chlorine bleach to remove blood stains. Instead, try ammonia or, if you want to get really extreme, oxalic acid is recommended.

          21. Sancin | | #55

            Interesting to know about chlorine and iron. I wish I had know this when I was nursing. However, I usually found if I soaked blood soaked uniforms in cold water it came out pretty readily. As the rust on my dishes is over 15 years old it has probably set in my dishes. I have closed my eyes so far so guess I will have to just continue to. Amazing how one gets used to things, isn't it!

          22. damascusannie | | #56

            Just consider it "patina". >smile<

          23. MaryinColorado | | #46

            Welcome to our forum!  Always glad to have new members.  I hope you will enjoy our chats!  Mary

          24. MaryinColorado | | #45

            That works great on slippers too!  I used it on some fleece ones and as long as you don't put them in too hot a dryer they are super!

          25. Gloriasews | | #49

            Good advice, Mary.  I dry everything on 'perma press'.  Is that too hot?  Would it help if I turned the slippers inside out in the dryer?


          26. MaryinColorado | | #51

            Dryers vary so much, I don't know, just not overhot because it breaks down and gets hard.  I don't think that's necessary to turn them inside out, but I do that with all my knits because it seems to decrease those little "balls" that can show up on knits.  I used to replace the feet on the kids' blanket sleepers with that stuff so when I made fleece slippers, I put it on the bottom.  I don't knit but can crochet a bit.  Mary

            Edited 11/24/2008 11:58 am by MaryinColorado

          27. Gloriasews | | #54

            I hadn't thought of putting those soles on my crocheted slippers, but they would work there, too.  I never had a problem with the sleeper feet when I put them in the dryer, so it'll probably work OK for fleece slippers (easier & faster than crocheting this year).  I've noticed, like you, that turning the knits inside out does help to lessen the 'pilling' - but it took me ages to find that out :).  I just kept pulling the pills off :).  LIve & learn, eh?


          28. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #22

            I got this rug backing at Hobby Lobby. Michael's or any of the big chains will likely have it. You can get it online, too. The label says M.C.G. Textiles Rug Backing by Saf-T-Bak. Further is says Sat=T-Bak is a registered trademark of Testworth Laboratories, Inc, Columbia City, Indiana USA 46725-0091.You just brush it on. And the tool dipping material, also. tow or three thin coats are better than one heavy one. Stripes, dots, even initials! Any of that material will pick up a bit of sand and dirt from even the cleanest of floors, but that does not seem to affect it except to tone down the colors a bit.I have some house shoes that look like really thick high-top old fashioned tennis shoes that have the Jiffy-Grip non-skid fabric on the bottom. They've been very durable, and because of the ease of handling, I often use that.

          29. starzoe | | #23

            Re the soles of slippers: I am told that the craft puffy stuff works well on soles to make them skid-proof. Michaels will have it, it is used on t-shirts, etc. to make patterns - lots of colours too.

          30. Josefly | | #26

            What a good idea. Why didn't I think of that? Thank you. Yes, the colors would be great.

          31. Josefly | | #25

            Thanks. I don't think I've seen the Jiffy-Grip in fabric stores, but I haven't asked for it either. There is a Michael's fairly close by, so I can get the rug backing there. I think the slippers are such a neat idea, and I appreciate you sharing your know-how.

          32. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #27

            I order the Jiffy Grip on the internet, never having found it locally in the stores. In fact, I found it quite accidentally on the internet, but I like it a lot for this application. It is NO GOOD for slippers that will be worn outdoors --- voice of experience speaking here.... Re the puffy paint..... my experience has been that it is not as durable as other methods. I think the grit and such that gets on our floors really grinds away at the paint quickly.

          33. Crazy K | | #39

            JoAnn ETC has Jiffy-grip on a roll.  It's much less expensive than buying those little pre-cut packs.  It's 22" wide and they usually have it with the utility fabrics.....you know, the pillow ticking, birdseye, etc.  If you don't see it, ask.  I think they sell it for about $2.99 per yard...........but don't quote me on that one! ha ha



          34. Josefly | | #40

            Thank you so much Kay. I'll check it out. I don't remember seeing it. Is it meant specifically for soles of pj's or sleepers? Any other use?

          35. Crazy K | | #41

            I've used it on slippers but I really don't know of any other uses.....although there may be some...........


          36. Gloriasews | | #44

            If the Jiffy Grip is anything like the Safe Tread, the Safe Tread (that is fabric with vinyl dots on it, as you see on the soles of children's sleepers) says it's also good for the bottoms of lamps, the backs of scatter mats or anything that you don't want to slip or slide. 


  6. User avater
    rodezzy2 | | #19

    Wow what a challenging life in sewing you've already had.  You want more? smile!  Well, I'm sure you'll find what you want.  I agree that maybe some bias sewing will challenge you.  I don't do any of that.  I sew easy stuff.  I haven't graduated to a lining for a coat yet.  giggle.

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