Thursday, July 28, 2011

The inevitable problems of haste

Well, I rushed it, and I botched it.   Not irreparably -- its just that some of the neckline scallops aren't quite the right size, which is easily enough dealt with.    I'd found out Monday I was leaving around lunch time on Tuesday (love the forewarning..) and got it about half made up before midnight, when I finally gave in to the inevitable and packed other things.  For whatever reason I thought I'd have a few more days before I had to leave. Silly silly me.   However, as I am back home now and annoyed at the shirt for not spontaneously popping into existence exactly as I imagined it, I think I am going to go back to the jacket for a while.

Currently haunting my thoughts in a, will-it-suit-me kind of way is the Rooibos, from Collete.   I can see it looking really great or really horrendous.   For whatever reason I never feel unbalanced by wide skirts and fitted tops -- but fit them both and all of a sudden I'm off kilter.   It makes no sense, but there it is.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Heat Waaaaaaaave!

Its been ridiculous here -  actual temperatures well  over a hundred  (37 for you wacky Celsius folks) with a heat index taking it up to almost 120 (48)   (This is thanks to the humidity)  Now, my understanding is that the heat index is made for a man of 5 foot 7 wearing a light jacket, and some other set of absurdly specific criteria, but needless to say, it has been HOT.   When the weather hits either of the extremes, I tend to go into hibernation mode and just wait it out, although I did manage to get a bit accomplished this week, but being my lethargic self, never got around to posting any of it.

side and sleeve coming together
Anyhow, I've finally started in on the next-big-thing-based shirt from Twinkle Sews - I did a fako FBA* prior to making the muslin, and it was nearly perfect - but had no real space for a seam allowance, so I ended up adding an inch to the length of the bodice all the way around.   I also decided to widen it a bit, which was an interesting experience, thanks to the wonky sleeves.   They are sort of gusseted, so I added about half a centimeter to each of the side panels and then to the 'end' of the sleeve itself.

approx. original lines marked in red
I have everything all cut out and ready to go, all that's wanted is actually sewing the damn thing together and I will have my pretty shirt. Now, as I am supposed to be traveling on business some time this week to a part of the country that is even hotter than my own, and considering very little of my wardrobe is appropriate for both intense heat and meeting customers, one would think I would sit down and sew it, since I think it will turn out to fit both categories.  But once again, we hit the intense heat-induced-lethargy.   (Its not that I don't have an air conditioner -- but they are little window units, trying their best to keep up with the weather, but I have to do my part by not moving around much.)  (Happily we had some rain an hour or two ago and things have become a bit more bearable.)

*I added an inch to the bottom, grading up to the sides,

Sunday, July 17, 2011

..and now its a skirt

I was playing with the red dress a bit more today, when I decided that I really just didn't like it.   The fit was fine, the color was nice, the style was interesting, but I didn't feel they went together.   Its fairly rare that I wear bright red, and rarer still that I wear a lot of it all at once - and there was nothing it seemed appropriate for - the combination of the cut and the color made it simultaneously too... showy and too staid all at once.  (I was fairly impressed by that actually)     So -- I turned it into a skirt, which actually made everything ten times easier -- as its a knit, I just sewed up the back, hemmed it and did a rolled waist, and bam! skirt!   (with the added bonus of being able to pull it down to cover my knee-caps)    I'm not totally sure what I'll wear it with - as I said, I rarely do red - but I have a green shirt that I think makes me look more like an upside down flower than a Christmas ornament, so probably with that.    When I bought the fabric, the intent was to expand the color palate I usually wear, so I guess it will fulfill its purpose.  Anyhow, this is officially stash-bust #4 of the current count.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

things that happen when one is without a printer

So, I don't have a printer.  I rarely need one, so I haven't bothered.   However, when it comes to patterns from my Twinkle Sews book this presents a bit of a problem.   A friend of mine kindly agreed to print out the pages I needed, but as the whole dress comprises 50 pages, I picked out the 8 I needed... or so I thought.  I missed the 9th, somewhat crucial page, and couldn't start in on my shirt.     Luckily (inevitably?) I had just gotten home from the fabric store (I needed thread!) and happened to have gotten Vogue 8685 while I was there.... and happened to have a piece of stretch knit in my stash that I'd been trying to come up with a use for...   
View D

Now, the pattern called for 60" fabric, and mine was but 51,  so in order to make things work I ended up cutting it out in a size smaller than I would normally wear (stretch knit!!!) Despite my sins, its actually turning out fairly well.   There are some lumpy pulls around the hips where the fabric is a bit tight, but I plan to run some horsehair down the seam to keep it smooth.   (I pinned boning in place to check, and it was lovely... but a bit heavy for practical wear.)

You can't really see much detail in this light, but I've top stitched all the seams to keep them from rolling every which way.   I still need to do facings of some sort (I am down to tiny scraps of this fabric...)  hem it and put in a zipper and it will be set.   I found this pattern to be ridiculously easy.   The measurements on the pattern envelope nearly matched mine, and as I was going down a size and it stretched, I just made it as marked.  All the work shown here was completed in about 6 hours, including time watching a movie as I worked, which slows me down)  The only thing I'm really not happy with is the length.   Between being tall and having the banged up knees of a child, I like my skirts to fall right below the knee-cap.   Had thee been more fabric, I would have made it longer, but I was grumpy when I found I couldn't make my shirt and I wasn't going to let anything like insufficent amounts of fabric stay me from my course.  ...yeah.   c'est la vie, or more specifically, c'est ma vie, comme toujour.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Prep Work -- actually a ramble about my next project

I was going for 40s movie star in this one
My current fixation is the Next Big Thing Dress from Twinkle Sews-- although, more specifically, it is the neckline that I have been mooning over.  Actually, let us digress for a moment -- I really like this book, yet there is not a single design in it I would wear as is.  (hmm, actually one or two of the skirts)  okay, 90% of the designs I would not wear as is, but almost all of them have design features I am all but salivating over, so you should expect to see them popping up here and there over the next few months.  For this project, I plan to use the middrift and 'skirt' of the white lace shirt and the neckline and sleeves of the aforementioned dress.     Sadly, this will not be a stash bust, as I'm going to make it out of the pillowcases I 'accidentally' bought in the middle of the last bust.  (I knew when I saw them that they were exactly what I wanted for something like this, got almost to the register, realized I was in a fabric fast, and then decided it was stupid not to get exactly what I had been looking for - color and everything - in the right amount and on sale.  heck, I should have gotten more!)   so it does not meet the pre-january 2011 metric.  C'est la vie.    I'm actually equally excited about the fabric itself - its is viscose, which just feels so liquidy and smooth that I cannot wait to have this in shirt form.  With two king-size pillow cases worth, I may be able to pull two garments out of this little gem.

..oh, so the 'prep work' in the title refers to lots and lots and lots and lots of seam ripping.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Space Dress

And here we have the triumphant conclusion of the space dress.  (I think the print/pattern/decorative motif/batik design looks like space.)  Generally the way I discern success is how excited I am to wear it, and upon finishing it, tried to figure out if I could get away with several days in a row.   The fact that its currently hot enough that ten minutes after going outside I am glowing like a pig meant this wouldn't really be a good idea, but you get the point :)   I also made the bandeau (thanks to Tanit-Isis for the proper name)  out of scraps of purple jersey I had -- there was no measurement involved in this one, but its a knit, and the idea was for it to stretch.  Consequently its a bit wonky and slightly taller on one side, but as only a small bit shows, it's perfect.

Other than the darts I mentioned in the last post, there were a number of modifications to the pattern (New Look 6674).  I added in-seam pockets to both sides (which is a first, usually I forget and only add one, and it ends up being on the left, which is rather annoying, as I am not left handed*.  I also ditched the mid drift band as it fit oddly, and whilst playing with the dress decided I preferred it stylistically with a belt anyway, so the bodice was attached directly to the skirt.   I kept the interior button closure, but turned the outer one into a small ribbon tie, rather than the large and decorative fashion fabric one the pattern recommended.     For whatever reason I just could not face threading the serger (a process that takes maybe 5 minutes) so to finish the seams I turned the raw edges in and stitched over them again(although this time with a zig-zag).  I'm calling these fako-french seams - which ended up looking rather nice, so I'll probably do something similar again.   I'm also working my way into a passionate infatuation with hem tape... it makes it look so clean and pretty.  Hmm... I think the only other bit of note was reinforcing the waistline with bias tape.

For anyone keeping count, which is probably just me, I'm counting these as items 2 and 3 in stash-bust mark 2.   My rules (malleable as they are) are that something must have been made from fabric purchased prior to January 2011  (or  be an UFO started prior to that date) and it must be in a finished and wearable state.  (I.e. not dirndl dress)

For today's sewing lesson, Sonia added in the waist facing and started in on the zipper.  I have her hand-picking it, as that is my preferred method  of insertion (frankly, I think it gives a lot more control.   zipper-feet and I do not get along)  A little bit more and she'll have her lovely skirt finished and ready to wear.

*  I crack me up.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cleansing the Palate

The jacket is more or less as it was before, now with half a lining (I screwed up part of it with overly large seam allowances) and the beginnings of a fancy collar (with tissue paper stuck underneath so you can see it)  However, it stopped feeling like play-time and started to be a slog, so I set it aside for a little while.
View E
Instead, I started in on NewLook 6674, a wrap dress.  I figured it would require minimal fitting, and the simple lines would be good for a very busy print I've been trying to find a use for.  (Does one refer to the pattern of a batik as a print?  hmm.. I think not.  perhaps just pattern. )   Anyhow, this pattern, print or whatever we're calling it reminds me of space, all blues, purples and turquoises on a dark blue field, arranged in patterns of concentric circles and generalized dots.  (I haven't gotten a good picture of it yet.)    Anyhow, my first attempt at fitting it, using the darts marked in red was an unparalleled disaster.   I had puffy bust like you wouldn't believe ... well,  given you can see the fairly bizarre dart placement, I'm sure you can.   (and this is despite a quickie muslin)  When I found myself plotting to make it into a skirt instead, I immediately pulled out my seam ripper and started again...   this time I did the dart and crop marked in green.   It lead to a much smoother fit, but a far and away lower neckline.  (we're talking nearly to the bottom of my bust here, hence no pictures at the moment.   While there is a time and a place for a low cut dress, I'm not sure that pictures on the internet are the one I'm going to go with just now. )  Due to the nature of the neckline, a standard tank won't work underneath it for general wear, so I plan to make what I can only describe as a breast-band.   Think of an O, made of knit or somesuch and about 5 inches high that I could pull on over my bust and won't need straps -- me thinks this ought to work.  Other than the absurdly deep neckline, I rather like this pattern and will probably make it up again... although I will be adding a bit more to the front when I do.

And finally, gratuitous fabric post.  Remember back in, maybe April* when I finished stash-bast mark one, and decided I was allowed a treat?  Here it is!  (and by gosh and by golly, as it ANOTHER blue batik?  will wonders never cease?)  scissors are hanging out for scale. 

*I'd link, but google+ is still digesting my pictures.  So think happy thoughts of regurgitation.

Monday, July 4, 2011

jacket progress!

To start with -- google+ is still screwing with everything - tech support has yet to get to my request to have my album reinstated.   (I knew going in that I would encounter problems as a beta tester, but I thought they would be limited to standard non-functionality WITHIN the site... not all this nonsense with a secondary source deleting primary material..)  The point of this, is for the moment, all the pictures of everything I did are gone.    Things are remarkably frustrated over here in blogland.

Anyhow, for some more recent work, and pictures that ought to stay, since the source material ought to be staying put...

To the left we have the interior of the jacket, all tacked down and purty (with the exception of the sleeves, which I noticed as I was taking pictures) 

To the right, we have more or less how I plan to wear it when the temperature drops to a point that layers are reasonable.   (Its currently averaging about 97F here, 36 for you Celsius folks.  I'd like to point out that we also drop regularly to around 4F, which the internet tells me is -15C.  I need to move somewhere more temperate.)  Anyhow,  as a result of our winter wonderland, I've decided the jacket shall be lined, and am currently working on getting that together.   I find I really dislike linings,  its an immediate repetition of work I've already done - but this time with slippery fabric.  No Fun.  However, I will appreciate it when winter rolls around and I'm shivering in my cube with my space heater going full blast.   (although, this accurately describes summer as well.  My office isn't so good with the temperature regulation.)    Also, due to realistic time frame analysis, and the fact that I have no real desire to hop into another jacket the moment this is done, my grand plan of three by October is officially on hold.   I think it will be three whenever I get around to them.   I need some immediate gratification in my future.

In totally unrelated news, and actually about a week ago now, Sonia started sewing her skirt -- and was tickled pink with the result.   Its currently pinned shut in the back, and still needs a facing on the waistband, etc...  but its coming along nicely, and she's very pleased with the result.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Where have all the pictures gone?

...all the pictures seem to have disappeared.  I cannot see them, nor can the friend who pointed it out.  Can anyone out there see anything?

new test picture

EDIT:   Mystery sort of solved -- I got  a google+ account, and when looking at the albums,  I saw that ALL the blog pictures where up, and out of context - and out of context some are... well shots of my rear, etc...   so I deleted the album, thinking it would simply remove the link between the two services.   How very very wrong I was, it has in fact deleted all the images.   Happily, I am told that google keeps all data for 30 days after it has been deleted, so I contacted tech support and asked them to reinstate it and fix their linking policy (i.e. at least provide a warning that deleting content in the secondary location will remove it from the first.)
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