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Vogue 8407: Boarding Pass Case

February 18th, 2014 4 comments

I’ve been meaning to make a boarding pass case for  me and one for Mr. Noile for quite a while.  Now that both our passports have RFID chips, I decided the time had come.

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There’s really nothing to drafting one of these things; it’s essentially a set of pockets on a string.  I had this pattern in my stash from years ago, though, so I started with it.  Then I changed it up as needed for my own requirements. Here is side 1:

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(Bad photo:  The case is squared properly, honest!)  I used dupioni silk to keep the case as light as possible.  My boarding pass cases go through TSA in the same clear plastic bag as my personal electronics, so I used the brightest colors possible to ensure that I can track the packet easily as it goes through the screening process.

The pattern called for cardboard as a interior reinforcement, but that strikes me as really unwise, since there’s nothing much worse than rotting cardboard inside anything one depends on for travel, and getting wet sometimes happens.  Instead, I cut support pieces from the thinnest quilting template plastic I could find, then rounded the corners slightly so that they would not cut through the silk.

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Because RFID chips broadcast to anyone with a reader — that would be anyone who’s interested, not just your friendly snoopy government — I wrapped foil around the templates.  Aluminium blocks the radio frequency. Commercial pass cases are available that theoretically have the same protections, but tend to be bulky, heavy, and expensive.    Here’s a snippet from CNN describing the effect:

Wrapping your passport in aluminum foil actually works. It is called a “Faraday Cage,” and it’s the same thing that protects you from the microwaves as you watch your popcorn pop. The foil blocks electromagnetic waves so a nearby chip reader can’t force your passport chip to perk up and say “howdy.”

Accordingly, I cut heavy-duty aluminium foil to size

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and wrapped the templates.  I lined all of the pockets with foil, since many credit cards now also come chipped, which makes them vulnerable to remote ID theft,  too.

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This pattern is another one of Vogue’s failures: There are lots and lots of small rectangular pattern pieces which Vogue (or whomever) has avoided labeling, even though there is plenty of space to do so.  I transferred the information, but, come on, that was a pain, and why was it even necessary?

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Really, Vogue?  You couldn’t be bothered?

The pocket edges are meant to be bound;  here are two very unhelpful pattern pieces for the binding, which, bizarrely,  don’t even have the pattern piece numbers printed on them.  That information is on the swath of otherwise blank tissue paper proximate to these pieces.

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Instead of binding the edges, which would have been a huge pain in the silk, I ended up reinforcing the pocket tops with narrow grosgrain ribbon.  We’ll see how that holds up.

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This project was sewn on my vintage travel machine:  a Kenmore 1030.   That’s the zipper foot above, doing double duty as an edge stitcher.  I hadn’t sewn on this machine in a while, and was reminded all over again what a excellent little powerhorse it is.

The pattern calls for an around-the-neck ribbon.  That’s cute, but a lousy idea for something worn while travelling, and the instructions didn’t provide for any length adjustment, which might matter depending on how, and over what, you wear the case. bc-cl

I used round cord — nicer against the neck — and added a cord-lock so that I could control the length.  I strung a  bead — a really ugly plastic bead! — onto the cord to keep the toggle from sliding off the end.

Most, if not all, of the pockets in the pattern are open.  That’s not a very good idea, either, in my opinion.  I prefer to ensure that crucial documents and cards — not to mention currency — are locked down, so I added zippers to two pockets, and hook-and-loop fasteners to a third.

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Above is side 2.   The shadows on the red pocket are dips in light caused by two sew-on hook-and-loop fasteners inside the pocket. The ridge on the right is a pen sleeve; that’s a nice touch.  I’ll keep a small notebook or a few index cards in the pocket next to it, since the ability to jot a note is a fine one to exploit when on the run.

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I did leave one large pocket open on  side 1 for quick access to a boarding pass.  And I made one other change:  The lower front pocket on this side — the bright blue one here — is meant to have a clear window into which you can pop your ID.

