I love to use Pinterest as my virtual bulletin board. As you might guess many of my pins are sewing related. Click here to see what fun stuff I've found and pinned to different sewing boards.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Notions: I Don't Give a Pin!

Pincushion Gal Helps Keep Me
Enchanted By Sewing
But Darling, we can't have your mother to stay. We're going to the country this weekend.

Oh fiddledeedee, I don't give a pin about going to the country!

You don't hear people complaining that they .... don't give a pin! for something anymore. Usually a more vehement expression is used to express disinterest in a companion's speech or interests. I suppose it's because pins aren't worth much anymore, though you can still find references to people paying for things using pins in the delicious Betsy and Tacy books. And how many people do you know who refer to their pin money these days?

I love my new friend, Pincushion Gal. Mostly she's content hanging out behind my sewing machine, but she has been known to go visiting as far as the ironing board. At first I kept knocking her over, because her heavier torso was supported by a rather frail little base. After a confab with my husband we came up with a solution to that little challenge. I stitched up a little sack of dried beans, using the end of a piece of flannel from the night shirt I'd just made him (another good reason to hold onto scraps!), filled the little case with dried beans, then attached the resulting bean bag around the base of the form with - you guessed it- pins! My gal doesn't get knocked off her feet anymore, despite all the work she does for me.

As you can see, it's quite tempting to add more than pins to the newest member of Sewing Corner. So handy to tack down bits of silk organza scrap (good spots to stick my threaded needles), spare bits of trim, beading, and the pretty little brooch I picked up from the flea market. And of course a lady like this needs a fan for flirting with her many admirers.

Hanging out with the new girl at my machine, keeps me, as always, absolutely enchanted by sewing.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Good Night My Someone: Sewing Flannel Nightgowns

My favorite nightgown pattern
is missing in action

This plain sewing nightgown pattern, whether made up in flannel for our brief cold season, or in light weight cottons and eyelets for warmer weather, has been a long-time tried and true pattern for me. Machine embroidery and decorative stitching make this long time favorite even more of a pleasure to wear.

I sure do wish I could find where I've put this gol durned pattern! Luckily, I have one more of these gowns cut out in red flannel. Maybe I'll try to trace the cut pieces and assemble a close-to-it paper pattern, because I can't find any current nightgown patterns in this style, with this style of deep yoke.

I talked about sewing nightgowns, and robes, in the December Enchanted by Sewing Podcast. The show is freely available in the iTunes store for download to a mobile device, or you can listen on the web without downloading by clicking on this link.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A New Nightgown for the Winter Holidays

Kaity Rose seems happy with her newly sewn nightie
You may enjoy the technical illustrated how-to's in my previous posting about tucks.

When practicing tucks sewing for a future nightgown of my own, I sewed a new nightgown for a favorite little friend, Kaity Rose. (KRose will share her new nightie with her comrade, Holly the Dolly.)

I used this *free pattern download* of the nightgown for the American Girl Samantha  doll for this charmer.

I talked about this project, created a descriptive audio tutorial about making tucks and shared a number of ideas for avoiding tucks sewing pinfalls in the December Enchanted by Sewing Podcast. The show is freely available in the iTunes store for download to a mobile device, or you can listen on the web without downloading by clicking on this link.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Calling All Vests!

Manufacturer is Timeless Treasures
Collection:Cabin Fever Flannel
Source: Fabric.Com

I see I'm not the only sewist who found this Bird print on a creamy background of 100% flannel appealing. There are just seven yards left at fabric.com. This fabric feels great. I have it cut out for a comfortable warm, lined fitted vest I hope to get sewn up soon. The theme for my January Enchanted By Sewing Podcast will be vests. If you have a favorite vest pattern you'd like to see featured in the January podcast, let me know by emailing me at Enchanted By Sewing AT Gmail.Com (or post a response here). I'm also hoping listeners and readers will send in photos of vests they've made and would like to see featured in the show notes.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Fabric Choices: Quality Versus Price in a Holiday Sewing Project

About a month ago I got feed up with shopping at my local always-a-discount fabric store and decided to try to avoid shopping there, coupons or no. They get me in with 40% off, then I over buy on other things. I also buy stuff I don't like because it's a good deal. That's a waste of money, inventory space at home, and not really a great treat for the planet either - eventually more junk in the waste stream when a garment I don't like gets donated and somebody on the receiving end doesn't like it any better than I do. Yes, I may end up paying more for thread and notions but I want to put my money where my mouth is and buy from vendors who want to provide quality products for fashion sewers.

