Saturday, September 27, 2008

Help...Input please. Deadline approaches

Oh my, how did it get to be the end of September already?

I'm looking for input.
I'm slated to start as a teacher at an independent fabric store here in January. This place is organized, has a classroom with machines, and right now doesn't have anyone devoted to teaching garment sewing, so most of their classes revolve around quilting and craft projects.

I need to submit a class proposal list, which they will then decide what fits into the schedule and put in the newsletter to try to fill the classes. I can decide my max # students per class, which depending on the subject and the necessity for machines, can be anywhere from 6 - 12.
So, I need to come up with a few class ideas that I think will go.
Oh, this is for the class session beginning in January, ending in May.

So, since I can't teach all the ideas, and I want to choose the ones that are most likely to fill, I'm looking for input.
If you had a nice indy fabric store offering classes which would you be likely to sign up for - keeping in mind that the class price for a class is $85- $100.

Make your Daughter's or Your Own Prom Dress:
One 5 hour Saturday session, then three 2hr evening sessions, beginning in March. Recipient of the dress must be available for measuring/fitting for first hour and last hour of the Saturday, and for session 3 or 4 for final fitting.
You may choose your own formalwear pattern. Learn formalwear techniques such as inserting boning and working with slippery or satiny fabrics.

Sew Project Runway
Learn to decipher Simplicity's new "Project Runway"
pattern line while making a project that is truly Your Own. Choose any dress pattern from the Project Runway collection by Simplicity and we'll go through choosing the elements you want, figuring yardage, layout and construction order so that you end up with your own Personal Creation.

Fitting the Bodice
Two 3 hour sessions devoted to learning flat pattern alterations to fit the bodice. Fitting will be done on a fitting pattern, you'll make a muslin to test the fit, and then we'll talk about how to incorporate your fitting changes into every pattern you make.

Fitting Pants
Two 3 hour sessions devoted to learning flat pattern alteration to fit a pant pattern. Fitting will be done on a basic pant pattern,
you'll make a muslin to test the fit, and then we'll talk about how to incorporate your fitting changes into every pattern you make.

Make Your own Jeans
Using either the Palmer Pletsch pattern (McCalls 5142) or the Sandra Betzina Pattern (Vogue 1034) learn the secrets to constructing "better than store bought" jeans, for a fraction of what the RTW jeans are selling for. We'll be covering inserting a fly front zipper, pocket construction, flat fell seams and perfect topstitching.
6 weeks, evenings
*Note: If fitting is a concern please take the Fitting Pants class as a prerequisite OR call and arrange a private lesson fitting session with the instructor prior to the first class session.

Make this years fashion Must-Have, The Perfect White Shirt
Choose a white (or not white!) woven fabric and make your own White shirt, including perfect collar, sleeve placket, correct button placement and buttonholes.
Threads Collection Simplicity 3684

Which of these, any of these sound to you like classes that you would be interested in taking.
Is there a great need for a garment sewing class that I'm missing?
They have a great staff already teaching all sorts of craft items, including handbags. Sewing for kids and teens are reserved for the summer program, so it's only adult classes in the January-May session.
Thanks for your input.
I need to get them a proposal list Monday.

Thank you's to the first two commenters, Miriam and Toby. Which also brings up the clarification: The woman who organizes the classes teaches the basic beginner class, which is fine by me. They're looking for someone to pick up classes that are intermediate or higher level.
And, this store doesn't carry knits. In fact, They've gone over to more than half their fabric inventory being quilting cottons.
They carry the poly satins, which will be great for prom dresses, a fair to middlin' selection of silks and laces, some poly and rayon suitings, a great selection of ultrasuede, and a nice selection of woven cottons - the Spechler Vogel stuff in particular. There is another store in town that specializes in knits and teaches sewing with knits all year long, and I don't want to encroach on their territory. They do it better than me anyway.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pattern Bingeing

Just to confirm my scattered-ness, as I'm trying to wrap up projects and clean house, in a weak moment, prompted by a message I saw in the comments on Brooke's blog Because I Said Sew, I went on a pattern buying binge. Here's what I got.

