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When I went back to school in September, one of my main goals was to make time for sewing, knitting, and blogging, especially since I now have not only one sewing machine, but two! Three months later, I'm at that point in the semester when all my labs are finishing up, I've been done with midterms for a week now, and I'm realizing that I definitely haven't been keeping up with that goal! In fact, my sewing machines are still sitting on my living room floor because I don't yet have a desk for them. My desk for studying never seems to be clear for long enough to use it as a sewing desk! I'm lucky enough to have space in my student apartment for a small dedicated sewing space, but I still haven't bought the table I need to set it up. Anyways, although I haven't been sewing, I still have so many unblogged projects to write about. I originally wrote this post back in the summer in between rounds of the Super Online Sewing Match, but never finished edi..
My trainer left for a week in New York and I knew it was a perfect time to yarn bomb her. Several things had entered my mind over the past year. She loves her Raiders and I love my Niners. Thought I might yarn bomb her with Niner colors, but thought that would be the shortest lived yarn bomb. Then thought out of respect for our friendship and in the name of fun I'd give her what she'd want... Raider colors. What to yarn bomb? Why not the 4X4 post of her mailbox. I took a measurement trip to her house. I knew she had a neighbor watching her house, but who? As I was measuring I saw a guy with a big ole truck and a big ole Raider's sign on the truck and thought that's the neighbor. Of course he's home on a weekday while I'm out messing with the mailbox. I knew then I'd have to install this yarn bomb at the last minute, because if he saw me he'd text my trainer. He'd tell her some crazy lady is messing with your mailbox. That's his job. I ..
What the What?!?! Two posts in one week?!?? No need to check for air born piggies, dear readers, and no, it is not The End of Days. I'm just getting caught up on a few posts here on the old blog. I've actually been fairly productive behind the scenes this past month or so and am wrapping up multiple projects in fairly quick succession. Nice to breathe some new life into this space! I was about to title this post "Canadian Tuxedo" but then I stopped myself... why is denim on denim called a Canadian tuxedo? If recollection serves me correct, the implication was that wearing denim on denim was trashy, or redneck-y, neither of which are things I associate with Canadians... All the Canadians I know are chic as hell! So my friends, if you have more insight into this particular slang phrase, please, do enlighten me! Regardless, this is my take on the denim on denim look and I think it's pretty darn sharp! This chambray popover was my most recent make for the Mood Sewing Netwo..
Hey guys! I hope everyone is having a good start to your November. This month is actually going to be crazy busy for me at work and as much as I like to appreciate the moment and all that jazz I'll be extremely grateful to see the back of November! But enough about my "real life" (my "Clark Kent" if you will) let's talk about something equally as fascinating - the weather! In case you're wondering - yes, it's totally still warm enough to wear this getup! Summer 4eva!!! Actually this warm weather is putting quite the damper on my Fall/Winter sewing plans. Eh. Who am I kidding? It's putting no damper on my sewing plans, only on my wearing-what-I-sew plans. But, like, it's gotta get cold at some point, right? Lifelong Texans don't answer that... Well now we got the chit-chat out of the way, let's move onto the good stuff - this romper! Do you call it a romper or a playsuit? Or just a short jumpsuit? Well whatever it is, it's pretty freaking fu..
We have arrived at the final step of the Desmond backpack sew along. This has been a ton of fun for me, and I’ll admit I’m a little sad to be concluding my first sew along for my first pattern. That being said, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the process, and I love seeing all of your packs coming along and taking shape. If you use Instagram, be sure to tag your photos using the hashtag #thedesmondpack. You can search the hashtag to see how other people are interpreting the pattern, and various construction photos that I’ve been posting. We need to do a couple of things to our webbing and hardware to make the pack fully functional. Roll top slides and clips To make the backpack close, we need to install the snap hooks and slides. Feed the end of one of your roll top straps through a slide, then under and over the snap hook opening. The view below is of the top side of the strap. Continue feeding the end of your webbing back through the slide over the first layer of webbing. Repeat for bot..
