Friday, April 26, 2013

Challis Chalet: The Simplicity 1880 Shirtwaist

You know, I'm sure there's an awful lot about this dress I could say, but I really don't feel like doing a process post tonight.  This is Simplicity 1880, one of the project runway ones. I can see why they are so popular now, as they are extremely well drafted. Suffice it to say that this is my wearable muslin. For the first time ever I went ahead and didn't make a muslin first. I pretty much have these kind of bodices figured out and I was pretty darn confident that I didn't need to test it. I think my next two makes are going to have cap sleeves though.

Oh, before we go on, don't forget to vote for the Sewcialist emblem!

This was an accidental photo of me walking back to pose. I liked it so here it is.

I'm not sure what I'm doing here but, hey, its a good shot of my backside. Mostly.

Check out that fantastic collar.  This was, I think, the moment where doing a notched collar finally sank in and made sense in my brain. Now if only I could wrap my head around pants geometry, the world would be a better place.

Pretty flared skirt. I wish I could show you how the fabric sort of sparkles and a close up makes it look like peacock feathers and ferns. My belt is vintage, probably 80's, from Nashville when I went to see the Golden Age of Couture exhibit and met Gertie in person.

I might look like my paternal grandmother in this photo.

That's all folks. I have two more of theses dresses planned, they are all meant to be work appropriate. I'll do a post on what modifications I made and a bit about getting the invisible side zip to be, well, invisible.

As for photos, I think for now on i'm going to take them in the morning when I'm backlit, or maybe another how for the sun to be down further. We'll see.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Voting Begins for Sewcialists!

Welcome Everyone! We're here today to vote on the 6 Sewcialists emblem entries. Please consider the following before you cast your vote:

We asked each designer to design an emblem that...

  • Relates to sewing and the social nature of sewcialists
  • Is modern, simple, recognizable and memorable
  • Is useable in black & white as well as in color

 You can read the rest of the requirements on the site. On this site, you can also find the rest of the Jury Blogs. You are allowed one vote per jury blog. The Jury itself will not be voting. The jury eliminated the short-list portion of this contest. The designs up for vote are the designs that were submitted.

   When you vote on our blogs, please make your vote very clear, typing in the # of the entry and the designer's name.
   Included before each design is a portion of the designer's cover letter to give you context.

**Special Technical Note** For those emblems that appear with a brown background, that is because they were made on a "clear" template, which is to say, they will show through whatever is the background color on your blog. In my case, its brown. I have unfortunately not figured out how to get blogger to not do that on specific images.

Voting closes on May 8th at midnight Eastern time in the United States.

Entry #1- Bev

I chose my designs as a globe representing the world wide sewing community, needle and threads to represent sewing, threads of different colours to represent our differences and a computer mouse to represent our mode of communication.

Entry #2- Gareth

I think that this design shows the close-knit (excuse the pun) nature of Sewcialists.  It places them within the circle created by the threads coming from the needles. I think this nicely sums up the idea of a community brought together by the hobby that they love.

Entry #3- Sabina

I basically wanted to keep the logo very simple and recognisable. Every sewcialist will at some point use a computer to communicate about their creations or engage with other sewcialists. Although there are lots of different hardware options to enable us to do this (smart phones, desk tops, tablets etc etc) I thought the world at large would be able to immediately recognise a standard laptop to represent how the online community interacts.The sewing machine in the middle was the obvious choice to represent what sewcialists do at the very heart of our creativity. It’s actually based on my Janome 525S machine! The dot and dash circle enclosing the logo represents to me the cutting lines on patterns!

Entry #4- Joost

The design uses a button and bobbin to relate to sewing whereas the smiley face speech balloon relates to the social nature of sewcialists.

The button is slightly rotated. It makes it visually more pleasing and reminds us that sewcialists needn't adhere to the stereotype of off-the-peg garments. The bobbin is half-filled with thread, indicating it's being used. The friendly chatter that sewcialists engage in online is embodied in the form of a speech balloon/smiley face.

The emblem is simple in its design and its button and bobbin shapes breathe 'sewing'. The combination of three basic elements makes it memorable, yet distinctive.

The black and white version at the bottom and the color version at the top prove that the logo 'works' regardless of colors.

But I don't like the color!

You don't have to. You may like the same dress pattern as another sewcialist, but that doesn't mean you should make it in the same color, right?

The strength of the design is its shape. Only you can choose your prefect colors. So, pick your own colors and make this design your very own sewcialist emblem.

You can do so online at this address::

Entry #5- Dylan

Entry #6- Anne

My design is a patchwork globe revolving on an axis which is represented by the dress form. The needle and thread which changes to a computer mouse representing the lines of communication going round the globe linking sewing and the social media.

My idea for this came from the inclusive and diverse nature of the sewcialist community represented by the patchwork pieces of the countries - linked by a common thread - our sewing and means of communication. My favourite author is Anne Tyler who wrote the book A Patchwork Planet so a bit of me. I also wanted to represent all sewers, the dress form for the garment sewers among us and the patchwork, yes you've guessed it! for the patchwork community.

The text around the outside gives a vintage feel - I think - to the design. I mention the word Sewcialist  at the top and I felt we should aim high - with a bit of humour so a bit tongue in cheek with the proclamation that we will unite the world with our stitches.

Don't forget you can go to all the other jury blogs and vote for your favorite! Only one vote per blog, though, ok?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Little Black Work Dress

Its kinda windy out today.

Hey look, its another Vogue 8701! This one I made out of black rayon/wool gabardine from FabricMart. I made one modification from my previous plaid version, which was to take an extra dart at the neckline. I think I could honestly take this in a bit in the sides as gabardine has more give to it than silk dupioni. It has a wonderful drape and depth of color, though, which I love. And its perfect for a chilly office setting without being too hot when you have to drive home, except maybe during July and August.

I think I was giving the stray cat the stink eye, not sure.
 I just recently got this super cute bow hairband that I love to pieces. And this is a self made belt and vintage brooch.

This is me swishing from side to side. Like I said, its a great swishy fabric.

Here you kinda get a peek of the zipper. Its a vintage metal zipper I stole from my MIL stash and put in with a hand pick stitch.  And because of the way my waist is, the belt rides up above the dress waistline a bit.

Incidentally, it looks just fine un belted.

Side view. Side note: The shoes are Jeffrey Campbell. Two years and they are still my favorites.

So some stats:

Fabric: rayon/wool gabardine $5yd (bought during a super sale), 3 yards.  Bemberg rayon lining, I fussed with it and got it out of 2.5 yards (60" wide), $16 a yard. So $47 dollars.
Notions: Zipper and lace hem tape, both inherited from other people's stashes. 0 dollars
Time: If I hadn't put the sleeves in backwards, cut to finish would have been 8 hours (hand picked zipper, hand sewn invisible hem). But that added on an extra 2 hours. I started this last month and fussed with it off an on. 10 hours over about four weeks.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Altruistic Chalet Sewing

My daughter, upon walking in the door from school Friday afternoon, informed me that she needs a new bathing suit. Spring break is this week and Grandma is taking her to the aquatic center. Luckily for me, I already have the perfect fabric and the lovely and talented Katie was kind enough to send me a couple swim suit patterns, even traced one off for me. Sewing buddies are the best ever. :) I only got one one photo of Felicity in the suit, felt odd to post it outside of an actual swimming scene, so I'll save that for May.

Swim suit cut out

I'm a bit new to the idea of elasticizing a leg hole and probably could have done it a bit better. Again, Felicity doesn't seem to care. I used a latex elastic that, again, was a gift from Katie.

Finished suit laid out on her bedspread
However, in the spirit of April Challis month, I decided to make dress from purple leopard print challis for my daughter. (Whom shall henceforth be known as "elf girl" because ,according to my husband, I spawn elves instead of humans after him seeing this last set of photos.) I used this 70's boho pattern.

Simplicity 9389

I didn't take any in-progress photos. It took probably about 2.5 hours in all to put this together. I used some single fold bias tape from Mom's stash to use as the elastic guide. The ruffle piece said to cut out three total, I did two on the fold instead, so she's got an extra ruffly ruffle.

Elf Girl 
In all, the materials (including pattern) for bathing suit and dress cost me about $12.50 plus about five hours of sewing time due to learning curve (see: elastic). I'm fairly sure my construction, while not the prettiest, is sturdy and should hold up under the rough conditions they are bound to be put through.

She shall attend to her flock.
Have I mentioned she loves ALL THINGS ANIMAL PRINT. Seriously, all the things.And she stole her brothers flip flops.

And make flowers grow.

This is my backyard. My weeds already need mowing and I was just using the fireplace two days ago. 

And capture Mona Lisa's smile.

How does a 9 year old look so ancient? I haven't figured this out yet. I left the elastic out of the sleeves because it seems more modern look and feel.I wanted to turn the hem under on the sleeve but she wanted to wear it RIGHT THEN, so well. I guess when I can pry it off of her for washing I'll fix that.

Full length of the back.

Well, that's all I have to share for now. I still have my black wool/rayon dress hanging waiting for a zipper and hem. That was part of the reason for these two, I just needed something quick. Simon asked for swim trunks, but I don't have anything suitable for him on hand.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Patterns That Play Well with Challis


Settle in darlings, lets have some brunch (because I know we all slept in) and discuss what kind of patterns work with challis. The more flowing the better, though not all challis is created equally, as we read in the last post. Some of it is heavier and can take a bit more structure than others. Here are few of my pairings:

I have  several fabrics I want to make Simplicity 1880 in, AND Sunni did a great sew-a-long last year which you can read about here.

This is a one way fabric and I just LOVE the border flowers, which will be the bottom of the skirt. You probably recognize this as Colette's Chantilly. I've made this before, so I won't have quite as much work to do to get it to fit. Other pattern ideas:

Tasia's Cambie Pattern

Vogue 8827, for a great work dress, particularly version B.

Simplicity's Cynthia Rowley 1872

SO those are my picks! What have you decided on? Let me know in the comments!