Friday, January 10, 2014

Back to the Grind...

   Well, Christmas is over and we all somehow managed to get through it in one piece.  I got many good projects completed, but had to scale back a few things to meet all the holiday deadlines that always sneak up.  The "Alex" Bag came out great, the roller foot really did the trick.  Pictures are coming!  The stitching got a little wonky where the fabric was extra thick.  I tried to treat the industrial grade vinyl as if it was regular fabric, and the top  double-fold binding was 4 or more layers thick in most spots.  Single-fold, next time!  The leather/jean needle did do the trick, though, and even with all the heavy punishment, it never broke.  I also used binder clips to hold the vinyl pieces together, which worked great.  Word of caution, they do leave a little indent in the vinyl, especially when there's a lot of layers, so try to keep them in the seam allowances.  For the lining, I found some fun Hawaiian print that I got in Florida a few years back, and I think it complemented the look quite well.  Definitely "Girly"!  She's only used it a few times so far, but I think it's durability has really shown itself already. 
  I did actually get to make two out of the four round pillows as well.  I went for a mitered look, which came out ok.  I tried fabric glue stick to try to line the stripes up, which did work pretty well.  I did one with and without, and the one with I had an easier time construction.  It did leave a little residue on the fabric, but didn't destroy or gum up the needle, so a little wash should take care of it.  I had a hard time with the very middle alignment, I'm guessing it's a fairly common thing, and is why people tend to put a button in the middle (to cover it up!)  Next time, I'll try to place a wider strip in the center, and make sure the first stripe to line up is at least an inch from center, that should help. 
  Napkins - bah, who needs em?  (ie.  didn't have enough time to finish!) 
Oh, that right, I did make a blanket for Ian.  Pretty simple, but I did use to layers of minky fabric, which made putting the blanket binding on a really chore.  The fabric was so think and slippery, the binding want to shift, and I couldn't get the stitching to catch both sides just right.  I have this problem a lot, and would love if someone could share some tips or tricks!  I didn't get a chance to do any vests, but I found a Black Friday sale at Carters: Vest for kids - $5 each!  So I braved the hustle and bustle and got the kids as many as I could get in their sizes.  Whew!

  On to NEW things!

  So, as promised, I'm back into knits.  I made a mock up of the long sleeve t-shirt (Burda 1234) with some augments to fit my size.  Tapered the hips out, and the waist in a bit.  The underarms aren't perfect, they stuck out a bit, not sure if that's the pattern, or if it's because I serged the side seams and sleeve seam in one line, and the demarcation got a lost a bit.  Will try to machine sew that little corner next time, see if it brings it in better.  Also had to lengthen it about 2 inches.  All in all I was happy with the pattern.  So, not I'm working on a "real" shirt.  Taking inspiration from the Xmas pillows, I'm going to try to do stripes again, and hope like crazy they line up!  I have a blue/tan/black striped fabric from JoAnn, polyester blend.  Stripes are bout 1 inch wide.  I've taken my dear sweet time designing it and planning where each stripe will match on each piece, and I plan to try basting them together before stitching/serging.  Still not sure what to do for the neck band.  Solid black?  A band that perpendicular to the stripes?  Two-piece bias band, mitered in the front center?  Cowl?  I'll finish the shirt and reassess, see how crazy (or not) the stripes are before deciding. 

  Not sure exactly where to go after this shirt.  A few ideas:
1.) Go through the mountain of old clothes I've stashed see if there's something I could upcycle using this pattern.
2.) Another shirt with some different design elements.  Stripes in different places, draping, godets, gathers, etc.
3.) Skirts?  Maybe will wait until it's closer to Spring, otherwise might just be wishful thinking!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Christmas is coming!

Well, gang, as you know, Christmas is around the corner.  What a creative smorgasbord of ideas!  I'm looking forward to making Christmas themed pillows, cloth napkins, red and green paper chains, paper snow flakes hanging from fish line from my dining room ceiling, and perfectly crafted card board Christmas trees with pristine finger-print "ornaments", from my darling children Alex (3 Years) and Ian (11 months).  Well, so far I created the chain (tried to get Alex in on the action, taping the loops closed was a bit of a challenge, but she did do one!)  Suddenly, the reality of the cold set in.  Blanket shortage!  Day care is too cold!  Must make blankets, vests and other snugglies.  On top of that, the "Alex" bag that my daughter dutifully carries with her that she puts all her Princess figures, books, toys and anything else she can cram into it, has been scraped along the driveway one too many times, and needs to be replaced (after 10 repair jobs, thee isn't enough fabric to stitch up anymore!)  So, Christmas is getting shoved aside, for the time being, to make way for "practical" projects.  Hopefully after Thanksgiving, red and green glitter will once again dance in my dreams.

So, to prioritize, here's my "current" list of projects, subject to change at my or my kid's whims:

1.      "Alex" Bag.  I went to JoAnn's and got 1/4 yard of pink Marine grade vinyl for the bottom (hopefully will stand up to multiple driveway draggings!) and 1/2 yard of flowery outdoor fabric for the body and handles of the bag.  Upper lip and pocket will be the vinyl as well, and I'll attempt to write ALEX on the pocket with different colors of satin stitched thread.  Just got a roller foot from Amazon, hopefully will make going over the vinyl easier (hate trying to use tissue!)
2.      Fleece Vest for Alex.  Daycare is cold, and it's hard getting a kid to wear a shirt AND a sweater.  Had a hard time finding a 7" separating zipper, JoAnn's had mostly larger sizes.  Finally got a cream colored one, labeled "lightweight", hopefully it'll be substantial enough for a lined fleece vest.  Might have to look on line for an alternative, will post if I find a good source.
3.      CHRISTMAS!!  First up - Round pillow covers for my living room.  I found stripped red/green fabric that I've started to cut into triangles.  Will pieces 4  of them to make a square pattern out of the strips, and them cut out the circle shape for the pillow.  Simple pocket opening in the back (don't feel like dealing with zippers this time!)  Found a complementary fabric for the sides.
4.      Cloth napkins - with the leftovers from the pillow project, will make double sided napkins, probably around 14" square.  Just put two squares together. wrong sides together, stitch around leaving an opening.  Turn inside out, press, and decorative stitch about 1/4" from the perimeter.  Easy!
After all the bustle is complete, I've already got my January projects picked out.  Don't want to be left high and dry after the Holidays!  I want to get back into knits, and I got a simple t-shirt pattern from Burda (3197) that I want to use as a template for some fun color blocking.  I got fed up with some Rayon knits I got form JoAnn's (stretched way out, little recovery) so I want to go with a cotton/Poly blend, see if I have more luck.  Already have about 6 picked out at!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hi Everyone!  This is my first of what will hopefully be many post describing my sewing experience, frustrations and triumphs  I hope you'll enjoy!