Thursday, November 17, 2011

Here Kitty Kitty

A few weeks ago I was at Hobby Lobby looking at patterns for pet beds as well as looking for a few patterns for outfits to sew. I didn't find anything I wanted which is sad because the patterns were on sale, think it was Simplicity. I really wanted to make a pet bed for my kittehs because they ate their wicker like pet basket. I have a heart shaped wicker basket and what looks to be a minky type fabric cover that never stays on. My kittehs enjoy chewing it to pieces more than laying in it. Right now said bed is the toy basket, all the kitteh toys I find, get tossed in it.

As I was perusing through looking, just looking, I saw some cute paw print fleece and it was 30% off so I picked up about 1/2 yard. I know how simple, pet bed + paw prints= cute but unimaginative. LOL! I made a rough pattern and ended up botching it up major so I started from scratch and made another one which turned out much better. At first I was just going to make a flat pillow like cushion bed, not sides or anything cause I didn't think I had enough fabric left to pull it off. After cutting I did have a small strip left over that was just big enough to fit 3 sides of the bed. I would have liked it to go all the way around or atleast part of the way on the 4th side.

Materials: 1/2 yard of 58" wide fleece (note 3/4 to 1 yard would have been ideal)
1/2 yard of batting mid to heavy weight.. if using a lighter weight batting you may need to quadruple your cut and that will require more yardage. I did mid weight and doubled it and still only used 1/2yard. I originally cut 4 but that was way to thick for this version of the bed. Yep, I plan to make a few more.
I used a black canvas material as the bottom of my bed, you can use fleece if you want of well any material for the bottom. I made my bottom so that I could slip in a pillow form to give the bed more cushion or put a heating pad incase it's to cold or they are sick and that's what a vet reccomends.I could also hide their toys in there or more catnip. I used a large snap button to keep the flap closed and flush. I may omit the flap idea when I make another bed.
Of course matching thread or you could be a wild child and use something that doesn't match.

Note: Please excuse the floor in the picture, I hadn't vaccumed yet, to busy sewing. LOL! Also the bed isn't dirty that is catnip to intice Kitty more to examine her new bed. Kitty, yes that is her name, is a big orange and white cow kitteh. I've had her for 5-6yrs now, she showed up on the doorstep one day and well she never left. She's my roly poly masterbating junkie of mush. Yes my cat is strange.

1st up is the bed without the pillow insert
this is the bed with the pillow insert
Kitty coming to check out the catnip, not so much the bed
Catnip heaven
I think she approves the new bed


It may not be the greatest pet bed but it really is soft and comfy warm, heck it's fleece. I think the next bed will be made from some teddy bear fleece I have left over from when my daughter was a toddler/pre-schooler, like 11+yrs ago. It really depends on how much is actually left. I had made her a hooded pullover jacket with a large front pocket for her hands to go in, like a muff. She wore that little jacket till it got to small. I'd made her and myself a jacket that year, I still have mine, I passed hers down in the family to my brother's little girl when she got big enough to wear it. Not sure where the jacket is now though.

I'm happy with the pattern, think I may try going a bit more oval on the next one. I also need to change the length and width of the side/walls and make it longer and wider. Honestly that's really all i'd change at this point is the side/walls, longer and wider. I was working with what I had on hand and I'm pretty happy with it.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Throwing myself away

I've been feeling the pain of disappointment lately in my sewing. I started working on a waist cincher for a halloween outfit that never got finished. I started by looking at the pattern piece shape on the back of one of my patterns. Very simple pattern really atleast that is what I thought when trying to make my own. I also went online and found written directions on how to make a waist cincher. Everything seemed to be relatively easy, a little bit of math and voila you have a pattern. I'm pretty good at math, I can add and subtract no problem. I have to say I admire the ladies and gents who can take and make their own patterns from looking at something or tracing and tweeking an already made garment. I seem to think I can do this but continue to fail, miserably to say the least. Ahh, but I shall continue on what currently seems to be a futile path in pattern making and altering. I know I have a learning curve to get over and lots of things still to learn.

