Friday, December 12, 2014

Comic Relief: Underwear!

Happiness is....stripey underwear that makes me smile!

Thanks for your comments on my last post about the Maria Denmark Lotta Lady Bag!  It is one of my most favorite bags ever.   At work I need to carry my laptop back and forth to another building with my notebook and it is perfect for that.

Here's a pair of UW I stitched up back in September, but never blogged.

The fabric is from PR Weekend Chicago, in some dive-like fabric store.
The elastic is from Pacific Trimming in NYC.

I use ATP's "Make Your Own Undies" tutorial whenever I make undies.  I don't enclose my elastic like she did, but rather zig-zag on my picot edge elastic RS to RS then flip it over and zig zag again from the RS.  If anyone wants pix of what I mean, let me know!

One of my friends calls this "comic relief" sewing, in between my larger projects.   It takes me about 90 minutes from cut to finish.

So, even though this was supposed to be comic relief, it had its own drama.

I had started this pair on a weekend, then got to the point where there was 20 minutes left and was too tired to finish it off.

Came home after work one night that week and thought I'd feel accomplished and finish it....
when the sewing machine ate my UW
Then this happened!!!  This has NEVER happened to be before to this extent.  Somehow the fabric/elastic got sucked down into the throat plate and I had to unscrew the plate and physically remove the fabric/elastic out.

when the sewing machine ate my UW
When I removed the bobbin casing I got to see all the lint inside.  Great opp to clean it out!
when the sewing machine ate my UW
And this is what it looked like, stuck in the throat plate
when the sewing machine ate my UW
It actually tore my elastic!!!  But I didn't have enough to cut the new piece of continuous elastic, so I had to make do with what I had.  So now one of the leg holes has two joins in it instead of one.

I put it away for a few days and then went back to it again and finished it off.
UW: boring without bow
But without a bow, the UW looks a bit....naked.
So I made my own bow, having no white bows in my bow stash.  I know from experience that making my own bow and cutting ribbon like this makes the raw edges fray after washing.  I googled to see if there was a way for me to finish the edges, but didn't like any of the suggestions....

So I used Fray Check on the edges of the cut ribbon.  The Fray Check does sort of stain the ribbon, so I cut the tails slightly longer than I wanted, dabbed on the fray check, let it dry the requisite 15 minutes, then used my rotary cutter to cut the new edge so that just the very edge of the ribbon had the fray check on it...which is hardly visible.  

I have washed and dried this UW several times now and can report that the ribbon is only fraying on the top time I might leave more of a buffer and/or make sure that the fray check really covers the whole cut edge...maybe I didn't go far enough?  Or just buy some white bows.  My local Joann's doesn't have any of the size/style I was thinking of, and Pacific Trimming didn't have any either (they had other colors but no white bows!)  I might have to buy them online then.
Princeton Christmas Tree
Here's a little holiday cheer, the Christmas Tree in Palmer Square in Princeton.  I spent last Saturday at work, and went into town to grab some dinner afterward.  Seeing the tree is always a nice treat and a great way to wrap up a productive day!

So, are you tempted to make your own undies???  Or have you already?

Be well!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Maria Denmark Lotta Lady Bag DONE

Maria Denmark Lotta Lady Bag
My coworker's hand models the Maria Denmark Lotta Lady Bag
Maria Denmark Lotta Lady Bag

Me and my new bag
  Maria Denmark Lotta Lady Bag
View from the top
Maria Denmark Lotta Lady Bag
View from one side
Maria Denmark Lotta Lady Bag
View from the other side
Maria Denmark Lotta Lady Bag
With the flash on to give an idea of the texture.
Maria Denmark Lotta Lady Bag
That awesome zipper
Maria Denmark Lotta Lady Bag
The amazing straps--they are textured on one side and smooth on the other
Peering inside the bag.
looking at the other side of the inside of the bag
Maria Denmark Lotta Lady Bag
The flirty girl zipper pull

WARNING:  This is going to be a MEGA we go!

The prologue
Sooooooo...way back in the summer, I saw the Maria Denmark Lotta Lady pattern on the PR website and had to have it.  It's a downloadable pattern which I figured I could handle because it wasn't too many pieces.  I don't feel joy taping a lot of pieces together.  I know a lot of you love digital patterns and my hat is off to you taping 80+ pages together and then tracing it, but a pattern has to be small or special for me to buy it digitally.

The supplies
Zipper:  It calls for a 60cm zipper, so I bought the zipper and had it cut to length during MPB Day at Pacific Trimming.

