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Pattern Sale!

January 31st, 2009 Comments off

So I bopped down to JoAnn’s the other day and picked up a few Vogue patterns. Five, to be precise — that’s at least two more than I’ve ever picked up at once before. I’m dreamin’, big time!

The one I wanted most was Marcy Tilton’s new pants pattern, Vogue 8561:

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I love the kooky shape of the legs, but I have a couple of concerns. First, it’s never a good sign when a pattern company can’t get the pants to look as if they fit the model. In both Vogue photos (this one, and the one in the pattern catalog on a human model), if you look closely, it’s clear that the crotch doesn’t quite work. So I’m expecting some fit issues here. Other Tilton patterns I’ve used have been huge, so it will be interesting to work with one that looks much trimmer. I think I may make a couple of modifications, too, but later for those . . .

In the wake of my disappointment with the neck finish on Vogue 8536, this top looks pretty good to me, so I picked it up, too:

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It’s a Sandra Betzina, Vogue 8151.

So much for the practical stuff. The next two patterns are the stuff of fantasy. First, the much-noted Donna Karan, Vogue 1088:

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Could I carry this off? Well, probably not — but a girl can dream, can’t she? I’m using it for exercise inspiration. Arms in this dress had better be buff!

And then there’s this one, Vogue 1094:

osv1094-3001

In Vogue’s new pattern book, it’s made up in black and white gingham. Yeah, I fell, and I fell hard. This means that not only the arms and shoulders need to be buff, but the waist needs to be very, very trim. No belt to help fake it. I have my work cut out for me — or, alternatively, I’ve got a really good fantasy going here!

The fifth one was Vogue 8485, specifically view C (with the bamboo handles):

vbg8485-300

I want to wear dresses (well, maybe not the two above, but dresses in general) this summer. I’m going to need a generic bag that is industrial-sized, but will still look good with a variety of frocks. So I’m planning to make this one in black linen. I’ll almost certainly lose the bamboo handles (ouch!), so I need to do some thinking about what would work instead. This view has a shoulder strap, too. It’s practical, but not obvious. I like that.

Categories: Fun Tags:

Vogue 8536 – It’s a Wadder!

January 29th, 2009 3 comments

Oh, dear. Knits and I are just not getting along. Today’s failure is this top from Vogue Basic Design:

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I made view D (the vee-neck), with the 3/4ths sleeve length from view B. In theory, this shirt is almost exactly what I’d choose for everyday wear. But alas, it was not to be. It’s mostly my fault, too, though, although I really, really do not like the neck band.

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It’s too narrow, and makes me think of neck trim on cheap clothing. (And it doesn’t help that I muffed my stitching slightly in front, either!)

The sides end in slits, which I thought I’d like, but seem sort of bleah to me now that I’ve made the top. If I try this again, I’ll just sew the seams all the way to the hem.

wdr-200

Although the shoulders seemed to be fine on my dummy, they’re not right on me at all. (I know I’m overdue for replacing my dummy; those duct tape shells don’t last forever, and mine is definitely showing signs of disfigurement, not to mention that I’m a bit re-configured myself!) I need to take the shoulders in by a full half inch on each side to get the fit I want.

On the plus side, the body is cut nicely, and I love the extra ease at the side bust, which don’t show, but acknowledge that a little more accommodation is needed in that area. I think may be what Betzina calls “today’s fit”. I’m guessing that “today” means “you don’t have the bust you did when you were 20!”)

Which brings us to my nemesis: hemming knits. After considerable experimentation, including using iron-ons for support, varying stitch lengths, fiddling with basting methods, etc., I tried two other methods for this top. They worked great on my sample pieces; on my top, not so much.

For the sleeve hems, I used twill tape under the cut edge of the fabric, basting it in place to keep the knit from stretching. (How desperate can you get??) Then I used a 6.0 double needle for the stitching. That worked pretty well, but not perfectly. I ended up with a slight tunneling effect that I wasn’t able to get rid of while still keeping enough tension in the thread.

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It looks a little like trapunto, and I kind of like it. After experimenting some more, I did the hem without the twill tape, but with careful basting. All looked well under the machine foot, but I noticed that I was getting a few skipped stitches. My new needle wasn’t the cause, so, on a whim, I slowed the speed of my machine down to nothing, and that solved that problem.

Stretched out on my dummy, the hem doesn’t look awful (if you don’t mind that trapunto effect), but lying flat, the hem bubbles. It’s just not right. Mr. Noile suggested that I get a very long strip of knit remnant and then keep trying until I solve this vexing problem; I’m going to do it. Next try: bias iron interfacing with single rows of topstitching. What have I got to lose?

