Saturday, April 30, 2011

Some More of Those Mesh Bags - Orange, and Orange!

Once again, I dipped into my old scraps "stash".

The first one was supposed to be for my "Curves" bag; i.e., that I could drop my sneakers in and they would sit flat.  This meant the bag had to be quite wide.  In these bags, the measurements are absolutely critical when you are making "custom" sizes for special tasks.  Then the first row of stitches is the critical one in determining the finished shape of the bag.

In this case I missed the measurement for the width of the bag (i.e., the length of the shoes) by about 1-1/2 inches, so the bag came out looking more or less like a cube.  It means that my shoes fit side-by-side, but it is not quite long enough for them to lay flat in the bag.  It's ok I guess, but I would have preferred to make it as I had envisioned.

The bottom center row of stitching is because I made pockets inside.

I used the small scraps from a maternity dress I made 39 years ago!   I like the colors.  I was going to use green straps on this one, but the green was the wrong color and the orange matches perfectly.

Now I will carry the happy memories of anticipating the birth of my first daughter--how nice.


This next one was a sundress I made for myself (I think) probably in the mid 1970's.  It is about two inches narrower than the size I call my "Library Bag" because it is the "leftovers" from the bag above.  It will be really useful.  (Good that I have two pairs of orange sandals....)

This one has larger pockets on one side

with a small one for pen/pencils on the other

I know what I'm going to use the "Curves" bag for, but the other one will probably become a sort of summer "purse" to take to the grocery store.  I love making these bags and would give them away, but I don't want to part with these particular fabrics/memories.  And orange is one of my favorites!

A Bag for Your Bed

To understand this one, you have to know that our family has been doing "Emergency Preparedness" for over a month.  One of the recommendations is that one keeps by one's bed the following:

a pair of shoes and socks
cell phone

They need to be free from possible glass, which makes it quite tricky.

For my daughter's bed, she designed a bag which fit all those specs, and I attempted to engineer the details.

We started with the measurements of all the items and the arrangement she wanted to employ for storing them.  

Then I roughed it out with paper and pencil.  I then decided to try to learn to use the Google Documents drawing facility to lay it out.  This "drawing" is not to scale, and should not be considered "final" in any way, but it is what I started with.

My daughter wanted to be able to hook it to her metal bed frame with velcro, OR to slide the "tails" at the top of the drawing under her mattress so it could hang on the side.  (She also wanted an opening in the side of the cell-phone pocket (top left) so the charger cord could be attached at night.  Personally, I think this is a potential fire hazard, so I hope she really won't do that, but I sewed it so she could.)  Because she wanted to be able to hang it, the final length of the bag was also important.  I don't yet know if it will drag on the floor, or on the bed when she hangs it--that is a measurement we did not have, so I just made it as short as possible given the other dimensions/requirements. 

You can see that I am not accomplished with the drawing facility in G-Docs.  I could not make the second row of words for the row of top pockets go where they needed to go, and I didn't have time to figure it out.

Doing the drawing actually helped nail down several of the cutting dimensions, so it was a good idea.  I only had two small pieces of fabric left from a Japanese costume she had worn years earlier.  I had to line both of the pockets with other fabric, and piece the back, but managed to do the entire project.

Then I set about engineering how to make the pocket for the shoes 4-inches deep (front to back).  I started with paper and worked out how to miter the bottom corners to create a "box".  These are my engineering examples!  

Fold and stitch on the line where the pins are (leave 3/4" open at the seam bottom (near the outside edge, or remove your stitches after the fact, like I did).
First - fold to make a mitered "box" to hold shoes; then stitch where the pins are.

Second - Trim the mitered corner, leaving only 5/8-in. or so, so you can turn the corners when attaching it to the back.  (In this photo, the corners are NOT trimmed.)
Second - push the fold out. slit the corner.  DO NOT TRIM the mitered part off!

