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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Tapestry Purses/Totes/Bags - Sewing Day with Susan

My buddy Susan, made a number of really beautiful purses and totes from tapestry prints with McCalls M5822. The pattern envelope doesn't show what great creations are possible with this pattern, or else Susan is simply a better designer than whomever created their display pieces.

In this month's Enchanted by Sewing Audio Podcast show, I'm interviewing Susan and we talk about her experiences making these gorgeous purses. You can sign up to get an email when that (and other) monthly episodes are published. I publish the shows shortly before the end of each month.

I like the way Susan altered the print so she uses both directions on this purse!

Oh lucky sisters and sister-in-law who got these purses for Christmas!

In Progress: This is my favorite purse
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Web Resources
 Listen in on my Sewing Life in the Enchanted by Sewing Podcast http://www.enchantedbysewing.blogspot.com

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Downton Abbey Cloche Hat Works Today - Starting to Make My Own (Hats, Millinery)

Do you remember when Lady Sybil wore this cloche? It was in the episode when Branson drove
her to a political meeting she wasn't supposed to attend. So it wasn't a super dressy occasion.
I want to create a head fitting pattern out of multiple 
pie-shaped wedges like this. 
I'd also like it to have a nice rolled brim
that displays some kind of lovely lining.
I'm thinking about trying for something like this in lightweight denim.
Sybil's hat appears to have some kind of ribbon around the crown as well.
I'm enchanted by the cloche hats on Downton Abbey. A lot of them would be very wearable for modern times, especially for folks like me who live in a mild-winter California climate and walk a lot. We need to protect our skin (in addition to our SPF 50!) and keep the sunlight out of our eyes. So far I've mostly created fabric caps for this purpose. I like those, but I'd also like something with a brim that goes around the entire hat, not just a bill in the front. 

I use an inexpensive foam wig stand for
storing this straw hat I produced from the first millinery class I took (Wayne* blocked the straws for us, we trimmed them).
See the tissue sticking out underneath?
I need that because my head is 2 inches bigger than
the crown of the stand. My hat is 3 inches bigger than the
stand (for comfort)
It's important to store hats on something that holds the material of the hat in place,
because otherwise eventually, they will collapse.
The wig stand is only 21" around the crown
The crown of my head is 23" - and that's a very tight fit
When I make a hat, it's 24 or 24 1/2 inches, for a comfortable fit.
I want to create a pattern for a cloche hat.
This one measures about 24" around, after I strapped a number of layers of duct tape tightly over my head.
My cloche will have some kind of a brim to keep the sun out of my eyes,
but the first thing is to get a well-fitted shape around my skull
I made this one out of duct tape and a nylon stocking (the knee high kind)
The stocking (more or less!) kept the duct tape from sticking to my hair
I got my ideas for this form from this post on Crafster

After I peeled the duct tape form off my head (pulling out a few stray hairs along the way!) and trimmed the knee high stocking, the rest of the stocking started to peel away, so I applied leftover (tee shirt) cotton knit scraps on the inside. Then I reinforced the edge all the way around with more duct tape. It was actually helpful, making the head/hat block more stable.
The cloche form needs to be stuffed with something to fit well on the foam head block
I could use leftover cotton knit scraps

 (I left the scraps sticking out in this photo just to make the point)
Or I could stuff it with tissue scraps
 (again, I'd actually stuff the tissue all up inside)
At this point, I can start creating a pattern that fits my head, with or without a brim.

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Web Resources
My tapestry cap inspired an Enchanted by Sewing show. In August of 2014 I recorded an entire audio podcast about sewing fabric caps, including technique and pattern talk http://www.enchantedbysewing.blogspot.com/2014/08/ench-by-sew-023-capping-off-summer.html

*In this posting I talked about my experiences in Wayne Wichern's millinery class. We focused most of our time on a fabric-covered buckram hat. http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2013/09/matters-millinery-making-my-own-hats.html,  Early this year, I'll be taking a three full day hat making workshop from Wayne in his studio in Burlingame. I expect to block my own straw and felt hats there. 

My first fabric cap in 2013, was a lovely subtle denim print. I've just about worn this out! http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2012/06/caps-off-chewing-bun-with-tuppence.html

Alvan's Crafster post about making a duct tape cloche hat form helped me with my form. Thanks! http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=gjkdubsculiivgd9tu5t1g50k3&topic=361109.0

Floracraft makes an Inexpensive form for base of a head block - a foam wig stand http://www.michaels.com/floracraft-wig-head/10315631.html

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Quick (?) Sew: Floral-Velour, Cowl Neck Knit Top (M6078)

I've still got some work to do on my latest version of McCalls 6078.
Pretty though, don't you think?
It's always so interesting working with knits. I really have to think about drape and fit on each unique project. Once more I'm needing to take in and reshape the side seams. It's a relatively quick sew, but not just zip-zap and she's done. Still need to put a little extra thought and time into it.

