Friday, May 31, 2013

Foiled by the Time Zones

The rules say that the review with a photo must be posted by 11:59 PM of the day the contest the time stamp on the reviews is Eastern Time, I missed the deadline by the time it takes to post the review. I actually finished pulling the basting out of the skirt at 10:50 central, but the clock chimed 11 as I was uploading the photos.  So I did not get to enter my cotton plisse project in the natural fibers contest after all.  But I may even go ahead and write up a review, even though it won't count for the contest.  I haven't posted a review in ages...        But, well, who knows how long the skirt would've languished without a deadline, even if I missed it.  So I'm glad I pushed through; I need another Hippie Earth Mother Maxi Skirt in the wardrobe.  It looks all fancy schmancy because I have a silk top with it that I wore to an awards dinner tonight (hence the missed deadline; the program went a bit long...).  If I put on a tank top I will definitely have the hippie groove happening.

Anyway, this is a very freestyle skirt.  The only pattern I used at all was the pocket that I borrowed from another skirt, and then altered because I forgot that the pocket has to be attached only to the yoke of the skirt.  So I had to curve the edges up so that all the pocket seaming was within the seam allowance/elastic casing boundaries.  The pockets themselves actually hang below the yoke.  So...if anyone else wants to make an Earth Mother Hippie skirt,  here are the basics:

1.  The whole thing is based off of the yoke piece.  Finished, the circumference needs to be the hip measurement (or tummy measurement, if you've got that post-menopausal tummy thing going on and your tummy measures more than your hips) plus 2 - 4 inches of ease, depending upon the fabric and your preference.  I think I have about 4" of ease in this one.  The depth  of the yoke is entirely your preference.  If you add pockets, you need to have  enough room to attach the pocket; if you don't want pockets, then pretty much anything goes.  The yoke should be cut on the straight of grain; the rest of the skirt is bias, but a square cut yoke will avoid that weird bumpy stuff that can happen just below an elastic waistband on a bias skirt.  If you have a co-dependant relationship with pockets like me,  use your favorite in-seam pocket pattern.  Just make sure that all the pocket construction can be contained in the yoke.

2.  You can add as many tiers below the yoke as you want.  The secret is that each tier must be 1.5 times the circumference of the tier to which it is gathered.  You can make your tiers all the same width or you can vary them; I increased the width of each tier by about 2" as they go down.  Plus, you want to add it all up and make sure that it will end up being the length you wish.   This is a lot of math, and you need to work it out before you start cutting, not forgetting to add seam allowances, hem allowance and the casing for your elastic.  The gathered tiers are cut on the bias.  You can use your favorite method for doing this; you can make patterns and then cut or you can just wing it with a ruler and a rotary like I did.  The short edges are on grain (it should be 45 degrees; my graphics skills are not so hot) so that your joining seams will be on the straight grain; they'll be slanted in the skirt but there won't be any distortion of those seams.  
I used 4 tiers, plus the yoke.  The bottom circumference of my skirt is something like 108" around.  If you use more tiers than me, that bottom measurement will also increase.

This skirt uses a lot of fabric. ;-)

3. You can use all the same fabric or various fabrics for your tiers; I alternated the dominant stripe so there's a sort of zig-zag going on between the tiers; that *might* show up if you click the photos to enlarge them.
I will not say whether or not the zig-zag was in the original plan.  If you're one of my regular readers, you know the answer to that one. ;-)

 Not going to go into details on how to sew it; it's a lot of gathering, a narrow hem, an elastic waistband. Optional pockets.  Use your favorite techniques.

4) Enjoy.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Poppies, Poppies....Final Photos

AS is typical, The Flute Player picked up the CD w/the professional photos on the last day of school.

I have several really good photos of the poppies, but when I looked for photos of her in the dress I altered up I discovered that the photographer took his pictures during the Friday AM school show...the one that was immediately after the child's bout with the tummy virus.  She was still puny, so all she did was sing backup into the offstage mics...she did not go on stage.  So the action shot I actually wanted to post of her fainting at the sight of the Wiz turned out to be a photo of someone else. Sigh.

I went back and pulled a couple of photos from our costume mistress's set; she actually did not have the shot I was looking for but at least her grandmother can see her in costume. ;-)

This is probably the LEAST amount of costuming, in terms of actual costumes sewn, that I've done for any show at school.  But the hours that went into the show were probably pretty close to the same.  Anyway, here are the poppies in action; photo credit Jeff White:

I wish we had had time to put wires on both layers of the petals; just wiring the five on the top was cutting it pretty close..and I suppose the girls could've done a better job of smoothing them out. But in all honesty, it only really shows up in the pictures;  onstage, they were moving enough that it didn't look quite so obviously flat on the bottom layer..

And, for the  I-had-to-dig-and-crop photos of The Flute Player in her ECC dress, the photo credit is to our illustrious costume mistress, Charla Smith:

It was a fun more year is all we have left...

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Choir Wardrobe - 2 weeks at once

Have I mentioned how busy Sundays are now that I have moved my High School Girls class to Sunday Evenings?  It's hard to find time to eat now...let alone post photos.  So I've got this week AND last week to cover today.

