Friday, January 14, 2011

There Are New Men's Patterns At Vogue!

Maybe someone can refresh my memory, but I cannot remember the last time Vogue added  new patterns to the menswear tab.  Really good looking, well cut menswear. Men who sew and women who so for them,  patterns for you!  Not many, but hey it's a start. I like the jacket and pants, but where's the pattern for that very nice shirt?

Or this nice trench coat, though the sunglasses make him look a bit shady, pun intended.

On to the meat of the new patterns, the women' s of course.  These first are patterns that I might wear, or that would be flattering on me of course. 
I do like this, but you know, it's not exactly a match for my lifestyle.  But if it did  it would work for me.

I have a piece of printed silk for which this would be a perfect pattern.  You'll notice that this is from a young and hip new or fairly new designer?  Vena Cava.  Even in silk I'd wear this in the summer as an easy dress to throw on and that doesn't cling. That and it would reduce my stash by a  very nice piece of silk.  It doesn't call for lining but I'd underline this with some nice cotton batiste also in the stash, for coolness and opaqueness.
These two from Donna Karan are interesting.  According to the figure key, the red one is suited for me, but the back is long waisted and would hit my hips at their fullest.  So, not so good.  But pretty if your full hip falls lower than mine.  The second one does not have my figure triangle, but I think that it would work for me.  I like it but  I probably won't make it.  I wear dresses mostly in the summer when they are cool and comfortable in our non air conditioned home.  Anything that fits closely isn't going to work for me.

Now this one is young but a little longer and it would work for me.  It's Rebecca Taylor and it's a knit.  No clinging here and it's yellow, which I like. Obviously you can make it in any color your heart desires, but I like yellow and I have some really nice yellow silk jersey.   It strikes me as a good dress for a hot summer.
Now for the designs that are clearly for the young  and lithe.  Well, one hopes  that's who'll wear this and it's ilk.  It's adorable but that's not why I posted it.  See that lovely fitted bust?  Unless you are a B cup, it needs to be altered and it's not a simple alteration.  Now, Vogue has taken to adding garments that have alternative cup sizes.  But the are one, usually loose fitting so fitting properly isn't very critical,  and two such easy designs that even rank beginners could do a full bust adjustment to them, or fba for the uninitiated.   Here's a sample
They are also boring beyond belief.   I want them to give alternate fronts for stuff that's hard to alter! For stuff that's got some edge to it.  Hey Vogue, I may be 60 but I don't want to look dowdy.  The kind of thing that women post on PR and ask how do I do this? That's for what you need design alternate fronts
There weren't any separates that I found different or interesting and certainly not stylish in the least. Ah, well that's why I have Burda, years of Burda to choose from.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sometimes It Pays to Get Picked On

Certainly if the person picking on you is Claire Kennedy.  After reading my blog on what does a middle aged woman who doesn't want to look dowdy wear to a wedding that calls for 'cocktail' attire she wrote a post on my dilemma.  Certainly a problem that so many women my age have.  By the time I'd finished writing the post I had pretty much come to the conclusion that I really wanted to wear separates that would actually get worn  again by pairing them with other pieces.  I have a few dresses, but mostly they don't get out of my closet all that much.  Claire picked out three possibilities and I loved the first one, this Issey Miyake jacket and pants.  Claire isn't too thrilled with the pants and neither was I at first.  I am only 5'6" after all but after drawing this on my croquis, I liked it. 