Good thing this was a muslin. Grrrr.

Categories: Tops Tags:

Easiest Dummy Stand Ever

January 28th, 2009 4 comments

When I made my duct tape dressmaker dummy, I built a stand for it from PVC pipe:

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The pipe is four inches in diameter, and the foot it’s standing on is a toilet flange. (Not elegant, true, but efficacious.)

The ‘skeleton’ of my duct tape dummy is made of two-inch PVC pipe. The vertical piece comes out the bottom of the dummy and slides into the lower part of the stand. Here’s an image of just the body and the smaller diameter pipe:

dmbdy-200

Inside the large pipe are two PVC connectors: One is at the bottom, inside the pipe, and one is set into the top of the pipe. You can just see a a bit of duct tape around the top connector; it was a little loose, so I added the duct tape as padding to keep it firmly in place.

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I hacked off the top of the upper connector piece to allow the narrower skeleton pipe to fit inside. I put the second connector into the four-inch pipe at the bottom, so that the two-inch pipe wouldn’t flop around inside. Then I set the four-inch pipe into the toilet flange. The flange gives the pipe enough support so that the dummy stands on its own.

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That worked out fine, but a dummy is a whole lot more useful if it can be easily moved, so when one of our desk chairs broke, I put the internal connector onto the stem of the chair’s chassis, like this:

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Then I just slipped the four-inch pipe assembly and the toilet flange over the connector, which gave me a rolling dummy.

So that’s the old version.

Last month, while scouting out home repair stuff, I noticed that Lowe’s still had some black PVC pipe in stock. Sleek, elegant black pipe! I bought it, and unexpectedly realized that my first stand (the white one above) was a lot more complicated than it needed to be.

At the hardware store, I assembled this kit:

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The black pipe across the top isn’t as heavy as my original white pipe: It’s just three inches in diameter. The salvaged office chair base (whoops, not from the hardware store; it’s the one I already had) is on the left, and to the right of it are a PVC ring connector, and a PVC pipe cap (all from the plumbing supplies department).

After removing the old white two-inch pipe from inside the dummy, I slipped the new black pipe into the internal skeleton. Then I placed the black PVC ring on the stem of the chair base. The vertical black pipe fit into the ring, and voilĂ ! my stand rolled again.

As a finishing touch, I removed the neck pipe, cut a new piece in black, attached the PVC cap (just so that it would match the rest of the stand), and that was it:

finstnd-200

I can’t remember why my first version was so much more complicated. Serious overkill! My dummy is just lightweight duct tape and fiberfill, and doesn’t need the additional support of the larger pipe and inserts, although they would certainly be excellent for a heavier or larger dummy than mine.

I’m quite pleased with my new stand. It took only minutes to put together, and the black pipe is so much more attractive. Next up? A new dummy. I think I’ll make it of white duct tape, just so I can enjoy the contrast with the stand.

Categories: Tools Tags:

Shapes Plus One Tunic

January 24th, 2009 2 comments

I’ve been looking for styles with easy shapes, ones that I can make from linen, and tops that will be cool and comfortable for summer. I’d been thinking about the Shapes Plus One Tunic (from Sewing Workshop) for a while, and Barbara V.’s PR review finally inspired me to make it. I’d wondered about the pattern, but decided that it was just too boxy to work for me. Then I saw Barbara’s photos (her dress looks fantastic!) and changed my mind and bought a length of a gauzy cotton-linen blend to make a muslin.

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Cutting it out couldn’t have been simpler: This tunic is made from two, differently-sized rectangles. To sew it up, the side of one rectangle is offset on the other, creating a flange that drapes along the side of the finished top. (Barbara, by the way, removed this flange, and lengthened the tunic into a dress, giving it a somewhat different look.)

Although I’d marked stitching lines carefully, this simple step (attaching the two rectangles to each other) stumped me, and I had a lot of trouble visualizing exactly what I was supposed to do. (Maybe I haven’t been sewing enough lately?) The design is a little counter-intuitive, but, of course, that’s part of what I liked about it. Putting sticky notes on the right and wrong sides of my fabric (they were identical) would have been a really good move, and would have helped with the next step, which involves inverting the tunic and essentially sewing a tube.

