Thursday, February 1, 2018

Ham - burger

No, this has not turned into a food blog – it could, but it hasn’t.  This is all about an apron.  My son’s Christmas present, to be exact.  Christmas-present-making time was coming up, and this pattern came up on my radar because of a class that was being taught at the store.  The pattern being used was by Harebrained Happenings.

They have the cutest applique patterns for, among other things, aprons.  For aprons there are a possible 4 choices of picture.  An apron – the perfect present for a chef.  But I could not decide on which picture, so instead of this all being a great secret until the mailman arrived, I e-mailed son-chef with a link to the patterns and had him chose.  I was leaning towards the Hamburger myself, but I did want to be sure (that’s a lot of work to put in, and if it’s not quite right, you know …), and, as is often the case – we think alike.   So Hamburger was on the menu.  Sewing an apron is no great feat, but choosing fabrics for an applique picture – good heavens – it takes forever!  For starters, the pig has to be the right colour.  Then you need the bun to be the right colour, and it has to look good next to the pig.  And then the red has to be just so, the green ….  You get the picture.  At some point you just have to make decisions and go with it.  (This is so, so much worse that picking fabrics for an outfit!!)  There was lots of tracing of fiddly stuff, cutting of fiddly stuff.  Most of all (for some bizarre reason) I was dreading the blanket stitching around every single little applique piece.  And that certainly takes a whole lot less time on the machine than it does by hand, so I have no idea why I was even worrying my brain about it.  I toyed with the idea of doing machine embroidery for “Ham burger” under the picture, but that would have required bringing the apron in to the store, spending some amount of time at figuring it all out, etc., etc.  In the end, I decided to just embroider the word by hand, and I’m quite sure that the amount of time spent was much, much less than it would have taken me by machine.

I did alter the actual apron pattern a little.  I found it a bit wide at the top in the larger size, so I narrowed it.  And the pockets got stitched down after all the layers were together (this apron has a lining).  (Made more sense to me - to keep things from flapping around when that apron goes into the wash.)  I have been promised a picture of “apron being worn”, but at this point, I’m not holding my breath.  I do receive random pictures of new bikes, trucks, food on plates, food in ovens, but for some reason the face that I do want to see in those pictures is rarely there.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Hairy Jacket

Having tweaked the fit of Kwik Sew 4191, I thought it might be a good idea to use the pattern again – it was out of the envelope already.  I also had an “inherited” remnant of furry/hairy stuff.  Years ago (when this “inheritance” came to me) I had decided that this would be a jacket.  And a very warm one at that.  Problem was – definitely not enough fabric there for a whole jacket.  Sleeves had to come from somewhere else.  I knew there was a reason I had kept that black sweater coat of my daughter’s from many, many years ago.  She hardly wore it, and it had just felt wrong to give it away – don’t have a clue why.  Given that the hairy fabric was quite heavy, the front closure that made any sense, was a zipper – not at all like the Kwik Sew pattern.  I grafted on the front of the Sewaholic Cordova jacket.  Now everything was in place.  Cut.  Sew.  Fuss and grumble.  Once again I added a lining.  The back side of the hairy fabric is a knit, but not at all the thing that you would want anyone to see.  (It also has absolute zero stretch to it.)  I also needed facings.  Thin fabric – because the hairy stuff is soooo bulky.  Those came from the bits left over from the black quarter circle skirt.

And don’t ask me why, but I decided to just serge around the edges of the facing and then sew them to the lining.  Uuuglyyyy!  That just wouldn’t do.  No.  Ribbon to the rescue.  I hand stitched that on (because by that point there was no way I could get a machine into places where a machine would have to go.)

Attaching the sleeves was a bit of a think.  I did completely undo all the original stitching of the sweater sleeve and cut out “new” sleeves, but for some reason there was a lot of worrying about getting it all to work.  If only I could knit ….   Well, I don’t, (my hands just don’t like knitting, and after a few very painful attempts at scarf knitting, in preparation for learning how to knit sweaters, I consoled myself with the knowledge that I can just sew my sweaters.)  All in all, I’m quite happy with my jacket.  It is very warm, and with the weather being what it is, that’s a very good thing. 

 I’m also pleased with myself that I actually cut and sewed the jacket in a very reasonable amount of time, instead of dragging things out for months on end.  (OK – the thinking about it for years doesn’t count here.)
One very bad picture of me in jacket, just because it seems that this is the only way I can show you that it does actually fit - unlike those mannequin pictures.

Now the problem is I still have a small rectangle of this furry fabric left – a very small rectangle.  Can’t possibly throw it away.  May-be I need an “accessory collar” that I could tie on over a sweater.  Hmmm …

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Rest of the Story

And now for the rest of the story….   (Years ago on CBC Radio, there used to be a spot that started with those words, or something very close, and then the announcer proceeded with some interesting historical information that was always an interesting story.  In our family, this became a byword for when someone had to "confess" to something.)

Not only did I start that jacket way back when, I also decided to finally put a piece of black wool to good use.  (Also, by the way, a Creative Festival purchase of many years ago.)  It’s a light weight wool with a sort of basket weave to it.  It was supposed to become a sleeveless sheath.  And that’s probably why it sat.  When would I ever wear a sleeveless wool sheath?  What was I thinking?  Much better I make a skirt and actually get some use out of this wool.  I used my quarter circle pattern.   

(After all that work to draw it out, all that paper used, I might as well use it more than once.)  I love this pattern!  One seam – a zipper – and a waistband.  OK - I did complicate things a bit with a lining.  Mind you, there’s the definite inconvenience of having to let the darn thing hang for a while for the hem to settle.  And this skirt definitely did hang … for … a while.  Like from March to October.  Let’s just say it was a well-settled hem in the end.  Good thing that the mannequin has no problems standing still on the coffee table while I pin and repin and remeasure endless times, because it took a while to mark a straight hem.
And then I needed a new blouse.   

A very pretty cream cotton sateen with a stripey design (courtesy of a very good friend).  As usual, nothing in the pattern collection quite suited my “vision”.  And as always, I was determined to cut at a time when no stores are open.  (And who can wait for delivery after internet ordering?)  What I ended up using, was Vogue 2634 (OOP, but still available). 
Vogue 2634

It is not a shirt anymore!  I put centre front on a fold – actually 1 inch away from the fold so that I could sew in a box pleat, and I decided to draw some facings to finish the neckline.
OK, OK - I know - the facing shows through, but not so much when I'm wearing it.

The back has a seam, so that I could leave a slit and pull the blouse over my head.  (Always a good idea to think these things through, or one could end up with a blouse that is impossible to put on.)  The sleeve was extended and narrowed a bit and it now sports a sort of fold-back cuff.

Why is it, that, having actually finished an outfit, I have to go over and over in my head how I should have done this or that differently, how it would have looked better if I had only done this or that.  I get over it eventually and just wear the outfit.  But then there’s the next thing that I’m sewing that starts the whole “could have”, “should have” muddle going in my brain.  I’m trying to train my brain.  Every item sewn is an experiment.  There are so many variations possible at every step of sewing.  Must choose one and keep on sewing.  Guess I should be thankful that I actually get to the end of my projects and am able to wear them.