I am never satisfied with the amount of light I have for sewing. My newest sewing machine is a 1997 Bernina and, with the exception of a few industrials, all of my other machines are quite a bit older. Lighting on vintage machines pales compared to that of 21st century machines.
On Saturday, I saw an advertisement for quite pricey ($45 and up) LED light strips for sewing machines. Knowing that LED light strips are generally very inexpensive, I hopped over to Amazon and found very similar light strips for under $8.
They arrived today and I am just so excited about them! They are self-adhesive and dim-able (not sure why you’d want that…) and easily cut to fit. I ordered one for my Bernina 1530 and one for my 500A buttonhole machine. Wow, what a difference!
I’m generally not a fan of sticking things onto my machines but I’m less of a fan of sewing in the dark. Once I turn on my LED light to the left of the machine, I will be able to see so clearly!
Here’s the link for the strips that I ordered. At this price, you can buy one for every machine!
It’s been another busy week and I am still not sleeping. Consequently, I haven’t done much sewing until this weekend.
The zipper has been installed and the fronts and back have been joined.
I took the side seams in 1/4” and may take them in a bit more. This style has a lot of ease which can easily overwhelm me.
I am also toying with the idea of adding some random beading. This bead collection called ‘Natalie’s Mix’ from Alabama Channin goes very well with the colors of my jacket.
However, after making a small sample, I have decided that I really only like the bronze colored beads and maybe the occasional dark sequin. The light sequins and beads jump off the fabric and make it look too busy. What do you think?
I finally just took a deep breath and cut and I’m really happy with it so far. The back really *had* to be cut this way as I couldn’t imagine it cut any other way. (Sorry for the wonky photo – panoramic while standing tippy toe on a stool!)
Ordinarily, when I want to match a pattern across a center front I use the CF line as my guide. But the front of this jacket veers off-grain in the upper chest plus I’m using a zipper so there is no overlap. So, instead I cut one front, lining up the lower CF line with the center of the medallion, and then laid it face down on the fabric, matching the pattern, and cut my second front. It looks weird now but once the zipper is installed it will look better, I hope.
I chose a cotton batiste as the underlining for the body of the jacket. I love using an underlining because I can make very clear markings without worrying about show-through.
Before I hand basted the layers together, I fused a small piece of interfacing where my welt pockets will be. My fabric ravels pretty easily so I wanted that extra reinforcement. Again, I pinked the edges to avoid a hard line showing on the right side.
I also stabilized the bias edges with strips of fusible interfacing. If your fabric doesn’t want to be fused you can always fuse to your underlining – another bonus to using an underlining.
The last step before my favorite part – the welt pockets – basting the layers together. I use either silk or cotton basting thread but I definitely enjoy using the silk thread more as it glides through the layers so easily. I couldn’t locate my basting needles (hence the tiny stitches) so I just used a #9 hand needle and basted within the seam allowances. I really recommend basting needles as they are longer and make fast work of this somewhat tedious job.
Over the years, I have accumulated quite a collection of fabrics, patterns, buttons and other ingredients. I recently cleaned out my fabric and pattern stashes and thought it was high time to go through my huge zipper collection. FYI, those are mostly 2 gallon ziplocs. 🤦♀️
Ever since I started using really nice zippers – Riri, Lampo, Excella – I’ve become dissatisfied with anything less. It’s just so easy to order what I need or stock up on my annual trip to NYC. I plant Bryan at Ben’s and head over to Pacific and Botani with my fabric swatches and buy what I think I’ll need for the coming year. If only he knew how much money was invested in those little shopping bags. 😳 I mean, the Riri room at Pacific is like a candy store for me, I want them all!
Since I’m in a purging mood, I decided that today was the day to tackle the zipper stash. Once I got going, it was pretty easy. Now, the stash consists only of zippers that I will actually use!
And the purge pile. Nothing wrong with any of them, but I know I will never use them so better to pass them on to someone who will!
Now on to the fun part – assembling the fronts and installing the welt pockets.
First, I joined the three front panels in a standard 5/8” seam and pressed the seams open and then away from the center panel.
Next, I trimmed the under seam down to a scant 1/4” and then folded the top seam allowance over it and edge stitched to make a mock flat felled seam – less bulky in this heavy fabric than a traditional flat felled seam. I have also bound these seam allowances in really heavy fabrics like velveteen.
Next, the pocket facing is applied. To reduce bulk, I used a firmly woven cotton. I generally use Symphony broadcloth but I wasn’t able to find the right color. I serged around three sides but it’s only necessary to finish the bottom edge because the sides will be finished off by the pocket anyway. Stitch, trim, clip into the corners, turn and edge stitch.
The pocket edges are turned under 3/8 and then applied to the wrong side of the garment and topstitched into place.
I need to make buttonholes in the pocket flaps yet but you get the idea.
Now, onto the welt pockets. First, lay you pocket piece face up onto the right side of the garment. I like to clearly mark my stitching lines with a chalk pencil.
I have also added a piece of very lightweight fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the jacket front. I like to do this anytime I add a welt pocket. I’ve pinked the edges to prevent any show-through on the right side.
Then I stitch around the box, using a stitch length of 2 on the long sides, with smaller stitches around the corners. It’s a good idea to begin your stitching on one of the long sides to avoid thread buildup in one of the corners.
Then, cut down the center of the box and into the corners. Turn to the inside of the front and press.
If your corners are not perfect, it’s okay because this pocket will have a bartack across the top and bottom of the welt which will hide any imperfections. If you are scared of welt pockets, this one is for you.
Next, fold back the straight edge of the pocket back over the opening and press well. Turn it back again towards the front edge, forming your welt. Fold the garment back from the welt and secure those little triangles. I like to use a few lines of straight stitching here.
Then I edgestitch around the top, bottom and front of the welt before laying the pocket lining – again, a firmly woven cotton – on top.
The lining is attached to the pocket with a straight stitch about 1/8” from the edge. No need to be super neat about it since it will be hidden underneath my binding or enclosed in a seam at the front and bottom. You can also just serge them together, if you wish. Now, it’s time for the bartacks. My stitches are very short as I like more of a satin stitch here but you can use a longer length if you prefer.
The finished product!
Next up, I’ll be setting up the binder and buttonhole machine. I’ll be interested to see how this metallic organza works out as a binding.
Parting shot. Cattlianthe Gigi Andrae Louis ‘Maverick’ HCC/AOS. My dear friend Thanh named this beautiful hybrid for me a few years ago and I so wanted to be the first to have it awarded. The orchid gods smiled on me a year ago and awarded this flower an HCC (Highly Commended Certificate). I gave it the clonal name ‘Maverick’ because, of the many blooms of this cross I have seen, it is the only one that is not a deep red.
The Simplicity jacket is all cut out and interfaced – ready to sew. I hope to get started on it this weekend. I probably won’t get much done because I do have to give my bedroom a good cleaning. It’s amazing how much dust manages to get through even with the doorway sealed off. I think that may be why I’ve been coughing so much all week.
We are down to the studs in most of the bathroom.
The WC still looks really bad. I guess the walls were yellow when I moved in 22 years ago. I had blocked that out forgotten.
My friend Tom is coming over this afternoon to help me with the niches in the shower. Right now I have this arched one and want to replace it with two rectangles for more storage. I’m sure the tile installer will appreciate not having to make all of those cuts. My friend Jim – who does high-end bathrooms in multi-million dollar homes – says my soap dish is very lame. I think he should come shopping with me.
The exterior plastering is done!
On the agenda for the weekend: buying new faucets, building niches and deciding on a tile layout. Oh, and a soap dish of some sort.