Straps:  Instead of making my own straps as per the pattern, I used this strapping I bought at Pacific Trimming at some other point in the past.  It feels a lot like a seat belt, and is shiny, smooth and substantial.  I *love* it.  I also cut the straps longer than the pattern calls for, so I could put the bag on my shoulder.

Piping:  The bag doesn't call for piping, but you know piping is my good friend.  I made my own, mainly to distract you from the fact that it would be pretty impossible to get the pattern to totally match up.  The cording inside the piping is from Joann.

Interfacing:  I used Peltex from for the outer portion of the bag (except for the part where the zipper attaches, in that section I used the Pam's heavyweight sew-in interfacing) and Pam's midweight interfacing to stabilize the lining

Pocket zipper:  This zipper was custom made for me at Botani during PR Day 2014.  I *love* the girl with the ponytail zipper pull.

The label:  I have no idea what "twi-trendy" means, but I bought this label at Pacific Trimming during some past visit.  I googled it, and it didn't have any substantial matches.  Apparently "twi" can be associated with Twilight fans but I've never watched.

The exterior fabric: it's two layers, actually, both from Kashi (Metro Textiles).  I bought what I'm calling the "cutout" layer in Sept with ATP and the shiny "wet look" fabric during PR Day with Tomasa.    I asked Kashi if the "cutout" fabric was neoprene and he said, and I quote, "It can be anything you want."  Yes, folks, Kashi's shop is where fabric can be whatever you want it to be.  I asked what the wet look fabric is and that's pleather, he said.  It's actually stretchy so go ahead and make your Catwoman suit now before he sells out of it.

The lining fabric:  it's from Gwen Couture, purchased in May of 2013 with Elizabeth.  I used that same fabric in a bag I made in Nov 2013, a bag I still use frequently.

Pocket lining fabric:  NYC Subway fabric from The City Quilter

Maria Denmark Lotta Lady Bag
I cut out the neoprene layer at the end of October, and then realized that I cut the pieces without any regard to positioning of the stars.  So I cut it out again.  I'm sort of kicking myself because that meant I couldn't enter the PR handbag contest (which called for the bag to be cut out and constructed in the month of November).  I should have waited a few days til it was November to cut out all the pieces again.  I thought, oh, how long could it possibly take for me to make this bag?  I'll make this one and then I'll make another one where I will quilt my own fabric and use a different pattern and enter that one in the contest.  Bwah ha ha ha ha.

I bought the wet look fabric in Nov and cut that out 2 weekends ago.

Then I cut out the peltex, the lining and the lining interfacing.  So basically each bag piece was cut out 6 times!!!  There are 5 layers in the bag and then my crazy cutout layer that I didn't use.  And the exterior zipper pieces wound up being 1cm too short (user cutting error) AND way too stiff with the peltex so I had to cut those pieces all over again (and used the heavyweight sew in interfacing from Pam) the zipper pieces were cut 7 times.
Maria Denmark Lotta Lady Bag
The peltex had been folded up soooo long....I had to Elna Press it (pic taken pre-Elna pressing)

I made my own piping.  First I made it with the wet-look pleather, shiny side out, but I thought it would make the bag look really cheap, so I made it again with the wet look pleather, this time with the wrong, dull side out, and it looked really good.
The wet-look piping looks great in the pic, but the matte looks better in real life.

Maria Denmark Lotta Lady Bag
(So actually I should have clipped the clips on the *other* way, since the easier way to baste this is with the neoprene down against the feed dogs.  By clipping the other way, then the flat part of the clip is against the machine instead of the angled part.)

This sews up much more easily if you first baste the neoprene to the pleather with the neoprene against the feed dogs, and a teflon foot on the sewing machine. Sewing it with the neoprene on top was not as smooth.  So, neoprene down.  Then I basetd the peltex on, with the peltex up, neoprene down on the feed dogs.  Again it went much more smoothly to baste that way.

I interfaced the lining and then added two pockets, one for my cell phone (with the twi-trendy label) and one with the zipper pocket.  The pattern does not come with pockets but Maria does warn you to add them first.
 I used these instructions for the zipper pocket.  If you've never made a zipper pocket before, it is basically a welt pocket without any welts.  If you are scared to try welt pockets (L I'm looking at you) you should try the zipper pocket first.  It is a great way to get your feet wet.

My tip for this is if you are using a directional print (like the NYC subway fabric): I actually cut it in half and sew it together like this, so that when you look inside the pocket, the fabric print is always going down on both sides, instead of up one side and down the other.
Maria Denmark Lotta Lady Bag

So then it looks like this once the pocket is sewn in
Then I sewed the zipper to the exterior "zipper piece" and to the lining "zipper piece" making the infamous "zipper sandwich".

