Friday, December 30, 2016

Vogue 1526, Paco's shirt!

I am so thrilled to make this Paco Peralta design, Vogue 1526. I, and many other long time bloggers have been following Paco's blog, career, Pinterest, etc for quite some time. I am thrilled he is now one of Vogue's designers and I really look forward to his future work. Paco's designs are WEARABLE. They are not complicated, yet have couture touches that are manageable, like the buttonhole slit in the top of this shirt. They are very polished.

My fabric is purchased and I can't wait to get going. Some of you may have seen Tany of Couture and Tricot's version, a wondeful white shirt much like above. But it's not a white shirt time of year up here in the North Country and I decided to take a bit different tack with my efforts.


I live in the cold and flannel shirts are standard issue, lined flannel shirts, far more practical, are even more common. My plan is to make a lined flannel shirt with Paco's design. I have probably most sewing books written in the past thirty years and decided I needed to study up and refresh on working with plaids. I went through my books and found the best information in the Vogue Sewing Book and Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Guide. Vogue had a brief couple of paragraphs but Claire's book had pages of info. I studied balanced plaids, unbalanced plaids, even plaids and uneven plaids. Claire even had info on uneven balanced plaids and even unbalanced plaids, etc. Yikes!  I doubt you could find more plaid info anywhere else. I studied Claire's book and feel ready to go. I know from Claire that much will not match, something we also learned in the classes I've taken from her. The important parts are the center front and back and the sleeves. The rest you are downright lucky if it looks good, but that is OK per Claire. 



The other thing I have decided to do is to flat line the shirt, all but collar and cuffs. This will provide warmth and stability to the shirt. After looking at many linings I decided on another blouse fabric, a very thin poly with shiny motifs. Well, I didn't like those and will be using it on the wrong side as you see in the pic above. It has much more of a silk look this way as well. All vertical seams will be flat lined. You can find information on this above in the Tutorial pages. Any questions, just ask. Non vertical seams will have the felled seams as per the pattern. The hem will be a challenge but I think I have it worked out. Does anyone else wake up in the middle of the night and deal with how to incorporate changes from the pattern being used? and worrying if they will work? I do this a lot and by the time I start cutting I have it all worked out. I always have fingers crossed. So if you like the exact way Paco designed this shirt, check out Tany's blog.His design is amazing and her results beautiful. I will be doing this more casual look and I hope he approves. 

Did you notice how I chose a more femine color scheme? I am happy with that. I am surrounded with classic plaid designs up here and really like this different one. It is an even plaid and that will help a lot. I look forward to sharing this process with you. 
***********************************
Thank you, everyone, for the lovely comments on my apron dress. It is always appreciated as are all your comments. Happy New Year..................Bunny



Monday, December 26, 2016

Vogue 9108, the Marcy Tilton Apron Dress




I thought I would be finished this sooner. It's not a hard project and there is little fit involved. But my husband had some sudden health issues to deal with. We are back on track now and all is good. I finished the dress that is really a jumper before Christmas and can't wait to share with you all. I'm going to try a little different format for this review.

My concerns about this pattern:



There were many. My first concern was the actual design.  I've made Marcy Tilton designs before and had a few muslin wadders  as well. Would this unique design be another? Luckily, Pattern Review had some great reviews with photos that really helped with my decision to make this.

Another concern was the dress's volume, massive at the hemline. Most makers reduced this. But how much should I take out? Star's Threads took a whopping 54 inches from the bottom hemline. Yes, it's that full! Star's  skirt is positively A line and lovely on her. But I wanted a bit more volume in mine, but just not all that Tilton intended. My version had 24 inches of volume removed from the hemline and I am happy with it. I'll talk more about this in Fit.


I also had concerns about the weight of the garment, even with all that volume removed. I used the two way stretch knits as recommended but dang, these were heavy fabrics and all that volume in the skirt hung from a really rather flimsy  little bodice. I think I managed to overcome that issue fairly well and will get into that in a bit.

And what about those funky "epaulet" style straps that most rejected?  And that really disproportionate hemline?

Then there was the challenge of fabric choice. Four fabrics were recommended for View C, the non-strappy version that I chose. Would they all go together and would I look like a circus clown when it was said and done? I used my personal tried and true method for working with various fabrics in a garment. I will do an upcoming blogpost on that. Fingers were crossed and spirits invoked hoping that this time the formula would work as it has in the past. I think it did. One of my favorite things about sewing is putting various prints together in a garment. No boring solid color blocking for this woman! If it looks clown like, please let me know, but I have hopes you will find the choices appropriate.

