Archive for July, 2008

Serging Forward
July 27th, 2008 | Link

A coworker and I are taking the "Hems and Basic Alterations" class at Stitch Lounge. I have problems with fitted shirts because if they fit in the shoulders, they usually hang off me everywhere else, so I’m hoping to learn how to take in a shirt so that it fits properly (since I haven’t yet made that bold step forward to the shirt pattern from the Sew U book). In the first class we covered mostly hemming, but in the second class we will be bringing in clothes that we want to alter. Even though hemming seems like a really basic thing, I learned a few things from the first class: how to hem drastic curves by adding 1-2 basting lines inside the seam line (the same technique used for setting in sleeves, which has always intimidated me), and decorative hems using a twin needle. So I had to try that out for myself on this, Sew U skirt number nine:

Right-side view of hem, with a double row of double stitching

(I missed catching the edge of the folded-over fabric off and on the first time, so I added another double row 1/4" in. As we say in the software business, "It’s a feature.")

The other exciting thing about this skirt (which, yes, is the same linen as the tote bag I made last weekend) is that it is my first big project using the brand new serger that E. bought me for my birthday (even though he couldn’t understand why I would choose a serger over a new iPhone). Here’s the inside view of the hem and side seam:

Wrong-side view of hem and side seam

Isn’t that pretty? And it’s so much faster than pinking the seams or zig-zagging around the edges, or having to fold the hem under twice. I’m looking forward to trying out some patterns for knit fabrics, too.

I won’t show you the finished skirt because I don’t consider it finished yet: I’m looking at the clean lines of the plain linen fabric as a blank canvas, and planning on making use of some of the techniques in Printing by Hand: A Modern Guide to Printing with Handmade Stamps, Stencils, and Silk Screens to complete my masterpiece. Stay tuned…

July 20th, 2008 | Link

Linen tote bag

One of my favorite combinations is natural linen and red fabric. I bought these red and white quilting fabrics when I lived in Calgary. I think I was planning on a Log Cabin quilt in red and white. But I haven’t quilted in a while, and I’m trying to clean out my fabric stash, and I need a birthday present for my mom. So that’s where this fell out.

The structure of this bag isn’t much different than the grocery bags I made last year. I cut the bag rectangle 15 1/2" wide and 34" long, and sewed the gussets about 1 1/4" in from the corner. The big differences are that I lined this bag (I just made two bags, and sewed them together wrong-sides facing when I sewed on the handles) and added the red and white panels to the front and back.—nothing fancy, I just strip-pieced them and sewed them on top of the linen. I also ironed some medium-weight fusible interfacing to the lining to give the bag more body, since it turned out bigger than I was thinking when I started the project.

Originally I thought I would Gocco-screen something on the fabric, but I chickened out. However, I have quite a lot of this linen—it’s from my mom’s stash and it must have been on sale, or she was planning on making the entire family matching outfits, there are yards of it—so there will be many more opportunities.

My studio looks like a fabric tornado hit it, oy.

Busy Days
July 13th, 2008 | Link

A stack of assorted accordion books

The last few weeks have been incredibly busy, between work and school. I’ve only been able to grab little pieces of time for bookbinding: cutting boards, sanding, choosing and cutting cover paper. So over time my studio filled with little stacks of books to be, just waiting for a chance to sit down and finish everything.

Well, that was this weekend. Since Friday night I’ve assembled 12 accordion books (shown above) and seven Coptic-bound journals. I think I am booked out for a while. I feel like doing some sewing!



My name is Shannon Hale. This blog is on indefinite hiatus, but it contains archives of the last 10 years of posts about bookbinding, knitting, sewing. and other random things in my life.


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