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Since the whole world doesn’t need to know who I am, or where I’m from, or what my address is, and since I travel on a passport rather than with a driving license, I made this pocket opaque.  And I added a zipper, so that anything in it can be safely contained.  I stitched grosgrain ribbon along the zipper edges for support, and for a cleaner-looking finish.

Since this project is essentially just stacked rectangles, it would be an easy one to draft yourself, and not much more trouble than figuring out where Vogue has hidden the many unlabelled pattern pieces on the tissue.  That’s the route I’d have taken if I hadn’t already owned the pattern.

All that’s required is to figure out what pockets you want, stitch them to each backing piece (front and back), put the right sides together, add a neck string, stitch around the main pieces, turn and close up the opening.  As I wasn’t much of a fan of the instructions in general (cardboard support, ribbon neck tape, open pockets, failure to label pattern pieces)  I’d give this pattern the rare “D” grade — barely passing.

Categories: Accessories, Adventure/Travel Tags:

Modifying a Pacsafe Bag

March 10th, 2013 2 comments

I’m generally a fan of pacsafe bags, which have metal mesh screening inside to make them travel-safe — or at least slash-resistant — in environments where that might be a risk.

I like this bag, a citysafe 350 GII, especially, because the herringbone exterior does not scream “travel baggage”.  I hope the fabric wears as well as more typical ones do; the jury’s out on that.  In use, though, this bag had more than one flaw.  The most serious of these is the lack of an exterior pocket, something almost every reviewer has complained about (and with good reason!).

True, there is a small hidden pocket in one rear seam, but that’s not convenient for anything larger than about 4 inches by 6 inches.  (And it’s got issues, too, since pacsafe calls it a “passport pocket”, but lists an RFID-blocker as a feature of the GII 350.  The RFID pocket — meant to block radio frequency waves emitted by passports and financial cards — is actually inside the bag and isn’t relevant to this particular pocket.)

After being annoyed once too many times by my inability to stick a guide book, a subway map, an e-reader, the outgoing mail, or anything at all into an easy-to-access outer pocket, I took a brave pill or two, and cut into the bag.  First I marked it carefully:

No, whoops, that’s not what I did first. First, I cut a piece of plastic quilting template into the shape I wanted for the finished pocket. Slipping the quilting template into the finished pocket keeps the pocket from riding up when it’s used. The template holds the pocket in place, but is thin and light enough to be almost unnoticeable.

(Note the round corners instead of angled ones that might have cut through the pocket.)

Then I cut two pieces of lining material for my new pocket, the same shape as the template, but with seam allowances — and forgot to photograph them. (Can you tell I haven’t had much practice, lately, at being a sewing blogger?)

Then I marked one piece of the pocket lining, and pinned it to the outside of the pacsafe bag.

In my fantasy, I was going to be able to do this on my machine . . . that was a nice dream.  Instead, I ended up sewing by hand.  Happily, the herringbone helped to keep my stitches even.  Once the placket was sewn (twice-stitched for strength), I blanket-stitched the edges to stabilize them, and to prevent raveling.

Then I turned the lining to the inside, and attached the back of the pocket to the piece that formed the placket — that was tricky, but feasible, with a little patience.

I sewed the seam around the pocket bag three times; this fabric is probably fake dupioni, and frays like crazy.  Once that was done, I tucked the new pocket into place inside the bag, and hand-stitched, invisibly, all around the placket opening.

Once the placket was reinforced, I inserted the zipper.  Huge improvement!  I use this external pocket every single time I take this bag out:  Ironically, it is the single most useful feature of the bag!  With or without “anti-theft” features, a bag that is a pain to use every minute of the day isn’t really a useful bag; one external pocket changed all that.

While I was inside the bag, I solved one other nagging problem:  The side phone pocket wasn’t anchored at all.  That meant that every time I took anything in or out of it, the lining came with it.  Even worse, the lining floated out every time the zipper was opened, and regularly got stuck in the zipper coil.  Really, pacsafe, you couldn’t be bothered to anchor the pocket???

It took only a stitch or two to remedy this, though anchoring the bottom edge one was tricky, since there wasn’t much room to maneuver.  This is something that should have been done during construction.  These bags are not inexpensive; there’s not much excuse for missing something so basic.

