Wednesday, August 17, 2016


I love learning new things, though sometimes I wonder about my ability to do so.  Sometimes I get tripped up by what seems to be a simple thing. Like a certain detail in this project.

I saw this project on Pinterest and mentally filed it under "Some Day That Would be Nice to Sew".  We're getting ready for an epic two week camping road trip, and my husband and I got camp cots.  We've just had too many bad experiences with air mattresses--even more expensive, brand name ones. I realized that this little ditty bag (she calls it a "diddy" bag, I think.  I'm not sure which is right!) would be perfect to hang off the cot for our glasses, flashlight, ear plugs, cell phone, etc. I'd just need to use a snap instead of sewing the loop handle!

Can you see the adorable frog snap?

I got digging in the fabrics and thought this wildlife print would be appropriate!
I also had some brown cord and some brown twill, but not enough to do two in either. 

One bag was supposed to be in one, and one in the other, but I goofed when cutting the curved pieces.  I was also getting overwhelmed because I was using a different fabric for the inside (MUST have light coloured insides of bags!), and I wasn't doing the hidden zipper. Towards the final assembly, I just set one group of fabric aside and worked on one bag until nearly done.

I used this foil backed foam I had laying around. It came as a big sheet, like a windshield sun protector, but I think it was advertised as "material" for home sewing of insulated items (bought it from Jysk and they often have strange things you wouldn't expect).  It was very noisy when working with it, and perhaps not as flexible as just fusible foam interfacing.  It also melts when touches the over-wattage light bulb in the sewing machine. Just so you know :)

I was confused about sewing the front to the back.  Well, first I was confused about cutting the front curved pieces.  I didn't see in the picture how she did step 2 in the Preparation--cut into the fold for an inch.  Wouldn't that mean the bottom of the curve is a 2" straight section? When you sew it together, the back is straight across, and the curve is starting IN the seam allowance, so I didn't know how to go from the straight part, to the curve which was less than the 3/8" seam allowance away from the straight part.  So I started sewing the curve in the straight part, when I got to where the edge of the curve would be 3/8" seam allowance.  It seems in the pictures that was the right thing to do, but I thought at first the curve was supposed to be only the front piece.

And then the boxed corners.

I've never boxed corners before! I hadn't been too careful when cutting that 1" box out. So sewing it wasn't precise. Then I went back to the instructions and couldn't figure out how to pinch it and whatever. I googled for a bit and found these instructions that clearly show you DON'T sew around the box!!! Of course, I had also forgotten to leave an opening in the liner/inside bag LOL.

From there, it went much better and I was AMAZED at my boxed corners!!  Like, I went around showing everyone in my family how awesome it was.  They didn't care! 

I'm pretty happy with the finished bags. I think/hope they will be really useful in the tent.  I'm testing one in my truck, LOL.  I might just need to make another one!

While we're away, my parents are going to look after our dog (they have his brother and live on 80 acres with a pond for them!).  As a thank you, I decided to sew one for them.  I had cleaned their truck last time I was up and figured this had to  be an improvement over a Subway bag around the shifter for garbage! Knowing they would still want a garbage bag, I wanted to laminate the inside fabric.
 I had bought what I thought was iron on clear laminate.  Well.  Turns out it was fusible webbing with a clear plastic oversheet so you could be precise with your appliques.  Or something.  I thought "What if I fuse it to my fabric, but leave the plastic on?  Well, it's very crinkly noisy.  Then I thought, what if I iron it to my fabric, peel the plastic off, and place some clear adhesive plastic on? I had a roll of what I thought was plastic with adhesive, you know--peel and stick laminating with no heat machine needed. There was no adhesive on the plastic and seemed to be two layers that were starting to come unlaminated in places.   I tried ironing it to the exposed fusible glue, but it didn't take evenly and wasn't all that nice looking. Then I thought, what if I could fuse the PUL film I have to the fabric. I couldn't find the PUL film. So, at the end of my rope, I just left the other inside piece with the glue webbing exposed.  After having tried ironing the different plastics to it, the glue webbing had sort of melted and hardened.  It's not "laminate" fabric, and it will probably chip off, especially if this needs to go in the washing machine, but at least it's a bit of protection.