100% Cotton Flannel
MFG: Henry Glass & Co. Inc.
Collection: Yarn Dyed Fun Flannel
Source: Fabric.Com
I bought two pieces of flannel online at Fabric.com (I've liked every piece of fabric I've purchased there).  Are these flannels more durable than the discount flannels from the local discount fabric store? I'll be best able to estimate that by keeping an eye on the nightshirt I just finished for my husband out of this flannel. He wears a nightshirt out after a year or two, so I'll see if this one holds up better. I certainly liked the hand of this  fabric, a soft, yarn-dyed taupe check.

I had fun sewing this nightshirt for my husband while listening to my
December "Enchanted By Sewing Podcast" show
In my December "Enchanted By Sewing Podcast" show I talked about my sewing plans for nightwear, including the night shirt above, which I finished sewing about the same time I made it through the final audio check of the show! Pattern and more information about this nightshirt are in the Enchanted By Showing Show Notes. You might also enjoy downloading, or listening on line, to this month's, and other month's shows.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Anthony G. Sews Again! - Fourth Podcast Episode Almost There

You know the challenge... I've been working on my podcast about sewing for the past several days, therefore I haven't gotten on with my own sewing! And there's so much I want to get on with.

Here's Anthony G.. You'll be hearing him in an interview in my December podcast show (iTunes Enchanted By Sewing), wearing two vests he made himself. The underneath one is wool lined with linen. And isn't that long, loose outside one cool? He designed it as a comfy around the house piece, but it would be absolutely great for long chilly walks as well.

I can't believe I saw the results of Anthony's first-ever sewing project back in September (it was a very snarky long-sleeved black tee shirt). Since then he's also made three other tees and a pair of linen pants as well as these vests and a hoodie lined in linen. And did I mention he's taking two other really challenging classes with major outside commitments?

In this fourth episode of the "Enchanted By Sewing Podcast", Anthony has a lot to saw about natural textiles - a lot I didn't know.

I'm planning to have the show published this weekend. I need to make a couple more passes and make sure I didn't manage to cut anything out - or leave anything odd in!

Just search on "Enchanted By Sewing" in the iTunes store.

But you knew that!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sewing Basket Overload!

I was buried under my sewing basket.

• So many in-progress projects to finish.
Shall I list them? Would that make a difference?

• So many new and improving skills I'm working on. Another list?

• So many tee shirts, pants and purses that I could zip through quickly, if I didn't have a life: work, school, family, hiking, and reading novels.
All of them are equally important, eh?

Oh wait, it supposed to be fun. That's why I sew!

Guess I'll just wear that red plaid dress I made a few years back to that special event this week, and put the self-imposed deadlines on hold.

My only plan for the future, is to keep the enchantment in my sewing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Seasonal Sewing: Scarves O' Flannel

I try to always buy an extra yard and a half of flannel when I'm creating a nightshirt or nightgown. I like my scarves to give good cold season coverage, so a nice big 45" length, folded on the diagonal provides a good big width of warmth.

No sewing required, of course. I fringe a little along the edge if I'm in the mood. Mostly they just keep my neck snug with no itchiness. They're highly washable and compliment a lot of outfits. Indoors, tucked into a neckline, they often take the place of a light sweater. Outside, down inside a light weight jacket they are the finishing touch that keeps me cosy.

In a pinch, if I'm out walking a little later than normal or hit a sudden cold spot, I can tie one of these beauties over my head for an impromptu head cover. When I do that I feel a little bit like Maureen O'Hara in film "The Quiet Man".

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Technicos: Imperfect Tucks Are Not the End of the World

Some of my tucks were slightly off grain
Some were a little skewed
Hey, these were the first I'd made outside of
making tucks that came pre-printed on a pattern piece
And the doll whose nightgown will be incorporating this
charming detail, won't care!
I'm a Type B, so I don't usually stress about perfection and doing things in a totally standardized way. At least that's what I've always thought about myself. But I noticed that I was letting myself get kind of intimidated by my plaid and fitting crusade in regards to my CA Romance Dress project. So I decided a couple of things.

