Pack bag

We are planning a short hiking trip in Iceland which means I need to take my beloved Deuter backpack on an airplane. When my daughter took her brand new one away to Europe the first plane trip destroyed the bottom. With that in mind I have had it on my list to create a canvas bag for my pack. I had some leftover canvas type fabric I used for Roman shades in our last house. I had already taken a lot of it and turned it into laundry size bags I had intended to use for carrying plant waste between client offices (but came up with a much lighter option).  I took one of the bags and pushed the pack in.

bag with pack in it. It was too short.

I took another one of the bags and sewed it to the first one. Now the entire unit was too long.

Bags sewn together are too long

So I cut off about 15″ and cut a hole for a zipper. I had a long separating zipper (probably 26″) in my zipper stash that was a perfect fit.  I added two straps that I made by folding a 4″ rectangle in so the sides met in the middle and then folding it in half to either side of the zipper. The photo below shows me adding a reinforcement piece to attach the straps to.

Adding straps

I put the pack in the bag and discovered it was still a little too long so I added one more strap with D rings that could hold the excess fabric if it is needed. I was too lazy to fully load my pack and test the canvas bag so I wanted to keep a little extra room in case it is needed.

This was a fun project for me as it is the first large bag I have tried to make. It required that I think about the stresses and strains of air travel as well as trying to make it easier for a baggage handler to move my pack around. I look forward to testing it out and will let you know if my beloved Deuter survived.

Have you made a large bag yet? Please share!

Londi cardi

This is the drawing of the London Cardi pattern from Lori Anne patterns

As you may know I have been experimenting with making my own patterns. I have been stuck for a while trying to get the pants and bodice I drafted to be perfect (I know perfection isn’t always great). It has been draining. So I looked through my fabric stash and patterns the other day and found a winey purple knit that should be perfect with this london cardi pattern. I wanted to sew and not have to think.

Already I have skipped too many steps that I may regret later.

  1. I didn’t trace the pattern off. This means I can only use it for this size once. If it turns out fabulous I may regret this.
  2. I chose the size 16 because I couldn’t bear to go up to an 18. (ps this is the advantage to making my own patterns – I only have to think about measurements not the stigma of sizes – a ridiculous mental block on my part).
  3. I didn’t measure the pattern against my actual body nor even hold it up. I am sensing that it may be shorter than I would like – hopefully there aren’t other issues as well.

Time to go down and start sewing – face these fears.

Lori Anne designs her jackets with several pieces to put together and an easy pocket detail that I always love to sew.

The triangle on the left though took me a few extra minutes to put in place because I didn’t mark the notches (that I’m sure must have been there) before I cut out the pattern. I rotated it every which way until I finally got it lined up so the side front was the same length as the side back.

Tricky triangle on the left

The jacket did turn out much shorter than I envisioned from the pattern drawing and next time I will try to figure out how to make it longer without messing up the great lines at the bottom.

Finished jacket – shorter than I envisioned

But the back is a great length

In the end I got lucky with all the shortcuts I took. Are there any sewing shortcuts you have taken that you have regretted later?

Dad’s Shirt

You  may have gathered that I find myself more and more interested in re-creating and utilizing what is around me.  My husband recently quit working in an office and was purging his closet. He had a dress shirt that was a beautiful shade of orange and in spite of repeated wearings still had fabric in fabulous shape. My mother who loved to shop and buy Christmas presents had given it to him many years ago. I decided to try to turn it into a summer top for my daughter who is graduating from her Master’s program May 12.

When she was home at Thanksgiving I made her suffer through a duct tape wrap so I could make a dress form of her to utilize in trying to sew for someone besides myself. We used the instructions we found here at Offbeat bride. At one point the fume from the duct tape got to her and she over heated so I had to do some of it while she was laying down. It is a little off shape and quickly getting battered but I don’t think she is going to let me do it again. The first item I made was a peplum top that turned out to be too large. Hoping to alter that shirt when I see her next.

My first step was to pin my proposed seams on the shirt while it was on the form. I decided to make it sleeveless, leave the buttons and get rid of the collar.

Pinned seams

Next I did  a rough cut 1/2″ away from my pins (to create a 1/2″ seam allowance). I did this while it was still on the form.

Dad’s shirt with cuts made

I then took it off the form, refined the side seams and sewed it up. I cut facing for the armholes and neck from the sleeves. Here is the finished product. If she lets me and it looks good, I will share the completed project on her!

“Dad’s shirt” is complete

Last night I was catching up on my blog reading and found this post about how to turn Dad’s shirt into a dress for a much younger daughter. Super cute.

What have you done with Dad’s old shirt?

 

 

The Honest Truth

My original intention for this site was to help teach others to find their colors and style. It has taken me 18 months to find my own so how can I help anyone else? I think the answer is to encourage you to experiment until you find the answer. A camera has really helped. Things I think look fabulous in the mirror are shown to be not so true from the camera’s objective eye. There are also some general “rules” which I will begin to share. But the “rules” can also hamper so don’t believe any of them are set in stone.

As you can tell this is also turning into a marvelous excuse to sew and experiment with fabrics, improve my skills and see what’s around me in a new way. It is also helping me see what my values are and how I want to spend my time. It is still a blog in the process of forming. As I am and as we all are. I am enjoying the journey. Because really all we have is the journey. The end is not the goal. It is everything that happens along the way. What you learn and discover are valuable.

Things that led me down the wrong path were “RULES”:

Tim Gunn’s recommendations. One was black and one was never wear shoes with rounded toes. I felt like a limping uncomfortable fraud. And when the camera showed me in black I can see why it is worn to funerals. Spanx. No comment needed.

Things that were difficult but that helped:

“Color your style”  book by David Zyla

“Looking Good every Day. Style Solutions for Real Women” by Nancy Nix Rice.

And a hundred little books, blog posts and photos.

Things that make sense

Tim Gunn’s rules of right silhouette, proportions and fit. (But figuring that out is hard work).

The other things that hampered me were internal.

Fighting against learning something new.

Recognizing habits and beliefs that were holding me back that I wasn’t aware of.

Fear of looking silly (and I’m sure I did a few times but everyone so far is polite enough not to say so).

Fear of spending time on myself.

Lack of desire to take and post pictures of myself.

What rules and excuses are holding you back? What has helped you? I look forward to your comments.