Saturday, September 25, 2010

Worth a Look: BBC Sewing/Fashion library

In a post buried in a discussion of Austin and Santino's traveling sewing show (which I've never cable, you know...), I came across an interesting link to a BBC archive of What We Wore, which seems to be a collection of shows related to fashion produced by the BBC since the early years of television.

I thought it would be a good research source for costuming and bookmarked it.

Then I looked around a bit and watched a show from 1982; it was the first in a series on sewing a wardrobe in a weekend, and had, as its basis, a wardrobe pattern collection designed by Caroline Charles that was published in a book, with the patterns in an envelope in the back of the book (Very similar in format to Sandra Betzina's 'No Time to Sew', if you recall that book/pattern set).

Show 1 introduces the program and the designer, and shows a bit of the design development process, and a montage of garments made from the resulting patterns. Then we return to the studio to watch the presenter (Ann Ladbury)begin construction of the first garment: a skirt. She discusses selecting a size from the multi-sized pattern (she apparently assumes everyone already knows what size to cut, there's no discussion of measuring anything to determine the 'correct size'), then demonstrates cutting and marking the pattern (she used a technique to mark the darts that I'd never seen before...interesting) and creating the lining for the skirt.

I totally didn't have time today to watch it, but I did much for the delight of listening to the lovely English accents as anything else...

Random quote from the show: "If you've gone to all the trouble to sort out the correct size, you don't want to spoil it with inaccurate stitching." - Ann Ladbury.

Amen, sister!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

If You Send a Seamstress into the Fabric Store...

...she's going to want to have a look 'round to see if there's any good stuff on sale...

Actually, this represents a double haul; I had to go to BOTH Hancock's in town today; the one on my end of town was completely out of Wonder Tape, and we're having a sewing day at church tomorrow to see how much more we can get done on the Unfinished Baptismal Robes. There were not enough robes to go 'round at the last baptism service, and another lady volunteered to help sew them, so Miss A and I and our new friend Miss T are going to head to church in the morning and set up shop and see how much we can get done. I *think* there are 4 that are done to the sleeves; which means we've only got to do zippers and necklines on 6. But I can't do zippers without Wonder Tape, so...when I found that Hancock's South didn't have any, I altered my errand route to include a run out to Hancock's West. Fortunately, they had some.

But, at Hancock's South I picked up 10 yards of muslin (so I can work on the Trench Coat and the Dressy Dress patterns) and the official Hancock's coupon calendar. Oh, and some buttons, which are not pictured 'cos I already put 'em away.

Then, at Hancock's West, I grabbed the current issue of Vogue Patterns (because, you know, The Selfish Seamstress has an article there-in, and we gotta support the blogging sisterhood!) and the final bit of a ridiculously loud rayon challis print off of the clearance table....just so I have something to grab if I ever get invited to a luau. It was less than $4; it'll work.

However, I think the thing I'm most excited about is the muslin, which doesn't affect my 'fabric in' tally since I'm actually considering it a notion (That's my story and I'm sticking to it). I can really do some work on those two projects now! Er, well, after the baptism robes are done, anyway...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

So...What Would YOU Wear?

I smiled today when I read Gertie's Post in which she meets Tim Gunn...wearing one of her own creations, which he inspected and complimented highly.

A home sewing enthusiasts dream come true! Her post was filled with exclamation points.

But, I wondered...what if I were going to an event at which a fashion industry celebrity was going to be mixing about with the attendees? What would I wear?

Sudden Flashback to October, 1992: Sandra Betzina was doing a Saturday seminar for one of the local (now gone...sniff, sniff) indy fabric stores and I attended. I don't remember my thought processes for what I wore, but I do remember what it was: black pants, white shirt, red knit tie (remember wearing menswear styled ties?), a black-and-white bias-cut pinstripe vest and a black and white plaid long, straight-cut, 90's linebacker-shoulder-pads jacket. I *think* I wore the jacket because I had a problem with the lapels curling and I wanted to ask her about it...but the mix of stripes and plaids was an inspiration that hit literally as I was dressing that morning. I'd made all of the outfit except the button-down blouse and the tie.

At some point during the post-seminar sale at the store, I managed to ask Sandra about the curling points on the lapels (she suggested I interface all the pieces -- something the pattern didn't require and I didn't routinely do back then), then looked at what I was wearing and said, 'This looks good together. You have a good sense of style.'

I was in a pretty exclamation-point using frame of mind myself after that. ;)

In 4 of the 5 years I went to the Sewing Expo in Atlanta, I tried to wear garments made from the patterns of the designers at the Expo; that's fun to do.

