Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Indy Expo

Off  in the morning with my sewing traveling buddy Miss A to the Hoosier state; not sure, but I think this is the first time the Expo has been there.

It's a long drive, but we'll spend one night on the farm with my folks, and we'll collect the Flute Player, who headed up with her grandparents for a bit of a visit.  All in all, it will work well.

I have a full load of classes on Thursday, but I should have some time to shop on Friday and Saturday afternoon.  I've been holding back from fabric purchasing just so I could have some leeway to add to the stash if I find a Find. ;-)

I packed some rather random stuff to wear; two skirts and a pair of pull-on pants (I'll wear jeans up and back). It's  mostly all stuff I made but it's old and fit better when I made it.

Not that there's any pressure to wear sharp self-sewn things at a sewing expo...

But...the good thing is that it's all stuff that has been photographed about a million times on the blog, so anyone who sees me should recognize me...

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Last Last...

I really didn't cry.  Not much, anyway...
I also didn't get a picture of the dress.

But it worked...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

We have a dress...

The lining still needs a hem, but it's gonna work.

I'm not crazy about it, but she likes it better than any that she tried on in the malls ...'It's swishy!'

I will readily admit that it looks much better in motion than it looks in a flash photograph.

I never dreamed that fabric would be such a beast to sew.  The bias has hung out a bit unevenly on the skirts; I just whacked the lining back so that it won't show, but I don't think I'll worry about the dress itself.

It's no worse than the RTW we looked at.  Really.

At least she has a dress to wear Friday.   I think a perfect dress would have a midriff band under the bodice, to move the fullness of the skirt down a bit. Maybe for the church events...we'll worry about the other occasions after we get past this week....

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Rough day in the sewing room...

Let's just say that, if this had been any kind of competition like the Great British Sewing Bee, today is the day I would've gone home.

It was noonish before I actually sat down to sew; laundry and such, you know, but I figured it'd take me about six hours to sew up the dress.

ha ha and ha.

The dress has a lined surplice bodice.  The skirt was not to be lined, but the fabric I'm using is very nearly lawn-weight and needed a lining.

I did not think through how impossible it is to fully line a dress with a surplice bodice.  The bodice lining has to be sewn to the crossover parts, and that is sewn into the skirt.  There's no way to sew the lining skirt to the lining top.  I tried a number of things that didn't work; finally decided I was just going to have to sew the skirt lining on by hand.

And I had the graduate try on the dress.  I don't know what happened between the muslin and the first fitting...but there were some issues with the fit of the bodice.  I made a few tweaks; the before-the-lining fitting was the second try on.

And the right front bodice just Did Not Work.  It looked like it was shifted off center, but all the measurements indicated it was where it should be.  I don't know if something  in the lining was pulling wrong...that looked ok, too, from the inside, but there was no disputing the fact that it looked horrible when it was actually on her.

Really, really horrible.

Call it a wadder and throw it in the trash can horrible....and you know how much I hate wadders.

Except 'wadder' is not an option with this dress; we are out of time and options.

Then I recollected that I probably had enough fabric to cut the other view of the bodice....

I thought of the nicely inserted zipper...and all the trimmed and serged seams...and I knew that it was the only way this dress was possibly going to be salvaged.

So I took the zipper off, took the skirt off, cut a new front and back bodice and front and back lining from the UNFITTED bodice on the pattern, hoping  it would work.

And I commenced to making stupid mistakes.

Again, things on the bodice went wonky.  I'm beginning to think the on-sale poly I'm using for the lining is off grain.  I'm not even going to try to describe the weirdness that happened when I put the lining in; even understitching didn't completely fix it.  I've got a cobbled up bit on one shoulder strap; and it's visibly narrower than the other, if anyone looks close.

Wadder not an option.  Forging ahead.

I put the first skirt piece on wrong-side-to right side.  Discovered it after I had serged and trimmed the seam.

Out it came...then I had to offset those two pieces when I sewed them to the correct one.

