Thursday, August 29, 2013

My Thrift Store Find....or going "Boxer Shorts Crazy"

I went to the local Thrift Store the other day in Ocean City, NJ and ran into this perfect set of full size sheets.  The very first thing I thought of was "Wow! What a perfect fabric for Boxer Shorts".  When you think about it, it's sorta funny.  Most people when they see a set of sheets or table cloth or any other larger piece of fabric they take it at face value for what it is.  On the other hand, a person that sews and runs into these fabrics automatically thinks "Wow, a new sewing project"!

"Just look at the Print".  Doesn't it remind you of the print they made boxers out of in the 50's and 60's.  You just never know when or where you are going to run into that perfect fabric, today it was at the local Thrift Store.  What even sweetened the deal even more was the set was in "Fabric Perfect Shape" and they only wanted $5.00 for them.
"Can you say Sold"!

I have set a goal for myself.  Starting in the spring of next year.  I only want to wear the clothing that I have sewn (No more RTW).  That gives me a good 8 months.

So when I saw the Sheet Set, I thought "Wow" I could Make 6 or 7 pairs of Boxer Shorts out of them easily.  Which definitely helps me get closer to my goal and not only that it's the perfect print for boxers.

I decided to stick with the same Kwik Sew Pattern # 1672.  I already had it on hand and I liked the way they fit.

This is the first pair completed, only 6 more to go.  My brain will probably be turned into Boxer Brain Mush by the time I'm done.  That's alright, I'll refresh it by sewing Stephanie a new skirt.  I picked up this really pretty flowered cotton fabric that I'm sure will bring a big smile from her.

That is it, the end of my post for today.  We just have a couple of things left....first, the big "Shout out".

Today that is going to....Michael of Line of Selvage He is a self taught sewist who blogs out of San Francisco, California.  Teamed up with his Brother PC-210 PRW, he's one mans journey into the world of sewing.  He's a joy to read and is highly recommended for any blog list.

and also....

This week the "Two Thumbs Up" goes to April 1930's a wonderful sewing shop run by Carmon & April Henry out of Kamiah, Idaho.  They feature mostly the 221 & 222K Singer Featherweights and their attachments.  Which are also appropriately designed to fit most any low, vertical shank sewing machines.  So if you have a special place in your heart for vintage sewing machines like I do, you just have to check them out.

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

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Classic Hawaiian Shirt....Victoria Jones Pattern # 210

This is truly a wonderful pattern.  I picked it up several months ago along with some amazing fabric from Hawaiian and just could not wait to make it.  You have to love the Victoria Jones Collection of Patterns.  They are all well written, with easy to understand directions and also present to you a brief history of the particular garment you are sewing.  How cool is that!

Once I made my pattern copies I started laying out my front panels.  This was such a very busy fabric I decided not to worry so much about lining up the pattern to match up at the seams.  The only exception I made to that was going to be the front pocket.

All of my pattern markers I used black thread instead of chalk.  You can see were I marked off my front pocket bottom and corners and also my buttonholes.  It's a little time consuming but they never rub off like chalk does (and that's a really good thing!).

Pattern all cut out.  Now let the Fun Begin!

The pocket seams creased up very nicely (good cotton fabric).  I'm sewing the top side seams before turning the pocket top right side out.

This is after I sewed the pocket on to the front panel.  I was very careful in matching up the fabric (can you see it!).

I love my Singer 66!  It sewed the perfect straight top stitch for my button band.

Here she is midway in progress.  I have the back panel and two front panels connected to the yoke.  I was so into my sewing when I rolled the two front panels and back panel into my yoke to attach the two front panels, I forgot to take pictures of it.  Just imagine a two foot long hoagie and that's what it looked like.  It was a little bugger to pull everything back right side out again.  But with much perseverance and patience it all righted itself nicely.

As much as I wanted to sew the entire shirt on my Singer 66, I had to give in and use my Janome to bind off the sleeve seams with a ZigZag stitch (I have my Singer Automatic ZigZagger attachment ordered, It just hasn't come in the post yet.....sigh....).

Topstitching 1/4" from seam on sleeve to bind down the seam toward the neck underneath.

Sewing the French Seams on the sides (wrong sides together).  It's always fun at this point because you see your shirt really starting to take shape.

After sewing the initial seam on the shirt sides, I cut the seam down by half before turning it right sides together to sew my final seam, which in turn, turns it into a French Seam.  They really are a graceful seam when they are done!

I had to pay particular close attention to hemming the bottom of the shirt to ensure all three panels lined up just right.

With the entire shirt almost completed, this was the most challenging part.  Attaching the shirt collar to the yoke.  After a little bit of finagling though, I had it lined up just right and it sewed up nicely.

Ta Da...The Big Shirt Collar Reveal!

The shirt came out to a perfect fit with no pattern adjustments needed what so ever!  Thanks Victoria Jones.  I feel like I'm ready to hit the beaches of Hawaii.

