Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Shoulder Bag from Suede Skirts

I bought 2 factory seconds suede skirts from the FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Scholarship Store) in downtown L.A.  The zippers were broken so I make them into a tote bag.  The suede is too thin for shoulder straps so I used belting.  I sprayed it with leather protectant, like I do with all my leather clothing and shoes.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Fixing Too Large Cloth Shoes

I love these shoes but the sizes available are too big or too small so I opted for too big and sewed a piece of elastic slightly shorter than the heel length to shorten the shoes slightly.  Had to hand sew because even with a free arm sewing machine, it wasn't possible to get at the heel.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Adding Pocket to Athleta Dress

I am obsessed with travel clothing as a frequent flyer.  I love this casual dress but with no pockets it wasn't as useful as I like.



The surplice neckline has 2 layers of fabric all the way down to the diagonal seam past the hips, so there is plenty of fabric for storage.  I can actually put stuff down the front of the dress but looks a little awkward if I were actually going to use it in public.  So I installed an invisible zipper on the right side to make a pocket opening.  Only problem is the dress is fairly tight fitting so can't put anything thick in the pocket.

Zipped
Unzipped

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Making an Ex-offcio fly-q lite jacket convertible (to vest)

The ex-officio fly-q lite comes as  a jacket or a vest.




I wanted both but didn't want to pack 2 things if I can get away with one so I decided to make the jacket convertible.  The hardest part was finding the separating zippers of the right color but I couldn't find the right length (needed 18") so I bought longer ones and cut them off.  I sew the zipper ends to the jacket fabric so it wouldn't slide further.  Also I decided that I want the zipper pulls on the sleeve part so that when worn as a vest, there is no pull sticking out.

I can vouch that the jacket is well made, I had to take apart 4 seams to detach the sleeves.


Here is a picture of the zipper after installation.  I left an inch gap the the armscye so the armhole won't be too inflexible.  Also it compensates for any mismatching of the seams.  I matched the back yoke seam on the sleeve and body just like the original jacket.

 Here as a vest.



And as a jacket.

It took me I think about 8 hours, not counting the hours going to the fabric stores and looking for zippers.    The actual sewing took about an hour.  I spend about an hour putting in a new zipper stop by bending an eye from an hook and eye and then sewing it down.  But as I was sewing I realized the stitches can make the zipper stop and not bother with the eye for the 2nd sleeve.  I also make sure the zipper pull are on the sleeves and not the body so they will not show when worn as a vest.  

I want to shorten the sleeves but decided too much work, will roll them up instead.

Will be traveling "lite" with my fly-q lite.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Using Pinterest to Organize my Sewing Patterns

I have hundreds of sewing patterns.  When I see a style I like I just buy the pattern and someday maybe find the fabric. After I started designing knitwear, I used the patterns for grading.  It gives me what the average measurements for whatever dimension I need for whatever size.   I even have the same pattern in different sizes to cover the range I need to design for.    I google the pattern and pin the pattern to my board, note the size and my physical patterns are in a filing cabinet organized alphabetically and numerically.  Easy to find, easy to browse to see what I already have.

I do have one complaint, pattern companies reuse the numbers so through the years there will be 2 or 3 versions of Butterick xxxx but I figure those are few.  Also I do have some patterns not on the net yet, I'll have to take a photo and upload them.


My pinterest page is here.






https://www.pinterest.com/tangramknits/my-sewing-patterns/

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Making Wool Dryer Balls

On my knitting blog, http://blog.tangramknits.com/ I show how to make these dryer balls.  A good way to use up old wool clothing and leftover wool yarn (upcycling) and saving energy by using less dryer time.  And Eileen Fisher is charging $29 for 3 balls.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Shorten a Nylon Zipper with a Candle

I want to use an invisible zipper for a pocket closing but couldn't find zippers that are ~5" long.  So I bought a longer zipper and plan to shorten it.  However, I don't like using thread to sew a new zipper stop, threads break too easily and then the zipper slide goes off track.  I have used a staple before and that's effective but that can poke into your hand for this pocket.  So I looked at the zipper end and saw that it is either glued or melted together.

Back in college, I remembered using a candle flame to melt the raw edges of my nylon backpack to make sure they won't ravel so I thought I would try this.  In the picture below I practiced at a spot longer than I needed and then at the length I wanted.  I put the coil near the candle flame and watched it melt, be careful once it starts it goes quick.  I cut off the excess and now have a short zipper with a permanent stop.  This zipper is all nylon.