check out my other blog, Fall Creek Hiker, for my hiking adventures:

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Broken Needle Piece Found and Denim Jacket Progress

This evening I found the broken middle portion of a sewing machine needle that I lost several months ago. It was in the bottom of this hard case that I keep Bodhi's sewing machine in. I must have been using that machine when it happened and the case was likely nearby on the floor. I've turned the sewing room upside down since then with no luck finding the needle piece, but today just as I was putting the machine away the metal caught the evening light. Glad to have that settled. 

My goal today with this jacket was to add the middle white stripes and I think it turned out well. The top zipper still needs to be finished, the front pieces topstitched, and the seam allowances bound.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Progress on the Upcycled Denim Jacket

Worked on this upcycled denim jacket a bit this evening. The right side front and right front pieces are only partially sewn together, to add the white stripes to the right front and try to get them to match up to the other stripes. I do not have experience working with stripes and curved seams together, so this is an experiment. 

The seam allowances under the sewn half of the zipper were a bear to press down to the left side front, with all of the pieced and bias-bound seams. They'll be topstitched down.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Upcycling Old Jeans for Kwik Sew 3764

Finally, I'm sewing again after approximately two months. I discovered black carpet beetle larvae in the  sewing room and various other places around our house in February, so every weekend and many weekday evenings since then have been spent cleaning house from top to bottom, washing and drying ALL of my fabric, curtains, linens, vintage linen collection, quilts, etc, as well as vacuuming the same carpet and rugs over and over and over and over. The larvae will eat various fibers, but prefer anything with keratin such as pet fur, wool, alpaca, cashmere, and silk. It's been quite a journey, which included a fire in our clothes dryer due to lint build up in places I didn't even know were possible prior to this. We're not sure where, when, or how the larvae problem started. I'm very particular about quarantining and washing newly acquired fabric and clothes before bringing them into our house. I did find one dead adult black carpet beetle in a windowsill. I'm not sure if I'll ever return to doing custom sewing projects for other people. The upshot is that the sewing room is very tidy now and I got rid of lots of stuff around the house that was not being used. Plus, the broken needle tip that had been MIA in the sewing room for several months is surely gone now.

This denim upcycling project uses old jeans that were mine and Bodhi's, and leftover silk bias strips from stash. The pieced denim on the left is ready to be cut - the wrong side is face up. The piece on the right still needs all of the seam allowances bound with the bias strips followed by topstitching. I hope to make the Kwik Sew 3764 moto jacket that I've wanted to sew up for several years.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Simplicity 2158 Bellydancing Skirt

This weekend I completed a new skirt for bellydance performances. The pattern is Simplicity 2158 and I used the View C skirt. It is a four-paneled trumpet shape that is made for wovens but I used this turquoise foil 4-way stretch lycra that I found at Joann's last year. Instead of two front slits per the pattern, I just left one. 

Hand sewing on the loose beads and sequins took approximately 10 hours over the last few weeks. The slit just has one row on each side that covers up the machine-sewn hem stitching. The bottom edge has the same style over the hem stitching, as well as the style that goes around the edge from the front to the back with each stitch.

The skirt will be worn with this professional-quality bra and belt set that I recently acquired. The set is used and I have to make a couple of adjustments for it to fit me before I can wear it. The belt is two identical pieces- the front as shown below and the back that is not in this photo. They connect at the sides with large metal hooks & eyes.

I experimented with using 3-inch wide waistband elastic, instead of doing the usual casing with 1-inch or 3/4-inch non-roll elastic. The elastic is sewn to the fabric folded over on the inside. The skirt will have to first pass the 2-hour test of dance class followed by troup practice to make sure the waistband is ok, but I can always adjust it if necessary.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Little White Dress for Contest at PatternReview

The contests at PatternReview are super to give me a deadline to sew something and I'm trying to strictly stick to my stash this year to sew it up. The basic idea is to create a versatile all white or off-white dress, show the dress by itself, then style it different ways for day and evening looks. Here are the complete contest rules:

I finished my dress today, complete with a hidden pocket for travel (see previous post today for details), and Bodhi helped tremendously by taking the photos. Of course a hidden pocket is no longer a secret when it's broadcast on the internet...

