Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Olive Hounds Tooth

When you just get the itch for something quick to sew – pick a knit – just definitely not a knit that has plaids or stripes or any other kind of lines that need to be matched.  That very definitely adds more than just a few minutes to the amount of time spent on said “quick” sewing project.
 Some sort of ponte/double knit fabric.  It’s been hiding out in the cupboard for some time.  A t-shirt dress is always a good pick – easy to sew, easy to wear.  Nothing too exciting to report about this sew – except the obvious issue of having to line up the black bits with the black bits and the olive bits with the olive bits.  This is my usual “just a lengthened version of Pamela’s Patterns T-shirt”.  Although, I could mention that … Pamela gives ¼ inch seam allowances on her patterns.  I’ve widened mine to 5/8 inch – at least on the side seam/sleeve seam.  Gives me a bit more “fudge” room for fit.  Good thing that I did have that bit extra this time around.  For once I was smart, and I actually basted the sides together and actually tried on the dress, before committing to serging those seams.  Turned out, due to the not so stretchy character of this fabric, the sleeves felt rather tight.  (I know – tight – on me??  It does happen.)  Easy solution – serge at ¼ inch.  Automatic fit improvement.
Collar piece - just a rectangle cut to the size of the neck opening

Back of neck
 Didn’t want a plain round neck (bound in black or otherwise), and decided on a ”60’s” collar.   And just for “continuity”, I bound the sleeve edges in black.

 This is how it normally gets worn.
 …and then there were leftovers…  (I’m on a “kick” at the moment to not leave significant pieces of leftovers, especially if there is a quick way to use them up.)  Not enough for a whole tunic, but definitely enough for a front and back.  Black sleeves.

Decided to add a “tail”.

(Oh no!  One more seam that needed to be matched!)  Black fold-over elastic to finish off the neck. 

 And because I figured the hem configuration would look just plain odd with a belt, I needed to add “a little something” at the back.

(Didn’t even realize that I had olive buttons until I started digging.)
Tunic has yet to be worn – waiting for a new pair of black jeans – or may-be I should just wear the darn tunic and not wait for the new black jeans to magically materialize in my closet.  (I have fabric - they just need to happen!)

Sunday, December 3, 2017

New Bag

Why do I get crazy ideas?  At the craziest of times?  And why do I think that I can make something in – oh – a few hours, when in reality, it becomes so much longer?
I love my mini professional tote (all those pockets!), but it’s cotton batik, and to me it looks like a Summer travel bag (not that I’ve traveled anywhere this past Summer), and now we’re well into Fall/Winter mode and I really need something that looks a little more upscale.  Normal people with such dilemmas go shopping.  Me – I dig in the bits and pieces in my sewing room.  I had a few scraps of a very lightweight fake suede (knit) with something resembling snakeskin printed on it.  Not necessarily the smart choice for a bag that will be in use on a daily basis.  But I was determined (don’t ask why) that this was going to work.  No possibilities of using a pattern (which would have taken all the guesswork out of the equation), because I only had some very odd scraps.  And so I fiddled and measured and fiddled and tried out this and that and here is the result.  A few hours – ha!  It was more like 2 days!

I fused a woven interfacing onto the back of the “suede”, which made it less wimpy.  Then I added a layer of fusible fleece (just like the mini tote), which gave the bag some more “heft”.  The straps were a leftover from overproduction of straps for the mini tote.  The only thing that I did not have on hand was a suitable zipper.  Wouldn’t you think that a brown heavyweight zipper would be easy to pick up? Especially since everyone seems to be sewing bags these days?  Apparently not.  I ended up with beige, and I decided that I could live with that (black just looked too, too, too…), and now I don’t even really notice that it’s not my colour of choice – at least that’s what I’m telling myself, and don’t try to convince me otherwise.  (Note to self: Do not try to find anything in particular when the fabric store is having some sort of huge sale, because it seems that “normal” colours disappear first.)
 Originally I started to sew the D-ring tabs vertically on the side, then decided that given my rather odd choice of fabric,  the strain would probably put holes in my bag all too soon, so (yes, I did have to “unstitch” – ugh!) I decided that the tabs were better off in the seam.  The strap doesn’t hang quite right, but this really makes no difference when the bag is in use.

Pockets.  Lots of pockets.  Well, enough pockets.  Three on the outside.  (Why I needed a welt pocket, I don’t know, except to add significantly to sewing time.  Though, it is rather handy for stashing glasses quickly.)

Inside - two pockets on one side, one larger on the other.  There is also a zippered pocket above the single – it was just playing shy when I was taking pictures – it’s the dark brown peeking out above the single pocket.  Oh, and I love my corsets on the inside.  Makes the inside kind of fun, even if the outside is a little boring.

How long this bag will last is anyone’s guess.  I’m just hoping that it survives in decent condition until the spring, when I will be contemplating another bag for summer.  For now, I think I’m kind of bagged out.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Pfaff Icon

Part of the fun of working at a sewing store is supposed to be the opportunity to try out the newest sewing machines.  Unfortunately, there is usually little time, since customers need to be taken care of first and foremost.  But – we do manage to “play” from time to time.
A few months ago, Joyce took on selling Pfaff machines.  Boxes of machines arrived, and we dutifully unpacked them all and set them up.  They looked lovely sitting on the table.  Joyce went off to the Pfaff convention to learn all the ins and outs of the new machines.  Back home, we dutifully oohed and aah-ed at the lovely machines, but didn’t get much further than winding bobbins and stitching a few tiny samples.   Now, I can’t extol the virtues of any machine, no matter how lovely, unless I’ve had a go at it, so the next order of business was just finding time to stitch out something.
We need to show off the beautiful decorative stitches on the Pfaff Icon (the latest and greatest in their line-up), and instead of simply stitching out rows and rows on a square of fabric, I thought a useful project was in order.  I borrowed Rhonda’s idea of an organizer and stitched out a random selection of decorative stitches.  We now have a caddy and sampler in one to keep the squares of fabric and other bits that we need on hand to demonstrate the machines. 

ribbon stitch is the one running down the centre
My favourite, I think, are the “ribbon stitches”.  Wouldn’t that look gorgeous around the neckline of a tunic?  (Hint, hint - Sarah.)  You can probably see that I goofed in my calculations (my acrylic stand was of slightly different dimensions than the one Rhonda used), and instead of turning under a hem, I ended up stitching on a little ribbon “skirt”.  No problem – just another opportunity for more decorative stitches.
Then I absolutely had to try out some embroidery.  Since I have a real problem of random embroideries that serve no purpose, my eye was caught by a little case for scissors in the selection of embroideries.  (Something useful!)

I thought it was one of those “in the hoop” projects, and so, a very easy make.  I must have goofed somewhere.  (I am definitely no expert at machine embroidery.)  The embroidery turned out lovely – but the “project” part had me stumped and I ended up slip-stitching the sides by hand.  It all worked out, and we do have a sample of embroidery.

Couldn’t leave it there.  The Icon has some new and interesting stitches, called “floating” stitches.  These intrigued me.  You stitch the seam together using one of these stitches, and when you open up the seam, there’s decorative stitching showing on the right side the whole length of your seam.  I tried out various samples, but the six-gore skirt that I had planned was to be of Ultrasuede, and I didn’t want to use a stitch that would make too, too many holes, so my selection was limited to the simplest of this group.


So for now, my skirt is living at the store, masquerading as a sample.  If I keep this up, I’ll have more clothes at the store than at home!  (Well, highly unlikely.)
closest to the actual colour of the Ultrasuede

If only I had this machine at home ….  (I would probably never leave the sewing room!)