Sunday, November 15, 2015

Slits and Slashes

My local ASG neighborhood group, Fashion Focus, has an annual challenge.  This year it was to sew an accessory.  The  meeting presentations during the year leading up the Challenge meeting included related topics like sewing purses and bags, scarves, etc.

I chose to make a couple of leather bags.

Last Christmas we received a gift box of citrus fruit from DH's aunt who lives in FLA.  The fruit was wrapped in plain brown paper, but the paper had slits in it which allowed it  to the conform to the rounded shape of the fruit without being folded. I  thought it was interesting and  saved it for scrap booking/art projects.

 When I saw this bag in a Japanese craft book entitled Leather and Cloth Bags ISBN978-4-529-04843-9, it reminded me of the slit paper.

  This particular bag has an outer layer  made from a large oval of leather with a pattern of cuts that create an expandable mesh.  The liner is a simple drawstring bag made from fabric.  The inner liner bag can easily be made of a variety of fabrics and changed out for different looks.  The book is available from different online sources and contains patterns and instructions for making a variety of bags combining leather and fabric.  I had no difficulties understanding  the drawings showing measurements and construction. My leather was thick and soft.  Similar to a heavy ponte knit.  How to cut slits accurately in soft spongy material?  My solution was to trace the slit pattern, from the book’s pattern sheet, onto freezer paper, iron the freezer paper to the leather and use a very sharp box cutter to do the cutting.
tracing pattern on freezer paper

 I used a straight edge to cut the straight slits and carefully freehanded the curved ones. The freezer paper worked great in stiffening the leather just enough to facilitate cutting. And peeled off  the wrong side of the leather easily leaving no residue.

completed slits

My inner bag was sewn from a homespun weave remnant and a turkey toile ( the name on the selvedge) print.  So appropriate in that the Thanksgiving holiday is coming soon and includes a meal that features turkey.


 This purse is a bit saggy because of the leather I used. My leather stash ( yes, I have a leather stash too!) is mostly soft supple leathers suited for fashion garments.   I  would like to make this purse again from a slightly stiffer leather. I  also found some other cutting patterns  that I would like to try.

From slitting leather to slashing it.

My second bag is a copy of  a Burberry Prorsum Fringed suede tote. There were pictures of this tote in every fashion magazine I read in Sept.

 It is available in burgundy or tan suede and retails for $2,795.

 I used some burgundy suede I had in my stash.  My suede was definitely a poorer quality that the suede used in the BR tote. And the size of my purse was dictated by the widest skin  that I had.   I was able to cut  four 6.5”x 27” rectangles  of the suede for the  fringed side pieces.  But I had to piece the bottom side piece  to make a 4 " by 27" rectangle.  I fringed the long edge of each of 4 side pieces. I put a piece of  low tack painters tape on the back of the suede 3” above the edge as a cutting guideline,  and used the grid on my cutting mat to  keep the rectangles square while I used a rotary cutter and clear ruler to  cut  fringe ¼” wide by 3” long.  .

To stiffen the suede so the bag would hold it's shape, I used iron on interfacing on the side pieces.   I used double sided sticky tape to position the fringed section of one piece over the solid part of the section below and topstitched in place just above the fringe. Similar colored pleather was used for the piping around the bottom and the handle.  There are also ball metal feet on the bottom just like the BP tote  and a magnetic snap on the top edge to hold it closed. I am really tempted to use a gold paint pen and scribe something like "Bluberry Possum" at the top edge where the Burberry Prorsum name is located on the inspiration bag. Same number of letters and easier to remember. I mean, what is a prorsum?  (latin adverb meaning absolutely, entirely, utterly, by all means)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Fuzzy and Flared for Fall

 I just completed these two garments from one issue of Burda Style magazine.

 I usually average one garment per issue.  And there are a couple other patterns in this issue I liked too.  I started with the slim fit pullover top 112 that is featured in the sewing lesson.

Burda 11 2015 Top 112
  It is semi fitted with French darts in the front and a cut on collar.  There are several variations of this pattern in this issue: sleeveless,  and as a dress  with back darts  and high collar.  I made my top out of a piece of wool blend boucle knit.  I had only 1.33 yards of 54  wide fabric. This pattern caught my eye because it didn't require a lot of fabric.  I put an exposed zipper on one shoulder as shown in the magazine. Without it, the neck opening is too small to pull over my head.  My serger and sewing machine had feed issues with the thick/ thin yarns of this fabric.  They would be sewing along fine until they hit a fat yarn slub and  then no forward motion, but lots of thread buildup.   It took some doing but I got it sewed together

Burda top 112

Burda top 112 exposed shoulder zipper
The skirt is shown in three variations. None of them really appealed to me initially. In fact on the  color blocked version, I thought the point of the light fabric at center front was in an unfortunate place. The line drawing convinced me that it might be a good style for me. 

Burda 11 2015 Skirt  105A

The skirt fits closely through the waist and hips, with separate flared sections at the bottom.   The line drawing turned out to be inaccurate. The flare occurs at the center front and back and at the bottom side seams,  not evenly all round the bottom as the line drawing would have you  believe.  The photo's are accurate. If you have ever done the pattern drafting exercise of adding a flared section to a straight skirt, you may remember that the flaring/opening of the pattern has to be done where you want the folds to appear.  The top edges of the  skirt sections would have had to be curved like the one below for  this line drawing to be accurate.

The top shape of the inserts, with a wider angle than that of the center front and back insert points pushes all the flare  to the middle and sides. Interesting to note for future drafting exercises.

Pattern Pieces Skirt 105

 The skirt has darts in both the front and back  that start at crotch level  and extend up toward the hips.  In the back the dart shapes and the curved center back seam create cupping around the wearers bottom.  As someone who had a wide flat butt (as you will see in an upcoming post about pants) I was ridiculous excited to have this skirt create the illusion of derrière curves. My dress form is not too curvy either, and I even tired to pad her to get a better picture, so there are a lot of wrinkles but you can see the darts start under the curve and end at the highest point

 My skirt fabric was a light weight, crepe weave, black wool.  Burda doesn't  mention a  lining. but I wanted one  because my fashion fabric was not opaque.  After sewing the darts and inserting the flared section into angled corners in the fashion fabric,  I decided to simplify the lining.  I rotated the darts to the waistline and extended the sides, center front, and center back straight down to knee length.  It sewed up quickly and worked well as a lining.

It was too hot and humid today to wear these for more that the picture taking.  But I am headed to Chicago for a week and the predicted temperatures are perfect for wearing my new skirt and sweater.