02 August, 2015

An Ode To Pencil Girl








 It is almost impossible to sew for oneself without a tailors dummy. I'm this close to making a duct tape one - except I hate the smell of duct tape.
The almost 100' heat wave continues here in Oregon, making it impossible to be outside except in the early morning hours. Thank the lord we have air conditioning. And a fan. I have been sewing.

Not easy projects either.
Look - I sewed work shorts and a tank top

I succumbed to a craftsy deal a year or so ago where I bought this pattern and fabric for $25.
Even I know it was a good deal. A yard and a half of Anna Maria Horner's  "Field Study" Rayon Challis plus a Simplicity 1614 paper pattern.
{It's title is "Sinister Swarm" which I didn't know ('cuz that's just scary).}

This fabric is so soft.







I'm using Front D and Back B.

This Sinster Swarm fabric is so busy, that sewing random lines would never appear in the finished item. Plus that yoke bit in front - not so easy to fit on my adult girls. 


Pencil Girl and I met up last May and she tissue-fitted me with these pieces.
Once I cut out the fabric, I pinned the fabric pieces to my tank top I was wearing.

I dealt with an extra inch at the top front by creating 2" of tiny gathers. I also had some armhole gaping in front so I pinched a small 3" dart in as well. This fabric is so busy, I can't even see these seams, so I was doubly glad we opted out of extra seams in view A and B.

Other than that, her tissue fitting was spot on. I am very appreciative that she offered.

Here's the back view below - I think I was leaning forward fruitlessly forgetting that I had my hair chopped off a couple of weeks ago and there was no need to lean my head down.







My daughter was home for a quick weekend wedding and I made her pin my hem and take photos.

Combining different views created a weird hem and I didn't want it straight across.
Originally, I was going to put a small handkerchief hem with points at the side seams but my daughter who has way more style sense than me pinned this instead.

You can see my work shorts too. Three sets of pockets. A buttload of top stitching.
And finished!


Still have chalk marks but the first wash should smarten these up. I'm curious to see what the first wash will do for my rayon challis tank top. I think the bias tape that got a wee bit  stretched  will resume it's proper shape.



Swarm of pretty butterflies...


The top edges and the armholes are all bound with bias tape which is secure. That rayon challis on the bias stretched every which way and I might have had a few words with it before we finished. I almost went with some commercial black  bias tape but decided against because this fabric is so soft and commercial bias tape is not. At times while wrestling, I cursed my decision.




I hemmed this with a simple double hem and grabbed the photographer right before she left.

Not sure why top is rucked up on front right but you do see what's behind me?
The fuselage for the Piper J-5.
In my garage.



Thank you PENCIL GIRL!
I couldn't have started without your help and encouragment.
This tank top is so soft and comfortable. No pulling when I sit down.


*** I didn't have to re-thread anything as Navy Blue was in both the serger and the pfaff.
Me and my lazy ways...

****Pencil girl is just a code name for a dear friend. (I've known her since college!) Those friends of mine who don't blog have a screen name as my internet protection method is one of confusion.

***** Did you notice the wonder clips in the hemming process???

01 August, 2015

Wonder Pockets



 This is my practice buttonhole. #34 on my pfaff. 
Notes for next time. There's a hinged place on my pfaff for the IDT buttonholer which also has room for some sample buttonholes. This one is rounded at one end which reminds me of the Singer buttonhole cams that I grew up with.

 I love the buttonholes on this machine. So easy and quick plus they look nice. I can get up to a 9mm width with this machine - reason #5 for buying this machine.  I went around twice for durability.



 These are work shorts, very utilitarian.
Elastic knit waist band for comfort with repeated bending.

I definitely will not be entering these into my county fair (two weeks!).
Nice sewing but I'm not going to waste time with my seam ripper getting it perfect.


 Pocket flaps. 
I serge the top edge. I sew them to the shorts upside down with that serged edge just above the pocket. Flip the flap down and give it a quick press, then top-stitch down - which conveniently hides the serged edge. Not couture sewing - just down and dirty quick sewing.




What did we do before WONDER CLIPS and Sewline Chalk pencils?
That's my top-stitching lines above, done with the Sewline Chalk Pencil. Pencil Girl made me buy one - hence her screen name. One of my favorite notions.

All the seams have double top-stitching as well as down the middle of the pockets which are then sewn on with double top stitching.

Note the use of the mini-clapper, aka Wonder Clip. This 45' angle on the pocket has more bulk and it's difficult to make it stay flat after ironing. I remember the last time I sewed these shorts, I had to use more pins to make the edges lie flat ('cuz wonder clips weren't invented yet). This time - right after ironing, I used a wonder clip and it eliminated the fiddly nature on this angled pocket.


I've finished the first pair except for sewing on the buttons. Cutting out the second pair is next on my sewing agenda. Possibly someone can snap some photos tomorrow.

 I had my son over yesterday for baby back ribs. We sat out on the patio in 100+ degree weather with the clematis shading the top of the pergola and the misters on. It was very comfortable with those misters on. Probably in the 80's under the pergola??   And - oddly enough - the fine mist kept the flies and yellow jackets away from the baby back ribs and fresh corn on the cob and Hermiston Watermelon.

Daughter is home from Ketchikan for a quick wedding weekend. I'll try to grab her to take pretty photos.  Still gonna be hot tomorrow.

Blessed am I to see  both my kids in one weekend.

30 July, 2015

Sewing Hooky








 I get easily distracted.  

I am supposed to be sewing some work shorts and a top that was personally fitted to my body. Instead, I am playing sewing hooky.
aka *avoidance* and *procrastination*

.



 My inspiration was an airplane tote on Etsy.
At this shop.


Man - I have this fabric!
Her tote has external pockets, mine has internal pockets.

My airplane tote is going into the etsy shop. I am overwhelmed at her pricing. $38 for a tote.
I have the most difficult time finding the magic price point. Some things I make are above and beyond and pretty spectacular.  I don't struggle as much pricing those items.

I'm very aware of how much time I spend sewing as well as my material cost.
What I struggle with are the okay (basic to me)  items - $38 for a tote bag???

Would you pay $38 for a tote?

It does have a pretty nifty single welt pocket....


 I watched a Peggy Sager's video on Saturday - a Silhouette Patterns webinar on sewing pants. She went over a single welt pocket and I had to have a go at one.

It's almost like putting a zipper pocket in, but not quite.



Here's the inside double pocket on the other side. I love this stripe lining.
I left the selvedge edge at the bottom (No hemming - lazy me)







 I settled down today and started sewing the work shorts. Three sets of pockets and lots and lots of top-stitching. A butt-load of top-stitching!   Before I ran out of bobbin thread,  I finished the fronts and started on the side pockets. 


The side pockets have flaps with a buttonhole. That's where I'm at. I need to re-thread the bobbin and get back into the sewing room. I have the fan going because we are back up at 100 degrees (with a tiny respite earlier this week --- teaser rain and mid-seventies).


I am bribing myself with one chocolate chip per top-stitched seam. Seams (ha!) to be working.



21 July, 2015

Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour

 Chocolate Chip Cookies. 10 dozen.
Made for the drug dealer son and the freezer.




I made them with Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour - make your recipes gluten free.

By far and away -  the easiest gluten free flour I've ever used.
Exchange it for 1 cup of regular flour. I've used it in several recipes and I can't tell the difference. Cakes are moist, Cookies are crisp and chewy.

The 1 to 1 flour made these with a nice crackle surface. Very pretty.

I have reached that age in my life where I need to store flour in the fridge. I rarely bake - I can't eat what I make as I eat very little grains. My kids are up and out of the house. I can bake for work but things have not been friendly there lately. 

I particularly WISH  ( please!) that Bob's Red Mill would change their packaging to a ziploc-style closure. They are packaged in cellophane bags which have to be closed somehow. I always throw them into a ziploc bag once opened to keep pantry moths out and because I've had that cellophane tear and produce a mess. So - Bob's Red Mill - if you are listening??? Ziploc closure would be very welcome.








 I also made some Daffodil pens for work today. I buy the cheap back-to-school (already?) pens, drill holes in the end and hot glue the flower stem inside and then wrap with floral tape. Easy peasy.
 

 My only rule is extreme cheapness. The daffodils came from an estate sale - marked 25 cents. She threw them in as a bonus.

While I have some customers who will steal even a flower pen, these tend to stay much longer than a naked pen.




15 July, 2015

Sewing Machine Fabric


I can't sew right now.

 My coworker's mom passed away and I've done 8 weeks of overtime plus mgmt's "you're a crap employee" talk twice now - once on overtime to the tune of $75 to listen (ha) to "blahblahblah" and don't even get me started about the heat that has stricken western Oregon.

Fortunately for me, I have air conditioning, so I can catch up on some blog reading. 


Kadiddlehopper
is on my "C" list; blogs I like to keep an eye on to see if they continue being interesting. She made a t-shirt out of this knit. I fell into lust. I wanted this fabric. Beautiful blue background with lighter tone sewing machines and cute little hearts in the scissor borders.

I clicked the link which led to a UK shop, so I chased down a US seller,  and half-an-hour later, paypal'ed my own sewing machine knit fabric.



