Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's a Wadder, with a capital "W"

Sometimes you just have to know when to fold 'em. That was the case with the Plaid and Patent bag. If you have been following this blog for any length of time you will know that this is probably the first or second wadder that you have seen. I am just a person who sees things through no matter what. But when my machine started acting put upon, it was time to call it a day.

Here's the deal. My triple stitch topstitiching just balked at going through so many layers. Next thing I knew I could not stitch out the stitch in the stitch length I needed. Of course that happened half way through, not at the beginning. ( sigh )  I clearly upset my machine, first time in its ownership that I screwed up a computerized stitch. Slap my hand. So tonight, rather than possibly ruin my machine, I declared it wadder time.

But there is  a silver lining. I am already having ideas for cutting up the bag and using it in a collage bag. And I do want to make this bag still with the Pendleton wools. I have some really nice suede that I think can work. I think first I will go to a different style of bag and then go back to the Patent and Plaid as a component for something else. I mean, the holidays are upon us and I just can't have my machine get balky at this time. In the meantime I do have a bit of a lesson that did turn out well that I can share with you.
This is a Fasturn Tube set. There are some imitators out there but I like that this set has all the different sizes in it. If you don't have one, you may want to consider talking to Santa about this. I got this when it first came out from the original manufacturer who would run a tiny ad in Threads. I have used it so many times since. It has really earned its place in my sewing cabinet.
This bag has a strap topstitched to the front of the bag. It is attached in the form of a "U" upside down, with the curve of the "U" being the handle and the long sides being the part topstitched to the bag. This meant that only about half of the strap had a back side, the handle part. You attached another strip of patent leather to the center of the strip to make the handle. This then has to be turned and then topstitched to the bag and not to the bag in the handle part. Here is the issue. If you ever need to turn any kind of faux leather, vinyl, or other sticky textile, it sticks to itself. It is miserable and  nearly impossible to turn.
Sewer's Aid to the rescue. A teeny dot of this rubbed on the Fasturn tube, and the faux fabric are all that is needed. Without it you will be cursing in no time flat.



 So the patent leather, faux that it is, and the tube were rubbed with Sewer's Aid. The tube is then inserted, easily, into the center section of the strap that needs to be turned. Once the tube is in a wire, one made specifically to fit this size tube is inserted in the tube. It has a curly cue on the end, what looks like a pigtail. The pigtail is then twisted into the end of the strap. Then you begin pulling the strap thru the tube. You can see that above. It  will all come thru the tube and turn soooooo easily that you will thank your lucky stars that you have ownership of this toy. It saves a lot of cursing, believe me.

This is my trusty kitchen frosting spatula. It very often turns out to be the perfect size to behave as a pressing tool. Here you see it pushed in the turned center section of the strap for ironing, perfect fit. I then used some organza all doubled over, some steam, and my heavy glass weight to coax it into holding its shape. These fauxs don't like irons and they spring back from any pressed shape if extra care isn't taken. Putting that heavy glass weight on it while still warm really helps.

Tomorrow is a new day and I will be back to bagapalooza. I will need a trip to JAs for some heavy duty metal zips before I start though. I will make this work, I will make this work, I willl...........

This morning, while enjoying my morning cup of tea, I was blessed with this beautiful sunrise. How can you have a bad day when it starts like this???.................Bunny

Sunday, November 28, 2010

"Plaid & Patent" begins, Noriko ends

This Noriko bag from Lazy Girl designs was a joy to make. It is only four pieces. You cut four of the shell and four of the lining. Stitch, press, leave a hole to turn, put on the beads and button, turn and done! I made the whole thing in one day minus cutting, but cutting only took minutes the night before. This is truly a quick gift and I think cute as can be.



Here you can see the unique shape of the bag.  This is a small bag appx 9 inches tall. I downloaded the pattern but added  1/2 inch around the entire shape. The pattern also recommends 1/4 inch seams. If you are using dupioni, go bigger. The pattern also does not call for interfacing but I fused fusible fleece to the back of the shell pieces. Another small change was hand picking the top. So between using dupioni, and not topstitching thru the handles as instructed, this will be a "fancy" bag only. My next efforts will be a little more durably made. I think this would be darling in one of the Pendleton wools with some wooden beads and that  may jump up in the queue. If you have a day to make a gift, this will do it.

