Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My Religious Reading

Long ago, I became really frustrated with buying clothes.  I had always loved to sew, loved altering patterns, loved finding great fabrics, had a respectable stash, but it was a hobby.

And then the clerk in the French Connection UK store laughed at me.

Postbaby, trapped in the dressing room, nothing wide enough to fit my “not that huge” 36" backside.

That’s where I had my fist-shaking, Scarlett O'Hara moment. Never again.

And I have stayed out of clothing stores since then.

I do thrift shop. I have bought online. I make my own clothes from my own patterns.


I alter it all.

And this book is my bible.

I had to get my own copy after the library retired the one I kept checking out and copying and copying and copying. 

It's not like I didn't know this stuff; like the Bible, it validates my methods and gives me comfort that I am going the right way with my life..uh.. mending. And I probably would take it with me on long journeys where I can only take one book.

Disturbingly clear illustrations.
Really good advice.
How to make the secret pocket.

Although, the sewist in the lower left drawing is about to sew themselves to the hem.
And the zipper center top is clipped too close (it's going to poke out after the dress/blouse gets washed).
We all made mistakes (I've made those two plenty of times).

Monday, January 20, 2014

Self facing welt pocket diagrammed (in color)

After a conversation or two online,  I felt I needed to clarify my pocket procedural.

I used a version of this in Plaidness, but it doesn't illustrate what I'm trying to say. I like my real fabrics to coordinate, if not to match exactly. If you are using a matching plaid for a welt, all that flipping and pinning I did in Plaidness is the way to go. I am sure I will figure out a better way to do that, but not today.

 The drawings are not fancy, but this way, the right and wrong sides of the fabrics are clearer. 

Garish, but clearer.

First, you need to cut a bigger piece of pocket material than you think you're going to need. My drawings here result in a too tiny pocket (as you will see by drawing F).

With the right sides of the pocket material and the object of pocketing facing each other. You want to sew two lines of stitching where you want the pocket opening to be. They are the top and the bottom. 

The green line is the cut line to open the hole. You want to make the triangly part as long as you can stand it.

Turn the fabric through the hole you just made. The green triangles in B show where you're pulling those bits through to the sides between the layers (xray vision time!). Iron now. Drawing C shows folding up the bottom part to just cover the hole. Iron it in place. 

You want to sew  (the red line) in the ditch on the right side across the opening and ONLY across the opening in the ditch. This involves pinning on this inside and turning it to the right side and probably repinning (and then removing the pins from the wrong side). Lots of pinning.

This is where I mention that you want to keep all of this as flat as possibly.

Back on the wrong side, drawing E, iron again. Then bring up the bottom edge of the pocket to meet the top edge and sew them to each other (making a tube). If the pocket is square enough, this should work. If it's way off, you'll need to trim it. 

I like the pocket seam to be up and towards me, not at the bottom. The pockets seem to wear better this way. That's why that seam is in the middle (perhaps too high but this shows why you want to use a BIG piece of pocket stuff for this. You will use it all).

I slide a piece of plastic in between the layers I want to pin and the ones I don't. Which comes in handy in drawing F. I iron again, slide the plastic under the end, pin it, pin the other end, and sew as indicated by the up and down red lines. I only sew the pocket material, not the facing or the front. No, I'm not sewing right next to the welt. It's going to pull and distort the back of the pocket with too much handling.

Flipping back to the front with drawing G, I finish it up by sewing in the ditch on the ends of the welt (the red lines) through all layers to secure. Kinda covers the part where I did not sew the pocket sides that close to the welt.

Nice things about this application; if I use a big enough piece for the pocket, I'm not stuck if I miss-cut. I like to use the lining for the welt, but if I don't, I can stick a front fabric patch to cover where the flap covers the hole on the pocket fabric piece. I can pull something through the welt flap to make it stiffer/puffier/I can keep the construction as flat as possible for as long as possible. I can reinforce the pocket bottom if I decide halfway through that I should have done that.

I like a process that lets me mess up, fix it, change my mind and use all those pins I bought.

Hope this works for you, too.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Aftermarket/Afterthought pockets again

Another afterthought/aftermarket pocket mend.

Truly ugly rain parka. Added inside patch pockets... ten years ago?

I hand sewed the pocket to the lining, and it's been failing.

Since it's large enough to carry a 16oz coffee in it without concern, it stands to reason it would wear out.

New mend idea.

Grab pocket and lining, and fold over at pocket edge, machine zig zag stitchover that 'edge' from top to bottom.  Zig zag should widen out enough to make new 'seam' lie flat. Or flat enough.

Kinda the blind hem approach. Hoping to catch enough of both edges but not much more. The length of the thread/ number of continuous stitches will give the seam more strength and holding power than hand stitching with deeper stitches spaced farther apart.

