Thursday, July 9, 2015

More Bags of the Month

I'm still catching up with recording what I have sewn.  These are both from the 2015 Bag of the Month club, which is over now, but the patterns are on sale through the individual designers, as far as I know.

The first one is April's bag from Emmaline Bags. It's called the Manhattan, mine is the momma size and it's a pretty good size bag for me.  The pattern was good and fit together well.

The only issue I found was that I was told to cut 2 pieces of exterior fabric and 2 pieces of the lining for the inset pocket.  I only used 1 of each.

Otherwise I followed the pattern almost exactly except for I added some more interior slip pockets inside and I used the sew-in invisible magnets.  I didn't have any magnets in the stash that matched my hardware and I didn't want to wait on an order.

I haven't got the wristlet that goes in here sewn yet. Funny aside, my husband's first thought when he saw this was "look a place to stash my snacks!"

The second one is from Betz White and is called the Seneca Creek Bag.  This a very nice, easy pattern and would have been very quick pattern if I hadn't made some changes.  Even with addition of some extra interior slip pockets and an additional zipper pocket on the back, it was still pretty quick.  It is very small, it is designed so that it can be worn cross-body or around the waist. I am never going to wear it around my waist, so I am thinking about making this again, just enlarging it to get a little more room and giving this one to my dear daughter. She seems to leaning towards the smaller sized bags lately.


I am currently working on June's pattern - still! - and then I have several tote bags and diaper bags planned.  One of these days I have to get around to sewing on some clothing options for me.

As always, Happy Sewing - Suzanne

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Catching Up - The Sewing Workshop Edition

These are a couple of tops that I managed to get done during the insane work period.  Both are from the Sewing Workshop line.

The first one is the Olive from the Alex & Olive pattern.  I  started with the size L for the shoulders and bust and graded out to the XL for the hips. Have I mentioned that I am a sucker for the "flowy", effortlessly chic look? It doesn't always work on me, but I will almost always try it. I am happy to say that this was mostly a success. 

Don't know what was going, but this
was the best facial expression we could get
It did not look quite as "flowy" on me as the line drawings led me to believe, even though my measurements fit pretty squarely in the size range I used.  That's OK, this was a test anyway and I think I have figured out how to fix it when I make it again.

I will add a triangle of fabric in the seam that wraps to the front to add a little more room at the hips.  I'm leaving the shoulders and bust alone, because they are a comfortable fit.

I may try to shorten that back waist a little, or maybe not, the extra fabric in front may take care of that. I will also try to remember to use a light interfacing behind the zipper.

It's a good thing this one was a test, because the fabric has let me down.  The stripe is from Girl Charlee and I have had it several years in the stash. So not a clue what the fabric content is but after only a couple of wears it has pilled up so badly.  The solid is a rayon/lycra blend from WalMart (approximately 5-6 years ago), of all places, and it has held up way better than the more expensive fabric.

Oops, tired, punchy, and too many reruns of Cops
Like I said it was a trial run of the pattern, so I'm not too miffed.  I will the reclaim the zipper and use it in another project.  I do have a much nicer fabric from the stash planned to make this pattern again.

The other top is the Odette pattern from the Odette and Ivy.  I used the same sizing as the Olive for this one. And I'm pretty sure that the only change I made to pattern was to scoop the neck out about 1.5" and looking at this picture I may scoop it out a little more on the re-make.  Those high necks are just not comfortable and not my best look.

I used 3 T-shirts that I thrifted from the local Goodwill. 

Got a little Velcro butt going on here
I have gotten quite a few compliments on both of these tops and dear daughter has asked for versions to add to her closet.  Can't beat that!!! Overall I am happy with both of these tops and plan to use both patterns again.

Me and my photographer

Happy Sewing, Suzanne

Monday, May 18, 2015

Catching Up - Bags of the Month

So I had these great intentions for the year, then about 8-10 weeks ago work took a turn straight into insane. As in  "Where am I??? and how did I get in this handbasket???" I was putting in enough extra hours that I had my choice of A) keeping my house clean (HAHAhaha, ummmm, NO), B) sewing, or C) blogging about what I had sewn.  Without the sewing there would be nothing to blog about, so B it is.

I'm going to try and catch up what I have done, so I'll stand a semi-chance of remembering what I did later on.  You know,when I want to use a pattern again and I know I changed it but can't remember how.

These are the February and March Bag of the Month patterns.  Both are messenger type bags and I seem to remember the patterns were well drafted and the instructions were well written.

The only change I made was to the February Hyacinth Bag.  I changed the pockets under the front flap, because I remember thinking that there was no way I was going to get 4 edges turned under 1/4" and have straight edges.  I made a zipper pocket using this tutorial by Dog Under my Desk and it worked like a charm! And then to get the card holders basically the same size, I played around until I got a 4-card unit instead of 3.