The boxed corners went much quicker this time.  I was also not using the foam interfacing, but just heavy iron on interfacing. I worried it wouldn't be stiff enough, but since it's laying against the transmission hump, it's not a problem.  I topstitched a pen slot in the outer pocket but sadly, I measured from the basting line, instead of the final seam line, so it's a bit tighter than it should be.

I was really pleased that the stripes on the strap fabric lined up when I went to sew it together. Totally unplanned!!

I hope they like it and it's actually useful, not just something you think is going to be useful, but ends up just a bit small, or a bit awkward, etc.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Slip Up

In nice weather, I hang my clothes outside to dry.  My husband refuses to put up a clothes line or "umbrella" so I use a curtain rod he put up when he redid the deck and we thought a curtain would keep the sun out of the covered portion.  I have noticed while my dresses were drying in the sun, that they're a little ....see through.  Not really transparent, but just allowing a little more to be seen than probably should. No thongs for me, but still.

I've wanted to make a slip for awhile.  My old white one is bleh.  Dingy, dead elastic, and from about 25lb ago.  Cheap nylon.  I was sure I could do better.  I went searching and found some fabrics to choose from.  I did some burn tests, and while my white fabrics did appear to be cotton (the new polyester dresses I've made are horrible for static so I wanted a natural fiber slip), I went with this gold fabric that appeared to be a silk taffeta.  It was in a big bag of fabrics from my brother in law, off cuts and remnants from his work in movie and TV props/set design.

Burn test for silk--smells like burning feathers.

How am I supposed to know what that smells like?!

At first, I was going to not have the elastic waist, and do something that closed with a snap.  Because I have snap pliers and am not afraid to use them. I did go with the elastic because had it, and thought that for my first attempt I should stick with the pattern and it would give me a good practice run for lingerie elastic if I ever get around to making some underwear or bras.  Which I can't now because I have no lingerie elastic.

I was going to sew in a power mesh panel across the front.  But a) I couldn't find the power mesh until after I finished and b) I sort of didn't read the directions and had only one side seam.

 I read to have 3" of ease over your hip measurement. This created quite a bit of gathering in this slightly stiff silk.  I pulled the elastic so it felt snug around my waist, but when sewing it on, I just couldn't stretch it enough to reach my first quarter mark.  So I unpicked it and added another length to the elastic.  It is rather pouffy around the waist, too much for my slimmer dresses, but okay for the new polyester dresses.

For the bottom I just decided to go with what the fabric was telling me. I had no lace, I thought a hem would be boring, so I just went with the fringed selvege edge.  Why not?  I zig zagged across it and trimmed anything loose.

If I wanted to, I could actually wear this as a skirt.  I'm not a skirt person though.  And then I'd need a slip under it LOL.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

One Step Forward...

I'm having a second week of "one step forward, two steps back" sewing.  Everything easy is suddenly hard, seams need to be ripped out frequently, and I have pretty much used up all my odd coloured bobbins while basting.  Hopefully the end results are worth it!!

Friday, August 05, 2016

It's Still Hot Here

At the start of the summer, I need a mindless project, something for car rides and concerts in the park. I usually have a pair of socks on the go, but wanted something more. I found this yarn in my stash and knew it was time.  It's listed just as "Grand River Yarns" 100% Rayon.  GRY is an interesting yarn business.  Check out her website! I'm a bit worried though.  The last time I used a 100% rayon yarn from GRY, it lost all the dye when I washed it!  However, the rayon I worked with before, and rayon fabric, have all been very drapey and slippery.  This yarn had a "dry" feel, and more body.  It felt almost like a silk.  And it has a nice sheen.

I started early June, not sure when except that I was working on the yoke, past the increases, on Father's Day weekend when I was at a party.  I finished it two Thursdays ago, at a "Brass on the Grass" concert, but after trying it on at home, I ripped back the sleeves to loosen them.

