Saturday, September 29, 2012

Putting a zipper into swoop pockets

 I actually took a zillion pictures while making the pockets, but they didn't illustrate my points clearly enough, so, fun with paint!

Start with the swoop-over side of the pocket bag.   I didn't want the lining to show, so I used a fashion-fabric facing for the top part.   Where the facing connects to the pocketing (lining) sew in the zipper - as marked in the red line of the first image.   Iron everything so that the seam allowance is pointing up towards the top of the pocket.

with the zipper laying flat, place the second piece of pocketing (lining) so that its bottom edges match up with the first and the extra folds under the zipper back towards you, not in towards the pocket.  The point of all of this is to have the zipper lie flat against your body rather than parallel to the ground, poofing out the pocket and spoiling the line.   Sew as marked on the red line.   (Yes, I know the two bottom edges don't line up in the picture.  I'm showing it with depth so its easier to understand how all the bits come together.)   Anyhow, iron this seam so the the seam allowance is pointing down.

Then attach the swooped over side front piece, as shown with the red line.    You can actually do parts 2 & 3 in one, but the pictures weren't as clear.

Okay, that's nice, but what is a swoop pocket?   

<--  Its this.  I was never able to find an official name, so I made up my own.  Corrections are most welcome.

The idea is that you take a princess seam and around him level, swoop the center front over the side front and pop a pocket in underneath.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fabric-Fasting, Stashbusting Event of Insanity!

I was cleaning out my sewing closet the other night.... and I am putting myself on a fabric fast.   With the exception of halloween and items needed to finish projects (linings, trims, closures, whatever) and I am not allowed any more fabric until I finish at least 15 projects.   This includes new, in-progress and UFOs.  I know.   But this is getting insane. and I have at least five UFOs languishing for want of minor finishing.

The rules:

-Any fabric currently in my stash is allowable - full piece or left over scrap.   There are no limits on the size (can we say polar fleece socks?  'cause I sure can)
-If I cheat (which I may, because of the whole choir dress debacle that goes on year after year) I add another three items to the stash bust per item of illicit fabric.
-If evil people tempt me (Mom) they will be mailed cat fur.   Don't tempt me.
-Items which use several different kinds of fabric still only count as one item (the point of this is to use what I have, not just to get the numbers)

Just pictured here there are 24 different pieces of fabric.   Not all are created equally in terms of usefulness - but I also have three large rubbermaid tubs and several shelves with more.

Anybody else suffering from an embarrassment of riches?  Got ideas?  I actually need pants and could use a cold-weather dress or two.  I may end up making a couple of the formal dresses just because.  I'm not so sure about gifts, as I don't like putting all that effort into something unless I know it will be adored beyond reason and measure, but who knows what may happen.

Monday, September 24, 2012

soft and hard shells

 Lets switch things up and start with the hard shell -- a.k.a the tool taco.   Its a little zip up pouch with a foam backing with three interior pockets to hold a selection of tools.

It's a copy of one Kel already had and wanted to duplicate.   His sewing machine was being ...difficult and mine already had lovely peacock thread, so I ended up actually putting it together.

our taco and the original

Construction  is super simple - you need two and a half fabric ovals, one of foam and a zipper.  (Binding too -- we used self fabric bias tape)   Fold the half  (really, 2/3) oval down to finish the flat seam.   Then sew it to one of the fabric ovals in thirds (check out the interior stitching lines)   Make a foam sandwich with the two fabric ovals with a creamy foam center.   sew around the outside edge.   Attach the zipper such that one half is on either side of the oval and then pop on the bias tape to finish it off cleanly.  cutting included, its about a 30 minute project.

As for my shell - its slowly but surely coming together -- all the seam allowances are still huge and all over the place, so it poufs and wrinkles... but its getting there.

They don't show up well, but I'm particularly proud of how the swoop pockets came together.  I've got pictures of the process that I'll post later this week in case anyone else wants to try.

This is the view from my perspective -- snazzy zippered pockets so that all my bits stay inside my coat, no matter where I toss it.

The sides of the zipper are offset so that when closed the pocket lays flat against my body, which I like aesthetically and practically, to prevent excess rain from pooling up inside.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Another sort of pin

Waterproof fabric is a tricksy beast, but this is working pretty darn well.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

arr and avast


Aye, ye scurvy scalliwags!  ye saucy wenches! ye loathsome wretches!  swab the fore-deck afore I throw ye t'the great beasties o the waves!!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

a bit of progress on the shell

Well, I'm about a quarter of the way through the shell.   It may look like more, but at the moment everything is only basted in place.   I'm trying to couture-ify this coat (purely for my own amusement) and marked the seam lines rather than the seam allowances - which are all over the place.   Due to the slippy nature of the plasticy ultrex coating, I was worried pins wouldn't hold it in place on the sewing machine, and took Susan Khalje's advice and basted away.

The tricky part - i.e the zippers - pit, pocket and arm -- is still to come.  Also the stealth pockets I intend to hide beneath storm flaps.  Think happy thoughts.

Its a bit hard to see -- but the red lines are the seam lines and the blue/black lines are the wonky seam allowances 

Because of the waterproof nature of the fabric, I didn't use pins -- just pattern weights -- and could trace directly onto the fabric with markers  (I found dry erase worked best, oddly enough)

This was the final muslin, which has long since been taken apart and used for pattern pieces - but it shows where I'm headed with the shell.

I'm going to be documenting this process more than usual, so get ready for pocket-induced insanity.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Coat Fabric is Here!

 Yay and Horray! I have the fabric for my coat!

I went with the codura faced ultrex for the shell (waterproof, windproof, breatheable -- it's the dark blue with the white- with the white being the waterproof bit) from seattle fabrics and a bright blue rayon bemberg (static free and breathable)  from vogue fabrics for my lining.

I also got waterproof zippers -- I have five - one for the center front, and two each for the pockets and pit-zips.

This amalgamation is rounded out by the thinsulate I got last year for my previous attempt at a winter coat.

I'm a lot happier with this pattern, more sure of my ability to work with my materials and have a better plan for how to accomplish everything.   Wish me luck!  My goal it to finish by the 1st of October.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My new old Singer

 My herd has just increased by 50% !!! (The New Home and Brother have been most welcoming)

I'm not generally a flea market person (to put it mildly) but this past weekend when Kel came back with a selection of interesting things, a snazzy vintage Singer and news of another that was still for sale, I managed to get out of the house within about 10 minutes.

Rushing over, we found that the second machine was still there and started investigating.   No, they'd never tried running it.  No, they didn't know where the pedal was.   No, there wasn't anywhere to plug it in and test it....

So we dithered and played with it more and looked in the case.... and there was this wonky bit of metal.   Kel pulled it out, popped it in the slot and declared it a knee-lever.  (He does actually know a fair bit about antique sewing machines, so I went along with it.)

Not only was it in the original case, with what appeared to be the original plug and belts, but it came with a whole selection of feet.   We've identified the ruffler and the rolled-hem foot - but a few are still a mystery.

Anyhow, short story shorter, I bought it.   ($35, if you are interested)   Took it home, plugged it in, and it worked.  The knee lever is a little wonky to use, but also kind of fun.   Its old enough not to have a model number, but the serial number on the base places it as a 1930 model 99K.

Of course, within a few stitches, the belt broke (it didn't help that we were picking at it)  but as it appeared to be the original, I can't fault an 80 piece of rubber for falling to bits.   So -- I need to order a new one (and a new o-ring for another bit I don;t know the name of) and whamo-blamo, I will have a machine that can handle several layers of denim!   I see more jeans in my future.

(Check out the original case!  It has a spot for the lever and the box of feet)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Accidental Jedi

 With my coat pattern ready and waiting and three yards of gray fleece sitting around doing nothing in particular, I decided the time was ripe for a bathrobe.  Not only would it be snuggly and warm, but I would get to see what the pattern would look like in a stiffer, not terribly drapey material.

Well, I did,  it's great ... and I look like a Jedi.

Monday, September 3, 2012

winter coat : final muslin

Here we have the (almost ) final plan for my coat.    As I was looking at the pictures I remembered I need to add facings to the zippers, inside and out (important for determining fabric yardage) but you get the general idea.

It is a princess seam coat with center front zip, swoop pockets (anyone know the real name?) pit zips, arm zips, bi-swing back, hood, and when I do the final, a zillion little hidden pockets.

Sorry about the white-on-white.   The final will be a dark navy with electric blue lining which will photograph better.  Plus, I'll be able to go outside even if it is as rainy and gross as it is today.

This is just vanity - but it doesn't really pull as much as the lines and wrinkles suggest.  That is an artifact of having my hands in my pockets rather than letting the coat hang straight.  However, its pretty hot and I don't want to hop into this get-up again, so you'll have to trust me.

I've been enjoying going through my gear and figuring out what features I wanted to include.   Pit-zips allow you to vent heat without having to open up the whole coat, which can be quite handy on absurdly windy, wet or cold days.

I added the sleeve zippers to give me space to get my braces on and deal with all the layers without everything getting caught.    For once I will be able to put on a pair of gloves *after* I put on my coat.   This is huge.

 This is a terrible picture of a bi-swing back - but bear with me for a moment.    Have you ever seen a motorcycle jacket that has a gusset behind the shoulder blade, allowing freedom of movement without adding a lot of bulk to the sleek lines?  Well, that is call a bi-swing back (that took a fair bit of research to dig up)   There are a couple of ways to do them.   David Coffin presents one in his book on shirtmaking (pg. 152)  but I ended up going with one I found described (no pictures) on various sewing  and motorcycle jacket forums.   It is composed of two crescents which are attached to each other along the convex side and to the sleeve and jacket back along the concave sides.   To prevent the fabric from poufing out of the armscye permanently, the gusset is attached to the back (or to the opposing gusset) with elastic.   This way one can stretch without popping seams.

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