iPhone Cases & Small Zippered Bags

I’m preparing for an upcoming class on using zipper tape for bag-making.

I had on hand a couple of fabric sample sets with cuts of each fabric in the colourway. The samples were 13″ wide so I cut 5 1/2″ strips, then 1 3/4″ strips from the leftover bits, sewed them to the wider pieces to create a “header”, then made them up into small zippered bags. They’re in my gift stash. I left three bags unassembled so I can use them to demonstrate for the class.

Before that, I’d made 10 more iPhone bags, having given away the first batch. Also useful to have on hand as a gift. I also left two of these bags unassembled as examples for the class.

Small Zippered Bags / iPhone Cases

Just keeping busy while I’m trying to wrap my head around the “diamonds” quilt I want to do. I’m closer than I was. I’ve paired up the jellyroll strips again, this time matching up strips closer in shade – I think that will work better. The pairs of strips are currently laying on one of my sewing tables – maybe later this afternoon, or tomorrow morning, I will sew them up and cut out diamonds….

Two More Pair Of Pull-On Pants

I may not have been posting much but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been creating. After the original “muslin” – the beige corduroy pants (which I continued modifying – more on that later), I adjusted the pattern by adding 1 1/4″ to the top of both front and back pieces.

I cut out and sewed a pair of burgundy corduroy pants which worked without any further adjusting! Wonderful.

Navy Pants Finished

I then did the third pair in navy.  I can also wear these without further adjusting. 

For now, I actually have a pattern I can cut out and assemble and wear without any fuss – so I can do a pair of pants in under 5 hours – cut them out, sew them together, and they’re wearable.

Navy Pants

Navy Pants

I may actually have a go at redrafting this pattern to incorporate a fly-front and a waistband after all. I’m finding pulling on these pants more difficult than getting on my jeans with the front opening! Now that I have a working crotch depth, it shouldn’t be too hard to shape the top a bit and incorporate the front fly opening.

As for the beige pants: I added a waistband which I wasn’t happy with – the crotch depth was a bit too long. I cut that waistband off (losing 1/4″ from the length of the body) and added a narrower waistband – this time using leftover navy corduroy since I no longer had any of the original beige left.

4th Iteration of the Beige Pull-on Pants

They’re wearable although I found yesterday that I was hiking them up more than I had to with the burgundy pants which pretty much stay at my waist in the back when I sit down. These do slip down some – may have to do with the stiffness of the fabric – the burgundy is a much softer corduroy, although the navy seem to stay up reasonable well (I’ve got them on now). I discovered, and recorded, that my inseam on these pants is 26 1/2″, the side seam ends up at 37″. That information now takes any guesswork out of making up this pattern.

BTW – for the record, I’m a pressed crease person. I’ve been getting flack from a friend for pressing front and back creases in my pants. The crease makes them hang better, and I’m after a slightly more formal look – these may be pull on pants but I’ve made them into a cross between jeans (with jeans front pockets and pockets on the back) and a dress pants. A good pair of worsted flannel pants would have front and back creases! They’d look slept-in, if they weren’t pressed. I don’t want sweatpants! My mother would have called me a “schloomp” were I to wear unpressed pants to go out.

Close – But Not A Match

I sold the first pair of “blue dots” socks before Christmas. I had another ball of that yarn so I made up the second pair of socks. The colour shift in the first pair worked out pretty much on its own – I don’t recall having to unwind a lot of yarn to match the second sock.

Given where the first sock of this second pair ended I knew I had to unwind a substantial amount of yarn to set up a match – but the colour shadings in this yarn were so gradual I didn’t quite make it. That doesn’t happen to me very often (but then again, most pattern repeats are generally easier to discern).

I actually needed to unwind at least 12 rows of the pale blue on the second sock (the sock underneath) in order to have come close to a match but it wasn’t until I was closer to 25 rows into the sock that I could see the mismatch and decided just to keep knitting anyway.

Blue Ombre With Dots

These socks are destined for a friend who I’m sure will laugh each time she wears them, wiggle her toes, and carry on. Slightly mismatched socks won’t bother her.

And now onto a brighter pair where the repeat is more obvious – I’ll be able to match the second sock to the first with relative ease.

Another Pair Of Socks

Finished this pair of socks last evening. I bought this ball of sock yarn because in the ball it looked like a reasonable set of colours but knitted up it’s pretty drab. There is a hint of “rose” in one of the grey sections so I decided to complement the yarn with a sparkly mauve.

I got well into the first leg when I decided I need to break up the drabness and added three alternating rows of the mauve wanting them to show below the pant legs (in hindsight, those rows would have been more balanced had they been closer to the cuff, however…).

One set of stripes didn’t seem enough so I added a second set near the toe. All fine.

Last night as I was approaching the toe, I remembered the second set of stripes! I had to unravel 12 rows to position the second set of mauve rows to match the rows on the first sock! I still managed to finish the sock, stripes intact.

Now on to another pair of the blue dots yarn tonight.

The “Muslin”

It’s close to two weeks since I posted anything. That’s because I’ve been stuck on the latest quilt – I have this lovely collection of jellyroll strips – I’d like to do something with them using diamonds – and the 2 1/2″ strip width limit has me blocked!

Jellyroll Collection

I’ve tried sorting the strips in pairs (which is one way I could assemble diamonds by cutting each vertical half diamond from the strips and pair them up):

Jellyroll collection with contrast

However, I lose the flow of colour I’m looking for if I pair them this way, and I can’t see a way to bring in the perfectly contrasted turquoise grunge fabric. So I gathered up the strips and set them aside for now.

I returned to my photograph of Ruby and played with it – enlarging her 50% and then extrapolating to a final panel size. I’ve cut out the backing muslin but got no further than that. What’s stopping me with this project is trying to figure out how to make the mud flat look wet – not there yet.

I needed something I could accomplish – I made 10 iPhone cases to give away. I’ve passed on three of the ones I made for myself so I decided I should make some to have in my gift stash.

iPhone Cases to give away

And then I finally got to the corduroy that has been sitting on my serger table for well over a year and decided to make pants.

I’ve capitulated – pull-on pants is what I need to make, not pants with a fly front and fitted waistband. I’m tired of wearing pants that are too tight in the waist (in spite of the elastic gussets I’ve inserted in the sides of many of them). So I went searching for a pattern online.

I started with the Jalie Pattern 3243 for pull-on pants. I bought the PDF version which sends me two files – one I can print on my home printer – that means 25-30 pages that I then have to organize and tape together to create a pattern array before tracing the size I want to make; and one I can take to a print shop and have printed on blueprint size paper.

I did the latter. I went to Staples and after much discussion with the gal (who clearly has never sewn anything in her short life) I decided to print the sheet based on the very limited information I could find on the pattern (all it said was “copy shop 36″). I asked for a 36″ x 48” sheet. When I measured the test block, what I ended up with was a pattern at 88% of full size! At $14 per printed sheet I wasn’t going to try printing it again, so I took it home and started doing some math.

This is one of those pattern with 27 sizes printed as one. I checked the pattern size info and decided my hip measurement was a size V (US size 9), my waist was a size Z (US size 13). To get those measurements on this 88% printout, I needed to upsize those measurements to a Z and a CC.

I marked the pattern accordingly using a bright highlight pen, used my French curve to make the adjustment from hip (size Z) to waist (size CC). I traced the resulting pattern, cut it out, placed it on my corduroy, and looked at it for a day before cutting the fabric, forgetting that corduroy has to be cut all in the same direction! (I didn’t realize I’d done that until I went to press the side seams and could see the colour difference).

Because this is my first attempt at this pattern, it really qualifies as a “muslin”. I’m not expecting it to work out perfectly but the changes I make will inform any adjustments I need to make to the pattern and the project might just turn out to be a wearable garment. So I carry on.

I don’t like the pocket shape and size they provide; I substitute my jeans-shaped pocket instead and make it deep enough to hold my iPhone. I also want back pockets – I have enough fabric to include a pair. I also cut out the waist facings in corduroy, realizing I may want to change that for a batik in the end.

I make one other adjustment. No pants pattern is going to fit my body with scant bum and thin thighs. At one of my visits to Sandra Betzina I learned how to get rid of the excess fabric under my bum and down my thighs by sewing a fisheye dart down the centre back of the pants. What I didn’t anticipate was how that adjustment would affect the centre back crotch length – more about that later.

I make the front pockets; I construct the back pockets. I stitch the centre front and back crotch seams; next the side seams – although when I held up the constructed front and back against my body I was pretty sure the pants were going to end up too small to get on! But I carry on, anyway – this is a “muslin” I tell myself – see what it turns out like.

I add the waistband, put the elastic in, and try the pants on – this is a “muslin”, right?

I can actually get the pants on over my hips, I need to tighten the elastic quite a bit. I hem the pants but I have a problem – the back crotch length is about 1 1/2″ too short. I wear the pants anyway and my turtleneck shirt keeps pulling out when I sit and the pants slip down in back.

So the next day, I take off the waist facings, add a yoke to the back of the pants increasing the centre back length by 1 1/2″. Here’s where I decide I don’t want to reuse the corduroy waist facings so I cut out and attach a new set in a complementary batik (not as heavy a fabric so the waist should gather more easily). Inserted the elastic and zigzagged a seam down the middle of the elastic to keep it from twisting – but in order to do that I had to stretch the elastic to fit the waist and in the process the elastic is stretched making the waist loose.

I wear the pants again, anyway – just a “muslin”, right? I find myself constantly tucking in my shirt again.

So this morning I painstakingly took out the zigzag stitching, opened the inside side seam to gain access to the elastic, shortened it quite a bit more, then instead of doing a zigzag down the middle, I simply vertically stitched across both side seams, the centre front, the centre back and in the middle of the back on each side – that will keep the elastic in place and avoid stretching it.

The Pull-on Pants after adding a back yoke

The waist of the pants is now definitely tighter. I plan on wearing them again today to test out the fit. Furthermore, I send the PDF file to a friend with access to a blueprint printer. I should have a new 100% printout of the pattern to work from and then I will make up a second pair using the navy corduroy I bought a couple of days ago.

The pants fitting saga continues.