So my sad face :(, turns into a frustrated face cause I think I finally got the pattern issue fixed. (hanging head) Nope, just a few things and it still needs a crap load of fixin. UGH! I get out the tape measure and start remeasuring me like practically starting from the upper chest and measuring practically every inch to my low waist line. Okay so not that much measuring, but I did measure regular waist, hight waist, low waist and inbetween my reg and low waist. I have a tummy issue, it's fat I mean rather round and plump plus some. It definetly presents a whole level of needing to know things that I don't yet know. I sure hope my new book, Vogue Fitting will help me. I found it at the half price bookstore for about $8. We shall see on my next project that involves making clothes.

Why the post title, throwing myself away, well because I did just that, I threw myself away. All the frustration of not having a duct tape form or even a commercial dress form used to drive me to get depressed about not being able to make all the things I wanted and not enough hands to help me. I surely can't get the hubby or my daughter to help and unfortunately I don't have any sewing friends close by to call on. When I did finally get my hubby to help me make a duct tape double I was happy that he agreed to help me finally and then instantly mortified at my size. I know I'm a big woman and I need to lose weight. I need to lose a lot of weight if I went by that BMI counter thing but I think it is flawed but it still makes you feel less than what you are when you get the results back. Weight can really make you feel like less of a person and that your options are minimal. I want to make lots of beautiful costumes but my weight is holding me back. I see ladies much bigger than myself who look absolutely beautiful and radiant and I wish that was me and then wonder why I can't be happy with me.

After doing all those measurements, I took that measurment tape to my duct tape double, it ranged from 2 inches to 4 inches to big in many spots and the arms and under the arm area, i'm not sure what happened there. I should have been able to unstuff, recut the back area and slip it back on and it fit somewhat, OH HELL NO, it didn't want to fit at all. It pulled my shoulders forward horribly, the stomach area was so out of shape and it didn't even want to close in the back because of the arms area. I started cutting in all the tight spots and that didn't even help so I threw my double away. GOODBYE AND GOOD RIDDENS! So now I'm back to no dress form what so ever. Now what, home accessories, pet stuff, accessories and skirts. I might be able to do pants and shorts, I don't think I really need a double for that.

Now I'm back to the drawing board so to speak. I'm debating if I want to do another duct tape double. If I do decide to try that again, one major change, not to let the hubby help me. If I do relent to let him help me, I will make darn sure he follows the instructions I hand to him or else i'm gonna shove that roll of duct tape where the sun doesn't shine. I love my hubby but he doesn't listen for crap most of the time. I don't have a lot of money so I can't go and buy the fancy shmancy form that I can add padding to to get to my size and the commercial forms, well I can't afford those either and most of them don't even go up to my measurements. :( I just need to lose weight so I can get a dress form that will fit to my measurements. I hate my weight but I think there are some other underlying issues that has been making it hard for me to lose and keep the weight off.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Wow! Today is Halloween and I have nothing to wear. Okay I do but not without making some huge alterations. Lets just say me and my weight are at war and currently i'm retreating to gather more strength for another frontal assault, so I guess that means my weight is currently winning the Battle of the Bulge. I shall not admit defeat, i'm just biding my time for the moment cause I need a really good strategy.

I'm a little disappointed with Halloween this year. I love Halloween even though I no longer have a little one for trick or treating or go to Halloween parties or events. I would love to dress up and go out, I just don't like how I look. Me and costumes haven't gotten along for numerous years now. It seems like every few years you get a big rush for Halloween stuff in all the stores and then it trickles down to practically nothingness a few years later, up and down up and down. I know we have the Halloween stores that pop up a month prior but they are overpriced on a vast majority of their stuff. Heck even the goodwill thrift store jacks up the prices for their decent stuff and crap that should have made it into the garbage. Example: Goodwill- bagged halloween outfit, used, some parts missing, $5 less than same item brand new unopened and all parts in package. Okay so goodwill is the only thrift store that I know of that jacks up their prices especially at Halloween. I was going to do a pirate costume this year to go with my mini pirate hat. I was going to make myself a poet/peasant shirt and a waist cincher with a peplum and some knee high spats to make my boots look more piraty. It didn't happen, maybe next year.

I've been meaning to post for the past few weeks but just never got around to it, okay, I avoided it. I haven't been happy with myself, well my sewing skills. I'm always unhappy with myself. Anyways, I finished the shirt I was all excited about. I don't like it. I'm not sure if it's the print that doesn't work or just the cut of the pattern itself. I used Simplicity- Sew Simple 1969 pattern. 1st, I cut the largest size in the envelope, fit but pretty tight across the chest area. No, I didn't do any alterations to the pattern, should have. I don't think i'm going to attempt to make this shirt again. Honestly, it needed more than just a chest alteration to the pattern. Sigh, for once i'd really like to sew something other than a circle skirt with drawstring or elatic waist, that fits without some fiddlin.

front:
back:

It really bums me out that my sewing skills suck. I think part of it is my machine, it needs some professional TLC. I want to get a serger, that's what I told the hubby I wanted for christmas or my birthday. I want a serger mostly for knit fabrics because my sewing machine refuses to sew correctly on knit no matter how much I fiddle with all the different dials, needles and so forth. I know, I just need to practice more. I'm trying but i'm really getting discouraged with making clothes. I think I'll try some very simple quilting next. I only have to sew straight lines for a simple block quilt, I can do that.

I really am feeling discouraged, so fat far, 3 shirts i've made, simple, simple, simple and they all bombed by my standards. No, my standards aren't that high, truly. If I didn't like this last shirt, i'd wear it to work, it's still subpar standard wise but doable. The other 2 shirts both knit material so that might explain it, oh and I thought I double checked which direction the stretch was going before cutting and some how I still managed to get the stretch going in the wrong direction. (smacks forhead)

My next project, underbust waist cincher (w/peplum-maybe) and a kitty bed. I also need to work on my kids quilt, I have the batting now. I think I'll start all 3 within the week.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I'm dragging

I haven't been up to much. Slowly working on a few things here and there. I'm almost done with the shirt I'm working on. My muse decided to skip town for a bit while Mother nature is visiting. My sinuses are killing me, after no rain for what seems an eternity we finally get some but I can't breathe now. My music selection lately consists of a few artists, Beats Antique and Azam Ali and her work with Niyaz and also a little bit of Enigma.


I did finish a throw pillow and I made a fabric pumpkin.






I hand cut out the leaves from the fabric scraps from the pillow and glued them to the top of the pumpkin.

One of the things I've been doing lately, washing new fabric I've acquired that i want to make a quilt from. One of the fabrics, the animal printish one, I'm not sure about yet, i'm kinda iffy on it. Here is the fabric, lots of green.




I've also been cutting out lots of squares from some 1/4 yard fabrics I have. I have lots of 1/4 to 1yd cuts of fabric for a quilt that had no real idea or color scheme so to speak. Since noone wants to buy the fabric as is, guess I'll cut it up and attempt to sell it as charm packs or whatever you call them, big giant group of hand cut squares out of cotton fabric. Yeah, think that is just a mouthfull there. I haven't fully decided what i'm going to do with them yet. Once they are sewn together they will equal 4", that's after 1/4 seam. In these 2 photos, I guesstimate about 200 squares give or take 50.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sometimes (2 postings in 1)

