Saturday, 26 April 2014

How do you stash?

Tonight after work I went to my local fabric store. The really nice high end one. I was feeling a little guilty because I keep promising myself I am only going to use my stashed cloth. I have about 12 bins worth- really big bins. But I had a plan and a pattern and I knew what I wanted.What harm could there be in that? Right!?

Plan A : I have a pattern for a pencil skirt and peplum top. I have a wedding to attend in the summer and I wanted to get started on it soon because I want to put a little extra effort into it. You know make a muslin, bla, bla,bla, and make it really special. I wanted a stable,medium weight piece that was elegant maybe with a print,or perhaps with some of the florals I see around the fashion world these days . Maybe a matelasse?you know, a rich type of fabric but not flashy or shinny - it's a garden wedding so I don't want it to be ostentatious .

Nothing. Zip. Nada. every thing was the exact opposite of what I wanted. Cheap and flimsy or like quilting cottons and I hate clothes made out of quilting cottons. oh yeah -with stretch please. Florals - big bold way too over whelming for my size and shape. Or they were too small Laura Engles little house on the Prairie small -what's that fabric called - oh ya, ugly! Anything remotely stately was black, nice-but black. Normally when without a plan, black would be good, proper, even perfect for this outfit but it's a garden wedding and I don't want to look like I'm attending a funeral and I don't want to look like I am the garden. I want to look gorgeous - blend in and stand out at the same time !!!! But for all the right reasons. Do you not hear me fabric Gods!? Apparently not. And white- I can't wear white, it looks bad on me and the bride is suppose to be in white , right? What ever. So no fabric and believe me, it was hard to walk away and not have some thing for that outfit. And I felt every fiber in that store and it's huge. I was going to go up stairs and check out the home dec department but I had a brain flash of Julie Andrews and the Von Trapp children hanging out of trees and restrained my self. Thanks be to the gods because I could just hear my husband coming up with some crazy name like your new 'show room sampler' or some thing even worse( he is very quick witted )and I would laugh but he would be right! GRrrr!

So I bought some pant fabric - it's really nice. A print, a calm geometric I don't have a plan for it but I'm sure a pattern will present itself in time.


Plan B: I need some fabric for a casual spring coat. I'm talking outerwear. I live in a rainy place so it really only has to get me in and out of the car . I don't need rain gear. I am not Sporty Spice so I don't want athletic jogging gym type stuff . I like fashionable coats .I'm sick of trenches and I don't ever , ever wear ski jackets - yuck. I see women around here with nice clothes on and then they top it off with a ski jacket. Oh mother of God. And I don't want a plastic picnic table cloth or rubber or awning striped canvas. A twill or coated linen maybe or a calm medium weight gaberdine that has some swing and swish and does not make me walk like a robot. Calm , I like the word calm to describe my clothes . Warm , muted , medium sized motifs ,I like bold but size matters to me. Yes CALM will do nicely. Nope , zero , not a thing.

So I bought some grey and black jersey knit from France. Destination unknown, I really don't need it, but for sure it is going to become a beautiful garment one day. When the right pattern presents itself .

Thats how it happens, tonight I added to my stash and didn't get anything I needed. The two pieces I did get were wanted though- sorta like little love children. And I will love them until I cut them up.

When I got home I threw my new acquisitions in the washer , then dove into a bin labeled coat/jacket/outerwear. And low and behold I found 3 pieces -perfectly suited for my new spring jacket. Come to think of it I just remembered I have some beautiful robins egg blue sari silk with some matching embroided chiffon that would make a really nice wedding guest outfit . May be not for the pattern I intended to make , but that's okay I'll just have to shop for a new pattern.......