The March Campfire Messenger bag was made pretty much as written, except for the closures.  Mine are the fireman's clasp found here at Silhouette Patterns.  I was looking to avoid the snap application at all costs!


More catch-up posts to come, Happy Sewing, Suzanne

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Metropolitan Domino Sweat-Shirt

My last completed project in January and it falls in my intention of sewing a "new-to-me" pattern each month.

I loved this pattern when I looked at the line drawing.  I am a huge fan of the slouchy-chic look and this pattern had a lot of appeal for me.  Unfortunately, I don't think I have the body type for it. It's just not my best look.

(And I'm apologizing ahead of time for the poor, poor photos.  We were having to get them indoors.)

So,I had no problems with the pattern itself.  I traced and sewed a straight size 16.  It usually works pretty well for me.  I did change the order of construction a little so I could put in a rolled hem and still have the front facings look neat.

The pattern says "mixed media sweatshirt is designed for medium-weight knits with a little stretch and body, like ponte, sweat-shirting or sweater knits". I used a sweater knit that was given to me, very little stretch, and I have no idea about the fiber content.  I think if I were to sew this again, I might go with a knit that had a little less body and more drape. 

And just for reference, see on the pattern drawing how the bottom of the shirt-tails look they should hit right about at your hip crease?? It may be hard to see on my picture, but they are quite a bit longer on me and I'm 5'10". About 4" taller than the patterns are designed for.  I would need to take about 3" off to be closer to the pattern drawing.

DH thinks this would be more flattering if the bottom of sweat-shirt were lengthened and no contrasting fabric for the shirt-tails, but I doubt I make this again.  Again, just not my best look.  This one will be worn around the house, it is very comfortable, and I won't be ashamed to answer to the door.

So this pattern may be finding a new home soon. 

Happy Sewing, Suzanne

Friday, January 30, 2015

Marlbough Bra - 3rd times the....

Nope! Not quite. This is my third time making this pattern and it's still not quite right.  It is wearable and if I had purchased it I would not be fretting over it, so there is that.  But I sew and I want need the perfect bra pattern.  That way I can go into neener-neener mode and thumb my nose at the RTW manufacturers that keep taking away my comfortable bras just as I find them.

So, I didn't make any additional changes to my pattern, just used the recommended widths of elastic.  The recommended width at the top and bottom of the bands is slightly wider than I had available the first two times.  This pattern recommends 1/2" elastic for the top band in the larger cup sizes.  Beverly Johnson recommends in her Craftsy class the 3/8".  My preference, after trying both, is the 3/8", it just seems easier to use and I just can't tell that much difference in the support.  For reference I am using the 40DD size.  Even with the 1/2" elastic at the top (which lowered the underarm by 1/8"), it still is rubbing at my underarm crease, so I will probably lower at little more in that area next time.

I ended up with some strange vertical wrinkles around the strap area, that I had not had before. Again quoting Beverly Johnson, your cup is too large, try again.  But I'm looking at it in the mirror and I'm thinking not necessarily.  The bottom of the cup and wire seem to fit pretty well.  So off to do some more research on that.

The panties are made from the Burda Cheeky Panty pattern, which is free!  Very comfy, but high-waisted, I will lower slightly next time.  And as when I made them for my daughter, be sure your stitches have enough stretch.  There is no elastic in the waist of these, so they rely on negative ease to keep them in place.  I did some testing on scrap fabric to make sure my zig-zag would not pop.

I made them in a perfectly serviceable cream color.  What I call candlelight or the "non-color" color and knew I wasn't going to leave this set in that color.  So I stitched with the a peach thread I had on hand and dunked in an acid-wash dye bath.  I'm pretty sure I used the Jacquard Acid Dye in Cantaloupe from Dharma Trading, again I 've had it awhile so I won't swear to that. 

Anyway here are before and after pictures -


I have so much trouble getting accurate colors inside.  This looks kind of peach, but in real life it really is more a light cantaloupe color.

Happy Sewing, Suzanne

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Companion Carpet Bag

This is January's bag pattern and while I love the other versions I have seen - mine, not so much. I did finish it in the same month I received that pattern, so there is that.

The fabric was a fairly easy choice, I narrowed it down to 3 finalists from my stash.  Then DD was given the chance to vote and that was the one I went with.

The pattern itself is great, very well drafted, all pieces fit together very well.  I only had one problem with the instructions when trying to attach the handles.  I was instructed to sew them 1 1/4" from the top of the bag - the top of the channel I just sewed? no that didn't look right, it wouldn't give me enough room when attaching the lining. Or the top of the seam where the channel was attached?? no that looked too low.  So I went back to look at the testers bags and pictures of others that I could find and I guessed.  Still not convinced they are in the right place. And considering how sore my fingers were after attaching the handles and tab, I'm not convinced I will be using those again.

