Thursday, December 26, 2013

I'm Back

Sometimes the longer you put off doing something, like writing this blog the harder it is to get back to it.  I wasn't sewing a lot and I not one of the patterns I posted in my last blog post got sewn..
Ah well, there is always this spring but in the meantime I have done more sewing this fall.  I have some more pieces to photograph but none of it was very difficult or challenging.  I did finally make a dress from La Mia Boutique which was only challenging because I don't read Italian.  More about that when I post it.
Mostly I used my tnt patterns. I've used this Silhouette Giorgio's top so many times that it's become a tnt pattern.

This is a double layered knit with the outer layer cut to reveal a sheer black knit attached underneath. I'm always looking for unique fabrics like this one from Marcy Tilton.  The pants are from my tnt pattern, much altered from the original wide leg Hot Patterns Razor Sharp Pants.  The original is a fly front faced pant; mine has a fly front and a straight waistband. I've narrowed the leg down here  and cropped it a bit.  The fabric is a light matelasse in a stretch blend from Emmaonesock.  Posing in my new front garden this fall you can see my husband's handiwork in the stone path made from recycled bluestone salvaged from a client's former patio.  The blue plant on the left is Geranium Rozanne, a newer hybrid that blooms all summer long. Really.  I planted it blooming in May and here it is October still blooming.  

Jump ahead to Thanksgivikah otherwise known as Thanksgiving and Chanukah. No, this is not the Style Arc pattern. I had just ordered some patterns from them. When they posted this as the freebie of the month  I really didn't have the budget to order more patterns so I used my tnt t shirt and cut it apart.  It was fun to do  and I like wearing it.  The top fabric is from Emmaonesock, a beefy rayon lycra jersey.  I've been making my sleeves longer than normal because I am tired of having rayon shrink more and making my sleeves too short, but I may have overdone it here. 

If you find wool crepe fabric hanging in your closet in a cleaner's bag that you have no recollection of buying or having had steam shrunk is it free?  Seriously, I found this lovely wool and lycra crepe in the hanging portion of my fabric closet and made yet another version of my tnt pants.  I underlined it to the knee with a stretch silk remnant.   I sewed the darts on lining and outer fabric before basting them together. Then I treated them as one.  I lengthened the cropped pattern and narrowed the pants a bit more.  I've been using cotton and rayon petersham  from Judith M. It's stiffer than the 100% rayon I've gotten from Pacific Trimming and works better as a facing for my waistband.  It's comfortable and stable. I do add some mid weight interfacing to the outer band.

My children were both visiting for Thanksgiving and it was nice having them both here at the same time.  Alex cleaned out more stuff from her room and my dh packed 4 boxes of books to send to Texas. She needs a few more bookcases before they all get sent.
Here is  another of the Vogue 8815 blouses that I made her  for Chanukah. This time it has the usual cb invisible zipper.  I also  used self trim for bias binding as I did fir the silk top I made her last February. 

Unfortunately  none of the pictures were very good.  It's  cotton with woven circles  from Emmaonesock.  Lily likes it too.

More to come. I've got the La Mia Boutique dress and 2 more tops to photograph.
Have a great New Years!

Friday, May 10, 2013

New Patterns

The recent BMV sale was a boon to my pattern stash, or a glut, depending on how you look at it.
I was really surprised that Vogue managed to get it's sold out Marcy Tilton and Sandra Betzina patterns back in stock for the next sale.  This is what I picked up.

I cannot wear this as fitted as this, but Marcy wrote a blog post on the dress and suggested adding ease so that it  just skims the body.  I also will add sheer sleeves to this I think. Sleeves at any rate.

I like the lines of this coat.  I do think that I may play with it a bit.  It's a bit too long for me I think and I don't know if I like the side slits.  It calls for yards of double seam binding which I don't love. I do  love to sew  a Hong Kong finish on seams so I'll do that instead.  Kenneth King, in his new Craftsy class shows a very nifty way to make lots of yards of bias  strips easily.  I just can't find the right fabric for this. I want it in a color that will go with my neutrals. At first I sent for lots of metallic linens, but they seem too much for daytime.  Maybe if I can find the right yellow.  Royal blue, or a marine or light navy  is another options  Question, for those of you who saw this coat in person at PR weekend.  Did she say why she used bias sleeves?  It would save a lot of fabric to change them to straight grain.  