We are getting close to finishing with Step 9 of the Desmond Backpack sew along! The exterior and lining get sewn together today and all of the hard work put in so far pays off in a big way. There is something so satisfying about putting the final touches on a project. Lining Attachment Leave the lining right side in (pockets will be on the inside). Turn backpack body (exterior) right side out (zipper pocket and strapping will be on the outside). Press open 1-2″ of side seam allowance at the top of the backpack body and lining. If you want to press open the entire seam allowance you can, but it isn’t necessary. Place backpack body (exterior) inside lining, right sides together. Align side seams, side notches, and center front and center back notches. Pin lining to exterior. Stitch lining to exterior all the way around top of pack opening. Make sure to keep notches and side seams aligned, and make sure that the side seam allowances remain pressed open as they are stitched. Press t..
Good evening, friends! As you know, I've been on a knit sewing kick lately. After years of using mostly wovens, my wardrobe is now bursting with handmade, stretchy garments. Fueling this obsession have been two patterns, the Myrtle and the Moneta dresses, from Colette. I've sewn a dizzying number of both dresses, steadily building up an army of secret pajamas. You can imagine my delight, when Colette announced that they were adding to their range of knits. More stretchy dresses to love! The Wren Dress debuted last week, a charming mock-wrap dress with two skirt options, a gored slim design and a flowy gathered option. While it's something I would have auto-bought anyhow, Meg from Colette was kind enough to send me an advanced copy of the pattern, as part of the Wren Faire. Naturally, I was on that faster than Buffy on a vampire, Cordelia on a snappy put-down, or whatever Whedonesque metaphor you prefer. My favorite part of the Wren dress is, hands down, the softly gathe..
With this step we are putting the main lining pieces together. The directions and procedure are nearly identical to Step 6, where we sewed up the sides and bottom of the exterior of the pack. There is one small change in the back/bottom seam where we need to leave an opening to turn the pack right side out later. Lining Assembly Fold the bottom corners of lining piece A right sides together so that the edges align. Pin in place. Sew the corners using 1/2″ seam allowance, stopping 1/2″ from the edge. With right sides together, pin bottom of lining piece B to bottom of lining piece A. Starting 1/2″ from the edge, sew in about 2″ on each side, leaving a portion of the bottom seam open (this opening will be required to pull the backpack body through the lining later). Here is another view. Each end of the seam is sewn in about 2″ on each side, and the center remains open. With right sides together, pin the long sides of lining piece A to the long sides of lining piece B. Starting at t..
With the exterior of the pack finished, it’s time to start working on the lining. Several of the same pattern pieces that we used for the exterior of the pack are also used for the lining. Since it essentially takes on the same shape as the exterior of the pack, the directions for completing parts of the lining are almost the same as the exterior construction, but with some small adjustments. Lining Side Pockets Finish all edges of lining pocket pieces E with an overlock or zig zag stitch. Fold over 3/8″ at the top of each pocket piece E to the wrong side of the fabric and press flat. Repeat, folding over and pressing another 3/8″ to the wrong side. Top-stitch folded layers down from the right side 1/4″ from folded edge at top of pocket. Fold under 1/2″ seam allowance on the left side of one pocket piece, and 1/2″ seam allowance on the right side of the other pocket piece. Press flat to wrong side. Fold under 1/2″ seam allowance on the bottom of each pocket piece. Press flat to w..
I love getting to this point in a project. After all of the somewhat intricate work involved with constructing pockets and straps, we finally get to see the backpack take shape today as we sew the seams for the main body. This is the 6th step in my Desmond Backpack sew along. Main body construction, Exterior Fold the bottom corners of exterior piece A right sides together so that edges align. Pin in place. Sew the corners using 1/2″ seam allowance, stopping 1/2″ from the edge. Stopping 1/2″ from the edge will make assembling the pieces that meet in the corner easier. These stitch lines create the sides of the backpack. With right sides together, pin the bottom of exterior piece B to the bottom of exterior piece A. Stitch piece B to bottom of piece A, starting and stopping 1/2″ from each end. Here is what the back/bottom seam looks like from the inside. With right sides together, and all straps to the inside and out of the way, pin the long sides of piece A to the long sides of pie..
