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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lunch Bag

As I said in my last post - I'm back to work next week after a year of maternity leave. So... I am squeezing in my last sewing projects before life takes over and I don't have as much time. Today I followed this tutorial over at Pink Penguin to make myself a new lunch bag.
I wanted something big enough to fit my pyrex dishes (I'm trying to get plastic away from my food as much as possible. Besides the obvious possibility of chemical leaching I find that the food just tastes better) but that was soft and would fold up when not full of food. I made a zipper pocket in the front big enough for my silverware. I knew I wanted something insulated as well and I thought I would have to go out and buy a cheap soft cooler to cut up but many of the tutorials recommended using regular old batting. I didn't have any so I added a layer of polar fleece between the outside layer and lining. Time will tell if this is enough to do anything. Another thing I liked about this pattern was the gathered cover for the inside. This means that when I have lots of lunch (or lunch and dinner for the long meeting days) my food can spill out without actually spilling out.
The tutorial was easy to follow and the finished product looks really professional. I realized after picking out the fabric that I had already used this fabric to make some reusable snack bags (did you know you can just throw these in the dishwasher?) so now I have a whole set.

I love sewing bags (so satisfying and fast as they are usually just a series of rectangles) and this was a good excuse to exercise my habit. I may not be ready to go back to work but I will be ready for lunch time!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pillowcases and biastape

I decided a couple of weeks ago that I would get a craft table at the local music festival, not with any hopes of making money selling craft, but to promote my classes at Sew For My Baby. So I need a product. I made a nice list of simple kids clothing items that could be easily mass produced with recycled material and went to work. After a couple of afternoons I had two hats and several pillowcase dresses.
The problem was that halfway through my fourth pillowcase dress I remembered how much I hate production sewing. That is one reason I liked sewing for the theater so much, we almost never made the same thing twice. What was I to do??? Well. Only two days after this - I got a call from my principal telling me that my job was coming up and if I wanted it back, sooner than planned. Eight weeks of work and then off for 9 for the summer and we decided it was a good idea. So - no more production sewing. I am hoping to continue to teach classes however - but now without the pressure of having to promote them too much.

One great thing that came out of this process is that I finally got motivated to try out this tutorial and made some bias tape. I'm in love. I will never buy bias tape again. It's actually really fast to make, with most of the time invested in drawing lines and cutting which can be done in front of the TV.

 The bad thing... now I have a stash of recycle cloth that I bought to make kids clothing that currently doesn't have a purpose.. and I was so proud of myself that I knew where it was all going. That's OK - most of it fit into my cloth storage bins - and my kids will just have to benefit from hand made clothing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Thrifted Fabric

The Salvation Army was having a sale on linens - so I went looking for fabric. Pickings were good and this is what I came home with.
With 25% discount and one 'get one free' certificate that I have been holding on to forever the grand total (including the blue check in the background) came to 35.00. Not bad for that much fabric. What I am most proud of is that I have a plan for all of it, so hopefully it won't just sit around too long. One of the advantages/disadvantages of having your sewing room be a closet is that you have to be pretty judicious about what you keep around.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sewing for Boys

I got a copy of Sewing for Boys in mail last week and it her hasn't left my side board yet. I love to look at the pictures. This book has been burning up the sewing blogs and I was curious. As a Pattern Drafter (capitols because this was once my profession :) I usually make my own patterns - but why invent the wheel right? (Plus it was on sale). I'm anxious to make lots of the projects but the first one 'out of the gate' was the "gone fishing" hat. Here it is, made out of a pair of jeans that conveniently just ripped out the bum.

I couldn't convince Diego to wear it for too long but there isn't much sun yet. I think it is cute! The pattern was easy to follow and you can see that the authors have gone out of their way to make all the projects stylish but as simple as possible. I love the seams on the outside! I haven't washed it yet - I am imagining that the jean will fray some. Next up - a reversible spring jacket for Lucia.

This post is linked to:

Saturday, April 14, 2012

"Spot of Color" tank top

I started with two old, stained t-shirts.
 I tried one on and marked where I wanted the new arm and neck holes. Then cut the two the same.
I opened the shoulders and, with right sides together, sewed the 'facing' to the outside around arm holes, and neck. Leaving about 3/8 of an inch at the top unsewn. (We are sewing the shoulder at the end so that they can be turned inside out. You do not sew the bottoms at this time either. 
Once everything is turned back right side out you can sew the shoulders - only the outside layer. The inside facing is slip-stitched. 
The bottom of the tank can be sewn separately (this will fall most naturally) or folded over the top-stitiched. I wanted the look of a full lining so I sewed the two layers to each other. This requires some fancy folding that is hard to explain - and there will be a small opening that will have to be slip stitched at the end. Before you sew you will end up with something like this: 
The idea for the cut-outs I got from another blog post a long time ago and I went back to see if I could find it. If anyone has seen a similar tutorial please let me know and I will link. The process: I drew myself some guidelines and sewed through both layers. 
I then cut through the top layer and added some more 'top' stitches - alternating opening and closing my new 'windows'. 
Here is the finished product. I think I may sew up the shoulders. I was going for a low arm-hole on purpose but after trying it on - it just looks like poor cutting. I do like the layered look - and it definitely does not look like two stained t-shirts anymore.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Summer Skirt

I made a summer skirt yesterday. What I would really have liked was one of these:
see "Maybe Matilda's" tutorial here

but I am still nursing so that means skirts. I need easy access to "the business". I wanted something with pockets - and I made the pockets a little bit taller than the skirt so they would stick out a bit. I wanted some fun extra details and so the button. And I didn't want to have to worry about closers - so elastic at the back. I have to admit - this one looks better on the Judy than it does on me. I'm not sure exactly what I don't like about it. I think it might be a little bit too long. Any thoughts?

I made it fuller at the back more out of necessity - when I got the back cut there wasn't enough fabric to have it as full at the back. I have this pattern on some 8x10 paper which would easy scan if anyone wants it (comment here and I'll add it).

It was quick and I'm wearing it today. Maybe it will 'grow' on me. I am also loving my new pinking shears which eliminates the need to pull out the serger. I find I also like the way the seams sit better when they are pinked. This project was posted on:

Friday, April 6, 2012

"Pirate shirt" refashion

This project was not really meant to be a pirate shirt. I was going more for the 'white dress' look like this one:
It was my husband who said I looked like a pirate. He assured me it was a sexy pirate so the project was not a total failure and I did wear it one full day without taking it off. I'm never sure a project has really worked until I've worn it a full day. This shirt started out in a thrift store in the morning and that same day was transformed. I must be on a role!

Here is the shirt in it's original form:

Thinks I liked: it had a nice cool fabric (I looked for fabric content and couldn't find it. I later did and it is about 45% polyester. I would have preferred all cotton but things turned out OK anyway).  The shirt was long but the collar was not ridiculously too big. So - I picked out the shoulders and cuffs. I drew on some lines for pin-tucks (hand basted them) and then put it back on the judy to check the shoulder lengths.

 Looked good so I sewed down the pin-tucks and ironed. Then sewed the shoulder back on. I lowered the cuffs a little bit to fit into the wrist slits that already existed. This simplified re-applying the cuffs. All in all the project only took about 2 hours - much of which was picking out and pinning which could happen in front of the TV (I'm working my way through Life Unexpected on Netflix).

Here is the finished product. I originally wore it tucked in and by the end of the day it was out and belted on the outside. Works pretty well both ways.

Another time I will be more careful to get a shirt that is 100% cotton because I think it will hang better.