Saturday, April 30, 2016

Vogue 8823,,,,That zipper!




Vogue 8823 instructs you to complete the outer bag, complete the lining, serge them both together and then add the zipper to the top. Can you see how there might be a bulk issue here when you hit the machine ? Doomed for failure, IMO. Well,maybe some can do it but if I can find an easier way without dealing with all the bulk at the machine, I will and I did. 

The bag consists of three divisions and is basically a tote. Wouldn't it be a lot easier to, number one, do a drop in lining, less bulk to deal with there, and number two, insert the zipper before lining into just the top band? Well yes, and it was! The top band was then added to the bottom section of the bag once the zip installation was complete. 

Above you can see the top band fused with fusible fleece and completed. The top edge is simply folded and the lining will be dropped in and stitched to it after zip time. The centers are marked. This will be a new type of bag zipper installation for me as the ends of the zipper are left loose like many I've seen on the Emmaline site. They are capped off with these zipper ends, more bling, which I think are pretty cool. 



The zipper is lined up and centered in between the top folds of the top section of the bag. I used Wonder Tape, one of my best sewing friends, to place things and a few security pins as well. It looks rather uneven but came out in the end.

ETA: I just wanted to share a pic from Mia's Creations of her use of the zip ends. Mine will be tucked in the bag. Mia has some incredible bags to drool over on her blog "Mia's Creations". Talk about perfection! She hasn't posted in a while but you can go for a hours looking and being inspired over her bag creations. Thanks, Maria.




The ends were marked where to end the stitching and I used the triple zigzag to sew in the zip, one of my fave techniques. I like the look and the strength that stitch provides. Now, picture sewing this in with the entire lined bag underneath. Really. Really, Vogue? They do have you open the zip and stitch it in that way. whoopee do. In the end this was easy peasy and I like it. Where the red arrow is the zip will be trimmed and set into the metal end caps then tucked in the bag, just something different that lets me use more bling! Also, once the zip was installed, it was folded out of the way and the edge of the bag was stitched with the triple zigzag. That gave an even matching line of stitching all around the band. All that needs to happen now is this top section gets attached to the rest of the bag. Then I will add the nameplate to this section, drop in the lining and done! Won't be long now......Bunny

Monday, April 25, 2016

Where's the Bling????

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


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

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







.......................Bunny

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Cobalt Bling bag continues.....



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


The first change made in the pattern:

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


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


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

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

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


Doin' the Happy Dance!

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

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Vogue 8823, the Cobalt Bling bag

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

Here are my supplies for the artwork and fabrics.


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


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

Saturday, April 16, 2016

And the Winner is-----------------------------------------



Natalie F.  !!!!!!!

Congratulations, Natalie! Please email me at bunnypep at gmail dot com with your mail info and I will send it out Monday morning. Thanks to you and all the others who responded and thanks for following which for many is quite a few years. Luv you all!......Bunny

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wednesday Words









 ...."As I often get my inspiration from RTW I do find it difficult to find styles I like. It seems that when a certain age is reached you must wear voluminous linen tops with irregular hemlines......Anthea"  commenting on Diary of a Sewing Fanatic. Carolyn, of that blog, had a very interesting post on sewing into retirement and after, which you can read  here..............Are you fashion conscious but finding it hard to find fashions/patterns/styles that are age appropriate?  Does being age appropriate even matter? How do you translate the current trends to wearable garments that fit your lifestyle and and what even is "age appropriate"?  Inquiring minds want to know!....Bunny





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Wednesday's Words are quotes, pictures and links gleaned from the internet that at times can be provocative, opinionated or even funny. They are not necessarily my personal views but do pertain to being creative, sewing, fashion and more.,,Bunny  





Sunday, April 10, 2016

Simplicity 1166


What Simplicity calls a "1950s Vintage" skirt is complete. I am pleased with the results and should get a lot of use out of this for work. I love wearing skirts. I like short skirts, too, and just above the knee is probably my best length. Where I work there is an open staircase that the public  is constantly near or under. It is not a place for shorter skirts, but  since I love skirts I just make them longer if they are planned to be for work wear. And this one's long! Its an inch longer than the last denim skirt as that seems to be a bit more flattering.

Forgive me for not modeling. I plan to make the white blouse on this vintage reproduction pattern and when that is complete I will model the entire outfit. In the meantime here are details to share.


Fabric:

This is made from Kaufman's Essex linen blend which I usually get from Fabric.com, amazon prime and all. It is a yarn dyed fabric made of linen and cotton threads. It appears the white threads are the cotton. In the last post I gave info on matching threads to yarn dyed fabrics. Above you can see how the gray thread is pretty unobtrusive in the topstitching. That is something you want here because of the stitching irregularity that can happen when you use one of the matching thread colors. I'm pleased with the gray and it was perfect for the buttonholes.

Pattern:  

This is Simplicity 1166. The pattern is self described as "1950s Vintage" and consists of this skirt, a half circle  with pleats and a shaped waistband that is higher in front. There is also an interesting shirt and a bra top in the pattern as well.

Things I did differently from the pattern: My seams  were all Hong Kong finished. The waistband was attached and the facing had a serged finish. It was then stitched in the ditch from the public side to secure. The pattern has you turn under the facing and ditch stitch from the front. By serging and leaving it "out" bulk is reduced, important at a waistline!  The hem is also serged and topstitched on the very edge of the hem as well as an inch and a half in.  I cut out but forgot to put in the pockets, shame on me! A snap is specified to go at the waistband seamline under the overlap. I used a pants hook instead, It's shining in the second pic below.  It's really needed as the waist is snug and there is a lot of weight in the skirt trying to pull it down. The hook keeps it all in line.


Issues with the pattern? The pleats. The pattern has lines marked on the front skirt piece to match and  make pleats. I had one leftover. There was also one pleat marking on the skirt back. Perhaps brighter souls won't have any issue but the pattern is not clear at all, IMO, on how the leftover pleats go together. Finally I figured out that they met at the side seam line. I basted them in and put the skirt on the dress form. That did not work. It made the side seams stick out and didn't fall smoothly at all. I wasn't doing that! So, I manipulated this and that and after a lot of fiddling I pleated the leftover front line to the side seam. That lay fairly smooth. The remaining ease for the back pleat was moved to the center back seam where I did a small inverted box pleat which when I tried it on seemed more flattering anyway. But it took a bit of aggravation to get to that point. You can see how above the seam ends up inside the pleat and folded. At least now it lays smoothly.

If I made this again and I might, I would just go straight to manipulating the pleats like I did in this one. Much of the skirt is on the bias and the skirt hung for a week before hemming. 

The other issue I had was the overlap of the waistband and center front. It seemed pretty meager and was just not enough in my opinion. So when I moved around the pleats I made the overlap bigger as well. I'm glad I did.  Something this pattern does, like jeans do, is that when you have pockets or pleats close to CF and there is that overlapping the pleats can look lopsided like you seen in the technical drawing. I know there is nothing you can do but it bugs me. 

Conclusion:

This is a classic skirt design and one that I love. In the summer it will be cool and flow-y. It will work great for my work and I really look forward to making a white shirt from the same pattern to wear with it. I wouldn't say "highly recommend" because the pleat issues could confuse the less experienced or the less patient as they did me. But if you are willing to work through I think you will have a good basic skirt to add to your wardrobe. 

I am not going to start the white shirt immediately. I have the fabric but need to order interfacing and will tonight. In the meantime I want to make a spring/summer bag. I love the big tapestry bag I recently made but the warm weather is coming and making a new bag will be a nice change of pace before settling in with the shirt.  Today I played with some samples for the bag. I am not decided on how this will work out yet but here is one of my samples and I think it will work well for summer.


.....................Bunny



Friday, April 8, 2016

Cross dyed and yarn dyed fabrics


My latest project, just needing it's hem, is made from the Kaufman fabric below, their "yarn dyed linen blend" that you see here in blue. Mine is black. These fabrics can present a bit of a challenge which I will show in a moment but first a little education. 

There are cross dyed fabrics and yarn dyed fabrics.  From Fabricdictionary.com we have the following definition of cross dyed fabrics: " A method of coloring fabrics made from more than one kind of fiber, for example, a wool and cotton blend. Each fiber in a fabric designed for cross-dyeing takes a specific dye in a different color or in variations of a color. A fabric that is cross dyed is more than one color. Cross dyeing is often used to create heather effects (soft, misty coloring), but strongly patterned fabrics can also be achieved, depending on the fibers used in the fabrics."  In other words each fiber takes the dye differently and the fabric blend is dyed after it has been woven. Per the manufacturer, the  green below is cross dyed and "heathery" looking.  



Per Fabric.com and other sources, "When a fabric is yarn dyed, the color is placed in the yarn or threads before weaving."  The linen blend below is yarn dyed with blue threads and white threads. 





photo courtesy fabric.com

I really like these yarn dyed linen/cotton blends and have used them before several times. They have a soft heathery look and don't wrinkle like 100% linen. They are great for casual wear. They can also be a quite casual look as you see in the red plaid above. Think gingham and you have yarn dyed fabric.  Now for the challenges!

This all over heather effect in the fabric I am using for my skirt is simply the white threads going top to bottom which is called the  "warp". The black threads going left to right are the "weft".  If you look at the picture below you can see the threads and how they differ on the raveling edges, black on the sides, white top and bottom.