I have started working on the "Plaid and Patent" bag. First effort was to experiment with topstitching the patent leather. I expected a nightmare but it went beautifully. You can see my final decision here in the lower row of stitching. I thought for sure there would be some tension issues but the last row lay really smooth after adjustment. Maybe you can read my shorthand but if not, the thread was Coats XP Heavy Duty, on the beige spools. The stitch on my old Pfaff was 04, a triple stitch, each thread being restitched a couple more times before jumping to the next stitch. Stitch length was 4.0. Tension was on the dot, normal. The foot was Pfaff OA. The needle, very important, was a 12/80 Metafil needle. It has a very big eye to accommodate this heavy thread. Now that this is worked out I am on to construction. I have decided to interface the shell with hair canvas as directed. Ima gave mr tons and tons. But I will also interface the lining, maybe with Decor Bond. We shall see.

Sophie and I passed yesterday afternoon making clothespin dolls together. I told her I would show her dollies on the blog. We have Rapunzel, Papa Ernie (grand dad), and more. We had a ball and she was so intense while making these I just know she has the makings of a super sewist. Hope you all had as wonderful a holiday.....Bunny

Oooooo, if you have trouble downloading the Noriko bag, try this or this. On the second link just scroll down to the free download link. I just love this bag.

Monday, November 22, 2010

McCalls 4400 and more!

McCall's 4400, my TNT bucket bag that I have made more times than I can count, is now complete. I am pleased. The lining has a key safe, a pencil pocket, and a larger pocket as well. If this looks familiar, it should. I made this exact same bag with a different  lining fabric, a couple of years ago.

    * The bag is made from a really rich dark paisley cotton velvet. It just did not photograph well, with or without the flash, and it was too rainy and dark to photo outside. 

    * The lining is ditch stitched to the outer bag at the side seams.  I used a 1.5 stitch length and it does not show at all.

     * The bottom of the lining is ditch stitched as well and this pattern has you cover a rectangle and place it in the bottom of the bag for more stability. I used Timtex and it fused  to the poly lining beautifully. This was my first time using Timtex. Normally I used foam core to fill the rectangle of lining.
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 Above you see a plaid silk dupioni in tans and olive green. The lining is a light olive colored linen. I am anxious to make this bag as it has been in the queue for some time. It is the Noriko bag from Lazy Girl, a free upload . It consists of four teardrop shapes that come together in the prettiest and most intriguing shape. It will have a big button and beads and ribbons hanging from the bottom, I think. This was cut and fused today.

I also cut out this preppy combo of fabric. It is a Pendleton wool with patent leather straps and tabs. I think it will be real cute. This will be Vogue 8609,   a serious looking tote.

With both bags cut and ready to be stitched, Thanksgiving travel and cooking looms. Tomorrow will be the packing and cooking and then Wednesday AM we will leave early for a 7 hour drive to Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where my sis resides. I can't wait to see her and the rest of the family.

May you all have the Thanksgiving you are hoping for.

May you arrive and return safely and soundly .

We will all give thanks for  the love of family and friends.  If you are reading sewing blogs you are particularly blessed. You can be thankful that you have a passion. It is truly a blessing to be thankful for. Personally, I am also very thankful for you , dear readers. You inspire me, egg me on, teach me, and make me laugh.  Thank you for being here and may you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday......Bunny

Friday, November 19, 2010

I Didn't Think These Up!

That's right. I can't take any credit whatsoever for the two great tips I am going to pass along. The first tip was passed along to me, via her blog, by my sewing buddy, Sara Norris of Sara Norris LTD. I have been eternally grateful ever since I first read this tip of hers some months ago. Its about time we all know her secret to a sparkling iron! May I present:

Yup, you know him - Mr. Clean. You may have even tried his new product:
This is Sara's miracle product. IT CLEANS IRONS! And I don't mean with smoky fumes, or with lots of rubbing. You just wipe that eraser sponge over the iron a few times, while it is cool, and voila, Sparkling!!!Thanks so much Sara. As I said, I will be forever grateful. And its a lot cheaper than that Rowenta toothpaste!

Great idea number two is not my brainchild either. I have taken to taping Fons and Porter lately. I probably just delete most of the shows, but did manage to watch a full one the other day. At the end of their program is always a "tips" section with usually some pretty clever ideas. I loved this one:

On top you can see how I store my sewing needles. They are in a little plastic box and I try to maintain some sort of order. They inevitably mix up and fall out of the box all of which drives me bonkers. Below you see a days of the week pill box. If you have elderly parents, you know these well. Well, one of F&P's viewers figured that you could put Schmetz needles in one of these. Brilliant. So here is my attempt.

