I know that black is not one of my best colors, or so I’ve been told, but I can’t help myself. It is just too easy to work with and sew into great go-to pieces for reliable, pulled-together looks. With my fascination with capsule wardrobes, I have a Pinterest board filled with many variations of what constitutes a ‘capsule’. I’ve noticed some pins that claim ‘9 pieces, 9 outfits’. This doesn’t seem like a winning formula. I prefer the 12 items creating 96 outfits or some kind of math equation like that, stemming from my reading of Nancy Nix-Rice”s book, Looking Good Every Day: Style Solutions for Real Women..
From my daily stalking of Pinterest and book reading, I have learned that a ‘capsule’ begins with core pieces in one or two neutral colors consisting of interchangeable tops and bottoms such as pants, skirt, tank, jacket. Next, add in some coordinating prints in the way of tops or scarves, colorful linking jewelry connecting the colors together and Viola! Easy Breezy dressing. Another great source for capsules is the website Vivienne Files. covering clothing and color combinations galore.
I spend a lot of time planning out the right fabric with the right pattern and I when I am thinking about wearing pieces multiple times, I want them to go the distance and last from season to season. Trendy pieces are downright fun to make and wear, moving in and out of the wardrobe. This was an effort to make some practical pieces that fit my lifestyle making it easier to mix with my wardrobe.
Here are three pieces I recently finagled out of 4 and 1/2 yards of 60″ wide fabric. The pants = 1 and 1/2 yards, top = 1 yard, shirt = 2 and 1/8 yards making for a small capsule with many possibilities. Due to careful pattern placement, I was able to squeeze more pattern pieces onto the 4 and 1/2 yards, when technically I was short an eighth of a yard. If I have a large expansive piece of fabric, I can usually be a bit more conservative about pattern placement and conserve fabric.
Here are the three patterns I chose: McCalls 6613, Loes Hinse Cruise Pants – similar, and Burda 8987 out of print (OOP). (A favorite tank pattern can be cut on the bias to recreate this idea.)
The fabric is from my stash, pre-serger, because when I pulled out the 4.5 yards from my cabinet, I noticed that I had not serged the raw edges. I religiously do that now as I find it reduces the wadded up fabric disasters in the dryer. The fabric content must be a linen blend with a white slub thread running through it in a cross hatch pattern. It has great drape, is 60″ wide, resists wrinkling, and comfortable to wear. I can’t even remember where I bought it, but my tip is to buy the fabrics that feel great to your hand.
A few tips I can pass along when shopping for the easy care fabrics: Do they wrinkle when you do the squeeze and release test? How does it hang vertically or on the bias? Since buying fabric can often be a gamble, I look at content, care, drape (hand) of the fabric and it’s future versatility with other garments in the wardrobe. Will it go with at least 3 other items in my wardrobe when finished?
McCalls 6613, View C, Palmer Pletch
The reason I picked this shirt was that I wanted a yoke and back pleat resembling a man’s shirt. I wanted it roomy and able to be worked as an outer piece (shirt + jacket = shacket? or jirt?). Anyway, I knew I would be giving up the bust darts, which are a favorite for me to get the right fit. I sacrificed that for the other features like those of View C which offers bias pockets and a bias front band. With a camera flash, this shirt looks like a charcoal gray, but it is black. Can you see the bias detail?
The sleeves are rolled up with a tab buttoned to the outside which is how I will wear the sleeves most of the time.
The tank is a V neck, seams to be more forgiving than the tanks I have cut on the lengthwise grain, and the armholes are drafted just right. Have I mentioned how much I love bias cut garments??
The pants are pull on with the addition of self drafted pockets placed on the outside, not in the side seam, and more toward the front of the pant. This kind of pocket adds NO bulk to the hips.
Now for some accessories. After reading Imogen Lamport’s Inside Out Style blog post on getting more mileage from beauty bundles, I realized that I have plenty of black/white/gold accessories that could be grouped together to make for easy selection based on what the day’s activities hold. The inspiration for Imogen’s post came from the book by Brenda Kinsel, Fashion Makeover: 30 Days to Diva Style. I provided the link to Amazon because it is available at a reasonable cost, has great tips and wonderful illustrations. It is just a jumping off point. Take from it what you can.
Here is a grouping that blends with my yellow hair a bit better….
Adding beige, gold, gray, cream to the mix
A dressier look with pearl cluster necklace from Macy’s clearance table
This mixed pearl cluster necklace has a gold chain and is a larger scale piece, so I would choose smaller gold accessories.
I might put a white cardigan, or a black jacket with this combo…..
To see more about the accessories, click here to see the slideshow.
A warm red, gray, white scarf
Simplicity short jacket with drawstring neckline
This Simplicity 1621 jacket has no hanger appeal, but is actually pretty cute as a shrug/jacket. I will post about this in the future as I have plans to alter the pattern a bit. I want to leave the front the same but lengthen it to a cardigan length or duster. The fabric is a linen look, which is a rayon/linen blend. The front hangs a bit on the bias. I finished the edges with a rolled hem. The sleeves are simple; rolled up thereby keeping the look casual.
