Wednesday, January 14, 2015

eReader Cover

A new ereader has arrived at my door. This one is small, and it can slip into my coat pocket so it is easy to bring places, but I do want some type of cover for it to protect it for travelling/cottage/laying about the house rotting.  You see what they want for covers?  No way am I paying 20-30$. 

I have loads of cardboard leftover from Christmas and have been constructing doll furniture with it, so it was an obvious leap to decide to build my own cover.  I figured out the length I needed the cover to be.  Measure your ereader, length and width.  Times length by 2.   Add another 1" to length to cover for depth and spine.  Draw your shape (likely a rectangle) based on those numbers.  Then to the whole shape add another 1" per side for overlap and cardboard depth.  Then add 1/4" for seam allowance all around.  Cut two.

I cut two pieces of cardboard for the front and back (exclude seam allowance and spine) and fused batting to each side.  Then I sewed up most of my rectangle cover, slipped one board in, sewed down the edge to keep that board in place then put in the second board.  Closed up my seam, sewed down the edge of the other board to keep it in place.  This creates a nice little spine to the cover.  Added some elastic to the inside to grab the ereader on each of it's corners to hold it in place and some elastic to wrap around the cover to keep it closed.  Voila.  Lots of people have done some version of this on the internet.  I hadn't seen anyone fuse batting to their cardboard though!  This took a couple of hours to do and is made entirely with materials from stash.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Polar Vortex Swimsuits

Swimming lessons have resumed and having watched Kate constantly pick at the bum of her suit, I realized that it was time to sew bigger swimsuits.  Since I won't buy a suit unless it is $12 or less, I usually end up sewing about four per year, two per child, using my trusty Kwik Sew 3785.  Man I have gotten my money's worth out of that pattern.

Every time I sew a swimsuit I get all fancy and break out the serger and then the coverstitch machine.  Each time the application of the elastic is crappy and I am ripping and threads are everywhere and the insides look a hot mess.  Screw that.  I sewed this suit entirely using my zig zag stitch.  The inside is clean and neat.  I will never use anything but my zig zag for swimwear again.  I may move to my three step zig zag next time to compare.  Looking at the hanging picture it seems I cut the front slightly off grain. 

Kwik Sew has nice directions for adjusting for back to waist length and crotch length.  Their construction instruction are good too. The only thing I disagree with is with their application of leg elastic.  They do not recommend you stretch the elastic at the front, only at the back.  I find you end up getting some peek a boo action in the front leg opening.  I give a little stretch at the front and then do more of a stretch in the rear and that solves that issue.

Fabric and lining are from stash.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Bustier: Over and Out.

First off: DONE

How long have I been farting around with this bustier?  Since September I think.  Anyhow, it is done.  The back is a lapped zipper for real strength, the buttons and loops are decorative.  The bustier is made mostly from a wool suiting I got at a swap meet for $10 for 3/m.  It was flawed so I really only had two meters to work with.  The bustier is lined in a navy bemberg.  The lace is from Fabricmart and I have a ton left.  The grey satin underlining the lace was from Fabricland.  Loops and buttons are a scrap of grey dupioni.

The bustier is of my own design and pattern, based on my dress bodice sloper.  It's a snug fit, as it should be, but not uncomfortable.  I can't really show this on my dress form.  The top doesn't zip up much past the waist.  I have realized that while the dressform and I are the same measurements around the chest, I am not as wide at the back and instead carry the additional inches in the boobs.  On a really fitted garment my dressform is useless to me.

Second: boring house stuff.  I recovered some throw cushions that Mags had written her name on in permanent ink.  That kid writes her name everywhere and we are going to have a discussion on tagging.  The cushions needed a freshening so I wasn't too pissed at the make work project and I used up stash fabric that has been sitting around for 3 years.  I always fall back on the Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing when it comes to looking up a rusty technique - in this case cushion covers.  I believe this book is the most useful general sewing book out there.  I use the 1970s edition but the newer 2000 edition is just as good.  I used some cord I got for Christmas to make the piping ($1 from the dollar store, at least 15ft of it).  Santa thought I was going to use that cord to make a clothes line.  Forget that Santa, I have a dryer. 