Its pretty obvious I passed a sheet of solid label paper thru the printer and Word and then stuck them on each day of the week. I think this is a pretty cool tip. I have this right near my sewing machine now. Thank you Fons and Porter. Now, if you are going to try this, you really need to bring your Schmetz needle cases to the drugstore with you. While the needles fit this case, I can't stack them very deep, because of the blue tabs you push to spring up the lid. This whole endeavor cost me all of  $4.59.

Do you have any really neat, clever tricks up your sleeve that you may have picked up in the blogosphere, on TV, or even from your very wise Mom? If so, please share in your comments. Thanks!

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My first bag should be finished tomorrow. The lining is cut and fused and ready to go. I can't wait to start bag number two! It will be Vogue 8609 and I may make View A, the plaid, with one of my Pendleton's and some very heavy faux suede.Lata....Bunny

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Christmas Gift, McCalls 4400

I got a lot accomplished on this bag today, basically working with the faux leather. I thought it would make a good post to offer a few hints for this textile. On this bag there are corner "appliques" out of the faux leather. These appliques will be on top of a cotton velvet, a very slippery fabric!
In this photo you can see the pattern for the faux leather corner appliques and another pattern for a lining. I cut this lining out of black cotton. This lining piece is my own invention. I have made this bag MANY times and find this is the easiest and neatest way to get a nice curve on the applique. You can also see a bottle of Sewer's Aid, which I have found invaluable for working with this fabric. The "gathering template" is cut smaller than the applique. I first lined up the curved sections on both pieces, right sides together, and stitch starting at the center of the curve. As I stitched I lined up the lining piece with the edge and stitched about an inch past the curve. This will sort of pull the leather to the wrong side once I turn it right side out.  Before stitching I rub the bottom of the presser foot, the plate, and the faux leather with the Sewer's Aid. I also use a size 14 HS Stretch Needle. Doing this has allowed the faux leather to be sewn easily. I don't have a teflon foot and since this has always worked fine for me, I never invested in one.

The appliques are then turned right side out and the curve is manipulated to lay nice and smooth. I then put weights on them and walk away for a few hours. Then I come back to stitch them to the cotton velvet.
Because faux leather will show every pin hole, I only pin in the seam allowances. The rest of the appliques are taped to the velvet with masking tape. Again, I rub the curved edge of the applique with Sewer's Aid. I also rub the presser foot and needle with it. This is a barely discernible amount, one little dot on my finger. I edge stitch the applique using my edge stitching foot, a stitch length of 3.0, and a heavy weight thread.

After getting the appliques attached, it was time to make some small straps with the faux leather. I used tiny bull clips to keep them folded as, once again, the pins would make holes. Every time I stitch I rub the faux with the Sewer's Aid. All faux leather work is now behind me and the shell is done as much as it can be. I have to hit JAs and get a lining, handle, and snap. That will all happen tomorrow.

Today was my first day out since the surgery, going for my one week check up. I have some issues with my lungs and hope all will clear up soon, one day at a time...Bunny

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Moving On to the Holidays

The holidays are looming. My CJ has issues with poorly fitting sleeves. I am in slow mode because of the recent surgery. I decided it was a good time to put the CJ aside and get to my holiday sewing. Sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do. I was feeling a lot of stress from not having even touched my holiday sewing so it was time to make the move. Here are my results:


This is a great little pattern from Daisy Kingdom. It is Simplicity 2348 and unlike most DK patterns, it is quite simple to execute. The look comes from the 3 different fabrics required, also the look seen in most boutique children's clothing today. I used two fabrics and my ribbon constituted the "third". With raglan sleeves, gathered neckline and cuffs, and a machine stitched hem, this all came together in one day, the instant gratification I needed after so concentrating on the CJ and the surgery. I love it. This will be for my Sophie, an extremely tall 5 year old. I know she will just love the pink bows and colors.


The fabric are corduroy prints from JAs. I know there has been a lot of talk of these cords, which they run on pretty good sale prices. I have found that the really cheap solids can be just awful, but the more pricey prints that I have purchased have worked beautifully. This was pre washed and other than construction pressing this is how it came out of the dryer. It is very soft, with a fine wale, and a really nice quality. The ribbons are poly grosgrain so should wash fine as well.

