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Dogbone Pillow

October 19th, 2020 No comments

So I’ve had to learn to sleep  on my back (ugh) . This has not been a nice process, and has involved a lot of more-or-less ineffectual trial-and-error experimentation. The latest iteration — and one that seems to be working! — involves this triangular pillow.

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Categories: 2020, Accessories, Covid Tags:

Masks? Why, Yes

October 11th, 2020 No comments

Herein, a brief history of my life with masks. (Hail, Covid!)  I began researching and sewing when urgent calls went out in early 2020 from institutions desperate for any kind of masks at all.  Home sewers like me took to their machines, and produced vast quantities of the things when, somehow, our government just couldn’t get it together to support our first-line medical care providers.

My own initial effort was a pack of thirty surgical-style masks with filter pockets donated to a big city hospital, quickly followed by just under 130 more of the same style donated to an assisted living facility where a loved relative lives.

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Categories: 2020, Covid, DIY Tags:

Talvikki Mash-Up

October 5th, 2020 2 comments

I bought the Named Talvikki pattern strictly for the neckline, because I didn’t want to draft it myself. This was just as well, since the neckline was the only part of the pattern that came close to fitting me. But ohhh, what a neckline! For someone like me, who wants to live in sweatshirts, but hates the standard styles, this collar makes all the difference.

The bottom line is that Named patterns are not made for smallish, 5’2″/157cm people. Nothing — other than the neck/collar — about this pattern worked for vertically-challenged me. Since the collar is stunning, though, I simply franken-patterned the rest, combining it with Vogue 8854, from which I’d made a batch of sweatshirts many years ago.

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Categories: 2020, Covid, Tops Tags:

Dowager on a Converted Tote Bag

September 27th, 2020 2 comments

I spied an odd canvas tote at the Freer Gallery several years ago. It was just black canvas, but the (rather nicely done) print on the front was Philip Evergood’s Dowager in a Wheelchair. (Yes, the name’s not his original one.)  The painting is in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, where I’m afraid I still haven’t seen it.

Although Evergood called his inspiration “tragic“, I loved the indomitably of his subject; the (intended) evocation of vulnerability in a privileged person, and the vibrancy of New York life (Evergood says it’s Madison Avenue, and it clearly is the Upper East Side, right?) crashing all around the dowager and her ghostly, younger, attendant.

I didn’t need a tote bag, so I converted it to a backpack so that I could easily transport my Cricket rigid heddle loom.

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Categories: Bags, Weaving Tags:

Scooter Handlebar Bag

September 21st, 2020 No comments

Sometimes — that is, some non-Covid time — when I’m in a city — looking at you, Washington, New York, and various other smaller, sidewalk-enhanced locations — I like to have a small (non-electric) scooter with me. This is especially nice in summer in Washington, where it’s often possible to work around pedestrian routes, and where the humidity and heat are only enhanced by zipping through summer on wheels.

But my little scooter needed a bag. Topo Designs makes a great bike bag, and I really, really wanted to buy theirs, but it’s way too big for my scooter, so I took inspiration from their slightly kooky triangle shape and made my own.

That strap is actually a bright bold red. Sadly, I’m someone who sews,
not someone who actually knows how to use a camera phone.

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Categories: 2020, Bags, Covid Tags:

V1642 Sweatshirting Done Differently

September 14th, 2020 No comments

It makes very little sense, even in ordinary times, for me to wear anything other than sweatshirts at home. I live with a herd of cats, all of whom have highly functional claws, and with whom I interact all the time. Sweatshirts can take that kind of heat.  But sweatshirts are b-o-r-i-n-g.

When I saw this pattern, though, I was chuffed.

It didn’t hurt a bit when I went out to buy it, eons ago, and one of my favorite people at my local store asked me if I’d seen this new release — “I saw that, and I knew it was YOU!” he said. He was so right!

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Categories: 2020, Tops Tags:

Maywood Totepack

July 26th, 2020 No comments

It’s literally been years since I posted here, but now, in the middle of Pandemic 2020, there’s been time to clean things up and re-start. And what better post to begin anew with than Klum House‘s Maywood Totepack? It might be coffee time — this is a loooong post!

