Archive | May 2010

It Should Be Simple

Or at least that is what I thought when I started. A few months of the year the sun sets at just the right angle that if it is your day off and you have decided to watch a movie between the hours of 5:00 to 7:00 PM, the sun will shine right through the decorative glass on the back door and right in to your eyes making the viewing of the movie quite difficult. So, I said to myself, “You know, I should make a removable curtain to cover the decorative glass so that the sun will not bother my movie watching time. It would be a very simple project and would not take much time at all.” Well that was what I thought anyway, but it turned out to be not quite right.

I started by digging through the scraps in the stash to find some inexpensive pieces of fabric. Since this curtain will only be used for a couple of hours at a time, and maybe only five times a year, I did not want to use any nice pieces of fabric on it. Luckily I found some left over beige denim and decided to use it, but upon measuring, it was a little small, but it was the best fabric scrap I had for the job, so I decided to sew pieces to the sides and bottom to make it fit. I only have one good size piece and the rest were really scraps so it took some piecing to get the size I wanted. I used all the scraps I had and the pieced square just fit the window, but there was no extra left for hems so I just serged the raw edges. After all this work, it would have been so much simpler just to use a large enough piece of fabric from the stash. So now you know what happens when you try to cut corners and save time. It doesn’t save you any time at all.

So, now that the curtain is complete, I have to figure out how to hang it. I did not want a rod mounted to the door permanently to be used for only a few hours a year. Since the door is metal, I thought it would be just a simple matter of taking some magnets from the fridge and sticking the curtain to the door, but the fridge magnets were not strong enough through the fabric to hold it in place. Next I tried glueing some pieces of strip magnets to the back of the curtain but it was not strong enough to hold the weight of fabric either. I thought about velcro, but really did not want a piece of velcro glue to my door either. Seeing my frustration, my husband bought me some rare earth magnets at the hardware store. Wow, are these some strong magnets! I was just going to hand stitch the magnets to the back of the curtain but these magnets stuck so well, I could not pull them from the door without pulling them from the fabric. Since I did not even have the fabric for a hem, I had no fabric to fold the corners into little pockets for the magnets. So I made some external tab pockets to hold them in. Now the challenge was to sew the little tab pockets with these super strong magnets in them to the curtain. I did it, but a third hand would have been helpful. I needed two hands to hold the fabric, lower the pressor foot and sew, and one hand to hold the magnet up so it was not automatically stuck to the metal parts of the sewing machine.

Well, with all that, a simple curtain that should have taken just a few minutes to cut out and hem, but ended up taking several hours and a great deal of brain power to make. Yet, it was fun to be creative and solve the problems to make something I needed without having any idea of how it was going to work or any pattern to work from. It was nice to do something ‘off the cuff’ as it were for a change.

Pack Your Bags

Now that I have finally finished my new MIckey Mouse Bowling shirt with a design and pattern all my own, It is time to go to Disneyland!

I made this shirt from some poplin I purchased on sale from an internet source. When I received the fabric, I was not pleased with its feel so the shirt almost did not come to be. Internet fabric shopping is very discouraging to me. I have never had any luck purchasing fabric over the internet unless I am sure exactly what I am getting beforehand like fleece or flannel. Sometimes though, I take my chances on the quality I will receive and order it anyway. I hear stories all the time about people making fabulous purchases of fabric on the internet, but it just doesn’t happen to me. I guess I will have to just buy more from the brick and mortar stores.

My husband convinced me to go ahead and use the fabric because I wasn’t even sure of the design I wanted for the shirt. He said if it did not work out, I was only out some fabric I didn’t like and if it did work, I could buy some fabric I really liked and make another. I drew out several designs for this shirt and with my husband’s help picked this one. I decided to sew the yellow stripe to the front of the shirt rather then cutting the front apart and sewing the stripe into the front. I like it sewn on top and it was a lot easier to make. I will see how it wears before deciding if that is what I will do on another shirt.¬† I also made the back of the shirt from the red fabric even though I like the feel of the black fabric better. It is usually warm at Disney out in the sun all day, so I tried to minimize the amount of black in the shirt to keep it cooler. And like most things Disney it ended up being very colorful! It will be fun wearing it while watching the new World of Color attraction this summer.

I thought about putting yellow buttons on this shirt, but I want the yellow stripe and the embroidered Mickey Mouse to be what catches your eye on this shirt, so I went with just black buttons. I believe that if I had switched the colors and the buttons would have laid on the red instead of the black fabric, I could have used the yellow buttons. The red fabric would not have shown the yellow buttons like the black did. I also have some fun Mickey Mouse buttons but I think I will save them for a project I make for a child rather than an adult.

Now that it is complete I am very excited to wear this shirt! I like how it turned out. So, I will be keeping my eye out in the fabric shops for some black, red and yellow fabric that I could make another with. I think I will also keep an eye out for blue as well, and redesign my Donald Duck shirt next. Stay tuned folks! Same bat time, same bat channel!

Work Shirts

I just needed some simple shirts to wear to work. So, I dug out my old t-shirt pattern and some piece of fabric I had long since forgot, but discovered again with the organization of the stash a few weeks ago.

It has been several years since I have made this pattern and I remembered that the last time I made it, I was not pleased with the end results. With that knowledge, my first step became altering the pattern. I did something in this process that I have never done before. I sewed a seam that I knew full well that I would be unpicking later. I altered the pattern to what I thought would fit best, cut out the front and back and sewed them together. I then tried on the basic shell, no sleeves, no facings. I learned that I was close on my alterations but not quite there. I then unpicked the side seams, made some more alterations and started to sew again. Now, for most of you out there, you would say that I just made a muslin, and that is what I would say as well. I have just never taken the time to make a muslin of my patterns before. For me they either work out or they don’t. But then again I don’t usually use or buy really expensive fabric or try a whole lot of new patterns so it usually works out ok. This time though I was very pleased with the end results of my actions and I did not mind taking the time either. I will continue to use this technique more in the future so that I get a better fit from my patterns.

I stopped making this pattern of mine years ago because I could never get the neck to lay flat. Every time I made this pattern, the facings at the collar bulged¬†and made the neck line stand out instead of laying flat around my neck. Over the years, I have tried several things to stop this but to no avail. Since I was in the mood to intentionally unpick, I sewed the facings on without interfacing them first just to see how the collar laid. It laid perfectly. What? That is all it took? Just don’t interface the facings? So, I did not have to unpick my facings and an age old problem has been solved. Yay!

On the muslin, as I will now call it, I cut the shirt 2 inches longer than needed, but did not make the allowance for the extra length in the slits at the side. So, when I cut off the extra 2 inches I lost my slits. I had only the seam allowance left to make the slits. It took some extra care, but I did it, and I learned a valuable lesson about concentrating on all the details.

When all is said and done, my muslin turned into a wearable shirt. With that, I cut out and sewed up the next shirt faster and with more ease, giving me two new shirts for work and a functioning pattern for when I want to make more.