Sunday, June 14, 2009

I Love Lists

  • I love making them.
  • I love checking things off of them.
  • I love comparing mine to others ..tehe
Check out Carolyn's lists on her Saturday Bits and Pieces post
love the 9 things list from Nieman's.
I'm going to get to work on my "pink thing" just as soon as I close this post.

Then I was following links while reading others blogs and perusing FayesSewingAdventures
and see that she has a list on her sidebar of 10 sewing goals for 2009. What a great idea.
Not a list of things she wants to make per se, as much as a list of skills to master or patterns to create and the like. I like that idea.

So, I'm off to make some lists too - I do all sorts of thinking while I'm at the cutting table, and the cutting table it is for me this evening.
What am I up to?

The pink thing.
A dress to wear next weekend to a wedding in Pentwater MI, using a fabric grouping that I've been meaning to get made up for a couple of years.

So, do you make lists?
What is on your list at the moment? If you write a blog post about your lists come back and link it here in the comments and I'll publish the links next week when I publish my lists.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Another pencil skirt

Pattern used: Vogue 1082, a Sandra Betzina pattern
Fabric / Fabric source: A cotton/lycra blend from Sew It Seams in St Louis MO.
I purchased this fabric with a regular 2-main-pattern piece pencil skirt in mind. If I'd stuck with the plan, I'd have a skirt that I'd really like to wear.

However, when I got home and went through the pattern library, looking for Vogue 2770, my TNT pattern, I came across this from Sandra B that I hadn't made yet.

Did I have enough fabric to engineer my print placement? No. But, I thought, "I can just lay it out and let the large-scale floral print fall randomly and it should be fine." HA!
Never think that "random" is going to work with a large scale print. It doesn't.
Check out the dress that Phyllis made and all that she put into the layout of the large graphic print fabric. What makes the dress work is all of the care and thought that went into the layout. The skirt that I featured yesterday, I spent as much time considering layout and in prep as I did in the sewing.

You'll notice, I ended up with a large blue flower on each hip. And a tulip smack dab in the center front panel. And then, worst of all, 4 tulips in a row across the back. Ugh ugh ugh.

Construction details:
Unlined skirt,
Piped in a solid royal blue bias.
Invisible zipper
Waist stayed using white twill tape.

I like the pattern, I like the fit, generally.
I cut a size E at the waist and tapered out to a G, then kept taking it in and taking it in until I had 1 1/4" seam allowances at the side seams. Which means that the proportion of grading I did worked, but I cut too large a size to start with.
Next one I make from this pattern I'll start smaller.

The styling: I'm wearing turquoise sandals, the turquoise is in the skirt. And I wore a silk twin set in royal blue, same color as the piping. To my eye, after looking at these pics, I think it's time to let the twin set go. I like the tucked in, but think I'm going to take a cue from the Lucky article and make a blouse to work with this too.
And truth is, I don't like the royal top/chartruese bottom combo.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Just Skirting Around

"Every now and then your wardrobe needs an injection of something, new, trendy and fun. That was the thought when we spied the pencil skirts shown in the large graphic prints and florals in the June 2009 issue of Lucky Magazine. These skirts provide a great way to update a with that photo spread and a little conversation...we were ready to create our own versions. Following are our individual interpretations of an updated yet classic pencil skirt."

A feature in Lucky Magazine highlighting the pencil skirt done in large scale prints/graphic prints.Photo from Lucky Magazine

The Challenge:
Create a pencil skirt works on our own body and use a bold print. Participants are Carolyn, Cidell, LindsayT, and Me. (I proposed the challenge to a few sewing friends after reading Carolyn's post of May 9 )

The skirt:

Pattern used: A modified version of Vogue 2770. I first made this skirt in a black wool crepe and still wear it. Love the shape and the fit. I moved the slit to the back and placed the front on the fold. This truly fits the definition of a pencil skirt. The hem is 4" narrower in circumference than the hip. A walking slit is definitely required.

I really studied the Lucky Magazine skirts for the styling and the details. Notice on the photo above that the hemlines on these skirts are right on the knee or an inch below the knee. Notice also the tops. Tucked in. Classic shirt styling or blouson peasant style.
I pulled a top from my closet (an older RTW wrap top - didn't realize how badly that back fit - ugh), but have plans in the next weeks to make a blouse for my pencil skirts. To tuck in. I love the way the waistband motif matches with the skirt motif and finishes off the center. However it's all covered up by the wrap blouse.
It would be easy to wear a jersey knit top with this too, but I'm liking the way they're showing it.

Fabric / Fabric source: A silk / cotton blend twill from Fabric Mart. I originally purchased this to make a maxi-dress this spring. But when it came I was less than thrilled with the hand for the dress I wanted. And when I ended up needing an alternative for this skirt, this fabric came handily to mind.
Lining: Ambiance.
Underlining: Fusi-knit or Sof-knit (have 10 yds of this stuff but can't remember exactly which it is)

Construction details:
Engineering the print placement -
The success of this garment is totally dependent on the placement of the print.
I held the fabric up to me and moved the motif up and down to figure out which would be the most desirable placement.
Fortunately, the scale works out well for this project. I decided to place the waist right at the horizontal pink motif that separates the turquoise vertical paisley curls.

I underlined the skirt using a fusible.
Click on this photo to make it larger and read the text.
The skirt has a contour waistband. To stay the waist and prevent it from stretching out I used a selvage edge piece of silk organza.
To hem the lining, which is free hanging except where it is stitched to the back slit, I borrowed a technique from Carolyn and used a piece of vintage lace.
To support the waist closure and reduce the strain on the zipper I inserted a tab at the Center back behind the zipper on the left waistband and stitched a button to the waistband facing on the right.

Doing the goofy model pose

All in all I'm very pleased with this skirt, and am going to love wearing it.
Thanks Carolyn, Cidell and LindsayT for keeping this project on track and making it fun!!

See tomorrows post for a less successful attempt at the pencil skirt in a large / graphic print. As I stated above, print placement is Everything!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Vogue 8571, a quick knit dress

The DressMe wearing Vogue 8571 (someday I'll learn how to stand straight in front of a camera - looks like I'm lurching to the side)

I said I'd get some sewing done this week!
The Fabric
Staring me in the face, on the front of the lower shelf of my rolls of fabrics, has been this awesome rayon print that I got from Lucy's Fabrics, was it one year ago, or two?
You may recognize it as the same print that BWOF made this top from in 06/2007 issue. Stacy made the top in this fabric and it's darling on her. I've been holding onto it, waiting for the right pattern to show up to make it. The top was just a bit too bare for me to wear.

The Pattern:
From one of the recent pattern sales I'd picked up Vogue 8571, a Very Easy Vogue knit dress pattern.
Description: MISSES' DRESS: Pullover dresses A, B in two lengths have bodice front and back gathers, self-faced neck band and flared skirt. A: length is mid-knee. B: length is mid-calf. FABRICS: †† Two-way Stretch Knits Only: Cotton Lycra*, Nylon Lycra* and Rayon Lycra* (* Dupont Registered Trad-emark). Unsuitable for obvious diagonals.

I made View B. The difference being, on me, View A didn't fall mid knee, but well above it, and View B fell just below the knee.

Construction Notes:
I cut a size 16 in the bodice, tapering out to an 18 in the skirt, and took 5/8" side seams in the bodice then trimmed them, and used a generous 1/4" serged seam allowance through the skirt. Unorthodox way to grade out a pattern, but 5/8" seam allowances in a knit like this are ludicrous.
As far as the print - it's huge, so all I did was check for large motifs and make sure that none were in embarrassing "bullseye" positions, then I just went for it.

