Another Linnet #99 Tunic

A sleeveless, tunic length version of the Linnet #99 pattern.

A sleeveless, tunic length version of the Linnet #99 pattern.

I’ve made another version of the Linnet Dress #99. Since I’m not much of a dress person, I crafted another tunic version, this one somewhat shorter than the last one, and without sleeves, so it can be worn as a layering garment with shirts, turtlenecks and leggings. I had some remnants of heavy weight linen that I’d dyed for another project knocking around and so that’s what I used, and decided that the contrasting shade of the selvage was something that I liked so I chose to incorporate it into the design. I’m pleased with this project. This is exactly the sort of basic wardrobe garment that I needed and that prompted my wardrobe sewing adventure in the first place. The simplicity of the pattern lends itself to seemingly endless variations. This is a four pleat version, two in front and two in back, but I’m working on a 10 pleat version with long sleeves in an indigo dyed linen. My linen supply has run dry but I intend to make more of these, one in silk and a couple in some  cotton Provencale prints that I have in my fabric stash. With Spring nowhere in sight, I think I might still have enough time to crank out a few more before gardening season is upon us.

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Resolutions for 2014

New Years resolutions have never been a thing of mine, however, this year might be different. My new Babylock ‘Molly’ sewing machine is a marvel, my sewing skills are improving, and the style and relevancy of my wardrobe is declining,( the latter faster than the former). So, sew I shall. I’ve just treated myself to 4 vintage sewing patterns that I intend to complete within the year, along with a wish list of 8 basic, stylish garments that I feel are within my skill level (although I will have to create patterns for them) and that I can combine with ‘off the rack’, inexpensive, leggings and shirts.

This, my New year’s Resolution, is an attempt to reclaim a sense of style, however modest, that seems to have been lost in the shuffle when we packed up from our cosmopolitan, NYC apartment and moved to the country to dig gardens, chop firewood, can vegetables, make bread, build stone walls, husband chickens, ducks and turkeys, wallow in horse manure,  and, generally, be slovenly.

First up is ‘The Smock’, view #3. Okay, granted; not that stylish, but it’s a comfort thing, a garment I wore when I was 5 and, after all these years, it might qualify for a sort of retro-stylishness, that’s what I’m thinking. I plan to make it in a natural, undyed belgian linen.

1960's Artist's Smock

1960’s Artist’s Smock

Once I get this one going, I’ll post about the other up and coming garments.

What’s YOUR New Year’s Resolution? Do you have one? Any goals or wishes or hopes? Please share them in the comments section.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU.

May you enjoy prosperity and good health!

The Handbag Project

I needed a new handbag and so I made one. I searched the internet for patterns and found one designed by Amy Butler, that was being offered for free through www.sewmamasew.com as a promotional device to launch Ms. Butler’s most recent DIY, sewing, lifestyle book.

I then searched for people who had actually made the handbag and found a few sites that were enormously helpful. The women who made these bags all offered very useful advice and shared images of their completed projects; many with progress shots. I didn’t photograph the process, but I did keep careful notes that I categorized as: My Alterations to the Design, My Deviations from the Instructions, and, finally: What I’d do Differently If I Were To Make Another Bag.

Here’s my completed bag:

Amy Butler Blossom Bag

Modified ‘Amy Butler Blossom Bag’.

I used a mid-weight printed canvas duck for everything..the exterior, the interior and it worked out fine. I applied two applications of ScotchGuard to the completed bag.

Interior photos of Amy Butler Blossom Bag

Interior of Amy Butler bag with added features: pockets for pens, glasses, notepads…

For those of you who may be interested in making this bag I offer the following comments:

My Alterations to the Design

  • Altered the strap configuration, didn’t like the fussy, cutesy, arstiness of the original. Used metal D rings. Easier and, in my opinion, cleaner looking.
  • Added small square of heavy duty interlining behind the magnetic snap closures for reinforcement and to avoid a cheap looking ‘pressure point’ on the inside flap, which would, inevitable come with wear.
  • Added a snap on “key leash” attached to a key ring so I won’t have to dig around in my bag in the dark, shaking it for the sound of the jangling keys.
  • Added pockets to the interior back lining to hold pens, pencils, small notepads, a small calculator, and business cards.

My Deviations from the Original Pattern (and Emphatic Suggestions)!

  • Created separate ‘Oaktag’ (or cardboard) patterns for the Peltex pieces, to avoid the crazy, wasteful and labor intensive work of cutting the pieces twice.
  • Used mid-weight ‘Home Dec’ fabric for exterior and interior and lining.
  • Created transparent Mylar pattern pieces in order to lay out the pattern of the fabric and visualize the completed bag. This is particularly valuable if you’re using fabric that has a repeat pattern.

 What I’d do Differently If I Were To Make Another Bag

  • I would use a product called ‘fabric stiffener’ which is available to the trade for upholstery workroom applications. This would add body to the bag.
  • Eliminate the Peltex for the divider panels. The fabric stiffener would do the trick and reduce the unnecessary bulk of the panels, make it much easier to sew and manipulate.
  • Add an exterior pocket on the back for a cell phone (even though I don’t use a cellphone….but, sadly, that day of the electronic leash will arrive and I ought to be prepared).
  • Secure the interior lining to the bag in a more serious way than that suggested in the pettern/instructions.
  • Maybe allow for a wider seam allowance.
  • Maybe make the bag slightly smaller (it’s a BIG bag).

 

My revised version of the free internet pattern by Amy Butler.

My revised version of the free internet pattern by Amy Butler.