01 August, 2015

Wonder Pockets

 This is my practice buttonhole. #34 on my pfaff. 
Notes for next time. There's a hinged place on my pfaff for the IDT buttonholer which also has room for some sample buttonholes. This one is rounded at one end which reminds me of the Singer buttonhole cams that I grew up with.

 I love the buttonholes on this machine. So easy and quick plus they look nice. I can get up to a 9mm width with this machine - reason #5 for buying this machine.  I went around twice for durability.

 These are work shorts, very utilitarian.
Elastic knit waist band for comfort with repeated bending.

I definitely will not be entering these into my county fair (two weeks!).
Nice sewing but I'm not going to waste time with my seam ripper getting it perfect.

 Pocket flaps. 
I serge the top edge. I sew them to the shorts upside down with that serged edge just above the pocket. Flip the flap down and give it a quick press, then top-stitch down - which conveniently hides the serged edge. Not couture sewing - just down and dirty quick sewing.

What did we do before WONDER CLIPS and Sewline Chalk pencils?
That's my top-stitching lines above, done with the Sewline Chalk Pencil. Pencil Girl made me buy one - hence her screen name. One of my favorite notions.

All the seams have double top-stitching as well as down the middle of the pockets which are then sewn on with double top stitching.

Note the use of the mini-clapper, aka Wonder Clip. This 45' angle on the pocket has more bulk and it's difficult to make it stay flat after ironing. I remember the last time I sewed these shorts, I had to use more pins to make the edges lie flat ('cuz wonder clips weren't invented yet). This time - right after ironing, I used a wonder clip and it eliminated the fiddly nature on this angled pocket.

I've finished the first pair except for sewing on the buttons. Cutting out the second pair is next on my sewing agenda. Possibly someone can snap some photos tomorrow.

 I had my son over yesterday for baby back ribs. We sat out on the patio in 100+ degree weather with the clematis shading the top of the pergola and the misters on. It was very comfortable with those misters on. Probably in the 80's under the pergola??   And - oddly enough - the fine mist kept the flies and yellow jackets away from the baby back ribs and fresh corn on the cob and Hermiston Watermelon.

Daughter is home from Ketchikan for a quick wedding weekend. I'll try to grab her to take pretty photos.  Still gonna be hot tomorrow.

Blessed am I to see  both my kids in one weekend.

30 July, 2015

Sewing Hooky

 I get easily distracted.  

I am supposed to be sewing some work shorts and a top that was personally fitted to my body. Instead, I am playing sewing hooky.
aka *avoidance* and *procrastination*


 My inspiration was an airplane tote on Etsy.
At this shop.

Man - I have this fabric!
Her tote has external pockets, mine has internal pockets.

My airplane tote is going into the etsy shop. I am overwhelmed at her pricing. $38 for a tote.
I have the most difficult time finding the magic price point. Some things I make are above and beyond and pretty spectacular.  I don't struggle as much pricing those items.

I'm very aware of how much time I spend sewing as well as my material cost.
What I struggle with are the okay (basic to me)  items - $38 for a tote bag???

Would you pay $38 for a tote?

It does have a pretty nifty single welt pocket....

 I watched a Peggy Sager's video on Saturday - a Silhouette Patterns webinar on sewing pants. She went over a single welt pocket and I had to have a go at one.

It's almost like putting a zipper pocket in, but not quite.

Here's the inside double pocket on the other side. I love this stripe lining.
I left the selvedge edge at the bottom (No hemming - lazy me)

 I settled down today and started sewing the work shorts. Three sets of pockets and lots and lots of top-stitching. A butt-load of top-stitching!   Before I ran out of bobbin thread,  I finished the fronts and started on the side pockets. 

The side pockets have flaps with a buttonhole. That's where I'm at. I need to re-thread the bobbin and get back into the sewing room. I have the fan going because we are back up at 100 degrees (with a tiny respite earlier this week --- teaser rain and mid-seventies).

I am bribing myself with one chocolate chip per top-stitched seam. Seams (ha!) to be working.

21 July, 2015

Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour

 Chocolate Chip Cookies. 10 dozen.
Made for the drug dealer son and the freezer.

I made them with Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour - make your recipes gluten free.

By far and away -  the easiest gluten free flour I've ever used.
Exchange it for 1 cup of regular flour. I've used it in several recipes and I can't tell the difference. Cakes are moist, Cookies are crisp and chewy.

The 1 to 1 flour made these with a nice crackle surface. Very pretty.

I have reached that age in my life where I need to store flour in the fridge. I rarely bake - I can't eat what I make as I eat very little grains. My kids are up and out of the house. I can bake for work but things have not been friendly there lately. 