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Before I get started, I feel I have some explaining to do regarding my “break” from posting. It is due to many reasons, none of which may interest you, but I have been doing home remodeling to one room in the house, which leads to much upheaval in the rest of the house. I am pretty disorganized as much of my fabric and patterns are still not at my fingertips. I have also been trying to figure out how to keep up on the posts, offer interesting sewing projects when sometimes I just want to sew and not think in terms of blogging about it. Believe me, there is a difference between sewing and sewing to blog about it. Since I do it all, I have been thinking about ways to stream line and ease the process. I also have such a extensive collection …(hoarder) of patterns, that sometimes I want to make those oldies but goodies that are out of print. Is that just frustrating to read about a fantastic pattern that is no longer available?? When other sewing bloggers do it, I figure I MUST have that patterns somewhere….
There may be more outfits on the mannequin just to speed up the post publishing, so here I am back in the saddle. I hope the posts will still be inspirational yet shorter and more concise. So I will start up with one of the beauties from an independent pattern company….
Here is the Midtown Trench Coat pattern from Indygo Junction. I would include a link, but sadly, it is no longer available. Bummer! I call it my apple green trench because it is that exact color. The necklace is self made from beads purchased at the Tucson Gem Show. Green agate the size of green peas. (More about the necklace below). It may not be the best color on me, but I spotted this fabric at Walmart of all places and thought it might be cute made up in this retro-inspired coat. It was cotton, 45″ wide and inexpensive. WIN! I thought it would be good practice (muslin) fabric to try out the pattern. It has a red slub stripe running though it which I wanted to feature on the bias cut cuffs and collar.
3/4″ Sleeves, Bias Cuffs, Side Seam Pockets
I think I like the back the best. The pleats add so much interest and resembles the back of a swing coat.
Back View, Midtown Trench
The line drawings show the slight differences. I chose to insert the pockets into the side seams, but the patch pockets look great, too. I made the shorter thigh length (32″) instead of to the knee. I wear it with dark denim and a tank.
Back view of the Midtown Trench
Green Apple Trench, DIY necklace, Hobby Lobby Buttons
Amy Barickman, the founder of Indygo Junction, partners with Mary Ann Donze to make these great patterns available. I have about 5-6 patterns of theirs that I want to make up. When I attended the Sewing and Stitching Expo in Puyallup, WA, Amy was at her booth wearing the Mod Top and Tunic, and she looked so cute. There is nothing like seeing a sample made up to sucker me into buying the pattern!
Click here again to see the different ways this looks made up in cotton quilting fabrics. I suppose any other medium weight woven fabric would work. Check out the other patterns on the site. You may find something that you can’t wait to try. Buttons are from Hobby Lobby, and the collar, cuffs and facing are interfaced. There is a slight princess line shaping down the front. The pleats in the back are sewn right down the crease (my choice, not on instructions) to help keep the edges sharp. Necklace: I’ve been wanting a light green necklace for some time now. I spotted these beads and envisioned them in a simple, multi-strand collar style necklace. The cones and toggle were also purchased at the gem show.
Green Jasper, 8mm
18″ Five Strand Necklace
Do you ever get compelled by a color that works it’s way into your wardrobe?
I wish my local Joann’s store was a little quicker on putting the latest pattern catalogs and pattern magazines out on display. I get all excited only to find the store hasn’t gotten around to putting any of the patterns in the drawers. What to do? Visit Hancock’s instead!! Pour over these pages and get your list ready!
The reality is that I have so many projects in the Que, that there really is no rush. I will be plenty busy with life, work, chores in the coming days that I need to just breathe and wait a bit longer.
I won’t be reviewing patterns in this post but rather assisting in the planning for your winter sewing.
Check out the latest VOGUE WINTER 2014 Patterns from some of the major companies. I think I live in the wrong part of the country sometimes because I look forward to the wonderful coats and layering pieces for the colder months. We have had such a long, hot summer in Tucson that I am ready for a change!! No need to get in the car and drive to the fabric store just yet. Due to the wonders of technology, feel free to flip through the pages of the mini catalogs and select your favorites.
Here is a quick peek at the McCALLS WINTER 2014 patterns for the chilly winter. There are holiday fashions, some for little people, and great outer wear and separates for my favorite topic–core wardrobe capsules.
How about KWIK SEW I have a few winners from Kwik Sew over the years that I sew over and over. Since being purchased, they now offer tissue pattern paper instead of the old butcher paper. Also, the envelopes allow the instructions to be read before purchasing. Before, the old envelopes were sealed. They are priced somewhere between the Big 4 (on sale) and independent patterns.
There are some great Fall/Winter options in Butterick so here is a link to the BUTTERICK FALL 2014 patterns. I already possess the newest of these and can’t wait to get started. I think I will run out of cool temperatures before I finish my projects.
