Tuesday, January 28, 2014

KWIK SEW 2185 - Men's Polo Shirt


I'm right in the middle of my winter sewing.  Continuing with my next pullover the KWIK SEW 2185 - Men's Polo Shirt, which I am making in the long sleeve version.


I really am a big fan of KWIK SEW Patterns.  They always come with good solid instructions and their patterns are always printed on a nice sturdy white paper.  Never on the real thin tissue.  I just could never really understand why companies use tissue for patterns.  To me it always seemed like it was a recipe for disaster.  Just the slightest bit of moisture or tension and they just fall right apart.  Hint...Hint...pattern companies....start using the good stuff please!


The fabric I am using for my polo is a Navy Ponte Roma knit for the body and a woven cotton plaid for the collar and button placket.  Before I go any further though, I just want to ask.  Have you ever had a problem with the whole collar set up and how you attach it to your shirt?  That little area to me has always been a sticking point for shirt construction.  My collars would always come out okay, but I really had to work at it.  I always felt like there should be a easier way to put them together.  Well....I found it!  Thanks to Andrea at four square walls.  She takes you through this awesome step-by-step tutorial for the entire collar construction which has your collar coming out perfect every time!  Finally no more problems with the under collar not lining up with your button placket.  Thanks tons Andrea for the awesome post.  I actually printed that one out and keep it tucked in my Simplicity sewing book.



I'm constructing the button placket here with my trusty Singer 66!


My Singer 121795 button hole attachment in action.


The instructions didn't call for bias binding at the shoulder seams but I always like to add it on knit materials.  To me it seems like it makes the shirt just a little sturdier.


I wish I would have taken more photo's of the collar as I put it together per Andrea's post.  "But I forgot".   I was enjoying how well the collar was going together and how easy her method was that the very next photo I took was right before attaching the under collar to the shirt.


The finished collar came out perfect.  Thanks again Andrea!


Just putting the finishing touches on the side slits at the hem.



Another winter shirt done!  It really is a great pattern and is super comfortable to wear.  Now I just need to make one more.  Hmm.....This time maybe in a tan.

Until next time....Happy Sewing!  Seam Ripper Joe

Saturday, January 18, 2014

My Very First Clothing Labels



It was a pretty cool day for me yesterday when the postman dropped off the mail.  I received my very first clothing labels.  Stephanie ordered them as part of my Christmas present through Labels and Ribbon.com.  "She's the Best"!

I also received my amazon.com order.  "Made In U.S.A." tags.  I thought they would be a nice addition to go along with my clothing labels.

Now I just need to find more time for sewing.  Do any of you ever feel there's just never enough hours in the day?

Until next time....Happy Sewing!  Seam Ripper Joe

Saturday, January 11, 2014

D.I.Y. Flatbed Sewing Machine Table

Did you ever buy a vintage sewing machine that didn't come with a cabinet or a case?  You ran into this wonderful find on Ebay or at a yard sale and just absolutely had to have it!  Well that is exactly what happened to me last fall.  I purchased a really cool vintage Brother Prestige on Ebay.  The previous owner took off all the electrical components other than the light and turned it into a really cool hand crank machine.  The only problem is that it doesn't have a home of its own.  No cabinet or case.  When I'm done using it I always end up putting it on the floor under my table.  So when I had the chance to resolve this little problem I went for it!

A couple of weeks ago I was informed that the Pink Parrot Grill (a restaurant in the building I work in) was doing a total renovation of there dinning room and they were selling all of its contents at a very low cost.  "It was like lightning struck"!  I instantly knew how I was going to resolve my homeless sewing machine dilemma.




I purchased two of the two top dinning tables and started to go to work.


I flipped the first one over and took off the base.



Measured the flatbed of my brother and drew it onto the table top.  I used a 1" drill bit to take out the corners.  That also worked really well because the corners of my brother were curved.


Then I used a jigsaw to cut out the rest.  The table top was so thick that even after cutting it I had to tap it out just to get it to drop out.


I sanded smooth all the edges.


Next I cut a piece of 1/2" plywood the same length of my opening but 1 1/2" wider on each side.


