October 13, 2008

Making it actually fit you

Sewing, like knitting, is sometimes a real adventure in fitting. Even if your sewing is impeccable, if the garment doesn't fit you, it doesn't look good. A simple thing like fabric stretch and hand can really compound the issue. I'm sure we have all gone through this scenario--like the pants in this fabric, but in this other one, they bag to my knees.

Christine Johnson, a knitwear pattern designer, has actually produced a handy little page to help with this problem, based on ease and stretch of fabric. After thinking these things through, you pick your pattern size (or, adjust up and down if you are working with your own tnt wonders) based on the final fabric measurements to give you the ease, and fit, you desire. Check it out:

Perfect sizing worksheet

October 4, 2008

Grocery Bags galore

Have you ever wanted to have a bunch of reusable bags, but didn't want to advertise for a store? Sewing Pattern Review sponsored a grocery bag contest--which I didn't even enter--but it inspired me to post some neat links for making grocery bags.
You can check out the contest entries here:
grocery bag contest gallery


Sewing Links to check out:
There are a lot of different types of bags and links posited on the net. I gathered some of the more common ones here, sorted into basic shapes.

1. Just like the plastic grocery bags:
If you like the plain old 'just like the store's plastic bag' here are two tutorials, and a pattern.
This one gives you the pattern:
Indistructables grocery bags

This one uses a plastic bag to make the pattern:
Lunch bag based on plastic grocery sac

Burdastyle has a free pattern, similar to the traditional plastic bag, without the pleat at the bottom. You need a free membership to download the pattern, but after that you can play play play:

2. More like the paper bags:
This is a larger, traditional style carry bag. There is no seam on the bottom, and the cut outs along the fold provide the gusset. Handles are added to the top, or you can use other stuff you have around. I have an old, free, pattern from McCalls (probably given away in the early 80's) for a bag very similar to this one.

Here is another traditional style bag by creative thimble, with long reinforcing handles:

This bag pattern includes the traditional 'New Englander's Contrast bottom', my preference for the cottage.

This tutorial provides a very similar style bag, but with integrated, square cut out handles, that are reinforced by the extra fabric.

A number of patterns use actual paper bags as their pattern base. Sadly, some people like to take other people's work, and attempt to copyright it as their own. If you are basing your bag on a paper bag from the store, the pattern should not be your copyright--the shape was developed by someone else. Don't, for heaven's sake, use a paper bag from the store and then threaten litigation if someone else posts something similar (check out Jan Andrea's bag, and you will understand my vent). Many very smart people have posted versions of this bag. The person who developed the original grocery sac should really get the credit for this, now traditional, shape.

bag 1
bag 2
bag 3

3. And now, for some different shapes:

Check out this curved base grocery bag, with the comfort handles:

Or, this one, with a circular base from the Selvedge magazine by the Linnet Co.

Or this absolutely gorgeous quilter's Schlep bag, that is like a puzzle, done in squares:

Or this one, which is kind of like a grocery sac, with the handles turned:

And, the ultimate--a grocery bag, crocheted from recycled 'yarn' made from plastic grocery bags.