Saturday, March 23, 2013

Apron Tool Holder

One of the challenges of being a home inspector is how to carry the various tools I use on the job: flashlight, circuit testers, camera, thermometer, pens, etc., etc. I couldn't keep everything in my pants pockets, although I did try (and ended up dropping my nice expensive flashlight into a toilet as I leaned over to peer into the tank).
I posted my dilemma on a home inspectors' forum and someone suggested I get a tool apron, like carpenters use. So I went to Home Depot and searched through their offerings, not finding anything suitable. Even an online search didn't yield anything.
Then a lightbulb went off, and I remembered this:

This is the old workroom apron I made years ago when I was still doing window treatments. It was made using a pattern from Kitty Stein, and as you can see from the general condition of the apron, it was well-used. But would it work with inspection tools? I tested it and decided that, with a few modifications in pocket sizes and placement, it would work fine.

The only problem was, I couldn't find the pattern. It is probably somewhere in the sewing room, but I'm afraid it was probably purged sometime during one of the last two moves. But no matter; I traced the existing apron and recreated the three pieces as best I could.

And here's the finished product, loaded and ready to go:

Of course I embroidered it with the company logo!
The green fabric is cotton duck cloth. Since it wasn't quite as heavyweight as the canvas I used for the old apron, I backed the pieces with my old standby, drapery lining, just to give the pocket panels a little more body. Construction was simple: pocket pieces were pinned wrong sides together and bound with bias tape along the top edge. I sewed some channels just in the bottom pocket, then more extending to the second tier. Then the three panels were sewn together along the outer curve, and then the outer edge was covered with bias tape.
To wear the belt, I attached 2" belting to the back of the apron with a few lines of stitches and put in a parachute buckle.

All I need to add to the belt is a loop for my flashlight, and I'll be ready for action!
The belt will get its first "field test" at this afternoon's inspection. I'm pretty confident that it will be up to the task, and I won't have to worry about dropping stuff anymore!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Finally, the Corduroy Skirt

I'm sure you've heard the joke about the guy who brings his film to a one-hour processing place. They tell him it'll be ready next week. "But your sign says one hour!" the man protests. "Yes," they tell him, "but your hour doesn't come up until next week."

That's kind of how it went with this skirt.

I originally made the muslin last August. August!! Seven whole months ago! It didn't take me much longer than that to brew the actual person who would be wearing said skirt. But I am so fortunate that she understood, and hounded me constantly waited patiently until the skirt rose to the top of the to-do list.
One of the reasons for the delay was that I hadn't found the right fabric for the final wool skirt. So she asked whether I could make a shorter version out of two yards of fine wale corduroy I picked up at Waechter's in Asheville last October. Okay, sure. So I redrafted the skirt shorter and with more flare. To get it out of the two yards without it being too short for her liking, I ended up making a contrasting facing. Hand-sewing that in place was quite a production, as the final hem sweep ended up being about eight feet. This is a very flippy skirt!
However, the work was well worth it, as Diana tried it on with glee and proceeded to do pirouettes in the yard.
The original idea was to add pockets to the skirt, but it's so full that they probably wouldn't lie right, so she agreed to omit them.

The faced hem really helps it stand out. The corduroy actually has a very soft drape. The facing was a black knit, stabilized with a lightweight fusible to help it hold its shape.

The facing was drafted by copying the bottom 2.5 inches of each skirt gore, stitching the pieces end to end, and sewing it onto the bottom edge of the skirt. It was then turned up and hand-stitched to the skirt, using itty-bitty stitches. Corduroy does NOT hide stitches well.

But yay, it's done, and now I can get started on the real skirt: a fully-lined camel. At my current production rate, it ought to be ready by Christmas.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Non-Sewing: Don't Blink!

We're finally getting some snow here in Maryland (it's been two years since our last measurable snowfall!), and my daughter Diana got the day off from work since the cat clinic where she works was closed for the day. So she and her fiance Alex took advantage of the opportunity to have some fun!

However... Should I now be scared to open the door?

Doctor. Who fans will appreciate this one the most.

Yes, indeed, that is a Weeping (Snow) Angel.

Diana also made a Snow Cat to keep it company.