The impetus for the whole slippery downhill slide:
Folkwear is re-issuing the Poiret Cocoon Coat. It's not even on their website yet, but I called, AND the patterns just arrived, so I whipped out the trusty Debit CC and bought it, (no pic yet) along with
the Sunburst Cocoon Coat
I plan to make one of them as the coat to wear over my Mother-of the Groom dress next month, where it might be cool enough to warrant some time of cover-up. Weather at the end of October in Traverse City might be fabulous and 60, or it might be sleeting and cold.
Nikki and Annika have made each of these coats and the reviewed the patterns on Pattern Review.

I also picked up the Claire McCardel inspired
Town and Country Dress.
This is a pattern they've been out of for quite some time - well, they just found a box and have a Few for sale. If you love it, I'm happy to enable and say "get it while the getting is good".

And, while at Folkwear, I saw this one,
which may interest someone out there
(insert wink and a grin icon - you know who you are!)
The pattern is #238, "le smoking jacket" for both men and women.

Now I just need to wait for the shipping moratorium on Marfy Patterns and I have 3 of those to order. Either that, or I should just bite the bullet and pay the shipping. These are patterns I Really want, and they're not on the Vogue website.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

progress., and an inventory

I spent all day working on this jacket, which is the project I'm working on for the coat-sewalong right now.

fused stay tape at pocket edge

attaching wigan at hemline - stitched to side seams and hand stitched with running stitch along fold line. Still needs to be pressed to fit shape of hem.

pad stitching. Shaping is achieved by stitching the lines while holding the lapel curved over the hand, and taking small "bites" of a stitch that doesn't go all the way through the fashion fabric. As each row is stitched, the next line is moved to roll over the top of the hand underneath.

I've got the body put together, have started putting together the lining, have assembled the sleeves, and have started assembling the asides - such as the epaulettes, the belt carriers, etc.

To see a 12 minute video of the technique for these hand stitches involved in tailoring see this YouTube video from Otis college on Tailoring techniques. The pad stitching is shown in the last 30 seconds - and I've found if you are in a hurry to get there you can move the play icon forward with your mouse.

Meanwhile, to start an inventory of the UFO's that I hope/intend to finish this fall:
I have 2 coats and 4 jackets under construction - oops, just remembered another jacket.

Begun in January 07 for the RTW knockoff challenge on PR - then ran out of time...and set it aside. I'd love to pull it out and finish it to wear this fall.

A coat I started, and neglected to underline. After basting together the outer shell and realizing it needed to come apart and be underlined, I set it aside... The big portrait collar is of velvet.

A coat I cut and started in v late winter '05. It gets warm here so much earlier than I'd been accustomed to, and I set it aside, then buried it in a drawer...and forgot about it.

Cut this jacket out 3 weeks ago. I need some clothes to wear to work. ASAP
This is a cotton with a navy print - and it's not going to be lined.

Started back in '06 when teaching a class in the french collarless jacket. Pieces are cut, fused, some assembly done.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Finished flying objects and a backlog of UFO's

Finished, Soleil, knit in
Needle and yarn
US 5 / 3.75 mm
Lanas Margarita mercurio
8 skeins = 784.0 yards (716.9m)

note: you do not need to read this, This is my rambling to Me to read and re-read whenever I feel like going on a starting binge, and when I want to remember my goals.

I've been having my September guilt associated with the mound of works-in-progress in my fiber studio (how's that for a fancy name for my dungeon?)
Somehow September always feels to me to be the beginning of the year. You know, end of summer vacay, "back to school", etc. and it's always the time that I feel more inclined to start out with a clean slate, and make new resolutions and set new goals. Somehow, in the dead of winter, it's hard to focus on a fresh start - much easier in September.

So, a little less than a year ago, I set some goals for myself - one was to sew more for others. Well, time to revise that one - Time to sew for myself. That goal was well-met. I have some more things to make for my sister, for the girls, and have 2 more committed projects yet this fall.
  • One - a velvet shrug or short jacket to wear over the wedding gown for my soon-to-be daughter-in-law.
  • Two - a Mother of the Bride dress and jacket ensemble for my BFF, Jacquie, whose daughter is getting married in January in Traverse City. We've chosen the fabric, and have it along with the underlining, lining and other "stuff", as well as a design concept. I'll be staying with her again the week before my own son's wedding, and will start on her dress the day after his wedding. I'll stay up there as long as it takes to finish her ensemble - I'm thinking 5 days.

But overall, I need some clothes, for me, ASAP.

And a little less than a year ago, I set the goal to sew up more of my UFO's, more importantly, not Create any more...and also reduce my stash.
Well, in the last few days, in the little time I've had to devote to sewing, I've stood in the middle of my sewing area and turned around and just felt totally overwhelmed. Totally!
Yesterday, while working on my jacket (pics coming up shortly), I had this harebrained idea that I should start entering all my UFO sewing projects as WIP's (the grey review) on Pattern Review. Ouch. That thought hurts.
Since I let Saashka down there, after swearing her to secrecy about how awful it really is, why on earth would I think to put them out there as projects partially reviewed? Then I remembered that there is a 'Hide' function on PR. And yesterday, in conversation with Carolyn, I made the rash statement that by the end of this calendar year I'm going to have all my UFO's cleaned out - finished or Gone - almost doesn't matter, I just want them done. The weight of responsibility to finish all this stuff is overwhelming. I've finished maybe 10% of my UFO's so far this year. Abominable record. Don't know if I'll really spend the time to enter UFO's or not - probably better to spend the time actually Sewing them. ;)

I did enter all my WIP's on Ravelry for my knitting. And in truth, it's kept me from starting more - how embarrassing that would be. Meanwhile, I've got pics to show this week - a finished Soleil, see above, and an almost finished red cabled cotton cardi - just need to finish weaving in some ends and finish the seaming of the sleeves at the underarm. I finally, on the car trip to SC last weekend, got going on that yoke.The knitting is done now! yippee....

And between last night and this AM I've ripped and re-knit the sleeve cap on the first sleeve for the black alpaca/silk cardi from the Drops pattern, and I just started sleeve #2.

So, I've put it in writing....Time to rid my sewing room of the UFO's - except that I'm going to give myself a bit of leeway. There are two summer-y projects that I have in progress that hopefully will fit by next Spring. I'm not going to finish those until I'm within 10lbs of fit range.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

From Leanne's collection, Project Runway

Christopher Kane Spring 2009 RTW collection

Given that these collections were put together in the same time frame, it is unlikely one is derivative of the other, but the theme and similarities are remarkable.
The architectural lines are interesting, but I'm not certain they go beyond "interesting", to "wearable".
So what do you think, is this a look that will be seen on the streets?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Running around like a chicken without a head

The Scaasi Dress

It's been finished and then unfinished. I had to take the darts in the front out. I'm going to have to make an appointment to get together with my friend Helen, the dressmaker, and have her re-pin my front.
I know the front was cut ongrain. But after the dress was on, it pulled something awful to the left. It had everything to do with the mounting of the underlining and the 4ply silk. I wish to God I'd basted it all together by hand before stitching it.
But I didn't.
So, I finally, after fussing and fussing, I removed the front darts and put it back on. Hangs perfectly, beautifully, straight. A little shapeless but straight.
What I'm going to do - stitch the darts in the 4ply only, and cut the dart fisheyes out of the organza, in the appropriate places, then catch stitch the organza to the dart on the wrong side.
I can't have this dress hanging wrong.
I did get the few things here fixed that needed fixing. And I repositioned the top of the zipper on the back so it's all good.

So, right now Helen is in England. When she gets back, I'll make a beeline for her house.

Meanwhile, I've put in some time on my Guy Laroche jacket project.
My own progress
I've decided, working on my burgundy wool/cashmere jacket, that bound buttonholes are not appropriate for this quasi-military style jacket that has epaulets/belt/sleeve tabs and is double breasted. So I was able to move right on to the interfacing for the front. My buttonholes will be made at the end of construction.

Because I'm not confident of my ability to get wonderfully perfect straight lines doing my padstitching, since I don't do it every week, I draw lines in pencil on my hair canvas. This is commonly accepted practice.
My pattern didn't have a roll line.
I neglected to mark it before I took the muslin apart (what was I not thinking?), So I chose to draw the roll line from the large dot.
Last night, while watching Project Runway I got the first lapel padstitched. Then I draped it on my front, with the collar piece, holding all together, and realized that I should have chosen the straight mark as opposed to the round one. So, I added 3 lines. If you click on the picture to make it larger you'll see the merge of the two angles. I could have been really AR and taken it all apart, but I didn't. It's fabric. It'll roll.

And now I've got to get ready to go away again this weekend. It's the weekend of the Georgia/South Carolina game - and since the girls are each attending one of those schools, we're going to Columbia SC for the game, in lieu of parent's weekend.
That means 26 hours in the car over the next 3 days, so I've got to get organized and packed.
I've got to figure out what project to take with me too.

