Thursday, April 23, 2015

Garage Sale Fabric!!

Just look at these fabulous pieces I purchased at the recent garage sale.

 A beautiful multi-color wool blend boucle - 2.5 yards for $7.00

The floral linen on top I've seen recently at Joann's.  I got it for $1.00 a yard - try to beat that price with a coupon - I don't think so!  The middle green and bottom red florals are both rayons.  All three of these will be dresses soon.

These are all knits.  The black and white on the left still had the original purchase price tag on it - $14.00 per yard - there was a total of 3.75 yards.  I got it for $3.75 - a savings of $48.75 based on the original price!   What a steal!  I think I might make a dress out of this one too.   The red and blue were all $1.00 per yard and will be t-shirts for the summertime.

And how about this - oilcloth!  $3.00 for 1.25 yards.  This will come in very handy as we start to tear out our kitchen this summer.  I'll need something easily cleanable to cover the temporary plywood countertops until we get the real thing.  This will be perfect!

I did try to be good and not buy too much and I think I did fairly well.  I bought a total of 21.5 yards which cost $29.65.  This averages to a cost of $1.38 per yard.  What a deal!

Until next time - Happy Sewing Everyone!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Label Skirt and Purse

I love clothing labels.  I like the names, the colors, the designs, the size, shape, variety - pretty much everything about them.  I have been collecting them for years.  I've been known to buy a garment at a thrift store just because of the label.  When I first started collecting labels, I didn't know what I was going to make with them so my plastic bag o'labels was ever expanding.  Then one day, I decided I would make a purse and here it is.
Front Side

This is McCalls 5822 - size medium.  I made this purse a few years ago (pre-blog days - 2012 to be exact) so unfortunately, I don't have any pics of my sewing process, but I can tell you I used some very unusual ingredients to make this bag.
Back side

First - I wanted to use things I already had in my stash to avoid making the 1 hour trip to the store to buy something.  I was looking for some stiff canvas like fabric, but of course I didn't have any on hand.  What I did have an abundance of was blackout curtain lining so I decided to use that my base fabric.  Not your normal everyday sewing fabric, I know.  
Close up

Next, I ironed on two layers of interfacing to the back of the curtain lining to make it a little stiffer and then cut out my pieces.  I penciled in the stitching lines, pocket placement and strap placement so I could avoid wasting a full label behind these areas.
Closer close-up

Then, the fun started.  Labels, labels, everywhere!  I just started moving the labels around until I was happy with the design - this took several days too.
Front close-up
Next - take a picture of the placement of the labels.  Because my fabric was far to thick to pin thru, I knew I would be making several trips from the ironing board to the sewing machine and didn't want to mess up my original design.  I ironed a small piece of wonderunder to each label and then ironed it in place on the fabric.

One side
Other side

I did this in small sections.  Iron, then sew.  Refer to picture, iron, then sew.  Refer to picture, iron, then sew - you get the idea - until all of the pieces were complete.
Bottom, including metal feet

Next, I backed all of the pieces with Timtex to make it even stiffer and then sewed the bag together. The lining of the bag was a shirt that I purchased at a thrift store.  I loved the print on the shirt and knew it would come in handy for something!
Inside with pockets

The pockets on each side are lined with polka dot fabric.

There are pockets on both sides

Then I decided the purse was getting a bit lonely by itself and it needed a companion.  So I made a matching skirt! The skirt is Simplicity 1465 - View C.

The process for the skirt was a little different from the purse.  First, construct the skirt in your normal way until you get to the hem.  Sew a basting line in a contrasting thread where you want the bottom of the skirt to be.

Next - dump out all of your collected labels and start playing!

Using the basting line as a guide, start pinning the labels in place.

Keep pinning until you are happy with the placement.  I started with the skirt front first, sewed the labels in place, and then moved around the sides to the back.

Here are views of all of the labels around the bottom.  

The red Esprit label is the only one not fully sewn down.  Instead - it's only sewn on one side and flips out a little bit.  I thought it was a fun element to add to the skirt front.  

The skirt is also fully lined.

I used cotton for the top facing, rayon for the lining and trimmed between the two with a fun bias tape I had in my stash.

For the hem, I used a 4" piece of cotton with hem tape as a sort of hem facing to cover up all of the label stitching on the inside.

