Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Lucy Fur backpack continues


It took me most of the day to get everything fused for the backpack. There were all sorts of straps, flaps and the fur pieces.  How do you fuse fur? You don't! What I did was first remove the seam allowances on the interfacing pieces. I cut a piece of quilting cotton the same size as the fur and fused the interfacing to that. Then this fused interfacing/cotton combo was stitched to the fur pieces with a 1/4 inch seam. I found binder clips really helpful with sewing this to the fur pieces.


This is also my lining fabric, a quilting cotton,  but I had extra so that is what I used to fuse the peltex to for this piece.  All of the fur pieces had their seam allowances "shaved". That was pretty easy and I just held the fur taut with one hand and slipped the point of my shears about a 1/4 inch into it and cut a bit at a time. It really went fast and now the seams will be easier to sew.  "Reduce bulk whenever possible." Thank you, Roberta Carr.

Below we have a perfect example of why we stabilize and do test stitching before starting a project The stitches on the left, so nasty, were just stitched on two layers of the faux suede. The top right stitches have stabilizer and you can see how nice and smooth they are.


It's also a good idea to try your stitches with the interfacing that will actually  be used. I know the flap will be topstitched and have a layer of fused Peltex, really thick, hard stuff. I decided on a 3.5 stitch length and a "triple stitch" for the topstitching needed. Here's an example. The stitches on the right are just a plain straight stitch. The others are "triple stitch".


This is the same "triple stitch" that some sewists use to stitch knits. No, no, and more no. Why? It's overkill AND have you ever tried to rip a triple stitch out a knit? I guarantee you will throw out the garment first. So keep your triple stitch for topstitching which it does beautifully and use a simple zigzag or other option for your knits. Rant for the day!

I have a big wallpaper removal project going on at home and have been handling it one day each weekend and the other day for my sewing. It keeps my sanity that way. So this bag may take a bit. longer than I hope but I have a plan to get it done (and the wallpaper, which I've decided I hate),  One thing about this project, and it is a good thing, is that there is a huge amount of fusing, good because the end product is superior. This backpack takes 3 1/2 yards of woven SF101 interfacing! That is because the bag is all interfaced as well as the lining. An interfaced lining really makes a difference, IMO, and you find the better bag Indie patterns specify that. The Big Four never do. I've sewn quite a few Big Four bags and have never seen the linings interfaced. So far all my experiences with Indie Bag patterns have been really positive. Keep in mind I have only made Swoon and Emmaline bags. I do hope to make a Blue Calla bag in the future as well. I really think those three are the top of the heap.

I think that now that the fusing is complete the actual bag will go together quite quickly. Fingers crossed for a completion next weekend! In the meantime, this is what came out of the seam allowances on the fur.....Bunny

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Fur Fantasies.

"Brunello Cucinelli. Mink Fur Backpack, Brown. Brunello Cucinelli dyed mink fur (Denmark) backpack."  You too can have this back pack for  $7830.00. Oops,  you can't have it. It's SOLD OUT. 

Christian Dior, no price available....a little too foofy for my taste

Chris Brown rocking this back pack.  I have loved these fur backpacks since the first time I saw them. 


Be still my heart.  A bit large and more of a "carry-on"" IMO., but still want inducing.


I think you can see where we are going here. I have been smitten with fur backpacks since their arrival in my Pinterest feed a couple months back. They would be so stylish and just perfect for our climate.  I'm going to give it my best shot so here we go. 
                                                        courtesy Swoonpatterns.com



My pattern is the Lucy Backpack from Swoon Bags. The flap and the back of the bag will be a solid fabric. The fur will go around the front and sides and bottom. This is a PDF. As I started to tape the pieces together, small and very few, I realized that the only reason I am taping is because the pieces are bigger than the paper. Duh! So inexperienced with these PDFs but I do like them for bags! I stopped taping and made each piece double so that I could place the entire pattern piece on the fabric for cutting. Much better!

 I have some nice faux furs in my resources and decided on a silver fox with black tips. It looks quite real once made up as you will see. Parts of the bag will be out of a silver grey micro suede and it will have a grey lining of a soft nondescript  print of quilting cotton. 


Have you seen these zippers? The picture does not do them justice. They are a nylon coil that is a very shiny silver metallic and comes by the yard. They have a really nice jewelry effect.  I have seen them in a lot of retail lately and found only one retail purveyor online, Sew Da Kine.    Digressing, she sells the most incredible cork fabric, too, NAYY.  EDITED TO ADD: These, as of a few days ago are also now available at Emmaline Bags  here, again, NAYY. 




I did manage to get everything cut out today. It was a bit of a challenge  because I am using three fabrics, one for lining, the fur, and another for "contrast" parts. The pattern is set up for two fabrics. Here I go making things more complicated again!  The pieces are all cut and marked with tape on their back sides with all the pertinent info. This is  necessary as most of the pieces are  rectangles and they can easily get mixed up. 



All is cut but for the interfacing. I am waiting for that because I think I may use something more substantial than what's recommended. Haven't gotten far enough to make that decision yet. 


To cut the faux fur I turned it upside down and traced around the pattern onto the knit backing with a Sharpie, Then it was cut with the tip of my shears cutting only the knit backing. I have very little stray fur doing it this way and it didn't take any time at all. 

I will leave you with one more bagmaking hint that was shared on Facebook and it has really helped me....my tools!



Bag hardware often has  teensy weensy screws that no human hand can turn. The grommets in this bag will each have four of those tiny screws. Sometimes they are Phillips type. Other times the screws are traditional flatheads. The tool is magnetic and the tiny "heads" just suck right into the handle, nice. There is a hex thing, whatever that's called, and a pro type of tweezer.  Not to sound like Tim Allen on his  old TV show, Hometime, (?), this is the ...............

JACKLY 45 in 1 Professional Portable Opening Tool Compact Screwdriver Kit Set with Tweezers & Extension Shaft for Precise Repair or Maintenance JK6089-A   from Amazon. 


The good news is it will only set you back  8.79 but I only paid 7.99 a few weeks ago. Just search for the Jackly 45 in 1 on Amazon. My link is tied to my account and I can't seem to copy it without signing out so I will leave the searching  to you kind readers, just this once. 
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Today was a snow day from work and I got so much done. Can't wait till the weekend to get crankin' on the latest project. Spring is always looming and this bag is so Winter!
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It seems my plaid shirt made a big splash and I thank you for all the lovely comments. I really enjoyed making it and the challenge/refresher course on using plaids. Paco Peralta put it up on his FB page and the American Sewing Guild featured it as well. Sometimes I am just so surprised at our connectivity and all the positive magic it can work. I've withdrawn from social media  a bit lately because of all the nastiness and it is encouraging to see it used in a positive manner on sewing pages. Many seem capable of not going near political strife, others have issues. It is not the website's fault either but the comments that ensue regarding the topic at hand which is simply a beautiful garment, a technique shared, a posting of a completed project by a proud creator. Let the sewing world and it's family show the way to adult commentary that does not demean, hurt, insult,extrapolate on things political. Let's just enjoy our craft and share the joy with others. Thanks again for your awesome comments on the shirt and for being such a positive force on the web.....Bunny



Sunday, January 22, 2017

Paco's shirt, Vogue 1526, completed!


This is a WONDERFUL design and pattern by new Vogue Designer, Paco Peralta of Barcelona, Spain. Many of us have followed Paco for some years and are thrilled he is now collaborating with Vogue. I have no affiliation here but I am so impressed with this pattern, Vogue 1526. I did take a couple small liberties with his design and will explain that further. This was not done because the pattern needed any improvement, far from it. I just tried to make it do things for my particular fabics.


Let's get started and then I want to comment on plaids, specifically.

Pattern:

Vogue 1526, designed by Paco Peralta. The pattern consists of a lined  jacket with short sleeves and assymetrical collar, a cuffed shirt with dropped shoulders, asymmetrical collar and off angled pocket. Pants are also included in the pattern and I look forward to making those as well. I had no concerns with this shirt other than making it work with a plaid and also lining it. I will wear this a lot and it is perfect for our winter climate.

The directions were divine. You start with a cut on facing, folded and instructed to "sew invisibly" along the long edge, my kind of pattern and directions! In step 2 there is very clear instruction for a unique inseam buttonhole at the very top of the shirt, easy peasy. As the pattern progresses, I found no areas or issues that were not clear and easy to execute. This shirt has details that boost it up to a fine garment yet the directions are clearly written and drawn.

Fabric:

The shirt is made with 100 % cotton flannel in plaid. It was a refreshing change from the dark plaids seen so much around these parts and I felt the lavender and cream gave it a more feminine vibe.


The lining is a very thin poly silky, actually a bit lighter than most linings I considered. By using it on the wrong side the finish was duller and more true to the look of silk.

For interfacing, I used a woven fusible, not sure of where it came from so won't guess.

Construction:

This is where the fun began! and where I veered a bit from Paco's design. My challenge was to make it work with the plaid and I think I did. Let's talk about that first.

Thoughts on using the plaid:


  • You have to pick your battles with plaids. You also can make your life much easier with an "even" plaid. The fabric used here  is an even plaid. Each unit of plaid is equidisant and exactly like the other units that surround it. Using an even plaid is highly suggested for your first plaid effort. This PDF has a lot of great info on this. I also found Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Guide to have the best and most information out there. 
  • The hem on this shirt is curved and uneven a look I think is flattering for those of us who are short. A decision was made to have  mostly the cream part of the blocks meet the hem. Why? Because  plaid is a very straight line and the shirt hem is curved. Trust me on this one. Uneven hem - don't end it on a bar. 
  • Now that the length of the plaid was decided on I need to decide how it would work on the width. I decided to have the cream part of the blocks be at center front. I like the effect. It looks simple enough to line up. Don't kid youself. This was the hardest part of the whole project. This had yet to be cut and I knew that I had a folded cut on facing. And I had to have it match. It was challenging, made me think very hard, but eventually I got it. You can see how I managed it in this post. 
  • My length and width are now set. Did you see the half dolman sleeves? They will not match, Don't even think about matching this perfectly. With plaid matching, you have to go for the obvious. Since I am short, maybe lots of people will see the tops of my shoulders but in reality, I don't think it is a focal point like center front and back. So, don't worry about it. 
  • Now I had to match the lower sleeve and then its cuff. After A LOT of thinking, I walked away, came back and decided to just cut it on the bias. I centered the bias diamonds with the shoulder seam. I didn't seam it on bars but with mostly the cream centers meeting the dolman edge, the less to emphazise that it isn't matching and never will. 
  • For the cuffs I went back to the straight of grain, matching bars with the corner of the plaid which you see in the pic in the woods. 
  • Hours can go into placing plaids. Using allover prints or solids eliminates that and the shirt should go much faster than mine did. 
  • Bottom line: Straight edges get bars. Curved edges get the cream blocks. Problems get the bias. Placement is important even if you don't match and requires thought. 
  • This all needs to be figured out before cutting the first seam. 
With that out of the way. let's get to my next change. This shirt is not lined and that is fine. But a cotton flannel sticks to your clothes and it's cold up here. I had to have a lining with this. I decided on one of my favorite techniques, flat lining which finishes the seams with a Hong Kong finish and lines the garment at the same time. There are challenges with this as it works best on vertical seams. What to do with the underarm curve of the upper sleeve?

I did two lines of stitching in that area, trimmed back to the second stitching and zigzagged the edge. The seam allowances were cut on the bias  and folded under and stitched to make a clean edge as you see above. 


For the hem I faced the area with a bias strip of lining and catchstitched it to the lining. 


The plaid also made me deal with the collar a bit differently. I hope Paco approves. I like it. His collar is an asymmetrical design. I like it but I wanted my plaids to flow evenly where I could and to be symmetrical. I also had planned to used the buttons on the bars. This meant that I did not use his wonderful top buttonhole. I did make it anyway and it's one of those special little secrets just I know about, hiding in the seam! Making the collar symmetrical and lowering the buttonhole causes the collar to open evenly. I LOOOOOVE this collar. I got many compliments on this shirt when I wore it and more on the collar. It has such a pretty roll line and it is so nice and deep. 

 Here is that awesome little buttonhole that makes an asymmetrical collar with little effort, beautiful detail and typical Paco. 


If you have read me for a while, you may remember that I really don't care for long sleeves or any fabric around my wrists. My plan from the start was to fold back these lovely, deep cuffs and that worked well. You can see them on me all folded back but here is what they look like otherwise. 

Parting shots: When I make another I may take a tiny bit of length out of the back waist area. My issue is one of width,  a narrow back and wide hips. I always have this space. I can fit it away but then I have a different look to the garment. I don't want a fitted shirt here. I like the ease exactly as Paco designed it. I flat pattern measured the pattern and found there was substantial ease in a size six to not make any further adjustments. The dropped dolman sleeves also added to the ease of fitting. Since I planned to roll back the cuffs from the get go, they may have been long for me othewise. Other than that I am really pleased with my fit and it was with little effort. 



In conclusion:  I will definitely make this again. With Paco's clear instructions and the beautiful simplicity of the design it would be fine for an advanced beginner if done in a solid fabric and following his directions. While this is a couture pattern, this is doable by those who maybe have never used a couture Vogue pattern. I highly recommend. The design is so versatile and would be stunning in a white linen or pique. A beautiful look for dressier winter wear with jeans would be in  a washed velvet, yum. Thank you, Paco, for a beautiful design!........Bunny
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for some reason the crop didn't work in my editing software tonight. Hopefully it will rectify with shutting down the computer. I will be back to fix it in that case. And, oh, did you notice the winning button? It is the lighter ringed buttons. I really appreciated all your opinions on that. Thanks to all of you.....Bunny


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Who's got the button?

Here are some button options, most vintage from my stash. Your thoughts?


Can't wait to hear your opinions. You can see the topstitching here. I added TSing to the edge and used a rayon thread with gleam. It gave the stitching a bit more prominence that way. It's at 3.5 stitch length.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Paco's shirt, #3, V1526

The blogposts are coming at you fast and furiously. That's what happens when I am home on a long weekend and I love it. I am really enjoying making this shirt. It is quite simple  but has wonderful detail put in by Paco.


Have you ever had the frustration of doing a machine buttonhole at the very top of your garment? and it is the last one to do? and it just won't happen because of lumps and bumps in the facing? Well, Paco Peralta has you covered. Here you can see a slot that was stitched into the foldover facing area of the CF neckline. Here I put a piece of fabric so you will get what happens once the collar is stitched on. Is this not awesome? I will definitely be using this again.

There are a few things I have done differently from the pattern but that is more my personal preference. Below you can see that rather than turning the hem up all around I turned the facing inside out and sewed the facing bottom. It was then turned back right side out and it is all machine finished. The rest of the hem is free and will be hemmed up as per normal, at least I think.


 I also thought I would pass on a tip in today's post as well. The lining to this shirt is a slithery piece of fabric, really slippery. It is very hard to establish grain on this type of fabric. I rip the end and line it up. In this case the grain was spot on but the fabric was so slippery I just couldn't keep it straight.

You can see how I laid my ruler across and weighted it down. Then I pinned next to the ruler all across. I could then cut the piece out and because it was pinned, pull it down for the next pieces to be cut. Each time it  held it all on grain with the ruler and pinned next to it.  Sewing with slithery polies can be challenging and I thought this could help all of us.

I probably won't get to sew till next weekend. What's left are the collar and sleeves. Hopefully that will get done soon..........Happy sewing!......Bunny

Sunday, January 1, 2017

V1526, Paco's plaid shirt #2


I got to work on the plaid shirt today and much was accomplished. Above you can see the pattern match complete for the front bodice. The fourth attempt was the charm! This had a fold over facing along the center front and it made it doubly tough to get the plaids matched.

Just in case someone wants to match a plaid across a foldover facing here is what finally worked.

Plaid matching on 1526 

Cut ONLY the right bodice. In the facing area there are two fold lines and a raw edge. Center front is marked as always. That is critical. You are matching one center front exactly over the other center front on the right and left bodices, NOT the folded edge.You have only cut out the right bodice so far!

*  On the right bodice fold the facing  area out of the way and under the bodice. Your crease is on the first fold line near CF. The rest of the facing is behind. Match that folded line to the fabric on the table.  Make sure it matches vertically and horizontally. Measure it along center front edge. My squares were two inches square so I measured the whole square at the edge that was on the right bodice and  lined it up with the fabric on the table.

* Take a removable marker  and mark that folded edge on the "table" fabric with tiny dots. The right bodice is still overlapping the fabric on the table. Place  the pattern piece on top of the right bodice and table fabric,   lining up the CENTER FRONT MARKINGS, not the edge line. Pin down the pattern now on top and outline the shoulders and neckline on the fabric on the table with the little dots. Remove the right bodice.

* Lay your pattern back on the table fabric again, lining up the edge fold closest to CF with the little dots. Cut it out. Make sure when you lay out on the table there is enough room for all the folds of the facing to be cut.  I messed that up twice, lining everything up perfectly and doing it too close to the edge to have enough for the foldover facings.

* Cut! Yay! Whew!

Flat Lining



This garment will be "flat lined", one of my favorite techniques. The vertical seams end up with a Hong Kong finish when complete and a nicely lined garment. I am lining this garment because flannel is notorious for sticking to whatever is under. I want it to hang nice and smoothly.




The first fold of the facing is shown above. The pattern specifies sewing that raw edge "invisibly" to the bodice before doing the other folds required to make the facing.

For flat lining you will need a quarter inch foot and an edge stitching foot. The edge foot really helps but is not totally necessary if you have a good eye.

Every edge of the lining is cut normally except vertical seams. The CF area of the lining is cut to the first folded edge so as not to add bulk to the facing. It sits underneath the folds.

 There are red arrows pointing to the foldover facing underneath. The side seam is cut one half inch wider.


The lining and bodice are place right sides together. The vertical seams, here the side seams, are matched and sewn with the 1/4 inch foot. It is then trimmed to an eighth of an inch. The lining is then pressed toward the lining and folded over the edge and wrapped around the seam allowance. . It is now stitched "in the ditch" with the edge stitching foot. Hong Kong seams, voila!

You can see much more about this technique in the tutorials page by clicking the tab just under the banner.




I've really enjoyed my sewing time this long weekend. Fingers crossed I will finish this tomorrow. I have not cut out my sleeves yet as I know there will be decisions there for the plaid matching. This is a VERY dropped shoulder so it should be interesting. More coming.............Bunny