Sunday, September 30, 2012

Coco Recipe - Needlework Bag!

My first project on my new sewing machine - a great little bag to hold a needlework project! Actually this is the second I've done. I love and use the first one so much that I wanted to make more - and share the pattern!

The finished dimensions are 10" x 11". The bag has a simple drawstring with a cordlock. And on the inside a big zipper pocket. This is so handy - I keep everything associated with a project inside the pocket: stitch counter, point covers, cable holders, covered nippers, extra needles, mechanical pencil, and a copy of the project pattern!  

And a lot fits in this size bag! Here is an infinity scarf (so named because I will be until infinity knitting on it...) on a 29" dbl point needle. It's nice to put it all in the bag when I'm not working on it - no more floppy needles and ball of yarn getting mixed up.

I can just throw my projects in my big straw tote along with my quilting project. If I'm going somewhere and want to take my knitting, I can just grab a bag - everything I need is already inside!

 If you'd like to make one, a how-to follows - read on (caution, lots of pics...)
Ciao! Coco

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Keyka Lou Clutch Handbag

This looks very suspicious to me...particularly since my sewing machine conked out on Sunday! Had a fit is more like it - threw a part and grew a bulge in the housing! So weird. Actually, I take very good care of my sewing machines. I think that sewing on a very basic machine for 6 - 8 hours a day pretty much explains its demise :-) It was worn out.

What is a sewist to do? Why, order a new machine of course! It's coming today, a Singer Quantum Stylist 9960. Super excited. It has lots of stitches and gadgets and things for me to explore :-) And I expect it will last a bit longer than my last machine.

Meanwhile...a project for Priss the IKEA SY- the Keyka Lou clutch with inset zipper! I downloaded the pattern and purchased the colorful set of 12" zippers from Pink Chalk.

This is a fun project that uses almost no fabric. The pattern actually includes templates for two sizes:
Clutch: 11" wide x 6.75" high (28cm x 17cm)
Pouch: 8" wide x 5" high (20cm x 13cm)

I opted for the clutch, they are so 'in' right now! Here is the shell, with the zipper inserted,

Kanji Keepsake Calico, JoAnns
Shelburne Calico Gardens. red dot, Windham Fabrics

And the lining. I added a cell phone and miscellaneous pocket to one side. Got to have these!

American Jane Petit Poulet Stripe, Moda Fabrics

I used Pellon 808 Craft Fuse interfacing on the shell pieces, and a sewed a linen blend interlining on the lining pieces. The goal was to have a bag that doesn't flop when it's clutched or opened - my combination worked out perfectly!

A peek inside - and you can see how the zipper is inset about 1 1/2". I think this looks very smart...

Love my new clutch! This might be a nice holiday gift item...
Bye for now, I'm going outside to flag down any UPS truck I see - Coco!

Friday, September 21, 2012

National Sewing Month - I have a notion!

I do have favorite things and thought I would share some of them in honor of National Sewing Month! So here are a few of the notions I use in the Loft and love...

I have turned a 72" long, 3/8" wide drawstring with this! Spaghetti straps and button loops are a breeze - a wonderful tool.

Dritz Loop Turner

Speaking of turning, I cannot sew without these. I use the smallest one to turn the fingers on my 14" art dolls (my original design, the Summer Dolls).... the wooden sticks broke a long time ago :-) but I use a chopstick instead! works great. Got mine at JoAnns.

It seems that I am always and forever threading elastic or a drawstring through something! look what I found this summer, from Dritz!

There are a couple notions that I think Clover does better than anyone else. One is their seam ripper. Fits my hand so well and is very very sharp. LOVE it!


The other is their white marking pen. It disappears under the iron. I use it with glee knowing it's going away when I want it to - but not before. This pen is fantastic for drawing long quilting lines and darts and notch marks.

Speaking of markers, my other standby is a purple disappearing felt tip... the ink goes away eventually by itself. And if it doesn't, a whisk with a damp cloth takes care of it. Love this pen.

I very seldom use chalk pencils, as I prefer tailor tacks if it gets to that. However, being a quilter, I do have a good stash of silver quilters pencils :-)

Collins Quilters Silver Pencil - JoAnns

Are you an eyelet lover? Sometimes I am and I want the right tool! Crocodilio! All you scrapbookers are laughing! My daughter is an incredibly talented scrapper and put me onto these...

While on the subject of tools, I have another strange one that I can recommend highly - a meat tenderizer! I use it to set large snaps or grommets! One or two good whacks... It's in my sewing drawer, not in the kitchen! I use the flat surface, and the short handle is perfect leverage.

My newest notion, from Nancy's Notions - these are little 1" x 1 3/4" nippers! For my needlework project bags and handbag. Perfect! Will not snag my bag or yarn!

Well, of course I use cutters and rulers and mats and all sorts of other things. But these are my favorite not-so-usual finds. Hope you enjoyed!

Ciao! Coco

Monday, September 17, 2012

I can leave my hat on!

Fabric, Calico, Holly Lobby
Blouse, CVS Beachwear

Love my sunhat! I hoped to take pictures in the Florida sunshine with lots of different sunnies...but it's raining! So I'm on the porch and about to pass out from the 94% humidity :-)

However - the fan is on and what a cute hat! Vogue 7600, four different styles in S-M-L. I sewed View B,
which has a rounded 4-section crown and very broad graduated brim. Rather like a fisherman's hat!

The back covers my neck and upper back when I'm not twisted around. Great feature!

And I like the front brim turned up - unless I really need to dodge the sun. Then the front can be turned down - it's so nice and wide, very shady.

This is my first 'real' hat, so I was careful going in. First I read through the directions very carefully. And found Vogue did not go into overdrive on these. They are really basic, almost not enough to sew the hat if one is a beginner sewist.

Then I decided to do everything in the reverse order from the directions.

I began with the brim, instead of the crown. My thinking was that the brim had to fit - if it fit, I could make the crown fit the brim. Why would I sew the crown first?

I used craft fusible interfacing on the brim lining. Stiff stuff, but it is great for this kind of application. The brim top is interfaced with white broadcloth. Four layers! but the polka dots do not show through and the brim stiffness is perfect. 

Tips for the brim and all that topstitching:
  • Staystitch the crown/top edge of the two brim pieces as soon as they are cut. Otherwise they will strreeetch out of shape because they are cut entirely on the bias.
  • Use a walking foot on the topstitching!
  • Baste the top/interfacing layer in four lines along and across the grain line. This will help prevent the fabric from creeping forward as you sew.
  • Topstitch with the lining side under the pressure foot and needle and the top side down on the feed dog. The fused interfacing on the lining helps prevent fabric creep as well.

As it happened, I did have to make a size adjustment - I took an inch out of the center back seam in the brim! I allocated 1/4" to each of the crown seams, which worked out very well.

The crown is lined in a white linen/rayon, and black grosgrain ribbon is sewn over the brim/crown seam.  I think this is pretty nifty!

I hope you'll come see all the sew-along entries. And thank you to Carmel for hosting the fun!

One last pic for!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Two maxi dresses - and new fabric!

Home again from my daughter's house! Wonderful visit, and we got in so much talking (and fitting). I was relieved and a bit proud of myself - her dresses fit! Priss the IKEA SY took care of the little bit of finish sewing with ease. And these are both knits!

McCalls 5893 - what an easy and pretty pattern. The fabrics are cotton jersey knits from Valori Wells Karavan collection. Wonderful weight, and they laundered and sewed like a dream.
I took this all the way to the floor. The elephant band is 12", and the dress is finished with a 1 1/2" band of the main fabric. I like the way the 'solid' band at the bottom brings the dress together. The armhole and neck bindings are elephants :-)

McCalls 6073  - a stunner! She has black hair and blue eyes - this dress is beautiful on her. The fabric is a lightweight cotton jersey from Girl Charlee. No twist or laundering problems! and it sewed nicely as well.  Again, this maxi is to the floor. Really pretty.

Eight gals are going on the cruise - imagine! I'm promised pics to share.
Did I mention new fabric? My girl gifted me with Holly Lobby $ - I got some really pretty pieces for fall sewing.
The cheetah print is a cotton jersey knit! oh la!
The jaguar is calico with a very smooth hand and dense color.
The stripe has a gold lurex thread running through it!
 and feels like something between a broadcloth and a lawn. 
A calico Alexander Henry story print! Love love Alexander Henry.
The detail on the fabric and the vibrancy of the colors are incredible. 
And a beautiful calico Asian print. So balanced, really good looking!  
I hardly know where to start. Oops, there is that Halloween costume waiting!
Ciao! Coco  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Going a-journey

The IKEA SY and I are going on a road trip! Over to Ft. Myers to visit with my girl, her wonderful companion, and my two little grandkitties. She is home for a few days, so we plan to do some fitting and catch up on things.

What a wonderful polka dot tote for my sewing machine. It's the Reisenthel soft-sided market tote from the Container Store. Gifted by my sweet sister so that I could bring home the amazing ceramic bird she gave me, done by an artist in Charlotte, NC. I am so in love with Mr. Bird.

I'm taking my daughter two maxi dresses and a blouse muslin for fitting! The maxi's are for her 'girl friend' cruise later this month. And the blouse is for suits. The blouse muslin is out of several different prints, won't be wearable - but this pattern is so funky, as I found out on mine, for sure I need the muslin :-)

McCalls 6073
McCalls 5893
And one more muslin, almost forgot! The corset from her Halloween costume...BIG party at their house for Halloween, super decorations, best treats!

Butterick 3906
Back the end of the week - hope you have a nice one! Coco