Sunday, August 24, 2008

Planning and Cutting

I picked up my SM after some much needed servicing. While I was there, I browsed some really pretty, good quality cottons. I wish I could remember who the manufacturer is, but this cotton washes beautifully! It needs very little ironing right out of the drier. I plan to make this simple dress, and should have it cut out today. I will fully line it with a polyester lining and will not put facings in the neck. I will make View C, which is the one pictured in black/white, but will add the little cap sleeves and put an invisible zipper in the back.

I also love this black linen blend with the embroidery that I already had in my stash. I was looking through my "ginormous" pattern stash and found this one I have had for a while. After I happened on Sharon M's post at Pattern Review, I knew this would be a great pattern for this piece. I was happy to find out I have just enough fabric. I may not add the side slits, but that depends on walking ease.

I also picked up Kwik Sew # 6807 while I was out. There are five really cute knit tops on this pattern. I recently got this jersey knit from Gorgeous Fabrics. I plan to make View B, the one pictured on the model, and will have almost a yard left over. I may make a cami out of the rest to wear under a jacket - maybe. I love the feel of this fabric.

Finally, I have already cut the following out. Both are from Burda World of Fashion Magazine. The pants are in the July, 2008, issue, and the top is in the May. I have finally overcome the dread of tracing the patterns and then adding the seam allowances. It takes a little more time, but I have kind of figured out what works and I really like the designs. Having said that, the top is probably going to be hilarious with the bright colors and flowers. It is not really something I would typically pick out. My DD even said she wouldn't wear it. LOL If nothing else, I will get the fit down and decide whether or not I want to make it again in something more reasonable. This is all cotton. The pants are a light weight stretch polyester from Joann Fabrics in the bottom weight section. It was on sale and I like the color, so if the top looks really stupid and juvenile, I can always wear a white top instead. :)

So that's my plan, and will finish getting everything cut out today. Hopefully even get the interfacing ironed on, threads pulled, zippers for the dresses and pants, and buttons for the top.

Of course, I have a couple of alterations to do before I can sew for me. Just a quick hem on a pair of pants. Shorten the sleeves on a jacket and repair a little seam that was not lined up properly, to help pay for this addiction hobby.

Edited 7:35pm Eastern
I'm back and ready to sew. Here is everything cut out. All I have to do is find the time this week to sew. But for now, oh my aching back. I'm going to watch the final ceremony of the Olympics with my youngest DD.

Don't you love it - I used Chico's tissue paper to trace my patterns. LOL

Monday, August 18, 2008

Weathering the Storm

I took my Sapphire machine in for repairs on Saturday, after having some minor problems with it for a while. I'm thinking that's a good thing with the approaching Hurricane. We have moved patio furniture, bikes, and other things that can be tossed around in the expected winds, and taken all the precautions. I will be unplugging the other machines tonight when the storms and lightening approach so I won't have to worry about the lightening taking them out. Even though they are plugged into surge protectors I worry about it. I love living in Florida - I really do, but I hate it when I can not get to my sewing machines because of the weather. I guess I will catch up on my needlepoint. :)

The first day of school is delayed and my DD's are torn between being let down and happy about one more day of summer vacation. Oldest daughter begins her first day as a high school senior and youngest as a high school freshman. What a year this will be.

Back after the storm.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Costumes for Performing Arts

I have had the pleasure over the last couple of years to work with a group of young dancers and actors by making their costumes. These girls study ballet and acting and their instructor is truly an inspiration. She loves what she does, and she loves the kids.

A couple of days ago, I received a disc of pictures from a program they did in May of this year. I had been unable to attend their performance, because my daughter had another event to attend. Before we go into that though, I want to go back to the year 2006.

That year they did a comedy "Christmas Carol" I made over 25 costumes. It was a lot of work, took a lot of hours, several fittings, but worth every moment to see the excitement when they were finally delivered for the dress rehearsal. My daughter was in this performance in a couple of different roles. She was a Caroler and an Irish Dancer. Here she is in her costumes:

I especially love this picture of the younger girls, dressed up and made up, waiting to take the stage:
Here is Mrs. Cratchet and two of the Cratchet children and Tiny Tim. I did not make the boys:

Just a few more:

And these:

Now on to "The Velveteen Rabbit". Can you tell the costumes in the center below were inspired by American Girls collection? The girls really wanted something like that.

These were so much fun. I just let the scraps pile on the floor. The colors were so pretty.

The rabbit is the one in blue above - sooo cute!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kwik Sew 3616

I thought this would be a great pattern. I love the style. Both views look nice, but I chose View A, and I really love the jersey knits that are available today. They make up well with a serger, and I can't tell you how much I love using my cover stitch machine for hems on knits. I did have to use my regular machine on this top in some areas. The neck and fronts have a facing that is interfaced to give it more stability. I really could not see any way to get around that. So I used three different machines to make this top. Wow!

I really like this top, but there are a few problems to address. First the size. According to the measurements on the pattern envelope, I cut a size Medium. Except that my bust measurement is 36" and the pattern is 37"-38.5", this should have been a pretty good fit. I thought with the Kimono sleeves, that the extra inch in the bust would not make that much difference. I was wrong. Maybe it was the fabric - Maybe it was the pattern. I'm not sure, but I had to take in a lot in the sides, a total of 4". I pinched up at least an inch in the shoulder seams and tapered to the suggested seam line at the sleeve hem. It is still too big.