The straps on pacsafe bags tend to be quite stiff; this is really obvious on the skinnier ones. That is an inevitable result of  designing them to limit the damage that might be caused by random cutting by bad guys.  Sadly, the buckles pacsafe put on this bag — a backpack — are completely useless for holding the straps once they’ve been adjusted to the size the wearer prefers.

The buckles are slick, with no teeth or gripping mechanism on the underside.  Even slight movement causes them to slip — it’s maddening! It’s also really dumb; buckles with teeth molded in aren’t any more expensive to make than buckles without them.  Really pacsafe??? Did anybody actually test this bag before sending to market???

I sewed tabs of athletic elastic to the bottom edge of each buckle.  This kind of elastic has grippers running along one side.  It isn’t a perfect solution — the rubber doesn’t grip quite as effectively as the right buckles would — but it’s a whole lot better than the constant annoyance of having to readjust the straps every ten minutes.

There is room in this small pack for a regular-sized water bottle, and since there are no exterior pockets for one (that’s OK with me; that’s in keeping with the more sophisticated, urban-ish look of a herringbone bag), I added an elastic loop to keep mine upright. (It’s a covered hairband, attached to the side seam.)

This really attractive bag is finally practical, and less annoying, to use, now that I’ve hacked it. At the price, though, I shouldn’t have had to do this myself.

Here’s a brief summary of the pros and cons of this bag, unmodified, pros first:

  • urban appearance that doesn’t scream “travel bag”
  • padded interior pocket for tablet or iPad
  • “RFID” pocket which may or may not block RF waves (I’ve seen articles claiming that most don’t), and won’t do anything for financial cards even if it works, unless you just dump them in the bottom of the pocket
  • key clip inside (but the clip is difficult to use and too small)
  • wide, easy access opening
  • zipper tabs lock with hidden clip
  • locking snap hook, allowing bag to be secured to stationary object (but see “cons” below)
  • “exo-mesh” on bottom of bag to thwart slashing
  • wired straps, ditto
  • grab strap on top

Cons:

  • no exterior pockets at all, not even one in the back panel, which is almost standard in the industry
  • terrible buckles on straps, which slide freely
  • only one strap has a clip; the other is permanently sewn in place, which limits strap configurations and potential ways to secure bag
  • hidden pocket lining gets caught in zipper, pulls out and catches in zipper when used
  • only two pockets inside (why not another one, or another couple, on the other side of the lining?)
  • room for a water bottle, but no way to keep it upright, which might matter if carrying electronics

These bags are not inexpensive.  As sold, I’d give this bag a C — or maybe a C-minus for the awful non-adjustablity  of the straps.  It’s just fine, though, now that I’ve made these changes.  I’m glad I sew.

Categories: Accessories, Adventure/Travel, DIY Tags:

You’re Never Too Decrepit

March 30th, 2012 8 comments

. . .  to get off the couch.  Really!  You might just need to experiment (even if it’s for years) to find the thing you love.

Today I did  my first long solo ride of the year:  22.43 miles.  Whoo-hoo!

Sadly, if I’d just ridden 2.57 more miles, I would have done a “quarter century”.  Next time!

Afterward, I came home and did my regular exercises:  Ralf Hennig’s Four Way Burn — it’s a perfect program for uncoordinated, exercise-phobic people. It doesn’t seem hard at all, but, gradually, over time, very interesting changes occur.

After four months of Ralf’s program, my muscles work together in ways I’d never dreamed they could.  Roughly 20 pleasurable minutes every other day, folks, and it’ll change your life.  (Ralf’s book is hard to find, but you can get it on Amazon for practically nothing.)

I’ve always looked kind of trim, but that didn’t mean I was healthy.  A year ago I thought walking up and down stairs was “exercise”.  Now I’m flexible and almost fit.  Who wudda guessed it?

