Thursday, February 25, 2010

Making Irish Panty Purses

Getting tired of all of this snow we've been getting and thinking ahead to next month, to Saint Patrick's Day and have been inspired to make up some Irish Panty Purses.

Been snowed in a lot this month. Getting more of it right now while typing away. It started around 7 AM and it's now 9 AM and the snow is sticking to the ground.  The trees are once again covered with snow. Twice this month our recycle pick up will be snowed out you might say. They pick up every other week, on Thursdays. So now there is a months of recycleing contents sitting in plastic buckets in the house. Will be housebound for another couple of days, so, I'll more or less be sewing away moreso, again, the same thing I did the last couple of times we've been snowed in.

 Made up 3 batches of these Irish Panty Purses so far this month. Each batch consists of four of them, thus totaling a dozen all together. The reason I do up four at a time is because they need pieces of fabric twelve inches by ten inches to make them up. That's one third of a yard of material for each layer of fabric for making up the four of them.  The fabric is about fourty four inches wide, so four will fit across the width of the fabric.  The length of them is about six inches long, so, when doubling that, you end up with twelve inches for the length. 

 Most of the time I use 3 layers of fabric. The interfacing and the lining is usually the same fabric which more or less matches the outer fabric. This depends a lot on the tickness of the fabric. The two above with the white backgrounds are a thin cotton and did them up three layers thick, whereas the other one below is a thicker and heavier material, so it's only two layers thick. They are the ones in the panty purse tutorial from earlier this month.

Doing up the panty purse on my new sewing machine, the Brother SE350 is/was a breeze. Made a change on the pattern to overcome the problem with the eight inch zippers when making them up. Trimmed down the sides a wee bit at the top of them, which gives them a more defined angle on their sides.

Plus found out that the computerized sewing/embroidery machine has another built in safety feature. It lets you know when the bobbin is getting low. The machine kept on wanting to close down and turn off. Kept on over-riding that feature when just about finished with the fourth pair of panty purses.  Believe it or not, only had about eight inches of thread left in the bobbin when the last pair  was finished.  That was really, really cutting it close to really, really running out of thread in the bobbin, that's for sure.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Using Coffee Filters on the Brother SE350.

I like the way that the coffee filters came out a lot better than the paper towels did when using the Brother SE350.  Really a lot neater and a cleaner looking back. Plus a lot easier for tearing away. I doubled up on the coffee filter. I really have enough of them to do that, with the 2 packs of 250 of them... Used them for backings on a craft cotton with embroidering 3 initals, an inch tall, that take up a wee bit over an inch wide when you include the spacing between them. They just about filled up the 4 inch embroidering area widthwise.

I broke another needle. This time I immediately hit the green button to stop the the machine even before the machine's safety notice came up . What happened was that I had the wrong size end cap on the top spool of thread.

The instruction book says to use a larger one than the spool size, which I didn't do. The thread got stuck in that little slant in the spool that it's in when you buy the spool of thread. That's exactly why they say to use the larger spool end cap. My error. For me, this is a learn as you go and a trial and error in changing over from a manual operating machine to a computerized machine.

Am running the machine now with a number 14 needle. It came with a number 11 inserted into it. Always ran my machines with the number 14 needle. Learned that back in the 1950's from my high school sewing instructor you might say.Either her or my mother. One of them taught me that little trick. If using a delicate fabric, I change the needle for that, or if using a heavy fabric, use a heavier needle. For everyday use on the craft cotton when working with the YKK zippers in the Panty Purses, I think the number 14 is a better choice. That might be why the first needle broke, because it was a number 11.

As for breaking needles, found out from some of my crafty internet embroidery friends that this is a common thing with them. They said that they buy the needles in bulk, a hundred at a clip. Guess I'm going to have to do that, too, for doing my craft work.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Update on the Brother SE350

Today I tried out doing some embroidery work. I printed "Peggy Winifred" on some scrap fabric. Did it the real old fashioned way, using paper towls as a tear away backing. Worked out fine.

Someone told me to try coffee filters for the backing, so I ran out and bought some. Not a coffee drinker. Am a tea totler. I have a small metal measuring tape on my key chain that I pulled out and used to measure their width. Coffee filters, it turns out, come in different widths.  The ones I ended up buying are circular, 8.25 inches in diamater, with 250 of them in a pack. Bought two of them because they were on sale, two packs for three dollars. Can't go wrong with that price, even if they're the store brand. I have 500 of them to play around with. Should last me a lifetime. Most likely cheaper and probably better than using the paper towls. Will let you know with the next post.

The area for embroidering that this machine does is four inches square.  The embroidery hoop that came with the machine has about a 5 X 6.25 inch work area. There's a clear plastic grid that also comes with it that has holes in it for putting a ball point pen or the like, marking off the embroidering area and the center of the area. Of course, instead of using a regular pen you'd use a chalk pen for doing your markings.  Put a coffee filter in the hoop. It just fits it with all four corners covered. 

Have to watch and make sure that I buy this size again, if I ever run out of the ones I now have in my sewing notions stash. Better yet, are the ones for the electric coffee makers that are larger than these.  No sense putting them in the kitchen with my other appliances there, because I don't have a coffee machine nor a coffee pot. If you get served coffee at my place, it's instant coffee.

Now, off to play with my new machine and the coffee filters......

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Adding a wrist strap to the Panty Purses

Wrist straps added to the above Panty purses.

This batch of Panty Purses (PPs) consists of 5 of them. Two red hatters, 2 with hearts for St. Valentines Day , and one with the white daisies on it. Have 3 more cut out and sitting on the drawing board of the one with the daisies on them to also do up this weekend. The ones with hearts on them I did up a wee bit different. I added a wrist strap to them. See the photos above to see how and when I added the wrist straps. Click on the photos to enlarge them for a better view of them.

That was simple to do. I used some cording to do that. The cording is actually a mini clothes line that I picked up in a dollar store a couple of years ago that I ended up adding to my sewing notions.

The only difference in making up these panty purses was that I added the strap to the PP by sewing it on between adding the trim and inserting the zipper. As you can see in photo number 1, I simply placed it on top of the trim and ran regular stitches back and forth over it. Didn't have to use one of those things that you use on the seams of Jeans or the like when sewing over the bulk cording.

The sewing machine didn't give me any problems with doing that step. The new computerized Brother SE350 sewing/embroidery machine and I are really getting along very well. It's doing what I've been asking it to do, without any problems.

When it came to the step where you trim the zipper overhang, I trimmed the zipper, the cord, and the lace trimming, all overhangs, all at the same time, as shown in photos numbers 2, 3, and 4.....

In the above collage of photos (storyboard), the bottom row shows the completed PP's.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Upgrading to the Brother SE350 Sewing/Embroidery Machine

What next? Just upgraded to a sewing/embroidery machine, a two-in-one machine.

Found my Brother SE350 easy to operate after spending a few hours on it. The first thing that I used it for was making a batch of 4 of those Irish panty purses.

Found out that you move the sewing machine needle via the LCD screen. To move it all the way over to the right for doing 1/4 inch seams and for sewing in a zipper without using a zipper foot, I changed the number to read as number "7" as shown above. I used a number "3" stitch as also shown in the LCD pannel.

Also made another change. I like doing the back tracking manually rather than letting the machine doing it automatically. To make that change, I touched the upside down "U" with the arrow on it with my finger. Beforehand, it was outlined in black. Whenever you choose a stitch or the like, it becomes highlighted in black.

This machine allows you to use the buttons on the front of it when operating it, or you have the option of the foot pedal. I choose and used the foot pedal.

Now, I have to try out the other options and features on the sewing machine. It does one step buttonholes, which is the reason I originally decided to upgrade to this machine. My other one does the old-fashioned 4-step buttonholes. Not only does this machine do the one step button holes, it also does embroidery work, quilting, appliques and smocking too. Plenty of stuff for me to have fun with and to expiriment with.

Been sewing for around 50 years and never had a sewing machine with all of these features on it. Might try some of them. I always did most of those things the old fashioned way...... Oh, it also sews buttons on, too....

The red light comes on every time you lift up the pressure foot. When you back track, going in reverse you might say, the machine beeps, which you have the option to turn off.... Sorta reminds me of one of those big dump trucks. If you do something wrong, the sewing machine lets you know that by beeping twice....

It also has a safety feature built into it I also found out about when inserting a zipper into one of the panty purses. I use the plastic YKK type of zippers that you can sew over and through its teeth on. I use larger zippers and cut them down to size after inserting them into the garment or whatever,  as shown in the tutorials on the panty purses, which is the simple way to insert the zippers.  These zippers have metal stops at the bottom of the zipper, which the needle won't go through as it does to its plastic teeth.  On one of the zippers I was inserting into a panty purses, this metal part came into contact with the sewing machine needle, and the machine wanted to shut down, as a safety precaution, which it stated in the LCD pannel.....

I eventuly found the machine very easy to operate, especially when doing up the fourth panty purse on it. Just takes time and patience, plus reading the operating manual and following their instructions. The DVD that came with it was also helpful, too....

Hopefully using all of the options and features are just as simple as the plain straight stitching and zig zag sewing are. Check back here every once in a while to see how I'm doing with my new machine and what I've made with it and what features I've used when doing same.

Part 3 - Making Panty Purses - The Finishing Touches

Now that the trim is sewn on and the zipper has been inserted into the panty purses, the next step is to finish them off. This is quite easy.

STEP # 1
After inserting the zipper, turn the Panty Purse inside out. Sew around the edges and leave a section open in the leg area as shown in photo number 1. Back-track over the zipper area for extra strength for tugging the zipper back and forth when opening and closing the panty purse. Make sure that you slide the zipper pull towards the inner section before sewing around the edges. You don't want the zipper pull on the outer parts of the zipper edges when you cut them off.

STEP # 2

Now that that is done, it's time to do the trimming. Cut off the zipper overhang/hangs as shown in photo number 2. You should have moved the zipper pull to the inner parts and it should not be in sight when cutting the excess zipper tails.

STEP # 3

Next, trim all of your corners as shown in photo number 3. This will make neater points.

STEP # 4

Turn the panty purse to the right side by pulling it through the leg opening. It will turn just half way. You will have to slide the zipper the rest of the way open to pull the lining outwards. After doing that, sew the opening up. I did it with using zig zag stitches as shown in photo number 4.

STEP # 5

You are now done with sewing up your panty purse. You might want to extend the length of the zipper pull by adding a key ring, a key chain or a ribbon or the like, as shown in photo number 5. I added a key ring to this one. Plus I added the white crocheted ribbon applique decoration after the panty purse was completed on this pair of panty purse. It was an after thought.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Part 2 - Making Panty purses - Inserting the zipper.

Adding The Zipper

All of your trim and decorations should be put on the outside sections of the purse before inserting the zipper. Your interfacing and lining should also be attached to it beforehand, too. We will call the printed fabric the front side and the solid green side the back side of the purse. Both the interfacing and the lining are the same pink and white print. To click on photo to enlarge it for better viewing, use the photo down below instead of this one.


1. Your zipper should be longer than the width of the top of the panty purse as shown in photo number 1 . Lay your zipper across the top of the front edge of the panty purse. Your zipper should have an overhang as shown in photo number 1. It is okay to have an overhang on the other side, too. Move the zipper pull and tab all the way to the edge of the zipper, completely closing the zipper up. Sew across the length of the zipper in the fabric area of it either with a zipper foot or by moving the sewing machine needle towards the zipper's teeth as shown in photo number 9. DO NOT use a metal zipper. The best kind of zipper to use is the YKK plastic zippers or other zippers with plastic teeth that you can run a sewing machine over.

2. Turn your zipper upwards as shown in number 2.

3. Bring the interfacing up to the top edge as shown in photo 3. This would more or less look like the wrong sides of the fabric. The right sides of the panty purse should be inside, bent in half and facing each other.

4. Flip your work over. Insert straight pins below the zipper as shown in photo number 4.

5. Sew across the top edge of the zipper as you did in step number one. Then zig zag the edges of the zipper to the edges of the fabric that is beneath the zipper as shown in photo number 5.

6. DO NOT TRIM YOUR ZIPPER OVERHANG/OVERHANGS AT THIS POINT. That will be done after the sides are sewn together, just before turning the purse inside out. Sometimes you can even get away without trimming the zipper edges off at all, which really depends on how much of an overhang you have.

Click on the collage/photos to enlarge them.

Adding the trim to 5 panty purses
Inserting the zipper

5 panty purses completed, front & back views. Note that the rick-rack and the zipper colors are the same on each purse, but different on each purse, so no two are exactly alike, the way an artist might make one of his/her paintings, thus, making each one sorta an "original."


1. After the zipper has been sewn into place as above, make sure that the zipper pull and tab is pushed inwards past the edge of the fabric as shown in photo number 6. This is an important step. Sew back and forth over the zipper ends several times when sewing the sides together as shown in photo number 6.

2. After the sides are sewn together and partly turned, use your finger to push the zipper open to finish the turning so you can get to the inside lining to close up the unsewn section that you left open so that you could turn your work as shown in photo number 7.

3. Gently use your seam ripper for pulling all of your corners out for squaring them off when needed to do so. Also use it to straighten out both ends of the zipper after the panty purse is completed as shown in photo number 8.

4. Run 2 rows of stitching around the edges when sewing the sides up for extra durability. Check and make sure that the sewing isn't too close to the edges of the fabric in the area of the zipper along with doing the back tacking as shown in photo number 10 .

5. If you hate changing the sewing foot all of the time, you can cheat and use the regular sewing foot when inserting a zipper. Just move the sewing machine needle towards the zippers teeth as far as it will go, which should be about 1/4 of an inch as shown in photo number 9.

6. When sewing about 1/4 inch seams, instead of using your seam guide, just move the sewing needle instead, and have the edge of the fabric close to the edge of the pressure foot, similar to what you did when sewing in the zipper as shown in photo number 9.

Batch of 5 Panty Purses completed.

You'll notice that the back and the front of the panty purses are completely different. I used a printed fabric on side A and a solid green fabric on side B. Actually, either side can be the front or the back, so, we'll call them sides A & B. I used the same fabric for the interfacing and the lining, a pink print that has white flowers outlined on it. I used 5 different colored rick racks plus matching the zippers up to the rick racks. Colors are: Brown, green, yellow, light pink and a medium pink. Click on the photo to enlarge it for a better view.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Part 1 - Making Panty Purses. The Beginning

Today I'm working on making a batch of 5 Panty Purses. I'm doing them up like an assembly line, step by step.

Step1: PLASTIC CANVAS: Make up a template. Take the panty purse pattern and trace it onto a sheet of plastic canvas. Cut it out.

Step 2: WORKING WITH FABRIC A: Take the newly made template and lay it over a section of over part of the design on the right side of the fabric. Trace the template, but add 1/4 inch below the crotch area to make a seam line. Repeat this 4 more times, centering each one identically on the fabric design as you did to the first one. Cut all 5 out. Put aside. This will be the front of the panties.

Step 3. WORKING WITH FABRIC B: Make 5 panty pieces in the solid green fabric. Be sure to include the 1/4 inch for the seam allowance in the crotch area. Use a strip of fabric about 10 long by the width of the fabric. Turn the template sideways so you can get 5 panty pieces from the strip. This will be the back of the panties.

Step 4. WORKING WITH FABRIC C: Making 5 interfacing and 5 panty liners out of a light pink fabric: Use a second matching solid color of fabric about 12 inches by the fabric width, 42 to 45 inches. Preferably the same background color you used for Fabric A. Fold it in half to 6 inches by the fabric width. Using the template, trace 4 Panty Purses across the width of the fabric. You don't have to add additional for a seam in the crotch area because you folded the fabric in half, thus doing away with that seam. Cut them out.

Step 5. REPEATING: Repeat Step 4 with two more strips of fabric. You will need a total of ten panty pieces. Five will be for the pants lining and five will be for the pants interfacing.

Step 6. ASSEMBLING: Take one of the panty pieces made out of Fabric A and and one of the panty pieces made from Fabric B and sew them together at the crotch.

Step 7. REPEATING: Step 6 with the other 4 remaining pieces of Fabrics A & Fabrics B.

Step 8. PINNING: Pin one of the pink interfacing pieces that was made from Fabric C to the back of the piece made from Fabrics A & B.

Step 9: REPEATING: Repeat Step 8 to the other 4 matching pieces.

Step 10: RICK RACK: Adding the rick rack: Sew rick rack around the curves legs section of the panties about one inch in from the edges of the fabric. Do this to all 5 pieces that were sewn together with Fabrics A and Fabrics B, using different colored rick rack on each piece.

Step 11: MAKING SQUARES: Cut out 5 small squares from Fabric A in different areas of the fabric design.

Step 12: PREPARING SQUARES: Turn the edges under 1/4 of in inch on the fabric squares that you made in step 11. Either pin or iron the edges under.

Step 13: PLACING THE SQUARES: Center the small fabric squares from Fabric A on the green half of the pants made from Fabric B. Pin in place.

Step 14: SEWING THE SQUARES: Sew the small squares on the green Fabric B in place with a standard running stitch.

Step 15: BREAK TIME: Stop and take a break. We will pick up and continue with making the panty purses later on today or tomorrow. What you can do while taking the break is to get your ZIPPERS ready. Match them up to the 5 different colors of rick rack that you used. I used green, yellow, brown, light pink and a medium pink. All of which match Fabric A.

NOTE: If the fabric that you are working with isn't too thin, you can skip the interfacing and make your panty purse just 2 layers thick instead of the 3 layers thick as we did here.  An exception to that rule is if you going to use your panty purse as your main purse, and want the extra thickness to give the panty purse the extra body weight.  If just going to use your panty to put into a larger purse, with filling it up with some personal items you don't want seen when opening up the larger purse, just the two layers of fabric will do.  Your option, of course.