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1  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Why do I keep buying chiffon and organza? - a rant on: January 27, 2011 05:53:37 PM
Sometimes I think a part of my brain wants me to quit sewing and it makes me impulsively buy sheer, slippery fabrics.  "It'll be beautiful looking in that pattern you saw", it says.  "It'll look so professional.  Yes, yes, buy it."

Problem is that fabric does not want to be made into clothes.  It's near impossible to lay it out flat and straight to cut.  It runs away from the scissors.  It slips away from the needle.  It frays.  It makes me mutter obscenities while attempting french seams.  It drives me to drink which leads to more fabric slipping.  I finish it out of spite against the fabric and don't sew for a few weeks. 

Then I make some things out of cotton and wool.  I feel good about my machine and skills again.  I go to the fabric store to pick up some snaps and there, on sale, is some beautiful silk organza calling out to me.  The cycle continues. 

I'm going upstairs for a beer.
2  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Zipper fly tutorial on: January 19, 2011 07:53:15 PM
I was terribly afraid of doing a zipper fly when I made my first pair of pants.  And my second pair too.  But when I made my THIRD pair I actually took the time to figure out why I was doing things and it started to make more sense (mainly because I drafted my own pattern and I had to)(and I royally messed up the first time and had to rip the whole thing out).  So I thought Id share my line of reasoning behind zipper flies.

First of all, unzip your jeans and take a look at how that works.  If you find youre wearing sweatpants, watch this video: http://current.com/shows/infomania/90012248_sarah-haskins-in-target-women-medicine.htm  If youre at work reading this, dont unzip your pants. 

Alright, back to your jeans.  The left side (your left since youre wearing them; Im always going to refer to left and right sides of the pants as if you were wearing them) overlaps the right (I just checked my husbands pants and it seems the same for men and women).  The left side of the zipper is sewn into a piece of fabric that sits BEHIND the outside left side of the pants.  That backing piece of fabric is then stitched to the outside of the pants in a nice j-shaped seam that is visible for all to see (Ill have more pictures later, right now youre looking down your pants).  The RIGHT side has a flap that is sewn in behind the zipper.  This flap protects your delicates from the angry teeth of the zipper when you zip up.  Got it?  I will now refer to these pieces as THE FRONT and THE BACK.

So, right then, putting in your own zipper.  Youve already sewn the rest of the pants and the front seam is sewn together up to where the zipper goes in.  Generally pattern instructions seem to start with the right side which is THE BACK piece.  On this side you sew the right outside of your pants, the zipper, and THE BACK piece all together.  THE BACK piece as you can see from the picture above is cut out on the fold, folded over, and pressed.  It is all assembled as shown (EXPLODED VIEW! WOO!  The blue line is actually a single line of sewing.):

So the trick here is to make that blue line of stitching as close to the edge of the outside of the pants as you can manage.  That way, when the left side overlaps the right it will completely cover the zipper and this seam.  This is easiest with a zipper foot which allows you to sew close to the zipper.  A zipper foot is basically half a foot.  You can clip it on either the right or left side depending on what you need.  Your sewing machine probably came with it.  It is NOT the invisible zipper foot (which is awesome, and nicely explained here: http://grosgrainfabulous.blogspot.com/2010/07/techique-tuesday-invisible-zipper.html). 

It is sewn together like so:

I basted (sew with the longest stitch on your machine, just to hold it together first) the three layers (outside, zipper, THE BACK) together first just to hold everything together and be easier to sew that real seam line in really close to the zipper.  You rip out the basting stitch later.  I highly recommend you baste in a dramatically different color (unlike me) so its easier to pull out.  I start the stitch with the zipper totally open and sew down til Im nearly at the toggle.  Then I back stitch.

I pull the fabric out of the machine and close the zipper.  I line my foot back up with where I stopped off stitching and start again going to the bottom.  This way the whole line can be very close to the zipper teeth.  In the end you get a nice seam very close to the zipper.  Right side done.

Now, the left side.  Interface the indicated side of THE FRONT.  Sew the long straight side of THE FRONT to the right (correct) side of the outside left.  Turn THE FRONT around to the inside of the pants and steam it to get the shape right.  If you were wearing the pants, you dont want to see THE FRONT piece, so make sure it sits nicely behind the outside of the pants.

You need to sew the left side of the zipper to THE FRONT piece and NOT to the outside of the pants.  However, you need to know where to sew the zipper to THE FRONT piece.  Smooth out your pants and arrange them like youd like them to close.  The key here is to bring the seamed edge of the left side to overlap and cover the line of stitching on the right side of the pants.  So, when you arrange it the way you want, hand stitch the left side to the right side.  Use a nice big stitch and a contrasting thread.

Alright, this positions your zipper over THE FRONT piece so you can see where you want to sew it together.  Now fold back the outside left so only THE FRONT piece and your zipper would be under your sewing foot. 

Sew those suckers together.  Its not as important here to be super close to the zipper.  If you sew back a bit you dont have to do that trick opening and closing the zipper. 

