Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sew much to little time...

This has been another busy few days.  Unfortunately I left my camera at my parent's house over Easter so I cannot update photos of my work... 

My upholstery fabric arrived from this morning and I upholstered two of my new chairs.  I am incredibly proud of my handiwork.  I need to finish the remaining chairs before my Pampered Chef party in two weeks so that my guests have somewhere to sit!  That said, I am not pleased with generally.  The website states that orders will ship within 48 hours but it did not ship for more than a week after my order was placed. 

I have also started to pack up my apartment.  Packing always takes me forever because I tend to get distracted reminiscing over old pictures or random belongings I forgot about.  I am also making an effort to simplify and try to purge the apartment of unnecessary junk. 

Finally I am working on finishing up my jacket... I only have three more days to complete it in time to submit for the contest.  I am going to do my best, but no promises!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Very Busy Day... but still no sewing

I had quite the full day... das man and I went out to breakfast and then I drove him to the airport so he could fly home and see his family.  I am a big dork and miss him a bit already and I think this may prove to be a very long week...

Later this evening I worked the box office for Blood Brothers at the Cassidy Theater.  The show was fantastic and I would recommend it if it hadn't closed tonight.

Then I came home and finished my Easter eggs... Some are coated in chocolate and filled with candy while others are filled with cake.  Plus I made cupcakes out of the extra batter.  Here are photos of my lovely holiday treats:

And now I'm watching the new Doctor Who.  (Further dorkiness, a different type of dorkiness sure, but dorky nonetheless...)  And I leave you with this quote from the Doctor, which sort of describes my internal need to blog all of my crafty accomplishments!

“I am being extremely clever up here and there is no one to stand aroung looking impressed. What is the point in having you all?"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Another Sew-Free Weekend

This is terrible... at this rate I am never going to finish my jacket on time!

Problem is, I keep getting distracted by other fun projects!  For example, chairs!

I refinished the top of my coffee table and then got started painting the broken chair a high gloss black.  I am happy to report that a) my repair job seems to have taken and b) I really like the high gloss black finish.  So I decided to get started on the rest of the chairs. 

For each chair I began by unscrewing the seat from the wooden frame.  I then washed the chairs down.  This step was sort of disgusting as I had to clean approximately 60 years of accumulated crumbs that had caught between the chair and the cushion.  I then sanded each chair and applied a coat of primer.  After the primer was dry I applied two coats of the black paint.

Next I plan on going over all of them with a very fine grade sandpaper to remove the paintbrush lines and doing a final black coat with the "ultra-smooth" roller.  After that each chair will get a protective clear coat.  I'm hoping that these steps will result in a professional-quality finish and avoid that dreaded happy home crafter look...

Meanwhile I've also been busy pulling thousands of staples out the the chair cushions and removing the horrible old upholstery.  In doing this I discovered that the original cushions were stuffed with straw!  each seat has a solid wooden base which is covered with thick padding of straw.  Then there is batting pulled tight over the straw and the upholstery fabric stapled over that. 

I also picked out purchased my upholstery new upholstery fabric and it should be winging it's way to me any day now...  I bought this medium weight cotton upholstery fabric by Waverly from

I bought smaller amounts of two other prints from the same line to make throw pillows to put on the bench.

Altogether I think this is going to make for a pretty sharp room... now it's just a matter of execution.

In other crafty news, I also decided to take a cue from Not Martha and make some fun Easter suprise eggs.  I want to line some eggs with chocolate and fill them with candy while other eggs will be filled with cake!  To that end, I spent last night hollowing out and dying eggs (after disinfecting by simmering in boiling water of course!). 

My easter project in progress...

I started with three dozen eggs, figuring I'd lose a few along the way... In the hollowing out process I managed to smash only one which I was proud of since I kept dropping them in the sink.  Lesson learned? Egg shells are suprisingly resiliant!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Non-Sewing Accomplishments

So I got no sewing done this weekend... none.

But I did sign my lease for my new apartment.  I know you want to see it so here you go!

My living room and dining room... and my new landlord who accidentally walked across the picture...

Dining room cabinet.  On the other side is a cabinet with a built-in ironing board!


More kitchen cabinets (plus cleaning's a work in progress)

The larger back bedroom

The smaller front bedroom (probably my sewing room!)

