06 December 2017

Sewing project no. 35 of 35 - Hussif (roll-up sewing kit)

And, here is the grand finale. Project #1 was a baby hat; Project #35 is a sewing kit so that baby can sew her own 35 projects.
It was a present on the occasion of her completing sefer Yehoshua (Joshua) in English, with the Me'am Loez commentary for her birthday (we do siyyumim-which-are-more-or-less-birthday-parties in this family), which would take you or me about a week but was a major project for this kid.

It was a surprise. Loops goes through phases alternating pink-pink-pink with I'm-tired-of-pink-my-favorite-colors-are-orange-and-green. Right now we are in a pink phase so it had to be pink pink pink.

I could have bought her a sewing kit that comes in a cunning box with latches and trays, but I didn't see anything I liked.
It's not as if Loops has been clamoring to sew. So everything had to be as pretty and pleasant and painless to use as possible. I wanted a kit with good scissors and a retractable tape measure.
Push-button tape measures are even better than push-button umbrellas, and my mother carries a supply of them in her purse to amuse babies she meets in the park, but for some reason they haven't entered popular imagination as the tape measure in the way that when you think of an umbrella you automatically think of a retractable one.
So, I couldn't find a pre-packaged sewing kit that contained good scissors and a retractable tape measure, and although it occurred to me afterward that I could have bought a tackle box (with cunning latches and trays) for less than the fabric, I made Loops a hussif, aka housewife: a roll-up sewing kit, with a designated pocket for everything.

You can see historical examples of them here or here.
Here's mine:

Here it is all rolled up and being pink and satiny.

Then you untie and unroll it and it's full of pockets.

It contains:
1 pair Fiskar sewing scissors
Thread in white, black, pink, yellow, and tomato red (colors selected by recipient)
1 retractable tape measure
1 pair stork scissors. These are more or less redundant to the Fiskars but it is nice to have a tiny pair of scissors for delicate snipping, and besides, every kid should have stork scissors.
1 seam ripper
1 wand magnet
1 collection pearl-headed pins and fine needles, stuffed in a heart-shaped pincushion which is not too big to squeeze them out of when they inevitably get lost in it.
For an adult I would substitute glass-headed silk pins, which slide through fabric like butter, but Loops loves my pearly ones.

To make it:

I took a piece of quilting cotton 40 x 19 inches, folded it the long way ("hot dog"), ironed fusible interfacing on the inside to give it some heft, and sewed it shut.
Now I have a slightly stiffened pink rectangle which measures 40 x 9.5 in.

I draped aqua fabric over the scissors and cut it to size, so the dimension of that piece is (width of scissors' widest point plus a couple of inches) x 9.5 in.
I cut a slimmer rectangle of the same fabric (about 2" x 9.5") to be the lid for the pocket.

Same thing for thread.

I used two adhesive velcro dots to close each pocket. This works: it keeps the scissors & thread in, and isn't annoying to open.

The heart-shaped pockets were, again, draped to fit the tape measure and stork scissors; I cut two pink hearts and sewed them to two yellow satin hearts so they have satin lining and I didn't have to finish the edges. I didn't include room for velcro to close these pockets, so they don't close, which means you get stork scissors in your lap every time you open the hussif.

I made a narrow, side-opening pocket for the seam ripper. This works.

I took a strip of magenta cotton with finished edges and put velcro on it so you can thread it through the hole in the magnet handle and stick it to itself. This works.

The pincushion was a heart with finished edges, sewn to the base and stuffed with animal stuffing. This works well enough; you still get pricked (Loops will put the pins in sideways), but it's easy to use.

I rounded off the bottom corners to be pretty.

I pinned on all the pockets, sewed along the base of each one, basted down the sides, sewed some pink trim across a few that looked like they would benefit from decoration, and sandwiched the whole perimeter in pink alachson (can you tell I like that word?) -- bias tape.

Then I rolled it up and tacked a giant pink satin ribbon in the middle to the back, so the hussif ties shut with a bow.

If I were to do it again I think I'd add a pocket to store all the "cabbage" Loops always claims from my sewing projects and saves for some unknown future project.
I'd also roll it up the other way, I think; it feels counter-intuitive to unroll from the bottom.
These are minor points.
We're pleased. It had the desired effect: Loops suddenly has all sorts of ideas for the things she wants to sew, now that she has pretty pockets full of pretty sewing supplies.


05 December 2017

35 by 35 sewing recap

Looking back, here's the list.

1. Baby hat
2. Baby jumpsuit
*3. Teddy bear (and explanation of what 35 by 35 is about)
*4. Bekishe robe
5. Baby bloomers
6. Girls' costume dress (Queen of Lemons)
7. Baby shoes
8. Edwardian skirt
8b. Baby dress (pink gingham)
9. Skirt (interview)
10. Girls' dress (Gatsby)
11. Pinafore
12. Ultra-accurate 19th century doll
13. Bog coat
14. Eustace Tilley costume
15. Chemise
16. Girls' dress - Gatsby again, this time in chartreuse
17. Map of the world as a skirt
*18. Wisteria doll dress
19. Victorian wrapper
20. Petticoat, size small
21. Petticoat, size smaller
22. Fringed shawl
23. Mustard insta-skirt
24. Russet insta-skirt
25. Baby bonnet
26. Purple swim skirt - circle skirt
27. Butterfly wings
28. Pocket doll - first draft
29. Pocket doll - second draft
30. Pocket doll - just right
31. Sky-colored half-circle skirt for Pesach
32. Frock coat - One Sewing Project to Rule Them All
33. Girls' Victorian dress
34. Baby hat -- same pattern as no. 1
34b. I made another teddy bear. I forgot to post it. We'll leave it and 8b uncounted, because two of the earlier projects went unfinished when I felt they had served their purpose, and now I think that's cheating.
*35. Hussif sewing kit

All 35 have been documented on this blog, in the link right above them if they don't have their own. Asterisks indicate pictures.

35 by 35 no. 33

No. 33, Girl's Dress.
It occurs to me that I haven't joined in the HSF at all this year, other than to exclaim about the frock coat; and that wasn't even one of the challenges.
I actually did another piece of historical sewing this year and it made me fabulously happy: I made Persimmon a dress from the Sewing Academy's "Girls' Dresses" pattern.
I never know what I think about posting my family's closet on the Internet, but you can see examples of other people's work using this pattern on the forum connected with the Sewing Academy site (here, for instance).

There actually aren't very clear illustrations included in the pattern of how it will look when it's finished; but I've worked from Sewing Academy publications before and I'm always pleased with the results, so I just marched.

Oh, boy! I think I'm done buying children's dress patterns forever.
Well, for a week.
I'm so pleased with how this one turned out. I think I'll use it for everything. I think we'll have SA-250 Girls' Dresses for dinner.

I made the gathered bodice with a yoke and put tucks in the skirt (one thing Elizabeth Stewart Clark is wonderful about is providing detailed instructions -- yes, it should be fairly obvious how to make tucks; but yes, she walks you step-by-step. by step. by step. through the process). That was something new.

Another new experience was piping the neckline, which involved making bias tape. It turned out not to be scary at all, and it doesn't consume nearly as much fabric as I imagined; I pieced all my bias tape out of tiny scraps.

"Bias tape" is one of those words you do not learn in high school Hebrew.
I remember calling the sewing supply store in Geula and trying to explain what I wanted. You know, you take the fabric, and you lay it out, and you cut it into strips, not on the square, but... uh...
"Alachson!" exclaimed my interlocutor.
Yeah. Yeah. That. Alachson. Thanks.

So, I made my own alachson this time.

And poof! Persimmon is a perfect Victorian child. Fabulous.

Loops wants the same dress but with pleats instead of gathers.
I guess I'll be learning how to make pleats.

The Challenge: I missed the whole year... I won't link this one to the HSF; let's call it a submission for Out of Your Comfort Zone. I still never sew anything that isn't.
Material: sage cotton gingham from Denver Fabrics. I think it looks like kitchen curtains. But as a dress, I like it.
Pattern: SA-250 Girls' Dresses, from the Sewing Academy.
Year: I'm going to say 1853 for the pleasure of it.
Notions: Hooks and eyes only. Hooks and eyes are great for the timid among us because you don't have to cut a hole in anything. You can rip them out and move them.
How historically accurate is it? Impeccably!
Hours to complete: some scattered around the country
First worn: just for a regular Shabbos.
Total cost: I ordered more fabric than I needed, even for both girls. I foresee more kitchen-curtain-colored garments in our future.

Oh, and No. 34 I made another baby hat from Voor Nop.
This time I finished all the seams with a sort of improvised flat-fell. Yay.