Thursday, March 27, 2008

Butterick 4409 Completed!





The Retro bag is complete and really was quite simple to pull off. I like that it puts me in a more summer type of mood. I say that as I look out the window at all the snow and ice we still have up here. As far as the pattern, Butterick 4409, a little "beware" is in order. I did View F, the one with the fabric straps and outside pockets. At first site it looks just like View E, which has a different handle and contrast gusset. As I raced thru the tissue pieces I mixed my Es and Fs. Its easy to do as they look exactly alike. I know, you are saying I should have read the tissue more closely but I did (yeah, right). So then there was more gusset to fit into the sides than would fit. I had extra, about a half inch extra. I immediately blamed it on poor Big Four drafting and proceeded. When my lining, which had separate pieces, went together perfectly, I took a closer look at all the tissues. The E is not the same size as the F and it was all my own rushing around fault. Will I ever learn? It was an easy fix and you can't even tell now that the bag is completed. For the interfacing I used Decor Bond. It worked out OK, but just OK. Next bag from 4409 I will use a fusible fleece. I think this small bag really needs the heft that the fleece will give it.

I will say I don't like the way the outer pockets are drafted and that is not my fault. There is barely room to cover the outer pocket with the flaps and get them to lay nicely so I added a flange to the flaps and this worked much better. I sewed the flange on so that all the edges were enclosed and thought it came out nicely.

The lining is a tomato red washed silk and I love it. It did have a mind of its own and at times I thought I would go crazy but it ended up fine. It is totally fused to Armo Weft, something I do to all my bag linings. I just like a heftier lining. I did not do the inner pocket as per the pattern, choosing instead to use the technique of cutting the pocket on the fold and then sewing RS together and turning. I think this gives a much neater and prettier finish than clean finishing the edges. This is often seen in Vogue bag patterns.

For the straps I zigzagged the ends and then wrapped them around the rings. I sewed over the zigzag with a 1.0 stitch back and forth. Then I changed to a zigzag again and did that back and forth to cover any exposed edges. I thought it was a neat clean finish.

I did my feet first poking thru the holes with a dental pik-er that DDDentist gave me. Those make the greatest sewing tools, by the way! After the hole was poked I pushed thru a large brad, opened it inside and covered the legs with a blop of glue gun glue. I didn't want those legs wearing a hole thru the cloth.

Next came the rigidity! Bag patterns seem to all specify plastic canvas for the bottoms. I find this is still too flexible, even when doubled. I like to use foam core board. It's waterproof and more rigid. I use blue painter tape in the area where I will be cutting. This gives me a really clean cut. I hate those little foamy things muking up my cutting! The piece of foam core goes in and is also glued down with the glue gun.

This is a great little bag and I am already lined up to do my next one in a large oriental print. I may start that one tonite. I am thinking bags for Mother's Day gifts for DDs.

Paula asks if I find the fusible fleece slouchy. It definitely can be, particularly in wool bags. In those I found it necessary to then fuse a layer of Decor Bond on top of the FF. Let me tell ya', it can be awkward getting it thru the machine but its doable. I cut away all seam allowances from the fusibles before fusing. That eliminates a lot of the bulk when sewing.


Update on the silk smocked blouse: I am almost completed smocking. I need to put some sort of trim where the smocking meets the bodice. My intent was to insert piping there all along but somehow, in my haste, I totally just forgot to do it. So I am having fun playing with some different trims to put in that area and probably elsewhere. I'm thinking raw edge..... Tata', Bunny

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

An Easter Bishop on Twin Baby Girl

May I present to you my twin grandaughter in her Easter bishop dress that her doting grandmother Bunny made for her. Need I say more?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Painting Faux Leather


A couple of weeks ago I was visiting DD on the Mass. North Shore, in a rather affluent little suburb, if this back country mom may say so. While there I thoroughly enjoyed visiting assorted high end shoppes. That is a sport that does not exist up here in the back country! One of the things that I really liked that I saw was the metallic colored leather in so many of the handbags I saw. Now the babies I liked were running 300-500.00 a bag. And you know what visions like that do! Does the phrase "I can do that" ring a bell? So ever since then I have been driven to figure if I can give my very nice , albeit fake, faux leather the same colorful metallic treatment. And voila! I succeeded!

The pic above does not show at all the "metallic-ness" of the finishes but trust me, they glow and sparkle, all three. The far left sample used a Shiva paint stick, a product I have loved using for many years and have had very good luck with. DID NOT WORK! The paint has yet to dry and its been 4 days! It just kept smearing around on itself. So no Shiva, great little product that it is otherwise. The sample on the far right used a 99 cent acrylic metallic red paint that you can buy at any craft store. I have had good luck with this in the past doing permanent designs on fabrics, but no luck here. It dried pretty fast, but feels thick, like it will flake off, and just didn't cover like I wanted it to. So no acrylic paint! But Baby Bear, the third paint worked "juss' right"! It is a Jacquard fabric dye in a metallic red. I applied it with a stencil brush. It dried immediately and covered very nicely. It added no thickness or odd feel to the faux leather. And it would not rub off or come off with water. It was as if it was really dyed! So now I will proceed to use this technique, hopefully on the straps of my next bag, the one after the retro bag.