While there was much to be pondered before starting to actually sew the dress. I can honestly say the actual construction was quite easy. The  most challenging part was the upper front bodice piece and that was not that bad at all, just the most challenging,relatively speaking.


The pattern:

This is Vogue 9108, a Marcy Tilton design. It's described as a "pullover dress, close fitting through the bust."  That sounds right but it really wasn't that close fitting and I don't think it really is on others I've seen. I was not sure what size to use. Did I want to futz with an FBA and do the small size, my usual MO? There was huge volume in the small size so other than needing the larger bust it didn't need any further alteration. I flat pattern measured the bodice area of the garment and found if I used the medium size it would accommodate my C cup and I could deal with all the volume however I wanted. I cut the Medium. It worked out perfectly.

Changes I made to the pattern:
* I DID NOT like the look of the hem in the  back of the dress being substantially shorter than the sides it matched up to. It makes the garment "feature" the back of your knees.  Who's got good back knees? Other than Heidi Klum, I don't think this would flatter anyone in any way. I extended the hem in back a good 4 inches. Since I still liked the detail of the uneven hems where they meet I kept it one half inch shorter than the side pieces.


 
     Below you can see how this half inch difference at the side seams makes a huge difference with its drape and the curved cut of the side pieces. But, it hides the back of my knees and that's good.


*  I did not pleat the lower front as described in the pattern, step #5. The slinky fabric was unexpectedly bulky and it wouldn't work. So I moved the pleats closer to the center and eased in the difference across the front. It worked fine.


* I did not use the suggested facings, choosing a simple binding instead for the neck and armholes. I chose to bind the armholes with black ponte. I didn't want anything disturbing the simple black on the sides or busying up the design any further.  The neckline was bound with the dots.  You can see how the straps, front and back, are sewn into the epaulet. They are wider than the epaulet and I just did a little tuck to make them fit.

* I did not use the specified order of construction. I wanted to check the fit and strap length before binding anything. Many who've made this did without the "epaulets" connecting the front and back straps. When I tried the straps without the epaulets it pulled up the bodice/waist seam to an odd area of the bust. Think "recent Rue debacle" and you'll know what I mean. So for myself, the epaulets put the strap length right where I thought it most flattering,  a little above my natural waist. It was not the "close fitting" bodice that the pattern described but it also wasn't made in the size I usually use. I like the fit and that's all that really  matters.

I found the directions very clear. At the very beginning of the dress directions there is a "note" suggesting interfacing for knit fabrics in the pocket, pocket edges at side front and "upper edges on front" areas with tricot interfacing. Given that knits are the recommended fabrics why is there no interfacing shown in the yardage requirements on the pattern envelope?  There are no yardage requirements inside on the directions either, just that "note" suggesting you use some. Grrrr.... luckily I had some fusible tricot on hand. All in all, the pattern was clear. I love that there are no buttons, plackets, cuffs, zippers, etc., just simple sewing.

Fabrics:

So many fabrics! This was fun to play with and figure out. I decided on four fabrics, sort of. The back bodice and lower front are a really nice jacquard type slinky knit made from acetate and a bit of spandex., the usual slinky ingredients.  I am in love with the ruby red color! It came from a thrift find, a Cold Water Creek large size tank dress that I picked up for a dollar. Gorgeous fabric!

 Next,  I took a hint from many body con dresses I've seen and used black ponte for the side panels, the better to give a slimming, taller silhouette. It's a rayon ponte, matte finish and with a very nice drape . The back panel, front hem bands and some binding were in a pebbly polka dot knit, also rayon and quite textured.

 For the fourth fabric I took the black mesh point d'esprit knit and laid it over the polka dot rayon for the front hem band and for the front upper bodice.

 These were the survivors of many combinations I tried. I really think picking fabrics for this dress s the most challenging aspect but a lot of fun.

The front and back upper bodices were fused to a woven cotton interfacing. This was not specified at all but is really needed to have the strength to carry the weight of the skirt, IMO. The upper areas of the ponte side pieces were fused with more black fusible tricot. I tried the woven but it showed through. Backing these upper areas was important to the their ability to carry all that weight from the skirt and I would highly recommend doing this. It will also help stay your binding areas and prevent sagging. I ran the interfacing from under the arm across to the bodice front. I also interfaced the "epaulets"  as I didn't want the weight to pull on them making wrinkles. I've had that happen before.

There is no lining in this garment and one really isn't necessary.

Construction:

This is all straight sewing and really quite simple. Here are a few things I did differently than the pattern, Some I've already mentioned and won't repeat.

