Thursday, October 30, 2008

Can you believe that October is almost over?

Where did October go? I have spent the entire month working on costumes. In the last post, my son had thrown a little bomb my way about needing a costume for his French class. Yes, the kid wanted to be Hugo Victor. Not only did I not know who that was but I had very little time to actually work on the costume. He wanted a leather jacket (ok, this made me laugh), a bowtie, and a beard. I made a bow using 1 1/2" wide grosgrain ribbon gathered in the middle and another folded piece wrapped around the gathered area. Double-stick tape was used to attach it to a shirt. I purchased a white beard from the costume store and trimmed it to match a mustache and shortened the beard. Then, I went to the Goodwill store and poured through the size 4/6 jacket and actually found a jacket with similar lapels that Hugo Victor had worn (that's a little scary about fashion isn't it?). That was the costume. It worked. I haven't seen the grade that he received yet. It had been stressed that they had to have costumes that would take about 2-5 minutes for them to put on.

Today, I received a the January 2009 issue of Threads. It has the most gorgeous dress on the front. I wish that I had somewhere to wear clothes like that. There is an article on bound buttonholes, another designer challenge on white shirts (they are all nice but I really love Fred Bloebaum), sewing with velvet, check out the coat article about weaving, and much, much more. I will definitely be scheduling time to sit down and just read. This has been my favorite magazine since the 80's and I have every issue.

I have not found any time to work on my next sewing project. My days just seem to disappear between my business, helping with the daily homework grind, son's activities, scheduling repairs on the newly renovated kitchen (microwave died, worst of all - countertop replacement), and just generally trying to keep up with housework (failing here), laundry, and cooking daily.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, October 27, 2008

No real sewing today!

Today has been a bust as far as sewing goes. I thought about working on my pattern but never got to it. However, I did spent a few hours working on my organization of the sewing room / office / guest room. This is going to be a huge undertaking. I have about 90% of my business stuff transferred to the temporary location. The sewing room looks like a tornado blew in but my inventory is organized and I know where everything is. My personal sewing stuff on the other hand may not be so easy to locate. Oh well, in the end it will all be good. The only thing that I haven't figured out is what to do with the computer. I can leave it set-up until the very last minute but I really can not be without internet connection more than a day.

The rest of my evening was doing homework (not mine, my son's). I don't actually do the homework. He does it. I check it then explain what is wrong if anything. Then sign all of the appropriate paperwork. However, this week is the end of the first nine weeks and there is a test every day. I really don't mind helping him that much but I really do look forward to when the light bulb goes off and he figures out how to do all this himself.

Oh, yeah, he dropped a wee little bombshell tonight. He has to have a costume of Victor Hugo by Wednesday. Yes, my chin hit the floor. No, I don't have anything suitable for the task. All he wants is a leather jacket, a black bow tie, and a beard. I'm in the process of making a black bow tie out of black grosgrain ribbon and elastic (I think). Since it's costume season, I should be able to come up with some sort of beard but Victor Hugo was always in some sort of jacket. I don't know what I will be able to do with that. I have one day to create.......

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Bag for the Halloween Costume is done!

If you didn't know, the Indiana Jones character carries a vintage WWII gas mask bag. So, after looking at a multitude of photos of said bag, I decided that it would be very easy to make a bag and it was.

Here is the pattern that I drafted. Not a lot. I drafted the main part of the bag in one long piece with side pieces. The size of the bag is larger than one of the vintage bags since it will be the candy bag for Halloween. The size that I ended up with is 12" x 15" x 3" and I used 1/2" seams.

Here's the finished bag. Not bad for my first attempt at drafting a bag. This style of bag is suppose to have snaps but at the last minute I decided not to put them. It seemed like a waste of the snaps. The bag handle is from a bag that I got at Good Will for this purpose.

Here you can see the side of the bag with the d-rings. You can also see the seams which are basically french seams. Yippee! Halloween costume is finished with the exception of make-up which I have decided if I'm going to give the kid stubble or not but I did locate a website with a video on how to do the stubble.

Now, it's time to decide on the next project. It actually didn't take very long to decide on. I will be making this Simplicity pattern:
There are a couple of decisions that need to be made like size and which view. I'm thinking either the bottom one on the left or the middle on the right. The pattern has separate fronts cup sizes c and d. I'm hoping that this will eliminate a little bit of work. The fabric that I found in the stash is a pinky/lavender shade. It's on the washing machine right now.
Happy Sewing!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tutorial - How to draft and attach a pocket flap

This project started with me looking for information on creating a pocket flap and the actual placement of the flap above the pocket. I found information on drafting a pocket flap and sewing on the pocket flap but no information on where the pocket flap should be placed above the pocket. So, I looked at Men's RTW and this is what I came up with:

Above in pink is the original pocket pattern. I changed the top of the pocket to add a pocket facing and squared it off. You can also see the 1cm seam allowances.
Next, I checked the finished width of the pocket. I used this measurement + 1/4" for the width of the pocket flap. Yes on every RTW jacket I looked at, the flap was slightly larger. The depth was approximately 2" + (2) 1 cm seams. I also copied the curve of the pocket bottom on the flap.
Here are the results of my drafting. The pink is the actually size with the brown showing the seam allowances.
Here's the jacket front with the pockets sewn on. When completed the flap will cover the topstitching on the pocket.
Here I've sewn the two pocket flaps. Since I will be adding snaps, these will need a heavy interfacing.

Here I've added a buckram (it was the only stiff interfacing that I had in my stash). Since this interfacing is very stiff, I cut it without the seam allowance and hand stitched it to the flap.

Here's the flap turned and topstitched. I did two rows of top stitching.

I placed the flap raw edges approximately 1/4" above the finished edge of the pocket, centered so that there is a small overlap on each side (approximately 1/8"), and pin into place. Finished placement on RTW was general 1/2" to 3/4" above the finished pocket edge.

Here I stitched 1 cm seam. Remember to backstitch at the start and the finish. This seam will need to trimmed to approximately 1 /4" of the stitching line. Press this so the flap lays on the pocket.

Topstitch enclosing the seam. My pocket flap covers the topstitching on the pocket.

Finished product with the snaps in place.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Whip Holder created.

Above is the whipholder that I created. I modeled it after the sample displayed on Here is roughly the measurements that I used - length is 25cm long (includes 1 cm seams, width is 3" + (2) 1cm seams, add a heavy duty interfacing about 2" on each end. Fold right sides together long ways and stitch a 1cm seam leaving an opening large enough to right side out. Lightly press and do a double-row of topstitching. Add snaps on the ends making sure that they will match up evenly. Then stitch the belt holder in place just above the snap. Width will depend on belt using.

Above is the whipholder with the belt inserted and the whip snapped in. It is a little bit tight (I forgot to check this measurement). If I were making this again, I would add 2cm to the length. Otherwise, I think it turned out perfect.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Jacket is Done!!!

Here's the Ottobre jacket that I made for my son's Halloween costume. It was made using Ottobre 01/2005 #28. I had to enlarge and lengthen the pattern so it would fit my son but now I have a pattern that fits him and I can make jackets for him (at least until the next growth spurt). I also changed the pockets to include flaps. My son is very proud of his jacket. He says that he feels just like Indiana Jones in it. The only thing that I would change on the jacket if I were to redo it would be to use a better fabric and change the height of the pocket.
Now, it's off to make the whip holder and the bag. The bag has been drafted. I am hoping that the first one works well enough.
Happy Sewing!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A very sad day

Today we had our little garage sale. It was very slow and we packed up early. I didn't really sew much because I was very tired. So, I took a little nap. I heard the police go by and glanced out the window. They were in a big hurry which is unusual for my little neighborhood. Turns out that one of the neighborhood children was shot and killed mostly likely by another child. I am so sad about this. My tears can't even compare to the parents heartbreak nor the hysteria of the other child who will forever miss the who is dead. Please, please, please don't leave guns around where children can find them and play with them. They must be taught that guns are not toys.

Sad in PA

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sewing today!

I had a wonderful day sewing today. The Ottrobre jacket pattern that I'm using for the Halloween costume is wonderfully drafted. Even with the amount of manipulation that I did (i.e., enlarging), it went together perfectly. I estimate that I'm about half way done. The jacket is sewn together and topstitched. It just needs cuffs on the sleeves, a collar, zipper, facing, and hemming. That shouldn't take too long to complete. Hopefully, I will have the afternoon and evening to finish up the jacket. Then, it will be on to the bag. I'm thinking that should be fairly easy. Although, I admit that I have never drafted a bag before.

