Thursday, May 24, 2012

what more could i need?

i've this new bag. and this new top. and now this new skirt.

throw in some hoops i also made from 1" and 3/4" 100 psi poly pipe with gaffer tape in bright, fluorescent colors and i'm not only ready to hoop dance into summer, but i'm color coordinated, too! would you expect anything less? tee most certainly wouldn't. LOL!

i'd forgotten i'd made this skirt before, some time ago. i saw the pin marks in the pattern pieces, but i couldn't for the life of me remember when or of what. until i had finished that is. the gathers on the front and back jogged this middle aged memory.

i never wrote about it. obviously that skirt is still packed away where it'll stay, for now. it's in solid black and much too dark for this time of the year.

this version is the belle skirt by favorite things. it looks nothing like the cover photo. that's because i decided to omit the contrasting band so it would be shorter. also, the fabric is a bit sheer so i made two skirts of different lengths then sewed them together before stitching both to the waist band. it's still rather lightweight and i won't feel self-conscious without a slip.

for a little fun flair and because i positively love machine sewing double fold bias tape now that i know how to do it, i hemmed it with 1/2" tape in canary yellow. it's what i happened to have on hand and i'm all about stash busting these days.

i've also made the double circle skirt from the hip skirts pattern which is very similar. you'll see them here. the size of the waist bands are not the same though they are made the same way. fortunately i fit it on myself before i made the skirt. have you noted that, too? i think i like the double circle skirt better. it fits my hips and thighs more comfortably. fabric type has a lot to do with it, too. go for a voile if you want it to flow and twirl. this was sold as an embroidered voile at hancock fabrics a few years ago. not all voiles are alike, however. maybe you can see that from the photographs. check the fabric weight before you buy to be sure you get what you want. i do like that it wrinkles nicely and you can wear it right out of the dryer without putting an iron to it.

i've a cute peasant top in a pale yellow that will pair sweetly with the skirt. but wouldn't these finish the look from head to toe?? or these???

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

if at first you don't succeed...

if any project merits such a title, it's certainly this one.

i know, i know. this should have been relatively easy, sewing 101. but i confess i struggled a bit. if you've visited with me here before, perhaps you remember this post. i've yet to do anything with what remains of the garment. this time, i was determined to finish and have something to show for it. and i desperately wanted something cute and fresh to wear this summer, something i made.

and so i persisted and i'm rather pleased with the results.

it's the shearwater kaftan by make it perfect. a friend has made it before. and it looked super cute.

i struggled to topstitch around the small half circle at the bottom of the placket until i chalked a line around it to follow.

and i gave up trying to serge the raw edges on the inside. i've never taken a class. i need to to learn how to manage curves and seams, especially curves within the seams. i discovered this nice small zip zag stitch on my sewing machine instead.

i did learn how to machine sew double fold bias tape thanks to youtube. i liked it so much i hemmed the sleeves and bottom with it! you'd better believe i'm going to be using this method again and again.

overall i'm super pleased with myself. there are imperfections, especially for this perfectionist. no one but myself will know them.

most importantly i got over my fears of armholes and fit. the measurements are spot on. this was a good beginning pattern, for sure.

i did make a few changes to suit me. for example, i decided against the tabs to roll up the sleeves and shortened them by a good 7 inches instead. i like three quarter sleeves the best. and i shortened the length by 4 inches. it's not too long and not too short.

another lesson well learned. i'm ready to dive into my next apparel piece!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

have bag. will travel.

a few friends have asked to see the inside of the cargo bag. here are a couple of photos with slightly different views that i hope will give you a good idea of how i've set the pockets to organize my must-have gadgets and things.

in the open middle of the bag is plenty of room for a daily planner (which i'm phasing out thanks to my handy dandy iPhone 4S with all it's cool apps), a journal (i can't seem to live without paper and pen no matter how much i love technology!).

on the inside back panel is a large, deep pocket divided to hold my kindle and a checkbook (or anything else you may have of this size, like, in my case, reading glasses).

and on the inside front is a more shallow pocket divided to hold my smartphone, wallet and pens.

remember i've the pockets on the outside as well. this would make a great travel bag because the pocket on the outside back is left open to the full width of the bag where you could easily slip a map or travel guide. and the outside front has a pocket divided in half for your passport, airline tickets, etc.

yesterday i added some sew on snaps (while multitasking) to hold the flap down which would make the bag even more secure for zipping around town and across the country, by foot, train or airplane.

Oh! and to clarify about the buckles i found at jo-ann's. check if your local store sells notions for purses and bags such as handles. that's where i found them.

happy creating!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

a cargo bag with an adjustable strap

should you have been here yesterday, you know i was working on a new cargo bag with an adjustable strap. it's really a simple bag as far as construction. what's most time consuming is the small details I'm particular about. As you may be able to tell from the photograph above, I like to topstitch, a lot, to give the bag a nice, finished look. I repeat whatever pattern I choose on the strap, each one of the pockets, the flap and the top of the front panel. And I do a lot of ironing. I don't see how you can sew and not like to iron. I want my edges crisp and my panels as straight as possible.

i positively love the adjustable strap. i've had a devil of a time, however, finding the slide buckles locally and online. the few i've managed to get my hands on came from jo-ann's. they weren't with the sewing supplies, but in crafts. when i find more in various sizes, i'm stocking up. an adjustable strap just gives you so much more flexibility.

if you've read this post, you'll see i've made a similar bag with the same number of on the outside back, one on the outside front that's been divided in half, one on the inside back that has been divided in two of unequal widths, and another on the inside front that has been divided into four of varying widths for my cell, wallet and a couple of pens. tee said i could live out of my bag. that's not far from the truth!

i've shared that the fabric is Sugar Snap by Melissa Averinos for Free Spirit in cocoa for the outside and jade for the inside. because of the bright colors, i decided to "go wild" and use this thread. it's super cute. i've picked up a few more spools in different colors for future projects.

next up i really want to try to make a kaftan. i've got this pattern which looks pretty straight forward. apparel always makes me nervous, but i want to give it a try. hopefully, by watching every episode of Project Runway over the years, some techniques about sizing will have sunk in and it'll turn out looking good!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

the long and short of it

I finished what turned out to be an intense online Photoshop course yesterday and am so happy to have more time to get back to my sewing. I've had the panels and straps cut out for a new cargo bag for some time now. When I had an hour or so to spare, I'd work at basting and constructing.

Today I'm ready to finish it. The outside of the bag is complete and I'm piecing together the inside.

I wanted to visit here since I've been away again for a spell to share a photograph of the work in progress.

I've decided to add an adjustable strap to this bag since I want the flexibility to wear it over my head and across my chest or off my shoulder. It's something very simple, but as I've never added an adjustable strap to any of my previous bags, I'm excited.

The fabrics I've chosen are from my stash, Sugar Snap by Melissa Averinos for Free Spirit, bright, but not too loud, perfect for the summer, to coordinate with casual tees and flip flops.

I'll be back soon with more photographs and details!