Yay! Time for Sewing Again - Robe Project

I find myself with more free time lately and so I have been slowly getting back into the sewing room. One of the first things I wanted to finish for myself was a robe made from this pattern.

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I’ve had this pattern forever and over the years have made it for different family members. A few years ago I decided it would be nice to make a robe for myself, so I bought a lovely blue cloud patterned fleece. Well it had been sitting in my sewing room since then.

Early this year I made the resolution that I would finish it before another winter passed and I actually did finish it about a month ago, just in time for the cool weather.

Here are a few progress shots. The pattern is pretty easy to make. The shawl collar saves you a bit of sewing and it’s easy to trim with piping and to sew the facings on. Here I am putting the top stitching on the shoulder seams after attaching the back of the collar to the back neck.

No facings on the collar yet. I just wanted to see if I needed to trim back the shoulder pieces a bit. The shoulder should drop quite a bit on the robe for a loose comfortable fit, so I left it as it was.

Next step was to put the piping on the collar.

Here the piping and the facings are on the collar and it’s looking good.

After serging the front raw edges of the facing I attach the facing along the back neck and shoulder of the collar by hand.

Next I attach the sleeves. I like to press as I go, it helps you to judge if things are shaping up correctly.

The sleeves are on. At this point all I have left to do is attach the cuffs with another bit of detail piping, make the tie belt and loops and then mark and hem the robe.

Voila, a nice warm cuddly robe!

It’s good to be back!

4th of July

We got our day off today and spent it all at home, except for going off for a walk in the early evening. It was a beautiful day, sunny and clear, but not too hot.

I did a little sewing. I worked on my latest pair of black pants which had to have the usual alteration of cutting down the crotch length. I removed the waistband and zipper the other day, but had been putting off sewing the zipper back in. I was stalling because it is an invisible zipper. The kind that looks great once it’s in but has to be put in with a special zipper foot and needs more wrangling overall to sew in.

Quite a few months ago I read somewhere that it was much easier to put on an invisible zipper if you had a proper heavy duty metal zipper foot and not one of the flimsy plastic jobs you can get at the neighborhood fabric stores. I took the advice and searched around for a nice metal invisible zipper foot that would fit my machine. It’s been waiting patiently for me to try it out. Well today I finally used it. I reviewed the process of putting in an invisible zipper and used my new zipper foot on my machine. It went on like a dream. No fuss or muss and the invisible zipper looks great, invisible. I feel empowered! Now I will be able to put invisible zippers in anywhere I want to. Yea!

Once I got through celebrating this small triumph, I left the pants and worked on the hem of this summer dress that I had ready to finish for some time. I used my old dependable dress form and hem marker which makes it a breeze to mark even hems, even on drapey material such as this one.

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I cut about three inches off the bottom. Now that it is cut I will use my cover stitch machine to put in a stretchy hem.

I didn’t do any reading today, but yesterday I did finish The Girl Sleuth book. It was an interesting read, especially now that I have so many of the Nancy Drew books again. It will be interesting to reread the Nancy Drew adventures knowing more about the authors that created her.

We grilled some steaks for dinner. I usually don’t eat red meat, but I figured it was a holiday and could afford to indulge. It was a great meal but heavy and we went for a walk a little later to burn off some of those calories. We strolled around the neighborhood just before sunset and realized that most people were beginning to set off their little firewords displays. We were glad to get back to the house as it was beginning to get noisy and we wanted to get the cats inside.

We managed to get everyone inside the house except Max, who hid from us as soon as the booms and shrieks really started. Sometime later he slunk in, looking frazzled, poor kitty!

Later in the evening still feeling full from the steak I had a nice walk on my treadmill. I managed to burn off 300 more calories, so I think that helped to offset my indulgence a little.

So much for our little midweek holiday. It was a quiet way to spend the 4th, but just our speed. I remember when I was a little girl, my family would walk to the Coliseum in Exposition Park, which was just a few blocks away from our house, to see the fireworks display. We would sit on the grassy park outside the stadium and enjoy a spectacular performance. Maybe someday when we live far from this crowded city we will seek out fireworks displays to watch again.

Sunday Sewing

I spent most of the afternoon and early evening working on this.

It is a laundry bag to store my hand wash clothes. I made it from a fabric I recycled from a former hamper. It used to look like this.

This is Marty’s hamper, I used to have one just like it but mine broke. I kept the heavy muslin material with the nice embroidered word knowing that I would find some good use for it.

Sunday

Two days in a row of working in the sewing room, I can hardly believe my industriousness! I decided to do some multi-tasking in there. I put The Original Philosophers Two Handed Fair Isle knitting video into the player and started unsewing one of my old T-shirts that I want to alter. I got the knitting video a few years ago on Christmas along with the companion book.

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It has a good explanation of how to do fair isle knitting. Since I have been toying with the idea of starting a fair isle project, I figured it was a good time to study the video. It is produced by Ann and Eugene Bourgeois who own a farm in Canada, grow their own sheep, spin and dye their own yarn, knit beautiful sweaters and pullovers and sell yarn kits and patterns.

