Monday, 31 August 2015

Pro Totes

I know. I haven't written in ages! It's not because I haven't had anything to say. I always have lots to say.

I'm writing on my iPad today. I am traveling soon and want to test run things before I go. I just finished a new bag for the occasion! I had made a Professional Tote and love it. It has all the right pockets and doohickeys in just the right places. But I found it a bit big for everyday use, and I want a daily packer.

The Professional Tote has a mini version, but I didn't have time to order the pattern and it isn't digital. I improvised. Taking the measurements of the mini  from the pattern description I cut down my full version. I'm no math goddess, but it worked! I also tried to reduce weight by carefully choosing what to interface with what, and using quilt cotton for all but the bag bottom.

It's (more or less) perfect! Where the bigger bag handles a laptop, this one takes my pad for a custom fit. Water bottle and umbrella pockets still work beautifully. The structure is firm without any extra weight. Well, maybe a little.

So here it is with it's big sister. It took me more than a week to figure out that I can't load pics from my iPad, so I went back to my Mac. If you know how, please share with me. Google does not want to recognize the Cloud.

Why can't these 2 just get along?
I understand Bloggers go through droughts. Hopefully mine is now over.

Just got back from the annual sister week of debauchery. We were in Montreal again this year, and the weather was perfect! This year we had coordinated nighties - blue and white - either striped or polka dotted. Many complaints about fit. They fit fine, but some bosoms may have been looking for a bust adjustment I've just never done before. Not my problem. They fit just fine everywhere else.

I had a day of fabric shopping to myself. I find that being on your own means other (single) people treat you differently. People at the commuter train speak to you and look out for you when they realize you're new. The Subway guy helped me to my seat and checked on my napkins - I was eating a meatball sub after all! It was a very nice day! I was shopping at many of the stores visited by the Montreal sewing bloggers the week before. I mentioned this and was told everywhere that stores were seeing spin off customers from that tour. Stores were pleased!

I went to buy exercise wicking fabric and shirting fabric. I stuck to that pretty well - with more money spent of notions than I had planned. Little things add up! I will probably stick to the more upper end stores for a bit now. If I have to lug, pack and pay for it I want it to be something special. Besides, I got excellent fabric for $15/m.

My stash does overfloweth.

For the last 2 days I worked on a shirt, using the Collette Aster pattern. I did a FBA, shortened the sleeves (long version) and ended up taking in the side seams from the waist down. I used a nice linen and that shirt went together perfectly! The instructions for the sleeve placket were perfect and easy to follow.

Now, I did deviate when inserting the sleeve. They wanted me to run 3 rows of gathering stitches and ease it in. Just say no. No, no, no. I used a strip of bias self fabric and sewed it to the sleeve cap just inside the seam allowance with a slightly longer stick. I pull hard on the bias as I sew and this eases the sleeve cap to the bias. The resulting cap has a nicely built in curve and pops into the sleeve armsyce easily. It stretches to fit or can be further eased by pulling on the stitching - rarely required.

As an added benefit I make the bias strip about 2" wide. This means I have a nice soft strip of fabric supporting the sleeve head and giving it some smooth support.

Now, to make this sewing experience even more perfect, I managed my thread with incredible skill (luck). I had 2 shades to work with and 1 was a better match, of course. However I didn't think I had enough of the good match to make it all the way through. There was topstitching, after all. I flipped both threads from bobbin to spindle - back and forth - finishing the last stitch (the last buttonhole!) with the actual last inch of matched thread on top. I even had the 'Check Needle Thread' on the machine screen.

I'm expecting a huge disaster in my future to make up for that.

Ah!There it is! Worst picture ever!