Sunday, March 25, 2007

Waiting For Spring - #9

Bus Work

Or, how I actually get a lot of hand sewing, beadwork, knitting, etc. done. On the days I work, I have a 45 minute commute each way on a school bus. As a school bus chaperone, I get to make sure the students behave and keep the noise level down to a dull roar. For the most part, the children are fairly well behaved, leaving me with some nice blocks of time where I don't have to do anything but sit. Now you know I'm crazy - beading and sewing on a school bus?!? Here's how I do it:

First, I have my own seat. This works out fine unless my son wants to sit with me, and then there's not quite enough elbow room. Second, any project is usually in a plastic bag - only the small portion I'm actually working on is out of the bag, so that the project doesn't get dirty. I've been dragging projects places with me for years (buses, cars, trains, planes), so I really don't even think about it too much anymore. I took the American Beauty coat on the bus. I did draw the line at the white American Beauty dress, though. That was too risky for even me. Here I am on the bus, pictures courtesy of my son. These were taken while the bus was moving.

You can just see the white plastic bag at the top of the picture:

Third, all supplies are placed in ziplock bags, except for beads I'm actively working with. Those have a special container. Beads I'm actively working with go in either a plastic lid with a lip or a styrofoam bowl. That depends on the bead size. The reason for the lid or bowl is that they are deep enough to contain the beads during the usual bumps and lurches on the bus. In the picture below you can see the lid I'm working from - it's a small one as it's easier to take with me. I prefer plastics to glass for obvious reasons - breakage of a glass object on a bus is a major no-no.

Other than that, I've been blessed with the ability NOT to get carsick or airsick or motionsick at all.

Now that the beading is done, it's time for the last two items: a label and piping. I'll show you the label in the final post, as I didn't get that picture taken yet. These labels can get to be large because they must contain the name of the piece, and the maker's name, address, phone number and sometimes e-mail address. Usually I place labels somewhere inside, where depends on the garment and where I feel it should go. Since this is reversible, a label at the neckline center back or really anywhere else would look ridiculous. The side seam is partially hidden by the arm of the wearer, so that's where I placed it.

I will show you the piping, though. I had originally planned to make it so that there was single piping on the green side (in gold) and double piping on the pink side (in gold and pink). As I was playing with color arrangments, two things struck me: none of the gold colors I had matched well enough for me and just the bright pink piping would work for not only for the pink side, but also for the green side.

After making 5 or 6 yards of piping, I attached it to the green side. First, I hand basted it in place, right along the gold trim and then I stitched it in place on the machine. The seam allowances were turned to the inside and catch-stitched down. (Yes, that fuchsia silk really is that blinding in real life - I can't imagine anything larger than narrow piping made out of it.)

I then turned in (and clipped if needed) all the edges of the pink side and fell stitched the whole pink side to the green side by hand. Below is an armhole I'm working on. You can actually see both sides of the vest, the green in the background and the pink in the foreground.

Parting Shot: Yesterday, we thought it was spring. This morning we woke up to the scenes below. I had to snap these pictures pretty early, because I knew once the sun hit the trees, all the snow would disappear.

Today I got to work on my daughter's Easter dress. The bodice is coming along nicely and I'm working on finishing the buttonholes on the collar. I'm not sure if I'll have time to work on it tomorrow between work and ensemble practice tomorrow night.

Waiting For Spring's final post will be tomorrow - I'll post the final pictures and thoughts about the vest.


carolyndh said...


I can relate to the sewing or doing handwork on the bus or where ever you have a block of time that can be used for sewing projects! It really works to use whatever snippets of time you have--15 or 20 minute time blocks add up in a hurry. I am eager to see your finished vest!

Sue B said...

Gosh Summerset I admire your dedication to a project! I get motion sickness way to easy to do anything in the car but look out the window.

Hey are you planning on attending the sewing and quilt expo here in Mass by any chance?

Summerset said...

Whatever it takes! Yes, Carolyn, those minutes do add up!

Isabelle said...

Wow! Such organisation. I tend to be car-sick, especially now that I get into a car 5 times a year or so (I take the metro or the train the rest of the time). I do stitch in the train, every time I go back to my family, but I wouldn't dare work with beads like you do! I'd be sure to topple the whole thing on a regular basis.

Your vest is coming along so beautifully. Looking forward to seeing the Easter dress, too!
Have a good week.

Tany said...

Well, I do tend to be a little motionsick... I admire your devotion to sewing! The only thing I can do on a car/bus trip is knit because I can knit with my eyes closed, in this case just looking ahead and not down to the knitting work really keeps me from getting motionsick. That's why I carry my knitting work everywhere :).