Let’s not forget our independent patterns. Here are a few lovelies for the colder months. LOES HINSE has designed a new jacket/cardigan called the Barcelona Jacket and can be found on the Casual Elegance website (shich is on my blogroll). It features a deep V neck and longer length and can be made up in a variety of fabrics.
There is also SERENDIPITY STUDIO Dakota Jacket that offers a great outer layer with a slightly vintage feel. I have ordered this and am making it up in teal velveteen. Can’t wait to see if it will work out. If you haven’t seen the array of Kay Whitt’s clothes, you are in for a surprise. She has a great eye for color and fabric combinations. She has a specific style that she pulls off beautifully.
Another great resource for a more ‘artsy’ or angular styled clothes is THE SEWING WORKSHOP. Linda Lee has a unique design style and these outer wear jackets can be made up in a number of ways. I am particularly curious about the new Chicago Jacket because it has a big shirt look and could be made out of light weight or heavier fabrics.
How about some Style Arc Jackets and Vests? Talk about a great selection. I have not used these patterns yet, but have read about some success stories on other sewing blogs.
If you are interested in a comprehensive list of independent pattern companies, click here.
Although this will post in November, I worked on this jacket for a good part of October. This time of year brings about the prolific use of orange everywhere-mostly for Halloween, but also for fall decorations. The above picture is a bright geranium from my yard, blooming like it is the prime season for this flower. Nature provides great inspiration by offering wonderful color combinations, so here is my interpretation of these two.
Using Simplicity 2153, I used some heavy duty green duck fabric in olive and combined it with a cotton tee from Walmart. I’m not sure this borderline fluorescent-y orange is the best color for me, so I normally lean toward the coral and peach versions. It combined with olive, so here it is. This jacket took a while because I did a lot of unpicking! The reason it took a while was because I originally envisioned the coat having flaps on the four pockets with either buttons and buttonholes, or hook and loop tape. The flaps didn’t sit right and the buttonholes sewn with upholstery thread didn’t look right either. So I decided to use the buttons as only decoration and put them on the edges of the pockets anyway. I like the simplicity of it now and there is less fuss getting in and out of the pockets.
I was motivated to make a olive green utility jacket for three reasons: 1.) I love olive drab and it happens to be the color of my eyes 2.) I needed a single layer outer casual jacket 3.) It is BIG in fashion and I can sew it my way. 4.) It has a great history here.
Casual jacket with fancy necklace
The necklace was purchased at DSW, the olive duck/bottomweight fabric was purchased at SAS Fabrics, my local mill end store. The fabric is a little stiff right now, so I hope with a few tosses in the washer and dryer, it will soften up.
Here are the items I collected before starting the project:
My local fabric stores did not have the olive colored brass zipper, so I ordered online from Zipper Shipper. All you do it look for the type of zipper you want and enter in the desired color and length. It is my new go-to for zipper needs because the cost was great, shipping was fast, and the quality of the zipper is very good. The contrast thread was Coats and Clark Upholstery thread in gold, antique brass buttons are from Hobby Lobby. Seam tape in olive, and the best find was parachute cord at Joann’s in the beading section–who knew?? Oh, and Simplicity 2153, view C with D collar.
Back View relaxed
Here is a the back view without cinching the waist tie.
Back view cinched
Here, I pulled the waist cord and cinched it to give more waist definition. I will probably make this jacket again in a lighter weight fabric. I like the length, and the pockets are in the right place. One change I would make after finishing the jacket would be to change the bias tape from olive to a gold color. It would have been a better match to the gold top stitching and buttons. It is only visible from the inside, so as with many projects, YOU will know it’s there. Lesson I learned: Make a note and pay closer attention next time.
Optional sleeve detail
I love the sleeve detail because rolled up sleeves are more practical for me, and I could still unbutton and unfold them and cuff them at the wrist if I want. The strap and button are attached to the sleeve first, then sewn in the flat method before the side seams are sewn.
Some other changes I made were the parachute cord was attached to 1/2″ elastic in the collar and the waist. I like the way elastic keeps a gathered look instead of messing with a pull tie or cord to help evenly distribute the fabric. It always stays scrunched and the ties hang out just enough to be cinched up if needed.
Ready to make another version!
I’m very happy now that it is done, because I was starting to lose interest. Pushing beyond my ‘sewing ADD’, I am happy to report cooler temperatures (finally!!) and I am better prepared with one more outer jacket…Yah! I think I will try either a vest or jacket in a windbreaker weight next time with black buttons, ties, and zipper to wear with yoga pants to run errands or take walks.
What are you sewing in preparation for cooler temperatures?
This non-sewing post is just a little commercial for the weekend getaway and the importance of a scenery change. I’m sharing with you a few shots of a quiet, peaceful little town in Alpine, Arizona, and according to the 2011 census, the population is 466! It isn’t really because this little town has rolling meadows, a nice lake, RV parks and campgrounds, pine forests to attract summer visitors and seasonal home owners to make the town’s population swell to a much greater number throughout the seasons.
