Monday, August 31, 2009

Another Version of the Tom and Linda Platt dress

I finished Vogue 1091, the Tom and Linda Platt dress. I like it even better than the first version. For a woman who isn't all that into prints, that's two print garments in a row. Must be a record! I won't write a whole review here. If you want to read my updated review, click on the photo of it on the left under PR reviews. I did remove the fba and you can see that the fit is fine. I wore it to a party yesterday and it was cool and perfect. Of course this particular party was at a house on the bay and the breeze was wonderful. Gorgeous day.

I'll start tracing patterns and altering them today for the Pattern Review wardrobe contest. I have 8 patterns to work on . That's a lot considering how much I alter everything. But, I know that if I am focused and don't make too many changes, I can do it.

I am planning on going into NYC to shop for the leather for my skirt and combine it with seeing the Isobel Toledo show at FIT before it closes on the 26th. I'll be going in with my daughter! Yes, she is coming home for a few weeks! We are thrilled that she didn't take the latest job offer and has to come home. You can tell we are so sad that she has to come back to the States for her visa. She'll have no problem getting another job, but she is being picky. She went down to see the school and meet the administrator and teachers and one of the first things the man said was "You are so beautiful" . Alex was not amused. She has said that the treatment of women in Korea is akin to the 1950's here. Here's a link to her blog. She just got her yellow belt in Taikwondo. Very cool Alex! She also thinks that we are the best parents ever! Isn't that a day maker?
She isn't thrilled about fabric shopping with dear Mom, but she is willing to go to one place for leather and then a couple of Museums. We'll also go to MOMA . We love going to Museums together so that will be fun.
She did make one attempt to shop for fabric for me in Seoul, but couldn't find the place that someone on PR had given directions too. I don't think that she is going to be willing to try again.
I know, I have enough fabrics already!
Have a great day.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Finally, a Plan I Can Be Excited About

I've been doing a little sewing and a lot of drawing and planning work on my Wardrobe for the Pattern Review Contest. For anybody who is interested in participating, go to Pattern Review, message board and click on pinned topics and you'll find the discussion for the contest.

It has been hot and muggy here and I've been washing and wearing my Tom and Linda Platt dress. A lot. So, I figured that I should make another one. I had this great animal print rayon knit that I bought to make a top, but the scale is just too large. It does however, really work as a dress and it will be a great transition piece for fall with black tights and my black leather jacket and later with my gray sweater jacket.

Wardrobe planning:
I am going with the black boucle motorcycle jacket. I love the fabric and the pattern, with a little reworking, will be the perfect knock off for the Oscar de la Renta jacket that inspired me. This is really a true black, but the limits of photographing it make it look gray.

That's the Oscar de la Renta jacket out of a black plaid boucle that's a dead ringer for my fabric, which is Oscar de la Renta bought from Fine Fabrics last winter. The pattern is Burda 128 10/08. The collar caught my eye. The zipper on the Oscar jacket is backwards? it seems, but I don't thing that I 'll change that on the pattern, it's easier to leave it as is. It's meant as an outer wear jacket so it may have a bit too much ease for what I want, so a muslin is in order for this one.
The next change was to use a silk charmeuse print with all the colors in my wardrobe, which is what I didn't have in the first plan. I bought it at Metro Textiles on Pattern Review day last fall. I have fabrics in all the colors. It has the kind of acid, apple green that I love, and white, gray and black. It's a lot more vibrant in real life.

I'll make it up in Burda 119 10/08

This piece of rayon knit is the same green.

I am going to use it to make a long sleeved version of my newest twist front top from Burda 134 7/07

Next is a white blouse, inspired by this great Donna Karan wrap blouse, using this Burda wrap blouse. 137 12/06 in cotton lycra from Paron annex from PR day. The collar and the wrap need some changing, but not a lot.

This Burda 126 12/08 will be made up in a silver rayon knit.

The fifth top will be a white rayon long sleeve scoop neck t. A variation on my tnt, V8151

The bottoms will be 3 pairs of pants.
Black denim trousers Burda 118 4/09. Gray wool and silk wide leg trousers, possibly HP's Razer

Gray denim jeans M5894 I ordered the denim from Marcy Tilton.

Black leather skirt Burda 133 9/09. I need the leather for this one.

I didn't put up the black, white and gray fabrics because, well they're just as easy to imagine as photograph.
That's my new plan and I am actually excited about it. The leather skirt gives it an edgier feel and I'll wear this. It works with pieces in my existing wardrobe, and I can continue with a secondary plan that will also work with the bottoms.

I will make the sweater coat as originally planned; a burgandy HP Three graces t and a pair of houndstooth black and cream wool pants and a dressy pair of black wool pants to expand on the wardrobe. The pieces also work with my gray sweater jacket. A couple more knit tops with fabric I have will also work in a more limited plan.
I need to get all my patterns worked out over the next few days and be ready to cut out near the start date of September 1.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How To Change My Wardrobe Plan so that I am Excited!

There is no way that I will finish this wardrobe if I am not excited by it. So, back to the drawing board. Shannon and Alex both said that it had to start with something that really needs to be made, that screams at me 'Make Me!' Alex is right, I really want to make that motorcycle jacket, so I am going to make it my piece that has to be made and work around it. I love the fabric and I have a cool silk print for the lining. So, there's my starting point. It is mentally exhausting to get it planned, but if it isn't really set before I start I know from past experience, that it will only be ok, not great. Of course, I may change my mind about the thing that has to be made if I can't come up with a wardrobe that works well with it.
Kiltsnquilts asked me if I took photos of myself for my croquis, which I did. I dressed in tights and a tank top for my croquis and took photos of several poses. Then I traced over it and scanned it into my computer. I printed out a couple of the different poses in several sizes and I use it under tracing paper. I have the bust point, knees, and waist marked for reference points. Being trained as an artist has made me think with a pencil as an extension of my brain. It keeps my brain from spinning! I think that I may make separate drawings of tops and bottoms and the topper so that I can layer them and see how it all fits together. Kind of like paper dolls. I loved making paper dolls when I was a kid. Hmm. Maybe I'll just make a paper doll of myself and make all the clothes with tabs so that I have my very own paper doll and clothes.
I can paste a copy of me onto heavier stock. Getting a bit carried away here!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

PR 2009 Wardrobe Contest

10 pieces. 5 tops, 4 bottoms and one topper. At least one piece must be a print and all the tops must go with all the bottoms and the topper must go over all of it.

Those are the requirements for this fall's Pattern Review wardrobe contest. It runs from September 1 to November 30. That's plenty of time to sew 10 pieces especially if I've got all the patterns worked out ahead of time. There is also a lined jacket contest that runs from September 1 to the 30th. I could make my planned motorcycle jacket as the topper and enter it in both contests, or go with my original plan of using a knit sweater coat as my topper. I need a light weight coat for fall more than I need a motorcycle jacket! I like the wardrobe plans in theory, but the proportions for tops with pants and tops with skirts can be very different. If you read the original article about sewing with a plan or SWAP that was in Australian Stitches the clothing all went together but they were pretty boring, run of the mill pieces. Shannon of the Hungry Zombie blog did several amazing SWAPs over the years when she participated in the Timmel swap and Laura lo has also done some great swaps too. The question is, can I make a really good wardrobe following the rules, or only an ok wardrobe and would I do better just making smaller groupings? I haven't participated in a contest on PR in awhile and I do want to, so the question is do I do the wardrobe, or just make my motorcycle jacket and enter the lined jacket contest? I have fabric, lining and notions for the jacket, and most of the fabrics for the wardrobe contest.
I still have to adjust my BWOF pattern for the motorcycle jacket and a few for the wardrobe contest.
Here's what I have so far for the wardrobe contest using a sweater coat as a topper:
The middle piece is the topper, a DKNY sweater coat that I will make in this sweater knit from Emmaonesock, with black wool for the bands. The left is a Patrones pencil skirt in black cotton heavy knit. Top is possibly Jalie in large scale animal print with black trim. Right one is that Burda twist neck top I just finished, with long sleeves and in gray wool rayon jersey.

Wool sweater knit from Emmaonesock.

Tops from the left: black wool tunic with nailhead trim at the neck. It's a knock off of a Tory Burch top. The second is in gray knit with padded, top stitched black silk shoulders also a knock off from a top I saw on Right one is also a knock off of a Donna Karan white cotton wrap blouse. Yes, Karen I will finally use that white stretch poplin we bought in NYC.
This one is the loop front 3 Graces t from Hot Patterns in a dark red. The pants are black jeans, black wool with a fine metallic pinstripe, and gray wool and silk. I actually have one too many tops here. I just can't help thinking that it's boring, though I've tried to make the tops a bit different, at least the two with trims. I really like the white blouse too.
From upper left:. black stretch denim, black wool for trim on the sweater coat, white poplin, black wool knit from Michaels, gray wool rayon jersey, red rayon jersey,
Second row: wool sweater knit, black wool suiting with fine metallic stripe, gray wool and silk,
black cotton knit for pencil skirt.
I am not quite sure on which pants patterns I'll use. When I look at the photo of my fabrics it looks kind of boring! I do have a large scale black, gray and white animal print that I am thinking of using for one of the tops that might bump it up a notch. I am not very confident at putting prints together though. Well I still have some time to make a final decision. Feel free to comment and make suggestions.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Are You Happy With What You Sew?

Another blogger Clever Girl published a post on her sewing satisfaction, and this morning a sewer on PR posted about her dissatisfaction with her sewing. Over the years I've had periods of time when I wasn't happy with my sewing for various reasons, one of them being poor fit. If it's uncomfortable and if you don't look great in what you sew you won't wear it. More recently I wasn't happy with the quality of my sewing. My grandmother always said that the inside of clothing should look as good as the outside. Mine certainly didn't. I've worked on this, and while I am still not 100% happy with my results on this front, it is much better. If you start out with a pattern that fits you, then you don't have to rip out as much and so the garment looks much fresher when you're finished. I've worked on my details. My topstitching is good. Openings are matching lengths, which is obviously front and center and if this isn't correct, than it is just glaring, as least to me. My zippers are well sewn. I still have issues with my buttonholes, but this is more a machine issue than my fault. I can make very nice bound buttonholes!
My fit has really improved enormously over the last few years. I tissue fit; I sew in an order that allows me to try on a lot during sewing. I rarely get truly surprised about fit anymore. I had a lot of wadders when I first started sewing knits, especially the more difficult, softer sorts like rayon lycras. This was particularly discouraging as I live in pants and knit tops. Part of my problem was figuring out the ease I like with various kinds of knits. It also didn't help that one of the first patterns I tried is a small brand that designs with a lot of negative ease. Not my favorite kind of fit! Now I rarely have a wadder with my knits. I have learned not to rely solely on pattern directions or to be tied to them but to use my own judgment on construction with much better results. Another thing that makes me happier with my sewing is learning to sew for my lifestyle, not just what calls to me but no place to wear it. If I take weeks to tailor a fabulous suit, but I don't wear suits, then I don't have anything to wear in my everyday life.
So on the whole, yes I am happy with what I've been sewing lately. I haven't written about my failures, but maybe I should. A lot can be learned from failure.
So are you happy with your sewing? If not, why not and if you are, share your tips for happier sewing.
Have a great weekend.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

An update on the Hot Patterns jacket

An update.
I just pinned out the shoulder seams of the facing, from zero at the neckline to a good inch at each outside edge of the facing. That is a considerable amount! This is after I had already removed some of the ease. No wonder it rippled. I am going to un stitch it from the shoulder pads and take it in. I don't know if I made a mistake when I traced the facings, or a mistake in the drafting, but it is bothering me, so I'll see if I can fix it. Why I didn't notice this before I finished the jacket is beyond me, except that every wrinkle you don't see in person shows up in pictures. Here's a picture of the back.
You can just see the rippling of the facing. I put it on my dress form and it with it pinned it looks a lot smoother.
That picture of my rear end is why I am fitting a pair of real jeans right now. I have a lot of patterns for jeans, but I am fitting McCalls 5894 Palmer Pletsch's 'the Perfect Jean' There is a lot of ease in my size, even after taking a tuck out of the back for my very flat rear end.
I just went down a size and even that may be too big for stretch denim. I think that the Jalie pattern for stretch denim has negative ease. That may be too tight for me, but I think that this should measure only the size of my hips with no ease. We'll see.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Burda 124 7/07 Twist top.

Another UFO bit the dust! I had cut this out in December for our trip to Florida and never got past the cutting out stage. The fun part was left, and it went together really easily.

Pattern Description: The jersey top has a clever twist. It's shawl collar turns into a knot that nicely shapes the neckline and bust with further flattering emphasis coming from the the empire line seam.

Pattern Sizing:44-52 I graded down to a 42 in the upper body, did an fba and blended it to a 46 in the hips.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow?Surprisingly, for the most part they were. I made the twist top in S4071 twice and they were both wadders. I just couldn't get it. This was actually easy. The only thing I had issue with are the directions for the bust dart that continues and becomes the under bust seam. Not terrible, but a little unclear. You need to sew the underbust dart and continue it in a smooth line into the empire seam. If you don't have to make an fba, it will be a bit smoother I think, so if you do an fba, make sure that you have a smooth transitions from the dart seam into the underbust seam. I've redrawn my pattern.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the neckline on this pattern. It is a twist front that isn't too low. After reading Debra H's review of this top, I added to the side by reducing the curve in the very curvy side seam. I only needed half of what I added.
Fabric Used: an 11oz rayon lycra jersey from Emmaonesock. Gorgeous quality and while it drapes beautifully, it has enough weight to make it easy to sew. This is my favorite t shirt material.
Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
I cut it down to a size 42, the size I cut in Burda for the upper body. I didn't need to narrow the shoulders an adjustment I almost always have to do on any pattern so if you are broad shouldered, be warned that this will be too narrow for you. I almost always take out about 3/4" . I did do my usual forward shoulder adjustment. The side seam is very curvy in this pattern and I added a bit to that area and then took it in by about half what I added. Debra H reviewed this and commented on the snug fit. I didn't find it tight, but maybe a bit too figure revealing as I look at the pictures. I didn't use any of the in case sas I'd added just part of the amount I added at the waist. I blended it into a size 46 in the hips, and I did a small fba and added a dart. I used 3/8" sas instead of the 5/8" they call for and 1" in the side seams for 'in case'. If you are using a knit with less stretch the sleeves will be tight. It's fine with my fabric but wouldn't fit well if you had any less stretch. You ask, how much stretch? I never know how to figure this, but its a 4 way stretch with lycra and good recovery. The underarm is quite high, which I like. The cap wasn't too high as is often the case in Burda knits and fit into the body really easily in the flat. I do recommend that you walk the side seams. I don't know if it was from my adjustments or if it is in the drafting, but the front was about a half inch longer at the side seams.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I will definitely sew this again. I love it. It is really comfortable to wear and as I said before, not to low and exposed. I will make again in short sleeves and in long.

Conclusion: This top is fitted, but not too fitted. I feel great in it and that is always a good thing!

Hot Patterns Riviera Bouldevard Jacket/cardigan

One UFO finished! If you remember back when I started this blog I was making a knit cardigan, the above mentioned Hot Patterns jacket. I finished it before I tore my studio apart, but it's been just too hot to put on a wool jacket! Today it's in the mid 70's. Perfect for an outdoor photo session.

Pattern Description:
Cardigan jacket designed for heavy knits. Unlined, cropped single breast jacket has a gentle A line shape and a classic collar and rever. Faux pocket flaps at the yoke and vertical seam pockets.

Pattern Sizing:6-26 What size did I make? Several, starting with a 10 or 12 in the upper body. But, honestly, I don't remember, this is a ufo from last winter that I just finished.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, other than I left off the faux flaps.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Pretty much. It's recommended for intermediate sewers and I'd agree with that assessment. The illustrations now included in the instructions are only marginally helpful.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked the lines of this and I thought that a cardigan sweater would be cozy and comfortable and take simple pants and top up a level. It's not fitted, but it isn't too boxy either, which is not becoming on me.
I don't like the separate hem facings because I think that it contributed to the flaring out at the hem that I had. I understand why Trudy designed it like this, because it's an a-line shape, but I think that I could reduce the hem width like a pair of pants and one, make it simpler to construct and secondly the bottom edge would be softer and drape better, something I think that would benefit this jacket. I did use a heavier interfacing than was recommended and that might have contributed to the problem.
I do not like the method of sewing the collar and lapels that is used in the instructions. Most of the jacket patterns I've seen lately have you attach the upper collar to the facings, the under collar to the jacket and then attach the collar and facings as a unit. I think that there is a lot less control with this method. Maybe it's just that I've been making jackets the old fashioned way for so long and making a change is hard. I did do it as per the instructions and I think that while it's ok, I could have done it better my way.
The bottom line is that none of the patterns these days have good tailoring instructions and I'd use other sources for tailoring jackets, which I did.
Fabric Used: Wool cashmere heavy knit from Michaels Fabrics. It fit the description of a heavy knit without much stretch.
It is not a double knit. It's a gorgeous quality and I bought during one of their half price sales.
Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I left off the faux flaps. I didn't need added bulk at the bust. I cut this by the sizes on the envelope and didn't make an fba, but I should have added to the length if not the width. It hikes a bit in the front.
I added shoulder pads instead of altering for my sloping shoulders because they are flattering on my pear shaped figure. I did a forward shoulder adjustment, but I was very surprised when I did a tissue fitting and didn't have to make any other changes. I ended up taking in the hip quite a bit as it was flaring out too much, more than a gentle a line. I touched on this above, I don't know if it is the fault of my interfacing or the hem seam, or it was just too much ease for me. I also don't like how the neck facing shows through at the back of the jacket. I did cut it a bit smaller to accommodate being on the inside, but it still ripples a bit. I'll try giving it a better steaming and pounding and see if its any flatter. I may have not taken enough out of the seams to match my shoulder alterations.
The other change I made is using a technique that is in a lot of sewing books. The interfacing is seamed in a 1/4" seam right sides together at the outer edges and then turned to the inside and then fused to the facing creating a nice finished edge. You can do this with a sew in interfacing of course, which is how I learned to do it in the dark ages before fusibles.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?I won't sew another one I don't think. I tend to sew multiples of tops and pants, but jackets I like to be different. If I find another interesting knit with a different look I might be tempted. I will say that the fitting on this was one of the easiest jackets I've ever fitted and I am picky, so yes I highly recommend this, especially to the fuller busted women. But, do add at least length to the cf if not a complete fba.
A bit of advice, do not make this with a double knit with lycra. You'll have trouble with some of the details because of the stretch.
Conclusion: One ufo down, and I haven't counted how many more should be finished or just chucked. But, I am pleased with this jacket. It is exactly what I wanted: a comfortable, but more structured sweater to pull an outfit together. I will be sewing other garments to co-ordinate with this jacket. There are lots of coordinating fabrics in my stash.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Worth a try

The buttonholer fits, but it doesn't sit tight onto the machine bed. So, no good. I think I'll put it away and look for an older Singer to use for a buttonhole machine. This is a Professional Buttonholer V102878 for a vertical needle zig zag sewing machine. Anybody have suggestions on what older Singer that would work with this buttonholer? It would also be nice if it made great straight stitches!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My New Old Buttonholer

There has been much written lately on the blolgosphere lately about what great buttonholes the old Singer buttonholer makes. So when Nancy2001 posed the question on PR, can this be used on a newer machine, specifically her Viking 770 I perked up. I hate the buttonholes on my Viking Platinum 750. It will make 2 and then get caught up and I have to rip a buttonhole out. Not fun. I bought this Singer Professional Buttonholer V102878 on E bay for $4.95 plus shipping. You'll notice the files next to my machine. My wonderful husband filed out the claw that fits over the needle clamp, that and a little prying and it fit. He only had to file out about a 1/16 of an inch, but he thinks it's made of hardened steel so this was not all that quick. Now I have to make buttonholes! Stay tuned.

What else have I been doing? Reorganizing my fabric collection. I have it all on a spread sheet with the bin numbers after every fabric, but when it comes to finding things on that list and what bin it's in, well, not so quick. Putting fabrics back? Really not quick. So I decided to put like fabrics together and use my new Brother labeler to print out nice, neat labels for my fabric types.
Here's whats left of the mess:

Here's what my fabric closet looks like now. See all my pretty labels? Now to get the rest of my sewing room and studio to look like this.

Next up is a review of Hot Patterns 1031 the Riviera Boulevard Cardigan Jacket. Probably tomorrow.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Help Ripping Seams

picture is from Rockler's website, no I don't tie flies!

My dh gets e mail notification from Rockler, a woodwork supply site on sales. The last sale I got this great led magnifying lamp. You can clamp it on your worktable or it has a magnet in the base and you can just attach it magnetically to a metal table or machine or it attaches to the clamp magnetically. It works on battery or household current. It doesn't take up a lot of room and I push it out of the way when I don't need it. Having had issues with the buttonholes I've been trying to make today it was a godsend when I had to rip them out! They are having a sale again so I though I'd pass on the information.