Thursday, October 31, 2013

My pirate outfit, redesigned for the gym.

Can I say, what a couple of weeks it has been???  It's been a couple of weeks!!!!

The work project I'm on, which feels like a marathon most days, really really ramped up and I sacrified some sewing time and gym time to work on it.  I met my 10/31 deadline last night, and I felt like my reward was being able to do Halloween at the gym!!!  That meant I had a few hours last night to get my act together with the costume.

Thanks for all your suggestions about how to turn my 2007 pirate outfit into something more workout worthy.  LinB and Kathy's suggestion to just wear the vest over my regular gym outfit and Rose's suggestion to wear the shirt and vest with regular gym pants got me thinking about adding "ties" to my regular gym pants (just basted on strips of black fabric that I can easily remove).  And I took a store bought white t-shirt I've owned for years and sewed on layers and layers of white lace ruffles to it, and one layer of white lace ruffles to each sleeve, using a package of gathered lace I've had in stash for years.

Then I wore it with the vest (Simplicity 3677) I made in 2007, plus store bought hat, hook, sword, belt, and clip-on earrings all of which I had from then too.  I wore them with my black skechers.  So I used everything I already had and didn't have to buy anything.

There were a few pumpkin shirts and orange shirts in class but my instructor Rita--honestly the best gym instructor I have ever had--and I were the only ones to wear a full costume. She was a Ghostbuster--I ain't afraid of no ghost.  One of my classmates took a pic of us and when I get it (and if Rita approves) I'll post it.  Sadly Kathy and LinB, I didn't say "arrgggh" during class at all!

Here are pix my locker room buddy Sara took (Sara is my biggest sewing cheerleader at the gym!  She is so incredibly supportive of everything I make.)

My gym pirate outfit
Here's a closeup of the front of the outfit (keep in mind this was after working out)
My gym pirate outfit
Somehow the layers of ruffles are washed out but they are there covering the front of the shirt up to the top of the vest.
Here are some selfies from the night before, so you can see the ruffles
the ruffles the night before
the ties
The oops shot

the oops shot of the night

One of my classmates said the shirt and vest looked nice enough to wear for real.  :)

I have been so wound up lately that I am waiting to crash. It hasn't happened yet....I felt it starting to happen after lunch today but the gym perked me back up again.

Be well!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween costume help sought favorite dance-based cardio class, BoogieTone, is on Halloween this year.

The instructor says we can wear gym costumes.

I was going to rework this costume I made in 2007 (pictured, as worn in Myrtle Beach for 10/31/07) into something more workout friendly...but I have very limited time AND maybe I can handle this costume for a 50 minute workout if I remove the vinyl boot covers and wear my black sketchers?

Or should I try to come up with a little brown skirt and white tank top with some ruffled lace sewn on, and wear it with the vest?

Pirate on Halloween
Pirate shirt, vest, pants, all Simplicity 3677.    Instead of grommets I made buttonholes on the vest for lacing the black cording.
Self drafted boot covers.
Purchased hat, sword and belt.

I just re-read my pattern review of this costume.  The shirt and pants were gigantically huge and the vest way too small.  And I re-read my frustration of trying to make the jacket, only to throw it out.  Yes, I recall cutting that jacket out on the floor of my living room.  Ah, good times.

Here's a side view; you can see how gigantically huge the shirt is on me....

With the pirate
Anyway, what do you think??
Be well!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sewaholic Thurlows, Slenderized

Thank you for all your comments about the bag!  I decided to leave it as you last saw it and I sewed up the lining.  Then I read how the plastic canvas will break eventually.  I'll cross that bridge when I get there.  For now I am loving using my bag!  It is the perfect size for work and it makes me smile (especially the lining!)

There were two main modifications I wanted to make to my Sewaholic Thurlows: slenderize the thighs as per Angela Wolf's instructions, plus remove the belt loop I attached to the CB seam, move it over and add another belt loop.

I slenderized while watching the Queer Eye reunion last night.  As per their theme song, all things just keep getting better, but somehow I cut off my face while taking most of these pix (I use a camera with a 10 second timer)....
Sewaholics Thurlows slenderized, pre-work pix

What do you think?  Better?
Sewaholics Thurlows slenderized, pre-work pix
Sewaholics Thurlows slenderized, pre-work pix
Two belt loops at the CB really helps keep the belt in place better.  (The pattern called for two of them at CB but for whatever reason, I just put one.  It needed two for sure).

Sewaholics Thurlows slenderized, pre-work pix
I was worried that slenderizing them would make them too tight for sitting, but I wore them all day and they were comfy.

Here's what they looked like after a day of wearing:
Sewaholic Thurlows Slenderized, post-work pix
I will make these again, specifically in a brown corduroy I picked up at Haberman's.  There are quite a few things I want to make soon....which item will rise to the top of the queue??

