Part two.. The pattern.. And 112

Enter..my mother. Mom is interesting. Aside from being an art teacher and librarian she, drag raced cars, traveled the world while living out of a suitcase, and designed for Vogue Patterns in the early 1970s’. Needless to say she can sew. She got me through doing 8 years of The Rocky Horror Show in amazing style. We’re great friends as well

so I rang her up and asked her about helping me come up with a pattern. Now I’m a decent sewer. I can run up a hem or fix a button hole, but take me out of a straight stitch and I’m kinda lost. It was a good long conversation about what I hoped the bag could look like and what I could do skill set wise. I sent her up a copy of the finished Pixie deck so she could get the correct size and she went to work.

In the mail about a week later came a thick envelope. In it was a pile of cut fabric, little bits of paper and a note to Skype her as soon as I got it. So I did. What she had done was to map out the bag in six steps. Each step was written out with an example of what the bag should look like when that step was completed. It was perfect, and it was lined. That’s my mom’s

big thing. It didn’t matter if it was a vest for work or a one night only costume piece for Rocky Horror it WOULD be lined. This was no exception. The bag she came up with was a double draw string back complete wi

th lining.  Now I just needed to get a sewing machine that worked.

Sewing machines are complicated little things these days. They can; write names, do 50 different decorative stitches, be hooked up to your computer. The one thing that they don’t seam to be able to do is to hold the tension of the thread well enough so that it doesn’t keep breaking. Tension is what makes the whole thing work. Have the thread to tight and it breaks, too loose and it just loops up and makes a big mess. I had a little sewing machine and this was the issue with it. Even if I never touched the settings from one piece of fabric to the next, SOMETHING would go wrong. Knowing that the project was going to take a heck of a long time as it was the last thing I wanted to deal with was machine issues, so I set about finding a simple sewing machine. Not to simple I guess. After slogging through dozens of models with hundreds of reviews on Amazon I ran across a very helpful one. My take on things like this is to read the 2-3 star reviews to see what the issue the reviewer had with the item was and see if there is a consistent issue and there was . The 4.5 star highly rated Brothers models got stellar reviews from allot of people, but almost always the lower reviews said the same thing: the tension tends to go wonky. In one review they said it was nice for the hobby sewer but they wish they had just spent the extra few dollars and gotten a Janome . I’d never heard of them so I called mom and got a very enthusiastic review of the Janome brand from her. She said they didn’t have all the bells and whistles of allot of other companies but that they were very dependable. That was the word I wanted to hear. Now the machine had the blessings of The Womb I ordered it and once more… waited.

Waited..well waited and shopped. Because I knew sizes of things now I could figure out the yardage of the rest of the fabric I needed. First off was how many of these things  did I think I could make. I knew it would be a least 100, because that just always is a good number for a limited edition. I also had to figure in how long it would take to make so that was a good round, challenging number. The extra 12 come in as an homage to the fact that it’s 2012 and the whole ‘end of the world’ thing. 112 it was and now that the custom fabric was ordered I could turn attention to the rest of the bag.

Here in the burbs of Chicago we don’t get much choice in fabric, but if one travels a bit one can get to the wonderful Mecca of fabric known as Vogue Fabrics. Here you can get real silks and satins in ever color and pattern you can think of. Fabrics that exist no where else in town are to be found at Vogue. Knowing that my husband Scott would be into this we made a day of it and headed out on a fabric hunt.

I wish that I could say that it was hours of debating fabrics there, but I can’t. The fabric for the back found us after about 15 min of being there.  Because there are going to be several different colors for the front there would have to be more then one color for the back, but they had to be the vibrant colors that the deck is made of. There was a wall of beautiful brightly colored taffeta fabrics. We fell in love with a textured silk taffeta that came in the strong jewel tones we needed. Well that was simple. 90 min of driving for a 15 min search. Well not quite. The lining was the big issue. A pattern was in order for the lining, but just what we were not sure. It could have been so easy to go goth and get black, or cheesy and get the kind with little glitter stars in it but neither, to us, fit the project. We finally settled on a very cute fabric with a simple pattern in the perfect colors. We now had fabrics and on to the pull string and finishing touches on it…

3 Comments Add yours

  1. submerina says:

    Your mom sounds AWESOME! Lining everything 🙂 Janome’s are my machine of choice too; these days it’s impossible to find a machine that just… sews. Good luck with the bags!

    1. I know! I ordered the machine as well as a plethora of parts and things just to be safe. it has been running nonstop this week and not one issue. I think I’m going to adopt it as my first born

  2. your mom sounds like my grandma.´ I wish she would still be here…

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