Friday, January 31, 2014

Hey y'all, watch this!

And so begins a redneck fairy tale (which is the kind they tell in my neck of the woods) or the tale of my muslin.  It's been cold here, single-digit, wicked cold! And I also know some of you would just like to see single digits and are telling me to man up and get over myself. But born and raised in the south ya'll. Well North Carolina is not deep south, but generally warmer than this.

So these wicked cold temperatures made me think of a piece of boiled wool that has been in my stash for a couple of years.  I ordered it to use with HP1031 Riviera Boulevard Cardigan-Jacket, but once I received it decided it was too thick/heavy for that pattern.  So I have waffled over possible patterns ever since.

Finally just told myself to flip a coin or something and pick one.  Picked Onion 1032, described as "Fitted raglan sleeved jacket or coat with shawl collar or hood. Darts on front pieces and 5 darts on back piece. Shoulder darts at sleeves. Closes with strings or ribbons that is sewn into the darts."  Recommend fabric is heavy knits or felted wool - perfect.

So here is my muslin with some pinned in changes, I remember measuring the shoulder-to-waist lengths, and evidently I fixed the back when I was tracing the pattern but not the front.  So the front waist is pinned up to match the back and the neck line gaps just a hair, so pinned a tiny dart out there.

Also I maybe should have straightened the jacket a little, it does meet in the middle, but I most often wear jackets open. Except when it's wicked cold!  I have substituted some better pictures with assistance from my daughter.


and the sides


The side seam looks to be hanging straight, but the front could use some work.  Just not sure what will be helpful.  Must give this some thought.

Just looking in the mirror, I thought it looked pretty good overall.  I decided to move the front darts more toward the center of the jacket.  It even feels pretty good even though the pattern is drafted for a knit and this muslin is an old sheet.  I hope making the real thing in a semi-stretchy knit will fix some of those shoulder wrinkles, cause I'm not sure I know how, what with a raglan sleeve and all.  OTH, I am planning on putting a hood on the finished version, so that will distract/cover up some of the problem.  And the real fabric is black, which will make it less noticeable. AND it looks at least as good as RTW that I would buy - if I were buying that is!

So the real fabric is waiting to be pretreated and cut.  A swatch is in the laundry room now to go through with the next load of clothes.  Something for me to remember - when I cut a swatch from my length of fabric, I cut a 4"x4" square and it promptly "shrunk" to 3.75" x 3.5". I'm guessing there was some tension that was released?

Any comments, suggestions, constructive criticisms welcomed and appreciated.

Happy Sewing, Suzanne

Edited to substitute some more helpful pictures.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

WIP's v2.0

I got something else off my WIP table -
Shiny new lingerie for a shiny new year.  There is still one day left in January so I still get to call it a new year!
There is not much to say about this set - the bra pattern is the Danglez DB5 and the panties are from the Ottobre 5/2009 pattern.  Both are TNTs and probably the most comfortable bra and panties that I currently own.
The fabric is a Victoria's Secret Stretch Satin that I got from Kathy's Lace & Elastic Outlet several years ago.  I don't remember where the lace came from, but it's been around awhile too.
Since my lingerie drawer is woefully empty, more lingerie sewing is high on the priority list.
Happy Sewing, Suzanne

Monday, January 13, 2014

Bye Bye Love

Or "What's black and white and red all over?"  Song titles and corny jokes, just can't get away from them.  Although in this case, the song title is the name of the bag.  Back in December I joined the Bag of the Month club - a new bag pattern January thru June. Sounds like fun, sign me up! And I did with the intention of sewing the bag the month I receive the pattern.

So far, so good! I would have gotten done a little sooner, but I had An Incident with the local wildlife

Poor little car is now in the shop being appraised and repaired.
The bag, on the other hand, is great! January's bag was from Sew Sweetness and she named it Bye Bye Love.  I'm not quite sure why, because as I remember the lyrics, they go on to say "bye bye happiness, hello loneliness, I think I'm gonna cry". Well, contrary to the lyrics, I am extremely happy with this bag and the only tears I'm shedding are tears of joy.

Pros -
  1. This is a great pattern.  Very well written and clear pictures.  For my first one from this designer, I am extremely pleased.
  2. It's a structured bag, holds it's shape really well.
  3. Inside pockets!
  4. It's huge.
Cons -
  1. It's HUGE! If you are not as Amazonian as I am (I'm 5'10"), this may not be the bag for you.  Although I think it can altered down or shortened without any problems.  I may try that the next time I make it.
  2. Not a major con, but it uses Soft & Stable to give it structure, and she gives you several alternatives, but I was not able to source any of them locally.