But it's ok.

And, wow, I really didn't realize what I'd done, really, until I saw the photos.

Anyway, May's choir wardrobe colors are hot pink, navy blue and tan.  Last Sunday found me wearing a RTW top (that I had to alter a bit, of course), with the CWC knit blue jeans and, breaking the 'don't wear denim with denim' rule, my Vogue 8045 denim jacket.  The CWC top is basically a knit tank top with a chiffon overlayer on the front that is pleated at the neckline and has a bit of applique on it.  I fell in love with it at the store and waited it out for a sale...and then had to take up the shoulders about an inch as a petite adjustment.

I had a yard of rayon/lycra jersey in a hot pink/fuschia in the stash, and I decided that it needed to be in my wardrobe.  But it's very limp and drapey and I've discovered that *does* limit the pattern options somewhat;  a structured or fitted T loses its shape when it's made out of floppy jersey, so I looked for a pattern that would be good for a drapey fabric...and only took a yard....and decided on Simplicity 4076.  I cut it out about a week and a half ago, and when I hit the full stop on the cotton skirt yesterday I pulled the white thread from the machines and put in the pink so I could make this up to wear today.  Took me about an hour and a half, and that's including the unpicking I had to do around the back neckline.  Not sure what happened there, but I ended up with more shirt than I had neckband.  Stretched and eased and it's not perfect, but at least it's not puckery.,

Wore it today with my khaki Athena Pants and my brown-eyelet-on-denim McCall's 5191

Took the photos this morning -- thank goodness, I splashed my lunch on the top in the 10 minutes we had available for the mid day meal -- and realized that I pretty much duplicated the shape of the RTW top I had on last week.

So now I have 2 very similar hot pink tops.  Ah, well, they will get worn.

Unless the greasy spots don't come out of the brand new one.  We'll see...

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Skirt grumblings....

Ok, I thought the check fabric I'm using for my cotton tiered earth-mother skirt was essentially the same on both sides.  I could not tell the right side from the wrong side.  So I didn't pay particular attention.

But, it turns out that there is a very subtle difference in the right and wrong side.  One that didn't show up until I was ready to put the 3rd tier on.

I put the first tier on the yoke, then put the second tier on the first one and the next time I picked it up (i.e., this morning) I discovered that the dominant stripe is going in opposite directions on tier 1 and tier 2.  I thought it was because I put the second tier on upside-down.

Well, I decided I would just put the 3rd tier on with the same orientation as the first, and the last tier on with the same orientation as the second and have sort of a zig-zag going on.

Trouble is, that alternate angle is not because I sewed the tier on upside down, it turns out the first tier I put on was sewn wrong side out.  I discovered this when I tried to flip the 3rd tier so that it was  going opposite to the second and realized I could not. I'm trying to decide what to do.  Take it all apart and fix that first tier?  Removing all the gathering and redoing it on both seams?

Um.... oy.

I'm thinking I'll just resew tier 3 wrong side out and resume the zig-zag plan....

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

All cleaned up and ready to sew...

I've been in and out of my local sewing repair shop about 4 times in the last 3 weeks...took in all three machines for check ups/ tune ups/ repairs.

And ended up with a total bill of just under $300.  Which sounds like a lot, but only because it was all at once. 

The routine service is $69...and, for both sewing machines (including the one that had been dropped in the parking lot  back in August of '08) that was all I needed, although I did buy a larger rolled edge foot (the one that came with my machine was a skinny minny 2 mm!  Good for chiffon but not much else...) and replaced 2 broken feet for my New Home...cost for those pieces was about $35.  The serger, owing to the pin that hit the knives,  cost a bit more...upper and lower knives and a new throat plate.

Based on what I've read elsewhere, 70 bucks for a routine service is not at all bad.  And my machines looked so nice and clean when I got them!

So, now I want to sew and see if I can really tell they've been fixed up. ;-)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Choir Wardrobe May 12 2013

Since we were occupied in other duties last week, this is the first choir wardrobe for May; this month, we're wearing navy, hot pink and tan.  So, it's rtw jeans and jacket, with the navy viscose/lycra Jalie 965 tank top and a couple of remnant pieces...a poly chiffon, hemmed on all 4 edges, and a sequined knit, which was just chopped into a rectangle...kinda folded together and looped on as a scarf of sorts.

Not too fancy, but fancy enough. ;-)

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Contest Entry?

It has been a really, really, really long time since I entered a contest over on Pattern Review...but whilst perusing around I discovered that the May contest is 'Natural Fibers'.

And it just so happened that I have a Cotton Plisse project on deck.  So I decided it would be a good thing to move up the queue a bit....and maybe, just maybe, put an entry up.

Back in 2007, when I was determined to make fabric parity (fabric in = fabric out) after a major stash maxing trip to Sir's Fabrics,  I made myself a no-pattern tiered skirt.  I'd been wanting a loose, flowy skirt to wear on summer car trips and came up with a certifiable earth mother skirt that totally fit the bill.

But, in the ensuing seasons, I found that I wore the skirt for more than just car trips.  It was swooshy and feminine and fun to wear.

And really, really comfy.

So earlier this year I bought a large chunk of red gingham check cotton plisse, with the intention of making another skirt.

Today, I did a bunch of math and rotary cutting...the only actual pattern piece was a pocket borrowed from another skirt.

It is not going to be fancy or detailed or any of the things that usually win voter-decided contests, but it's going to be very useful and I needed a little push to get myself out of choir sewing and into something else.

It also is helpful that it's going to put 6 yards in the Fabric Out tally once it's done. ;-)

Monday, May 06, 2013

Sigh. Not Me.

For about the third year in a row, I hesitated and then decided not to sign on to Me Made May...the little internet party in which all participants make a little pledge to wear something made by them selves every day in May and post photos (at least, I *think* the photo posting is part of the agreement...).

And, you know, maybe it doesn't matter at all, but I feel compelled to share my reasoning here.

It's the At Home Days.

On At Home Days, I am a slob.  Well, maybe not exactly a SLOB, but I make use of all the graphic t shirts that have accumulated over the years.  You know, those freebies that can handle a bleach splash, or oven grime or...well, whatever.

On most days when I actually leave the house, wearing something that I made is pretty much a given. I'm really not trying to brag; that's just the way it is.

In fact, I started the Choir Wardrobe series initially to see if I could wear me-made stuff every Sunday for a whole year.  It really wasn't that hard.

So you 'd think I'd be all over the Me Made May  and Self Sewn September internet parties.

But I can't promise to wear something I made every day, because on the At Home Days, I will be wearing my grungy, not special clothes. It might be the faded out jeans that are a hair too short; it might be a bagged-out pair of knit pants that I made.  It will likely be an event-related T shirt that won't grieve me if it gets stained somehow.

I just don't want to worry about it. see how wonderful my photo documentation has been of my Work Wear garments.  I've taken what...5 pictures?  Maybe?  Since I started doing that last fall.  Taking time for photography has not been my strong point, either.

But that doesn't mean I don't look at the pictures and sigh just a little bit because I'm missing the party.  I would *like* to participate...I'm just recognizing my limits.

But I'm cheering on the folks who are dressing intentionally and taking photos.  Maybe someday... ;-)

Friday, May 03, 2013

Do You P & S?

Saw a question on one of the discussion boards today about the pivot-and-slide method of alterations; started to make a comment but then I decided it was good blog material and I'll throw my opinions around on my own page. ;-)

Pivot and slide was the first real pattern alteration method I learned, so I may be partial to it.  I'll admit that I use a mishmash of alterations now, but P & S is still the core method.  I've looked over several other methods and come to the conclusion that they will all give you the same result in the end, so it's not a matter of which one is BEST but which one is EASIEST for YOU to understand and use.

Having said that, though, I will mention that I don't always agree with the P&S method of determining what needs to be added where; it does even adjustments to all seams, when the truth is some of us are not so evenly distributed.  So I do a little more measuring and usually find that I need to add more to, say, the front than I do the back.  So I will not add evenly...but I will add what I add w/P & S.

I do cut-and-chop for a Full Bust Adjustment, though, as P&S  doesn't seem to put the fabric where I need it.  Or it may be that when I learned P&S I did not NEED a FBA, so I just didn't get that aspect down and when I figured out I needed it, Debbie Cook's excellent tutes showed so clearly how to do it that I never really worked out how to do it in P & S.

The big pill to swallow here is, for most of us,  acknowledging that expecting a pattern to fit right out of the envelope is just not realistic.  I've known so many ladies who gave up sewing because they decided the patterns were no good, when in fact they just did not want to take the time to learn how to make them fit...or didn't think themselves capable of learning how to do those adjustments.

It's just a bit of arithmetic and a bit of  line drawing.  Sure it takes trial and error.  Sure you're gonna have wadders.  But the real reason to sew is to be able to get clothes that fit.  My fitting skills have not quite caught up to my post-menopausal body yet...but I can make some stuff that fits at least as good as I could buy off the rack;  most of it is a pinch better than I could buy as the shoulders aren't huge and the sleeves/pants aren't too long.  And I will eventually get myself retrained in what I need to do to deal with the extra fluff in my middle.

I could go shopping; shop for a whole day and come home with nothing that fits (and I have done that.  Discouraging!).  Or I could spend the day at home working on a muslin (or toile, depending on your location).   Either way, at the end of the day I still would not have a wearable garment.  But I'd be closer to creating one, whereas I would be no closer to buying a garment that fit properly at the end of my shopping trip than I was at the beginning.

The secret is to just not give up.  Productivity may drop; mine certainly has, largely because I'm not confident in my fitting right now.  But I will keep trying and I will get there and then, when I have some honest TNTs, I'll be buzzing those machines along again.

I don't know if anyone else needed that little pep talk, but I did.  :-)  Think I'll go trace some more pieces of the jacket I'm determined to turn into a TNT...