Archive for June, 2010

Summer Dress

I want to make myself some summer around-the-house dresses for the hot, hot weather (it was 104 degrees yesterday). I wanted one that I could do a little embroidery on so it needed to have a yoke or similar feature. Here’s the pattern I decided on:

I like the fact that the dress is a little narrower than usually seen in a dress like this, and it has a nice little inset yoke to embroider or trim. Right now I am tracing it and doing the alterations, and changing the sleeve into a flutter sleeve. The sleeve on the “A” dress looks nice and loose doesn’t it?? The pattern piece is very small and narrow looking though, and a tight sleeve is right on top of the list of uncomfortable features. I’m going to try it out in a print or seersucker first before I embroider one.

I finished (for the time being) tracing and altering the blouse for A, and it is hanging in the sewing room waiting to be made into a muslin. A is coming home for the 4th, so maybe I can get something made for her to try on by then.

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I have been trying to make a blouse pattern for A. It took me awhile to figure out, but it is much harder to start with a pattern based on bust size and then try to alter the shoulders and upper chest. I have an older book on fitting that says you should buy the pattern in a smaller size so that it fits your shoulders and then alter everything else. That is what I am trying now. I am using a New Look vintage pattern I picked up at a thrift store somewhere, just a basic button-front shirt with darts to make it more fitted. The first Mexican Peasant Blouse I made for her was made in her usual size, but it definitely was a little large through the shoulders even though the hip and bust fit well. I tried the same pattern two sizes smaller and altered the bust and hips, and she liked that one a lot. I hope the same technique works with this top, too.

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Green Handbag

Now that I have my old Kenmore back in action, this purse was much easier to make. It really sews through thick stacks of fabric better than any of my other machines. I usually don’t like to sew the same thing over and over, but I have to admit that the first two of these that I made taught me what not to do. For example, I learned to do the bottom seam last so that I could more easily topstitch the side seams. I did have to go over to Eldest Daughter’s house to look at the orange purse, because she says the way I did the pockets for that one is very convenient for grabbing your cell phone, and I certainly did not remember what I had done. I put in two zippered pockets, and two regular pockets, one with two divisions, and on the other side, one with three divisions. Below, you can see the top zipper I added to the pattern. I used a 14″ zipper and tucked the ends under, since the 12″ zipper I used last time was a little too short.

It’s nice that there was a little pink in the print because I have a huge stash of pink zippers that someone gave me and it’s nice to be able to use some of them. I’m still really liking the binding on the top of the pockets as a design feature. It’s nice to have a little of the outside fabric carried over to the inside.

In sewing machine news, my Elna SU was still not ready when I called yesterday. It had been in the upscale shop in the other town about 7 weeks which is strange and unacceptable. After I called to inquire, there must have been some scrambling around at the shop to find my machine which I suspect got lost in the shuffle because shortly thereafter the fixer guy called to tell me what was wrong with it, and then later to tell me it was fixed. Apparently I managed to inflict two very unusual ailments on my machines on the same day. The computer machine had a problem he had never seen in that machine before, and the SU also had a problem he has seen in Pfaffs but not in my model of Elna before. I guess I am just ‘special’. Bummer. Oh well, he fixed it and says it is just like new. He also put new rubber feet on it which will be wonderful. It has always been missing one of the feet, but I have a little pad I made that I put under one corner and never thought about asking for new feet. My sewing room is finally getting back to normal.

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My husband is helping his parents clear out their storage shed, and they sent over a box of Grandma G’s recipes and clippings for me to look through.  She saved a lot of clippings on subjects that interested her, including remedies for illnesses and recipes for furniture polish.  Here’s her recipe for a treatment for pneumonia:

“Make a poultice of 1 cup of Rye Flour and 1 cup of Onions.  Moisten with about 3 to 5 cups vinegar and cook to a paste.  Spread about 1 inch thick between two pieces of cloth and apply as hot as possible to both back and chest.  Change often enough to keep hot.  A thin hot water bag may be placed over poultice to keep hot.”

Included were some old, yellowed pages with sewing hints she had clipped from magazines during the forties.  Here’s one for inserting a zipper:

I am working on the green handbag, and should finish it up today or tomorrow.

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Retro Apron Finished

Lots of people, me included, don’t like the feel of a strap around the neck like many aprons have.  That’s why I have been looking at older versions of aprons and the way the back fastening is handled.  This one has a wider curved piece that goes around the neck back, and it is so much more comfortable.

