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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Friday, December 23, 2016

The day before the day before Christmas

Don't fall over. This is actually a sewing post. I know where all my recipients are, one is out the door from the basement apartment after a double shift to start her Christmas shopping, one DG (dear girlfriend?) gone home to Tatamagouche for a few days to be with her family before dinner with us, and my daughter has just adopted a Golden Retriever that needed to be rehomed and everyone over there is either recovering from stomach flu or getting a cold - so I think it is safe to say she is occupied. (Send good dog support thoughts to Reggie, he is really trying so hard to fit in).

All of this means I am going to share with you a project that I have been making multiples of for Christmas.

It is the free Heidi pattern from Swoon.

First of all this is a really nice pattern but, I am going to be honest here, like too many Indie patterns that instructions seem to have chosen the hardest to accomplish way to do things rather than the one that will make it easiest for the sewer, the new one in particular. 

(An aside on the use of sewer versus sewist. I admit to not being an early adopter of some more appropriate names - gender neutral sure but some adaptions I don't pick up comfortably. Fishers for example versus fishermen or fisherwomen. To me the only fisher is the fisher of men. As for sewist I get it but I am fine with sewer. As an aside my daughter-in-law went to an infrastructure conference in New York a few years ago and they were giving out little buttons (OK shaped like manhole covers) that had NY Sewer on them. She brought one home for me and I wear it on my jacket because both she and I read it differently.)

Now back to the pattern.

I will show pictures and tell you the construction instructions issues I think there are:

There is a zipper in the top of course and the instructions tell you to fold back the end of the zipper tape out of the way, which might make sense but the zipper specified is a bit short for the opening (helpful because you don't stitch over the tape) the trouble with this is that you are left with some raw edges to deal with in those small gaps at the end of the project. Much better to stitch the tapes right to the end which will take care of turning under those edges under.

And, get this, the instructions also tell you to turn the bag inside out and top stitch around the zipper working from inside the bag - so difficult to do and totally unnecessary. Either don't top stitch at all or do so, stopping a 3/4" at either end to make it easy to turn, just after you insert the zipper.

There is a useful zipper on the back of the bag. The instructions said to baste the opening closed, layer the fabric and lining and top stitch the whole lot in one go and just hope it all catches. Instead stitch the zipper to the garment fabric, then the lining fabric and then top stitch. Three steps instead of one but you save your nerves, always a good thing.

I learned to install magnetic snaps, bags are interesting, I like doing something I haven't done before in all my years of garment sewing. Snaps BTW are a snap.

The recycled leather means some piecing but I think that's just fine. Hardware makes the bags I am discovering

BTW in recognition of life as I am living it I have started to cut up my gabardine straight skirt stash from my previous more formal work life and am using some of the cottons that caught my eye but, let's face it I will probably not use for shirts. Oh and the leather in the details and straps are leftovers from the jackets I cut up for my man bags, sewn faultessly on this Bernina 740.

Now off to wrap and in case you need a laugh, and who doesn't, here is a piece on mindful wrapping, which I can tell you is not likely to be practiced in this house today.


annie said...

Mindful wrapping. If only I had a mind left to wrap!

Anonymous said...

I'm like Annie. What mind!!
Merry Christmas to you and yours, Barbara.
Donna E

Anonymous said...

Your clutch purses are very handsome. Lucky recipients.
Vancouver Barbara

Elle said...

So interesting about language. I never could figure out why they were called manhole covers, instead of utility hole covers. Merry Christmas to you and yours. I hope the new pup manages to fit in. Loved the photo of Moose by the way.

SuzieB said...

Moose is very handsome. Hope all goes smoothly with the Golden adoption. My experiences have been with Goldens who will do almost anything to please humans. Your clutch bags look wonderful! Hope everyone has a great Christmas-

Anonymous said...

Christmas Eve, wrapping presents and yes that link did give me a laugh. Thank you.


Leigh Wheeler said...

I have to say that I welcome "sewist". A while back I thought it was a bit contrived, but then I started supporting the Water and Sewer software for the City, and now all I can think of is 'sewer' charges that are for the yucky water that goes to the treatment plant. Because I had to think 'soo-er all day, it was too much to switch to sew-er in the evening. So I like sewist!

Laceflower said...

I was recently watching a movie set in the 30's and they had a shot of a staircase with the names of services in the building printed on the risers. One was seamstresser!!! That's a new one for me. I use sewist, I like it better than sewer.
Wishing you and your extended family a Merry Merry.

Patricia Ferrito said...

I have also been looking at Swoon bag patterns. They are sharp and yours look great. But then I read a post she wrote about not using the latest interfacings and foams in her bags and doing things the hard way. I am all about easy and this scared me away. I want my instructions to be simple and easy to understand in a complex bag. I don't have the time to figure out a new way to do it.