Archive for April, 2010

The Stand-In

Here is the machine I will be using while my poor other machines are out of commission.  This picture was taken when I first opened the case.  I thought the case held a typewriter, so was surprised and delighted to find a sewing machine inside. I hope Nora (Mrs. Pastor B) can look down from heaven and see that someone still loves her machine, because she really kept it in primo condition.   I inherited it about 3 years ago but hadn’t tried it out yet.  I have to say, it is a really heavy, sturdy machine, started right up, and sewed perfect stitches.  I have always been fond of those old machines that only have a little round hole for the needle to go through because it gives you such control over the fabric.  Machines with large oval holes in the plate are always pulling the fabric down through the hole, but not in these old machines.

Because this machine only sews a straight stitch with no zigzag, it has made me interested in construction methods using straight stitch only.  I have some old sewing pamphlets and books from this period so will have to look up and see how they did things.  For the first few decades of my sewing life, I sewed on my grandmother’s 1919 Singer, so it will be fun to go back to the old way of doing things.  I see some French seams and bias bound seams in my future.  And pinking shears, do I still have mine somewhere?

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After my poor little Elna SU stopped working, I switched over to the Elna 9000.  It worked for about 15 minutes, then it broke, too!  Imagine, two sewing machines going on the fritz on the same day.  Well, they can keep each other company in the sewing machine hospital.  While waiting for the verdict, I guess I will try the old Singer 301A I inherited from Pastor B’s wife.  Maybe its past life in a very spiritual household will make it immune to the bad machine vibes here this week.

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Sewing machines broken making the Orange IKEA Bag: 1

Today my favorite little sewing machine, an Elna SU, is on the sick list. Its dials froze up and it won’t zigzag anymore. Looks like a trip to the sewing machine shop. I love that machine and really really hope they can fix it. I can’t take it in for a week or two, so looks like I’m going to have to use one of the other 7 machines.

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I discovered that the Peltex is much much harder to work with than the quilt batting. It is hard work to battle with the fabric, trying to make it fit under the sewing machine needle, but I finally finished it.

I need to stop making a bags for awhile and move on to something else easier. I have a few mending chores to do for M, then I can go back to the skirts for A.

I asked the spouse to model the bag for me since my daughter wasn’t home that day. He charged me two kisses for a modeling fee which I was happy to pay.

Needles broken making this bag: 1

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Zipper Pocket

The pattern I use for the pocket was from this pattern, Simplicity 5541:

You can take the pattern for the opening and the pocket flap and put it in any handbag that has a lining. Here’s what the pocket lining looks like; I have cut a template for it from posterboard and cut out the opening for the zipper (on the template only, you don’t cut it out on the fabric) so I can easily transfer the markings:

Notice that one side of the pocket lining is longer than the other, it is shorter below the opening. When cutting out the piece from fabric, you would just cut out the big rectangle. The hole for the zipper on the template is only used for marking the stitching line. You mark the small, long, narrow rectangular opening on the bag lining and the pocket lining:

The pocket lining is placed on top of the bag lining, right sides together, matching up the zipper opening lines, with the smaller half of the pocket lining on the lower portion of the bag, and the longer half sticking up over the top portion of the bag lining:

The pocket lining flaps will drive you crazy unless you pin them out of the way. I learned to use safety pins after I endured many injuries from straight pins. You can see the safety pins in the photo below. Then you stitch around the zipper opening with a small length stitch:

If you are using an interfacing on the bag lining, you can trim it away from the zipper opening to make the turning easier:Now slash the opening through the middle, with ‘V’ cuts in the corners:

Push the lining piece through the opening, smooth it out and press it (wrong side view below):

Pin the flaps out of you way again and insert the zipper. I used to use pins and basting and who knows whatall, but I found that if I just tape the zipper in with tape on the back around the edges of the zipper, then topstitch around the front of the zipper opening, it takes about 1/3 the time. I do a double row of topstitching to hold the zipper tape down neatly on the underside of the opening.

Now you fold the top of the pocket lining down until it lines up with the bottom of the pocket lining and sew the sides and bottom seams of the pocket lining:

Now you are done. If, however, you goof like I have done in the past and put on the pocket lining with the shorter end up, then insert the zipper and, by gumbo, refuse to rip out the zipper and everything to get it right, you can just seam the pocket lining bottom, press it so that the pocket is the right size, but the seam is on the pocket back, and continue with the side seaming. Because it’s inside a pocket, for Pete’s sake, who is going to know?!?

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Orange IKEA Fabric

I’ve cut out the next handbag and am ready to start sewing.  I was going to almost finish it yesterday, but an unexpected plumbing/drain problem at an elderly relative’s house caused my available sewing time to evaporate.  Today I hope to get a lot of it done (drains permitting).  So far I am liking the IKEA fabric.  It is very sturdy and takes a pressing nicely.  I had to plan the layout so that the bird motifs were centered and so that the fronts and backs were the same.  The lining is cut from heavy cream-colored canvas, and I am going to have pockets and zippered pockets on each side of the lining.  For the strap on the red purse I used quilt batting inside the strap, but for this strap I purchased some strapping in 1 1/2″ width which I will cover with the fabric.  Instead of quilt batting to give the body of the purse structure, this time I am going to use some heavy interfacing, I think it is called Peltex, that I had in the stash.

Here is a picture of my daughter holding the red bag so you can see the size of the purse.

It is a nice large bag but not too ginormous.

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Red Handbag

The red handbag is finished. When I make the orange bag out of the IKEA fabric, I will make the strap a little narrower, 1 1/2″ wide as opposed to the 2″ wide this one measures. This is Simplicity 2750, View B. I made some changes to the pattern: I added a top zipper, changed the strap position, added side pockets to the lining, and also added a zippered side pocket to the lining. Here’s a view of the inside:

In addition to the top zipper, I added a pull tab to the zipper. I used some topstitched scraps from the strap to make the pull tab, cutting it into a teardrop shape and zigzagging around the edges. I used some machine bar tacks to attach it to the zipper, and take my advice, it would have been a lot easier to do that before the zipper was sewn into the bag.

I turned the bag inside out so you could see the pockets:

I used the pattern for the zippered pocket from another bag I made last year. I really like this technique and plan to use it on just about every bag I make. Next time I’ll try to remember to take pictures so you all can see how this kind of pocket is done, because it looks great and is very easy to do.

This bag is a good size – rather large but not too humongous. It is somewhat easy to make, nowhere near as difficult as the Amy Butler Weekender Travel Bag, a bag I really did not enjoy making. This one is very straightforward and hallelujah, no piping.

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