Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Embroidered tank

Despite the lack of reports on sewing, there has been a steady flow of new wearables into the closet.  The picture-taking on the other hand, has resulted in rather unacceptable pictures.  Blame the heat, or the humidity, or the fact that ...  who knows.  I'm getting ready to head off to camp for a week, for my so-called vacation.  When I get back I will get things sorted out.  May-be my head just needs a break from the day-to-day, and everything will happen much more easily once I return.  Ah - but there were some usable pictures, so I do have something to show.
What do you do with a sample embroidery?  The one that you have to stitch out, so that you can figure out the placement on the garment that you actually intend to embroider?  Well, you make it into a garment!

Kwik Sew 2498

There have been a number of variations on this - a sleeveless top, this summer.  When it's so hot and humid, it seems like the only thing I really care to wear.  This one is silk - the last bit of a piece that I bought from the Natural Fiber Fabric Club (I think that's what it was called) back in the early 80's.  The precursor of on-line fabric stores.  To make the back, I had to piece strips - serious fabric shortage.
Once in a while I break out the "Spanish hemstitch foot" for doing piecing such as this.  Unfortunately the picture of the close-up of the stitching came out way too fuzzy.  I'll just do a post on this later.  If I waited for perfection every time, I would never post a thing.  The binding...
doubled-up silk chiffon, which just happened to be the perfect match.  (That's why we keep all the bits and pieces, because somewhere down the line something just happens to match or work with something else!)
So now I'll get back to finishing my t-shirt refashions that I'm taking to camp.  It will definitely be hot in that camp kitchen, and I plan to stay as cool as I possibly can.

Monday, July 15, 2013


This pattern has been in the drawer for a while.  Copyright 2008 - OK, so not so long as some others.  Definitely time to give this one a try.  And - since, for a while, it seemed as though we would never have weather warm enough for "real" summer clothing, I thought that it would be smarter to start on things that I could actually wear right away, than those that would just get hung in the closet waiting for warmer temperatures.  That's all changed, but...
Vogue 8516
This is definitely very easy.  No sleeves to set in.  I opted for the collar from View A (that notched one doesn't appeal to me in the least, for some reason) and the 3/4 sleeves.  By making a SBA  I did away with the dart (makes sewing even easier).  Mind you, with this sleeve style, I had to   cut off the sleeve to make the SBA, then paste it back on.  Obviously, I managed to get it back into the right place.  The sleeves needed to be lopped off by some 4 or so inches to actually make them the right length.  Unusual for me, as I have monkey arms.  The pattern shows split cuffs, whereas I sewed mine into a round, for more of "turned up sleeves" look.  And I omitted interfacing in the cuffs - the fabric is too drapey , and I didn't think that stiff cuffs would work too well.
My fabric is a rayon and something-or-other mix - very drapey, and obviously very wrinkle-prone.  A collar in the same fabric  would have been too boring, and I managed to find a scrap of some gauzy almost cheesecloth type stuff in a drawer - but the colour worked.  Even so, with interfacing it does its job.  I added an extra button, because I didn't want to leave one lonely button with no mates.  (That's a good reason, no?)  Oh - it definitely needed a snap above the top button, otherwise the poor collar kept drooping and looking rather sad.
This one's just so that you can see the lines of the sleeve (this is actually a "mistake" picture, but it does serve a purpose).
I suppose I do like this blouse.  Very comfortable, and very cool to wear.  I did end up popping on a belt when I had to go out in public.  Looks too pyjama-like as is, at least to my eye.  Or may-be I'm just not built for the loose and baggy trend that I'm seeing on the streets.  Too long to tuck into pants, but I could definitely tuck it into a skirt, as per View A.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Most Impractical Coat

The plan in early spring was to get on with summer sewing, or at least "transitional" sewing, so that I wouldn't be stuck in the usual rut of nothing to wear and no time to sew once the really warm weather started.  I had absolutely no plans for coat sewing.  Then....  While dusting books, I came across one about fashions of the Hapsburg Empire.  Had to have a look at the pictures.  (Doesn't everyone start looking at pictures while dusting books?  One drawback - it certainly does add to the amount of time necessary to get through dusting the bookcase and contents.)  Anyway - there was a white uniform coat  from some Hungarian regiment that caught my eye, which got me thinking, and by end of day I decided that I had to have a white coat.  A white spring coat.  And wouldn't you know it I had a rather large amount of creamy white wool sitting in the stash.  Never mind that that fabric was to be a winter robe for keeping warm and cozy while watching movies on winter evenings.  Right.  With the dog sitting on top of me.  And how long would that robe stay white and clean?  No, much better that the wool become a coat.  A white coat for spring that will get worn at most a few times a year, and that way will stay clean and white for a good long time.  So for the better part of April I was sewing a coat.  Didn't get pictures the one time I actually wore the coat, so the picture taking happened when I finally moved the wool coats down to their summer hiding place, which happened very late this year.
I started with Vogue 7807 (OOP), widened the skirt at every panel, changed the collar, took it from double breasted to centre closure - basically redesigned the whole thing, but at least I started from a pattern that fit me well.  For the facings I used grey velvet, which ends up giving the effect of some piping at the edges.  Endless grey topstitching, because otherwise the whole thing would be way too boring.  And to avoid the buttonhole issue altogether - slot buttonholes!  Grey velvet buttons.  And did you notice my glaring mistake??  The pockets landed too low.  I really didn't want pockets in the side seams.  At some point Rhonda posted inspiration pictures and there was the perfect idea.  How my flaps ended up so low, I have no idea - I probably just eyeballed the placement.  (well, at least they're not crooked!)  I'll fix them.  I promise.  Before I wear the coat the next time.
Couldn't leave the back plain and boring, so I made a tab.
Used the fancy stitches on my machine to tack down the back lining pleat.  The lining is grey, by the way.
I thought that I had so much more to write about this coat, but...  It's late.  I'm tired.  When will I learn ... when I sit down to the computer to write a blog post, that is what I should do first, before I start checking out what everyone else has been doing.  Otherwise - I spend way too much time visiting everywhere else, and by the time I get to writing my own - my brain is ready to call it quits for the night.  Oh well.  Next time I will finally move to summer wear.  Promise.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Vogue 8847

The pattern was bought in (I believe) December.  (I bought four patterns at that time and swore that I would buy no more patterns until those four were used.  You know that didn't happen, though the subsequent patterns purchased were not from Club BMV.)  I was really trying to stick to my word, and this dress was cut in February.  Other projects kept rearing their heads, and I finally finished sewing this one in May.
Vogue 8847
Navy blue rayon challis - not exactly a summer dress, but ... given that we had unseasonably cold weather up until about a week ago, I wore this dress in May, and even in June.  Actually, it was nice to have something new to wear that actually fit with the weather.  The style reminds me of dresses that I sewed in the '70's - loose, gathered into a yoke, belted.  I used the collar from View A and the hem from View B.  They certainly don't give you much to play with in the hem - only a 1 and 1/4 inch hem!  Next time (there might be a next time) I'll lengthen it just a bit and give myself more hem to turn up.  The cuffs are just sewn in the round - no placket, no buttons.  Very easy to sew, but I don't know that I'm thrilled with that - again something to revamp in future editions.  With such volume to the dress, it might seem rather silly to be making a SBA, but I did - I think it neatened up things under the arms.
I added a little bit of red piping around the collar just to perk things up a bit.
Overall -  a very comfortable dress for every day.  In a stiffer fabric, I think the style would be rather overwhelming.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

My summer classes

The best laid plans...  I'm so slow with blog posts, that my summer class samples immediately follow those from winter.  Just bear with me - I will get back to "normal" - whatever that is.
I refused to do pyjamas yet again, ( I really did need a break from the same old pj pattern), so for beginner classes....
The skirt is Kwik Sew 3877.  I got the idea while watching the BBC Sewing Bee.  There are darts, a zipper, a waistband and a hem ... and only two main pattern pieces.  All the basics in a simple project.  The blouse is the Sewaholic Pendrell.  Guess I'll be in trouble if those who sign up are not pear-shaped figures - I'll be busy helping them to alter the fit.  Oh, well - not like I get to sit around and snooze in any sewing class.
A close-up of the fabrics
I thought that the lighting in the store was quite good, but obviously those fluorescent lights do little to help in showing the true colours of fabrics.  This jacket is actually a coral, but it looks to be quite a hideous orange.  (Probably not a good combination of coral fabric on red mannequin either ...)
Back side first, because that's the star attraction.  The idea behind this class is to get people with embroidery machines to use them on something other than quilt blocks and bags.  Cutwork seemed to be the right choice for summer wear.  Oh - the pattern I used is Kwik Sew 3620, with major changes.  One layer for the collar, no facings - easy, easy, easy.  I think that watching the machine embroider took longer than actually sewing the jacket - binding included.
The sleeves needed some embroidery, too - couldn't have them look naked.  (And in case anyone is interested - the cutwork design is on the menu of the Huqvarna Diamond Deluxe - design No. 127, I believe.  ... and no, I do not have this machine at home - I embroider at the store, where I can pick and choose which machine I want to work on - not that such things happen all too often.)
The front is very plain, but there is a point where one could overstep the maximum of allowable embroidery on an article of clothing.
That's all for now.  I'll continue getting inspired by everyone else, and hopefully get my act together to show more pictures sooner rather than later.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Classes - Winter 2013 - Part 2

Last of my class samples for January to June.
Butterick 4028 - chopped shorter
My "cheater" version of a Chanel jacket.  Instructions for a quicker version of this jacket are found in Threads Magazine No. 128 - January 2007.  I would love to tell you that this is some wonderfully amazing tweed fabric and lovely silk charmeuse lining, but ... it's not.  I had the idea for this class, wrote up  the class description for the store newsletter, all the time thinking that I would just order some fabric on-line, because the probability of finding anything decent at Fabricland is next to nil.  Of course, I managed to lose track of time because of one thing and another, and the next thing you know - I should already be sewing this jacket, and  - no suitable fabric.  Off to Fabricland to find something - anything half-way suitable.  Nothing.  Not anything even remotely related to what I needed.  In a last ditch effort, I headed to the clearance section, which happened to be at 50% off that day.  There it was - "unknown fibers" very loose somewhat tweedy-looking stuff for the unbelievable price of $2.00 a metre.  This certainly has to be the world's cheapest Chanel jacket knock-off.  With such, um, "exquisite" fabric, I was not about to waste any precious silk for lining, so that is grand old polyester charmeuse.  Didn't bother spending money on a chain for the hem.  It is what it is.  I did underline with voile, though.  Don't know that it will help with stability in the long run.  Just from hanging in the store, there are already a few snags in the loose weave.  I'll wear this for as long as it looks decent, but I did have my sample done on time.  It's still a lot of work, but much, much faster than the true method of putting together a Chanel jacket.  I now know that I can do this, so the next time I decide to make one of these - I'll definitely take the time to source out nice fabric, because all that work certainly deserves a lengthy lifespan.
For trim, I just used the selvage and some braided trim that I had in my stash.
Kwik Sew 3553
And, of course, we had to have yet another pair of pyjamas for the "Fundamentals" classes.  Nothing exciting about these - I'll be whipping these out in my sleep soon, but it is nice (I think) to have a new sample to show with every new class schedule.  Poly/cotton, and I thought that adding a bit of lace would help to make them a little less boring.
Now I'm working on samples for my summer classes.  No pyjamas this time around!