My croquis with the pattern drawn on it.  I shortened the sleeves a bit.   The other option for the bottom would be a pencil skirt or narrower pants, but surprisingly I really like  how this looks. 
Here's a link to the blog post Claire Kennedy wrote.  She has been such a generous wonderful internet friend I  would love to actually meet her in real life.  Most serious or professional sewers can't resist the lure of NYC fabric shopping so there's hope she'll turn up before too long.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Can't Believe I Haven't Mentioned This

Kenneth King is teaching his moulage class in  Queens, at Sew Right Sewing Machines  and I am signed up to take it!  I muddle along altering patterns to fit and I am hoping that a moulage and subsequent sloper will help me not only alter commercial patterns  but be the start of drafting my own patterns.  He says that he really doesn't have much advice on altering patterns from a sloper because he drafts all his own patterns but he recommends Lynn Maynard's DVD on fitting for this.  Pattern Review has it available I believe and if you are  a PR member you get a discount on purchases from the site.  The class is on 3 consecutive Sundays in February and March .  It's  a bit shorter commute than NYC  for me where he has offered other classes.  I'm excited to not only take the class from KK, but I always relish the opportunity to meet other garment sewers in person.

He is also teaching a skirt drafting class this month, but one class at a time and honestly, I can draft a skirt by myself with a set of instructions.  The moulage is more complicated and we will work in teams of two for measuring each other. I have his moulage book but I've never gotten further than printing it out.  My dh is notoriously bad at taking accurate measurements.  I am also hoping that I can use the skintight moulage we sew up to refit my duct tape dress form that has never been perfect and time and gravity have lowered the bust to make it really unusable. 

The class comes with great reviews and to meet KK?  I can't wait.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Weddings, No Not Alex's

My niece is getting married this summer in Santa Monica  and I need a dress or the equivalent that meets the dress code of 'cocktail attire'.   The last wedding I went to I wore a great wool blend brocade suit.  Felt fabulous in it.  But that was in February.  What is it about going to a wedding that puts a woman who is comfortable with herself and her  style and knows what looks good on her,  to be full of indecision when it comes to dressy clothing? 

We see gorgeous women with fabulous figures on the red carpet in dresses that are meant for the red carpet, not your nieces, daughters, sons, best friend's  kids wedding.     The fashion magazines certainly don't have anything that is perfect for a 60 year old woman who does not possess the body of a 20 year old that doesn't look dowdy to wear to an evening wedding.  The other issue is spending  money and in my case, time, sewing up said  dress that chances are I'll never wear again.  I wouldn't wear it to Alex's wedding because, after all my side  will have seen said creation.  I have gone to weddings over the years, afternoon weddings mind you, in a dressy suit and everyone is dressed in glitzy embellishment.   I have never been comfortable in this sort of clothing.  Well, I did wear an embellished blouse and full skirt to a wedding we went to in India which I bought at a very cool shop that sold  Indoeuro kinds of things. For an Indian wedding it was very understated!  It doesn't fit anymore, so that's out regardless.
What the hell is cocktail attire these days anyway?  I was looking at an email of Michael Kors spring collection and either the dressy clothing is too exposed for me or it's perfect for entertaining 'at home' if your home is in East Hampton.  Sigh.  I went through the same nonsense when Josh got married and while I finally decided on something it was the height of boredom.  A real snooze.  I've been looking at collections on  I've looked through my collections of Burda a million times.  I even bought 2 Vogue's that might work.  There is a very nice Donna Karan in the new Vogue's that someone posted a glimpse of on PR from the back of the pattern magazine.   But, its a mid length shirt dress with drapes across the front.  How dressy can that be, really?  Even in silk isn't it still a shirt dress?
This is one choice.  I'd have to raise the back a bit.  The sleeves would balance my hips.  Not bad, but fab?  I'm not excited by it by any means. 
Here's choice 2

This one would need a bit of alteration to work. First it would need to be longer, not hard.  The waist panel would have to be lower and  or narrowed to actually fit under my bust(gravity does have it's issues)   It at least has the kind of tailored look I like and feel comfortable in.  I don't know when they will be posting the new Vogues, but as I said a couple did look promising. 
Sigrid made a very pretty dress from Knipmode last year that would be perfect, but the thought of altering  the pieced bodice for my DD cup bust hurts my brain.  I also haven't a clue how to do it! 

