Friday, January 13, 2017

Making Sweatshirt Jackets - 

The program at the January 16, 2017 meeting of the Lansing Chapter American Sewing Guild (ASG) will be on making sweatshirt jackets.  Joyce Savage is the presenter and she asked those of us who have made a sweatshirt jacket to either wear it or bring it to the meeting.  I have one I made years ago, but I decided to make a new one before the meeting.   There are many different ways to convert a sweatshirt into a jacket.  You could just cut through the center front and add a zipper.  You might decide to also remove the ribbing and add a binding.  You might decide to then add some applique, decorative stitching, or embroidery to the jacket.  You could also decide to quilt the entire jacket or just a portion of it.  I rarely every use my Pfaff Creative Sensation Pro sewing machine to embroider anything, but I decided this would be a good opportunity to use it for that purpose.  I looked through my Anita Goodesign Collections and chose the Lighthouses CD.  I browsed that CD and chose two designs, one for the front of the jacket and one for the back.  

I choose a sweatshirt that fit me that had set in sleeves.  Then I marked the center front.  I did that by folding the front together at the shoulders and pinning along the shoulder seams.  Next, I pinned the two side fronts together at the seams.  Then I pressed the front together to get a crease down the center front.  That crease provided the mark for me to use to cut my center front opening.  I did not think to take a picture of this before I cut the opening, but I used another sweatshirt to demonstrate for you.  It is the same type of shirt I used only a different color.

After cutting down the front, I removed the ribbing from the bottom of the shirt and from the bottom of the sleeves.  You can also remove the ribbing around the neckline, but it may be beneficial to wait until later because the neckline may stretch and become larger than you want.  I will tell you how to rectify that situation when I discuss sewing the binding on the neckline.  The following picture shows what the sweatshirt looks like after you cut down the center and remove all the ribbing.

I purchased some striped fabric that had some of the colors I planned to use in the embroidery and used that fabric to make strips for the binding around the bottom of the shirt, the sleeves and the neckline.  For the binding for the bottom of the jacket and the sleeves, I cut the across the fabric with the selvedge edges together.  The stripes on the binding were then vertical.  I also cut 2 ½ inch strips of lightweight iron-on interfacing and pressed the interfacing to the binding.  Then I folded the binding in half lengthwise and pressed.  I placed the raw edge of the binding along the right side of the bottom of the jacket and serged.  If you do not have a serger, you can use your sewing machine to attach the binding to the jacket and then finish the edge with a zigzag stitch.   Press the binding with the seam facing towards the body of the jacket and then top stitch on the right side of the jacket close to the seam.
Apply the binding to the sleeves in the same manner as above.

Then I inserted the zipper.  I used a 2-way zipper simply because that is what I had on hand and I did not want to make a trip into town just to buy a zipper.  A regular jacket zipper is what you need and a light weight one works best for a regular weight sweatshirt.  My zipper was a little too long for the jacket so I cut the excess off at the top.  I tried to leave a little to tuck into the binding at the neckline to keep the zipper pull from coming off. 
Remember I told you I would explain what to do if the neckline stretched and was a little larger than you wanted.  Well, that is what happened to me.   To rectify the situation, I ran a basting stitch around the neckline and pulled it together to the size I wanted before I applied the binding around the neckline.  I cut this binding on the bias because I knew it would be sewn on the curved neckline and binding cut on the grain would not lie flat around the neck.    I did not use interfacing on this binding.  I folded the 2 ½ inch bias strip lengthwise and then pressed it.  I placed the raw edge on the right side of the neckline leaving a little at both ends to fold over at the center front to make a clean edge.  I pressed the binding with the seam facing down towards the jacket and then folded the binding over to the wrong side of the jacket just covering the edge of the pressed seam.  Then I top stitched from the right side of the jacket close to the seam. 

Did you notice what I did wrong with the neck binding?  I cut a single piece on the bias and sewed from the right center front around to the back and then around to the left center front.  The stripes all go in the same direction.  I should have cut 2 pieces with the stripes going in opposite directions from the center back.  Then when you look at the jacket from the front, the two fronts would be mirror images of each other.   At first, I thought I would just leave it the way it is, but I just can't do it!  I am sure I will try to remove the binding and sew a new one before our ASG meeting Monday night.  

The last thing I did was embroider the design on the back and front of the jacket.

Okay, I just could not hit the publish button for this blog without correcting the neck binding on this sweatshirt jacket.  So, I ripped out the stitching on the binding and cut another one. This time I cut 2 pieces going in opposite directions on the bias of the fabric.  I attached the new binding and it looks much better.  I hope you can see the difference in the 2 photos below.

Making a jacket from a sweatshirt is fairly quick if you are familiar with the embellishing techniques you plan to use.  If not, you may want to practice the technique before attempting to apply it to your jacket.  For example, if you want to use applique but have never done it, make a practice applique on a scrap of fabric before sewing it to your jacket. 

