Sewing Vloggers

Monday, April 27, 2020

Scarfarama Drama!


In my previous post I mentioned how I went through each and every piece of fabric I own. I came across some real inspirations, some that I forgot even existed. I think we are all a little guilty of that now and then. I did find some small pieces that were lovely and I know I kept them for possibly making scarves as they were small enough that that or a Hong Kong seem would be all that could ever lie in their future. In the past day and a half I have made three scarves with different techniques and I know I will get good use out of all of them. The first you see above is very sentimental. I had a great aunt, quite a character as the stories go, who among other things was a bit of a hoarder, an unmarried one. Luckily for me one of the things she hoarded were textiles of all sorts. She would cut laces of off things and bag them up and keep them and throw out the garments, that sort of thing. She traveled a bit too, and from the looks of my inheritance perhaps Mexico was part of that journey. She lived not too far from the Mexican border so it was a common vacation spot in her day. She died at 96 years of age when I was 25 so looooong time ago. Her textile goodies all came to me. This hand woven cloth above was in the stash. I have washed it three or four times over the years. It is really soft and has a lovely hand and drape. It was a smallish square. I never knew what to do with it and carried along with through life. I decided to make it into a scarf and I just know I will wear this a lot. 
Here you can see the hand woven edge. Like any weaving, two ends were fringed and the other two opposite ends were stitched around with each pass of the shuttle. You can see the irregularities in the weaving above. I don't know why they would pull the shuttle so tight every ten or so rows . You just wonder about these mysteries. This was a square. To make it a scarf I had to cut it. 


That meant the opposite edge had to be dealt with. First was thread color choice. I couldn't win either way so just decided on the navy. You can see down the blue bar a seam. I did a mock flat fell, basically a french seam that I topstitched down. I wanted something sturdy and this did and kept the threads all enclosed. For the opposite edge I experimented and the best I came up with was to first run a narrow line of satin stitch zigzag, not too tight, down the edge. Then I ran on top of that another row of stitching that was a blind hem stitch. The satin stitch alone would have pulled right off the edge. The big zag of the blind hem stitch caught it in and feels secure. The scarf is now 20 by 60. It has great fringe.


I hope I haven't ruined Antique Roadshow's next great find! But it is finally going to get some use after all these years.  Next scarf>>>>>>>>>>>>>


This was just a pretty piece of poly chiffon I think I actually bought to make a scarf. I like light scarfs in the summer  and loved this print. 


The other detail that made this fabric very scarf worthy was the fringe. I mean, really! So all I had to do was hem up the sides and done. I did the Kenneth King hem and it was done pretty quickly. It's been a while since I used that technique and this scarf making binge was a good refresher course in the method. I'll point out a few tips, particularly as they pertain to poly chiffon. This blue one was quite compliant but the next pink scarf fought me every step of the way but got tamed anyway. 



Stitch and Ditch is the perfect stabilizer for this process. It is very light but just heavy enough to control these light fabrics. This is the big roll that came in and that my husband says he will cut. I think I will keep it large now that I am using it. Adding machine tape or anything heavier than this might not rip away without distorting the stitching, IMO. This bolt of S&D will be here forever. It never runs out. 


You really need a rotary cutter for this technique. Here you can see a strip of the Stitch and Ditch pinned to the very edge of the chiffon which has just been cut with the cutter. It is also well pinned. Clips are far too heavy for this. Professor King says if you have a see through chiffon you can also use Ultra Solvy.  Another tip I found helpful was to have an awl at the machine to secure down the paper to the chiffon as it went through the machine . This is slow sewing. You have to keep your paper/fabric edge butted perfectly up to the edge stitching blade. Go slow and use your hands at all times. It's not hard at all, just takes focus.


The Kenneth King Hem tutorial is in Tutorials in the right sidebar up top. You can get all the directions there. I am just adding a few hints here. Above you can see what a beautiful tiny hem it makes. The right side is on top, the wrong side on the bottom. Once you have mastered this, and it's easy, read the comments on the tutorial, you will probably never use your rolled hem foot again. I haven't. Even the corners and curves are easy.  Next scarf................



This is the pink scarf that was a bit more challenging. It is another chiffon and wanted to ravel like crazy. I tamed the beast by lightly spray starching the edges and pressing three times till dry each time. You can see the edges of the scarf looking stiff here. I will wash this out shortly. After they were dry, recut the edges with the rotary cutter and then pin on the paper and proceed with the process. Another tip I forgot to mention for any chiffon you may use or other lightweight fabric is to use a starter paper. Take a double layer of Stitch and Ditch and lay your start of stitching int the middle of it. Begin stitching away back from the cloth with the blade of the edge stitching foot in line with the edge of the paper even though you aren't on the scarf and its paper yet. Start stitching on the paper and smoothly move right on to the scarf. I start with a 1.5 stitch length and once I have a few stitches on the scarf I jack it up to 2.0. I dial it down again when I stitch off the scarf about a 1/4 inch from the end. NO Backstitching. That starter paper will save you a lot of misery.  

