Friday, September 19, 2014

Leather Love Coin Purse

  Since my last post, my camera broke to the point of uselessness.... I tried both of my zoom lenses, and no matter what I changed, every photo was ridiculously blurry. Then a few days ago, I decided I might as well see if my prime lens was the same way, since the chances of me getting a new camera right now are about zero, and the same for sending it off to be fixed. Guess what... it worked! And just in time to photograph my latest creation, this coin purse that I adore.

  I didn't adore it while making it though. The exterior is leather, which increases the thickness in the seams by quite a bit, and I (foolishly) added fusible fleece on the lining.

  After sewing the lining all together, but before sewing it to the outer, I decided I really didn't like the way the orange fabric I'd chosen looked with the leather, and went rummaging through my fabric collection to find a better one.

  I finally found an ill-fitting (ordered online and uncomfortably small) dress stashed away for refashioning purposes, and decided it would be perfect. So I sewed a second lining from the butterfly fabric of the dress, again using fusible fleece on it. I sewed the entire purse this time, turning and top-stitching, and was ready to glue it.... but there was a problem.

   No matter what I did, I just couldn't stuff the thick layer at the seam into the frame, even after trimming the seam allowances and hammering the seams. I even tried stretching the frame open a bit, but it just ruined it. That meant that it was time for a third lining, as well as a new frame.

  Luckily, the dress I'd chosen to sacrifice for fabric was ankle-length and there was plenty for a new interior. This time, since the fabric was on the delicate side and still needed some reinforcement, but with as little thickness as possible, I used a firm but thin interfacing. I would have used a medium interfacing, but I don't have any right now.

  This time, there were no problems. I hammered the seams, and they just barely slipped into a new (not ruined) frame, The gluing even went smoothly, which is more than I can say about most of the coin purses I've sewn. The only thing I'm still not quite pleased with is that the interfacing I used wrinkled a lot during the turning process, and it didn't iron out.

  Now you know why I didn't love sewing this one!

  I liked the exterior from the beginning though... the reverse applique turned out perfectly, and I love the way the dainty floral looks next to the leather.

  I added some buttons that I salvaged from some beyond-repair clothes about 16 years ago (if you are paying attention, yes, I had a button stash before I really learned how to sew), sewing them on and top-stitching around the heart with bright pink thread.

  When the outer layer is fabric, I prefer finished-edge reverse applique, but for the leather it would have been too bulky... besides which, leather edges don't fray.

  The pattern is my own (I'm updating that pattern soon. No more wonky pattern!) and the leather I bought almost three years ago with plans to make a wallet that didn't work out. The leather is interfaced with lightweight fusible interfacing. And yes, you CAN iron on leather. It might shrink with steam, but it's easy enough to just block-fuse and cut after.

  The heart was cut from the cutest faux-patchwork fabric Tia Eva gave me.... I was originally planning on cutting the heart from the junction between four pieces, but this rose block was too cute not to use.

  I don't have plans for this one yet... I'm considering re-opening my Etsy shop and trying to sell it, but I'm thinking I'll wait until I have a few more items I can sell.

  And now, I'm off to take care of my temperamental children. =)

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Asymmetrical Floral Shirt

So, I made this a few weeks ago, and finally had a chance to photograph it yesterday:

  I used a shortened version of the dress pattern I drafted for Challenge Create.

  I simplified it by removing all of the ruffles, embroidery, and ruching, and finishing the sleeves and hem with a simple lettuce-edge hem.

  Instead of binding, I did a band for the neck. The first one was too small, so I took it out and did one that wasn't chokingly tight!

  The shoulders on this shirt look a little tight to me, and a little too sloped for Booper's square shoulders (She definitely takes after me in the shoulder department!), but otherwise it fits just as I'd hoped.

  Booper loves it!

She begged to wear it almost every day until I managed to take her pictures, and had to be very firmly persuaded to put it in the laundry today after she spilled food on it. =)

  The gathers at the side really aren't noticeable most of the time.... I think I should widen the gathered area so it wraps around the sides a bit more.

  Booper is wearing this tee with the Betty Skirt I made for her last month. That skirt goes with everything! I love it! =) Oh, and the shoes were a gift from her Aunt B, and she wears them everywhere! =)

  Overall, I'm pretty pleased with how this one turned out.

  I took a lot of pictures, and over half turned out reaaaalllly blurry, but I think the ones that weren't blurry turned out pretty well!

  And I love how they captured Booper's personality a little bit. =)

I ended up with 18 decent photos out of a batch of 56.....

  I have a few more things I've made that I still need to photograph... it's been so long since I made some of them that I'm not sure if it's ever going to happen.

  One more thing: the fabric! This is the third thing I've made with this fabric. It's from Girl Charlee, and while it's a little thinner than I prefer, I love the print! In fact, I'm considering buying more of it before it's all gone.

  After all, Gaiw pretty much needs a matching skirt, right? ;-)

  Then we could all coordinate. Nothing for my husband though. ;-) Some how I just get the feeling he wouldn't be interested in wearing anything made from this fabric.

  Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Two Twirly Skirts

 Have you heard of Skirting The Issue? It's a blog event hosted by Simple Simon and Co in which sewists join together to sew and donate skirts to foster care for girls who may need them. This is the third year of Skirting The Issue, and I've wanted to join in every time... but it hasn't worked out. Until now! I didn't sew much, but even two skirts are better than none.

  These are pretty basic.... full circle skirts with a separate elastic waistband, that are sized to be just longer than knee-length. I top-stitched the interior waistband on this green skirt, and for the yellow-and-white one I stitched-in-the-ditch.... and it actually came out decently! It took me every bit as long as hand-stitching would have, but I need the practice. I knew I wouldn't have time for a regular hem, so I did a rolled serged hem on both. I do like that it keeps the skirts light weight.

  I used fabrics from my stash for both, and although I didn't love the green as yardage, I think it makes a darling skirt... and I love the fabric and contrasting waistband on the other skirt. =) I added simple tags with fabric markers.

  I did sizes on the front, and the back has care information, just like a regular tag. It's a really fun addition.... I want to add tags to everything I make now!

  So there are my two quick, simple skirts... I hope I get a chance to make more next year!

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, August 11, 2014

Becker's First Birthday

  Guess who is 1 year old now!

  This cutie is:

  One whole year ago, she was born in the car on the way to the hospital.

  She's the sweetest and happiest of little girls, and loves to snuggle.

  She's always been able to sleep by herself, as long as she has her fluffy blanket, but she will squeal and laugh with joy when I pop in her room to pick her up.
The car behind her is the one she was born in. =)
  Beckers adores her family and loves to be talked to and held, but is quite shy and won't let many other people hold her. She just sneers at them, and at the world in general.
This is a half-sneer. It's usually more pronounced
  Once she gets used to having you around though, she will babble (real sentences, if you can decipher them!) and squeal at you.

  And you might even get some smiles, as long as you don't get too close.

  I just love this little girl!

  For her birthday, I made her a little tee dress, upcycled from a shirt I bought about 5 years ago for the very purpose of upcycling.

  Her sisters both received upcycled tee dresses on their first birthdays too... but I think my skills in that respect have improved, as evidenced by Booper's dress:

  And Gaiw's dress:

  I didn't have time to draft a pattern, so I used shirt pattern I won in a giveaway a couple of years ago. I used a size 6 month width (Beckers usually wears a 9-month or 12-month width in ready-to-wear), and added the fullest a-line skirt I could eke out of the small tee. I also shortened the sleeves. I wasn't impressed with the directions, which would have led to excessive bulk at the point of the neckline, so I did it my own way and I am pleased with how it turned out.

  I'm not so happy with my twin needle top-stitching, but that's mostly because my sewing machine has a difficult-to-control foot pedal, which results in either not stitching at all, or flying along, and isn't great for detail work.  I also added lace at the waistline and sleeves:

  And I hemmed the skirt with lettuce-edge serging to balance the white accents out, and preserve as much length as possible for my tall girl (18-24 months in length in most clothes...)

  I also made her a pair of Natty Janes! Instead of leather on the soles, I used some soling material, in hopes that she will be walking soon. The shop I bought it from doesn't have the exact stuff I used right now, but they have other soling materials that look like they might work even better.

  I added bows on the toes and altered the sewing order so I would end up with no raw edges on the interiors. It worked decently, but I think that for it to work well, I'd have to use a wider seam allowance on just the lining, to account for the bulk of the seams and turning. I should probably have clipped the curves a little better too. ;-)
  
  Once again, I'm not pleased with my top-stitching, and my sewing machine skipped quite a few stitches on this thick leather, so I had to sew over the same areas several times.... I feel like I definitely could have done a better job on these, but they are cute anyway!

  They fit perfectly in length, with just a tiny bit extra width on my slender-footed baby:

  The dress also fits slightly better than I expected, which was a pleasant surprise!

  It's still not perfect, but it's miles better than all the store-bought clothes she has! She's just too tall and skinny for most clothes!

  I also made her a cake- classic white cake, torted to 4 layers, with pastry cream filling two of the layers and balsamic cherry filling for the center layer. I used a basic buttercream to frost it. Other than being too sweet from the frosting, it tasted amazing!

  I tried out piped ruffles to decorate it, and I think they turned out really well considering the kind of time crunch I was in (such is my life). Next time I'll draw guidelines on first, as in this tutorial (which I found after the fact, of course), but it was really simple and didn't take long.

  Beckers was quite happy to try it:

  She thought about it:

  and decided she liked it:

  The balsamic cherry filling was adapted from this recipe... I doubled the vinegar, halved the cloves, and reduced the thickeners for a jam-like consistency. It's pretty amazing stuff...if you ever get the chance you MUST try the pie in that recipe! It's without question the best pie I've ever tasted.

  Some of Becker's relatives came over to help us celebrate her birthday, and gave her gifts that she loved.

  My sister-in-law knit her a darling sweater with a heart on the front, and my mother-in-love gave her blocks, a counting book, and a doll that she has been dragging around everywhere. =)

  I've heard that she also has a gift coming in the mail from my mom. =)

  Her favorite toy is still my phone though. ;-)

  Happy birthday, little Beckers! I love you!


  Thanks for stopping by,