Monthly Archives: March 2015

I’m using a pattern I’ve made at least twice before, McCall’s 2233, Uniform Essentials.



The fabric is from, Michael Miller Nevermore Collection Old Script Urban Grit Black.  That’s a mouthful.



Way back when, I was smart and glued the pattern to some sturdier brown paper, knowing I’d reuse the pattern in the future.  Only problem, I lost the pocket pattern piece somewhere in my many moves!  I had some brown paper and using the image in the instructions, cobbled together a makeshift pocket. Worked fine.


I always forget to take pix while I’m sewing.  Since I use the Serger for my seams, I had to do a little finish work with the regular sewing machine.  Here I’m making a mess of the pockets.


One of the things I like to do is to finish all raw edges with the serger.  Below I’m serging the edges of the waist.  This gets turned under and made into the casing for the elastic, but I still like to finish it.  In my mind it tends to unravel less.


I’m putting the elastic in the casing below.  How do you do that?  Tried and true method: Use a safety pin.


Now for the tutorial. I hope I can explain this half as well as I would like.

How to use the blind hem stitch on your sewing machine.

First of all, you have to press your hem nice and neat.  Here I just made a tiny ~1/2 inch hem because the pattern is kind of short for my husband (I found out on the previous pants I made).  I could lengthen the pattern, sure.  But I am lazy and that is a topic for another blog post!  So…turn under your nicely serged hem.

PressAHemThen you need to select the correct stitch on your machine.  It should look like a zig zag with straight stitches in between. In my case, it’s #18 on the Pfaff Creative 2144.


Be sure to lengthen the stitch a bit, otherwise it’s too close together.


Then you bring over you nicely serged and turned pant leg, ready to be sewn:


And you Flip The turned hem UNDER, to make a little lip of the pant leg on the left, and the hem on the right.

FlipHemUnder See the little fold there right under the presser foot? THAT’S the key.  You want to imagine the fabric in a Z shape under the presser foot.  When the need is doing the straight stitch, in the right-most position, it will enter the bottom layer which is the hem.  When the needle “zags” over to the left, it will catch the pant leg briefly, then return back over to the hem.  The results are beautiful.

Here is the finished hem.


And here is what the “zigs” look like (had to search to find a visible spot, they really are blind stitches with the right thread color!).


Here’s the finished product.  Even the goof up on the pocket is hard to see.



I made a small video of the sewing machine actually stitching the blind hem stitch.  Need hubby to help me get past the 2mb size limit on uploading media. Grrr.  Maybe if I bribe him with some fancy new chef’s pants…?

Other Craft Projects:

I saw a blog post somewhere where the crafter made a car trash bag for her father for father’s day.  (If you find the link, put it in the comments and I’ll link to her blog.)  The original blog escapes me, but I’ve been mulling the concept over for weeks.  Basically the concept is simple, take a butter tub, cut out the bottom, sew a tube, throw on some ties, and put the tub inside the tube to hold your baggies.




So here is a coolwhip tub (because I can’t find a butter tub), and my heavy duty scissors, because if I used my fabric scissors well, I’d have to put myself in time out.  And there is sewing to be done!

Here I’ve picked out two complimentary fabrics.  Unfortunately these were a door prize.  I thought they would be fat quarters, but they are skinny quarters! 😀  So I checked to make sure the cool whip tub would work with the width of the fabric and it did (foreshadowing).


Here’s the coolwhip tub cut into a rim for my trash bag.


Here I am serging the seams of the main fabric.  I simply zoomed up one side and down the other.


Here’s where Donna starts to go off the rails.  I added this and it was completely useless.  What is it?  Well, I used a bit of the band/ties fabric to make a little lip inside the tube, to hold the coolwhip tub.  It was a good idea in theory (not).


Below I’m eyeballing where to put the band described above.


Here I am sewing the band on.


Here I am testing it out, with the bag inside out. Works great! (Cough, Cough!)


Here I am pressing the band I made with the contrast fabric.  It is the length of the fat quarter.


And here is the results.  What I managed to avoid taking a picture of is that the cool whip rim is FOLDED.  It’s so tight I had to bed the coolwhip tub (not easy) to get it inside the main fabric.


Also, I have a tuck in the center front of the band.  Can’t see it in either picture.

20150307-162815.jpgHere’s the finished Product.  There is no way it will come out and allow me to put a plastic baggie and rubber band around it.  I’m on the lookout for a butter tub now.  When I checked for the width, I didn’t take into account BOTH seam allowances on both sides.  On the serger (so deeper seam allowances).  I’m pretty annoyed with myself.  But it was free fabric, and a free coolwhip tub (thanks, Mom!), so nothing lost, really.  And I learned a valuable lesson.  When copying other people’s blog posts, pay attention to the instructions next time!


Other Craft Projects:

New Look 6237.


I’ve already done the pants pattern. Several times.

Finally got around to making the shirt.


I didn’t have the ribbing to make the neckline. This is as far as I got:



Ok, so I found a post. on how to make a neckline for a tshirt using knit fabric.  So I gave it a whirl with the jersey knit fabric the shirt is made out of.  Couple of things.  I HATE how short the sleeves are.  But the recipient doesn’t mind.  So I guess I shouldn’t complain.  But I followed the cutting lines on the pattern.  I really wish I had made this long sleeve as it’s winter here and my foster daughter could use some more long sleeve shirts.  She talked me into short sleeves, but these are just like sleeveless!


Finally, the neckline looks terrible.  I should have cut it from a solid stripe.

But it fits her perfectly and she’s happy.  Makes a good PJ shirt if nothing else.


Other Craft Projects:

My foster daughter, ‘A’ came into care wearing a jacket with a broken zipper.  It would have been easy (much easier than replacing the zipper!) to simply buy her a new jacket and put the old one away until she returned home.  However, she cherished this jacket (her Grandma gave it to her), it fits perfectly, and it’s appropriate thickness for the current weather.

Here is the saga of my efforts to replace the zipper.


First, it was clear that the zipper slider (the part of the zipper that joins the teeth) was missing entirely.  So I went to Hancock Fabrics, and picked up a set of Zipper Slider replacements.  Their notions were 1/2 off, so I got the set for 7.99.  There are many sliders, so I offered to repair my friend’s boots as well.  We’ll attribute half the pack’s cost to this zipper replacement then (7.99/2=3.98).   When we got home, I broke open the package, found a reasonably sized slider, and then tried without success to put this slider on.  While struggling with the zipper, I noticed there was a tooth missing right above the bottom of the zipper.  So, the slider would fall off even if I did manage to get this on.  I’d need to replace the whole zipper. Time spent 30 minutes.

So I ran out to Hancocks, but they were already closed.  I then went to a Walmart which I knew had a sewing dept.  I found their zippers, but didn’t know the length.  So I had ‘A’ come over, and using an acrylic ruler from Walmart’s display, measured the zipper.  23 inches.  Ok,   There was 22 and 24, but not 23.  Hmmm. I decided it had to be the extra fabric at the top and bottom, and the 24″ one would probably fit perfectly (stop laughing).

We got home, and I pulled out the zipper, and lo and behold, the ZIP part is 24 inches.  I needed the 22 inch one! Oh, btw, 2.97 (so that’s 6.95 for those playing along with the home game). Time spent: 30 minutes.

The next day, I ran back to walmart. Forgot the OLD zipper, so I bought another 22″ zipper.  They didn’t have white or light blue, so I got black. It’ll look weird, but at this point I’m just hell bent on finishing this project.  Another 2.97.  Plus 1.00 for a seam ripper as the scissors weren’t doing a great job.  $10.92 is the running total at this point.  Another 30 minutes.

Taking the old zipper out took about 2 hours.  I made SEVERAL holes in the jacket with the seam ripper.  It’s sharp as a knife and it sliced right through the edge of the polyester fabric that comprised the outer shell of the jacket.  Hopefully ‘A’ has a growth spurt before we have to wash this jacket more than once or twice!20150302-190114.jpg

So I finally get the old zipper out, and pinned the new zipper in.


I then start looking for my Pfaff Creative 2144’s zipper foot.  Well, I don’t see one.  My old Singer has one.  And the other Pfaff definitely doesn’t have one.  Hmmm…so I put the old Singer to work, and start sewing.  It sounds a little off, but I keep going.  I realize I’m not getting a lot of forward momentum (this is the machine I replaced the feed dog gears on, so I attribute it to that), but then I FINALLY stop and look at my stitching.  There are literally wads of thread under the jacket.  This is a huge disaster.  I pull the jacket out, take out all the crappy stitches, and grab a scrap piece of fabric.  I sew a straight line.  WOW, terrible nests of thread underneath, even with two layers of cotton fabric.  I just tuned this machine a couple of months ago!  It dawns on me to look at the tension (after a while, I’m not that sharp).  It’s a ONE.  Doh.  I correct that, and try the cotton fabric again.  Stitching Looks great, top and bottom.  The jacket comes back, I restart, and same issue!!!  Nests in the bobbin thread!  I pull it all out AGAIN.  I take out the bobbin.  Don’t like the way it sounds.  But again, my test fabric is fine.  This is clearly to do with the heft of the jacket messing up the tension.  Total time spent wrestling with the sewing machine/zipper foot/tension: 2 hours, running total of time spent is like what? 5.5 hours at this point???20150302-204955.jpg

I get frustrated and call it a night.

The next day, on my lunch hour, I drive up to the adjacent state to buy a zipper foot for my 2144.  The store owner says, “Did you lose the one that came with it?”  I said I didn’t think it came with one.  He said it did…and showed me what it looks like.  Sure enough, I have that foot.  Didn’t realize it was a zipper foot though.  Grrr. Time spent 1hr 30 mins. (It’s a long drive from my work!)

When I got home from errands after work, I immediately went into the sewing room (poor doggies didn’t get to go potty), and sure enough, I had a zipper foot for the Pfaff.  After letting the dogs out, and getting ‘A’ into the bathtub, I started work on the zipper replacement once again.

Here I am with the proper foot. Am I using it right? I have no idea.



Here’s the wonky results:


And the full shot:


Took about half an hour slowly sewing both sides.  It looks…terrible.  Honestly, horrible.  I am ashamed for her to take it back to the grandmother or wherever she goes from here.  I’d rip it out and start over if it weren’t for the fact that the fabric is so freaking fragile.

So what are we up to? 7.5 hours and $11 to fix the zipper?  My hourly rate at work is…a lot…and that would be a crazy expensive jacket if I were to have just gone out and bought a replacement.  But make do and mend and recycle and upcycle and all that…I know, I know.  It’s a great skill to have to be able to replace a zipper.  Had it just been the $2.97 for the one zipper, and it only took about an hour, that would be a different story.  Maybe it gets easier.  I don’t know that I’ll find out come next time!


Other Craft Projects: