Monday, October 22, 2012

Clutch project

To continue on my descriptions of sewing projects and self learning processes, here is my latest: a simple yet classy clutch.  I follow a few sewing blogs, a couple are referenced in my last blog, and one of them was looking for pattern testers.  I signed up to try some of the easier projects.  I was happy to help test a pattern, because I find most patterns to be very confusing if you haven't sewn for very long.

The first project was for a cute little clutch by Sew It Love It website.  I was sent the pattern, and told to make the item, review it, give any recommendations and send in pictures.  Since I was wanting something homemade and fun to give to a friend for a birthday, I decided I could do both with this project.

I had some cute scraps of fabric, but sadly they weren't quite enough to use for this project.  Not wanting to compromise the size since I was pattern-testing, I went to Hart's Fabrics (oh darn!).  I was happy to find some other fun skull/dia de los muertos fabrics to use, since that was what I was aiming for when I had this friend in mind.  This time of the year there are some really great fabrics!  This pattern also called for some wide ribbon to tie the clutch together, another thing I love to purchase at Hart's.  I also found some other fun scrap pieces to use in the future and the lining I found is from the bargain scrap bin.

The pattern was pretty darn easy to follow, I only got tricked up a couple of times when I assumed something instead of reading the instructions carefully.  I have already discovered this is something I need to work on.  Carefully read the pattern all the way through to see why you do certain steps and then read each step carefully again so that I do things the right way.  At least while I am trying to learn this whole sewing thing! 

All in all, this project did not produce any headaches, let me use up some leftover interfacings I had, and also gave me a chance to sew a little with a satin fabric for the first time.

On to the visuals!

The front, check out that bow and the awesome print fabric!

The back. The downside to using a directional print was that it did show up upside down in the back.

 An awesome thing that happened, was that my print magically lined up when the clutch was closed! I could not have planned this better!
The inside. Note that the ribbon and lining match! There's also a nifty pocket inside.   Apparently I did not pay enough attention to this step, the pocket is supposed to go across the length of the inside.  However, it's still a pocket, and those are always important!

On to the Birthday Gift Basket! Side note: I love making gift baskets.  The bad part is I end up spending way more on them than a single present, but the good side is that I can make them totally personal based on who they are for.  I love to get creative and have some sort of theme.

This one had: The cute clutch, Nutella and biscuits (that's cookie to you, dahling), two little bottles of Jameson whiskey, a skull flask, a scorpion sucker (in honor of The Drive movie we had just seen together) and Lady Gaga's perfume!

Basically a basket of goodies I would adore!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

First dress!

So, I finally finished my first garment! I have now made 2 bags and a clutch and yet no clothes until this dress!

My good friend agreed to be my "guinea pig" and around the same time our local fabric store was having a sew-along challenge.

The pattern said it was Intermediate, but after reading some pattern reviews I saw that many people felt it was explained well enough for a beginner.  I figured since it was a sew-along there would be some tips and such.  While there wasn't much of that, I knew I could go down and get advice from real people at the store and since there was a deadline I figured it would light a fire for me to get it done.

My friend picked out this super cute fabric combo:

On first glance in the store, I thought the print was much like a print you would see on a bandana and then saw that they were skulls.  What a great find! She paired this with the deep blue and we agreed to do a red piping around the waistband and top of the bust.

I dove into the project by trying out a muslin version of the bust area.  That fit her just great so I went ahead with the "real" fabric.  It's so scary for me when I cut out the pieces.  It feels like such a commitment!

If you haven't tried a Colette pattern...they are great.  I haven't followed that many patterns yet, but so far they are way more vague than this Colette pattern was.  The instructions come in a little booklet with pretty good diagrams.  The pattern itself was still on the flimsy paper, but of course you can copy that over to better paper.

The piping was something I had never done before, but had already seen tutorials on how to make so making the piping was easy, but attaching it all together with the different fabrics proved to be quite a challenge! Lots of swearing ensued from this step and I almost threw in the towel a couple of times. Another challenge was after I finished the top pieces and was going to sew up the sides, I took it to have my friend try on. Her torso is short and the back piece ended up being way to big! Luckily I got advice right then and there from a mutual friend. (Thank you Kimmy!)

I could not have made this dress without some great Tutorials! Here are some I really benefitted from:

To learn piping

To learn the invisible hem

To put in the invisible zipper

The pattern mentioned understitching and had some info on their blogsite.  Really there are some great tips and tricks on the Colette website, even if you are an intermediate sewer.

Some great advice I got from other sewers was first of all from the staff at Hart's "Go slow, take your time" and from my aunt "I have never made anything that I didn't have to take at least one seam out".  I won't tell you how many seams I re-did, but let's say it was more than one....

The things I had never done before making this dress but now have tried!
Piping- making it and sewing it in
Pockets on a dress
Invisibile hem
Invisible zipper

*I didn't even know what this was! Facings are sewn to the edge of the garment and turned under to create a professional finish. They are most often used on necklines, sleeveless garments and waistbands.

At one point I realized I wouldn't make the deadline for the Sew-along. The prize wasn't huge, but it was 3 Colette patterns, which are not cheap!  With the cute fabric and gorgeous model I figured we had a good chance, even with my inexperience!  Once I realized I would not make it in time to win, I really was ok with it; I realized that I undertook a huge challenge for my first garment.  At that point I just wanted something my friend would be proud to wear, since she was taking a chance on me. 

