Sunday, November 25, 2012

Busy Days Here at the 1893 Victorian

I'm going to rattle on a bit this morning, telling you about some projects we're working on.
I'm sewing purses, and sold quite a few.
Here are a couple new designs . . .  I'll tell you about,
But first--here's what Jon's been doing.
Jon is harvesting dead trees we'll use to heat our old Victorian house.
In two days, he felled 5 Elm and Locust trees on the west side of the yard--all were dead due to disease.  In fact they've been dead for a number of years.  Our concern is to take down the trees before they harm the neighbor's house and yard. 
Photo of the base of the big tree Jon felled.
I photographed the 80 ft. tree prior to cutting it down.  Jon was shocked to find quite a bit of the tree interior hollow.  Good call on his part to take it down. 
Can you see Jon in the middle of the photograph? 
I drew a red line from the right to the left showing the direction of the huge tree where it fell. 
Jon put it down right where he wanted it. 
Jon stops to review where he'll start cutting chunks to haul to the wood splitter.
Above photo:  almost hidden from view, Jon is driving a bucket load of chunked tree trunk from the fall site across the yard to the area where he'll split the chunks into quarters.  I'll have to get out there and take some photos of Jon splitting the wood. 
Jon has a splitter fixture for the skidster that grabs the chunk and splits it in half.  It's neat the way it works and looks like fun to operate--if you like playing with big toys.  He's working hard out there--felling trees, cutting them up, hauling away the chunks, splitting the wood to heat our old Victorian.  He loves this kind of work, but it sure makes his body ache later on.
Our yard and house sat silent for more than 3 decades before we bought it.  The house required lots of restoration.  Just the same house its always been--but repaired and refreshed.  You can see from this photo of the west yard--that some trees need to go because they're already dead.  The clean up will bring in great warming light to the shady north side.
While Jon was sawing, I was baking.  A couple loaves of cheddar bread, and a lemon meringe pie.
Hey, before you go . . . I want to show you construction phases and highlights of purses I designed.
The 3 button charcoal micro suede purse I drafted flaps beginning with a small paper plate.  Each round I added a bit more to the diameter. 
Finished with silver satin interior with pockets and key fob, this one sold immediately, so I decided to try something different in a dark plum microsuede.
Both flaps decorated with wool penny medallions hide snaps, revealing secret compartments for folded money or cards.
Purse Sold Yesterday
Below is a photograph of the interior.  To show the interior, I turned the purse inside out.
Both walls of the interior have printed cotton pockets.  Plum soft batik cotton for the liner and accents for carrying straps.  Two sets of magnetic snaps (interior lining and exterior flap closure).  Signature key fob. 
I'm finished constructing a navy microsuede purse.  
Here are the interior parts--so you can see that construction.  
I stuffed a card inside each pocket so you can see the pocket openings.
But it didn't show up well, so I marked up the photo in red 
to illustrate further. 
The lower shallow pocket opens toward the side seam, meaning this will be a hidden pocket inside the purse.  The purse owner will be reminded of the location of the hidden pocket
by feeling for the little spider charm sewn in place. 
Inside the hidden pocket is . . .

a little hidden pouch to put folded money or cards. 
The pouch and inside the pocket has a bit of velcro sewn to hold it secure.
I finished another purse in walnut brown, but it sold right away and I didn't get it photographed.  It had a splendid double padded, double pouch, zippered pocket--the perfect size to carry a kindle.  
Working with a few more designs--this time I'll use red pleather, and I have some sumptuous taffeta in gun metal blue.  Do you remember this fabric? 

I made drapes for the north bedroom upstairs. 
My rule of thumb before I decorate a room I find drapery fabric first--then wall color--then bedding. 
When all else fails I can pair drapes and wall color with ivory crocheted bedspread. 
I might even re-create the cinnamon bun tiebacks as a decorative feature using the same drapery material for the purse.  I confess, I made valances for the three windows in the north bedroom, but decided not to use them--as I didn't want to cover up the beautiful spoon carved wood blocks.  So I think I'll deconstruct the valances and make something useful--like purses or pillow shams.
Here are two of the three windows in the north bedroom.
Ah, but the sun lit windows seem to wash out the color of the drapes and wall. 
I really wanted to show you the great crocheted bedspread against these dark gray/blue walls.  Let me look for another photo.  Just a minute.
Yes, there we go.
And, depending upon the time of day or lighting--the northbedroom walls and drapes look either more blue, or more gray.
Well, I've taken enough of your time with photos and talk this morning.
I wish you all happiness in everything you do today.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Inspired by the16th Century Ruff - A Ruffle Tutorial

Here's a purse I just finished sewing--I call it "The Ruff."
I could have called it the Ruffnerian--but my friend Mark would have collared me.

Speaking of collars . . .

The decorative purse ruffle reminds me of  a mid-16th century collar.
Here's a portrait of Elizabeth I wearing a ruff collar.
Detail of Darnley Portrait of Elizabeth I, c. 1575

I have some photos to share with you how I made a ruffle for the purse.
BEST: to use knit fabrics that do not fray. 

Cut lots and lots of 2" squares. 
Cut the squares using pinking shears.
I used a rotary cutter fitted with a pinking blade and the cutting went really fast. 

Please use extreme caution when using the pinking blade rotary cutter. 

I began by making a foundation fabric strap. 
On the strap I sewed 3 lines.
The sew lines are guidelines

Fold a 2" square into a triangle shape.
Place triangle on one of the sewing lines.
Take 2-3 stitches and stop

Place next triangle in front of the pressure foot.
Stitch through the first triangle,
and 2-3 stitches into the second triangle, then stop.
Stitch through second triangle,
and 2-3 stitches into the third triangle, then stop

Continue folding 2" squares into triangles,
placing one triangle in front of the other.

Start sewing another row of triangles,
on the middle sewing line.

As you add triangles to the middle sewing line,
fold over the triangles from the 1st sewing line
to make room to lay down fabric triangles.

The finished ruffle pictured here (right) has 3 rows of triangles.
creating a nice looking ruffle.
I hand sewed the ruffle to the purse exterior.
But if you make the strap wider to begin with
 you can successfully machine sew the ruffle to the purse during construction.
I hand-pressed the sewing line open, so you can see the construction.
It fluffs up quite nice - could be fun trim for a winter hat. 
Have fun making the ruffle!
Finished Purse
Purse Interior has 4 stacked pockets, and a key fob.

I apologize for accidently erasing my previous post "Seeing Red" where I was showing you a red and a brown faux leather purses I just finished.
What can I say?  I messed up. 

Here are some photos from that post

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How to Repair A Frayed Seam - Tutorial

Are you coming apart at the seams??????

Here's how to Repair a Frayed Seam --it's Quick and Easy

Lots of Photos to Show You How

Step by Step Tutorial

You'll need
"Seams Great" - (shown here in the package). 

It is a very sheer and light--but strong seam reinforcement ribbon (1-1/4" wide). 
or in a pinch you can use a piece of light weight fabric that doesn't fray. 

You can find "Seams Great" at fabric stores like Hancock Fabrics.   

At the end of the lesson, I'll tell you another great use for "Seams Great."

This is a bolster pillow from a client's very expensive bed ensemble that has come apart at the seam.

Seams Great ribbon will reinforce the seam--and keep it from pulling apart again.

1. To stop the material from fraying, I've pinned a length of Seams Great ribbon to the upper seam. 

2. Looking at the black sheer ribbon, you can see I'm holding the ribbon in place with a couple of yellow headed pins.

3. Just below the threaded needle you can see through the sheer black Seams Great ribbon, and notice I extended the sheer black reinforcement ribbon well beyond the frayed edge to pin it. 

4. I'm right handed, and beginning at the right I insert a threaded/knotted needle into the ribbon, and took -3-4 running stitches and pulled the thread through. I continued making running stitches in a straight line to the end of the repair.

5. While making the running stitches I lift material upwards slightly with my finger because I don't want to sew into any of the existing batting (stuffing). 

6.  While making the running stitches I've pinned the bullion decorative trim up and out of the way.

7.  In this photo I've come to the end of the repair and took 2-3 stitches in place,
 and the last stitch forms a knot.

8.  In this photo--I turned the pillow upside down,
and am using my fingers to tuck the ribbon inside of the pillow.
9.  I continue to tuck the Seams Great ribbon inside, along the opening of the repair.

10.  With the pillow still upside down, I pinned another length of Seams Great ribbon into position, holding it in place with a pin.  With a knotted thread start running stitches. 
11.  Here I'm nearing the end of the running stitches.  I've been using my fingers to make it easy to make running stitches--keeping the stitches out of the white batting (stuffing).

12. Continue running stitches to the end of the opening, and take 2-3 stitches in place,
The last stitch forming a knot.

13.  The ribbons are tucked inside.
14.  I'm using a carmel brown thread to match background of fabric. 
Taking stitches, you can sew the ribbon reinforced seams together. 

I use a couple of yellow headed pins to pull the seam together
in advance of sewing the stitch to close the seam.

Once I reach the end of the repair, I take 2-3 stitches in place and form a knot. 

15.  I re-thread my needle and sew the closed seam one more time. 

Believe me, this section will Never Ever come apart again. 

Another use for Seams Great . . . is to ease sleeves into a bodice,
(to gather the top of the sleeve). 

   The Seams Great sheer ribbon is light, strong, but also has quite a bit of stretch to it. 

 Primarily I use Seams Great when I am constructing garments with fussy fabric that frays terribly. 

In truth, Damask fabric like this bollster above should have had their seams reinforced
with ribbon during the manufacturer's construction. 

Tailors and costume designers all use reinforcement ribbon in suits and evening gowns.