I've never been into crazy pants, but these look really wearable.  I have a lot of yardage of black rayon lycra knit that I bought at Metro a few years ago for a nightgown and robe I never made. It's light weight but these should be roomy enough for it at least for a muslin.  
The other dress bottom in this pattern is the one they chose to make up and it's god awful.  But this one is perfect for a summer linen dress. I've got some acid green linen that would work perfectly for this.  Yes, readers a color!  I bought it at Waechter's in Asheville about 3 summers ago. Time for  me to use it.  

Finally, my first acquisition of Style Arc patterns is here.  I bought the Marita dress for some snake print jersey in my stash.  Yes, now  have two snake prints.  Not the cotton lycra one I showed last time, but a rayon lycra from a sale at Fabric Mart. When?  Long enough ago to not remember I had it when I bought the cotton piece.  It's a different color way at least.

Did you know that instead of telling you what kind of fabric to use that they include a sample fabric?  Great for beginners who don't know fabrics yet.  This is supposed to take 1 hour.  We'll see.  I also got a grading from them which will be helpful in enlarging the hip area. I also bought a blouse and got the free April blouse as well.  I like this month's freeby but I really need to wait until I make this up before I buy any more.  Burda was abysmal this month, so nothing gained there. At least I've got these lovely new Vogues to sew.

That's it for now. Hopefully the next post will actually have sewn by me clothing. 
Have a great weekend.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring has Sprung

But you'd never know it from the fabrics I've been buying or pulling out of my stash. 
It's not that I don't like color, I just don't love wearing it.Since I've let my hair go white I have been limiting the colors I wear. I like gray and black on me, so that's what I've been buying.  I will add some color accents to all of this black, gray, ivory and white with scarves until it gets too hot to wear them. I also bought a pair of cobalt blue sandals.  There are  some pieces from last season, like a cobalt blue cardigan that will look good with these non colors. 

These are my knit choices including a cotton double knit(top right) from Diane von Furstenberg that will be a motorcycle jacket for spring. It is the only piece of fabric that I've bought from Sawyer Brook. Unlined, but basically like my leather jacket. I'll add back in some ease in the sleeve cap. 

The snake print left side, second down, is the newest addition to the collection and I've got enough for a top and a dress. I love textured or layered knits and I've got two of those, third down on the left and third down on the right, both from Marcy Tilton.  I've been finding more and more fabrics that I love on her website lately. She has lots of blacks and grays and other 'non' colors that I like.  Third down is a layered knit that looks almost hand dyed with cuts that show the black underlayer. Under that is a rayon knit print with a touch of cobalt blue. There's another knit from Marcy third down on the right. It's another gray and black textured, layered knit from Marcy. Below that is another animal print in rayon and lycra.

For pants and jackets I have, starting on the top left  a Zegna black linen from a Michael's half price sale. I've got about 5 yards of this. 
Next down  is a pale gray Donna Karan stretch linen, below that is an  Armani black and gray small checked rayon lycra blend from a Fabric Mart sale.  A piece of that Marc Jacob's denim is on the bottom.  On the right is the black cotton double knit and a rayon acetate crepe with a  raised stripe from Manhattan Fabrics recent sale. Next is a black and teal cotton snake print from Metro Textiles and last is black cotton and lycra sateen, also from Metro.

Last up are some of my blouse choices. From the top down, white linen, a gray cotton shirting with a fine metallic stripe from a visit to Waechter's three summers ago. Next is a cotton print from Emmaonesock also a few years old. I told you I'd been planning to make blouses for awhile! Below that is a black and white stretch silk from Mood.  The bottom two are from emmaonesock, a  gold layered over gray linen and a black and white cotton shirting.  That last one is Hugo Boss and it's presently on Elliot Berman's website for half price.  Where by the way I picked up 4 yards of a French cotton voile for Marcy Tilton's new dress for Vogue,

What other patterns will I use?  I have tnt patterns for pants and jeans now so I'll use those and this  'sleeveless blazer', Burda 111 4/13.

