Aunt Emily

Emily Bowyer Hammel was my father's older sister. She was the dearest person I've ever known. Over several adolescent summers, she patiently taught me how to sew and how to cook. I loved her. Sadly, she has been gone these few years and I miss her very much. However, I am carrying on her legacy of sewing and trying to carry on her legacy of caring.

Tuesday, November 27

Tips for Sewing The Apron

Use a quilting ruler and rotary cutter to cut out straps or ties. I have a three inch wide ruler that is 24 inches long. It isn't hard to slide it up to cut out 30 inch ties.

For button hole and button areas on single fabric thickness items such as an apron, make a small reinforcement, add it on the corners, then bind around it. This photo shows the two layer reinforcement - it could be interfaced for additional structure - cut to match the back curve of the apron piece. I cut four, sewed two together at the bottom to have a neat edge, then applied it to the back of the area where a button and button hole would go.

Applying binding can be a pain. It is hard to make sure you pick up the small bottom ridge while sewing from the front. After sewing the binding on the front, I turned it and used the joining foot for my machine (it has a center metal ridge). I ran the ridge along the seam created by the binding, which caught the under ridge just perfectly - see the left side binding in the photo. I used white thread so you could see it clearly.

Copying an Existing Vintage Apron

As you saw in yesterday's post, I copied a favorite vintage apron for a friend. How I went about it is discussed below.

First, I cut the apron apart before I had this blog, so I didn't think about taking a photo. I simply cut the apron on the seamlines, cut the darts off on the seam lines, etc. These photos show the disassembled apron.

I used these pieces to make the pattern. I copied each onto a piece of Freezer Paper. I like Freezer Paper for this because it is strong. Simply trace around the piece (folding anything like the front piece in half), mark any darts (this one had a large dart down the front body, and two small darts in the neckline on each side), then add your seam allowances to the drawing. You will see the completed pattern in the following photos.

Use a ruler to check lines that need to be straight, a french curve or another appropriate sized curve (dinner plate, etc.) to check a curve. The photo below shows a pattern piece (in this case the front), on the fabric. You will see that in this situation I use pattern weights to hold the pattern down.

Then cut the pattern piece out. I used a rotary cutter and a ruler to cut out three aprons at once.

Monday, November 26

Fruitful Day of Sewing

Last week, we stayed home for Thanksgiving, with the idea that I would be able to sew all weekend and get some Christmas things done. This worked wonderfully for Tuesday night and all day Wednesday. For the first time in months, I finally had hours and hours to sew.

However, Thanksgiving morning, I woke feeling queasy. By 2:00 my temp was 101.2 and there was no way I was going anywhere but bed. Poor S had to get to the grocery just before it closed and got a rotisserie Turkey Breast. Well Fa La La La La. So much for the holiday and sewing.

But I want to share what I did get accomplished: two, yes two projects, involving three, yes THREE items. I have a third apron cut out, but not sewn as yet.

Items One and Two: Friend's Aprons (I made you as tall and skinny as I could!)

My friend J had S and I over for dinner a few weeks ago. She was poised at her sink with an old apron - boy you need a new one, I said. She said someone made it for her years ago and it is her favorite - despite the ripped sides, raggedy ties and un attached pockets. So when we left I scooped it up, and promised a new one.
Selecting the fabrics for someone else was incredibly difficult. The photos show the finished product, and a cameo of the other fabric. I selected a 1930's style daisy that looks nice and fresh, and a chicken pattern. Now in general I object to chickens on things - something about them I don't like. But this pattern appealed in some way.
J said for the purposes of the photo to share with you, the apron would look better on a hanger with the ties drawn to a petite 23 inch waist. Maybe so, maybe not. I insisted that she model the apron - and she insisted that I make has as tall and thin as possible!
I hope you liked these J. Tomorrow I will post directions for replicating the apron, and some sewing tips.

