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
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

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.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Done with Muslin shirt

I'm done, woot woot, i'm done! Deciding that I didn't want to take the shirt apart to make it my pattern and deciding to do another one with the other markings. I have 2 sets of markings on my shirt 1st draft copy, original lines and my thought I needed to make adjustment lines. The back is still a bit big around the neck area and I know how to fix that, a pleat instead of a dart. I used to have a shirt that had a pleat at the center of the back neck area. I added more pintucks as well as extended a few pintucks I already had to the front and then attempted a half arse dying in dark green, except I didn't use a lot of green or prepped the material before dying. Opps! so here is the shirt. Despite it's flaws, i'm okay with it, and I could even wear it in public and not feel to bad about it.

I cut out another of this same pattern but this time in a lovely lavendar jersey knit. This material is soft and airy, I think I wanna make the rest into a dress or nightgown. I have a pattern that I bought to make a shirt from but now I can't seem to find it. UGH!

I can't believe it, i've reached 100 posts. WOOHOO!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fabric Squared

I'm so glad today is friday. I'm hoping to start a new project this weekend, quilting. I'm going to start off with simple, like a grocery bag and pillow. I found this awesome Celtic Quilt pattern that I really really wanna do for the hubby. They call it a stained glass effect, piecing. I still plan on working the shirt pattern as well. I plan on finishing that up this evening so I can cut another of the pattern. I plan on working on the quilting when i'm not feeling the love for working on the shirt.

I've always wanted to do a quilt. I've got lots of material that I accumulated over the years for doing a quilt. At one time I even culled the collection and tried to sell the material for someone else to use, no bites. So now once again I have this urge to make a quilt and i've pulled out the culled material I wan to start with, looks like it'll be reds. I have some other fabrics i've already started cutting into 4.5 inch squares.

So right now i'm kinda playing around with bits and pieces of fabrics and some scraps that were big enough to make what i'm calling Crazy Squares. I think somewhere in my fabric blackhole, there is a quilt square that is in serious need of restitching. Nothing lined up like it was supposed to, it was all off, especially right at the center. I think that actually put me off for a bit on quilting and then of course other interests decided to take precedence. So here it is probably close to 10-15yrs later and i'm ready to try again.

Crazy squares consist of bits and pieces of scrap fabric somewhat put together to eventually make a piece large enough to cut into a 5 inch square. I plan on taking these crazy squares(scraps) and stitching them to the center of a few canvas shopping bags I have planned. I'm practicing my stitching and finding out the pressure I need for feeding it through the machine as well as learning to use my iron more often than just sporadically. My iron has become my new best friend. I used to use the iron only for straightening out folded fabric or a much needed shirt to be smooth instead of the surface of a raging ocean. I have an applique iron and it works great for the smaller pieces of fabric and ironing their seams.

I took some of my smaller pieces of fabric and cut as many 4.5 inch squares as possible and with some light mauve colored gingham and a deep burgandy color solid fabric, I had enough squares to make a 9 patch square and still had 6 squares left over, mostly the gingham. I stitched my squares together and was so proud of how close all the seams matched up. One of the ideas I had was to make a piece from the 4.5 inch squares that was 6 squares across and 6-9 squares high, that's just a guesstimate. I had the idea of making a baby changing mat. Why? I have no idea why considering I don't even know anyone who is having a baby or anyone that has a young child that is still in diapers. I figured that would be simple and functional instead of some kind of wall hanging sampler. I could always sell it or donate it, depending on how the idea manifests. Sometimes I get an idea and it never makes it to reality, sometimes it evolves before manifesting to the physical realm.

Guess I better go practice some more and do more research on quilting techniques for that Celtic quilt I really wanna do for my hubby.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Update on Muslin mock up

I'm almost finished with the mock up muslin shirt. I didn't do to bad, boy do I need to practice my sewing skills though. It's a perfect knock around shirt for cleaning though. I guess it's not all that bad, just not something I'd wear to work. I only have to hem the bottom, clip some threads and fix/add a few more pintucks. I want to make the shirt out of some lovely material I have but I need to get this pattern right.

1. I need to grade the pattern better. I guess that is the term to use.
2. Learn the terms and how to use them correctly. :)
3. Learn to copy a premade garment better
4. Practice pintucks. I think these are going to be a favorite little detail to add to some shirts to give them new life.
5. Get a tuneup on sewing machine
6. Learn to draft patterns
8. Learn to love my duct tape dummy dress form (I really hate that form)
10. Get better aquainted with my sewing machine and all of it's functions and attachments. The ruffler foot looks like some kind of alien probing device.

My machine is not a fancy schmancy machine, she's an old Kenmore 50-55+yrs old, give or take a few years. I love this machine and I even have a mate to match her. I also add an adorable pic of my kitty Guinness inspecting my sewing machine. He's almost a year old now, in fact he will be a year old on the 17th of this month. I've had him since he was hours old. As you can see both of my machines are Kenmores, marketed through Sears, way back in the day. The year i'm not exactly sure but it ranges somewhere between 50-60yrs old, both of them. I think I averaged them out to be about 54yrs old. This are true work horses, I don't think there are an plastic parts, just a few rubber parts and the only plastic is the stitch dials you load on the top to do decorative stitches with. One of my Kenmores is in a table top case and the other is in a carrying case which unfortunately for the case got damaged when it was shipped and only one thing got damaged on the machine. The damaged piece on the machine is a like a $3 fix, it's the metal rod that holds the spool of thread. No biggie. I have yet to use the second machine for sewing. I mostly got it as a just in case one breaks I have another or a parts machine. I've only come across one other Kenmore like mine and that was a few years back. I'd be lucky if I see another one of these for sale, I'd probably buy it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

National Sewing Month

I didn't know that September was National Sewing Month . It seems that it is.

So far this month, I've started sewing on the mock up shirt pattern. So far I have several things to change back and luckily I didn't cut those when I made a few alterations. So far I need to work on the arm holes, I have gapping in the front, a dart should easily fix that problem, but I don't really want a dart. I want the shirt to be just like the one I have and it doesn't have darts. Second I cut the neck hole just a wee bit bigger than I needed so I have a bit of gapping there and shirt sliding off shoulder. I haven't finished the shirt yet, I still have the other arm hole to finish up and the hemming and the opposite side dart. I did get a bit creative with the front to make it a bit smaller, pin tucks. I like the way they look. I had an idea to take some buttonhole thread and do a slip stitch around the tuck from top to bottom. Since this is a shirt to play around with and figure out where I need to make the proper adjustments, I can play. I still have enough muslin to make another mock up if I need to. I'm actually thinking of finishing this shirt and maybe dying it, like a fade from light to dark in say burgandy or bermuda blue.