The Whovians of Whoville

I have been reading the Project Run and Play website for awhile now and some of their monthly projects interest me, and some don’t since I don’t have children.

But this months (April 2015) project challenge of a Reversible Sling Bag really caught my eye! I know several Mom’s that have young daughters that would just love for me to make them one. I also figured it would give me a chance to try out something new and fun and to increase my sewing skills along the way.

Now one of those daughters just happens to be a huge Dr. Who fan, and I had just happened to come across this wonderful Dr. Who Dalek Exterminate fabric on my last fabric shopping trip and I was wondering what I should make with it.

Then the two just clicked together like LEGO’s!

And so here I present the Dr. Who Reversible Sling Bag! I hope you like it! Dr. Who Reversible Sling Bag I will post a detailed “The Making of the Dr. Who Reversible Sling Bag” soon, but for now I wanted to get this posted so that the other people making the project in April could see what I had done.

Until then, Sew Forth and Exterminate on!

Simplicity 2480 – Pocket #3 and #4 – Part 3

Version 4As mentioned in a previous post, I had already decided not to make the side in seam pockets with a zipper closure as the pattern had called for, so I set the pattern guide aside and thought up my own plan for sewing these pockets. Most of my ideas came from the in seam side pockets I had sewn in a little kid’s polar fleece jacket several years ago but with a few changes.

The pockets on the kid’s jacket were just one piece which was sewn to the front of the jacket to make the pocket. An open rectangle was sewn at the side seam for the opening of the pocket and then the pocket sewn to the front of the jacket to complete the pocket. The seam attaching the pocket to the jacket was seen on the front of the jacket.

DSCN0768The pattern I was currently working with called for these pockets to be make from two pieces so the pocket is not sewn to the front of the jacket. I liked the idea of not having a visible seam on the front of this jacket. So, to make the opening of the pocket, I placed one piece of the pocket on the front of the jacket, right sides together and sewed, cut and turned the rectangle for the opening. Next, I sewed the second pocket piece to the first pocket piece to complete the pocket.

DSCN0802 (1)The pattern called for the first piece of these pockets to be a lining fabric instead of using two pieces of the fleece. The reason for this was the bulk. It you were using a heavy polar fleece, two pieces would be very bulky, but I was not using polar fleece, my fabric was just a sweatshirt fleece, so I made both sides of these pockets with the same fabric. Two pieces of the fleece didn’t seem that bulky to begin with, but when it was added to a third piece, the front of the jacket, the pocket was then getting a little bulky. It was not so bulky that I was willing to unpick and restitch the pockets but the lesson was learned. Don’t double up fleece when making pockets with it!

With pockets #3 and #4 done now it was time to insert the zipper and finish up the jacket. That’s coming up next so stay tuned.

Until next time, sew forth and in-seam pocket on!

Simplicity 2480 – Pocket #2 – Part 2

Version 3I’ve sewn patch pockets before, so I did not pay much attention to the pattern guide as I sewed on the front patch pockets of this jacket, but when it came to the zippered front pocket, I read and studied the pattern guide throughly. When all was said and done, I wish I had not. Let me explain why.

Per the pattern guide instructions, I traced the cut lines for this zippered pocket onto a piece of interfacing and ironed it to the front of the jacket. Next, I cut on the cutting lines. The next step was to sew the shortened zipper to the small pieces that were made by the cutting lines. Because the pieces were very small, and the zipper was bulky and the fleece had stretch to it, this was not easy. It was difficult to sew a nice straight seam. I worked through it though and finally got the zipper sewn to the front of the jacket.

DSCN0753The next step was to sew the pocket to the zipper. Once again this proved to be a challenge. I had to sew the pocket to the zipper tape and the small cutting line pieces as I held the rest of the jacket out of the way and worked through the bulk and the stretch. My seams were not straight or even on this pocket but I finally finished it. The finished pocket is far from perfect, but it does not look too bad so I decided to call it done.

The reasons that I decided to call this pocket good enough for now was that I had no intentions of sewing another zippered pocket this way again. As I struggled to sew this pocket together, my thoughts drifted to what I had read about welt pockets. Wouldn’t it be easier to have sewn this pocket on like a welt pocket? Yes, I think so.

DSCN0756When I sew another zippered pocket, I will approach it as a welt pocket. I will sew the pocket to the front of the jacket, cut the cutting lines, and turn the pocket to the inside. This will give me a nice rectangle for the zipper. Instead of folding the pocket fabric into a welt at this point, the zipper will be top stitched to the rectangle, then the pocket fabric will be sewn together on the inside as if the welt had be formed and sewn in place.

