November 24, 2014


This week is all about zippers. Some of it is work and some of it is just play.

First the work of shortening a metal zipper.  These things look cool but are a potential disaster for your sewing machine needles.  I buy my zippers before I even know what I am going to use them for so I have quite a messy lot of them.  One time I bought a bag of 50 random zippers for $7.00.

I tend to buy longer ones so they can be used in more applications so many of them get amputated.  The nylon coils are no big whoop. Just don't use your best fabric scissors.

BUT, the metal are a  b@$%& !

I searched online for the best way to do this and came away even more frustrated. I found THIS.

It seemed reasonable, but when I tried to "twist" the tiny little teeth loose with my needle nose pliers absolutely NOTHING resulted.  Now I'm not saying this isn't possible. Its just not possible for ME.

So here is my lame solution which I do not consider a tutorial, Im just saying'.

Using non-fabric scissors,  carefully cut between the teeth to shorten up the zipper and then trim off the teeth
Then I stitched across the fabric tabs to keep them in line

Next I made a tab over the end as I usually do.

And repeated at the other end
 AND THEN, I discovered the problem with this method.  Because the tab didn't completely cover the end of the teeth, the tab could come off the teeth!!!  So, I hand stitched my own version of a stop by sewing this :  Yes, it looks messy. But is basically hidden later.  JUST SEW VERY SLOWLY when you get to the teeth and you can maneuver through them.

However, I did manage to get both tabs on the end and got the zipper to work in the little bag I was making.

         Now for play time
My 3 1/2 year old grand daughter in the sewing/computer/play room
 I told you I have lots of zippers and more are on the way from my favorite supplier ZIPIT on Etsy.
 That open drawer contains a tangle of zippers and Mom's old button box. I gave up on keeping them in some sort of order.

Just throw them out on the floor and hunt for the color.

 She measured them.
 She tested them.
And then we played THIMBLEFINGERS!

I have a bag of not-collection-worthy thimbles in a zip-lock bag which she was allowed to unzip and sort, stack and wear. (I have over 400 in my collection - see previous post HERE. )

Seven-year-old grandson is occupying that black
desk chair in the background damaging his eyesight playing computer games.

I'm thinking she should be my LOGO. 

Do the kids you know find your sewing supplies fun?  What are their favorites?  Hopefully not your rotary cutter!

Love to hear from you but I do moderate my comments before they appear.

November 16, 2014

Winter Woolies

Winter is really settling in and the temperatures sinking faster than a pattern weight in a tub of bath water (I was trying for a sewing reference hers, but there isn't much liquid associated with sewing).
Although, we have been spared the lake effect snowfall that piled up just a half hour drive north of us.

SO, I decided it was time to stop sewing on brightly colored ruffly skirts and summer weight bags and totes and get into something more seasonal.  Back in August I had made a custom order from my little stash of wool.

The order came about because I had challenged Peter of Male Pattern Boldness that I would give him something else to perk up his apartment if he went ahead and made those drapes he was hesitant about. Well, he made them and they were great and then I had to come through with the pillows I promised him.  You can see them HERE. No, the pillows were not wool. BUT, when his partner, Michael,  saw them he went to my Etsy shop and liked the zippered bags and asked for one made in more masculine fabrics and colors. I came up with this.

The photos stink because I just wanted a quick record of what i had made rather than a spending time setting up a better shot for Etsy. I had only sent Michael this and a promise.
                                                      Thankfully he really likes it.

That little project only ate up a small portion of the expensive half-yard of gray wool so I returned to it and came up with this nice wintery bag.

The little side pockets are from some felted wool I got from RubyMountainDyeWorks on Etsy.
Most of their wool is very small pieces but yummy. Above the pockets is some of the same faux leather I used on Michael's bag.
I split the piece to have a simple gray cotton on the lower concealed part because I didn't have enough and it also made it way easier to sew through the layers. You can see where my pattern came from. This is the second one I have made.

              Cutting this felted wool is so great. It fives a great smooth edge and doesn't fray.

              But, it molds beautifully.  The tailor's ham came out for one of its rare appearances

Here is a bad photo of the lining.  I love the look of this shiny dot cotton which I have used in other projects.  There is an inside pocket, a dangly clip on a ribbon for keys or you can attach this:

The solid overlaps the houndstooth and it is simply simply stitched down with two rows of topstitching.  The lining is the same shiny dot fabric.

When I ordered the houndstooth wool, I also bought a  pack of blue in six shades and that got put together this week, too.

Here are the two sides of the
little bag made of small leftovers.

You can see these in my Etsy shop at CherylThimbleFingers

                                           This may be the basis for the next little project.

          Are you sewing for winter or are you like the fashion industry and working seasons ahead?

November 4, 2014

Ruffle Riot and a Reluctant Model

The serger is well and I have done nothing to jeopardize it this week. (see previous post) I am using pins MUCH more sparingly.  I used to avoid ruffles because of the tedious thread pulling, but with the soft gathering setting on the serger they are quick and easy.  The rolled edge makes the ruffles soft and flowy.  So I made some more of these skirts.  I love putting the color and print combinations together.

We were having the grand kids over for the weekend so I spent ALL day Friday with this pattern.

I am a big fan of patterns with lots of options and this one fits the bill. You get a sweater, two shirt versions, leggings and a skirt. And I made them all.

The cardigan is my favorite but I made it in polka dot instead of the solid.  I found this Riley Blake knit online somewhere and if I could remember I would tell you.

Darling grand-daughter proved to be her typical 3-year-old self and had to be sweet talked into even putting this on.
                     She really liked the purple shirt which was purchased and the leggings.

The pink ruffle and the flower pin on the cardigan were repurposed from an 18 month size tutu that ended up at my house.

I got the matching t-shirt on her for a short spell.  After the photo-shoot I re-serged the 
shoulder seams for a better fit.

I did a really bad job on the zipper because I did not read everything before I started and didn't
even realize it called for one. Bad me.  I think a zipper in a knit with a neck this large is totally unnecessary.

This is her favorite picture.

The her brother had to get into the act and really hammed it up.

                                       Turns out she REALLY wants a purple skirt and being a good grandma, I will be searching out the right shades of purple to go with that polka-dot purple shirt before their next visit.   Like on real models, the  skirt has been "fitted" by pinning out the extra inches in the back.                        

I wasn't done with the pattern.  I made the color-blocked shirt and another pair of leggings.

But,  they look like pajamas so that is what they are going to be.

                    AND I did not put in a zipper and there is oodles of head room.

And then I made another ruffled skirt.  I really like the way the knit makes the extra ruffly lettuce edge.
                 Do you like to sew for kids?  Do THEY like what you sew?