I particularly WISH  ( please!) that Bob's Red Mill would change their packaging to a ziploc-style closure. They are packaged in cellophane bags which have to be closed somehow. I always throw them into a ziploc bag once opened to keep pantry moths out and because I've had that cellophane tear and produce a mess. So - Bob's Red Mill - if you are listening??? Ziploc closure would be very welcome.

 I also made some Daffodil pens for work today. I buy the cheap back-to-school (already?) pens, drill holes in the end and hot glue the flower stem inside and then wrap with floral tape. Easy peasy.

 My only rule is extreme cheapness. The daffodils came from an estate sale - marked 25 cents. She threw them in as a bonus.

While I have some customers who will steal even a flower pen, these tend to stay much longer than a naked pen.

15 July, 2015

Sewing Machine Fabric

I can't sew right now.

 My coworker's mom passed away and I've done 8 weeks of overtime plus mgmt's "you're a crap employee" talk twice now - once on overtime to the tune of $75 to listen (ha) to "blahblahblah" and don't even get me started about the heat that has stricken western Oregon.

Fortunately for me, I have air conditioning, so I can catch up on some blog reading. 

is on my "C" list; blogs I like to keep an eye on to see if they continue being interesting. She made a t-shirt out of this knit. I fell into lust. I wanted this fabric. Beautiful blue background with lighter tone sewing machines and cute little hearts in the scissor borders.

I clicked the link which led to a UK shop, so I chased down a US seller,  and half-an-hour later, paypal'ed my own sewing machine knit fabric.

It came with a little note saying a swatch had been cut into the fabric and she sent *extra*.

 Knit from Lillestoff - out of Germany, I think. 
Very soft, very nice next to the skin.

I have a yard and a half to pet.

05 July, 2015

Cutting Out My Shorts

I've been needing to make new work shorts for a while. I can't ignore the worn seams anymore. They've been worn to death. I will be making two pairs.

These are elastic waist shorts so no great fitting issues other than the crotch area and the elastic length. They are made from a pattern I drafted from some RTW shorts some years back. They hit me right above the knee and have all the top-stitching details that I love about RTW.

I haven't seen a post where someone shows you how they cut out pattern pieces from fabric so I thought to show you one of the ways I deal with fabric so it doesn't pull off the table while trying to cut a straight line.


 I usually lay out the fabric on the (clean) floor, doubled at the fold and smoothed out.
Some patterns give you a suggested layout but my self-drafted pattern didn't come in a cute envelope. The grain usually goes lengthwise so I lay out my front short pieces and backs with the grain going vertically from waist to hem. The crotch area gets cut on the bias which is sometimes a good thing. I try to keep all pattern pieces going top to bottom. Sometimes fabric has a tiny bit of directional nap which might not be visible until you finish.

This fabric has about 3%(?) lycra for stretch (and recovery). Most often, the stretch will  be more width wise than lengthwise, but not always. I want the stretch to go around my butt, - not down my leg. This is because the weight of the garment will start dragging on that stretch and your hem will get longer over time.

Basically, there is no right or wrong way to cut out pattern pieces. The stretch and the grain are both something to consider.

The other thing to consider is your knees. This is why I ususally cut garments out on my large kitchen island nowadays. However, the maid took the independence holiday off. lol

I lay each piece down, starting with the larger pieces, paying attention to the grainline. I fit the smaller pieces in as I go. Satisfied with my layout, I start pinning. Every four inches or so. Some people use a chalk pin or ink pen to draw around the shapes for easier and more exact cutting , but that's a newer skillset for me. These shorts have lots of ease built in (so comfortable for repeated bending at work) that my crap cutting skills will still get me to the finish line.

Some people use pattern weights - another skillset I've yet to master.
The problem with pins is the distortion they make in the fabric making the finished cut-out piece not so exact. Some fabrics react badly to pin holes too. This fabric is a nice cotton/?/lycra that loves my pins and doesn't slither around.

 Then I start cutting each piece out.

As I finish each piece, I remove all pins but one at the 'top' and lay this cut piece to the side. I like to keep one pin holding the pattern to the fabric. I have a whopping fifty years of sewing experience telling me that vacations from the sewing room happen and when you finally get back, things are often havey-cavey.

The other reason to keep pattern pieces with fabric is because some pattern pieces look alike!

or - mirror images. This keeps everything organized for when you begin to sew.

I have enough fabric for two pairs. I am sewing one up and then seeing if I need to make any adjustments before I cut out the other. These long tails of fabric will never be of any use to anybody so I cut them off as I go.

 I now have a neat pile of folded pattern pieces cut out and a pile of scraps.

I've re-threaded the sewing machine. I still need to re-thread the serger.

