Saturday, February 26, 2011

Help! What am I?

Well fellow fabric fiends, I got another haul from FabricMart, and got another amazing mystery bundle.  In it were a couple of fab knits, some khaki twill, an amazing piece of Italian linen, and a yard and a half of suiting weight twill.  I'm not sure what it is though, so I thought I'd see if any of y'all can help.
This is an unedited photo taken in natural light.  It's a bit overcast today, so the colors IRL are more vibrant.  What appear to be the warp threads are olive green.  The weft threads vary from light cream to dark beige. It does feel a tiny bit itchy, but has a sheen. The yardage is only 46 inches wide.  I burn tested it (my first time!) and it smelled like hair, was difficult to light and extinguished when the flame was removed.  It burned orange and left a crumbly ash.  My initial thought was that it was wool, but it isn't all that itchy, and it has a silk-like sheen. Perhaps it is a wool-silk blend?  Or do I just need to buy more high quality wools so that I recognize one when it crosses my cutting table?  What do you think?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Simplicity 2659

Danye's wedding bolero is finished!
Her inspiration garment was this one
but she wanted cap sleeves and more coverage in front.  I think we came pretty darn close!
You can see the lines a little better from the back.  We used Simplicity 2659 as our starting point, but eliminated the pleats on the collar, shortened the sleeves a little and reshaped the back hemline to reveal the buttons at the back of the dress.  I also omitted all the topstitching and fully lined it.  The sleeves are kimono style and the collar is in one piece with the front pieces, which was the trickiest part of the assembly.  It was actually quite easy to sew.  My walking foot made this slippery fabric much more manageable.
I was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to get the structure of the collar, but all it took was some Pro-Weft interfacing!  The fashion fabric is taffeta, which is crisp on it's own, and the Pro-Weft adds just enough body to give it structure without losing softness.
Danye will be able to pick it up Friday, and I hope she's as pleased with it as I am!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Simplicity 5695, ahem, again

I don't tend to collect UFOs, but this dress has been hanging out in my sewing bag for months, so I decided it was time to finish it.
I've made this pattern and variations of it quite a few times, so no surprises.  You can see the entire collection here.  I actually started this one as a demo dress for my sewing group, so whenever we'd get together, I'd use it to demonstrate the next steps in the pattern.  The other ladies both finished their dresses long ago, but this poor thing was forgotten!
Since I used this dress to demonstrate, I did pretty much stick to the pattern, except for a tiny bit of ribbon trim on the bodice.  The flowers are so busy you can barely see it!
Myra loves it!  She's a sucker for a new dress, especially a twirly one.  The part of Prince Charming will be played by Curious George.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Easter plans

Now that I have 3 kids to sew for, I have to get on the ball for holiday sewing!  Easter is coming up, and I'd like to make new outfits for the kids (and maybe slip a dress for myself in there!)  When I was a kid, Mom sewed for us, so instead of doing big "Back to School" shopping, our school clothes trickled in over the course of the year, but we could always count on new outfits for Easter!  Since my kids are still too young to object, I can even coordinate them.
So, here is my current plan.  I started out thinking I'd make matching gingham check shirts for the boys, so I was looking through my Ottobres for shirt patterns in both boys sizes.  Of course, I did.  Duncan's is from the 03/2008 issue, and Logan's is from the 6/2010 issue.  They are your basic long sleeved shirt, but with a mandarin style collar.  While I was flipping through 06/21010, I came across this dress,
which I have wanted to make for Myra.  I realized that this would be the perfect design to coordinate with their shirts.  Amazingly, I even have a big piece of blue cotton in the stash - enough for the body of the dress, as well as matching pants for the boys!  So, the plan is to make gingham shirts and blue pants for the boys, and the dress for Myra, with the main body in blue and the pintucked inset in gingham.  Maybe on the bias?  This is going to be so fun!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Bridesmaid dress restructured

My friend Emily is in a wedding this month, but she also happens to be seven months pregnant, and the only maternity dress made by the company the bride chose for the dresses was a bit unsuitable and quite immodest.
Here is the before.  Em is much smaller than I am, so it doesn't zip on my dressform, but the back really does come down in a vee all the way to the midriff band.  The dress that the other girls are wearing is knee length and don't have the train/scarf thing in back, so there was quite a bit of fabric to scavenge.
And here is the finished product!  I took the length up to her knees, so that she'll at least match the other bridesmaids in that regard.  I was a bit worried about setting a sleeve into a sleeveless armscye and still having room for Emily to move.  Fortunately, she is quite petite, so I had to remove about a 1/2 inch from the armscye at the shoulder, which did a nice job tightening up the scye as well, so she can raise her arms without the dress coming up with it.  It helps that she wanted a cap sleeve.
In back, I added a panel to cover the open vee.  It is cut on the bias to allow for movement there as well.
So that Emily will be able to get in and out of the dress, only one side of the panel is sewn in.  The other side attaches with tiny snaps along the edge.
This was a pretty interesting project and taxed my ingenuity at quite a few points!  It was fun, but I'm glad to get back to patterns!  Up next will be the bridal bolero, then I'll  need to get busy with Easter sewing.  Where has this month gone?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Simplicity 2659: The muslin

I've got a few weddings this season that I am sewing for.  The first upcoming is actually just some alterations to a bridesmaid's dress - I'll show you that when I finish.  The other is a bolero jacket for a lovely bride who found her dream dress, but needs to cover her arms and shoulders, as it is strapless.  I'm making her a bolero to wear over the dress.
This is her inspiration photo, although she wants her sleeves to be cap length.  For the pattern, she has chosen Simplicity 2659, which is an OOP wardrobe pattern with a short bolero with a wide pleated collar.  I'll remove the pleats from the collar, shorten the sleeves and shorten the bodice in back to reveal the buttons along the back of her dress.  I whipped up a quickie muslin to determine the exact changes we'd need to make and to check for fit.
Isn't she cute?!  The fit is great out of the envelope - how awesome is that!  The two folds under her bust are just from the tucking I did in back, not a fit issue.
Here you can see that I folded up the sleeve and CB to the length she wants.  Other than eliminating the pleats on the collar, these are the only changes I'll need to make, so as soon as I finish the bridesmaid alterations, I'll cut this out.  The dress came with a wide, long sash that Danye won't be using, so I'll be cutting the jacket from that.  Fun!

Monday, February 14, 2011

New Look 6896

Happy Valentine's Day!

And what better way to celebrate than with a new pink skirt!  After my crazy fabric shopping spree, we decided it would be better for the budget if we reassembled my sewing room...  So I finally finished a skirt I cut out before I got pregnant.
I thought it appropriate that I finished it just in time for a Valentine Date with my sweetheart!
The pattern is New Look 6896, which I actually purchased for the wide leg pant, but this skirt is a really nice basic 3/4 circle with a narrow shaped yoke.  The pattern also includes a version with pockets.  The fabric I used was a stretch twill.  I'm not sure where it came from, but I wish I had more!  It was nice to sew and has just enough stretch to make it very comfortable to wear.  I interfaced the yoke with hymo, which is perfect.  It supports the fabric well and shapes the waist nicely.  I decided to go with such a firm interfacing after reading in Claire Schaeffer's Couture  Sewing Techniques that a heavy fabric needs a firm interfacing.  I had never really thought about it that way before, but it paid off here.  I was also really grateful for my walking foot when sewing this, particularly when stitching down the yoke facing, which I did by stitching in the ditch.  The upper, uninterfaced layer wanted to stretch, but the hymo kept the facing underneath stable.  After just a few inches without the walking foot it was a bunched up, mismatched mess.  The walking foot kept the layers together perfectly.
Invisible zip, of course.  This one didn't quite line up at the seam, but I decided it was close enough.  Lazy sewing, or acceptance of a minor imperfection?  You can decide.  I'm OK with it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fabric P0rn

It is the 10th of the month and I have not sewn a single stitch.  I'm getting seriously crazy, but since I can't sew, you all know what I've been doing instead...
Like I need more stash.
Oh, but I do!!  FabricMart AND tempted me with sales!  What's a sewing deprived sewist to do?
From Fabric Mart, a couple of acetate lining fabrics in olive and pink, black lace yardage, black poly satin (perhaps to underline the lace?) and some pink seersucker.  I also tossed a mystery bundle into the cart.
If you're unfamiliar with the Fabric Mart mystery bundle (as I was) please go rectify that oversight at once.  The deal is that you get 10 yards of their choice for 15 bucks.  Even if they all sucked, 1.50 a yard is still good for muslin fabric, so what have you got to lose.  But these are all awesome fabrics!!  I got a heavy black satin, purple and green printed voile, periwinkle ponte knit (yum!!), dark purple sateen (enough for a dress, double yum!!) and some tan tropical wool suiting.  And each piece was over 2 yards, so this was much more than 10 yards total.  What a deal!
During's extra 30% off clearance sale, I picked up these lovelies.  Tan poly suiting, pink stretch pique, blue check cotton shirting, lavender ottoman knit and some dark burgundy stretch gabardine.  I also got a skein of Berrocco Sox yarn so that I can attempt my first pair of socks.  Stay tuned for that!
Then had the audacity to have a sale on knits!!  I cannot resist knits, as you may know.  More than half my stash is knit fabrics and I love to sew them.  These are a border print stretch peachskin, a polka dot crinkle knit, a couple of lengths of slinky in lavender and turquoise, some pink matte jersey and a cool black lightweight jersey with lurex stripes.
I also picked up the scarf collar top pattern from Jalie.  All these new stretch fabrics deserve a new Jalie pattern!!

The total damage was about 50 yards of fabric.  It sure adds up fast!  I'm not really sure when I'm going to get a chance to start sewing up some of these yummy fabrics.
My sewing room looks like this, and I have a bridesmaid dress to alter and a bolero to make before I can get to the fun stuff.  At least I can still knit...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Blog Love!

Hey all you blogging ladies, have you heard about this great pattern sale just for YOU?

Sew Chic Patterns is offering 30% off her fabulous vintage inspired patterns just for sewing bloggers!  Use the coupon code BLOGLUV 2011 at her Etsy shop.  All the info is on her blog, here.

I have sewn 2 of her designs, the Myrtlewood and the Fantasia.  Both patterns were beautifully drafted, with a complete, easy to follow instruction booklet and they fit beautifully!  Her designs are beautiful and unique.  I get tons of complements every time I wear one of her designs.  Strangers literally stop me on the street.  Awesome!

I might have just ordered this one...
um, and this one.
Hurry!  Shop!!  You only have until Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Monthly Roundup - January '11

Here we are 1 month into 2011!  I sewed a bit more than I expected to this month, and that is always fun!

Final tally:
Jalie 2794 top (My)
burdastyle 9/2010-121 top (K)
Butterick 5566 skirt (K)
Ottobre 06/2010-13 jumpsuit (My)
Ottobre 01/2009-23 pants refashion (L)
Vogue 8699 top (K)
Vogue 8603 skirt (K)
Simplicity 3765 pants (D)
Evangeline fingerless gloves (K)

So that is 9 sewn items and 1 knitted.  I've been doing a lot of selfish sewing this month.  It's been fun to sew for me now that I'm not immensely pregnant, although the nursing bustline has given me a few frustrations.  Don't be looking for any closely fitted woven tops from me any time soon...

While I didn't do anything wildly challenging, I did play with a few more features on my serger.  I feel like I have a ton to learn about serging.  I really want to really get to know her and utilize her to her full potential.  My next big goal in that regard is to experiment with flatlocking to make some running tops for Mitch.

Next up I have a skirt about halfway done and a few tops I'm contemplating, but at the moment I've been evicted from my sewing room while we paint and carpet the house.  Necessary and exciting, but I miss my machines already!!