This is a remnant leftover from my V8323 Katherine Tilton Princess Laurel Tee. Since I've worked with this fabric before and found it not to be super stretchy or fluid, I would have expected not to need to alter the fit at the side seams. But that is just not the case! Right now I've got the sides safety-pinned and I plan to double check that I'm happy with the fit before I stitch them up. I also still have all the edge finishing to do (armhole, neck and hem).

Yup I'm looking forward to wearing this cutey. She's the kinda sorta-quick project that keeps me....
Enchanted by Sewing!
Project UPdate
I'm so glad I got my floral velour cowl neck tee done in time for my sewing day with my buddy Susan out Discovery Bay way (that's in the San Francisco Bay delta). Is there anything better than having a new thing you made yourself, to wear when you get together with a buddy? Boy, did we have fun! Can't wait for our next meetup. I interviewed her too and will be using that interview in this month's Enchanted by Sewing audio podcast. And thanks for taking all those photos Susan, so I could get the perfect one 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Panne Velour Princess Tee - Bit of a Pain (V8323)

Do you spell that Panne or Pain?
Working with Panne Velour Knit is a slippery business!
I was sure I'd have no problem zip-stitching up this crushed panne velour knit tee in time for having our neighbors over for New Years Eve supper. Har de har har! 

Do you like snakes because of the way they slither? Well if so, I recommend you run right out and buy a couple yards of crushed panne velour. Actually, I still recommend it. It's a beautiful fabric and it feels fantastic. I just encourage you to take a little extra time - OK a lot of extra time- when you plan your sewing schedule around this material. I also recommend choosing a pattern that requires minimal stitching.

This is my third experience with Katherine Tilton's form-fitting princess-seamed tee shirt, V8323. I've been quite happy with the red and floral velour versions I created recently. I've already worn both a number of times. Working with slippery panne velour is a bit of a surprise though. My Princess Laurel,  floral version of this tee was also a velour type fabric, but it didn't have the same moving-down-the-road, slithery characteristics as this crushed panne. The neck didn't cut right (because of the way the material moves), so I've cut a piece of thin tissue paper I plan to baste down -by hand - so that the neck will actually be round. The fabric just slipped and slid around and under my scissors and shaped things in unexpected ways, so getting a round neckline didn't happen. Once I baste down the round shape on the tissue, and eyeball it to make sure it is round and symmetrical on both sides, I'll cut right along the stitching line. Or else I'll leave that stitching line in place and sew the self-fabric bias strip right up against that basting line.

When I started out sewing the princess and side seams, I immediately found that funny things were happening. The back raw edge started disappearing beneath the front one. So I had to get busy with Auntie Seama Rippah. And you know how Auntie feels about knits, right? To date, I've got the princess seams and side seams hand-basted. And what did I learn then? I'm also going to need to sew it up tighter. Yup, it's the fluid nature of that panne velour.  I'm sure I'll be hand-basting the sleeves on as well.

It looks like it will be a pretty shirt that feels great on my skin. Perhaps you'll see me in it by next New Years Eve!

~ ~ ~ 
Web Resources

I wore the Red Interlock Knit Version of this tee for Christmas and plan to wear it for Valentine's Day. I've certainly been wearing it since the holiday, because I love it's fit, color and feel http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/12/fitted-red-tee-in-time-for-christmas.html

My Princess Laurel Tee - I used Floral Velour the first time I made a tee with this pattern. I've worn this shirt quite a lot as well. http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/12/terminado-my-princess-laurel-tee.html

Auntie Seama Rippah and I aren't really the best of friends http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2012/11/avoiding-auntie-seama-rippah-for.html

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Scraps: Scrunchies or Chou Chous? Green Sewing for the New Year

Two Completed Chou Chous
(along with a fabric covered book) I made for gifts
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Web Resources 
Enchanted by Sewing Show Notes and Links to Shows http://www.enchantedbysewing.blogspot.com/2014/12/ench-by-sew-027-festive-holiday-tees.html

Audio-Only Link http://ec.libsyn.com/p/7/1/3/713e354889f7b167/FINALcastFestiveTeaAndTeesdec2014.mp3?d13a76d516d9dec20c3d276ce028ed5089ab1ce3dae902ea1d06c98e3ed7cf5d5260&c_id=8063812

What is a Chou-Chou or a Scrunchie? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrunchie

Although I made chou-chous for holiday gifts, they are a perfect cleanup-for-the-New-Year or anytime, sewing cleanup/recycling project. You can't get more green than using up scraps of fabric that are too pretty to toss. You can also use the ends of stained or recycled clothing. You can even repurpose old worn elastic!

Here's the idea in picture form, to help you follow along with the Technicos segment of that show.

I can never toss really pretty scraps
But at some point, I need to use them!

I measure out 10 inches of 1/4 inch elastic

I fold a 20 (or slightly longer) tube of scrap fabric
This one isn't perfectly straight and it has one edge hemmed  as a result
of a long-ago project trim. No problem

I pieced on one extra scrap, to make the tube about the
right width
An extra seam at an odd place isn't a problem
when you are scrunching up the fabric anyway

 I cut a piece of string longer than the length of the tube

And lay it inside the tube, along the fold line

Stitch down one side of the tube and across just ONE open end
Make sure not to catch the string when you sew the long side
But DO catch it when you sew across the open end

At this point, I chose not to trim along the seam line,
to give a sausage-like look to the finished chou-chou

Push the sewn across end down into the tube

Pull the string end through the tube, so the outside pulls through
Note that this is a very thick, fabric like chou-chou
That's because I chose not to trim the seam after I sewed it,
to give that sausage-like appearance.
Remember, the chou-chou fabric tube should be about twice as long as the elastic,
so that the fabric scrunches up
You also want enough elastic to be able to double the band around the hair
Otherwise, it will slide off.

Open the sewn-across end, by snipping off the string
Now you have two open ends
Add a safety pin to your 10" of elastic
Pull the elastic through your tube
I set the zig-zab stitch on my machine
I caught up/secured my elastic end on both ends
with a zig-zag stitch.
Be careful not to lose the elastic ends  down either end of the tube, at this point!
Then I sewed the two secured ends together
When I doubled the finishing off seam back to get a neater finish
I broke my needle
So after that, I wrapped my second, neatening seam with a hand stitch
That takes less time than changing my machine needle!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Fitted Red Tee in Time for Christmas, Valentines, and Any Day I want to feel cheerful (Vogue 8323)

I'm loving my "Princess Laurel" tee from Katherine Tilton's, Vogue 8323 so much that right after I made it up in floral velour, I repeated the deal in this Christmas'y/Valentine'ish light weight, red, interlock knit. This Katherine Tilton pattern, Vogue 8323, is a princess-seamed, very fitted, tee shirt.

There's more about my experiences sewing this tee in this month's December audio/podcast, Enchanted by Sewing - Festive Holiday Tees and Tea (#27)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Terminado! My Princess Laurel Tee

There's more about my experiences sewing this tee in this month's December audio/podcast, Enchanted by Sewing - Festive Holiday Tees and Tea (#27)
Hoping to get another photo where the center of the shirt 
doesn't pull up on me! It isn't really THAT fitted.
I've been wearing this princess seam tee 
quite a lot for a week (layered)
I call this my "Princess Laurel" tee because

1) It's named after myself
2) It has princess seams
3) When I was little, my older sister Trisha kept me entertained with stories about her flights to Treasure Land. Apparently she went there every night after I went to sleep. She had a magic plastic comb with genuine diamels that she used to transport herself! One day she brought me a pair of shoes decorated with sequins, that looked, oddly enough, like my old slippers that had gone missing! In Treasure Land, amazingly, there were two princess that looked exactly like us - Princess Laurel and Princess Trisha!

I was a true believer in Treasure Land, and begged her to take me along one night. She promised she would when I was a little older, but I think the comb was lost when we moved and I never got to go.

This floral velour tee shirt is named in honor of the royal garments that Princess Laurel once wore, 

I really like wearing this Katherine Tilton  Vogue 8323, princess-seamed, very fitted, tee shirt. I made this first version in a floral velour (I think that's what it is - the fabric was a freebie from donations made at school), that I think is probably mostly polyester with some spandex. I've been wearing the shirt over a pale pink turtleneck or a black turtleneck, as it's not very warm. It looks pretty without them though, and I look forward to getting a photo of those.

I embellished the shoulder seams with
pale rose glass beads and twists of fabric

I added some pink glass buttons and twists of fabric on the shoulder seams, for fun embellishments. Isn't it great sewing your own clothes and doing stuff like that? Impromptu embellishments like that are just one of many things that keeps me, enchanted by sewing!

The pattern work was harder than I thought - getting the fit lines to mirror my body. I've found that my dress form Conchita is pretty good for getting basic fit areas, but when it comes to absolutely fitted, nothing beats putting the garment on my own body and checking it out in the bathroom mirror (or with a buddy like the day Susan H came and she marked all over the inside for me). One thing I learned was, not to make the adjustments to the princess seams permanent before I added the sleeves! The sleeves pull the fabric back, over and all which ways. Baste, Baste, Baste!  Oh, I had some fun with Auntie Seamah Rippah and all the seams I thought were ready for regular stitching but really weren't!

I employing my lesson about basting while making another plain red version of this tee, which I look forward to blogging about. It's almost done. Of course being a different piece of knit - a kind of fluid interlock, the red knit had to be taken in a little more. And of course the self-fabric neckband had/has to be fit differently.

Getting the neckband on this floral version in right such that it didn't gap and wasn't too tight was a real challenge. I basted a lot with pins and by hand. I also laid it over my duct tape dummy (remember Helen?) to get a sense of how the neckline would fall on my actual body. Boy, no neckband is the same.

Also I think since this neckline mostly curves at the center, then shoots up almost straight, I think the trick is a slight stretch on the curvy center part, then less stretch as it goes up. 
Great tee. I have fabric for a few others that I hope to make soon, while the alterations and fit challenges are fresh in mind. Also I just love the way it looks on, so I want more!

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Web Resources
My Early Pattern Work on V8323 http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/10/princess-seamed-tee-shirt-pattern-work.html