Thursday, July 4, 2013

One never knows!!

Hi.  I'm never quite sure what I'll be asked to sew.  My friend Paul, who owns the fabric store in Bethlehem, often shares my name as someone who sews anything.  I'm glad we support each other's businesses, but I've gotten weird requests!  The latest was different. 

Kristen stopped by the store last Thursday.  She was getting in her car as I was getting out of mine, and asked if I was the sewing teacher, then followed me back into Enright's.  She took a piece of suede out of a bag, and a pair of chaps, and asked if I would be able to add 4" to the length of the legs.  We discussed a few possibilities, and she put the chaps on to show me how they work and why she needs the length.  I realized I couldn't just add it to the bottom, because there is a godet that shapes the bottom, to accommodate the instep of the boots.  The bottom edge isn't flat, and adding to the bottom would require lots of work.  I asked if I could put a piece in the leg, above the ankle area, and reattach the ankle part, and we decided that was the best option. 

This picture shows the bottom edge of the right leg.  See the part that sticks up?? There is a godet (triangle piece that creates that pleat) under there, and then trim appliqued on top.  This is for the instep of the boot.  The left edge has an angled fringe, and the right has elastic.  It closes with a zipper down the back of the leg, which is hidden by the fringe.  I had already removed the zipper and elastic from the bottom in this picture. 
I decided to add a shaped piece to make it blend better with the applique trim on the leg and hip.  I created a pattern that would add the 4" section, plus have a piece I would cut for fringe.  I wanted the point of my addition to meet the point above the godet section. 
This is my pattern and the resulting cut section of the applique piece I designed. 
I've done work with leather before, many years ago, when I had a tailoring business.  I have a setting on my Viking Sapphire 850 machine, and the special needles and a Teflon presser foot, so this only took a few moments to prepare my machine for sewing leather.  
Here is the piece stitched into the leg, with the fringe added, and the zipper and elastic reattached.  Since I couldn't lengthen the zipper, or get the elastic, Kristen agreed that the only thing to do was sew them down as far as they could go, and since it was open, her spurs could go through the opening.  It just needed to cover her boot heels. 
This picture shows both legs, with the added shaped piece.  I had to cut above the design on the leg, and sew on my applique with a 4" gap between the pieces I cut. 
This shows the inside of the section I separated, with the new piece added. 
I do enjoy challenges and playing with different fabrics.  Thinking about solutions to challenges is always fun.  One of the things I love most is when I can talk to my father about my ideas.  He worked in an apron factory before he joined the army.  He's great about considering patterns and shapes and adding things, so I was glad this request came when I had planned a short trip to Long Island and could discuss it with him. 
The FUNNIEST part was that I needed to show Dad how the chaps worked, so he could consider a minor issue I had with my first pattern.  I couldn't wear them and show him, so we asked Mom to put them on so he could see how they worked.  Now THAT was funny!!  Seeing my mom, who never even wears jeans, in chaps??? Priceless!!  Dad even buckled them around her hips.  I think he was laughing inside as much as I was.  Mom's a great sport!!  But he agreed with my idea, and helped me refigure my pattern to match the point on the chaps.  I really wish I had a picture of Mom in the chaps!! 
So, I never know what challenges I'll get, but fixing something and laughing with my parents are always welcome activities. 
I wonder what's next?? Thanks for visiting!


thebutterflyquilter said...

I would have loved to see you Mom in them! It is so wonderful that you can sew with so many different types of materials and can sew clothing. I am a little envious but they look great!

Pamela said...

I work in a quilt shop, too, so I know exactly what you mean! You did a wonderful job on the chaps, and I'm glad the owner was so great at working with you and understanding the limitations of what you could do. One of my most memorable jobs was moving a zipper in a wetsuit from the back to the front. We figured out why they put them in the back - it's awful hard to bend your arms and put the suit on the other way!

Cynthia Brunz Designs said...

Great job! What would life be without these challenges! It keeps our minds sharp.

DownHome Designs said...

You did a wonderful job on the chaps! I've always loved a challenge too. I had quite a few to deal with when our youngest was on the danceline with the HS marching band. I made their prop garments and even show costumes a couple of times. Once I had to remake them after someone else made a mess of them. I had to change the design and there wasn't enough fabric left so I had to be creative and make it work. There's such a sense of accomplishment when you're finished. Thanks for sharing your adventure with this project!

Michele Bilyeu said...

brilliant alteration! I'm often asked to 'fix'. 'create, or mend strange things but I've yet to be offered a pair of chaps! Great job! I sew on a Viking Sapphire, too and have had great fun creating a lot of liberated fun with her.

Michele Bilyeu said...

Now, I just read you also have a Babylock Imagine serger...and that is also what I sew on...what a double coincidence!