Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Waistcoat Part II.

This is the second in a series of posts about my latest project, a fancy steampunk inspired coat. The pattern is loosely based on a Simplicity pattern, 2172, that I have been slowly altering as I go along. This is a rough overview of the muslin fitting and creating the pattern for the  pleated skirt around the bottom of the coat.

It started with the original Simplicity 2172 pattern pieces cut to my size; the 3 lining pieces and the front panel (6, 7, 10, and 1). I used them exactly as they were in my gold polyester fabric to adjust the fit before adding any changes.

This is my fabric cut out and ready to sew.

I just used  the original directions and sewed them all together
 The resulting garment needed to be taken in on several places, mostly due to my petite proportions not matching the length of my dress size. You can do this mathematically on the pattern pieces, but it's easier to adjust it on the muslin. The shortening of the straps and across the width of the back helped get rid of the bagginess. I took in a slight bit of the vertical back seam so I didn't have to draw the lacing up quite as tightly in the back

Here is the much better fitting result.

I did a closer shot of the strap seam.
 One note: I did need to widen the arm scythe to make sure that my sleeves will match up in the final coat.

The temporary corset back was made with safety pins lined vertically to stand in for the grommets.

Then came the most difficult part. I lopped off the tail of the jacket after deciding at what point the skirt should start and adding extra room for the seam allowance.

The bottom of the vest with the sides pinned in place for marking as the lacing will not extend beyond the skirt seam.
 Once I had all the adjustments to to body of the coat. They were transferred to new pattern pieces made of tissue paper before moving on to the skirt.

The tail of this waistcoat took a lot of trial and error. It started with the leftover remnants cut off from the test fit. The original skirt is large and flat, and the new one was planned with huge pleats. Having never drafted pleats, I used the internet as my guide. The main consensus seemed to be make the shape you want the final pattern to take when fully folded. Divide it into sections based on how wide you want the pleats, and add the extra fabric for the depth of the pleat between the slices.


So I cut out a slice of fabric that would be one half of the skirt to make piece A.


Then I played with a separate piece of fabric to determine how much extra to add between the folds.


 Once it looked right, I cut off everything but the pleat itself,


 ironed the fold,


unfolded it,


and cut off the top portion of the fold to leave me with a template for the fold depth. Piece B


Back to piece A; it got cut into panels the where the pleats would go. These were numbered so I could reassemble them in order.


The first panel was small since it will be doubled by sewing the other side of the skirt. Then the other panels went around the waistline with a slight radiating effect. This would made my pattern difficult to match up later.




In theory all I had to do was draw the new template by inserting the width of B in between each numbered panel:

 1A, B, 2A, B, 3A, B, 4A, B, 5A, B, 6A, B, 7

Here I ended up regretting the pretty radiating cuts that made each of the number As slightly thinner towards the top. It meant that B needed to be fitted in awkwardly for each one as I tried to keep the top of the waistline straight and connect the bottom of the As smoothly.

This is also where I realized that the width of the finished pattern would be too wide for my fancy jacquard fabric. So I had to shrink B to accommodate that.

Contest Entry: Herd of Unicorn Planters

Limited Color Palette Succulents

We know our community loves to create and sew with designs inspired by succulents, so we thought we’d try a Design Challenge using this theme with a restricted palette twist! Evocative of a desert sunset; deep, cool greens and earthy corals take the lead in in this limited palette challenge. Whether you use watercolors, vectors, or a block print technique, we can’t wait to see what you come up with! Black and white are optional, and you must use at least 2 of the colors from our palette shown above. Please use only the full opacity of the colors, transparent variations will not be accepted. Entries will be previewed at the fat quarter size: 21″ x 18.”  Submissions close April 11, 2017 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Voting begins April 13, 2017.  See official rules.

Herd of Unicorn Planters


Here's my entry for the contest. Unicorns as little ceramic planters are filled to the brim with cacti and succulents. Sice they only gave us two greens to work with, I used the ben-day dot/stripe effect to mix up a few more shades while staying within the guidelines of the contest. 

Herd of Unicorn Planters

Herd of Unicorn Planters

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Contest Entry: Fairy Garden Paper Cut

Paper-Cut Florals

Channel your inner Matisse during his cutouts phase as you dream up a bold and graphic floral design. Actually taking scissors to paper is not required, but do your best to create the same effect whether you use print making, digital, or hand painted methods. Entries will be previewed at the fat quarter size: 21″ x 18.” Submissions close April 4, 2017 at 3 p.m. EDT. Voting begins April 6, 2017.

Fairy Garden Paper Cut 

Here's my entry; I couldn't resist making some fairies to go with the flowers!

Fairy Garden Paper Cut

Fairy Garden Paper Cut

Fairy Garden Paper Cut

Fairy Garden Paper Cut

Fairy Garden Paper Cut

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

DIY Faux Leather Belt Pouches


This is the first belt pouch that I made to fit my phone. It's made from these faux leather fabric samples that were in my fabric stash. The sizes are pretty small which meant piecing them together to make the patterns work. This smaller bag is made from 3 separate swatches. 

The main part is just a rectangle folded in half and an added strip on one side to make it the correct width. The loop is made very simply by trimming around the raised pattern, folding in half, and sewing firmly to the back half of the main piece. The pockets were done by cutting a swatch in 3 pieces and sewing them one on top of the other in a staggered fashion to the front half on the main piece. Then it was finished by sewing a seam along the side and bottom and turned right side out. The swatches had a soft knit backing so I kept that unlined. The Hydra pin was a gift from my brother :)


The second pouch was a design as you go scenario. It's mostly a box with a flap that fits the dimensions of my phone. It was lined with some of my steampunk fabrics and sewn partly by hand. The dragon pin on the front was purchased at Hobby Lobby by a friend of mine. The three buttons were an obnoxious red plastic before getting a few coats of metallic fingernail polish.



There are a few accent pieces of leather on the top with cream stitching for contrast. Between the flap and the back of the bag are the two loops. I tried to secure them really well. They are rectangles with a colored detail sewn underneath that I hoped would add to the strength of the project.


And on the back you can see where the holes from the staples that ran through my swatches were. I think that's the only place where that peeked through.


On one side I barely had enough matching scraps to make a small pocket for holding my earphones.


On the inside of the flap I used my Colorful Steam Punk Top Hats fabric. After hand stitching it into place I went over it with the cream machine stitching to keep it laying flat. You can also see another trim piece that is hidden when the pouch is closed


The dragon pin was added after the bag was completed. It did need some sturdy black thread to secure it in place. And you can also see the button hole here and below that was made by braiding linen thread and securing it to the knit underside of the leather before lining.



I added three buttons along the bottom even though the loop only goes around the one in the center.


The pockets and lining were horrible on my fingers because the layers and my lack of planning meant sewing by hand. The pockets were made from rectangles of leather with their linings made from taco folded rectangles of Steampunk Top Hats Plain and Steampunk Gears Brass & Copper that I hemmed beforehand. Those were wedged neatly between the pocket and the outside wall of the pouch and whip stitched and ladder stitched in place The sides were lined with the remnants of the cream swatch, and the bottom of the bag was a rectangle of Steampunk Gears Brass & Copper that was also hand stitched. When it was finally done everything was fashionably secured with cream stitching all the way around the lip of the bag.


Bottom inside the bag.


Back pocket with the hats above, and the front pocket with the gears below.


If I had this project to do over again, I probably wouldn't have lined each facet of the bag separately. But in the end I really love this thing. It pretty much goes with me everywhere because I can fit all my essentials in it: phone, wallet, keys, chapstick, coin purse, pen, earbuds, and any other tiny stuff I need. It does get a bit heavy, and I have to keep it on my left hip so it doesn't fall off when I have to use the restroom. But if the only drawback is that it's heavy because it can hold so much stuff, I'm more than happy to deal with that!

Contest Entry: Solar System Mandala

The Mandalas
Design Challenge
In Sanskrit, the word “mandala” simply means circle. It is known as a spiritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the universe. One of the most well known examples is the sand Mandala - a Tibetan Buddhist tradition involving the creation and destruction of mandalas made from colored sand. Entries will be previewed at the FQ size: 21″ x 18.” Submissions close 3/7/2017 at 3 p.m. EST.

My entry for this challenge : Solar System Mandala

Large view

Closer view with Jupiter on the bottom and swirling Neptune on the right.

The sun and rocky planets with Earth at the top.

Closer view of Saturn and Venus

Uranus is at the very top.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Contest Entry: Spoonflower Print

2017 Spoonflower T-Shirt

Voting begins November 17

What does Spoonflower mean to you? What kinds of things come to mind when you think about the brand? Is it sewing? Design? Community? Flowers? Spoons? Put it all down into a unique, never before seen surface pattern for a t-shirt that Spoonflower will be printing for 2017! Entries will be previewed on an 21" x 18" fat quarter size and should repeat.

Spoonflower Print