Located in Bush Valley in the eastern central part of Arizona, it hugs the state line near New Mexico. In fact, one way to get there from Tucson involves driving through New Mexico briefly, and then coming back over the state line back into Arizona before reaching Alpine.
Alpine, lower right corner
You can see that Alpine is in the lower right corner of the map, and the other surrounding mountainous areas frequented by ‘Phoneticians’ ‘and ‘Tucsonians’ for that needed respite. The beauty of Arizona is far reaching; Saguaro cactus is only one of the unique attractions to this state. We have pine forests, canyons, volcanoes, rivers, desert, lakes and much more. Our temperatures range from hot to snow and everything in between. To read more about some of the other attractions in central Arizona, here is one travel site to give you some ideas: click here.
The Dock, Luna Lake, AZ
Here is a picture of the small dock used for 10 mph mechanized motors only. I think a really fit person could row a canoe that fast! But, hey, that’s why it’s peaceful.
Our generous friends were nice enough to let us borrow the cabin for the weekend, knowing I had a birthday recently and might want to escape the hot Tucson weather. The drive is about 5-6 hours from Tucson, depending on which roads taken, time of day, and stops along the way.
Cabin Getaway, Alpine, AZ
Here is the quaint cabin where we relaxed, took hikes, rested and ate lunch out on that deck up there. It certainly causes the pace to slow down and smell that great pine air. The weekend went by quickly, but it was wonderful. What is it about the change of scenery that refreshes and rejuvenates? The answer may be different for everyone, but for me this time, it was a time of reflection and planning for future possibilities. Aaaand, I didn’t even bring any sewing with me! That’s weird. I did bring some jewelry projects to do in the car, though…more of that to come in later posts.
We are very grateful to our friends (Thanks, Jill and DeWayne!)
What do you do (or go) for relaxation and rejuvenation? How do you slow your everyday pace down?
Look at these zipped up beauties! Imagine the endless possibilities combining fabrics, zippers, ribbons, tabs, buttons and stitches! She is not just any ordinary zipper bag. She has flair and personality due to her embellishment options. Take a quick look around Pinterest or the Google searches for zippered pouches and you will see a plethora of choices; small big, square, round, triangular, animal shapes, etc. You are going to brush up on some skills with this one…insert a zipper, practice your buttonholes, quilt three layers together, personalize with lettering (optional–see Ethan’s name on the dark blue bag handle?), impress yourself and friends with decorative stitching, so hang on.
The approximate finished measurements are 10″ long x 3″ wide x 2″ high. The reason I like this is because it holds more than it looks and can be used for sewing supplies and tools, toiletries, pens and pencils, or whatever you want AND makes for another guy gift idea like here, and here.
Upon closer examination, you will see that these three bags have slight differences: tabs are different shapes, handles are different, quilting patterns are different, and placement of fabrics are different. Your choice! So let’s get into the How To of it all , including some ‘Creative Options’ along the way for you to do it your way.
-2 Coordinating Fabrics (can be fat quarters) 18″ x 22″ One is used for outside and one is used for lining and tabs
-One zipper, 16-18″
-Tear away stabilizer, or 2 scrap fusible interfacing pieces measuring 36″ x 3″ long
-Two or Four coordinating flat buttons that nest nicely, your choice. See samples for ideas.
-52″ of 1/2″-5/8″ grosgrain ribbon for trim along zipper and outer tab (optional)
-Thread for decorative stitching on outer ribbon
-Batting-low loft, approximately 13 x 16″
-Basting Spray– (Optional- It makes things a little easier by holding all layers together before quilting. However, I pinned layers and it worked.)
Supplies in the rough
Specific sewing machine feet are helpful (from left):
-Buttonhole foot-yours may look different
-Quilt Bar-inserts to back of foot ankle or dual feed foot.
-Open toe satin stitch foot, or a foot that has a groove in the bottom to allow clearance for dense and raised stitches
-Button Sew-on Foot (optional-can always hand-sew on buttons–I did!)
Quilt bar inserted into foot ankle in back
Dual Feed/Even Feed Foot with Quilt Bar, Satin Stitch Foot
Notice the groove space on the bottom of the satin stitch foot and the metal plates on the bottom (left). This allows for the thickness of decorative or satin stitches to pass freely under the foot without getting caught, dragged, or smashed.
1.) Cut and Prep:
Cut the selvage off fat quarter.
Remove selvage before measuring
2.) Cut out pieces
-Cut two 13″ x 11″ bag squares from each fat quarter (one outer and one lining)
-Cut one 13″ x 11″ bag square from batting
-Cut two 3.5″ x 3.5″ squares from both fabrics and batting—or—
CREATIVE OPTION: This is where you can create the tab shape of your choice. Here, I made oval shaped tabs. Triangles or squares are fine, too. Measure it to be approximately 3.5″ x 3.5″. Cut one piece of batting for your two chosen tab shapes. NOTE: I like to make a straight grain line arrow and a bias line on my little pattern piece just in case the tab would look great on the diagonal, like a stripe or plaid (see below)
-The handle does not need batting. Here, I used outer fabric (or contrasting fabric) and cut two pieces 5.5″ x 3″, and sew right sides together. turn and press—or—
CREATIVE OPTION: The handle/loop can be cut from your one yard piece of ribbon. See examples of the ribbon used as a loop in the completed bag pictures. If so, cut one piece 5″ long. Set aside.
