Sunday, October 21, 2012

Addicted to Knitting - How did this happen?

Dear readers,

I have a confession.  My self-taught knitting skills produced nada.  zero.  nothing.  All my stitches were sloppy and too tight (a metaphor for my life?).  So, I decided to do something about it.
I took a beginning knitting class, and guess what?  I loved it.  Now, it all makes sense.  Don't pull on the stitches - not to mention having someone point out what your are doing wrong is priceless.  And, my stitches have really improved!!

So, I've made two kitchen washcloths, not to mention increases (yard over) and decreases, knit stitch, purl stitch, rib stitch, binding off, casting on - and stockinette (rather than kitchenette which I referred to on my last post).
Now, I'm actually going on to make a scarf (only garter stitch) but still!

I can't stop.  I probably need Knitters anonymous already.

Did you have the same experience when you started?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bicycle Saddlebag (well, sorta).

Dear readers,

I don't know if you know this - but I am an avid cyclist and challenged myself to make the following bag:

 So, I finally finished a small bike saddlebag - let me just say I need to improve the design.

This is what I was shooting for:

Both the above bags are manufactured for the fantastic Rivendell Bikes.

Well, I went a bit heavy on the reflective type and binding.

 Side picture (above)
From the back (above).

Yes, I did insert a zipper under the overly large flap - next time I will make the flap out of leather, I think.   Did I mention leather is difficult to sew with - I used a roller foot (bought for this project and other oilcloth projects) - and leather needed (except when I forgot and used a jeans needle, oops).

I ordered the straps (not yet received) from a business owned by a local couple bike-bag making team, called Acorn Bags.  They make marvelous bags if you need one, the below is an example of their large randonneuring front handlebar/rack bag:
Well, I imagined the pattern and thought it would only take an hour to sew up.  Nope.  Six hours later I finished.  The below is the pattern laid out before sewing:
I used duck canvas - next time I will use a heavier sailcloth rather than duck canvas - and perhaps wax it (for waterproofing) before I sew.

I really tried to recycle and re-use all the material:
Above, see the left-over gortex from Seattle Fabrics.  I would recommend a cheaper lining fabric - perhaps ripstock or even the canvas would have been fine.
I used the leather from an old purse I cut up - I would recommend a heavier gauge leather.  I wonder about the durability of this leather - although I will waterproof and condition it well.
I lined the canvas with Peltex, and heavyweight interfacing.  Although if I would doing it again I would use a heavier liner (not too stiff - such as recycled Postal containers), but stiffer than Peltex.
Well, not the best but it's a start, and it is usable.

I post a couple of pictures of two of my bikes posing:)  I am working on some adjustments to them as well.  The first is a bike from Royal H, I'm using it for light touring (10 - 60 miles).  I put my bag behind the Po Campo bag for reference.
Mixte Royal H frame.
Wait, is that a dynamo hub you ask?  Yes, it's a SON deluxe.
Brompton M-6R, foldable, with lowered gearing.  I occasionally take this on airplane trips because it can fit into luggage, I can avoid a rental car (and GHG), if possible, and get out and really see the places I visit/work ala David Byrne's Bicycle Diaries.
It has a raw frame - here you can see the brazing on the steel.

Any bag making or purse making experience out there?  I'm open to suggestions!

P.S.  I'm still finishing up the black pants pattern and took a beginning knitting class - more on that to follow!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Gertie's Portrait Blouse: Betsey Johnson Knit Edition

Dear readers,

I've made a second version of Gertie's Portrait Blouse (from New Book of Better Sewing (NBBS) and then memorialized the event by taking (silly) pictures.  First -  the sad news, Betsey Johnson is closing her retail stores as of this last summer. The good news, her fabric went to Mood and I benefitted from this sad event.   Hopefully, she'll be onto something even better!

 Another knit portrait blouse from Gertie's collection of patterns, blogged about in my last entry.  Super comfortable, fun to make and easy!  I might actually make one or two more:)

Here is the blouse on, as I am photobombed by Paddy below:
Another silly picture:

The sales person at Mood told me this fabric came from her closing retail stores. . . and I have found other butterfly like patterns in her collection from this year:

Very similar looking!  Betsey bring on your next round of shocking, silly, pink and wonderful - we're waiting for your next line!

My next projects are JStern's Khaki pants (in black denim), Sailor Pants from Hot Patterns (in Denim), and I think the Anise Jacket from Colette in Green Wool.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gertie's Portrait Blouse (in Jersey Knit!) Review

Dear readers,

I've loved wonderful bloggers' Katie's version of the Portrait Blouse, and Rachel's version from My Messings reviews of the Portrait Blouse of Gretchen's book:   Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing.

I've constructed my own rendition, a jersey knit, above, after my silk(ish) woven toile failed.

Gertie's book is intriguing!  This pattern is only two pieces with facings for the collar.  The armholes are very small seams.  I should be able to draft a nice silk - but alas, I cannot.

Why?  I tried to rotate the darts on my princess-seamed sloper to then alter Gertie's pattern from the book - which I sketched out.  But for some reason, my rotation is not correct.  Gertie's pattern calls for side darts - and this is where my trouble lies.  Rather than construct another toile - I decided to go with two jersey knit fabrics from Mood, bought recently, with alterations based on the first toile.

The second blouse is under construction, while I speak (a wonderful Betsey Johnson jersey knit!).   This blouse took me less than two hours to construct once cut.  I WILL DEFINITELY make this again - it looks great under suits!

Another quick portrait blouse to follow!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tank Top!

Dear reader,

I fell in love with a slightly small, but long length wise sale tank top from Anthropologie.  So, I did what every good seamstress would have done - copied it immediately.

 The original is on the left and the one I made (now I realize in the execution stage what I could have done better) - is the red one on the right!  I merely traced the design and added a ribbing.  I also used my serger to put the knit jersey together and my sewing machine (with a stretch needle) for the ribbing.
Photo-bombed again, but here is it made with my self-sewn Jennifer Stern jeans, an Anthropologie coat and hat.  It's a bit tight - but I like to think of my tanks as SHAPEWEAR:)

More knits to follow - this tank top kicked off a knit kick with two more tops.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Another (fun) Self-Drafted A-Line Skirt

Dear readers,

I've made another skirt from my skirt sloper - this time I made an A-line skirt using the adjustments I've learned from two sources. . .

 The fabric is from G-Street Fabrics - $6.00 on their "skirt ends" table.
 A back view above, showing the A-line shape.
 I keep getting photo-bombed by my Kerry, Pixie.
 I inserted a quick lining from the stash - albeit a bit uneven.  It peeks out when I sit - but at this point - I'm ok to live with that:)
 This methodology is what I merely used.  Adding a bit of flare at the side of the skirt.  This reference is from a used book:  "How to Design your own clothes and make your own Patterns" by Claudia Ein.  I do like some of the ideas.
 And, adding to the flare is an option, slash and spread method by Helen Joseph Armstrong, "Patternmaking for Fashion Design."  I didn't use the slash and spread method as the skirt materials didn't drape as well, and it is suiting material.  Although I do plan to use this method sometime in the future.
 Photobombed again!
Finally!  Still photo-bombed but you can see the shoes.  Fidji - my heels broke consecutively in DC, and then in Bremerton/Poulsbo - so I WAS FORCED to run out and buy some new shoes in both locations.   At first, I thought these might be a bit "elfish" but they have turned out to be super comfy 1.5 - 2 inch red heel, and really, my "go to" heel for jeans and even while teaching.   They are the result of a great recommendation from a travel (and sewing) buddy.

More sew-cation work to follow!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Oh Canada! Pendrell Fall Blouse finished!

Dear readers,

I've finally adjusted the Pendrell blouse for my sloper corrections (which was fairly easy because both were princess seams).  The blouse was pictured below, with my version of Jennifer Stern's jeans (Jean Posts Here).

No, I'm not celebrating Canada (perhaps I should).  This maple leaf is my ode to Fall (we are having a heatwave here, however).  Although here in Ventura the summer is just now starting with the Santa Anas, and warm temps.    I bought the fabric from Mood recently on a trip.
I used Tasia's Blog on Sew-Alongs (scroll down for the Pendrell links);  the pattern directions were easy and I love princess seam blouses. But, the ideas for putting the blouse together with the sleeves were easier using the author's directions online.  It was a unique way of puttting together the blouse.  I will definitely make it again and have noted some hints for a better fit (I cut this a bit large).

Here is the pattern view (I sewed View A).  Although this pattern was drafted allegedly for pear-shaped girls - I made it anyway (I am a reverse triangle, or an apple, depending), and it worked brilliantly.  It's a bit blousy - but that was my fault - next time I'll cut down on the SA.
I am working on the pattern review.

So, dear readers, I am just starting my sew-cation - but have finished the above, not to mention two more knit blouses and a tank top!

Onto the pants now!!