Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bye-Bye Love Bag

Though I'm really not much of a bag maker, I do so love tote bags and own an extensive assortment.  Last December I noticed a mention of an upcoming Bag-of-the-Month Pattern Club that would feature a new bag pattern every month (January through June) designed by some of my favorite sewing bloggers.  Seemed like the perfect opportunity to push myself into making more bags, as well as a fun surprise in my email on the first of each month when the patterns are sent out to participants.

Bag Front

Bag Back

This is January's pattern, the Bye-Bye Love Bag by Sew Sweetness.  I started it almost immediately upon receipt, but stalled while waiting for the zippers to arrive and became distracted by numerous other projects.  Apart from the zippers and rings, all materials used were sourced from medium to deep stashville (yeah!).  The floral print linen (home dec weight) is a remnant from a bed skirt project that dates back to the mid 90's.  I used well-aged ultrasuede scraps for the contrast, and quilting cotton for lining. 


Quilting Details

I couldn't find any of the recommended Annie's Soft & Stable interfacing locally, so used fusible fleece that I'd had around for eons (I'm talking 1980's people!).  Since I was using remnants, I needed to piece the fleece along one edge, and decided to add a bit of quilting to make sure it didn't detach with use.  I just followed the arch form of the bag front and back margins and then used the little quilt guide doohickey that attaches to the presser foot to make the subsequent quilting lines (about 1.5" apart).  I was determined to use antique brass finish findings and zips, because I really like the way they look with my fabric choices, but unfortunately could not find a 24" zip that matched my desire.  Consequently, I used two 12" zips for the bag closure (they meet at the center top), and it works just fine :D.  



I decided to eliminate the front flapped pockets.  I tried them, but just seemed to make the bag look a bit too busy for my taste when combined with the large scale print and contrasting trim.  The pockets are pretty cute though, so I stashed them away with the hopes on using them as contrast on a future bag.  I forgot to take a photo of the pockets though, sorry.

Simplified Strap Tab

I also simplified the strap tabs.  Both to suit my less-is-more taste more closely, and to make them seam free as the ultrasuede is a bit thick.  I first stitched the tabs with matching thread, but decided that I preferred the contrasting linen colored thread.  I used ordinary thread since my machine was occasionally cranky about sewing so many layers --- I didn't want to further annoy it with the use of topstitching thread, even though I think I would have liked the appearance of the heavier thread.  As it was, I broke 4 needles during the construction of this bag :/. 

Checked Cotton Lining

For lining I interfaced and used a neutral checked quilting cotton.  I really like the flat bottom of the bag and the 2 divided interior side pockets.  Sadly, I didn't seem to get a revealing photo of the interior.  I've yet to use the bag (and may not, as I'm thinking my sis would really love to have it), but feel it will be really easy to keep organized, plus hold a lot. 

Handy Zippered Exterior Pocket


I'm currently in the starting stages of March's Bag-of-the-Month, and at my current bag making rate, you might expect to see that one completed around the beginning of May.  Perhaps I'll surprise us all and get it finished quickly though.

In other sewing news, I've made an absolute slew of tees using Deer & Doe's Plantain pattern.  I really needed to refresh my tee shirt wardrobe and, as I had (confession: still have) a large knit stash, I've made more than a dozen (so far, I'm not anywhere near finished making these).  In my opinion, for my body type and lifestyle, it's a perfect tee pattern :D!

I've also been on an undie sewing extravaganza, primarily for my niece.  Hopefully, I'll get some of those blogged soon.  I absolutely adore reading the undie sewing adventures of other sewists, so I feel as if it's almost a duty to post mine.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bra Two!

I'm declaring my second bra a success!  I used the new Pin-Up Girls Shelley Bra pattern and made the size 32G with no alterations and it fits nicely and is super comfy!!!   I think the multi-piece cup is attractive, supportive and will allow for all sorts of fun fabric and lace combinations.  Yep, I'll definitely be making this one again and again :D!




