Sewing Tools Organizer – Finished

Here it is – just completed. A tiny bit wider than the original tools organizer but I was reluctant to make it narrower since I wasn’t sure how much width I was going to lose when I added in the zipper sides. Big-ish isn’t a problem, too small would have been.

So you can see the welted zipper opening on the front. What isn’t obvious is my name in the lower right – I chose the wrong colour embroidery thread! Instead of the lime green I should have used a golden orange (up close you can see the name, it just doesn’t hit you in the face).

New Exterior Case

The pattern (which I linked to yesterday – scroll down the blog entry) was helpful for dimensions and some overall construction suggestions, but because I wanted elements between outer and inner fabrics I couldn’t quilt the pieces and had to carefully think my way through construction. Not having the outer and lining fabrics on the sides not quilted was a bonus – it helped with zipper installation because I could apply the zipper to the outer fabric, then add the lining enclosing the zipper seams.

Applying the binding was a slow process – having to stitch through anywhere from 8-12 layers of fabric meant I needed to take my time although the machine handled the job perfectly well (with a new sharp universal 90 needle). In the end, I’m happy with how the binding turned out.

Here’s the interior:

Interior With Tool Pages From Original Organizer

The point of this project was to create a new case for the tools organizer – the original “pages” of pockets were fine – they just needed a new cover. Since the pattern has directions for making these pages, I may actually attempt one more – the cover is loose enough to accommodate another. What isn’t visible are the two pockets on the inside of the organizer covers – one zippered, one closed with some velcro.

Although I suspect many of the sewing ladies at Sew With Vision would be interested in making an organizer for themselves I have a feeling the sewing around these small round corners to apply binding is more difficult than many of them would be willing to attempt. I’ll take my organizer into the shop to show it off and ask what that the staff think.

Don’t know what’s next.

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Drawstring Bags – Done!

Just finished the last of the drawstring bags for Christmas gifts – eighteen here, twenty-one in all. Just in time for tomorrow’s Friday afternoon knitters get together.

Drawstring Bags – Eighteen Completed

For the most part I was able to fabricate these bags using fabric for the outside and lining, for the drawstring channels, buttons, wooden beads, from the supplies I had on hand. I did have to buy 6mm grosgrain ribbon and a few wooden beads to finish the last few but for the most part I used what I had. That doesn’t mean there was no cost associated with the bags but it feels differently (like free) when I don’t have to go out and buy specific supplies for a project.

Now back to quilting the Layer Cake Quilt. Hoping to finish it this weekend.

Seven Done – Fourteen To Go

Just finished the seventh shoe bag – fourteen to go.

Shoe Bags

Here is this year’s Christmas gift (last year I gave small zippered bags) – a drawstring bag for carrying shoes during the winter. They’re not large enough for sneakers/running shoes, but if it’s a snowy day and you’re wearing boots, then this bag is perfect for bringing along a pair of “lady’s” shoes. It’s also a great size for carrying knitting or a hand sewing project, a book, art supplies, even makeup.

I was originally given a drawstring bag by a Japanese friend and it was immediately obvious the design was better than any I’d ever made – it was lined, made with separate channels for the drawstrings, and a buttoned pocket on one side.

I was limited by the width of fabric strips I was using – I’d pulled from the 9″ scrap bags (Keepsake Quilting puts together sets of coordinating fabrics using twelve 9″ width of fabric cuts of both printed and batik fabrics) fabrics I didn’t think I’d want to use in a quilt. So the final size of each bag was limited to 8 1/2″ x 16″ (don’t forget 1/4″ seam allowances). The drawstring channels are constructed from two 2 1/2″ x 17″ strips of fabric, sewn to form a circle, turned right side out and folded – long, raw edges together – and pressed. Each channel is inserted (raw edges to the opening) between the outer bag and the lining (which is placed right side together over the stitched outer bag). The top edge is sewn with a 1/4″ seam. The lining is pulled over the bag, the bottom end serged and the lining pushed inside the bag. I used narrow grosgrain ribbon for the drawstrings, used some smallish wooden beads (with large holes) to secure the ends. The drawstrings are strung through both channels, one from each side.

The first three bags have already been gifted – they were samples to establish size and production details. They lacked front pockets – didn’t think of adding the pocket until I started cutting the scrap bag fabrics – after cutting the two 17″ pieces for the length of bag I had just the right amount left for a lined pocket!

So now back to the sewing machine to assemble another batch – it’ll probably take me one more day to finish up the twenty-one bags I need.

Moth Holes

Embroidery to hide moth holes

Friday afternoon Joyce showed me the wool sweater she was wearing – a couple of moth holes in the front. She wondered whether they could be repaired. I assured her they could (there were two smaller holes near the first one as well) with a well placed machine embroidery.

I spent some time locating an embroidery design that would sit over the holes, not be too dense, and I could set up to curve toward the shoulder. I turned the sweater inside out, used “Whisper Web” interfacing (a light, cut away), hooped the right front side, chose mauve/rose rayon embroidery thread, then stitched out the design. I added two small sections of close zigzag to obscure the larger hole further, and stitched out a single leaf over a second small hole nearby.

The completed embroidery is subtle but it does the job.

PS: I just returned the sweater to Joyce, she tried it on, and she’s thrilled with it! I’m happy she’s happy.