Today we are working on the back of the pack where all of the strapping comes together. It’s important to make sure the straps are adequately reinforced since they will be carrying the weight of the pack. Last time we left off after completing the shoulder straps. Handle/Strap Attachment With right sides together, align top edge of strap backing piece G with placement line on exterior piece B. Stitch pieces together 1/2″ from the edge of piece G. Press seam allowance down, toward the other side of piece G. Fold piece G along fold line so that both long edges of piece G are touching. Press flat. Cut a piece of webbing 12″ long for the handle. Align webbing for handle on each side of center mark on exterior piece B. Edges of webbing should be touching each other at the center point. The bottom edges of webbing should rest against piece G. Baste in place 1-3/4″ from piece G. (Optional: if using lightweight fabric, reinforce wrong side of piece B behind strap attachments with fusibl..
Thankfully, with the pockets out of the way, things moved right along. I continued to assemble the lining to the jacket fronts, which have cut on facings. It's a big floppy mess to work with, but it can be done. The next step is to sew the outer jacket while keeping the lining out of the way. This is an even bigger mess, but seam by seam it all comes together. Sleeves attached and lining all in place without a bit of handsewing. Yay! The sleeves on this pattern have a very tiny vent. Thankfully, I had the forethought to enlarge the extensions on both the upper and under sleeves. This made them much easier to form, otherwise it would have been damn near impossible. The lining seam allowances are pressed back and laid under the vent plackets, basted in place and then stitched. Here is the finished mini vent. The sleeves will be pleated into the cuff, so I stitched the lining to the fashion fabric so they'll act as one. Speaking of the cuffs, this pattern has a curved cu..
OK, getting down to it. I spent the better part of a day just cutting out the pieces and sewing on two pockets. I kid you not! I've always struggled with matching horizontal stripes or plaids where the sleeve meets the upper chest. Matching at the front "notch" is too low, so Suni's tutorial suggests using the "dot" where the easing begins. But guess what????? Mr. Halston left out the dot! I used a tape measure to establish what I hope will be a good point to match. Time will tell. To keep things aligned, each piece has to be cut out separately. I only made a few changes in the cutting. I believe that the undercollar and its interfacing should be on the bias, and I had plenty of fabric to do this. I also enlarged the extensions for the vents at both the sleeves and the sides. I can't understand why pattern companies are so skimpy in these areas. It's just a recipe for disaster to believe that a decent vent can be made just using the 5/8" seam allowance. I wanted ..
Hey y’all, it’s step 4 of the Desmond Backpack sew-along! You might want to check out #thedesmondpack hashtag on Instagram. Some cool packs are starting to show up! I love seeing the different fabric choices and interpretations of the pattern. If you need a refresher from where we left off last time, you can check out Step 3. At this point, all of the pockets on the front/sides of the pack (exterior piece A) should be complete. Shoulder Straps If you like your shoulder straps to have a little padding, now would be the time to think about adding some. My personal opinion for a pack of this size and purpose is that padding isn’t a necessity. I don’t plan on carrying heavy objects, and don’t plan on walking really long distances with the pack. My straps will be made as written in the pattern, with no extra padding. That being said, thin foam or batting are probably the best options for adding padding to the straps if you choose to do so. Depending on what type of material you use, you..
How about a little break from the Desmond Pack sew-along? Here is a preview of my second post for The Sewing Party! I made a quilted ukulele bag with some fabric I, eh, “borrowed” from by wife’s fabric stash. I think she was going to make pillow cases or something at one point, but never got around to it. Since she doesn’t really sew any more, I’ve slowly started to claim her fabric stash as my own. Over on The Sewing Party’s website there is a full tutorial on how to make your own custom sized instrument bag. There are directions for making the pattern, which is actually pretty easy with only two pattern pieces to make based off of your instrument. The pattern can be adapted to fit any small instrument, not just ukulele’s. Go check it out! I am contributing to The Sewing Party’s blog this year and I am thrilled to be part of the program. There are lots of other fun and interesting articles from the other contributors, as well as contests, including one right now where they are givin..
