Friday, July 22, 2016

Waistcoat Project

This is the first 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. Here are a few sketches to show the basic idea for the coat.
The Simplicity pattern I'm using; all the new pattern pieces made moving everything to an empty tin box necessary.

This is my first sketch when I had simple dreams of adding a hood and maybe changing the neckline.

This is a much later sketch showing how I've chopped off the patterned skirt in favor of a pleated and much more dramatic one. This also shows the fancier detachable sleeve option. I honestly don't know how many sleeves I will make.

The plan at first was to do the pattern with a few small touches thrown in to make it my own. Adding a removable hood and changing the neckline slightly were quickly followed with making detachable sleeves, and adding a high collar in the back. The pockets became more subtle without the giant flaps.

The sleeve flanges disappeared, and after making a muslin to adjust the fit, (for which I have many photos that will be unloaded in the next post) the entire bottom half was literally cut off the coat.

The voluminous pleats that replaced the simple skirt were drafted and redrafted, and currently the muslin for that will serve as my new pattern. Making a new pattern piece as I have been doing for every other section would take an excessive amount of paper and effort.

I added trim to my mental plan in the beginning, this has evolved into a fantastic beaded lace along the bottom edge of the waistcoat. If you need a mental picture of my pleated madness. This requires a staggering 4 yards of trim to accomplish.

The fabrics I've chosen:

A magnificent chenille brocade for the exterior fabric in black and gold, this was the hardest to find and most expensive portion of the project. I needed 6 yards! I used Simplicity's estimate and added an extra yard for the hood.

The main lining fabric is a soft gold polyester satin with a crushed texture. This I got as a 12 yard lot so it eliminated the need for guessing yardage, and provided a ready made supply of fabric for my muslin fitting and pattern making needs.

A memorial day sale at Joanne's provided the fake fur that will line the hood. It was leaning towards black or maybe a fancy timberwolf colored fur in the beginning stages, but the white adds an elegant contrast against all the black. I bought a yard, and after cutting out the pieces I needed for this project, used a portion to make a fabulous cat bed.

The detachable parts are going to be held in place with hidden snap buttons, and the corset style lacing on the back of the coat will use metal D rings that will be riveted to the coat in place of the fabric loops in the Simplicity pattern.

The top four pieces of hardware are for the snaps, and the bottom three are the D ring components. And my upholstery/coat weight thread in matching black.

There are still a few smaller details that I'm working out. I've already ordered some pretty laces and I'll add them to this post once they're delivered.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Project Photos: DIY Cat Bed Tutorial

Today I'm going to show you how to sew a fabulous, reversible cat bed with 2 fat quarters and some fluffy poly-fil. You can really use any kind of stuffing that you like, this was just the biggest bag of fluff that my Walmart carries. (it doesn't take anywhere near that amount of filling, I plan on using it for many more projects)

Bird Floral Dark Blue
I used one fat quarter of Spoonflower's fleece and cut a rectangle of white faux fur from Joanne's to match.

On the fleece, mark on all four corners a 4 inch x 4 inch square. I used a water soluble marker.

Pin the corner so the edges of the square line up with right sides together, 
and sew a seam along or just inside that line. Repeat for all four corners. 
I went over it twice with the zigzag setting of my sewing machine.

Then trim down the seam allowance and get rid of any marks that might bleed through to the other side.

You should end up with a floppy shallow box shape. Set it aside, and repeat all the steps on the fur.

Here I used a pencil because the marker didn't write as well on the fur fabric.

And now you have your second side finished.

Place the two halves together with right sides facing inwards. 
My fur was a bit stiffer than the fleece, so I placed that piece on the outside.

Line up the corners and pin both halves together.

This is mine all pinned up.

Go ahead and sew the two together with a 5/8 inch seam allowance. Be sure to leave a gap for turning, and this is important: be sure you can fit your hand through that hole.  

Turn everything inside out through the gap.

Push all the inside corners together to make a box, and get out a needle and thread. 

This is the part where you'll begin to stuff. It's hard to describe, but basically you are making a tightly stuffed ring around a more soft and fluffy middle section. If you get confused look at the guide above.

Try to imagine an invisible line going around the bottom of your box. 
Start by sewing along that line on the long side opposite the gap from corner to corner (A-D) 
through both layers just using a simple straight stitch.  
Mine was done using an upholstery weight thread for extra durability.

Grab your stuffing material, and pack it as tightly as you can around the back section also filling in those corners. This is where you really want to be able to put your hand through that gap!

Go around the edges with your straight stitch filling as you go. Start at D sew through C. Then do C towards B stopping at the gap. Then sew the other side from A to B. Stop here and stuff the middle. Close the loop by sewing B towards C finishing where you left off going from the other direction.

Stuff the last section in front of the gap, and close with a ladder stitch. And that's it, you've made a cat bed!

Even though my stitching is black, you really can't see it unless you're looking for it by parting the fur.

The same is true of the fleecy side since the stitching is deep within the folds of the bed.

The midsection is full and pillowy.

And the outer ring is firm, and comfortable.

Bird Floral Dark Blue
Adorable Photo Update: 7/22/16