Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gorgeous Fabrics, Garment 12

I think it's an amazing coincidence that I finally got back to the sewing machine to complete the last garment in the Gorgeous Fabrics Challenge on the same day that Ann finished her radiation treatments.

I didn't quite meet all my goals on that challenge; at the end of 12 weeks, I only had 10 garments made from my stash of Gorgeous Fabrics. I had some other sewing I had to do, so the GF project languished.

By the time I got to the 12th project, I relented on my 'use what I had when the challenge began' idea, too...I was in serious need of some short sleeved white summer T's, and I did get some white cotton interlock from Ann back in April for the purpose of making white short sleeved T's. The knit is very stable and doesn't have a lot of recovery, so I knew I couldn't use one of my T-shirt patterns that uses the stretch in the fabric for fitting. I pulled out patterns for a dart-fitted T (Today's Fit Vogue 8151 (I *will* get the photo link on that review fixed one of these days!) and a princess-seamed T (Vogue 8323 and cut them both out when I cut out the Flute Player's swimsuit (yes, the suit got finished but I have not gotten a photo of her in it yet...).

I decided that I'd squeeze the white tops in before I get focused on the Honors Dress. I finished the Today's Fit top last night and wore it to work today (sorry the photo is so fuzzy. New photographer...)

I altered the sleeve to a cap, added some ease to the body of the shirt to compensate for the stability of the knit, and added an inch of length above the bust dart, which dropped the bust AND made the top a much better length.

I added my black stretch sateen Burda vest #108 from the 5/2009 issue. I rotated about a 3/8" dart out of the front armsceye into the lower front dart and really helped the armhole gappage. That vest will see quite a bit of wear in its life, I betcha!

The Vogue 8323 top is done to the sleeves; I think I can finish it tonight. As soon as it's done, I'll do a collage post of all 13 garments.

Kudos to Ann for maintaining such a positive attitude through the whole process!! And may it all now be history, never to be repeated!!

And, because she was also part of my prayers as I sewed, a moment to reflect on Shannon Gifford and the amazing battle she fought with such incredible grace. She will continue to inspire my sewing for years to come...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Road Trip Report: Annual Textile Fabrics Day Trip

I wish I had more sewing time. I really, really wish I had more sewing time...

I know; 'Join the club,' right?

Anyway, because I have such limited sewing time, I went to Nashville with a very short list. No point in loading up the stash any more; I've got plenty to work on.

But I did need fabric for The Flute Player's Honor Dress and I wanted some black-and-white fabric for a jacket. I had in mind kind of what I wanted for each of them...thought I'd surely find something along those lines.

What I didn't think about or make a plan for was patterns. JoAnn's has Burda patterns at a 40% discount; I took a look through the Burda book and found a couple that looked interesting. BTW, I've got about 6 overcoat patterns now...I need to make one...

The two indie patterns are both discontinued and came from the 'remnant room' at Textile...and were 75% off the list price. I'd looked at both of them from time to time, and when I saw them for less than $5 each I decided to snag 'em.

My fabric search was a little more frustrating. What I really wanted was some white rayon/linen with white embroidery...the sort of thing that was around EVERYWHERE not so very long ago. Not To Be Found today.

My second choice was a white poly jacquard. I found some, but it was too heavy and too stiff.

I did find some white cotton herringbone weave fabric that probably would've been nice, but it was only 44" wide and I would've needed at least 5 yards. At 50% off, it was still $10/yard...I could've bought her a dress for $50 that wasn't too bad...

Ultimately, I decided I'd just have to check the Hancock's on the other side of the Rocket City after I dropped Miss A off at her house. I'd just be stuck with whatever they had...worst case scenario would be crepe back satin.

But that decision freed me up to look for fabric for my own wardrobe.

I found some black and white tweedy wool/lycra...not precisely what I had in mind, but close enough. And it *feels* absolutely divine! The clerk that cut it commented on how marvelous it felt, how pretty it looked...and that it was listed at about $30 less than she expected when she looked at the tag. Oh, I need to get that sewn up for this fall...