I am getting lots better at the bias binding, and didn’t have to spend a lot of time basting this one down at all, just pinned and sewed.

I was afraid that the apron, minus the ruffle at the bottom, would be too short, but it works fine.  I like making aprons out of decorator fabric because it wears well and protects you better.  When the fabric is newish, the water just rolls off.  That wears off after awhile, but is nice while it lasts.

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Green Handbag

I know I said I was tired of making bags, but that wore off, and I like sewing the heavier stuff on the resurrected Kenmore sewing machine.   My daughter, A, chose this fabric, and I am using the same pattern as the orange bag I made for M.  Once again, I changed the handle to go from side to side.  I have already cut it out (yesterday), put in the lining zippered pockets, and started the other pockets.

On one of my recent projects, I tried out an iron-on batting.  It did not work out well for me, and I am left wondering how on earth you can iron on batting without squishing it flat??

I finished the apron, but still have to take a picture of it.  M likes it, so it will soon be off to a new home.

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Retro Apron

I’ve had this booklet for quite awhile, so decided to finally make an apron.  A girl can never have too many aprons, and besides, they make nice gifts.  The cuter the better, I say.  I’m making the apron in the middle without the bottom ruffle, and here are the fabrics I’m using:

These are from the stash of decorator fabrics I got at that store closing sale.  I thought that the dotted fabric would make cute bias trim for the flowered fabric, but in reality, the dots behave peculiarly when cut on the bias as seen on the pockets below.

There is only a 1/4″ seam allowance turnunder on the pockets so I double stitched them for strength.  I also forgot to allow for the top turnunder on the pocket pattern, and I just sewed the bias binding on the top creating a very long pocket.  I kind of like the length of the pocket (you could carry around a cooking spoon, they are so long) so I left them as is.  I still have to apply all the rest of the bias binding and sew on the ties.

We have been busy working on the garden.  The spouse built me a trellis for the pole beans since the one I had last year fell over.   You can see his Rube Golbergian structure on the right below.  It is made of plumbing pipe with a rectangle on top, 4 8′ legs, and a circle of concrete reinforcing wire inserted through the top of it.  It should work.

We got a very late start on the garden this year, but things are moving along in the right direction.

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I was just trying to make a pincushion – a big red tomato pincushion. I looked up patterns but finally settled on this one because it had seaming and I didn’t want to make one with a big rectangle that was gathered top and bottom:


I used red and green felt that I got from JoAnn, and I was surprised how inexpensive it is, 29 cents a sheet. I used about 1 1/2 sheets of red, and just a little of the green. However, my little tomato turned out to be ginormous:

Well, it may be twice the size it is supposed to be, but it looks cute sitting there next to the sewing machine, and I will definitely never have trouble finding it.

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Red Hawaiian Print Skirt

I finished the red skirt, making it the first garment I have sewn on the old Kenmore in 12 or 15 years.  It is an old machine, and the fixer man told me to go easy on the stitch regulator dial since they were unable to find a replacement knob and had to glue it to fix it.  I decided to just have fun and use the machine with joy until it decides to pass on to its reward.  It is an old friend and it was great to be using it again.  I had to be inventive to get cone thread to work with it though.  I ran the thread through the little loop on the bobbin winder and that worked great.

This skirt fabric is a decorator fabric and is about the weight of a denim.  I didn’t line it except for the yoke, and I used a Hong Kong finish on the back seam because it was going to be pressed open for the zipper application.

As usual with an A-line skirt like this, I put the button tab in the back:

Today is a waffle day in which I waffle around trying to think of the next project.

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Red Skirt

There is one benefit of waking up at the crack of dawn and not being able to go back to sleep – you can give up and go into the other room and cut out a garment. This is a decorator fabric of 100%cotton that I got at the store that was closing in the next town over. I used this pattern once before, Simplicity 9825, and my daughter thought it was very comfortable. This version will be an A-line summer skirt with a lined yoke but unlined skirt portion.

The pattern also offers a straighter version which we also want to try since it would eliminate fussing with darts and make the lining easier to insert.

The fixer man from the sewing machine shop called to tell me my Elna is ready to come home. It had a broken bobbin casing and loose engine belt. According to the man, my engine was hanging by a thread. I have to say that I am not really very impressed by the performance of these modern machines which have so many plastic components. They just don’t seem to have longevity built into them, sad to say.

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