DSCN0759I’m anxious to try the zippered welt pocket sewing plan that I have thought up to see it my ideas are valid. So, for about one second I did consider taking off the patch pocket and adding another zippered pocket instead. Then I remembered the liquid seam that I had used to finish the patch pocket and decided to leave the patch pocket alone and continue on with the rest of the jacket. My zippered welt pocket plan would have to wait for another project. And with that, it was time to sew pockets 3 and 4 to this jacket, the in seam side pockets. So, stay tuned to see how they turned out in the next post.

Until then, sew forth and zipper pocket on!

Simplicity 2480 – Pocket #1

fabric-comicEven though the peplum jacket finally ended up as a wearable item in the end, it did not follow my current sewing plan of sewing jackets with pockets very well. And since I was wanting to get back to my sewing plans, I turned this time to the pattern stash for ideas and a new pattern to try out. And I found a great one in the Simplicity 2480 pattern. This pattern is for a jacket with several different types of pockets and it fit with my current sewing plans nicely. The only problem I had with this pattern was that it was adult sized. When I try out new sewing techniques and practice them, I prefer to sew children’s sized clothes since it is less wasted time and fabric if it does not work out. But because this pattern fit my current sewing plan so well, I decided to make it in a size XS to minimize any problems. That should be about the right size for a girl in the 7-9 year old range.

IMG_0025Since I still had a lot of the pink fleece left over from the peplum jacket, it was not difficult to pick it as the fabric to use for this jacket. And, since I liked the white zipper in the peplum jacket, it was not difficult to pick another white zipper for this jacket too, and it was even easier to select a white zipper for the front pocket. The pattern called for two more zippers for the side pockets, but I decided to just make them open inseam side pockets and leave the zippers off, so I only needed the one small zipper. With the fabric laundered, the pattern traced and the pieces of the pattern cut from the fabric, it was time to get started sewing the pockets.

DSCN0751The first pocket was the front patch pocket. It was not difficult to sew on but what I learned was that it takes lots of practice to sew on nice looking patch pockets. There is a practiced skill involved in attaching them, and although this pocket did not look too bad on the second try, I still had not quite caught all the edges of the pocket on the curve. I was so close to having caught the edges that rather than unpicking the pocket and trying it again, I just used some liquid seam to seal the edges.

DSCN0802 - Version 2Now, I know this was cheating as far as the sewing plan goes of learning to sew pockets properly, but I felt that unpicking and re-stitching the pocket on would have hurt the plan more. I would have been flustered by the unpicking and restitching process and I would have not wanted to sew pockets anymore. I know this will not be my last patch pocket that I will ever sew on, so I will have a lot of other opportunities to continue to practice and improve my sewing skills of sewing on patch pockets in the future.

With the patch pocket all stitched on the front of the jacket, it was time to start the next pocket, the zippered front pockets. So stay tuned for how the next pocket turned out.

Until then, sew forth and pocket on!

Leftovers

DSCN1114“Can you use this?” asked my mother as she tossed me a small ball of brown toned bulky yarn left over from her last project. “Sure I can!” I answered as I tossed the yarn ball into my stash. Since I only crochet amigurumi’s, I can always use small bits and pieces of yarn. I just needed to wait for the right pattern that would use a small amount of brown bulky yarn to come along, and it finally did. When I saw this pattern for a bunny in a hoodie, I knew it was time to dig this ball of bulky yarn out from the stash and put it to good use.

DSCN1116Because I would be working with this bulky yarn for the hoodie of this bunny, I decided to crochet the pieces with my H hook instead of my G hook that I normally use to make amigurumi’s. I picked white as the color for the bunny, but as I reached for my white skien of Red Heart yarn, I remembered the abandoned white pieces of the bad Snoopy pattern that I had given up on. Since I was using left over yarn from Mom for the hoodie, why not see how much yarn was in the left over pieces from the abandoned Snoopy project and use it up too.

DSCN1115I was surprised at how much yarn was in the white abandoned pieces and how much of the bunny I was able to crochet using these pieces. I was able to crochet the legs, ears, hands, the bottom of the body and half the head before I had to get my skien of white yarn to finish up. I should not have been surprised how quickly I ran out of the brown bulky yarn though. After crocheting the arms and the body, I did not have enough bulky yarn left over to make the hood. I did have enough of the bulky yarn to make a collar for what would now end up being a sweater rather than a hoodie. After completing the bunny, I decided that I really like his bulky sweater and I am not unhappy at all that he does not have a hoodie.

DSCN1117I gave the bunny a small pink nose, a little smile and tiny whiskers as well as a small pom pom tail at the bottom back of his sweater. And I jokingly named him Leftovers, since he was made from left over yarn, but now the name is starting to stick so I think I will keep it.

I have only one problem. I have a tiny bit of the bulky yarn left. I would say about 6 yards. Not enough for another project but too much to throw away. I have thrown this last bit of left over yarn away a dozen times and then dug it out of the garbage a dozen times. To keep or not to keep it, that is the question. It is currently sitting on my cutting table as I debate its fate. Any suggestions on what to do with a tiny amount of left over yarn? Please let me know if you have any great ideas for it!

Until then, crochet forth and left over on!

The Peplum Disaster – The Finishing – Part 3

DSCN0959A now a few choice words about inserting the zipper!

After attaching the zipper foot to my machine and placing the pinned front and zipper under the pressure foot, I decided that the needle was not close enough to the zipper, so I moved the needle over to the far edge. When I started to sew, I quickly learned that DSCN0966my seam was too close to the zipper. Because I was so close, I had to sew around the zipper top and bottom, giving me a curved seam rather than a straight seam for attaching the zipper. Also the tension of the seam was too loose because the pressure foot was not in the right spot to hold the fabric and zipper properly where the seam was stitching at. At this point, I stopped and thought about why I had moved the needle and why I wanted a close seam.

DSCN0967The reason I moved the needle was that I thought too much of the zipper tape would be exposed if I did not have the needle close to the zipper. What I learned was that not much of the zipper tape would have been exposed with leaving the needle where it was suppose to be. Plus, the amount of the zipper tape that was exposed was a nice look and gave it a little bit of style, especially since I was using a contrasting colored zipper. Also, with the seam not that close to the zipper, there was less chance of the fabric getting caught in the zipper when the jacket is being zipped up. Fabric catching in the zipper was not that much DSCN0956of a concern with the big molded #3 zipper I was using with this fleece but it would be something to consider with other zippers and fabrics. A straight seam would look better than the curved seam and it would be easier to sew, and the tensions would be correct it the needle was not moved. So, lesson learned. Don’t move the needle to the far edge to sew the zipper on even if you think that is how you should do it.

DSCN0962Because the jacket did not turn out as cute as I envisioned, my plans to embroider several designs on the front and back of the finished jacket dwindled quickly. But, the jacket was still going to be a wearable item so I wanted to embroider a design of some sort on it. It was not difficult to pick the Smirk design that I stitched on this jacket. I love the design’s simple look and it’s few colors and I think it looks great on the jacket. For me, it gives me something fun that I am happy about and it gave me something fun to look at, rather than focusing on the messy peplum I had made.

Now that this jacket is done, I am happy that I competed it and have a wearable item rather than tossing it in the UFO pile with the peplum problems I had with it. I don’t think that the problems that I have with the jacket will effect how it wears and I hope that some little girl will enjoy a new jacket to wear.

Until next time, sew forth and peplum on!

The Peplum Disaster – The Gathering – Part 2

DSCN0701My sewing plan for inserting the zipper into the peplum was working fine as I gathered the peplum’s top and bottom, sewed the gathered top of the peplum to the hem, sewed the zipper on and then added the facings, but the plan fell apart at the last step.

DSCN0704Upon lifting the gathered bottom to the gathered top, something wasn’t right. My intensions were to fold the gathers of the bottom over, pin in place and stitch in the ditch on the top and have a nice clean finish on both the outside and the inside. The folded gathers of the bottom placed on top of the gathers of the top were just too bulky. I could not fold over the gathers of the bottoms for a clean finish. So, how could I finish the bottom edge? I know, I would do it as I normally would finish a edge, with the serger. I would finish the bottom edge with the serger and still stitch in the ditch. I would just have a exposed serged edge on the inside.

DSCN0944But my gathers did not withstand the serging. The serger stretched the gathers out. I adjusted my serger’s differential feed and I tried to keep my gathers together as best as I could while serging . But when I was done serging, I had a terribly messy serged seam. Despite the bad seam finish, I sewed on. I folded up the bottom edge and started to pin the peplum into place for the stitch in the ditch seam. I learned quickly that this was going to be a terrible looking seam as well. Gathers on top of gathers are not a good idea. There were several options for fixing the messy serged seams but fixing it would not solve the gathers on top of gathers problem which was the real point of failure with my “inserting the zipper it to the peplum” plan.

DSCN0952At this point I felt I had learned the sewing lessons from this sewing project as best I could and I had no desire to finish this jacket. Should I call the lessons learned good enough and throw this jacket away or continue to sew on it and have a complete wearable item? I’m not a quitter so I decided to keep sewing.

DSCN0950Between the lost gathers in the serging, the poor serged seam and the gathers on top of gathers, the stitch in the ditch seam was a real challenge. I finally muddled my way though this seam and finished the peplum with the zipper inserted inside it. I have a terrible mess on the inside of the top, but luckily the outside does not look that bad. The gathers look stressed and misplaced but still ok. And the peplum is more of a ruffle than it is a peplum. The inside seam though is nothing short of a disaster.

I have a few more things to tell about this sewing project but I will save them for next time.

Until then, sew forth and peplum on!