Project 2: Smaller Version of Large L2 Sewing Workshop Bag

I have some old bark cloth I bought a couple of years ago in/near Rowley, Massachusetts at a weekend Flea Market when I was visiting my friend H. I loved the old fabric - bright pink and green puff flowers on brown branches.
I've been wanting to make a purse with the fabric since I bought it. Well I took the L2 Bag pattern, reduced it by 60%, and made the bag. I like the way it looks, but that size decrease was too much. The smaller photo below shows the proportions to the original bag size. I might try again with a 40% reduction.
Here is something different I tried when making the handle. I used a plain fabric cut twice as wide as the webbing I covered. Fold and press so that the edges meet in the middle. Then I cut a piece of the main body fabric the same width as the webbing, then ironed a seam down both sides. This went in the middle of the strap and was sewn down. Then I took a piece of satin covered cording, set it along the side of the body fabric along the strap, and zig zagged with clear thread over the satin cording. This made a nice edging for the strap and the zig zag is a good pattern over it.

Sunday, November 18

No Sewing This Weekend

No sewing this weekend - Steve and I kept the little ones. Boy, they can wear you out. But it is a good worn out.

So my sewing this weekend has been limited to washing fabric - four sets of flannel for pj's and cotton for my friend Joan's apron.

This week I will post how to copy the apron pattern and put it together.

Friday, November 16

Quilt with Easy Pattern at Antique Mall

Earlier this year, we took a short trip to northeasten Indiana. In an antique shop in Shipshewana, I found this lovely quilt hanging on the wall.

I liked the design so well, I had to take a photo. It is a simple design, with five leaf shapes appliqued, and a green stem appliqued on it. It thought others might be interested in it too.

Crazy Quilting Day

For the past nine years or so, a group of us have been getting together to sew. The get-togethers are becoming more infrequent. At one time, we were all involved in crazy quilting at one level or another. Now, we just sew whatever we are working on.
Today, we got together - most of us. Some were working on CQ for Christmas Stockings. Another was working on a christmas decoration of stuffed stars.
I made a slip and drawers for my poor little naked and half-headed porcelain reproduction doll. I need to find a wig for her. The pattern I used was from Venus A. Dodge's THE DOLLS DRESSMAKER, which is a wonderful book. Patterns range from 11 and 14-15 inch dolls to 25-26 inch dolls. Each section details different ways to use the patterns.
Soon, I will post a photo of these garments. I sewed them by hand while we talked.
I had a great time with you Dot, Karen, Jean and Betsy!

Thursday, November 15

L2 Bag Pattern from Sewing Workshop

These are two bags I made last week from the L2 Bag Pattern from Sewing Workshop. The first took a while, but the second was quite quick. I used upholstry weight fabric for both.
I did modify the pattern - I did not like the gussett that is added to the sides. It seem much too big for the bag. So on the purple brocade, I left the gusset off. Of course, that helps to decrease sewing time!!!!
I also made a bit more elaborate pockets than the pattern called for, but I like a nice full and long pocket so I can find things.
I really liked the pattern, it was easy to make, and it is a HUGE bag - I mean huge. You can carry your life in this bag.
I intend to make these as gifts for the Holidays. I have two cut out from Alexander Henry's FRIDA'S GARDEN. I also reduced it by half and am in process with a 40's barkcloth fabric that I bought at a flea in Massachusetts a few years ago.

Halloween Costumes - Opps, no photos

This is McCall's 2335 in size 2 (it also comes larger). It took much more work than I thought, but was easy to put together. The feet almost defeated me though - I couldn't see how they came together, but it finally worked.

Halloween Costumes - Opps, no photos

This is McCall's 5501 in 1 year old size - it was almost too small for Eman, who is only 9 months old.

Welcome to my blog!

Hi Everyone:

Welcome to my blog! I've been hanging around reading others, and decided I'd talk about my experiences as well.

As I stated in my profile, I am just getting back into the idea of making my clothing. I did so for years, but not for the past 10 or 15. I have been sewing however - crazy quilting, sane quilting, etc. And I have a lovely fabric stash, so I'll probably be talking about that too.

To start off, I am posting photos of my two grandson's Halloween costumes. The monster costume took much longer than I expected, so I won't be doing that again! After days of sewing, he only had it on for about an hour.

Eman was a pumpkin. Zman was a monster.

Come back and see what else I've been up to!