Third: I may have sold my five thread Juki industrial serger. Sunday will tell.  I will replace it with an industrial 4 thread but I am in no rush.  I love the last email I got from a low baller telling me about the price a machine like mine sold for on eBay and then offering me half my asking price.   Yeah, go buy from ebay dickwad.

Four:  I have been mulling over what I want to tackle this year.  The big project is a winter dress coat for Pat.  Dark grey wool/cashmere from stash! Full tailoring like I did for my winter coat. I am considering Vogue 8940 but I am still looking out for one that isn't double breasted.  I have a bit of time before I commit. Time to surf ebay.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Last of 2014

Hands off my silk shirt!
At the last minute I decided I wanted a new shirt for xmas.  I used a rough silk from Fabricland that I have had for four years.  I recently used a bit for a purse lining.  Rather than put it away I washed the remainder and decided to use it up on this project.  I used the Marcy Tilton pattern I'd sewn recently (B6026) so I didn't have to dick around with fit.  This time I just used the collar band and left off the collar.    The shirt feels fancy.  Sure, I'll likely wear it with jeans, but I'll be festive from the waist up.

I wore it to the Fight Club Christmas Party last night (just hours after sewing the last button on!) and got lots of compliments.  Frank told me I did a nice job THEN told me next time to put the buttonholes on the opposite side.  No wonder it felt awkward to do up.  I did them on the men's shirt side.  This is why you have a sewing teacher.  Constructive criticism.  I thanked him and told him to piss off.

We did Secret Sewing Santa.  I had made these pattern weight.  I also made a little thread catcher (not shown).  The pattern weights came from this tutorial.  It's basically a rectangle sew kitty corner.  They whipped up so quick and I stuffed them with an old bag of soy beans I realized that I am never going to use.  I am going to make a set for myself.  I tend not to pin when I am cutting knits unless they are slippery.

I have about 6 storage bins of fabric.  Not an extensive stash compared to some walls of fabric that I have seen but it is still about three more bins than I'd like.  It is weighing on me.  While I like to just go and pull from the stash,  I am losing track of what I have. So for the next six months, I am culling the herd and sewing mostly from stash.  So it is written.

When you want to burn through some fabric, bring on the home dec crap.  I needed a new plastic bag holder. These were big in the 90s and I am still using the one I made when I got married.  It's old and faded and a so long it rests on the floor.  Enough.  Into the Garbage. While I was at it I made one for the cottage as well.  Hopefully the mice don't turn it into a cozy nest.

That it for pre-Christmas sewing!

Friday, December 12, 2014

American Girl clothes

Word on the street is that a grandparent is bringing American Girl into our house for Christmas.  Now it seems I am on clothes and accessories duty (because man those outfits aren't cheap). Everything here is sewn from stash.

To start out, one doll needed a red sparkly dress for her Christmas debut (the other is wearing a purchased outfit). Enter in Butterick 3329 in a red sequin fabric scrap from Frank.  Note to self, next time take the time to remove the sequins from the netting at a waist seam.  It makes for a good chunk of bulk.  No self respecting American Girl wants bulk at her waist.  She also got a headband to complete the look.

Next was a fleece pet beds as the other grandma got the the girls  an American Girl animal companion.  It's just two big circles sewn together almost all the way round then flipped to the right side. Then you sew a little circle on the inside leaving a little opening near the big circle opening.   Stuff the little circle. Then sew the little circle closed and stuff the outer circle. Slipstitch the big circle closed.