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Categories: 2020, Bags, Covid Tags:

Kwik Sew 3463: Skinny Pocket Version

March 17th, 2014 No comments

This post marks the beginning of “historic” posts from 2014, before I took a long break from blogging:

Once I’d made one tunic, I made another and then another, each time varying the pockets and and the neck bands.

kspk

This is the second of four:  Pink isn’t really my thing, but I can’t seem to resist stripes, and this was a lovely, soft, cotton knit.

kspkpt

The pockets, in this case, are skinny and vertical, just wide enough to put a hand into, and they’re set perpendicular to the main stripes.  I didn’t want my stitches to conflict with the stripes on the fabric, so I carefully attached the pockets by sewing along one of the skinny white stripes.

ksppkst

That gave the pocket attachment a much more deliberate look, and also made the white topstitching look more organic than it would have if run across the pink stretch.

Instead of making a neck band, I faced the neck edge with a strip of fabric, cut crosswise and then turned under.

kspnh

I didn’t have a coverstitch machine when I made this, and you can see that I had some trouble making consistently-sized stitches on the second (lower) row.  Stitching near the bulk of the seamline is much more consistent.

The seamline between the facing and the tunic is to the right in the photo below; that strip is the facing, turned inside.  I like this finish better than simply turning the edge of the garment in and stitching; the facing strip gives a little more substance, and a more finished look.

Because I didn’t have the extra width of the band called for by the pattern, my neckline is larger and lower than the one designed by Kwik Sew.  Next time, I’d alter the pattern so that mine doesn’t turn out this wide.

The Kwik Sew pattern is excellent; I did change up the shape of the skirt to make it flare in an “A” shape.   Construction is really simple .  .  .

kspstr

.  .  .  but skinny-stripe matching less so.  I was really annoyed that these weren’t perfect, but perfection is hard to find!

ktnc-400

I hope this isn’t one of the huge number of Kwik Sew patterns Big Pattern kills — it’s fun and versatile, and a great stepping stone for playing around with various decorative elements.

See different versions of this pattern:

Color-Blocked Tunic with Hidden Pocket

Categories: Tops Tags:

Color-Blocked Tunic with Hidden Pocket

February 27th, 2014 2 comments

(This is a “catch-up” post from long before now.)

The past few year has just evaporated for me, with lots and lots going on that kept me far from my sewing room.  I’m looking forward to spending a lot more time there in the future than I have lately.

But first, I have a backlog of posts that have yet to make it to the interwebs.  First up, the Parade of Tunics. In my new-found devotion to being comfortable at all costs, I adapted this Kwik Sew pattern:

An elongated tunic like this just doesn’t do anything for me, so I flared the skirt, and then worked up a muslin. I’m in love with the idea of wearing PJs all the time, and apparently want to be able to go out so clad, too.  My plan was to make a tried-and-true pattern I could use for all seasons, with variations.

The muslin has a geometric panel, and (my favorite feature) a hidden pocket:

Miss Bedelia, nude as she is under the tunic, is not the best model for knits, since her wire frame protrudes distractingly, but I’m loving using her, and she’s the only dummy I have at the moment who is my size.

To make the panel, I traced the pattern, cut, slashed, and added seam allowances as required.  Easy-peasy, really.  I added an invisible zipper to the seam, with access to the hidden pocket:

I used an embroidered twill for the pocket.  It’s covered in bees, which is amusing, but the fabric is really too stiff to be discreet, so it’s a bit bulkier than it should be.

Hey, this was a muslin, so why not?  I’m not crazy about this particular tunic, but it’s still a lot of fun to wear, and if a tee shirt can’t be fun, what good is it?

The solid contrasting colors don’t send me, but this was also an exercise in stash-busting, so I’m dealing with it.