The invisible zip went in pretty much right the first time...except one of the waistline seam allowances got flipped down.

Took out a bit and fixed it.  It was just a teeny fix and, after I did it,  the zipper looked pretty good.

Then I noticed the twist in the shoulder.

I made sure I walked the edge around before sewing the second side of thezipper so that I did NOT get that twist...I have no idea how that happened.

There was no way I was taking that zipper out.  I opened up one of the shoulder seams...lining, understiching, everything.... untwisted the bodice,  sewed up the shoulder seam and then handstitched the lining back in place.

No, it's not like the other side, but it works.

And that's where I was 13 hours after I started.

No dress, and no assurance that what I've done is even going to be wearable.

Not even going to be home until about 7:30 tomorrow night.

So.  yeah. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Grad Dress part 3 -- cutting table...

For the New Look pattern all I needed to muslin up was the bodice...

So, of course, I unpicked the scrapped Vogue muslin and cut the bodice out of the skirt before I tossed the fail.  :-)

I added a bit to the front to raise the cross over just a bit; when the Flute Player tried it on and I told her that that had been raised about an inch, she gave me the big eyed-jaw drop.

Yeah.  It was pretty much a necessity.

But the only real adjustment I had to make to the muslin was to rotate a quarter inch dart out of the armhole into the tucks.  I dithered over adding a bit more ease to the back...it fit, but only just...and decided I'd probably make something quite acceptable into a mess.  I'll just narrow the side seams a wee bit and I think we'll be good.

I did, however, draft a new skirt.  She wanted more swish and fullness, so I drafted a four-gore half circle skirt.  Tedious, but it will avoid the whole 'cut a bigger size on the bottom' issue.

I hit both Hancock's in town...happened to eat lunch near the one on the other side, so I looked 'round in there...y'know...just in case.  They didn't have anything close to what I had in mind, so I stopped in the one on our end of the parkway on my way home and found a poly dot jacquard with a great hand on the  oddball fabric rack. It's not white-white, more cream or eggshell, but it is dressy w/o looking like it's intended for bridal wear.

There wasn't anything close to that shade for lining, though, and I ended up with white.  I thought it would brighten the face fabric a bit; but now I'm skeered it will just mean all the seams and tucks will be highlighted.

If it is, it is.  There wasn't anything else...and, you know, all the RTW dresses we tried yesterday had seams and such that showed through.  So  I don't know why I'm worried about it.

The skirt panel was too wide to cut on a fold; so I cut the dress and the lining out single layer.


But...it's all cut out and ready to go.  I get to do the GBSB deal tomorrow;  the influx of folks for grad festivities begins Tuesday, and my house (and refrigerator!  I can NOT find the smell generator in there!) is a wreck.  I have all day tomorrow...but I ONLY have tomorrow...

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Grad Dress, Part 2 -- Fruitless search

Today was the Flute Player's LAST Last Day of School, and she was done before lunch, so I used some of my mega comp time accumulated during the data base migration and took the day off and we went shopping.

Oy.  'Tis a desolate search in the world of retail.  We actually only found try-on worthy dresses in two stores.  Of those, there were about 3 that she rather liked.  But the fit was off in all of them just a bit, and the construction...well, lets just say it wasn't up to my standards.

But she tried on about 8 dresses and, in trying those on, saw what silhouettes she liked and got a good idea of what she wants.

So I came home and showed her  about 3 patterns that had elements of the dresses she liked; of those, she chose New Look 6935.

We had to leave again almost immediately for the LAST end-of-the-year band concert, but once that was history I came home and began tracing.  Hope to get it muslined up tomorrow so I  know it's a go and can make a quick trip to Hancock's for suitable fabric.  I have an idea of what I want...but, you know, I'm just gonna hafta pick the best of what's there.
Fortunately, both of the reviews the dress has over on Pattern Review say the dress is very quick to make.

Glory hallelujah.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Grad Dress, Part 1...fail

There is not much time before graduation...it is a week from Friday.

The Flute Player requires a white dress.

