Friday, September 30, 2011

Fabulous Free Pattern Friday

The Flutter Top
Last week I promised that I would have a very easy pattern this week. It's super easy. Here are the measurements that you will need;
1. Your hip measurement.
2. The length that you would like your top to be.
3. How many inches you would like to add for the flutter (I'll explain below).
 The top is just two rectangles sewn together.
The main body of the top is the width of your hips. I would add at least an inch for ease unless you would like a tighter fit. The piece that you see that drapes off the left should is the flutter. So, whatever your hips measure plus how much you would like for the flutter, or extension and then the length of the top.

To begin, cut two rectangles, one for your front and one for the back. Find the center front on one piece. If your hips measure 40 inches, your front piece would measure 20 inches plus an inch for ease and then maybe another 10 inches for the flutter extension, a total of 31 inches. The center front would be 10 1/2 inches in from the right side. (Remember, the extension is only an extension and not part of the fit of the top.) At center front I came down 1 1/2 inches to form my front neckline. I then measured over approximately 5 inches on either side of my center front mark and drew in a curved line. I did nothing for the back neckline.
To finish the raw edges I simply did a rolled edge finish on my serger. Sew the shoulder seams together and the right side seam. Once these seams have been sewn, turn the top so right sides are out. Lay flat on a table and mark where the seam line will be for the extension. I'm sorry, I left out the opening for your arms. The mark that you see on the right side of the above pattern represents where you would stop sewing for your armhole opening. I also stopped the dotted line at the same measurement. To determine the measurement of your opening, I would sew the shoulder seams and then try on your top and mark where you would like the opening to be.

In order for a belt to go around you waist and allow the flutter to flutter, you will need to create an opening in the stitched line that is on the left side of the top. As you can see from the above picture, I did a very large buttonhole (3 inches) over the stitched line. To determine where you should put the opening, try on the top and make a mark at you waistline.
To make the belt, cut a rectangle twice the width that you would like for your belt to be. As for the length, I would suggest that the belt should go around your waist twice and still be long enough to tie a bow or at least a knot.To determine the length of your belt, use a piece of string.  Once you have your measurement, cut the belt. Fold this piece in half, sew. Leave an opening for turning. After tuning the belt, press and hand sew the opening closed. To determine this measurement, use a piece of string.
So that is it. Super easy, right? I'll wear mine tomorrow and get some pictures that I will post.
Hope you all had a fabulous week and wishing you and even better weekend!

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Sewist's Disneyland

I recently had the opportunity to visit my favorite fabric store....anywhere, High Fashion Fabrics in Houston, Texas. I'll never forget the first time I visited this store. I think my mouth was wide open (and drooling) the entire time I was there. 

The store is incredible. Just a little heads up, this is not a store for bargains. What I do like though is that if I'm looking for a specific shade of silk charmuse, I'll find it here.
As you enter the store you are immediately struck by all the embroidered laces that are draped over fitting forms calling your name and chanting, "buy me, buy me."
The family who owns the store is from Korea. They have racks of the traditional material which can translate into incredible garments.
Isn't this phenomenal? And I'm only showing you the main room of the store. There's another huge room that has knits, cut velvets and cottons.
There are more silks than I ever thought existed.
And even more laces, embroidered, sequined, feathered, you name it.
My pictures really don't do the fabric justice.

If you have the opportunity to go to Houston, make a point of stopping by High Fashion. You'll be happy that you did. As I said though, they aren't a bargain store, so choose carefully. Now here's the question, did I buy anything? Oh, you know I did. I'll share it soon.  

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Fabulous Free Pattern Friday

The Obi Bag
After I posted on Friday that there would be a bit of a delay because of an allergic reaction to something that bit me, I ended up falling on a wet floor that wasn't marked as being wet and really hurt my knee. Just a little later that day, I had to take the dogs to the vet and ended up really banging my head on the door of the car. I actually saw stars. That was it for me. A few days of recooperation and I'm back to normal, at least normal for me. I hope you had a lovely and pain free weekend.
So on to my Obi Bag. I decided to name it the Obi Bag because as I shared with you last week, a friend allowed me to raid her vintage obis for this project. As I said, lucky me! If you have never heard of an obi, they are the belts/ties that the Japanese would use to keep their kimonos closed.
Since I used the obis, the size of my bag was already determined by the width of the fabric that I had. The outer portion of the bag as well as the lining for the outer fabric measures 25"x11 1/2".