  For one blouse I'll use Katherine Tiltons portrait collar blouse V8834

For the striped knit I like this one by Katherine Tilton as well V8710

That's it for now.  I have lots of sewing ahead, hopefully my sewing mojo won't let me down!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Hot Patterns 1115 Classix Nouveau Dressy Jeans

Does it look like the illustration? If I were 6' tall, sure.  But seriously, I do like the fit of these jeans.  There is no way my pancake flat ass is going to be wrinkle free, but I can live with that.  I finished these in January but never got around to photographing them until today. I've worn them a lot and made a second pair, but I tried to make the fit more 'perfect' and they don't fit as well as the first pair. I  removed my alterations to return to the original pattern.  Actually they fit better before the holidays but that's life.  The knit top I made  after Thanksgiving.  Since it's basically my tnt t shirt, there is nothing to write about except the fabric, which is a gorgeous rayon lycra knit from Emmaonesock. I have found that the silkier the rayon knit the more it has a tendency to pill. This one has a dry hand that wears really well as well as feeling wonderful.  

Back to my jeans. How many muslins did I make?  Who knows, I've lost count. One thing I do recommend if you are about to embark on a jeans fitting odyssey is to make your muslins out of denim. When I found stretch denim on sale at I bought about 10 yards. Even that wasn't quite enough, but I persevered and finally got to a  pair of jeans that I can live with. Several years ago I had attempted jeans but gave up because I had so much trouble using topstitching thread in my Viking Platinum 850. Since then I'd bought a vintage 6010 Viking which  plows through  topstitching with jeans topstitching thread like a champ.  It was a pleasure.  I do use a Schmetz denim size 100 needle, the largest I can find. It sews through layers beautifully.

Don't overfit; you'll get a pair of jeans you can't sit down in!  Remember, we are used to seeing perfect, wrinkle free clothing in magazines.  Not so easy in real life, especially if you are an older woman and gravity has hit or you have pancake butt like I do.  I can get a pair of trousers to fit perfectly, but jeans can't because of the nature of the draft and the realities of my body.  It's ok. I can't find a pair that fit better than this in rtw and certainly the price for jeans in high quality fabric  is ridiculous.  

In this pair I ended up taking two darts in the back yoke because it was too big. I could have recut it, but I'd already topstitched and besides, who's going to see it if I don't tuck in my tops? There is a seam in the center back waistband.  Again, no one is going to see it, it uses quite a bit less fabric, and it provides a place to adjust the fit.

Brian Sews has a nice set of videos on applying a jeans tack button and installing rivets. But I found it hard to get them installed perfectly with a hammer. They kept falling out in the wash. Enter my husband's addiction to machinery auctions. He has two arbor presses, the smaller of the two,see below, now resides in my studio and  applies both tack buttons and rivets perfectly.  In the photos below you can see him installing rivets and a tack button on my jeans.  You still can't apply nipple rivets without crushing them, but if I want to use them he says it's easy to drill a hole in a piece of steel that will fit the nipple and keep it from getting crushed.  

Mood Fabrics periodically has email sales of 50% off selected fabrics. A couple of weeks ago it was Marc Jacobs denim for $5 a yard, which just  happened to be among the samples I had ordered from Mood sometime last fall.  It was also my favorite of maybe 20 samples, so of course I snapped up enough for 3 more pairs of jeans.  I also have some Japanese denim that I bought for 3 times the price from emmaonesock,  plus some colored denim, enough for 5 more pairs of jeans.  

Hopefully the next post will be my finished blouse. Have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hanging a Sleeve

You may remember that I was working on a white blouse with black piping.  It was temporarily abandoned to finish Alex's blouse.  There is still some work to do on it, but in the meantime anonymous asked if I could clarify how I fit the sleeve. Sew  the underarm, should have read  baste 3" on either side of the underarm seam.  

 When I took the sleeve drafting class with Kenneth King we sewed up half of our blouse sloper and one sleeve with 1" sas in the armscye and sleeve cap.  After sewing the underarm make sure that you clip into the sas on the sewn portion.  The seam line is marked on both pieces and you fold the seam allowance back on the sleeve cap and pin in place matching your notch to the shoulder seam.  On my own, I hung the sleeve on my dress form and then tried it on.  I have a right shoulder that is about 1" further forward of the left one so my shoulder mark is forward of the original marking. Because the sleeve was fit to my  blouse sloper made from the  moulage  I made in an earlier class, the shoulder seam placement was already correct, but my arm itself is forward of this.   He didn't change the shoulder seam placement when we fit the sleeve. 

 I kept shifting the sleeve backward and forward until I got the sleeve to hang well with no twisting. Sometimes you'll need more height in the sleeve cap and the 1" seam gives you enough room to adjust it.  Mark with pencil slashes(on muslin) so that the new placement is marked on both the sleeve cap and the armscye.  The underarm seam will have to move as well so that the ease is evenly distributed.  In my case I have to move the underam on the sleeve towards the back an inch. It won't match the side seam but it isn't seen. It's better to have a sleeve that hangs well than a matched underarm seam!  Before I sew it I'll pin it and baste in place to double check the fit.  

Because my arm is so far forward, my right sleeve has more room in the front of the sleeve and a flatter back curve than you get in a commercially drafted sleeve.

If you find that the sleeve still needs adjustment in the good stuff mark the new placement with a Frixion pen.  Don't know what that is?  It's a cool pen that disappears with heat, an iron, and will reappear if you put it in the freezer for a few minutes.  It disappears permanently if you wash it in the invisible stage. Available in a  variety of  colors, but unfortunately not  in  white. It only works well  on smooth fabric. I got a 3 pack at Staples, but Amazon has them in a nice assortment of colors.
By the way, this pj like top was the inspiration for my blouse.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Changing a Garment to Fit The Disabled

That easy to install center back invisible zipper that has become ubiquitous in rtw today is not so easy for anyone with shoulder injuries that prevent full range of motion.  My daughter Alex is only temporarily disabled, thank goodness but she still can't, and won't be able to for quite a few months yet, get into any of the dresses in her wardrobe because she can't get that damn zipper up by herself.  She had surgery at the end of January to repair a posterior labral tear in her left shoulder  that she suffered in the fall from a climbing mishap.  For the uninitiated, that's the part that keeps your arm connected to your shoulder. It was worse than the MRI showed and she probably has 6 more months of physical therapy until she regains full mobility. Fortunately, she has very good insurance with unlimited PT.

I had fit Vogue 8815 for her in the fall when I saw her, but didn't finish  it until this week. There were so many other projects to work on and really, lack of sewing mojo lately made it a late birthday present. Not that late, her birthday was the 21st of March. She is visiting this week, it fits and she loves it and happily posed for me.

The blouse is silk charmeuse from Mood Fabrics in NYC that she had picked out some years ago. It also lines a suit  jacket I made for  her with pants and a skirt a few years ago. We never got around to a blouse.  

Changes I made;

As far as fitting changes unrelated to  mobility, I added a 1/2" full bust adjustment. With a 32 DD bust you'd think that she would need more room, but there is only a 2" difference between her upper bust and her full bust.  She has a muscular back and pectorals from climbing that accounts for the B cup measurement.  I made a size 8, the smallest size.

The second alteration I made was to narrow the cross chest measurement by 3/8" making it 3/4" narrower.

For mobility I changed the back invisible zipper to a regular zipper installed on the side. I made it open at the underarm and the opening is as long as I could make it.  There's a small hook and thread loop at the waist seam to keep the zipper from opening when she wears it.  I bought Susan Khalje's Couture Dress class on Craftsy, and I installed the zipper by hand using her instructions.  I've done this before, but not in many years.  It was easy, probably easier than sewing it in by machine on such a slippery fabric.  She wanted it on the right side opposite of the usual placement, but it worked better for her injury, which is her left shoulder.   
Now of course the neck wouldn't fit over her head. I could have made a v neckline or a deeper curve, but she liked the high neckline.  Keeping the back seam I just made a turned and hand picked opening in the back with a hook and eye to close it.

