Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pillowcase Snob

My husband just gave me this label: Pillowcase Snob.

Why would he do that, one may ask?

It might be because I was taking pictures of my most recent pillowcase creations, and telling him - aaw, cut the crapola, I was bragging! - that my pillowcases are cut so straight that I can fold them using any method I want.

I was taught one way to fold a pillowcase. If I remember correctly, it goes like this:

Fold it in half crosswise so the sides line up and the hem is hanging slightly lower than the closed end. This allows for pillowcases that are cut off grain. Fold in half again in the same direction, then fold it the other way, keeping the hem on the outside.

Shown are a front and back view of a purchased pillowcase after the first fold, with hem at the bottom of the pictures. One layer sticks out from both sides and the hem does not line up with the closed end:


BUT, if the pillowcase fabric had been cut straight to begin with!

Shown are a front and back view of my pillowcase after the first fold, with hem at the bottom of the pictures. The sides line up almost perfectly, as do the hem and closed end:



I now fold them this way:

I hold the pillowcase in the air by the seam, with the hem to the right and the closed end to the left. I fold it in half so the hem is behind the closed end (away from me) in my left hand, and grab the new, vertical fold in my right hand. I bring that fold towards me to meet the ends in my left hand, and hold a new vertical fold with my right hand.  I flop the top edges down towards me, folding it in half with a new horizontal fold.

In other words, I line up the sides to fold it because I can.

From this I get my pillowcase snobbery.

It didn't start out that way. It only became a type of snobbery when I realized that the pillowcases that I make are cut on the straight of grain much more often than store-bought pillowcases.

I'm rambling, I know.

Here are the pillowcases I just made:

They look really big because they are quite long. I use the entire width of fabric, which is usually 42-45" wide. In this instance, though, these pillowcases were made with leftover fabric from my first king-sized bed sheet project here (picture album with some words).

I like long pillowcases because they stay on the pillow when I dress the pillows like this (picture album with some words).

Here's how my pillowcases are stored. I have white pillowcases that I use as liners:

Do you make sheets or pillowcases?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Cross My Heart Dress

I have tried a pattern from a Craftsy seller Deby Coles at So Sew Easy.

The pattern I tried was the Cross My Heart Dress.

Here's what the designer's dress looks like:

I promised her facebook group members here that I would explain some aspects of the construction. The main thing I did differently was to make the dress sleeveless.

Let's start at the very beginning ... (yes, the older I get, the more everything seems to relate to a song)

This alone caused words of exclamation at my house. Never mind that only one other person lives there besides me. Having a cleared cutting table is not the norm here:

I opted to have my pattern printed at FedEx/Kinko's, a popular mailing and printing place in the US. The printout was three feet by four feet, with a total of 12 square feet. The cost was 75 cents per square foot, so I paid $9.00 plus tax to have this printed:

I cut the pattern pieces apart to facilitate the tracings I would do:

My tracing medium of choice was called PatternEase. It's now called something else, and I've forgotten what that is. I cut pieces large enough for either the whole project or for individual pattern pieces. I steam press the Pattern Ease before using it:

I use Nancy Zieman's Pivot and Slide technique to trace the patterns. You may be able to tell that I used the small neckline, the large shoulder and armscye, and I shortened the back waist length. I also bypassed most of the waist indentation:

Not shown is that I made neck and armscye facing patterns by marking a 2.5-inch distance from the necklines and armscyes. I connected the dots and traced these onto the PatternEase. I cut these facings from a very thin polyester knit that's in my stash:

After cutting out the dress pieces from the fashion fabric, I started by turning under the long edges of the drape pieces. I pinned these narrow hems in place, controlling with pins at an angle:

I stretched the fabric slightly while stitching with a narrow zigzag stitch:

Here's a cool trick: take a picture of your sewing machine settings so you can remember for next time. This picture shows the settings for zigzag topstitching:

This picture shows how I pinned the back pieces for the center back seam:

I followed the instructions pretty closely to attach the front drape pieces and to sew the shoulder seams.

I sewed the shoulder seams of the armscye facings and pinned thtem to the dress:

I turned up the aremscye facigs when I stitched the side seams:

Then I turned the facings to the inside and pinned well:

first I stitched near the stitched edge of the facings from the inside, watching carefully that the facing would not show from the outside. I placed another row of stitching to hold it down better. After that, I trimmed off the excess facing fabric. This picture of the neckline shows the inside and the outside fairly well:

The dress fits me fairly well, but it's not hiding my belly:

I also learned the hard way that I should have used a smaller armscye:

This is wearable, and considering my current body shape, it will work for going to the store but not to work.

Aside from using a smaller armscye, what do you think I can do to make this dress better?

I plan to try at least one or two more patterns by this designer. I hope you will try some, too!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Well Made Wadders

Have you ever done that? Made a garment that doesn't fit, but boy, was it ever made well!

Yeah, me either.

Here's one that I recently found in the back of a closet. Here's the link, and here's a picture. It's just not my style, or maybe I made it too large, but it's in the donation pile now:

I found another one in the same closet, and I really do not remember when I made it. I have no record of it, so I took some pictures and entered it into my sewing spreadsheet.  Here's a picture of the pattern:


Here's the back neckline, perfectly (I think!) topstitched, but lacking a fastener:

Here's the topstitching at the front neckline, shoulder, and armscye:

Here's what it looks like on the hanger. It fits me like a sack, and that's just not my style, so it's in the donation pile, too:

All wadders aside, I just finished a dress from a new-to-me designer, and I will post about that next.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Bendy Bag and Other Sewing

A few weeks ago, I bought the new Bendy Bag pattern by Lazy Girl Designs - link here.  I am often distracted by my Kindle, so I did not start on it right away.

I admit that at first I was not able to wrap my head around making this small bag without basting and pinning everything together.

I have Wonder Clips that are used in this pattern's instructions.  So far, I had only used them to hold down the flowers on my shoes after a day's wearing.

Once I accepted the use of Wonder Clips instead of basting and pins, the bag went together quickly:


Oddly enough, I have no idea what I will put in it.

I also made a Wonder Wallet, another pattern by Lazy Girl Designs - link here.  This time it was for me!


Also, by special request, I made two more cases for my husband's sunglass collection. He selected the striped fabric for his yellow sunglasses, and the green fabric for his green sunglasses:

These little projects have given me a sense of accomplishment.  Yay!  I got something done!

My next venture is to find a copy shop that will print wide PDF patterns.  I want to make some clothes, and I will be trying a pattern line that I've never used before.  This venture will have to wait until at least Thursday since Monday and Wednesday evenings are when we go to the gym, and Tuesday is a voting day.  It looks like we will be visiting a certain print shop on Thursday evening.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Margo Handbag - Step 11

Step 11 is to attach the lining to the top of the bag - and maybe more!

Well, yeah.  This post shows the finishing steps of my Margo Handbag by Lazy Girl Designs - here.

After attaching the zipper and finishing with topstitching, I laid out the pieces for the next step. The front and back purse body pieces are near me, and the lining pieces are beyond:

I flipped the purse body pieces away from me, aligning the top edges with the lining pieces:

I stitched the top edges together with a 1/4-inch seam allowance:

I opened up the seams, and pressed the seam allowances towards the facing pieces:

Then I topstitched those seams on the lining side:

For the next steps, I had to close the zipper until the zipper pull was near the handles:

I pinned the bottom of the body together, and stitched it:

I pinned that seam open from the right side, and steam pressed it using a scrap of cotton fabric as a pressing cloth 

Where the zipper hung out one side, I pinned the side of the purse together, matching meeting seams. I pinned the zipper over onto itself, before stitching that seam. After that, I cut off most of the excess zipper:

Where the zipper did not hang out, I matched the seams, pinned, and stitched that side:

I pressed all the seams open, and left them to cool with weight on top:

Sometimes I had to fold the purse like origami to get the pressing done, especially when I had a sleeve board inside:

More origami work was required to line up the bottom corners before I stitched them down:

I stitched the ends of the lining seam, leaving an opening for turning:

I carefully pressed this seam open, first one side, then the other:

I  pressed the ends of that seam flat before I matched and stitched the corners:

I turned the purse right side out, opened the zipper, and took out all the basting stitches holding the handles straight:

I matched the edges of the bottom lining seam and stiched it closed using and edge-stitch foot:

After stuffing the lining into the purse, I stitched around the top edge of the purse from the inside to hold the lining to the inside:

Here's a close-up shot of the purse:

But wait, there's more!

There's a purse bottom insert that's designed to fit inside this purse - link here:

I cut two pieces of fabric to a certain size, and pressed one end of each into a hem. Then I pinned them right sides together and stitched the remaining edges:

I turned this right side out, inserted the plastic piece, and stitched the end shut:

I placed this inside the purse to help hold the rectangular shape of the bottom:

Here's the inside of the filled purse, including my Kindle:

There are four outside pockets, and each is a home for stuff like keys, phone, and work badge:

Ta-Dah!

I have more projects in the works, and when I'm done, I will certainly share.

I started this bag on October 29, 2014, and finished it on February 1, 2015.  It's about time!