Did I look cold in these pix? It was a little chilly this morning for the photo shoot.  and it's why my face is cut off in several.  No time for taking 50 pix to get the 3 good ones, amiright???
The temp for the photo shoot this morning 10/21/13
On the way to work this morning I saw a gorgeous sunrise over Lake Carnegie.  I'm really glad I stopped to snap some pix and take in the moment.
The sunrise over Lake Carnegie 10/21/13
I also took a pic of my sandals by the lake. I was wearing the brown corduroy jacket I made with my corduroy pants. Can you tell I love corduroy?
My feet at the sunrise
In other news, harvested 3 of my 4 jack-be-little pumpkins this weekend.  They are size: adorable.  :)
my 2013 pumpkin trio
And here are some Princeton Farmers Market flowers. I hope the market lasts for another week!
Princeton Farmers Market flowers
Be well!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

U-Handbag "It's a Cinch!" Tote, DONE?

U-Handbag "It's a cinch!" tote with peltex inserted in sides, plastic canvas bottom, and macbook air inside
Final version?

Thank you so much for your reassurance on my last post, "Is this bag terrible?"

My outcry was due to two things:
1. The fabric was suddenly looking very plasticy and cheap. I wanted this bag to look, as they say on PR a lot this season, "luxe".
2. The bag wasn't as structured as I'd like.  The instructions said to use fleece and interfacing.   I didn't use the fleece because I thought it would be a lot to sew through.  I just used interfacing.

Let's rewind a bit.

I bought this fabric from Kashi at Metro Textiles in NYC during velosewer's visit in June.

close up of the holes
I think it's some kind of vinyl. It was $10 a yard. He had it in a few colors. He also had another bolt of black vinyl with different shaped holes in it. I waffled for a bit, but I decided on this one.

While I was there I then decided to pair it with this black vinyl, also $10 a yard.

the fabric, right sides up, both from Metro Textiles
I knew it was going to be a bag. But at that point I didn't know what kind of bag.

Earlier this year I discovered the blog Girls in the Garden.  Lori was a contestant this summer with the Super Online Sewing Match and I really loved the bag she made for the U-Handbag "It's a Cinch" tote challenge.

So then I knew, I would use the Kashi fabric to make the SOSM bag.

At that point I had not purchased the pattern but rather looked at the online sewing supply list for the bag.  Then during MPB Day, I bought all the hardware with Mary at Pacific Trimming. I even had the zipper cut to 15" as the instructions said your zipper should be at least 15".

the goods for making my bag

On the ride home I'm thinking that it doesn't look like enough hardware.

I realize that the rectangle rings are missing from the shopping list they printed online!

I buy them off of ebay instead.

I buy the pattern--it's a PDF.

I start reading the pattern instructions.

It says to cut your zipper to 14.5" .  But I had already had it custom cut to 15" at Pacific Trimming.  I decide not to sweat it.  A half inch isn't that much, and she has you cut the zip tabs extra long as insurance if you cut it too small.  But really, the shopping list should have everything on it, and it should have the minimum size the zip should be.  Also the instructions were really tough for me to get through and confusing.   She refers to the end of the zipper with the zipper stop as the "open end" and the end with the zipper pull zipped up as the "closed end".  If I were writing instructions I'd refer to the end with the zipper stop as the end with the zipper stop, not "open" as that end will never be open.  Also the text  and pictures don't match up throughout the instructions.  For example, step 19 says to see fig 12 and fig 13, and it has fig 16 right next to it.  I had printed the instructions 2 pages per side, double sided, so there was a lot of flipping back and forth.  Next time I would print the instructions single sided and cut the photos apart from the text and then arrange the text so it's next to the appropriate photo.  There are also a few mistakes in the instructions, particularly step 26 when it says to stitch along the curved top edge (there are no curves in this bag) with a 3/16" (0.5cm seam).  A half centimeter is 3/8", not 3/16".

I wound up using this tutorial for the interior zipper pouch. 

I decided that the lining will be the silvery, liquidy gray knit I bought at Mood during MPB Day.  I interfaced it with Pam's interafacing to stop it from stretching.  I thought that would be pretty luxe.

Monday I brought the bag to work for some analysis.  Ellen felt there is something proportionally wrong with the bag, but regardless it went well with her outfit!
Ellen with the bag before I sewed the straps together

On Monday night I decided to put 2 layers of plastic canvas into the bottom of the bag.  I had not sewn up the lining yet so that was easy.  I had done the same thing with the cat bag this summer.
U-Handbag "It's a Cinch" tote, bottom with plastic canvas inside
It nicely gave it some structure.
U-Handbag "It's a Cinch" tote, bottom with plastic canvas inside
The bottom of the bag was flat and straight, the rest of the bag was slouchy.
U-Handbag "It's a Cinch" tote with plastic canvas in the bottom
The big bonus was my new work laptop fits inside perfectly. I had not planned on making the bag specifically for this purpose, but it worked out very well.
U-Handbag "It's a Cinch" tote with plastic canvas in the bottom
And here it is cinched up with my Serious Hardware.
U-Handbag "It's a Cinch" tote with plastic canvas in the bottom
U-Handbag "It's a Cinch" tote with plastic canvas in the bottom
Antoinette was here on Wednesday. Such a joy to have her here.  Her stud ring fits very nicely with the style of this bag
Antoinette's stud ring & the U-Handbag "It's a Cinch" tote
Thursday I brought the bag to the gym locker room.   Without any prompting from me, one of my classmates said, "It looks like a $300 bag.  Is it leather?"  Another classmate wanted to know if I cut the holes myself.