 As usual, when I went to put it on last night, I found a yarn end that hadn't been woven in!  I had promised the other ladies at the |"Brass On the Grass Concert" two weeks ago that I would wear it next time (which was last night).

I made this sweater once before.  Back then, I wasn't really happy with the way the front top opening rolled and how it was pouffy around the top.  I thought it was just my poor crocheting skills.  This time, I tried super hard to follow the pattern, and it still happened.  When it came time to separate it, I worked the numbers a bit differently so the back would be a bit smaller than the front.  It actually feels a smidge snug across the back when I lift my arms.  And small around the waist.  I did a few rows of crochet around the opening to give a bit more width, but I guess it could have used more.  I also had an issue when I went back to do the sleeves.  The first sleeve, the pattern worked out perfectly. The second sleeve, somehow it didn't work out and I was half a repeat off.  Much fudging happened on that sleeve!
I love the colour.  Everyone that sees it loves the colour.  It's a bit more turquoise than is showing on my screen.  Very deep, like Caribbean beaches past the shallow area.  Sigh.  I miss those beaches.  I have a skein and a half or so left (150gr). 

Yarn In: 1586gr
Yarn Out:  315gr + 4599gr= 4914gr
Balance:  3328gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $74.87/218 days = $0.34/day

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Hot Summer!

After an on-again, off-again winter, and a spring that never happened, summer finally came to Ontario in a BIG way.  This has been an exceptionally hot and dry and humid July.  Recently I had to go to Fabricland (our version of Joanne's, I guess) for thread and red satin cord (for that Santa stocking I posted last time).  I got the thread, forgot the cord, and walked out with 1.5m of fiery hot smocked polyester.

My idea was simple.  To recreate this dress.  Four years ago?! I love this dress still, and get lots of compliments.  I figured once I cut the length down, that portion will be enough for the top part.  I started with that--cutting the bottom length off.  Then I decided to use the free Sorbetto pattern by Colette. I printed it out, taped it together and got it cut out.  As I was laying it on my fabric, I thought...mmm...I chose the size for my 44" bust, but really, that's not 22"+22", it's more like 20" + 24", I wonder if the front piece is going to fit me! I measured the pattern piece, and with the pleat not folded in, the front piece measured 25" (I think).  I opted to not sew the pleat!  I also took a little wedge out of the front strap, shortening the armhole by about 1/2".  I cut it out, sewed it together and to the smocked portion of the fabric and tried it on.

For larger pictures, just click on one, and it should take you to the Blogger picture viewer.

It wasn't right.  Somehow, the front was not really long enough, and the smocked portion was too long, and since it was a smidge smaller than it should have been, it clung to my muffin top.  I pulled up the bottom to a better fit, and marked it.  I decided to make the darts a bit shorter and narrower to get a bit more length in the top portion, and use a narrower seam allowance. I also unpicked the first row of smocking--where I was joining the top and smocking--to reduce the gathering  and hope it blended in with the top better.  I think I also unpicked the first row that showed.  The fabric still gathers into the seam, but it's not as dramatic so it's still smoother under my bust.

The fit isn't perfect still.  Now there is a bit of gaping on the armholes, and it rides up a bit under my bust, but I just keep tugging it down.  I'm not going to get all fussy with it.  Maybe try a different bra next time.  It's longer and less full than the original inspiration, but that's okay.  The big issue is that it's polyester, and clings to me!! 

I did a rolled edge for the bottom of the skirt, and it was fun playing with the colours in the serger to get it just right.  It's done in orange and looks great.  I toyed with doing that around the neck and arms too, but felt it might look a little unfinished.  Instead, I took my scrap from cutting the top pieces, found the bias in a section that still had the bottom selvage, started making 1" lines from the widest portion.  My rotary cutter is dull, my scissors were pretty dull, so this process was aggravating!  Then I sewed all the pieces together, alternating shorter and longer pieces. 

Then, it was time to use my bias binding tool and iron.  Well.  It didn't take long to conclude that was a waste of time.  I ditched the iron and just started sewing the binding on, as per the Sorbetto instructions.  It actually went a lot better than I expected, though I wish it was a bit wider.  I was worried about not having enough of the binding, but it was amazing how much it made just from the left over piece!!  And, I was even able to plan out each edge so that the seams of the tape were at the start or shoulder seam spots, with having just a little bit of waste from doing so.

Now, all I need is a little cotton slip.  And time to make the next one, in blues.....with a different top design....

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Five Months Until Christmas

Yesterday I had a sweet lady pick up another Christmas stocking, to match the other four I made last summer.  It's for her daughter-in-law, the last of the adults to get one.  Hopefully they will want more for the kids! 
 If the picture is too large for your screen, you can click on it and look via the Picture Viewer.

I got started on this earlier this spring once my wrist was healed and was making good time.  But something was nagging me.  I still had the charts, though there were a few spots where I wasn't sure (I had erased one colour and gone over with another and I couldn't tell which was the "real" colour), and I didn't have much info for between the charts, or the heel/toe.  So I emailed Jason, the original client, and asked if it was possible to get one of his so I could make sure I had all the info.  He was happy to drop it off and immediately I knew I was in trouble.

It was knit at a smaller gauge!  Melissa's looked sloppy and loose all of a sudden.  So...early July...I ripped it back to the top of the Merry Christmas banner!  Ugh.  I then focused all my attention on it and got it done in record time.
 Here is the new one side by side with one from last summer. 
 The beards are slightly different because I wasn't following the chart too closely, LOL, and anyway, I think a little bit of uniqueness for each one is good.
Hi Santa!  Several times I started knitting your nose in white, only to realize it was supposed to be red.   I need to update the chart and make that clearer!

Connor's used 76gr and Melissa's used 74gr.  I think Connor's had one more row in the red top edge.  I couldn't get any of them to match the original cast on exactly.

Yarn In: 1586gr
Yarn Out:  4519gr + 80gr = 4599gr
Balance:  3013gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $74.87/197 days = $0.36/day

Friday, July 15, 2016


I needed new dishcloths.  I don't know what happened, but the pretty ones I crocheted up this spring (or maybe it was last spring actually), they got moldy and stained :( That never happens with my knitted ones!  I grabbed a bin that had what I thought was some ends of cones of cotton yarns, but it had only a green and a white, I think size 10 Handicrafter Cotton.  I wanted to do the circular one I usually do, on the LK150, and thought it would be cool to plate it (plait).  That's putting one colour in feeder 1 and one in feeder 2, so the knit side shows one colour and the purl side shows the other.  They do both show on both sides, but one is much more prominent.

I struggled with tension.  I struggled with just getting the carriage to move.  I dusted, I lubed, I upped the tension.  And after doing six wedges it was not going to be a circle like it should.  I decided on a couple more wedges.  Then I realized I had cast on twice as many stitches as needed.  Ooops.  Picture on Instagram!

Started up again, and it went a lot better, even though at this point, all I changed was the number of stitches.  I should have listened to my machine earlier on!  I did a second one, reversing the yarns in the feeder.  Then I opted for a rectangular one in tuck but it gave me headaches too, so half way thru I changed it to single strand.

Then I decided to move to the standard gauge and try single strand and some punch cards.  A few issues, but I just wanted dishcloths, so I just did what ever necessary to get the yarn used up.  Ended up with more green than white.  Whatever.  A few are nice enough for when company comes.
This one was supposed to be a slipped stitch pattern, with the card locked on row 1.  It didn't work.  It worked when the card wasn't locked, but of course, made a different design.

I weighed them with the waste yarn because it was truly waste yarn this time.

This was another one, I think card 3 (Singer), that was to have the card locked on row 1 to create vertical columns of tucking.  I use card 3 a lot, it's so versatile.  I liked the vertical look to it, but again, it didn't work.  The card was not rotating, it was definitely locked.  So I don't know what the issue was.

Yarn In: 1586gr
Yarn Out: 159gr + 4360gr = 4519gr
Balance:  2933gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $74.87/197 days = $0.38/day