I made two knit sets with a machine appliqué heart on the top.  Butterick 3329

I made a faux fur cape for those cold trips outside. I even followed the construction instructions. I left off the welt openings because damn this is a doll outfit.  It closes with A hook and eye. The bow is decorative. Butterick 5587. I only made one as a purchased coat is coming as well.
Finally I made three backpacks (the extra one for the niece).  Butterick 3329. These were a pain as my presser foot was getting stuck on the vinyl even with tape on the foot.  Whenever I had to sew on the right side I had to place a piece of paper between the foot and the fabric to get it to glide. They are worth it though, they turned out so cute. PS:  Santa, please bring me a Teflon foot for my Pfaff Ambition 1.5.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Capes, Bustiers and Crafts

Sometimes you get roped into sewing the unexpected.  These last two weeks had me sewing capes for my girlies.  The eldest announced she needed one for family walks in the winter.  (Like we go outside for family walks in the winter.).  She saw it as something that could go over her winter jacket and maybe would eliminated the need for snow pants.  The youngest immediately climbed on board and needed on too.  I suspect this has more to do with Anna in Frozen  than with anything else.  Fine, capes it is.
We used Butterick 4319 for the basic pattern and added in the faux fur trim component by subtracting out the trim measurement from the front and hood pattern pieces.  The cost of this silly little project added up as I had nothing in my stash that met with the colour requirements.  Two capes cost me around $65.  And that is with insisting that we only buy on sale fabrics.  It is lined in a fleece for warmth. A Chinese knot holds the cape closed at the neck.  There, now get outside kids.
I finally have the shell of my bustier constructed.  I had been stalled on the lapped zipper but my issues have been resolved.  Sleeves/strap bands.  Boning is in, attached to the seam allowances, waist up, in the side and back seams.  Lining construction is next. 

I have gotten tired of always losing my needles in my pincushion.  I made a little felt needle book to keep them all together.  Ok, I made two.  One for my sewing kit and one for my sewing room.  Anyone with young kids and a love of Joan Cusack will recognize Quack from Peep and the Big Wide World.  God I love smart kid programs.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Butterick 6026

This was the other kit that I ordered from Craftsy in October.  A blue chambray fabric and Butterick 6026.  I really like the style lines on the shirt.  I washed my fabric in advance.  While I complained that the last kit was stingey on fabric I found the 1.5m more than sufficient for this project.

Of interest: I did a full bust adjustment.  I added 1.5 inches to the front total length by doing a slash and spread from the front side at the lengthen/shorten line.  Then I trued up the front of the pattern.  I put the sleeves in flat (after I did a small bit of gathering), ignoring the instructions to do a set in sleeve.  Worked a treat.

This is a fast little shirt. I haven't made a shirt shirt in about a year.  I had been practising my collar technique recently so it was already fresh in my mind. Overall I am pleased with the look.  I have the urge to starch the shit out of this shirt.  I feel like the fabric should be crisper to work best to highlight the tucks.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ok, No more hoodies.

Couple of hoodies for the girls using my steal of a deal fleece fabric and Jalie 3355.  I am pretty much hoodied out right now and ready to switch gears.  I will say that I find the Jalie patterns run slim.  This is not a hoodie with lots of ease to it.  It's long and narrow.  If you want ease, size up.  I did that automatically with my versions, but I really notice it on the girls versions which I cut strictly according to their measurements.  I love the foldover pink elastic as a finishing detail.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cosy Hoodie sans Hood

Blue high neck sweatshirt made with the same type of fleece as the last post.  Jalie hoodie pattern 3355. I hacked the hoodie pattern piece again.  This time I took off the hood curve from my last modification (a legthening), widened the neck opening, and cut a one piece cowl by placing cf on fold.  I wrapped the top neck portion in foldable elastic for a clean finish.  I used open foldable elastic to act as my channels for some stretch cording.  Toggles pending.  I am really pleased with how high end I think this pullover looks. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cozy Hoodie

Colder weather and I need some cozy tops.  I love my fleece but I find they look nice for one wear and then need to be washed because I have turned into a walking hairball.  When I found this fabric on the clearance table at Fabricland ($5/m) I knew it was hoodie time.  One side is a nice tight fleece and the opposing side is a knit fabric.  My gut says this is Malden Mills Polar fleece but there was no indication on the tag.  I'll keep the fleece next to my skin and the knit on the outside.  Hopefully it will do a better job at repelling the hair.