I also picked up a piece of cotton/lycra shirting in the teal color that will be used in choir in August. I don't have much of that in my wardrobe, so I need a bit.
That will be on the heels of the white dress.

Speaking of the white dress, after I dropped Miss A off I made my way to the Hancock's that's on the other end of town from my house, walked in, and saw on the 50% off table...border eyelet. The Hancock's on my end of town hadn't had any at all. I grabbed a bolt and walked around the store with it while I looked for the sleek fabric I had in mind for the dress that she'd described. Nothing.

So I mentally redesigned the dress to have a gathered skirt that could use the border embroidery, and bought both the eyelet and some batiste to use as an underlining. For less than $25 for it all.

But basically all that will be different is 1) I will leave the sleeves off and 2) I'll add a cumberbund midriff piece to go between the bottom of the empire bodice and her waistline. Then I'll gather up a length of the embroidered side of the eyelet.

She has approved.

Oh, BTW, the turquoise fabric you see on the cutting board with today's purchases is a piece of nylon/lycra swimwear knit that I picked up on Wednesday. Among other things, The Flute Player outgrew last year's swimsuit, and she needs one by Sunday.

Fortunately swimsuits are quick. ;)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day Trip

Miss A and I are gearing up for the annual pilgrimage to Textile Fabrics...with any luck, we'll be there sometime shortly after lunch (planning a stop at JoAnn's on the way through Cool Springs).

I have a *short* list of things I'm looking for...but if the remnant room has been recently restocked, I could be in trouble.

I'll report, with photos, tomorrow evening.

ETA: I just realized I didn't mention that we are going tomorrow (Friday)... *egg on face*

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Tote Bag Project

We're starting the high-school girl's ministries class this year, and I've taken that on as well as the junior high class until we can expand the teacher roster. It's not too strenuous, as we currently only have one girl in the high school class.

But having an extremely small class presents the opportunity to do some things that are difficult in a class of, say, twelve. Case in point: the project for our unit on 'Personal Appearance'. As units are completed, girls in this level earn enameled lapel pins. Unlike all the other classes, which have sashes or, in the junior high class, a necklace, to display the unit awards, there is no specified location for these pins.

So, we decided a tote bag would be a good 'display board' for the pins, and I came up with a very basic lined tote bag with a front pocket; the emblem (a graphic-style rose) of the class will be applique'd on the pocket.

My one student does not have a functional sewing machine at her house, so I've hauled my old seriously-in-need-of-maintenance Kenmore in and we're doing a First Project.

There's not enough time in our Sunday morning class to work on it, so we've done two Saturday work days, while The Flute Player has dance/human video practice. On the first day, she cut out the bag and the lining, put some Peltex in the lining for support on the bottom, fused the interfacing on the straps, traced the logo onto paper-backed fusible web and fused the appropriate parts onto the the fabric.

This past Saturday, she attached the lining to the top edge of the pocket and then applique'd the pieces to the pocket, after doing about 4 paisley-shaped practice applique's to get the hang of it...

I'd hoped two sessions would be enough, but I didn't figure on the learning curve. So I need to schedule another work day to hopefully sew the bag together. I'll post a photo of it when she's done.

Crossing my fingers that my bag-drafting works... ;)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Honors Dress, Chapter 2...Thinking Out Loud

Three years ago, I made a White Eyelet dress for the Flute Player's Honor Stars Ceremony. Now, she's completed all the requirements to graduate from the Friends Club (middle school girls) and, guess what, she needs another white dress. She'll be participating in a ceremony at the state level, so we have to meet specific restrictions about the dress... dressy but not formal, no strapless or spaghetti straps, no low necklines, no miniskirts, etc. And white.

My hope was her dressy pink dress from last winter would still fit close enough that I could just make some minor adjustments and use that pattern; she put it on early this week and it is not just a little too small, it is WAY too small. I'd be starting from scratch on that one...although it does have up to size 14 in the envelope, and the pink dress was basically a 10 with a bunch of length added. So, maybe we could make a 14 work with a slight FBA and a bunch of length added...