The top & back bodice is from the pattern Jalie 2682 view B. The bodice band is the top few inches from the bottom bodice front and back of Jalie 2682. The skirt is modified from the popular Simplicity 3503 dress- I tapered the upper edge to match the band width. The main fabric is white supplex lycra 4-way stretch knit from stash. I created a lining for the skirt with white nylon tricot knit from stash and the bodice band is two layers of the supplex lycra. The front bodice is two layers, as per the Jalie pattern, so show-through is not an issue.

The dress:

For work with blazer and pumps:

Picnic in the park via bicycle. In a few months when it's warm again.

Snowy fun layered with extremely toasty Mountain Hardware down jacket; Polartec hat, scarf and mittens sewn by me; warm brown cable knit tights; brown suede La Canadienne wedge boots.

Evening out in silver:

Evening out in pink:

Wintery evening out with my leather motorcycle jacket, black cable tights, and black kitten heel boots. This jacket has a zip-out insulated lining and is quite warm. My sister gave me the Miche purse a couple of years ago as bridesmaid gift.

Free Pattern: Hidden Pocket for Travel Clothes

These pockets I designed are just big enough for a credit card and extra cash, and are meant to be sewn to the inside of clothing where they do not show. 

Cut fabric 3 inches wide by 7.5 inches long. This is a good use for small stretchy knit scraps that do not fray. May as well make several at a time. 

Fold up the bottom 2.5 inches and pin toward the bottom.

 Fold down the top 1.5 inches so there is an overlap and pin at the overlap. Stitch from the top down on both sides. My pattern is for 1/4 inch seam allowances but I went slightly wider at the edge of the presser foot and that worked fine.

Flip the pocket to the wrong side for the second seam, if you're not comfortable with having the presser foot on the left side of the pocket.

Five pockets sewn in just a few minutes.

This pocket was destined for my Little White Dress that I made for the current contest at PatternReview. I hand sewed the top folded edge to the inside top of the bodice band in the serged seam allowance, over the side seam. It could work under the armscyce at a side seam; at the waistband of shorts, skirts, and pants; or along any other seam allowance. 

Just big enough for a credit card and extra cash.

With two bills and the plastic card inside.

Barely visible from the outside at the side seam.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

McCall's 4599 Jacket in Polartec 200

Last weekend I made this jacket using aqua Polartec 200 fleece found at the local shop Sew Green a couple of months ago. The pattern is McCall's 4599 view B from 2004. The recommended woven fabrics for this pattern are cotton and cotton blends; wool and wool blends; corduroy; brocade; and denim. I really like the basic shape of this jacket and this is the second time I've made it in fleece using the size 12, which is the suggested size on the envelope for my measurements. If I was making this in a recommended woven fabric, I would go down one or two sizes.

The continuous binding around the collar, front, and bottom is pieced bias strips from scraps of various shades of blue woven nylon supplex, nylon taffeta, and microfiber from stash. The closures are made from blue faux suede, four buttons, and beads, also all from stash.

I didn't really follow the pattern instructions, other than the basic seam allowances. Changes in addition to fabric type are:

1. No facings.
2. Used small scraps of the faux suede on the inside to reinforce what the buttons are sewn to.
3. To reduce bulk on the two back darts, I cut them open (see photos below for a peek inside).
4. Lengthened the sleeves by 3 inches, turned up 2 inches, then sewed those hems with 1-inch seam allowances. I still have to trim the extra but first wanted to make sure they were long enough.

Worn with my alpaca hat (RTW, made from shorn fibers and a woven fabric- it's not a skin with fur) and the J. Stern jeans I made in 2012.

A peek inside:

Brynhilde attacking the inside button reinforcements: