Making a Vinyl Lunch Bag
All spring, I carried my lunch to work in the little paper bags you get from Starbucks or (in my case) Fabric Depot. The bags were the right size, but wore out quickly, especially if I carried them in the rain. So when I saw a strip of vinyl in the remnants section at FabDep, I thought "There's my new lunch bag!" I made it on my mending day, while the pumpkin-colored thread was in the machine. Here's a tutorial, in case you ever want to make a bag with a squared off bottom.
Denim Blazer: follow-up
I think I need to make a rating system for the clothes I make my sister. The peplum top was a 5 out of 10, since though it fit perfectly, it was a perfect dud in terms of style. Oh well. The pinwheel top was a 9 out of 10, because only one thing needed changing (the elastic at the center back should either be made longer and moved down an inch or removed entirely).
The denim blazer, the subject of today's post, is about a 7 out of 10. It looks good in certain angles, worn open. But the back is too wide and baggy; the upper bust area, near the shoulder, too roomy. Here, my sister models the finished garment so I can analyze it.
Denim Blazer (Simplicity 7954)
This "Five Hour Jacket" pattern came from a thrift store, cut out by the previous owner. She obviously had some inspiration for it, since she had clipped an ad for Hancock Fabrics, showing a similar pattern made up in a red plaid. I decided to eliminate the shoulder pads and make it a V-neck, and make it in denim for my sister. I'm very pleased and excited by this latest project, which I conceived as a "jean jacket" but which now looks so cute I think I'll upgrade it to "denim blazer" because it sounds fancier.
Admiring Tim Gunn!
Aloha Shirt - doing a rub-off
Salmon Striped Dress
Here is another dress I made around the same time as the hand-sewn gray dress. This one is from the same self-drafted pattern, and also hand-sewn. I took this project with me on a three-day camping trip in the woods near Sisters, OR. Yes, hand-sewing in the woods does mean no ironing of seams. But with cotton, the finger-pressing that happens naturally as I work with the seams is sufficient. And my fellow campers got a kick out of seeing me sewing on day one, and wearing the dress home on day three!
This dress takes very little fabric (not a full skirt at all), but due to good color and fit, it always garners compliments. And best of all, people compliment me, not the dress, so I know the dress is doing its job.
Following are some close-up pictures of its construction.
Hand-Sewn Gray Dress
I love hand-sewing. Ever since I was a child, I've loved plying the needle, imagining myself in another time. It's certainly a slower process to hand-sew a garment than to do one by machine, but in the summer, when the weather is fine, I often take my projects to a local park to work on them. A few years back, I was working on drafting a basic dress pattern, and made a couple versions of it. The pattern is not perfect (the armscye is cut too close in the front, the sleeves I drafted for it never fit right, and I'm not crazy about the neckline), but it's a good example of an early stage of my pattern-drafting. And, despite the fit problems, I always get compliments when I wear the dresses.
At a fancy dress ball last year I had an interesting experience. It was an all-white affair, not because of racism but simply because the people involved all happened to be white. (The crowd was middle-aged to elderly, for the same reason.) Most of us wore historical costumes or modern formal wear. A few people wore fantasy clothes.
One couple wore Indian clothing... gorgeous stuff! The woman's dress (Lehenga choli? Luanchari? No midriff seen) was gold and red and heavily embroidered with gilt and beadwork, and her husband wore a white satin tunic and pants (achkan and churidar), also elaborately adorned. They looked great! So I complimented them, as you do, and they told me they'd recently been to India for a friend's wedding, and they'd been given the outfits to wear to the three-day celebrations.
Here's what made it interesting: when I first saw them, I had two reactions almost simultaneously: "pretty!" and * awkward *.
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
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