I just wanted to welcome Paula, one of those fabulous PR sewistas, to the blog roll. Check out what she is working on. Her well written blog is called Sew Confused and has been entered in in the Favorite Links on the right. Lata', Bunny

Friday, March 21, 2008

Retro Bag!


I have mentioned before that I really am not one to have multiple projects going on. Used to, but not anymore! I try to have one project involving handwork, as in my silk smocked blouse, and one project strictly machine work. I am in the throws of dealing with the blouse smocking and probably will be for a few more days. But I do need a new spring/summer bag. A little stash diving later and here is what I have come up with. This Butterick 4409, view E, seems to be just what Mama Sewista needs. The fabric is a darling retro heavy cotton twill that I picked up at Fabric Fix in Manchester, NH, for 3.00 a yd. It has a perfect hand for a bag and I am just so in love with this print. This was one of those impulse buys that I knew would find a project one day. I am so glad I bought it. The bag is a great fresh looking shape, different from the totes I have been making and using all winter. The pockets and straps are a lime green canvas dobbie and the lining is a tomato red silk. I will use chrome colored hardware but managed to find some copper thingies to use for the feet. Sounds weird but they will look great.
Yesterday I cut it out and did the exterior pockets and all straps. Today was the zipper/ gusset. I can't go any further till I pick up my hardware. I feel a Joann trip coming on tomorrow. Have to use that coupon for something, right? Bunny

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Smocked Silk Blouse, Phase I


Construction on this blouse was done with enclosed seams throughout, whether with a facing or with french seams. With a recent tip on doing french seams with very tiny stitches on the first pass, my seams have gotten much tinier. Thanks Maggie B.! I used a 1.5 stitch length on the first pass, trimmed wicked close with the rotary cutter, and used a 2.0 stitch on the second pass. You can see they are under and 1/8 of an inch. Another elusive goal attained!!!

I used 3 widths of this 45 inch wide silk to pleat for my collar as it is a quite thin fabric. It required me to piece my interfacing, FusiKnit. By fusing interfacing to the silk crepe de chine, I was able to plump up the fabric for nicer pleats. With thin fabrics you could end up using miles of flat fabrics otherwise, which doesn always translate to the prettiest smocking. When piecing the interfacing I used a zigzag rotary cutter to cut the edges of the interfacing and butt them together before fusing. This camoflages the ridge that would be created by butting strait edges of interfacing.

Smockers out there are very familiar with pleaters but many other garment sewistas only know of the cardboard pleaters which have nothing to do with this type of application. So I thought I would show what these little magical machines can do. You can see the pleater takes in the fabric, passes it thru brass rollers and onto curved funky needles, turning it into the most perfect little pleats. On the pleater you can see a needle I have laid there to show you how different they are. The pleater is tilted up on a magazine so that when I take the rollers out the needles don't all fall out. It will be moved for the actual pleating.

Next you can see the fabric rolling onto the needles and then the thread in nice tiny perfect pleats. As you pleat you pull the pleats off the needles and down the threads. Pleating this piece of fabric took me one and a half hours. Here's a closeup of the pleats:

Next I made a copy of the yoke onto sew-in interfacing, overlapping seams and marking the placket area as needed. This was put down on my blocking board. The pleated silk was then arranged on the yoke pattern. It took quite some time to evenly maneauver the pleats to fit. Upon completing that stage I sprayed the silk pleats with a mist of water and then spray starch to set the pleats. The pleats were then left to dry overnight. I always test any silk to see if it will take this treatment. Not all do, particularly dupionis. Here is a closeup of the splayed and sprayed pleats. Now on to the smocking. I am thinking of just backsmocking this. I will see how that looks when done. Bunny

Kristine just asked if I owned this little machine or "had access" to it. I do own it. It is an Amanda Jane 24 needle pleater. It will cost you between 120 and 150 dollars and is very heavy duty. You can find them with a google easily. I would not recommend using Ebay as I have heard numerous stories of pleaters with bent rods being sold for big money. JMHO. I highly recommend getting a pleater that does half spaces. This will really help with your stitch accuracy, particularly at the start. Thanks for your question, KB. I had a feeling, base on what I have seen on PR, that mosts sewistas don't have a clue what one of these pleaters is. I am glad I am able to bring it to your attention.

Lindsey T has so kindly added me to her blog roll. Please check out Lindsey's great blog with a click to the right. Its a nice blend of heirloom sewing, great shopping accounts, garment sewing, and just having fun being a mom. Thanks, Lindsay! Bunny

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Silk and its smocked!



Ever since I have started smocking, I have wanted to bring this craft into adult clothing. This past couple of weeks one of those ideas gelled and I am happy to say I am nearly done. I have taken liberties with a Simplicity blouse pattern and am using a lovely silk crepe de chine print. I love watching the runway shows on HD and there have been so many prints shown in lively colors as well as touches of smocking. I felt duly inspired and my stash dive provided me with the perfect candidate for this project. Completion and construction pics and comments should be on board before the week is out. Tata for now! Bunny

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Roving We Will Go!