*I stayed every vertical seam with seam tape or selvedge. I didn't want these heavy knits drooping off the seamlines. I think this is really important. It didn't make for the most lovely interior but it is serving its function.You can also see in this pic how I used the tricot on the upper side pieces and the woven interfacing on the slinky bodice.A lot of thought was put into  this because of the weight the small bodice needed to carry.  Seams were stitched twice and trimmed.

* The hems were interfaced with tricot, edge stitched and then stitched again 3/4 of an inch away. I really like hemming knits this way as it gives a sharp edge and a flat hem that drapes nicely.

* Armholes were bound with matching black ponte so as not to add another element to the design. I wanted to keep those sides all black. No facings, please! The pattern specifies a facing for the armscyes.

*  Back panel, Piece 19, the dots, reduced by 2 inches in width.
    Side panels, the ponte black, were reduced by 5 inches in width on each side = 10 inches.
    Side fronts, black ponte,  were reduced 6 inches each side = 12 inches.
    Total reduction taken from hem = 24 inches.
    The reduction was made with a ruler going from the hemline to the waistline and not altering from     the waist up at all.
    The skirt length was reduced by one inch all around.

*  I highly recommend interfacing the top edge of the pockets. I used a 1 1/2 inch strip of fusible tricot on the slinky.



In conclusion:

This jumper is a darling design that really needs to have volume reduced in the skirt to look it's best, IMO. It also  needs that hem length in the back skirt lengthened. Making the back of a women's knees a focal point just is not a good idea on any level. This dress has no zipper, buttons, snaps, closures, welts or much of anything else for design detail. I LOVE that. What the pattern does offer is a great opportunity for creatively using various fabrics in one garment. I love mixing fabrics and have plenty of experience doing so but I found this garment particularly challenging. Hopefully staying with a tried and true color scheme helped.

I really enjoyed making this and it will be my go to dress for casual Christmas gatherings. I enjoyed the challenge and yet the simplicity. I am even tempted to make it again in maybe a long, sleeveless version for summer. I highly recommend this pattern with the modifications suggested. As it comes out of the envelope,,,,, not so much.....Bunny
***************************
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. We had a great Christmas weekend with our daughters in NH, lots of family, great food, snow, sledding snow ball fights, more food, and just great memory making. Whatever your celebration, I pray you were surrounded by loved ones and blessed with warmth and joy..........Bunny

New profile photo: I've gone natural with the hair. Yay, liberation!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Last minute gifts!

It's a busy week for sewing bloggers, at least the ones like me that don't plan ahead too well. I stumbled on this tutorial through Pinterest for making "burrito" style pillowcases. I highly recommend it as it very clearly explains the process  and is well photographed. The "burrito" technique is also the name of a method often used on yokes on tailored shirts, same principle and one you can find in the tutorials on this blog. Just click on the tab above. I needed five pillowcases for my grandchildren. Here you can see them all rolled up like burritos and ready for their first line of stitching. All components are in that tube!


Each child's pillowcases relates to them somehow. One loves Harry Potter, another butterflies, etc. A word to the wise if you try this. Any design that is directional will give you a migraine as you try to figure out which way to lay it out so the writing is going the correct way. In the link I've given you there are comments as to how to do this but I found them confusing. I really thought I had it the right way but clearly I didn't. Truthfully, my Zack will be thrilled with his Harry Potter pillowcase and won't mind at all which way the letters are going, so I'm not going to stress about it.


There are three pieces of fabric to each pillowcase. It was a lot of fun coordinating everything. My new steam press was really invaluable on this project which is nothing but flat rectangles. Basically. the pieces are pinned together. The hemband is wrapped around. Then it all is turned right side out through the tube. Next comes making the pillowcase with French seams and then done. Everything is enclosed. No raw seams or threads anywhere!


I put these together "production" style with every process happening to all the pieces before I moved to the next task. I think that really helped me save time. They were all cut out, then pinned and the burrito stitched. Then the French Seams to all of them, easy peasy, done! All five took me an afternoon. These will make great stocking stuffers.

************************************************
The Marcy Tilton dress is done and I love it, I really do. I did a lot to that pattern to make it work  for me and my fabric and can't wait to tell you all about it. I wore it to our Christmas brunch at work and received many compliments. While I wanted to take pics then, it just wasn't the right, as in proper, moment to do that. I have the entire blogpost written and will hopefully have pics of me in it soon. I could put it on the dress form but I know that's not what you really want to see. Here's a little tease, the interesting hemline:

The MT post would have gotten up sooner but my husband had some unexpected health issues. He is doing much better now and things are back on track. It did require lots of Dr. appointments and visits to Syracuse for care, hours away. We are good now and all is full bore for Christmas, visiting our children and families. All will be fine and he has great doctors. In the meantime I definitely have my garment sewing mojo back and have lots of things on the burner. Can't wait to share it all with you. ....Bunny

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Yay! Back to sewing!

And it's a dress! Well, sort of. Or is it a jumper?

This pattern has been seducing me since I first laid eyes on it.  First, I thought the proportions could work well for a petite, shorter person. And you know how I love to mix patterns. BTW, Kenneth King has an interesting article on Pattern Mixing in the latest Threads. 

I will be doing View C which has a solid back, not the strappy back. The strappy back is just too too, at least for me.  I want this to be something I can wear to work with a black tee or such and some black boots. 
A few words about this pattern: Two weeks ago my husband and I drove for seven hours to the Cape to attend a wedding and see our big family. For two of those hours I read and reread this pattern. It looks complicated but if it is broken down and planned out it is quite easy. There are no zippers, buttons, topstitching , etc. It is all pretty straight sewing. But it IS challenging. The challenges are getting the right mix of fabrics in the right combination and fitting. Once that is settled is is all straight sewing.


Whew, those dots are making me dizzy! I have four fabrics, a solid black rayon ponte with a nice drape, a deep cherry red piece of patterned slinky whose color I adore, a knit rayon polka dot and a sheer black point d'esprit mesh knit.  


They are all very drapey but similar in weight and stretch so it should work. The black mesh will be underlined with a layer of the polka dot. Next came planning out what pieces got which fabric. I've always been good at holding color and design in my head so I didn't bother with sketching but I would recommend it if you are thinking of this pattern. Many of the sewists on PR that reviewed this pattern found the sketching very helpful to keep track of what went where. There are 14 pattern pieces! I have a notebook that I used to keep track of my choices.  Next came the fitting.

Again, Pattern Review was very helpful with fitting advice and I highly recommend you visit the reviews if you plan to make this garment. Cocosloft and Star G  have great versions and there are several others as well. Just search Vogue 9108. You will see many people have taken out some of the incredible fullness in this design. First, all that knit will be quite heavy and will pull on the simple bodice, not nice. Next, the amount of volume is HUGE. One sewist took out 58 inches from the hem width ! I wanted a compromise between the two options so took out a total of 24 inches from the skirt width. Keep in mind these are odd fitting pieces so this fit part is pretty challenging. I decided to go with a size Medium with the theory that I could take out any more if needed. It is hard to tell what is needed when it is just in cut form. I tissue fitted the muslin on my form but that wasn't much help. I am so not a tissue fitter!  I can easily adjust the seams if needed so I will stay with the larger than usual size.

If you look at the models on the pattern cover, the bodice appears snug and I am guessing  is pinned in the back for the photo. But if you look at the completed garments on PR, the bodices seam much fuller with a deeper armhole and wide bodice. Some made alterations to use this as a sleeveless dress by raising the whole dress through the straps. By using the larger size I can decide if I want to have a loose or snug bodice. Not sure yet!


One thing to be aware of, which the photo above shows, is that the pockets are rather "kangaroo" and do not fit the garment flatly.  They "hang". They are deliberately wider then the piece they are attached to. This made altering a little tough. In the end I got it done. I took one inch out of the skirt all around  near the bodice and may shorten the the other bands as well. Not sure yet. So 24 inches removed from the width from various pieces and so far one inch from the length. I am not taking out more due to the shoulder strap issue which will become more obvious as to why later on.

The pattern calls for no interfacing but  Step 1 tells you to interface the " pockets, Pocket edges on side front and upper edge with fusible tricot interfacing." Luckily I had some in black on hand So be aware you may need interfacing which is not spec'd on the back of the envelope.  I would at the least interface all the pocket edges no matter the fabric.

So much about the fit will be dealt with as the pieces go together. Hopefully that will work out.


Before I started cutting out I made a pile of each fabric and then put the pieces to be cut out in that fabric on top. I would have gone crazy otherwise.


Next was time to mark. But first I hand basted the black mesh to the polka dot bodice front. For the rest of the marking I thread marked with different colors for circles, squares, etc. I wrote the legend down on the pattern in case I forget.


Once everything was altered, cut out and marked, I made new piles. Once you are ready to sew this pattern is it quite simple. You put the front together, then the back, then add the sides and done. So I made piles for front, back and sides of all the pieces needed. Whew, I think I am finally ready to put this under the needle! That probably won't happen till next weekend but I really feel the worst is behind me. Fingers crossed.