1) I still plan to finish it in time for a mid December performance I'm going to with my daughter. But a little break might not hurt
2) I'm going to quit worrying about alterations. I talked with Susan about the sleeve fitting we were planning to work on, and I decided to just pin my test sleeve to the dress once I get the bodice and skirt basted up, see if it looks OK, then cut the sleeve and run with it. We could spend way too much time fooling with every detail of this pattern. Enough is enough. Neither of us wants to get overly caught up in pattern alteration and drafting. We just want to sew stuff that makes us feel good and improve our sewing skills along the way!
3) I decided I needed a very brief break from the CA Romance Dress. Just a little time to play with tucks!

My December podcast theme will be night wear. I'm already sewing a flannel nightshirt for my husband (well it's cut out anyway) and I have a flannel nightgown cutout for myself. Actually I cut it out a couple of years ago(!). I found it and another of the same pattern and material in my inventory. I did machine embroidery on the yokes for each last year and got one sewed up. So nightie number two needs to get finished this month. Those two garments will give me some practical material for the 'cast, but..... as usual I'm distracted by a technique we worked on in class. I bet you can guess that's tucks!

It's so tempting to cut out another nightgown - a cool cotton one this time, with a tucked bodice or yoke. Hold on! When will I finish my dress, get back to my planned tee shirts and get on with jeans sewing? How about I just practice some technique sewing to polish up those fun tucks we practiced on paper in Fashion 110? Then, when I've gotten past a few other planned projects I'll be that much smarter.

BTW sample sewing is a blast when you sew for a doll. Have you ever noticed how non-picky a doll is? They'll wear anything! I saved only a few of my daughter's books and only two toys. One was an American Girl doll and the other an 18" Engelpuppen doll (a German model). And dolls wear nightgowns that would look lovely with tucks. I downloaded classic retired American Girl Doll Patterns for free! They're big files and you may want to avoid doing more than one at a time. Thanks to Pleasant Rowland and the rest of American Girl for sharing these patterns.

I used an old cotton sheet, from that day last summer when I cleaned out the linen closet (there's room to fold the pillowcases now!) , to practice my tucks. If I called it vintage fabric, would it sound classier? It was pleasant working with that soft old fabric, and wondering how many times it had been slept on over the years.

I experimented with simple, easy to draw tucks
These are one inch apart
In retrospect, I think maybe more pins would keep the tucks straighter
I think this is about an 1/8 inch seam on the tucks
I think an expert sewer might like to pintuck a doll's nightgown,
but pin tucks would be more work to measure and might be more challenging to sew
There's enough to the basic experience without adding pin tucks
I had marked my tucks with air soluble marker
But you know that inch will often bond with the fabric when pressed
So I rinsed that marker out before pressing
Yeah, right those tucks aren't perfect.
But dolls wont' care, and I got some experience working with this technique

Also, sample sewing was good because it got me thinking about
how a pattern piece might lay on my completed tucked fabric.
If I were making a nightgown bodice for myself,
I might want to do extra tucking so that I could get a really symmetrical look

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Plain Sewing: Another Season's Nightshirt

December means nightshirt and nightgown sewing. In California, our cool weather has just come in and we're noticing seam and fabric deficiencies in last seasons nightwear.

Though Simplicity 9898 is out of print
There are many of this older pattern for sale on the web
And the big 4 pattern companies carry new versions
of this same pattern style
Wonder how many times I've made this flannel nightshirt for my husband? It's the ultimate, no-fashion item. I sew them and he wears them out. We turn the worn out nightshirts into cleaning and polishing rags, just as families have for generation after generation.

I'm getting down to brass tacks today, cutting another of these oh-so-practical garments.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Technicos: Don't be Mad - Be Plaid

Though Vogue 8810 is a relatively straightforward pattern I've made before (in a straight skirted version), The CA Romance Dress is challenging for several reasons:

1) Susan's helping me to alter the pattern for an improved fit. I wrote about that in "Further Adventures of the CA Romance Dress".  I liked this dress shape before, but I'm liking the new tissue shape I saw in the mirror even more. Could I have been happy making this dress without these changes, working on my own pinning in front of the bathroom mirror? You bet I could. But I'm taking classes and it's a great chance to learn more about fitting techniques. I'm going to feel majorly couture wearing this creation!

2) I'm making this version with a wide bias cut skirt.  I'm using plaid fabric. Oh boy - plaid.

