Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Stash SWAP 2009

The President reminded me today that success is necessarily built on failure. Therefore, I am not going to let my past failure to complete either of the two SWAPs I entered deter me from having another go at it. If I finish in time that will be a good thing. In the past, all I've needed to do is announce my intention to join a SWAP, then the pixies get indignant at my hubris and usually find me some illustration work to do. All of a sudden, there's no time to sew. That would be a good thing too, considering. So, forward––– march!
I have no right on earth to go fabric shopping of course so went into the stash for project materials.
I began with the topper fabric, a wool broadcloth I have had for about twenty years. It is a salmony terra cotta color (absolutely the choice of someone 20 years younger than I am). I spent some time pulling yardage out and trying to make connections. Of course none of the stash was acquired with even a faint notion of compatibility. I got some things going but the next day, realized it wasn't right. Then I remembered the
Color Schemer program. I'd played with it once on line and went back again to find coordinates for the salmon/terra cotta. The program is aimed at web designers, allowing them to test out page design color schemes. Above you can see some of what I came up with. And once I started, I realized this is also the same information in a number of the painting books in my library as well as an excellent book by Deb Menz: "Color Works". I decided that I didn't have to restrict myself to either a complementary, split complementary or analogous palette since I wasn't likely to wear all the items at once. All I have to do is make choices that coordinate with the topper color; oh, ----- and make garments that can be worn with that topper. By this I'm referring to fabric to garment compatibility. That dark green velveteen can't be made into a shirt because that would be uncomfortable to wear under the jacket, for me anyway.
I just realize one fabric is left out of my storyboard up there.
This is a wool jersey from my mother's stash. It will turn into one of the tops.
I did have some consternation about my penchant brightness and color contrast. I'd checked out a Hot Patterns interview where the nice lady forecast the monochromatic palette for the upcoming season. Then I saw this photo on my favorite fashion site: Advanced Style. Well alrighty then! This is where I'm headed.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I've been looking to replace the go-to black nylon purse I was not clever enough to buy two of when I had the chance. I bought it at the 99¢ store; that's just how devoted to fashion I am. It's main attraction is that it is not too big. I don't want a purse that wears me or that I have to fumble around in to find things. I thought I'd found in Walmart (sorry to drop names) a cute replacement with rainbow polka dots but it would not accommodate a wallet, keys, sketchbook and pens, cell phone and lip balm. That's when I discovered yet another thing that has vaulted onto the list of things up with I can no longer put: Purses with Black Linings. I can't see into a black purse that's deeper than six inches.

Butterick 4147 has the selling point that I could see myself using each of the bags included. I made view E, a design I've been curious about. I think it is made to stay on the shoulder better than just a straight strap. Constantly hitching something into place (like a shoulder strap) is another thing on the aforementioned list.
I used a home dec suede cloth. Found it on line, on sale, I no longer remember where. I liked that there was a pocket to hold cell phone or iPod on the strap. It can also be worn across the body.

For a good portion of the sewing, I marched my sewing machine along turning the wheel by hand. The fabric is thick to begin with and sewing through three or four layers of it, interfaced, was not going to happen quickly. My machine has a device that makes it stop dead in it's tracks when it encounters to too much to sew through. I was using a size 110 needle, thinking that's what upholstery fabric called for. It was a little easier with a smaller, size 90 needle but sewing slowly is the answer here. This fabric is dense and not easily punched through. I made the stitch length longer and when topstitching was called for, longer still. I used gold, top stitching thread used for blue jeans on top, regular gold colored thread in the bobbin.
For the lining, you're asked to use the same pattern pieces as for the front, back and sides. What I used was more home dec, a yellow and white striped remnant.

Here you can see the extra pocket I added. I knew there would be a problem using another sturdy fabric for the lining, how could it fit inside the bag if the pieces were the same size? That was an issue, and unless the bag is turned inside out, the lining bunches up to fit. Another thing to consider is there are some tightly curved corners in this pattern, too tight to press flat. I trimmed them and mashed them a bit with the iron but the fit between lining and bag wouldn't be satisfactory if this were a jacket. When I first put some items in the bag then pulled them out, the lining came along with so I did some back stitching down one long seam opposite the zipper, feeling for the suede cloth seam allowance underneath the lining. I continued this stitching along the bottom seam line as well. Now it stays inside.
Here's an example of one tight corner, this is the main part of the shoulder strap, it has to be smooth here. With the difficulty of sewing on the interfaced suede cloth and the narrow radius of this turn, I stopped and marked the stitching line. This was also the place to go slowly. Another method would have been to baste along the seam and then sew.
Two 12" zippers and two 1" D-rings are all the hardware necessary. For you purse mavens out there I stumbled on a new trimming store in the garment district. Botani Trimming inc. I do mean new, it looked like they were busy filling hundreds of little drawers when I showed up. They have a large selection of much nicer D-rings than I was interested in as well as all kinds of zippers and buttons.
The pocket flap closes with Velcro but maybe I'll add this Sculpey button. I'll try the messenger bag next.