Friends, a month or so ago I bought this gorgeously soft and fine interlined Japanese cotton fabric from The Drapery. I got two metres with the thought that I would make a muslin type baby wrap/swaddle with one half and something else with the remaining fabric. Once I had looked through my vintage layette patterns for inspiration I knew this fabric would be perfect for a lightweight sleeping bag. Even though my sewing room is nowhere near finished I decided I needed to sew…not in the morning and not when my sewing room is finally finished, but right NOW!
Even Brown Dawg’s insistent nudging for a cuddle didn’t stop me from sewing…and Brown Dawg LOVES his cuddles and pats and keeps coming back for more; he has no switch that says, “I’ve had enough attention.” No sireee…Brown Dawg is an attention addict.
Normally I would trace a copy of any vintage pattern that I intended to use and then use the copy…but not this time: I wanted to get started straight away. I decided to trace directly onto the fabric so I could cut out the fabric without the pattern on the fabric so it wouldn’t accidentally get damaged.
When I trace directly on to fabric I use a Frixion (pronounced like friction – I think??) pen. They are so nifty it’s unbelievable. Get this…the marks disappear when heat is applied (iron) and then if you apply cold (throw it in the freezer or ice cubes in a zip-lock baggy rubbed over the fabric) the markings become visible again!!! The ink washes out so it’s not visible once the project is finished and laundered. You can get them in a range of colours at any Office Works store for a few dollars.
Generally, I find making sewing markings with fabric pens less than easy, but if the pen has a roller-ball tip it can be done fairly easily. The trick is in the way you draw. Instead of dragging the tip of the pen across the fabric like you would when you draw a line on paper, you need to do a flicking/dotting movement as you move across the the fabric. This way the fabric isn’t dragged out of shape, which is what happens when you drag the pen across the fabric in a line. Even the pattern markings are done in a dotting/flicking movement.
As you can see I don’t use pins on vintage patterns – it’s pattern weights all the way. Once the fabric is marked, I take the pattern weights off and then pin the fabric so I can cut it out without it moving – this is especially important if I’m cutting out a piece that’s ‘on the fold’.
Once I’ve cut the fabric out, I turn it over and put the pattern down in reverse and make the markings on the reverse piece. I tend not to use scissors when I’m cutting out – I like the ease and speed of a rotary cutter. The only time I would use scissors is if there is an especially tight curve that the rotary cutter might have trouble navigating…sometimes I just use a smaller rotary cutter which works just fine.
Readers, I’ve finished sewing for the night and the sleeping bag is only half done. I am making French seams on this project, something I routinely do – I love them and use them whenever possible. So far I have joined the sleeves to both sides of the front piece and both back pieces. Only one of those four seams is completely finished into a French seam. Halfway through the second part of the second seam the needle broke.
It was late and I needed a cup of tea so I finished up for the night. I can’t tell you how nice it was to be able to lay the project on the desk (which will soon be a raised cutting island on wheels), turn my machine off and walk away until I’m ready to go back to it tomorrow…