As you can see, she can get into it on her own.  The hook at the neckline is a bit of a pain one handed but she can always get someone in the office to hook that for her.  

Thursday, March 28, 2013


What is it with all these spammers?  I have been spending good time deleting obnoxious, and outright lewd comments from anonymous posters lately and I've had enough. If you are a legitimate reader and post anonymously, I am sorry but to post from now on you'll have to register.  
What's the point of all this spamming?  They always end with visit my blog or website and really, who would  really visit after reading absolutely irrelevant and off topic, obnoxious comments?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Do You Pipe?

Burda style 135

Piping has been on my learn to sew list for quite awhile now and I am finally going to use some in a blouse.  Pattern Review is hosting a fitted blouse contest and since that's also been on my list of things to sew, I am making a white blouse with black piping.  I don't like collar stands with my short neck but I found this blouse BS135 from 5/12 with a convertible collar.  Perfect. Well except that I wanted long sleeves that don't button, and it needed to fit my bust so in the process it became more fitted with vertical darts added to the existing side bust dart.  I thought about making them into two vertical darts but I didn't want it that formfitting below my bust. I did balance the darts since the side dart became very large. I rotated a portion of it into the vertical dart. Much better.  I added a cb seam so that I could make my usual flat back alteration, and a pair of back darts.  I thought I needed them to meet the fitted blouse definition but since a pattern that only had bust darts met the criteria I may leave them off.  Or not.   The blouse will be in a white cotton poplin; expensive, gorgeous, silky white cotton shirting that I bought at B & J when I met Claire Kennedy in NYC a couple of years ago. I would never have spent that much on cotton shirting on my own, but Claire was buying some and I couldn't resist. The piping, which I made today, is black silk and linen from a very good sale at Michael's Fabrics.  I have lots of it, it's gorgeous and I have never made anything from it.  I was really thinking about a pair of pants and a matching top, but I'll get to it. 

The pattern is ready to cut out first thing tomorrow and my cutting table is actually clean and ready to go. I made a full pattern to accommodate the difference in my shoulder so my 5' wide cutting table will come in handy.  When I took the pattern drafting class with Kenneth King  I learned that my right shoulder is quite a bit forward of the left. Not only does the shoulder seam need to come forward at the shoulder tip, but the sleeve cap has to have quite a bit more in the front of the sleeve as well as flattening the curve out in back.  The muslin was good without the binding I always get at the front sleeve cap.  I also had to move the match point on the right sleeve quite a bit to the front, while the left sleeve was fine.  KK had us sew the under sleeve for about 3" on either side of the underarm seam so that he could adjust the sleeve forward or back until it hung correctly.  I did the same thing here and it worked. Of course it is a bit harder doing it on yourself!

I am really hoping that this blouse will become a tnt pattern since I have quite a bit of shirting material in my stash.  After all a blouse has been on my to sew list for a number of years now and a girl needs more than one blouse, doesn't she?

Friday, March 8, 2013

What's Wrong with This Jacket?

This jacket is by Vanessa Bruno and  retails for $770.  Did no one look at this and say, hey the sleeve is inserted incorrectly?  If it fits the model this badly who does it fit?  Maybe the sleeve is even in backwards?  I imagine it could happen in the factory, just like it's happened to all of us a time or two.  But, we don't  leave it like that. 
This jacket was featured in an email I received from Mode Walk today.  Did  they not notice how bad this is?  
I don't shop retail unless I am snoop shopping or, looking at websites.  I was in Neiman Marcus in Austin in January and I thought that the clothing I was looking at was beautifully made.  Of course I was on the designer floor and all of it was expensive.  This is probably well made too, but quality control was certainly sleeping when this one went by.

I will be back to my regularly scheduled blogging soon; I needed a break but sewing has been going on.
Have a good weekend