A Warm Hat for the Winter

I sewed a roll brim hat out of a colorful anti pill fleece.

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Pattern Green Pepper F873
Fabric Anti-Pill Fleece
Difficulty Easy & Fast Sew

I have a larger than average head (23″ circumference) and I usually have to wear men’s hats (which are rather plain) or settle for hats that are tight and give me headaches when I force them on my head or that roll up and eventually fall off my head.

I sewed the Large and it fits great! This is the first hat I’ve ever sewn and it’s great to finally have a hat that fits!

This is also the first time I’ve ever sewn a Green Pepper pattern and the pattern instructions are just great! Sewing the hat was really fast and easy. I sewed it during commercial breaks of The Big Bang Theory reruns (love that show)…I imagine in total, it took less than an hour to get the hat completed.

I am most definitely going to sew more of these hats. I think I’ll make a reversible hat next (this will make the hat a lot warmer since I will almost be sewing two hats out of fleece and then sewing them together.

I also sewed a reversible neck warmer (also known as a neck gaiter) out of the same fleece as my hat and an army green fleece.

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    Since the gaiter was just a rectangle of fabric, I didn’t use any pattern to construct it.
  • I cut out two pieces of fleece that measured 10″ x 24″ (again, my head is bigger than the average woman’s head).
  • Then I placed each piece together (right sides facing each other), and sewed the long sides together, leaving the shorter edges open to turn.
  • Finally I sewed the shorter side together, using the common”bagging” technique that is used in a several of the more complicated patterns I’ve sewn, leaving about 1-1/2″ open to turn and then slipstitching this opening closed after I turned the material to conceal the seam and reveal the right sides of the material.

Sewing a Lined Vest

I sewed a lined vest out of a wool boucle that I bought about 30 years ago. The pattern doesn’t include a lining, but since I was sewing the vest in a wool boucle, I also lined it with a colorful silky polyester. The pattern directions use bias fold tape to finish the armholes and includes pockets in the front seams, but the pockets were too small to be useful and they added too much bulk to the front of the vest so I omitted them.

Pattern:  Simplicity 1499 (view C)
Fabric: Wool Boucle (garment) & silky polyester (lining)
Needle/Foot:
Machine used: Kenmore

Vest1I’ve never added a lining to a garment before when the pattern did not include pattern pieces and instructions for doing so. I searched around the internet a bit to find some useful instructions about how to do it and read over some of my patterns that include lining directions. I took my time on this project because I wasn’t entirely sure about what I was doing and I wanted to have a nice outcome in the end.
To make the lining, I cut out the pattern pieces for the front, front side, and back of the vest, and sewed the lining up just as I had sewn the fabric for the body of the garment. Most of the instructions I found for adding a lining to a vest (or sleeveless dress) did not include any information about collars, so I wasn’t quite sure what the proper order should be to attach the lining to the garment. I figured out the proper order by trial and error. When I sewed a seam in the wool boucle, the seam threads disappeared into the fabric, which made it very tedious to pick out a seam if I sewed it in the wrong order, so I hand basted most of the seams, then checked to see if the order worked properly BEFORE I sewed the permanent seam. This took several iterations to figure out the best order.

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The order that worked was:

  1. Sew garment side and shoulder seams and collar into garment – I left the side seams unsewn. The pattern instructions directs the sewer to fold the collar piece in half and sew almost the entire collar together, leaving about 2 inches open to turn the collar and to sew it to the back of the garment. Since I was lining the garment, I only sewed the sides and back edge of the collar together and left the side of the collar that is sewed to the garment open. Then I turned the collar and sewed the collar to the back of the garment, matching the notches and center of the garment with those of the garment. I also sewed the tab and buttons on the back of the garment.
  2. Sew garment facing to matching lining pieces
  3. Sew the lining side and shoulder seams together (treating facing and lining as one piece of fabric) – since the garment facing was cut from the same front pattern piece, it was not necessary for me to also cut this front pattern piece in the lining fabric. If I make this vest again, I will only cut the lining fabric out of the side front and back pattern pieces and sew the lining side front fabric directly to the facing front fabric.
  4. Sew the lining and the garment together at the neck and front.
  5. Sew the lining and the garment together at the armholes
  6. Sew the lining and the garment together at the bottom
  7. Top stitch front, neck, collar edges and along the bottom.

Vest hemI trimmed about an inch off the length of the lining and pressed the vest so the fabric was folded up about 1/2 inch to the inside.

Pressing the seams as I sewed them was a bit tricky. The boucle was very thick so I couldn’t get a nice crisp press and I also didn’t want to flatten the boucle loft so I used a light hand when ironing. I also dampened a washcloth and placed that on top of my ironing board where I placed the fabric to press and I used an ironing cloth when I pressed any seam on the vest.

Understitching the armholes and the facing was also difficult to do given the bulk of boucle and the lining material. Since I knew I was going to top stitch most of the seams, I didn’t understitch the front facing or the armholes. Instead I pressed the seams carefully so that none of the lining fabric was showing on the outside of the garment and then I top stitched the most of the seams very slowly to make sure the lining was not showing.

I’m pleased with how well the vest turned out and am looking forward to wearing it this winter. I don’t have a need for many vests so I think this will be the only vest I make for myself this year, but I might make another one next year.

Linen Summer Dress

I sewed a cool, breezy trapeze dress for summer.

Pattern: New Look 6340 (view A)
Fabric: Linen/Rayon blend

The Linen/Rayon blend fabric I chose was perfect for this dress and was a pleasure to sew. I sewed View A of the pattern, but since I’ve never cared for back ties, I left them off.

P1000888I included the pleated pockets since I think they add an interesting detail to the dress. I cut out the longer view of the dress, but shortened the dress by 4 inches to the View B version when I hemmed it.

 

P1000887I like a clean inside as well as a nice looking outside of my garments and Linen frays easily, so I finished all the seams by turning under 1/8″ of the seam allowances and stitching along the edge of the fold. The inside of the dress is neat and looks almost as good as the outside, with no frayed edges on display anywhere on the dress.

Front of dress

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Back of dress

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Sewing summer skirts

I used Simplicity pattern 2609 to sew some cool skirts for the summer.

WP_000443jld skirt

I really like this pattern because it is very easy and quick to sew. The skirt fits great and worked well for me when I was losing weight. I also like it because even though it has an elastic yoked waistline, it doesn’t add any bulk to my figure, so I don’t feel like I look fat when I wear it.

When I first sewed the pattern, I was quite a bit heavier than I am now. At the time I  was losing weight, so I changed the order in which I sewed the seams on the pattern so I could make quick alterations to its size as I lost weight. As I lost weight, I only had to cut off the side seams so I could sew up a new smaller seamline, then take in the elastic waistline a bit and repair the hem where I cut the fabric. I’ve taken the skirt up 3 times and it’s probably time to take it up again, although it’s easy to just shorten the elastic in the waistline. (See Original & Now)

I can cut out the pattern and sew the skirt in about 4 hours. Because it is so easy to make, I have sewn the skirt 3 times already.

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I purchased a khaki linen blend fabric and plan to make a 4th skirt in the near future.

You can view some of my other sewing projects in my “I made it!” Flickr album.

A Thousand Acres

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This was the second time I read “A Thousand Acres.” So many years had passed since the first time I read it, I didn’t remember many of the details of the story. But as the story enfolded, it all felt very familiar to me.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, but the story is so sad. The book starts up slowly – the author spends much time building the setting, describing the characters, and does a great job describing the family dynamics. Around the midpoint of the book, everything starts falling apart for the families that are central to the story. It is compelling and heart breaking to see how the family’s carefully crafted façade begins to fall apart as the characters and family ties implode and eventually collapse.

Biking in & around Douglas County, GA: The Silver Comet Trail

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Biking on the Silver Comet Trail is a wonderful way to spend the day with family or friends. 

Starting in Smyrna, GA, the Silver Comet Trail spans over 60 miles, running through Cobb, Paulding and Polk counties.  By the end of summer 2008, the Silver Comet Trail will connect to the Chief Ladiga Trail at the Georgia/Alabama state line, extending the trail another 100 miles and terminating in Anniston, Alabama. 

The Silver Comet Trail is a great place to ride, walk or jog.  The paved, mostly flat trail, spans some beautiful and scenic vistas and you can ride as far as you want without having to worry about cars.  (The picture above is looking West from the Hiram, GA trail head)

Continue reading Biking in & around Douglas County, GA: The Silver Comet Trail

Breath, by Tim Winton

BreathHave you ever finished a book that was so beautifully written that all you could do afterwards is just sit and meditate for a while to let the story settle down into your soul?

That’s how I feel tonight after finishing “Breath” by Tim Winton. I didn’t actually read the book since I listened to the audio version of the book on my mp3 player, but, no matter, the story was profoundly shared, wonderfully told, beautifully written, and now I must sit and meditate on it.  I may have to go read the printed version of the book to get another layer of Mr. Winton’s glorious style of spinning a story.