The instructions call for a narrow turned hem which is stitched, turned and stitched again. This didn’t work for me, largely because I’d forgotten that I have two damaged fingers on my left hand, and just can’t manage such detailed work consistently any more. (That sounds ridiculous, but I prefer to think that it just means that I’ve adapted to an old injury so well that I’d forgotten all about it.)

The result was that I started off doing a narrow hem, and then realized that wasn’t going to be sustainable, and then switched to a different method — except that I didn’t think I could tear out the right seam (fabric too loosely woven and fragile; seam allowance too narrow). This meant that I ended up with a collar that has a narrow hem on the right side, and the edging I finally used everywhere else. Strangely, it doesn’t look nearly as odd as this sounds, so this won’t keep me from wearing it.

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I ended up finishing the edges with a light buttonhole stitch, which, even though it sounds a little odd itself, worked out well. The collar and flange still drape, and it the top still shouldn’t disintegrate every time it’s washed.

In my lightweight cotton-linen, the collar stands up dramatically, which is kind of cool, but also definitely gives me the shoulder of a linebacker, at least on the left side. The drama value ranks with Aretha Franklin’s fantastic inaugural hat, which makes it fun, but also an attention-grabbing Statement. When the event calls for it, perfect! Otherwise, it’s a bit overpowering. And I think I’m with Barbara on the flange; it’s part of what defines the tunic, but it also just looks kind of irrelevant once the top’s made. It just sort of hangs there, lacking all of the cachĂ© of the pattern sketch. Theirs:

swtun

Mine:

tncfrt-200

The collar rests a bit awkwardly, too, probably because it’s just folded back above the horizontal shoulder stitching. The topstitching and the shoulder line are sort of battling it out, and neither one is winning. Here’s the back:

tncbk-200

All wrinkly; I know. The sewing room’s being rearranged, and I’m not willing to haul out the iron. Besides, this is how it will look after I’ve had it on for five minutes anyway. It doesn’t bother me; I love the look of wrinkled linen!

The pattern itself is fine; the markings are clear and accurate. Will I make it again? Well, probably not. I love the clever engineering, but somehow the results didn’t seem worth the all the bother trying to figure out if I was assembling it the way I was supposed to.

On the other hand, I learned something important about the way I chose patterns. I’m drawn to boxy, rectangular, “artsy”-type clothing. That’s seems to be because, somehow, I actually believe that I’m a blonde, lean, six-foot tall Swede, with a formidable presence and long, long legs.

If you met me in the flesh, those of you with a closer grip on reality would realize that I’m blonde all right (and always have been), but I’m also 5’2″, with who-knows-what-kind-of-presence, short legs and curvy little body even when I’m very thin. Ouch!

Really, I do much better with clothes that fit my shape, rather than depending on height and long legs for style. Now I just need to remember this moment of insight the next time I’m cruising for new duds!

Verdict: This pattern really didn’t work for me, but it’s probably (mostly!) not the fault of Shapes. (Do you think Barbara is a tall, elegant Swede? Her tunic looked great!)

Ann made an interesting variation by cutting the hem asymmetrically, which you can see on her blog. I think it works really well.

For an absolutely great Sewing Workshop pattern, see their Soho Coat. I love that coat!

Categories: Tops Tags:

Pattern Weights

January 23rd, 2009 6 comments

Dawn, of Two On, Two Off, mentioned After the Dress in her post today, where there is an interesting post about pattern weights. My weights are the crudest, simplest ones available:

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Yep, just giant washers from my local hardware store. For years, I’ve meant to cover them with Ultrasuede in a rainbow of colors, but now that they live on a pegboard, that’s not going to happen, because this is the easiest, most accessible way to store them ever:

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After the Dress has an amusing list of things people use for weights, but what surprised me most is that a lot of people use weights only with rotary cutters. Not me!

Of course, I’m not a quilter, and I tend to think of a rotary cutter as being most useful for cutting long strips of fabric for strip quilting or bindings. I’ve used my Olfa for rectangular cutting on occasion, but never really gotten comfortable with it. The control my various scissors offer just works best for me.

So I use my weights exclusively with scissors. After years of practice, I get no distortion at all, but I’m also careful not to use the weights near the cutting edge. Instead, I place them at least an inch (and probably closer to two inches) from where my scissor blade will go.

I use a LOT of weights, too, spacing them evenly across the pattern piece, using different sizes depending on whether the area to cut is large or smaller. Then, as I cut, I put my other hand flat against the fabric right next to where I’m cutting.

