Archive for the ‘Sewing’ Category

Captain Cannonball!

October 31, 2009

Murphy had such a marvelous time last year at Halloween (he sat by the door the next evening waiting for the fun to start again), I thought he needed a costume this year.  One of his many nicknames is Captain Cannonball, referring to his tendency to run faster than he can brake, so I made him a cape:


Here’s a closer look at his logo:


The fabric is poly satin, cut in a rectangle about 20″ x 25.”  The edges are bound with purchased bias tape.  Rather than figure out a way for him to wear it, I attached it to his seat belt harness, which he’s already used to wearing:


One bonus to this method is that the harness has a D-ring that I’ll use to hook a long leash to (the other end will go around the stair rail).  He can reach the front door and greet the kiddies, but can’t get out, and I can hand out candy without having to hold onto him.


Now to keep him from tugging on it!


A Tidier Purse, I Hope

September 28, 2009

I got this pattern from the Ghee’s booth at the ASG conference in July.  It’s the “Portapockets Purse Insert” by Studio Kat designs.  I put it together out of red and orange hand-dyed fat quarters.


It’s got 5 elastic-top pockets, a zippered pocket, credit card slots and elastic pen loops.  The pattern is generally excellent — very detailed instructions, drawings where appropriate, everything fits together like it should.  I made a couple of changes — I replaced the ID pocket with another set of credit card slots and extended the elastic pen loops from seam to seam.  The only flaw I found in the pocket was in the recommendation to use “extra-wide” double fold bias tape.  Either I misunderstood her directions or she uses a different brand from the one Hancocks sells, but my bias tape was too wide and I had to cut it down.  A minor problem in the grand scheme of things.

Now to see if it can help me find a pen when I need one!

Time For A New Sewing Chair?

September 27, 2009


I thought so…


ASG Conference: Bias Skirts and Irreverent Heirloom

August 14, 2009

One of my favorite workshops at conference was Julianne Bramson’s Out of the Envelope Bias Skirt class.  Using a simple, on-grain rectangle, we sewed a custom fit straight skirt with that lovely bias drape and some nifty seam detailing.  I was able to finish mine to a wearable state in class:


When I got home, I found the skirt had developed a gash along the seam (a scissor-packing error, I think).  I stuck it down with Steam-A-Seam and handstitching, but it looked it nasty.  So, still under the influence of another class I enjoyed, Suzy Seed’s Irreverent Heirloom class:


where we learned about decorative stitching with double and wing needles, I added a couple of rows of wavy stitching.  The stitching does a good job holding the gash together, and the wavy lines distract the eye:


I’m not sure how it will hold up to multiple washings, but the fabric isn’t the best, so I expect the fix will last long enough.

ASG Conference in Albuquerque

August 2, 2009

How I spent my summer vacation…at the American Sewing Guild‘s national conference in Albuquerque!  This isn’t like most conferences — all boring meetings and speeches.  There is a day of boring meetings and speeches, but only chapter presidents have to go, so I didn’t have to.  Then there’s the good stuff — five days of sewing classes, workshops, demonstrations, trunk shows, shopping and laughing and eating and … not much sleep.

The conference was held this year at the Albuquerque Convention Center in downtown Albuquerque.


There were two hotels nearby — I stayed at the Hyatt.


Since I waited so long to get a room, I was afraid I’d be in trouble, but it actually worked out well…there was a really nice hotel sale going on and I got the room for less than the conference rate.  It’s a great hotel, except that they don’t have free wifi.  The other nearby hotel does, as does the conference center (which, oddly, wasn’t publicized).

A warning about Albuquerque — the downtown area seems to close up about 3pm…we had some trouble finding non-hotel food within a comfortable it’s-90-degrees-outside walking distance.  Fortunately, the breakfasts and lunches that were provided were substantial enough that we hardly needed dinner!

One night the conference organizers set up shuttles to Old Town, which is a historic/touristy area about 2 miles from downtown.  MUCH better on the food front!  We ate a place called Church Street Cafe, which claims to be the oldest Mexican restaurant in New Mexico.  Long wait, good food, nifty interior.


