Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Warm Window Shade Day #2

My photos loaded from photobucket in the opposite order I intended. So I'll tell my story backwards today. (I did size them smaller, so hopefully you don't have to click on it to see the entire photo).
Here is one of Archie's daily activities. Life must be so different for her now that she lives indoors! How exciting it must be when she finds a glass of water! Free water! No leaves in the bottom! This glass is short, but the tall ones are so much easier to knock over. (Rescue Mamma is funny when she steps in soggy carpet and yelps!)
The photo below is a view of the Warm Windows quilted batting, attached temporarily with push pins along the top and folded in half - the open position.

You can see the join seam, which still needs to be trimmed. Per the advice of the good folks at patternreview, I will trim out the inner layers to about, oh 1/4" or 3/8". Then I will trim out the outer layer to a wee bit more, so that it will encase the inner layers neatly. Then fold the seam to one side and secure with a strip of steam-a-seam (a fusible binding). That will make the seam almost invisible. Don't press the seam open, as it may allow cold draftiness through.

This fabric comes with the channels set up railroad style, meaning parallel with the selvedge edge. Since you generally want the channels to run horizontally on the finished shade, you must join another piece if the window is longer than 60". Mine is over 70 inches.

When I went to sleep last night, I was just exhausted from all the little decision-making steps. Do I want velcro along the sides or magnets? How big do I want the folds? Do I want the sides to seal flush with the wall? (Ideally, yes- but the right edge of the window goes all the way into a corner, so there was no wall there to form a seal... oh what to do?!) Decision-making is the HARDEST part of these home improvement projects!
A major setback (in the vision of the completed shade) was having second thoughts about the glorious fabric I had wanted to use. I am just afraid it will be weird to have only one window done with a Roman Shade, and the room is small- so maybe I can't live with so much drama on the walls. It is a sewing studio, first and foremost, to it has to be a blank canvas for creativity.
Below is a view of the shade hanging down, completely covering the window (and the wall above the window)
Before I tacked up the shade, I decided I needed 1x2 boards all the way around the window. This is an old building that dates back to 1850 but it was converted to apartments in 1953. I am guessing the lack of moulding in our unit was the intentional aesthetic of the architect because, well, the whole place is an unusual example of mid-century modern design.
So here is the window with its new frame.
And that is the beginning of the story of day #2. If this sounds like an easy project, it is not. The size of the window and the awkward position next to the wall is one thing. But you haven't cursed until you have tried to cut a straight line on a piece of 60" by 120" warm windows fabric!
On the website they suggest you set up a 4' x 8' piece of plywood to use as a workspace. I figured my cutting table would be good enough. Well, it is good enough if you don't mind the cursing. (it was hard!)
All it would take for me to enjoy Home Dec sewing would be a huge cutting table and a sewing machine mounted flush in its worktable. It is the size of the project that gets you.
OK, I am glad to start day #2 with clarity. I will not even bother with the Roman shade lift mechanism- I just don't think I need it. This won't be a shade that goes up and down, it will be a quilt that can be fold in half during the day and dropped down to cover the whole window at night
I'll install 5 hooks along the top of the rail, and I will add 5 loops at the bottom edge. Simple.
I will visit my local quilting shop with a sample of the WW batting to ask for the appropriate spray adhesive. I will select a very neutral fabric for the facing of the shade. Plus they sell Janome machines and it's always fun to see what's new.
Happy Sewing, friends.
May we all sew a cute garment soon, and stop all this "necessary" sewing.

Monday, December 29, 2008

whoa Nelly, the mojo has been kick-started

Happy Holidays to everyone- we enjoyed our multiple jam-packed boisterous celebrations. (I am still waiting for a certain someone to email family photographs from his cell phone...so to family readers, sorry about the lack of pictures!)

Immediately after Christmas, I was able to enjoy plentiful electricity (hence lighting) and I moved ahead on a few projects simultaneously. Do you remember this fantastic fabric I bought from Alexander Blank? The original plan was a duvet cover. Then came Archie. The fabric is recommended 'dry clean only' and, now I plan to use white bed linens that can be washed as often as I like (as often as Archie sheds).

