Thursday, August 29, 2013

Slow start to the Jedediah

With a new teaching quarter to prepare for, I have slowed down a bit, but despite the inactivity on my blog, I actually have been sewing!  Some of my work has been boring (wet bags) or housekeeping (hemming), but I do have an big project as well: the new Jedediah pants pattern (Thread Theory) has been on my work table for a few weeks now.
Had to move to the dining room floor for this operation!
This time around, printing the file at the print shop was a serious cost ($19!) because the file was a few inches too wide to print on a single 36" wide sheet.   So as not to destroy my expensive paper pattern, I copied it onto Swedish tracing paper and then made up a muslin.  All that takes time, and isn't very exciting, I'm afraid.
Muslin version of Jedediah pants
The muslin version looks like hospital pants (if hospital pants had an actual waistband and fly), but they did their job and now I have a better idea of how to improve the pattern to fit my guy.  Some changes to make:
  • decrease the waist (maybe by creating a two-part, slightly contoured band instead of a single, straight one) 
  • increase the hip area a bit
  • increase the width of the legs   
  • adjust the slash pockets so they lay more flatly against the body
My husband and I have been laughing at the "easy-access" ring tab zipper and really exciting fly shield that I worked into this muslin.  I'm *so* tempted to use that fabric for the fly on the the final one sees that, right? :)
Fancy fly shield and zipper pull
For the real deal, I purchased some amazing fabric from Hart's a few weeks back.  It's charcoal gray cotton/ hemp blend in a ripstop weave.   I'm excited to see the final product!
Top: organic voile (pocketing) Bottom: organic cotton/hemp ripstop
With the fit issues I've encountered, I find my feet dragging a bit, but I'm trying to persevere!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Coastal Cargos and Recess Raglan, done!

I'll preface this post by saying that these may be the last two garments I sew for this particular child of mine. Granted, it's the end of a 10 week summer break, but the amount of grief I was given when asking said child to try on the clothes I had painstakingly made for him has convinced me to stick to selfish sewing for a while!  That face above?  That disdain is for real.  
On to the garments!  I am super pleased with how these Coastal Cargos turned out!  Style-wise, sewing for an 8 year old is tricky; you definitely don't want their stuff to scream "my mom makes my clothes!", so essentially I was aiming to make something you could buy at the store.  My son and I picked out the fabric together (Joann's), with some negotiation, of course.  We weren't going for the 'military fatigues' look, but there was a serious lack of better options at the store and he wouldn't even consider the rust colored version I had in mind.  
My son is super skinny, so I used size 6 for this pattern.  Most patterns have excess ease (and my French seams probably used more seam than they were allowed), so these pants fit him well right at this very moment, with little room to grow, unfortunately.  But hey, at least I have a younger son!

Melissa's directions were great and I loved all the details in the pants (Three different types of pockets, button tab for rolling up the pants, zip fly, belt loops...these pants have it all!)
In lieu of bias tape on the leg seams, I went with French seams, that I sewed down (topstitched).  Flat-felled seams were my original plan, but the FS seemed like it would be easier, and less finger-burn inducing.
Inside topstitched French seam, with button tab
Other edges were serger-finished
It's unlikely that my son will actually use this feature, but the pants roll up and are secured with a button tab!  It'd be great for wading in the this weekend while I'm fabric shopping at Hart's....
At the last minute, I wanted to make a t-shirt to go with his new pants, so I downloaded the Recess Raglan Shirt, by See Kate Sew.  It's a great little pattern, and between my two boys will be useful for years, but the size 6 was pretty big all around for my guy.  Next time I'll size down and probably make the sleeves a little slimmer.  I started off with the elbow length, but they just looked comically large on my skinny guy, so I cut them back to short sleeves.
This morning, we carved potato stamps to look like animal prints and he used them to decorated his new top.  The boy loves his animals!
Pretty adventuresome looking outfit there!  He just needs his Adventure Bag and he's ready to go...back to school :)

P.S. The Coastal Cargos Sewalong is going on right now--you still have time to join in!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Coastal Cargo Sewalong (and some others)

There are a bunch of seriously exciting sewalongs going on right now.  Most started yesterday, but it's not too late to get on board!

Having received an early-warning notice from Melly Sews, I purchased the fabric for a Blank Slate sewalong:  Coastal Cargos (affiliate link).  The timing of this sewalong is perfect since school starts for my big boy next Monday.  The kids occupied themselves for a while and let me sew yesterday, so I managed to finish the welt pockets, slash pockets, zip fly, side seams and cargo pockets (so many pockets--a garment after my own heart!)  Here are some work-in-progress photos:
One of the welt pockets
Zip fly
Cargo pocket with button tab for rolling up the pants
After another productive sewing day today, I only have the hem and buttonhole left, and if I hadn't run out of thread, they'd be done!  