As we were leaving, a storm rolled in.  Great skies over the church in Old Town!


Back to the Sewing Room

June 11, 2009

I wanted to try wearing more skirts this summer, so chose this for my first project back in the sewing room.


It’s the Six Sense skirt from the Shapes line from Linda Lee and Louise Cutting.  I got the pattern and the fabric, a silk/poly blend, from Country Cousins in Concordia, KS.  The pattern instructions are great and the sewing is fairly straightforward.  Except…my fabric wouldn’t take a press for love or money!  On the good side, though, that means it doesn’t wrinkle while wearing…  I made a straight size 3 as my measurements indicated, which is about the right length in back, but the drapes in front are a bit long; if I make it again I’ll shorten it about an inch.  It was also too big around, so I took out about 2 inches in the center back, and it could stand to be even smaller.  I’ll take it in when my ab muscles finish recovering.

Sleep Tee Upgrade

February 23, 2009

I acquired a stack of sleep tees from Lands End in preparation for a hospital stay, and this weekend I decided they were boring.  The first one I upgraded got a foil initial:


The second one allows me to take Murphy the puppy with me:


I silk screened these using some photos I had taken…

The initial photo:


The edited design:


And the screen:


I’ve been using a product called PhotoEZ.  It comes in sheets and is exposed using UV light — I use sunlight.  It’s a trifle temperamental, but I gather all screen creating technologies are, in one way or another, and isn’t nearly as expensive or space-hogging as a Thermofax machine.  I definitely need more practice, but it’s really fun!

A Pillowcase Experiment

January 28, 2009

This year’s ASG community service project is to make pillowcases for kids at Ronald McDonald Houses.  A few of us thought it might be nice to add a drawstring to the trim to allow the pillowcase to be used as a carrying bag as well.  As I thought about how to sew this, I was worried about adding knots or bows that would be uncomfortable to sleep on. As I was rethreading a drawstring through the waistband of a pair of workout pants(again), I was also thinking about how to keep the drawstring in the pillowcase through washing. So…I came up with this.

I turned the selvedge edges under on a 2-inch strip, cut it in half, and laid it out with a gap at the halfway point on the case:

pillowcase01webI made a drawstring out of another 2-inch strip by turning in the edges:


I threaded the drawstring through the trim, pinned everything at the edges, and sewed the drawstring into the sideseam.

The drawstring doesn’t really show:

pillowcase_04-webUntil you pull it out:


Ok, so here’s my problem.  I solved the comfort and loss-ability problems, but now I’m sort of worried about choking risks.  What do y’all think?

Testing a Tee

January 24, 2009

I loved this tee when I saw it in the Nov 2008 Burda WOF…until I saw that it was sleeveless (who wears sleeveless tees in November?).  To test a sleeve morph and to make sure the front gather/drape detail looked good on me, I made this test out of some really awful knit from JoAnn.  It was so awful to sew and icky feeling that I didn’t even bother to hem it — just whacked it off with a rotary cutter.  Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I love it!  Fit is great, feels fun with the bit of drapey flair at the where-the-hem-should-be.  I’m even getting compliments when I wear it, which I hadn’t planned to.  Gotta make another one in fabric I’m not embarrassed to be seen in!


Speaking of Toys

January 18, 2009

In one of those synchronicity things that life likes to produce, last month, just as I was sewing my first stuffed animal in years, I also ran across pictures of a teddy bear I made for a friend ages ago and saw said friend for the first time in years.  Stuffed, jointed bears were just about the first thing I did really well with a sewing machine, and I made them for everyone until the tendonitis in my hands forced me to stop (working with such small parts and sewing them shut after stuffing are pretty hard on your hands).

This is Rocky the Heavy Metal Bear:


He even has an axe earring!


I used Judi Maddigan’s Learn Bearmaking book and bought my supplies at a teddy bear shop in Santa Clara.  I wonder if it’s still there?