I went ahead and made a quick and dirty muslin, and I'm SO GLAD I did. I wasn't far into the process before issues started popping up. First up, the sleeves had way too much ease in the sleeve cap. It might be fine for a leisure suit jacket (some shoulder pads would be in order to fill out the "puffiness"), but I'm wanting this to fit like a shirt. Sorry, no puffy shirts for me. The ease was especially dreadful from the shoulder seam down the back. Eeek! I calculated that there was 1 1/2" of ease in the sleeve cap, so I removed all but 1/4" of it. Here you see the pattern adjustment and the excess fabric that will be cut away. The sleeves are so much easier to set without all that "pulling up a thread" mishegas, not to mention that it just looks better. My next problem was with the side seams. The guys at Studio 54 must have been very trim, because there is a large amount of waist suppression to this pattern. There was no way this old man could ever button it up. I ..
Good evening, friends! We've had a fairly sleepy weekend, here in Waco. On Friday, I was struck down with an autumnal plague, which has been working its way through Baylor. Other than an outing as the sniffling, water-chugging designated driver at Brew at the Zoo, I've spent all weekend on the couch, drinking tea and keeping Kleenex in business. Not one whit of sewing. Fair warning, I'm watching Harry Potter and have taken a lot of cold medicine today. This may be a rambling post. Grab a warm beverage and settle in! I do have a dress to share, after all. This week, the lovely Jenny Rushmore launched Cashmerette Patterns, a company specializing in professionally drafted patterns for plus sizes. Her first pattern is the Appleton Dress, a classic wrap dress, which I pattern tested and have been dying to talk about. It was about a year ago, when Jenny first told me she was starting her own pattern company. My response was something along the lines of: "SQUEEEEE! Tell me yo..
So here it is, resurrected from 1976, McCall's 5009. I guess it's technically a "leisure suit", but I'm calling it a shirt jacket since I'll only be making the top half. My inspiration is Peter's shacket of last year. You can see it here. I think he made all the guys in the sewing blogosphere want a shacket of their own. I know it had that effect on me. Structured coats are nice, but we all need that simple, "in between" garment, that can just be tossed on to run out to the mailbox, walk the dog or fill the bird feeders. We're entering prime shacket season here in Maine, so the time is right. I need to get a move on. I'll tell you one thing, this pattern is huge! There are pattern pieces for two jackets (one is specifically for ultra suede, and wouldn't that be something) plus the trousers. The jackets have some nice touches which appeal to me. There's a real collar on a stand, a back yoke and two piece sleeves. I'll be making the n..
Hello friends! I hope you've had a fantastic weekend. This post is just a quick reminder that the Sewing Indie Month contests close at midnight tonight. If you want enter any of the categories, including Everyday Casual, you have eight hours to get your submission in. To enter, hop on over to Sew Independent and add your link to the Everyday Casual post. There are already 19 really fabulous entries! Check them out and join in!
'Sup dudes! It's the first day of October (as I'm writing this)... how did that happen? September, where did you go? This post is going to be a bit different for me. I'll just be talking about sewing briefly before I begin quite the ramble... This past month I've been experimenting with making my own activewear. I go into a good amount of detail on the construction of each of these 4 makes over on the Mood Sewing Network blog, so I thought it might be nice to change it up a little bit over here and talk about making fitness a part of my life. Hopefully this doesn't send you all running for the proverbial hills! As I said, there's lots of sewing talk going on over on the MSN site, so no hard feelings if you click over now and skip what's to come! I promise I'll be back with more shop talk next time. I began working out in earnest a little over a year ago and it's become a pretty important aspect of, if not my life than certainly my dail..