This shirt was such a joy to make and fit so well I already have the fabric to make another.

That is it, the end of my post for today.  We just have a couple of things left....first, the big "Shout Out".

Today that is going to....Gary and Barbara at Old Sewin Gear who are a Father and Daughter team out of Roseburg, Oregon.  They specialize in Vintage Sewing Machines of all types from repairing them to how they operate.  They are a must read for any vintage sewing machine enthusiast.

and also....

This week the "Two Thumbs Up" goes to Vogue Fabrics who constantly bring us incredible fabric at discounted prices.  Paired up with there flat rate shipping they are a one stop shop that will keep your bobbin spinning.

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

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Singers "Incredible" Buttonhole Foot for...."Vintage Singer Sewing Machines"

I know....I know....Your probably thinking, Joe your next post was supposed to be on the Victoria Jones Hawaiian Shirt, not a buttonhole foot.  You would be absolutely right!  Here's the Snafu though, I wanted to sew the entire shirt on my Singer 66-8, so I had to wait for my new buttonhole foot to be delivered.  So without any further ado here she is....

Lets start by a little background information for you.  This is the Singer Buttonhole Foot, Part # 121795.  This foot will fit on the following Singer Sewing Machines.  Singer 66, 99, 128,185,15-91, 201 and 221.

I'm so proud of finding this little foot.  There are no cams, just three different adjustments that are very quick and easy to make.  One for "Closeness of Stitch".  Another for "Bight of Stitch" (or stitch width) and just one more for the width or "Space" of the actual opening you would like for your buttonhole.  It's really surprisingly super simple to use!  It also came with a feed dog cover (darning plate) which attaches very easily.

I was fortunate enough to find one with the original manual (always a good thing).

It's very easy to get your sewing machine ready to start making buttonholes.

You first remove your standard foot.

Place your darning plate into the exact position for the needle to move freely into the bobbin area (we don't need any broken needles, yikes!) and tighten it down.

Clamp the Buttonhole Foot to the Pressure Bar and your ready to go.  What is so Incredible to me is that here is a buttonhole foot produced in 1940 (and even before that) that can make the exact size buttonhole you adjust it for on a straight stitch machine in just one step with a beautiful outcome.  My Janome made in 2012 requires four steps to make a buttonhole.  I find that very interesting!

With the pressure foot in the up position, I place my needle exactly at the top of my buttonhole.  I then drop my pressure foot and give her a little gas and let my buttonhole foot do her thing!

I keep a nice medium speed.  No reason to rush it.  You'll find you get a better stitch if you just take your time and enjoy how truly incredible this foot is.

The fabric is guided by the pressure foot to each new stitch the needle makes.

Most of the time I go around twice to make the perfect buttonhole!

"Tada"!  There she is the perfect buttonhole.  You gotta love this buttonhole foot.

With that being said.  I have to give credit were credit is due.  I wouldn't have known this buttonhole foot even existed if I didn't see Peter Lappin demonstrate it on his You Tube Channel using his Singer Featherweight Peters Demonstration .  Thanks Peter, Great Tutorial.

I have my Hawaiian Shirt all cut out and ready to get started.  Yes!  So stand by and I'll have it in my next post.

That is it, the end of my post for today.  We just have a couple of things left....first, the big "Shout Out".

Today that is going to....Tilly of Tilly and The Buttons .  Ever Since I watched The Great British Sewing Bee  you had to fall in love with her sparkling personality and beautiful sewing techniques.  She's a definite must follow on your sewing blog list.

and also....

This week the "Two Thumbs Up" goes to the good folks at Craftsy who are constantly trying to teach us new sewing skills through there awesome online classes and sewing tutorials.  Thanks craftsy for making us better sewers one stitch at a time!

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

Friday, August 9, 2013

"The Stephanie Skirt"....with a dash of "Ruffling Foot"

The Ruffling Foot, an intricate little gadget.  The first time I laid my eyes on one was at the very beginning of my sewing adventures.  I think it was on YouTube.  I couldn't believe it!  It was the coolest little foot.

It looked like something a "Steampunker" would have invented.  The Sewist behind the machine shot out those perfect ruffles with ease.  Wow!  It was like lightning striking.  Right then and there I new I had to have one.

I did a couple of hours of research on the internet and I couldn't find one that would fit my particular machine.  The Janome 2212.  "Nutssss"!  So with a Heavy Heart and sniffles, I went to my local Sewing Machine Center in Marmora, NJ (This was before I found Karen's Kreations).  I went in and explained my dilemma and after a couple of phone calls to the experts he produced  the "Baby Lock" ruffling foot.  Yes!  I was back in my "Sewing Saddle Again".

We tried it out on one of their Baby Lock machines that was just about identical to my Janome 2212 and it worked perfectly  This was really cool.  The damage for this little item was $40.00.  I didn't care though, this was going to be my newest and bestest foot.

