Friday, February 24, 2017

Class samples

No matter that I start thinking about samples for classes some months in advance, and even begin sewing them well in advance, the last month before they are due to be hung in the store is an insanely mad rush of sewing.  Definitely not my favourite way to sew!  I did get everything done.  All hung and ready for inspection by potential students during open house at the store.  (I’m also the “monkey” that gets to climb the ladder and hang on thin air to hang the quilts.  Sometimes it just does not pay to be skinny and agile!)  With all the hurry, I didn’t have time to take pictures as things were made, and then it took a little while to get over to the store with my camera.  Lighting is a little iffy, but I think, for the most part, the pictures turned out not too badly.  Here goes…

The ever popular pyjama pants class has now morphed into a full pyjama.  The logic was, that after two weeks and one pair of pants, students haven’t really learned that much.  Better to sew more, and even learn to sew buttonholes (for some reason that’s of great interest to people!) and really put some mileage on that sewing machine.  Now the class is five sessions.  It’s working much better … I think.  I’m always game for an upgrade in the pj department.   These are a cotton jacquard.  They looked a little bland, so I added some ribbon and even popped into the store at one point to embroider the daffodil for the pocket.

As always, there’s a class on t-shirts and cardigans (based on patterns from the Pamela’s Patterns collection) and a class on simple skirts.  This go-around there’s a class on fitting your top.  It’s always a bit of a challenge to dress the mannequins – planned outfits and all that.  We (I) also have a class on Spring jackets – student’s choice of the Sewaholic Minoru or the Closet Case Kelly.

The skirt fabric was a knit remnant that I thought to use for a cap-sleeved top.  Upon some serious thought, I decided that it would be too heavy and icky (how else to describe this fabric?) to wear as a blouse in summer – the only time I’d be wearing a cap-sleeved top.  And so it became a skirt.  Not enough length for me, hence the black insert.
The cardigan is also a remnant – some seriously weird knit fabric.  So incredibly badly behaved that I ended up having to stabilize every single seam.  But I love it!  Don’t know how practical this will be.   The top layer seems to want to grow snags just from being looked at.
And the blouse underneath is the Oakridge by Sewaholic – minus the tie.  I even made a belt!  It cannot be said that don’t think these outfits through.  (LOL)

Notice the distinct lack of snaps on the Kelly Anorak?  This was the last item being sewn.  I was in a rush. (And that’s never a good thing when tackling something new-to-me, and trying to actually follow instructions, because students will be asking questions about said instructions.)  I managed to hammer on the eyelets for the cord.  I even watched some Youtube instructions about eyelets and snaps.  It looked so easy.  So why were my snaps not snapping shut?  Luckily I purchased far more than I actually needed.  I started with samples on scrap.  I was making an absolute mess.  Either the parts weren’t sticking together, or they stayed together and wouldn’t snap.  I would quite happily make a whole line-up of bound buttonholes than put in these snaps.  I must be hammering wrong!  (Is that possible?)  For now my jacket is snapless.  I do intend to practise some more and I’m sure that eventually I will conquer the hammering of snaps.  If anyone has any tips on snap installation – I would be very happy to know.
I did some extra edgestitching on the pocket flap.
I did cheat a little this time around.

This whole outfit was made for the previous lot of classes.  Granted, the jacket hung over a different t-shirt and pants – and that would be because I had a pants class – but not this time around.  This Minoru is a very lightweight wool.  To me it has the feel of a jacket for Fall, so I was in no great hurry to bring it home.
And then there are the kids’ classes.  I taught them a number of years back.  Then it was someone else’s turn.  Now it’s my turn once again.  Luckily I have a goddaughter, who also has a sister – two young ladies who are quite happy to add these pieces to their closets once the classes are done.  Lucky me to have someone to sew these for!  Otherwise it would have been a rather pointless and boring exercise. 