While I was watching the video I ripped out the hem of a T-shirt that I had altered already. I had cut this shirt down from an extra large size. It was a gift from the Richard Burgi fan club and it has the little RBFC logo on the front. I really wanted to wear it and that is why I went to the trouble of altering it. Unfortunately it still is a little too loose and I have been meaning to take it in a little more. I like the shape and length of the sleeves, so I also wanted to make a pattern of the sleeves and use it to reshape some of my other T-shirts.

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I watched the whole video, but didn’t get too far with the T-shirt. I guess I’m not very good at multi-tasking after all.

Saturday Sewing

I headed into my sewing room today to whittle away on my pile of things to do in there. First I ironed out the green practice shawl I knit some time ago. I had this green scrap yarn and decided to try out the leaf lace shawl pattern and work out some of the things I didn’t understand in the instructions. It turned out great. I love the leaf pattern and it is actually very easy to knit. When I finished the little practice shawl I was excited to see how it would look when I blocked it out.

Unfortunately when I did the wet blocking it didn’t take. That is when I realized that the yarn is probably acrylic and doesn’t respond to blocking like real wool does. I was disappointed because it was still all crimped up and you couldn’t appreciate the lace pattern on it. Later I read on the Internet that it is possible to stream press acrylic flat. In the terms of the knowledgeable, you “kill” the acrylic yarn by this process. Steam pressing destroys the ability of the acrylic yarn to bounce back to it’s original shape. I figured I had nothing to lose, so a few weeks ago I experimented and steam pressed half of the shawl. It worked! After pressing, it stretched out to a larger size and lay flat.

This morning I finally got around to steam pressing the rest of the shawl. It now works nicely as a small shoulder shawl and you can really see the nice lace pattern. I think it looks great.

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Next I decided to work on fixing this apron. I removed the binding and unsewed all the rest of the parts sometime ago so it was ready to cut down to size. I bought this apron at Ross but it never fit very well. When the ties were were wrapped at my waist, the bib came up too high on my chest. I finally decided that I would have to alter it if it was ever to fit properly.

This is how it looked with all the parts layed out before I reshaped the top. The red line indicates how much I needed to cut off.

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It was more work that I thought to cut, reattach the edge binding and then reattach the neck and waist ties. I modeled the finished product for Marty.

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Vintage Books

I got one of my eBay purchases all the way from Australia today. It’s a vintage fair isle knitting pamphlet. The format is a little smaller than it seemed in the auction picture but I’m pleased with it. It has lots of pretty sweater designs. I would only make a few as illustrated, but I would like to try patterns and styles from a number of them.

In other things, I’ve been trying to get my sewing room in shape again to do some work in there. Yesterday I cleaned up a bit and today I cleaned and oiled my 20U33 Singer machine. It was way overdue for a good oiling. I know I have neglected it and I was sure some of the problems I was having with it lately were probably due to it needing maintenance. I unscrewed the top and face plate on the machine and oiled everything that moved. I saturated an oil pad that was bone dry with oil. I also removed the drive belt so that I could lift the machine up and oil the undercarriage mechanisms.

I think I did a good job. Once it was all back together I did some test sewing. It felt and sounded smooth and quiet, much better than before.

I also finally got rid of the ancient clamping light that I’ve had here for so long. It stopped working and I replaced it with this black adjustable clamp light that I used to have at work. It works great. So I’m all set to start working on my sewing projects again.

Working on the Pants Stash

Yesterday I worked on finishing the alterations on another pair of black pants from my stash. I have a pile of pants sitting in my sewing room. I seem to have a propensity for buying them, but unfortunately I don’t have the same propensity for fixing them. On these I took a little in at the back of the waistband and raised the hem to my length. Later in the evening I did the hand work on the hems and left them ready to wear to work this morning.

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Speaking of pants alterations.This alteration was easy compared to what I usually have to do. I almost always have to alter the crotch length on store bought pants. I usually remove the waistband and zipper. Once the zipper is removed I can cut down the front. Usually I take off about 1 to 2 inches right at the front crotch length and merge the cut back to the regular length in the back. Next I put the zipper back in and reattach the waistband. The pants always look kind of strange when I’m done with them, with the sloping front but that it the way I’m built and they always fit much better.

With my recent weight loss I have been encouraged to wade into the pants pile to see just what I have accumulated. I was amazed and chagrined to learn that I have about 25 pairs of pants, mostly black, and most with tags still attached. I blush to think of my inattention in mindlessly accumulating and then forgetting them over the years. Especially considering that my working wardrobe is sadly in need of basic black pants. My only excuse it that my dissatisfaction with my weight has kept me unenthusiastic about sewing for myself in general. Hopefully I will be able to maintain the weight loss which in turn will keep me motivated enough to slowly clear my sewing room of the stashed clothes.

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I received the package of workshop materials from Ann Kullberg in the mail today. I will need to pack this along with the rest of the art materials I have collected to take on the cruise. They mailed out the workshop supplies to all the workshop attendees so that they (the workshop organizers) wouldn’t have to haul a humongous amount of supplies on to the ship themselves.

Included in this package were the two cruise related items I ordered from the Ann Kullberg website, a pink T-shirt and a tote bag, both emblazoned with lettering that commemorates the cruise. I’m thinking that the tote bag will be just the thing to carry my workshop supplies. They will be nice keepsakes of the trip.

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