I made a quilted sweatshirt jacket several years ago.  I am not a quilter so I knew I had to proceed cautiously.  I ripped off the ribbing and then ripped out all the seams.  I made an adjustment to the shoulders and basted the seam back together to check the fit.  Once satisfied, I ripped the seams apart and started sewing strips of fabrics together.  Then I cut them apart and put them back together in a different pattern under the watchful eyes of a quilter friend, Stoney Bretz.   As I got a piece of fabric sewn together that was large enough, I cut out the two fronts and then made more fabric to cut out the back and then did the same for each sleeve.  I laid each piece of fabric with the wrong side to the right side of each sweatshirt piece and did some free motion quilting to attach the pieces together. 

Before I quilted the 2 layers of the fronts together, I attached pockets to the inside.  I wanted pockets with zippers on the inside of the jacket, so they would not interfere with the quilting on the outside.  I made the pockets and then attached them to the inside of the sweatshirt front by sewing across the top only.  I call them hanging pockets.  They are large enough  to carry money, credit cards and car keys.  That way, no purse is necessary for shopping trips.  You have your hands free to examine fabric or other purchases and your valuables are safe in the zippered pockets.

When I quilted the fronts, I was careful not to quilt over the pockets.  I quilted from the top of the fronts down to the line where the pockets were attached and lifted the pockets and folded them up until the quilting was done in the pocket area.  I hope you can see how they are constructed by viewing the pictures below.

I hope this has given you some ideas for making a sweatshirt jacket.  Get your supplies together and start one for yourself.  It is always more fun to sew with friends.  So, gather your friends and have a sweatshirt jacket sew-in!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

December 29, 2016 -  Shower Gift -

It is hard to believe 2016 is almost over.  Our family had lots of good times and one very sad and difficult time.  We lost our daughter, Marcia Huhn Rush, April 10, 2016.  Christmas was not the same and yet we got through it together.  Our daughter, Loretta, and her husband, Larry Smith, came up from Georgia for Christmas.  Marcia's husband, Todd, and our grandchildren, McClane and Dale, also came to our house for Christmas.  There were lots of laughter and a few tears.  We are grateful to God for the peace and comfort He has given us.  I am looking forward to 2017.  McClane will graduate from high school and in the fall she will attend Purdue University.  Dale will begin high school in the fall.  I look forward to a happy and prosperous year for our entire family!

After Christmas I began to think about what to write in this blog now that the "Twelve Piece Coordinated Wardrobe" is finished.  I decided I will just start sewing and writing and see what develops.  I don't have many projects planned for the New Year yet, but I do need a gift for a baby shower.  So, the last couple of days I worked on a baby gift for Elizabeth Ayoub's daughter, Kira Hamilton.  Kira and her husband live n Florida and are expecting a baby soon.  I was surprised when I learned that Kira wanted baby wipes made from flannel.  I have not been close to a new baby in a few years, so I had not heard of making baby wipes from flannel.  This intrigued me, so I turned to the internet to see how to make them.  There was lots of information for me to use to make some.  I washed the flannel and cut thirty-five 7-inch squares.  I cut 12 from white flannel, 11 from a monkey print flannel, and 12 from a cartoon print flannel.  Then I serged around the edges, wove the tails into the stitching and the baby wipes were done!  I also made a gift bag from owl print cotton and folded each baby wipe in half, stacked them, and put them in the bag.  They were ready now for Kira to use.

Just before Christmas I asked Joyce Savage to show me how to make crib sheets and baby bibs.  I know Joyce is an expert at making these items.  I have watched her make lots of them while sewing with her at Stoney Bretz's house.  She makes them for her relatives and also sells them at craft shows.  I followed her directions and cut each piece of 100 percent cotton fabric 68 inches long and then cut an 8-inch square from each corner.  Next I placed the cut edges of the corner right sides together and sewed them together to form an angle.  After sewing all four corners in this manner, I finished the seam using my serger.  You can use the zig-zag stitch of a sewing machine instead.  I cut four 12-inch pieces of 3/8 inch elastic and stretched a piece around each newly formed corner of the sheet as I turned and hemmed the edge.  At first I found it quite awkward to stretch the elastic and turn the edge of the sheet while I was sewing the hem, but I did get used to doing it and it got easier.  You can search the internet for "how to sew crib sheets" and find several different directions for making them.

I also made bibs using Joyce's instructions.  I cut out 5 small bibs and 2 large bibs.  I used print 100 percent cotton fabric for the bib fronts and solid color flannel for the backs.  I placed a thin layer of batting between the fronts and backs to prevent anything from leaking through.  I placed the front and back right sides together and the layer of batting behind the wrong side of either one.  Then I sewed around the edge using a narrow seam width (about 1/4 inch) leaving a small opening (about 2 inches) at the bottom of the bib.  I trimmed the seam a little and then turned to the right side using the opening at the bottom.  I pressed the bibs and then sewed the opening shut with hand stitches.  Then I top stitched around the edge of the bibs.  My gift was finished in time for the baby shower.  I really enjoyed making these items because the fabric was so cute.  There are so many options for baby fabrics!  Pictures of the gift are shown below.

Happy New Year!  I hope 2017 will be a great year for you and your