It came with a little note saying a swatch had been cut into the fabric and she sent *extra*.


 Knit from Lillestoff - out of Germany, I think. 
Very soft, very nice next to the skin.


I have a yard and a half to pet.

05 July, 2015

Cutting Out My Shorts







I've been needing to make new work shorts for a while. I can't ignore the worn seams anymore. They've been worn to death. I will be making two pairs.

These are elastic waist shorts so no great fitting issues other than the crotch area and the elastic length. They are made from a pattern I drafted from some RTW shorts some years back. They hit me right above the knee and have all the top-stitching details that I love about RTW.

I haven't seen a post where someone shows you how they cut out pattern pieces from fabric so I thought to show you one of the ways I deal with fabric so it doesn't pull off the table while trying to cut a straight line.


 

 I usually lay out the fabric on the (clean) floor, doubled at the fold and smoothed out.
Some patterns give you a suggested layout but my self-drafted pattern didn't come in a cute envelope. The grain usually goes lengthwise so I lay out my front short pieces and backs with the grain going vertically from waist to hem. The crotch area gets cut on the bias which is sometimes a good thing. I try to keep all pattern pieces going top to bottom. Sometimes fabric has a tiny bit of directional nap which might not be visible until you finish.

This fabric has about 3%(?) lycra for stretch (and recovery). Most often, the stretch will  be more width wise than lengthwise, but not always. I want the stretch to go around my butt, - not down my leg. This is because the weight of the garment will start dragging on that stretch and your hem will get longer over time.

Basically, there is no right or wrong way to cut out pattern pieces. The stretch and the grain are both something to consider.



The other thing to consider is your knees. This is why I ususally cut garments out on my large kitchen island nowadays. However, the maid took the independence holiday off. lol

I lay each piece down, starting with the larger pieces, paying attention to the grainline. I fit the smaller pieces in as I go. Satisfied with my layout, I start pinning. Every four inches or so. Some people use a chalk pin or ink pen to draw around the shapes for easier and more exact cutting , but that's a newer skillset for me. These shorts have lots of ease built in (so comfortable for repeated bending at work) that my crap cutting skills will still get me to the finish line.


Some people use pattern weights - another skillset I've yet to master.
The problem with pins is the distortion they make in the fabric making the finished cut-out piece not so exact. Some fabrics react badly to pin holes too. This fabric is a nice cotton/?/lycra that loves my pins and doesn't slither around.



 Then I start cutting each piece out.

As I finish each piece, I remove all pins but one at the 'top' and lay this cut piece to the side. I like to keep one pin holding the pattern to the fabric. I have a whopping fifty years of sewing experience telling me that vacations from the sewing room happen and when you finally get back, things are often havey-cavey.


The other reason to keep pattern pieces with fabric is because some pattern pieces look alike!

or - mirror images. This keeps everything organized for when you begin to sew.

I have enough fabric for two pairs. I am sewing one up and then seeing if I need to make any adjustments before I cut out the other. These long tails of fabric will never be of any use to anybody so I cut them off as I go.





 I now have a neat pile of folded pattern pieces cut out and a pile of scraps.

I've re-threaded the sewing machine. I still need to re-thread the serger.




We had a glorious fireworks show last night. I chose to sit at my bedroom window instead of dealing with the no-see-ums outside. I could see four different shows clearly. Our Canbyland one lasted a really long time.

I think a nap is in order.


03 July, 2015

Happy 4th of July




Is this not the best hairstyle ever?


Had to take this photo. His mom did the dye job.





 
I  stopped at the store  on the way home from work to pick up some 4th of July goodies. There's a fountain at the stop sign back by the movie theater.
With a hawk on top of it.


The fountain is drilled so water seeps over the front of the big rock.
I rolled down the window (air-conditioning on - HOT) to take some photos.

I didn't manage to capture it but this hawk was playing.

He rode the water down over the edge of the rock, then he would flap his wings to "climb the escalator" back up. He did it once more.
See that slope in front with the dedication words? He was skateboarding!

Then I must have scared him. He flew off.
Too funny!


 

 




I have TWO DAYS off in a row and it's too hot to do much. I usually take in the parade (at 2pm). This year, Benjamin Franklin will speak at Wait Park (11:30) and of course, there is the library book sale (big score last year). Three hours in the sun (95') - I don't have a good feeling about this.

I'm thinking I will stay home, put the fan on, and sew. Maybe take a nap in the afternoon before the neighborhood 4th of July party. And those lawn tractor races, along with the home brew contest. Not to mention the city sparklers going off just a half-mile away.

 It's a full moon too.