*******************************************

I hope all who celebrate had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day filled with bounty and surrounded by friends and family. We were blessed to share in the spirit of the day with our oldest daughter and her family over a long weekend. The kids made igloos out of the twenty inches of snow that fell earlier and had a great time. Friday evening we went to the new micro brewery that has opened in our little village. One of our blessings is incredible water and made this the perfect spot for a brewery. It is a gorgeous property and lots of fun to visit and share a beer. Here are DD and I sharing a sampler. 











Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sophie's Mini NCW, my #5!


At this point all of my grandchildren have had bags made for them in the past couple months. The one above, which I think is my favorite so far, is for Sophie, a fashion conscious 11 year old young lady. I have learned that girls her age are really into small bags with cross body straps. I provided both the cross body strap as well as the wristlet strap.


The camera is playing tricks making that wristlet strap look extra long. It's not. The mini is quite small, about five and a half inches across.

I've reviewed a mini and the NCW before and you can read that here: NCW

Here's the deets on this one, which really is my favorite of all.



Fabric:

The print fabric is a 100% cotton from the quilting area at Joanns. It is the same fabric used in the Stella Weekender diaper bag I just finished. The print is used for the lining, flap and straps. For the body of the little bag I used a faux leather in black, the same that I used in the Boy Bags.



The hardware is from Emmaline bags.

Interfacings used were  non-fusible  Peltex, SF101 from Pellon and Decor Bond. All were purchased at Joanns using their coupons. I am now buying this by the bolt on those big discount days.

Pattern:

The pattern used is the Necessary Clutch Wallet from Emmaline Bags, better known as the NCW. There is a mini version available and this is  the second mini I have made. My first was scaled wrong, my own printing error but this one was "juuuust right" as Little Red Riding Hood says. It was a tad larger than my first and I was thankful for that. It's really important with these small items to get the scale right. Measuring is done every step of the construction in order to stay on track and when half way completed I figured out the error on Carly's bag. I had to fudge to finish hers but this one was spot on with the proper scaling.  The straps and wristlet were not in the original pattern but there is info in the files on the NCW Facebook page. That includes measurements.

The pattern for the mini is an add on to the original NCW and as such only contains that which makes it different from the larger pattern. The directions are very clear despite them being written by someone other than the original designer. The mini pattern is with her blessing and featured on the Emmaline website. You will definitely  need the original NCW pattern as well as the Mini add on to get this done.

Construction:

I'll just deal with the differences from the big NCW here.


I have found it very helpful to mark the centers of all pieces of this little bag. It will definitely help you as with an item this small accuracy is critical. The mini directions for the zipper pocket simply refers you to page 6 of the bigger bag's directions for the zip pocket. No measurements were given. With the help of those on the FB NCW page I cut my zipper to 5 1/2 inches and proceeded from there. This does have the card slots of the original, but that's something you could certainly eliminate if you think a child won't need them. I kept them in mine as I think they give a "grown up" note to the bag. On the pleats above you can see the Chicago screws  being used. They are so much easier than rivets and far more fool proof, IMO. I probably could do better with rivets if I had the professional punch, etc but I just didn't want to invest in that.


The turn lock is attached with tiny little philips head screws. I had one of that type of screw driver and it has disappeared since a couple weeks back. So I ordered this pack from Amazon of tiny little screwdrivers. I highly recommend if you are going to be using more than an occasional turn lock. Lots of bag hardware has these tiny screws, and whew, they are tiny.

This is the set I got from Amazon. It cost seven dollars and change and is Prime. Well worth it.

You can also see in the bag above I did not top stitch the flap. I simply forgot and when I noticed it I decided I liked it and have left it that way. Out of all the NCWs I've seen, they've all been topstitched. I like this one without.

The flap and body have Peltex interfacing. The lining is all fused with SF101 but I think next time I will used Decor Bond for the  zip pocket. The straps are fused with Decor Bond and fusible fleece. ALL interfacing has the seam allowances cut out, critical! The side pleat area has SF101 on the exterior faux leather. It is cut separately from the bag interfacing so the SAs could be removed. That really made the bulkiest area much easier to deal with. The bag has a really nice heft to it and I like that.

Conclusion:

This is my most favorite NCW yet and it is Number Five! I do hope Sophie likes it. It won't be my last to make either as these make great gifts. Keep in mind, this is not a quickie gift and definitely takes focus and a few "tricks". I highly recommend.

If this dress is looking a bit large for my size, it is. It was a gorgeous find, size large, from the thrift this week. Lots of fabric and I already have plans for it......................Bunny


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Photo Shop, anyone?