Alright, you can rip out that hand sewing if you like. 

And this is what you get:

Nearly done!  Now you just make that decorative J-shaped stitch.  The vertical part of the J holds THE FRONT to the outside left of the pants.  The horizontal short arm of the J sews the outside left to the bottom of THE FRONT and the bottom of THE BACK.  This keeps THE BACK in place so it protects and doesnt flip out of position.   You can either sew all three layers together at once or first sew THE FRONT to the outside left and get the curve you want, then sew the edge of THE FRONT to the back to keep it in place, which is what I do.  This stitch will also anchor the bottom of your zipper, so make sure you catch it in the stitching too. 

Thats it.  The fly is in.  You still have to do the waistband, but thats another discussion for another time.  I also didnt talk about sizing your zipper, but that should be on the zipper package. 

Take a look at some of your pants now.  Everyone does flies a little differently - jeans actually tend to have more overlap of the left side, but this is the basic idea.  Hope this helps.  Pants arent hard, theyre just intimidating.  And try not to curse your seam ripper too much.  Good old trusty ripper-outer, how I hate having to use you.  Practice makes perfect though, right?  Ask if something doesn't make sense and I'll try to clarify it or fix any errors I have.  I'm a bit whipped now, tutorials are harder than I thought.  Smiley  I probably should have had a picture of the finished deal.  Eh, look at your jeans again.  It'll look just like that. 

The pink pants Im putting the fly in here are NEARLY done, I just need some buttons for the back faux-pockets and slides for the waistband closure.  Theyll get posted later.
3  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Cruella DeVil by Simplicity 3684 on: December 16, 2010 05:38:35 PM
No puppies were harmed in the making of this shirt.  Some polyester beasts gave their all, however.

I saw this fabric at Hancocks and decided I needed myself a big bow blouse made out of it.  It's Simplicity 3684 again (I did it here before: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=353582.msg4131055#msg4131055), but I cut out the correct smaller size this time, put the shoulders in the correct place, and picked a different sleeve.  The bow is just a very long piece of the same fabric (45" + 45" by 4") that I put a rolled hem on (geez, that's an annoyingly picky foot to use).  I just tuck it under the collar and tie a bow in it just where I start buttoning the shirt.

So this is one of those projects that I was super excited to start and then started questioning half-way through and nearly gave up on.  I mean, it's dalmatian print.  Looking at the fabric for too long made me question my sanity.  Couple that with the hair pulling annoyance of sewing slippery fabric and I nearly threw the whole thing out.  I'm glad I stuck with it though because I LOVE it (and shockingly so does my husband).  Without the bow it's just kind of a crazy shirt, but the bow really pulls it together and it feels like a Look.

Next, it needs a black pencil skirt.   Grin
4  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / I draped a knit dress - with moderate success on: November 24, 2010 03:09:28 PM
There was only 1 5/8 of a yard of this material left on the bolt, but I knew I wanted to make a wrap dress out of it.  I draped a mock up of the crossover of the top of the dress using some ugly double knit I had lying around (it was good to finally put it to use) and realized I didn't have enough material, so I decided to go with a faux wrap.  I kind of pinned it to my dressform and cut out the rough shape I wanted.  Then I serged it together, pulled it on myself checked the fit, made alterations, repeat.  When I was happy with the top I cut it apart and used the pieces at a pattern on the good material.  I just fudged the skirt part.

So, things to know: don't just randomly raise the neckline (I was trying to make it work appropriate) on a cross over top without rechecking the fit.  It does strange things.  Also, I probably should have thought about trying to line up the side seams of the skirt with the side seams of the top.  Luckily, the fabric is busy enough to hide many issues.  Next time, right?

I will say that I wore the dress to church the day I finished it and while walking up to the altar I felt a very small hand on my butt.  I turned around to see a little boy being hauled backwards by his very sheepish looking mother.  He looked up and me and stated "I like your dress."


5  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / baby bunting quilt on: November 09, 2010 06:36:00 PM
Oh hey, look at this: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=361909.0.  She even posted the link to a tutorial.  Mine is slightly more complex than the tutorial as I hand stitch the binding and did a bit more quilting. 

<return to original post>

First of all, I think baby quilts are my quilting calling.  I just don't have the patience for a full sized quilt (I have one on the bed and it's tied, not quilted).  So, I saw this bunting idea on the interwebs and when I was invited to a good friend's shower that was 5 1/2 hours away I decided to make a quilt out of guilt (that's a really long ways away and I saw her last month)(and baby showers are hella boring, let's just admit it).  

Anyway, behold the easiest quilt to make ever:

The bunting and binding is all from scrap fabric in my stash.  The bunting is just zig-zag stitched on, not really properly appliqud.  I'm telling myself the eventual light fraying will go with the look.  It's all 100% cotton and the batting is organic since it is for a baby and all.  It's 36" x 48" because that fit nicely on my table when I was cutting it out.  All in all is was about four hours of work (that includes hand stitching down the binding) which is 7 hours less than the car ride would have been.

That's the only pic I took as the camera was out of batteries and I had to drop it off with a family member who was making the long trip down.  Smiley  Also, I know it'll be hard, but try not to be jealous of my insanely awesome orange vinyl couch.
6  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / 50 cent is a poet on: October 18, 2010 04:19:10 PM
Or maybe he's not, but I do love this line.

My first real go at embroidery, despite having a whole kit of floss (it was on sale!  I couldn't help myself!).  I have shingles (sucks) which makes me really tired and sore when I'm not looped out on narcotics so my normal sewing projects were a no-go.  So I sat down, sketched this out with a fabric pen on a scrap of oxford and set to work while sitting in bed or on the  couch.  I pinned it up on the wall next to his computer.  I think I'm going to do a set of in jokes.  Smiley  It was fun and immediate.
7  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Magnetic wall pixels on: October 03, 2010 11:53:16 AM
Woooooo!  I finally finished (kind of):

So I was inspired by Molliemoo's post here: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=358681.0  and thought that I'd love to have something like that in the house.  We have a curving wall up the stairs of the townhouse (it's the reason we bought the place, really) that we hadn't done anything with (too curved to hanged pictures).  It seemed a perfect place to do a moving mural of tiles.  My husband (the programmer) asked for squares rather than circles so it could be "like pixels".  I did blue and yellow because I was nearly paralyzed with color indecision and DH looked over a said "blue is nice".  I thought about staining them all different wood colors too, which would have also been cool.

So I bought magnetic paint (it comes in quarts and I had to do two, so $40 of paint) and slapped it up.  Magnetic paint is like crude oil.  It's crazy thick and ruins everything it touches, including the paint tray.  I had to use bike degreaser to get it off my hands and arms.  The magnetic paint is in about a 4' by 16' swath up the stairs at eye level.  It's also only sort of magnetic.  The magnets I used are strong, but they only lightly hold everything to the wall.  Don't expect to hang much more than balsa wood.

Then I kiltz'd (to tone down the black) and then repainted the wall blue.

The tiles are balsa wood 3", 4", and 5" square (about $50 worth).  I painted them gradients of blue and yellow from pure tone down to white.  Then I hot glued magnets on the back ($40 for 125).  I say the project's only partially done because I have 160 painted tiles and 125 magnets.  And the 5" tiles really need two magnets as they're a bit heavy.

Anyway, here's 120 tiles up:

So I spent about $130 on this (I already had all my own kiltz and colored paint) and still need to buy more magnets.  I'm really happy with it though, it looks awesome in all the different lights, even when it's dark.

The magnet part is nice because you can move everything around as you go.  Right now these guys are just kind of thrown up there.  I'll play around with them in time.  The original project used a painted metal sheet that hung on the wall.

8  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / McCall's M4444 on: September 22, 2010 08:27:45 PM
I made this dress AGES ago, but am trying to post old stuff.

I found the fabric first - an embroidery at one end of a light cotton - and found a pattern to go with it.  The dress turned out all right, but the fabric really isn't heavy enough.  It's so light it doesn't drape all that well, but the richness of the color kind of hides some problems.  I'm not really sure how I should have handled it.

Here's the back, no idea why it's blurry:

9  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Hot Patterns Weekender Monaco Dress on: September 22, 2010 08:22:51 PM
I posted the shirt I made from this pattern here: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=347776.msg4051977#msg4051977 where I talk more about the pattern.

The dress is different.  I made it out of linen and love the look and how easy it is to wear, but you really have to style it right to keep it from looking like a bag.  I pretty much aways wear it with that red flower pin (made that) and some super tall brown sandals and some times my straw cloche.  I get compliments from women and gay men.  Straight men (like my husband) think it looks like a bag.  Aw well, you can't win them all.

10  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Santa comes but once a year - or as often as the Atlanta Thread Company Delivers on: September 22, 2010 03:03:33 PM
First of all, I do not work for these people.  I'm just really excited and would like to share my new knowledge with others.

I'm taking a pattern drafting class through G Street Fabrics in the DC region (also excited about that, but it's another post) and my instructor recommended using the Atlanta Thread and Supply Company for notions and our french curves and what not.  They're an online wholesaler.  So I visited and man are the prices good.

Behold my first expeditionary haul:

All of that (not the blue mat, I already had that) was a grand total of $28.67, including shipping.  Those three spools of serger thread?  $5.55 TOTAL (they're $4.59 individually at most places).  The zippers?  $0.65 each!  A dozen cover your own buttons?  $1.92 total!  Plus I got a $5 off my next purchase coupon which covers my $6.25 of shipping from this one (I think they do the shipping by weight, but I'm not sure).

Anyway, there's no fabric (I think), but tons of other stuff.  It's FANTASTIC and I ordered this stuff on Monday with the regular shipping option and got it on Wednesday.   So, go forth and save some money on notions without having to wait for the 50% off sales at Hancocks and Joannes.
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