The creation of the pocket flap and stitching it on went very well. I did take pictures of the process of creating the patterns and cutting out the pocket, flaps, lining, and interfacing. Once I finish the entire costume, I will post a tutorial of the pocket flap and the pocket lining.

Tomorrow morning, I will be helping neighbors with a garage sell. I hope that we sell everything very quickly.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Still working on the costume jacket

I have not made much progress on the Ottobre jacket. I had made the decision to change to the patch pocket with a welt to a packet pocket with a flap to make it look more like the jacket that I'm copying. First thing, I wasn't sure how the flap was to be positioned above the pocket. One of the ladies on the Ottobre-English group kindly sent me a link to Expert Village regarding pocket flaps. Here's the link to the video: How to Attach a Pocket Flap. This is a great resource. Go check out all the videos. However, the flap placement didn't seem right. In my younger, I made tons of flap pockets of course I had a pattern and placement marked then. I seemed to remember the flap being placed higher and being topstitched. I was unable to locate any other resource. So when I went to the Post Office today, I headed over to Macy's to see what the Men's jackets looked like and if anything had flaps on the patch pockets. Much to my amazement, it must be the trend to have a flap over a patch. So, I had multiple examples of what the flap should look like. I think that I will be doing a small tutorial on how I went about making the pattern for the flap, and placement of the flap. Ok, I'm off to get these pockets done. They have slowed me down. Halloween is only a 1 1/2 weeks away....eek!

Happy Sewing!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Slow day(s) of sewing

I did start the Ottobre jacket. Yesterday, I played with stitch length to see what would work. I decided on using the 3.5mm for the seams and 4.0mm for the topstitching. Today, I was able to get the two-piece sleeve stitched together and topstitched. I really wanted to get the jacket together today but life got in the way. Hopefully, tomorrow I will be able to get an hour in of sewing. The fabric has turned out to be very easy to sew. I was afraid that it might be difficult but it has a knit backing and I can't really tell what the front is but pins don't leave a hole (at least not that I can see). October is slipping away very quickly. Halloween will be here before I know it. Costume must be finished in the next week.

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A day to myself

There is only 2 or 3 times a year that I have the house entirely to myself for a weekend. This is one of them. I've been just enjoying the quiet, working (house and job), and working on my son's Halloween costume. Today, I finished the whip:

I found instructions for the whip at the Skip to My Lou blog. I think the whip turned out great. It will certainly last through Halloween and maybe beyond. I used 3 rolls of Ace brand duct tape to create the whip.

Look I've finally started on the Ottobre jacket for the Halloween costume:

The fabric is a dark brown upholstery fabric with a foam backing. It has the look of leather and that is all that I needed. I still need to figure out the pockets and draft some kind of a flap. If all goes well, I will get most of this completed tonight. I don't usually cut out on the floor but I wanted to watch/listen to the TV while I was cutting out and this was the only way I could do it. My little buddy was helping me by jumping over and around everything. Of course, it had to be very closely inspected just in case it was really a great big toy to be played. He finally gave up on me playing with him:

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pattern Storage, Costume, and more general chatter

The dreaded re-arrangement of the bedrooms has begun. Here's picture of the IKEA cabinet that I purchased to put patterns in:
It is really perfect for patterns. Currently, I have around 300 hundred patterns in it and there is still room for more which is a good thing since I ordered the Vogue patterns that I was wanting to get. The Vogue website has been having a sell the past couple of days. So, I decided to join in and purchase. I ordered all four patterns that I was interested in and was surprised with one of them being free. However, the shipping was the same price as the free pattern so I didn't really make out there.

I have been working on the Ottobre jacket pattern for my son's costume. I pinned the pattern pieces together and tried them on my son (yes, amazingly he let me pin the pattern to his shirt). The sleeves needed 5" added to the length. I think I will add another 1" to the body of the jacket also. Once the sleeve patterns have been fixed, I can start cutting and sewing. I hoping to be finished by Sunday. Then, it will be on to the bag. I have the bag sketched and dimensions decided on. Also, I hope to get the whip created.