3) I'm working with only 4 yards of fabric, the bare minimum for the full-skirted version. (I won't be able to squeak the full-length sleeve out, you betcha).And BTW did I mention I'm using plaid fabric?

What helped? Pattern weights combined with pins. The pattern and fabric on these great big skirt pieces tends to shift about. Just as soon as I'd have it pinned on one side, it shifted on the other. So I switched to  laying out a whole lot of pattern weights first, moving them around and around, shifting and moving the fabric as I went until all the lines all around the piece seemed to be lining up.

After all the pattern weights were in place, then I pinned. And I used lots and lots of pins.

Previously I thought pattern weights were just for people who used them instead of pins. Now I think they made it possible for me to do some challenging plaid matching. Thanks to Kathleen and her husband who made these pattern weights for our sewing lab at school!

A Couple of Other Things I learned:

* After I already started cutting another Sewing Lab inhabitant suggested next time I make bigger seam allowances (maybe an inch instead of 5/8 inch), so that I can tweak the plaid matchup a little if the fabric pulls slightly out of do-wacky when I'm cutting. Would have been a good idea, but too late.

* Richard suggested that I stay/reinforcement stitch my bias-cut seams (in this case, the skirt side seams) when I was fretting about the challenges of that newly stretchy cross-cut side moving around on my when matching up those seams where the plaids come together in a diagonal manner. He also told me not to stress it too much when it comes to plaids, and just to enjoy it!

He's right. It's not a contest. The point is to have fun.
My fabric isn't, of course, wide enough to cut both sides of
the full bias-cut skirt front or back
So I cut each skirt piece - front and back- out twice
A total of four skirt pieces to cut
That 'flip!" note reminds me that I want to
cut mirror images of each piece.
I'm sure you'd never make a mistake doing that, but I sure have!
When I pin the pattern to the plaids, I pin on the seam line
Not the cutting line
The fabric can shift between the cutting and seam line
I test to make sure that I've still got plaids matching over and over
as I lay out each piece
It's not enough just to get the  seam's matching
We try to get all the plaids matching around the entire piece
THEN we work to matchup the plaids on this piece with plaids on the
pieces this will be sewn to. That would be
skirt front to skirt back, skirt top to dress  bodice, in this case

Notice I used pattern weights not only around the edges, but in the middle too. It helped really get the pattern to lay flat. (The pattern is in the middle here, I've already cut one piece and now it's flipped over. I put pins through the grainline to make sure it's laying straight, though the plaid matching makes that pretty durn  likely as well.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Further Adventures of the CA Romance Dress

Ingredients for my CA Romance Dress

Being the further adventures of the California Romance Dress

I talked about my plans for my CA Romance Dress in my October Podcast, Romancing the Dress (Ench-002). It was in my sewing basket for November, but I put it off because:

1) I wanted to spend my sewing time reinforcing pants/trouser sewing skills I was working to improve in two different sewing classes at Cañada College*. There's not point in sewing all those different pants pieces samples and not getting abundant practice in making use of the bits and pieces learned in the real deal. Pants sewing isn't really exciting, but is sure is useful. Plus, as I've mentioned, I'm working towards learning to sew jeans so I want my basics pants sewing skills to be really solid.
2) My friend Susan had suggested that the pattern I planned to use could use some alterations in the bodice. Gee, it didn't really soooouuuund like those alterations would be a ton of work.....

Oh Har de Har Har (there's an expression you don't hear much these days)

I had the opportunity to work with Susan in sewing lab on those alterations today. I had the pattern muslin/toile mocked up in a combination of tissue and old sheets (why waste new fabric?). 

It took four hours to make the adjustments and I'm still not sure about how to cutout the sleeve, given the alterations Susan made. I'll probably be basting the ones I toiled onto my dress before I cut them. I'm really short on fabric and I can't afford to mess them up.

After Susan finished her changes to the pattern I spent the next two and a half hours cutting out the skirt and the bodice. I still have the front band and sleeve to layout and cut.

Why so long on the cutting you ask?


My next Blog Entry will be "Technicos: Don't be Mad - Be Plaid"

Daydreams and pattern details for this dress are in "Romancing the Dress: Envisioning the CA Romanced Dress"

Have you downloaded any of the free episodes for the Enchanted By Sewing Podcast, from the iTunes Store?