Third - turn right side out, pushing out corner.  Fold seam allowance OUT to allow stitching raw edges together.
Third - turn right side out, pushing out corner.  Fold seam allowance OUT to allow stitching raw edges together.  Include the mitered corner across the bottom for added strength and shaping.

Engineering done, at least until I actually made the bag.

I attached a fairly light weight fusible backing to all of the patterned fabric.  The insides of each pocket are fairly heavy, white duck cloth, no fusible backing required.  

Fold the pockets in half if they are all the same fabric, or stitch the front and backs together and fold.
Serge around each pocket edge after they are ready to apply.  
Make the miters in the bottom pocket, LEAVING the last 3/4" open at the edge! 
Trim off all but the seam allowance.
(I serged those raw edges as far as possible with each side OPEN.)
Lay the "box" pocket on the bag backing, matching the three raw edges and creating a pleat on each side to make it fit the width.  (The excess pocket width is helpful in fitting stuff into the pocket.)
Stitch down the side, around the bottom, and up the other side.
Do the upper pocket second, so you get the placement accurate.  You must leave about an inch for sewing on the flap and getting things into and out of the pocket.  
Stitch a seam down the left side of the upper pocket so it can be attached with a slit down the side.  
Turn it to the right side.
Attach the upper pocket with a seam across the bottom, leaving the finished edge of the right side about 1-in. from the FINISHED edge of the bag backing.  Insert pleats into each compartment, to make it the correct width and give each item sufficient room, matching the right raw edge to the right edge of the bag backing.  
Stitch the seam.
Turn pocket UP and attach the right raw edge to the right edge of the bag backing.
Stitch up from the bottom for 1-1/2" on the left side.  
Stitch down from the top for 1-1/2" on the left side, leaving a wide slit for inserting the cell phone cord.
Reinforce the ends of the each section of this stitching by some very close tight zig zag stitches.
Pin all of the pockets towards the center of the bag backing to keep them out of your stitching.
Fuse a piece of Heavy Weight fusible pellon to the back -- Cut this at least 3/4" smaller all the way around so it will NOT go into the row of stitching.
Fold the bag backing down over the whole thing.
Stitch down the upper inside seams and across the top. 
Stitch down each side, turning the corners at the bottom, LEAVING at least 8-inches for turning the bag.
Turn the whole thing inside out.
Match the open ends of the bottom, fold under, and do a row of stitches very close to the edge across the open bottom.

I had intended to put some of the velcro on the actual pockets before attaching them.  I am glad I didn't, as placement was easier to do when everything was attached.  I was going to do the pockets before, and the flaps after--I am glad I didn't, even though it would have been easier to attach to the outsides of the pockets BEFORE they were attached to the bag backing.

I was also going to do the velcro on the back of the actual bag at the top on each side before applying the upper pocket flap.  I forgot, and there was JUST ENOUGH room to do it after.

Then I attached the strap velcro, three strips on the upper pocket and flap (MEASURE for pocket width, pleats, and topstitching requirements!), and two on the lower pocket and flap.

Then I used "Jeans" top-stitching thread to create the pockets on the upper row.  I measured to allow sufficient space for each item and to avoid the velcro--very tricky placement involved--you have to think about that when you are putting on the velcro.  You can see the top-stitching in the first photo.

It's done. 

I don't think it would be very easy to follow what I did from this post unless you had quite a bit of experience and could do some engineering of your own, but I could be wrong.  Hence I did not provide actual cutting measurements.  They would need to be inferred from the finished sizes of everything in the drawing above.  

The upper pocket was created to have a depth of 1-1/2 inches, but is a little more than that.  The corners are not mitered since simple pleating can handle that.

The lower pocket was created to have a depth of 4-Inches, and the only way I could sensibly achieve that was with the mitering I did.  It did create quite a nice stiffish "box", due to the fusible backing on the patterned fabric, and the heavy weight of the duck cloth.