Up first is a bright coral hoodie made with Jalie 3355.  I modified the hoodie to have an extra long neck for coziness and then stitched it down a bit to tame the mass. A blue one will follow soon but I am going to try a different neck treatment.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Let's catch up.

Ah, birthday parties and Halloween done.  I can finally reclain my dining room.  Let's catch up:

A kit from Craftsy.  I did this up mid month.  A tshirt dress from McCalls (M6886).  The fabric has very little stretch so I cut generously.  Nothing worse than a knit hanging up on my lumps.  I cut it below
the knee. After a wash it crept up well over the knee.  Bah.  Stupid roockie mistake.  Wash knits first.

Regardless, I am not a fan.  The neck is too big for me and now the dress is too short.  It looks passable with a belt but it is really nothing more than a tshirt sack dress.  It feels like a nightie.  I guess there is a reason why they want them to be fitted.  Into the donation box it goes.

I will say that I thought Craftsy was cheap with the amount of fabric they sent.  1.5m. That is the bare minimum for this pattern especially if you keep an eye on pattern matching.  In the larger sizes of the pattern 1.5m would not have been enough in my opinion.

Next up, my self drafted ponte dress with exposed zip.  I should never have faced that zip with self fabric.  Too thick.  I ripped it out and just sewed up center back.  The zip was more of a design feature than functional.  I can pull the dress on over my head. This dress is a bit short as well (my fault, did not check the skirt length after I altered my block) but it is meant to be worn with tights and boots so I THINK I can live with it. First wearing will tell.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sketching and Keeping Things Clean

Great fun in class last night.  Sketching.  Frank has decided we need to be better able to capture our ideas on paper.   We began to touch on things like the balance line in the fashion figure, and figure’s  general sizing , the angle of shoulders and hips, etc.  A good time.  I am going to need a sketch pad like all the cool kids.

Work on the bustier is ongoing.  I have moved to fashion fabric.  I am using a navy blue speckly wool as my main fabric and then my waist design is grey satin overlayed with a navy lace.  I have the front sections sewn up.  This week’s goal is to get the back basted and the sides attached.  After that I need some instruction on how the zip is going in and then the “fly” and buttons.  I like the look of it much better than I expected to. 

The next few weeks are busy and I need to minimize the mess to the sewing room (otherwise known as the dining room).  Therefore, besides class work, I won’t be finishing up my ponte dress or starting anything new.  I just need to focus on the critical items.  Come the 19th I can make a great big mess again.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Costumes and decorating

With two birthdays slash costume parties coming up in one and two weeks respectively, I knew I had this
weekend to get both costumes done AND get the place decorated for spooky parties.  The girls each got a variation of a cat costume.  Jalie's hoodie with some improv ears and Jalie leggings with removable improv tail.  Although i measured the girls and still went one size up from Jalie sizing, the fit is snug.  I had to recut completely for Maggie.  I had time to fix my error for Kate and make her pattern larger.

Kate is a snow leopard and Mags is a kitty.  I expect the clothing will get used lots after Halloween.  Hopefully not both pieces at the same time!  They went to bed in the outfit tonight.

In the meantime, My dress form got into the party action with a makeover.  It is sporting last years witch costume.  We'll redo the kid's pics when they are in full makeup.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Quilted dress

Fabricland is ticking me off. They no longer offer their three years membership.  The member savings have changed from 25% to
20%.  They have indefinitely closed the store closest to me. Getting any supplies is now a supreme pita.

I bought this cute quilted pointe while getting the kids' Halloween fabric.   I modified my basic dress block to have a waist seam and a slightly flared skirt.  I inserted an exposed zip with a facing.  I shouldn't have used the same material as the facing as that created quite a bulky seam against the zip.  I have picked stitched the zip in as sewing it in looked janky.  It isn't perfect and I don't know if I can live with it. 