Categories: Adventure/Travel Tags:

Trike and Trekking

February 16th, 2012 16 comments

Cidell and Trena will not be impressed, but I have a new vehicle (new, that is, as of last fall):

It’s my favorite form of transportation around town (though I’ve also taken it on vacation).  It’s much lighter (only 62 pounds) and smaller than any similar vehicle I’ve seen, and riding it feels amazingly like flying on a two-wheeler.  I love that cargo basket; surprisingly,  it’s saved me a bundle in gas.  Who knew?  (The basket, by the way, folds down if you’re not carrying cargo.  I almost always am, so mine stays up, but the versatility is  a nice feature.)

The rear basket holds groceries and anything else I need to haul — I’ve made a few trips to and from the hardware store — but I wanted a way to keep my bike lock in the basket without needing to attach  it to the frame while riding.  I also wanted to be able to carry miscellaneous things without worrying that they might fall out, or through, the basket.

Naturally, then, I made a liner.  It’s orange ripstop — not my preferred choice of color, but not many people cycle on the streets where I live; visibility trumped any aesthetic considerations.  I plan to do a more refined version once I know how I’m using it, so I just winged this one.

Here’s the layout of the main pattern pieces, along with a fetching picture of my helpful assistant.  The assistant in question is big — the main fabric piece runs about 40 inches from side to side.  The sides of the basket are angled, so I measured top and bottom, and then drew the center strip right on the material — down one side, across the bottom, up the other side — and cut it all in one.  Then I cut the two side panels, and connected them to the center strip.

My assistant was a bit put-out when I began sewing, and, I’m afraid, found himself literally “put out” when he insisted on helping more actively.  Let’s just say that he ‘s not a bobbin’s best friend.

The liner top was cut to fit across the top of the basket, and attached to the body of the liner with zippers.  Because this was a quick and dirty project, I took rough measurements and cut flanges to go around the top flap, and then connected zippers to them.  The zips are two lightweight robe zippers, and I arranged them so that they open behind the seat, rather than in the back.  It’s a nuisance deterrent, like the flaps, so that it’s not immediately obvious how the liner opens, and so that it can’t be easily accessed from the back of the trike.

This is one  feeble sewing job, I’m afraid.  Sadly, that flange is not attached carefully at all, thanks to my having whipped this up just before taking off on a bunch of errands that required the liner, stat.  The corners are a mess, with some gathers and puckers instead of neat joints.  (I guess that makes this a usable muslin, right?)  The liner is held in place with hook and  loop fasteners, but I plan to replace them with snaps and snap tabs if I don’t remake the whole thing.  The liner costs a bit, aerodynamically speaking, and I’d like to be able to drop it to the bottom of the basket when not carrying cargo, to eliminate wind resistance when the basket isn’t full.

This is a hybrid vehicle, meaning that it has an electric assist, which I thought I’d need regularly, partly because I remember the clunky and incredibly heavy adult trikes of old, which weighed over 100 pounds — which is to say, most of my own body weight.  However,  I rarely use it unless I’m climbing a hill so steep that my current level of physical conditioning can’t handle it.

Because of an intermittent balance problem, I thought I’d never pedal again — and I’m thrilled to have been very, very wrong about that.  Though most of my ramblings around town are considerably shorter, I’ve taken several trips from 12 to 15 miles long, and loved every minute.   That’s not at all impressive if you’re a serious cyclist, but it’s not bad for a former couch potato.  And did I mention that I can break the speed limit in parts of town?  Without electric assist?  (Just call me Hot Dog.)  (OK, I might need a hill in spots, but this is a light trike, and it flies!)

I’ve been told that this nifty little vehicle is used in refineries, where nimbleness and and the electric motor are necessary advantages.  It’s turned out to be the perfect vehicle for me, too.  I love not having to drive into town, and knowing that I’m getting exercise even when I’m picking up human fuel at the grocery store.

By the way, guess which demographic LOVES my red trike?  12-22 year old males — go figure!