Yesterday, it was raining lightly and I decided to run out to the garden to pick some hot peppers for salsa. I was surprised to see fungi growing everywhere around the patio. I took several pictures. Today, while I was out in the garden I noticed that there were fungi growing everywhere around the back of the house. Since I'm not sure exactly what they were I tried not to step on them but they are kinda pretty.

I'm hoping tomorrow will be a good sewing day. In the morning, I will do my Curves workout and work for 2/3 hours. That should leave a couple of hours in the afternoon to work on the costume jacket or draft the bag pattern for the costume.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Costume work, general chatting and Charity

Yesterday, I finally got going on the costume pattern again. Just two more patterns pieces to retrace and add the seam allowances to and the pattern pieces will mostly be finished. I will need to double check the arm length of my son but that will be easy to add if needed. The plans are to finish the pattern today and possibly cut out. Once again I think that I have selected a fabric that will require careful handling as I'm not sure about using pins and my rotary cutter is missing. I may start drafting the bag pattern today. Hopefully that will be the easy part.

I have also started the dreaded rearranging of the sewing room so that I can move items from the current office area into it. The office area is a rather large room and it needs to be redone. I have been in this house almost 5 years and this is the only bedroom that hasn't been redone. It will be a lot work as 2 walls are wallpapered and the remaining 3 walls have a paper border on them. Once the walls are cleaned, the patching will begin. I'm thinking that the new wall color will be a blue or maybe even a green. I'm looking forward to removing the carpet. It is a dark navy blue and always looks dirty (since I have a white cat). I'm actually hoping that the flooring will be in good enough condition that I can have it re-finished. However, this room was at one time two separate bedrooms. So, there is uncertainty as to what the condition of the floors look may be. Repairing is most likely not an option as I don't want to damage the ceiling on the 1st floor.

Today, I received an email from some organization - crocheting or knitting and it has a link for a charity called "Knit One, Save One". This organizations give hats either knitted or crocheted to newborns in developing countries. Patterns are free. Here's the link to the organization in case you're interested in donating your time to this cause: Knit One Save One. I always like to be doing something while I'm watching TV or as a passenger in a vehicle.

Happy Sewing (knitting or crocheting)!

Monday, October 6, 2008

New Vogues

I'm still not sewing but I'm looking at the new Vogue patterns. There are lots of beautiful items in the short list of new patterns. Here are my favorites:

V1072 - a vintage pattern which is a fitted and unlined blouse with a peplum and a semi-fitted A-line skirt. I think that this would be a lovely item to wear to church. It is on my list of patterns to get.

V1078 - This is a lovely Guy Laroche design. I love the front of this dress but not so sure about the deep V and the diamond. This is absolutely not a pattern that I would have a place to wear but it is still very lovely and feminine.

V1082 - This is a Sandra Betzina design. I really like this skirt. It is another item on my list of patterns to get. I don't think that it is too fancy for my lifestyle. Everyone can handle a nice straight skirt.

V8534 - View C of this pattern is really cute and I want to attempt it for myself. We'll see how well that turns out. Tops are really hard for me but I keep trying. This is another one on my list of patterns to get.

V8543 - Another cute suit with great details. I'm drawn to the skirt on this pattern. It's another straight skirt with great details. You can never have too many skirts. This is the last pattern added to my list of patterns to get.

My pattern collection just continues to get bigger. I enjoy seeing all the beautiful designs, purchasing the patterns, and planning projects. Now, if only my closet showed the completion of all those projects that are dreamed about.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Where did the past week go?

I can't believe a week has gone by and that I haven't worked on the halloween costume. That's right. I haven't touched the pattern in a week. Looks like I have about 3/4 weeks left to make the jacket, bag, whip, and whip holder. Tomorrow must be the day that I put the finishing touches on the pattern for the jacket and maybe cut out. Eeek! I'm starting to feel pressure now. It seems like this happened last year too and I was up all night before the costume was needed.

What have I been doing? I as smart as a fifth grader? Maybe, since my little fifth grader is having such a rough time we have been spending every afternoon/evening working math and cramming for tests. I have joined the ranks of Kumon in hopes that the little guy will gain some confidence in his math skills. Everything else seems to be falling into place with the exception of handwriting. I'm struggling with how to get the kid motivated without discouraging him.

Happy Sewing!