The dress is basted at the side seams as I am a bit undecided about fit overall and am going to let it sit and stew for awhile.  It's a fall/winter dress and will be worn with tights.  Good thing as it somehow ended up over the knee.  Don't know how that happened.  This will have sleeves but they are currently uncut.  I have just enough material for 3/4 sleeves and neck facings.  I will likely lower the neckline a bit in the process as well.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Vogue 1351

The jacket is done.  Pics eventually.  For now I have switched gears to Vogue 1351.  I really wanted a dress with sleeves but there were none in the stash that did it for me.  So I thought I would test drive this pattern and if I liked it I would draft a sleeve for it.

I shortened the bodice one inch, lengthened the skirt.  This is how it stands right now, as it is hanging letting the bias fall before I hem.  It is lined.  The pattern calls for a zip.  I am able to get this on over the head so I have left it off.  The fabric is a crepe from stash.

I am without my DSLR and the pic quality shows.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cursed rolling collar

This jacket is turning into a pain.  I interfaced thet fabric, a loosely woven boucle.  The fabric now has some weight to it, but not in the nice structured way of wool.  It looks a bit...lumpy.  I have been steaming and hammering seams, hoping to inject some crispness into the edges. I don't know if I am succeeding or stretching the fabric.  I have understitched everything I can think of.  Plus, I don't  like the way the collar it rolling out.  It should stand up straight.  I've put the call out Frank for advice.

My lining is in but not bagged.  I still need to catchstitch all my hen facings down and put up my sleeves.Something is also off on one of the hem curves...I can see it in the picture...$%#@%!

Frank insisted I make a little skirt out of my remaining fabric. Nothing fancy, just my usual aline.  Pic of the back so you can better see the flare action.  Needs facings, lining, know...just about everything.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Coin purse

Spoonflower was giving away an 8x8 sample of their new fabric called Eco Canvas.  Think backpack material.  I saw this design by nixongraphix and couldn't resist.

But what to do with such a scrap?

A coin purse of course.  I smile each time I pull it out.  Best of all, no more loose change in my purse.  Spoonflower's delivery was fast - I had my swatch in about a week.  The fabric on it's own is pricey at $32/yard but it costs a bit less if you design your own.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sewing in spurts

I am knee deep in completing my custom jacket that has been sitting unfinished since spring.  I dug out my pattern, figured out my lining and facing pieces, and got everything cut, marked and sewn.  I now need to put in my shoulder pads and sleeve heads and then i'll be ready to put it all together.  I have been sewing things together in little five minute spurts and it is amazing what you can accomplish in such a short period of time.

I also hemmed a new set of bedroom curtains. Why are ikea panels so damn long?  Fifteen minutes from start to finish.  Sometimes it pays to be your own seamstress.  I should have gone for a pattern but they'll do for the next ten years.

Classes with Frank will be starting again soon.  We've lost another Fight Club member. I am bummed by that. I think when you leave it is pretty unlikely that you come back.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Jalie mesh tights.

Some mesh tights made with Jalie 2216.  No changes to the pattern.  I serged the seams, used a three stitch zigzag to attach the elastic at the waist and coverstitched the leg hems.  I used a wooly nylon in the looper but struggled with the tension.  In the end I had to go with no tension on the needles and the looper.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Stupid Shorts

To get myself sewing I cut out a pair of denim shorts using my modified Jalie Jean pattern that I have made in the past.  A haphazard approach led to pockets cut too small and shaped wrong, a less than perfect topstitch, and a zipper insertion that cannot and should not be described.  I just plowed forward, the goal being to complete something.

I zipped up the sides and the crotch and tried them on to see what needed to be done before I attached the waistband.  I got them up just past my knees. 

Denim straining, seams whimpering, these shorts and my ass had reached an impasse.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Simplicity 3503 - Sewcation over.