These scarves are simple straight line sewing. Learning to sew a tiny hem is a skill that will serve you well for a long, long time. Trust me, some time some place, somebody you love dearly will ask you to sew a three layer chiffon hem with a taffeta lining , all needing a tiny hem.  You've got this!...........Bunny

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Covid Garment #4, Musings, Masks, and Milestones


I have to show my basement studio. Nothing has changed but I have given it some serious cleaning and organization. I have folded and touched every piece of fabric I own which frankly isn't the giant stash I know so many of you own.  However, I am now so inspired. I admit, mask making took the happies right out of me and I just had to walk away from my machine for a bit. I have read that many others feel the same. I have never been able to be happy making two of anything, never mind  about fifty but when it is part of such a life altering situation that makes it even more painful. I was glad to make the masks for family and friends. I really felt I needed to take one for the team and so dove in.  I did three different versions and assorted varieties of ties and filters. I won't get into it as I know you are probably making them yourself and have read all that's out there already and as I've said I am done. Why such finality? More later.



In the first pic you can see my latest garment, a very simple to construct gathered skirt made without the benefit of a pattern. And directly above is the fabric which I adore. It s a rayon challis in various shades of purple-y periwinkle. Like all good challises (?) it drapes beautifully and is a delight to wear. I won't get too deep into the construction as it is simply a full width  of fabric, 60 wide, cut to length desired. A casing was put in at the top edge, an inch and a 1/4 non roll elastic inserted and the top edge topstitched. The skirt was machine hemmed and it's single seam, straight up the center back, had serged edges. Done! I had enough left for a scarf and used the Kenneth King hem to finish the scarf's edges. You can find a tutorial for that method in the right sidebar under "Tutorials".  Right now it is still cold out and this eyelet shirt was really the only thing in my closet at the moment that looked good with the skirt. I will probably wear this a lot and with a tank top, that is if we ever get a warm day around here! It was really cold out while taking these pics!


And for the front view:



Now,  as to why I am done with mask making..... I've done a few things to help alleviate the anxiety that has become a daily visitor to my life since Covid19 has saturated our world. It's just everywhere, at every turn, in every conversation, on everyone's mind.  I was suffering anxiety like I haven't felt in years and decided I had to be proactive. Sewing did not help. While it would put me in the zone for a bit, the big "A" still did its haunting.  I made changes. changes that have really worked for me. 

I make sure I grab sunshine and get out and walk a couple miles every day I can. If not, I put on music while I sew and dance away when the spirit hits. 

I do my best to watch only our very local TV news for a bit in the morning. If I really need to know anything that important, they will filter it through for me. I am a recovering cable news junkie, no more. This alone has had a major positive impact on my mental health. 

I have cut people from my life who live and breathe the current political situation. I even agree with some of them politically.  I just don't need this input in my life right now. 

I have blocked people on FB who put up political realities as well as lies as I don't want to hear either right now. Some are just FB friends, others are people I love and have known for years. I do not need this stress in my life. I cannot tell you how this act alone has reduced the stress and anxiety I have been feeling. I will not give a website that power over me. I still go online to forums and even FB but now all I see are people sewing lovely garments, asking for help which I can offer at times and cheering each other on positively.  I see friends and family who are showing me pics of their babies, fabulous breads they've made and such nice things. I am letting positive in my life. It's not as easy as you think and does require assertion. 

I am calling friends and extended family I haven't spoken to in a long time and trying to NOT talk about the virus but about them and their lives. Those have been really positive talks. some just really special. I have heard from others, even the very young, how much they are enjoying long talks on the phone and face time. I am too. 

My husband is the light of my life. We are celebrating our fiftieth anniversary this past week. While it was nothing whatsoever as planned our children made it one helluva socially distanced pile of awesome, something we will never ever forget and that could not have happened any other way. It was unique, crazy, creative, and did not include one single hug but the love that spilled over through all of us  was like a flooded river that no amount of sand or silt could hold back. 

So I am doing much better now. I take things one moment at a time. Going through my fabrics has given me lots of plans and ideas that I intend to get on soon. I still have a bit more organizing in store first but I see some pretty things coming up. I have some really nice fabrics and had forgotten that! I have much to look forward to. 

I want you all to know that I am thinking of you and all the challenges you may be facing, whether it's the actual illness, the difficulty of social distancing, loss of income,  being in the home with so much family or just the fear that has been in our faces for some time now.  If you are an essential worker, I praise your courage and strength and thank you for your service. You are a saint.   I hope you all can find some ways to find a bit of calm,  a time of peace, all of you. Bless you all........Bunny






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