Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I faced the demons

I was quite pis annoyed with myself for the undies I messed up and gave up on last week. I have found that I don't like store bought undies anymore. So that means either I have to do laundry more often (yeah right, that'll happen) or get over whatever the issue is/was and make more. So I made more.

I found a couple of remnants in the Buy 1 Get 1 Free bins at Fabricland that were suitable, one is a nice cotton with lycra and the other seems to be produced by Beelzebub Manufacturing, but this time I was ready for it. I did one thing different with the pattern this time, I taped the front and back pieces together so the front and back were one piece. I like it, it wouldn't work of course if you trying to squeeze them out of smaller pieces of fabric. The pattern instructions call for one of the crotch seams to be enclosed and the other to simply be serged. I did it that way on the first batch I made and it hasn't bothered me, but I found instructions in my Kwik Sew Lingerie book for enclosing both seams. It takes a bit the first time to get your mind around it, but it really is easy and it looks more finished.  If anyone wants a copy of the directions, let me know and I can scan it and put it online.

So without further ado, here they are! Love them. Success feels good.

Edited January 31, 2012

I just realized that I have ten posts on this blog and four of them are about panties. I really am NOT
completely obsessed with underwear. Really. Really. I mean it.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Vogue 1247-the wearable muslin

Alas, I failed with Vogue 1247. Cue violins. 

The above I wrote a day or two ago, before I had finished the 1247 top, and I was convinced I never would. I sat myself down and gave myself a stern talking to, and then went to the sewing dungeon and finished it. It is not perfect, but it isn't completely horrible either. It is wearable and I will wear it. I made it from a busy print so that imprecise seaming would disappear, and it does.  I didn't put the sleeve facings on, I don't like the look on me, I just made a narrow hem.

the hem really isn't as ripply as it looks. honest.

I learned a few things this sewaround. I need something better than what I have been using to trace off patterns, I have been using a roll of plastic tablecloth stuff, it is okay, but it does tend to shift, a lot. I learned that while I hate sewing and wearing polyester, I adore the fact that it needs no special care, it goes from washing machine to hanger to body. Gotta love that. I learned that in years that I haven't sewn much, my skills have gotten a little a lot rusty. So this means easy fabric+easy pattern for a little while. All I have sewn in the last few years are my husbands scrubs for work and I can make them blindfolded while sleeping.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Year of Tangerine Tango

I know every sewist everywhere is concerned about the lack of orange zippers and hem facings necessary to finish all the thousands of garments we are going to finish in this year of tangerine.  Not to worry, got yer back jack.

See what I mean.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I did something scary today.

I went shopping for print fabrics! I have a really difficult time visualizing fabric on the bolt made into a garment. I just can't seem to do it without a lot of gnashing of teeth, wringing of hands, pulling of hair. You get what I mean. Am I the only one who has difficulty with this?

 I bought  Vogue 1247. I can't remember where I saw it for the first time, there have been so many people who have made it. It is a loose fitting top and looks perfect for summer wear.

After seeing Carolyn's post ( http://handmadebycarolyn.blogspot.com/) and the inside of the garment with all the intersecting seams, it might be better to make it in a print, just in case mine doesn't turn out as perfect as hers. Which frankly, is more than likely. Oh, hell it is a certainty. Anyway I bought two prints. What do you think?

This one has a cream background, with black, olive and gray.
The color is way off on this one, what looks white here is actually a medium gray.
The fabric is in the wash, and I am going to trace off the pattern. Then hopefully the dogs will cooperate and let me sew this afternoon and evening.  Wish me luck.

Gratuitous cute dog picture. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

the underwear that wouldn't be

I posted recently about sewing underwear and I was feeling quite pleased with myself. Apparently that angered the sewing gods/goddesses/whatever.

notice how the 3 openings are all about the same size?

The coverstitch machine was in a foul mood, apparently.You can't see the chewed holes but they are there.

I had 2 more pairs cut out, and I went to the sewing dungeon to quickly sew them up, after all I had already made 7 pairs, right. Wrong. Really wrong. First of all I have to admit I haven't sewn a lot of knits. I realize now  I got lucky with the first bunch, the fabric was fairly forgiving. The last 2 not so much not at all. I believe the fabric was manufactured by beelzebub. The fabric curled if you looked at it, so stretching while sewing on the elastic was frustrating to say the least. I believe I may have made some new curse words and I had a pretty good swearing vocabulary already. The next thing that happened was I sewed the crotch seam to the side seam, and of course I didn't notice until much later, when I couldn't figure out which opening was for the waist, my thighs aren't small, but really. I should have noticed way sooner, the crotch lining wasn't nearly wide enough for my impromptu adaptation, I was stupid and overconfident. One pair down. The next pair was going along until the coverstitch machine jammed up several times and then decided to have a little snack and chewed holes in the fabric by beelzebub . At this point I gave up and I will sacrifice the remaining fabric to the god/goddess/whatever of sewing. 

Moral of the story, no matter how easy the pattern and how many times you have made it, pay attention and don't get cocky. I may have to needlepoint this on a cushion.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Zipper Messenger bag

I made this a year or two ago. At Value Village (one of my regular haunts) they had bags and bags of brand new zippers. Hundreds of them. I bought them all. A lot of them had no tabs on them, and the idea for this bag just appeared in my head. All I really did was zigzag zippers on to black denim, and make a messenger bag from the fabric. If I was going to do it again, I would use a sturdier fabric and/or interfacing. I didn't use a pattern for the bag and if you were to look closely, or even not that closely for that matter, you  could see where the sewing is less than perfect. The strap didn't turn out that great either, but as the local fabric store had nothing that was perfect,  so I made do with what I had.  I like a bag with pockets inside, so I made 6 of them.

Unfortunately I found I don't like carrying a large bag around, and so I rarely use it. I really do like the way it turned out though.

The back.

The inside.

Close up of bag.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Kwik Sew 2908

Over the last couple of days I made 7 pairs of underwear and I have two more pairs cut out. I wore a pair today and I think they are the first pair in my life that are adjustment proof. No tugging whatsoever. I love them. I am completely certain I will never buy panties again. It will be especially interesting to see how long they last.

I used Kwik Sew 2908, I made 6 pairs of briefs and 1 bikini, I haven't tried the bikini on yet, but I can't see any reason why they wouldn't fit as well as the briefs. Like everyone else who reviewed these on Sewing Pattern Review , I found the crotch section to be quite wide, I compensated by making the seam allowance wider and then tapering it to the normal 1/4 inch seam allowance. The fabric I used varied quite a bit in stretchability, they were all stretchier than specified by Kwik Sew and yet they all fit fine. When you sew them the elastic gets quite stretched out, and I was a little concerned, cause they really didn't look right, but after a wash and dry they look perfect. I used a short zig zag stitch for attaching the elastic and then I turned the raw edge to the inside and used the coverstitch to finish. I didn't do a perfect job, but I am not going to show you and no one else will ever know either 8-). One good thing about using the cover stitch machine is that I got to used some of my new (to me) thrift store serger thread.

All in all, I highly recommend sewing your own underwear.

Edited January 17, 2012

I used two types of elastic in my panties, and I have found that the lingerie elastic with a picot edge doesn't work so well with a slightly heavier fabric. The lingerie elastic was fine in a light weight poly type blend but not so much with a heavier cotton knit. I would suggest using the heavier swimwear elastic for more of an everyday pantie and the picot edge for a finer fabric. I hope that's clear.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Alert the media! I sewed today

Around 2 p.m. on January 8, the worlds ugliest underwear were completed, and I have pictures to prove it. Notice how nicely I centered the circles, even the cream circles match front to back. I bet you are amazed at how meticulous I am at pattern matching. Nope. Complete fluke. No planning whatsoever.

See what I mean? I have no idea where this fabric came from, it is polyester in the worst sense, it seems to be 1970's vintage. It is really coarse, about the texture of 220 grit sandpaper (perfect for exfoliating your butt), the colours are unpleasant, but I didn't want to waste fabric if the panties didn't fit. Well they do, and they are completely unwearable (due to the sandpaper effect of the fabric) and are already in the garbage. The pattern is Kwik Sew 2908 and they are super easy to make. I know some people have commented on how boring it is to do assembly line sewing. Not me. I love it and  I have already have cut out and started sewing 4 more pairs.  I will probably never buy underwear again.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I adore thrift stores

and this is why. All these spools of serger thread for $13!

4 royal blue
4 green
4 purple 2 slightly different shades
4 fuchsia
8 burgundy 2 sets of 4 slightly different shades
4 red
2 dark brown
1 unopened navy blue
2 red fleecy nylon

That is 33 rolls of serger thread! Most of them are hardly used, and although I would never buy most of these colours, I will use them. Yup, I WILL.

I also got all of these for $4. I just love it when a sewing room is being cleared out. Some of these items are very old. Eatons department store (Canadian company) hasn't been around for about 20 years and I don't remember when Hudson's Bay Company (another Canadian company) sold fabric, let alone when they had their own brand of notions. All in all there are 16 rolls of seam binding, most of them have quite a bit left, and 11 unopened packages of bias tape.

Now all I have to do is get off my butt and use up some of this stuff.

Why I don't sew more

It couldn't be said better than this article (from Threads Magazine Issue 33, February/March 1991).

So. This is why I am going to the sewing dungeon today and I am going to make panties. If they turn out like caca no one will every know, and if they turn out well, I will post pictures here. Oh hell I probably will post pictures anyway. Then everyone can laugh at me.

It`s okay I am used to it.

If anyone (Threads Magazine or Maggie Meier) objects to this being posted, please let me know and it will be removed immediately.  You can reach me at ellecsews (at) gmail dot com.