The cardigan was to be made from a sweatshirt the girls brought from home.  I went looking for one in the stores.  Do you know how difficult it is to find a plain girl’s sweatshirt these days???  I almost gave up.  Obviously I did find one and then had a lot of fun dressing it up – nothing too elaborate, but still…

During March break we’ll be sewing “twirly skirts” and t-shirts. 
 And in April it’ll be a crossbody bag with zippers.  (This is my version of learning by repetition.  I think that after putting in 3 zippers they should finally get it.)  This pattern, by the way, is from the Husqvarna website.  I modified it a little bit – there’s actual embroidery involved in the original.  Mine just has some fancy stitches in fancy thread – anything to get people sewing in straight lines!   And then we come to May, and the project is a little dress from Kwik Sew.
Can you tell we're ready for Canada's 150th with that wreath hanging next to the dress?
I remember many adult versions of something very similar gracing many a blog last summer.  Hopefully the girls will enjoy making and wearing this.  I think that it’s adorable!  (There's a version in toddler sizes too, if you're interested.)  We’ve already had one complaint – “… but my daughter doesn’t wear skirts and dresses…”.  For the kids’ classes I do not do alternate patterns.  That would be absolute chaos.  My answer to the complainer would have been – “it’s about time she started wearing skirts and dresses!”  All right, I’d never ever actually say that out loud, because we’re always polite to the customers, but I do wonder how a girl could not want to wear a skirt and look pretty.  Besides – that circle skirt is just so much fun!

I do wonder if I’m excluding any boys from these classes by coming up with girly things.  Anything too generic, and there is no interest in taking the class.  Not that we’ve had any requests from boys for classes – but you never know.  And I’m not so sure that at this age (10 – 11) any single boy would want to sit with a class of girls and learn to sew.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Black with white squares

Here’s another one that’s waiting for weather that does not require layer upon layer of clothing.

The fabric was bought with a skirt in mind – rayon twill.  It’s been lying around for a while – not a very long while, but long enough.  Then I got it into my head to make a dress with a vaguely 30’s look to it.  Somehow I did manage to squeeze a dress out of the piece intended for a skirt.  (I did have a big skirt in mind!)  I also wanted to try out a collar from a book.  Here’s how it went.

I started with Simplicity 3556, changed the neckline, lengthened it, and somewhat changed the sleeves.

The collar came from this book.  Despite the very ‘80’s look to everything in this book, there are some very good instructions to making additions and alterations to patterns that can still be put to good use.  Besides, why spend the time figuring it all out on your own, when there are instructions already in place?
The collar is a rayon challis, and I was worried how it would look after it went through the wash, and how I was going to “get at it” to iron.  (I worry about such things.)  So, instead of sewing down the loop as per instructions, I put a snap under the collar.
Now the collar will be easy enough to deal with at the ironing board.
I didn’t have a black zipper on hand, so the back does up with3 buttons.
Perhaps not the best choice of buttons, but for some reason my button stash is seriously lacking in cute black buttons.  Not wanting to wait for stores to open, I just used what I had.  In retrospect, I could have changed the buttons many times over by this time, but now the dress is in my closet, and the urgency for buying buttons has passed.  May-be later.  Besides, I can’t see my back, so the less than perfect buttons won’t be bothering me.
One more "I want because I want" off the list.  For some reason this collar reminds me of the outfits worn by Miss Lemon in the Poirot series, and that's why I wanted this dress.  If that makes no sense to anyone else, that's quite alright.
minus the belt, though it will always definitely be worn with a belt.

the back (as if you couldn't figure that out for yourselves)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Oakridge blouse and a skirt

Playing catch-up here.  I’m really going to try to post twice a week.  Obviously “Sunday outfits” fizzled out, though they may make a comeback at some point.

Last Autumn I wanted to have a go at the Oakridge blouse by Sewaholic.   
The fabric is from the late ‘80’s, I think, from the Lilly Ann outlet in San Francisco.  Definitely overdue for leaving the stash and moving up to the closet.  Having cut the blouse, it seemed I had enough to make the pleated skirt.  
funny how this print looks weird and fuzzy when you pan back from it
Pattern is from the ‘80’s also (very definitely OOP), but I had never used it.  (Wonder why?)  
My latest “rule” is not to leave great chunks of fabric that will go back into stash.  While it’s on the cutting table, might as well cut out something else.  In this case, I’m happy with my “2-piece dress”.  I was thinking the blouse as something to wear with black jeans, but this combination dress isn’t too bad either – though it definitely needs a black belt, I think.  And the skirt can go solo with a black t-shirt.  Unfortunately neither has been worn yet.  I’m waiting for warmer weather.  By the time I finished sewing, winter had set in.  This particular polyester feels cold and clammy in winter.  Come Spring (if that ever happens!) these will get a few wears until the weather turns hot and humid, and then this polyester will once again become unwearable.  Don’t know if I‘ll repeat the skirt, but I already have done a repeat of the Oakridge blouse.  That one’s coming up when I post my class samples.  So that’s two unused patterns now used and one not-so-small piece of fabric completely used up!