April 27, 2014

The Internet Made Me Do It

Spending great swaths of time online has been the cause for several things:

Starting a blog HERE

Starting a sewing blog (you're on it)

Reading lots of sewing blogs starting with Male Pattern Boldness 

Wanting a serger. Read about it HERE.

Wanting a better serger. The Toyota  was a nightmare to thread and had other limitations.

Now the serger and the online inspiration have come together and "forced" me to actually try sewing a garment.  I have been avoiding this for a long time because I always have some glitch that dashes the whole project.

While going through my closet I found a little cotton knit top that I bought some time ago and really liked but it never seemed quite right. It was too short which is rarity on me since I barely reach 5' tall.
Since I love the idea of this top, I decided to replicate it. No pattern for  me!  I tediously removed every bit of stitching holding this together in order to create a pattern for a new longer version.

 The solid body of this top was a thin t-shirt knit and the trim a fine woven fabric of two layers with an interfacing. Rows of top-stitching give the trim pieces a bit more body and style. The trim attaches to the edge of the knit without being inside the trim which made it a bit trickier to attach.

Here is my sleeve "pattern" laid out on my slightly heavier knit fabric.
The trim fabric was chosen because
1. I had it on hand.

2. It is very light weight like the original.

3. One of the many colors matched my body fabric.
Here is the work in progress. The picture is blurry as it is very hard to photograph yourself without having the camera in the picture.

At this point this was to be the right side of the garment until I stupidly serged the shoulder seams on the wrong (right) side and I had to reverse the whole thing because removing serging is pretty much impossible and cutting it off would alter the whole fit of the thing.

I found it was a great brain exercise for my elderly mind to figure out the steps to building this thing with no directions.

I loved the way the serger finished off the knit seams.

And here is the reveal...of both me and the top. Or would you call it a sweater since you pretty much have to wear another top under it?

 I have never put a picture of myself on a blog before, but if Peter of Male Pattern Boldness can pose in the underwear he sews, why not?

My age will prevent any speculation as to whether this is a maternity top!

                        I love color. Some of you may wince at the brightness of this, I know.

My favorite feature is the little cuff split and the stitching around it.

But there is a problem and I have had this happen before even when using a commercial pattern that had a placket neckline.

  The neckline is not laying flat. Well, there is also the crepey elderly neck, but ignore that!
I can never see this until the whole thing is done. I even made a muslin on a previous attempt at a garment and I still had it show up.  If I keep moving, it hardly shows at all. I am sure the fabulous sewists that follow Peter's blog could offer help or opinions. 

April 13, 2014

Frustration + Malaise

I haven't posted since returning from a month away in Florida and I promised myself that if I was going to do a blog, I would not abandon it without good reason. Frustration and malaise are not good enough.

Returning from the beautiful sunshine and green of Florida to a month and a half of the continuing gray and cold has been the first frustration and malaise cause. My sewing room faces north with a very large window and without sun can be a bit gloomy. I should probably have better lighting and if $$$ were not an issue I would completely redo it to a dream sewing studio like a friend of mine has. I spent several hours there last Friday and even though it is a basement room it was fantastic! Well-lit, gobs of storage, and so much more.

BUT, I am here and need a sewing boost. The fabric I have been working on is sunny enough. This was taken during a few hours of sun but the stiff breeze made photography challenging.
I've expanded from just my little zipper bags to some real handbags and totes.
This is a home decor weight fabric that I couldn't resist and I love the way it combines with other prints. I completed this bag and
this tote and a little zip bag.

 I am making little collections that I think will perk up my Etsy shop which also has malaise since I had to close it for the month I was away.

THEN I did this:

What a cute little accessory only 3 inches high and 5 inches across.  I spied the tutorial on Pinterest. The plan was too whip this up in a flash.  I will admit that I am guilty of adding to patterns even before I've tried them and for this one I wanted the sides to be stiffer so I was inserting a very stiff interfacing to the sides AND I added machine quilting which of courses added the requisite batting. So when I got to this pictured step  I was bamboozled!                                                                                                                                            

The next picture did not make it clear that all of this scrunched fabric was to fit INSIDE the fabric circle and pinned and sewn. Leaving a little 2 inch opening through which you must pull all of that scrunched stuff back through!
After several attempts at not sewing all the stuff inside where it belongs and finding it was not working, and seam ripping and teeth gnashing, I finally realized what had to be done. I jettisoned  the stiff interfacing and the top did come out fairly well. But then you have to repeat this to attach the bottom and  this happened:
                                 By this time I feel headachy, sniffly and completely annoyed
and injured as well. I never found the stab point but you can see the blood in the yellow near the back seam. Plus there is a crinkle in the fabric. Anyone know how this always seems to happen?

I still love the fabric and I have more so the next day I start fresh and think positively and abandon working on teeny things for a bag I had found in a booklet on zippered handbags and totes. Not having learned my lesson about adding to the pattern, I decide that I can make it better by using a lining so I can add inner pockets. Here it is and not too bad from a distance, but not good enough to put on Etsy.
Here's why:

 This zipper was not going to ever look right at the ends.  I finally decided to tuck this tab end inside and it is better. 

I am proud of the additions that I think are necessary for any handbag - inside pockets (there is a zippered one you can't see on the side closer to you) and a hook to attach keys.
I may take this on again but I will attach the zipper differently and add some stiffening to the bottom because when you put stuff in the nice boxed shape sags. My favorite feature is the turquoise piping. I hope it holds up as it was a pre-made piping in my stash of stuff and the price printed on it was 19 cents! What decade do you think it was from?