This method works much better for me than pinning knit fabric, where inevitably there’s a slight shift as the scissors move from the point where a pin is to the area adjacent, where there isn’t one for a small distance.

I regularly use pattern weights for knits, but find them really indispensable for anything silky. Nothing keeps slippery material from shifting like a few ounces (or even pounds) of strategically placed metal.

After the Dress also mentions Peacock Chic’s pack of adorable owl weights, which wouldn’t be very convenient to store, but would be great to have cheering you on while you work!

Categories: Tools Tags:

Vogue 7862 – Brocade Bag

January 13th, 2009 4 comments

One of the gifts I received this holiday season was this beautiful brocade fabric, which Mr. Noile’s mother Trilby and I had spied earlier in the year at a favorite shop.

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Trilby snuck back later and bought a piece for me. The rich burgundy, gold and rust colors aren’t my usual ones, but I’m planning to make some neutral linens this summer, and this should be a gorgeous accent for them.

Trilby and I share a love of bags, and she had a tote in mind when she gave me the fabric, but somehow it was Vogue 7862 that I thought of when I was deciding what to do with it:

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The bag’s design is a bit odd, and I thought it looked a little more like apparel than like a purse. I figured the brocade would enhance that feeling (and it did!). I hadn’t looked at any reviews, so I was surprised when I discovered that the pattern has only three pockets: one in each of the shoulder straps (like the ones in my Keen bag and knock-off: love those!), and a large one in the main body of the bag.

I had assumed that the large front pocket was actually two; there’s a vertical zipper that I’d figured somehow divided the main pocket. I’d also assumed that there was another full-sized pocket across the body of the bag. (Obviously, research wasn’t a big part of this project.)

Standing in an interminable line at JoAnn’s gave me a chance to read the pattern and realize how wrong I was. On the plus side, the wait was long enough that I was also able to figure out how out how I’d alter the pattern to better suit my needs.

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Sandra Betzina claims that this is “the perfect travel purse”, but that’s only true if you don’t mind having everything you own fall out when you open the main zipper. Not my idea of good travel gear.

On the other hand, I really liked the look of that vertical line. To solve this vexing problem, I assembled the front pocket using Betzina’s design, but attached lining pieces to the backside of the front pocket along the zipper edges:

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Then I added an extra lining piece behind the combined pieces:

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Before I assembled the body of the bag, I added an invisible zipper across the back of the bag. When the front and back were sewn together, this gave me two pockets in the main body: One, with the vertical zipper in front, and one in back, with a horizontal zipper. I made a simple lining for the rear pocket, and attached it by hand to the zipper tape inside the bag.

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This hidden rear pocket is a lot more practical, and much easier to use than the designer pocket in front.

If you wanted to add an internal zipper pocket for a wallet, this alteration would let you do that pretty easily — just add it to the back lining before stitching it in place. Getting into an internal, hidden zip pocket from that vertical front zipper would be a bit grueling, but would be easy through this wide opening in the back of the bag.

Invisible zippers and I have a tortured history, but I think I’m finally beginning to get the knack of installing them. I finally figured out that placing the zipper perfectly into the invisible zipper foot right at the start makes all the difference; the foot then automatically rolls the zipper teeth into the correct position for close stitching. (Yeah, I know — I’m a little slow.)

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The “seam” appearance made by the invisible zippers really is perfect for this bag, and it doesn’t hurt that a print like this one hides a multitude of invisible zipper sins. I especially liked the one I used in the extra main pocket — at a quick glance, you’d never know the pocket is there at all.

Betzina has you interface the straps only to a point just into the hidden pockets. After I constructed the straps, I realized that the fragile threads on the wrong side of my brocade would disintegrate a little bit every time I took my phone or keys out of the unlined pockets. That meant that lining them was essential.

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I cut two strap pocket lining pieces with one folded edge, stitched up the open side, and inserted them. Take my advice, and do this before you make the straps. Doing it afterward is something of a challenge. (At least I hadn’t edge-stitched before I added the lining — taking that out would have been a nightmare.)

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Because my fabric was a fairly soft and fluid one, I used a heavier-than-usual interfacing. My thinking was that this would make the strap a bit more comfortable to wear by providing some unseen padding, and that worked out well. It did make turning the straps challenging, though, so I used a giant kilt pin (carefully pinned into a seam allowance) to pull the end through. Worked like a charm!

