23
Oct 14

Adding an elastic gusset to tall boots

A few years ago I bought a pair of Enzo Angiolini tall black leather boots on clearance at Nordstrom. They are my go-to boots when I need something dressier than snow or hiking boots yet still weather-proof enough for Michigan cold weather slop. I can wear them with a thick pair of wool socks and still look stylish.

Recently I tried them on and found out I could no longer zip them up over a pair of leggings or jeans – oh oh, must have been all those wasabi ginger potato chips I discovered over the summer. I thought I’d bring them to the shoe repair to see what they could do for them. Then I re-thunk it and decided to just fix them myself with some elastic gussets.

tryon

I tried the boots on and decided where and how much I needed to cut out for the gusset. The piece I removed was 1.5″ at the top and extends down the boot 8.5″, narrowing to a point. The boot is leather with a man made lining, and was very easy to cut with my regular scissors. For marking the boot I used a pink Frixion pen. You may see some markings left over on the photos, but the actually washes off from the sealed leather quite nicely.

I bought the elastic from JoAnn’s. The widest black elastic they had was only 3″, so I pieced it to make the gusset fit in the opening. I was lucky that the boot has a horizontal seam that lines up with the top piece (and most visible) seam. I really don’t mind the elastic seams, I don’t think anyone will notice them.

I pulled the lining and leather apart enough that I could sandwich the elastic between the two layers, starting on the side closest to the zipper. sandwich

I held the sandwich together at the top with a binder clip.sewing2

Then I carefully sewed the sandwich, starting just below the horizontal seam, so I could still have the sandwich held together with the clip. I sewed all the way down, then I sewed from the top down to the horizontal seam, meeting up with my previous line of sewing.

 

sewingI used a leather needle, upholstery thread in the upper w/regular poly thread in the lower, 3.5mm stitch length. My machine is a Pfaff 7570 and it can sew through very thick layers. In a previous life I did a lot of heavy home dec items with it so I had full confidence in sewing through the soft leather. It did not disappoint. When sewing, I had the boot unzipped so I could put the rest of the boot top under the free arm of the machine. I know it sounds awkward to sew boots on a sewing machine, but it really wasn’t.

inside

Inside view

After sewing each side, I went up to the top edge and re-stitched where I had pulled the layers apart. Done!

done

 


23
Oct 14

I’m back

I’ve been missing for the past many months. My Mom fell last spring, breaking her femur and nearly dying after lying on the floor for three days until her hospice nurse came to check in and found her. She had a hospice nurse because she was dying of breast cancer. It was a scary, weird time for our family. She passed away in early June.

If you have ever been close to someone dying of cancer you know how horrible it is. Hospice is definitely a help, but we need more. Terminal patients need to be relived of the suffering at their choice and at their time. Please think about how you would like your last weeks, days, hours to be. How would you like final hours of your loved ones to be?


14
Mar 14

The Schnittchen Iris Hoodie makes me smile

I’ve been listening to the Thread Cult podcasts lately (they are awesome). Recently the guest was Nora Abousteit, founder of BurdaStyle.com and now Kollabora.com. Kollabora is a community of designers and craftspeople sharing ideas and photos. That’s where I found Schnittchen Sewing. Schnittchen is a pattern company with easy, casual styles. They have a larger catalog on their German site, and have 10 (right now) patterns for sale on Kollabora that have been translated to English. I was immediately drawn to the Iris Hoodie (you could call me a hoodie addict).

Schnittchen Sewing Iris Hoodie

 

So two minutes later I was the proud owner of an Iris Hoodie pattern. I printed that baby out, taped it together got to cutting my fabric. Heaven.

Iris Hoodie instruction sheet

Instructions are adequate, and finish with a “Congratulations”!

Right now PatternReview.com is holding a New To Me Pattern Company Contest. I hee-hawed around, wondering if I was good enough to enter and decided who cares? I’m entering!

Schnittchen Sewing Iris Hoodie

So here is my review of the Schnittchen Iris Hoodie for the contest entry:

1.Why did you choose this Pattern Company?

I was listening to the ThreadCult Podcast about Kollabora (kollabora.com) and how they have independent pattern designers. I took a look and was very drawn to the Schnittchen patterns from Germany. They feature comfortable, casual, easy designs. I chose the Iris Hoodie to try because I had a stretchy camo leopard print shouting at me from my stash.

2. How did you obtain this pattern? (bricks and mortar store, online, downloaded)

I downloaded it after purchasing it at Kollabora.

3. Did the pattern meet up with your expectations- ie if a PDF was it easy to print. In general was the fit as described, was the pattern a success, company easy to work with?

Yes, very easy. The pattern pieces are mainly in German, but there are English translations. The instructions are text only, no illustrations. They do have a Flickr set showing construction steps. The fit was perfect (nice length to both the main body and sleeves).

4. Was sewing this pattern more or less difficult than other pattern companies? If so, why?

A bit more difficult because of all the German on the pattern pieces. Also, the instructions note the included seam allowances three times; one time they say it is 1cm, and twice they say 0,75cm. Huh? Then on their site they say 1cm. I figured a quarter of a centimeter wasn’t going to make or break my stretchy hoodie so I went with the (easier for me) 1cm. It worked.

5. Would you buy another pattern from this company? Why or why not.

Yes, I would. I have my eyes on the Mona Jacket and Malu Coat. Once you get over the little differences the project becomes easy.

6. Would you recommend this Pattern Company?

Yes!

Pattern Description:

Tunic length pullover, with or without hood.

Pattern Sizing:

Sizes 34-44. I made a 38.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes!

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes, for the most part. But the instructions are minimal with no illustrations. Schnittchen has a Flickr set with photos of the hoodie construction but it’s hard to find so here’s the link:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/schnittchencom/sets/72157631841668013/

Luckily a hoodie isn’t too hard, even for beginners.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I love the hood shape! It’s perfect! I’m picky about hoodies and actually have a few here with chopped off hoods that were ridiculous looking, lol. The length is fabulous for wearing over leggings. The sleeve length is nice too. Also the wide neckline is very attractive for a woman (show off that clavicle!), and the hoodie doesn’t feel like it’s choking you. It sits on the shoulders and just looks good.

My dislike is just a small style change I’ll make next time I make this. I think the bottom band should be much wider, at least as wide as the sleeve bands. I think it would be much more stylish. Of course you could also omit the band and make a straight or curved hem, or widen the sleeves, omit the bands and make a button tab for cuffing the sleeves…lots of options.

Schnittchen Sewing Iris Hoodie

Fabric Used:

A brushed stretchy sweater knit. But I turned it inside-out as I didn’t want to look too “camo-animal-print-ish”. Really, the fabric is like a camo colored leopard print. The sleeve and bottom bands are a rayon/lycra jersey.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

The pattern said to use a flat-felled seam on the seam inside the hood. I did a serged flat-lock instead. The regular flat lock stitch is on the inside of the hood, with the cute ladder stitch on the outside. I’m very happy with how that turned out (it was my first time doing that).

With my main fabric inside-out, the inside of the hood is printed (love that), and the whole inside is very cozy and warm with the brushed surface of the fabric. For the kangaroo pocket I turned some of the edges out so the print would show, but I didn’t want all of the edges to be printed. Again, the inside of the pocket is very cozy and warm.

I added a drawstring to the hood for added detail.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes! I do plan on sewing it again. Yes, I think others should try it – it’s so comfy and fun!

Conclusion:

The Iris Hoodie is an easy and fun sew. Try it!

Schnittchen Sewing Iris Hoodie

 


26
Feb 14

Distracted Sewing: Kirsten Kimono Tee (free pattern)

I admit being distracted is usually my normal state. But when I made this tee, I was having a serious brain fart. Good thing it was so easy and idiot proof that it still worked!

The Kirsten Kimono Tee is available as a free download when you sign up for MariaDenmark’s newsletter. Don’t worry, she won’t spam you or anything. It’s only two pieces and so easy to sew up.

My fabric was a twisted mess of a piece of rayon jersey from Girl Charlee. I had washed and dried it a couple times, tried to iron it and make do, but it was just, ugh. Since this was a quickie muslin to check fit I used it anyway. It was a tie-dye print that was much to tie-dye-ish in person, so I used it wrong side out.

So after fighting with it and cutting the two pieces out I noticed something was off… oh, yeah, the stretch was going in the wrong direction (top-down instead of side-side). Holding it up to me it seemed that it might still fit so I started sewing. Then I cut the neck binding too narrow…and tried to use it anyway. Big mistake, and had to cut it off. I made a new binding wider than the directions called for, and it worked for the most part. It’s not as tight as I would like it, but it looks ok with the boat-neck style.

This will end up being a great gardening tee for summer time.

KKimonoT


25
Feb 14

A Flannel Tunic: Simplicity 2255

I ran across this flannel one day…it was thick and lovely. It felt like a blanket to wear. Perfect for a tunic over leggings. Perfect for Simplicity 2255, because this pattern has an option with little ruffles along side the upper button placket. I love plaid flannel, but I want it to be just a little feminine.

This was my first time working with plaid anything, so I was a plaid matching virgin. I did just fine except for the button placket. I had just run out of plaid matching fabric and had to go with the only available strip left. I would have loved a bias cut placket.

I love this shirt. My family must be sick of seeing me in it. It really feels like I’m wearing a favorite blankey…a blankey that fits.

Simplicity 2255

 

It’s hard to see, but instead of turning a narrow hem on the ruffles I just serged the edges. The look is great on the flannel (gray thread), and the ruffles are much softer than they would have been with a hem.

S2255-2

 

The tunic has vertical darts on the back for great shaping.

S2255-3

 

Yay! Matchy, matchy!

 


25
Feb 14

Silhouette Yoga Pants

What temp do you set your thermostat to? I have ours set to 67F when I’m home alone, but a bit higher when Mr Domestic is home…and then he makes a fire…he’s very cold. But I tend to just wear warmer clothes instead of heating the air. This winter I needed to upgrade my warm wardrobe for the Polar Vortex.

Yoga pants are great to wear around the house, but they’re just not very warm. I could put long johns underneath, but that’s just bulky. So I made a pair of VERY warm yoga pants. The pattern I used is Silhouette Patterns #3400 Three-Piece Yoga Pant.

Silhouette Patterns Yoga Pants

 

The fabric has some lengthwise lines running through it, like a flaw or something in the weave. It doesn’t hurt anything though for these casual pants.

fleece yoga pants-3

 

Pattern Description:
Yoga pant with 3 pieces: front, back, waistband.
Pattern Sizing:
4-18, 14w-28w. I made a size 10.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Hard to tell from their photo, but yes, it looks like the line drawing.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, very easy.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The pants were very quick to make up and fit very nicely.
Fabric Used:
A very warm fuzzy fleece from JoAnn’s. It was leftover fabric from another project. I only had enough for the front and back, so I made the waist from another leftover piece of micro fleece. It worked out great, as I like having a thinner fabric for the waistband.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
At first I was afraid the size 10 waist wouldn’t make it over my hips, so I made that part a size 12 and with a thinner piece of elastic I had on hand. Big mistake – the waist was too big and the elastic was inadequate. So I got new elastic (2″ wide), cut a size 10 waist, cut the serged size 12 waistband off the pants, put the new one on…perfect!
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes! These are too comfy to only have one pair. I think anyone could make these, they are so easy.
Conclusion:
I’m looking forward to trying out many different fabrics and different looks for these pants.

fleece yoga pants

 

Yes, my waistband is off center a bit. That is on purpose, as I sewed a fleece loop into the seam on the inside so I could put them on in the dark and feel the loop on the back. I didn’t want too much bulk at the intersection of the seams.


25
Feb 14

A Drape Neck Top: M6612

One day at JoAnn’s a piece of animal print sweater knit jumped right into my hands. Really. It was a bit over 1 yard and of course enough for a top. I don’t normally wear animal prints but I guess I was feeling  a little wild that day.

McCalls 6612

 

My aim was to make something I could wear over my favorite fleece leggings. Something that would cover my rear end, ya know? So I picked McCalls 6612, because I happened to have a copy and even though it said I needed 1 5/8 yds, when I laid it out I could actually fit the pattern on my little yard of fabric (but I did shorten the sleeves and length a bit).

Pattern Description:
Close-fitting, pullover dresses have neckline/sleeve variations and narrow hem.
Pattern Sizing:
Misses 8-16, Women’s 18W-24W
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
For the most part.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Mostly. I had trouble with the back neck area, but that’s probably just me. Otherwise it was pretty simple.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
This was the first drape neck type top I made, and while the drape neck is ok, I later made one from another pattern that I like much more. I also took off the rouching on the sides, it seemed like it added too much bulk, maybe because of my sweater knit. The pattern ran large, I was swimming in it until I took it apart and cut it down a couple sizes in the shoulder/bust area.
Fabric Used:
Polyester sweater knit.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Shortened length and sleeves, narrowed shoulder (a lot), removed side rouching.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I would never do it again in a sweater knit, but possibly in a lighter knit fabric.


25
Feb 14

Stuffed Yeast Breads

Who doesn’t love a stuffed bread? Sweet or savory, they can be a breakfast, main dish, dessert, or midnight snack. They can be served warm or cold and can be made ahead of time and even frozen.

Here are a couple of my favorite and surprisingly easy recipes.

Sausage Stuffed Bread

 

Stuffed Breakfast Crescent from King Arthur Flour (before baking)

 

Sausage Stuffed Bread

 

After baking. I changed the filling a bit, substituting parmesan for the cheddar and sprinkled the top with bagel topping before baking.

 

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Bread

 

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Bread, from the King Arthur Flour recipe for Jam-Filled Sour Cream Coffee Bread.

My change here was to substitute my home-canned raspberry pie filling for the jam. So yummy! What’s your favorite stuffed bread?