Sunday, April 29, 2012

McCall's 5721, The Cart Cover

This is proving to be an interesting project to work on, no home dec or garment here! I am using McCalls 5721. It's called a 3 in 1 cart cover but I am not sure why. If anyone can solve that mystery, please let me know.
As usual, I did things a bit differently than the pattern spec'd. Instead of quilt batting I used a flatter firmer heavy wool/poly blend blanket that has been washed a zillion times. I have used this king size blanket in many projects so needed to put it back together to get a piece large enough for the cart cover.  I triple zigzagged the pieces together and then cut out my cover. The ripples you see disappeared as soon as it was all pressed. I wasn't sure about this change at first but have since decided I like the flatter look. I think it will fold up into it's bag more easily as well.
Here you can see the two print fabrics and the blanket all stitched as in a pillowcase and then turned. The pattern has you stitch around the leg hole area and then cut them out leaving a half inch seam allowance. Then it instructs you to cut back only the batting  to the stitching line. I was not digging that little layer of batting out and doing that. I just cut the whole staystitched leg hole to a 1/4 inch. You'll see why in a minute. The pattern then has you stitch 3/4 of an inch away from the edge to make a casing for the elastic. I went bigger, one inch. I hate pushing elastic through tight areas. I know this is a border print, but I assumed it matched on both sides. Assume nothing! I think it will all work in the end however so I am not worrying about it.
Sewing around the leg holes makes a lot of bulk on the machine, fair warning. Here's another change: the pattern has you make bias binding that is folded in to the center and then you wrap it around the hole and topstitch it on. I am not always successful with that method. So that is why I cut the leg hole back to a 1/4 inch. I did a French binding instead, folding the 2 inch strip in half, applying it to one side, turning and pressing, and then applying it to the other. It made the bias more of a contrast and wider looking which I liked as well. Above you can how I did the leg hole. The raw edge is sewn in a 3/8 inch seam to the leg hole starting one inch away from the beginning of the bias strip. That needs to stay clear at this point. When you get to the end stop about two inches short of the beginning. Cut the end to fit and tuck it inside of the folded begining edge. Pin (must) and keep stitching to finish the seam. I say must pin because the strip will definitely want to pull out of the fold. Once this was done the leg hole was trimmed back to 1/8 inch. Then the binding was pressed to the other side and topstitched.


Another interesting aspect of this pattern is the giant buttonhole you make two of to accommodate the strap to hold the child in. This was pretty easy. My thread is a nice blue to match but looks black here. Once I cut the buttonholes open the white blanket showed through of course so I took a blue sharpie and touched that up. Lots of Fray bloc was used as well. You can see one of the pockets topstitched to the left. Here is a closer look. They have loops to hook toys on to (?).
It's hard to see but I tacked the ends of the pocket/loop with a tiny zigzag, like you see on jeans.

This pattern is basically an oval with two leg holes and two pockets for toys or such and a big bag pocket off the back that the whole mess folds into. I think it's pretty clever construction. I hope to finish it today and go to market tomorrow and take a pic of it in the cart. Think I'll turn a few heads? .....Bunny

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Jewelry and Bags

Today consisted of much catching up type sewing. These smocked jewelry pieces have finally been worked out. I have worked on these off and on for a long time. Once done I would wear one for the day and that made me aware that they needed to be heavier, or needed a better backing, etc. It's been a journey just finding the proper glue but finally, this week, I got that worked out. So now they are finally  wearable without falling apart and hang much better. I will make more in the future for gifts and bartering but until now did not feel they were "good" enough. Now I'm happy.
This is off white dupioni silk that I dyed, smocked and turned into this piece of jewelry. There are metallic threads. It is actually hard by the time I am finished all the processes on it. The chain is a pretty black/copper.

Same applied to this one. It has a leather backing and my signature in gold on the back. Has sort of a Southwest vibe, doesn't it? I hope to dye some more pieces soon to make more jewelry. I have big dyeing plans but will wait till warm weather. I like to do as much as I can outside due to fumes, staining, etc.
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The pink and orange felted wool bag is finished. I would do things differently if I did it again but its usable and will be a cute nod to the color blocking trend. Time to put the wools away!
  I tried to needle felt the pink bow wool into the orange wool and it was just too much. I ended up triple zigzagging all of the edges instead and that worked fine. I tried hand stitching but it just did not look right. A peek at the lining was in yesterday's blog. I don't know if this is right or not but this is how I winged the lining, a bit different. When attaching handles to a lining it helps to work flat.

First I made and edgestitched straps. They were placed equidistant from the center of the handle and taped into position. Pins tighten them even further. See those big yellow heads?
                                                                                         Here you can see ONE side of the lining is sewn together so that the entire lining can be worked on flat. The top edge is folded under and the straps pinned in place. You MUST leave enough room for your edge stitching presser foot to fit between the top edge of the lining and the handles, a healthy half inch here. I then edge stitched the entire top edge of the lining to secure the straps in the right place. The open seam was then sewn shut and the lining finished like any tote bag. 

I think next on the agenda will be that shopping cart seat for the baby shower. Good thing my nieces don't read my blog!...Bunny

Saturday, April 21, 2012

This Blogger's Back!

