Friday, June 27, 2014

Jen and Jay's Wedding in Ojai, California

We are back from my nephew's wedding at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa in Ojai, California. Wow.  We had an amazing time; what a great place to have a wedding.    Ojai and the surrounding area is lovely, with great trails to walk and bike and hiking up into the mountains. The spot at top is Sesar Canyon.  Our instructions were to drive up past the houses until we couldn't drive any further.Early in the morning it was cool and lovely.

 We visited an artisan small olive oil producer in the center of olive and orange groves and bought delicious local olive oil and flavored, aged balsamic vinegar from Italy.
The town is lovely with good restaurants, galleries and shops. Even if you don't have a wedding to go to, this is a great place to vacation.

But, this is a sewing blog and I'm sure you are more interested in what I wore to the wedding. 

In an earlier post on what the hell  was I going to wear to this wedding I decided to copy these two pieces from Helmut Lang.

To make the pieces dressier I chose to make them in black 11 ounce rayon lycra jersey from emmaonesock and lengthened the skirt.  Both pieces are self drafted, of which I am very proud. My tnt tee shirt  was the base for  top draft.  I don't think that this is how the original was drafted, but I like how it came out. I had found a couple of methods for drafting a cowl neck but nothing that would give me an exact replica of the top. I did have some issues with the shoulder position. It  made me realize that the shoulder seam position on my original pattern is too far forward.  It's not an issue when the front and back seams are the same angle, but it did matter here. I had to adjust the shoulder angle on the back piece after some trial and error and  had to cut another front.

The skirt started out as a Burda pencil skirt.  The top layer is slightly gathered at the left hip. the shape, as you can see of the front pieces are not identical. It wasn't hard to draft, but it needed to be worked out in the muslin I made. It's not exactly the same as the original;  I'll call it 'inspired' by.  The waistband is attached, but narrower then on the original.  It's also elastic. There's really not much to say about these pretty simple pieces. They were easy to sew and great for packing.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Do You Have a Go To Garment That You Love to Sew?

In the middle of my marathon vacation/wedding  sew I had issues with the top to my wedding outfit.  The first front got a bit of fusible interfacing on it front and center. I got it off but it left a stain. Off to Emmaonesock to order more jersey. Fortunately I ordered two yards. Why you ask?  Because I ruined the second front and finally cut a third one that worked.  I had issues with the draft of the back cowl being to pointy at the shoulder point and it created a problem when I sewed it up. Trying to fix it I f... it up.  I redrafted the shoulder and re cut and sewed it up. I am in the middle of hemming it now.  Thank goodness.  The outfit looks good but whether it will be dressy enough, who knows.  The dress code is "Dress for a festive summer evening". I am not the only one who asked WTF does that mean? 

What did I sew while I waited for the fabric?  Pants. That's my go to garment when I am frustrated or need to renew my sewing mojo.  They are simple, plain pants.  I don't tuck my tops in so I prefer a plain top with the least amount of bulk.  I really do need to work out a pocket that is sturdy and low key and flat so that I can have a place to put my phone.  The only thing that I change on them is the width and length.  I just sewed up 2 pairs that fit because they are from my tnt pattern.  I did fit as I sew because one piece of fabric has lycra and one doesn't.  Fabric does really make a difference in fit.  The non stretch is a rayon crepe that drapes almost as well as wool crepe.  Light and perfect for summer. 

The stretch pair are these python print cotton. Definitely a different kind of fit from crepe.  The fabric is Derek Lam from The Sewing Workshop.  You know I'm a sucker for an animal print! This one is a lovely quality. I don't see myself having time for a photo shoot before we go, so you'll have to settle for these shots for the time being. I've finished 3 tops, a skirt and two pairs of pants. I have  the green silk top that goes with these pants and maybe another top and pair of pants to sew. Depends on time.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A New Iron

Right in the middle of my marathon vacation/wedding sew my Consew gravity feed iron conked out.   Of course the first thing I did was  have Seth  take a look at it.  If Seth can't fix something it just can't be fixed. Unfortunately he couldn't fix it. It needs a new switch which isn't readily available. He did take it out to see if he could find one, but in the meantime I needed a new iron.  My previous iron is a Rowenta which I still have and Seth uses.  It's a bit underwhelming after having a gravity feed iron.  I remembered that I'd gotten an email from Wawak  with $20 off on a Hot Steam SGB-600 gravity feed iron which brought it down to $89. Even their regular price is good.  Seth did a search for it online and came up with a price of $150. Of course I called and ordered it. It was delivered Tuesday morning.  After unpacking and setting it up I turned it on.
Wow.  This is better than my Consew ever was. It heats up faster and the temperature gauge seems more accurate.  The amount of steam is just phenomenal. All in all this is a terrific iron and I am enjoying using it.  

If you aren't familiar with a gravity feed iron, there is a water bottle, which you can see above, that has to hang 36" above the iron.  I have it hanging from the beam above the end of my pressing table. This one holds nearly a gallon which lasts a long time even using it all day.  You have to use it with resin beads that absorb the impurities in water.  If you wanted to use it with distilled water I would guess that  might work as well.  The iron comes with a packet of resin, a non stick iron shoe, the hose, and all of the hardware needed to hang it plus a cleaning kit.  The resin is blue and when it turns mostly brown it's time to change them.  It lasts quite awhile.  By the way, I happened to order two packets of it a couple of days before my iron conked out, so I'm set for awhile.
I've only been using it for a couple of days but it was love at first press. If you are in need of a good iron it's on sale this month for the same $89 I paid for it for the month of June. I added a silicon pressing sheet to the order which brought it up to $100 and got me free shipping.  

My sewing is going well. I've completed the skirt, two tops and a pair of pants.  I am working on the cowl back top. I've got a pair of black rayon crepe pants and a gray cotton linen lycra pair cut out and ready to sew. I want to make one more top I think if I have time.
I wasted most of yesterday trying to alter a sleeveless jacket pattern or vest that I decided I needed.  I gave up. I cannot figure out how to alter a side panel with dart to fit properly.  I've looked online and nobody has shown how to make an fba in this style.  If anyone has any advice on this, please let me know.  I made a usual fba adding to the short dart then I rotated the extra into a shoulder dart since a short fat dart just doesn't sew well. The problem is gaping at the armhole.  I'll come back to it since I really like the style. I am copying another Helmut Lang piece using this Burda pattern.  It's minimalist with a contemporary twist that's right up my alley.  Some of their clothing is too exposed for me, but a lot of it is definitely wearable by an older woman looking for casual clothing with a contemporary vibe. Of course it doesn't come in my size.  So isn't it great that I can sew it up myself?

This is the pattern I'm using to knock off this Helmut Lang vest or sleeveless jacket.


The larger sizes of this vest have a short dart at the seam.  Any ideas on altering it readers?