I tried to write it all my instructions, then typed it all into the drawing document.  However, as I worked my way through it lots of things changed, and it would be pretty difficult to remember every tiny step and make a note of it properly.)


Upper pocket, left side, showing the pockets "in use":  cell phone, glasses, flashlight.  The fourth pocket in that row may be used for whatever you like.
Emergency Bed Bag - upper pocket detail:  phone, glasses, flashlight

Each row of pockets must have "flaps", because you need to protect the contents from possible glass.

Showing bag with both pocket flaps UP; shoes are in bottom bag now.  There is room for a water bottle in there as well if your shoes aren't too large.  The total width of the bag COULD be a tad narrower for my shoes, hence the water bottle space.
Emergency Bed Bag - designed by H, engineered by me

Flaps closed
Emergency Bed Bag - designed by H, engineered by me

She can hang it on her metal bed frame

Or lay the straps out flat under her mattress

I hope this all works out for her.  I would not be excited to repeat the process, but it's possible.

Jacket - Class Project

I really don't like the brand of patterns they always use in my classes.  I know now that I am not going to, but I'm trying to adapt things so they will come out closer to what I might want to wear.  This one came out too wide, and eventually I will probably take it in on the sides.

It is a simple hooded cotton knit jacket, not designed for a zipper, but I added one because I don't like jackets that don't "close".  I just got the longest one I could and let it fall where it will at the top, which is a little short, but works better with a hood that is all one with the front of the jacket.  (I prefer separate, attached, hoods--better shaping achieved.)

Back view

Close-up of pockets

Zipper detail (I was tickled to find this complimentary zipper to go with my fabric.)

Front view, finished jacket

It's quite comfortable and pretty much does the "job" but it's too wide, and I know what I actually wanted.  That's why I made this fabric first, and I'm right--it's not really what I want.  (I'd prefer the separate hood design, to be sewn on; also I'd prefer that it actually fit instead of hanging like a bag.)  I'll get lots of wear out of it on cool summer evenings though, and I've already worn it to class and on Easter Sunday during the egg hunt.

Mission accomplished.

[Let me just add, I STILL hate cover stitching on my serger.  Maybe I always will...]

Princess Dress for a 4-1/2-yr Old Great-Niece

Her mommie lusted after my granddaughter's turquoise sparkly princess dress (see )

I found a small piece of flowered, striped fabric (perhaps nylon?) for the skirt, then matched the bodice and the decoration to that.  (I can't seem to make a "real" Princess dress--they keep looking more like little bridesmaid's dresses, but they're really nice.)

For this skirt, I used a layer of white tulle under the flowered fabric, and underneath is a white lining/slip made of the same type fabric as the bodice and it's lining.

Close-up of the flowers in the skirt fabric and the "floppy collar" and waist treatment.

Zipper lessons -- the lined bodice was so light weight and soft that it got caught in the zipper just as I completed the entire dress.  It took my husband 1/2 hour to un-stick it.  The next morning, I got up and moved it over enough that the basically-clear zipper teeth showed a bit.  I hope it will be sufficient to keep it from getting stuck when little kids are zipping it up and down!

The zipper involved layers-upon-layers of basting stitches, and perfectly covered those teeth until I re-did it!  It still looks fine, but it was disappointing.  If I ever do this again, I HOPE I remember to put some stiffener in that part that sticks over the zipper tape to the center to prevent a repeat!

The pattern called for a proper sash, tied in the back and nothing at the neck.  It just looked like a really nice Sunday-go-to-Meeting or flower-girl's dress, so I did not do that.  I copied the "floppy collar" from one of my granddaughter's actual "Disney princess dresses".  Then I nailed it down here and there so it wouldn't drive her mommie crazy (I hope).  

Then I created the waist band, gathered it up, and nailed it down to the dress in the center front, the sides, and on each side of the zipper.  It was a total fluke that I had cut it exactly the right length that when it was gathered it was a perfect fit.  I wonder if I could repeat that fluke!  It seemed to take up somewhere in the vicinity of four inches due to the gathering, but I'm not sure!  Happy accident!