The Princess scoffed at us, saying, 'There's white dresses on sale at the mall! Just go find her one!' So, Thursday we did a little snoop shopping and we found three dresses that fit the requirements and were on sale for $50 for her to try on. Not one really worked for one reason or another. The one she liked best was apparently sold out of anything smaller than a size 5, which was too big, not to mention the cut out in the back would've presented a problem with her underpinnings (and she noted that the thread holding the back button was pulling out). The second one was cute, but needed a belt and the black one that came with the dress really wouldn't work for the honors ceremony. It fit well through the hips but was a wee bit too big in the bust to my eye, but close enough. She didn't like the belt and felt it was too short (it was above her knee). The third dress was a knit lace peasant-style dress...needed a couple of teeny darts in the neckline to fit perfect, but it looked like a nightgown to me. It *definitely* was overpriced at $50...the other two dresses had several details, such as tucks and welt pockets; that one was just a pull-over dress made from stretch lace and matte jersey. $15, maybe, $50....no way.

But she came away with at least some idea of what she wanted...or didn't want. She wanted a dress similar to the first, which had a border eyelet skirt.

No border eyelet to be had at Hancock's. Bummer.

Then she decided she wanted a tea-length dress, similar to her masqureade dress...which, unfortunately, is strapless. After a couple of days of discussion, I decided I'd just try to morph the pink dress pattern and the purple dress pattern and see if I could come up with something akin to what she had in mind.

Then, in that 'I'm almost but not quite awake' moment this morning, I remembered that I had Vogue 7845 somewhere about. I found it in a stack of 'outgrown patterns', as the envelope I have contains sizes 7 - 10. But view C...the one with the puffy sleeves and the little bows...is just dead on what she wants.

Now I've got to decide if I want to try and grade the 10 up to fit, or if I should just go get the 12-14-16 envelope. Vogue patterns won't be on sale until June 30... a little late for me.

I'm thinking the 10 bucks for the pattern at the regular discount would be worth it. All I'd need to do was a small FBA and add a bit of length above the waist and I think she'd be good.

Or, maybe I could just grade the size 10 sleeve up and put it onto the Simplicity dress....hm....

Decisions, decisions, decisions....

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Addin' B&W

I haven't had time to do so much as change thread on the sewing machine of late, so of course I had to buy some fabric when I stumbled across a sale!

From Gorgeous Fabrics; all cotton/lycra blends. I think the zebra print is going to be a jacket (it's twill); the rest will likely be shirts of some sort.

I've been watching for some black and white striped shirting for ever so long; I snagged some when I saw it...now, I'm not sure I'll remember what shirt pattern I had that I *knew* would be killer in a stripe like that...

Hoping to get SOMETHING done in the sewing room tomorrow!!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Surprise Garment the Second

I went to work today wearing my Earth Mother Skirt and thought several times today how much I've enjoyed it. The photo at the linked blog post is pretty pitiful...another one of those 'throw it on when it's finished at 10 PM and take the picture' deals, I'm afraid.

I didn't make it with the intentions of wearing it a lot. I'd been wanting a bias tiered skirt for a while...The Princess had one that we bought on sale a few years back (I thought I had posted about it, but a quick browse through the archives didn't turn up anything about it) and I'd looked at it to see how it was done. She had tiers in various colors, separated by ribbons and/or lace, but it didn't look that difficult. It *did* look like it'd use a huge amount of fabric.

Then, back in '07, I had the Great Stash Surging trip to Sir's fabrics and decided I was gonna go on a fabric moratorium and make parity by the end of the year or bust.

So I was particularly keen to make those projects that I'd been putting off because they used large amounts of fabric...and I had nearly a whole bolt of nice cotton plaid fabric that I'd planned to use to make matching family outfits back when my older kids were still young enough to wear whatever I provided for them.

That's been a while ago and by '07 there was no way that fabric was gonna serve its original purpose. So a bias tiered skirt (actually two...I made one for the Flute Player, too) looked like a good way to approach parity.

