Saturday, January 29, 2011

The 60's Called, they Want their Acid Back.

(Hmm... is that a spider on the wall?)

When I first walked by this fabric at Gail K's it was instant love. But it being a 100% silk charmeuse and VERY nice quality, and I being broke.. well it wasn't happening. But then I got a bit of extra spending cash and I rushed back and got the last 1 3/8 of a yard. Apparently it was a lucky buy off of some overstock designer house and they only got two rolls. Or whatever you call it. But its this crazy optical print that would be GREAT for making something that needs to be cut on the bias, like my cowl neck TNT pattern.

I was actually scared to sew with it for a long time. I started out with a pattern I'd made before, but out of knits. Its Silhouette 550 that I've modified to the point it really on resembles the original in that its a cowl neck (same pattern I used for the polka-dot blouse). I created the butterfly like sleeves using a tutorial from BurdaStyle member Sunnie. The next thing I did was make the trial run for a woven out of a polyester charmeuse. A task that led to lots of swearing and calling my Mother at some odd hour crying.

"What's WRONG!" she asked, all worried and concerned.

"Polyester charmeuse" I told her.

"Oh ICK" was her only reply, as that was all she needed to hear to know what a devil of a time I was having. This did lead me to a discovery of what I call "The Cheater's Baby Hem". I learned to serge the edges of the fabric with a tiny rolled hem and then I would fold it under twice and top stitch. This is what I did with the silk, but it was MUCH MUCH easier, as silk will actually let you steam press it for a better finish. I did leave the sleeve hems serged as it, cause I think they looked neat. And this blouse goes very well with my Vogue 8672 skirt.

And I love this blouse so much I made another long sleeve version out of gold silk jersey.*

*Please note that the gold version is not quite finished. And I know I'm not smiling in any of these pictures but its the end of the day and I was pretty beat. I'll try to smile next time, HONEST.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Colette Patterns Spring Palette Challenge

So, after much consideration and thought, I have decided to join the Colette Spring Palette Challenge. I had already put together a "plan of action" of getting my wardrobe spring/summer work ready. I put together an "inspirational board" though I don't know how much it has in common with what I actually want to sew. I am fairly sure about the Bella Pant from Burdastyle, however. I will be using the dusty grey denim from my stash to make those, and probably steal some buttons from my mother-in-law's massive stash. But as you will see in the pictures below, I am embracing the "florals and prints" of this season.

So, in no particular order:

1)Bella Pant in dusty grey denim
2)Colette's Crepe in the blue/grey floral
4)Liz Blouse out of the shabby chic white/pink/blue floral
3)New Look cropped jacket out of the cream/honeysuckle floral (view D)

The gold fabric is a silk jersey and I already have it laid out to make another TNT 3/4 sleeve cowl neck. I'll have enough left to make a tank in View A
of the New Look pattern. And I've already cut that same cowl neck out of this crazy silk charmeuse, but with butterfly sleeves. I adore this print, its pretty wild, but working with it makes my eyes cross in weird ways(also, its slippery). Hopefully it will have the same distracting effect to others when I wear it.

In other news, I did try on muslin #3 and it fit fairly well except I still needed more room in the bust. Le Sigh. The dress itself works into the palette but I don't think I'm going to try and count it. I was getting sick of it so its been set aside so I can whip up these TNT shirts come my next day off.

So I think that's my plan. Make a couple of shirts out of the work horse patterns and then I will start tracing and modifying the other patterns I plan on sewing up over this 10 week period. In the mean time I should probably do some studying for that 'professional life' of mine. You know, the one that pays the bills? That part might be taking some exciting turns soon. I don't know, we'll see.

In the mean time, STAY FABULOUS!

Friday, January 21, 2011

I must be crazy.

I probably mentioned already, but I'm doing the Great Vintage Sew-a-Long of 2011. The pattern I chose is from the early 1940's and the inspiration was from a Ralph Lauren dress of Spring 2010. I can't tell you how many times I've altered this pattern but the copies I traced out now look something like Frankenstein's Monster. I'm about to do muslin #3 and it better damn well fit!

In other news, I need a needle board before I start on my cropped velvet jacket. Mom says she has one I can have, but that means driving 50 miles through Atlanta traffic. Which... I dunno, I find that drive stressful. But its really nice to have a Mom that has all these nifty tools. Though I have learned that using a thick terry cloth towel and having some natural bristle type brush to brush the pile after steaming and then finger pressing works too. Just, ya know, not quite as efficiently.

But aside from just being weird most of the time, I'm now considering joining Colette Patterns' Spring Palette Challenge. To quote one of my friends "wow... you are really into this". Everyone needs a hobby. Thing is, I have already started something like wardrobe planning and I want to get to it. I've pretty much given up on finishing my Lady Grey coat in any sort of timely fashion. I think the fitting/tailoring aspect is a little daunting. After this dress and the cropped jacket I think I'll be ready to tackle the coat. Maybe have it ready for next winter?

Hopefully my next post will have progress pictures and palette ideas for spring.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cross - Post from Vintage-Sew-Along 2011

Hi everyone! I am perplexed. I probably could have sewn this dress up as-is and had it mostly fit OK, except that I have large arms and bust. *sighs* This is for a 42" bust and I'm a 44. And in the light of full disclosure I'm 37" in the waist, 45" in the hips, and I'm 5'8" and a lot of that is in my torso (these are empirical[is that the right term?] measurements as I'm a USAnian).

So I've done a slight FBA, and I did a rounded shoulder adjustment (I work in the IT industry, slave away at a computer all day). I also did an adjustment for full arms. The sleeves themselves fit but the fall off the shoulder is just... weird. Also... excuse the construction issues I was sleep deprived when I put it together and it just didn't seem that important to have all the seams the right way on a test muslin. But honestly, I'm not sure what to do at this point. I need to add length, since the dress is suppose to belt at true-waist and there are half inch seam allowances. It falls about an inch above my belly-button so 1.5 inches added in length?

So here are some pictures. As you can tell I totally did my hair and makeup for these (not).

(Design on this calls for some gathering at the lower back into the skirt. See weirdness of shoulder and set-in sleeve.)

(exhibit A of need for more length in the torso)

(outside of the weird way the shoulder falls, I kind of think this looks OK here)

I swear my shoulders aren't that lopsided, it has to do with the only one sleeve.

I had to take out some gaping in the back bodice but wasn't sure how to take the volume out of the sleeve cap to match, especially considering I needed to make the sleeve wider for my sausage arms. Please help! Suggestions, point me toward some tutorials? I realized this is my first real foray into a woven top. All my tops have been knits so far because they are so much easier to fake good fit. The sad thing here is that despite all the issues it STILL fits better than RTW wovens. *sighs* I think that once I can get the top of this dress to fit I'd really only need a couple alterations to make it a plain shirt pattern as well. That would be awesome.

Monday, January 10, 2011

High Tech Blue

Do you remember when televisions used to have that black and white "snow" that was loud and static? And sometime in the 90's they started to have what I call "high tech blue". That's what color this dress is, I don't have any other description for it. Its another Vogue 8679, view C. This time I kept it at the full length and also lengthened the sleeves. Its a fairly stable wool knit, which had I been thinking I would have kept some of the ease. Since I did an FBA I decided to keep the bust darts. They were fine on my polkadot dress, but here they are almost parallel under my bust, which um... makes it weird. I'm certain that was a carelessness on my part as I cut this and a shirt out after being so thrilled with the results of the polkadot one. Then I sort of lost my steam and started daydreaming about summer projects. It might be that we got seven inches of snow here in North Georgia. That's all that white stuff at my feet that's kind of cold and wet. And cold. Did I mention its cold? Good thing I'm wearing wool.

And no, I have not lost my mind. I remembered my coat. (There's proof below. See?)What was I talking about again? Oh yeah, losing my steam on this project. Its a fairly simple dress and it only takes a few hours to put together. That is, when you feel motivated to do so and your sewing machine doesn't decide to be a cranky beotch. I think its time for a tune up, honestly. But I don't know if I can part with her for that long! Lord, I'm hopeless. Its not like I have a lack of sewing machines around here.

Speaking of summer projects, I got my fabric in for my Vintage Sew-A-Long. I was hoping for a smaller print but its just going to have to work. And along the way I picked up this pattern during at $3.99 sale on impulse and then promptly found the perfect fabric to order along with the one for the sew-a-long. How about that? Anyway, that's all from the peanut gallery for now. In the meantime, STAY FABULOUS!

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Power Of Naps

Hello Ladies! (and possibly gents)

I just had to share this because it is ever so relevant to sewing. I'm married, I have kids, and I work. With those three hats that I wear there is also the seamstress in me. The one that desperately wants to create fabulous clothing even through the haze of exhaustion. Because its a hobby I do all these other things first and then I sit down and stare at my sewing machine, or at the patterns and ideas and swatches of fabric that litter the top of my desk and dream big and want to start. But I can't. I can't because when I focus, I hyper focus. Other things get shut out. I forget to eat, clean, pay attention to the kids, and of course, sacrifice sleep.

Don't do it. Don't sacrifice these things but most importantly DON'T SACRIFICE SLEEP. You need it for your brain to function. You need it to be able to focus on work, on the kids, on your relationships. Heck, you need it to maintain healthy weight! And you'll be less likely to ruin that lovely fabric you just broke the bank on so you make that fabulous outfit.

I'll admit it, I cheat on my friends so I can get more sleep... and sewing time in.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Primary New Year!

(Lounging with Manga the Cat)

The hubby and I rang in the new year with fireworks at a friend's house. And by "rang" I mean my ears are still ringing from the mishap that caused some to go off under the seat where I was sitting (and blew a hole in my friend's pants, but don't worry, she's Ok). I mean, seriously. Alcohol and explosives, what could possibly go wrong? Still, we had a wonderful time! New year's day found me recovering. It was raining and I was feeling lethargic. I did manage to cut out a dress and a shirt, just haven't stitched them together. A friend came over to hang out with our roommate and spent the night. She was kind enough to help Felicity made a clock battery out of potatoes. And then an orange. (My kids do science experiments and art projects for fun because that's how we roll)

So the nerd in me is excited as this year is also a Primary Number. How exciting is that! This means its going to be an extra special year because I say so! I'm just thinking that I embarked on the journey of learning to sew fashion clothing for myself almost two years ago. I have found quite a community of passionate sewists online that have led me to resources and lent me the strength to overcome hurdles. This sounds corny but its helped in other areas of my life as well. Everyone needs a sense of accomplishment.

I want to continue adding new skills to my sewing repertoire. Bound buttonholes are on the list, as well as a bit of tailoring, sewing with sheer fabric, and maybe even more design work. I dunno, we'll see. Oh yeah, and PANTS! I need to learn to make pants.

I have other goals that are not related to sewing, unless you count loosing weight. I'm down 25 pounds since the beginning of 2010 and my goal is another 25. This will put me at pre-baby weight (but not my all time low) and I'll be happy there. Then there's the career goals... Anywho! I shall endeavor to share more of my planning thoughts and day dreams of what, in a perfect world, I would have the time and energy (and money) to sew up for a fabulous wardrobe!

Stay Fabulous!