Friday, February 28, 2020

How many projects can you have going on at once???

Apparently in my sewing room ALOT!

Before I go any further.... I just want to let you all know that I have FIXED the commenting on the blog. Apparently it was sending all the comments to deep black hole in cyberspace. EEK!

I'm not quite sure how I got into this state of so many things happening at once (well, I have a little idea) but it is a bit crazy up in here.

The Sew Chicago ASG Neighborhood group is doing an almost year long challenge for our annual fashion show in October. This year we are doing coats or jackets and my co-leader, Wendy, put together an awesome worksheet which has monthly goals. Every month we have check in goals to share with the group. We have a blog page about the challenge located HERE.  This means that this is a slow sewing project and will overlap with everything else I am doing.
The cover of the challenge worksheet

Samples of my fabric, a double sided cashmere, a silk print for lining and the underlining. Still need to decide on interfacing.

The vintage pattern that I choose. Love it!!

I have chosen to make V1227, an Issey Miyake Coat. So far I have the muslin made and the pattern pieces all cut out. Now I need to cut out the fashion fabrics and interfacing and underling and lining and so on and so forth!

I copied and enlarged the drawing to play with the color blocking options. I'm going with Pink on top and yellow on bottom.

TWO and THREE and more...
I am also getting ready to attend Camp Wardrobe Week given by Camp Workroom Social at Frost Valley YMCA this April. It has been so much fun working with Jennifer and the Camp Workroom Social Staff to get ready. They have been sending weekly updates, inspiration,  printables and so much more! I feel a bit like a little kid dreaming of summer camp and excited to try something new and meet lots of new sewing people!

So far I have 2 projects ready to go. One is all cutout and ready to be sewn, the Sorrento Skirt by Style Arc. The second is a tunic top also by Style Arc, the Daisy Tunic. This one I made a muslin of and made all the necessary adjustments and I also have the fashion fabric cutout and ready to be sewn up.

Left side- muslin sewn from the envelope.
Right side- adjustments made and ready to go.

Left side- muslin sewn from the envelope.
Right side- adjustments made and ready to go.

Tunic pieces cut out of this cool linen I have had in my collection for many years!

I am still deciding on the rest of the projects that I want to work on! I have a pile of fabrics. I'm 90% sure that I will make a muslin of a pair of jeans for fitting. Thinking Cashmerette Ames Jeans or the Ginger Jeans. For these I will take advantage of the fitting help at Camp to tweak. And I also think I will bring some activewear. I really need a new workout bra and top and this could be a fun place to work on that. SO many ideas!!
SO many decisions to make!!

I am working on a new dress to wear to my fabulous sister's art show where she will be giving a gallery talk. No pictures of this yet since the dress is inspired by her art and I want it to be a surprise!
The Show will be held at the Tennessee Valley Art Museum- you can see the page HERE.
All of the family is coming in for the Gallery talk, even my little brother from the Netherlands. :) always a happy time when my siblings and I are all together!

I am playing with some fabric that is part of the ASG Chicago Chapter fabric challenge. I received a yard of this blue satiny fabric. Definitely polyester or polyester blend. I decided to break out my embroidery machine, clear out the dust from it and give it a whirl! I created 4 different designs and randomly used them to create an all over look. It probably took a little over 9 hours of time to embroider the piece. I looked at it as an experiment and I think it came out pretty good so far. I still have to trim all the interfacing away and give it a good press. Or as good a press as you can get on a poly satin! I plan to pair this with a black fabric most likely the deepest black which is a fine corduroy and make a jacket. Still pondering.
9 hours of embroidery time. Luckily for me this is an embroidery only machine so it does not interfere with my regular sewing!

All over embroidered fabric ready to become something cool! I hope....

Plus, believe it or not, there are 2 other projects that are in the sort of formulating idea phase. Those will have to wait for another time!

Happy Sewing!!

In other News....
We welcomed a new member of the family. Meet Arya, a long haired mini-dachshund. The Princess is delighted and so full of love for her new puppy!

Friday, February 14, 2020

Playing with the Cashmerette Tobin Sweater pattern

With the cold winter days I really decided that I needed some additional updated winter wear. The couple of sweaters, sweater dresses and long sleeve tops that I have were really starting to show their age and look a little ratty. With the success of the first Tobin sweater that I made in November, I decided to make a couple more.

I decided to make 3 additional Tobins.

1. A cowl neck high low hem in a light weight scuba knit in a yellow leaf print from Haberman fabrics.

2. A long midi-length dress, color blocked split funnel neck with added color blocking at hem, in seam pockets and hand applique's. This done in a combination of floral printed ponte knit and a plaid double knit. The print is from an Amsterdam market (Blogged about here) and the plaid is from somewhere... where that is, I cant remember. 

3. A shorter color blocked split funnel neck version using a double sided Japanese cotton ‘Sloth’ knit from Miss Matatabi’s fabrics.

 The cowl neck top is done with a lovely light weight crepe texture scuba knit that I purchased at Haberman fabrics in Michigan. It was so lovely to work with! Cut, sewed and even pressed well for a scuba. I have worn this for travel on my work trip this week and the top is very comfortable and not hot or sweaty at all. Plus it has the added benefit of not wrinkling. The cowl on this top has a very nice shape and is a double piece cut and sewed and turned, which I feel gives it a nice weight and drape. The cut of the cowl with an added slightly U shape gives a little more drape to the front without extra bulk. Nicely designed. Also no wardrobe malfunctions when you bend over or reach up with your arms! Yay for good coverage!

I finished all of the Tobins's hems with a narrow coverstitch. I finally feel like I can place the coversticth really close to my intended target! This example is spot on. I still sometimes get a little wobble at start and stop especially when that coincides with a seam. However, all in all I think it looks darn good!!

The dress version was fun to pattern hack! I placed see through pattern paper on my large gridded cutting surface and placed the main back body piece under. I traced this and then extended the center back to the length I wanted. I got this measurement by measuring my CB from nap of neck to floor. Placing the tap measure under my heal and when I got to the nap of my neck I stepped down and fixed the tap measure. I then carefully picked it up at that point and subtracted about 4 inches. This measurement I then transferred from the neck at CB on the pattern paper to the hem. Because I had made this top already I knew that I had plenty of hip room. So to draft the side seam, I used a yard stick to draw a line from the widest portion of the hip to the same length of the CB wile angling out by 1 inch to have a slight a-line. I then decided that I wanted the back hem to match the curve of the high low top and matched that curve using my fashion ruler. Then I did the same procedure on the front. After I had the length and shape correct I then decided where I wanted the color blocking at the hem to be and cut the pattern and added seam allowance on both pieces.  I also drafted in seam pockets. Somehow, I royally screwed up the placement of these!! Oops! I had drafted them too low by several inches. I would have needed monkey arms to use this. This was a little bit of a pain having to unpick the serging and moving them up 2 inches. They are still slightly low but I didn’t have enough to re-cut them and this was as far up as I could move them while still feeling the shape of the side seam matched closed enough.

I really like the color blocking on the dress. However when I had it hanging waiting to be hemmed I kept thinking that it needed something.... SO I kept it hanging while I worked on construction a dress for the Princess and my last Tobin sweater. At some point it dawned on me that it needed something to break up the stark color blocking lines. Both the plaid and the print are softer looking to my eye and the hard line of the color blocking seemed a little jarring to the soft feel of the fabrics. So I payed around with cutting out several of the flower motifs front the small leftover pieces that I had and I placed and pinned them in a couple places. Carefully putting the dress back on I used my mirror to refine the placement of the motifs. I then sewed them on by hand. There are 3 appliqués - one on left front shoulder, one on right upper back  and the last on the lower right side near the hem. I think these add just the right touch to soften the lines and add some lovely interest and fun.

The last top was the ‘Sloth’ top. Oh my this fabric is so soft and comfy and when I wear it I don’t want to take it off! This top is done specifically according to the pattern with just a change in the length. I shortened it 2 inches. To figure out the correct length to shorten, I put it on and lifted my arms and marked the spot where it touched the waist of my jeans. From this point I added a hem allowance and cut off the rest.

To me this top is most like a traditional sweatshirt and I really love it!

I had enough fabric left over to make something else. Since I really don’t need 2 sloth garments I decided to try out a new dress pattern for the Princess. Again, it was quite fun to play with the double sided fabric! She clearly likes her new dress as evidenced by the big smiles!!

Happy Sewing!!

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Raspberry Rucksack Review- A fun backpack!

Last summer, I decided to that I wanted to make a backpack for my granddaughter for Kindergarten. I came across the pattern for the Raspberry Rucksack by Sarah Kristen. I think I saw it on Instagram or on a blog and immediately checked it out. Adorable and perfect for this way out of the realm of my normal projects.
Princess and her new backpack in action!