I need some inspiration and suggestions readers!   I have some gorgeous silk brocade from our last trip to India and I was actually thinking of a this pencil skirt and top from the latest Burda. 
What do you think?  It somehow just doesn't seem 'enough'. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Tutorials and Why I'm Not Writing One

As you know, I am sewing a coat and I am replacing the original visible snap with a bound buttonhole.  I've made lots of bound buttonholes over the years but it's been a few years since I made any so I made samples.  A bound buttonhole is not hard, but it does take precision marking and sewing to get perfection.  I always make more even after I get the 'good' one because as we all know the minute you do it  on the real thing, it's no longer perfect. 

There are a number of methods for making them, but my favorite is the strip method.  I saw this done on Sandra Betzina's old tv show years ago.  Margaret Islander was her guest for this and she made it look easy.  It is if you've done a lot of them!  It's the same method that  Claire Shaeffer  likes and she has very nice instructions in her book HIgh Fashion Sewing Secrets.  But it always puzzled me as to how to measure a 'scant' 1/8" and be able to accurately reproduce it every time.   I solved that  by using my edge foot, you know the one with the flange in the middle and moving my needle over as far as it will go.  Works like a charm.  One of the things I like about this method is that you can make sure that your stitching is perfectly even at the ends, ie they need to be exactly the same length.   I thought that I'd photograph a nice tutorial to put in here, but you know what?  Why reinvent the wheel when Sigrid has put together in one place a huge number of great tutorials on how to do just about anything.  You know that I love my books but sometimes you need a little more to help you get the idea. (Besides my coat is black and photographing the details in black is hard)  Shannon of the Hungry Zombie has done a very nice tutorial on the strip method.  I'll show off mine when my coat is done, or at least further along.  I am still basting interlining to the lining.  I've got to say cotton flannel is a whole lot easier to attach since it doesn't stretch!
Btw, someone asked for a source for the lambswool interlining I'm using.  Steinloff and Stoller has it and I bought it when I was last in NYC.  They are not exactly into 21st century merchandising in there, so you have to know what you want and ask for it because even if it is out on display chances are you won't be able to find it.  It's not listed on their rather limited website, so either email them or give them a call.  

I like that this method makes narrow lips, which is a hallmark of a well made buttonhole according to Claire.   This is also the method that is used on very expensive rtw or at least it was when her book was published.   Use the method that is easiest for  you.   I'd suggest that you make samples of the different methods and then choose what works for you.
Now for the link. I am making it for the site itself.  I think that you'll be able to find buttonholes without a problem. 
 Enjoy! Sigrid's Tutorials  Actually it's entitled Sewing Tutorials but Sigrid deserves some credit for putting this together.  It was a time consuming venture and it's really well done.  Thank you Sigrid.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Wow, Have You Seen This?

German management at Burda may be out of touch with their customer, but not so the Russian office.  Look what someone on PR , sorry I don't know who it was, found over on Russian Burda.  After spending hours looking for the technical drawings for my planing storyboards I found this fabulous site that would have cut my time in half.   Burda Index
They also seem to have indexed the Burda knitting magazine for those of you who knit.
Look what you get! If you click on an issue you get a picture of the issue, all the pages linked and if you look under the photo, you get links to all the photos in that issue that you can click on the one you like and get to the photo plus the technical drawing, plus the page it's on.  How cool is that?  If you click on the second link below the photo you will find all of the technical drawings for the issue all of them linked to it's proper page showing photo, technical drawing and issue page where you can find it.  Pretty much what we Burda readers have been looking for.  The only thing that I can't figure out so far is how to actually get one of these pages to show up here.  But the links should work.  Someone already translated the pages, which is what I've linked to.  Sigrid said that she tried the Dutch translation but that the English is better.

They also seem to have free download patterns.  There's lots to explore on the site besides the indexes.  Have Fun!

I promise to have sewing progress on my coat for you shortly.  It's coming along slowly, but well and I am enjoying sewing a coat again.  This isn't a very complicated coat but I enjoyed working out the pattern changes.