Thursday, July 12, 2007

Channeling Audrey

I love to sew. Most of my sewing is related to work clothes since I love tailoring, but that usually requires a muslin, lots of fitting and lots of sewing both machine and hand. Sometimes I just want to sew something fun, which means no muslin & fitting. Since PR changed the rules on their contest and an accessory is now one required item, rather than count one of my jackets as the accessory, I preferred to sew a purse. Handbags are fun. They allow for creativity (even though mine leans towards a more classic, subdued approach), imagination, and use of scraps and stuff already on hand. I don't sew these very often, but really get into it when I do. They also provide much quicker gratification. I'm sure these reasons are some of Deepika's since she is the queen of purse-making.

I had scraps left over from my jackets, lots from the cotton one and a little from the black linen jacket. I also bought several yards of ribbon last winter from an on-line ribbon site--I could not stop picking out different ribbons, but managed to stop when I hit $45. Mind you I rarely use ribbon outside of gift-wrapping. But once again, I was inspired and let loose. Well the black and cream ribbon in my stash was so perfect with the scraps from these two jackets, I just had to make a purse. I still needed a lining, but thought why not a black check lining--then off to my least favorite fabric source, Joann's. Sure enough they had a great match. I also needed a pattern and did not want to spend a lot and there wasn't any sale that day, so Butterick was a good choice. I found B4474 which was just the right size of 10" x 8"--not too big. Then the search for handles--but the only ones they had that worked were bamboo, so my choices were limited. A couple weeks later I was at Fabric Place and they had totally different handles to choose from. I found the perfect little black ones. I'll just have to save the bamboo for another purse.

Last Saturday was a great time to start this fun project. I cut out the pattern and fabric, fused two layers of interfacing to the body of the purse even though the instructions only required one layer and off I went. I'm also glad I fused two layers, because it really gave the bag more structure. In fact I could have used a stiffer interfacing, but I used what I had on hand, since I did not want to drive 20 minutes to Joann's or Fabric Place just for a piece of interfacing. The pattern was well drafted, but the instructions were so-so. They really did not skip any steps, but I question if the bags on the envelope were made using the same instructions. The two major complaints about the instructions were that, first, the lining bottom should be sewn with a very wide opening to allow for the cardboard to pass through after the lining is attached to the bag. The illustration showed a small opening which would not work if you don't want to bend the cardboard. I used two layers of cardboard for more stability. Then the other problem was that after the lining was attached and turned right-side out with the bag, you are expected to understitch all around the top of the bag. This is a nearly impossible feat. I found top-stitching around the top to be a much easier way to go. Besides, the instructions had already had you top-stitch the loops for the handles and the tab for the snap. It just made sense to top-stitch again. I had recently purchased some sew-on magnetic purse snaps from Sawyer Brook which worked perfectly and found a button in the button stash which was a close match to the handles, just the right touch to finish this bag. Here's my PR review on this pattern.

Now I'm on the lookout for great fabric to go with those bamboo handles.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Burda 8433

This jacket has been cut out since Memorial Day, but I did not have a chance to work on it until late June. The muslin for this was made prior to Memorial Day and fitting this was fairly easy. Anyway, I posted my review on Pattern Review. This jacket did not give me any problems and I was very happy with the drafting, especially the sleeves. I made some changes to this pattern leaving off the cuffs and just finishing the slits at the wrist. Once again I decided to underline this jacket with silk organza. This stuff is really easy to work with and provided just enough body so that the linen of this jacket doesn't go limp. I finished off the seams with rayon seam binding which turned out much easier to do that I had originally thought. Yeah!--I'll definitely use this technique again. Well I have already worn this to work since it fits in quite well with what I already own. Anyway, a black jacket usually works most of the time. No inside pictures since the details just won't show up. Maybe I'll make one up in a lighter fabric and post that.

One thing that held me up was that my sister-in-law, Nadine, came to visit with her boyfriend on their way to Ireland. They live in Phoenix, so Boston is a definite vacation destination for them since it is so different than the desert. They stayed with us for four days during which time we visited the annual crafts fair in Cohasset (where the very well-to-do live by the ocean), ate out most nights and spent Sunday along the Coastal Wine Trail. My husband, Ken, and I first followed this last year and just loved it. The wineries on this trail are very much like the one in the Finger Lakes, New York.

We only had an hour drive from our house to the first stop, Westport River Winery. We arrived a hour before they opened so we went off looking for a place to have a quick lunch. We found a place on Main Street, which was more of a rural road than the name suggested and found a place named someone or other's dry good and kitchen. There were two young women (the cooks) in the rear of this gift shop who served wonderful homemade sandwiches, soups and all types of dessert goodies. Of course, we all had dessert. When we arrived back at the winery, they were open and we decided to take a tour which took an hour. At the end of the tour, we did our tasting outside overlooking the vineyards. This winery specialized in champagne since it grows so well in this part of the country. The tour brought back all hat Ken and I had learned when we visited Moet & Chandon back in 2001. Anyway, it was a perfect day for tasting, around 75 and sunny.

Then off to Sakonnet Vineyard which was about a 20 minute drive down windy back roads. This place is also in a lovely setting, but I guess we were so absorbed in the tasting we forgot to take pictures. Sakonnet has been around for a while. Ken and I remember buying their wine back home before we had kids (and they are now both Marines, so it was quite a while ago). Anyway, it is worth the stop.

Our last stop was Greenvale Vineyards. They have one of the prettiest barns I have ever seen. All tasting takes place in the barn. This was the most low-key, less crowded place of the three we visited. When I retire, I want to work here pouring wine. What a life!!

Needlesstosay, we did also buy. We have a wine rack in our cellar which holds 126 bottles and it was getting a little bare, especially lacking in white wines. So this little adventure helped us stock up until we go off to the Finger Lakes for our annual wine gathering trip.

After Greenvale, we headed for Newport, RI. Nadine and Vic had never been there, even though I have been trying to talk them into visiting this place. Once there, they loved it. We spent our entire time on the waterfront looking at the small shops and taking in the views. We had dinner at a restaurant on the water, and of course, had wine with our meal. Sounds like our day was a big drunk, but trust me, it really wasn't. Everything was spread out over the entire 10 hour period and we really did not drink that much at each winery since they give out only a couple sips of each wine. Anyway, at least Ken and I have learned after a taste to dump our wine into the vessel provided at each winery. Did you see Sideways? Remember towards the end of the movie when Miles (Paul G) was at a winery tasting room and drank out of a pitcher--that was the wine leftovers everyone dumped. Mind you, we only drink from wine glasses.