I decided that I didn’t want to take the time to design custom internal pockets for this bag, which is for special occasions rather than everyday use, but that left the problem of how to handle gear that I might want for a day trip into the city, for example. I solved this by attaching small snap hooks inside the main pocket:

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And then by adding tiny d-rings to my transferable pockets:

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This worked out really well, and now I plan to use this trick with all my future “fashion” bags. I’m thinking that I’ll be able to make so many more if the internal pockets travel from one to another so easily — a girl just can’t make too many bags, don’t you think?

Here’s how the transferable pockets look clipped inside the bag (it’s turned inside out so that you can see it better):

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I made the petite version, which has a shorter strap and a slightly smaller body than the regular version, and really appreciated having this option. It fits my body well, and, as I suspected it would, this bag feels more like clothing than like a purse — a quality I’m really enjoying. To give you an idea of size, here it is on my un-draped, petite-dummy-torso:

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This is quite a fun pattern, however, I’ve got to say that there is something particularly nervy about claiming a retail price of $16.95 USD for a pattern that involves only four pieces (three of them perfectly ordinary rectangles), and one small instruction sheet. There’s no real value add here, either, for, although Betzina mentions embellishing the bag (a fun idea), she doesn’t offer any suggestions for how to do it.

The envelope calls for a yard of 60 inch fabric, but I had almost exactly 3/4 of a yard of 56 inch fabric, and was able to fit all the pieces for the petite bag with no problem (but without an inch to spare). This won’t work if you’re cutting a fabric with nap, though; then you’ll need the full yard for the petite size.

Isn’t this the best kind of gift? It’s a present, and an adventure! Thanks, Trilby (and — forgive me — dear Mr. Trilby, too)!

Categories: Bags Tags:

Transferable Pockets for a Bag

January 12th, 2009 Comments off

Five or six years ago, I made a strip of pockets and used it all the time in my work totes. The idea was to have all my stuff (phone, Palm Pilot, Moleskine, business cards, etc.) in one place for quick grabbing during the morning rush. After I stopped working at an office, I tended to use bags with internal tailored pockets, so this little gadget stayed in a drawer. I’ve resurrected it for a new project, though (more about that later), and decided to post a description here.

Planning was really important here. Before I cut, I laid out everything I thought I’d want to put in the pockets. I’m no longer using the same stuff, but here’s an idea of what I would put in mine now:

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In this picture there’s a comb, a Moleskine datebook, lip balm, a phone, a small flashlight, a pocket wallet, earbuds, and an MP3 player. I also planned a pocket for my camera (in use at the time this picture was taken!) and another small notebook.

My finished strip measures 25 inches by 5 1/2 inches, so I cut two pieces of nylon ripstop that size, plus a small seam allowance, for the main fabric and the lining. I also cut a light interfacing to give the pockets some structure. I wanted an identification holder, so I figured out where it should go on the outside of the pocket strip, and stitched a clear plastic window in place before sewing the pocket strip. Then I assembled the strips right side to right side, with the interfacing against the wrong side of the fabric pieces, and stitched around three sides, leaving an opening on one short side for turning.

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Then I turned it right side out, and, placing each item where I wanted it, defined the pockets with pins. Above the identification card I placed three narrow pockets: Lip balm goes in one and I carry a small dental brush in another (thanks to a horrible orthodontist whose talents still affect my teeth). I can’t remember what I kept in the third small slot years ago, but a digital camera battery would fit there nicely now. Here’s what the finished pockets look like, stuffed and folded up:

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I like using dark ripstop or a microfiber for sport linings because it’s very lightweight but strong, shows little wear or dirt, washes up nicely and dries quickly. Because it’s a little hard to see inside a purse or bag, though, I color-coded most of the pockets after I’d decided where each one would be.

After figuring out the pocket placement, I opened the strip back out and added bright grosgrain ribbon tabs to the tops of most of the pockets . Then all that was left to do was to sew the vertical lines, and close up the side opening.

You can see the finished tabs easily when the pockets are rolled up:

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I wasn’t the only one to have this neat idea. Not long after I made mine, a whole bunch of similar organizers turned up all over the place. Small wonder — they’re really useful, fun to make, and are a great gift, too! If you’re more creative than I am, yours could be really beautiful, too: Instead of ripstop, consider using silk, a set of retro prints, or maybe even chiffon and satin for evening.

Categories: Accessories Tags:

Storage Bag for an Inflatable Bed

January 8th, 2009 Comments off

stor-bag-3001Project three of the new year was a really simple one. An inflatable bed needed a storage sack so that it didn’t get punctured while being hauled around. I used a double faced quilt and made this ungainly thing. It’s especially wonky-looking because the pump is stuffed in on top. In this household, we’ve learned to keep all the bits and pieces together. Makes for a much better experience later.

