Monday, January 24, 2011

Why I ignore my instincts over and over,

is one of the great mysteries of me.  Simplicity 2508 The Coat I've been contemplating since October when I bought the lovely cashmere/wool herringbone- and by the way cashmere is wool so what does that mean anyway?  Why don't they say cashmere goat wool/plain old sheep wool or something?  But, I digress.  Anyway, I finally cut out the coat.

I fused the pockets, collar and the back tab first. And then I sewed the back tab to get a feel for the fabric.  Looks nice. Photo makes it look uneven but it's a weird illusion- I measured.
It took me hours to do it.  I made one mistake doing that- I didn't cut out the right sleeve length for the long cuff.  So I cut the sleeve too long and I didn't have room for the cuff facings but I didn't figure it out till it was all cut out.  Oh, well.

The pattern is a 14-20 which is weird because I usually make a 10 for knits and 12 for wovens.  So, I pretty much knew that I cutting out a too big pattern but I thought I could just alter it along the way.  And I can.  But really that was my first mistake- not making a muslin, but that's so boring.

Sleeve seams are seawn but the the sleeves are just pinned into the garment.  And that's not dust on the vent it's discolored, I checked.
I fused the front pieces and I knew instinctively that the fusing was too heavy for the fabric but like me, I just kept going.   I finally got all the panels sewn together so I could try it on for fitting and it had several problems.  a) it's ginormous  b) it has way too much flare and c) the darn fusing is so heavy that the flare of the side front flops over the top of it.  Am I right about c?

The good news is that it's salvageable.  BUT, I think I have to rip out the front panel and peal off the fusing and use a lighter one.  AND, I need to reduce the flare as well as trim down the size all together.  I think that will help.  I don't have that sinking "this is a disaster" feeling yet, but it's looming.

Anybody have any suggestions?  

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sew a girl a dress, she looks great for one party.....

Teach a girl to sew and all the American Girl Dolls in the neighborhood will have little pillows for their heads.  These two beautiful girls are my best friends daughters.  Lulu 9 and Cece 11.  They had an old crusty sewing machine that was given to them and alas it didn't work.  

Lulu sewing away
So for Christmas I gave them my cheapo brother from Target- works great but I just upgraded for more gizmos. 
Lulu pressing her seams open
I took scraps from their gumdrop pillows and cut out squares to make a pillow so I could show them how the machines works.  We also learned the value of pressing.

Cece at the machine sewing her pillow, Lulu pressing
On the table is Nate's pill with the baseballs.  He actually also sewed a bit of his.  What he did was push the pedal and I guided the fabric but he hung in there for most of it.  The hardest part is guiding the fabric straight and pressing the pedal evenly- admittedly the pedal is not easy to control.

Cece finishing up.
All three pillows unstuffed
Three happy new sewists with their little pillows
I'm told that they are working on piecing a quilt.  Our next project is pajama pants.  Part of their gift was a pattern and a trip to Jo Anne's to pick out fabric. Then cutting and sewing the PJs.  I should have take advantage of that warm up sale last weekend but I didn't think of it.  Darnit. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pencil Skirt- Burda 8155- Pattern Review

So, I've finally figured out how to take photos of me in my creations.  I do think they look more realistic on me instead of skinny little faker size 10 (really 4) dress form.

The pattern is not centered on the front of my body in this photo- ok all the following

Side seam
I had fun wearing this all day at work.  I felt great in it and let's face it, isn't that what it's all about?  Making great clothes that no one else has that make you feel awesome.

Of course I work at an apparel company so people notice things more than maybe at other places.  One of my co workers was walking behind me and said "I can't stop looking at your butt- that pattern is memorizing!"  And then she wanted to touch it.

Back View
You know I strut around working just dying for someone to ask me where I got my skirt so I can say- I made it!  Yeah, I'm that girl.  Ok, see my review at Pattern Review DOT com.

Have a good weekend.  I'm off to yoga- as you can see from this back shot, I need it!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pencil Skirt- Burda 8155- Fini! On to the next project.....

Gorgeous skirt with crisp waistband (not hemmed)
It's amazing what happens when the mojo hits you. It's like you want to do nothing else but sew as much as possible.  Well, when the new Vogues hit I couldn't believe how many great wearable styles there were.  I realized that I had to get through the fabric and patterns I had before the next sale hit or I would just continue to increase the pile of fabrics and patterns in the closet.....
Stitch in the ditch between the two pieces so you can't see
Perfect Waist Maker
I scurried home from buying an invisible zipper so I could finish the best pencil skirt in the world... First I remembered this tip from Cidell about waistband fusible that's made for waistbands- Dritz Perfect Waist Maker.  All you have to do is lay the perforated line on the fold line, press to adhere to fabric. Sew the thinner side to the waist, fold over at the perforated line and press.  I just turned under the seam allowance at the back side and stitched in the ditch on the front side  to finish.  
Styled with the cowl neck sweater from Anthropologie 
Back View with vent- will wear with black suede tall boots

What made me scurry home from the store to finish the skirt?  Not the Waist Maker.... it was the new rule I made myself about buying new patterns or fabric..... Well I think Suzy Orman was involved.  I saw a commercial where she pointed to a pile of money and then at a few dresses and said: "Would you rather have this or this...."  And I was thinking I don't have either one, I have a pile of fabric and patterns.  EVEN WORSE!!!!!!!  And when I went to the store to look at buttons I saw something I wanted to buy- crap!