Categories: Adventure/Travel, Misc Tags:

A Sewing Day

January 9th, 2012 2 comments

I spent last Saturday with  a group of fellow sewists at a Sew In hosted by Annette, of Fabricate and Mira.  It was a convivial and productive day, and a lot of fun to re-unite with some favorite sewing friends, and meet a few new ones.  Annette had never held a Sew In before, but you’d never have known it; everything was organized beautifully.  She’s written up some tips on how she prepared — they’re a perfect blueprint for hosting your own.

Annette suggested that those of us who participated might write up how we prepared; I thought that was a great idea.  I’d never attended  a Sew In before, and, about a week in advance, I suddenly realized that I’d need to plan — especially if sharing even a large table with six or seven other sewists.

First item on the agenda was a rolling case for my travel machine.  The one in the photo above isn’t meant for machines; it’s a “yarn tote” from JoAnn, but my mini machine fit perfectly into it:

All of JoAnn’s rolling sewing machine cases are ridiculously overpriced, but the yarn totes were less so, and with a 50% coupon, this was a reasonable purchase, although it probably has a durability rating of zero.  That’s OK; I’ll baby it, and it will probably serve the purpose for years.  The wheel and handle construction appeared to be the same as on the bigger machine totes costing three times as much, which made this seem worth the gamble.

Then I gave some thought to what project I should take. This is what I settle on:

I had just finished my Koos coat (Vogue 1277), and knew that a project with huge pieces like that one wasn’t a good idea in a shared space, so I decided to begin work on  a coat for Mr. Noile.  This one’s unlined, so I knew I’d have lots of Hong Kong finishing to do, and it’s also full of epaulets, pockets and flaps — small pieces that could be easily managed if space was tight.

For a long time I’ve been trying to convince myself to make a roll-up fabric sewing kit, but I could never decide on the configuration, or how I’d carry it, once made.  For Annette’s Sew In, I used a plastic tote that fit into the open pocket on the front of the rolling tote.

There was plenty of room for all my sewing accessories and all the notions I needed for my project.  It’s easy to put a container like this on the floor, out of the way of other sewists, saving table space, and easy to grab things from it, too.  (I removed the jacket zippers before I took this shot; this box was full!)

I keep my small travel rulers and my Ginghers in another small, thin,  plastic case just to make sure they don’t get bent in transit, or the points nicked.  Everything in this box is s duplicate of supplies I have at home, so that I don’t have to unpack it after venturing out.  (That’s a legacy from the days when I sometimes traveled 800 miles to Mr. Noile’s parents’ home and sewed there.)  Keeping this gear packed up minimizes the chance that I’ll forget something on any particular day.

My project went into a zippered, mesh, double-sided packing cube.

I cut out everything (except interfacing, as it turned out), and put the small cut pieces on one side of the cube, and large ones on the other.  Love those packing cubes! This one served as a handy file system, and kept the project pieces I wasn’t working on confined neatly and out of the way.

The packing cube and all my miscellaneous non-sewing stuff went into this tote:

And that was it for luggage.

My secret weapon, though, for portable sewing, is my little Kenmore 1030.  It’s a small metal machine, made back in one of the rare eras when Kenmore made a good machine.  (My 1030 was made in Japan in 1973-1974. The mid-seventies were kind of a golden moment in Kenmore sewing machine history.)

The first machine I ever bought was  a Kenmore 1040, which was the model just above this one, with a few more features.That machine was the only one I used for years, and I was knocking out Vogue Couturier patterns on it with no trouble at all.  It was a fantastic machine, and I’ve missed it a lot over the years since.  When I went looking for a travel machine, I knew what I wanted, and found this one on eBay.  The owner had loved it just as much as I do; I felt honored to give it a new home.

I packed several days in advance of the Sew In, which turned out to be a good thing, since I walked into the sewing room the day before and realized that I’d failed to pack the 1030’s controller.  Whoops!  That’s a detail you’d want to check carefully; they’re just too easy to overlook.

It was so good to see Andrea, Karen, Lee and Mimi again, to meet Annette in person, and to meet two (new to me) sewists, Val and a very nice woman whose name I am horrified to realize I never got.  (Bad ears, and worse memory, I’m sorry to say.)

