BlueflowerTreasures

May 27, 2008

A is for Apron: Josephine

Filed under: A is for Apron, sewing — Tags: , , , , , , — Lady M Quilts @ 10:12 am

I recently got my hands on a new apron book:  A is for Apron.  It’s full of fun and lovely aprons, many pictured with fabrics that I actually have in my stash!  I’m so inspired by the book that I thought I’d do a brief review.

A is for Apron showcases 25 “fresh & flirty designs” for aprons, and includes the patterns and instructions for each.  The patterns are listed in the back of the book and must be enlarged to be used directly.  But the book does give some measurements on the pattern pieces, so I was able to figure out the dimensions for the apron I decided to make as a tester:  Josephine.

This is one of the more complicated aprons in the book.  It’s a reversible full apron and the skills a sewist uses include buttonholes, casings, ruffles, bias cutting and topstitching.  It took me about 4 hours to make it, but some of that time was spent trying to figure out parts of the instructions.

Along the way, several small steps were left out.  For example, the neck strap is cut as two pieces (more on that in a minute) but the instructions neglect to tell the sewist to sew them together to make one long piece.    Later, when attaching the neck strap to the bodice, the book is not clear which side (right side vs wrong side of the bodice) to attach the strap to.  Little things that are obvious to an experienced sewist, maybe not so much to a beginner.

Regarding the suggested cutting layout:  in an effort to be ultra frugal with the fabric, the instruction direct one to cut some things in smaller pieces (such as the neck straps and the long waist ties).  I’d much rather use a wee bit more yardage and not have seams in the middle of my ties.

Overall, its a great book, I’d give it 4 stars.  I’m already planning to make at least two more aprons from it and I’m sure it will continue to inspire me every time I open it.

Here is my Josephine:

          

I choose two bright bold prints…both with pinks, purples & greens.  My first challenge was that the butterfly print is very directional and so I couldn’t cut it on the bias as the pattern called for.  It didn’t seem to make a difference.  The other big challenge was figuring out the settings on my ruffler foot so I didn’t have to hand gather that ruffle at the bottom.  I ended up with a few inches extra ruffle, so that was good (rather than too little!).

Here’s a close up of the bodice, the top gathers with a tie.  Also, a close up of the fabrics I used.

      

 

I’ll be listing this apron at Retro Femme, hopefully by tomorrow, for Friday’s stocking.  It’s also our Father’s Day stocking, and I’ll be trying another pattern from the A is for Apron book to make a Dad’s BBQ apron.  I have 3 customs bags and one custom apron to finish.  Plus my 3 yo keeps asking for a “green dwess with fwowers”.  So I should have lots of fun things to post this week!!

May 19, 2008

Mama has a new bag

Filed under: sewing — Tags: , , , , , , , — Lady M Quilts @ 10:06 am

Ever heard the saying “the cobbler’s children have no shoes”?  That’s what it’s been like (a bit) around here.  This handbag making mama was carrying a purse that I made over a year ago and it was showing its age quite a lot.  I’ve been wanting to make myself a new bag using the Katie Jump Rope fabrics.  And last week I got my hands on a pattern for the Run Mama Run bag and decided to test it with KJR. 

The original pattern yields quite a large bag, almost a tote, really, and far too big for my everyday use.  You all know what happens when one carries too large a purse…everything ends up in there and then nothing can be found.  So I downsized the pattern, by hand, because I didn’t want to take all five of my dear blessings out to the copy store.  Dear hubby had accepted a last minute invite to a baseball game and wasn’t home yesterday when I decided to do this.  I trimmed a little here, a little there and started laying out fabric and cutting.

This pattern has several pieces, but it is fairly straighforward.  My biggest pet peeve about bag patterns does make an appearance in this pattern:  the pattern for the outer and the lining are the same size.  I think this is because the bag *can* be made to be reversible, but I do think that there should be an explanation on how to make the lining smaller for a traditional bag.  I find it very annoying when a lining won’t sit properly flat in the bottom of the bag because there is too much of it.

I did make a cutting error…when I downsized the pattern, I forgot to downsize the width of my straps when I cut them, so they were too wide.  I just put little pleats at the bottom, which I actually like, but it wasn’t part of the original pattern.

Here is my lovely model with my new bag:

The other problem I ran into was that for some reason the outer bag fabric developed a few wrinkles during the process.  I used fusible fleece (which I’ve used many times before without a problem) for the outer and all looked good until I turned the bag.  I’ve steamed it a bit and some of the wrinkles left, but I guess I need to get more steamy.

        

One thing I do like about this bag is that it stands up by itself.  I was worried that because I narrowed the width, it would be too narrow to do this, but there it is, standing up.

I put pockets on both sides, one is divided to hold my cell phone and keys.  The other is long and will hold my yearly planner calendar thingie.

         

Did I mention it’s still a little big for me?  That’s my new wallet way down there.  Looks a little lost.  I’ll probably trek off to the copy center later this week.   I really like this pattern, the style and looks appeal to me, but I need something smaller…just big enough for my wallet, phone, keys.  This version will be great to use when I need to also take a couple of diapers or a book or bottle of water.

Speaking of wallets, I made a new one of those for me, too.  Below, the old one is on the top, my bright shiny new one is on the bottom.  (duh, right?)

My wallet pattern is based on the tutorial at that*darn*kat (the link is over there  –> ).  This time, I added a zipper compartment instead of more card slots.  If I had any cash, it would be artfully peeking out from behind either the cards or the zipper compartment.

       

So, that is how I spent my Sunday.  Now, its “clean-up Monday” at our house.  Mt. Laundry and Mt. Dishes await.  I have several sewing projects to do for local clients and a custom bag to start.  And I hope to post a review of a new book I snagged:  A is for Apron

Have a great Monday!!

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