Monday, August 30, 2010

PR Shopping Day

It's official; I hate Karen of Sewing By the Seat of My Pants.  She was wearing her Jalie jeans and boy are they fabulous.  Right out of the envelope.  Rub it in a little why don't you?  You all know how much trouble I've had getting pants to fit well and there she is with her amazing jeans.  They fit her like the really expensive jeans I hemmed for my sister last year.  I had an amazing time on Saturday.   Where else can you talk about your passion for sewing without eyes glazing over  as you talk.  For me it's 90 minutes from doorstep to the city so not that big a deal to get in, but there were women from as far away as Chicago and Atlanta.  I bought more fabric than I planned but it was all in the colors, or I should say color that I wanted.  I bought shades of gray in knits  and  exactly what I was looking for in a wool crossweave that looked exactly like the Marc Jacobs $900 and something pair of pants over on Net a Porter.  He lined them in stretch silk charmeuse, which I forgot to pick up, but I can order that on line from Mood when I am ready to make the pants.  His fabric was non stretch and he used stretch for lining which makes perfect sense since lining often tears because it doesn't stretch and the outer fabric will. Of course if your fabric is stretch it's really necessary to have a stretch lining and not too many of those are available except in polyester.  I do not wear polyester.  Not because I am a natural fiber snob, but because my post menopausal body rebels against anything that isn't breathable.  I have seen Bemberg rayon in stretch but not recently.  However, Mood has a lot of colors in stretch charmeuse and I'll spring for that.  I don't even have to line them all the way down, but only to the knee if I want to save on fabric.  I have an old Threads article on a pair of  Armani pants that are only  lined in front to the knee.  There is also a Claire Schaeffer couture pants pattern where she only lines to the knee, so it is not  absolutely necessary to line all the way to the bottom.  The other issue with lining to the hem, even just covering the pants  hem, is that when you sit it often shows.  
What else have I been up to?  Other than fooling around with my new Viking, I've been working on my pants pattern.  Next post I'll talk about fitting pants and the amazing Claire Kennedy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On Death

On Monday morning I had to call my daughter in Korea and inform her that her beloved Grandfather, my Dad, had died in his sleep at the age of 88.  His funeral was this afternoon  and a friend of my niece set up her new I Phone to skype my daughter so that she could hear the service.  Alex called tonight to see how I was doing.  She had thought she'd find the funeral depressing, but it was exactly the opposite, It gave us  a wonderful sense of my Dad's life and who he was to his family.  She got to hear her brother and cousin talking about their grandfather and her own words that she had published on her blog this morning read by the rabbi.  A good funeral can actually make you feel better.    We got to remember all the corny jokes my Dad was known for (well not all of them, because there were so many) and to remember the wonderful, loving man he was.  It's good to remember all the good things and with my Dad, there were a lot of good things.  My sisters and our husbands are traveling  down to Florida tomorrow to bury my Dad next to my Mom to whom he had been married for almost 50 years. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Finally, August Burda Has Arrived!

It arrived today, just as the full preview of the September issue became available on the German site.  Thank you Selfish Seamstress for posting the link.    .  Everyone was very dismissive of the Folkloric section which looked like they turned the designers loose in the storeroom and said use up everything you can.  But, individually, some of these have a great deal of potential.  Artistic license is fine, but this is a pattern magazine where it would be nice to actually be able to see the garments.  I know, same old same old, so without further ranting I'll  show you what I like the best, and what I think will look good on me, of course, after all it is my blog.

This one has nice lines and I like the ruched sleeves.  I do not love the fabric, but I do like how they've used the large scale print.

I like this jacket too and I love the self belt.  Perfect if your waist isn't perfect.

This is a great, classic trench with great details.   But I want it single breasted with lapels!  I saw the perfect Tod's single breasted trench in an ad and I want to make it.  I am just too broad for this double breasted look.   Both this and the jacket are in the plus sized section.  
I love this coat, but I don't think I'd look all that good in it.  It's doesn't appear to have any fitting seams and the band across the hip is a not a good look for me.  It even looks like it has zippers on the sleeves. I love zippers there, re, but I don't know if I see them going with this coat. Here it is in a jacket version which would work better, minus the band.  I wonder if I can remove the band in the longer version and make it work for me?  There are darts.  Hmm.
 Besides the arrival of Burda, I got an email notice of two new Hot Patterns.  I bought them both.  They are both very current  and fit into my lifestyle perfectly and both would work with all the  lovely knits in my stash.  Especially the two new pieces I bought in NYC.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pants Are My Nemesis, or How I Waste Time

Either I've gotten really picky about fit, or my aging body has gotten that much harder to fit.  Maybe both.  See the pants on the floor?  Those were the black pants I made to try out David Page Coffin's techniques.  I will say that the issues I always have in sewing a contour waistband  were solved by using a 1/4" sas at the top and bottom of the waistband.  He suggests, and he calls them, outlets, I call it in case sas, that you only cut a  wider sas on seams that   you will be fine tuning the fit.  I threw these in the trash and concluded that my drafting skills were just not up to the task of  making the fairly wide legged Razer pant into a narrow legged pant.  I can make a pant from it at 22 or 24" wide hem that fits very nicely in the rear.  But the front still eludes me.
A pair of pants in a drapey fabric works better with some of the problems kind of softened out and not as noticeable.  I get a pleat that forms from the cf crotch that isn't as obvious in softer fabrics.  Obviously pants should not have pleats at the crotch!  I have adjusted for full inner thighs.  I've adjusted the cf to be parallel to the grain line to accommodate my full stomach.  I've deepened the crotch and made it shallower. I reduced the inseam, I've added to it.  The fit is better with a deeper crotch and shorter crotch point.  I have found that there is a fine line on the crotch depth.  If it is too long I get more of a pleat, if it is too short I also get the pleat.  But, regardless of what I do I get the pleat.  In a less drapey fabric it's really a crisp pleat that seems to point to my crotch.

I'm not sure if you can see the pleat in these pants.  As I said, in a softer fabric with good drape,  it's not as obvious but it's still there.  If anyone has any suggestions for this issue I'd love to hear it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Meeting Sigrid!

 When Sigrid contacted me a while back that she'd be in NYC with her family and could we arrange to meet up for fabric shopping I was so excited.  We've been e mailing for several years as well as reading each others blogs and she felt like an old friend even though we'd never met.  It was exactly like seeing  an old friend!  We had the best time.  Robin from A Little Sewing On the Side came up from Baltimore and Lindsay T met us for lunch.  I had met both of them last fall and it was nice to see them again. Here's Lindsay with Eugenia at Eliot Berman.

Lindsay took us to Eliot Berman before she went back to work.  I was the only one who bought fabric there, two gorgeous pieces of wool blend knits at good prices; the kind of thing that is very hard to find.  They also had this season Calvin Klein gorgeous, but not exactly what I was looking for.   It is definitely worth a visit.
Here we are, obviously at Mood where Sigrid and I both bought fabric,  in fact we each bought a piece of the same mini houndstooth for pants. She also bought some lovely black wool for a jacket.  We went on to buy notions and zippers.  If you remember she bought a 22" invisible zipper at home for 6 euros!  That's crazy.  I bought a YKK invisible zipper, 22" long for about 80cents.  We each bought black pants zippers for a pittance.
That was our last stop, we were both exhausted! (Robin had left about an hour earlier to catch the train.)  Before that I took Sigrid into Paron and she finished up her fabric shopping in the half price annex.  She's talking about looking for a cheap ticket just to come over for fabric shopping.   Even though the garment district isn't what it used to be it still has more fabric choices than most people can get at home and the prices can be very good for very high quality. 

Seth fixed my Viking!  The part came yesterday and not only did he install it, but when he was running it the low gear sounded funny, so he took that apart and greased it with modern lithium grease and made sure everything was thoroughly oiled. The machine had not only not been used much but it hadn't been used in years so it was totally dry when he first opened it up.    Now it purrs.  It's so pretty.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Finding Sewing Machine Parts

It looks like my Viking 6010 will be able to do more than straight stitch!  I searched for vintage parts on the internet and found the part I needed on 3 different sites for 3 widely different prices from $34.55 plus $3 shipping to almost $100.  Obviously I bought the first one.  I found a picture of the part though and realized that what we thought was 1 piece was actually two.  Seth enjoyed puzzling how to get the two apart without breaking the unbroken part.  He jury rigged something that worked and I only had to buy the cam stack.  I have become spoiled over the years and when Seth can't fix something I have trouble believing it. Like, what do you mean you can't fix it?  It's on it's way to me and Seth will be installing it of course.  I want it to zig zag so that I can use my two buttonholers meant for zig zag machines.  I may actually sew blouses that require buttonholes. 

Not much sewing going on here as I have been busy with work.  I have been making plans for fall sewing though.  It would be lovely to actually sew fall stuff before I need it.  I always have great intentions of sewing before the season, but it doesn't usually happen.  How about you?  Are you  sewing for now or for the fall?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ah Well It Does Great Straight Stitching

Edited to add that I am hemming Seth's jeans with the 6010 and can't believe how nice the stitch quality is.  I have jeans thread from Atlanta Thread and it is not only exactly the same as what his Lucky jeans are topsitched with, but side by side the stitches look identical.  Kind of cool..  It sews across the hump of the seam without a hitch and without sewing smaller stitches.

My new old machine, the Viking 6010 arrived last week.  I didn't get a chance to do more than unpack it until Saturday.  I was excited that the exterior was pristine, and it was clean inside too.  Just dry.  So I oiled it and  then tried to get the cam out.  Seth to the rescue.  He has been fixing things since he could hold a screwdriver.  He took off the top of the free arm and oiled.  But he couldn't get out the cam either.  I emailed Debbie Cook who gave me instructions on how to take it out.  No luck.  Seth managed to get the cover of the cam off so that he could grasp it to take it out and then he could get the back off.  It too needed lots of oil and then he noticed that the part that moved the cam wasn't moving.   He took that out and the problem was obvious. The black plastic gear that goes on the stack and is how the machine  makes zig zag stitches and buttonholes was cracked.  So while it makes wonderful straight stitches it does nothing else.  Since I wanted it for topstitching that's ok, but it's so beautiful I'd like it to work perfectly.  I applied to join the Viking group on Yahoo because, Debbie to the rescue again, said that they have a listing of people who have parts for these older Vikings.  
After all the oiling it runs beautifully and it is beautiful so hopefully I'll find the part I need and all of it will work well.  That was on Sunday and I still haven't heard from the Vintage Viking group, so if anyone out there knows of a source for vintage Viking parts I, being impatient, would love to hear from you.  But, the moral of this story is,  ask if the cam can be removed!  Well, probably it's also you take your chances and get what you get.