Annette’s blog post has a very helpful list for hosts, so I’m going to follow her example, and provide a check list for Sew In guests:

~ Choose a project that will be easy to manage in a group. Lee assembled quilting squares, Val made fabric bowls, and Karen whipped up three tee shirts during this Sew In.  Andrea wasn’t able to join us until later; she was in the early stages of making a gorgeous coat, and still prepping the individual pieces.

~ Prepare your project with an eye toward space constraints (cutting pieces in advance, etc.).

~ Pack your project pattern (if you’re using one) and notions. Remember interfacing, zippers, buttons, cording and any other extras you might need.

~ if you are starting a new project and want to save time on the day, wind your bobbins.

~ Make sure you have the tools you’ll need:  scissors, rulers, measuring tapes, pins, pin cushion, extra needles, and any personal favorites that make your sewing life easier, etc.

~ Double check to be sure that you’ve got both machine AND power cord/controller.  Mimi had left hers at home, just as I almost did.

~  If acceptable to your host, bring any magazines, stash or other items you are willing to part with (but be kind, and take away whatever isn’t acquired by the time the day is over).  I was thrilled to take home a couple of Burdas and Threads I didn’t have, and a couple of pieces of yardage I’d never have purchased, but can imagine using for fun.  One womans’s stash is .  .  .  another woman’s stash!

Annette wisely decided that we’d step out for food, and invited us to bring healthy snacks.  (It is just post-holiday season!)  Her home is ideally located for lunching, with a lot of eateries just around the corner, which was an advantage, of course.  We brought pizza and sandwiches back to the house.  Getting take out meant no fussing at the Sew In, no need to clear the table of our projects and machines, and no major clean up, either.  In a less congenial area, everyone could potentially bring an easy-to-eat, fast lunch, and get back to sewing just as quickly.

Categories: Accessories, Adventure/Travel Tags:

Wardrobe Wrap-Up

July 30th, 2011 10 comments

I did it!  I knocked off (most of)  the pieces I’d planned for my Threads-inspired wardrobe!  Here are the pieces all spread out on my cutting table:
Well, actually, I didn’t make several of the garments I’d planned.  Here’s the list of what I did make:

  1. a dress
  2. a reversible tank top
  3. a skirt
  4. a print tunics
  5. a solid tunic
  6. (7. 8.) three pair of leggings

That’s a set of   eight coordinated garments which can be interchanged a bunch of ways. The total cost of for all eight pieces was under $60 (USD), or about seven dollars and fifty cents a piece.  (Don’t hate  me; I can go to New York City any time and buy inexpensive stretch fabrics!  At least until the fabric district disappears.)

(My original post quoted a likely total cost of about $70, but I had also purchased several yards of a spandex that I didn’t end up using.)

All eight pieces fit into a single packing cube, rolled up like so:

Here it is, all zipped up with a ninth piece added:

This cube is 13.5 inches by 11.5 inches by 3 inches deep — not too big to carry in a large handbag!

The ninth piece wasn’t part of the original plan.  It’s an eggplant-colored wrap that you may be able to suss out on the lower right of the first photo.  I haven’t blogged about it yet.  I take it along to wear when going from 95 degrees into air-conditioning.

In the end, I didn’t follow my plan exactly as originally intended.  Instead of a wrap jacket, and instead of making two long-sleeved tops, I made two sleeveless tunics.  We’re really hurting this summer on the East coast, so “sleeveless” was a much more appealing idea.  The tunics gave me mini-dresses that I can wear alone with the leggings.  Also, I made only one sleeveless shell, but made it reversible.

