Sunday, August 2, 2015

Caravan Tote from Noodlehead

Some of you may have seen that I am keeping up with the Community Match portion of the SOSM II. Round three the contestants had to make a bag, specifically the Caravan Tote from Noodlehead. Now for the community match we could make any bag, but as I have done thus far I decided to use the same pattern as the contestants.

As someone who has made her own bags for a long time it was hard for me to give over to using someone else's pattern. I am glad I gave it a shot because they do things different than I usually do, I learned some new things, and I was really pleased with the end result. The first thing I noticed and loved about this pattern was how noodlehead made their samples up and how many different fabrics they used. Their bag was so well curated, and the fabrics coordinated so well without being matchy match.

These are some of the Noodlehead Caravan Totes. They are really good looking and super inspiring! Look at these beauts! Check out the needle pocket in the third picture. These folks are talented, they make a good bag pattern.

Armed with some killer inspiration I took to my local JoAnn's to let my spirit animal of a bag speak to me. To be honest I went in there twice. The first time I went in nothing was right and I was discouraged. I left a little huffy. Then a new day dawned, I was well rested, the birds were chirping, and there they were, the fabrics that had been waiting for me. I also began to think about my hardware and what I wanted to do with handles. I found these great light wood handles and thought that I would take a step out there on a limb and put my own stamp on the pattern as prescribed.

I chose an odd little mix of fabrics and I was super pumped about them. Then the next step was to get cutting. So I got my cut on. This bag has a lot of pieces that you have to cut between the exterior and lining fabrics plus all of the interfacings. Woofty I was a cutting fiend!

Once I had everything cut my first step was to put together the front exterior pocket with the zipper in it. I used a metal zipper because I just love metal zippers on purse and accessory items. I have found that the need a little time to be broken in, but man when they do, WHITE HOT!

One of the variation options for this bag was to have a little pouch on the front with snap closures. I will tell you I love industrial snap closures and I love pockets so this felt like a no brainer to me. To make this little pouch you sew the two pouch pieces together right sides together and then you clip your corners and curves. Then you turn it right side out. I did all of these things and then gave it a good press.

Then I laid the completed pocket minus the flap on the front of my bag. I hated it. I just felt like it made my classy houndstooth bag look holly hobby and not in a cute way. As a result I didn't even bother to make the flap, The front pocket was officially cut.

See she looks way better with her clean and classy houndstooth facade. I'm glad you all agree, saved me from making a bad call, thanks friends.

I next constructed the needle pocket that goes inside of the front zipper pouch. I did a variety of 1"-1.5" slots for my needles. I love knitting and these pouches will be perfect for my interchangeable needle set from Knitpicks. They are awesome and if you knit I can not recommend them more strongly. Buy them, they are outrageous. Oh and I just saw that they are currently 10% off. Run don't walk people.

Once I made the needle pocket I basted the front pieces together in the seam allowance and constructed the coordinating back piece. The pattern calls for you to add this little tab on the side. I don't really know what the purpose of this little tab is, Maybe just to look fancy, but I do think it looks fancy. I used some glitter vinyl I had left over from another project and I also made a zipper pull for the front of the bag. I love adding a little sparkle to, well to anything.

To add on the wooden handles I made and bagged out two rectangles of fabric to hold them to the bag. I added some very stiff interfacing to make sure that it would be sturdy. then I basted them on in the seam allowance.

I cut the notches in the bottoms where the bag bottom will match to the side of the bag. and then I sewed the bottoms and sides together. 

::On a Side Note:: I've started using these clips to do sewing on heavier weight things that are tough to pin through and they are freaking awesome! I highly suggest them. They kept everything lined up and looking cute.

Then I pressed those seams open and sewed the bottoms and sides together where I notched out matching my seams.

I repeated most of these steps with a few variations to make the lining. I added the magnetic closure before I put the fronts and backs together. I also made sure to add interfacing to the back of the lining where I put the snaps on.

Rather than use grommets for yarn guides I like to make tabs with snaps so that I don't have to break my yarn if I need to remove it from a grommeted guide. That is what those black tabs are.

Then with my lining together I turned it inside out and sewed the interior and exteriors together at the top edge, leaving a large hole in the bottom seam of the lining. I flipped them right sides out and the hand sewed the whole closed. Once everything was flipped to the inside I did a little top stitch on the edge of the bag to keep everything tidy and in it's place.

Then my bag was finished. I LOVE HER!

I have already received tons of compliments on this bag and I love turning back with pride and saying I made it. I hope you all head over to Noodlehead and make your own. She's awesome.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

McCalls 6956,

Hey ya'll, I find myself once again begging your forgiveness for being over ambitious and not following through on my plan. Early in June I laid out some major plans for summer sewing and then a few things happened that waylaid me. The first was the sewing I've been doing for the community match portion of the Super Online Sewing Match II, the second was the end of our theatre's summer season being way busier than the first half, and the third was getting some bad news about a family member's health. I want to say that on the last not they are in good spirits and fighting hard and we have reason to be hopeful. All of my excuses were a long drawn out way of saying sorry.

I have learned that I am not making plans anymore. Well it's not that I'm not making them but I am not going to share them in the same way. Over planning my sewing has lead me to lose ambition for projects I was formerly excited for. No one needs that, least of all me. That said I did finish a few of the projects I set out to accomplish and I am blogging about them now.

The first is McCall's 6956. This dress is great! As soon as I saw it I was in love with view B. The way they used the stripes was awesome and I had a beautiful mint green seersucker that was just calling out to become this dress. 

The construction of this dress is pretty straight forward and I found the directions and markings really clear and well done. One adjustment that I decided to make was to add a shaped bra panel out of felt to the cups of the dress. This is one of the easiest hacks/alts to make. and I found that it really paid off it the fit and structure of the dress.

All you need to do is trace the bra cup pieces onto the felt. Then take a ruler and mark 5/8" in from the outermost marking. This will be your cut line. Transfer the notches to this new line. What you're doing is removing the seam allowance. The reason you would do this is because you are not really going to seam these together in the same way you will the exterior and lining pieces.

You're going to use a zigzag stitch to put these together. What you'll do is sort of line up the pieces and the notches, butting the two pieces up next to each other. You can see this really well in the picture below because I marked the notch with a sharpie.

Next all you do is to zigzag stitch along the point where you've butted the seams up to one another. Make sure you backstitch at the beginning and the end. As you continue down the length of the seam you just want to continue to move the two pieces together so that they are caught up and stitched so that they snuggle right up to one another.

Then when they come out of the machine they create a sweet little shaped cup to line the top of your dress without creating super bulky seams. I only did the front bra pieces then I flatlined the shaped cups to the lining for the top of the dress.

I had intended on making my version strapless, however being a well endowed woman I quickly realized when I put it on that the dress needed straps. However because I added the shaping to the cups I did find that I did not really need to wear a bra with it. Score! No peeking bra or bra straps creeping out. Now since I did not add the straps before I finished the dress I had to add them on after. 

This afforded me the opportunity that I don't think I would've taken to set the straps really close to the center back of the dress. I am really glad that I did. I wore this dress to an opening night party, I felt secure the whole night, and my straps never slipped once.

This dress is a new and absolute favorite. Once again my dress form is now larger than I am so the back doesn't close, but look at her, she's a beaut!

I am going to try to be better with my blog but I'm not making promises anymore. Life got in my way the last few weeks and there's not much I could do about it. My sewn items are awesome and I am super happy with the work that I have been doing. I look forward to sharing more of them with you all!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Super Online Sewing Match: Community Match Marianne Dress

I'm back at it and sewing for round two of the Super Online Sewing Match Community Match. The pattern that they chose for round two is the Marianne dress from Christine Haynes. Much like the Sutton Blouse from round one, the Marianne is not a pattern I would naturally gravitate towards. Part of what I love though about strictly following along with the SOSM contest patterns is altering the chosen pattern to be something that will get some play in my wardrobe.

I had a hard time figuring out how I was going to tailor this project to my personal taste. What I decided was that I would use the two-tone look of look B, but sleeveless like look A. I found my base fabric in my stash, it's an Art Gallery Knit called Stamped Grove Daylight. I got it the last time I was in Boston and went to Grey's Fabric. I was hoping to find a lightweight semi-sheer fabric for the top and then I wanted to continue part of the pattern of the dress into the yoke with some hand embroidery. I found the contrast fabric at JoAnn's, it's a light ivory sweater knit.

First step was to cut my pattern out. Once I marked the pattern, cut it, and I could move on to my hand embroidery. It makes it easier to do the hand embroidery before you put the pattern together. With the sweater knit being slightly sheer I could lay it over the pattern fabric and mark the pattern on the front of the front yoke pattern piece. 

One of the important things that I've found with hand embroidery, especially with sheer fabric, is to keep the traveling stitches on the back neat. I don't want to put all this hard work in on the front only to have a thread explosion on the back.

The pattern calls for the use of clear elastic on the shoulder seams and I haven't used that before. I didn't have any and I briefly entertained just rolling forward without it, but instead I popped out to JoAnn's and bought myself some clear elastic. Let me say that I am so glad that I did. The stability it provided to the shoulder of the dress was amazing. This sweater knit is stretchier than the jersey I'm using on the bottom and I was worried about the shoulders stretching out. With the clear elastic in there I need not worried anymore!

One problem that I ran into with this pattern was the neck banding. The sweater knit stretches a little different than a jersey knit, when I stretched it the banding became too thin and hard to put through the serger. What I did was to recut the neck banding 2.5" longer. That little bit of extra fabric made all the difference. It went around the neck edge beautifully.

I attached the fronts and backs of the bottom of the dress to the yoke and I was excited to see how well the pattern matched up to embroidery that I did. It's all coming together!

Once the bottoms were on there were only side seams and hems left. I put the side seams together and then I popped it on. It was a little too shapeless for me so I nipped it in at the waist and bust. I don't know that I would've made a different size all over but I could've definitely used a smaller size through the bust and waist even though I like the flow over the hip. I made a size 6 but I probably could have made a size 2 at the waist a size 4 at the bust and kept the size 6 at the hip. The size at the hip could've gone smaller if I wanted it more fitted but I like the flow of the skirt.

I used my regular machine to do the hems on the sleeves and the skirts. I do have a coverstitch machine and I entertained using it but honestly I didn't want to set it up. I was also worried about using it on the light weight sweater knit. I know that is lazy but the zig zag looks great! I will say that the pattern was pretty short. I am 5'2" and know that if I were much taller this would be a tunic top rather than a dress. To my tall sewcialists out there, be advised, you may want to lengthen it a touch.

I set up my camera and did a little mini photo shoot in the studio. It's a cute dress! It went together SO fast, with the exception of the time for the hand embroidery, I think this dress could've gone together in an hour. I also think that this would make a great top shortened. I'm glad I embraced this pattern. It was really fun!