I Do Not Want To Start ANything New!
repeat, with feeling.
So I'm going to go through unfinished projects and see what is appropriate for travel projects.

And, when I get back, I'm going to acknowlege the new blog awards I've been nominated for (thank you) and pass along the love.

Links to Paco's fabulous tutorial

Paco Peralta has written a very complete and fabulous tutorial on the technique for padstitching and shaping a Lapel and for The Great Coat Sewalong, and Tany has worked with Paco to do an English translation. Since that is a closed blog (will be open for viewing in about a month or so) he's also published the tutorial on his own blog in Spanish and on Tany's blog in Portugese and in English.
When clicking on Tany's blog you must check the box for the English translation AND uncheck the box for the Portugese, and it'll immediately switch over to English.
If you follow Paco's blog you know how exquisite his work is. I'm in awe of all the time and effort he put into the creation of this tutorial.

See Paco's tutorial here

See Paco's tutorial here, with Tany's English translation

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Scaasi Dress, Construction part 1

Carolyn asked in an entry she wrote this week about how many steps you take to make a garment.
I won't go through all the steps here, but rather sort of document my process,
in part so that I can remember WHY these dresses take a week to make. ;)

1. I had this pattern in a size 18 - 22, so the first thing I needed to do was grade the pattern down. That size range may work for me on the bottom, but I need a pattern size 14 - 16 through the neck, shoulders and upper bodice. while doing this I moved the shoulder seam fwd by 3/8".
2. Make a full muslin. In this case, I used muslin for the bodice which will be constructed of lace too - the muslin is stiffer and more tightly woven, but I needed to see how the pattern was drafted. I was THRILLED with the fit, first time out on this muslin. Not a change to be made, except one fix at the underarm where my grading fell a bit short of perfection and the seams didn't match. I still consider this an essential step in both figuring out fit and style appropriateness.
3. Lay out lace, place pattern single layer, taking care for placement of embellishments. I chose to use the scallop edge for the back. A lace like this has no grainline but there is a definite directional aspect to the design. (see post from yesterday for picture of whole lace, the directional aspect is evident). My pieces are small enough that the whole of the pattern is lost, but I was still cognizant of it while laying out the pattern. Fortunately this pattern made good use of the piece I had, so there is very little lace leftover.
4. Cut out illusion (fine soft nylon netting typically sold for bridal veils). I'm using illusion to underlay the lace. Pictured here on black, so that it'll show. I'm having the hardest time working with this only because I can barely see it up against the lace.

5. Clean up seam allowances by taking the embellishments off the lace. Below is one of the back pieces after cleaning up.

The sequins were first stitched together along a cable - each one individual on another ply of the yarn, then the whole was attached as a line. It made it easy to remove whole elements however made it challenging to remove individual sequins along lines that terminated in a seam. Even cutting into a sequin and removing it from the line was a challenge.
6. Mount the lace bodice sections to the net illusion, Then individually tack the flower sections to the illusion.

6. Steam the silk 4ply to be used for the skirt.
4 ply, as well as any crepe will shrink due to the weave structure. Steaming it is a process.
7. Cut the silk skirt, the machine washed and dried silk organza for underlining the skirt, then the charmeuse for lining. Cut bias strips for finishing the seam allowances.
If I'd had silk crepe de chine on hand I would have preferred that for underlining the 4ply. However, I didn't have any, and I was really determined to make this all from stash. So I draped the 4ply over some machine washed silk organza and I was happy with the resulting fabric, so decided to use it.
8. Mark the underlining for the darts and match points, then mount the underlining to the 4ply.

OK....this process took all of 2 days plus some more of the 3rd, and I hadn't even started sewing anything yet.

More to come.

Friday, September 05, 2008

More on Semi-formalwear And Why it's Great to have Stash

A week ago or so I wrote a post and asked your opinion on what I should make for myself for the weddings I had coming up. In the eventuality, for my brother-in-laws wedding, I ended up wearing something I'd make a year ago for SWAP, as I just ran out of time.
But, You all convinced me to go ahead with the Scaasi dress pattern.
I got the muslin made - and I was so incredibly pleased with the fit that I began re-thinking the fabric choice.
Because I wanted this dress to do double duty for last weekends wedding and the one tomorrow, I was trying to tone down the level of formality.
My fabric choice was this silk tafetta with an embellished net for the sheer.

Well, the wedding tomorrow is more formal. Since I'd only managed the muslin last week, I had time to change my mind. (woman's perogative, don't you know?)

This is why I love having a stash.
Saashka was here Tuesday, and for several hours all we did was wallow in my stash.
And after wallowing in it, after she had to leave to get on the road to Louisville KY, I was putting away fabrics, and rethinking my fabric choices.
I love the taffeta above, but then, I've got a LOT of fabrics I love.
and this brings me to why I LOVE my stash...At this point in time, in our lives with all these almost grown and grown children who're getting married or going to college, I'm not in the position to be buying these Incredible fabrics. Not to mention that they're getting exceedingly hard to find...not to mention that indy fabric stores that carry quality fabrics are dropping like flies - topic for another day. And while I lament the fact that I have such a stash that I'm afraid I won't be able to use it all, I love being able to go down and pull fabrics and have choices, and all of my choices are fabrics I loved enough to buy in the first place. So, I went stash diving.
  1. The reasons to use the tafetta I'd chosen - I have it, and it would have been on the formal side but still acceptable for last weekends wedding.
  1. The reasons to continue to save it: I have 5 yds of the plain taffeta, 1 1/2 yd of that same taffeta beaded, the net you see in the above pic, another lace that coordinates with it, and a crinkle silk (like the crinkle silks that Candlelight Valley still has a couple of- fabulous stuff). This means that I have enough to work with for another mother of the ___ or other serious formal event, and I've got 3 more kids who're going to be going through this. If I used some of it now, I'll be potentially limiting myself later.
  2. I don't have lining, so it means I'd need to buy some fabric.
  3. And, in that same color family, I have the fabric for one short, stand alone garment, complete with lace, silk 4ply, and charmeuse for lining.
So, in the spirit of using what I have, to fit the body I have now, I made the commitment to use this: This is one incredible piece of lace. I honestly don't remember where I got it, but it was either Stewart Fabrics back when Stewarts was on Maple in Birmingham and Ida Stewart was still around, OR it was from Stewart-Zacks in Traverse City, which was owned by her daughter Mary Zacks (who happened to live across the street from me up there).

And in the great tradition that so many others out there right now are following, of taking a project and making it yet more complex, (Carolyn comes to mind immediately, but many of us are doing it), I've created about twice the work for myself with this dress, just by changing my fabric choices.
I'll start posting construction notes later.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Blue self drafted dresses for the Labor Day Weekend wedding

I finally finished Katies dress last week, however I didn't finish my own.
I will finish it this week and wear it to the wedding we're going to Saturday here in St Louis.
I ended up wearing the Chinese brocade skirt that I made last year for SWAP with a pink chiffon pleated (purchased) top that has been in my closet several years. It worked. Not what I wanted, but it was more important to get the girls dresses done and perfect.

I have to state that I sweat making Katie's dress. I fit the inner corselet to her that is the base for the bodice, way back last May. I draped the muslin for the skirt, then didn't like it, and draped another one when she was here for 3 days in July. But it's been my experience lately that there has been quite a bit of fitting to do after the muslin, once we're in fashion fabric.
I was so nervous, and finished then took apart and checked and re-checked and modified the blue dress numerous times.
And in the eventuality, I really feel that I've never done a finer job on any garment I've made than I just did on Katie's dress.

Construction-wise, it's as perfect a garment as I've ever made.

I used spiral steel boning in the inner corselet, and made the inner corselet long enough that it was hip high. I added an inner waist stay in the form of a grosgrain ribbon belt, and attached it in the manner outlined in Susan Khalje's Bridal Sewing book.

One of the more frequent comments I heard re the dresses during the wedding reception was:
"We love the dresses, and each dress seems to suit each girls personality so well." And I think it's true - the girls are very different and each would have been very uncomfortable in the style the other wore.
But as it was, they each loved their dress - felt very comfortable, as if they were as pretty as they could be in what they were wearing, and it Showed in how they conducted themselves all day.
Editing to add a pic of the girls with the bride - Becky, yes, these were bridesmaids dresses for my dsd's to be in my Brother-in-law's wedding (their uncle)

More pictures

Thank heavens they're done.
This week I'll finish the dress for me, AND get the next step up for the coat sewalong. Finally!