Friday, February 13, 2015

Okay, so now up.....

I did acceptably well with the Bargainista Fashionista contest. If I figured this right I was fifth out of fifty two. It was a pretty amazing group of designs so that feels good to me.

So once again something I want to do is on at the right time. I've been wanting to make some more jeans for a while and I have some leather scraps left from my destructed leather coat - it had a torn sleeve so I decided it should be put to good use as trim. Also want to embroider on it.

I have some nice stretch denim from Mood but I think I'll got to G Street tonight to get some non-stretch. I think my pattern (the 5 pocket jeans from Bernina My Label) will work better with the non-stretch version than the stretch version. I'm thinking of picking up the Jalie 2908 Jeans pattern for the stretch fabric when I get to that.

It would be nice to have a few more pairs of nice jeans. I can actually wear the to work on certain days.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Embroidered tissue boxes - when I couldn't find ones that matched well enough

I'm kind of a stickler for personalization and coordination. Between the two houses that means six bathrooms between them. I'm fine with two in the Virginia house but I never found one I liked for the master bath when we redid it a few years ago. Same with the lake house.

I wanted to match one for the master bath in Virginia with the shower curtain and matching towels I embroidered when we completed that renovation:

Using the same type face and a little more detail this was the box I made to match:

All four sides are the same on this one. I used some linen I found from a project I never got off the ground. It worked quite well.
The other four, three for the PA bathrooms and one for the PA sewing room were done with embroidery from Emblibrary. The ones for the white and green bathroom match the hand towels I embroidered and the one for the gold bathroom I found at Emblibrary.
These have four different faces so here are the four sides of each box:

I used quilt cotton for the three bathrooms and some of the linen I found for the sewing room one.
The boxes came from Sew For Less. They are acrylic and anything can be added to them - pictures, embroidery, anything flat. This was a fun project and a bit of a break from clothing which I will be returning to after this. I did wanted to make sure I had these ready for my next trip north.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

My take on the Burberry Kensington Trench

Well I did enter the Bargainista Fashionista contest. I've had this trench coat fabric around for a few years and decided this was a good excuse to get it sewn. We were to take an expensive garment as inspiration and make our own version of it for a lot less. Challenge on!

This is my inspiration:

My pattern was my venerable Bernina My Label pattern but I did see a Burda and Sewaholic pattern that could be used instead. The good thing about my pattern was I already made it once (a way less complicated version) so I knew it fit quite well.

I did some snoop shopping at Bloomingdale's and frankly I think my fabric was even nicer that the original. It came from Michael's Fabrics so no surprise about that. I, of course, couldn't get the Burberry cotton lining but I got some really nice 100% wool from Mood and it turned out to be perfect for this. Once again, I prefer it to the original lining.

I did have to figure out how the collar worked. It has a collar stand that has a clasp on it so it can be closed for bad weather. I found some very nice brass hardware from Ebay which worked quite well as the D rings and tongues on the buckles were brass. Speaking of the buckles the only ones I could find didn't have tongues but Potomac Cobbler  could add them for me. Well worth it! I added the D rings to the belt in the back a-la-Burberry. The buttons and D rings came from Wawak.  I did promise the lady at Potomac Cobbler I would wear the coat in sometime. Apparently there aren't a lot of people that make this request.

I did welt pockets as opposes to the inseam pockets on the pattern. One thing I realized while working on this coat is the fabric was a bear to work with! Nothing turned out to be easy! But I'm very pleased with the outcome.

I also added epilates to the shoulders. I had to draft the back shield as there wasn't one. I also added the straps on the sleeves if it is needed to tighten the sleeves in a storm. Also I noticed they lined the undercollar in the lining fabric so I did the same. Kind of a nice touch.

So here is my version:

And, without further ado, this is the lining:

Okay, so here is the the breakdown of the cost:

$1.90 for D rings
$3.57 small leather buckles
$1.65 for the larger leather buckle
$15 for the tongues for the buckles (they didn't come with theme but a local cobbler shop could put them in. A shout out to Potomac Cobbler in Woodbridge VA!
$1.99 for thread - put it in here because of all the topstiching
$45.00 for the wool plade lining from Mood
$45 for the Coat Fabric from Michael's Fabrics
$2.70 for the brass neck closure fond on Ebay
Total cost: $125.13
Burberry Kensington coat: $1798.00

93% saved!

So that project complete and we'll see what happens next!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Well, next up......

Despite my better judgement and because I haven't done particularly well in these contests I'm entering another one anyway. Why might you ask?

Well there is the fabulous cotton trench fabric I have from Michael's Fabrics and some really nice wool plaid flannel from Mood. I made a trench a few years ago and I really love it but it is definitely a trench for Spring. I want one for Winter so that's why I got the wool flannel - for a lining. I knocked a few other projects out in the mean time (pictures to come) and have been wanting to do this one for a while so I figured why not? It will mimic (to a point anyway) a $2000 Burberry I've always drooled over (not literally of course).

Right now I'm embroidering some tissue boxes for the lake house but this starts on the first  and because the house is closed for the Winter I have no excuse for not finishing this. Frankly

I do need some inspiration. My favorite sewing instructor, my Mom, passed away early December but she loved to see what I was making right up to the end, even after her sewing days were over.

At the lake I have her sewing box. Even in assisted living she was hemming skirts and pants to help friends save money. Now that's inspiration!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sewing room luxury - sewing themed coasters!

I've been looking high and low for sewing themed coasters for my sewing rooms. Alas, none exist. Well, step in my creative side......make my own!

First I had to find blanks. I found these lucite coater blanks with cork backing at All Stitch Embroidery designs. I need to remember this group - they are in Baltimore and I got these in one day with regular shipping.

I then went looking for sewing themed embroidery designs. I really like Emblibrary because they have interesting designs and they are quite reasonable. I bought the Creative Filigree Design pack and picked out the four designs that I deemed most appropriate designs. 

I gave my B780 it's first embroidery workout doing these. Wow is that machine fast!

This was the result:

I made a set for the Virgina sewing room and a set for the Pennsyvania Sewing room. So now the coaster stones with the robins can go back to the living room!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

My new machine and it's Gristmill cabinet!

Since it came out I'm been interested in a Bernina B780. It has everything I want in a machine but the size is huge and I knew it would not fit in my Rockler cabinet. I really like machines in cabinets as they get used more than machines in the closet. I also hesitated initially as there were issues with the 7 series machine. It's now been out for two years so I decided this was the time!

In our house in Virgina if something comes in, something must leave. The organizer I kept my television on is now at the Pocono house and the totally shot chair went out in the trash.

I called Pocono Sew and Vac in Stroudsburg and asked if they took trades. They gave me a great price for the machine, a great trade in for my Artista 630 and terrific financing AND even had it in stock. No way I was not getting it. Between that and my Babylock Coverstitch BLCS2 they are fast becoming my favorite dealer.

At the start it was on my Roberts table with the extended table on it. I made my Deer and Doe Pavot jacket on this machine and it did wonderfully with the thick wool with the dual feed engaged. When I made my denim/leather jacket it was set up for topstitching and the Bernina B580 was set up for piecing the jacket. The topstitching was absolutely perfect!

So enter the cabinet. As my dear Father in Law Jim passed away last August I have to find another place to get a cabinet. I've heard wonderful things about the Gristmill Collection of sewing machine cabinets. I contacted them and told them what I had and received information on what they recommended. I realize the cabinets suggested were too big for my space so I called Jason at Gristmill and we talked about what would work for the space I had. He proposed a Mini+ extended enough to accommidate the B780 and with an electric lift because of the height and weight of the machine. I requested shaker style and a color that would coordinate with the Rockler.

When it was built he called to confirm the stain color. Then several weeks later I was notified the cabinet was ready! 

We decided, since we are less than three hours from Bethal, PA, we would drive up to get it. It fit quite well in the back of my Prius (back seats down of course) and Jason and Colin got the cabinet in the car. We stopped at Wolf's Diner in Dillsburg, PA on the way home. It's a good basic diner, totally recommend!

This is what it looks like closed:

And this is what it looks like open with machine:

This, along with the B580 are the absolute dream team of machines for me!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Deer and Doe Pavot Jacket

As before mentioned I received this pattern as a gift for participating in the Pattern Review Wardrobe Contest. It was a really fun contest and putting things together and photographing them was part of the fun too. I think Colin would agree to that.

I decided as one of the pieces for the Natural Fabrics Contest I would use it to make a Winter coat. This pattern is unlined and made to be mid season but I've pretty much got mid season covered and for Winter I wanted something new.

My fabric came from Gorgeous Fabrics. I got some very nice brown coat weight wool and some black Bemberg lining for it. The buttons were from G Street Fabrics.  I definitely recommend Gorgeous Fabrics - the fabric got here very quickly and it is wonderful to work with.

My first observation when I was doing the muslin of the pattern is that French women are obviously not like 5'8" me. I had to drop the bust point down 1 1/2" and also drop the waist 1". Because I was making it to go over Winter jackets and sweaters I used the largest size, 46, and added 1" of ease to it as well. This fabrics was pretty beefy and definitely benefited by the additional ease.


I came to terms with the Peter Pan collar although I had to think about the first. Not exactly my style but it works on this coat. I also decided the puffy sleeve affect wasn't me and really wasn't this fabric. I made the sleeve as a basic set in with a fairly thin shoulder pad.

I also drafted the lining using the skirt pattern, the bodice and taking into account the facings. That worked quite well.

I found these very cool buttons at G Street Fabrics:

This was my first project on my new Bernina B780. It followed me home a few weeks ago and although it's cabinet isn't here yet I have it set up on Roberts sewing table I bought for machines not in cabinets and it's worked out pretty well in the interim. I can't get over how much the dual feed feature helped on this thick wool! It also made some really nice buttonholes. Having this machine and my B580 as my two main machines is truly a dream combination.

The fact I got both of these jackets done in the month of October feels much like a win already -
so - bring on the Surprise Sewing Bee!