After I married up all or most of the fabric I have with the pattern that belongs to them, I had a few non matched patterns to store in the back of my mind.  So, made the rule that I can't buy anything that doesn't already have a pattern or fabric in my possession AND must finish one project to buy a piece of next.... so finished skirt...  bought this awesome silk to match up with Cynthia Steffe Vogue dress pattern I already had.  This is such an awesome print.  I never see anything this amazing and there was only 5 yards left.  Yes, it was 20% off but I won't tell you of what price. But let's say you can't buy a silk dress for that much..... and keep it at that.  Quality people, not quantity.  Now I just need purple silk lining.
97% Silk/ 3% Lycra- weird to add lycra.  At Josephene's Dry Goods where I bought the buttons for next project
This is the next project- Wool Coat...... scary.......
Making the long version with single CF placket,  3 button cuff, debating collar. Fabric is Cashmere/Wool herringbone from Parone Fabrics in NYC.  Can't even utter how much it cost per yard, but they did give deal and the rest of the bolt. 
This is a better photo of the fabric. Button is plastic bowl with deep dish in the center.  Really cool.  2$ each- YIKES
One project finished,  permission to buy a new pattern and/or fabric......better get crackin' before I spy some more fine fabric.....

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pencil Skirt- Burda 8155

I cut out this skirt a while back, spent yesterday doing all chores and prep for the week to free up my day to sew and mojo.  Anyone have that problem?  I literally couldn't muster the umph to start.  Could have been due to the cold cold weather making my little windowed, uninsulated, old time apartment a freezer box?

Yes folks, those are little snow flakes coming at midnight. Well, the tide turned when it occurred to me that I should dress more like I was outside and I pulled on my base-layer wool shirt and a cashmere wool sweater and wool leggings under my sweats and wool socks and a beanie.  yep, like I'm outside.  Pretty.

So eventually after  a bunch of couch time- yes I have no kids or responsibility so I can just lie around and READ if I want- it's awesome- I started the skirt- yay.!   The other reason for my hesitation could have been that the pattern envelope came without any instructions.  I discovered it when I was cutting it out and panicked until I realized this is the easiest little skirt that I probably wouldn't even look at the directions, much.  But you know, it's better when they are there.  It gives you comfort.

I've sewn the darts and the center back seam and the side seams.  It was a tad snug so I took 1/8" out of all three seams.  Now it's perfect. And the flocking looks great on this skirt.  I was afraid it would be weird.

Next step: cut out lining and do the same thing.  But not today.  I need to go make a bunch of food to eat this week- busy career girl- no time to cook good food during the week.  And, I'm trying to eat clean all week. We'll see if that happens.

Oh, and the Ducks are playing in the BCS championship or some such hoopla tomorrow night.  I think my entire company will leave at 3 just to settle into their position to view the show.  Beaver or Duck, most are rooting for OREGON!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Farewell 2010...... Hello 2011- the International year of ME!

New Year's Eve; wearing my grandmother's mink coat for the first time.
Well 2010 was a really great year.  I fell in love and then out.  Quit a job and started a new one.  Started sewing again and kept on going.  And, I turned 40.  That's when I decided that this year is the year of ME. Things seem to be going my way and I've hit on some things that make me happier than I've ever been.   One of which is sewing, sharing and wearing my creations.

I noticed that the bloggers out there do a yearly recap but the above is my recap for you.  That was last year.  Here's what's planned for this year.

1. Sell my house in California - renters want to buy it- yippeee.
2. Buy a new computer- mine is limping along and aged.
3. Run the Shamrock 5k again in March- improve time and bring along friends
4. Sew a few jackets- at least 4 are planned- not enough for the jacket a month but that's ok.
5. Enter one contest
6. Join a sew a long- vintage sew a long- check! Found a pattern that I bought in the 80's
7. Finish my sister's dress- this should be #1 or 2 but I just thought of it.
8. Make a few blouses- at least 1 planned w/pattern and fabric purchased
9. Make at least one pair of pants
10. Sew through the stash before buying more fabric
11. Make one coat- one planned w/fabric already purchased.
12. Teach some kids how to sew- already started, see later post.
13.  Go to Paris for vacation.

That's all I'm willing to share at this point.  I've got a few others but let's just say those are more personal.  I will say that my new job has given me a good sense of accomplishment and doing a good job means taking a lot of time to plan and learn etc.  It's taken a lot of my mental capacity these last two months but I know the key to keeping balance is also putting energy into my personal life and that includes doing the above things for myself.  Balance; not easy but necessary.

And now a word about new years.....
I love to dress up.  Love it.  And the dress I picked to wear out to dinner with friends was my favorite sewing project of the year- blogged about here.  I see on Erica's site that it's her favorite too- fitting as she is one of my sewing heros and when she made it, I dug the pattern out and made it asap. Let's just say that dressing up makes me happy.  I had forgotten how much.  And more so when I can wear something I made that is fabulous.
Dinner at Blue Hour with friends wearing the fabulous Guy Laroche dress and fake eyelashes.
Two fabulous girlfriends: Angie and Mollie.  And, I finally learned how to pose in a flattering way.
We had a wonderful time.   There was one altercation (hushed but heated), one marriage proposal (not to me) and a lot of champagne.  Let's just say my couch was my best friend on the first day of 2011 and I caught up on all of Boardwalk Empire.  I should add a goal regarding toning my flabby arms- eeek.
Happy New Year everyone.