What I have learned from sewing this fabric several times is that you can get surprising results with your topstitching.  In the pic above black thread is used in the right hand side stitches. White thread, which doesn't look it, used in the middle stitches. The white zigzag came out totally gray. This fabric even affects the color of your thread! I stitched several samples and every time the snow white thread look gray on it in zigzag form. The sample shows how the stitches can look irregular and just not good. Those little slubs and nubs of the opposing colors really make an impact.  But if you can figure out the natural compromise between the two colors, like the grey used on the left hand stitches, the stitching will look much better. There is something about using the actual fabric color, here, black or white thread, that has  the opposite fiber peeking out to make things look irregular. By using a "compromise thread", the gray, the  colors blend and make the stitching look smoother. For the record, the far left gray line of stitching is a triple straight stitch, one I like a lot for topstitching. Next, to the right, is a regular straight stitch, and to the right of that is a satin stitch done to the same width and length as the black and white. And let's face it, this is brutally close up. There's not a lot of topstitching in my skirt but there are plenty of buttonholes. After making sample BHs it was clear the gray thread was a better choice.  Also, my machine makes beautiful topstitching on every other fabric. It's just some sort of illusory magic that is happening with this yarn dyed fabric. The lesson here is try to figure out what the  best "compromise" thread would be when stitching these fabrics.

And no discussion of yarn dyed or cross dyed fabrics would be complete without some pictures of iridescent silk dupionies. These are just so luscious. Using strongly contrasting warp and weft colors in a fabric that has a brilliant luster by its very nature makes for one of my favorite fabrics.  This is one of those seductive fabrics I just like to look at and don't even have to use to enjoy. Here are some pics courtesy of Silk Baron. 

Gold and fuchsia threads:


violet and red:


Tangerine and violet:


While I haven't used the iridescent dupionis in a garment I would think a bit of extra care and some samples would definitely be the smart way to get the best stitching needed.   Audition  your thread options instead of just taking a matching color and stitching away. You'll be glad you did!
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Remember to sign up for the give away! Here's the page !  GIVEAWAY

Happy sewing!
Bunny

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Wednesday Word = GIVEAWAY!


Feliz dress from Etsy.com and the book "Swing clothes kids love" 

Over the past year or so I have gotten into Facebook sewing groups. There are so many variations on that theme, too. Some are couture, like Claire Shaeffer and Claire Kennedy's pages. Some are heirloom sewing groups. Some are the PDF crowd. Some are pattern companies.  One is geared to professional dress makers and designers and some even divide up on regional grounds. There are young moms trying to make some extra cash "designing" patterns and selling PDFs. There are newbie sewists craving quality information and so appreciative when finding it. There are even professional pattern makers and designers, the ones with the credentials to be selected to work in the garment industry.  It has been very eye opening and I have met some really amazing people that I didn't find circulating the blogosphere. I've learned A LOT from these sewists. Their experience is across the spectrum but they all add value to the sewing  conversation.  There are definitely hundreds of these groups and probably even thousands. 

Some of what I have learned following sewing groups on FB:

* You can get tuned in to museum shows and runway designs. Certain pages have major access to behind the scenes and it's fun to visit. 

* You definitely get notice of every new pattern, PDF or paper, to  hit the market. There are so many it can be overwhelming at times. 

* Many groups are "closed" and you have to be "let in", aka, "approved" before becoming a member/friend.  One of my favorite groups,  a really productive one with lots of serious convo ,does not allow any "designers" in the group. If you are selling patterns you can't get in. And in case you are wondering it has a very positive vibe and lots of open discussion. 

*New sewists are craving a place to talk about their sewing and patterns without the intrusion of fangirls or the attitude that can sometimes be associated with Pattern Review. Closed FB groups provide that. 

*Most new sewists really want to learn how to get to the next level, zippers, plackets, etc but have very little time to invest with small children in the landscape. I admire their tenacity and still getting out cute garments. I did no machine sewing at all when mine were little. 

* Lots of self taught new sewists have lots of respect for those who have been sewing longer and really appreciate knowledge shared. 

*Younger sewists will frequent blogs but then leave messages on the blog owner's FB page, not the blog. So next time someone says "she hardly gets any comments, how is she so well known?" ---she's getting the feedback and following  on FB. 

* FB is frequented a lot more by new sewists than Bloglovin' or Blogger and many of the sewing forums out there. 

*PDF Designer pages are extremely proprietary. Disloyalty, shown by  critique and legitimate questions is not well tolerated.

* Some pages are just put up to post your garment and wait for the attagirls, not much substance there, but often inspiration from a quick scroll  through. I enjoy these as well and can always count on a quick pik me up with these types of pages. 

*Following sewing pages on FB is definitely worth while. I suggest a variety of pages for the most substantive participation. 

Now that I have gotten that all out there, whew, these are my own personal observations and others may have their own. All in all I think the sewing pages on FB are a lot of fun, and good for a quick sewing buzz. Some impart a lot of knowledge and provide a real service. Others truly inspire and some are just good quick fun. I know you all follow blogs and Instagram, but do you follow FB sewing groups and what are your experiences?
  



To show my appreciation to all my blog followers and FB sewing friends, I have an awesome book, "Sewing Clothes Kids Love"  to give away. It is in never used perfect condition.  All of the patterns are included and have never come out of their envelope, so factory folded perfect. The designers are European, Farbenmix and Studio Tantrum and therefore seam allowances need to be added. The Feliz pattern was very popular among my heirloom sewing friends.   If you would like to be in the running for this book just leave your name and sentence or two in the comments below. I will take names until   April 15th and sorry, continental US, only. Now I just have to get going on Instagram! ............Bunny