A Foot Pedal Bag

Foot Pedal Bag

I picked up my new Pfaff Creative Icon embroidery machine on Thursday. I knew when I bought the Creative Sensation Pro II a year ago that I would upgrade to the Icon when it became available because of the many improvements. First thing I did after unpacking the machine and embroidery unit was to try it out – without reading the manual! I figure the icons and gestures on the new touch screen on the machine would be relatively intuitive and they were. The manual also happens to be on the sewing machine but I’ve downloaded it from the Pfaff site and installed it on my iPad. I wish I actually had a physical users guide – I like having the manual beside me as I’m trying to figure out how something is done, flipping through the pages and writing notes to myself to remind me about various techniques – I haven’t so far figured out how to add notes to the pages on my iPad.

I found an embroidery design I liked that would be large enough to fill one side of the bag – I chose some rayon thread and stitched it out on a piece of cotton backed with low-loft needle-punched cotton batting as stabilizer using the medium size hoop (260mm x 200mm). Adding my name offered a few challenges but in the end I figured out how to use a built-in embroidery alphabet, scale down the embroidery, and position it where I wanted it without a lot of frustration.

The second side of the bag I pieced using 2″ scrap strips in two directions. I didn’t bother embroidering the resulting pieced fabric. What I did find challenging was using the reverse button – it wasn’t until I was nearly finished the strip piecing that I discovered a small indicator light that let me know when I was “in reverse” – I kept looking for that information on the touch screen. There’s a second indicator light next to the reverse light – I’ve tried finding out what the light is for in the user’s manual but haven’t yet been successful. There’s a small embossed icon above that second light that hints at an end tie-off but I can’t seem to make the light come on…

I added a zipper, lining, and stitched up this bag for my foot pedal and power cord. Very handy to have when taking the machine anywhere or for packing it away (which I never do!).

Today, I worked on the Icon to finish the Improv quilt top and to piece the back (I usually do piecing on my Brother straight stitch quilting machine). The straight stitching on the Icon is very good, and the upgraded IDT (integrated dual feed – a built in walking foot, in other words) does a great job – I stitched five narrow strips together for the quilt back starting at the same end each time – no bowing. The resulting pieced panel was perfectly straight.

I have to say, I’m liking this machine.

Remodelling t-Shirts

t-Shirt With Lowered Neck & New Neckband

With the medallion quilt completed, today, I turned to clearing up the piles of stuff in my sewing room. At least six weeks ago I pulled four t-Shirts from my closet with the intention of lowering the neckline. The shirts had originally been high crewneck long sleeve t-Shirts which I’d bought so I could shorten the sleeves and end up with sleeves just above my elbow – that’s not something you can purchase, trust me.

I wore them last year, but realized I wasn’t wearing them this year because the neckline was too high. So I moved them from the closet to my sewing space intending to remodel the neckline. Finally got to that today. Started by cutting off the crewneck ribbing and dropping the front about 2″. Then I cut 1 3/4″ x 24″ strips from some t-Shirt fabric I have on hand, serged the folded strip to each t-Shirt neckline. Remodelling complete. The contrasting neckband doesn’t look bad at all. And it lays flat – I tried them on. (I should have used dark serger thread to stitch on the new neckband, but hey, the stitching can’t be seen on the outside.)

Remodelled t-Shirts

It’s true, t-Shirt weather is just about over here in Nova Scotia – maybe one more day warm enough to put on a short sleeve top. But these shirts are now ready for next warm season.

Dropped Neckline

Stretch Cotton t-Shirt

This is actually the second t-Shirt – the first was a disaster (too big and too long – the culprit was the light weight black and white knit I bought in San Francisco – too loosely knit, I think). It went into the trash pile.

I bought the fabric for this shirt at my nearby Pfaff dealer who stocked some very nice stretch cotton knit this summer. This red stripe was the only one of those fabrics that suited my colouring, too bad. 0.8m (60″ wide) was enough for a t-shirt for me. The fabric sewed easily – didn’t have to fight it.

Red Stripe t-Shirt

Given my floppy upper arms, I like a sleeve that comes almost to my elbow so I lengthened the short sleeves. The pattern also uses a facing for the neck edge – nobody finishes a t-Shirt neck with a facing – I serged a doubled (24″ x 1 1/4″) strip to the neck edge (1 1/2″ shorter than the length of the neck so I could ease the neck edge into the seam). I also cut 1 1/4″ from the bottom edge – I’m short, and didn’t need the shirt to come below mid-stomach.

I cut out the shirt a couple of days ago. I was able to sew it up in under 2 hours this morning. I pressed the neck band toward the body and top stitched it 1.5mm from the seam to keep it flat. Cover-stitched the sleeve and bottom hems.

The Pattern is a Burda pattern I’ve had for ages (I tried finding some hint online about when the pattern was first released but came up empty although many people have made it – lots of photos of finished shirts). The size 14 fits me reasonably well. It’s easy to make with the 1/4″ seam allowances included in the pattern – makes fitting sleeve curves straightforward because you don’t have to fight the excess fabric in a 5/8″ allowance.

Burda 3197 Pattern (Vintage)

Now I need to go through my fabric stash and see if I can find another suitable knit to make at least one more of these shirts (then I’ll be able to cull some of the older ones in my closet).