Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Patterns, Prints, Plans

I have several works in progress (and works to start soon), all clothing for the spring and summer. I have plenty of solid clothes in my wardrobe, so these prints will add some fun.

Over the weekend, I started a top from Simplicity 2892. I am making the sleeveless version that is the large picture on the pattern envelope. It has a fun ruffle element that was a nice technique to try. The teal jacquard cotton is not a print a would usually choose, but the colors felt so fresh for spring. I would love to duplicate this style in my daughter's size. This is the first time I have used a commercial pattern since junior high, so it's been a nice refresher! The pattern had at least 9 or 10 pieces to cut out, so that took some time. I also agonized over the size...these pattern sizes run so differently than ready to wear clothing. I cut out one size, then held it up to my body and realized how huge it was and cut down to a smaller size.

The rust color print will become a Summer Blouse from Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross. I will likely make some adjustments to the book pattern. Fortunately, many others have made this blouse so I have been able to view pictures and comments on their various blogs. I am nearly finished making a Yard Sale Wrap Skirt (also from Weekend Sewing) from the white and red leaf print cotton. I have to make some major adjustments to the skirt for it to be wearable, at least for me. My version, cut to the pattern, is nearly a full circle skirt, way too full for my body shape. I think I'll just cut off the upper 6 inches or so of the skirt top, down to the point where the panels are much wider, to make it less full and knee length.

This weekend, I picked up Sew What Skirts and my first project will be either an a-line or beach wrap skirt from the black and white print. I like that this book gives directions to make your own patterns and try various techniques, so you can branch out from there.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Swap handbag finished!

I mailed a Charming Handbag and some extra goodies to my BTRS Swap partner today. It was fun and I'm sure I'll do more swaps in the future! This one I made true to pattern size rather than enlarged and I actually like this smaller version better. My partner mentioned that a favorite color combination is teal and brown, and I noticed from her blog that she likes small patterns. The trim adds a little fancy element. The bag is dainty and will be perfect for a night out to dinner.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Frenchy Bag

This weekend, I had the house to myself, so I took advantage of the time and made a bag. This is the shoulder bag version of the Frenchy Bag pattern by Amy Butler. The fabric is from IKEA. I love the bold pattern in the main fabric. It is home decor fabric, so the heavy weight gave nice body to the bag, made for sharp pleats and did not require interfacing. I did add fusible fleece interfacing to the top portion to ensure sturdiness.

The black contrast fabric is part of a larger bird print. I decided to keep the outside clean with solid black pieces. For the inside of the top portion, though, I cut from the printed areas. I like that it is unexpected and fun.

The pattern was easy to follow. I completed the steps out of order and constructed the lining bag first. I am so glad I did, because it allowed me some "warm-up" time to practice sewing the curved seams and connecting the bottom and top pieces just right. Again, with this project, I learned some helpful tips. This pattern uses an easy folding method for squaring up the fabric...much easier than cutting. And I finally learned how to make good straps!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My First Swap

I signed up for the latest Bend the Rules Sewings Swap.
This is my first swap and I love the concept. If you are not familiar with sewing swaps - I was paired with another swapper and received an email describing her likes, dislikes, favorite colors and patterns, etc. I was also able to link to her blog to view her past projects, which gives some great insight to choose her fabrics. Over the next three weeks, I will make her a Charming Handbag. while she does the same for me. Then we swap, mailing the finished handbags to each other! How fun is that?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A creative space...found


A couple of months ago, I was wishing for some space and I found it! Our small living room is the coziest room in the house, with great natural light, but it was, for the most part, usued space. After multiple (4, 5...I lost count) trips to IKEA, my sewing supplies have vacated the dining room and have a home. My daughter's art supplies and hubby's books are stored along with my sewing supplies in the wall of IKEA bookcases. The storage boxes and baskets cleverly hide all of our goodies and my growing fabric stash and sewing book collection. The sewing machine cover is a repurposed $3 pillow cover found in the IKEA As-Is section. The Amy Butler organizer was a find at the local Michaels store.

The room now feels even cozier and functional and has become a creative space for the whole family. We find ourselves in the room on a daily basis, reading, sewing and coloring together. Last night my 3 year old daughter was my creative assistant, snipping threads for me with her "cutty things."

Pleated Beauty Handbag, finally finished

This project, the Pleated Beauty Hanbag from Bend the Rules Sewing, has been in process for what seems like a couple of months now. I have been busy with life in general and have completed bits and pieces of this bag when I could. This was my first try at embroidery and I like the interest it adds to the bag. I echoed the leaf pattern on the pleating fabric with a basic running stitch.

I altered the straps from the book directions. To make them more sturdy, I added rigid interfacing (Pellon 70) and made them 1.5 wide. I like the outcome.

With each project, I find that I learn a few lessons. The main fabric is a linen suiting which was difficult to work with - stretchy and drapey, not ideal for such a structured bag. I added fusible interfacing which made the bag less floppy but the linen puckered a little after multiple pressings. Toward the end, there was just too much bulk in the finished seams. My little sewing machine struggled sewing the seam around the top due to the bulk from the pleats and handles. There should be an edgestitch around the top, but I can't even get the finished edge under my pressure foot. I'll settle for a good press at the top.