It always strikes me when I’m in the middle of a project just how difficult it is to turn a two dimensional sketch or idea into a three dimensional object. How will it fit together? How many pieces do I actually need? In what order will those pieces be joined? As it turns out, I am an incredibly slow person when it comes to building things. I was telling a friend yesterday that I think it takes me so long to sew anything because I have to think out each step before I do it so that there are as few mistakes as possible along the way. I have always abhorred having to rip seams open when I make mistakes, so I will take a ponderously long time thinking out how to put everything together in order to avoid having to do this. As a result, four straight hours of ironing, cutting, and sewing yesterday lead to two finished pieces. Two.
I’m not entirely displeased with this; they are two finished pieces that I’m pretty happy with all things considered! But still, I hadn’t anticipated it taking quite so long; it takes me about 10 hours to make a corset, which is only one small piece, but it’s a small piece that’s ridiculously detail-oriented.
That being said, I’d like to walk you through the process of making the hat and bag that I pushed out yesterday. The setup: I mentioned that we went out and got a small folding table, and I set it up so that I’d be able to use it as an ironing board as well. Here are all of my patterns thus far, lying in little piles just waiting to turn into something pretty:
This is some pretty fabric my mom got me; I figured I’d give my cutting method a try on this since it was for my personal use and therefore (somehow) expendable:
First, I ironed everything. I didn’t take any pictures of myself doing this, because everyone knows what ironing looks like. And if you don’t, well… um, Google it? After ironing, I laid the hat pattern down on the fabric, pinned it, and cut it out.
I thought, how can I make this patchworky without cutting out six million little pieces? Solution: cut out the whole pattern on the different fabrics I plan to use, and then cut the fabric into strips, like so:
Then I sewed the strips together to make the top of the hat. I ended up lining it with the fabric that remained, so theoretically this hat could become reversible if I can figure out a better way to make the hat band.
Then, the fun part – gathering (I recently discovered that there is a presser foot attachment for sewing machines that gathers fabric for you. WHAT?! I have been gathering fabric by hand for years. Like, since I started sewing. I had no idea there was a magical foot out there somewhere that would take this incredibly time consuming pain in my ass and do it in the thirty seconds it takes to run some fabric through the machine). To gather by hand, I put my sewing machine on the widest stitch setting possible (baste stitch) and sew two parallel lines as close as possible to the raw edge. Then I pull up the bobbin threads, pin, and adjust.
And… tada! The hat was born, after two hours of intensive labor:
- It’s a little too muffin-y, I must figure out how to make it less so.
- It fits a bit too loosely. Must adjust the band, and/or add elastic. For now, bobby pins will do.
- It’s super cute!
Please let me know what you think!
Next up was the yoga bag. I’m really happy with how this came out. As with the hat, there was ironing first, and then the cutting out of the pattern in the same way – cut out what I need from each color, then cut apart and put back together all patchwork-like.
Here are some other pieces waiting their turn:
I attached the straps but good; a criss-cross stitch over the center and double stitching on the top and bottom of the strap will keep this thing attached forever:
Here’s the other end of the strap, pinned and waiting to get sewn on:
This was an interesting challenge. Typically when I’m sewing a round edge onto a straight edge, the straight edge is gathered. I knew that for the bottom of the bag to have a distinct round shape that this could not happen (also, there wasn’t enough extra fabric to do the gathering), so I attached the bottom piece of the bag to the body without any gathering. It was particularly difficult to do while maintaining the circle of the bottom and making sure that there were no bunches of fabric anywhere.
Another fun story – I’ve never made a button hole on the machine! I’ve always sewn button holes by hand. My Singer does have the setting for button holes, however, so I figured I would give it a try. I used a piece of scrap muslin to test out this newfangled setting, and didn’t quite have the hang of it when I decided to go for broke and put a button hole on the yoga bag anyway.(scrap muslin)
The button hole is for the draw-string, for those who are wondering (though I’ve yet to add that).
And here is the finished piece in action! It’s holding my yoga mat, which is large for a yoga mat as I recall. The top doesn’t close because, as I mentioned, I haven’t added the draw-string yet. But otherwise this bag is functional… and pretty! Unfortunately the light in here isn’t great today (it’s overcast outside), so this is not the most spectacular picture, but you get a good sense of the patterning, I think. I will take better pictures of this bag, with someone actually wearing it, when I have a few more pieces done and can do a legit photo shoot.
Initial thoughts on this design:
- Must remember that patchwork eats up seam allowances; have to give at least another inch to length.
- Must master button holes before making any more of these!
- Seems like it will hold a heavy yoga mat very well; only time will tell but I like it!
Thoughts? Please share!
Now that I’ve taken a two-hour long internet break to bring you this exciting news… I must get back to my sewing table! I will update again when I have made more progress; hopefully up next: tunics and boleros!
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