Thursday, June 24, 2021

Indoors tent for kids

The project I did after the graded one in May was the sort of tent you use indoors and spread over a table. It was for a daycare place, and we just had the age of the kids (3-4) and the measurements of the table with the table legs marked in the drawing. Otherwise we got free hands as regards the placement of the windows and the overall design.

I started by figuring out the size of the windows to make sure the openings were small enough, so the kids wouldn't be able to stick their heads through them. It's amazing what you can find in the web. I actually found a table (made by CDC) of children's (up to 36 months) average head sizes. To be safe, I used band to divide the windows into four 10x10 cm panes.

I framed the door with 10x20 cm "bricks" made of fabrics with different textures. The idea was that in addition to looking nice, the wall would be interesting to touch.

The parts of walls between the windows got giant flowers in them. I also put a row of similar "bricks" around the bottom edge as a footing, because the base color of the tent was a bit boring as the color looked like sandstone.

Here's the finished flower.

And another one on the other side.

I also put some butterflies on the walls.

Finally, I added some flowers on the roof to make it more interesting.

This was the biggest sewing project I've ever handled. It required a lot of planning just in regards to the direction of sewing to make sure the main part of the fabric would stay on the left side where there was room for it.

We didn't have a table of the correct shape in the classroom, so I had to spread the tent on some chairs to get these pictures. In the first one, you can also see the door flap I added in the end. The circumference of the tent was 5 meters, so it was clumsy to handle in all stages of the project, but especially clumsy when I was sewing the top (the roof) in place.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Shoulder bag

The spring semester is over now. The course that lasted from mid-April to the end of May got graded last week. The course was about making a product or series of products using recycled materials. I chose jeans fabric the school had in large quantities. It counts as recycled material, because it's factory leftovers that would be wasted otherwise.

I didn't do everything in the proper order, but I will present things in order here. So, the first thing is the presentation picture of the product. I actually drew this last, when all the bags were finished.

I made a series of 5 bags, which meant I had to cut parts for the entire series first. The picture below shows parts of the lining drawn with chalk on the reverse side of the fabric. It is so much easier to avoid wasting material when you're cutting a batch instead of just pieces for 1 bag. 

Here are all the pieces needed for the bags. The fabric with flowers is for the bottom part of the lining. It's the most visible part of the lining, so I thought it would be nice to have something more interesting there.

I made the front pieces by weaving strips of the fabric into a chessboard pattern. First, I sewed the strips to the upper and left edges, and then, after weaving, to the opposite edges.

Here are the finished front pieces. Each was to be cut in half diagonally, so there was one extra for each. That actually messed up my calculations at one point as I was calculating the fabric needed for 5 halves, not realizing I needed to make 3 rectangles for both color combinations.

The way to cut these in half was to first stitch diagonally twice and then cut between the stitched lines. I folded the pattern in half, placed in on top of the piece, and then used the folded edge as a guide for the first stitching. The second was easy to do using the first as the guide.

When I had the two halves, I first sewed the 3 stripes together and then the resulting wider piece in between the halves. As you can see, the front pieces were complicated and they took a lot of time to make. Too much time to make this project in any way financially viable. The two-tone pieces in the picture are for the backs. The original plan was for the back to be black, but as I couldn't get wide enough pieces of the jeans fabric for that, I changed the plan. 

I didn't take pictures from the assembly stages, so here is a finished bag. There were 5 identical bags, but I only took a picture of one as that was part of the assignment (taking a product photo).

The project looks fairly simple described this way, but it was a lot more complicated as it began with a lot of experiments with different techniques. Mostly failed experiments, I might add, but of course even a failed experiment is a good thing, because it tells you that is not the way to proceed.

After the bags were finished, I decided to try an alternative technique. The front pieces took a lot of time to make, so I tried different material and slightly different order of doing things. The experiment below is made of textile band. Its edges did not require stitching, so that reduced the amount of time required quite a bit. I haven't used this for anything yet, but I might make another bag for myself later (the 5 bags I made went on sale at the school).

My grade for the course was 5 (on a scale of 1-5), so I was quite pleased. Good grades are always nice, even when you don't actually need them. What they show me is that I'm doing things right.

 I had time left over after this project, so the teacher gave me a customer project to make. I'll be posting about that later.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Picture of a wolf

Before I made the bunny picture, I started another picture at school. It remained unfinished for a long time as we had other, scheduled projects (this was an extra project). It is also based on a picture from a coloring book. I started with the background and by cutting an outline of the head from black fabric.

Then I cut parts of the picture from various scraps of fabric and arranged them on the black outline. I had no glue while making this, so I had to be careful to keep the pieces in their correct places.

When the picture was finished, I covered it with black tulle and stitched straight lines on top of it in 0.5 cm intervals. This was a lot easier than going along the outlines as I did with the bunny. The tulle fabric on top of the picture changes the colors, and the result isn't quite as colorful as before adding it.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

A lot of skirts

The task that determined our grades for the 30 skill point course from January to mid-April was to make several skirts in 1930's style for a theatrical production. We had to make the patterns based on a basic pattern and cut and sew the skirts.

We had to make at least two skirts each, but I ended up making four. The first two were basic bell-shaped skirts, one made of 8 pieces, the other of 6 pieces.

With the 8-piece skirt, the two half-patterns had to be cut into half to get four pieces. Then those were cut in half and the halves angled as shown below. So you add wedges in the middle of each of the four pieces. Finally, you cut two pieces of fabric per pattern piece to get 8 parts.

Below is the finished skirt made this way.

The 6-piece skirt is made using the same principle, except you cut the pattern pieces to 1/3 and 2/3 of the original width and place the 1/3 piece on fold.

The resulting skirt isn't that much different from the 8-piece skirt, just has two vertical seams less.

As I was watching a video about 1930's fashion in Finland, I saw some interesting ones, and the third skirt I made was different from the first two. In this case, the bell-shaped part starts about 1/3 down the skirt. Otherwise, it's an 8-piece skirt.

The video also showed a lot of pleated skirts. The common theme with those was that the pleats started fairly low, around mid-thigh. There were different variations of this, but I wanted to make a yoke skirt. So the fourth skirt had a yoke and wide pleats. The picture below shows the bottom part after stitching the pleats.

The skirt was size 44, so it was a bit too big for me, but I still decided to try it on. I just put it on over my jeans to get an idea of how it looks. As I was doing this, I mentioned to the teacher that "I'd wear a skirt like this," so she said "next you can make one for yourself."

I didn't have the fabric for that, so I started with the pattern as I needed size 42. After a visit to a fabric store, I was ready to make a skirt for myself. The main difference with it was the smaller size and shorter length. With legs like mine, the length in the above picture is about the worst possible, so I made a knee-length skirt for myself. All my other skirts are in fairly subdued colors (various shades of blue with a bit of white), so I chose something a bit more colorful for this one.

The weather hasn't been very nice lately, so I haven't had a chance to wear this yet, but I will as soon as it gets warmer. And the grade? I'm happy to tell that I got 5 on a scale of 1-5. I'm not that set on getting great grades, but of course it's always nice to get a good one. It's just not as important for me as it is for the young students who need good grades for applying to wherever it is they want to go later.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Back from a break

Just as I was getting back to speed with blogging, life happened. Or rather, death. So I took an almost total break from my online activities.

I've still been studying, actually even longer hours that before, because it's one of the things that keeps my mind occupied and away from all that's happened. But now I think I'm ready to continue, and first, I'll be doing some updates on what I've been doing during the break.

The vest got finished. It's maybe a bit big for me, but then again, it is meant to be worn over a hoodie as seen in the photo below.

After finishing it, I thought I could do another one that's a bit smaller (goes on top of a shirt). I didn't have enough of one fabric, so I decided to use smaller pieces. First I sewed 15x15 cm squares together to make a rectangular piece, which I then cut using the pattern I had modified a bit (shorter shoulder seam and 2 cm off from the sides seams).

Here's the same piece seen from the reverse side. The order in which I sewed the pieces was first sewing four pieces together in vertical direction, then sewing the four resulting pieces together.

Then I made the front pieces the same way and sewed all three pieces together. Next, I made a narrow strip for the hem. I liked the elephant pattern, so decided to use it.

The lining is made of an old duvet cover. It was the only fabric I had in big enough pieces. Also, the colors weren't too off as the vest has all of them. This time I decided to only make inside pockets, because I didn't want to cover any of the pictures I had in front.

Finally, here is the finished vest. It's smaller and weighs a bit less than the first one. The idea is that it's for summer use. I prefer large pockets instead of a handbag, so this should do the job fine.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

More pockets

After finishing the double pockets, it was time to make some more pockets for the vest. These go above the other pockets.

The first thing was to make a pattern, and I had no idea how to do that, because the pockets needed folds. However, that's what the teachers are for. It turned out to be quite simple, you just need to know what to do. In this case, it was the same thing we did when making the patterns for the bell-shaped skirt.

You make a pattern for a flat pocket, cut it as shown in the picture above, and then spread out the bottom ends of the outer parts a bit. In this case, there is 1 cm added to both corners. Then you glue the pieces in place and draw the seam allowances around the pattern created this way. When sewing, you just make folds that remove 1 cm from both corners, and the result is a pocket with straight vertical sides.

The order of sewing is: sewing and stitching the folds in the corner, hemming the upper edge, ironing the seam allowances in the sides and bottom edge, and stitching the pocket in place. With a single color fabric, you'd use either the hem or front middle to get the pockets straight, but in this case, I used the upper edge of the lower pockets, because the pictures needed to be horizontally straight.

So now the vest has all of the outside pockets. The next step is to make the lining and the inside pocket that will be sewn into it. I'm currently in the middle of making a sample of the inside pocket, because getting the zipper in place properly is a bit tricky. Best to practice first before touching the actual lining.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

More collars

On Monday, we made samples of two of the collars we drew last week. Making them made things a lot clearer than just reading the written instructions. With the instructions, it didn't help that some pictures had been turned 90 degrees to fit into the page. Especially one of them was totally incomprehensible until I realized I needed to turn it first to get the upper edge on top. Then it started making sense.

The first collar was a simpler one for a women's blouse. It was fairly quick to make once all stages were clear.

The other one was the kind used in men's shirts. It's more complicated and requires accurate sewing, but I think it looks much nicer and neater. Once we've done some samples of slits for sleeves, we'll be making a blouse, and I think I want this kind of collar in it.