Can you see a problem in this picture? It may be hard to see with the busy print, but I have never had a top where the shoulder seam creeped so far to the back - almost 2 inches back from where it should actually be. It almost looks as if there is a "set in" sleeve seam along the back of the sleeve, but that is the shoulder seam. If I cut the front shoulder down an inch and a half I'm not sure it would keep it from riding to the back. I think it would still ride back, making the front shorter than the back. Soooo, maybe it's the fabric, however, I had to work so much on the resizing that, maybe it's the pattern???? I'm not a real fan of making muslins of this type of pattern, and I don't have a lot of knits of this type in my stash that I would want to waste.

I'm not playing with this one anymore, but I think I will make the top again in a small. I think it is very flattering and I am loving the good quality jersey knits. This particular piece came from Fashionista Fabrics back in April when their jersey knits were on sale. I don't typically wear browns and off whites. I tend to wear a lot of blacks, reds, grays - you know. Especially with my hair. But I think this top is very flattering.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Butterick 3344

I spent the last week altering a wedding gown, flower girl's gown, and mother of the bride dress. I have altered many gowns and made quite a few over the years. The wedding gown I just altered was one of the most complicated and time consuming I have ever done. It had lots of poofs and layers. The sides had to be taken in and the dress shortened. The little girl's design was the same, however, the construction was a little different, and was slightly easier to alter. I am so glad to have that job behind me so I can get on to my own stuff.

I recently purchased some poly/lycra jersey knit from Gorgeous Fabrics. Ann took good care of me after a mix up on my order. I had never ordered from her before, and there is always a little concern when things go wrong with an online order. This time, I was way more than pleased with the attention and I came out a little ahead. :) Thanks so much Ann!

I used Butterick 3344, View D, with short sleeves and a turtle neck. I chose to make a size 12 and added to the side seams, just to be sure. I ended up taking in not just what I added, but another inch as well. I also had to narrow the shoulders by moving the sleeve head in almost half an inch. That is very unusual for me as I have a little bit of a broad back. This fabric is very drapey, so the turtle neck has very little body to make it stand up at all and just puddles. I added seam binding to the should seams for stabilization. I used my serger to make the entire top and stitched the hems using my cover stitch machine. I think I will add an inch to the length if I make this again, as I want to wear this with jeans and do not want to be tugging on the back to keep too much from showing. I also wish I had paid a little more attention to the fabric design. I would have placed the front pattern piece in a more desirable location so that the design was better displayed. The pattern itself was fairly easy. The problems I had were self inflicted.

I wore this to work today. It was very comfortable. The fabric is wonderful, and I will be purchasing more of this. Doesn't it pick up the silver in my hair nicely?? (chuckle)

While this is not my favorite, I do like this top, even with all the little quirks I ran into. I will probably make the pattern again using one of the other views. I really like the scoop neck and the mock-wrap. On the other hand, I have several other patterns that would make lovely tops using this type of fabric.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Vogue 8503

The floral print was a piece, among many, given to me by my Mother. It is a pretty, drapy fabric. I'm not sure of the content. It is definitely not a polyester as the burn test proved that. SB in her book "More Fabric Savvy" says that cotton, linen, and rayon: "Burns quickly with a yellow flame and continues burning after flame is removed. Leaves soft gray ash. Smells like burning paper." That is exactly what this fabric did. I suspect that it is a blend. The pants are a poly/linen blend from Joann Fabric and matched perfectly.

The pants were easy to make. Just typical straight, slightly wide leg. I lined mine so you could not see through them, and put an invisible zipper in the back. I cut a size 14 in the hips and tapered to a 12 at the waist. I added an inch and a half to the length. If I make them again, I will scoop out the crotch a little deeper. They are okay to wear now, but I think would just feel better if there was a little more room.

The pattern for the top was fine except for the following:

Can you tell that the side back facing is not drawn properly? The back facing is drawn larger, therefore if you sew to the large dot for a size 12 on the front, it would match up to the 14 on the back. If you turn under the facing as marked on the pattern, the facing hem would obviously be wider than on the front. They should be cut the same. The picture on the instructions show them to be the same. I had to double check just to be sure I was not missing a detail.

I added a skinny piping using the pants fabric along the front facing around the back. I stitched it to the facing first, as it was interfaced, and then applied it to the top. I stitched the facing with the top on the bottom so I could follow the stitching line left by stitching the piping to the facing. I also covered four 1 1/8" buttons using the pants fabric. The pattern only calls for three broadly spaced buttons, and that did not seem like enough to me.

The fabric did the slippy/slidey thing, so I had to take my time, used lots of pins to hold things in place.

Here is the finished outfit. I really like the way the top fits and drapes. I like the tailored look of the whole outfit. I'm sure I will wear the pants with other tops I have as well.

I have to take a short break from sewing for me, so I can alter a wedding gown, flower girl's dress, and mother of the bride. I hope it doesn't take too much time. I have soooo much I want to do for me. It is all about me - Isn't it??? Of course, without that little bit of side money coming in, there wouldn't be much sewing for me after all. I am really not complaining. ;)