Now lets fast forward to 1 August 2013.  I had tried to use my ruffling foot several times since I purchased it, without any particular project in mind.  I just couldn't seem to get it to work properly.  Maybe I didn't have it adjusted right or I was inserting the fabric incorrectly into the foot.  It all became a mystery to me, so I just tucked it away into my Notions Suitcase and there it sat....and sat....and sat.... Every once in a while I would think about it and just shake my head.  Why couldn't I get it to work.  Hmm....

So on this particular day I was cutting out my pattern for the Victoria Jones Hawaiian Shirt, Pattern # 210.  I was finally able to start this way cool shirt.  I was so excited!  I've been holding onto this pattern for a couple of months.  I had the fabric all washed and dried and ready to go.  Yea!!!

Timing in life sometimes can be a very funny thing.  That's when Stephanie walked into my sewing room with a Joann Fabrics Bag!  She was out shopping for the day, and all of a sudden I felt that all to familiar saying slip into my mind "When you least expect it, expect it".  She looked at me with those beautiful "Big Brown Eyes" and her bottom lip just tucked a little over her top lip, giving me the "I Love You my Baby Look".  She began by telling me how she stopped into Joann Fabrics today and picked up another 3 1/2 yards of the Black Ponte Roma knit she loved so much and if I could make her a skirt for work.  With a really nice "Ruffle at the bottom".

My eyes immediately shot over to my notions case.  Did that inanimate object.  My Baby Lock Ruffling Foot, (the ruffling foot I still haven't to this day figured out how to use) somehow telepathically tell Stephanie she needed a ruffle at the bottom of her skirt.

Not only that!  Did my Ruffling Foot somehow find a way to break out of that dark abyss of my notions case.  Was I finally going to once and for all tackle this problem head on and figure out how to use this way cool piece of advanced sewing machine engineering!  All very good questions.

Also on top of that.  Was I going to have to put aside my Victoria Jones Hawaiian Shirt.  The one pattern I've been itching to sew ever since I got it, for another day.  Hmm...When you least expect it, expect it.

My exact words to Stephanie were "I would Love to"!  So I changed gears, finished cutting out the last couple of pieces of my pattern.  Hung it all up on my pattern rack and set out on the new task at hand.

I pulled out the Ruffling Foot and started cutting up strips of fabric to practice on.  Over the next hour I looked at every aspect of how the foot fit onto my machine and the way it worked.  After going through the whole operation very thoroughly, I had come across a couple of screw settings that needed to be adjusted for my particular machine.  Hmm.... Odd that I hadn't noticed that before.

So now, all of a sudden like magic it started turning out the prettiest ruffles you have ever seen,  "I'm loving it".  I must have used a whole bobbins worth of thread just sewing ruffles on all different types of scrap fabric.  It was pretty cool!

With the ruffling foot debacle finally put to rest.  I now had to come up with a pattern for Stephanie's Skirt.  So I pulled out her measurements and said to myself "Let the Drafting Begin" and after a couple of hours I was finally done.  I came up with a real simple, cute, skirt that I was sure she would love.

I named it the "Stephanie Skirt".  It was fun coming up with my own pattern.

I made the bottom ruffle strip 7" wide and 43" long.  In the end I had to cut four of these out just to make it all the way around the skirt.  It's amazing the amount of material a ruffling foot can manipulate.  Jennifer from Historical had a mathematical equation for working out the exact amount of material needed for ruffles.  I am definitely going to have to go back and review exactly the numbers she used on that.  It will definitely come in handy for my next set of ruffles.

The main body of the skirt I curved in at the top a bit.  I also marked it for a nice set of inseam side pockets.  Stephanie Loves her Pockets!  Another nice thing about drafting this pattern is I can use it for so many different skirts.  Just change the fabric and pocket placement and you have a whole new skirt.

The skirt came out really nice and looked great on her.  It was ankle length and had a very nice sway movement about it.  She absolutely loved it!

The ruffling foot did a bang up job.  I am so glad I finally conquered this little device.  Sometimes it just takes that little extra push to figure how to do a little more complicated task.  Sorta like the first time you ever put a zipper in.  After I attached the ruffles to the main body of the skirt, I toped stitched it down all the way around.

The final view of the full "Stephanie Skirt".  The side inseam pockets came out really nice.  They just don't show up in these photo's.  When everything was said and done it was really a cool experience coming up with a pattern you drafted yourself and then putting it together and have everything come together just right.

Stephanie's Kinder Goth's trying to supervise me as I took the photo's.

That is it, the end of my post for today.  We just have a couple of things left....first the big "Shout Out".

Today that is going to....Peter Lappin of Male Pattern Boldness with his New York upbeat style and his constant pursuit for perfection.  He is definitely always working on the cutting edge of sewing.  Plus he's just plain fun to read.  So if you get the chance you just have to check his blog out!

and also....

This week the "Two Thumbs Up" goes to Pattern Review for always being there for every sewist.  This one link probably has more sewists in its community than any other site on the net.  It's a one stop shop for everything sewing and a must join for any sewist.

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