I made several changes in the way of pocket additions.  I loved the welt pocket on the City Slicker pattern, so I pulled it out and added it to this bag. 

I used the front pocket pattern to add 3 slip pockets to the lining.  And I moved the lining slip pocket that was included with the pattern to the other side in front of the zipper pocket.  I tried to get some pictures of the interior in progress but I'm not sure they show the detail any better -

Added rick-rack to the front pocket.  Saw it on one the testers bags and liked it, no I coveted it. Must have the rick-rack, also used it as the welt in the back pocket. I also added piping between the gusset and the sides. My piping insertion needs some work.

I used some waxed canvas from a previous project on the bottom of the gusset.  Since I was using a directional print and going to have to cut in two pieces, might as well add a darker, sturdier bottom.  I used the same dimensions as given for the bag base plus seam allowances.  I think I should have made it a little longer.

My real issues came from the hardware, the frame is not easy to install.  Sliding it through the channels was a little tough, but not a major issue.  The real issue is those tiny little screws that attach the legs of the frame to the elbow joint.  Lining up everything so that the screws will fit back in takes 4 hands.  I ended up losing one, because it kept falling out. Two words here - gorilla glue. At this point I am thoroughly convinced that all the comments about how easy this was to use was just to drag encourage more of us into the insanity. That opinion (and it is just my opinion) may change with a little distance.

The other hardware fail that I had was with the script "Handmade" bag bling that I decided I must have on this fabric.  Once I received, I went back and re-read the instructions so I could follow exactly, got out my equipment and proceeded to attach to my bag.  I carefully tapped the rivet on one side twice as instructed and it appeared to be OK. Until I repositioned the fabric to attach the other side, then the rivet popped off. One more careful whack, that stayed until I moved the bag and tried to attach the other side.  One careful whack on the other side broke both the "e" and the peg AND popped the 1st rivet.  Sigh, so disappointed.  And now I'm left wondering, if it is so delicate to attach, how well will it hold up in use on a bag or wallet? I probably will try this again, because I have 4 more, but still I'm wondering.....  So then I used the slim "Handmade" tag to cover the holes left from the previous installation attempt and now the frame is making it look crooked. Another sigh...

Right now, even though I have another frame for the smaller version, I will probably not make this one again, at least not anytime soon. So do bags improve after being put in time-out?? I'm getting ready to find out.

Happy Sewing, Suzanne

Friday, January 2, 2015

Good Intentions

I hope these are not going to pave the way to some very hot places!  I may have mentioned before that I love the new year, there are just so many possibilities.  But I hate resolutions -

My feelings exactly! However - I do know better.

Last year I started the year with more of a motto than a resolution, with varying degrees of success.  I did cut way back on my spending, mostly on fabric, but there were quite a few patterns (I'm looking at you Hot Patterns) that were irresistible to me. So they found a new home with me in my pattern boxes and are as yet unmade.  I'm beginning to think of my patterns as similar to the Island of Misfit Toys, where they are sent and promptly forgotten. So this year I intend to be more intentional - not resolutions, I maintain there is a difference.

First, there will be no purchasing of fabric or patterns until July 1, 2015.  Then I will re-evaluate. While I did cut way back, I found out when moving things around for the new windows, that it was not nearly enough. I really want to push myself to use the fabrics I've got, hopefully in creative ways that I had not seen before.

And it is my intention to sew at least one new pattern each month.  After a wear test and an honest evaluation, I will decide whether to keep the pattern or pass it along to find a new home. Related to this I would really like to develop some "go-to" patterns.

Also, my sweet children, gave a me the Bag of the Month Club 2015 for my Christmas present!! A new pattern each month, January through June.  It is my intention to make each pattern in the month that I receive it.  I actually managed to do this one last year!

More lingerie, I still need more! And I have lots of fabric.  I may have to stock up on some notions - underwires, slides and rings, etc., but generally I am all set to sew more lingerie.

I am also adding one other non-sewing intention here, just to keep myself accountable.

Health - it's time to start paying more attention to my health or some things that are now minor issues will become major issues.  So I intend to clean up my eating, I'm pretty good at this anyway, so this is not a major overhaul more like a tune-up.  I will aim for clean healthy eating 90% of the time, and treats are just that.  Occasional treats.  I will be intentional in my exercising, this is a major overhaul because this is just not my thing.  My sister competes and coaches others in triathlons, all lengths, and I think she got all the athletic genes in our family. But 20-30 minutes a day, 5-6 days a week should be doable.

I think that's it for now, Happy New Year and Happy Sewing!! Suzanne