Monday, September 15, 2014

Pink Reception Dress and Interior Finishing

 If you follow my personal blog, you read about our Illinois Reception last week. But what you didn't learn was that I specially designed and created the pink dress especially for the reception!

Photo by Amanda Dominick
I found the fabric on clearance at JoAnn's. I believe I paid $3 a yard for 4 yards. It's a very lightweight printed muslin, that was really fun to sculpt a dress from. It was also fussy - that pleating on the front is all tacked down by hand!

With this dress, I challenged myself to finish the interior as completely as possible. I rarely do this, as it's a lot of extra work and doesn't affect the exterior of the garment in most cases. However, I wanted to prove that I could do it! So every single seam on the bodice was turned and slipstitched.

Yes, even the armholes!

It was a lot of handsewing but so satisfying.

(I did not french seam the skirt, which would have been the equivalent type of finishing. I had a serger and was quite happy to just utilize that.)

There's something else I did special for this gown, and that is to make a proper short skirt crinoline!

Photo by Amanda Dominick

Here you can see the bit of poof it gives the skirt has my dad and I have our father/daughter dance. The crinoline was a lot of work, but I made it a completely separate garment from this dress so now I can wear it under any short party frock I choose!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Want more "Seamstress Confessions?"

I like to keep my blog posts long and informative - but I've got a lot more to share! I love posting costume photos and blog posts that I find online over on the Confessions of a Seamstress Facebook page, along with quick updates and shorter 'confessions.' If you're already following me over there, make sure to like, comment and share often to make sure Facebook knows you want to see all of my content!

What if you want sneak peeks at my upcoming projects? Then you should check out my instagram. I post snapshots of WIPs, including some exclusive ones! Also featured here: knitting, GF food, pretty house things, and awesome people.

You can also come drool over awesome fashion and costumes with me at Pinterest. I have boards devoted to Clothing Design, Sewing, Crafty Things, Knitting, Embroidery, and MORE! You can choose to follow me, or just the boards you find interesting.

I also always post my finished costume photos on DeviantArt, and have a tumblr devoted to everything I love, including costuming.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Leather Tapestry Laptop Backpack

Nathan and I have been off in Illinois this past week enjoying a belated wedding reception thrown by his parents for those who could not make it to our chilly January wedding in Minnesota. It was a wonderful vacation and I came home greatly rested and full of new enthusiasm for life!

Two days before heading down I decided to tackle a project I've been thinking about for awhile: a leather tapestry backpack large enough to accommodate my laptop. My old laptop back was wearing out, and I hadn't found any backpacks that were large enough, cheap enough, and cute enough to justify the purchase and commitment. So I decided to make one myself!

First off, I went to the fabric warehouse where they sell leather scraps by the pound. I found a piece back enough for the flap, bottom and buckles of my laptop. It weighed in at 5.5lb, which was just $5.50! Then I searched until I found the perfect piece of rose tapestry fabric to form the body of the bag. 1/2 yd of that was just $5.00. Finally I plucked a lace applique out of a bin. I wasn't sure how much that was going to be, so imagine my excitement when it rang up for just $1.00!

 So exciting. I rounded off my supplies with a buckle I'd gotten from a church rummage sale for $.50, interfacing and thread from my personal store, and part of a heavy cream tablecloth for the lining from my fabric stash.

I don't have a ton of photos from the cutting out phase, but basically I measured my laptop+writing binder to figure out how big I wanted the body of the bag to be and cut out corresponding rectangles for the sides and bottom of the leather, tapestry fabric, and lining. I then used the straps of another backpack to create the pattern for the new straps. I added some thick cream fleece to the inside of the straps to make them nicely padded.

You don't want to pin leather together because the hole marks stay (see above). So I glued all of my pieces before topstitching them. To get a good topstitch, I used a leather needle in my machine and thick topstitching thread. My machine did just fine as long as it had the same number of layers for the entire seam. Sewing varying layers or a bump like the buckle edge above messed up the tension like crazy. So I filled in the holes by stitching that section by hand.

The topstitching thread has a bit of a waxy quality to it, and I knew from experience that it likes to unravel over time. So I secured each end with a bit of crafty glue.

Here you can see the buckle and straps coming together!

The tapestry fabric and tablecloth lining made for a sturdy bag, but I wanted to go the extra mile so I interfaced both of the tapestry side pieces.

Before sewing the pieces together, I pinned on the lace applique and stitched it down.

Above you can see the sewn and serged lining. Basically it is a tube, with a square sewn into the bottom to form the base. The outer shell was created the same way, but using the tapestry fabric and a leather square for the base. but before I sewed the outer shell together, I needed to attach the straps.

Here I ran into the tension problem again when I wanted to use leather squares to cover the join between the straps and the back of the pack. I was forced to punch out the holes using the leather needle on my machine, but complete the actually stitching by hand.

It wasn't terrible, but my fingers did get very tired after three hours of this!

The leather squares go through all the layers, but I did not want to depend on that to support the weight of the pack, so I did some heavy-duty zigzagging to actually secure the straps to the back.

Here you can see it all laid out.

Time to stitch the outer and inner shells together! I slipped the lining into the outer shell, then folded over the raw edges for topstitching. I inserted the back edge of the leather flap between the back pieces so that the topstiching would secure it in place.

This was also the point where I pinned in the back loop for hanging the pack on hooks.

Almost done! Time to put in the buckle and drawstring...

Look at that!!!

All sewn down!

A custom sized laptop backpack that took me just 2 days and $11.50 to make! I had it done and ready to haul my computer off to Illinois!