In other sewing news....
Thanks to Katie at Creative Counselor, I found Thread Theory Designs!  Menswear patterns that are hip and stylish!  Their Jedediah Shorts (or pants) Sewalong begins on the 15th (this Thursday!).  I snapped that pattern up the moment I saw it and I'd love to join in with that sewing event, but I'll need to convince the family that we should go to Santa Cruz so I can visit Hart's Fabric.  Since it's near the beach, it might not be such a hard sell!

If kids and mens wear aren't that exciting for you, Sewaholic is hosting a Saltspring Sewalong (starting yesterday).  I've been dying to try out one of Tasia's patterns, and this is a super cute dress, but GAH! I really must shift into sewing work-appropriate clothing for myself.

And then there are the 8 bagillion other patterns and ideas I have in mind, all competing for my attention:

  • fabric arrived in the mail for the Bombshell bathing suit (not most seasonally appropriate, but...)
  • Nani Iro fabric with a dress in mind (pattern drafting in the works)...
  • This pattern, with no fabric in hand....
  • And many others....
I need help--how do you keep track of and prioritize all the projects you have in mind?  

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Geranium Dress 2: Variation and mini-tutorial

Front view
And now for something completely different!  I was in a pretty serious coral and pink rut (what I'm referring to as my Summer Collection :), so it was pretty fun playing with new colors.  With a second baby girl gift in mind, I searched through my stash to find something not-too frilly and found a long-forgotten piece of Moda cotton (Wee Woodland).  I'm a huge fan of yellow (my son reminds me daily that it's my favorite color), so this sunny yellow was the perfect match for the skirt.
Back view
Again, I used Rae's Geranium Dress pattern, with a small variation.  The bodice was expanded a bit, rickrack was placed in folds of fabric and sewn down.  Since I worked out the measurements (for 1/2" rickrack trim), I thought I would share in case anyone else wanted to try out this easy embellishment.  The directions are in the photo captions, so you can play along :)
1.  To start, add an additional 3/8" to the "fold" edge of the pattern piece.  This is the new fold line.
2.  Draw two new lines on the pattern:  the first 1/4" from the original fold line and the second, 5/8" from that line.  
3.  On the right side, mark the location of the new lines on your fabric at the top and bottom, within the seam allowance.  Flip the pattern, recenter and repeat for the left side of the bodice.
4.  Using the markings closest to the center front, press a crease.  Only the right side of the bodice is shown,  but repeat for the left side.
5.  Bring the newly creased edge to match up with the second set of markings.  The ruler is illustrating that the created pleat is 1/4" deep--don't iron on your ruler!
6.  Place rickrack into the crease, pin and topstitch along the edge of the crease.
 Repeat for the other side.
Then, continue with the rest of the pattern as directed!
After the SOSM, I feel compelled to show the inside seams of the dress--the shirt and bloomers were done in French seams.
Inside bodice
French seam and 3/8" double hem.
Bloomers were from Simple Sewing for Baby, by Lotta Jansdotter.
Bloomers: outside view
Bloomers: French seams inside
Now, I just need to find time to meet baby Yael.  Tonight, pattern making for a dress for me!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

SOSM: Thanks!

Skirt Drafting
Roller Skate Dress
It's a Cinch Tote
I can't lie, I'm pretty disappointed to have been eliminated from the Super Online Sewing Match in this round!   But at the end of the day, I feel so very proud of the work I put forth for this competition.  I stayed true to my aesthetic and ripped out every seam I wasn't happy with, so I know I did the absolute best work I could.  I feel incredibly fortunate to have even been chosen to participate, so I'll certainly be following the rest of the Match and wish the remaining sewists the best of luck!

Without the demands of the SOSM, I can return to my regularly scheduled sewing program!  There are baby gifts to finish up and maybe I can finally make the apron my sister has been requesting for months.  Unfortunately, I have this dress design in mind that's pushing its way to the front of the line, so she might have to wait a wee bit longer... :) 

Thank you to everyone that has followed along, and especially those that have commented with such kind and encouraging words!

Monday, August 05, 2013

Zakka Wallet Organizer

I'd mark off my students' work if they didn't cite a reference, so many apologies to everyone (especially Masko Jefferson and Rashida Coleman-Hale!) for neglecting to include the pattern source for the wallet I posted with my "It's a Cinch" bag.   The pattern is from the book, Zakka Style, which I borrowed from my library (and renewed several times :)
Since making the wallet, I've discovered an errata page that accompanies this pattern, but I had to work it out the hard this is what I did: For the undivided pockets on the left (in the above image), I cut three pieces of fabric in the following sizes: coral; 5 3/4" x 8", pink; 4 3/4" x 8" and patterned; 3 3/4" x 8 inches.  All pockets were hemmed 3/4" (as directed in the book, which was apparently changed in the errata).  For the pocket placement (for both sides), I sewed them 1" from the center, not 3/4" as directed in the text, and 3/4" from the previous pocket.
The directions were a little vague for the step of binding the edges at the point by the zipper (with the pull tab).  But after a while of fiddling, I realized that if you fold the zipper end toward the inside of the wallet, the binding can continue, uninterrupted around the edge (see photo, above):
Finally, when I do it again (and I will--seriously, these are relatively quick to whip-up!), I plan to sew along the upper edge of the zipper pocket (see photo, above), straight through the lining, before attaching it to the "inside" of the wallet (this will make sense when you sew it for yourself).   This would make one smaller pocket (where my phone is), instead of a giant pocket, which goes around to the backside of the wallet.  No one wants to hunt that much for wandering coins!
This organizer wallet is really pretty awesome: fits everything I need, but without so many card slots that I become a pack-rat!  I have a notebook in there, but it would easily fit a small date book or passport when traveling.  And it looks pretty sleek and stylish, too.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

SOSM: Challenge #3, It's a Cinch Bag

When we were given this project, I was a bit worried: I'm not a seasoned bag maker, having only made a few over the years as a pattern tester for Samantha.  But I actually needed a stylish computer-carrier for work, so I was up for the challenge of making the "It's a Cinch Bag", by Lisa Lam at U-Handbags.

A huge part of the task was just figuring out what fabric and style I wanted.  For a bag to be truly useful for me, it had to be fairly neutral and without a design on the fabric (despite how much I was drawn to them in the store.  My plan for a simple bag was almost undone with this one.)  In the end, I used a light gray cotton canvas duck (Joann's) for the main body, darker gray canvas (Hart's Fabric, leftover from my skirt) for the straps and a lovely organic quilting cotton for the lining.  The accent pieces and pocket linings were coordinating quilting cotton solids and the hardware is from Clover, both purchased here.
With a simple gray background, a pop of color was definitely needed, so I created a honeycomb-like fabric texture for the middle section. I sewed alternating strips of equal widths of the pink and coral and then stitched in the ditch to raise the coral strips.  Then, with pinning and stitching, I alternated the strips up and down to create the honeycomb. The panel was basted in place on the main gray fabric, before sewing the pocket zipper and straps.
As it happens, I have a week-long teaching workshop starting tomorrow.  With a specific upcoming purpose for this bag, I knew some features would be important; namely, a place for my laptop and more zippered pockets.  For the padded laptop pocket, I used fusible fleece between layers of lining fabric, quilted it for structure, used some elastic along the top and added a little Velcro closure.  I took this photo before sewing the lining together, to show the construction of the pocket:
Laptop pocket construction
My laptop fits perfectly!
In lieu of an elastic-topped internal pocket, I opted for a zippered version, and added a second external zippered pocket on the back of the bag.  Seriously, you can never have too many pockets.
Internal zippered pocket
Back zippered pocket
Here's a full view of the inside.  With my computer in it's slot and lipstick/tampons/laser pointer in the zipper pocket, there's still plenty of room for papers, lunch and a sweater.  And that lining fabric just makes me happy!
Its cavernous inside!
For the straps, I used this useful product and made my own, since I thought the darker gray canvas straps would give the bag a more refined look.  The inside of the shoulder straps is accented with the lining fabric.  The side cinch straps were lengthened a bit (from 4" to 5.5") so the bag could function with the clasps attached all the time and not squish up my laptop slot.
All cinched up
Top zipper shot.  These YKK zippers are fabulous for bags--super smooth zipping and durable, but not too bulky.
Top zipper
With some extra fabric and a spare zipper, I made a much-needed new wallet/ organizer to match.  It holds everything!
My phone even fits in the zippered coin pouch, which is super handy if I want to carry the wallet without my bag:
 Requisite poses with a human:

A rare outdoor photo!
And my adorable husband.  He's really working it, huh?

This was a great, challenging project and I'm so excited to use my new bag for my workshop this week (and my school year, coming up!).