Coincidentally Kathy had left a comment on Monday night, after I had already added the plastic canvas to the bottom, to try using Peltex on the sides. I didn't know what Peltex was exactly but I knew Lori mentioned it in her SOSM bag post.   Today I braved Joann's to get some Peltex.  (That was going against SunnyGal's advice to stay out of the fabric stores this weekend with all the costume creators out there.  She was right--it was a zoo).   Thanks Kathy for taking the time to write out all your suggestions!

Here is what I used to interface the bag initially. It's Pam's medium weight interfacing and it stands up on its own. 
Pam's interfacing
And here is the Peltex. It comes in 3 kinds from what I could tell: fusible both sides ($10/yard), fusible one side($9/yard) and sew-in (now we're talking at $6/yard).
WOW! It is quite thick and also stands up on its own easily.
Here is a side-by-side comparison:
Pam's medium weight sew in interfacing, and peltex
So I cut two fronts and two sides and shoved carefully positioned them on inside the lining following Kathy's advice.

And now it looks like this:
U-Handbag "It's a Cinch" tote with Peltex in the sides and plastic canvas bottom
Definitly more structure.
U-Handbag "It's a Cinch" tote with Peltex in the sides and plastic canvas bottom
Hrm. Guess I should have checked the position of the ring there.
U-Handbag "It's a Cinch" tote with Peltex in the sides and plastic canvas bottom
U-Handbag "It's a Cinch" tote with Peltex in the sides and plastic canvas bottom
And here it is with the laptop inside
U-Handbag "It's a cinch!" tote with peltex inserted in sides, plastic canvas bottom, and macbook air inside
Overall I am liking it better.
U-Handbag "It's a cinch!" tote with peltex inserted in sides, plastic canvas bottom, and macbook air inside
U-Handbag "It's a cinch!" tote with peltex inserted in sides, plastic canvas bottom, and macbook air inside
I think it looks good with my new "I love Swatch" shirt (courtesy of Antoinette--it couldn't be more perfect!).
U-Handbag "It's a cinch!" tote with peltex inserted in sides, plastic canvas bottom, and macbook air inside
It also goes well with my new keyring from Connie--thanks Connie! Such a fun present!
Fun keyring from Connie
I think the bag might look more luxe if I had used different straps that weren't as sporty.
Here are the straps currently on the bag (before putting the Peltex in the sides):
the straps as they are now
Here is some different webbing just lying on top. It's from Pacific Trimming but I don't have enough of it and I don't have wide enough rectangle rings anyway.
different straps: better?
Oh, and here's the pockets again, just so everything's all in one post.
Zipper pocket (zipper from a store in SF where zips were 25 cents each--love the zipper pull!)
zippered pocket
I swear to you I only bought 2 yards of this NYC subway fabric from The City Quilter, it must be multiplying all on its own in my sewing room.
interior of zip pocket
Non zip pocket.
non-zip pocket
This week, dahlias from the Princeton Farmers Market. Such a delicate color!
Dahilas from Princeton Farmers Market

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Is this bag terrible?

I'm at step 32 of 33 steps for this bag and now I think this bag is terrible.
Is it terrible?
Well, I thought it started off in a good place.
interior zipper pocket
I wanted to make an interior zipper pocket. Turns out it's made the same way as a double welt pocket.
interior zipper pocket
It wasn't so bad.
interior zipper pocket

I used the flange of my blind hem foot to sew the straps on.
topstitching the webbing
I was feeling kind of smug. That was a big warning sign.
webbing is topstitched!
I thought it was looking good.
How could I go wrong with all this serious hardware?
hardware and zipper

Well, here's what it looks like now.

Outside, not cinched.  and this is after a bit of futzing to get it to look like it has some semblance of shape.
so step 32

Outside, cinched.
when it's cinched
Interior zipper pocket
the zipper pocket
Interior non-zippered pocket
the pocket
Maybe I need to take the advice of the label.

Side cinch
side cinch
Is it terrible? (btw, the webbing looks navy blue in some pix but it really is black. It's not the same shade of black as the bag, but it's black, not blue).

Hey, pretty zinnias from the Princeton Farmers Market. I love these colors! And warmer temps means more flowers longer, yay!
Princeton farmer's market flowers
And look at my Jack Be Littles....they are tiny!  There are 4 of them total on 2 vines.
the 4 little pumpkins
Be well!