I realized that after a couple of hours of sewing my quality would go downhill, so first of all I took a break from the dress and made my sister a cute tote for her trip.  Once I did get back into it, I made limits on how long I could sew at once.  No more 4-5 hour blocks. It seems like a lot of time, but if you have a passion, those hours fly by and all of a sudden it's midnight and you really should be going to bed...

Anyway, the moment of truth! I finally decided I couldn't do any more work on the dress or I would go crazy tying to make it perfect.  I was very nervous since the back had been altered, this would make everything else "off".  I worried this made it not fit her, since it is kind of a hard dress to put on anyway.  I'm super excited to be done and that it looks so cute!

I gave it to her and then waited in antici...............pation  to see if it would fit.  She said she would wear it to work which gave me a little anxiety! Finally she texted me that it did fit and I felt so happy and relieved to hear I had done OK!

Without further ado, my friend and wifey Amber:

Told you I had a gorgeous model!  I'm so excited to try this dress again, especially after I've seen how people have modified it in different ways. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Goodbye Project Runway....hello sewing for fun

Around the time I realized that Project Runway was beyond fun to watch I realized that I want to try sewing again.  I took a home economics class way back when in Junior High and fiddled around (poorly) with making my own things and wanted to try again.  I asked my mum for her old sewing machine for my birthday and she went one further and bought me a new one.

There are so many great sewing blogs out there, and thorough tutorials to boot, so I won't be trying to teach anyone how to sew or do anything like that. Rather I want to just post pictures of things I'm working on, kind of like an online catalog of projects.

So far I've completed two things and am working on 3 others.

First I decided to take a class from Hart's Fabric, the cute local fabric store.  I have already spent quite a bit of money their on fabric, notions, sewing tools and even a book. Thankfully the employees are all very friendly and helpful. I took a great class for beginners and planned to make a bag for my mum in thanks for getting the machine.

Here's what I made:

The print in the middle is a super cute gardening print, and the contrast and lining is a flower print. 

Steve the doggie likes it too!

I learned SO MUCH just from taking this two session class where we got help making this bag. The teacher started out explaining fabric: precare, grain, crossgrain, bias, pressing.  It was all so helpful.  I also ended up learning how to use the sewing foot that does a clean top stitch, made the pockets, attached snaps and interfacing. I was very proud to finish this after hours and hours.  (The 6 hours of class time was not enough for a beginner!)

Once I started sewing I discovered I want to make things for other people! I currently have 3 things I'm working on, which I will post about when they are done. 

This is the latest project I finished, a reversible tote bag for my sister, who just left for a cruise today.  The theme was to be nautical, so we picked out these fabrics:
Cotton print, I've been dying to make something with this print since I saw it on Hart's website

This one was in the home decor part of the store, it's a canvas weight and I just love the print! I pretreated it just like cotton, hence the wrinkles....probably it's best to hand wash this kind. 

The finished bag:

It turned out a little bigger than I expected!! It's reversible and has a pocket on the inside and outside, which is handy.  The pattern called for the handle to be the same fabric as the contrast, but for some reason I didn't have enough fabric, so I must have cut it wrong.  With using the home decor weight and all the interfacing the pattern called for, it's a very sturdy bag! The first bag I made above was my first big project so I spent many hours sewing, getting confused, redoing, sewing some more and so on.  This time I understood the pattern language a little better and took my time reading it before I dove into the step.  I still need to learn reading ahead, it will save me some headaches.  :)

Both bags used patterns by Amy Butler, her bags are super cute and the instructions are pretty easy to follow.  Although the patterns are not cheap, she prints them on real paper, not the crazy thin tissue paper.  For the tote, I borrowed a book from the library and just copied the patterns for free.

Stay tuned for my next projects which include my first garment....a cute dress and a tie for the BF.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Finale Part 2

aka Why I am not invested in Project Runway anymore

Season 10 started last week and I realized with a little guilt that I never finished off Season 9 for my blog. I thought about deleting it all.  I know that I don't want to continue my blog but I felt like I should at least finish off what I started. Perhaps leaving the show and then coming back would change my perception.

So I re-watched it and realized I still don't care.  My goal this season is to sew my own things.  Today I had the first episode of Season 10 on as background while I worked and was not interested enough in the show to find it distracting.

Here are my quick two cents on each collection...

Lots of bold colors, not much of anything super new.  The white pieces thrown in were distracting for me. Good job, but it seems like she needs more time discovering what her style is.

He was all over the place. He did do a lot of different separates which makes it a bit more fun but most looks did not seem flattering at all.

I was a huge fan of his theme and style. I thought his collection was the most cohesive and looked the most expensive and had a great range of different pieces.

Many of her clothes have a nice movement and flow to them and there is a market for beach resort wear clothing.  Otherwise there was not much diversity to her clothes and I found it very convenient that they got $500 extra after Anya had 2 very hideous looks that she clearly needed to pull from her collection to come even close to winning.

After they announce Anya as the winner, I find that I am not upset by it the second time around.  It was so obvious from many episodes ago that the producers were going to do whatever it took to get her to the finale and after spending so much effort and episode tweaking, if they had not given Anya the win it would have been even more ridiculous.

If you read this blog and don't already follow Tom and Lorenzo's, you really need to! I read their posts about the show without seeing the new Season and they are so funny and sharp I was more entertained than when I heard the actual show in the background.  LUV THEM!

I miss the first 4 seasons of Project Runway, I may rewatch those and enjoy my old friends while I work on learning how to create my own pieces.