The outer fabric that you see in the above picture is a brocade, a good weight, but I wanted a little padding, so I used cotton quilt batting. Cut it exactly the same size as your fabric. 

Pin in place.

 Stitch the quilt batting and the outer fabric together along the edge. As you stitch, keep in mind that you will not want this stitch to show in your finished bag.
Cut strips on the bias for your piping that will go around the edge of the bag and also form the closure and handle for the bag. You will need 2 3/4 yards of 3/4" piping. If you use the same size piping that I used you will cut your bias strips 1 1/2" wide.
 Sew the mitered edges of the strips together.
Wrap the bias strips around the piping and using a zipper foot sew the strips around the piping.

 Now attach the piping to the outer fabric.
 When you come to a corner, clip exactly at the corner. Sew to that corner and then turn.
The handle portion measures 23". Mark the center of your bag, at the top. Approximately a 1/2" on either side of that mark, you will want to have a clip in your piping. 23" from that point you will make another clip in the piping. This will be the length of your handle. Sew to the first clip, hold the handle portion away from where you are sewing. There will be about 1" of the bag that will not have piping. Sew across and then sew across the second clip on your piping and continue to sew the piping.
 This picture shows the handle piece being held away from where I am sewing the piping in place. On the other side you will want to do basically the same technique, but there will not be any piping that is held away like we did for the handle. You will just want to leave an opening where the handle can slip through. I know this sounds a little complicated, but I think that once you start putting everything together it will make sense.

When you get to the point that all of the piping has been sewn down and you would like to finish off your ends, lay the piping as in the picture below so that it is overlapping by about 2".

 Open one piece,
 match the other side to the opened piece and cut away the exposed piping.
 Fold back the edge of the bias where you cut away the piping.
 Lay the unopened piping inside the opened side. Lay the top piece of fabric over the unopened cording,
 and sew it closed. This will make a lovely finish that is barely detectable.
All of my piping has been sewn down. In this picture you can see how the handle slides through the corresponding side. Fold the bag in half so that you can find the center of the bottom of the bag. Sew the lining to the outer piece and leave an opening that is about 3" on either side of this center mark.
To make the inside pouch, cut a rectangle 19"x15". Because of the width of my fabric, I had to piece mine. Also cut a piece of lining fabric that is 18"x15". I wanted my lining to be a bit shorter. Sew the edges with a half inch seam allowance.
 Once the side seams have been sewn, fold the bottom to form a "V". Your stitching line should be about 2 1/4" on either side of the seam allowance.
Now you have a pouch. Do exactly the same to the lining piece. Sew the two pieces together around the top. Leave an opeing in the side seam of the lining for turning. Turn and press.
 Now we are back to the outer piece of the bag. Sew a line of stitching about 2 1/2" on either side of the center of the bottom of the bag.
Cut a pice of heavy cardboard 10 1/2"x4 1/2". Slide this into the opening. This will give you a hard bottom for your bag.
 Pin down the lining and hand sew closed.
To finish off the raw edges that are on the handles and the corresponding loop, open the piping and roll the fabric inside around the cording.
Do a little at a time. Pin closed and hand sew. This is a little tedious, but it's a great project to do in front of the television.
Now you can see the finished handle and the loop. My loop is about 3" long. It's a little too long. 2" would have been better.
 Now take the inside pouch and line it up with the bottom of the bag. Pin in place for now.
Fold the sides up and pin to the inside pouch. Hand sew the pouch to the the outer portion of the bag. Your finished!!!

Sew a tack stitch exactly where you see the "v" in the above picture. This will help the inside pouch close nicely.

I just came back from my morning run when my husband took this picture. This is not an outfit that I would wear with this bag.
This is a little more complex than the patterns I have shared in previous weeks. Just remember, this is nothing but a series of rectangles. Easy, really. If you have any questions, I will be happy to do my best to answer them. The upcoming pattern will be super easy, I promise.
I hope you all have a wonderful week! 

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Monday Morning Inspiration

A little eye candy from the Gianfranco Ferre and Roberto Cavalli 2012 Spring Shows in Milan. Enjoy!

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