Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fun Sewing Related Birthday/Christmas gifts

Yes, it's true, recently I had a birthday.  It was in fact a big decade number.  Yay!  Blank age is the new _______!  Never mind.  Anyway, I got a few very nice gifts that are sewing related.
Ceramic spools of yarn and herringbone tape, lift off the lids and they are candles!

Here's the top of the herringbone spool. 
My best friend gave me the green one for my birthday and then I got the blue one from my sister for Christmas.  Do these ladies know me or what?  The candles can be purchased at Anthropologie.  I'm sure there are many colors and sizes, I haven't check but I think I might need one more to make a little trio arrangement.  I LOVE them!

Another gift I got was this adorable book- Sew Retro! It's a history of home sewing in the US.  Who knew that Ebenezer Butterick was the first one to put out a sized pattern?  Well, some of you might have but I didn't.
Cover of Sew Retro: A Stylish History of the Sewing Revolution by Judi Keiteler

Time line of history of home sewing and the sewing industry along the bottom of all pages

History by decade or era
This book is full of projects that home sewists can do today!  So popular right now: aprons!
This is a really cool book with little projects throughout.  The projects are a little more on the crafting side than the fashion side, but they definitely take me back in time- that's for sure!  Great gifts from my great friends and family. Thanks y'all- no, I'm not from Texas but really, sometimes ya gotta y'all.
Ok kids, I'm off to bequeath my old sewing machine to some cute little nieces and give them their first sewing lesson- a patchwork pillow- on this snowy/rainy day before new years eve.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Found and free fabric....

Many years ago there were little stitched items at craft fairs and the like that said "She who dies with the most fabric, wins!"   My mom and I joked about that since we never let fabric sit around long- I was
conditioned to buy fabric for the project, make it and move on.  It wasn't until this year when I dove back into the obsessive pit of sewing that I got frenzied and bought fabric that I was sure wouldn't be there the next time I went to the store.  Funny that I keep seeing the same piece of boarder stripe linen still in the store that I bought for one of my first projects last year.  Apparently there are still crafters and peeps out there that use this saying.

Anyway, I did go to NYC and visit some of the cool fabric stores (read: Thank you MOOD!) and that is a good reason to stash fabric.  I bought several beautiful pieces that I will show you eventually.  

However, this post is regarding what I found in the fabric library at my old office..................................

Let's review: until October 15, 2010 I worked for a start up outerwear company.  We made, they still make, snowboarding jackets out of waterproof breathable fabrics. The cool part is that they make garments that look like street wear that have all the bells and whistles for keeping you warm and dry in the snow and cold.  Above you can see this is a lovely herringbone fabric.  It was, of course made of not wool but polyester and nylon.  Normally they would coat it with a dwr (durable water resistant) and then laminate the back with some kind of breathable membrane.

Poly/Nylon Herringbone, untreated with flocking
I was busily categorizing and filing fabric- it had never been done before- and I came across this piece of a familiar fabric that was transferred with this interesting flocking.  I asked the owner about it and he said that one of our mills was wanting to show us their ability to flock large pieces/repeats.  Interesting.  How do I categorize? Do we need to file this?  Nope.  Ummmm can I have it?  YES!!!!!!!!!!!!  It came home with me.

It's interesting in that to me it looks like evil crows or something non-objective that you would see in Anthropologie.  We'll see, I'm going to make it into a pencil skirt.  I do also have some pieces of wool that are now in possession from when my mom did pass away.   She didn't win however, she was really good about not stock piling huge amounts of fabric because she sewed all/most of her projects.  I also have a beautiful sari that my aunt and uncle sent me from India.  I still cannot bring myself to cut into it.  It feels wrong.  Once I get them all cleaned, having been in storage in my shed, GASP, for so long, we'll see if they are salvageable.  What free and found fabric do you have?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Searching for Naughty & Nice

Recently I discovered the Stats of my blog. I was astonished to find that one of the biggest keyword search sources is from people searching "naughty librarian" or variations there of. Holy cow people, who knew that there were so many people searching for naughty librarians? Crazy town.  You know they are not seamsters.  They must be so confused when they get pulled into my blog.

My chiropractor used to call me Librarian by Day, which I guess implied that I was something more fun and edgy by night.  I wore thick rimmed glasses but was not conservative at all, dress wise.  On a side note by chiropractor looked exactly like young skinny Alec Baldwin and I sometimes just wandered into his office for a hug.  His office was in the base of the building I worked in.  Ahh, the good old days.

But I digress.....Oddly, at the same time I discovered this fact, I made another of  this dress: Vogue 2019 in a deep green color to be worn with my camel cashmere cardigan, nude pumps and pearls. Kind of a work outfit, demure in a Mad Men kinda way. Call me Joan.  Just a little different from my own librarian days.

This is such a fast dress to make, I cut and sewed it in an evening and then finished the sleeves and hems the next night.  I could have done it all in one night but I think I didn't start till 8pm and I didn't want to push it.
Dress form just doesn't have the hips and chest I do to make this more Joanish.

Here it is with the whole outfit.
PS; My sister has absconded with my iron to do a Christmas project.  I need that back, clearly.
Alas I have a terrible head cold and with all the cheese that's found it's way to my face in the last two weeks, even Spanx can't help me be hot in this dress.  Back to the gym next week kids.  Enjoy your last minute shopping, baking, wrapping  and merriment.  I will be drug seeking in Washington this morning since Oregon doesn't sell anything good over the counter.   Advil Cold and Sinus anyone?  Yes, Please!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cut and Sew Sweater Vogue 8597

Earlier this fall I stormed the fabric store and purchased a bunch of cozy wintery fabrics for the season. 
I'm not a fan of cut and sew sweaters, but this fabric begged me to take it home.  What makes a knit a sweater anyway?  It's the stitches per inch.  And there are diverging theories on what number that is but in general it's about anything less than 9 per inch makes it a sweater.  I might be blasted for that?  Anybody have the true answer?

This fabric is 100% wool and it was purchased at The Mill End Store in Milwaukee, Or for 15.99 per yard.  Yikes! I splurged on this one and it was worth it.

I wanted to make a cowl neck so I bought patter 8597 from Vogue.  I read the pattern reviews that it wasn't as deep as the drawing on the envelope and by the way I always worry when there isn't a photo too.  I altered the neck so it would be a little deeper by slashing and spreading the front as below

Used this technique from Pattern Making for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph Armstrong
Then I squared off the center front.
I realized with the finished product that I should have slashed again further down so that cowl would sag deeper into the front but anyway lesson learned for next time.

The sweater is super long but I also have not hemmed it yet- lazy

This fabric is a little shear so the pretty seam allowances show as a detail
I used a tiny zigzag stitch for the seams and did a double row.  Then I was able to trim very close to the outside row in order to create a finished seam look with out a serger.  When do I splurge for one of those folks?  Before or after the new computer and Vita Mix blender?
This is the back neck, it wraps around from the front which is an interesting detail

This is a better view of the front neck
 I also hand stitched the sleeve hems. This garment is pretty delicate and will certainly need to be dry cleaned.  I wore it tucked into dress pants at work and it was too long.  I just purchased a cute pair of slim pants from J Crew that I probably could make myself but, anyway, I didn't.  This would look better over those.  I guess I should hem the thing.

Ok kids, off to Christmas shop.  The mall opens in one hour.  Next I'll show you to cool sewing history book I got for my birthday!