Some tips for sewing with labels:
  • Woven labels are best.  Printed labels will work, but they will fade with time if you plan to wash the garment alot.
  • Look for colorful labels!  They are harder to find so keep a look out for them.
  • Don't cut the labels from garments!  Use a seam ripper instead to remove the stitches and release it from the garment.
  • Remove all of the previous thread from the border of the label.  Trust me, it's better to do this at the time you find the label, rather than when you are sewing them on the garment.
  • Remove the sizing label from the main label (if there is one) and save these for another day!
  • Press your labels before sewing in place.
  • Use an invisible thread on top to sew the labels in place.

I am very happy with how the skirt turned out and think the two pieces together look great!  And bonus - the skirt counts towards my stashbustin' challenge!  Between the skirt fabric, lining and fabrics for the facing, I'm adding another 2.25 yards to the total for a YTD total of 23.25 yards busted!  Yippee!!

Happy Sewing everyone!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April MAGAM Decided

The theme for April's Make a Garment a Month Challenge is "Coloured Showers, Blooming Flowers".  I'm going to use Amy Butler's Chinese Lanterns print - which sorta looks like blooming flowers to make Serendipity Studio's Monique Dress.  I will use the green and blue print for the main body of the dress and the blue coordinate for the middle waistband and the band around the skirt bottom.

The inspiration behind this dress come's from The Great British Sewing Bee's first book.

The Summer Dress - look - it's the same fabric!

Here's a full length shot of the dress.  I tried to find a similar pattern in the stash rather than enlarging the pattern in the book.  I think the Monique Dress pattern is a close match.

This Saturday is the Sewing Garage sale too.  I will try to be good and not buy too much - but it will be difficult.  Wish me luck!

Until next time - Happy Sewing Everyone!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Pattern organization on the go

I like to think I'm a fairly organized person when it comes to sewing.

-  Trims, zippers and buttons are color coded in separate containers.
- Magazines and articles are stored in either magazine holders or binders according to year or topic.
- All of my patterns are organized in boxes according to manufacturer.
- All of above mentioned patterns are also photocopied, both front and back, and in separate binders sorted by categories (dress, blouse, pant, etc.).

These binders are great for when I'm at home sewing away because I can just grab a binder and start flipping thru the pages to see which garment I want to sew next, but what about when I'm shopping and see there is a pattern sale or the perfect piece of fabric for a dress and I don't know how much yardage to buy?  Although I'm organized at home, this organization does nothing for me when I'm out and about.  I can't remember exactly every pattern I have at home and sometimes these sales have led to purchasing the same pattern twice or buying too much fabric.

So, I started looking on-line for a sewing app that I thought would fix my need for a portable personal pattern catalog.  I looked at several different apps, one app specific for notions, another one just for the fabric stash, but all of them seemed to have either technical issues and weren't supported anymore, or they didn't seem to be exactly what I was looking for.  I figured what I really needed was a database of sorts.  Then it hit me - why not see what other bloggers are using? Duh!  Why did it take me so long to think of that!

After some time spent poking around on other blogs about pattern organizing ideas, I finally found the solution I was looking for!  Tap Forms.

iOS Icon

Tap Forms is a fabulous little app.  It did cost $8.99 to download, but this seems to be the answer to my pattern problem.  The app comes with 26 suggested forms (or databases) already included.  You can either use one of their already suggested forms, or create your own.  I decided to create my own. The fields I have on my pattern form are:

- Pattern Front - This is a picture of the front of the envelope.
- Garment Type - Dress, Blouse, Pant, etc.
- Manufacturer and Number
- Designer
- Pattern Back - This is a picture of the back of the envelope.

Here are some screen shots of the app in action on my phone.

You can select how you would like your forms to be alphabetized and I opted for Garment Type.

When you select a particular pattern - it will open up into this view.  Here's the top half of the view:

And here's the bottom half of the view.  And the best part is - I can click on the photo within the form and enlarge it.  So, if I'm shopping for fabric for a particular garment, I can click on the pattern back and zoom in to see exactly how much yardage is needed and avoid buying too much!

If you happen to be at a store and there is a sale - you can search for patterns as well to see if you already own them.  The search feature is great!

When I first started this project, I had no idea how many patterns I owned.  As you can see - I currently have 641 patterns - which is quite alot - and this is after purging over 100 from the stash.   I don't know if I should be proud of that fact or a little embarrassed - whatever the feeling, at least I'm organized now.  I worked on this project a little bit every night and to photograph and catalog all of my patterns took me about two months to complete, but now that it's all done - I will never buy the same pattern again!

My next project is to catalog all of the fabric I have in my stash.  This too will take quite awhile, but will be well worth it when it's finished.  If you are looking for a portable pattern solution - I highly recommend using Tap Forms.

Until next time -
Happy Sewing everyone!