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Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Few Tools for Pattern Work

I'm learning to use a French Curve when I grade a curved seam.
At first I was unclear on how to use it, but I finally realized it's just like using a straight edge,
I need to go from here to there in a gradual way, just not in a straight line.

Little seam gauges are really handy for adding a precise change in seam allowance

A double Clover Wheel (white tool on the right),
is nice for adding (or decreasing) seam allowances to patterns
Also you can pull out the wheels and make that new seam allowance different widths.

I put tracing/sewing carbon paper underneath my pattern piece,
facing up. Then I run the double Clover Wheel over whatever line.
In this example I was making a new line to make the pattern smaller.
I like the waxed sewing carbon paper.
You can also transfer the carbon to tissue (or other) pattern paper by marking on the tissue with a regular pencil. That makes less holes in the pattern paper. Different things work in different situations.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Ench By Sew-028: A Very Fitting Sewing Day With Susan

This show is created, produced and brought to you by Laurel Shimer.

A Tule Fog in California's Sacramento/San Joquin Delta
Susan's Living in the Historic Land of Tules These Days!
The latest Enchanted by Sewing Podcast has been published!

Socializing over sewing never gets old. It's that’s the kind of thing that keeps me . . .  enchanted by sewing.

Listening Option I) You can listen to the show right on the web (while sewing perhaps?:-) by clicking on this link 

~ OR ~
Listening Option II)  Click on this link to iTunes  to download this and other Enchanted by Sewing shows to your mobile device (iPhone, Android, etc.) free from iTunes

The Enchanted by Sewing Podcast is, an extension of my regular sewing blog - Me Encanta Coser,  (http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com) which,  roughly translated means, Enchanted By Sewing

My blog is written in English. The name celebrates the historical and modern use of the beautiful Spanish Language in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, where I live.

Bruce - "Scored Mom's Boho Bed!"
This month’s show  is  *A Very Fitting Sewing Day with Susan*
Recently I went to visit with my buddy, Susan, and her household’s two dogs, Bruce and Bain. You’ll hear Bain’s comments at various times during the show, just the way you occasionally hear some of the audio from things in my house like the train that runs just behind our yard. I’m partial to including a little locally occurring audio ,because it adds another sense to the personal journal style of the show.

Don’t you feel like you know Susan by now?  I’m always mentioning her and the time we’ve spent together in this show. This month I got a chance to share a sewing day at Susan’s house with you. It started out as an interview, but it became a duologue – even when I cut out several of the places where I interrupted!

Bain - "Aren't I a Good Dog?"
Pensamientos Primeros/First Thoughts . . . we talked  about our sewing relationship and some of the non-sewing things that give you a sense of who Susan is and what drew us together.

Entonces/Then . . . we talked about some of the things that she learned about fitting patterns, that I’ve benefitted from over the past couple years.

This month's Pensamientos Finales/Final Thoughts . . .  are scattered throughout the show as we each share with you a little something about where Susan is living. The area she’s recently moved to has a very long-term historic role in agriculture and pre-agriculture, within California, that has provided people with both food, fabric,  and more, for over 4,000 years. 

I wrote a posting showing some of the gorgeous tapestry purses Susan made for holiday presents. As you can tell, not all the bags were completed when I took the photo. back in early December. http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2015/01/tapestry-pursestotesbags-sewing-day.html

Susan designed and sewed these San Francisco Giants take-it-to-the-game cold drinks bags for a number of lucky relatives for Christmas presents.

Blue Ice fits inside

After the interview Susan and I talked more about our sewing plans
We both liked Vogue V1412 for her
Recently she texted me to say that she has started working on it
~ ~ ~
Web Resources

Remember when Susan Sang Backup for Neil Young?
Neil Young Interactive Greendale http://www.nygreendale.com

Neil Young - Greendale Album http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greendale_(album)

Tutorial - Full Bust Adjustment and Small Bust Adjustment http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2014/07/how-to-make-a-full-bust-adjustment/

A Threads Article about the book Susan talked about in this interview, Fitting and Pattern Alteration by Elizabeth Leichty, Judith Rasband and Della Pottberg-Steineckert

Discovery Bay: Geography and Agriculture Interest

Tule Fog

Invasive water hyacinth threatens the Delta http://www.mercurynews.com/my-town/ci_27358407/delta-water-weed-problems-called-worst-years 
I was reading up on Discovery Bay, which is in the Sacramento/San Joquin delta, cause my buddy  lives there. You read a lot of CA history about the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate in relation to first nations people, European explorers and Gold Rush, but less about the agricultural and natural harvesting food value of the Delta region to people over the last 4,000 plus years - which continues today. Looks like these creepy little weeds have a big impact on the value of this region. Unclear how they arrived, but invasive plants have a way of doing that and the drought has made the situation worse...

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
~ ~ ~
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 - Making My Own Part 1 (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 an entire hat, not just a bill in the front, like a cap has.

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.

~ ~ ~
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