9-21-11- Music makes sewing difficult. LOL! My playlist last night had me dancing around and feeling pretty darn good. 1st up was a CD titled Brain Waves by Warner Bros. Records and not a retail CD. This CD actually had a mix of music and most of the music was done by coverbands, I think. I know not all the songs on there were performed by the original artist. Doesn't matter, several of the songs on there had me shaking mah bootay!! Nothing like dancing around the ironing board with a hot steam spurting iron in your hand while the cats think your A. trying to play with them using the iron's cord or B. trying to scare the crap out of them when you forget that the water in the iron can come out if you turn it over. Poor Guinness, he got the water. I was trying to unplug the iron and bent over and he came to investigate at the same time. He wasn't to happy and gave me the glare.
2nd CD up is The Cure -Mixed Up . 3rd CD up Mechanical Animals- Marilyn Manson .

Sometimes kids can disrupt the sewing. Sadly my good mood was totally ruined thanks to my 17yr old daughter who decided to disobey the long standing rule of when it's dark you come inside unless your outside with adults or a mixed group of kids. We don't live in a neighborhood that it's safe to be a female outside after dark. She decided that last night was buck the system. I was livid. I went from happy to brain boiling. May the powers that be give me strength not to plant my foot permanently in her backside. I happen to like both of my feet, most of the time, they help me stand up straight, I think. ;)

I tried to get back into a better mood but it was ruined. I had to force myself to finish cutting out the pattern I started on last night. I bought the pattern at walmart about a month ago for .97 cents. The pattern is Simplicity's new line called Sew Simple and I'm making this 1969 Sew Simple Misses' Top. I also bought this pattern1967 Sew Simple Misses' Pants. The numbers are the pattern number not a year. LOL! I plan on making the pants after I make the top. There are several patterns from this line that I would like to make. The only thing I managed to get accomplished was cutting out the 4 pattern pieces, ironing them flat and pinning them to the fabric. I just did a general cut out of the patterns and will go back to clean them up for marking the pattern points and sewing lines. This is the fabric that i'm making my shirt from.




9-22-11 UPDATE:: Yesterday evening was productive. I still wasn't in a good mood from the day before events. She acts like nothing happend and I should just go on my merry way and not discipline her for anything. Grrr.. right now I feel like i'm in a precarious situation and not even sure how I got here.
Anyways last nights playlist consisted of
Sawdust-Pentaphobe
Mechanical Animals-Marilyn Manson
Lest we Forget-Marilyn Manson
Holy Wood-Marilyn Manson
Downward Spiral-NIN(nine inch nails)


Last night I worked on getting all the pattern Pieces cut cleanly and some of the general points marked. I still have to go back and mark pleats, points and sewing lines, which should get done tonight and crossing fingers, maybe even start sewing. I even got to use my little pattern weights I made. Usually I work with this sewing table set up. I don't have a lot of room for a dedicated sewing table so I had to figure out something. My cats think that me on the floor with fabric is play time. It's bad enough they jump up grabbing my fabric when I do this little setup. Yes it can be a bit annoying and cause me to wanna wring their furry necks but at the same time, when they aren't being pests, I truly enjoy their company. I have 7 cats but only 2 of them are infuriating pests, Gwen and Guinness, mostly Gwen. LOL!

This is what happened when I tried to do cutting on the floor. As you can see it's Guinness and Gwen.





I love this pic of Gwen


I didn't really feel like setting up all that stuff for a smaller section of fabric. I got the bright idea to just put 2 of my TV trays together, that's long enough to fit the pattern pieces. I encountered 1 problem, the gap between the tables. The TV trays kinda have this wavy edge to them instead of straight. I first thought to use my small rotary cutting mat, but it didn't give a smooth surface because it didn't cover both tables. I then remembered I still had some posterboard stuff left over from hubby's discarded christmas idea. The posterboard fit perfectly over both the tables. Now I had a nice clean flat surface to work with and bonus, i could leave the pattern on the posterboard and just turn the posterboard to suit me in doing the trimming of the pieces. I'm such a genius. I make it work cause i'm poor and i'm broke and don't have a lot of room. I see myself using the smaller set up more often, except for the bigger projects. The posterboard even has grid lines on one side. I think I will mark off the inches on one of them and make it a sewing ruler of sorts.