Still need to tidy up the ends (left the threads long to sew them back in for added security)
but you get the gist of it.

Not a long term solution, but for a coat I had no intention of keeping, it's lasted a long time.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sweet 30's New Vintage Lady Hat

I've been trying to get a review up of New Vintage Lady's 30's Cap Hats

Sweet, huh?

This is as far as I get. It's a close fitting skull hat with band variations.

I've interlined with heavy interfacing and lined with rayon satin. And added a triangle of fuzzy fleece at the back center for traction. I don't do well with bobby pins.

There were some mistakes made in cutting out the lining. And one of the pattern pieces is backwards (very easy to do with unprinted patterns) so there's been  unpicking and resewing.

I removed the bows as I don't do well with bows. But it needs something. And the bands, while pretty cool, just aren't sitting in the right spot yet. I did slide plastic into the upper band to give it structure,, and I'm going to pick up some fake flowers for a cascade on the right side.

So on it's own, it looks pretty sweet. Or it will

It's just so small on my actual head. No, this is not a flattering photo of me. But that's where the hat sits right now. WAAAAY up there. It doesn't fit moved forward on my head. The hat is scaled to fit a 23" head. I have a 23" head.

More thinking will occur. Bigger top band with more air? The fabric is a pea vine pattern; fake pea vine flowers down side? The skull cap fits very well, it could hold some serious frippery.

I've never done frippery on my head. I am enjoying my playtime here.

Fake flowers ho!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Shirt from a shirt

Recently, I cannot make a buttonhole on my machine to save my soul anymore. It's all out of sequence and it needs a tune up, but I'm broke and have no time to spare.

So, what if.... I make a shirt with a standup drape collar and use a huge men's shirt and use the button placket that's already there? I can usually get better fabric in shirts from the thrift store, and this Alexander Julian poly/cotton is a great example. And six bucks? You'd be crazy not to do it.

My hands are not blue. My eyes are.
It's not like I'm saving myself any time, I have to remove any pockets and hope the stitchline doesn't show when I'm making it up.

I do have a recent sloper from the pleated shirt.... 

Tracing for alterations

 All it needs are some adjustments for ease and a collar. And maybe I move the dart from the side to the top shoulder seam and make it a pleat....

Darts on the move

Slash pattern at new dart, pivot piece to close side dart. Tape!
Add fill to new dart so pattern piece does not tear

Adding collar extension at top center of piece
I need to match up the length below the waist (where this sloper stops)

Carving it up very carefully. I may need every inch (I have done this surgery before, I know me all too well, I make too many unplanned-for changes on the fly)
I'm using the sleeve placket, mostly for detail. It will be closed at the bottom by a band.

I'm going to use the rolled hem as much as possible. In theory, I am, anyway.

 Trying to match thread to what I have; this is a good representation of the color,

Line up the collar to the back seam (I have left out some less interesting moments in construction along the way)

Added a bit of scrap, pre-shrunk ribbon to cover exposed seam

And back to the bottom of the sleeve

 And now I have to stop.  I have quite the cold going.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Suddenly I need a ham

I've been sewing long enough to need a real tailor's ham.

I used to use this
ours was the junior size

And it worked pretty well,
And it disappeared.

I have been making do with the front end of the overpadded ironing board, but I needed a real round surface for the hat I am working on.

oooh, custom ham holder!

It's more of an acorn, but it gets the job done. Four pie shapes on one end, four longer pie shapes on the other. Sewing the four pie shapes into a half-hemisphere, sewing the longer pies into another (leaving the middle of one longer seam open for turning/stuffing) then sewing those two shapes  together at their 'equator'. Turning it was a bit of a trick (I had sewn a stiff football here).

Stuffing it was another matter. I am sorry I do not have before and after photos of the sewing garbage can, as I used all the fabric scraps, all the leftover bits and some yarn gauge samples. And some more. And part of a sweater I had felted. And a knitted scarf that was more of a fence post than a cuddly warm friend. And some yarn that made me cry. As long as it didn't melt or wasn't paper, I shoved it in. 

Used some of that masking tape to close it while I slipstitched the open seam shut. Not showing that seam, as I was in a hurry and it looks awful. But the dang thing works, baby!

There's a lot of shame and fail in this acorn. Now made useful.

That's as good a new year's resolution as I can give you.

It just looks simple

I keep seeing drawings of these. And it seems simple, really. A pin cushion on a jelly jar lid.

Uh huh.

I am going to take this apart and rebuild it, but let me explain a simple thing.

If you make one, you want to use something besides the canning lid as the base for the cushion. It barely screws on as it is, even with most of the fabric bulk removed/reduced.

And you need to make a little pillow liner that is smaller than the diameter of the inside of the jar ring, so the stuffing isn't stuck in the jar ring.

And suddenly four hours have gone by.

And now I know why I see drawings and not photos.