 
I am back to blogging and sewing. DH and I got much, much done and are pleased with our results. This post doesn't show any big projects but will definitely give you a sense of where I am at.

Thank you, again, to all, for your kind words and your encouragement to get back on line here. That is so special and I appreciate you all so much, each and every one of you.

What we accomplished: well, first their were family issues as you know. Then there was a week off with hubby and our desire to freshen up the house. We are very very pleased with how things came out. They were not without frustration, however. Can I say, "don't buy, ever, Valspar ceiling paint from Lowe's" loud enough? Garbage, garbage, garbage. We started our large ceiling all over after doing half of it with the junk paint. We ended up with Sherwin Williams ceiling paint which was actually cheaper, and its gorgeous. It was much easier to apply. In a room 21 by 31, painting the ceiling is back breaking on a good day and to have to deal with a crap product really got us backed up. We proceeded however and are happy . I have my minimalist look. We rolled up the orientals to paint and they are staying GONE, at least through the summer. It is just such a clean, fresh look.

While all of this was happening things were just getting pushed and piled everywhere to the point where my usually very organized studio was a horror. I assure you, today is the first day I have gotten back in there and it is all back to organized now. Disorganization kills me, as you know.
Here is what is going on in the studio. You know I always have two projects going. My hand work was this simple little angel sleeved bishop for Carly's dolly.I also made her a hair band to go with the circle dress.

Also in the works and to be finished tomorrow AM is this felted bag. Can't see much in that pile, can you? There will be more tomorrow.
Today I also went and took advantage of the sale at JAs to get some goodies for the next project. First is a baby shower and I will make one of those padded, washable seats to put in the shopping cart when at the supermarket. I used to get so grossed out at some of the carts I put my kids in. How could I? Well, my niece in law won't have to worry about that. Here is the pattern and fabric I chose. Had to keep it gender neutral as no one has that info yet.

For my next project I may just do some figment sewing. This new baby could be a girl. If not, a little princess will show up on the gift list eventually.

Now comes my big project. I have decided after 6 years to put something in my windows. Here is my inspiration:
                           photo courtesy Robert Allen Design Dialogue

I want to mount them inside the windows which you can see in the first photo. I have been searching online for just the right fabric and you know how that is. So I went yesterday to JAs for the big HomeDec sale. I was prepared to spend big. They do carry some great companies in their special order department, Robert Allen, Waverly, and others but nothing hit me. I went home and sulked. Today  went back and decided to check out the  home dec clearance table, which I had already done the day before. BINGO! Could that be the perfect fabric on that table at 50 % off? Dang, this looked like the good stuff, too. It had a price on it of ten dollars, which made it five dollars. Add to that my twenty percent on all coupon and I paid four dollars a yard. It was a gorgeous quality and it had all the yardage I needed for ten windows,sort of odd on a bolt. I took it to the counter and it turns out it was a special order not picked up that went for much more, per the sales clerk, and it was just my lucky day. Here is what I got:
  The selvedge is on the left so it will hang a la "diamond". I have grosgrain ribbon which I may embroider or paint or  something. The color is perfect and the subtle texture very rich looking. It is like a heavy linen but is a blend so no cleaning nightmare. I am really excited. I have ten windows total to do. Did I also say I have 8 more doors to paint?....So glad to be back with you all. Dang, you are a patient bunch...Bunny

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Fit Update on the Circle Dress, Simp 2466

I brought the Circle Dress to Carly this past week and she loved it. I made a big mistake, however. I did not check Pattern Review before making up this pattern. Shame on me! It clearly has fit issues which I soon discovered with Carly's try on. The pattern looked big to me so I made a size 4 for my little munchkin who takes a five. Carly carries her weight in her chest and shoulders. This dress hung off the shoulders and the yoke/underarm area could have carried my own arm. Why didn't I notice this? Other reviewers had issues with the fit and I would definitely recommend reading the reviews on PR for this pattern before starting. How was I going to fix this? Well others described their retrofits but here is what I did:

First I addressed the armhole. I took a tuck on each side of the side seam, basically making a box pleat that was one inch wide. I hand stitched this together. If Carly ever needs more room this will be an easy rip out. It does affect the hang of the circle but not enough for the uninitiated to ever notice the issue.

Next, I made a strap just like the one that ties the back closure together. Make this long enough to have a bit of tail. Make two strips. Push the fabric flat at the elastic and stitch on the strap as above. The top will look like this when done:


Here you can see the adjusted dress:
That extra set of straps across the back keeps it all together and I think looks cute, no one wiser. I think the straps work well enough that you could automatically add them to the design without worry.

I know that you could also read the PR reviews and if you are mathematically inclined redraft the yoke and skirt. I would take out a good two inches from both front and back if doing it that way. Frankly, this seemed a much easier correct to me. She loved her circle dress and can't wait to get it back to wear.

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Thank you, thank you, thank you, everyone, for all your words of kindness and prayers. It was and is difficult but we know Danny is at peace and in a better place. He was honored with dignity, respect, and grace for the short life he led. For those of you coping with mental illness in your families my heart goes out to you. I know how difficult it can be. Blessings on all of you and thank you again. Lovingly,,,,Bunny