As is typical of the Big4, the instructions for constructing the bodice are more appropriate to wovens than to knits. At least they didn't recommend a zipper this time. None is needed.
What they recommend:
  1. Stitch the side and shoulder seams of the bodice Front and Back together, and run gathering stitches along the neck and empire waist edges.
  2. They have you interface the neck bands, then gather the bodice directly to the neck band. Then you stitch the neck band facing to the neckband at the neck edge and then understitch, then hand stitch the facing down to the bodice.
What I did:
Inside Front Bodice

  1. lined up the bodice front pattern piece with the neck band pattern piece and folded out the amount of gathers, then cut a lining piece for the front using tricot from stash. I then gathered the bodice front to the lining, stitching the lining to the fashion fabric wrong sides together.
  2. I interfaced both the neck band and neck band facing pieces with fusible sof-knit, then stitched my shoulder seams, then stitched the facing together with the band at the neck edge, understitched as instructed, then turned the facing to the inside, pressed. At this point I stitched together the lower edge of the band and facing and trimmed off the excess of the facing using the serger. The understitching combined with the turn of the cloth meant that the facing was hanging about 1/8" lower than the band. *It should be noted that the pattern calls for 5/8" seam allowances, and I used 1/4" seam allowances at both neck edge and lower edge, so my band is approx 3/4" wider than the pattern is drafted for.
  3. I then stitched the neck band to the bodice all the way around and then pressed the seam allowance toward the bodice. This is perfectly acceptable in knit construction. The seam allowance need not be enclosed as it should be for a woven. And this rayon presses beautifully.
  4. I then stitched the bodice to the skirt, which I'd already stitched together at side seams, and hemmed on my new coverstitch machine (whew, there is a learning curve there). At this point I put it on, and didn't like how loose the empire seam was. So I went back and serged on a piece of clear elastic stretching the elastic as I stitched. The result is that the lower bodice pulls back nicely to the rib cage. Fortunately I'd stitched my empire seam together on the sewing machine, which allowed me "try on" time without a serged edge to contend with. If I'd attached them with the serger I'd have had to figure out how to stitch the elastic on without adding the bulk of another row of serging.
Clear Elastic serged to Empire seam allowance

Inside back bodice neckline
Note that I did not line the bodice back, which means that I was gathering the neck edge directly to the neck band, which was a bit tricky in a jersey knit that just wants to roll.

Back ViewConclusion:
I like the dress. I love the fabric! Love it. Comfortable rayon knit to wear. Classy looking.
I still like the design of the Maggy London dress from 2 seasons ago better, but I wore that dress to death and decided I needed another, different knit dress.
Will I make this again? Maybe.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Long and rambling catch-up

We're back. I thought I'd have internet access on the boat, but at this point, we haven't bit the bullet and paid for the service up there, so, I've been offline since ~May 20.
I'm going to just try to catch up quick and dirty like, then add a few posts with more detail before I take off again.
1. The Boat - pictures at end of post
We got some sailing in, and a lot of work done on the boat. It's still quite cold up along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Every morning was a fleece vest or rain gear wearing AM, midday generally we could shed down to short sleeves, but by sundown we were back in fleece.

Me standing at end of pier where Holland lighthouse is located (see pics end of post). This pic was taken May 25. Note the fact that I'm wearing a skirt (very comfortable jeans style made from stretch woven cotton. I spent more time in that skirt than in the shorts I made), and wearing a sweater and then a fleece lined vest over. Temps were dipping into the 40's at night. I think we saw a high of 72 one day! :)
That thing in the background? - It's the dredging apparatus that blocks half the mouth of the channel everyday, and then they've got half the channel marked off with bouys. Hopefully they finish all this before we get back up there.

2. Knitting Progress
I got a lot of knitting done on the Apres Surf Hoodie I've been working on for myself.
My progress

The pattern pic.
Enough so that I can take a pic and it'll look like something. I love this knit. It's an easy lace pattern to memorize, and it's getting a lot easier for me to "read" my lace. I've always been proficient at reading cables, but lace - not so much. I've knit in the round up to the neckline and armscye split and am partway up the front above the armscye. I figure that puts me about 1/2 way. I still have 2 sleeves and the hood. The yarn is RYC cashsoft 4ply. Dreamy to knit with.
Oh, project monogamy on the boat is a lot easier. There's only one project to work on!

3. Current sewing
1. I've gotten a bit of sewing done lately too. Finally got out the camera and took some pics.
I finished a knit dress for my sister using BWOF 121
The fabric was from Gorgeous Fabrics last year, and the pattern called for a contrast and a wrap skirt. I decided to make it slightly less "Duro"-like and just ran the print the other direction for the contrast bands. I also eliminated the wrap part of the skirt as I didn't have quite enough fabric for that. Tany made a gorgeous version of this dress last year.
2. I finished a pair of black cotton shorts to take with us.
Forgive the picture. I wore them last night and they're wrinkled, but I didn't get a pic of them on me.
Pattern: Vogue 8365. The same pattern I used last Feb to make the yellow linen shorts and the turq blue cotton ones, that have both been tossed. I failed to stabilize the waistband in the yellow with staytape, and they stretched to the point that I could take them off without unzipping. Given that I have a large difference between my waist and hip measurement, you have to know, that is a LOT of stretching. The turq pair would have been fine, except I used an old and awful fusible interfacing in the waistband and it puckered and looked horrible. I couldn't live with it. Fortunately that incident caused me to clean out my interfacing drawer and toss out all the crap.
Anyway, I knew that I wasn't wild about the pattern, but I got so many nice comments on the shorts that when I found the pattern again - having thought that I'd tossed it too - I made the mistake of using it for these black shorts. The rise is too low. The cut is just a bit flat in the rear. Even though I raised the CB for sway back alteration, they're still not right. So, I'll wear these, but this time I did throw the pattern in the trash can. I'm getting better at that.
Next pair of shorts I'm going to try the new Burda - the paper-bag style that BeeBee just made, or the Alice and Olivia Vogue 1059 pattern that I've been using and loving for pants this past winter.
3. I made a full length body pillow using a white matellase from The Fabric Company in Chesterfield MO, for the boat of course. The walls of the boat are a bit chilly and I wanted something between me and the wall for these cold spring nights. No pics, of course. Easy construction. Zipper closure, no welting, boxed corners.

4. I'm currently working on BWOF 02-2009-105. Birgitte made a great black/white version of this dress last month. I'm loving this pattern every bit as much as she did.
I have the bodice made and will finish the skirt today and put it together. I'm making it two tone, using bits of fabric that I had in stash. This is an embroidered silk dupioni that I've been hanging onto for several years, trying to figure out what to do with the 7/8 yd that I had. This is NOT the way to match patterns. If I'd had enough fabric then the motif would match across the front. However, I'm not totally unhappy with the way the motifs are, and the fit on this bodice is fabulous. The skirt is a black rayon linen look. I'll review it and model it when it's done. Actually, I intend to wear it to work tomorrow.

4. Inspiration and future planning
I'm in love with this dress on the St Johns website. And, although I need another piece of fabric like I need a hole in my head, I'm looking for the possibilities.
There is this piece from Manhattan fabrics, but I'm thinking it's probably too heavy, and I'd really like a knit. Then, there is this from Elliott Berman. Not exactly the right thing, but closer. Then there is the problem of the graphic print to go with it. Anyone seen anything anywhere that might fill the bill?

5. The next wedding
is in September. September 19 at the northernmost border of Illinois. Could be hotter than blazes but most likely will be a lovely cool 70ish degree day. Avg high is 74 and avg low is 52 for Sept for that part of the country.

The bride has chosen red for her bridesmaids,
and her mom has chosen a pretty tea length navy blue dress.
I need to choose an appropriate color and style for a noon wedding that will be followed by a luncheon that will include dancing.
I have some ideas, but I'm open to suggestion at the moment.

6. Comments and emails
Like everyone else, I love getting comments and emails. I'm especially enjoying the emails that I'm getting from some of you telling me your boating and sailing stories. Who knew that someone many of us in sewing blogland know spent a part of her younger wilder days living on a houseboat? And I'm hearing from others who have the same / similar dreams and plans. And of course others of you who think I'm nuts!
Thank you all for putting up with my OT boat ramblings. I'll try to throw some sewing/ knitting content out there in the next week or so. There are some things on the table now that are blog-worthy.

Some pics:

Holland LIghthouse at entrance to chanel taken from land side

Entrance to channel taken from boat

Frieghter passing behind our boat slip

sails up
Lake Michigan shoreline off in distance