Monday, July 28, 2014

The Pattern Review Mini Wardrobe Contest - Anchor's Away!

Nothing like a challenge to inspire one. Well I decided to enter the Pattern Review Mini-Wardrobe contest. The idea is to make five pieces that can be combined into six outfits. I've never tried sewing with a plan for more that maybe three pieces before so I thought this was a really good time to challenge myself. I chose some very tried and true patterns from Bernina My Label.

What I chose was:

A sort of camp like shirt made out of the anchor fabric I found at Grey's Fabric and Notions on a recent trip to Boston. This was based on the My Label tailored shirt but without the vertical darts with the sleeves widened and cuffed. I also put a pleat in the center back. I could not resist the buttons I found at G street for this:



A black T shirt but in a really nice knit and with 3/4 sleeves - perfect for summer air conditioned DC area offices. The fabric was knit with a light terry underside which feels great.

Same T shirt pattern with white but with a boat neck and slightly ruched sleeves. This fabric came in a bundle from Michael's Fabrics.

A skirt made of a khaki colored cotton twill. This has side pockets sort of like jean pockets and a fly front. I kept the original slit in the back per the pattern. The fun part was making belt loops with my newly aquired Baby Lock cover stitch machine.  That fun little machine also made short work of the two knit tops.

The last was a nautical inspired skirt using the same basic pattern of the khaki skirt but with a faux flap on the front, welt pocket on the back and invisible zipper as the real closure. The flap was actually two shallow pockets just about big enough to put buttonholes and then buttons on the under portion. I also kept the slit in this skirt as well. This is made of denim and once again, could not resist the buttons I found at G Street:

I wanted a water backdrop for the pictures but I also needed a place to change. I realized that the town of Occoquan which is literally just down the street had a visiter center. I asked the nice guy in there if I could leave the clothes there and use the lady's room to change. He said of course!

The first was the combo of the khaki skirt and black tee:

Then I put on the anchor shirt over the khaki skirt:

After that it was the white shirt with the khaki skirt:

The over to the naval inspired skirt, first with the white shirt:

Then with the black shirt:

Then with the black shirt and anchor shirt over it. And the goofy captain's hat I found on Amazon:


So there are all six! This contest has a lot of fiece competition but the real winning felling was I actually finished and have quite a few pieces of new wearable clothes!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Great British sewing Bee Anorak

This was a recent entry in a Pattern Review contest for outerwear and although I didn't do well compared to all the trenches that entered I wanted to do this jacket anyway.

 If anyone watched the Great British Sewing Bee you will know it takes home sewists and has them compete in challenges. It's not like Project Runway as the drama and egos do not abound. Also no big prizes - a dressform trophy and bragging rights. They also show lessons on how things are done. Each episode has three timed challenges: A pattern they have to follow, then a remodel of an existing garment, then a bigger more creative challenge.One contestant gets eliminated at the end of the show.

This was the book from Season 2. The book on the series had a lot of the patterns used on the show. Quadrille Publishing has a link for the Pattern download.   I'd rather trace then tape so I got the book. It's actually a pretty good book. It comes ith five full sheets of traceable patterns. Also I found the technique for the heat tape there. Amazon has the book here.

So this is what the front looks like:


And here is the back:



Believe it or not on this jacket they were given 3 hours! Needless to say it took a lot more for me! It's actually a men's jacket but I didn't see any reason I couldn't make it for me. I did size it up so I can wear a sweatshirt under it. I found all the fabrics at Seattle Fabrics and got the zipper from G Street Fabrics as they are nice enough to shorten as needed. 

For the heat tape I sewed the wrong sides together and trimmed so the tape is right side. I then opened the seam and ironed it. I positioned the tape over the seam put tissue paper on it like I was using a pressing cloth. The first round I tacked it, the I repositioned the paper and went over it again. I repeated until it was firmly bound.


I wasn't lined but I created a lining because the fabric I used for the jacket, although waterproof is very thin and frankly it would have looked very unfinished otherwise:


I think in the future I would like to make it in another color, perhaps put our boat name on it and maybe add a hood. Hmmmm, red with black tape and ribbing next time? As soon as I finish the whole other bunch of projects I want to do!


Friday, July 11, 2014

Fun with baseball caps!

Wow, I've been away from this too long! Life gets really complicated sometimes. Well, I'm back!

We, last year, found a nice little 20 ft Chaparral bow rider for our PA house. We went looking for a nice used one found one we could afford at Capri Marina on Lake Wallenpaupack. Since we finally acquired a boat slip we decided we needed a boat! Our lake is 13 miles long, has 52 miles of shoreline and three pretty good restaurants on it. We've decided our car does not know where to find lunch when the boat is in the water!

Here it is on the very crisp May day we first launched it. And of course it was a bit of challenge to figure out  how to tie it up!
With the sunny Pocono weather I decided we needed some baseball caps. I designed a logo using Cooper Black type for the back of the boat and also found some key chains (float-able!) we could get with the logo on. I found there was  hoop insert for the oval hoop for my Bernina B580 and of course had to have it. The trick to hooping this was to get the hat really flat. I found staples helped quite a bit. We could get very reasonably priced hats on Amazon. So this is what the result was:


Needless to say we now also have sweatshirts and jackets with this logo!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My sewing table at home - the imfamous Rockler!

The afore mentioned Singer #42 cabinet is headed for our house on Lake Wallenpaupack. I have my real sewing room in my house in Virginia. That's, of course, where most of my sewing takes place.

The original dilemma I had was with the compact space I have here and what to do with a newly aquired serger. I saw some Horn cabinets that looks like they might do the trick but they were expensive and frankly a bit cheesy looking. The solid wood ones were prohibitive.

My Father in Law is a wonderful woodworker. He does this as a hobby but makes absolutely beautiful furniture. I showed him the picture of the Horn and he then went out and found plans from Rockler that were even better than the Horn one I was looking at. He asked me what wood and I asked for cherry. This is how it looks open:


It was originally constructed for my Bernina 1010 but then I retrofitted it for my Artista 165E and later my Artista 630E (that's what's in it now). The arm holds my Bernina 1300MDC serger nicely. All I have to do is swing the chair and I can get to each of them quickly. He also made me the corresponding inserts for the various machines. This is how it looks closed:


After he finished he asked me what did I want to do with the leftover wood. Well, a matching bookcase of course:


Needless to say I spend a lot of happy sewing hours at this table!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Singer #42 cabinet, the Rocketeer and Me!

Colin and I have just "aquired" a vacation house. Actually we bought my Mom's house in the Poconos since the market is so rough and frankly it needs some TLC. Mom is thrilled about this. She's happily in senior housing and is happy the hear this one less thing to worry about and the house will be well taken care of.

Of course NO house I own and spend a lot of time in can be without a sewing machine! I thought about bringing my Bernina 1010 up there and started looking for a cabinet. I thought a good solid mechanical would be just the machine for there. Also we have very little furniture so this would be a good start.

I couldn't believe it when I saw a nearly perfect Singer 42 Art Deco cabinet on EBay, pickup only, right in the path of our Thanksgiving trip! I put in my bid and wound up winning it for a very good price complete with matching stool. This neat little cabinet has a little drawer on the left with a pencil tray and ink well and the upper drawer on the right has a thread holder and a place for the oil can. When I saw it I knew there was no way I could retrofit it for the Bernina without pretty much messing it up.


So what to put in it? I really did want a machine with zig zag capability and this cabinet was specifically made for a Singer 201-2. 15-90, 15-91 or 301 - all straight stitch. But I discovered on my Vintage Singer Yahoo group this could fit a 400 or 500 series. I've alway wanted a 503, otherwise known as a Rocketeer so I thought why not! I'm going for it! I found one that was fully refurbished on Ebay for a very acceptable price. It is a total work of art and came with all the accessories, cams, feet, an original manual and even an oil can!

So now how to make this 1961 machine fit this 1940's cabinet. We took the front lip down 1/8", removed the black spring mechanism meant for the other machines, removed the block in the back right that stops the black mechanism from going too far and dropped the back of the oil pan a tiny bit. It fits perfectly and stores the way it's supposed to! The top closes very easily. This what it looks like stored:


So, here we are, drum roll please.....


Isn't the the coolest looking combination ever?! We think that machine is the 57 Chevy of sewing machines and it would be something Jane Jetson would sew on.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The essential trench coat

One of Tim Gunn’s essential looks is a classic trench. Bernina My Label to the rescue! A recent pattern release was a classic trench coat. What a project but so worth it!

The fabric came from Michael’s Fabrics. It’s a Zegna 100% cotton rainwear fabric. So luxurious… I decided I needed to put leather buttons on it and found the perfect ones at MJ Trim in New York. Finding the leather buckles were another story. The only place I could find them was at Klein’s Haberdashery in London, England. I email them the link for the buttons and asked if the buckles they had would be a match. They said they would be suitable – now that does sound British!

How they got here was really interesting. They couldn’t ship to the US but my cousin is engaged to a guy in England and he said I could send them to his house and he would bring them on his next visit. On the way back to the airport they stopped by to drop them off to me. Now that’s service!
The pattern had the front gun flaps. I also lengthened the coat as I wanted it to be full length.
I lined it with some very nice coat weight lining from Atlanta Thread. I added a back vent and the rain shield to the back.
Needless to say this turned out to be a very lengthy project! I bought some light colored fabric from Michaels for a winter version on this with a quilted lining. I think it will be a while before I do that one.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Love my Kindle! Now how to protect it...

I got a Kindle on a recent birthday. It was a gift from my wonderful Husband. He was afraid I would think the gift was repetitious as I got him of for his last one. But no, ever since I gave it to him I wanted one too! Now, how to protect it. I'm not much for buying covers if I think I can do one better myself. The latest issue of Bernina's online magazine Through the Needle Issue 7 there were instructions to make this wonderful cover. They are a bit confusing but when I hit that AHA thought! it all came together.

I decided to embellish it with this nifty bookworm that can be downloaded free off the Bernina International Inspirations site. They have a lot of really neat downloadable embroidery designs. I took the bookmark bookworm and took out the background using the Bernina Designer 6 embroidery program. 
I also found that Windows 7 32 bit WILL work with a Bernina Artista 165E! My 630E was in for maintenance so I used the 165E. Things to note: make sure the machine has the correct driver for the USB to serial and in the advanced properties to send the correct machine is selected. So for owners of the 170E, 180E and 185E as well as the 165E - don't worry, it works!