Wednesday, June 22, 2011

There Are Those Days...

I found this photo going through my archives. At first I thought it was an accident, but I think my husband took this one on purpose. It captures that "something" that's hard for a parent (or equivalent) to explain. Possibly one of those "Joys of Parenthood" things*. I'm posting it because I've had a hard couple days at work. Nothing earth shattering, but sometimes we need a reminder of why we work and why we go on. So tell me, on those days you feel down, or blue, what keeps you going?

*I do not belittle or scoff at those that choose to not have children. There is nothing wrong with that choice. These are just a thoughts of someone that did.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The New York Vacation Dress

(Click to Embiggen)

I'm back! Did you miss me? I had a wonderfully relaxing vacation visiting my lovely friend Beth Ann in up-state New York. I did go into The City for a day to peruse the garment district and finally get to meet my online friend of five years, Maeve, in person. She is not a sewist (yet, I'm trying to convert her) but is INDEED an expert knitter. In fact, she got stopped outside of Mood by another lady who gave her a card and said "Friend me on Ravelry!".

Beth Ann was much amused by all of this. She was on the hunt for neat fabrics out of which she'll make cool stuff animals. I coveted her partner's three-eyed monster one but somewhere there was a threat of painful death if I took it. O.o Or I could be imagining things, its possible. Beth Ann took the photos of me waiting for the train back home. I did not wear it into the city because of rain. Phooey patooie. (Loot post comes later)

So! In any case I wanted to show off the construction of this dress, of which I'm rather proud. Its V8645, a very simple pattern. I did this in a size 18 with a four inch FBA. In retrospect I probably only needed three inches with the wide shoulder adjustment and then taken it some in the waist. Its rather shapeless with without a belt even if I did take it in a bit. The cotton lawn I got at Fashion Fabrics Club on sale and upon handling it for the first time felt it needed a contrasting lining to give it a bit of OOMPH. I blame the article on layering sheers in Threads #154.
(shoulder details)

(skirt detail)

When I was mostly finished and tried it on I decided that the hem needed LACE and desperately. An applique lace at that, to give it a good bit of interest. And since I loved my gold belt with it so much I used gold chain instead of ties at the shoulder. Obviously this thing swallows my size tiny display mannequin*.

(pinning lace to dress)

I finished the shoulder seam by hand after having to undo and redo the lining. I had sewn up the lining shoulder seams too soon and couldn't turn the fabric "right side out". Bugger. I did use the mannequin (I kept the dress from moving by scotch taping the already completed shoulders in place) to allow me to pin the lace onto the bottom of the dress and used a TINY zigzag stitch to attach it, then cut away the excess fabric. And as you can see below I did do french seems with the exception of the two side seams on the lining. I realized too late I had sewn it together in the wrong order and I was too lazy to un-pick and start over. Also I might have been short on thread. I was using some of the cotton thread from the ancient box of stuff Mom gave me. I truly did not want to the store at that moment.

(applique and lining details)

So there it is! I hope you love it as much as I do. Also, in case you are wondering the luggage is vintage samsonite from the late 60's/early 70's. I have quite a few blog post ideas in the works and will probably be posting with more frequency when my schedule changes (AGAIN) in July. Graveyard shift. joy.

p.s. I would like to mention that Hotlanta is finally living up to its nickname. Walking out of the airport Saturday night the sticky heat hit me like a brick wall. Time for more shorts and dresses.

*The story behind how I acquired this and one other mannequin that models underwear on my husband's dresser is amusing and rates a blog post all on its own.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

On Vacation

I made a new dress! I'm taking it with me to New York and I'll post pictures when I get back and recover. Happy Sewing!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

In Which I Butcher an FBA...

Well, as my trip to NYC (and my birthday) get closer I am filled with the overwhelming need to make a summer dress. This particular dress has been in my idea book for some time now and one of the things niggling at my brain to work on.

This particular pattern was an impulse buy as I was digging through the Vouge 3.99 pattern sale at JoAnn's. It looked like a great way to make the light and airy dresses needed for The South. And then came the idea of layering or lining sheer (and semi-sheer) fabrics from Threads #154.

So V8645 is basically an A-line Grecian style dress. Using the Palmer and Pletsch methodology I used size 18 based on my upper-bust measurement. And because this style of garment has very little need of 'fitting' I am not doing a toile and just doing a tissue fitting.

The tissue fitting told me two things. One: I needed to add 4 inches to the bust line and two, I need about .5 inches for the back.

I went with the Y Bust Dart Alteration* (p. 146-147 Fit for Real People) which is used for needing more than 2 inches in alteration. This also adds a dart to the front for shaping, which it seems I just can't get away from. Weee. Despite my fancy new washers paper weights, I still had to do some taping, which I also managed to iron, causing it to shrink and warp the pattern. *headdesk*

I widened the bust two inches to total four when all is said and done. I haven't quite decided how I'm going to add the .5 inches to the back. I only need it for the upper back. Wait, I think I just found the HOW on page 120. I <3 this book. So in any case, this is what I'm working on and I hope to have it done before Monday (I'm leaving on Wednesday after work).

I also have a second, more fancy, version of this dress planned with TWO sheer silks are layered. That one will most likely NOT be work appropriate, but we'll see.

*For a dress that is one long piece in the front such as this, I recommend cutting at the top "lengthen or shorten here" marking. That way you can make the adjustment to the top half and then tape the rest of it back on, cleaning up any of the cutting lines in the process.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat, Where Have You Been?

I've been to London to visit the Queen!

Ok, not really. But I have been quite busy getting the house and yard in order. To make Tanit-Isis feel better, I see her backyard jungle and raise her mine:

Frightened yet? That's only a tiny portion, too. But here in Georgia we believe in slash and burn.

(Wonder if that works in the kids' room too?)

In all fairness, those are last year's photos, but really we do this every June. Usually we have my brother-in-law show up and do all the heavy lifting for a steak dinner and plenty of Jack (Daniel's that is). This year's he's off in Denver working for actual money. I don't know what he's thinking! Wait, I know. He's probably thinking being able to afford clothes is nice.

So what does this have to do with sewing? Well, the mad cleaning frenzy in time for a backyard BBQ has consumed me the last two weeks. That and I seem to be in the middle of a sewing block. I'm surrounded by a UFO invasion and its just kinda been humdrum for ideas. Honestly, I want to make lots of pretty summery frocks just for MUAH. Selfishly. Like Miss Selfish wherever her selfishness may be. Hey, I have an idea. We should all start talking about her and linking to her. Maybe like Beatlejuice she'll appear. Or not.

The other thing on my mind is getting ready to head up to NYC for a much deserved mini-vacation AWAY from it all. I really think that is what I need. Just getting away to clear my head.

Oh yeah, we also adopted a kitty. A lady was giving away kittens outside of WalMart because someone had dumped them and the momma off on her neighborhood and the mother got run over. They can't be more than six weeks old. So I took one home stuffed in my purse. I came in and sat my purse down on the couch just talking to the kids and waiting for the moment the kitten popped its head out. SURPRISE! The wide-eyed-hand-over-mouth AWWWW from both of them was priceless. And so is this:

(Amanda stuffed her in her purse and probably would have cat-napped her except the kids would have never forgiven her for it.)