Then I drilled four holes two on each side and inserted a 4" screw with a washer for each one.


I also bolted them down tight from underneath.  Marked my plywood and drilled four more holes and slid the plywood down into the screws.  I then put a washer on each screw and a wing nut so I could adjust the plywood so my sewing machine would sit flush with the table top.


Love when a project comes together!


The second table I cut exactly in half to make the leaf out of.


I picked up all the extra bits and pieces I needed from my local Lowe's.


I dismantled everything I previously did and laid my two top sections on the floor so I could install the hinges.


Let me just say, this was some very hard wood.  It took me forever to put the screws in.



I then installed the bracket and legs  Hmm....for some reason it sorta looks like a cow tipped upside down.


I also installed a length of wood with a wing nut to hold up my leaf.  It is able to be loosened and turned out of the way.


Turned it right side up and put everything back together.  I added a rubber mat to the inside of the well.


A view from underneath with the machine in place.  See what I mean about the wing nuts and how they can adjust the height.



All the screws on top are smooth so the fabric glides right over them.


All done!  Now I just need to do some rearranging.  Hmm...I might have to move my Singer you see in the background to the other side of the room.


I spent the next two and a half hours rearranging my whole sewing room.  One thing just lead to the next.  In all it turned out to be an excellent day.  I made a brand new home for my Brother Prestige and my sewing room received a good cleaning.

I just want to give a special thanks to the Pink Parrot Grille for supplying me with two wonderful tables.  Lowe's Home Improvement for having the four table legs I needed at a great price and last but not least Wallace Hardware for supplying me with all the nuts and bolts I needed to complete this project.  I couldn't have done this project without all of you!

Until next time....Happy Sewing!  Seam Ripper Joe

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Simplicity - Fabric Guide - The Ultimate Fiber Resource

What's your favorite!  Do you like shopping online for fabric?  Where you can see hundreds of different types of fabric with just a few clicks of the mouse.  All comfortable in your pajama's sitting on your sofa with your laptop?  Or do you lean more towards the brick and mortar shops. Where you can actually feel and touch the fabric to make sure it's the right weight and stretch for your pattern?

Well, I've always chosen the latter.  Probably 95% of all the fabric I purchase is from a local shop.  Now I think online Fabric Stores are awesome.  With their never ending variety of fabrics just a few clicks of the mouse away and being able to make all of your purchases from the comfort of your home.  Herein lies my problem though!  I have such a limited knowledge of most fabrics out there, I am hesitant to make the purchase online.  Even when I think the fabric is just about perfect!  So to finally alleviate this problem, I purchased Simplicity - Fabric Guide - The Ultimate Fiber Resource.


I spent the day reading this wonderful book cover to cover and have to say "It's Excellent".


The table of contents covers everything from Fabric Basics, Fabric Types, Linings and Interfacings and much, much more!


It starts you off with a brief history of Fabrics and how they were made.



My favorite section "Fabric Types"  was exactly what I was looking for and needed.  It gives you a great photo of the fabric and then under it gives you a brief description of what it's made of as well as how it is made.  Along with the best uses for the particular fabric, i.e. tops, pants, skirts, etc...  Also added are some excellent sewing tips.

All this put together makes buying fabric online so much easier.  It really insures your buying the right fabric for each garment your making.  Big BIG Help!


Another really helpful chapter is the "Linings, Interfacing and Stabilizers".  It really does break down these three areas very well in a way you can understand.  Clear cut and simple.  Yeah!  Which is great for when I start making coats and vests.


Thread is also covered.  Which is really cool because that seems to be a subject that's not discussed that often.  Pairing up the best thread to the fabric.  The different weights of thread and what each is used for.


At the very back of the book they have a section for all the projects you completed and its particulars.  Along with a place to attach a sample swatch of fabric.  Now that's really cool.

Now this book covers so much more than I could ever cover in this blog.  Let me just say I definitely have tons more confidence when it comes to ordering fabric online and it surely takes away the doubt.  Now I don't know if it will ever overtake the fun that one can have with purchasing fabric at a shop but it sure is helpful to have.

Until next time....Happy Sewing!  Seam Ripper Joe