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