Thursday, 24 April 2014

Improv - Panel T-shirt

I was inspired by Linda at Danvillegirl Sewing Diary who has made the most gorgeous dress from some uniquely printed fabric. Then I remembered I had a small panel print that needed to come to life as t-shirt.It was quite small, less then a meter, so my options were limited.
I didn't want to cut up the print too much so I rummaged through my pattern stash and settled on an old Kwik Sew 3603. I made some easy modifications so it would fit my fabric, like folding out some shoulder depth and removing width down the CB/CF.Which then meant I had to re cut the neck lines. I improvised, using a lid from a tin, traced and cut, all the while I had to be mindful to match all my prints.
There has been a lot of 'slip' talk in blog land of late, here & there,and because this fabric is slip weight and knit, I thought I would try my hand at a shell edging. I debated a rolled edge but that can be a disaster if things don't line up quite right. A twin needle, I thought, just might suck the fabric into the stitch plate, and I am alway to lazy to set my serger for cover stitch. There's a good reason to buy a Cover Stitch Pro machine!
Lola approves the fabric.
Next up, I rotary cut 2" strips of stretch net for neck binding, pinned and basted, stitched then trimmed. It took 2 mins to hand baste while on my Dolly Lama and saved a lot of frustration at the machine. Then I shell stitched at a snails pace, still managing not to get it perfect! But good enough because there was no way on Gods green earth I was gonna un stitch it.
I also pressed and hand basted my sleeve and bottom hems - again well worth it, they turned out better then the neck edge , but that is because they are not faced.
I just wanted to make a little plug here for a product called Thread Heaven. It's a thread conditioner. If you're not using it already you should check it out. You run your thread through it and it helps eliminate tangles and knots. Kinda like loving your thread as Alabama Channin recommends. I love this stuff. I keep a couple needles threaded with it in my pincushion at all times, for emergency basting! And it has sparkles in it ;)
Lola likes it.

So there ya go. That was really easy and it turned out rather nice for making it up on the fly- or rather improvising. The hardest part was writing the blog post.

Lola and I need to go pick out our next project! I just can't get rid of her- she follows me around like a dog, (I should have named her Tonto), my faithful companion.


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Orange pants done!

April - make a garment a month challenge.

Burda 8085.

Well I won't be running out to make these in a hurry again. I think they turned out quite nice. The husband likes them - he said I will be easy to find in the Casino! And Lola likes them! I will even wear them!

From the get go Burda patterns always leave me scratching my head. The instructions and pattern markings are incomplete somehow , like they don't want to use too much ink. Yet I have sewn Burda magazine since 1982( I still have them all) which have even fewer instructions, and I have better results because I just know I'm going to have to figure it out for myself anyways.

Grand total of broken needles : 5.

I opted not to put the belt loops on because I won't be tucking anything in to them and it will be flatter under form fitting tops without them. And I was tired of breaking needles.

I shortened the pockets also, they always seem to show through on my thigh and look unsightly.

I used some cute snaps for the closure- they look like little buttons, these have been in my stash forever. I always sweat bullets when I do the hammer things. Nothing like spending all that time and energy and then ruining it at the end. I found a new use for glue dots, (used for scrap booking ) they held my snaps firmly to the tool base while I tapped them in- worked well.

One of my objectives was to use colour- check. The other was to find a TNT pant pattern- fail. Even though they turned out okay I had to do way to much to get them there. Part of that is my fault, should have picked a pattern with narrower legs.

Again with the Burda instructions... The zip application and markings were making me crazy so I just used my tried and true Kwik Sew method. So simple and fail proof.

My next projects will be some little tops and blouses for spring /summer . For my MAGAM project I think I will attempt a pencil skirt and peplum top for a wedding I have to attend in the summer, I'm thinking a matlesse, brocade or jacquard of some sort.

Sew long for now.

Monday, 21 April 2014

The Orange Pants (and a wild imagination)

Progress on the orange pants.
Let's see, so far I have broken 3 needles. One on the zipper app. And two so far on the top stitching - on pins - dummy! But my pockets turned out nice. I thought I was clever to copy the pockets on seperate tissue then stitch right over the tissue paper. I'm sure it's been done before,but it came as a new brain wave to me tonight.
The second brain wave I had was to break out my secret weapon, 505 temporary spray adhesive, to hold my pockets in place to top stitch so I don't break any more needles. What can I say? I'm a pinner, and I sew over them. It helps keep my local dealer in business.
Now I'm about to baste up the sides to see if they fit, and I'm scared.
Yeah!! They fit!!! Okay- fit is an exaggeration- they are not too small at least. The hips and waist are good - I just have a crotch adjustment to make- I have a long crotch- that is soo weird to say out loud. I found a you tube video from Professor Pincushion that was very helpful. I didn't make the changes on the tissue, just on the garment. It's about 14 minutes long if you are interested- the video!
Now I need to start the monumental task of taking in the legs for a more tapered look. Then on to the waist band - my least favorite part of pant making.
Did I mention these pants are ORANGE. More like NEON SALMON.
In my imagination, in my orange pants, I should look like this woman, I should be 5'9 and 115 lbs. Hahahaha! And be able to gracefully leap puddles in 4"stilettos. Hahahahaha.
And the reality is-
To be continued....

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Make a garment a month challenge-April

I have been drawn to orange lately. So I'm going to make some orange pants for spring. My husband has already given this fabric the hairy eyeball! And I think I have already made a boo-boo and cut the wrong size out , I've gained some weight since the last time I made pants and I just went for my usual size. I just might be able to fudge a few skimpy seam allowences so I'm going to go ahead with them anyways. I've sewn a lot of knits of late so it will be refreshing to sew a (some what) stable fabric. I am trying to challenge myself in two ways.1- to use more colour/and or prints. 2- to find myself a pant pattern that fits me well enough to become a go to pattern.
I cut out view A but I think if they fit I will probably convert them to the petal pushers view B . Rest assured, I will not be exposing my belly button and midriff !
As I was trying to take a picture, Lola was trying to get some attention- she won. The fabric is a poly/cotton twill with a bit of Lycra - and it's orange. You might be able to see some in the back ground. I just bought it this month at Fabricland- so much for using up my stash, right? I'll call it my new stash.
I'm very happy to be participating in the Make A Garment A Month Challenge . I am new to Blogging, and really enjoy seeing what everyone is up to. I don't have friends that sew, and it's nice to know I'm not alone in my obsession. My people just don't get it! ( until they want something hemmed up of course).
Sew - wish me luck.


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Ya can't sew without one of these!

My new baby! Isn't she sweet? She's big- a two bagger. I love her.

I want to make her a whole new wardrobe of cosy's - am I crazy?

I could hang out in my sewing studio and drink tea all day! Oh ya - I just did that!


Ahhh- That's better! Inspiration dress - again.

Now I'm a happy little sewer. I think it looks like my inspiration picture.I like this fabric, the weight, colour, drape, print, and it even has texture. I like textiles with texture,I find it hides a bit of my texture. Like bumps and bulges and such.

So what I did this time was to use a scaled down print that does not wear me, I wear it. And the colour, I have to face the fact, dull looks good on me.I used the original seam in the back to help aid in fitting and it saves a lot of fabric. This pattern has a neck facing which you don't see much of lately, but I think I may start using them again as it really helped to support the neckline. For the cap sleeves I only added a1" binding( I was running out of fabric), but I like it, it looks finished. I also made a small detachable belt to wear at empire height. It has 2 hidden buttons for a closure at the back, and around the front I heat set some pewter metal studs, on point, for something to do. Not sure if you can see it in the picture though.
I will most likely wear it with my boots and my 1980's style hip slung belt.Go figure - in the 80's I had a waist and I didn't even use it then.
I will be wearing it with a slip

Time for a small rant here.Don't ever underestimate the power of a slip. They are not old fashion or prim- just proper!!! I cringe when I see a woman's wares under her garment or the silhouette of her inner thighs when back lit. It's not sexy, it looks cheap. Slips are alluring and allow your dress to slide around on your body and not get wedged up your who-who, front or back. I'd rather see a little snow in Paris then wad of fabric bunched up in the crotch! And they are really easy to make or buy. Or make a lining for your skirt! Rant over.

Time for a cup of tea!


Monday, 14 April 2014

Inspiration dress

I just cannot pull it off. I'm sure many people could-just not me. So my dress will now officially become a tunic. I will spare you the pictures of what it looked like on me. It looks pretty good on my Dolly Lama though. But she is bigger then me by about 5 inches and filled out better then I am.
The new plan is to cut it off. Leave a nice weighty hem, and make a kangaroo pocket, which I will match as best I can to the design. With so much going on I don't want any more distractions. Then I will be happy, then I will actually wear it.
The fabric I should have used was this one. I got it the same day with about 15 other pieces of cloth. I must have been just too excited to dive in and didn't think it through. Mind you, I really do like it. I could give it away but I don't want to.

In fact, while my pattern is not yet folded up, I think I will remake it. Now that I know what I'm doing , it should only take me an afternoon to whip one up. I think I will put the original seam in the back, for fitting,but I'm still not sure about a belt unless I put an elastic empire waistline in it first.

It does look like the inspiration dress- boo hoo!


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Inspiration piece

I recently saw this photo in a magazine and thought I would love this maxi dress, but at 995.00 dollars- ya, not gonna happen!

Then I remembered I had just picked up this New Look pattern from Value Village for .99 cents!! Complete with coffee stains! It's out of print now and looks to me like it could be from the early 90's. Anybody know?

Now I'm thinking with a few little alterations I could make this happen. Obviously the length, and I will grade it out to an slim A-line. I'm sure I could figure out how to extend the shoulders to make cap sleeves. My fabric choice will have to have two 'right' sides for the hood or I could cut double pieces- in fact the inspiration photo just might be doubled. I will need maybe 3 meters of fabric just to be safe. Then there is the belt. I like that it's detachable which means I can place it where ever I want . I'm still stuck in the 80's and I like my low slung hip belts on my figure shape, but I can work with empire as well. Natural waistlines tend to make me look like a sack of potatoes tied in the middle! I don't have any prints like this in my stash so I will have to go fabric shopping, OH DARN! So off I go.

I'm back. Okay they're not exactly the same. LOL!!!!! Mine on the left just might be a tiny bit bolder.... But I like it and it was on sale...70% off at Fabricland. I did buy 3 meters and it looks like way to much so maybe there is more then one garment here. As for the bold print I'm sure my husband will have something to say about it-he alway gives my outfits names. One that comes to mind was 'seat covers on a boat'. It was a Channel style jacket in a pink,cream and black bouclé, with frayed lapels and edges- and I loved it!!!

Ha! Last night the husband says to me he was looking at all the fabric I bought - pretty fancy- but I'm not sure about that 'Aztec-y' print! Now I'm second guessing my choice not just because of his comment but it's a lot of print on a long dress on my small fame. No matter- I think I'm going to go through with it anyway. If I feel over whelmed in it, I will just cut it off and make it a tunic! That's always been one of my biggest challenges in sewing, choosing the right scale of print for my size.

The pattern calls for a seam down the center back, but I think I will place it on the fold as I don't want to have to match up any more horizontal lines then I have to. I'm sure I can fit it through the sides or add some vertical darts in the back if I have to. Besides, if it becomes a tunic, it won't really need much fitting.

I guess I should start cutting it out......

As the sewing Fates would have it ,I just happened to have Vogue pattern 6869 on my cutting table ready to cut out next , it has the exact type of cap sleeve I'm looking for! So I made a simple pattern adjustment by copying it to my original with tissue paper. The directions for finishing the are to just fold under and top stitch,but due to the weight of my fabric I may face the the cap to give it a better weight. Does that make sense?? Or (thinking outloud) I may add a binding. My fabric has a great boarder print that I can take advantage of here. That would look even better. This is one of those figure it out as you go along projects which I seem to get mixed up with all the time!!!

So far so good. My hood turned out pretty slick , with the border print along the edge, and I did self line it. The instructions were a 2 inch hem. I cut that off and just left a seam allowance.

Now that I see this in picture form, a binding is a must, other wise it just looks so cheap and off the rack. The other problem I'm encountering - it's just way too much print for me!!! Guaranteed this will be a tunic. It will look cute with capris or long shorts(is that an oxymoron?) for the summer. As a tunic it might look good with a kangaroo pocket or pockets of some sort or even a draw string like the original pattern.

I'm not sure how old something has to be, to be considered vintage - so I'm going to consider this pattern vintage. So what I've noticed is what better quality it is. The tissue is thicker and stronger,and the instructions are better. More detailed pre-construction tips such as fabric descriptions, prep stitching, needle choices, larger illustrations, etc. I guess I never noticed when things started going south and it's bothering me now because I just bought a 35$ Vogue pattern and it was torn before I even took it out of the envelope!!! End of rant!


Friday, 11 April 2014

Finished graffiti top

Butterick 5955 view D
Ok, the husband really likes this one- go figure!?

It's not as loud in real life either. I don't understand cameras and light and whatnot. It quite subtle, black,grey,silver and mauve.

My tip of the day; don't set your iron on high when you are pressing polyester !! Nearly had a disaster. Slightly melted the inside of the lace sleeve. It's a bit crusty. Only I will know and who ever reads this!
Changed the neckline by adding a 2" binding and then stitching up the front seam. Much nicer finish then the pattern called for.
Used Shiva Paintsticks and stencils for my graffiti- see previous post. Heat set with the iron and put it in a hot dryer. It's still a bit 'stinky' (smells like oil paint), but that will disapate in a week or so.

Well that was fun! Now on to my next project.


Saturday, 5 April 2014

Butterick 5955

Butterick 5955 very loose fitting top

One pattern, two very different looks.I bought this pattern because I thought it would be great to use up all those remnants and left over bits and pieces of woven fabrics that I have hanging about.

So far I have made it twice - both times with knits. Still stash busting,but this pattern is designed for wovens- Oh well, what ever. With such a simple pattern I thought it was a great opportunity to make a few creative mixes of fabric, which is so trendy right now.

Here are my fabric choices . One is a gorgeous ,delicious velvet burnout and a very fine, dotted, low stretch net. Both of these I purchased from the Sewing Workshop booth when the Stitch Expo was in town. I noticed an edge finish she used, involving a thin 1/4" braid. I happen have some similar in my stash, so I'll give it a whirl. That's why I love going to trade shows - I always learn something new!
I applied the trim by laying it on the fabric about a half inch from the edge,and straight stitched. Do not stretch your fabric. Then I folded the the fabric to the back and straight stitched again. Stopping and starting at an inconspicuous spot- then do a little zig zag to lock it in place. Then carefully trim away the excess on the back, close to stitching. It turned out flawless.
For the second version I chose a boring grey Lycra jersey, and added black stretch lace for the back yoke.

Still boring. Then I get an idea- lately I have been liking all the writing and graffiti on everything...

So I got out my Shiva Paintsticks and stencils and got busy playing.

This is what I've got so far.
Rather then just random words or letters I thought I would use inspirational words and phrases that have meaning to me. I toyed with the idea of putting a zipper down the front but didn't like how it looked with the v neck, I would have to pre plan that- maybe round out the neck line. In fact I think I will do that on another version in a heavier fabric. I do think if I make this In a woven I will grade down a size or two, it is very loose fitting, I think it will be too billowy if I don't.
I don't remember what the instructions are for the neckline finish, I just know I didn't like them. So I've decided to use a 2" binding,folded in half, stitched to the outside then flipped up. Then I will sew up the front seam.
I was at the West Edmonton mall today and I saw this top in a store. I really like the zipper neckline and thought it might make a nice finish for this top in one of my next versions of it.

Well that's all I have for today. My graffiti top won't be finished for a few days.