Then I sewed the piping to the 3 layers of exterior fabric. Above, I was testing out handle length
Doesn't the piping distract from the fact that it's impossible to line up that print?
Then I sewed the straps on.
Then I sewed the exterior of the bag all together
Here's when it looked like a cat bed.
zipper foot action!
Stitch stitch stitch
Then I sewed the lining to the exterior.
Then I turned it inside out.

Then I sewed the hole in the lining shut.

And it was done!!!

Thoughts on construction/machines
I used 3 of my machines for this:
  • My brand new serger to serge the raw edges of the lining
  • My old Baby Lock with its zipper foot to sew on the piping and sew any part of the bag together that had piping.  I prefer that old zipper foot to the new style of zipper feet.
  • My newish Brother machine to sew everything else.
The bonus of having two machines is not having to switch back and forth with the presser feet.  Zipper foot stays on the BL; regular foot is on the Brother.

My BL handled all those layers extremely one point (where the straps are) there were 8 layers---3 exterior/2 interior/2 layers from the piping and then the thick straps!

Also, it is kind of a workout making this bag.  You really have to push all that peltex through the machine.

Bag usage
I finished this bag on Monday night and have used it every day since then.

I have to admit, this bag came out much wider than I anticipated.  I wanted to use this as my purse and it's a bit big for my purse (though there are plenty of women who carry big bags--don't let me stop you!).  But is it perfect for a laptop bag/travelling in between buildings/walking into town at lunch bag.

The fact that the zipper goes halfway down each side means it is SO easy to see EVERYTHING in the bag at one time.
Bonus: My work laptop fits nicely in the bag.

Congrats if you read this whole thing!

Let me know if you think you're interested in making this bag now!

Be well!

Monday, December 1, 2014

What I was making : revealed!

The Maria Denmark Lotta Lady Bag

I loved your guesses as to what I was making in my last post!  and I loved how you were "getting warmer" with each guess.

Cake cover ?  No.

Sewing machine cover?  No.

Cat bed?  Well, it did look like a cat bed at one point in the process, but no.

Piece of luggage, like a carry-on?  Anna Christina, it turned out much larger than I thought it would so yes, it could be a carry-on, though that wasn't the original intention.

Handbag?  YES!  Ding ding ding, Tomasa, you are the winner!  But you also had insider knowledge (offline chatting about making a bag) so.....

The outer "fabric" is actually two layers....both from Kashi and both with a story I will share next post!

And what makes it so stiff?  Peltex.

Deets next post.

Be well!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Guess what I'm working on?

I *loved* your responses to my Online Sewing Class Confessional.  I want to respond to your comments individually this week.

But I wanted to show you what I am currently working on.
What is that?
Perhaps it's the most unwieldy thing I've ever sewn.
Looks like a toaster cover, ha ha.

Unwieldy, I tell you.

Any guesses???

Be well!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Online Sewing Class Confessional

Gratuitous cranberry sauce picture--it is fun to watch the berries pop open

With so many online classes on sale today/this weekend for Black Friday, now is a great time to write this post that has been brewing in my head for a while.

The Online Class Confessional Booth Is Now Open.

You have a fabric stash, a notions stash, a button it's time to talk about that other stash in your lives, one that isn't taking space on your shelves or in your house: online sewing classes.

How many online sewing classes have you purchased in your lifetime?

  • 16 Craftsy 
  • 12 Pattern Review  
  • 1 BurdaStyle
And how many of those classes did you actually do the featured project, practiced the technique and/or did the homework?
  • 1 Craftsy  (altering RTW)
  • 5 Pattern Review (jeans, serger, knits, more knits, altering pants)
  • 0 BurdaStyle
Well, if you didn't do the project/technique/homework, did you actually watch the full class, possibly maybe even taking extensive notes?
  • 4 Craftsy
  • 0 Pattern Review
  • 1 Burda Style
How about partially watched the class?
  • 3 Craftsy
  • 1 Pattern Review
  • 0 Burda Style
Oh no, so that means you haven't started watching how many classes?
  • 8 Craftsy
  • 6 Pattern Review
  • 0 Burda Style
And armed with that information, how many on-sale classes are you tempted to buy today/this weekend?
  • 5 Craftsy
  • 2 Pattern Review
  • 0 Burda Style
  • Interested in the CreativeBug subscription....
And how many will you actually buy?
  • That remains to be seen.
Fess up--how many online classes have you purchased and never watched???  No judgments here!

p.s. Thanks for your comments on my Thanksgiving food post.  I wound up going to the gym and then the grocery store (tip: there is hardly anyone at the supermarket at 9:45am on TG morning).  I then made the soup again with less onions and remade the yams again too just in case it was a butter issue.  The soup was really good but it still gave me some indigestion;  Dad said it was fine for him.   I did not eat the cranberry sauce at lunch so it's not the cranberries, I didn't put butter in the yams the second time so it's not the yams; I had asparagus too but I doubt it's that; I think it's the onion in the soup.  Next time I'll make it without onions and see what happens!

Be well!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Can this soup be rescued?

So today I cooked up Thanksgiving dinner to take with me to Dad's tmw.  This is my first time making TG dinner, so I went with something I know well as the main dish--chicken noodle soup.  I have made this soup MANY times for myself with delicious results.  So I had it for dinner tonight but it is causing me really bad indigestion, WHY?    I didn't use many onions--could the celery be causing it?  I did use more celery than usual--but I also used more pasta than usual too.  Also I used white onion instead of my usual Spanish onion, would that make a difference?   This meal is what I'm taking with me to Dad's house tmw, I don't want my first meal cooked for TG to be ruined by indigestion and for him to tell all his friends/family how terrible my meal was.  Should I dilute the soup with a cup of water?  Two cups of water?  Remove as much of the celery as I can?  Can this soup be rescued??? I don't want to serve it but I don't have any thing else as the main entree--I made the cranberry sauce from scratch and I mashed up some yams with butter and I made the Libby's pumpkin pie, and I was planning on boiling some asparagus tmw morning and getting a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.   Do I wake up early tmw, skip the gym, and make it all over again with minimal onions and celery?  Was Thanksgiving designed to cause women tons of stress?    I kind of think so?   How can this soup be a wadder?  I told Dad about the soup and he suggested having Progresso chicken noodle soup in a can.  We are not having soup in a can for TG dinner, I am not letting that happen.

Please help!!!  And Happy Thanksgiving?

Update: maybe it was the cranberry sauce?  as per this?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Introducing "Can This Garment Be Saved?" Vol.1 Simplicity 1609

Simplicity 1609
Me in my office, on Friday, wearing S1609 with a gray shirt underneath.

What's going on here?
"Can This Garment Be Saved?" is just a blatent ripoff of the old "Can This Marriage Be Saved" column from Redbook (or was it Ladies Home Journal?) that I would read while waiting for my mother in the dentist office waiting room as a kid.

Why am I doing this?
I have quite a few garments that I have sewn and "completed" but never wear for whatever reason.  Since I put in all that time and effort, I thought it might be fun to start a periodic series (not committing to any specific time frame) featuring those garments and how they were joyously saved, or tragically not saved.

So what garment is up first?  When was it sewn?
Vol. 1 is for Simplicity 1609, which I sewed up in Sept of 2013.  I spent a boatload of time fitting it, and it looked great when I was done.

Where is the original post?
It's right here.

What is the problem?  
Well, this:
Can This Garment Be Saved? #1
*This* started happening soon after I sewed it.  I bought this knit fabric pre-fused and I'm not sure if it was poorly fused to begin with, or if it was because I made a mistake by prewashing and drying the fabric, or a combination of the two, but it was happening and spreading.  I tried to re-fuse it but without success--pressing again and again (last fall, with my regular iron, pre-Elna Press days) did not make a difference.
Can This Garment Be Saved? #1
This is another view...

So there it hung in my closet, forelorn and unworn.

So how did I fix it?
Recently I contemplated making it again, which I suppose is the "drastic" solution to fixing it, when the idea struck--why not just peel the fusing off of the entire garment and then cut the fused part out?    I mean, I wasn't wearing it anyway, so if it made it worse it wouldn't matter and if it made it meant I could wear it!!!

first, gently pull away the fusing
Gently pulling away the interfacing
carefully cutting out the fusing
Carefully cut out the interfacing with my bent-handle embroidery scissors

 I then pressed it with my Elna Press. BINGO! It worked.

All flat and smooth!

Bonus was the way I constructed this one....I had serged all the cut pieces and then sewn it together with my sewing machine instead of the other way around.   This means that the cut-out parts are totally hidden by the pressed-open seams, so it still looks neat on the inside, core!

Have I worn it since the fix?
Yes!  I removed the interfacing from the front of the dress right before the ASE and wore it at the ASE.  Then this week I removed the interfacing from the back skirt portion of the dress and Elna Pressed it again.

In my office on Friday
Isn't that better?  (LOL about that huge string hanging off my left hand--that's a RTW shirt underneath).

So what is the final verdict?  Has This Garment Been Saved?
This Garment Has Been Saved...until the interfacing starts peeling away from the collar, but let's hope that's a long time in the future.

Has this got you thinking about garments you can save???

Be well!!!