Showing posts with label Projects. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Projects. Show all posts

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Wrap Around Pinny Finished

This is one of those sewing projects that stalled and would not restart for some time.  It was nearly finished for ages but now it is really finished.

If I had a dress form I could have shown this off a little better but the coat hanger give some idea.  The pinny crosses over at the front and ties with a slim bow at the back.

The two ties are secured at the waist with a rectangle of topstitching on the inside of the pinny.

The tie on the left front passes through a small gap in the side seam under the armhole on the righthand side of the pinny.  I reinforced this with some back and forward stitches rather than a worked buttonhole.  This is a utility garment after all.

The stalling point for me was the bias binding.  There must be about five yard of the stuff on this garment.  I made my own and first tried to attach it with the vintage binding foot on the Singer 99K.  The straights went well but it struggles with sharper curves and crossing seams.  I had to unpick the dodgy bits and go back over them with the regulars straight stitch foot.

I didn't even attempt it on the armholes.  I went out and bought a bias binder maker which is loads of fun to use and attached the binding by pinning and sewing once through all five layers.  Not the finest of finishes but fine for doing the dishes in.

Not that I will be wearing it for washing the dishes or scrubbing the front step.  It's far too small.  It has however provided me with practice using bias binding and probably the confidence to have a go at making a dressing gown sometime soon.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Baby Fence Rail Quilt - Pt VII: The Big Finish

The Baby Fence Rail Quilt is finished.  It's new owner came to collect it yesterday afternoon an hour or two after I had put the last stitches into the binding.  It was the first time Bill and I had met baby Georgia, who is just four weeks old, and we were captivated

Please excuse my ankles
I wasn't feeling game enough to do the quilting on the Singer 201K and defaulted to my 'go to' quilter the Singer 401K fitted with the walking foot.  I used the same putty-coloured thread to secure the layers as I had used to piece the quilt top.  It shows up better from the back.

The fence rail blocks finished at six inches and used the corners of these blocks are the reference point for the diagonal lines of quilting over the central part of the quilt.  In this way the lines of quilting are four and a quarter inches apart which should be a nice density for a baby quilt.  I quilted in the ditch around the inner border.

This picture shows how well Bill's choice for the backing fabric works.  I think it pops without clashing.  When I was binding the quilt I wanted to do this in exactly the same way I bound the Log Cabin quilt earlier in the year.  I had the blog to remind me but I hadn't been very detailed.  I couldn't for the life of me recall which machine I had used to sew the binding onto the front of the Log Cabin quilt.   So here is a note to myself for future reference:

  • For the fence rail quilt I used the 401G with the walking foot to sew the binding onto the front of the quilt
  • I left eight inch tails at the beginning and of the binding which really made it a lot easier to join them together later
  • I then used a size three between and a ladder stitch to sew the binding onto the back of the quilt using the line of machine stitching from the front as a guide for my hand sewing - yet again this took me hours but I still feel it's time well spent.  After all this is a gift for a very special little bundle.
A well-padded friend maybe just as cuddly as a quilt

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Has anyone ever heard of a Hussif?

I hadn't until I was chatting to follower Ken a week or two ago.  I thought I knew what he was talking about until Monday when I treated myself to a copy of the Merchant & Mills SEWING BOOK.  When I saw a photograph of their project Hussif I realised the picture I had in my head was well off beam.  It turns out that a Hussif is a pocket sewing kit with some whimsical etymology thrown in for good measure.

I am rather taken by the Merchant & Mills SEWING BOOK.  It's an aesthetically pleasing object in its own right and the projects inside are, for the main part, non-gender-specific which makes a welcome change for the male seamster.

As a confirmed old bachelor with some heavy unbleached calico on his hands I figured that a Hussif is the nearest I am likely to get to a housewife and resolved to knock one up [perhaps I should rephrase that!?]

Here are some pictures of my version

Pocket Sewing Kit - open

There are seven pockets for bits and bobs sewing notions.  I made mine the same size as the instructions but the book encourages makers to adjust pocket sizes to fit the objects in their own sewing kit.  The striped ticking covers two layers of cotton quilt wadding which form a pin cushion cum needle case.

Pocket Sewing Kit - closed

Here is the Hussif all furled up and tied shut.  To give you an idea of size the cotton webbing tape is 25mm (yes I've gone metric today) or one inch wide.  I may trim the tape down a bit once things have stretched out a bit.

The first of two big adventures in making this project was printing the downloadable Merchant and Mills graphic onto what can only be described as magic paper and then transferring this to the front of the Hussif using the iron.

I think I may have overcooked the transfer slightly and the instructions on where to position it were not Gavin-proof (I may have got the graphic upside down) but overall I am pleased with the effect.  I am left with some mixed feelings about putting a company logo onto an item I have made but I like the look of the finished project and I have tried out something I never would have done otherwise.  My mind is now teaming with ideas for some kind of Oil & Thread transfer.  Possibly featuring a hen if I can find copyright free image to use.

Adventure number two is a Singer 401G related discovery and one for the seam guide junkies amongst us (you know who you are).  I have discovered that the toe of the general purposes foot can be made to sit under the seam guide.  This is shown in the section of the Manual which shows how to blind stitch hems using the "BO" setting.  I realised that, with the needle centred (red lever at position 3), this gives scant ⅛ seam allowance.

Singer slant shank general purpose food and seam guide
Singer 401G: General purpose foot and seam guide

When would want a scant ⅛ seam allowance?  Well I found it handy when edge stitching the Hussif.  I hope you agree that the results are pretty tasty.

I am planning to hold on to this particular Hussif myself.  I have something in mind for it.  I really enjoyed putting this together.  It's a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  At this point in September I am thinking that one or two of these, filled with some 'heritage' style notions might make good Christmas presents.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Baby Fence Rail Pt VI

A couple of weekends ago I finally got to the shops to buy some wadding (batting) so that I can finish the Baby Fence Rail quilt.  That was the easy part.  I still needed to choose a backing fabric (remember the green stuff I bought for the purpose and then turned into a shirt?).  After trolling the streets of London for an hour or two I settled on some cassis-coloured (that's pale purple to you and I) cotton sateen lining fabric.  Surprisingly the colour combination works.

Having bought the missing ingredients I discovered new enthusiasm for this quilt.  So I wasted no time and gave the wadding a bath!  This is supposed to remove excess cotton oil which could mark the quilt and to preshrink the wadding.  Some people do and some people don't.  I guess I am just one of those guys who do.

With the wadding and backing fabric washed, preshrunk and dried I layered the quilt sandwich in the usual way.  Pausing only to spend a few minutes deliberating over the right/wrong side of the cotton sateen.  I decided to put the shiny side out.  I thought that this would feel nicest if anyone should try sleeping under the quilt.

When I sandwiched the Log Cabin quilt one of my readers was rather alarmed by how few pins I used in my basting and I solemnly swore to use more on my next project.  I even bought some fancy curved safety pins.  I basted at approximately four inches or less and here is a photograph to prove it.  I must confess that the whole thing feels a lot firmer and I am hoping it will make the quilting process easier.

Now for the really big news.  In an exclusive announcement made this evening our spokesman can confirm that this quilt will be quilted OUT of THE DITCH!!

I have started to mark the quilt top with inch wide masking tape.  I am going to quilt the centre of the quilt with a diagonal cross hatched grid.  Tomorrow, with a fair wind, I may get the Singer 401G out and lay down that first row of quilting...

Monday, 12 August 2013

Wrap Around Pinny

The instructions on how to create the pattern pieces are very clear and quite simple.  The garment is made up of three pattern pieces which are easy enough to draft.  I found my 24x6 quilting ruler useful.  I used squared pattern paper but as my instructions were imperial and my grid metric this was a questionable benefit.  Inch square paper doesn't seem to be that easy to find in the UK anymore.  A French curve might have been handy for the armholes and neck line but I made a passable free handed attempt.

One of my sister's neighbours was kind enough to send me a good sized bundle of fabric she no longer wanted.  These two fabrics were included.  The yellow is 100% cotton printed with a design called "Seagull" as well as gulls the motifs include starfish and sea shells.  The blue deck chair stripe feels more like poly-cotton and had been hemmed as [Wendy House?] curtains in the past.  I didn't have enough of either to make anything large but I thought the two designs worked well together in a seaside-y kinda way.  I estimated that I would have enough fabric to piece the pinny with enough of the blue stripe left over to make the bias binding for the armholes and edging.

I elected to use the diminutive Singer 99K for this project.  I hadn't touched it since I altered my ironing board cover so I thought it was owed a spin.  As you will have seen from Saturday's post the designated sewing space is far too messy to use so I opted for the dinning table for this project.  The 99K is also the easiest machine I have to carry over there.  The blue poly-cotton is a good bit lighter than the Seagull cotton and has a tendency to pucker.  I improved matters greatly by backing off the tension about three-quarters of a turn.  The pattern includes a "⅜ inch turning".  I guess that is 1940s speak for seam allowance.  Interestingly my seam guide has a default setting for a perfect ⅜ inch seam allowance when set up as below.  Was this once some kind of dressmaker's standard I wonder?

I tried my hand at directional sewing.  Starting at the hem and sewing toward the waist.  Did I get it right?

Regular readers will know what a fan I am of flat felled and French seams but both of those options felt a little bit over engineered for a pinny so I decided to try a technique I had read about in a few different places on the internet.  I think it was probably a post on someone else's blog, which I now can't find, which put the idea of this kind of seam finish and domestic work wear together in my head.  I gather that this was a common seam finish in the days before zigzag sewing machines or over lockers.  It is very simple to do you just make a line of stitching within the seam allowance.  The stitches are supposed to act as a barrier to fraying.  I used the ⅛  side of the presser foot, against the edge of the seam allowance as a guide for my row of stitches.  On a ⅜ seam allowance this means that the ¼ inch side of the foot was against the middle of the seam.  Neat or what?  I love it when a plan comes together.  A more upmarket looking variation on this theme, which I have yet to try, suggests turning the raw edging of the seam under and then stitching.

The only down side to using this seam finish is that you end up sewing each seam three times.  The skirt of this pinny calls for no fewer than ten (yes ten!) separate panels (or should that be gores?) so I had the little 99K really chattering away to itself.

So now I have to make yards of bias binding and some apron strings.  Watch this space.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Did your granny wear one of these?

I don't recall my Gran wearing a traditional apron.  I remember her occasionally wearing a mauve overall (which has a nice consonance).  There is even photographic evidence of this garment somewhere at my mother's house.  Where I grew up butchers, joiners and freemasons wore aprons whereas Mams, Mothers, Grans and Grannies wore pinnies.  My own Mam had a rather fetching vinyl/oilcloth number with Superwoman (yes Super not Wonder) on it.

I am seldom certain of what motivates me but while I was on holiday I decided that, when I got home, I was going to make what I thought was called "a cross over pinny".  So I googled that phrase and was more or less thwarted by my NW UK English usage.  After further lateral searching I discovered that what I was really looking for was a pinafore.  This surprised me because I thought a pinafore was a dress. I was convinced of this because I remember my Mam sewing them for my sister.  She would ware a polo neck sweater underneath.  They were the girl equivalent of my dungarees.

I often discuss things with The Much Belovéd and this proposed project was no exception.  Now he grew up on the other side of the Atlantic, far away from our red brick man traps with their scrubbed steps, and when I told him what I had in mind he had some difficulty understanding me.  After further discussion we established that down his alley what I call a pinafore dress is a jumper, a UK pinafore is a US house dress, an English overall is a North American cover all and an apron is an apron.  Are we all singing from the same hymn sheet?  Great!

Thanks to actresses like Irene Handle...

 .........Kathy Staff... 

...and Jean Alexander this garment looms large in the psyche of one born in the late 1970s and weened on a diet of British television during the 1980s.

However this garment does not loom large in the psyche of internet search engines and sewing patterns, never mind free sewing patterns, for such garments are few and far between.

I did however manage to track down an inexpensive PDF explaining how to create your own pattern and construct a pinny from scraps. You can find it here if you are interested and if you are really interested you can tune in here soon to find out how I got on with it.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Negroni Shirt - Part VII

Negroni 1 is finished so I got TMB to take some pictures of it (and me).

There's something weird going on with my right shoulder.  I am supposing that this is to do with the mistake I made on that side of the collar.  

The next pictures show off the contrasting under collar and the weirdness where the right shirt front, outer yoke and under collar meet

I would shorten the sleeves, maybe as much as two inches, if I made this shirt again and use real shirting because I think that it would improve the drape.

I think the back isn't bad but could benefit from a good pressing.  Maybe the yoke is a shade wide for me?  I think I will make more shirts in the future.  I've enjoyed the challenge and the experience.  I would like to try Negroni again and hopefully improve on this first effort.  I think the first issues to address are my technical short comings and then look at fit.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Negroni Shirt - Part VI

It's buttonhole time for the Negroni shirt.  I had a grim determination to finish the project on the 201K and I've never used the buttonholer on that machine so I decided it was time to give it a try.  The first thing to do was take the straight stitch presser foot off the machine.

Here is the 201K with the presser foot removed.  There's something really strange about seeing a familiar object with one tiny detail changed - a bit like seeing the cleanly shaven face of a usually bearded friend?

Interestingly the instructions of the buttonholer are to always use the cover plate and never to drop the feed dogs. I cannot imagine why this would be but I am a great one for doing as I'm told so here we are.  I make sure the needle passes through the slot in the cover plate and screw it down securely.

It takes a bit of jiggling to get the presser bar, buttonholer and needle clamp all lined up but here we are secure.

The two red plastic thumbscrews on the right of the machine allow one to adjust the "BIGHT" and "WIDTH".  The flat head adjustment screw for the stitch density is hidden in the triangular window in the body of the attachment.

Meanwhile, over on the other side of the attachment, the other small thumbscrew adjusts the length of the buttonhole.  In a middle position like this one the buttonhole comes out at about half an inch.  The larger screw advances the buttonholer through the perimeter of the buttonhole.

I made lots of sample buttonholes and even tried out the bar tack feature the attachment offers (centre top).  I had to play around a lot it's all fun trial and error stuff.  I found the belt of the machine slips a bit with the buttonholer adding extra drag so I may shorten it.

My finished button holes look okay and they work.  We'll see how they hold up to wear.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Negroni Shirt - Part V

Thank you all for the comments over the last couple of days. Your sound counsel has kept me going with my Negroni. I have heeded your advice, and my gut instinct, and ploughed on with what is, and even from the outset was intended to be, a practice piece.

Since my last post I have attached the sleeves to the shirt with a flat felled seam as per the directions.  This didn't go too badly.  Nice clear directions that really work.
The sleeves went in quite well. The sleeve cap of the first was a little longer than the armscye (maybe 3/4"?) but the second was very nearly an exact match.

This is not my best work (I have lost my parallel  on this top stitching) but as I look again at the pictures it's really not that bad either.  
I have sewn up the side seams. This picture is taken from the inside of the shirt (note the outline of one of the pockets). I went to a bit of bother to try and get these right. There is a slight tuck where the side seam crosses the armscye seam. That point was the tricky bit. The difficulty  I experienced there made me want to examine the ready to wear shirt I was wearing more closely. The seam I found under the arm of my factory made shirt made me feel better about my own work.

Next up were the sleeve hems.  Back on familiar territory and back on song with my stitching.  Both sleeves are the same length and the same width!
Last up was forming the hem at the bottom of the shirt: turn 1/4", turn again 3/8" and edge stitch from the inside.
So - five button holes tomorrow evening will see my first shirt completed.  I think I'll probably make these on the 401K but I might try out some samples with the buttonholer rigged up on the 201K.  It would be nice to say that the finished shirt was 100% treaddled after all.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Negroni Shirt - Part IV

Yoke's no Joke - that's the terrible pun out of the way and here's the rub.  I really struggled with getting the facings and innner yoke attached to the outer yoke.  It has taken me two and a half goes to get to this stage.

Go No1:  I pinned  the facings and yoke and machined with them on top. It looked like there was some ease to manage around the neck but, as it was lying on the feed dogs I thought they would take care of it. First time around left me with three dirty great puckers in the outer yoke and a small one in the under collar - YUK. I ripped out the neck seam and tried again.

Go No2: I didn't pin. I just aligned the raw edges and followed the dots left by my ripped seam.  Took it very slowly, lifting the presser foot, smoothing things  down and realigning the edges frequently, every half inch or so.  Things went much more easily without the pins to worry about and I felt I could see and feel whether the bottom layers were lying flat. I only ended up with one small pucker this time which I spotted early on so I only had to rip out about an inch and a half to get the outer yoke flat.

Go No3:  Produced what we see in the pictures.

It's not bad but it's not right.  Some how the collar has shifted or my seam allowance got narrower because less of the right half of the collar is enclose by the shirt front and facings than the left.

This also means that the lapel notch on the right shirt front is about a quarter of an inch longer than on the left.  This is very noticeable when I place the lapels and collars point to point but less so when the shirt is on (I think).

Now. What to do? Should I rip out a short length of the collar and try to even things up by burying it further beteween the yoke and facing?  Could this be a recipe for disaster?  Should I chalk this collar up to experience, be mindful of what has happened here when making the next shirt and live what I have?  Is it wearable or does it SCREAM?