Bathroom... not all that interesting

I also went to an estate sale this morning and picked up 5 chairs for 15 dollars! They are sturdy and in pretty good shape.  One chair has a crack which I patched up with wood glue this afternoon.  The wood needs some refinishing and they definitely need new upholstery, but altogether I am incredibly happy with my purchase!

Ugliest upholstery ever...

So I am thinking I'm going to paint the chairs a glossy black. (I have already started on the chair with the crack to see how it looks.)  Frankly, pine is not my style.  So the question then is whether I want upholster in a colored fabric or if I want to use a graphic black and white print... or even multiple prints!  Maybe each chair in a different black and white print (one striped, one damask, one polka dot, one houndsooth, etc...) Thoughts?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Creating and Attaching the Collar (Steps 49-66)

This evening I built the collar of my jacket... a process that consisted primarily of marking the seamlines, attaching the hair canvas interfacing, and pad stitching some more.  Once the the collar was assembled and pressed approximately 150,000 times (see the process for the lapels) it was time to attach it to the jacket.

First the collar was pinned and the undercollar was basted in place to the body of the jacket.

After that, the inside of the collar stand was stiched to the center back of the jacket.  After this project I am a complete convert to the joy of underlining.  I love that I can handstitch to the underlining and none of the stitches are visible from the outside of the garment, even if I don't make tiny, careful, only-catching-one-thread-of-the-fabric stitches.  LOVE.

Now there is one final step of attaching the collar (something about stitching on the gorge line?) but I am too tired and distracted to continue sewing this evening.  Thus I am stopping at step 66 rather than 67 as planned.  This feels wrong somehow, like putting down a novel in the middle of a chapter...

Regardless, I am now more than half-way through this project.  After basting the collar I tried on the jacket to make sure the shoulder/collar fit properly and I love that it is far enough along that I can put it on without being peirced with wayward pins...

Fabulous New Discovery!

How had I not previously known about Decades of Style?

They sell reproductions gorgeous vintage patterns such as this 1930's Butterfly Blouse which MUST.  BE. MINE.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Baste, Press, Stitch, Press... (Steps 25-49)

Over the course of the weekend (sparingly) and tonight I finished steps 25 though 49 on my lined jacket.  I am beginning to see how all the work done at the front end pays off at this stage.  Having marked my seamlines and pattern markings with basting stitches, assembling the jacket is far easier and more precise... miraculously I didn't have to rip out and restitch a single seam! 

I began by applying the organza underlying to the side front sections and then attaching the pockets. (I did not use silk organza because I'm cheap, but the polyester seems to be working just fine... I just need to be ever so slightly more cognizant of my iron heat.)

I basted, then stitched, the side fronts to the fronts. 

I clipped the the seam allowance and pressed flat.  By clipping each side of the seam allowance separately (the cuts don't match up) you can avoid some weird puckering and/or holes in the seam once pressed.

Then I created the pleated detail/pockets along the fold and roll lines.

Finally I attached the side sections and began work on the facing.  I first matched the facing to the front, with the right sides together.

I basted the facing and pressed, I stitched the facing and pressed, I trimmed the seam allowance and pressed... this was a time consuming step but resulted in a lovely collar that lies flat and is properly shaped.  Then secured the underlining to the back sections.


And assembled the back/side back sections.

Then I attached the back to the front and side sections and applied the hem interfacing.  This interfacing was pinned and then sewn in by hand

Finally I stitched the front and back sections together at the shoulder, and pressed that seam open.  So the body of the jacket is now assembled!  My next steps are assembling and setting the collar. 

In other news... I found a house and my rental application was accepted!  It is the second floor of a duplex with two bedrooms and an updated bathroom.  The kitchen is older, but functional and not appalling.  The place is bright, clean, and has a balcony, washer/dryer, copious closet space, and a decorative fireplace.  Currently I'm trying to decide which bedroom I should use as a sewing room and which should be my bedroom.  Currently I'm leaning toward sleeping in the back bedroom and using the streetside room with the east-facing windows for a sewing space. 

The only weirdness with this house is that it is about 4 doors down from the boyfriend... I don't know that this is actually weird so much as it makes me feel vaguely stalker-y.  That said, I liked the house too much to turn it down for such a silly reason so I went for it!  So hurrah for the new digs and I can't wait to move in and make it a home!