My intention was just to have a skirt that I could wear on summer road trips. And, to be honest, this has been a fabulous summer road-trip skirt. But one day last summer, when I wasn't going anywhere but to the office, I put it on with a white cotton shell sweater and felt so feminine and comfy all day that it's become a summer staple.

Now I'm beginning to think I need to make a couple more of these...this could go from 'summer road trip skirt' to 'summer lifestyle skirt' really easily!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Choir Sundays 2010 #19

June Choir Colors: Purple and/or lavender and/or black w/blue jeans.

Once again, the Cold Water Creek bootcuts, this time matched with Christine Jonson's Base Wear 2 sleeveless t-neck, in a marvelous cotton/lycra print I got eons ago from Emma Onesock and my Vogue 8305 cardi-wrap, made up in rayon/lycra jersey from Gorgeous Things.

I think this is going to be the last of the Choir Sundays posts for a while; for quite some time I've felt like I'm pretty much posting the same things over and over again; I think I need to give it a break, at least until I can talk about something other than my two pairs of dressy jeans that I keep alternating!

It's cool to see how the clothes someone makes actually get used in the wardrobe, but since I'm just recycling the same wardrobe pieces week end and week out it is losing the luster.

Plus, we're doing services on Saturday AND Sunday now...I could easily do two outfits a weekend. But, if they're just variations on the same ol' same ol' I don't think there's much purpose in that.

I met my original challenge...to go a year wearing at least one garment that I made every Sunday... long ago. Plus, back when I started doing Choir Sundays, I was a stay-home mom and Sunday church was about the only chance I got to wear something other than just bum-around-the-house wear. But now I'm working, so I get to dress for work, too.

Maybe one of these days I'll do a variation on the 'Me Made May' posts I so enjoyed on other blogs and talk about what I wear to work...that will have some more variety!

Anyway, Choir Sundays has had a long and enjoyable run, but I really feel like it's time to retire that now. I'll still be wearing my creations in choir, but I think now I'll just limit my posts to days when I wear a new garment/combo.

If I ever get a chance to spend some quality time in the sewing room making new things... ;)

Thanks to everyone who has followed the weekly adventure, and especially thanks to folks who have commented and encouraged me along the way!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Jalie Pants, Iteration 2

Well, I'm getting closer. I wish the photos had turned out better; the settings were off somehow, and the back view was totally unusable; apparently I pulled the back cattywampus when I tucked in the top and my Sweet Baboo did not instruct me to fix it before he took the photos; there are many ugly wrinkles that I have not seen in the mirror. I intend to have the pictures retaken sometime when I put the pants on in the morning, instead of at the tail end of a long day.

I ultimately cut off most of the hip shaping; I've decided these pants are drafted for a figure type that has pretty pronounced curves. That did eliminate the side wrinkling that I had on the first pair

I need to go back over my alterations, though; the front dips more than in the first pair. I think I miscalculated how much I needed to remove after graining up the front seam; it's rather loose in the front. A bit more altering there would help.

Looking at the side view, it looks like the knee shaping hits just a hair below my actual knee; I'll shorted above the knee and lengthen below to see if I can make it look a little better proportioned from the side.

The pockets feel pretty good on this pair; at least I think I have that right!

Also, the first pair is quite snug and needs the stretch to be wearable; I've added enough ease in this pair that I think I could make them from non-stretch fabric and they'd work. However, that makes them a bit less flattering, for all that I feel they fit better.

This is not really the holy grail of pants fitting yet, but I do think I'm getting close.

The real objective is to get this pattern fitted well so I can just morph the changes onto the Jalie jeans pattern. ;)

BTW, this *was* garment 11 from the Gorgeous Fabrics Challenge. I'm kinda embarrassed that it took a month to get 'em done, but I did have to stop and make the graduation mantles for HMC...and I did have to take the back apart so I could remove some gappage from the back waist.

I've got one more item left to make in the challenge; I've got lots of plans but I think I'm going to pick a quick one. Life is squeezing out the sewing time right now....