I added a solid bottom, by adding a seam.  I also left the handles flat, the faux leather I used did not want to cooperate with the rolled handles. All fabric is from the stash! The only thing purchased for this bag was the 22" zipper for the top.
Overall a great bag, and I will be making again.  Next time I will take a little more time to find a heavier zipper for the main bag.  I'm not sure how long this one will hold up if I used it a lot.  Not a problem because I tend to just leave a bag open once I have it open.
Oh, and the answer to the question "what's black and white and red all over?" - MINE!
Runs away cackling gleefully "mine, mine, mine, all MINE!"
Happy Sewing - Suzanne

Friday, January 10, 2014

A new bag for a new year!

It was supposed to be finished in December for my daughter's birthday, but my sewing was interrupted by my husband's request for this -

He so rarely asks for anything, and then when he gets it, he is so appreciative and proud.  I can't say no.  It's a McCall's Palmer/Pletsch pattern that is so far OOP I can't find any links for it.  This is probably the 5th or 6th one I have made for him with this pattern.  So it was any easy request to say yes to.

And she is 27 and was completely understanding about the delay.

And then there was the trouble finding the tools to complete this bag - rivets and grommets and hardware, oh! my!

This is the free Coco pattern by ChrisWDesigns.  It is really a great pattern and I did I mention it's FREE! Free is always good in my book, but when it's a really good pattern too?? Score! you can score yours here.  The instructions and pictures are very clear and easy to follow, I think even a beginner could handle this pattern without a whole lot of trouble. 
When she picked out the pattern, we looked it over, compared it with a couple of her favorite bags and decided that it needed to be a little bigger. Not a problem, I took the pattern pieces to a copy machine and increased the size by 115% - I think.  I can't find where I wrote it down and I wouldn't swear to remembering that number correctly.
The only other change we made, was to make the inset piece a kangaroo pocket.  It looks like it should be a pocket right? Turns out, it was really easy to turn into a pocket - just use your inset pattern piece to cut the pocket and a lining and baste to the front of the pocket.  I cut the front and back main pieces by putting the inset pattern piece with the corner pattern piece, eliminating the seam, and cut 2 of my fabric.
Other than those two really easy changes, I made the pattern as is.  Just one note, when she suggests that you read through the directions first before cutting, maybe you should.  Then you won't be like me, trying the put the handles together, muttering that can't be right, it's too wide and re-cutting.  Then figuring out that she was right all along! But I'm pretty sure no one else ever does that ;)  It worked out OK, because the fabric I was using for the handles was thicker than what was recommended.
I would also recommend getting a few extra rivets and grommets to practice installation before trying it on the real thing.  Unless you too have beginners luck that runs out as soon as you go to work on the one that matters.
Isn't the lining fabric cute? I found it here.
Overall I really like this pattern and will be using again to make myself one. 
I gave it to her last night, she seemed pleased then.  Today I got the text "I LOVE the pocketbook!!! It's perfect."  Gotta love that!
Happy Sewing - Suzanne

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Remember that line from the song Fame "I'm going to live forever, Baby remember my name."  Yes, well I'm not going to live forever and was thinking about that a little yesterday and today.  Mostly I was thinking about that because I was digging through my stash looking for a specific fabric, after I finally found it, I dug through the pattern stash for the pattern floating through my head.  After hours of looking, and reminding myself what great patterns and fabrics I have, and telling myself I really need to get organized (so badly), what I decided was - I already have more than I need and probably more than I will ever use.  So this years goal - sew more, buy less.

I pretty much already put myself on that program with the fabrics when they just got overwhelming.  I know some people love and are inspired by their large stashes, it just doesn't seem to be working that way for me.  So I am shopping the stash first and only buying fabrics that I need to complete a specific project.

What I realized yesterday, was that the pattern stash is getting overwhelming too! I have so many great patterns that I want to try out.  Like the Meissa Blouse from Papercut Patterns -

Meissa Blouse

Paired with some light colored peach/coral silk, wouldn't that be great??

Or this from Lolita Patterns -

Lolita Patterns | Spearmint Envelope Front

I'm seeing it shortened and in a large brown/cream buffalo plaid.  Turn the side panels on the bias to play with the pattern a little, great yes?

Also I have all 3 books from Alabama Chanin and her craftsy class, every time I look at them I see something new. Something I want to do. Something I must have!

So many more ideas going through my head, so little time.  Why, oh why, do I continue to clutter it up with new patterns/fabric/classes???

So my mantra this year - Sew more, buy less!

There are some other goals knocking around my head, but they all kinda go with the sew more, buy less theme. 

There you go - Happy New Year and Happy Sewing -