She'll wear this dress at least 4 times this summer...graduation, her Girls Ministry Gold Medal award ceremony, the Honor ceremony at state girls camp and the advancement ceremony for our local girls ministry program.

The church related events have requirements...no off-the shoulder, wiggle, or above knee dresses.

Time being short and all, I just figured we'd go shopping.

We'd planned to go tonight.

However, she had a ton of work to do on a powerpoint presentation due tomorrow and it became apparent about 7 that we were NOT going to make it shopping tonight.

So I decided to give a muslin a go; if I could find a dress that worked, I could make it about as quick as we could wander over the city shopping.

So our first go was Vogue 1348, a Tom and Linda Platt dress that I thought would make a nice dress for her.  I guesstimated her size, traced a 10 w/ no adjustments and whipped up a muslin.

It fit great in the shoulders but was too small everywhere else.  So I let out the seams as far as the pleats, which helped a bit, but it was still too snug in the hips.

And, you know, it just looked sorta meh on her.  She's a pear, and the snug fitting bodice and fullish skirt really kinda emphasized that.

So, after an evening of work, I've decided that dress won't suit her.

So I'm back to square one.

and we won't have a chance to go shopping until Friday...

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Choir Wardrobe - after lunch on Mother's Day...

May colors are black, tan and turquoise.

So I went with black and turquoise today....and all old stuff.  I am dying to get to the sewing machine and make some of the stuff I need...but, well, I have too much catching up on non-sewing stuff to do to get ready for a grad in...yikes...about a week and a half.

So the old stuff is a silk/lycra tank, made from a modification of the bodice of my Loes Hinse City Dress;  Loes' Bistro jacket from herringbone RPL suiting, and CWC jeans.

This is AFTER we had mother's day lunch at a local Mexican restaurant.  I haven't eaten Mexican in a long, long time, and I was careful today to order nothing with red sauces or heavy spices. 

Oy.  Still ate too much....

At least mother's day only comes once a year. ;-)

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Workwear 11 - Red, White and Denim

...actually, one of my favorite summer color combos.  The 'me-made' item here is the tiered plisse' skirt ...aka the Hippy Earth Mother skirt .  The sweater and the jacket are both Coldwater Creek labels that have been in my closet a while; that sweater is probably at least 8 years old. 

And I don't remember the skirt dragging the ground last year...maybe the bias has stretched downward a bit....

Still.  It's comfy and it's fun.  :-)

Monday, May 05, 2014

Workwear 10 - Lime and Brown

I'd like to take the Me Made May pledge, but the requirement to take a daily photo is beyond me.  This is how they would all look... Jumping in front of the timer is definitely not the best way to take a photo, but sometimes it's the only way.

Besides, I would want to reserve the right to wear old promo t shirts and ratty jeans on days when I don't leave the house; neither of which is made by me.

So I've kind of worked a deal out with myself; I'm going to try to wear at least one me-made garment every day I leave the house, and I'll take photos when I can.


I did this quick before I went to work, then moved the photos off my camera after working all day and taking in a PTA meeting.

So...every photo I'd taken has a candle coming out of my head.

Oh well.

The lime-and-brown combo is one I discovered back when I did the 2005 SWAP...in fact, I'm pretty sure I got the fabric for these pants with the intention of using them in the SWAP that year but  they got bumped.  For some reason, I felt like lime and brown again today...

Jacket:  McCall's 5191, in brown-eyelet on stretch denim
Top:  Simplicity 2599 in lime green rayon challis.  This is the third tweak on this pattern, and it's very, very close to TNT status.  I really need to update the review and retire that awful shiny rose first draft photo.
Pants:  Stretch N Sew 704 no-side-seam pull on pants w/welt pockets; in hefty brown linen.  That is a really good pants pattern...I need to make more of them...

Speaking of TNT's... in the 'oh, no, not again category'...I cut out a Farewell to Arms skirt out of a gorgeous rayon challis last fall, thought I bagged it up when I cleaned the 'cutting room' for The Artist to spend Christmas with us.