Thoughts:

  • Sewing with a plan is fun!
  • These garments were so quick to sew that the entire wardrobe could have been done on a week’s worth of evenings.  Choosing simple patterns might be a good way to kick start when motivation is lacking.
  • Because this was sort of a kooky project, I let myself experiment with fabrics I wouldn’t necessarily  usually wear.  It’s good to move outside the comfort zone a bit.  (I’m a linen or technical fabrics wench as a rule.)
  • On the other hand, I learned that a tropical spandex print isn’t really “me”, at least not when it involves long sleeves.  My princess dress wears well, but the wild print makes it feel like a whole body tattoo — and all I can’t think about when I’m wearing it is the way those tattoos degrade and become muddy over time, and the way tattoos look a decade later, when skin has morphed.  Not a pretty image; it kind of spoils the dress for me.
  • It’s a lot of fun to be able to sneak 20 minutes and run in and stitch up a pair of leggings!  Verry satisfying!
  • This was a great way to discover and explore a new (to me) pattern line.
  • If the princess dress were made in something a little more, ahem, mature tasteful this wardrobe might carry me almost anywhere. (If it were a little black dress, for example.)
  • Wardrobe in a pocket; I love it!

Related:

Making a Reversible Tank

Threads Wardrobe Storyboard

Christine Jonson Princess Dress 1117

Christine Jonson BaseWear One Top 622

Christine Jonson Skirt 1219

Christine Jonson BaseWear One Leggings 622

Tunic/Tank Dress from BaseWear One Pattern 622

Threads Wardrobe Storyboard

June 14th, 2011 4 comments

Chez Noile is still in chaos, so I needed some quickie sewing projects that would chew up stash and require minimal space in the sewing room.  Also, I need summer clothes, since I’ve done little about acquiring any for years.  The Christine Jonson summer wardrobe from Threads (Issue 155 June/July 2011) became my springboard:

I made up a storyboard to keep my goal firmly in mind, and I even made the Princess Dress, although I’m not much of a dress-wearer.

Not only is the storyboard a great help in keeping me on track, but it’s a marvelous tool for checking and gathering notions.  I used line drawings from Christine’s site (altering at least one neckline according to my whim), and mocked it up on my computer, leaving room (more or less) for swatches.

The next step was to print it it on cardstock and glue my fabric swatches on.  Then I cut a transparent quilting template to fit over the whole thing, which protects it when attached to a clipboard.  With clipboard in hand, heading to the fabric store to pick up whatever thread or notions I need is fast and easy.  Matching colors is a cinch using the storyboard; it’s much easier than managing a slew of loose swatches.

Inevitably, I’ve made a few changes.  I’ve decided not to make the sleeveless vest, since I can’t actually see myself wearing it.  In summer, if I need a wrap, I need it over my arms, to compensate for air-conditioning.  And I’m not sure what I’m going to do about the jacket.  Do I make it reversible?  In a print?  And I’m not sure I’ll make the sleeved top from the Princess dress pattern, since I now suspect that, for this particular design, my bust is better balanced with a skirt.

But changes and refinement as I go along are all part of the program.  I’m really enjoying making up a planned wardrobe; I think this is a first for me, and I’m counting on making this my “go-to-it’s-brainless” summer travel wardrobe.

So far, I’ve completed five of the garments, and will be knocking off a few more as I wait on the tradesman’s fancy and the moment I can put the house back together.  Finished are the dress, a reversible top, one skirt, and two pair of leggings.  Reviews to come, and more on the way as I knock off the rest.

Christine Jonson quotes a budget of “just under $400” for nine to twelve garments that yield over twenty outfits.  My costs will run under $70 for all pieces, but I’m not using the premium cotton/lycra fabrics Jonson features.  (I can say “for all pieces” now, because I’m working with a finite number of fabrics, even though I haven’t finished the project.)

Related:

Christine Jonson Skirt 1219

Making a Reversible Tank

Threads Wardrobe Storyboard

Christine Jonson Princess Dress 1117

Christine Jonson BaseWear One Top 622

Christine Jonson Skirt 1219

Christine Jonson BaseWear One Leggings 622

Tunic/Tank Dress from BaseWear One Pattern 622

Wardrobe Wrap-Up

Vibram “Barefoot” Mary Janes!

June 8th, 2011 2 comments

Be still my heart!   I can now walk in “barefoot” comfort with shoes on.

I love my Five Fingers, but, let’s face it, if you wear those babies around town you’re going to be discussing your feet with everyone you encounter.  Merrell (whose shoes, along with Clarks, fit me better than any others) got together with Vibram and decided to solve this serious social problem.