Looking for another quick hit, I went back to Simplicity 3503.  I had tried it before, the version with the bat wings.  I liked the dress, hated the sleeves - I felt like I was in a costume.  Gone.  This time I did the sleeveless version and eliminated the back tie opening.  I modified the neckline so it wouldn't be too low.  I was feeling lazy so I zigzag my seams and finished them off with a three thread overlock.  I also eliminated the neck facing and just folded and stitched.

This is just hanging now, waiting for it's hem.  I have the same fabric but in black.  I think I may redo this dress.  Next time I will take out some of the fullness in the front from the gathers - there is really too much material there for a busty chick.

Two dresses, three days.  A pretty good sewcation in my books.

Edit for Wearability: I went back and took some volume out of the sleeves and side and tacked down the front V.  Much tidier around the boob area.  A+ on ease of wear.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Simplicity 2591 instant outfit

Don't worry!  More bust ease on me.
I was running late for work and nothing looked easy and put together enough. I'd recently bought a little pull on dress from Lands End and I grabbed that and zoom, instant outfit.  I'd forgotten how easy dresses are.  So that is why I dug out Simplicity 2591.  I need some instant outfits.

I have made this dress before, after Kate was born.  That dress was made out of a striped seersucker - while cute, it felt too young for me and was eventually donated after a wearing or two.  I liked the style though and knew all I needed was a more suitable fabric.  I picked up a linen-like blue woven and went to town.

I had to shorten the bust darts (next time I would lower them a half inch too) but otherwise it is out of the box.  I also got to try out my new coverstitch extension table.  I don't know if it was because the fabric was a woven, or if the table really makes things easier, but I got a nice hem first time out.

Edit for Wearability: The facing, despite understitching, topstitching and tacking, wants to flip out.  I had to go back and play with the darts as well.  Right now this feels like a B-.  It is wearable but I don't feel like it is a win.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Pin Tuck Woven Silk Blouse

I went to the magazine shop to get the latest Burda.  Flipping through it quickly I was not impressed. Instead I grabbed The Spring/Summer Ottobre 2014 for women.  I have never bought this magazine before.  It cost me $22.  Pretty steep.  A flip through showed some cute summer patterns.  Pattern layout is similar to Burda but in colour and on better quality paper.

I ordered a gorgeous woven silk suiting from FabricMart.  It was called Moon Rock.  It one of those beige colours that is hard to pin down depending on the light.  It is wonderfully soft and just luxurious feeling.  I got it for $5/yard and it was a steal.  I have one yard left after this project...what to do what to do.

This blouse pattern with pin tucks went together easily (#15 Accordion Blouse).  The neck is different, a bit poofy above the tucks but I think I like it, the length is bang on and it is loose and easy for the summer.  The luxe fabric just kicks it up a smidge and I am pleased.

I sewed this week!  Go me.  I also helped dress the models for the fashion show to benefit Cornerstone at the Irish Embassy.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Not a whole lot to see here.

A month between posts.  Not like me.  It has easily been a month since I have sewn anything.  The house is in shambles with renos (ceiling taping, all walls needing new paint, new laundry tub) which made me disinclined to do anything to contribute to the mess.  Still. I am behind in class and it is time to get going.

The ladies have moved on to bustiers.  Not really my cup of tea.  I am too chesty for such nonsense and at 42 don't have the urge or the occasion to run around in one.  But, the boning technique is a worthwhile learn.  So I drafted my bustier based on my sheath block.  I had to add some straps/sleeves because there is no way I am going without a real bra. The curved shape of the bustier is actually really flattering, giving the girls good coverage.  It fits me looser in the top and snugger in the bottom that it does my dress form.
After we fit the muslin we will draw in the front swoop and I can alter my pattern accordingly.  Having tried this puppy on I know that the sleeves sit too far on my shoulders and need to be extended to CF.  The back will also be designed so that the zipper is covered and buttons will run down the back.

I also made a top for Ariel.  Her seashells had gone missing.  Yeah that is how desperate I am to show some sewing accomplishment!