Decided to sew it up quick and...I could only find half the skirt.  One set of skirt pieces (there are two sets) and one set of pockets.  And it was wrapped up with the remnant, not bagged up like I thought.

I can't find the rest.

I really, really hope I did not accidentally throw it away.  I've done that before...

So, I've set it back for the time being.  Either it will show up again...or it won't.


Saturday, May 03, 2014

Machine Dreaming

It has been over 20 years since I last purchased a sewing machine.

I stumbled across a blog post a day or so ago that has put me into new machine fever.  The comments and reviews that I can find on it (not many, actually) seem very favorable.

However...I'm still somewhat hesitant as it has an electronic display.  Not a full out touch screen, just an LED display with the stitch selection but...

I'd really rather select my stitches with a dial. It's not gonna go out or get fried.  It just seems more reliable.

But, maybe there's the rub?  The manufacturers no longer want to make a machine that can be handed down to granddaughters?

Funny...I bought my New Home when my Kenmore was 12 years old, thinking it was time for a new machine.  In 1992.  Or maybe it was 1994.  It was either the year before or the year after The Actor was born; sad that I can't remember which.  Anyway, I really haven't found a machine that I'd even consider purchasing as a replacement.  Until this week.

I just have to get over my fear of short-lived electronics.

But, hey, I'll still have the old machines as back up, right?

Maybe I'll see if there is one available to test run at the Expo....

Friday, May 02, 2014

Trench coat photos

I don't do photo shoots well...just not in my nature, I guess.   But here's the final product!

Looking at the back photo, I think I sewed too much of the pleat closed at the waist.  After the photo,   I went back and released about 2 1/2" inches from the bottom of that stitching.   Don't know when I can get another photo...

The upper pleat doesn't open too much, even with my arms crossed.
My hubby commented, 'That looks like a raincoat!'

To which I replied, 'Good!  'Cause that's what it is!'

eta...I fiinally went back and did the math. Given that the gabardine was on a crazy clearance sale, the entire coat cost less than $40.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

So Much for Good Intentions

I made myself a solemn promise that I would not buy any new fabric until the trench coat was done.

Finished sewing yesterday and I was tempted to flip through fabric sites, but, well, I'm going to the Sewing Expo in Indy at the end of the month, so I thought I'd just save my fabric dollars for that.

But at lunch today the internet went down at work.

You can't do  much work if the database is in the cloud and the server is down.

So I decided to spend some of the comp time I racked up during the data migration and take the afternoon off.

And my route home takes me right past Hancock's.

You know what happened next.

I thought I'd just pop in and see if they had any fabric suitable for a white shirt.  I have some, but it's really pretty nice (and pricey) stuff, and I'd like to have a TNT to use it on rather than an untried pattern.

Didn't find any suitable white fabric (does anyone make white shirting that you can't see through any more?), but I did find some stuff that was on my wish list...

They had a flat fold table of miscellaneous knits; I've been wishing I had some black and white knits for cap-sleeve t's to wear this summer; that fills a gap in the wardrobe.  And, lo and behold, stripe knits!  (the triple stripe is actually dark navy blue).   The knit feels very nice, but there's no telling what's in it besides a hefty dollop of Lycra.   I grabbed those two and then hightailed it away from that table before I came up with a pile of knits...

 The chambray is just about the perfect weight/color for the denim shirt I intended to put in the SWAP collection.  It got bumped by the black denim jacket, but I still need a good denim shirt.  The sale price didn't strike me as being a real bargain, but since I've been hunting for it for a while I splurged.

And I checked the pattern books to make sure I was getting enough fabric (you know the trick...find a similar style and use that  yardage) and, oh, goody goody, Burda patterns were on sale.  So I got the pattern I used for my sample yardage, and then I spotted that jacket/dress combo and fell in love with that jacket.  So that came home, too.

At least all these things should be quick to sew...and, believe me, I am READY for some quick sewing...