Sunday, April 22, 2012

Little Red Coat

I have been admiring vintage children's coats for a while.  With the onset of winter it was time for me to set aside hesitation and give it a try.

This little coat is from a vintage Simplicity pattern 5122 - size 4.  A closer examination of the pattern shows this is from 1972.  I've stitched it up with some woollen tweed given to me well over 10 years ago and added velveteen to the welts and collar and brushed cotton lining.  I'm finding myself revisiting my stash of fabrics and instead of seeing A-line skirts, seeing a wardrobe full of little coats.

The pockets took a little practice.  After the trial run on some off cuts, it became apparent that precision was  going to be very important.  I'm loving the way they turned out and pleased I took the time to practice.

The cuffs are folded back as we have some growing to do before this fits perfectly.  I'm tempted to make some little velveteen and button ties to hold them in place.  I'm hoping there are few more winters in this coat yet.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tutorial - Jigsaw Puzzle Bags

I love kid's Jig-Saw puzzles, but sometimes I just don't want to find another piece behind the couch, underfoot or up the vacuum cleaner. We have started to keep our jigsaw puzzles in line with some custom made bags. In the interests of world peace, here's a tutorial for making your own.

Clear Plastic PVC (usually sold by the metre as table protector)
Bias tape
Matching thread
Self adhesive velcro dots
Lunchwrap paper

Sewing machine
Tape measure

Step 1 - Cut
Measure your jigsaw. Cut out a clear plastic rectangle measuring - 1 1/2" wider than the longest side of puzzle and 2.5 x the shortest size.
i.e if your puzzle measures 11" x 6" the piece of clear plastic will measure 12 1/2" (11+1.5) by 15"(6x2.5).

Scissors showing the width

The plastic needs to wrap around the puzzle once + some to create the flap

Step 2
- Wrap
Fold the plastic around the puzzle as shown above to make a pocket that is as deep as the puzzle. If it is shallower, pieces may fall out of the corners of the bag. Cut two strips of bias tape a little longer than the two sides and pin at the top to secure.

With the envelope folded, and bias tape pinned, ready to stitch

Step 3 - Stabilise and Stitch
Set your machine to the widest and longest Zig-Zag. Place a piece of thin paper (I am using lunch wrap) behind the bias tape. The plastic can cling to the plate of your machine and this paper helps to keep things moving as you sew. Beginning with a bar tack (zig-zag in one place) at the top, stitch towards the bottom and finish with a bar tack while still over the plastic.

Bar tack at end of stitching

Showing the paper attached to the back of the plastic after stitching

Step 4 - Rip and Remove
After stitching both sides, rip away the paper and get the last little bits out of the stitching with a pin. The bias tape may have stretched slightly as you stitch, so trim to length after stitching.

Velcro dots ready to go
Step 5 - Stick
Close the bag to get an idea of where the flap will finish on the bag. Again, you want this to be snug to stop pieces falling out of the corner of the bag. Place the loop side of the velcro dots on the main envelop just under the line where the flap finishes. Press firmly to make it stick, then remove the hook dots and grip them to the loops. Fold the flap over and press firmly again, to get the hook dots to stick to the flap.

For a no-sew option, you can replace the bias tape with duct tape.

I have sewn in zig-zag so that there is more than one line of stitching holes holding the side of the bag together. A single line of stitching would make removing the paper easier, but the bag would not be as strong.

Bias tape can stretch as you sew so sew from the top to the bottom of the bag to make it easier to trim any extra length. Cutting the strip over long gives you something to hold onto as you trim too.

Drop me a line if there is anything that isn't working for you or needs more detail. I'd love to hear how you get on making these.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Romance of Colours, With Names

There is a certain romance to the names of colours. I was recently given some old cottons. My Aunt quite correctly thought they would be my colours. She was right. They matched the capes I had been making, perfectly. I put them in a bowl to admire and left them there.

After a week or so, I started to notice that some of the cottons had names. Quite fantastic names at that. The three blues that looked almost the same, were not. While 962, 671 and 252 could easily be confused, give them a name and Cambridge looks nothing like Monaco.

There is something almost dull about colours with just numbers. While DMC 666 is devilishly red, it is hard to think of a particular colour for every three digit number. I would love to think of names for every cotton in the drawer and spend my days stitching away with ambiguous colours like avocado. Wondering, would that be the green of the inside, dark greenish black of the outside or wooden brown of the stone? Whatever the case, I don't think anyone can get it as wrong and this stocking repair thread:

Hmm, potato, the most alluring colour of hosiery never to be invented.