Finished back view (after all the zipper re-doing....)

Finished front view

I did not get to see it on her.  It was Easter Sunday and there was lunch to prepare and eat, and eggs to hunt, cousins to roar around with, etc., but she seemed to like it, and her mommie loved it!

=======June 5, 2011

On her way to a "Fancy Nancy" party

A Two-Year old was coming to Easter Lunch as well,

and just in case the "big girls" put on their long dresses, she is getting old enough to notice and maybe want one herself.  She's too young for knowing about princesses as yet, and I didn't want to start all that stuff early.  We held off as long as we could with our granddaughter, but right before she turned three all of a sudden it was like osmosis--suddenly life was all about princess dresses, and it shows no sign of abating as yet.  

She, her mommie, and I watched The Royal Wedding together yesterday--and it was all about getting to the Princess as quickly as possible, but then horses almost de-throned the Princess!

I rummaged through my "stash" and came up with the idea that this cute cotton fabric (which does have sparkles on it) would make an ok long dress for a 2 and a bit year old, and maybe her Mommie wouldn't mind a simple peasant pattern too much.

Up-close front view

Back view

Full front view

I haven't seen this on either, so I don't know how it works out.  I left all the elastic loosely stitched with long tails so it's very adjustable, used the next-size-up (sz 3) pattern, and purely guessed at the hem, then turned it up a couple of inches after it was completed so she can lower it and cover any fade-lines with rick rack or something like that one day.  If it's still too long, she can turn it up again, then I think it will be fine.  

Hopefully she will be able to wear it for a couple of years with adjust the hem and the elastics.

Chair bottom covers

My sister-in-law wanted new bottom covers for IKEA chairs.  It turns out they make them removable, so I copied their design, which was a lot more involved than I would have done on my own, but it worked well, so I copied it.

It is basically a tapered square with the corners cut out, but rounded for the curve you see in the photo below.

They curved the corners in like this to accommodate the rise from the chair bottom to the top of the cushion.  The two front corners were finished like this.

The two corners at the back of the seat were opened like this, with elastic cording beginning about 4" up the side, threaded through the front (as I sewed), around the second corner, and 4" up the other side.  It is pulled to allow the flaps to lay straight.  The elasticity is only for getting it over the chair bottom.

Back side of this corner

Wrong-side view of finished seat cover

Bottoms-up view of finished seat cover

Top view - finished cover

More Sandwich and Snack Bags

On the day I did these, I actually made 24 of them.

These are for my sister-in-law who loves them so much she wanted more.

(I still haven't found a use for them myself...)

Her Auntie did a better job of fulfilling the requirements!

I didn’t sew any of this, but thought you might like to see…

(So sorry, I do not know how to get a better image than this when removing people!  The software people told me I could do all this stuff with my new software--NOT....)   sigh...

So she wanted everyone to be Turquoise Fairy Rainbow Princesses for her Birthday

I'm behind again on posting.  I'm tired today, so I'll try to play a bit of catch-up.

For my granddaughter's fifth birthday, I remembered a cape I had made more than 30 years ago, which now lives in the "dress-up" box.  I resurrected it and got some fabric to match.  I made a top and pants from crinkly cotton (the kind that fits when you put it on and two seconds later is big enough for two of you--oops, should have made it a lot smaller).

Top - crinkle gauze - under the cape and in summer it will be quite cool

Back neck opening loop made on the serger; clear button so I didn't have to try to "match" the fabric, which might have been impossible.
loop made from serger strand, which I re-enforced by sewing around it with knots; clear button

and the pants
Crinkle gauze pants to wear with the cape and on cool summer nights

Top it off with the cape (awesome fabric!)
From many, many years ago - probably late 1970's or early 1980's

Complete outfit--although I'm not sure she noticed it...

Outfit accomplished!  (except for the massive stretching, it works well and will be nice in the summer evenings)