Some of you may remember that I took a photography course this past Spring and Summer. The goal was to get knowledgeable about what my new DSLR could do. It was a wonderful class with a very good teacher and professional photographer. You may have seen his pictures, actually. Do you remember this big prison escape that took place here last year, the two brutal murderers who were out on the loose in Northern New York? As Fate would have it, our teacher, Jon, lived right in the thick of it all and his home is right next to the camp where one of the prisoners was finally shot dead. Since journalists  were not let in and out of the zone, Jon was able to  cut a deal with CNN and provided many of the photos you saw, and definitely the best photos.

While we learned about ASA and exposures and much more, John also taught us a bit about Photoshop. I loved that part of the class. It felt very creative to me. It felt like learning magic. I had a photo editing program on my computer already but this was an entirely different level of manipulation. Above you can see a picture I took of my youngest grandson, Zack, It started out as a full length picture of him on the couch watching TV. I cropped it down and then started playing with filters. I really love how it came out because it depicts the softness and sweetness that is Zack. The editing emphasizes what I want you to know about Zack.

Lately there has been much discussion on sewing forums about using Photo Shop. It is certainly used by the Big Four pattern companies and also by Indie pattern makers.

New patterns are released with their best faces forward. I get that. But in some circumstances patterns are released with grand excitement and they haven't been photo shopped. They arrive on the scene, warts and all. I appreciate the honesty of this as it lets me, the consumer, decide if this is the pattern for me. As far as putting out a photo shopped version of a new design, I get that too. Companies are in business and like everything else that is sold in the universe, you have to sell the "sizzle." A great looking garment on an attractive model sells. We all want to look like her. even if only on a subconscious level.

This does sound contrary, doesn't it? It isn't. Both sides of the photoshop/non photoshop argument have value. But,,,,and you knew there was a but.....what of announcing a new design and then with great fanfare putting up the non photo shopped version? OK, I think that's fine. But,,,,,when the complaints come in regarding the product,,, then putting out a photoshopped version to make it now seem just fine? For me there is a dishonesty in that decision that is an affront to potential and past buyers.

For the record, I pride myself on this blog on showing REAL sewing, the kind that can bring out seam rippers on a regular basis. Do I PS? I think it is important to let my readers know my policy. You deserve to know.  Anyone publishing on the web should do likewise but that's just my personal opinion .

I do photoshop, but it is never to change my figure, make me look younger, or make a garment fit better. For one, I haven't developed that much skill yet. But you know those cute boy bags in the last post? The one with the black border had maybe three little white spots of lint. Drove me nuts. I PS'd them out.  I will do that, what we call "clean up." I will also, but not often, erase extraneous distractions. A classic example is a picture of the bridal couple with a tall, skinny tree growing out of the bride's head. I will brighten, increase contrast, and saturate color to provide you with more detail. I really appreciate seeing detail on people's garments and am glad if they manipulate the pic to show that better. That's what I do, not more , not less. I want you to see the details, good or bad, not have a picture with distractions, and have an honest assessment of fit and design lines.  That's my policy and if it changes I will let you know. Do you edit/photo shop your pictures at all? How do you feel about what your purchasing being a PS'd image?  If I learned anything in my photography class it is to never trust any photo again.  EVERYTHING can made to look better and usually is. Our teacher gave us some incredible examples. What really bugs me about this pervasive  PSing is that we do end up with a perfect vision, a virtual non reality of womanhood. Can we really get a garment to fit that perfectly? Right out of the envelope?  Frankly,  I detest that this perfected vision is out there in so many genres for younger girls to see. It  objectifies women. One of my guilty pleasures is reading the NY Times. I savor their magazine each Sunday. While the pages are saturated with fashion ads showing womanhood in amazing unattainable perfection, the NYT staff photographers can be brutally honest and can show the the true beauty of a person in breathtaking reality. I love seeing men and women shown in this very real way. They are so innately beautiful. Sigh.....

Thanks for letting me share my philosophy and opinions regarding this subject. Thanks for any input.  I want you to know what you are getting here....Bunny  

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Three Emmaline Retreat Bags


This was a fun project, or should I say three? I made each of my grandsons one of these dopp kits. They all travel, camp, and just plain get around a lot. I think they will like their own little bag for their personal items and it's quite grown up looking after all.


Pattern:
This is the  Retreat Bag from Emmaline Patterns. It is for a traditional dopp kit shape and comes in two sizes. Here you see the three I've made and I used the 9 inch smaller size. The pattern is FREE from Emmaline and is a PDF download.

I made the two solid colored bags first for Graham and Zack. I decided to get a bit adventurous on my third effort which is for the oldest, Jack. I like how they all came out. The above pics shows the bags fully extended open. The zips are on the outside of the bags and have tabs, or what I call  "yanks" so you can hold them and yank the zipper open. You don't really yank, but just tug the zipper open like any other zip. The bags are lined and have interior pockets on each side. I chose to use just one slip pocket in these.

