Friday, September 18, 2009

And the NEW winner is...

Commenter Number 20!! And that is...



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Still looking for Kathy/WI

Kathy, you won the drawing for the Professional Tote pattern but I have no way of contacting you!! If I don't hear from you by this Friday, I'm going to draw another number... Laura is eager to send out the prize!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My first yoked jeans. Wearable, at least.

I hadn't tried the PatternMaster yoked jeans draft before, and since our users group is doing a Pants Challenge this fall, it seemed like a good place to start.
Of course, I couldn't be content making a normal pair of jeans. Noooo. I had to put double welt pockets in the front instead of standard jeans pockets.
The pants turned out, well, wearable at least. As I like to say, "They won't scare the horses." I showed them at my users group meeting last Sunday and got a lot of very good feedback.

Here's the front view:
Right off the bat, there are a few things that need to be changed for the next pair. I used too much ease for jeans; I need to reduce the hip and crotch ease to zero. The character of the denim fabric will provide enough flexibility to make them comfortable. True jeans are supposed to be snug.
Also, the boot cut flare is too wide. It's interesting: I specified an 18" hem circumference, but they drafted at a little more than 24". I'm not sure why it happened; perhaps because I widened the knee a bit. Have to go back into the program and play with it. One thing is for sure: I'm very grateful that the "Finished Garment Dimensions" is now part of the summary sheet created for each pattern.
Here's the pocket:

I'm still pretty new at doing welt pockets. For these, the lips didn't quite meet. As a result, it looks like the pockets are stressed and gapping. Not very attractive. Also, they're too low down; my group members recommended that I have the pocket openings right under the waistband, and to make them single welts instead, so they aren't as subject to the gappy look.

And now, the back view:
I'm actually quite happy with how they look from the back. Again, there's a bit too much ease, but they're certainly wearable. The back seam is a little wonky because I had to take 3" out of the yoke at the center. When I first put the pants together and tried them on, there was a HUGE gap at the back waist. So I pinched out the excess and resewed the center back. Again, I'm not sure where the discrepancy happened; I'll have to go back and look at my settings.
I'm going to make another pair of yoked jeans, but I might just draft my own yoke rather than using the yoked draft. We'll see how the next pair turns out!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cleaning Progress

I was supposed to get all the cleanup done by the end of July, but that sure didn't happen. Still, there is progress. Today I finished tackling the supply closet. The cleanup was spurred on by the need to find my SnapSource snap setter. So, remembering my dear mother's favorite saying "cleaning up takes less time than searching," I started cleaning up the closet. Within half an hour, I had found the snap setter, and an hour later, the closet was far neater and more organized. The only thing left to do is make labels for some of the boxes so I know what's in them at a glance.

Here was the "before":

It was a wonder I could find anything in there at all!!

And, here's what it looks like now:

The floor is clear!! The loose stuff on the shelves is put away! When I showed my husband, he was speechless.
Now I can go finish my pants. All they needed was the darned snap!

Friday, September 11, 2009

We have a Winner!

Thanks so much to everyone who commented on the Professional Tote zipper modification post. There were 21 comments, and here's the random number result:

...Uhh, okay, for some reason my screen grab of the random number generator isn't loading. You'll just have to take my word that the lucky number was:


Counting down from the top, that means the lucky winner is:


So, Kathy, please contact me with your email and your mailing address so I can send it to Laura Martell and she can send you your prize!!

Thanks for playing, everyone... I'll be doing more prizes in the future!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Professional Tote Zipper Panel Instructions

A few days ago, I sent Laura Martell, creator of the Professional Tote pattern, an email with a link to my blog so she could see what I had done with the tote pattern. I also mentioned that I had done a modification to the pattern, replacing the regular zipper on top with a separating zipper. She really liked that, and asked that I post the instructions on my blog so others could take advantage of the idea.


These instructions replace "Section 10" of the instruction pages.
The only real "modification" is replacing the 18" zipper to match main fabric with a 16" sport separating zipper. The one I used is made by Coats. The zipper panels are cut and interfaced following the pattern instructions.

Separate the zipper. Mark the center point of the long sides of all four panel pieces, and the center point of the zipper. NOTE: The center point of the zipper is NOT the center of the zipper tape; measure between the ends of the zipper teeth (it should be 16").

Lay the side of the zipper with the zipper pull on it FACE-UP on the lining piece, matching the center marks. Lay a main fabric piece face down over the zipper, matching the center mark.

The end of the zipper tape really isn't too attractive, so fold it up over the raw edge before sewing.

Position the zipper pull a little ways down the zipper tape before you start sewing. Using a zipper foot, stitch a 1/4" seam. When you get close to the zipper pull, stop the machine with the needle down. Raise the presser foot and slide the zipper pull back to the top. Sew the rest of the seam.

Fold the two layers back so the wrong sides meet and press lightly. Now you're ready to do the other panel.

The most important part of this process is to make sure you are putting the zipper tape in the same direction as the first panel... Otherwise you will end up with mis-matched zipper panels! Fold the end up as before, and match the center marks. Sew the second zipper tape.

Here are the two halves of the zipper panel, zipped together, ready for the next step.

Open up each panel and match the short edges of the main fabric and the lining fabric. Make sure the zipper seams are pressed open. Stitch the two sides with a 1/2" seam.

Finger-press the side seams open.

Turn the assembly right-side out and open the zipper.

Topstitch around the upper edge of the assembly. No zipper foot is necessary; you won't be stitching near the zipper.

The zipper panels is now ready to be attached to the body of the Professional Tote!

As you can see in this finished bag, the separating zipper allows the opening to lay flat against the inside of the bag, making access to the interior a lot easier.

A Special Surprise!

Laura Martell has generously offered a FREE PROFESSIONAL TOTE PATTERN to one lucky blog visitor!! Just leave a comment on this post; I will choose a winner at random from all the comments at 8:00pm on Friday, September 11. Good luck!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

American Sewing Guild Fun!

Last weekend I attended a one-day sewing retreat with the Maryland chapter of the American Sewing Guild. Rather than just have folks come with their machines and work on whatever they wanted, it was structured: there were three classes given, which everyone participated in. I taught one of them (Serging Tips and Techniques), and thoroughly enjoyed the other two.

Here are some of the 16 attendees, setting up their machines in the hall at the New Windsor Conference Center. Of course, everyone had to check out everyone else's machines.

The first class was taught by Michelle Umlauf of Sew Simplified. She led the group through the process of making a Martha Pullen Madeira and Bias Shaped Table Runner. I had never done any heirloom sewing before; this was actually the very first time I had tried using a wing needle! It was a lot of fun, and I came away with a lovely linen table runner.

(Forgive the bad cell phone photo -- my camera battery died right after we got started!)

After lunch, Helen DeRoo gave a wonderful demonstration on how to modify a favorite pattern to give it a new look. She showed lapel variations, sleeve variations, and brought a lot of her own garments with her to show how fabric choices could change the look of a pattern. She gave the attendees a long list of suggestions for how to add some flair to a favorite pattern. I can't wait to try some of them!

All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Professional (Mom) Tote

A good friend of mine is expecting her first baby next month, so for her baby shower I decided to make a custom diaper bag. She's not the cutesy fabric type, so I figured I would make a tote that could work as a diaper bag for now, and as a functional tote in the future.

Of course, I turned to my favorite tote pattern, the Professional Tote. I think this is the sixth one I've made; each one has had little tweaks and this one is no exception.

Here's the finished bag, complete with an embroidered initial on the front zippered pocket.

To go with the bag, I made a custom changing pad. This one uses matching fabric for the back and a very plush cotton towel for the "baby side". It's completely washable, and it slips into the center zippered pocket.

So what makes this a diaper bag? Well, the lining of the center zippered pocket is waterproof vinyl, rather than regular fabric. So a damp changing pad can be stuffed back into it, and it can be wiped clean. Also, all the fabrics were prewashed prior to construction, so the whole bag can be tossed in the wash if it gets... er... "anointed" by the baby.

I also added more pockets, plus some D-rings attached to the top edge.

I'm going to load up the bag with all sorts of goodies for baby care... including two little bottles of Hennessy Cognac (strictly for medicinal purposes, of course).

By the way, in the last picture you can see one of the modifications I made. The pattern calls for a regular zipper to be used in the opening. Instead, I used a 16" separating sport zipper centered on the opening pieces. This lets the opening flaps lie completely flat against the inside of the bag, giving you better access to the interior.

I think I've made enough of these for now...