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Monday, June 8, 2015

Toile Multipocket Tote

I had this cotton/linen fabric set aside to make a dress with, but it sat there nervously, saying to me, "Would you really wear this?!" I was in love with the fabric, though. It's been in my stash for oh maybe 4 years, but I never thought of it as a bag until now. Problem solved. So much more appropriate as a bag, don't you think?

These 3/4" wide leather straps I ordered from Texas were too thick to put through my sewing machine. Actually the machine did fine, but the leather was so tight that the topstitch thread kept breaking. So I used leather glue, weighted down and dried over-night, then jean rivets to fasten the straps.

Actually I had tried making bags before but wasn't happy with them because they always seemed too floppy. Be that as it may, the stiffener called Pro-Woven Super-Crisp from Fashion Sewing Supply that I've been using for this and the previous RedHot Mama Multipocket Tote, makes it all worthwhile! 

 Bag Pattern: Red-Hot Mama Multipocket Tote by HotPatterns

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Red-Hot Mama Tote Bag

The supply list for this project is probably the most daunting aspect of HotPatterns Red-Hot Mama Tote Bag.  In addition to the usual places I order sewing supplies from, I ordered from two new-to-me vendors who have Etsy shops, and was very happy with the timeliness of their shipping. Although it took a couple of weeks for me to collect the fabric and notions, it became sort of a fun scavenger hunt ending in having in my eager hands all the goodies needed to make this wonderful bag.

The end result is better than I ever imagined! I love the colors in this bag, but I think I would have also loved it in a solid.

The leather straps were shipped to me from Thailand! They have a beautiful hand and a definite real leather scent.

Not sure how well this cotton lining will wear, but I like the nice clean look for now anyway. The lining and the pockets (and the clever shape) are what keeps the bag from looking like it was made in Africa.

I'm sure I've got to make more of these.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Workaday Pants

My son needed a pair of pants that could go from work to play and be comfortable (don't we all!). I bought the HotPatterns Mr. H.P. Workaday Pants some time ago because it seemed like a good basic pattern to own. And finally, son came home long enough for me to fit a muslin over a couple of days, and finish the pants in about 2 days. I ended up tracing the back pattern piece from the suit pants I had made him which I knew fit well, and they turned out to be pretty close to Workaday pattern except for the wider legs, and the extra seam allowance in CB seam which is traditional in men's pants. My son does not like skinny leg pants, and at his job he mostly sits at a computer. I think it's possible the pattern envelope drawing shows the pant legs to be wider than the actual pattern is. (At least that was my experience with the muslin.)
I intended these to be quite casual, but the pattern design makes them VERY versatile! In the cotton twill with subtle slubs fabric from FabricMart that I used, I think the pants turned out very classy! Check out the back flap pockets--slick! Love the shape of the flaps. And the front welt pocket. Topstitched is more casual, but I left it un-topstitched because it already looked great. Lefty son gets his little welt pocket on the left side.

Instructions suggested taping raw edges and seams on the inside, so I grumbled and did it. But I am quite happy with the result!
I got lost following the fly instructions, so I just did it similar to what I do with jeans, but inserting the pocket edges under the fly pieces as I went, which gives a really nice finish and probably helps keep the angled pockets from gaping open.

Instructions say to stitch the belt loops on, and then later, to topstitch the waist area. I had to topstitch around the belt loops! So, if you make these pants, please leave the bottoms of the belt loops for last. 

Love, love, love these pants!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Velvet Moto

Making muslins for fitting is not something I like to do. So whenever I can, I try to make sure that something can be done with the muslin. However, when the pattern is asymmetrical or a bit confusing, it is really necessary to bite the bullet and just do it. 
When I started making my Moto Jacket, I made muslins in two sizes, wadded them up and threw them in a corner. Turns out, of course, my Marie admired my finished jacket and expressed a desire to have me make her one too. I pulled the size 8 out and tried it on her. Except for a few inches pinned out of the chest, it fit perfectly! There's double-duty out of one muslin.
So I ransacked my stash(es), trying to think of what fabric would a pre-teen find not boring. And re-read the fabric possibilities on the pattern envelope. "Velvet", it said. Really?
Well, this was the velvet that I had, purchased to make a long skirt for Christmas, but didn't have time to. It is a panné velvet, I believe out of some kind of synthetic.

No problem, I thought. But oh my, I forgot velvet can't be pressed well. Luckily this is a kind of already distressed velvet. I agonized in my dreams about whether to fuse or not to fuse this fabric. I decided to use hair canvas in the fronts as well as the yoke to add body to the jacket. The velvet seemed a bit soft for a jacket. And lining it would help. Then I decided to go ahead and fuse interfacing to the front facings, using a towel facing the velvet side.

Hair canvas pinned to fronts and yoke
 Here are some photos showing the steps to making the zipper pocket.
The zipper pocket

inside view, with interfacing behind the zipper pocket window
clipping the zipper pocket window

pressing the zipper pocket window

pinning the zipper into the window

zipper topstitched into the window

Adding pocket bag

Layers to stitch together

Sewing around the pocket bag

The pocket bag finished, inside view

Zipper edge should be enclosed

This is how I mark the top of the sleeve cap with chalk. Easier than seeing a notch which gets lost when you gather ease.
I cut the sleeves on the straight grain, rather than on the bias which the pattern says to do, because of the obvious "stripes" on the velvet.  I am happy to see that they turned out well.

And now I'm the one who wishes she could borrow THIS jacket!!

Lining out of hammered satin feels very nice!

Blouse-back T

This is my first Blouse-back T by HotPatterns, a wearable muslin in rayon and rayon-lycra fabrics. I used a size 8, though my measurements are size 10, because I have narrow shoulders and this pattern doesn't have a close fit in the waist or hips. I compared the front pattern piece to my blouse sloper, and found that I should take some area out of the middle. (I usually do a small-bust-adjustment.) So I took 5/8" out of the middle of the front piece before I cut the fabric (which is 2x that).
 The neckline looks much higher than the pattern illustration. That is probably due to 2 things: I cut a smaller size than my measurements/my hack alteration, and the back is pulling up the front. No problem--I like the neckline where it is for this shirt, but will probably cut it 1.5 inches lower on the next version.
It looks like the side seam is also pulling to the front here. That is because the weight of the back is pulling down.  The rayon with lycra is a heavier fabric, but the front is cut out of a double layer because of the transparency of the black rayon. That could also be why that back looks very long in the next photo. I am not concerned about the side seam, as I like the effect of part of the back fabric being visible from the front.

I also doubled the yoke piece, in order to give better support to the gathers, and to enclose the gathers on the inside.

I'll be shortening the back hem by about 4 inches next time. 

Things I love about this pattern:
It is very, very comfortable.
The sleeves are nicely drafted.
The versatility of color contrast.
It is on-trend but easy and flattering.
If I gain 10 pounds I can still wear this shirt.

Expect more of these to come!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Denim Moto Jacket

I think I am developing an obsession with this HotPatterns Denim Diva Biker Babe jacket. First I made a wool tweed version and now, here is my denim version. I love that there is a yoke and a full collar on this jacket, and that it can be zipped all the way up if you needed to keep the wind from getting at your neck. I've altered my pattern so that I have a very nice comfortable fit. This jacket goes with everything from shorts to dresses. It can be either casual or a bit dressy.

Inside out, front
This version is not lined, but bound with contrast binding. A tutorial for how to apply the binding (this is where I got my inspiration for doing it to this jacket) is here given by HotPatterns, although it is a different jacket. Since I planned to topstitch most of my seams, I applied the binding to both edges of the seam allowances together. That means only half the work of binding for the seams. I used purchased seam binding because I found out it is very inexpensive through WAWAK. They call it bias tape hem facing, and I used 7/8".

Inside out, back

For the pockets, I made a window to topstitch the zipper into, then sewed a patch to the inside of the jacket behind the zipper.

Inside view of the pocket
Actually the right side of the above photo is "up".

I suppose I could have shaved more area off the top of the sleeve in order to make it ease in better. You are perhaps wondering if the tucks are supposed to be gathers. I eased it in the best I could but decided to leave the fullness in this way. I am not sure if it has to do with the bias cut. 

I extended the width of the hem bands by 5/8" from what the pattern was.

When sewing the points of the collars, I took 2 stitches diagonally before turning the corner.

Musical Sewing Room

Sewing is power!