I stopped by walmart to see if they still had some of the material left i'm using on this shirt, nope, atleast that's what I thought. I did find one, shoved in the back, missing it's paper with the scan bar. When I bought the fabric a few weeks back there were several of these 2yd cuts left. I feel very fortunate to have found that very last one. I wish I had a few hundred dollars to spend, i'd buy up several of those 2yd cuts that Wal-mart has, lovely prints in greens, browns and pinks, reds, just so many I want.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Knit = Machine enemy

Last night while I was sitting at my sewing machine contemplating why it hates Knit material sew much, I thought I should start logging the music I listen to. Yes, that was one of those thoughts that came out of the blue. I don't pick music to sew to, I pick music to fit my moods. Last nights playlist
Pentaphobe- Sawdust
Queen of the Damned Soundtrack I'm not sure if I have the explicit version or what. I bought the soundtrack like within months of the movie coming out.
12 Tales-Various Artists



It never fails, my machine just can not stand anything that has more than a slight stretch to it, especially knits. It's okay with some of the cotton fabrics that have a bit of give to it. I thought I was humming along nicely but low and behold, nope. I don't know how many times i've ripped thread out because of the HUGE gap of missed stitches. I pulled out the manual and read over it several times. I took all the suggestions, make sure using correct needle size for material, change needle to new and sharp, adjust top tension thread, adjust pressure foot, adjust bottom tension, check stitch width and so on. I've done all of those things and still skipping some serious stitches. I wanted to wear the shirt in public, like to work, but nope, not gonna happen. UGH! I should know all this, everytime, never fails, knit + my machine= knit fail. I think I might pull out the other machine and give it a go with knit and see how it reacts as well as making sure it works. I have yet to plug in the other machine and test it. Maybe it's not just my machine, maybe it's all the Sears Kenmores. I'm not going to do anything more with this shirt. It was a good practice run and I made a few more adjustments to my pattern, like lowering the neck about 1/2 inch and I need to lower the arm holes by a 1/4 to 1/2 inch as well, for just a smidge more room. I also need to widden the shoulder some, about 1/4 inch. I added a strip of gathered knit material to the front like a flounce, it'a about 4 inches wide. Next time I decide to do a shirt like this, which I will because I have several other knits I wanted to use, I will try to use my alien ruffler foot attachment.





How come it seems I use more material(i do) to make a copy of a shirt than the actual shirt? The other shirt fits me fine and it's not even a knit material, it's some kind of blend material cotton/polyester I think.




I've finished all the little pattern weights that I made. I can't wait to use them on my next project. I found a couple of my floral sew on embellishments and glued them to the top to give them a little more interest. They are very plain right now. 1 of those PW's has 6 ball bearings from a vehicle, well cleaned of course. The bearings I believed are called hub bearings, they are part of what keeps the wheels turning. Ask my hubby he's more technical when it comes to car talk. I know it, just not all the correct lingo, I just know what it does and where to find it, most of the time.




Here is a quick shot of how I reinforced the top edge of the tapestry that we have hanging on the wall. It's actually one of those printed throws, we decided to hang it up instead. I took it down to wash it and noticed that small holes were forming where it was tacked at. It's a relatively heavy piece to be hanging by a few tacks and i'm suprised that the holes weren't bigger because of it's own weight or the cats trying to climb it. I wished I had black felt but I didn't and I really didn't feel like trying to dye the felt so I left it as is, besides, it's on the back side. I cut the felt in 1 and half (1.5") inch strips and then sewed the strips end to end till I had a long enough piece to reach from one side to the other. I zigzagged stiched the top of the felt and the straight stitched the bottom of the felt. I have yet to hang it, i'm short. I need to pull the couch out and stand on the back of it or get the step chair which is taller and use that. I just don't want to pull the couch out but I probably should to do the cat toy round up.





I love Halloween. I have Halloween decorations that never get put up. I have skulls hanging around all over. LOL! I think Skelanimals are to darned cute! I saw this in the Halloween fabric section and just had to have a piece. I think i'm going to make a bag and a shirt using a hand drawn picture and applique techinque for Halloween. I also think I want some more of this fabric, as well as this totally awesome skull fabric that was there in the same section.

Friday, September 16, 2011

It's in the Bag Baby!

I finished my bag. I have 4 pieces of fat quarters that look identical except for the dye lots. One set is lighter than the other set. I bought the FQ's (fat quarter) at Big Lots for a buck a piece. I love this retro looking fabric. I did have ideas to make 2 matching pillows out of this material for my couch but decided I needed a new bag instead. I'll probably make the other 2 FQ's into a pillow or who knows, maybe another bag since I have 2 handkerchiefs left as well. I was up till about 2am working on this bag. I didn't mean to be up that late but I was so close to finishing that I just had to finish it. I'm really proud of this little bag, mostly because the little square X design to hold the straps came out very neat and pretty without me having to mark sewing lines.

I decided to line my bag after I found a 4pk of army brown, military issued, handkercheifs, while searching for suitable strap material. The handkercheifs are my hubbys from his time in the military so they've been floating around the house for the past 9yrs. Hubby and I will be celebrating 9yrs on the 28th of this month. I wanted to have something made, something celtic for him as an anniversary gift but i've run out of time it seems. I'll have to figure something out.

Here are the pics








Supplies:
2 prewashed Fat Quarters from Big Lots
2 Military issued handkercheifs from hubby right out of the unopened package
1 long slightly stretchy cotton/polyster strap
1 single fold bias tape to match strap- ironed
Double sided iron on adhesive strip 1/4 inch wide
1 single fold bias tape to match or contrast main fabric- folded in half and ironed
Some slightly used clear stretchy elastic from shirts that had it in the shoulder area to hook on a hanger.


I squared up the handkerchiefs then the FQ's. The FQ part of the bag was bigger than the handkerchief lining, so with the elastic I shrunk the opening of the bag some, then added the lining and then finished with the folded bias tape. For the strap, it had more stretch than I wanted but I needed a strap and this was the only thing in my stash that worked. Oddly enough, I don't have many items for making straps for bags, I must remedy that problem. I think I need to make a trip to Joanns soon. I ironed the strap and singed the cut ends with a lighter. I then ironed the adhesive strip right down the center. I ironed out the creases on the bias tape and then ironed it to the center of the strap using the adhesive to hold the bias tape to the strap while sewing the edges down. I still have a bit of stretch in the strap but not nearly as much. The bags edges are encased to give them more durabilty and strength. The linging of the bag is straight stitched and then with tiny close zigzag stitching directly over the stratight stiched line. I think the fabric will rip before the stitching does. I thought about adding a pocket but decided that I really didn't need it. I had the original idea to make it a grocery bag, for those quick trips into the store, now it's just a tag along bag that I carry my lunch and other odd things in to work.


I sewed a few other things in between working on the bag. I worked a bit more on the knit shirt, got the side seams done up, now to do the hemming. With some scraps from the shirt I made little pattern weights. I'd been using some of those large metal fishing weights (3/4oz) in their baggies to help hold things down but wanted something a little nicer. I took the lid from the kitty treat container, made several circles, stitched them together, leaving an opening, and filled them with rice. The rice by itself isn't all that much weight so I took 2 of the fishing weights and shoved them inside with the rice and stiched it closed. WOOOHOOO! I currently have 2 completely done and 2 waiting for the opening to be stitched up. I was thinking they needed a little bit of something on them to make them pretty, like maybe a embroidered simple flower, a crystal, beads or well anything simple to give them a lil more pop.