Friday, December 30, 2011

Considering sewing . . . . in 2012.

Dear Readers,

Well, in the spirit of the "New Year,"  I've compiled some sewing "to-do" lists for the New Years (in addition to starting Tony Horton's exercise program, P90X2), and for some reaons, I'm eager to get this post out in the blogosphere!

This year, I'm considering sewing:

(1)   A few pairs of bikini and boy short panties.  Status as of April 2012:  Fail, so far.
(2)   A bathing suit.  Status: Cancelled, for now, I just bought custom suits from North Shore Swimsuits (well, sorta custom).
(3)   A messenger bag and perhaps, a saddle bag or panniers.  Status:  Completed but not perfect.
(4)   Doggie clothing (rain coat and/or fleece).  Status:  Bought sale rain coats/need to make fleece.
(5)   J. Stern's Khaki pants pattern - Cut out pattern have not sewn.
(6)   Hot Patterns Moto Jacket - No work completed yet.
(7)   Sailor Playsuit from Wearing History - No work completed yet.
I am conflicted about this pattern (I myself am a retired Commander) - I am not going to make it as literal, I don't believe - perhaps a change of fabric will make a difference.

(8)    A shirt for Jonathan.  Update:  He wants a vest.
(9)    An outdoorsy clothing item for Jonathan.  Update:  He wants a jacket.
(10)  Maybe some bike shorts for Jonathan Status:  On hold, his knees are bothering him.
(11)  A cashmere jersey top from some luxurious cashmere silk I saw at Mood
(12)  A swim parka (for the drive home after swimming)
(13)  A corset
(14) A Decades of Style dress
(15) Perhaps try a modern quilt (I've quilted before but now as a garment sewer - it's very hard to go back).   Completed April 9th.

What a hefty list!  I am the type of person that always takes too much food at buffets too.

Why not shoot for the moon?  Even if I only make it to the top of the hills, it's upward and in the right direction.

I'd love to hear what everyone else is planning this year!

Please, do tell!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A year in review . . . .2011

Dear readers!

The customary 2011 year in review (I did forget to do this last year):

I've attended the ASG conference (and joined American Sewing Guild)  in LA - and met some more bloggers and sewers in the sewing community (online and off).

I've completed two slopers - one top and one skirt (at Sew-La). I have them hanging in my sewing room:
And one of two tops:

And, finished a fitted pair of jeans this year (Jennifer Stern's Jeans pattern and class (Jennifer's Webpage).  I count those as my notable accomplishments.
Specifically, I sewed the following (fitted) garments:

(1) 3 skirts
(2) 2 tops
(3) 1 pair jeans
(4) 1 knit top (not fitted, unfortunately)
(5) 1 pair shorts
(6) 1 pair of shorts for Jonathan
(6) 1 sew-along Burda pair of pants
(7) 2 dresses
and a bunch of doggie bags, and other home dec projects!
Total:  12 garments!

That's not too shabby considering  I  traveled last year, and we were minus one attorney - hopefully, I'll be a bit more productive this year.

I really look forward to posting my garments - it keeps me motivated and I do love to see what everyone else is posting as well.  I read my Google Reader every morning - so even if I'm not posting I'm reading blogs.   I think I also receive a certain satisfaction from this blog - so I'm keeping at it - although I am very very slow at posting during certain parts of the year.
Every blog opens me to someone else's ideas about sewing, and life  - it does allow me to feel more engaged with the sewing community.  I also have quite a few bicycling and quilting blogs I follow.

What about you?   I'm dying to see the End of Year counts!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sew-jo is back (again!)

Yes, finally my sew-jo is back!  Here's what I've been up to:

1)  I bought some fabric at Gorgeous Fabrics (wonderful to purchase from!):
2)  Some new Hot Patterns:

I also acquired a used pattern but cannot find it in the Hot Patterns catalog.

3)  I am making another pair of jeans in red denim, purchased from Mood:
4)  And, I'm attempting a satchel, from a green pepper pattern:
5) And, holiday presents for co-workers (with dogs):
And, finally, taking some pictures, mountain biking and attending an environmental law conference in Yosemite late October:

Happy Holidays!

Hopefully I'll have more fun projects ahead!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Finally - Review Colette Violet #1015

Dear readers,

I apologize for the delay in blogging - I've had some family medical problems, coupled with an extremely busy work schedule involving five weeks of travel this fall!  Again, no excuses -  I finished this blouse early November, and I am just now getting around to blogging it.

Here is the creation, I darkened the hue to magnify the colors. . .

 First, I used my sloper to modify the pattern - which is very well executed.  The pattern directions are a dream.  The collar method was a bit different than I've used before for peter pan collars.  I made a mistake.

Yep.  As you can see below - the shirt contains no dart at the bustline.  My sloper is based on a princess seam.  I rotated the dart and added length at the bottom; unfortunately I measured incorrectly and the front was 1" shorter or more than the back.  So I took out the dart, leading to the blousey front as you see below!

Other than this - a wonderful pattern.  I must have been tired when I cut this.  I used Japanese linen blend fabric, and I will post a review on Pattern Review.

By the way, I went out to make some Home Dec. (yuck!) projects and found that holiday fabric was extremely scarce - I must have missed the rush!

Hope all is well and I hope to sew quite a bit more over the Holidays.  I have bought some amazing fabric on my travels and online and I'll tell you all about it!  In the meantime, I've been amazed by all of your creations!

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tutorial: DIY Clip-on Doggie Pickup Bag Holder/Carrier


Two months ago I lost our $20.00 doggie pickup bag holder - one which you could latch onto a belt loop for a walk.  After contemplating buying another - I simply decided to make one!  Here is a tutorial I designed after making about five-seven samples.  I think you will like it and the materials should just cost a few dollars, if that!  This project can be completely made from reused materials and dog leashes if you wish.
Materials  needed:  9" by 5" fabric
                                  cord or ribbon (4" to 6" total)
                                 1/4" elastic (about 10 inches total

1.  Cut out a fabric piece 9 inches by 5 inches.  My bag I lost was 9" by 6".  This is a matter of personal preference.
For this project, I used weather-proof Gore-tex bought from Seattle Fabrics out of my stash because I've been making some outdoor adventure items.  However, one could use canvas, a heavy weight fabric or simply some rip-stop, or supplex.   To be honest any material is a candidate. 

Above is a picture of the Gore-tex material above - note it doesn't fray but is a bit hard to get the needle through.  I finished my edges using a rotary cutter.  By the way, if you wish to attach reflective tape you need to sew that on before you head to the next step.  The doggie bag I lost had it - I didn't feel that it was a necessity for this project.
 Ripstop, pictured above would be fine.

If you wish to hem the top and bottom edges of the doggies bag - this would be the time.  You want to finish (or "hem") the long length of the fabric (the 9" part) first and merely edge finish or serge the shorter (5" part) if this is your preference.

For the top hems,  I recommend serging (perhaps a rolled edge) OR I did a 1/8" hem on my previous project by folding the material and sewing it.  I believe a 1/4" hem should work too!  Again, for this project I did not hem it as this material does not fray.

2. The tab attachment.
Cut a small strip (I did three inches -  a bit too long) of ribbon, I used some grosgrain ribbon, but as the picture shows below - you could use cording, or the end of an old dog leash attachment, ribbon attached to a D ring. . .a host of fun choices.  Better if you have a cuppa while you're choosing:)
I placed my ribbon 1/2 inch from the end of the long length of the fabric (well, the pictures shows 1" here) and I used a pin to secure.   
Then using matching thread (I used red here for visibility); a universal needle, and a straight stitch -  stitch across the top of the tab ribbon (or cord) 1/4" from top edge of fabric.  See below.
 Because I made my tab too long - I put anther row of stitching 1/4 inch down from the last stitching.
3.  Now cut your elastic.  This is a matter of preference because my project is 9"; I used a slim 1/4" black elastic.  Any elastic will suffice.  I cut the elastic for the top of the long length (9 inches if you remember) - to be 4 1/2" and for the bottom long length - 4 1/4".  This allows you to push the doggie bags in a slighter larger hole at the top and slimmer hole at the bottom. 
 I pinned the middle and stitched each end 1/4" from the edge.
 I used a zig zap stitch (standard) and the smaller piece of elastic took quite a bit of pulling while I sewed.
 Note the zig zag.
 I stopped the thread about 1/4 to 1/2" from the edge.

4.  Finishing and the fun part.
Note:  If you have not finished the edges on the short 5" edge and you wish to do so - please do - I did not as this material doesn't fray.  

Put the short sides (the 5") sides of the fabric right sides together and stitch 3/8" from the edge.  
5.  You're done!  Turn inside out and attach a carabiner or any other clip and out you go with the doggies.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

To Gusset or Not to Gusset? That is the question.

Dear readers!

Look what I found:   Crotch gussets in J.'s high end hiking pants.  These are made by Royal Robbins:

What an ingenious idea!  Now I think every man should have them, at least in their active wear!

Don't you think it would increase the comfort while not decreasing the style?

For example, in the Kwik Sew shorts I made for J.  Perfect Fit.  Absolutely perfect.  But, wouldn't a crotch gusset make them more comfortable for outdoor activities?

Have you run across this before?  I want to put gussets in all my man's trousers and shorts now!  I googled "crotch gussets" and found a jeans company  Gusset Jeans (really, great jeans but need PR help for that name -  - I originally thought they were named "crotch guesset jeans"!).  Here is a picture, courtesy of their web site:

They also make women's jeans - but I'm not so impressed with those. . .

Now other bloggers and messages boards have considered the idea of crotch gussets.  Fashion incubator in particular has wonderful tutorial (and great pictures of when you should add gussets (I hesitate to say it - "male camel toe").

Fashion Incubator's Article on Crotch Gussets

Here is what I think is the best tutorial on Gussets - it is for underarm gussets but can easily be adapted to the crotches (similar concept of expansion):
Tutorial on Gussets

This is what I would use - I'd like to do a series of tutorials but have not gotten around to perfect execution to actually think through the learning steps for new tutorials.

I am going to add the gussets when I make J.'s next page of cargo pants/shorts - I've added a link below to the pants.  And, I will do a gusset tutorial at that time!

                                           Green Pepper Cargo Pants

I finally bought some rivets from Tandy Leather and Jeans Button and will do a cleanup post next!  What am I working on - an elastic self-drafted A line skirt.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Completed: First Pair of Jeans, JStern 0037 (or Self-Stitched Jeans, the LA Way)

Dear readers!

Completed.  My first pair of jeans, Jennifer Stern Designs No. 0037.

Well, almost - I didn't put the jeans button fly, pocket buttons or the rivets  on (yet). 

MNBarb from Pattern Review (message board discussion here) probably provided one of the best link for jeans buttons - I'm going to order them from this ebay seller - Dimebuttons - link is Here.  Apparently, since LA is the hub (reputedly 80% of the high end jeans are designed here) - I should be able to buy some fantastic supplies; I need to hunt some down stat!

For more information on the high ends jeans manufacturing in Los Angeles - check out this LA Times Article, "Premium Jeans the Los Angeles Way."   One of the key aspects of this business is that LA manufacturers can take orders as late as 2:00 pm and have them out by 5:00 pm.  Wow!  According to research, wholesale denim (high end) can cost anywhere from 12.00 a yard to 25.00 a yard.  My denim was 6.00 a yard:)  I am going to check out sources for us readers, my recollection is that Mood has some good denim.  

Above is a close up - I do need to work on my execution skills.  I made these in 6.00 dark denim for a boot cut.  I lost 10 pounds since my muslin fittting so instead of 1/2" inseams, outseams and crotch curve - I cut 3/4".  Which worked out well and is still a bit loose (although you cannot tell from the pictures).  I only felled the back crotch curve and the yoke (and do need to work on those skills).  Also I pulled out the wonder tape at the crotch and   redid that topstitching so until I wash them they appear a little gunky.  By the way the fly is absolutely flat - but without a button it's pulling a little with belt.

On the others I used a denim double needle to simulate the felling.  However, I don't recommend the use of the denim double needle.  I made a mistake and in pulling up the stitches cut a hole in the inseam - I took up the right leg 1/4" and am experience some pulling (not evident in the pictures) on that side but I can live with that.  These jeans need a good wash - so I can get off all the tiny threads!

I am particularly pleased with the back - I place the decoratively stitched pockets once the jeans were assembled (the directions called for them to be done before the inseams and outseams are complete) - and placed the pockets 1 down near the middle of the back and sloped it down to 1 1/4".  On the I also slated the pockets starting from 1" from the back middle crotch curve to 1 1/2" as to go down.

Another essential tool is an awl which sewing.  Really critical.  I am working and made some great progress on my topstitching!  I am definitely making these again and will use a contrast thread most probably next time - and higher end denim (and maybe corduroy).  I'd also like to make a wide leg version ala Hudson Gwen jeans pictured here.

I have written a Pattern Review here for more detailed information.

The end.

P.S.  After reviewing the pictures - I am definitely going to switch from a YKK Jeans Zipper 3.5" to a 5".

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Obsessively staring at the back of everyone's jeans.

Dear readers,

It's the end of Day 1 of the jeans construction period - and I've made serious progress  -   and some decisions:

1) I finished the front pockets - I used a twin jeans needle to topstitch - and I'm fairly happy with how these came out.

2)  I finished the zipper - I used both JStern's blog but mostly relied on the clear directions and I am happy with how the zipper turned out.
3)  I'm not sure I'm happy with how the inner front crotch below the zipper turned out - I topstitched it after securing it to be well-finished in the front, per the directions - I believe I altered the front crotch curve.  The picture below depicts where the curve should be (the top scissors) versus where the crotch seam is now due to the topstitching (the bottom scalpel seam ripper).  I am thinking tonight about whether I should redo this curve.

4) I finshed the back flat-felled crotch curve seam. Jennifer's directions call only for the yoke to be flat-felled but I went ahead and did a 3/4 flat felled on the curve seam also (the directions called for 1/2 seam) and again, we shall see how this turns out.  I originally very much disliked the flat felled construction but after a night at the movies obsessively staring at the back of everyone's jeans I've determined it's not so bad.  And, because of this particular denim - I don't believe I can tear out the seam without disturbing the denim (little white threads have begun showing up where I did re-do a portion of the flat-felled seam).

5) Based on my failure in the flat-felled seam area - I've now determined to put in 3/4" seams versus 1/2 (since I've lost weight and the muslin was a bit looser) and NOT flat-fell but to top stitch with the dual needle on the side seam and inseam.  (J. Brand jeans does this).

6)  Here is a depiction of a 3.5" zipper I bought from Jennifer at ASN (actually I bought five!).   It's a YKK zipper, excellent for jeans and reputed (I cannot yet verify) to be environmentally conscious.  I'll investigate that further.
More on the history of jeans to follow - I merely wanted to give everyone an update on the progress.   I did note my London "Hudson" jeans have a "Made in Los Angeles" tab.

Tomorrow:  Sewing inseam and outer seam; construction of back pockets on the jeans, and waistband.  Monday:  Rivets, buttons and hems!  Jeans Ho!