This window has a northeastern exposure and a very unfortunate view of standing water on an adjacent roof. Yes, that should be repaired and it is the responsibility of another homeowner who is currently dealing with grave illness in the family. So, for now, I am just turning a blind eye. You can just barely see the new window shade (double honey-comb) and I have tacked up the fabric to see if I want to live with it as a Roman Shade. (click to see entire picture)
My answer is Yes!!! I do want to use this fabric as a Roman Shade. Furthermore, I have learned of a wonderful resource for Roman Shades. If you are interested, check out Terrell Designs. She has fantastic, thorough instructions on how to make a Roman Shade, pictures of beautiful shades made using custom quilts of her own design, supplies for sale and a blog.
And my sewing studio - yes another re-arrangement. Archie approves. Now I have all of my sewing in one place. I love the new shades!! And, you can't see it here, but there is a new light on the ceiling. I opted for circular compact flourescent bulbs to achieve maximum light with minimal heat. I can always change out that fixture to something prettier when it's time to sell. (click to see entire picture) [Yeah, I do need to learn how to size pictures better, etc etc. I need one of those "blogging for dummies" books.... hey wait, I have that book. hmmmm]
For the Roman Shade on the northeastern window, I will line it with a super cozy product called Warm Windows. They carry it at G Street Fabrics where I bought it yesterday. It is 60" wide and it has quilted channels that run horizontally. I needed 75" so I bought 4.5 yards. I cut that in half and sewed a seam into a channel, using my industrial machine. You really don't need the extra power of an industrial, but the workspace (the machine sits flush in a table) sure made it a LOT easier than my table top machine would have been.
I tacked up the WW lining and WOW, the impact can be felt immediately.
Yes the windows do need to be replaced, but I am digging in my heels on this. That adjacent roof needs to be repaired before I will even consider spending money on replacement windows.
I did some garment work, too. I loved sewing Christmas presents using an assembly-line approach, so I am tackling a few shirts in the same fashion.
I traced off BWOF 126 from December 2008:
And #107 from 01-2008:

The great thing about doing both at the same time is that I ran out of paper before I had traced the sleeve. Then I noticed I could use the same sleeve for both patterns. yay.
The styles are little different, so I'll just use the one I like better, which are the simple cuffs in #107. Style #126 uses doubled up French cuffs.
Off to the sewing machine!
Happy Sewing All~

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fly Pants

(Spoiler Alert- stop reading if you are my DD and you want this to be a surprise !!!)

Some time ago, I took DD up to see my sewing teacher, Sarah Veblen, and Sarah drafted a basic pants pattern so that I could try sewing some pants for my daughter. At the time I sewed a muslin to check the fit but I never got around to using the pattern again until now. The fit was nice, I just had not taken the time to add style details like pockets, zipper, etc.

Over the weekend I had a strong urge to sew something for my daughter, and I pulled out the happiest fabric in the pile. I just love this plaid! I know DD loves bright colors and she has a soft spot for anything '80's, so I was thinking she might like pj pants.

I sewed them up, and my first thought was, "these are not fly enough for Laura".
Note: I do not use the word "fly" as an adjective; but I could hear her saying that...
So! I had enough fabric left to make big bias triangles for the side seam and large bias cuffs.
Now these pants are fly enough for Laura!
And since I was so deep into sentimental sewing, I made a shopping bag (see the little label "crafted with love" ? So cute!)
A few American goodies and some fly pants will be in the mail, on their way to Korea tomorrow.
That fabric just says HAPPY to me. I hope it says happy to my DD.
So.... when will I finish those black pants!! I started them on NOVEMBER FIRST~! It is December 14! That is a loooooong time to finish a simple pair of pants.
Happy Sewing friends~~~

Sunday, December 7, 2008

This will make your eyes hurt...

I haven't done a lot of sewing in the last month and there are a few reasons why, not the least of which is the light. The sun is lower in the sky and it is brutal in the afternoon- then it's gone by 5pm or so. This gives you an idea of what I am dealing with. These curtains are a pretty wool tweed and they are unlined at the moment:
When I open the curtains to let some sun in, it pours in with a vengeance. To make matters worse, my current project is a pair of black pants.
You know it, black is not fun to sew on unless the lighting is excellent.

Here are the front pieces with interfacing applied and ready for zipper insertion. For a front fly zipper, I like using the instruction from Vogue 7608, which is out of print, but I bet Vogue 1034 uses the same method.
So, I did make some progress during my brief window of good light opportunity today.

My next project will NOT BE BLACK.
The paradox is that the boring things to sew are the thing I wear the most. Oh well!
Happy Sewing and I hope you have good light wherever you are-