Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ode to the Feedsack....The Lucky Denver Mint Bag

My Lucky Denver! is almost 1 am so this is gonna be short. The Lucky Denver Mint Bag is complete and just under the wire too! I actually was going to make this post in the morning but luckily went to Angela's blog to confirm what time the Big City Bag Monthly linky party closes....oops in just 6 hours! Every month Angela hosts a linky party and we sew a bag from Sara Lawson's Big City Bags book.

The month of July was The Lucky Denver Mint Bag which is what my friend would definitely call a "feed sack" bag. She always hated them! Well, I happen to love a "feed sack" style handbag. I don't like to carry huge bags (like my friend does) and this is one great thing the "feed sack" has going for it. Just enough room for my normal stuff with maybe a bit to spare.

I found this graphic which shows the different types of bags and what they call a "feed bag". But in my opinion their's is not quite right.

Almost...but not quite right.
This bag, the Lucky Denver Mint Bag seems to be designed for simple practicality. So, from the beginning, I liked the bag design.
From Sara's book.
The Lucky Denver went together for me faster and easier than the bags we have sewn before. It was an easier pattern with less cutting but I think I am getting better! This bag turned out smaller than I thought but partially because I made a cutting error that took some correction. Still, big enough for me.

Just right size wise for my needs!
A sweet vintage floral print was used for the lining. Both fabrics have been in my stash for a while so another reason I love this bag, was able to do some stash busting!  (I actually made a skirt to match this bag out of the same two fabrics, will try to post pics later.)

Helloooo downthere!

Thanks Angela for hosting another month of the Big City Bags SAL. And good luck to everyone!

Update: I just read Betsy's post here. She mentions a couple things that I definitely noticed as well. One the bag handles are too short! And here's kind of a weird thing about that....why don't the bag handles look short in the picture in the book??? Man, they have some real tricks of photography in that book...that is all I can figure. Also, pocket design. Too far down in the bag. They need to come up a inch or two. Perhaps a zippered pocket would be a positive.

Since this bag came together so quick, I can definitely see myself making it again, maybe with a nice lightweight wool that has some embroidery. When I do, I will know what needs to be changed. Till then it's me and Lucky D!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Color block, Monosew, Make A Garment A Month and Spandex.


I am in love with this pattern and spandex fabric! For now, I can't say too much about the pattern as it has not been released yet. Deby from So Sew Easy will be releasing the pattern on August 20th. I encourage you to prepare yourself and your fabric because YOU WILL LOVE IT and want to sew a gazillion of these dresses!

Only 4 pattern pieces and some thought put in to fabric choices and bam....a simple to sew stunning dress for a night out. Tone down your fabric choices and you have a great day wear dress that is very comfortable yet stylish. That is why we sew isn't it? For comfort, fit and style?

First attempt with a strip knit. Super comfortable and casual dress.
I first tried this pattern with a stripped knit I had bought at the resale store for 50 cents. Here is a secret; no one wants to buy the knits from a resale store because they frequently are out of style. This stripped knit is a perfect example. Hmmm...for 50 cents, they may be worth the risk. After sewing this version up, I saw the monosewn challenge for Monthly Stitch AND this month's Wardrobe Challenge with Angela Wolf was color blocking! thinks this could be one dress that fits two purposes, actually three if the Make A Garment A Month Challenge was included. Now off for some serious fabric shopping.

Enter: Spandex.

This was my first time ever purchasing or sewing with Spandex. While there were a few issues, wowsa, I love this stuff.

This fabric came from Girl Charlee and is soooo soft and drapey and fun. But, also slinky and slippery as all get out! I had to overcome a few issues and it took a long time for me to cut the pieces out because the back middle seam had to be removed and that pattern piece altered. There was no way I was going to be able to match the fabric pattern on that back seam. Altering that piece and the nature of the fabric itself also caused a bit of issue with the hemline.

Removed the back middle seam.

Still amazed the hem turned out. Yikes, it was a mess.
Another issue I had with my first attempt was a gaping neckline, I guess a common problem when sewing knits. You can see a bit of that in the first picture of this post. With some research I was able to get a solution that will work on future knit projects as well.

Flat neckline! Yippee!
I did end up spending some time online, looking up knit fabric techniques and in particular spandex.  I also started a knit notebook to store my new knowledge because well....let's just say my memory is not what it use to be.

Here are a couple of tips that really helped:

1. Pin, pin, and more pins. I pined A LOT. This helped to stabilize the fabric when sewing my side seams and the front and back panels to the center pieces.

2. Stay tape. I wish I had thought to stay tape my shoulder seams but due to the design of the dress and how it fits me, there isn't too much stress on the shoulders...I'll probably be okay. I do have a bit of wiggle room under the arms so am thinking I might redo the shoulders. However, in the future, I will definitely use stay tape at the shoulder seams.

3. Stay tape.:) I did use stay tape around the armscye and at the neckline to prevent those areas from stretching and gaping when being sewn. Here and here are great articles on how to prevent neckline stretch. I used 1/4" double sided tape, laid it down around the armscye and neckline, peeled the backing off and folded over the fabric. This helped in two major areas....completely stabilized the fabric so no stretch and gave me a nice clean line to sew beside. I did not worry about finishing my seams, just trimmed them close to stitching. Spandex fabric does not fray.

4. Use a double needle. I had a lot of "firsts" with this project and a double needle was one of them. That double needle had been in my sewing box for almost a year and I had never tried it. Well, I will probably never sew another knit without one! It worked perfectly on the spandex and produced a beautiful finish with much less fuss than a single needle.

5. Stay tape. :) :) This time on the hemline. This was the hardest part of sewing the entire dress due to my pattern alterations mentioned above. Also, when the seams where sewn there was some creeping of the fabric and, just cutting the fabric out; the slightest movement and the spandex would shift some.

6. Next time I will probably try a rotary cutter and mat to cut pattern pieces. Cutting the spandex with scissors just wasn't that great. Pain in the keester!!

All and all this was a great sewing project. So much was learned about prepping and sewing with spandex and knits in general and also I learned a few things about using my sewing machine and the double needle.

The biggest benefit though is this great little dress I now have that I don't want to take off and as mentioned before, that's why we sew right....comfort, fit and style?


P.S. Many thanks to Deby for agreeing to let me post this before her pattern release!

Monday, July 28, 2014

A scrappy little tea wallet.

Monthly Linky Party
Back when the year was fresh, I made a lot of sewing commitments. Not really New Year's Resolutions but like that. The remnants of some of those commitments are on the sidebar of this blog. But there were more that never made it to the sidebar. At the time, one of my sewing buddies said "you are going to be VERY busy". Yes. Busy.

Things held together pretty well during the winter months but then spring, our son's wedding, another son decided to swim competitively, our daughter and college visits, chores, chores, and more chores outside. And well, there you have it. I have not been very "busy" with sewing but have been plenty busy.

The one thing that has sorta been kept up is the monthly Craft Book SAL with Live.Love.Create. I say sorta because although I've had the projects done, I haven't been able to post a blog about them or to upload them to Kelly's monthly linky party.

Well, this month I have the project done, the pictures ready and am writing this post with plenty of spare time! Happy times!!

The craft book chosen is actually the book I won in January from the SAL in the random drawing Kelly does each month for the prize; Patchwork Please! Actually, this is one craft book that I have been using. I have made several items from the book and have enjoyed them all.

For this month,  these sweet tea wallets from some scraps on my sewing table were calling to me. Just like most (all) of you, I am not quite sure what to do with all those scraps but can't quite throw them away. These wallets are perfect for that problem. What a delightful teacher gift these would make!!

Super cute projects in this craft book!
Dainty little prints for the wallets.

Any color combination will do nicely!

A dear friend of mine has a lovely Tea shop in a nearby town. This month I took a few of these little wallets to sell through her shop. It is the first time I will get paid for sewing. I really can't decide if it's a good thing, PRESSURE as everything must be perfect when you are selling something! My husband says Yes! :)

But in any case, I have this wonderful July finish, humble as it is!! And that my sewing friends, FEELS GOOD!