Fabric:
The exterior fabrics are a faux leather that really looks quite authentic. I bought a lot of it about five years back from WalMart. It's the only thing I've ever purchased in their fabric department and the quality has been quite good. I've used it for many projects and it has quite a "real" look and easily sews. 


The linings are all 100% cottons  from Joanns. They have all been given a protective layer of vinyl. It is now sold at JAs in a two yard box and is made by Pellon. The vinyl lets the inside of the bags have some wash/wipe ability. It is easily fused on. 

The interfacings vary. 

On Graham and Zack's bags the interfacing used is SF101 from Pellon/JAs and  fusible fleece as specified. You can see that in the front bag. The Pattern specs fusing the lining with SF 101 but I did not as the vinyl applications stiffened the lining a lot. 


Jack's bag, on the other hand, got a different treatment. I used a fusible foam behind the exterior fabric. But I did not fuse the foam to the bag. Instead I fused it to a layer of cotton batiste and stitched that to the bag pieces. therefore turning the interfacing (Flexfoam) into a sew in. I like how it "fills" up the space between the two layers.  I have to say I don't really have a preference. Both methods worked and the SF101 bags were easier to "seat" into their shape. But they all got there. Since Pellon SF101 is far cheaper than the Flex Foam, I'd say go with that but make sure you fuse both lining and exterior fabrics.

One of the things I discovered while making these bags is that the release paper for the clear vinyl is an excellent press cloth for the faux leather. Use it under and on top of the leather and let it cool before peeling off. It gives great pressing results, not easy with faux leather. 

The bag requires a zip longer than the bag opening in order to give that "pull tab" effect. Instructions are given on what length to cut your zipper. I might go another inch longer next time. There are also two wire frames   that give the bag it's recognizable look. I've seen  bags made without them and with. I prefer with the frame. Those without the frame still look cute but just don't have that obvious well known shape. Without the frame, it's close, but closer with the frame. The frames are quite inexpensive and come with little rubber tips that I recommend gluing on before using. Make sure you order the right size frame. Size A is what is used for these smaller bags.


Construction:

This is really a rather simple project and if you don't add an extra border and don't vinyl-ize your lining it can be made in a couple hours. That makes it a great gift. You are basically making a tote with a zipper across the top. The corners are boxed to give it the traditional shape. The lining is left open across the bottom so the bag can be turned, a bit trickier with that sticky clear vinyl, but doable. After turning and closing the lining a casing is stitched in all around the bag and following the zipper.  The wire frame is inserted inside the casing. Critical: make your casing with a GENEROUS 1/2 inch seam allowance. Mine were a bit short of that and I really had to shove to get the frame through the casing.  I ended up having to undo stitches and resew the casing after the wire was in. ( insert eye roll).  The wire of the frame is heavier than a coat hanger and quite sturdy. 

My vinyl lining and faux leather outside plus interfacing made for a quite firm little bag. That's how it is supposed to be. Instructions on the Emmaline site tell you that the frame needs to be zipped open and shut several times and will eventually seat itself properly on it's own. It's true. I just kept opening and closing the bags and they took their shape after a while. I believe this process is much easier on a fabric bag. There are some adorable feminine bags made from this pattern with prints. Handles are attached and they look quite functional. Just look how the bag opens wide. How nice is that for a women's bag?
.
Here is the inside of Jack's bag, a cotton batik that's been vinylized.


Above is a close up of the zipper installation and the wire frame channel next to it. The topstitching really seems to sink right in this faux leather.


In Conclusion:

This is a great design, easy to make, and FREE. It looks better with the specified  wire frames so I recommend them. A nice zipper pull , which I did put on Jack's, adds a bit of panache as well.  If you feel that you haven't been sewing enough for the men in your life and would like to make a gift that is quick, looks good and is functional, the Emmaline Retreat Bag is for you. For the women in your life, this would make a great makeup bag and I might make myself one out of some cottons. I will definitely be making more of these and I hope you give them a try. As always, NAYY.........Bunny

Three Emmaline Retreat Bags


This was a fun project, or should I say three? I made each of my grandsons one of these dopp kits. They all travel, camp, and just plain get around a lot. I think they will like their own little bag for their personal items and it's quite grown up looking after all.


Pattern:
This is the  Retreat Bag from Emmaline Patterns. It is for a traditional dopp kit shape and comes in two sizes. Here you see the three I've made and I used the 9 inch smaller size. The pattern is FREE from Emmaline and is a PDF download.