I take sewing classes in the Cañada College Fashion Department, Redwood City, California

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Newest Greenie Stick 'Em Pants

A Recent Sewing Creation
Photoshop Filter "PaintDaubs"
     When I was a kid I had a pair of green pants this same color, that my mother had sewn for me. The went well with a little green striped tee shirt I had.

      I well remember an argument with my father about these pants. He wanted me to wear this ensemble, which he termed my "greenie stick 'em outfit" when he was taking me some place and I just downright refused. Why, I wonder now? I'm pretty sure I liked the outfit. Likely, I was just being ornery.  I bet you anything I outgrew them soon after. Wonder if some other little girl inherited them. Did she cheese off her parents with her own ideas about clothing choices as well?.....

      I'm still partial to green pants, though I noticed when taking an informal poll at the shopping center that no other women were wearing colored pants.  Sometimes I have to nerve myself up to wear what I like, and ignore the prevailing mode. I blogged about that a few days back in What the Arty Romantic Wears on Black Friday, but I'm still mulling it over.

I finished sewing these elastic waist, corduroy pants about two weeks ago and I think I've worn them five or six times since. We've just hit slightly cooler, and occasionally rainy, weather here in our temperate climate. These and my new print cord pants have been just the thing for the current spot on the thermometer. I've put off getting out my light weight wool pants in favor of these comfortable, cotton charmers. 

My experience with this thin corduroy is that it doesn't last much longer than one, or maybe two, seasons. But it's still worthwhile sewing pants that feel so good and work well walking, biking or hiking. They'd be good for travel too. 

These are another shot at an old favorite tried and true pattern, MCCalls 2791. As I mentioned in my November Podcast, "The Lady Wears Trousers", this pattern is out of print. But it's still available through many resellers on the web inexpensively.

created thread belt loops in these pants as well as the linen ones I made several weeks back. I'm loving those loops. Links to Suzanne Beaubien's youtube tutorial that shows you how to create these loops in the show notes for the November Podcast.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Technicos:Let's Snap To It

Things I learned about sewing on snaps today.

1) If your needle and snap will handle it, you might want to use 4 threads, that's two lengths of thread through the needle, hanging down on either side. Why not add a little extra security, eh?

2) Work just on the right side (RS). Trim the knotted end and position the snap above the knot to hide it, and keep the back side neat

3) When I finish sewing on the snap, I now run the (threaded) needle through the threads beneath the snap piece (the half of the snap I'm currently sewing to the garment). After I knot the end several times, I snip close to the knot right on top and bury it underneath the snap piece.

Here's a nice posting from Ashley's "Make it and Love it" blog, with lots of useful information about using and sewing snaps. Thanks Ashley!

Friday, November 23, 2012

What the Arty Romantic Wears on Black Friday

I sewed these pants
and vest for a Fashion 110
class project
My daughter just took me out for a post-holiday celebration where everybody spends a lot of money, for which we didn't actually budget. I know others do, but I always expect to do a lot of sewing, and other creative goop,  to accomplish  holiday gifts. It doesn't always work out that way.

Didn't buy any gifts today, but I did check out the fashions of the different ladies shopping at Stanford Shopping Center. (There were fellas there too, but I don't do a ton of sewing for my husbands - mostly only nightshirts and boxer shorts.) I decided to analyze what was typical shopping garb.

About 80% of the women, seemingly independent of age, were wearing jeans. Many were very fitted. The majority seemed to be straight leg jeans, though boot cut was definitely well represented. Many of the rest were wearing some form of leggings or heavy tights. More were worn with skirts than I would have expected, though a goodly number were combined with a tunic-length tee, sweater or long jacket (that hid what went under).

I was dressed in the outfit to the left, recently completed as part of my sewing projects for Fashion 110. I like this kind of clothing, because it does make me feel arty and romantic. No other women were wearing any kind of print pants. I didn't even see any print skirts or dresses. Very monotone, few colored pants (except a pair of great yellow one on a handsome young man, who was there with another handsome young man.)

I do have jeans I like, and plan to begin working on learning to sew jeans. But you'll still see me in my pretty new print corduroy pants and vest, from time to time.

It is important to stick with my own sense of style, what I like to sew and wear. Maybe I'm better off not keeping score, though. It might keep me from following my own inner enchantment.

Piece of My HeartYou may also enjoy this posting about the piecing project involved in creating the above vest. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Avoiding Auntie Seama Rippah for the Holidays

Auntie Seama Rippah  
Let's just forget to invite Auntie Seama Rippah to the holiday table this year, OK?

She's so durned irritating. Remember what it was like last year? We spent all that time at the embroidery machine creating those turkey napkins, and then she sat there picking over every one, and looking for all the spots where I didn't clip the threads perfectly.

And of course she found the spot where I had to reposition the hoop, and couldn't get the needle to startup in the right place. I mean, who cares if one turkey has less feathers and a rather suggestive spot on his anatomy?

It's as though she thinks it's her mission in life to point out everybody's errors. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Scraps:Covering Buttons (Letter to Sharmila)

Dear Sharmila,

In sewing class the other day you asked me about the covered button I'd made for my vest using scrap fabric from the project. Here's the lowdown.

* The covered button forms are available in normal places, like Joannes. There is a version with a tool or a no-tool one. I just get the no-tool type and snap them in place with my fingers. Maybe the other kind is good for heavier fabrics? I'm not sure.
There are different sizes of button forms
They come in round head
or flat head style
I have also used the flat head style for
creating beaded buttons, using
scrap fabric as a base to attach the
Make sure the beads don't go to far out if you
do that, but far enough to cover the scrap fabric
You really need to make a test covered button with
the same sized forms to figure that out!

* I use a piece of scrap paper (like a recycled mailer card) to match the pattern on the back of the package. It's just a half circle, but of course I cut out the entire circle. Some covered button packages have multiple circles depending on the size you bought.

* Then I center the pattern over a great design in my fabric. I have also cut up an old stained embroidered linen napkin, making use of the embroidery and cutting away the stain. (I need to find the jacket I put that on and photograph it!)

* I glue stick the circle on top of the rounded button form. When you and I were talking about this, Ronda suggested that you could interface with a lightweight fabric, like silk organza, if you were using a light or sheer fabric, like the beautiful sari fabric you were sewing with when I first met you.

* Then I turn the form over and catch the edges of the circle on the teeth on the back of the button form. I have to do lots of smoothing of the edges to avoid puckering.

* Once I'm happy with the placement of the fabric and it's caught well on all the teeth I snap the button back in place. I always get confused by which side goes inside, but one part has grooves that fit better. I have to push hard, but eventually it snaps in place with a satisfactory click. They don't come apart after that.

* Sometimes I make them up with scrap fabric, not knowing how I will use them and just put them in my button collection.

Hope you enjoy making some. I'd love to see what you come up with!

Your sewing buddy,


I forgot I had these with me yesterday.
I made three different types and tried them all out on my vest.
I might use one like a pin on the vest, just for decoration.
They are also nice on a purse or bag.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Scraps of Wisdom

Birds Nest ?
Or does an environmentally conscientious sewist live here?
These scraps from my pieced vest project
Are just too pretty to toss
And what a waste of resources, eh?
Heather's idea would be great for these
I save strips of pretty fabrics that get cut off along the edges of my sewing. I use them for

- Stabilizing the edge of an inseam pockets
- Hair ties
- Ribbons for presents and other packages
- The string that goes through the hole in a vintage-styled luggage tags I create in Photoshop.

A frayed edge is great for an arty look in any of these reuses. The stabalizing strip doesn't care if it's frayed.

Scrap Strips
Awaiting Repurposing
I keep a cup hook screwed into a bookcase near my sewing machine and toss them over that as I'm working on projects.

Heather of The Sewing Loft had a posting about turning even smaller fabric scraps into yardage, that I plan to try. I love using up every bit of fabric, which clearly don't do much good in the landfill. I get to a point where I have tiny, tiny scraps and this looks perfect. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Vests: Another Piece of My Heart

At this point I had basted the reverse side
of a piece of brocade onto the corduroy vest front
I had just over 17" of cord for the front, leftover
from sewing pants, not enough for even one front length.

Take another little piece of 
my heart now, baby,  

Break another little bit of my heart now, darling.  

Have another little piece of my heart now, baby.

You know you got it, if it makes you feel good, Oh yes indeed.

* * *

Did you know that?
Like most people, I associate it with Janis Joplin

*    *    *

I'm just coming down off a piecing project, feeling a little bit like what Janis was singing about in this performance of  "Piece of My Heart".

Piecing always sounds so straightforward. I take two or more remnants of material, and combine them to make one. It always takes an awful lot more time to create, than I expect. My goal is to make it look arty, not like something I did because I ran short of fabric.

Well.... in truth I was short of fabric. I think I got the last three yards of this corduroy from my local Joannes. Apparently I wasn't the only sewer who found this print irresistible. Even the online Joannes  had only one yard of the fabric. OK, I admit that I put that last yard in my cart, just in case I wasn't happy with my vest. Or maybe I bought that final piece just because I love this material so much. Those long ago French textile merchants didn't name it cord  du roy - fabric of kings- for nothing!  

In fact, a shortage of goods inspires me to piece. It's a bit of time travel back to our past-times sewist ancestors. Scissors in hand, I'm spinning through the closest appropriate time portal to Depression times flour sack shirts,  late nights in the slave cabins stitching together scraps and ends from the big house, or needling together worn bits from different family members clothes - an art form that will one day be known as Sashiko,  after a hard day in the rice paddies.

Piecing lets me pay tribute to lessons learned from the folk who created more than utility garments, with very little on hand. It reminds me that clothing, even clothing with limited resources, can be  art. 

And maybe that's the most important time and place to be making art.

You know you got it, when it makes you feel good!

Here's what I had left from the corduroy
I made the decision not to cut any off below the pieced brocade band
because I thought the weight would be better if I kept as much as I had
At this point I had backed the front band with a long remnant of
silk organza (tough yet light), then stitched the corduroy to the organza-backed brocade

The back of the vest was what remained after a pair of linen pants
I made at the same time I sewed the cords.
I couldn't quite eek out enough for the linen back,
though I had more of it than I did the corduroy. But by this point
I wanted the brocade piece to wrap around from front to back anyway.

Coming Soon To This Blog!  A view of the whole vest (Yes, I finished it early this morning). I'm looking forward to doing a photo shoot of my entire Sewn With a Plan (SWAP) four garment mini-wardrobe, created for my Fashion 110 Introduction to Sewing Class at Cañada.

* I take sewing classes in the Cañada College Fashion Department, Redwood City, California

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Lady Wears Trousers: Elastic Waist Pants Checklist

Right Sides (RS)
Wrong Sides (WS)

 a. Mark each leg front, front, back, back. I like to pin a piece of posit tape marked 'F' or 'B' on each leg. It sounds simple, but those legs can get confusing
b. Use Continuous Stitching(CS) whenever possible. It helps keep track of all four legs as well as the usual benefits of C.S.
1.  Sew Inseam pockets
2.  Front legs to back legs, Right Sides (RSs) together.
3.  Create two separate legs
1.           Sew both side seams of each leg separately (continuous stitching is a good idea)
2.           Sew both inseams of each leg separately
(continuous stitching is a good idea)

4.   With one leg RS out and the other leg WS out, slip the RS out leg INSIDE the WS out leg.
5.   Stitch entire crotch seam
6.  Press
7.  Put pants Rs out
8.  Waistband
1.           Put pants on and tie a piece of elastic or string around waist at natural waistline. Good time to use actual elastic waistbanding too. Try 4-5 inches less than actual waist and see how everything looks in the mirror.
2.            Mark natural waistline using chalk . I also had success folding the ws over the top of the wide elastic waistbanding (not the way it actually will go on!),  safety pinning it front and back on myself, then pressing in crease after I took them off, and marking that crease (on the inside).
9.  Check, is there sufficient casing depth for elastic width used? Add extra strip along casing edge if needed. Twill tape or self fabric
10.      Press actual casing in place
11.       Slip elastic through, safety pin and  eyeball fit.
12.      Measure actual waistband elastic Try 4 inches less than actual because of stitching through center will stretch it out
13.      Sew casing fold, leaving elastic gap
14.      Pull elastic through Safety. Pin well and check fit
15.      When fit ok safety pin or baste through long center
16.      Check fit again
17.      Sew edges of elastic together butted together or lapped over, using zig zag stitch.
18.      Sew along center of elastic all around waist to give doubled look
19.      Hem
1.           Fold up, press and pin. Try on with clogs to eyeball hem.
2.           Turn in quarter inch fold at raw edge and sew that or finish the edge if not turning under. On linen pants I didnt turn under. On courderoy pants I sewed on seam tape. Both avoided a bulky look
3.           Hand stitch hem in place for linen pants . Fused stitchwitchery between the two WS’s on the courderoy pants.

* I take sewing classes in the Cañada College Fashion Department, Redwood City, California