September 28, 2014

My Perfect Travel Tote

Just in time for an impending trip to Sicily, Southern Italy and Rome I completed the just for me traveling companion. Well, hubby is going too but since he is old news (literally) I am only presenting the self-sewn creation.
As you can see, this is a 3 piece set.  After completing the tote I was so happy with the fabric I just had to use some more.  The main fabric is a heavy outdoor fabric but it doesn't have that slick surface some of it has.  The straps are a cotton webbing and the exterior pockets on each side are trimmed with black and gray grosgrain ribbon.  Without the black and gray lines this fabric was a little dizzying to look at.  The lining fabric is one I used on some of my mid-century modern pillows (see here). Its a quilting cotton in gray with silvery dots that give it a cool shimmer. I wanted a light interior so stuff wouldn't hide in the dark.

The tote begins with the inside which I wanted fitted out in a certain way.  I had another bag that went to New York with me in May but it was too small and too deep. Stuff just sifted to the bottom and the one zippered pocket was sometimes difficult to get into.

 I cut a  piece of the exterior fabric large enough to surround the zipper on all sides. A little interfacing keeps it more rigid when operating the zipper.

The pocket is one piece of fabric with one side
attached to the bottom of the inside zipper edge and the other end folded over and then sewn to the top edge.
Then you sew up the sides of the pocket folding back at the zipper to catch that little triangle pice.

                                            Here is the placketed zipper completed. The inside is the same fabric.

The other side of the lining is fitted out with a special pocket just for my ever-present iPad.

Its  pretty straight forward pocket lined with the dotty fabric but I added a flap sewn above it to prevent the slippery little iPad from sliding out if the bag gets on it's side.  A bit of Velcro would have been nice but I didn't have any on hand.

 Now I was getting ready to assemble it when I realized that the exterior was limp as a noodle so I decided to add some fusible batting and quilt it. Since I had already sewn on the pockets and webbing to each side I had to work around them.

This is a free-wheeling wavy line I like to do.  No, it is not done free-motion. I am a complete dud at that and am not up to practicing and wasting time, thread and fabric.  I can echo shapes pretty well too.
 Here I used straight lines  following around the rectangle above the pockets.

Here is the back and you can see what I did.  It did give it more heft without weight or stiffness.
I don't back this with anything because the lining will hide it and more fabric would just make the seams bulkier.

 I also added a strip of batting inside the straps because I have learned that they are easier on the shoulders if I do.  I folded the fabric around it and stitched the webbing over the opening.  I like the effect of the little edge of print showing.

 I Hate "saggy bottoms" so I add some stiffener to the boxed bottom of the bag. This is plastic canvas which can be cut with scissors.  Its cheap and does a great job. I always cut against a smooth edge to eliminate any pokey parts. You can see them on the right.

I wrap the plastic in muslin and sew it in place. Goes through the machine fine. I attach it at each boxed end and then trim off the triangle.

Here are two other things I added.  This is a loop of wide black elastic sewn into the side seam on the inside.  Whatever for you ask! It's my upholder.  I can slip my covered cup in there and it stays relatively upright and in place.  I wouldn't trust it for a full steaming hot cup of coffee, but it keeps it from drifting to the bottom.

The little organizer bag has a D-ring on the side which attaches to a clip on a ribbon that is sewn into the side seam.  Its so easy (at least for me) when traveling and juggling your belongings to misplace something so this is my security.

The little wallet, shown open here may or may not go along this time.  When traveling in Italy, pick-pockets are ever-present so I will probably have my passport, cards, and most cash in one of those ubiquitous body wallets under my clothes or better yet, under hubby's.

So here it is packed with one of my essentials for an overnight flight.  That red thing is a knitted shawl that cam wrap me up or serve as pillow or armrest or even throw over my head to escape whatever is bugging me.

Ready to go on board.  Francine is modeling the last clothing item I made for the trip.  Without the folds, this fabric makes you dizzy.  I think it looks best under a black jacket. The bottom edge is served and I tuck it up, or in to create whatever length I need.

                I will not be posting while away but will return with entries to both of my blogs after October 15. I would love to hear comments but get them in before Oct. 2nd.  I screen my comments and that may be difficult while traveling.

September 25, 2014

Serger Fix + Results

Black is a birch to photograph. See the fabric in the next photo.
Well, it has been awhile since my last post when I was ready to sew up the top and sweater combo on my serger.   Well, if you saw that post you saw that the serger had a major problem. A new presser foot was acquired quickly but the problem went much deeper.  I managed to bend the shaft. I took it to Jim "Doc" Watson in Medina and he fixed me up and gave me a few warnings to be kinder to the machine and to use serger needles.  I will be kinder and I will TRY some serger needles when I get them.
Sewing apparel is not my passion.  I like making almost anything else in fabric but hate fitting and I am not the patient type who has EVER made a muslin. I make a few adjustments for my narrow shoulders and lack of height and that's that.

I did sew this up with no problem.  This is going to be my travel outfit for an overnight flight to Italy next week.  I wanted something that would basically feel like pajamas and I think I achieved it. 

 The fabric is reversible so I wanted to make this drapey cardigan that can show both sides.  The dotted side is barely discernible from any distance so I chose to show off the slightly neon stripey side.                
 Here is the princess seam top where I used the dots in the center and stripes on the sides.  It could be a little more fitted, but then again, I was going for comfort.

This is the first time for selfies.  I set up the camera on a tripod and used the timer. It felt weird and odd to smile so I look pretty glum and didn't take time for make-up and hair a la Project Runway.

The fold above my butt is not the patterns fault. I just should have straightened it out.

And here it is with one of the scarves to jazz it up.  I prefer this to jewelry when traveling.  
BTW, those pants are RTW from Macy's and I got them at a great price and best of all they are marked SHORT and they actually ARE. No hemming even for sub 5" me. I am no sewing purist.

I have been reading a ton of sewing blogs  staring with Peter's Male Pattern Boldness  and branching off from his list and I am really impressed by the great creations from all of them (especially Oonaballona)

I would maybe try some of those darling dresses if my lifestyle of a retired school librarian in small town Ohio offered up occasions to wear them.  

However, I may be inspired to try a jacket or coat.  When in Rome at the end of our tour I plan to visit 
-Fratelli Bassetti Tessuti on Via Vittorio Emanuael II, 73 is one of Rome’s largest fabric stores and also the fabric source for many Italian clothing and interior designers. Opened in 1954 by two brothers, the store is on two floors with double-height ceilings. It holds 200,000 fabrics in any color, shade and texture, distributed in a labyrinth of rooms and layers of rolls of fabric.
 I copied this from Design Sponge

Maybe a nice Italian wool to get me through another Ohio winter.


September 5, 2014

Fabric Obsessions and Me Made Clothing Project

I found this fabric at Joann's the other day and it was even ON SALE! I don't sew a lot of clothing but  when I see something as great as this I can't resist.

IT'S REVERSIBLE! And dots and stripes together just really turn my sewing "hormones" on.

 I have made this pattern before but wasn't completely happy with it.  Then while poking around yesterday at my nearby outlet mall I came across this sweater.

I like the way it folds back more at the front drape than my previous pattern did.

SO, I bought it.

BUT, only for a while.  It's going back to where it cam from very soon.

AFTER I pirate the front panel!

This is the pattern I'm using, sort of.  I'm a sucker for patterns that include
loads of pieces...especially when they go on sale.

 I took a large piece of the pants pattern which I don't intend to use and attached it to the original sweater pattern.

 I simply laid out the store-bought sweater front
over it and traced around it.  I know that a real expert would have been more particular about this but I have found knits to be pretty forgiving.

The thinner  part is the neck extension. I didn't like the way the original had you pleat up a bunch of fabric at the neck back.  This one is going to be
simpler and less bulky.

 Now see this sleeve? I would probably wear it
rolled like this because my arms are really short and even petites hang over my knuckles.

But look at it unrolled
There is a hole in the knit which could run AND that seam is not very nice either.

I had considered hanging onto it since the price wasn't terrible BUT, the fabric least for me.

It's a rayon (60%) polyester (40%) blend which after having it on for only a short while produced a moist feeling.  I tend to "moistness" and prefer cottons and other natural fibers.

All afternoon was spent cutting this out.  It shouldn't be that hard but I bought 2 yard and was determined to get the top (view C)  out of this fabric as well.

Keep following me as I take a sewing journey and a real journey.  This top and sweater along with a pair of RTW pants in my closet are going to be my overnight flight to Italy outfit next month.  I am so excited.  After I return you may want to stop by my other blog to see how it all went.

Note:  I cannot start sewing on this until MONDAY when a replacement presser foot for my serger should arrive. My serger went CLUNK like Peter's of MPB so I referred back to how he handled it. NOT, the same problem but discovered that when the presser foot was removed NO CLUNK!

See that tiny little tooth-like thing in the opening of the foot. It's bent down a bit and apparently hits a moving part when operating.  I have no idea how I managed this and hope a new foot is the answer! I don't suppose all those skid marks should be there either.

1. Do you buy RTW to copy and the return?
2. Have you ever managed to BEND a presser foot?