I made the two solid colored bags first for Graham and Zack. I decided to get a bit adventurous on my third effort which is for the oldest, Jack. I like how they all came out. The above pic shows the bags fully extended open. The zips are on the outside of the bags and have tabs, or what I call  "yanks" so you can hold them and yank the zipper open. You don't really yank, but just tug the zipper open like any other zip. The bags are lined and have interior pockets on each side. I chose to use just one slip pocket in these.

Fabric:
The exterior fabrics are a faux leather that really looks quite authentic. I bought a lot of it about five years back from WalMart. It's the only thing I've ever purchased in their fabric department and the quality has been quite good. I've used it for many projects and it has a genuine leather look. 


The linings are all 100% cottons  from Joanns. They have  been given a protective layer of clear vinyl. It is now sold at JAs in a two yard box and is made by Pellon. The vinyl let's the inside of the bags have some wash/wipe ability. It is easily fused on. 

The interfacings vary. 

On Graham and Zack's bags the interfacing used is SF101 from Pellon/JAs and fusible fleece,  as specified. The front bag above has SF101 and fleece. The Pattern specs fusing the lining with the same product but I did not as the vinyl applications stiffened the lining a lot. ( ETS to add the fusible fleece which I remebered in the middle of the night. Hate it when that happens.)


Jack's bag, on the other hand, got a different treatment. I used a fusible foam behind the exterior fabric. But I did not fuse the foam to the bag. Instead I fused it to a layer of cotton batiste and stitched that to the bag pieces. therefore turning the interfacing (Flexfoam) into a sew in. I like how it "fills" up the space between the two layers.  I have to say I don't really have a preference. Both methods worked and the SF101 bags were easier to "seat" into their shape. But they all got there. Since Pellon SF101 is far cheaper than the Flex Foam, I'd say go with that but make sure you fuse both lining and exterior fabrics.

One of the things I discovered while making these bags is that the release paper for the clear vinyl is an excellent press cloth for the faux leather. Use it under and on top of the leather and let it cool before peeling off. It gives great pressing results, not easy with faux leather. 

The bag requires a zip longer than the bag opening in order to give that "pull tab" effect. Instructions are given on what length to cut your zipper. I might go another inch longer next time. There are also two wire frames   that give the bag it's recognizable look. I've seen  bags made without them and with. I prefer with the frame. Those without the frame still look cute but just don't have that obvious well known shape. Without the frame, it's close, but closer with the frame. The frames are quite inexpensive and come with little rubber tips that I recommend gluing on before using. Make sure you order the right size frame. Size A is what is used for these smaller bags.


Construction:

This is really a rather simple project and if you don't add an extra border and don't vinyl-ize your lining it can be made in a couple hours. That makes it a great gift. You are basically making a tote with a zipper across the top. The corners are boxed to give it the traditional shape. The lining is left open across the bottom so the bag can be turned, a bit trickier with that sticky clear vinyl, but doable. After turning and closing the lining a casing is stitched in all around the bag and following the zipper.  The wire frame is inserted inside the casing. Critical: make your casing with a GENEROUS 1/2 inch seam allowance. Mine were a bit short of that and I really had to shove to get the frame through the casing.  I ended up having to undo stitches and resew the casing after the wire was in. ( insert eye roll).  The wire of the frame is heavier than a coat hanger and quite sturdy. 

My vinyl lining and faux leather outside plus interfacing made for a quite firm little bag. That's how it is supposed to be. Instructions on the Emmaline site tell you that the frame needs to be zipped open and shut several times and will eventually seat itself properly on it's own. It's true. I just kept opening and closing the bags and they took their shape after a while. I believe this process is much easier on a fabric bag. There are some adorable feminine bags made from this pattern with prints. Handles are attached and they look quite functional. Just look how the bag opens wide. How nice is that for a women's bag?
.
Here is the inside of Jack's bag, a cotton batik that's been vinylized.


Above is a close up of the zipper installation and the wire frame channel next to it. The topstitching really seems to sink right in this faux leather. All construction seams are 1/4 inch.


In Conclusion:

This is a great design, easy to make, and FREE. It looks better with the specified  wire frames so I recommend them. A nice zipper pull , which I did put on Jack's, adds a bit of panache as well.  If you feel that you haven't been sewing enough for the men in your life and would like to make a gift that is quick, looks good and is functional, the Emmaline Retreat Bag is for you. For the women in your life, this would make a great makeup bag and I might make myself one out of some cottons. I will definitely be making more of these and I hope you give them a try. As always, NAYY.........Bunny