Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


Crafty vacation week

My husband, Chris, and I couldn’t quite agree on what to do for our vacation the week of June 29.

Chris wanted to go camping and give our new tent and supplies, which we received as Christmas gifts last year, a second time out of their bags. And, boy, was it beautiful weather! Perfect for camping. Chris imagined sleeping under the stars somewhere in the North Carolina mountains.

Although I like to camp, I really wanted to spend a week at home relaxing and crafting. With all the commuting I do on a weekly basis, I really longed to stay at home and enjoy the homestead.
Understanding of my feelings, Chris agreed to take a staycation. He worked in the yard, planting new shrubs and flowers while I happily got busy completing projects I’ve had laying around for weeks.

One of those projects was a pair of shorts I had cut out of a thin blue, yellow and pink plaid material my grandmother had given to me. Double lined with the same print, the project taught me the new skills of pocket making and belt carriers, or loops.

I quickly whipped them up, wanting to wear them for the upcoming July 4th weekend. Unfortunately, the waistband was too short. But, impatient me, I tucked and pulled at the shorts to make them fit, causing a pucker in the front right of the shorts. Pretty unsightly.

I also had trouble with the hems. I couldn’t figure out what made the material pucker. With both problems, I couldn’t bring myself to wear the shorts as is.

Consulting with Janice Saunders Maresh’s “Sewing for Dummies,” my trusty sewing Bible, I learned how to expand the waistband to make it fit better and learned to taper the leg seams so that the hems to prevent puckering. I haven’t tackled either technique yet but am happy that the shorts aren’t a total loss.

Another techinque I’ve been wanting to learn is knitting socks. The idea of knitting with five double-pointed needles scared me. How in the world would I be able to keep stitches from slipping off of the needles. That seemed like it would be a pretty common problem with a sock project. Using a size 4 set of double-pointed needles and Cindy Guggemos’ “I Can’t Believe I’m Knitting Socks,” a Christmas gift from my mom, I decided to give it a go.

I was certain I’d be all thumbs, but so far it’s been fairly easy. I’ve got a couple of holes here and there, but that’s most likely from dropped or stretched stitches. I hope to soon graduate from the basic sock pattern to the basic chevron pattern, which I think is by far the prettiest pattern in the whole book.

I can’t wait to get good enough to knit some socks for my mom and sister for Christmas. I’m thinking the little arrowhead socks in pink for Mom and the crest o’ the waves, my second favorite pattern in the book, in a purple, red or black for my sister. Or maybe knitting them up with some verigated yarn would be nice.

So, lots of progress this week. There’s nothing like getting some creative time in and catching up on some projects.
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Sewing terms

After talking with a friend and learning she didn’t know what many of the things that I discussed in my last post, I thought I’d give a quick tutorial. I may do this from time to time to clarify any tools or techniques if you so desire. Just let me know!

As a demonstration, I’ll use the pair of pants I discussed in the last post.A hem is the bottom or top of a garment that’s folded over and sewn to create a smooth finished edge. In the picture below, it’s the thread that is sewn horizontally. This is the bottom of one of the pants legs.

A seam is the area where two pieces of material are joined with thread. In the picture above it’s the thread that runs vertically. Below it’s where the material comes together, located horizontally.
Outer leg seams are the sections were the back and front of the pants meet at the thigh/outer area of your leg and side.

Inner leg seams are the seams

that hold the front and back of the pants together from the crotch down to the edge of the garment.
The casing is this folded over and sewn material that holds the drawstring for the pants. This is really tricky as it requires a lot of folding, ironing and sewing and you have to be careful not to sew too far toward the middle of the casing or you won’t be able to pull the drawstring through! Here is a picture of the casing:
A seam ripper is your friend. And, as I learned the hard way, it can be your enemy. It’s used to rip out the threads from sewing if you need to make some adjustments or if you made any mistakes. Seam ripper:
The seam ripper is sharp. It’ll rip your fabric if you’re not careful. But since a shirt will cover the casing most of the time, I decided not to worry about fixing the problem because that would probably require either a small patch or creating a whole new casing.


Finally!

I’ve been working on these pair of pants for weeks now:

And I’ve finally finished!

When I first completed the pants a few weeks ago, I was discouraged to find the pants were too big. I mean huge! I looked like I was ready to audition for the circus.

So the past few weeks I’ve been mulling over what to do to correct the mistake. Do I have to take out every single hem? How much should I take out?

After much thought and discussion with my mom and some other people, I decided that I’ve worked much too hard on these pants for them to go to waste. There’s not much warm weather time left so time was running out!

So I took off the casing, which is at the top and holds the drawstring, and undid the hems at the bottom. But I left the hem at the top. A classmate in my sewing class, which I’m taking through Oct. 7, suggested no one would see the top hem, so leave it. So I did.

Unfortunately, all that seam ripping didn’t come without casualties. I tore a small hole in the casing. But, I refuse to worry about it! It’s a small hole and hopefully no one will notice since a shirt will cover the top of the pants most of the time.

After taking out the seams and casing, I marked an inch from each outer leg hem and sewed ’em up. I then tried the pants and decided to take out 3/4 inches more. Now the fit was just a tad tight in the hips, but otherwise fit nicely.

So I trimmed off the excess material, reattached the casing and drawstring and hemmed the legs. Perfect!

I wore the pants yesterday to visit family and go to a show with my hubby.