Monday, April 25, 2016

Where's the Bling????

I keep calling it the Cobalt Bling bag but where is the bling? Well here you can see some of it. I can't do the last finishing until the remainder of the bling arrives in the mail, hopefully this week.  I will have a lot more to say about it when it arrives and gets installed on the bag. The bag will definitely be blinged out!

At this point the zipper hurdle has been overcome and it worked out well, more details coming. I just need to add the rest of the bling and stitch in the lining which is all complete. 

Here was a visitor to our garden this past Sunday. I think he was still a bit numb from the cold as he kept sticking out his little red tongue but moved quite slowly otherwise.  There are no poisonous snakes in the Adirondacks, or so I've been told!


Monday, April 18, 2016

The Cobalt Bling bag continues.....

I had to figure out a way to do a decent zipper installation on Vogue 8823. I was not going to put a zipper across the top of a a totally completed and lined bag, after the fact. There had to be a better way. I thought about this for the past three days and there were quite a few options considered. This is the winner. The goal here was to install the zipper more easily and at an earlier point in the construction. I think I've got it. Because I am going against pattern directions, I want to document every step for you.

The first change made in the pattern:

The pattern has you turn under the edges of the Bottom piece, shown above. The scalloped edges will then be stitched to the middle painted section. Taking from my heirloom sewing experience I decided to do a "mock" Madeira Hem. I say "mock" because this is not heirloom sewing but the concept is similar to  Madeira Hems the way Martha Pullen teaches. What you do. instead of painstakingly  basting and turning under scalloped edges and hoping for a smooth look, is make a "lining". Cut a second piece of fabric exactly like the bottom band piece. Right sides together, stitch the edges in a half inch seam. Clip inner points and grade and notch the edges. You can see here on the second edge I used my pinkers which did a great job.   Now turn this right side out and go to the ironing board.

Iron the scalloped edges doing a tiny "favor" to the wrong side, like you would on a neckline. You can see here what a much cleaner finish the edge has as opposed to turning and basting. It's easier and quicker too! Now this has to be attached to the middle painted section.

Next is to mark the half inch seam allowance on the middle section of the bag. It also has the scalloped shape.

Now Wonder Tape, a double stick adhesive tape,  is placed in the seam allowance. The paper is pulled off and the bottom leather section can now be placed on the marked line. Press it down with your fingers and head to the machine. No pins! They are not a friend to faux leather.

All placed and ready for topstitching! I put on the edge stitching foot and did a line 6 clicks in from the edge, about an eighth of an inch. Then I lined the blade of the edge stitching foot on top of the just done stitching and stitched again. Here are the results:

Doin' the Happy Dance!

Next this  lower section will be interfaced with fusible fleece. Because ironing can be unpredictable with faux leathers, I am trying to do as little as possible. The fusible fleece will be attached to a piece of muslin that will be an "interlining" to the bag. The same will happen on the top section. Fingers crossed. There is more finagling to do. ....Bunny

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Vogue 8823, the Cobalt Bling bag

 The above pic was taken at 5:30 this morning. I couldn't sleep, grabbed my coffee and started painting, still in my jammies! I couldn't wait to get moving on this project and it did make for a quiet morning meditation. I am making Vogue 8823, a Marcy Tilton bag design. I will be doing View G. Some of the views are incredibly huge but this view really is a simple tote, or at least it was before I got my hands on it. The bottom band will be a faux leather as will the strap and tabs. All sorts of other options  were auditioned. but my artist friend, without knowing my decision , picked the faux leather as well. The rest of the bag will be made from heavy bull denim in an off white. I've painted/stenciled the center panel and the top panel will be just the plain  off white denim. The line drawing  for view G helps explain this a little better.
I won't be following the directions. They have you put in the zipper once the bag is constructed, sides and all. The pattern tells you to do one side at a time, once thee bag is all constructed. I don't know. You would be working on the whole bag under the presser foot while putting in the zipper, very very bulky work and looking very prone to error. The other issue with this design is that the lining is laid on the flat bag before sewing up the sides and zipper. Then you are instructed to sew the sides and corners on the serger, not quite like the lining I envision for this. So I will be making a separately hanging lining that will simply drop in. I'll hand stitch it in around the top if necessary but I am hoping some simple top stitching may do the trick. Fingers crossed here.

Here are my supplies for the artwork and fabrics.

At this point the painting is all done. It was not complicated. I've stencilled a lot of fabric back in the day but this was not quite such an artistic endeavor. All I wanted was to have a design in a saturated cobalt blue and I've achieved that with these paints. They are Americana acrylic paints in "ultramarine blue". The stenciling style I usually use is much more painterly. I like to softly blend and shade various colors with layering. It's a very pretty soft effect but I wasn't going for that look here.This time I wanted bold, saturated color and it was simply a matter of painting on the one color in all the cut out spaces. The firmness of the stencil brush makes sure you get paint into all the nooks and crannies. the stencil has frog tape on it so it stays in place while painting. It really was quite easy.

I will let these two pieces dry 24 hours, overnight, and tomorrow will treat them to be permanent. The way I do that is to make a mix of half water and half white vinegar. I soak a cotton press cloth in the vinegar mixture and wring it out. I then Put a towel down on the ironing board, one that I won't mind ruining. On top of the towel will go the two stencilled pieces. Then the vinegar soaked cloth is placed on top. The iron is set to cotton, no steam and pressed until the vinegar cloth is bone dry. Soak the cloth again in the vinegar mixture and iron dry over and over until all sections of the pieces have been treated. I haven't done this with heavily painted saturated color like this so fingers crossed. The technique has worked well on more traditional stenciling I have done. We shall see!
Today is the first warm weather here since last fall. My husband and I worked outside today and it was wonderful. I lasted until my side started to really complain about my gardening activity. I definitely quit at that sign and went back to the sewing cave for the rest of the afternoon. I'll see if I can get a little more gardening and sewing done tomorrow. It is just a sin to stay inside on such a glorious day. Tomorrow I also have to do a "field trip" to take some photos for the digital photography class I am taking. We have homework each week! He's a great teacher and I am learning a lot. I can't wait till we get into analyzing our photos with him and he knows I want to concentrate on macro shots, the better to show details here on the blog. 
You know that skirt I wrote about last week? I do love it. The last time I wore it the waist was huge. What the heck happened? It didn't stretch out as it was all taped to prevent that and well interfaced. I have to take two whole  inches out of the waist now. Luckily I put a seam in the back waistband so it should be pretty easy. But what happened? Well, my BFF figured it out. She said my stomach was swollen from the kitchen island attack and now the swelling is down. Duh,,,,,,,, I guess that's a good sign!............Bunny