There are two small buttonholes on each side of the top opening. with a single drawstring through the front of the bag, and another drawstring across the back of the bag. It’s much easier to open and close the bag with the two strings, instead of using a single one. There’s a cord-lock toggle on either side of the opening to keep the strings from disappearing into the casing, and to keep the bag shut neatly.

stor-square-3001 I like a defined bottom on all my bags, since it makes them easier to load gear into, and also easier to store, as they tend to stand upright a bit better. (And they look so much nicer!) It took only a minute to stitch across the corners at the bottom and give the bag some shape.

Seriously bad photo, I’m afraid. I should resolve to do something about my photography skills this year, but I’m hoping to have too much fun sewing instead.

Categories: Bags Tags:

Grab Loops on a Window Shade

January 6th, 2009 Comments off

The second task of the new year was this somewhat peculiar project. Our laundry room has a window above the washer and dryer, but I’m just too short to reach the shade that covers it. The shade itself is ugly, I’m afraid, but it’s also very different from (and better than) anything I could find to replace it. It’s very heavy vinyl, and completely blocks light. It also works very, very well. And, as I couldn’t help noting when I considered replacing it, it’s already installed. Putting up new shades in the sewing room was a nightmare I’m not eager to experience again.

grab-trim-3001What I needed was some kind of handle. I probably should have crocheted a small ring and strung it from the bottom, but I’m just not up for crocheting right now. Instead, I put up a yellow and blue valance, and found matching colors in grosgrain ribbon for this trim-and-grab-loop solution.

The yellow quarter-inch ribbon is stitched over the blue, one-inch grosgrain. I had a sewing machine foot that I thought would make the job of sewing one to the other easy by letting me thread the narrower ribbon through the foot, but it turned out that the ribbon proportions were wrong. After a few practice scraps, though, I figured out how to feed the ribbons evenly by hand, and got a pretty good result.

I couldn’t find an adhesive that worked on the shade, so I had to figure out how to get the stripe to stay in place. In the end, I ran the ribbon completely around the shade, going through the slot at the bottom where a wooden slat goes to make the shade more sturdy. Underneath the trim, and just above the slat, I carefully cut two buttonhole-like slits, and ran the back of each loop through each one. That way, when I pull on the loops, the pressure is on the slat, not on the shade itself.

The horizontal ribbon strip is just pinned inside the slat’s sleeve. (Don’t tell anyone!) Logistically, it was too difficult to try to stitch it, and I was worried that I might need to tighten it up later. The loops are discreetly hand-stitched closed, since putting the entire shade under the sewing machine wasn’t an option.

Mr. Noile isn’t wild about the look; he says it’s a bit utilitarian, and he’s got a point. Considering the issues, though, I think it’s a good solution for now. And that dreadful fringe? Well, that’s for another day. In the meantime, I’ll just call it vintage, and appreciate its historical value.

Categories: Home Tags:

The New Year, In a Small Way

January 4th, 2009 Comments off

The family has gone, and the house reassembled, so, obviously, it’s time to start sewing again! Several things were left unfinished after a mad final quarter in 2008 when I was frantically filing and organizing the house. On Friday, I got them done.

First was this small valance for the upstairs bathroom. Neither of us is entirely crazy about having this wonderful print on a wall, exactly, but it does fit the personality of our 1952 bathroom just fine:

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In keeping with my new-found resolution to use up as much stash as possible, the curtain is lined with a sheet that’s been kicking around, allegedly as ‘muslin’, for a few years. Instead of sewing a rod pocket across both fabrics, I attached the main fabric to the lining with enough of a seam allowance in the lining to allow me to make a pocket for the rod in in the lining alone.

Making the pocket rod a little snug keeps the valance in place (no lining creep in the top), and lets the main fabric fall directly from the rod. Unless a curtain is gathered, I really don’t like the way the rod pockets (and stitching) look when you can see them from the front.. This was a good way to keep the focus on the print, not on the construction.

(Yes, that’s an awful line on the blinds where my hand-cleaning stopped. It turns out that you CAN remove 30 years of accumulated dirt from fragile blinds — you just have to go very slowly, one slat at a time. I’ll be getting back to that one of these days. I got distracted by all the more necessary blinds that were breaking, and thus in dire need of immediate attention, on the other twenty-six windows in the house.)

Categories: Home Tags: