I want to introduce you to my wonderful team of Pattern Testers:
Anne @amcclure54 I met Anne on Instagram, Facebook and her blog. A meticulous tester, she was a real asset and a joy to talk to!
Anne cleverly made her Gemma Bag with a cheerful striped cotton. Even more cheerful was the polka dot lining for you polka dot lovers out there! Anne’s Gemma is just perfect for a sunny summer day!
Next we have Hélène @hportemanteau I know Hélène from Instagram. Hélène used an upholstery fabric from her stash. She took the extra steps with her Gemma and turned it into a backpack. I love it when someone takes my patterns to the next level – like these straps, or perhaps those rivets, or ? What do you want to do with your Gemma?
Now let’s look at Leah’s Gemma. @theladydeejay Leah used black twill, printed woven cotton and a lightweight denim for the lining. Leah and I spend our time chatting on Instagram and Facebook mostly. I’m just wild about Leah’s chicken print, and a bit envious that I have not found the same fabric through my usual suppliers yet! Leah took the opportunity to turn her slip pocket into a pen and notepaper holder.
I found Sarah on Instagram @sarahguthrie_stitches Sarah made her first Gemma Bag from a cotton print with blue cotton accents and her second with an elegant Cork fabric. I think I have seen this printed Cork fabric for sale on my supplier’s website. This print is a favourite of mine! Sarah told me she sees more Cork Gemma’s in her future. I can’t wait to see them!
So that’s the line up! Well along with the couple that I have posted about here and there!
What kind of fabric are you going to use for your Gemma?
STASH BUSTING WITH THIS PROJECT? None, actually. I purchased two sheets of Cork fabric (1/4 yard each) and used 3/4 of it. The lining was scrap busting fabric. I still have 131.2 meters left in my fabric stash … and a pair of jeans to sew up!
It has been a busy few weeks! I was being a whiny baby because our fridge was on the verge of dying. We started by looking at about six different brands, about four finishes and about three different styles. Ugh! Can’t they just give me an exact replacement for the one I had and loved for fifteen years? Then it was decided to get a matching stove too. Then the fridge died and everything was moved to the pantry fridge in the garage. So while cooking there was way too much running with full arms between the kitchen and the pantry fridge in the garage. Then I didn’t like any of the new stoves and my old one is JUST RIGHT! So we are back to just replacing the fridge!
Then with all the appliance research and shopping, I couldn’t – horrors – even find time to sew, or even blog or even read blogs!
I also managed in the last few weeks to mend a friend’s curtains and sew some quick curtains for one of our extra bedrooms (company’s coming soon). In this guest room I wanted something to soften and cover the blinds. I used this fabric for the curtains. It was purchased to make tote bags some day … but that’s okay, when we tire of the curtains, I can take them down and I can still make a few tote bags. But I just love this fabric – wouldn’t it make a great tote bag?
Now for the tip … I found the best website for calculating how much fabric you need for curtains. No more math. Haha! This is it … Sailrite … they also had calculators for pillows, cushions, upholstery, etc. They also had some very cool industrial sewing machines! (One can only dream!)
Here’s the finished curtains, by the way. They do a great job of hiding the blinds. You can see the blinds are closed half way just by the shadow that is cast.
I know life can be tough though, so please only accept this request to be a Pattern Tester if you are confident that you can get your supplies together and sew it up within the 2-3 week time period. By the way, the Gemma does not have to be made of Cork fabric. Home decor fabric, denim, a cotton interfaced with a lightweight, foam or firm backing are also options. Show us what you can do with it!
Here is the application form. It won’t take long to complete as it only has few questions and most of them only need a short answer. Good luck!
Wow! By my standards it has been a while since I posted!
I was enjoying myself with visitors all last weekend and into the beginning of the week … my sisters … so I don’t know if they count as formal guests, or not! 😂 Two out of three of them joined me in doing the the TC10k last weekend. We really are going to have to bribe the last resistant sister into coming out for a visit and joining us at 8 in the morning for a 10k walk … I wonder what kind of a bribe I could possibly use?
Every year I say Jeeze that is the last time I do this, then I get to the finish line and strangers cheer me on and I get free cookies, juice and fruit and all is well again!
Well this is going to be a short post introducing you to my new Shop, Lányos Handmade!
I thought I’d open a small Shop now to get the “bugs” out before I’m actually retired and want to run it full time! LOL! I’d like to sell my 100% Handmade Bags and accessories, and the sewing patterns for them (if you like to sew, keep in touch!), and perhaps even work with clients to Build A Bespoke Bag that fills all their dreams!!
In the meantime, I’ll be sewing my RTW wardrobe, entering Sewing Challenges, designing bags and writing patterns, blogging at “Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!!” and checking out what sewing projects everyone else has been working on!
The Front – a pocket with a magnetic snap closure.
The Back – I just love this … more topstitching!
The Sides and the Front – magnetic snap pocket, zipper top closure, and an adjustable strap.
I have found a few informative websites for anyone thinking of sewing with Cork Fabric. Sallie Tomato has a great article (that is downloadable too) here. U-Handbag has a great article too explaining how to sew with Cork Fabric and how to make straps and install rivets here.
Just to sum up all the things I have learned about sewing with Cork Fabric:
Don’t iron it. Seam allowances can be held down with glue or topstitching;
Don’t use pins that will leave irreparable holes. Use clips, Wondertape, glue;
Don’t use fusible interfacing. You might not even want an interfacing or stiffener with Cork Fabric, which has lots of body and is thick on its own;
Stitch length 3mm, 3.5 to 4mm for topstitching. Microtex 80 – 90 sewing machine needles. Thread is 40 wt.;
If your strap ends are too thick for your sewing machine try Chicago screws. See the U-Handbag article link above;
A Teflon Foot or a Walking Foot will help with the thick layers. The articles attached here say 3 or 4 layers can be done on a home sewing machine;
Don’t backstitch to lock your seam ends. Pull the threads through instead and tie them off.
Cork Fabric is a wonderful replacement for leather or vinyl. It’s easy to sew and so ecofriendly! I plan on making more bags out of this unique product.
Have you ever tried Cork Fabric? Do you have any extra tips for us? Have I peaked your interest in Cork Fabric?
Happy Sewing! and if I don’t talk to you before the Easter long weekend, Happy Easter to those who celebrate!
It was pretty easy figuring out my pieces – my embroidered denim patch, some cotton for the back, my lining, my interfacing and a bit of Peltex for shape.
Now to make the inner pocket.
This inner pocket will be sewn into my change/card purse now.
Can you see the misplaced Wonder Tape on the outside around the zipper? I know from past experience that this will dry up and I will be able to pick it off – it drives me nuts being there though! You’d think I would just learn my lesson!
There were a few lessons learned with this project. Sometimes you sew close to the zipper and sometimes you don’t! Always place your Wonder Tape CAREFULLY! Oh, and finally, sometimes the second time you make something it turns out better than the first!
Do you have any advice you can pass on from your recent sewing experiences?
STASH BUSTING WITH THIS PROJECT? Well, no change again. This project used scraps from my stash. Nothing significant. So still 131.2 meters left!
@sewover50 has been running the #So50Visible Challenge on Instagram and I wasn’t too sure if I’d make their deadline of March 15th! And what do you know… I did! And not only did I, but I found out that I could also enter the #BGchallenge (Breaking Ground Challenge)!
The aim of #So50Visible is to make a pattern from a pattern maker who has models over the age of 50! How many of those do you see day to day? I was lucky to find this collection!
The aim of the #BGchallenge was to make something from a pattern maker you haven’t used before! And what did I make from a pattern maker I haven’t used before who uses models over 50? The Tuesday Stitches Citrus Leggings, of course! You can link to their pattern here if you’d like.
The sewing of this pattern went really well and the finished leggings feel so good – to be honest the first pair of leggings I have EVER worn! And I am going to make and wear MORE!
Yes I had to print out the PDF pattern and glue it together. Some sewists download the PDF pattern onto a flash drive and take it to a printer to have it printed off on large paper for cutting out. Unfortunately the nearest print shop to me is 35 minutes away … who can wait that long … so Sophie and Simon and I just cut and glued ourselves happily into the night!
I had two meters of the BEST fabric. I should have taken a photo of the bolt end so I could remember it’s content. I remember it had a spandex content though with a good four way stretch, as recommended by Tuesday Stitches, and it was quite thick compared to some of the stretch knit fabrics I see. I chose to do view C without the gathers, so that I could squeeze TWO pairs on to my fabric, so it was easy to sew all the seams – skipping the gathers. Maybe I’ll make a pair with gathers, view A or B, next time. I used a narrow long zig zag stitch and didn’t have much of a problem except for when I sewed through a couple of thicknesses for the hems.
Tuesday Stitches has a tutorial for a hidden wide waistband elastic here, which I used and liked. First though, I put the leggings on inside out and measured where the waistband elastic should go.
There are three seams on each leg that you can use for fitting. Let a bit out here, take a bit in there! I think I might let out the seam along my calves just a bit, that seems to be the only place I am not right on with the fit. Big calves! Otherwise, these are really really comfortable!
Now excuse me while I go over to Instagram and submit my entry to the #So50Visible and #BGchallenge and tell them what a wonderful job they are doing running these challenges. I think I’ll go tell Tuesday Stitches how much I love their Citrus Leggings pattern too!
Have you made yourself a pair of leggings yet? If so, which pattern did you use?
STASH BUSTING WITH THIS PROJECT? Well, no change there … still 131.2 meters left … I bought two meters so I could make these Citrus Leggings and I used it all up!
Part of my #makenine 2019 Challenge is this pattern, Islander Sewing Systems Jacket Express. I have made this pattern before here. This time though, I was determined not to make the same mistake again. (Putting the buttons and buttonholes on the wrong sides – seriously!!!!)
If you would like to read and see the photos for this jacket from the beginning, start here and then here. I’m so happy to be finished and so happy with my new Jeans jacket. I only had a few steps left – Jeans buttons and buttonholes – but it seemed like forever to get a chance to sit down at my machine and sew!
First off, I asked on Instagram which Jeans button should I use?
The majority answer was the darker ones on the right! Thank you fellow sewists!
Next step was the buttonholes, six of them. I did a practice on a scrap piece of fabric and when it turned out well I continued with the four on the front and the two cuffs. I didn’t use my topstitching thread for these buttonholes – just a matching polyester thread. My Janome buttonhole foot did a fine job. I always start with the cuffs because they are always buttoned up and no one really notices them. Then as my confidence grows, I work my way up to the top buttonhole last – because that one is usually always undone. (Yes, that is a Minion bandaid. That’s how I roll!)
When I headed for my sewing table this morning, what did I see? It’s no wonder my sewing is covered with cat hair!
So after I found a new spot for Sophie to nap and brushed the cat hair off of my jacket, I took a good look at my jacket. It still needed something… not sure what… but as you can see, my inspiration photo wasn’t just a really cool jacket with really cool fabric, there had to be something more too!
So I took a visit to my Pinterest boards and rediscovered these …
That put me on a hunt through my fabric stash for some embroidery or lace. I didn’t have anything in black or red, but I did have lots of white lace (an old white “lace” tablecloth).
Cutting the flowered sections out of the tablecloth was easy. I then tried a couple of different sewing machine feet and settled for my free motion quilting foot. I was happy to have a “needle down” setting on my sewing machine so that every time I stopped sewing not only did my needle stay down, but my free motion quilting foot did too – holding the lace to my fabric. It took a little getting used to to sew with this foot. Every time the needle came up the foot came up too so that I could maneuver the fabric to sew around the outline of the flowers. I probably wasn’t using the proper technique, but I was successful in sewing on my lace flowers. And it was fun!
Next came attaching the Jeans buttons. I’ve done this before and I rather like tapping the buttons together with my little hammer. I always first practice attaching a couple of Jeans buttons on scrap fabric until I am comfortable with the process. I also always let Mr. Green Thumb know what I’m up to because if he hears hammering he always runs to see what’s being built!
Place the Jeans button post on the flat bottom holder and the button will be held on the top holder. I had to remove the little piece from the top holder as this Jeans Button style didn’t have a hole it would fit into!
Time to sandwich it all together. Jeans button holder, Jeans button post sitting on the holder and pushed through the hole made by my awl, Jeans button on top and holder placed carefully down on it.
Jeans button on and not bent! Practice done, let’s tackle the real thing!
I was outside in my sweater, sitting on the concrete steps, hammering on these Jeans buttons, and I just about froze … even though the sun was high in the clear blue sky. Luckily I only had 6 Jeans buttons to attach. I was quite surprised though, when I went out again a little while later to take photos of my new Jean Jacket, how warm my jacket kept me! It is quite heavy for denim. I could still see the odd patch of snow here and there in the garden and the pond was still frozen, but I should have been wearing sunglasses!
This pattern is definitely not for a fitted jacket, and some might want to make a size smaller, but I find it really comfortable and roomy enough to wear a sweater or hoodie underneath.
I took some inside shots too, since everything outside seemed to have a glare! Every time I see the back of the jacket I am reminded of when I constantly told our kids I have “eyes in the back of my head”. Well now I sort of do and better yet, they seem to follow your every move!
Next project? I’ve got my pattern picked out and my fabric chosen for the #sewover50 #so50visible Challenge on Instagram! Are you joining this Challenge? Deadline is March 15th!
STASH BUSTING WITH THIS PROJECT? 3 meters. I still have enough of the print to happily make a bag or two and I still have enough of the black denim for a pair of jeans – already cut out! Now that makes 131.2 meters left in my fabric stash!
Last week my sewing got off to a rough start! First of all a couple of Fridays ago, I couldn’t get home without taking a good run, a few times, at the first of many hills we have … without success. I abandoned my vehicle on the side of the road and as I was walking home in the snow I saw a few vehicles in the ditch, and passed a firetruck and an ambulance! After a 4 km walk in the fresh snow, a Good Samaritin gave me a ride the rest of the way. We don’t usually get snow – but never fail, as soon as you say “We didn’t get any snow this winter!” It WILL snow!
What followed next was two full days without power, then me laid up because I threw my back out, and then a couple of days of me TRYING to get to work in the snow. (whine, whine, whine!)
All in all it added up to a VERY CRANKY LINDA WHO COULDN’T SEW! I swear next summer I am going to restore my Dear Aunt’s 1948 Singer 15-88 treadle cabinet. As you can see, the machine itself is in wonderful shape now. I just need to fix up the treadle cabinet. Then we shall see if a power outage can interfere with my sewing time! Seriously!
So when my life settled down, what did I get accomplished on my really, really cool Island Sewing Systems “Jacket Express”?
First I had to figure out how to finish off the seams of the pocket bag. Yes, I know it’s on the inside, but like all jean jackets, this jacket isn’t lined and everything just hangs out. So I sewed on some single fold bias tape (RED!) and hand sewed it down on the side that faces out. Hmm … needs some pressing!
Next, my favourite part – the “Burrito”! The first time I did a “Burrito” was during Janet Pray’s Craftsy class that I bought, which included this “Jacket Express” pattern. Ever since, any time I can change a pattern to do the Burrito technique on the yolk, I certainly do it!
Janet Pray explains it waaay better than I do, but the front and back yolks are sewn on to the bodice and back pieces. Then the shoulder seams are sewn on the inside back and front yolk pieces. Then you roll your jacket up inside to the shoulder seam and sew the outside back and front yolk pieces together at the shoulders, holding your burrito filling inside! Now you pull your burrito fillings out one side and “PRESTO” like magic your jacket and yolks have a wonderful, professional finish! Press and do your topstitching! (I’ve done the burrito before here too, maybe with more description and photos?)
Then I sewed on the sleeves, which was easy because the sleeve underarm seams and the jacket side seams weren’t sewn up yet, and I topstitched those sleeve head seams.
Then to attach the cuff, Janet Pray does something she calls a cuff “Burrito”. (Again, better explained by Janet!) You sew on the inside cuffs and fold them back on to your sleeve. Pin your outside cuff on top, right sides together, sandwiching the sleeve between the two. You bunch your sleeve inside the cuff a bit so that you can pin part of the opening shut too. You don’t want to catch your sleeve in any of your pinning! Pin and sew from an inch or so where the opening for turning starts, all around the three sides, to about an inch or so again to where the opening finishes. When finished, you pull your sleeve out of the opening and it is MOSTLY sewn up. The amount of hand sewing you have left to do is minimal!
What’s left to do now? Just some more topstitching (which I love) and the Jeans Buttons and buttonholes (hopefully this time, I’ll sew them on the correct side!!!). When I was able to drive again, I bought a couple of styles of Jeans Buttons. We’ll have to decide which style looks better, won’t we? Then comes the photos. I don’t know if the snow will still be around when I am ready for photos. We accumulated 23 cm of snow in just a day or two and it is disappearing rather quickly! Here’s the “before melt” photos … next blog post there will be “after melt” photos … with my cool jean jacket!
I prefer rainy winter weather myself, that’s probably why I like living here – which do you prefer – snowy winters or rainy winters?
STASH BUSTING WITH THIS PROJECT? Not finished yet! But I am putting a good dent in my 134.2 meters with this Jacket!