Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nine Lives Vest

 I have fallen so far behind in posting and in reading all of your posts!  I caught up a bit this morning and hope to stay on track now.  After the wedding, things geared up for fall and then  for the holidays both at home and at work.  But, I have vowed to get back to what I love. 

My latest is a very simple pattern called Nine Lives Vest from Shapes, by Louise Cutting and Linda Lee.  It is an unlined vest/blouse that I've seen made up as a summer shirt.  I liked the idea of it as a vest for the winter months and made it up in a black faille-like fabric.  I love the way the collar stands -- I think it's flattering and I also like the asymetrical shape with one side slightly longer than the other.   There is a slight capped sleeve and, though it is shown with multiple buttons, I chose to do one large one in the center.  The seams are bound with a black and brown brocade. 


It makes a great foil for the scarves I've been making -- the first in silk dupioni with odd 'shapes' attached at the bottom and the second from some vintage kimono fabric with a band of black on black silk at either end.

Easy and versatile -- has the structure I love!


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lacy Scarf - No Knitting

 I actually do know how to knit, but I was intrigued with this process.  I have many skeins of ribbon, eyelash, and other sparkly yarns that belonged to my sister.  I get tired of some of the standard scarves made up in these materials, so I decided to try something different - a process I've seen written up in a few magazines.  

I cut one yard of a tacky water soluble stabilizer (I used Aqua Magic Plus).  I cut many, many strands of yarn in 44 inch lengths and laid them on the stabilizer with 6 inches hanging over the stabilizer on each end for fringe.  You can use your imagination here and put them down in any order.  When you're satisfied with your arrangement, place another water soluble stabilizer on top (this one does not need to be tacky).

I then did free motion stitching throughout the entire scarf, making sure that I was close enough so it held together, but not so close that it was rigid.  I then soaked the scarf in cold water to get out the stabilizer and voila!

Easy, pretty, lacy, different!


Friday, October 14, 2011

Jacket Finished - Jury Still Out

 The strange fabric jacket is finished.  There's lots I like about it.  The fabric was both very stretchy and the shiny dots were a little like plastic.  I really was afraid to press this much.  I did press my seams open, but with a press cloth and the tip of the iron.  The little dots also interfered with getting a really good seam, especially at the shoulder, since they were 'crunchier' than the body of the fabric and tended to stand out.  And, I didn't want to melt them with too much pressing.  The fabric was also a bit heavy which helps the drape.

The jacket and lining are constructed, sans sleeves.  The lining and jacket sleeves are then joined at the cuff, the seamline at the top of the lining sleeve is turned in and basted, the fabric sleeve is attached to the jacket, and the lining sleeve is then pulled over and slipstitched.

It's a very easy jacket and has potential for other options, such as making it as a vest, shortening the panels in the front, etc.  All in all, I like the pattern.  The pattern in this fabric?  I'll definitely wear it.  My son, who is a die hard vintage Brooks Brothers adherent, would say 'shiny' which would be his way of saying, if you can't say something nice......


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Muslin for V8756 - Why We Make Muslins!

Even though this pattern (see previous post) doesn't button and appears loose-fitting, I decided to do a muslin and I'm glad that I did.  The back has four darts, adding a lot of shape.  Two of them are in the shoulder area and two start mid-way down the back and go right to the waist.  I found when I made up my muslin that the back really wasn't flattering at all.  Where the hemline hit, it forced the jacket to buckle a bit, and the back just seemed to be a bit snug.  Keeping in mind that the purpose of darts is not just to take in fullness, but also to add fullness to other areas, and that patterns are guides rather than bibles, I decided to reshape the dart.  As you can see in the photo, I took out the original (marked with blue dots) and put in a new one that started slightly above the old dart, extended about 6 inches, coming in only about 1/4 inch at its center.  This kept the cinched look, but added flare at the bottom, which I sorely needed.

Here you can see the new dart transferred onto my pattern.  I simply marked the top of dart, bottom, middle and then measured out from the middle of the dart 1/4 inch on each side.  I then connected the markings with a French Curve Ruler.

Full photo (aren't washed out muslins so very flatterning???) here.  The back looks like it could use a tad more work, though I don't want it too streamlined since it is a jacket.


Also picked up the lining for the jacket.  The pattern itself is easy, so hopefully this will work up quickly and I can show photos in a more flattering color.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Next Up - Vogue 8756

I ran into a local fabric store the other day, ostensibly to pick up some bright cloth for some pillow cases I was making for my great nephew  for his birthday.  I wanted to make up just a small token with some machine embroidery and some fabrics with his favorite characters.

It wasn't a  shop I frequent for garment fabric and I wasn't looking for anything for myself, but as I hurried past the final sale table, I came across the fabric below and couldn't leave it there.  I can't even begin to tell you what it is.  It's quite thin, and shiny, and a deep eggplant color.  It's one of those fabrics that is a bit funky and deserves an equally funky pattern.

I've settled on this Vogue pattern.  I love the way it drapes, and I love the diagonal seams in the front panels.  I hope I'm not wrong, but I do think this will work out well.  Can't wait to start, but it won't be before next week at the earliest.

In the meantime, my little nephew is getting his embroidered pillow cases!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Men's Ties

 Well, I've made my first tie!  My husband asked if I'd make him a tie -- I'm not sure why since he is a tie snob.  For a long time, he was on a Missoni kick, and when he got tired of Missoni, he moved on to Pancaldi and would treat himself to 2 Pancaldi ties on special occasions.  I finally woke up and realized that they could be had much more cheaply on E Bay.  Who cares if someone else wore it once???

But, I promised a tie, and here it is.  I should have just gone out and bought a Vogue pattern, but I figured this was a tutorial easily found on the internet.  The first few patterns and instructions I downloaded called for full fusible interfacing and full lining.  It just didn't sound right to me!

Finally, I found a Burda free download that looked to me as if it was constructed the way a fine tie should be.  You can see in the drawing that  there is one wide tie piece and one narrower one.  The wider one is cut from fashion fabric (in this case I used a silk I had purchased last week at The Silk Road) and the narrow piece is padding and I cut this from a nice firm and not too flat wool)

If you look closely at the drawing, you will also see a diagonal line.  This is a where the tie is underlined to and for this I used silk organza.  (By the way silk organza makes a wonderful pressing cloth since you can see through it and it can withstand high heat). 

Rather than line the whole tie, you cut lining for both the front and back tips.  This particular pattern called for mitering the tips which nicely pulls the fashion fabric to the inside so your lining won't ever show.  Nice touch!

The construction is quite simple.  You pin your underlining (I hand basted).  You place your lining tip, miter, and sew.  You then place your padding inside, fold over one side with a raw edge.  Turn under a seam allowance on the other side, fold over so they overlap and hand stitch (which takes forever!)
A couple of notes.  This particular pattern looked like it was cut in one piece. Most tie patterns are not.  Since they are cut on the bias, that would take an enormous length of fabric.  I cut the pattern into threes and pieced.  Also, I found this particular pattern a bit short since my husband and son are both tall, so I also added a couple of inches to the pattern.

I may still see what Vogue shows for construction since I imagine there are any number of configurations, but this one is fairly traditional.  You can make them really elaborate -- monogram the inside.....put an unusual keeper for the tail to slip into, fancy label, etc. etc. 

If you look closely, it's not as pretty as his Pancaldis, but it's made with love!


Monday, September 19, 2011

The Silk Road

All sewers love fabric stores, and I am no exception.  Sadly, there are fewer and fewer shops dedicated to garment sewing.  There are quilt stores galore, and home decorating stores galore, but to find a fabric store for stitching wonderful clothing is a real treat.  I have found one in Apple Annie's in Swansea, Massachusetts.  But, since this is a two hour drive each way, I have to save it for a special trip.

I can't believe that I had never been to The Silk Road in Auburndale, Massachusetts before this past Friday.  I set off to Auburndale, which is about an hour ride for me, with my mother and sister.  Since we arrived a bit early, we checked out the town.  Auburndale is a suburb of Newton and has a tiny, but lovely center where we visited a great boutique called The Dressing Room.  The owner is delightful and has lovely clothes with  prices that are not too hurtful -- very special.  We then had lunch at Bocca Bella, which was yummy -- white bean and spinach soup and half sandwich.

But, now to the real reason for our visit.  The Silk Road is a beautiful shop.  You can almost tell from their website.  They have natural fabrics in two well set up rooms.  Fabrics are standing up by the bolt, and there are silks of every variety - charmeuse, chiffon, dupioni, raw silk.  There are velvets and fine cottons.  There are beautiful ribbons and trims.  And, there is a very large selection of fine books on the trade.  I can't say enough about how happy I was to find them.  They are a definite edition to my haunts.  I didn't have something particular in mind so, with the exception of the black sheer stripe which I bought two yards of, I limited myself to remnants, as shown.  It was difficult, but one must leave oneself a reason to go back again, and again.

I want to go back again to meet the owner of such a fine shop -- Gay wasn't in the day we were there.  Oh, and I forgot!  They give classes as well!  This is definitely someplace for you to check out when you're in the area.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Big Weekend Is Here

Our first child gets married tomorrow.  We're off today for the weekend after we spend the next couple of hours ironing and packing!  When you sew you inherit odd jobs -- such as touching up bridesmaid dresses crushed by packing and starching shirts that need a bit of sharpening up, etc.

The Chuppah was a very simple sewing job, but my most nerve wracking.  Despite countless proofings, I was convinced that something would be spelled wrong or otherwise get messed up.

We're very happy we have a better Sunday than last Sunday's hurricane!

Back to sewing next week after a rather long hiatus!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Simple Pleasures

I've not done any sewing for myself lately, but am doing some fun wedding sewing.  Below is Lazy Girl Designs (Noriko Bag) made up in embellished ivory silk for Sheryl.

and below is the bag to hold the glass to be broken at the end of the wedding ceremony.  The embroidery didn't photograph as well as I would have liked. 

And, I did promise to post my finished knitting bag!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lazy Day

I know I should be busily thinking about my fall wardrobe, but with a wedding six weeks away and with temperatures near 100 for many days now, I just can't get to that mindset.  But, neither can I not sew.  So, I'm doing some easy sewing.  I ordered some black and white toile on e bay recently and decided it would look good made up in the gardening/knitting bag in McCalls 5506.  Alas, when I cut it out, I realized that I wasn't going to have enough material, so I decided to do the outside pockets in a black corded fabric.   As luck would have it, I had some very pretty vintage black and cream narrow french silk ribbon and a cream and black button to use to pull it all together.

I don't know if anyone else does this, but when doing a project like a bag, rather than use a store bought interfacing, I'll often use a fabric that I have no more use for, if it gives the project the right hand.  In this case, this was something purchased on line that was not at all what I expected, so now it has a good home, no more money was spent, nothing was wasted and I think it's a better hand for this bag. 

I'll post the finished bag, but will leave you with two small additions.  One, my new large antique bobbins make great holders for trims and laces and look cool while doing the job.

And, I couldn't resist a little kitsch -- the right fabric for the right project!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Loes Hinse - Two Ways

It has been so hot this summer and I have so few sleeveless tops, that I needed to do something about it. I've had Loes Hinse Sweater Set pattern for a long time now and I had this beautiful rose jersey material. I've not worked with jersey before -- just keep putting it off -- partly because I'm not yet comfortable with my serger. But I bit the bullet. I like the pattern a lot. There is a front seam which makes the V neck a breeze to do. It also falls nicely, cut in a bit at the top which is more flattering to the shoulders but falling at a bit of an a line through the hip. I found it easy to work on and was pretty happy with my first result.

I liked the fit well enough that I wondered what it would be like with a woven. So, I redrafted the pattern so it opened in the back (The back was cut on the fold, so I simply redrew the back pattern piece onto pattern paper, and added adding 2 inches (1/2 inch to turn and clean finish, and another 1 1/2 so there would be a nice wide fold to do the buttons and buttonholes in).

I've had this crinkly fabric for a while now, but only very narrow remnants that were given to me by a friend who worked for a designer. So, by cutting each side individually I was able to eke out the top. I decided the fabric called for a funkier, more casual look, so instead of folding over and hemming the V, sleeves, and hem, I did a rolled hem on my serger and was fairly happy with the result. I perhaps wasn't as careful as I should have been -- when I do something new, I tend to hurry so I can see the result and then do my second piece more carefully. Very bad habit, I know.

I really liked the look. The back dips down more than the front, which I also liked. The buttons were part of my vintage stash and went well. So, since I had both the buttons and fabric already, the top was essentially free, which is a great way to experiment!!