Five Fingers have a separate little pocket for each toe, and they are amazingly comfortable shoes; Mr. Noile and I wear ours kayaking.  The general idea is that they allow you to walk just as you do when barefoot; a whole bunch of runners swear by them, and feel they’re much better for feet and legs than standard running shoes.

These Mary Janes are the covert version of the barefoot locomotion.  There are a bunch of other styles in this line (these are called “Pure Glove”), but this is the one I’ll wear every day.  Someone described wearing these as being like wearing socks with soles; it’s true!  Sooo good to the feet!

Oh, and they’re machine washable.  They may just possibly be the perfect shoe in which to travel; they’re light AND sturdy — as well as being readily removable if you have the misfortune of encountering TSA.

These might be barefoot shoes even Lsa could love .  .  .

Categories: Accessories, Adventure/Travel Tags:

Oh Say, Did We See . . .

April 15th, 2011 6 comments

If a bunch of sewing bloggers get together, you’d expect them to discuss sewing, right?  And fabric, and style, and color, and patterns and a hundred other relevant things, right? And when a few of us met up recently, that’s exactly what we did.  but that wasn’t all we did.  Shams generously brought a huge assortment of  See’s Candies with her from California, and we consumed them enthusiastically, but not without a little trauma.

See’s, for those of you who aren’t fortunate enough to know it, is a regional candy company, started long ago by the iconic Mary See in her kitchen.  Many of those of us who no longer grace San Francisco’s hills mourn the loss of easy access to See’s almost more than no longer living in that glorious city .   .   .  See’s candies are just wonderful. So there were four of us slavering over the box when Shams opened it, and three of us gasping in horror (I think this is no exaggeration) when Shams took a large knife and rent each candy asunder with a mighty blow!

Yes, Shams committed See-icide.  That woman has lived in San Francisco so long that she takes See’s for granted!  Shams seemed to think this was a practical means of checking the interiors, but, I ask you, where is the reverence???

If you check her blog, you’ll see that she’s posted a picture of Peggy holding the weapon.  This was obviously an attempt to cover her  tracks, and (dare I say it?) frame the innocent Peggy.  You’ll also note that I am still in shock, moments later, as Peg is attempting to graciously move past the scandalous moment.  I can’t prove that Carolyn was as stunned as I was, but it’s my recollection that she was, as any right-minded person would have been.

I should have traveled with my laminated See’s guide.  I keep it by my desk at all times, and yet, in this, our time of need, I left it at home.

We did shop, but that was later, after we were very, very well fed.  And yes, we ate every bit of the See’s, every single delicious bite.

Categories: Adventure/Travel Tags:

Packing Cube ID

February 3rd, 2011 2 comments

I’ve been using packing cubes forever; I love the way they organize my traveling life, even though I often forget what I’ve packed in each cube.  Since I generally wear black while I travel, everything looks the same inside a packing cube.  This is a bit inefficient.

I’ve now solved this vexing problem by sewing Demeritwear badges onto my packing cubes.  Here’s the badge I’ve sewed to the shoe cube (there’s a high-heel patch for those  who are less utilitarian than I):

This one’s for the “tops and bottoms” cube:

This for the outerwear cube (hoodie, jacket — stuff for in the environment, hence the “earthy” patch):

This sporty one is for specialty gear (workout clothes; bathing suit; silk  longies for winter):

And this badge is for  the “dainties” cube (Demeritwear calls this a “tanning” patch, I think, but it gets the point across):


(Got a shadow across the bottom of the “tanning” patch.  I’ll try to post a better image when I get a chance.)

It doesn’t hurt a bit that these patches make me grin every time I see them.  Sometimes a weary traveler just needs a bit of whimsy along the way.

Note:  I think all Demeritwear badges can be ironed-on now, but I always prefer to sew.

Disclosure:  Please read it a the bottom of the Case Mod post. It doesn’t amount to much, but I want to keep the FTC happy.  That’s our job as citizens, don’t you think?  Keeping the government happy?

Categories: Adventure/Travel, Fun Tags: