Sunday, November 28, 2010

Naked Machines Finally Covered!

Dear Readers,

Despite the shocking title, I haven't finished my second version of my dress  - I was having trouble making choices.  Before I get to that - this is what I've been up to this Holiday.

Before:  Nude machines -

After:  Fully, and fashionable dressed (covered) machines - 

I used Simplicity 2679 (purchased for $1.00) at Joann's Fabric. 
I also measured the machines (the Singer Featherweight and the Serger) and tailored the patterns slightly.  The Janome (with the vespa fabric) sewing machine cover was one of my first projects 14 months ago.  In all three projects,  I used cording instead of binding to bind.  Wow!  The cording (or piping) foot on my serger was fantastic.  I love feet - I'm going to do a separate post on this.  I also have fallen in love with the serger - I love it and am glad I own it.  I never thought I would own a serger. 

I bought the two new fabrics above  -  they are Japanese fabric 30 percent off from Momen+ in Torrance -  on Black Friday.   You know I'm obsessed with Japanese Fabrics.

I also quickly sewed two doggie bed that are for their crates  - easy-peasy - measure, cut and sew.  I cut up an old down-alternative comforter (washable) for the insides. 

This is one of two:
And, again, the second in the same fabric (the robots mats were bought separately - we're all "robot-crazy" (also known as roboty) in our house).  

Finally, with regard to the Second Vogue 8667 dress - I think I'm going to use a separate fabric for the skirt (so that it's not a completely Hawaiian dress and may be worn more frequently).  I must give a shout out to Eugenia's Blog.  She sewed at least 2 -  two-tone dresses - and most recently did a gorgeous rendition of Vogue 8667.  I've decided to line the cotton top (instead of facing or bias binding) with a cotton voile and use a double knit for the skirt.  

Well, off to sew! Have a great week. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving (US) & Happy progressing to the end the week (everyone one)

Dear readers,

If you've been progressing toward the end of the week (Congrats!) the weekend is almost here!

 In the US, we're celebrating Thanksgiving, where the desire to get the perfect turkey and meal, spending time with relatives you may or may not desire to see, and planning crazy shopping the day after.  And, some people chose to give thanks for their lives (we do!).

Yesterday, I went to the paragon of booksellers, and bought three sewing magazines.  One serves as an excellent reference and I learned a couple of  techniques.  The magazine is Teach yourself to Sew by Threads magazine.

Although I am familiar with most of the "getting started" techniques - I have learned a few things (and I'm only 1/3 of the way through).

For example, there are tools to help your presser foot stay level over thick seams!  And, the best way to get sharp points on a collar or tight angle is to make a box type of stitch during the seam instead of a point. . . I never had problems with that but good to know!  I recommend it as a fun reference with lots of good tips.

Finally, on my Kindle 3, thanks dad!, I downloaded Pat Conroy's My Reading Life (which is a love story to writers and readers, really).

He writes, "As an American liberal with impeccable credentials, I would like to say that Political Correctness is going to kill American liberalism if not fought to the death by people like me for the dangers it represents to free speech, to the exchange of ideas, to openheartedness, or the spirit of art itself.  Political correctness has stranglehold on academia, on feminism, and on the media. It is a form of both madness and maggotry, and has already silenced the voices of writers . . . across the land."

I find this so true, even on a minor level, like this sewing blog.  I won't address the larger first amendment issues in America, but I will say that I do write my blog in fear of offending others (not to be confused with tolerance, though).  I am careful to monitor the voice and tone of my blog - really, I want to promote and enjoy home sewing - and encourage others to try (and learn from the legion of experts out there).  I want my blog to be accessible.  And maybe, that is the way of it for writing that is trying to accomplish a goal such as this.   Readers, do you find your voices chilled by political correctness?

Just a few things to think about (and feel free to respond!) - Pat Conroy's book is an easy read if you haven't had the chance yet. . .

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thank you Vogue Patterns!

Wow!  I need to buy a lotto ticket - stat!  First, I pass the bar (luckily) - then my father send me the new kindle (lucky, again!), and then wonderful Kathy Marrone comments to tell me that my last post is featured on the Vogue Patterns facebook page and that they like it very much. (Very shocking!)

I still feel pretty lucky - I consider myself to still be an advanced beginner.  Out of the blue!  If you are on facebook here is the LINK.  I wasn't aware of the FB page - and they post frequently - on a variety of sewing-related issues.  Their latest post indicates that they are giving away fabric (from their stash) on Mondays. 

Now, I feel dedicated to doing a better job on my Hawaiian dress - all part of my guilt at being mentioned and featured on their link.  Well, dare to dream, I say!

BTW, I think this counts for a few minutes of my fame quotient. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Vogue 8667 (Finally!) and Celebratory Libations

Hello dear readers!

Finally, I've finished Vogue 8667, pictured below.  It's been quite the journey!

Finally, I might add.  I started this project at the same time as I was taking "Intro to Pattern-Making."  Which was brilliant.  I started out making the dress pattern initially with the bodice pictured here, in a Hawaiian Cotton Print.  
Several problems emerged, when I sewed two muslins to check the fit. 
First, the cotton has no drape for the collar piece.   And I actually didn't have enough fabric for the full skirt (of course!!).  So, based on Gertie's wonderful blogging, she gave me idea to use a double knit - a wonderfully soft fabric that I bought for 8.00 a yard from Michael Levine - I had more than enough fabric (the bolts were huge).   So, I put off the Hawaiian fabric (I am finishing this weekend). 

However, do you think I should face the Hawaiian bodice?  I am tempted to use bias binding (same color) but J. thinks that has a tendency to look homemade.   Your opinions are helpful. 
I also decided to initially not make the sleeves since the sleeve fitting was complex.   I have rather large biceps.  However, the double knit gave me some confidence so I made the sleeve alteration - based on the advice from the book, Fit for Real People.  

I have a 9" bust to bust point - which I increased by 1" from the pattern.  In addition, my bust points were 1" below overall the curve indicated by the pattern.  I will details these alterations later this weekend with pictures.  It was actually very hard for me to get a good fit with the princess seams, since my shape differed quite a bit from the pattern cut.   The double knit was quite forgiving, although since it was not exactly the same as the cotton muslins - I had several differences in the final result.  The bust should not have been altered horizontally, but the overall curve move worked out well.  

Even though I didn't need to - I handpicked the zipper, above,  (thanks Sewaholic (great tutorial)).  I also admired Gertie's and Susan Khalje's tutorials and lessons, respectively, which gave me the ideas to do this type of couture technique.  I finished the seams with my serger, even though with double knit one is not required to do - I think it looked more professional.  

I also added the bow at the waist to hide some wonky seams (I almost ordered a custom belt). If anyone has any ideas on how to sew very straight seams across the waist on a princess cut garment - please let me know your tips - I had big problems.  I am going to go back and reset the bow, to tell the truth - I hurried to finish this dress and have worn it three times since finishing it Wednesday evening.  

End result, I love it.  I have to finish the cotton Hawaiian version, but I am probably not going to use the full skirt.  I now have a skirt "block" from my Intro to Pattern-Making - and I'm going to use that to attach a straight skirt like the alternate view suggested in the pattern. 

Pattern review Here!.  This pattern took a ton of alterations, and initially, I thought the skirt would look wonky, but I rather like it.

On a personal note, I've been on pins and needles since Nov. 1 - but found out last night I passed the Cal. Bar on my first try! Hurray!   Now, I am going to nurse my headache from the celebratory libations!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hey Anthropologie!

Hey Anthro -

I think someone has been reading someone's blog.  Yes, dear readers, as shocking as that might sound to you it's true.  Do you remember my Colette Macaron dress made painstakingly with Japanese Echino fabric!

Ah Ha!

Anthro's fall catalog arrived today in the mail and, lo and behold, I think some company (with a name starting with A.) knocked off my dress. OK, I know it's not a direct copy - but I suppose they have knocked off the idea of doing a vintage type of dress with modern Japanese fabric (the idea of it:)) Sure, their fabric is silk and not cotton/linen . . . suspect, I tell you!  And the name of their dress - "Japonita!"  That nails it in my mind.

As I was knocked off (in my own mind) , I feel completely justified knocking off the offender's circle skirt pictured below:

I am in Class 2 of Intro to Pattern Making tomorrow!  I feel some cloning coming on . . . don't "they" say imitation is the greatest form of flattery?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Decades of Style Patterns

Dear Readers,

Whilst I was taking my class - I did have a chance to shop and here is my bounty - I can't wait to make these up:

Two Decades of Style patterns that I have been waiting to buy for awhile (apparently Decades of Style had a trunk show with all the designs sewn up that I missed two weeks ago (of course).

Decades of Style 1940s House Dress
Decades of Style 1940s New England Dress:

Also, I bought three yards of this cotton lawn, which does have some cross-stretch - it is NOT a liberty print - but does remind me of the type of prints Liberty is famous for.  I was thinking of making Vogue 8667 in this print but after trying on my muslin - I think I will save it for another project. 

I also got this thick canvas Japanese robot print to make a Green Pepper messenger bag for J.  Unfortunately, he doesn't think the material is substantial enough for his books (it is - especially if reinforced) But, hey, I'm not going to argue - so yeah!! I can use this somehow for a project of mine!

Dear readers, if you have sewn Decades of Style patterns - I would love to hear about it!  Tips are appreciated!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Vogue 8667 - Vintage-Inspired Modern Dress

Hello Dear Readers,

I hope this first of November finds you all well.  As for me - as yesterday's post discussed - my sewing mojo is back - and NO travel for me this month:)

I have just completed a muslin for Vogue 8667 - a modern dress with a vintage twist.  I am making the sleeveless dress in beige on the model shown.

Pictured are the bodice and full muslins for this dress - and whew!  I have quite a few alterations to complete!  I also wanted to make the blue version shown above, but the sleeves would have taken two + alterations to fit my  rather full upper arm - so out they go!  Plus, I plan to wear this dress in Hawaii with some fabric I picked up my last work trip there - so sleeveless does make more sense.

I have completed the bodice muslin shown above.  My alterations (upon trying it on) are the bustpoints must be moved down 1" each.  This bodice has princess sleeves mind you.  In addition, I must widen the bust points one inch to the side for each.  I am also adding 1 inch to the bodice - to move my waist seam downward.  Finally, I am adding 1/4" on the seam allowance for the sides.

I haven't yet sewn princess seams, so I looked up and cross-referenced how to do so in Fit for Real People, by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto.  The authors give a detailed description on how to move the bust points for princess seams (the technique in short involved cutting and moving the pattern downward at the bust-point on the front pattern piece and side pattern pieces).  Although after thinking about this (and dreaming about it!)  -  I may try adding 1" to the shoulder seam if it doesn't throw out the proportion for the armholes.

I also reviewed the description on how to widen the sleeve for the upper arm, and although the technique is excellent - I think I prefer the description and additional technique for a small adjustment detailed in Fast Fit, Sandra Betzina.  Both technique call for cutting and widening the arm pattern pieces.
Finally, the skirt is done and I need to do a better job on the pleating.

After thinking about this - I plan to cut another bodice muslin and check the fit once more before cutting my fashion fabric.

Any tips on fitting (or sewing) princess seams are appreciated!