I just thought this basket of rovings on the counter in my sewing room was the prettiest doggone composition. The orange is my recent endeavor at dying whitish roving with KoolAid. It was so easy and I am pleased with the intensity. It's something I will definitely be doing again.Then there are the angelinas. I just love looking at those and they are such fun to "play" with. Just thought I would share a little inspiration!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Matelasse Bedspread Jacket


This jacket is made from Simplicity 3843 with a few modifications. I used a new, unused pale yellow 100% cotton matelasse bedspread purchased at Home Goods some time ago. I used a King Size spread and have plenty left for jackets for each of my granddaughters. My original plan was to make big use of the satin stitched scalloped edges on the spread. I decided that plan was too foofy and left the scalloped edge on the cuffs only. I also canned the collar that the pattern came with. I liked the simplicity of it all. One thing that is not evident in the pattern at first view are the inseam pockets at waist level. I really liked that feature. However, using the pocket pattern as shown gives you a far too narrow pocket opening. I would highly recommend making the pocket at least and inch and a half wider. Also because of the bulk of the matelasse, I removed the back pleat.

A word of warning if you try to use this type of spread for a garment. It ravels like the dickens so you must plan to either serge or Hong Kong the seam edges. I chose the latter. I used a pale yellow cotton batiste for the Honk Kong finish and was pleased with the results.

The pattern does not call for any closure. I have had these pewter clasps for years. I actually have a gross of them and often use them for gifts for sewing and knitting friends. They were a gift from an employee many years back. Seems a family member had a button store at one time and she inherited gross size boxes of buttons and clasps. I am so glad she thought of me. To attach the clasps I used matching yellow floss, all six strands, and wrapped it thru the holes and into the facings. I was pleased with the uniqueness of the pewter clasps with the spring like fabric.

A word about sizing: First, this pattern starts at size 10 and I usually make a 6. I am petite as well and had to "petite" the pattern by folding out a half inch between the bust level and shoulder seam and then truing the seam. . I also took some of the fullness out of the width as a flat pattern measurement showed the size ten to be too boxy for my liking. I removed a healthy inch and a half from the width. All in all this pattern finished with quite a few modifications, but that is my usual MO. Would I make it again? You bet, probably with a completely different set of modifications!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I love linings!


I have a strong belief that a lining should be an integral design element to your garment. There is something really special about walking around in a navy blue suit and secretly knowing there is a wild retro silk print lining inside. Besides, it is just plain fun to have a pretty lining. And what is more bland than lining fabric?
For me, picking out a lining is stash diving at its best. I have a fair amount of lovely silk prints that never seem to be right for a garment, but oh, they make beautiful linings. So indulge me a few pics of linings. The printed one on top is silk and lines a black tapestry/patent leather bag I recently made. I just love opening up that bag. And here's a secret: a pretty lining in a bag makes you keep it neater, really! The brown lining is an upholstery damask of scotchguarded acetate. It lines a bag of embroidered silk suiting and faux leather. I wish all linings were scotchguarded! And the gold bag lining is the WRONG side of one of those cheapo poly brocades from Joanns. It ravelled like the dickens, but I was able to tame that by interfacing the entire lining with Fusiknit. So on this dreary winter day, thank you for letting me bring just a peak of my bag linings into your world.

By the way, you can click on any of these to enlarge.

Bunny

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Stitch in the Wha???

As I was coming into the home stretch on my "bedspread" jacket, it occurred to me that there are many names for the process I was doing. I call it "stitch in the ditch" but have also heard it called "crack stitch", "ditch stitch", "stitch in the well of the seam", and maybe there are even more names for this technique. If so please let me know. If you don't know what these terms refer to it is stitching right into the seam, with the seam being spread apart as you do so. I "crack stitched" , with the sewing machine and a 1.5 stitch, on the right side, right into the the shoulder seam. The facing was underneath and this "ditch stitching" helped secure the facing to the shell and prevent it from having a life of its own and rolling out. I also did this on the front facing using a pocket seam as my ditch. This is a great technique and saves a lot of hand sewing, and is actually less obtrusive and also stronger than hand sewing. The fabric I was sewing worked beautifully at hiding my "crack stitching."

The jacket is done except for the buttons. I always save those until completion so a trip to the fabric store is in order here. Now where's that coupon?

I moved on today to Simplicity 3662. What a darling pattern that is. One side of this reversible jumper is vivid green and pink flannel with monkeys, Yikes!, And the other side of the jumper is a bright pink quilting cotton with a black check pocket and apple appliqued to it. If I get the piping done tomorrow, the jumper will be done. This pattern requires piping on the bottom edge but I will add it to the armholes and neckline too. I am starting to wonder what this piping fixation is about, but I just can't get away from it. I guess I could have worse addictions!