Friday, July 27, 2012

Kooky skirt

I've been painting the living room/dining room.  Bits and bites of sewing have been happening, but nothing too involved.  When you're covered in paint (will I ever learn to paint without dripping?), taking a break in the sewing room just isn't a very smart idea.  I did want to show you this skirt that I'd finished a little while back.  I'm still not sure whether I "love" it, but it's certainly getting worn.
I was browsing in a shop when I spotted a skirt with a hem like this.  It appealed to me for some reason, and I just had to have one.  I used my hands to "measure" the tucks at the hem.  Once I was home, I rooted around for the gauzy black cotton in my stash, and the pattern for the Bossa Nova Swishy Gored Skirt by Hot Patterns, which I'd downloaded.  I lengthened it to the ankle, made the tucks, stitched them at the seams and added a batiste lining before stitching in the elastic.
As we were driving around doing errands the other day, my daughter spotted someone on the street wearing this style in white (which is the colour of the RTW skirt in the store).
Now I'm off for a week of "vacation/slave labour".  I volunteer in the kitchen at a children's summer camp in Illinois.  I'm hoping that the weather is just a tad cooler than it has been - definitely no AC in the kitchen!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

And now for a little bit of colour

The skirt fabric was inherited from a friend quite a while ago.  It could only be a skirt.  Can't imagine what else I'd make from such a bold print.  Problem was - a skirt needs a top, and nothing seemed to go with it.  White and cream looked hideous.  Black didn't work either.  A few weeks back I was in Fabricland, and there on the 75% off table was this rather muddy dark green bamboo voile.  A little bell went off in my head - that's almost the same green as what's in the peacock fabric.  Went home, checked the print.  Sure enough - should work.  I really was taking my chances, because it was quite a few days later that I went back for the green fabric.  My thinking being - if it's meant to be, it will be there.  Sure enough - so ugly no one else would want it.  It's also a rather odd fabric.  Bamboo knits are soooo soft and wonderful.  This is also bamboo, but much, much crisper than linen, and about as sheer as handkerchief linen.  No-one at the store seemed to know what would happen after the fabric was washed.  There's only one way to fine out.  My green fabric was put through the washer and the dryer.  Still as crispy as ever.  Rather wrinkly too.  It almost feels rough to the touch - definitely not a "cozy" fabric.
For the skirt I followed Sherry's instructions for her Miranda skirt - more or less.  The mathematical part of my brain must have gone on holiday.  For some reason I could not calculate the pleats.  Perhaps it's because I use inches for sewing, not centimeters, and calculators use decimals, and it all gets really, really confusing.  Could also be that I did my usual scan through the instructions without actually reading all the information.  I persevered.  Three tries later I had even pleats.  No side seams needed - this print runs along the selvedge, though it's not actually a border print.  One invisible zipper and one waistband later, and we have a skirt.  Would this mean that this is Javanese fabric?
What kind of a top can one make from very crispy fabric?  The only thing that I thought would work, was a shirt.  (Obviously - that's what I made.)

McCalls 5433  is getting to be a "TNT" for me.  (Now apparently OOP! - does this mean that my shirt is now out-of-date?)  I widened the 3/4 sleeves just a tad, because the last time I made these, they turned out rather snug - not impossible to wear, just impossible to roll up once they're on my arms.  Sort of annoying - having to remember to roll up the sleeves before putting on the shirt.  Left off the collar - just because.  Didn't put in all the buttonholes - it's summer I will never, ever be buttoning this thing up to my neck.  Besides, I've seen shirts done this way - so it's not just my crazy laziness.  Oh! - I actually made french seams - but only on the sleeves.  Don't want anyone seeing ugly serging when I roll those sleeves up!  I added tucks.  Why, oh why do I come up with these make-work-projects when I'm dealing with cranky fabric that refuses to cooperate?  Two tries to get more-or-less straight tucks.  The first try got cut off and chucked.  I finally resorted to my cranky sewing machine - the one with the fancy 1/4 inch foot.

Still not perfect, but I really didn't want to stitch 10 more tucks.  The tucks were sewn before I cut the fronts of the shirt.  I just measured to make sure that they would fit the space between the seam and the dart.  I know - cheater's method, but it works.
Now I'm working on this that and the other thing in spits and spurts.  I do wish that I could get back to designating myself a "sewing day".  Unfortunately, there are too many "other projects" at the moment, so the only way sewing is going to happen, is in bits and pieces.  There is progress, and that's the main thing.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Not to be morbid, but the real reason for the addition of this dress to my closet is just to have something to wear to funerals in really hot weather.  Not that there are any on the horizon, though one never knows.  Of course, there certainly other events where this dress can go - with suitably mood lifting accessories.
Simplicity 2473
I made up this pattern last year - sleeveless with the A-line skirt.  This time around it's the short sleeves and straight skirt.  Should have been quick and easy, but I decided to underline the eyelet with cotton batiste.  Double the cutting, the basting, the...  Not the fastest thing in the world, despite the fact that I didn't do anything "interesting" - like piping or some such thing.  Oh - I didn't underline the sleeves.  (How daring - skin peeking through sleeves!)  Despite the underlining, I think that I'll still be wearing a slip - a half-slip at least.  The skirt is still a bit too see-through.  Should be rather wearable, even in the hottest, muggiest weather.
... and just for the sake of adding one more picture - the back view.  Invisible zipper - I managed to line up all the intersections of seams - on the first go, no less!  Yeah!
May-be I do need to wear this somewhere soon, or it will forever be labeled "for funerals only" in my mind and will never see the light of day, and there was just far too much effort put into this dress, to have it remain hidden in the closet till it is hopelessly out of style.