Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sew Now! Sew Wow! Sewing Machine Bag and Cover

Lately, I've been going to events where I have needed to bring my sewing machine. Having a bag designed specifically for my machine and supplies was necessary. While making this bag for my flickr swap partner, I knew I would be a great option for a sewing machine carrier for myself.

I had the last of my Alexander Henry Sew Now, Sew Wow fabric to use for the main body of the bag.

                          CCT2-28- Sew Now! Sew Wow! Fabric

And denim from my stash for the contrast pocket and lining. 

I wanted to add a little bit of pop so I accented the pocket and the handles with white ric rac trim. 

To keep my sewing tools secure, I added a strip of black elastic along the front portion of the bag to hold them in place as my vehicle moves. The elastic is tacked in place along the same stitching lines as the pocket. 

The interior size of this bag is perfect to hold my machine without giving too much room for it to knock around.

For added structure and protection, I omitted the suggested lightweight interfacing. Instead, I applied fusible fleece to the wrong side exterior fabric. This turned out to be a great buffer to prevent damage to my machine. If you choose to use this pattern for a carrier, my suggestion would be to omit the fusible fleece within your seam allowance. It makes the seams bulky. A regular sewing machine may not be able to handle the denim, upholstery weight fabric, and fusible fleece. Additionally, I used purchased cotton webbing for the handles. They are strong, durable and able to hold the weight of the machine and supplies.

A pinner commented that previous bag would be perfect as a machine cover if flipped upside down. What a brilliant idea for when the machine is not in use.

Happy sewing!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fabric Shopper: Flickr Super Swaps

It's time for another round of  Flickr Super Swaps. This time we got to choose whether we wanted a fabric shopper, a placemat or a seasonal item. I was partnered with someone who wanted a fabric shopper. She likes pastels, linen, and cloud themed fabric. Based on the specifications of the bag she wanted, I looked through my pattern stash decided to make Butterick 5380.
                         B5380, Tote

I really wanted to buy cloud themed fabric to go with my partners signature style. I had a sinus infection that knocked me on my rump and had no energy to shop for fabric (Shut Yo Mouth!). When I got well, I decided to shop my stash. I bought this fabric at the now closed Glick Textiles in Houston. They had $15 sealed cardboard boxes of fabric. You would buy all it sight unseen and have no clue what you were getting. It was such a thrill!

The pattern came together really fast without a hitch it is great for beginners. The only made two changes to the pattern. I omitted buttons the bias tape along the top of the pocket. Instead, I stitched the lining to the exterior pocket right sides together and flipped it. Here is the completed bag and a few added goodies.
Butterick 5380

The pockets go all the way around!

I love the interior capacity. I think I will make one as a sewing machine carrier. 

A few added goodies

I'm a strange person. I contract with myself and set private, sometimes trivial goals. Even when I wish I can break the contract with myself, I don't. My swap package arrived from my partner before I completed the bag I was giving. I refused to open it until I had completed the bag. It was really hard because I was anxious to see what I got. It was the motivation I needed to get it done. I held myself to my standard and was happily rewarded. Here are the goodies I received in the swap.

Happy Sewing,

Friday, February 13, 2015

Fabric Gamble or Goldmine

Blah! I am sick. I have a sinus infection/ cold /flu thing. I am coughing, sneezing, achy all over. It hurts to do just about anything. My hubby is an awesome caregiver and I have been resting up in bed. If you know me, I am chomping at the bit to get to my happy place.

I have been asked to teach a few friends to make t-shirt quilts. Before the class, I plan to have a few variations made up for them to choose from. I have had about one hour each day to do a tiny bit of work. Here is the top of a 12x12 twin quilt/ duvet cover I am working on for my daughter.  I plan to add a border along  the edges and may tie this one off. I will have better pictures with the final.

I have a client with a 60th birthday  in June. She has asked me to make this McCalls 7047 dress for her. She is a sassy grandma and has the figure to pull this off. I will be making this in a red sequin knit.

M7047, Misses' Dresses

Ga-Ga Red/Red | Solid Stone Fabrics $11.95

Before getting sick, I made the muslin for this one and I am so glad I did. I do not usually make them for myself, but it is a must when sewing for others. The dress  comes together easily, and the fit is great on her. I cannot wait to be better to get this made.

In addition to this dress, I will be making others for her family members. Her grand-daughter wants a dress with embroidered mesh lace like that seen here:
Image 2 of Chi Chi London Premium Embroidered Lace Prom Dress with Bardot Neck

This dress is lovely, but this lace is hard to find. I have searched and searched, but to no avail. I am still looking, but it is looking slim. I asked for help on a Pattern Review forum and was directed to Aliexpress. It feels like an international I had seen items for sale on the site, but I never purchased because the prices seemed to good to be true. Based on the PR recommendation, and downtime in my bed, I decided to check it out.

I did not find the lace I was looking for, but I did find a world of African Dutch Wax fabric. There are so many wonderful prints and colors; I searched for hours. I know China is the hub of manufacturing, but it is also a hub of knock-offs. Are African Dutch Wax fabrics made in China? When the selvedge says "Super Wax" or "Vlisco" am I getting the real deal? I do not know, but for $30 for 6 yards with free shipping, I figure this potential goldmine is worth the the gamble.