Prep the outer layers
3.) Sandwich layers
Sandwich the three bag layers, placing the batting in the middle of the two fabrics. Prepare the squares for quilting by pinning or using basting spray.
Pin for Quilting
CREATIVE OPTION: Starting in the middle of the fabric, decide where the lines of your quilting will be. They can be diagonal or from top to bottom. Your choice. Draw a line with chalk or disappearing ink to start with the first line. Set aside. Attach quilting bar into back of foot. See the blog post on my site for more tips on the quilting process.
4.) Prep the tabs and handle: Shown is the fabric handle. Another way to sew the handle is to use only one piece of fabric and fold raw edges to center, then fold again in half. edge stitch both sides of handle. If using ribbon, disregard the Fabric Handle directions and set aside your 5″ piece of ribbon for later.
tabs and handle
TABS–Remember, stack the tab fabrics right sides together with the batting on the bottom. See picture above. Sew all the way around the edges in a 1/4″ seam allowance. Clip curves.
CREATIVE OPTION: If your sewing machine has an alphabet, this is a good time to personalize the loop. See sample below. I used scrap interfacing under the ribbon, stitched out the name, trimmed the excess, and then sewed more ribbon wrong sides together along the edges to cover up the underside.
-Pin outer edges of tab and stitch in a 1/4″ seam allowance. Use pinking shears or clip corner carefully all the way around the tabs.
Tab pinned, with right sides together, batting on bottom, 1/4″ seam allowance
6.) Cut tabs in half, turn right side out, edge stitch
-Fold in half. Draw a line. Cut through all layers. Turn right side out.
Fold in half to find center of tab
Cut tabs in half
Turn right sides out, edge stitch
7.) Buttonhole and Buttons
Gather your button or the two buttons. Determine length of button hole and stitch out buttonhole on tab.
Buttonhole on tab
-Carefully slice open with seam ripper or sharp scissors. Check that button(s) will pass through. By the way, these buttoned tabs have no real purpose except to be decorative and pretty (and to get better at making buttonholes). Set aside.
8.) Sew quilt lines of bag
-Sew the first line of stitching on the main body of the bag on the line you drew, either diagonally or from top to bottom. (Don’t sew over the pins!)
-Insert quilt guide one inch from needle. Sew a second line of stitching 1″ apart from the first line of stitching, smoothing fabric as you sew. Continue until the whole piece is quilted.
Quilt layers for body of bag
It should start to look like this:
Quilting starting to take shape
And look like this when finished. You may want to trim off any loose threads.
Finished quilted piece
9.) Prep Ribbon for Decorative Stitching
-Attach satin foot to machine.
-Place ribbon down the center of your 3″ x 36″ stabilizer or interfacing. Note: I adhered two strips of scrap interfacing together and it worked just fine because I didn’t have stabilizer. You will stitch one continuous length about one yard long. Save remaining ribbon for covering bottom seam and loop (if you didn’t make a handle).
Ribbon on stabilizer/interfacing
-Select favorite stitch. Start sewing slowly down entire one yard length of ribbon.
Stitches done, press gently
-The ribbon will be a little lumpy once finished. Gently press with iron to flatten. Turn the ribbon over to the underside. Carefully trim off excess interfacing so that there is not interfacing showing from the right side. Be careful not to cut through stitching or ribbon.
Trim off excess
-As we did with the tabs to find the center, fold body of bag in half and press to make a crease line.
Fold in half to find center
-Cut bag in half, lengthwise. This is where the zipper will be inserted.
Cut bag body in half, lengthwise
10.) Prep for zipper and tab insertion
-On wrong side of one of the rectangles, place zipper right side up with zipper tape and raw edges even. Pin with the tab hanging off one end and the zipper stop hanging off the other end. It’s okay the zipper is too long.
Prep for zipper
-Attach zipper foot to machine.
-Stitch down center of zipper tape with regular stitch length.
Stitch one side of zipper to bag
-Trim off excess fabric from under zipper so that there is no fabric showing. We will be placing decorative ribbon over the zipper tape soon!
Trim raw edge under zipper
-Lightly press zipper tape flat towards outer bag fabric.
Right side up of bag. one half, lightly press
With right side of zipper facing up on the wrong side of the other bag half, match up raw edges and centering, pin zipper to other half just as you did with the first half. Stitch right down the center of the zipper tape.
Attach zipper to other half
-Turn, trim the fabric underneath, and press gently toward right side.
-Cut your decorative ribbon piece in half. Place one half over zipper tape, covering the stitching and onto bag. Center and then stitch down the side nearest the zipper.
Ribbon placed over zipper tape
-Get tabs. Mark center of the bag (red pin). Slide one tab under the outer side of the ribbon. Pin.
-Repeat for other side.
-Off-set the tabs from each other on opposite sides, using the center mark as a guide. See below. Pin. Sew close to edge of ribbon, catching tabs in stitching.
Tabs slipped under ribbon
-Mark button placement by marking through the buttonhole.
Mark button placement
Sew on button(s) using special foot or by hand. Here are two buttons stacked together and contrasting thread just for fun.
Old school hand sewing
Your bag should look something like this now.
Completed top of bag
11.) Sew bottom of bag
-With right sides together, sew bottom center seam of bag in a 3/8″ seam.
Center bottom seam
-Press open seam. Trim off any excess batting or stray fabric or threads. Trim to 1/4″.
Trim excess off seam
-Unzip bag and center ribbon over the seam. Stitch down both sides of ribbon covering up the seam. This makes for a nicer finish inside than a zig zag or serged seam.
Ribbon centered over bottom seam
-Your bag should look something like this now.
Looking into bag
12.) Sew up sides, including loop or handle
-Close zipper. With right sides together, fold bag in half with zipper facing center bottom seam.
LOOPS: The loop can be placed in this seam on this side or on the other, your choice. It should be slipped in now, centered, between both layers, facing into the bag. You can’t see it because it is inside. Stitch across ends, going slowly over zipper a few times for durability.
Sides, one with loop or handle
-Stitch across ends in a 3/8″ seam. Zig zag or serge raw edges for a clean finish.
Stitch across ends, then zig zag or serge
-Before sewing up other side, OPEN UP THE ZIPPER ENOUGH FOR YOUR FINGERS TO REACH ZIPPER TAB. If not, you will not be able to get into the bag! Line the zipper teeth up closely to each other. Pin. Remember, your loop or handle should be sandwiched inside now, centered near the zipper and facing inside. Stitch up seam. Trim and finish with zig zag or serge.
Open zipper, sew other side
This is how it should look. Open up the zipper a bit to do the next step.
How does it look?
Creating box corners
-RST, fold sides perpendicular to the seam and measure two inches across and mark with a pen. Pin.
HANDLE: Insert handle into both box seams. Just like the loops, the handle stays inside the bag while sewing. It will flip back out when bag is finished. See samples.
Handle is sewn into box seams
Stitch on line. Repeat for other side. You will do this a total of 4 times; two box seams on each end.
Box corners from the inside
Doggy ears trimmed and serged
-Trim off the ‘doggy ears’. Clean finish with a zig zag or serged seam.
Ready to see it??
ALMOST DONE!!! Reach inside and pull the zipper down enough to turn the bag right side out. Vwah-la!!!! It’s done! Load it up with goodies.
Different tabs, different fabric combinations
Another example up close-skateboards!
I had a difficult time finding a coordinating fabric, so I used the same fabric for both sides and just added contrast for the tabs, ribbon, zipper and buttons.
Same fabric used for inside and outside
Useful, roomy, colorful, and fun to make
These are addictive. Lengthy tutorial, but all the steps add up to make a great project. I hope you have enjoyed the ride!
Quick Family Gathering, Boston, Mass., August 2014
The short story is that my daughter is living in Boston now, working for a social media marketing firm. However, she was living in Phoenix, AZ., where she owned a house and car. After spending LOTS of money on transportation, she decided to coordinate a master plan to drive her car across the country with her brothers, and then have me meet them in Boston once they all arrive safely. So here we are, spending a few hours together before the boys catch their flights home and I stay in the guest bed. It is called “Hot Racking” in the military, according to my husband. Bunks are shared according to work shifts, so as one (or two, in this case) leaves, the other moves in!
Without a lot of time to do the touristy thing, we made a quick visit to the top of the Prudential building, otherwise known as the Top of the Hub. Can you see the top level of the building? Let’s go check it out.
The Prudential Building, Boston, Mass
So up we go fifty-two floors to the top to get an incredible view of Boston. By the way, don’t take picture in the lobby. You will be yelled at by the elevator attendant.
Fifty two floors up
So what could be better than a cheesy selfie?
View of Boston from the Top of the Hub
Some tasty treats to enjoy while we enjoy the view. What would you order? Boston Cream Pie, of course! AAaaaand some cheesecake.
Top of the Hub Dessert Menu
Boston Cream Pie–Great Presentation!
Ethan, Shannon and Sean on the way back to the car. No parking ticket please!
Ethan had a birthday during on the weekend before I arrived, so how could I not give this lime guitar to my band member son for a present? It actually played a hard rock version of the Happy Birthday song.
Ethan and his new birthday cardboard guitar
And last, but not least is Damon, the dog who protects Shannon from all dangers.
Damon, The Fierce Protector
That does it for the family vacation photos. Thank you for your patience. Back to some sewing now….
Curvy Girls Unite! Creative-folk and Sewers Alike!! Join me on a trip to Boston….well, through this post anyway….the wonders of the internet and this sewing-in-common thing amazes me. I am here in Boston as I write this post in my daughter, Shannon’s, apartment about to share with you why miles don’t matter when it comes to making connections these days. You don’t have to actually come to Boston to meet Jenny, but is sure was nice to meet face to face. Taking about fabric, sewing and fashion…Hoowhaah!
In anticipation of this trip, a few words were emailed to Jenny (one of the creators of CurvyGirlCollective) and before you knew it, there we were, drinking tea last night at a wonderful place in Boston called Flour Bakery in the Back Bay area sharing our sewing trials and tribulations! Oh, and on Jenny’s recommendation, I ordered the Spanish Gazpacho summer soup. Good thing you can order their cookbook for all the great recipes.
Flour Bakery, Boston
More about Jenny…..
In case you haven’t hopped on over to this fun and funny sight (also on my blogroll), Jenny, from the wonderful blog, Cashmerette, shares her approaches to fitting her unique body shape. And let’s face it, aren’t we all rockin’ a unique body shape? She has her FBA (Full Bust Adjustment) down pat and knows the silhouettes that work for. I always admire women who are so clear about their styles and as a result, always present themselves in the best light possible. Jenny was wearing one of her magnificent wrap dresses she writes about in her blog.
Speaking for myself, this meet up was thoroughly enjoyable as I listened to Jenny’s perspective on what is lacking in the pattern world for curvy girls. Tents, moo-moo’s (mu-mu?), shapeless body bags are not well received by the body-positive crowd, so the challenge for me is to learn how create some silhouettes STARTING at a larger bust size. Sound good? Let’s skim the body, show some va va voom without going too hoochie-mama. Since I have a ‘D’ cup bust, I think I’ll start there. Stay tuned.
We also talked about the Curvy Girl Collective, which is a sight to visit and learn about the other ladies’ fitting issues. It is filled with tips, techniques, pattern reviews, tutorials, independent pattern companies to explore, and overall great information. There are photos of the victories Curvy sewers are having adapting and changing the available patterns out there that offer current, stylish, and flattering garments. Check it out for some inspiration.
Here is my take away: I encourage you to seek out at least one person in your travels who shares a similar interest and do the face-to-face meet up. You’ll be glad you did. Thanks, Jenny!
Now, on to the fabric. When I Googled ‘fabric stores in Boston’, I had quite a selection from which to choose.
Sewfisticated fabrics, Boston, Mass.
Day 2: Today, we visited Sewfisticated Fabrics, which happens to be a discount store with a small but respectable selection of silks, linen, woolens, cottons, knits, home decor fabric, trims, notions, zippers, and some Simplicity and McCalls patterns. It reminded me of the the mill end store in Tucson. Be aware, you are better off knowing what you want and getting it yourself here. I didn’t get even a ‘hello’ even with a camera hanging around my neck. That was my experience, so take it for what it is.
Hunting for bargains in Sewfisticated Fabrics
I spotted a 60″ linen/cotton blend that looks like denim. Five dollars a yard. Yes! I took all of it which ended up being a bit over 5 yards. In turns of wrinkles, it laundered up better than I expected, especially because of its content. But remember, I’m a weirdo who finds ironing relaxing.
Here, a knitter, beader, fiber artist, would go crazy. So much to look at and enjoy. Plus, it happens to be a really cool, industrial space with windows and brick all around.
Bead and Fiber Shop and Gallery
Bead and Fiber items for sale
There was such a great selection of beads, buttons, leather for crafts, stringing materials for kumihimo or other jewelry, woollies to make or buy, books, clay, yarns, jewelry closures, glues and adhesives, you name it! Check out the website to read more here about what they offer, and if you are in the area, maybe a class would be of interest??? Speak to either Andrea, Rhonda, Nicole or Bruce. They will get you excited about some crafty project, for sure.
Craft Table in the middle of the store
I SPY: It doesn’t get any better than this
Shannon is getting a closer look at the collection of vintage chains, closures, trinkets, charms, etc., to adorn necklaces, bracelets, or any other speampunky idea you might have. You can see her money well spent on leather strips and metal closures to make her own bracelets below. Don’t they look professionally made?
DIY Bracelets from Bead and Fiber
Items purchased from Bead and Fiber and Grey’s
The items on the left are from Bead and Fiber. After seeing a cuff covered in Fish Leather, I purchased some in turquoise to cover a tarnished cuff of my own. I also purchased Crystal Clay, which is a two part epoxy. I purchased the black for $10.00. It looked easy to use. Three reasons to like it:
1.) Cures without heat
2.) Molds like clay
3.) Adheres to all surfaces
I feel a tutorial coming on….
Unfortunately, I didn’t see any of this clay available for purchase on the website, but I am sure the staff would help you with it over the phone. 617.426.2323
And, of course, I didn’t want to leave without my OWN leather bracelet, so I have a double wrap cognac colored leather strip here. Just takes a little glue…
Now, on to Grey’s.
Literally, these two stores are a stones’ throw from each other in the same plaza. Wasn’t THAT nice planning of them.
Grey’s Fabrics and Notions, SOWA Boston, Mass.
Inside Grey’s–Hey, it’s painted grey in here!
What a cute store! Higher end fabrics to use for garments or quilting or crafts, notions, and the Patterns! Wow, what a great supplier of some of the independent patterns out there, check out this wall:
Dear and Doe, Collette, Sewaholic, Grainline, and more
They have a great website HERE to read more about what they offer. I couldn’t help myself, I bought the Sewaholic Renfrew pattern because of it’s great reviews, and some rayon 60″ Anna Marie Horner Fabric. In Tucson, rayon is my FAVORITE fabric to wear. I’m a sucker for it every time. Plus, I happen to love Anna Marie’s command of color and arrangement. Butterflies!!
Anna Marie Horner Rayon Fabric, “Field Study #3”
With goodies in our bags, we grabbed a little lunch at a nearby pub and then off to the airport. Goodbye Boston! It’s been hot, humid, and oh SEW fun.
Mural of Somerville, Mass and surrounding attractions
Mom and Daughter, Boston, Mass., August 2014
Thank for stopping by. For more pics of Boston, go to another post here.
My son came down to visit for the weekend and I whipped up these shorts for him. On a recent trip to my local mill end store, SAS Fabrics, I found this skateboard material and couldn’t resist especially since it is 100% cotton and my son lives in Phoenix. Enough of those polyester basketball shorts!! Yuck. Sweaty. Hot. Weekend fashion is not my son’s top priority, so I took it upon my pushy-self and made two pair of these for him. The pattern offers a great cargo pocket detail. I added some hook and loop tape to keep the pocket closed so that the phone/keys/wallet won’t slip out when he sits down.
When my two sons were in junior high and high school, skateboards were used for their transportation. They have been known to even beat up a curb or two…anyway, I bought three yards. Isn’t it great? It resembles a camouflage print from a distance. I am always on the look out for kitchy-yet-masculine fabrics for kick around projects for my boys.
Below is the pattern. Read more here about the pattern. In order to help me pick the right size, I compared the width and length of some other favorite shorts to get the silhouette just right. There are other usable garments on this pattern. However, the shorts needed a little shortening, so here are some of the following adjustments I made.
1.) I measured the desired inseam on the leg to see where the finished length should be.
2.) Compare to length to pattern piece.
3.) Fold up or cut/lengthen.
These were shortened by 2″, so the fold looks like it is 1″. Just remember that the fold is twice the amount of the desired length. For example, if you want to shorten by 1″, the fold will look like 1/2″.
4.) Don’t forget to shorten (or lengthen) the back and front the same so that the inseams and side seams will match up. Take advantage of the notches on the seam allowance and use them to help with this step.
5.) When measuring the side length, allow for the separate attached waistband. I used 1″ elastic, and top stitched the waistband seam allowance down toward the shorts to secure it. I omitted the tie because I didn’t have anything in my stash that would work, and it wasn’t worth a trip to the fabric store to get something. Normally, I find this technique a bit bulky, but in this case, so I top stitched the waistband down onto the shorts and it helped keep the shorts secure at the hips. Overall, they were a success. So much so that he requested a second pair! I will be making a bag out of this fabric for my other son since he is not here in town to measure.
And last but not least is Outlaw, Sean’s dog who allows us to get our dog ‘fix’ without having all the responsibility. He is a Pit Bull/Boxer mix who is happy and tolerant of our constant hugs and harassment.
To read more about ideas for guy gifts, click here on a post I made that you may have missed.
As July 4th approaches, I have been getting into the red, white and blue theme in my sewing, scarf shopping, and jewelry making. This combo will be a year-round option, including other shades of the red/white/blue. Here is a quick bracelet I made from my stash beads. I like to call this approach ‘Bead Soup’ because I pick random loose beads from my collection and arrange them in a harmonious way, using up leftovers and creating something less planned and perfect. This works for necklaces, too.
First, gather all of the possible choices from your stash and spread them out.
The above scarf was my inspiration. It was from Stein Mart on clearance, similar.
As you can see on my tray, there is a Chico’s bracelet. I purchased two and broke one apart for parts. I often buy jewelry for the potential components in future designs.
Collect the tools, findings, and anything that may work in the design. Now, it is time to play.
Starting and completing involves jewelry wire, crimp bead(s), closure, cutters, and the crimp tool.
Thirdly, arrange beads on the jewelry wire until you are pleased with the design. If you are using a toggle, allow a little extra length before finishing so that it is easy to get on and off with one hand. My finished bracelet is 8.5 Inches. I don’t mind a looser fit, but you may want it tighter. Do practice fittings before finishing.
Note: If you finish the bracelet and don’t like the fit, no biggy. Take a picture with your phone or camera, take apart and start over. Wire and crimp beads are relatively inexpensive and you will be happier with the results.