Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mad Scientist Apron Tutorial

This is my inspiration for Robbie's Halloween Costume this year.  He wants to be a mad scientist.  Here is my version.  Think I will shorten the apron just a bit.  I will have modeled pictures tomorrow, but I wanted to give you the tute now.  I didn't include the coat, because there are a ton of tutes online on how to do that.  In a nutshell, I removed the collar, removed the sleeves and cut off roughly 2" from the shoulder seam, reattached the sleeves, added a 5" piece on the shirt band front and removed some sleeve length then added grommets to that extension, and cut off about 2" from the hem to shorten.  The shirt still buttons like it did before.  There is just a band hiding the buttons now.  I used Velcro to keep that extension in place. Grommets are just for show.  I'm happy to answer any questions on this, but again there are many tutes online.

I didn't have time to get the rings and rivets, so I just made do.

I found a really nice leather like fabric at Joann's and bought a yard for $4.00.  I used less than 1/2 yard.  So call it $2.  The Syringe was free.  My pharmacist gave it to me.  The test tubes I bought at a local educational shop for $1.20.  I also got some free from my doctor but got them after I bought mine.  The shirt was purchased from Goodwill for $4.  And the grommets which I'll use later were $4.  So for about $10, I have a Halloween costume.

First thing to do is determine the length and width of the apron.  I cut mine 13 by 20.  I knew I could shorten if it was too long, and it was.

I also cut a strip for the strap for the neck and waist and a strip to hold the syringe and test tubes.  I rough cut these.

I first hemmed the sides.  NOTE: Doubled sided sticky tape helped to keep the hem down long enough to stitch.

Then I folded over a generous 2" hem at the top.

Next I needed to decide where I wanted my "stuff".  I measured down about 9" and drew my line for my placement.

I grabbed my test tubes and lined them up with the bottom of that line.  I also placed my syringe.  I needed to also determine how wide to cut my strips.

Again, these are just rough cuts and no real logic on how wide.  I just eyeballed it.  I think they wound up being 6" x 7".  This piece has already been folded.

I folded the strip in half wrong sides together and stitched down both long sides.  So now my strip is 7"x 3".

 I lined up one test tube, placed my completed strip on top to decide where my stitch lines would be.  I opted to stitch right on top of my hem line of the apron.

 Shown here.

 Next, lay the strip over the test tube once more and mark the second stitch line.

Now stitch that line, and lay in your next test tube, mark and continue for all three.

Trim off the excess.

Do the same with the syringe.  I put mine a bit higher, but put it wherever you want.

I made an extra flat loop for his flashlight. And that part is finished.

Then I made the neck and waist strap.  Take the long strip now (that I cut about 4" wide), and fold it in half.  Stitch down both sides.
Next I measured where I wanted the neck strap.  I used chalk to mark the placement, then stitched them to the apron.  Since I cut my original strip the width (45") of the fabric, I had plenty for the neck and waist strap.  If you need further explanation here, just email me.  I stitched them on in a square pattern.  You could do the whole X thing, but it isn't that heavy, so I didn't feel it was necessary.

I used the rest of the strap for the waist.  I stitched it to one side right at his waistline (I measured).  I stitched along the side hemline.

I decided to use Velcro for the other side for ease of getting on/off.  I measured it again and chalked where it needed to be.

 I attached the loop side (soft) to the strap and the hook side (rough) to the apron.  I stitched around all 4 sides of both.
 I made sure to measure down the same distance for this side as the other.  In my case it was about 7" from the top of the apron.

Here it is attached.

The last thing to do is hem.  I really needed mine shorter and will probably go back and adjust.  And that's it.

You now have a super cool mad scientist apron.  Have fun filling it with all sorts of evil items. :)  Thinking we might put some oozie stuff in the test tubes. LOL

I hope this helps someone!

Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Christmas Bishop

Meet Everlee.  She is the daughter of fireman I met at my gym.  He and his beautiful wife are the proud parents of this sweet little angel.  Isn't she adorable??  Daddy says she is always happy.  I can tell!!  I think firemen, policemen and teachers are all terribly underpaid, so when the opportunity comes to do something nice.........Shouldn't we all help when we can?

I made this bishop sometime ago just waiting for a very special little girl to come along to wear it.  When I found out that they were having a baby girl, I was ecstatic.  I knew it would be too big last year, but it's perfect this year, and she may get away with it next year too.  I was so happy that daddy sent me a modeled picture.  It's a rarity to get photos, so it made my day to get this one.

This is an Ellen McCarn Bishop pattern, but I cannot remember for the life of me the name of the smocking plate.  It may be Ellen's as well.  The sleeves are smocked with a simple 2 step baby wave.

On a side note, Robbie's costume is coming along nicely, and I hope to have it finished today or tomorrow. I'll post a tute on part of the costume.  Wish me luck getting it finished in time!

Thanks for stopping by, and as always, I'm happy to answer any questions.

Happy Wednesday!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ikat Pillows

I found this Ikat fabric at a local fabric shop and thought it would make great pillows.  It is a heavy weight home dec fabric and was so easy to work with.  I chose a blue micro suede for the pillow back and piping.  The micro suede was surprisingly easy to work with as well. 

This is the back.  My camera did not like that suede for some reason.  It was impossible to get a clear picture.

Oh and this is a pillow I made for a client.  She picked up this vintage silk fabric at an antique shop in Savannah and brought it to me.  It is absolutely stunning in person.  The pictures do not do this fabric justice at all!

Thanks for stopping by my little neck of the woods.

Happy Monday all!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dog Ears or No Dog Ears??

I never thought this question needed asking!!  Who would ever want dog eared pillows??  Apparently, things have changed in the world on this issue.

If you aren't familiar with the difference, here you go.  I didn't have my own picture, so I borrowed this one from Newton Custom Interiors.

You can find the picture at this website.

I have recently begun taking on clients for pay and have made quite a few pillows of late.  I have always made the dog ear adjustment.  Basically you cut off 1/2" at each corner tapering to the middle of each side. You can Google dog ear adjustment and find plenty of tutorials.

I bring this up, because I had to redo 4 pillows last week for a customer who actually wanted the dog ears!  I was frustrated.  One, because I was taught to make the adjustment, so not doing it goes against every fiber of my being.  Two, people will see my work and think I totally lack experience to make custom pillows or question my ability as a seamstress.  Because I have actually been hired by a local fabric store to make these for their customers, I have to make them the way they want.  And from what they tell me, everyone wants the dog ears.  Really??  My fear is I will have to redo the pillows for those who don't want the dog ears.

I would be really upset if I were paying the going rate for custom pillows, get them home and realize they have dog ears.  I seriously would return them, custom or not.  All my sewing friends say the same thing.  All of my favorite designers all make the adjustment.

Are we crazy?  Are we behind the times?  What's up with that?

Let me know what you think.

Thanks for stopping by my little part of the world.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Making a repair on a torn slipcover.

Has this ever happened to you??  This is a nasty tear in a stool slipcover and right at the corner.  Now, I'll admit, it could be much worse.  At least it's in the seam.  This had been repaired twice before it got to me.  Obviously, it didn't work.  I hated to see my client throw this out, so I gave it a shot.  And I'm going to share with you how I repaired it.  Hopefully, this will be the last time.

Here it is from another angle.  Nasty!!

 First I placed it on the corner of my sewing/pressing table.

Then pressed it.

I trimmed off all the stray threads.  I had to get them out of my way to move onto the next step.

Cut a piece of lightweight fusible stabilizer.  I keep all my remnants so I had a piece of Pellon SF 101.

 Now lay that over the seam (wrong side) and fuse in place.  It's hard to see, but it's there.
Turn to right side and press again.

Because I had a top seam where the sides meet the top, I had to unpick that just slightly.

Now you can fold the seam back to its original position and stitch in place.  I chose to use a 3/8" seam allowance just to be sure it would hold.  I ran one straight stitch first then turned to check I had enclosed the tear.  Then I went back and made a triple stitch to hold it.  The picture only shows my first stitch line.

And the right side.  No sign of tear!

Next, I closed that top seam again.  It is a bit crooked right where the repaired seam is, but there wasn't enough fabric to make it straight across.  No one will ever notice.

And now this slipcover will hopefully have another few good years.  Unless of course, this happens to the other seams.

Hope this helps someone else.  Incidentally, I am no expert in making these types of repairs.  If you know of or have a better way, please share!

Thanks for stopping by.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Triangle Valances

These are not the best pictures.  This room is being renovated, and the lighting has not been completed. There were several windows, but it still just wasn't enough lighting.

I found an old Window Treatments book when cleaning out a drawer, and the instructions for this valance were in the book.  My client loved them and wanted them in this rental unit.

Here is another view.

These will be tacked on the sides of the casing to give them a more tailored look.  I had velcro but it just wasn't working.  We'll go back and tack it.

This is the little kitchen from the living space.

Since these went into a rental unit, cost was an issue.  Otherwise, I would absolutely recommend using a stabilizer of some sort when working with linen or any light weight fabric.  When stitching the triangles, you'll be stitching on the bias.  And since these are lined, it was a double whammy.  The fabric will stretch if not careful in your stitching.  The stabilizer would nip that problem.  You can see in the second pic, that left triangle is a bit off.  This was a linen from Hobby Lobby, and it didn't behave well at all.

I'm pretty certain I said a number of ugly words while making these.  There are also panels that will go along french doors in the living area.  Those haven't been hung yet, but I'll get pics of those when we do.  I also hope to have pics of the finished room.  The view is fantastic from this room too.

To determine the width of your triangles, first determine how many you want.  We went with 4.  Measure the finished width and divide by the number of triangles.  In our case, these windows were 44" wide casing to casing, and I divided by 4.  So I spaced the points 11" apart.  You will also want to add width if you choose a utility rod that curves into the wall.  I didn't do that, and we were a bit short.  But, we originally were going to use cafe rods, so I didn't need the extra width.

Feel free to ask questions.  These weren't difficult.  I totally recommend using a template.  It was a life saver!!

Happy Wednesday!