Kwik Sew patterns have always been sort of the step-children of the pattern world, and quite under-rated, I think.  I’ve always found them to be utterly reliable, and great starting points for exercising some imagination.  I was saddened to learn that Big Pattern has bought Kwik Sew, and the inevitable degeneration has begun:  No more lovely heavy pattern paper, a greatly pared-down catalog, and, soon, I presume, extinction.

Categories: Tops Tags:

Simplicity 1775: Cape

February 23rd, 2014 4 comments

This is one of those patterns with two numbers.  Here’s 1775, with a cluttered, uninteresting envelope graphic

and here’s 0311, with the trendy buffalo plaid, and the silly accessories marginalized

I made my cape out of PUL, the laminate that JoAnn sells in their strange little diapering department.  PUL is a polyurethane laminate; in this case, it’s probably bonded to polyester; the fabric itself is a knit.

Instead of making the tie, I shortened and interfaced the belt, added wide hook-and-loop fastening, and used two over-sized buttons as a faux closure. The belt’s a little loose here; it’s a very nice feature, though, and gives the cape a slim line.

The length and proportions were right for me.  I wanted the cape to cover my tush, so that I could wear leggings with it. Tall people might want to alter that — the length is the same for all sizes, and if it’s just right for 5’2″ me, it may be far too short for average height, or taller, people.

The pattern calls for a lining, but I wanted this cape to be as light as possible, to make stowing it in a bag easy. To finish it, I turned the edges, and coverstitched:

The white laminate leaves the impression of a lining, and the coverstitch makes it all look deliberate.

I thought that the PUL would be difficult to work with; it wasn’t, except for turning the belt casing. In that case, the material tended to cling to itself. Folding and stitching could have solved that problem, but, as the belt is wide, I was able to turn it by keeping at it, patiently.

Pinning is a bad idea when sewing PUL, though theoretically possible if you stick to the seam allowances, as you must when sewing leather or leather-like synthetics. For the hem, I used binder clips:

These are “smalls” and “minis”, which I used liberally, to make sure the hem curves stayed in place.

This method worked perfectly, and the clips left no marks. I found this container at the office supply store, which lets me keep the clips sorted by size, and minimized the mess while working with them:

The pattern has some nice features: the facing pieces have only two sizes, so it’s actually possible to see the cutting lines; the ink on the tissue pattern is dark, and very easy to see and use (unlike the very pale inks sometimes encountered with the rest of the big four companies); and there’s an extra, appreciated, touch to the design — belt loops in the back:

The belt circles around the back, goes through the loops, and then into two “buttonholes”, along the torso, then out two more “buttonholes” in the front. This holds the cape close to the body, making it much easier to wear than an unrestrained cape. The sides are wide, enough, though, that my arms don’t feel too constrained while wearing it.

The PUL material is somewhat breathable, but we’re not talking Gore-Tex here. It is light and flexible, which made it a good choice for a cape that will spend much of its life folded, only to be brought out in an emergency. The pattern called for topstitching all around the bottom edges of the facing, but the PUL was  not going to cooperate with that, so I settled for edgestitching around the neckline.

ycbh

In another concession to the fabric, I didn’t do machine-made buttonholes; instead I faced (and interfaced) rectangular, buttonhole-sized cuts in the material, turned the facing, and edgestitched all around. It’s a cleaner look, and should wear better.

The inside facing just floats; that works fine in this material.

ycrev

I wasn’t brave enough to do the same for the button at the neck edge, though (or for those on the belt). At the neck, I simply made an ordinary buttonhole. I doubt it will wear as well, but dealing with all the layers of cape, interfacing, seam junctions, and facing was just too daunting.

There’s a separate hood pattern included, but it’s basically a rectangle, and I wasn’t tempted to make it. If I want a hood, I’ll draft one myself, or I’ll look for one with shaping.  An over-sized rectangle isn’t very pleasant to wear, or manage, in rain.

Printing two envelopes is kind of a waste of ink, isn’t it? And/or effort? And using two numbers is confusing, isn’t it, especially if you’re looking for reviews . . .

Categories: Coats/Capes/Wraps Tags: