Denim Urban Tunic or Dress?

Urban Tunic, Indygo Junction

Urban Tunic, Indygo Junction

Yes, it looks like I am on a cowl neck dress tunic streak.   A recent post featured a McCalls 7020 cowl neck top turned dress that would make you think I have no imagination.  Really?  Another cowl neck dress?  But this one is slightly different.   It is a great jumper for grownups.  Pair it with a long sleeve tee like I did here, a turtleneck in the winter, or a tee in the summer.

My Inspiration:

The first time I saw this Indygo Junction Urban Tunic made up was when my mom and I went to the Puyallup Sewing & Stitchery Expo.  Amy Barickman, the creator of Indygo Junction, was wearing it a cute cotton paired with a white tee underneath.   That is what sold it!  I googled “amy barickman wearing urban tunic indygo junction” and found many versions of this dress.  She looks cute in everything she wears.  Here she is below, with Alex Anderson, at what looks like a quilt show promoting her line. Doesn’t she look great in this black and while version?

Amy Barickman, Alex Anderson

Amy Barickman, Alex Anderson

Pattern Features:

It is a simple silhouette in an a-line shape featuring bust darts, bias collar and back zipper.  Some features could be eliminated to change the look completely.   Consider the idea of using a smaller piece of fabric (a great fabric stash buster) and eliminate the cowl, zipper and pockets resulting in a perfect tunic or dress for the summer.

Indygo Junction Urban Tunic Line Drawing

Indygo Junction Urban Tunic Line Drawing

I eliminated the zipper, so I just slip it over my head.  An exposed zipper would be a nice feature as in the line drawing above.

I chose to not insert a back zipper

I chose to not insert a back zipper

What I love about a-line silhouettes:
1.)  Clean, unobstructed front view for prints and patterns
2.) Looks casual but dressier than pants
3.) Versatile: jumper, dress or tunic
4.) NOT body conscious.

If you’ve read my other posts, you know I love sewn down pockets….but not crazy about the little sway-back-wrinkle action going on when my hands are in the pockets.  I might consider some fish eye back darts to take up the excess.  The Badonkadonk strikes again.  If I increase the width on the sides, it resembles a tent, so I purposely keep the width just enough to where it skims the lines of my body.   I won’t be running away from this a-line silhouette anytime soon but I do need to consider  how I’m going to keep the shape but get rid of the wrinkles.

This fabric is a soft denim with some heft – maybe an 8oz. (?) from my stash. Since I barely had enough fabric, it is a little short for me.  Tights are a MUST.  The bias cowl adds so much to the style and it drapes very well.

Urban Tunic Pattern

Urban Tunic Pattern

The bust darts look a bit high here (below) and no wrinkles like in the picture above.   Movement = wrinkles.


The next version will probably be in a fun cotton print with a tee for spring because I’m a copy-catter.

Goofing around...

Goofing around…

I am a fan of the Indygo patterns.  I made up a trench coat pattern here.  Be aware that many of the Indygo Patterns often recommend cottons or wovens rather than knits.  Check out all of the new Women’s Clothing patterns on Indygo Junction.

On to another project.

Happy Sewing,

– Dana

McCalls 7020 Cowl Top Turned Dress

Cowl Neck top with Chico's necklace

Cowl Neck top with Chico’s necklace (old)

As I move into 2017 and take inventory of my lengthy list of sewing projects, I am reminded of the bloggers who took great time to review their versions of sewing ‘Hits and Misses’ of 2016.   There seemed to be a plan from the start of the year to execute specific garments for their wardrobe.  This requires organization and planning skills, which I admire.   However, I am more impulsive.  If I need a jacket, I make one.  If I get inspired by a great pattern, I collect the fabric and necessities and get started.  Maybe perusing blogs will inspire me to make something similar because I can! Allowing myself to be drawn into a creative swirl often results in garments that have served a practical purpose,  a creative ‘itch’ that needed to be scratched, or because I needed some time alone to recharge in my happy sewing space.

Have you ever come across a pattern that just draws you in but you don’t know why?  This simple McCalls 7020 pattern did just that.  Maybe it was the fabric, or how it looked on the model or maybe it’s simplicity.   Not sure.  At first, I planned to make a top (View B) out of this to wear with jeans.  But then I realized that I had enough fabric to extend the top into a dress minus pockets.  I love the idea of pockets and I truly love them but only if they can be sewn down either to the waistband or directly to the front of the garment.

Cowl Neck of McCalls 7020

Cowl Neck of McCalls 7020

My favorite part of this pattern is the cowl neck. The pattern piece is weirdly shaped which is probably why it drapes so nicely.  This fabric is a waffle weave Henley-like fabric purchased at my local mill end store.  Since fabric content is a guess at that store, I would say it’s contents would be a rayon, cotton and poly blend.

( Side note about mystery fabric content:  My rule is the Fabric Must Stand The Washer And Dryer Test.  How will it survive?  Sometimes the fabric improves with washing and drying.  You may choose to launder the fabric differently into the future, but that first washing is crucial.   The results of the washing may change the direction of the project.  Is it softer?   Does it have a new texture, drape?…etc.  Remember that you are getting a great deal because there are NO FRILLS, UNKNOWN FABRIC CONTENT OR CARE DESCRIPTION.  You are on your own.  I happen to love this fabric challenge because my success rate is about 95%.  Maybe it comes from years of working with fabric that I am confident that it will turn out.  Like most things, practice makes perfect. )

Back to the dress – It is a bit thin for a dress, but since I knew I would wear it with tights, it was fine.   I made up a size  M 12/14.

My son’s dog, Outlaw, was a bit bored, but still well behaved while we took some photos.

Are we done yet?

One construction change I might make for next time is to eliminate the center front and back seams and instead place them on the fold.  It would also save some sewing time making this an even quicker project to complete.   The center seams interrupt the pattern if using a print.

It makes sense in View C where stripes are featured.

Man, this is boring?  Fetch, anyone??

Here, you can see the front riding up.  It appears I need a Full Bust Adjustment!  Hummmm.  I don’t usually need to make that alteration, but when I see the front hem line drawing up, it usually means that fabric is being taken up by a larger bust.  I found myself tugging at the dress to keep the front even with the back.

My second change would be to make the bicep/upper arm circumference larger.  My goal was to have this be a looser knit shift dress all around, but the sleeves are a bit tight.

I will probably make this again but choose stripes instead and make a top and widen the sleeves to be more comfortable.   Now that I’m thinking of it, I have some striped fabric in my stash that I could use for all of these changes.  It would also be nice to add a slightly hi-low hemline to the top.   Stay tuned…

These days, a loose style cowl neck is the closest I will be getting to a turtleneck.   I don’t seem to need many layers year round while living in Arizona.  This loose cowl also allows space for a necklace.

Please be a squirrel....

Please be a squirrel….

Using this same pattern, I loved seeing Mimi G Style’s hoodie.  Have you tried this pattern?  Thoughts?

Happy sewing-

Dana

Men’s Ties Christmas Tree Skirt Tutorial

Family Ties turned into a Christmas Tree Skirt

Family Ties turned into a Christmas Tree Skirt

Men’s ties make the perfect circle skirt to dress up your tree.   If the male family members in your house despise wearing ties (like my husband), and they are sitting in a drawer, gather them together for this quick project.   I was lucky enough to receive my dad’s and uncle’s discarded ties after their professional lives no longer called for them.   I also added a few from thrift stores to complete the project.   It has become a family tradition to use this skirt under our tree every year as a way to include some of the past and bring it into the present.

*A little disclaimer: I made this tree skirt before I started my blog, so this tutorial is explaining how to make this after the fact. Hopefully, I can explain the process clearly enough so you can easily make one for yourself…or give to someone else.

I gathered 46 ties to assemble this tress skirt, including the tie used in the center hole.
Here is a list of what you will need:
1). Approximately 42-52 men’s ties, both skinny and wide, or enough to make a circle around the base of your tree
2). Approximately 40″ of Single Fold Bias Tape (or you could use a strip of Christmas fabric)
3). Muslin or cotton fabric for base
4). Thread to match ties

Underside of tree skirt using muslin fabric

Underside of tree skirt using muslin fabric

1.) Draw a large circle out of the muslin fabric (above photo) making it a few inches shorter than ties to allow the points of ties to hang off (below).  Mine measures 20.5 inches from center circle to outer edge.

Tie ends overlap the base fabric

Tie ends overlap the base fabric

2.) Serge or finish the outer edge of the skirt (above).

Cut opening from center circle to outer edge

Cut opening from center circle to outer edge

3.) Draw a center circle. (The center circle needs to be large enough to fit around the stem/trunk of your tree). Cut out center circle hole and continue cutting stright out to the edge creating an opening to slip around tree base (above photo).  One tie will be used to trim around center circle in Step 9.
4.) Finish straight edge with bias tape or scrap strip of Christmas fabric. In photo above, you can see I used green bias tape from my bias tape scraps.

Audition tie layout

Audition tie layout

5.) Using muslin as my base fabric, audition all of the ties next to each other and pin in place overlapping each tie. Continue in a circle until the look and arrangement of ties is pleasing.
6.) Overlap the ties near the center circle (below).   They will be roughly cut and uneven and its okay.  Ignore the tie used to finish the circle.  Yours will not look like this at this stage but will after Step 9.

Narrow sections of ties overlapped at center circle

Narrow sections of ties overlapped at center circle

7.) Top stitch ties in place overlapping each tie over another.  Continue working around the entire circle until the first and last two ties cover the bias tape on the right side of the skirt.  When placed under the tree, the ties will overlap, disguising the opening.

Underside of tree skirt using muslin fabric

Underside of tree skirt using muslin fabric

8). After all of the ties are sewn to the base muslin fabric, it is time to trim the center circle and clean up the edge. Cut the ties evenly around center circle edge.
9).  Fold one tie in half and center around circle leaving ends to be used to tie in a bow. Stitch, enclosing all rough edges of ties.

Completed center circle with remaining tie for bow

Completed center circle with remaining tie for bow

You are done!….except for the presents.

Completed tree skirt

Completed tree skirt

Time to add presents

Time to add presents

Place under your tree and Merry Christmas!
If you are interested in other quick Christmas presents, check out my Snap Bag Tutorial or Curling Iron Cover Tutorial.

– Dana

Sew Creative, L’Toffe Fabrics

Sew Creative store sign, Ashland,Oregon

Sew Creative store sign, Ashland, Oregon

Fun with a jean jacket

Fun with a jean jacket

If your sewing skills drift from garments to quilts to crafts, you will enjoy stepping into Sew Creative in Ashland, Oregon.  Since I have a love for sewing garments, I have chosen to let others perfect the quilting skills while I continue to master fabric manipulation on the human form. That being said, I find myself drawn to quilt stores in my travels because I love the merchandising, colors, quilts on display, kits for sale and being in a sewing related environment. It helps if the quilt stores carry any drapey rayons or garment-ish fabrics. Sometimes there is a cotton I can’t resist. There is also the tug to support the smaller, locally owned shops in some way if I can.

Kits for Sale, SewCreative

Kits for Sale, SewCreative

A great example of great merchandising

A great example of great merchandising

Don’t you love that modern square quilt?  How about the one on the wall?  I truly appreciate the time, artistry and perseverance to complete beautiful quilts of all kinds.  I think I have mentioned my impatient nature in previous posts which means that I love to whip up a quick tee or dress to scratch that immediate gratification itch.

Store samplings

Store samplings

License plate art

License plate art in the window display

Also on Main Street in Ashland was a fabric store called  Fabric of Vision.  It is closed now at the time of this writing and I’m bummed.  It was a great store featuring garment fabrics, patterns and notions and beautifully merchandised.  The owner closed it in January 2016.   I won’t post the pictures I had because it makes me sad and I would be torturing you with a place you can’t visit anymore.  Instead, I will move on to another fabrics store, L’Etoffe Fabrics located in Springfield, Oregon near Eugene.  The Contact page provides a map.

L'Etoffe, Springfield, Oregon

L’Etoffe, Springfield, Oregon

Here, Ina (pronounced Eena) and mom are enjoying the feel of luscious, imported fabrics. Ina was warm and welcoming and willing to share her story with us.   Ina has a background in fashion design and wanted a change.  She teaches classes and manages the many details of the store.  Lining the walls are imported fabrics, displays with independent patterns, classes and sample garments to tempt sewists.

L'Etoffe fabrics for sale

L’Etoffe fabrics for sale

L'Etoffe goodies for sale

L’Etoffe goodies for sale

L'Etoffe3IMG_4468

More imported fabrics

More imported fabrics

One more fabric purchase

One more fabric purchase

Mom could not help herself…she had to buy some beautiful herringbone fabric for a jacket.  Anther project to add to the list!    I picked out an Italian rayon that had my favorite colors in it (post to follow).  Ina wrote a great article about how women confess secrets to her about their fabric stashes on her blog here.

Ina and Sandy, L'Etoffe Fabrics

Ina and Sandy, L’Etoffe Fabrics

While we were there,  Sandy Ericson, the producer of Center for Pattern Designwebsite, dropped by. Sandy provides a wealth of information on her site to further develop pattern designing skills. Videos and free resources are just a click away.

So there you have it. Oregon destinations worth your time. If you didn’t get a chance to read about my time with Diane Ericson (no relation to Sandy Ericson that I know of) click here to read my previous post. These Oregon ladies are talented, welcoming and knowledgeable.

Thanks for reading. Please comment and/or share with other sewists!
-Dana

Small Black Capsule

Adding beige, gold, gray, cream to the mix

Adding beige, gold, gray, cream to the mix

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.)
IMG_4093
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 Palmer Pletch

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?
M6613
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

Adding beige, gold, gray, cream to the mix

A dressier look with pearl cluster necklace from Macy's clearance table

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

A warm red, gray, white scarf

 Simplicity  short jacket with drawstring neckline

Simplicity short jacket with drawstring neckline

IMG_4083
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.

For more ideas about accessorizing, see more on my post Accessories: Black/White/Gold/Silver.

Do you have some patterns in your stash or in the recent pattern books that could be made up into great capsule pieces?

Fall Brings Olive and Orange

Olive and Orange

Olive and Orange

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!
IMG_3958The 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

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.IMG_3975
Here are the items I collected before starting the project:
Simplicity 2153

Simplicity 2153

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.IMG_3963
Back View relaxed

Back View relaxed

Here is a the back view without cinching the waist tie.
Back view cinched

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

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!

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?

Rectangle Zipper Bag

IMG_3829
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.

Supplies Needed:
-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

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!)
-Zipper Foot

CroppedIMG_3940

Quilt bar inserted into foot ankle in back

Quilt bar inserted into foot ankle in back

Dual Feed/Even Feed Foot with Quilt Bar, Satin Stitch Foot

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

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

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

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 and handle

5.)  Stitch

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.

Personalized loop

Personalized loop

-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

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

Fold in half to find center of tab

Cut tabs in half

Cut tabs in half

Turn right sides out, edge stitch

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

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.

Buttonhole test

Buttonhole test

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

Quilt layers for body of bag

It should start to look like this:

Quilting starting to take shape

Quilting starting to take shape

And look like this when finished.  You may want to trim off any loose threads.

Finished quilted piece

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

Ribbon on stabilizer/interfacing

-Select favorite stitch.  Start sewing slowly down entire one yard length of ribbon.

Stitch selection

Stitch selection

Stitches done, press gently

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trim raw edge under zipper

-Lightly press zipper tape flat towards outer bag fabric.

Right side up of bag. one half

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

Attach zipper to other half

-Turn, trim the fabric underneath, and press gently toward right side.

Zipper installed!

Zipper installed!

-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

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.

Tab Placement

Tab Placement

-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

Tabs slipped under ribbon

-Mark button placement by marking through the buttonhole.

Mark button placement

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 handsewing

Old school hand sewing

Your bag should look something like this now.

Completed top of bag

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

Center bottom seam

-Press open seam.  Trim off any excess batting or stray fabric or threads.  Trim to 1/4″.

Trim excess off seam

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

Ribbon centered over bottom seam

-Your bag should look something like this now.

Looking into bag

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

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

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

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?

How does it look?

Creating box corners

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

Handle is sewn into box seams

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Stitch on line. Repeat for other side. You will do this a total of 4 times; two box seams on each end.
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Box corners from the inside

Box corners from the inside

Doggy ears trimmed and serged

Doggy ears trimmed and serged

-Trim off the ‘doggy ears’.  Clean finish with a zig zag or serged seam.

Ready to see it??

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.

Finished bag

Finished bag

Different tabs, different fabric combinations

Different tabs, different fabric combinations

Another example up close

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

Same fabric used for inside and outside

Useful, roomy, colorful, and fun to make

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!

Cheers,
Dana

Vogue 8951 Top Turned Into A Dress

IMG_3652I must confess that a guilty pleasure of mine is to watch the home shopping networks.   Instead of resorting to trying clothes on at the local stores, I get a glimpse into what fashion is selling to people who choose to shop from home. It intrigues me to see how women buy pants online or TV.   I like to see what styles, colors, and trends are making their way into homes all across the country.   As a apparel sewer, I am inspired by some of the designs and feel fortunate to be able to replicate these items while incorporating my own twists.

This particular dress came from a QVC designer, Susan Graver. She sold thousands of this style dress..and for good reasons. If this dress is anything like the two I just made, it very comfortable. I was lucky to find this green cotton French Terry at my local mill end store. It has the sweatshirt-like feel we all know and love, as well as the heft needed to wear this without show-through. Susan’s version is out of her own manufactured cotton French Terry and offers shorter sleeves, rounded side slits, and patch pockets. It looks like this.  To find out more about this dress click here:
SG french terry dressMy version comes from Vogue 8951, which offers woven tops, but had a similar neckline and it could be extended into a dress length.

Woven Tops Turned into Knit Dresses

Woven Tops Turned into Knit Dresses

I chose not to include the hood, although that would have been a cute option if I used hoods more often. The sleeves were lengthened to 3/4 length, and I also chose not to add rounded side slits. Basically, my dress is View A with longer sleeves and more than 34″ added to the length from the side seams. I added more to the length so that I could try the dress on and have plenty of material for the hem.   I settled on the hem being just a bit above the knee.

Green French Terry Vogue Dress

Green French Terry Vogue Dress

The kangaroo pocket is very comfortable, hold a cell phone and/or keys, and disguises my tummy pooch. It also adds to the very casual look of the dress.
IMG_3643Second version out of a stable knit and longer in length. I prefer this dress at this time of year because the knit is lighter weight for our hot desert summer weather.

Turquoise/White Knit Knee Length

Turquoise/White Knit Knee Length

One thing to note: This pattern calls for wovens, not knits. I added about 1/4″ around the shoulders, bust area, sleeves and armhole just to be sure it would have some ease. I also added quite a bit to the side seams so that it wouldn’t be too tight around my rear. I tapered it at the waist and flared out at the hips. It took trying on and off multiple times, trips to the mirror, trips to and from the sewing machine, but I got the fit just the way I wanted.

After making the first dress, I knew I would be cranking out a few more. I have one more cut out out of another stable knit.

Why make duplicates of the same pattern, you ask?
1.)   The second item takes less time to complete.
2.)   The kinks, alterations, and design changes are worked out.
3.)   Different fabrics provide variety and change the look of the original pattern.
4.)   Success is addictive! If one is good, more is better.

Once a pattern has been a success, it becomes a Tried and True (TNT) pattern.    Do you have some TNT’s in your wardrobe?

 

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Mug Cover and Mug Rug

Mug Cover and Mug Rug

This is a little late getting posted, but I thought it might be worth it to give a few ‘guy’ ideas for future presents. It is easy to come up with girly projects to sew, but I have a harder time coming up with ideas for the males in my family. My husband is no exception. He is truly appreciative of anything I sew for him….as long as it is masculine and useful.
So here are my three picks for this year’s Father’s Day:
1.) Handmade shirt
2.) Mug Rug (or small place mat)
3.) Mug Cover (fancy pen and pencil holder)

Mug holding guy stuff

Mug holding guy stuff

I think this may be my tenth mug cover gift because they can be personalized with cute fabrics and they hold SO much stuff. (Also great for manicuring tools, sewing supplies, etc.) Here is the pattern and the link at Simplicity here:

Mug Cover Simp 2450

Mug Cover Simp 2450

Simplicity calls is ‘Buckets Gone Wild’, but I think of 5 gallon buckets when I hear the world bucket, so mug cover it is.

I buy the standard vacation souvenir mugs at the thrift stores for a buck or less or re-purpose some from my collection. I then rummage through my cotton fabric and bias tape stashes. I just maaay have to go to the fabric store to look at the fat quarter combinations if nothing seems to be coming together.

The next idea is a version of a mug rug. I was lucky enough to receive one of these as a gift from Rachel, my student/friend (Sewredy.wordpress.com) She has perfected the applique mug rug and other projects. I wrote a little something about her new blog here.
Here is my version with rounded edges:

Camping Fabric Mug Rug

Camping Fabric Mug Rug

I rounded the edges simply because I find it faster and easier to apply bias tape or self-made bias strips. No pattern is used. These can be made many different ways, but the basic dimensions are approximately 13″ X 8″-ish.

The fabric is a camping motive cotton remnant and I edge finished useing dark brown single fold bias tape from my stash. I used the same fabric on the other side because the drawings are entertaining like the Air-stream camper. If you want more info on how I apply my bias tape, I wrote about it on the thermal iron cover post I wrote here.

The last project is a hand made shirt. I have lost track of how many I have made for him, but it it is a my ‘go-to’ pattern.

McCalls 2149 Men's Camp Shirt

McCalls 2149 Men’s Camp Shirt

Okay, so no hanger appeal. I see that here, but it DOES look better on a human, I promise. I chose version “B” from this McCalls 2149:

Great Pattern for Mens shirts

Great Pattern for Mens shirts

You can tell by the low pattern number that it has been in the pattern book for a long time. I think many of the new McCall’s patterns are in the 6000’s.

I bribed my husband with homemade blueberry pancakes to model the shirt.

Husband in his Father's Day shirt

Mr. B in his Father’s Day shirt

Now that’s a little better. You can see the shirt filled out better and that it had a casual, loose fit.
IMG_3633
Since we love to dance, looser and more comfortable clothes are mandatory to do all the fancy moves. The fabric is a rayon from my stash in what I call ‘Builder Beige and Brown’.

Buttons and collar

Buttons and collar

Here you can see I used the standard men’s brown/tan button which blends in so well, it cannot be seen except for up close.

The ‘guy’ list continued:
4.) Neck pillow or lumbar pillow
5.) Personalized pillow case (Great for travel so you don’t accidentally leave the beloved pillow in the hotel)
6.) Shoe bags (Keeps shoes protected and off clothes in suitcase)

Can you think of some more great handmade gift ideas?

Until next time, keep creating.
-Dana

A Shout Out for SewRED-y…A New Blog

Sewing With Cats_0002
I am thrilled to share a link to a new sewing blog on the scene. It is SewRed-y from my student, Rachel. I’m so glad she has taken on the sewing obsession and wow, is she a natural! She took a class from me when I taught at Jo Ann’s and with a little guidance from me, some love and support from the hubby, and some fierce determination, off she went! Read up on the details, like how she fits in sewing with many furry creatures at her house here.

Here she is at one of our Sit and Sew sessions cutting out a pattern: (pre-short hair cut)
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Loving the idea of me taking her picture…
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Now I get to stalk another blog and add it to my blog roll. Way to go, Rachel!

Fashion Happy Conference

IMG_3608You may be wondering what this shirt has to do with a ‘Fashion Happy Conference’ and it simply is a purchase I made from a vendor (Lady Joan’s Boutique) at our most recent women’s conference here in Tucson. The fabric is a crushed poly, so it is easy care and great for packing. As the fabric is stretched, more of the second color is revealed. Here is a close up of the fabric:
IMG_3609*Check out her site for more colors in sleeved versions and tank tops.

A friend of mine invited me to the event, which I had never heard of, and was pleased to attend. It was the second year for this event, and it’s main focus was all things fashion, wellness, and beauty offered be local businesses. To learn more about the vendors, classes and key note speaker, click here

The day was structured in such a way that you could choose to attend three of the 15 classes offered in three different one-hour time blocks. There were breakout sessions between classes to allow time for shopping, networking with vendors and attendees, get a massage, polish change, etc. Lunch was served to those who purchased the full ticket price or there discounted tickets for those just wanting to attend classes and shop, but no lunch. Some of the teachers also had booths, so if during class a question did not get addressed, the teachers could be found at their booths later for follow up or even one-on one appointments at another time.

I chose to go to the three following classes: Small Wardrobe? BIG Impact, Yes, you can!, and Come Fly With Me. The class descriptions are here Since I have been thinking about my next step in life and what do do with this passion I have for sewing, accessories and presenting, I thought it would be a good idea to check out these specific classes. I wanted to attend more, but the way this was structured, I’ll have to wait until next year and see if they are offered again.

So here is another item I purchased from Lady Joan. This was a new vest to her collection. Contact her here if interested. (Necklace is a recent purchase from Downtown East, which has recently closed it’s doors, but here is something similar.)
IMG_3610The minute I saw this, I wanted it. First, I wanted to copy the pattern….more on that later. I also loved the way it was designed and cut out capitalizing on the border print. And thirdly, I am always looking for clothes that can be styled in many ways. Here are just a few ways I have discovered so far to wear this great vest:
IMG_3611
IMG_3612Instead of having the collar cascade down in a waterfall in the center, this way the collar hangs down in the back causing the front to look more like a cape or shawl covering the arms.
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Here, I have belted it.
IMG_3614
Fiddled with it to change up the look.
IMG_3615
This is knotted in the front at bust level. It could also be knotted at the waist, but I found it top be too bulky.
IMG_3616
And the last way to wear this is to turn it into a scarf. Put the two armholes together to create the loop. Pull ends through.
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So here is the pattern piece I drew from the vest.
IMG_3619If the vest is opened up, it looks like an oblong doughnut. I simply folded the vest in half and drew around the edges. The poly chiffon vest is hemmed with a narrow hem from a serger, but could be narrow hemmed by a sewing machine also.

I haven’t measured it exactly, but it could be any size with the two armholes cut into the center as shown. One idea is to measure the length you want from the bottom of the armhole to the desired hem. As you can see from the back view, this is where a border print could be featured. This opens up some pattern drafting possibilities and ways to use some chiffon in my stash!!

My favorite part of the day was winning the grand prize drawing!
IMG_3622It was the end to a long losing streak of raffles, drawings, lottery tickets, etc. We have one year to plan an overnight, in town, little get-a-way stay-cation kind of thing. Free champagne, continental breakfast, and late check out. Whoo Hoo!

I met some great people, learned about new business opportunities, picked up some tips from the classes and had a delicious lunch. What a great day!

Polka Dot Tote

Polka Dot Upholstery Fabric Tote

Polka Dot Upholstery Fabric Tote

I saw this fabric in the upholstery section at my local mill end store and thought it would either be a bag of some sort. It is a stiff canvas-like fabric and I didn’t think it would wash well or soften up much so I thought it would be best as a tote. I did not interface it or pad it at all. I also omitted the decoration on the front (shown on the pattern envelope). I could have added a pocket to the outside, but I wanted the print left alone and all contents to be on the inside. One of my Sit and Sew ladies made the same tote bag and knew it was the size bag I wanted. It is from this McCalls pattern.

McCall's Pattern 6716 Tote and Messenger Bag

McCall’s Pattern 6716 Tote and Messenger Bag

The dimensions are 20″W x 16″L x 6″D and it is perfect for carrying a ton of patterns! Just kidding. I have a few of those laying around thanks to pattern sales. The dimensions are perfect because it is big enough to carry a beach towel, laptop, reader, or use it like a purse.

Five Inside Pockets

Five Inside Pockets

I made a few changes to the pattern. I reduced the shape of the pockets from two large pockets to five smaller pockets. One one side, there are three pockets to hold pens, phone, and keys. The other side can hold small tissue pack, lipsticks, hand sanitizer, etc.

I wanted to add some closure and I happened to have a purse magnet in my stash. If you have never installed one of these magnets, they have to be put on the lining before the bag is assembled because the back of the magnets are not pretty and need to be covered. It takes a little planning and measuring to get the placement just right.

Magnets added

Magnets added

I also added the brad feet to keep it off the ground and help give the base some weight.

Silver 'feet' added

Silver ‘feet’ added

The scarf is from my extensive square silk scarf collection, now considered outdated except for maybe on tote bag handles…? It is loosely tied and can be switched out or left off completely.
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That’s it for now. I’m off to another project. Stay tuned.