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Next in the queue, now that this dress is done, are some bags. The first is actually a remake of one I made a couple of years ago. I will be using this glorious cotton velvet and some faux leather. I am between two patterns but will decide within the hour and get started. First I have to hunt the stash for lining. I would like a brocade with some substance, you know those poly brocades that JAs seems to have by the thousands of yards.

ETA: just wanted to add that I decided on my TNT big bucket bag. Since this is a TNT that I have made more times than I can count, you can see that I committed the pattern to oaktag along with my notes. You will see the holes punched in the corners and the bent paper clip that goes through the holes and helps me hang it on a hanger with other TNTs. 

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Thanks, all for your well wishes and your patience. I really missed connecting with all of you, but just didn't feel quite up to it. Completing a fun little simple dress sure helped put me back on track. I want you to know that your kind words and sentiments really mean a lot and thank you so much. As I have said before, the sewing blogosphere is populated by some really special people. Bless you all....Bunny

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's Over!

Just a quick post to let you all know that the surgery went well and I am recuperating as can be expected. I have to take it easy for about a week and then see what the surgeon says. No driving! No alcohol!

Thanks to all of you who expressed your concern and to those who even said a prayer or two for me. It is all greatly appreciated. Sewing bloggers are such special people.

I think it might be a bit before a get to blog again, but it will be soon. Thanks all for your patience as well. Now I am off to take some motrin and lay back down with one of my new books....Bunny

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

More Books!

I've been shopping! Somehow the two books above have eluded me and I finally clicked and ordered them. I have other books by Claire Shaeffer but needed this one. I am impressed with what I see so far. The Coffin book is just such an excellent resource and everyone should know how to make a shirt with nice plackets and a collar stand so this will become a great reference used often, I am sure.


While visiting,  DD#1 and kids and I went to a book fair at the  No. Andover. library. Books were running 25 cents to 2.00 and I was able to snag the ones you see above. I have been wanting to learn to tat for a long time and this book is GREAT.

Slipcovering has also been on my list of potential projects so that one jumped into the shopping bag too. The machine hand sewing book certainly is not Carol Ahles but there are a few good ideas in there as well.

For under five dollars my grandson packed a shopping bag full of books!

 
And last but not least, I picked up a great cookbook from the Junior League of Portland, Maine. I love those Junior League cookbooks and this one is super. I can't wait to make a few of the recipes.
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I have been removed from sewing the past week. I wanted to visit my daughters and grandchildren before I have surgery tomorrow and did. I also wanted to see my daughters run a half marathon in York, Maine. DD#1and #2 have been training for months. Number two has run half marathons before and was looking forward to running together with her sis. Unfortunately DD#2 came down with flu and fever and couldn't' run but did make it to watch DD #1 with the whole family. It was a cold blustery day the course was  right on the ocean. I AM SO PROUD OF MY DAUGHTERS!!! and all of the other women who did the the half marathon. It was truly impressive. There were women my age running which was quite an illuminating sight to see. Just amazing!  Go Jen and Aud!!!

That's about it from the sewing front for the next few days. I am starting to get nervous and hope it will all be over quickly and easily. Till the next stitch....Bunny

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sleeves Done!

The sleeves are totally done and just  need to be installed in the jacket. Above you see the trimmed cuff and button and the interior area of the other cuff. The back of the hand worked BH is a bound BH. I like this finish. You can also see how this jacket has no facings as the pattern required. Instead I chose to do an edge to edge lining. To the bottom of the interior cuff you can see the lining fell stitched to the edge. The edge on the left is the trimmed hem. Here the lining needed to pleat to provide wearing ease for the arm. You can barely see the imprint of the pleat from ironing. So the bottom edge of the cuff has a half inch of fabric with the lining fell stitched to it. Then the lining falls in a pleat with the edge of the pleat meeting the fell stitching. Hope this is clear. Its done. I am not sure when the sleeves will be put in. I am scheduled for some surgery next week, on Wednesday, and tomorrow I leave for New England to visit my children and grands first. I will be back Tuesday and then surgery Wednesday! I have been told it should all go smoothly and not to expect any issues with the surgery. I will be laid up for about a week and then back to reality. So my blogging may be a bit sporadic for a bit. I will be checking in as much as possible on the Dashboard so you may hear from me there. Till then.......Bunny