I took this bra for a "test drive" today, wearing it during my long daily walk.  I actually forgot I was wearing it, so consider that a great indicator of comfort.  No bounce either --- which is a huge plus and a virtual miracle in my world!  

For bra #3, I will move the strap tabs inward just a tad since my shoulders are on the narrow side, and while the straps are not slipping off I do think they'd feel more secure moved in slightly.  Also, when I reach forward the outer edge of the straps rub a bit at the front of my shoulder and I think moving the position slightly toward center will remedy that problem.

I used white simplex, powernet and findings from a Fabric Depot kit combined with some nylon lace that's been languishing in my stash for 30 years! I stabilized the upper cup edge with a strip of sheer tricot as recommended, but next time I think I'll try a strip of clear elastic instead. The lace is rigid, but does have a smidge more give than the tricot strip. 

I love this pattern and can't wait to sew another one in a jazzier fabric & lace combo!  I'm currently a bit obsessed with bra-making and fear I may end up with a huge collection.  But hey, a girl could have worse vices than homemade undies!



Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bra One Done!

Long-long-long spell sans postings here!

For the past few weeks I've been taking part in a Bra-Making Sew Along led by Amy of Cloth Habit.  So much fun!  Sewing lingerie is much easier than one might expect. 

I'd say that, for me anyway, that fiddling around with fit has been somewhat tedious.  I imagine my fellow sew-alongers may have similar feelings.  However, with expert guidance from Amy and Norma the seemingly mysterious art of bra-making has been made accessible!  Thank you so much ladies :D!

Bra one is now complete, and a couple amateur moves on my part resulted in a bit of a snug fit in the upper cup.  Easily tweaked and remedied for round two though.  And though the fit is slightly off, I am pleasantly surprised by how great the finished garment looks!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Yoga Skirt Surprise!

A few weeks ago I enrolled in a Sewing with Knits E-Course in an effort to overcome my life long trepidation about sewing stretchy fabrics.  The single best thing about the class is that it simply required me to sit down at the machine to practice sewing knits, and just doing that helped me discover there was really no reason to be so intimidated. 

I skipped a few of the projects that didn't hold any interest for me (hairbands, baby blanket, spaghetti-strap tank top) and focused on the tee shirt, as well as several knit garments (dresses, nightgowns, tank tops) that were not part of the curriculum.  Since the class is winding up tomorrow I decided to give the lounge pants (no pics of those yet) and yoga skirt projects a somewhat unenthusiastic try.  It turns out that I like the lounge pants quite a bit in spite of the fact that I'm not really a big fan of knit pants --- we'll call those pajama bottoms and make a matching top tomorrow :D. 

The unexpected pleasant surprise of my last minute garment sewing was the yoga skirt!  Wow, do I ever like this skirt --- super duper easy and quick to make!  It was finished in less than an hour (including cutting out time) even though I dawdled a bit over details.  I fully expected to dislike it and was already mentally presenting it to my niece when I tried it on.   Hah, she's out of luck since I love it!  It is so comfy / cool to wear and I'm sure that I'll be wearing it a lot in the coming warm weather months.  I used about a yard of medium weight cotton lycra jersey (that had been languishing in my fabric stash for nearly 2 decades) to make the skirt.  I'll definitely be on the lookout for fabric to make a couple more of these.  If you want to make one for yourself, here's the super simple instructions for doing so:  yoga skirt

 

 A sort of close view of the skirt --- see the wide fold-over waistband?  Super comfy!


My photographer was a pretty funny guy today --- hence the cracking up LOL!  The salmon orangey-pink tee is a rather unfortunate choice and is certainly not a good color on me, yuck!


Check out the clogs!  They are sooooooo comfortable, love them!  The happy result of some random 6pm.com shopping and a steal at $20 when on sale a couple weeks ago!   They're still available for just a few dollars more, highly recommended by moi!  Marvy Clogs

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Unseasonable

I've been intending to write this post for quite awhile, hence its unseasonable topic.  If you happen to be enduring sweltering summer temperatures, you might want to skip this one --- or at least turn up the AC LOL!

Last winter I purchased this lush scarf-lette from my friend, the uber-talented Sue of MaddyandMeDesigns to keep my perpetually chilly neck warm during my daily walk.  It coordinated nicely with my favorite purple jacket (now sold out in purple) and is super soft and cosy.  I love it and have worn it dozens and dozens of times already!


A few weeks ago I snapped up a couple more jackets in different colors since they were on clearance for such an irresistibly great price.   Shortly afterward, while wandering around in my LYS, I came across two enticing skeins in the clearance section and thought that (obviously inspired by Sue!) I'd whip up neckwarmers to go with my newest jackets. 

Yep, that's definitely some yarn porn!

While not nearly as nice as Sue's scarflette, these were a fun and super quick project.  Alas, it hasn't been chilly enough to warrant wearing them --- but I'll be all ready for the cooler temps when fall rolls around.  Check out how that pale gray jacket's bright pink lining goes with that nubbly red/pink/gray yarn --- yum!


The fabulous timber buttons used as closures are another Etsy find, I purchased these from my sweet friend Kylie's supply shop Meluna .  I think they are the perfect finishing touch :D.


Under the category of lovely mailbox surprises, check out this cutie-pie ceramic narwhal sculpture that arrived in the post from my amazing muddy buddy Felicia .  I ♥ it so much!  Felicia, I ♥ you too, but you know that :D!

 

Oh, I think this handsome fellow warrants a view from another angle too!


I'm simply enchanted!  This little guy now resides on a shelf overlooking my sewing table area --- he's my new mascot :D!  Thank you so much Fifi!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Two Done!

Dress #1 and #2 complete, and hopefully, soon to be joined by dress #3.  Though it remains to be seen whether I'll successfully complete another dress prior to Wednesday's deadline.

Anyway, dress #1 --- the red dotted rayon faille sundress made with Simplicity 2638 turned out pretty well.  However, since I'm not totally comfortable baring my arms in public, it's a good thing that it goes nicely with my lightweight tencel denim jacket. 


Here's the dress sans jacket, albeit a bit creased (I confess that I plucked it out of the laundry basket for this photo op without giving it a touch up with the iron):




Not too crazy about this zipper plus keyhole opening with button closure.  It seems unnecessarily fussy to me and I'd opt for a zipper alone next time I use this pattern.   This dress turned out a bit large, in spite of a well-fitting muslin, so I ended up doing some post-construction alteration to improve the fit.

Dress #2 was a complete success and is super-duper comfy too.  I used a cheery green and ivory ITY knit from fabric.com in combination with McCall's 9574.  Per the instructions, I basted the back seam and tried it on to see if I could skip the zipper.  Since the knit was nice and elastic, I was able to easily slip it on and off without adding the zip (yay!).  This dress fits me really really well and the hubs is quite taken with it :D.  My only dissatisfaction with this pattern is how the waistband insert is only on the front of the dress, the back is plain and seems a smidgen unfinished/unstructured as a result.  When I make this pattern again, I may try continuing the waist inset completely around the dress --- seems as if that would be an easy tweak.



Onward to dress #3!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cutting it Close!

Phew!  Just barely enough fabric to cut out my first dress!!!  Sure not very many scraps left.


 I decided to kick off the summer dress challenge with a shortened version of Simplicity 2638 in a red dotted rayon that has been so well-aged in my fabric stash that it is approaching vintage status.  I only had 2 yards, but it was 60" wide so I was able to just barely squeak out all the pieces for this dress.  Though I did end up cutting the (self) lining for the back bodice on the cross grain, rather than the length wise grain. 



I did a FBA, which allowed me to cut out a straight size 12.


Please avert your eyes from the visible mid-section pudge, I did attempt to crop as much middle as possible out of the frame!  The muslin fit well, and I feel confident that the little horizontal wrinkle under the bust will be smoothed by the addition of interfacing combined with the weight of the skirt.

Sewing will commence in the morning :D!