I purchased the PDF pattern and I also purchased a set of zippers for both sizes of the rucksack. I wasn't sure yet which one I was going to make so I got both. They came pretty quickly and Sarah included a lovely note and she included matching strap hardware. Which I unfortunately did not use n this version because the webbing I used was too thick.
Backpack with the straps fully lengthened and on my dressform

 I took the Princess to Oak Fabrics (while there was still a Brick and Mortar to go to) and she picked out the fabrics. I gave her a choice of fabrics for the canvas outer fabric and she picked this lovely Japanese Nya Nya cat print by Cotton and Steel and for the lining a lovely Art Gallery I scream You Scream cotton print that was sublime to work with! One note, I did make the larger sized bag and the 44" width of fabric was not wide enough for only one of the pieces, the center panel, so for this I just pieced on a length to make it the appropriate size. I had to do this for both the outer canvas and the lining. SO if you have a fabric you love but it is not wide enough, no worries, easily overcome and the pieced seam is on the bottom of the bag!  I ordered the webbing from a shop on Etsy. (of course any webbing that I had in my collection was the wrong size or color or not long enough!)

For this project I used: 1 yard of the canvas, 1 yard of lining, 1 1/2 yards of Pellon 809 interfacing, 2 orange plastic molded zippers. a 5 yard bundle of cotton covered nylon webbing, 2 rectangle rings and 2 slide adjusters in silver metal, 6 inches of 1/2inch elastic ,1 Kylie and the Machine 'You are Loved' label and 1 spool of orange gutterman thread. (I have just enough fabric left over to make a little matching wristlet or coin purse)

And then the project sat in a project box for months and months...

The holidays came and went and I was knee deep in another big project (the velvet jacket for my sister) and I wanted something else to work on. I had no sew-jo for myself, you know I had a serious case of decision paralysis! So I grabbed the project box and without too much thought started on the Raspberry Rucksack.
Cutting out of the pieces was different as you are given dimensions and number of pieces to cut for lining, interfacing and canvas and NOT pattern pieces. Despite my initial thoughts this turned out to be just fine! I used little sticky notes to write the name of each piece and pinned these to the individual pieces which helped to keep things in order. For the interfacing I used Pellon 809 décor bond. It was not exactly what I was looking for but my choices were limited at the JoAnn's by my home, It turned out to be perfect for the look I wanted for this bag. It is fairly crisp and you can see in the photo above how it holds the shape. It seemed to take forever to fuse the interfacing! I am not used to using something so thick and it took much longer than I am used to.
This is the pop-up pocket on the front on the bag. This was the hardest part for me!

With all the pieces cut, pieced  and fused I started the construction. I used my new heavy duty home machine (not nearly heavy duty when compared to an industrial machine!) Janome HD3000BE.
I had a bit of a rocky start with the construction! Totally my error, the directions are clear plus there is a sewalong for this part, I just put the zipper right side up instead of zipper pull down... DOH!!!
As I noted in a past blog post my bestie Wendy helped me out and unpicked it for me. Once I stared again things went together pretty smoothly. Not being a bag maker there were a couple times that I was like how the heck is this all going to work???? I trusted in the process and followed the instructions and it all worked. Now with that said... some of my top stitching lines are not quite the best quality and that is Okay! I felt like I was wrestling a greased piggy under the foot sometimes! I'm just in awe of what the finished product is!! It is very roomy on the inside and with the zipper with double facing pulls it opens up nice and big.
Bag opens up nice and big!

I only made two changes to the design, The first was to add an outer water bottle/umbrella/doll pocket to the outside. I saw several other versions where people added interior pockets but I did not do this on this version for the Princess, She doesn't really have a need for that at this time in her life. For the water bottle pocket I made a pattern piece for an inverted pleat at the bottom to give it depth and at the top I put in elastic and the finished size it the same as the outer center panel. If I make another one I would lower the placement just a bit so the bottom of the pocket would rest at the bottom of the bag.
The addition of the side water bottle pocket
View of the water bottle side pocket.
The second change or more like addition was to make a strap holder. The snap was supposed to be placed so that it wrapped around like a circle enclosing the 2 hand straps together. However, I put the top part of the snap on the wrong way AND of course it was my last anorak snap. so instead it is straight. Maybe when I get some new snaps I will fix it.
Snap tab to hold the handles together. I 'borrowed' this design from a backpack that I own.

The straps are sewn on very carefully and it would take quite a bit for them to separate from the main part of the bag. Everything is very secure and the for this novice bagmaker the directions made it quite easy. The last thing that I did after checking the strap size on her was to spray the entire bag with a fabric protectant. Hopefully this will help prolong the life and keep it looking nicer longer.
The straps are nice and log and easily adjustable. The handles feel good in your hands and I added a little 'you are loved' Kylie and the machine label to the front.

All in all I call this project a resounding success! The Princess agrees and gave me a great big hug and Thank You for her new backpack. :)
She loves it!! And I love her so totally worth all the work!
It really makes me happy that I could make this for her. Maybe I need to make one for myself!

Happy Sewing!!