Monday, August 22, 2016

Put Your Feet Up - Custom Ottoman Slipcover #1


Goal: Custom-fitted slipcover for a 62" across octagonal ottoman.


Original condition: The original upholstery is constructed in eight wedges and tufted in the middle with a self-fabric covered button. A wooden skirt mounted below the upholstery ends in four tapered legs connected underneath by an x-stretcher.


Fabric: Four yards of green, brown, teal and orange woven ikat print* for $2.70 per yard (Bought along with three yards of lime green vinyl (100% PVC Face/ 100% Polyester) for $3 per yard) bought from Hancock Fabrics during their Going Out Of Business sale.


Construction: The fabric was just wide enough to cover the ottoman with a few inches of overhang. I arranged it over the ottoman so that the two selvage edges hung down equal. 


Turning the fabric inside out, at each point of the octagon I pinned the fabric into a dart, creating a snug fit. I basted the darts and retried the slipcover. Re-pinning some of the darts till I liked the fit I then trimmed the length around as even to its shortest side as I could.


Because of the thickness of the fabric I catch-stitched the darts down, making sure they all faced the same direction. Amazingly, the fabric print is such that the stitches seemed to disappear.

Can you see the catch stitches? No?
I pressed the darts from the wrong side with a little steam and used my temporary "clapper" (my quilting ruler) to press down and distribute the heat throughout the dart until it cooled. As you can see the dart is now as flat as possible.

Now?

Starting from the selvage on the remainder fabric I cut lengths of 7 inches deep believing this to be a good length for the cover. I used my quilting ruler and rotary cutter, cutting enough fabric to go around the sides. I pinned the fabric on and took a few days to debate what would be the best length. Floor is out of the question as there is a small ledge underneath that we keep magazines on that needs to be reachable. So the choices were halfway down the legs or tucked up to the length of the wooden apron.


 
Oh, look what I found after I was completely done...
*Note: I couldn't get the colors to come out accurate on these photos. But the fabric is amazing and matches the existing sofa, loveseat, and throw pillows exactly even though I chose the fabric purely from instinct and memory. Hurrah!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Get Your Labels There!

The last week and a half I have been running around crazy. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that my storage room had flooding issues and I have spent hours and days outside in the heat going through many boxes choosing what stays, what to donate, and what to throw away.


At the nighttime in the AC, I would try to catch up on my blog reading. As I discovered some more cool sewing places in Philadelphia a blog post led me to the Dutch Label Shop, a local Philly business that produces small  batch clothing labels. I was impressed with their website which was packed with  information. They have an awesome interactive component that let you investigate and design what you might want your future labels to look like. You can use their customization options of different text/background colors, fonts, and label sizes or submit your own prepared design by digital file.

Just some of the many samples

I ordered a sample kit and a few days later was blown away with what I received. Now, this is a sample pack! They didn't just send me a few labels, no, I received a tiny padded envelope with a full-cover brochure and five zippered bags with multiple examples of each of the items they produce: cardstock hang tags, and separate examples of logo, clothing size, fabric care, and basic iron-on or sewn woven labels. In the basic woven label bag alone, they sent me 9 examples!


  

Over the years, I would think about putting labels in my me-made clothes, but never felt motivated to do much research on what types were available and the ones I did check out, well their minimum order quantities would be too high. Dutch Label allows a minimum order of 30 labels for less than $20 if you select their basic woven labels. After this last week, seeing the clothes that I've been choosing to donate go to Goodwill without any labels on them felt weird. There is a part of me that wants to leave my mark behind in a way that a custom label would help.

Now I just have to figure out what I want my labels to say!

*This is NOT a sponsored post because Dutch Label has NO idea who I am but I thought that this apparently well-organized little company should get some love.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Getting Things Done...

Saturday:
  • Sent an email to both McCall's Patterns and Simplicity Patterns offering up some of my vintage patterns as loans for their reissues.
  • Posted ten more patterns in the Metamorphpursuit shop. Not as easy as it seems: the prep involves photographing or scanning the actual patterns, doing any necessary touch up work on the images, transcribing or copying the pattern descriptions, and researching current prices to come up with a realistic market price. Luckily, for most of my 100 patterns I have the images and the descriptions saved in Flickr.
  • Did research for my upcoming New Jersey/Philadelphia trip and discovered that they had three different sewing workshop/sewing schools (Butcher's Sew Shop, MADE Studio, and Handcraft Workshop)
  • Proofread 10 more chapters of my sister's upcoming thriller, Pay To Play, marking with my little red pen.

Sunday:
  • Removed worn out elastic from a favorite skirt to replace.
  • Took apart an old pair of underwear to make a pattern.
  • Removed sleeves from Simplicity 5190 because I never wear it and hopefully this will change that. I still love the fabric and I was going to take it apart and make New Look 6968 but Joann never brought back the potting soil brown stretch gabardine I wanted to use for the skirt.
  • Traced New Look 6216 and redrafted it from a top into a dress. Since the weight gain, I find myself almost obsessive about cutting out patterns and fabric because I'm scared the final make won't fit over my hips. This attitude is not making me happy. The failure of my New Look 6145 muslin still affects me. Being so out of touch with my own body is weird after knowing it so well for so many years and I'm sill mourning the image of that small breasted girl who fit all the clothes in her closet.
  • Looked up info for my dad on his medical insurance and prescriptions.
Digusting, right?

But the BIG thing that happened yesterday was that I discovered my father has been covering the floor in our storage shed with rugs even though the room floods periodically. Who does that? Argggghhh! Once he mentioned that, I ran out to see if any of my stuff (this shed is where the contents of my old and future life lives) had been damaged. I found out that my perfect rug; which had been rolled up in a plastic bag was standing with the unprotected (!) non-plastic covered end on the wet and moldy carpet. Worse yet, my lovely Brunei fabric had been rolled up inside the carpet, again directly touching the moldy carpet. So for the rest of the day I fought to protect two of my favorite belongings.*
 


Both the rug and 8 yards of the 54" fabric were draped across our wood deck to get dried by the sun. A little research revealed that the rug was 100% nylon so it should be okay after it has dried and been steam cleaned. I now regret I didn't rent the steam cleaner right then but I was very upset and in shock. After the fabric got a few hours fe sun I ran it in the washer on the sanitary setting in HOT water for 1hr 40min with white vinegar, a bit of Shout, and detergent. I then washed it a second time for a regular 40 min cycle and then dried it thoroughly. Afterwards, I ended up discarding about 10 inches of damage from the selvage inward by ripping along the grain.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be just as full of completed tasks but hopefully more positive and fun than that last one!

*that I hadn't been able to store in the house. The others include my rocking chair and my Crosley turntable, which luckily were left unharmed.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Pattern Purge and Purchase Possibilities!


My Etsy shop, Metamorphpursuit has reopened!! Right now there are over 30 patterns there, more will be added over the next two weeks. I have Vogue designer patterns from the 1980-90s, vintage Advance and Simplicity patterns from the 50-60s, and various others. Go check them out using that new widget to the right!



Buying that small group of patterns at Hancock Fabrics; no matter how cheap they were, still made me feel guilty for all the others I own and haven't used. This inspired me to finally finish a project I started two months ago when I came across a vintage store that had a booth devoted to thrift and antique fair supplies; vinyl bags, stickers, tags, and display stands. I bought myself some 9" x 12" plastic zip bags* after I saw how they packed their own vintage patterns. Instead of getting a bag that just fits the average sized patterns they used much larger bags and placed the pattern perpendicularly in the middle and wrapped the ends to the back and used archival tape to anchor the two sides together. I took a day and wrapped most of my patterns, including all the vintage ones, the oldest, my T-N-T (most used), and the ones I finally decided to sell.

Covered vintage patterns and ex. of what happens without preservation.
I made sure to use the new bags and my original 6 x 9 plastic protectors to make sure that all the vintage patterns have some kind of coverage. Unfortunately, without protection, some of my older pattern envelopes have become crispy, as you can see above. In those cases, I have carefully removed the folded instructions and pattern and placed them in the bags individually so that future damage to the envelopes will be minimal.

This protect and purge session ended up freeing 70+ patterns that I realized I'm either never going to make because of the style or a size I will never fit into again and the idea of reopening up my Etsy store was definitely the way to go.   

To make those elimination decisions, I used this ranked order of criteria:
  1. Could I still see myself wearing these items still (or ever) since some patterns had been inherited from others? I had to see these patterns fit into my current and future wardrobe.
  2. Could the size range of these patterns fit me? (I'm currently a size 14/16 and I could see being a 12/14 again but I had unused patterns from high school when I was a 6-8!)
  3. Do I have the patience or motivation to undertake this pattern? I had some Vogue designer patterns rated Advanced in the mix.

For years, I've kept a photo inventory of the staggering amount of patterns I owned on Flickr. There will always be a few that I keep for sentimental reasons, but once I moved the ones chosen for sale to a separate album my inventory numbers changed drastically:

Vogue: Group of 62 condensed down to 37.
Simplicity: Batch of 54 scaled back to 28.
McCall's: Lot of 31 shrunk to 17.
New Look: Cluster of 21 reduced to 15.
Butterick: Set of 15 decreased to 9.

So from a quantity of nearly 200 patterns I now have a much more usable group of 106.

Of course that still doesn't include the 20 or so downloaded PDF patterns I may also own. But, baby steps, baby steps...

* For archival purposes, make sure they are 2 mil uncoated polyethylene bags.