We had a glorious fireworks show last night. I chose to sit at my bedroom window instead of dealing with the no-see-ums outside. I could see four different shows clearly. Our Canbyland one lasted a really long time.

I think a nap is in order.

03 July, 2015

Happy 4th of July

Is this not the best hairstyle ever?

Had to take this photo. His mom did the dye job.

I  stopped at the store  on the way home from work to pick up some 4th of July goodies. There's a fountain at the stop sign back by the movie theater.
With a hawk on top of it.

The fountain is drilled so water seeps over the front of the big rock.
I rolled down the window (air-conditioning on - HOT) to take some photos.

I didn't manage to capture it but this hawk was playing.

He rode the water down over the edge of the rock, then he would flap his wings to "climb the escalator" back up. He did it once more.
See that slope in front with the dedication words? He was skateboarding!

Then I must have scared him. He flew off.
Too funny!



I have TWO DAYS off in a row and it's too hot to do much. I usually take in the parade (at 2pm). This year, Benjamin Franklin will speak at Wait Park (11:30) and of course, there is the library book sale (big score last year). Three hours in the sun (95') - I don't have a good feeling about this.

I'm thinking I will stay home, put the fan on, and sew. Maybe take a nap in the afternoon before the neighborhood 4th of July party. And those lawn tractor races, along with the home brew contest. Not to mention the city sparklers going off just a half-mile away.

 It's a full moon too.

28 June, 2015

Review of Della Wallet Clutch

This is the Della Wallet Clutch from Swoon Patterns.
What sparked my interest was a youtube video posted on how to construct this wallet.

It's an easy-sew wallet utilizing two squarish rectangles which you sew separately and then put them right-sides-together (RST) and sew and turn. They are then folded in half to create the clutch.

You add your card slots, side flaps and handle fob before you sew RST together.

I was also smitten with these two zipper pockets. In the video, they are the same color which would never ever work for me so I used an orange and a blue zipper to differentiate the zip pockets.
These pockets are big enough to put your phone in.


I sewed the wrist strap as directed. Well --- actually,  I never bought this pattern.
I watched the video and approximated the size of the rectangles and card slots measurements.
I noted what I wanted to do differently and sewed it my way.

The card slots went towards the middle. This clutch's strap hangs from the bottom - or is that the top? The zip pockets look like the top to me so I changed the card slots placement to be reachable from the top instead of down towards the middle. Possibly a little OCD here.

I thought about making each card slot section a different color as well (like the zippers)  but then I cut the fabric and sewed it up, split it in the middle and added a middle section and I was fine with that.

I thought a pen holder case would be nice to put into the middle and that turned out to be a very nice addition.

There are four card slots on each half with the top pocket the full width of the wallet. For cash money or your check register.

The side tabs latch on with magnetic snaps to this strip of blue bubble fabric. Opportunity to 'decorate' is there before you sew it all together. I fussy cut a 'label' from my outer fabric to break up the strip.

I cut the outer fabric in half and re-sewed it together as I had a directional print. You want this wallet to fold easily in half so this seam was top-stitched down.

So now I have my card pockets all hanging down towards the open bottom and no way to keep items securely inside the purse. Which is why the actual directions have you put your cards slots towards the middle - for security.
Me - I always gotta go my own way. I added a snap to help with security. If clutch is dangled, then this should help keep things inside.

My gingham pockets inside the zippered areas are loose by the zipper teeth area. I sewed one side down by hand and tried to decide if a good pressing would be enough on the other side or if I needed to handsew that down too.

Looks like the top to me even though wrist straps turns this downwards. Those card/cash pockets are now easy to reach into, although not very secure.

That whole two halves open on one end is a deal breaker for me. Even if sewn as directed with pockets to the middle, the card pockets are loose and not secure enough for me.
I felt challenged to see if I could sew this without shelling out for a pattern and it is an easy sew even with my additions.

Things I changed:
1. allowed for directional fabric
2. zippers - two colors.

3. Card pocket directional (180') change.
4. Pen holder
5. Snap on open end.

Things I would do differently next time:
1. Make card pockets tighter - too much room side to side. Maybe place them horizontally instead of vertically so strap helps hold cards securely.
2. Add two magnetic snaps on open end (more secure).
3. Handsew pocket linings down so they don't bunch at zipper teeth.

The majority of materials used came from Japan. I love this Airport fabric and the blue bubbles was also bought in Japan. One of the zippers was as well. The snap, magnetic closure and swivel clip came from stash. The D-ring came from Japan. Gingham pocket linings from stash. Zipper pulls from stash.

This clutch might work for traveling with one pocket for change and one for phone. With the right security work done.
It's small and compact - about 8" long by 4.5" high.