Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Fabric Shopping Trip

A few days ago, I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to sew.  Some of my sewing friends were making t-shirts, so I browsed the internet trying to find a good source of knit fabrics to use for t-shirts even though I knew I had a stash of knits on hand.  I soon realized that even if I found fabric to order, it would be days if not weeks before I received it.  So, I moved to another project.  I decided maybe it was time to sew for charity.  The Lansing Chapter of the American Sewing Guild is sewing this year for a baby pantry in Lansing.  In ordinary times all of us would be making clothes for children to donate to this charity.  We would even schedule a day to sew together to make clothes for the pantry.  But these are not ordinary times and I haven’t heard much about this project.  I decided it was time for me to get started.

I found a pattern in my stash that I think will be perfect for a small child.  It is one I purchased when my granddaughter was young and I never got around to make it for her.  She just turned 21.  The pattern is Simplicity 8948.  This pattern meets my needs because it is cute and quick to cut out and assemble.  The pinafore top is lined so there are no facings to cut out and sew.  It does have two buttonholes and two buttons.  That should be easy enough.  The panties have an elastic waist and elastic encased in the leg openings.  Only two pattern pieces are needed.  After sewing one of this outfit, I should be able to cut out several and sew them together as in a production line.

In order to proceed, I needed fabric for the first outfit and more fabric for the “production line”.  I found one piece of fabric in my sewing room I could use for the pinafore, but I needed another piece for the lining and the panties.   I realized I needed to shop for fabric that did not require waiting for shipment or pickup.  The only place I knew where I could get fabric instantly during this pandemic was right here at home.  If I didn’t have the right fabric in my sewing room, I probably had something I could use at my “other location”.  I decided to take a fabric shopping trip all the way down to my basement!  And wouldn’t you know, I found some fabrics I could use.  I traveled back to my sewing room and cut out the first pinafore and panties in a size 2 toddler. 

A picture of the completed project is shown below along with a picture of the pattern envelope,

I hope you are having fun with your sewing projects.  If you run out of fabric or other sewing supplies, remember that most fabric shops are doing curbside pickup.  That includes Country Stitches in East Lansing.


Sunday, May 10, 2020

Completion of Audrey Purse

No more artificial deadlines for me.  I set one for myself when the Covid-19 “Stay at Home” order took effect in Michigan almost nine weeks ago.  I decided if I was going to be home most of the time I could post on my blog once a week on Saturday.  You will notice I did not post yesterday.  I decided I will now post when I have a project ready or an Item I want to discuss.  That may be weekly, once every two weeks, or even once a month.  The deadline I gave myself of posting weekly was causing me to focus almost entirely on sewing.  Although I love to sew and I love to talk and write about sewing, there are other things in life that require my attention as well. 

This past week I was able to complete the Audrey purse that I started some time ago.  I stopped work on it when I thought I did not have all the hardware I needed.  As I explained to you in my last post, I telephoned Sew Unique Threads in Battle Creek on Saturday and by Monday I had the hardware.  I really appreciated the great service Sew Unique Threads provided.  This week I picked up the bag and began where I left off.  I was at the point of sewing the front and back pieces together.  I had previously quilted the pieces to the foam interfacing, so the pieces were pinned with the right sides together.  I got the two gun-metal 3-D rings from Sew Unique Threads and started to read the pattern to see how to install them.  Was I surprised!  They were already sewn – one to the right side of the front and one to the right side of the back.  That is why I couldn’t find them.  The purse was pinned together with the wrong sides out and I didn’t remember sewing them on.  Now do you understand why I am no longer giving myself a deadline of posting once a week?  I apparently was driving myself nuts trying to meet my own self-imposed deadline.

The pattern I used is Audrey by Sallie Tomato.  This purse was much easier to make than the large bag I posted last week.  It is a crossover purse with a zippered pocket on the front.  The zipper is covered with a flap so it doesn’t show.  The pattern shows optional metal handles.  The strap can be removed and the purse can be carried by the handles.  I have the metal handles, but chose not to use them on my purse.  I am thinking of making a purse for a gift and I may use the handles on that one.  I also think there may be an easier way to install the zipper at the top of the bag.  I may try to come up with that for my next “Audrey” purse.

I made two changes to the pattern.  The purse has an adjustable strap.  Even so, I still shortened the strap by 32 3/4".  It was just too long for me.  I also shortened the height of the purse.  The finished height of the pattern was 11 inches.  The finished height of my purse is about 8". 

Pictures of the purse are shown below.

I hope you are having fun sewing!


Sunday, May 3, 2020

Another Week Down

Well, here we are in the middle of the eighth week of the Covid-19 Stay at Home period for those of us in Michigan.  I am still not bored.  I have more than enough things to do to stay busy.  However, certain things are beginning to wear on me.  I am tired of constantly thinking about my health and that of my husband, family, and friends.  I am tired of making sure we have hand sanitizer and masks in the car before going to pickup groceries or prescriptions.  I am tired of ordering groceries on-line and then not being able to get what I ordered.  I know that will only get worse in the coming weeks.  I am growing weary of not being able to worship in church with our church family.  On the other hand, I am thankful that by doing these things we may be able to get to the other side of this pandemic safely.   So, I will keep my eyes on the prize; that being, getting through the spread of the Covid-19 safely and returning to most of the activities I enjoy with my friends and family.  I especially miss being able to sew with my friends! 

Dave’s raspberry plants have left my sewing room.  They now reside in one of our four gardens.  They looked great when Dave first transplanted them, but not so good now.  The cold, wet weather has affected them. 

The ground cherries are still with me.  They are slowing beginning to raise their heads above the potting soil.  I would show you a picture, but they are so miniscule that I don’t think you could see them. 

This past week I worked on making the bag I started last week when I discovered I didn’t have the hardware to complete the Audrey purse by Sallie Tomato.  I called the shop where I purchased the Sallie Tomato pattern and ordered the hardware I needed.  I ordered it Saturday and it was here Monday.  Thank you, Sew Unique Threads in Battle Creek, for the excellent service you provided! 

When I had to postpone work on the Audrey purse, I focused on making a purse with McCall’s pattern M6532.  Although I did not have the exact fabrics and interfacings on hand suggested by the pattern, I had some I thought would work.  While the pattern called for cotton or cotton blends, I used a red, navy, and light beige colored fabric that was close to a denim weight.  The pattern called for two interfacings:  single-sided fusible Pellon Peltex 71 and a light to medium weight fusible fleece.   I used Bosal In-R-Form Plus Unique Double-Sided Fusible Foam Stabilizer and 100% cotton batting which was not fusible. 

Throughout the process, I struggled with the thickness of the layers of fabric I was sewing.  I realize the cause of this might be that I was not using the exact materials required by the pattern.  At one point while I was stitching the thickest part of the bag, my machine, a Pfaff Creative Icon, put a message on the screen that read: “Your machine cannot sew through all layers of your fabric.  Please remove some layers before continuing.”  Obviously, that was impossible.  I was sewing the top of the bag to the main portion of the bag where the pull tabs were located.  I think I counted about 9 layers of various depths including the fabric, the Bosal In-R-Foam and the batting.  At that point I wondered if a mechanical machine might work better.  I set up my Pfaff Passport 2.0.  It sewed right through all layers with no problem.  This just proves you don’t have to buy the most expensive sewing machine to able to sew most items.  I hope I can remember this if I get tempted again.  I may be tempted to buy a good mechanical machine to use just to make bags and winter coats.  I like my Pfaff Passport, but it is a small machine with a narrow sewing bed. 

Another problem I created for myself was with the two interfacings.  Both interfacings required by the pattern were fusible on one side only.  I used Bosal that was fusible on both sides.  This created quite the problem when I tried to iron it on or press a piece after it was fused.  The batting I substituted for the fusible fleece was not fusible on either side, so that created a different problem.  I fused the batting to the fabric by using Mistyfuse.   I managed to make the interfacings work, but both substitutions were time consuming.

I finished the bag this morning.  I think the one thing I learned making it was I don’t want to make another one anytime soon!  I know I said I might see if I could reduce the size of the bag and make a smaller purse; however, that is not in any immediate plans of mine.

A pictures of the bag and pattern envelope are shown below.  The bag measures 18” x 12 1/2” x 6”.

 Keep sewing and stay healthy and safe.