Sunday, October 16, 2016

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

I bought this Star Wars quilting fabric because my client loved AT-ATs and the Death Star.  I envisioned a shirt, pajamas, maybe a quilt (but I don't quilt, so that idea went quickly by).  After about 3 years (maybe 4), I remembered a great button down shirt pattern I had in one of my Ottobre sewing magazines.  Its the 6/2014 Issue Pattern No. 31 - Button Up Dress Shirt.  It has fun extras like contrast band, yokes, plackets and cuffs. 

Partially through the construction, my client decided that this was a much too dressy option for his current casual lifestyle.  Rising to the challenge, I channeled my inner Michael Kors and added this oh-so-stylish knit hood and got rid of the collar stand. My client was thrilled because his head is always cold. It also changed this too buttoned-up button-up into a casual, cool shirt/jacket.

I used a pattern for the hood from the Burda Style 12/2015 issue.  I had no issues with it fitting the neckline perfectly.

My favorite features of this shirt:

  • The hood.  I used green thread in my serger to match the shirt
  • The contrast yoke, cuffs, button placket and collar
  • The mismatched buttons (metal star buttons and big green buttons)
  • The front welt pocket (easiest, cutest welt pocket ever designed - see my previous post)

Make something beautiful!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Easiest Welt Pocket

I get such a joyful little thrill when I find a clever sewing technique!  I discovered this one just this evening, right before dinner.  I was cutting out a shirt for my son, which has a welt pocket on the front instead of the traditional patch pocket.  I've actually put off working on this shirt for that very reason - welt pockets are a tricky business.  I can do them, but they require some extra brain effort, and frankly, I've been tired.

So, after looking for the pattern piece and reading through the pattern cutting instructions, I discovered much to my curiosity, that there was no pattern piece for the welts.  The were folded, all in one, from the pocket itself.  How might this clever business work?!  Let me show you!

First, here is the pocket piece pattern.

Second, here is the pocket piece, which you sew right sides together to the shirt front (which is not a shirt front, but a scrap of fabric because I am practicing).  I used marking paper and a tracing wheel to transfer the marks for the stitching and folding lines onto the wrong side of the pocket.

Third, here is the stitching

Fourth, here is the cutting.  Make sure to clip into the corners all the way to the stitching or you will have puckers

Fifth, turn inside out

Sixth, fold your welts and press

Seventh, top stitch the sides and bottom

Eighth, fold up the pocket and stitch the sides (careful to keep it free from the shirt front).  On the actual shirt, I would serge the edges of the pocket.

Ninth, top stitch the top to close the the pocket (I leave long thread tails on steps 7 and 9 and then use a hand sewing needle to bring the threads to the wrong side.  Makes things much tidier than having little threads poking out)

Tenth, the cutest shirt pocket!

This whole process took me about 10 minutes.  I couldn't be more delighted - and now I'm completely motivated to get this shirt constructed.  Yes, it is a Star Wars shirt (I call this fabric Star Wars Toile).

If you're interest in the pattern and technique, it is in the Ottobre 6/2014 magazine, pattern #39.

Make something beautiful!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Still Sewing

Still sewing - not much time to tell about it.

Since my last post I've completed an Elizabethan Jacket for my sister's Mardi Gras costume, a quilted zip around pocket organizer (which I hate and gave away), lots of sachets (Christmas gifts), 4 Roman shades for my living room, repeated repairs to my sofa slipcovers (due to puppy), a gorgeous pair of retro satin pajamas and more I can't remember. 

What motivated me to post, however, is starting (actually re-starting) another doll.  This one is a vintage pattern - 1930s or 1940s I think - called "Rainy Day Girl." She's got the beautiful sculpted head like other dolls I've made.  I started her about 2 years ago and she's been sitting one-eyed in a coffee mug by sewing machine ever since.

My son has voiced his concern over the creep factor.  I finally picked her back up today, the goal being to give her a second eye.

I love sewing - most every kind of sewing - but there is something about making a doll that is more.  I love the hand work.  It's very slow (2nd eye took a little less than an hour) but I never feel anxious or bored or like I need to move on.  It's a creation that's different from clothes or crafts or window treatments.

I keep the doll in my lap while I stitch.  I think it's lovely and I get very attached to it as it begins to take shape.  I did look down at one point, though, and think it must look a little Franken-creepy to an observer.  See photo below:

 I don't think I've done a very detailed post on embroidering doll faces yet - I'd point you to Jill Haymor's Storybook Toys book first, but here are a couple tips:

  • Mark your facial features with water-soluble marker
  • Cut a much longer length of embroidery thread than you'll think you'll need
  • Use one strand - it gives you better control and detail even though it takes longer
  • Use a doll needle (big, long 2 or 3 inch needle) to bring it through the back of the head to ear.
  • Sew a tack stitch at the ear and then bring through to the face.  Switch to your embroidery needle.
  • Be careful to stop embroidering while you still have a long enough length of floss to finish through the ear and back of the head like you started.
  • Pull up slightly on the threads at the back of the head and snip them flush.  They'll disappear into the doll.
Now, sweet Agatha (yes, she's got a name now) has to lovely pale blue eyes with flecks of gold.  Pupils to come.

Make something beautiful!