Thursday, June 29, 2017

Boring Beige or Khaki?

Usually I have a game plan of what to sew at the beginning of every season. That plan is not one that I necessarily stick to, because, you know - new fabrics and/or ideas pop up spontaneously.  There are always far too many projects in the list than one body can possibly accomplish.  But there is a plan.

This year I just couldn't even muster an iota of enthusiasm for summer sewing. The weather is, well, cold.  There have been a few spurts of heat, but generally, there is no great need for real "summer" clothes.  But since I have to keep sewing, because that's just part of my life, and samples for classes, etc. aside, I'm just going to dip into my fabric stash and see where that takes me.

First "lucky" piece was a rough weave cotton with an embroidered border.  Yes, it's boring beige.  Oh, wait - let's call it khaki, which then makes this "on trend".  Oh how I loved that fabric when I bought it!  It was supposed to be a skirt.  That skirt never happened.  If I loved this fabric so much - then why, oh why has it been shifted around for so many years?  At this point I have plenty of skirts, and I could do with a few more pairs of pants.  So...

Not too much fabric to play around with.  I used my self-drafted pants pattern and widened the legs.  (Sure-fire way to get a decent fit!)  I just hope that this shorter length won't look too odd a few years down the line.

Of course there were leftovers.  Not much, but just enough to squeeze out a top.  (KwikSew 2976 - OOP).  The back needed a seam.  Having recently "rediscovered" my flat-felling foot, which makes an absolute breeze of that particular seam treatment, I decided to put it to good use.  Makes for a nice smooth inside.

And for a bit of redemption from "terribly boring beige" - black piping around the neck and black buttons.

Not enough fabric left to make the bias strips needed to finish off the neck and armhole edges, and that's where some quilting cotton came in handy.  And the easiest part of this top - the hem.  I just left the selvage as is.  

One major bonus of this outfit - it's easy enough to pull a sweater over it to keep warm!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Clutch Bag(s)

I needed a really easy bag for a beginners class.  One that could be done in one evening by even the slowest sewer.  No zippers.  (Some people manage to take well over an hour messing with a zipper ... and we don't have time for that.)  There is a magnetic clasp which requires poking holes in fabric, but that's still a lot easier than a zipper.  (More on that later... )  Rounded corners ... because they're easier to poke out and make pretty than square corners, at least in my opinion.  The wrist strap is just a piece of grosgrain ribbon.  

We'll be cutting kits for this one ... just so there's no messing around with measurements and scissors and the like.  Just follow instructions and sew.  A finished project at the end of class gives the needed sense of accomplishment.(?)

Now a class sample has to be exactly what the students can expect to produce in class.  And you know that there will be - uh - alterations in the works when this bag comes home after doing duty as a sample.  Lovely as the batik is, it's just crying out for some beading to make this an "evening" bag. And then there's the wrist strap ... Seemed like the easiest option for class.  I happen to prefer a shoulder strap.

Imagine a party ... and you have a glass of something in one hand, and you need your other hand for snagging something to munch off a tray that's passing by, or you just need your hand(s) for talking, or for giving a friend a one-armed hug (while not spilling the drink that the other hand is holding!).  Well, just which hand (wrist) is this clutch supposed to be hanging off?

So much easier to hang the elegant clutch on one's shoulder, thus freeing up both hands for whatever other purpose you may need them for, while still having all the "stuff" you need right at your hip.  Enough said. ..

And you know that I couldn't just make a bag and call it a day.  There had to be a prototype ... from scraps left over from my geisha jacket.

This one got the shoulder strap treatment ... for which I had to punch holes!  I'm still not particularly adept at hammering in these pesky eyelets, but at least they're staying in place and looking decent on the outside.

And I managed to goof with the placement of the magnetic snap.  Poked holes in the wrong side of the flap.  Just goes to show that one really does need to pay attention when doing serious damage to work in progress.  And I couldn't just toss the whole thing and start over, because I love this fabric ... and there's not much of it left ... and then there's all the time I'd put into it already ...  So I added even more work by hand stitching a strip of coordinating fabric to cover up my mistake.
Now I just need a party for this bag to get an outing!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Summer tunic

Finally we have warm weather!  In March I started dreaming summer outfits.  (That's about the time I am thoroughly disgusted with layers of warm woolies.)  In April I was still confident that I would finish all of my "winter projects".  Not so.  Left some UFO's for the Fall.  With house guests coming in May, there were certain home dec projects that needed to happen.  Some even included fabric.  There was some emergency wedding sewing.  Not much time for me sewing.  But that suited me just fine, because I was in the deepest of dumps in regards to wardrobe.  The weather was cold and rainy, and it seemed that there would be no end to wearing winter woolies.  With this lack of cooperation from the weather, I was not particularly motivated to sew anything new for summer.
Regardless ... samples for summer classes are due by the end of the month.  Summer classes need to be easy, and I thought a tunic would be just the ticket for teaching some fitting.

I've had this pattern for quite some time.  I made it once - years ago.  For some reason I remembered it being too tight in the armholes.  "Muslin" time.  OK - making a muslin from a patterned fabric that needs some degree of matching is not the most brilliant idea.  Really?  Judging by what was in the pattern envelope, I had previously cut an XS.  So I cut a S.  Because I'm just so smart, I decided to forego basting the seams and actually stitched at the regular stitch length and serged all the seams before trying on.  I must like to give myself a lot of extra work.  My memory was obviously wrong.  The tunic was huge.  I scaled back down to the XS, made an adjustment in the shoulders, ripped and restitched.  Now everything fits. So this is tunic No. 1.

There is tunic No. 2 - made "just because" - yet to be photographed.  The actual sample that will be hanging in the store is still in progress.

And just because I didn't want to bundle up the leftover fabric for future use, I made a skirt to match.  Now as I look at this two-piece "dress" combination, I rather doubt that I'll actually wear these two together.  A bit "much" in my opinion.  But the skirt and a solid top should be all right.  The tunic can go over black jeans or white jeans... which would mean that I would need to sew said pair of white jeans, and who knows if that will ever happen.
I  am the most unphotogenic person in the world, but just to prove that what I sew actually does fit me - here's a few snaps of "what I wore to-day".