 I ordered this                  cotton fabrics textile 6 yards $30.00
and this one
                        fabric for sewing 6yards african wax prints fabric patchwork fabric african lace fabric
Aren't they lovely? This is order is the epitome of delayed gratification. The listing says it takes 35 days to process and 5-15 days to ship. The shipping on my order says it will be here in 54 days. Lucky for me, I am not in a rush for it. If it turns out to be the real deal, it will be worth the wait.

Okay, I am spent. Time to go back to bed.

Happy Sewing,

Sunday, February 1, 2015

African Print Coat with Leather Sleeves

I have mentioned before my love of African Wax fabric and designers who use them. I have pinned a million and one garments that inspire me. Pattern Review was hosting a  Bargainista Fashionista Contest  this month. I entered it at the start of the month with the plan to make something truly spectacular based on designs of the items I pinned. My lofty plans deflated a bit as I got super busy, but I was still determined to complete an entry.

Based on fabric and patterns in my stash, I used a Stella Jean coat as my inspiration for my project.

Back on BIRA
I used Simplicity 2311 as my base because it is a misses coat in two lengths with sleeve, collar, and belt variations. The basic silhouette is the same and the pattern has a large collar.
                                           Simplicity Misses' & Miss Petite Coats 2311

For fabric, I used an African wax fabric from Ghana. I was given it as a gift by a friend I taught to sew. I have had the fabric for years, but never used it. The design looked naughty to me (look again, do you will see it?). My hubby says it is in my head and that he does not see what I see, so I decided to finally use the fabric. For the lining, I used a polyester fabric from my stash.  After laying out my fabric, it was 1/8 a yard short for the sleeves. I recalled seeing a Burberry coat with contrast leather sleeves and decided to go that way. I chose to sew the sleeves with repurposed leather.

I did not like the instructions in this pattern. The jumped around so much, I felt I needed to put all of my energy into understanding it. I like background noise when I sew. Sometimes it is an audiobook, or  television show or a movie. I had to stop watching The Shawshank Redemption, a movie I know by heart, to not miss an instruction. It was very frustrating. I have never had issues with Simplicity PR patterns and assumed these would work like others in the past. These were the worst; I hate them like broccoli. The pattern was not completely bad. The lining instructions were better than others I have seen. 

I would sew this type of coat again, but not with this pattern. I am sure there are easier to read patterns out there. 

The Stella Jean coat cost $1190 

My coat 
$45 estimate for the African fabric from Ghana
$10 for lining
$1 for the pattern
$.25 for leather from repurposed jacket
An estimated cost of $56.25

Amount saved $1133.75 saving 95.27%

Conclusion: I am so in love with Stella Jean Designs. Her use of large scale vibrant African fabrics is drool worthy and completely out of my budget. I am happy to find a use for my gifted fabric. This pattern was a pain, but all in all, I am pleased with my result. I have a large collar, large scale African print coat that does not break the bank. The leather sleeves are interesting and a departure from the inspiration, but I am glad I went that way.

Happy Sewing,

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Out With The Old in With The New Denim Jeans Refashion.

I am a keeper. I keep things that should be thrown out because the minute I do, I discover I need it. I was recently clearing out my closet and came across a few pair of jeans for the donate pile.

Before giving them away, I remembered that I wanted to make a pieced jacket using Vogue 8483.

This jacket has a lovely angled neckline, interesting seam lines, and offset buttons. I like those elements and was drawn to this pattern because of those features. I rarely make muslins, I know, I know. I am a bit lazy in that regard, but I also use my custom dress form to check fit during construction. For this unusual style garment, I thought a muslin was a good idea.

First, I cut the middle seam open.

Then, after ironing :) I cut the pattern pieces out using Tetris like placement.

Here is the completed jacket and review of the pattern.
Worn with my African  Inspired Maxi Skirt.

Pattern Description: Unlined, above hip or above knee length jacket has front extending to collar, princess seams, raglan sleeves in two lengths and asymmetrical closing with buttons and purchased cord for loops, stitched hems and topstitch trim. I made the short sleeve version.

Pattern Sizing: B5(8-10-12-14-16), GG(18-20-22-24) I made size 10, no adjustments. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, the shape is the same, but my "fabric" added additional seam lines.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very easy.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the different lines on the sleeve and the collar. I like the asymmetry of the front and button placement. I like that you can wear it buttoned up 

for one look and 

open for another.
I thought the collar would be more dramatic than it is. I have a thing for dramatic collars if you remember my Dress shirt refashion.

Fabric Used: Denim jeans repurposed for this jacket.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I used a contrast menswear fabric for the facing. I did not want to make loops, so I repurposed an elastic hair tie cut in three lengths. It is a densely covered elastic that is strong enough to be secured over my large button.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I made this as a muslin with the plan to remake it.  I did not think I would make it again. I prefer a tapered waist that gives more shape. It may be the weight of the denim, but I think it is boxy at the hip and I do not love that. Additionally, the curve of the sleeve is a bit raised and I do not like that. I think my denim is responsible for my drape issues. 

I thought I was done with it, but then I posted it on Pattern Review and got a renewed perspective on it. The lovely folks on PR were so kind on that review. I worn it to church today and a fan of it bought it right off my back! I guess I will have to make another. Hubby just gave me a pair of black jeans he is done with, so I am set for fabric :)

Conclusion: I thought this was a nice pattern and good test for repurposing jeans. I am pleased with this version. It is a nice twist on a jean jacket and I am sure to get much use from the other one I have to make for myself.