But...dressing to meet folks who are in the home sewing industry is different than dressing to meet someone who is in the fashion/style industry...what would I wear? I'd be in trouble now, because my wardrobe is currently lacking and I have so far not managed to get to the sewing table long enough to do anything about it.

So, my just-for-fun question for any of my dear readers still with me...if you were going to hobnob with a fashion industry icon, what would you wear...and how would you decide?

(Or, if you HAVE...what did you wear and how did you decide?)

Just because I'm curious. ;)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Where'd I Put My Brain This Week?

About a month ago, I ordered some smashing silk charmeuse, with the intention of making another smoke ring scarf:

Despite the fact that I'm going down for the third time on housework, I thought I'd cut the scarf OUT today and have it ready to sew when I get a few minutes. I'll be quick -- whiz whack w/the rotary cutter; zoom zoom on the sewing machine and a pinch of hand sewing and TA-DA! A fantabulous scarf!

Only...I could. Not. Find. My. Pattern.

I finally resigned myself to redoing the pattern and I pulled out that old issue of Threads (half hoping I'd find the pattern stuck there-in, but no luck) and my tracing paper, then realized I'd used up all my available time today.

So I guess I'll have to start w/redrafting the pattern...tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

An Ethical Question

Let's say...

You are a person who sews a lot (for most folks reading this, that's not much of a stretch).

You've made clothes before with, um, poor print placement, so perhaps you are a little more aware of such things than the average bear.

Now, let's say you happen to be somewhere with a friend. The friend is wearing a very cute top with a swirly print...but one of the printed swirls is, you notice with your hyper-awareness of such things, um, rather poorly placed.

And let's throw into the mix that said friend is not having a particularly good day. you say anything? Or just be embarrassed for her?

What would YOU do if it were YOU? ;)

Monday, September 13, 2010

NL 6407, Take 2

Yeah, it's another bathroom mirror self portrait; and I didn't notice the streaks on the mirror until I uploaded the KNOW it's Monday...

Aside from the fact that I haven't yet allowed for the last year's weight gain in the pattern, I'm thinking this is getting close to TNT status.

After the first try, I altered the front a bit, doing a FBA and raising the top of the button band back to where it should have been. Then I scooped out the sides of the neckline so that it was wider at the shoulders and moved the front edges in towards the center a bit. Then I measured the resulting neckline and adjusted the collar and band to fit the new neckline.

I've got a neckline that looks much closer to the front of the envelope now; I may not have needed to move the front edges in. But I think I'll leave them.

I do need to go back and check the collar/collar band; I think in all my slashing and spreading I got it slightly out of whack; one side doesn't quiiiiitte match the neckline. But you gotta look really close to see it.

However, I think the collar is longer/deeper than pictured on the drawings on the envelope; I haven't decided if I'm going to try to adjust that any or not. Maybe. And, if I really want the top to fit the body I have now, I should add some width in both the front and back. And that's so long as I've got a goodly amount of stretch in the fabric; in a non-stretch, well....


But I have some nice black cotton/lycra poplin in the wings, so the next iteration will be black; then I may try a long sleeved version.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

How do I keep up now?

I just found out that Bloglines, my beloved feed collector, is shutting down at the end of the month. has decided that it's not economically feasible to maintain Bloglines when their primary focus is answering questions.

Geeminy, I wish they'd thought about that when they acquired Bloglines back in '05. Why buy up a business if you're just going to shut it down?

So, now I need to go looking for another RSS aggregator. Bloglines very nicely provided detailed directions on how to save all the links for transport to a new aggregator, but, alas, did not offer any suggestions as to which aggregator to use.

I can't just 'follow' on Blogger...I still have the old template version, which I've tweaked to my satisfaction, and to be able to 'follow', I have to convert to layouts.

I tried the layouts when I first started my other blog, but quickly found that it didn't work so well for me for some reason, so I converted that one over to the template, too. Converting to layouts would be a MAJOR overhaul. So following isn't an option. (which really stinks when so many folks limit their cool contest/giveaways to folks who 'follow' them....just sayin'.... ;) )

Anyway, my whole blogroll is based on my bloglines subscription list; that may really mess that up, too.

Can you tell I'm a little ticked? Just a little?

Anyway, does anyone have a good aggregator they can recommend? I need one in 3 weeks...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Stripe SIH

I decided that, since it *had* been a year in progress, that I'd wear the StarsINHeaven tunic today.

Sorry for the pitiful bathroom-mirror self-portrait, but, well, ya do what ya gotta do.

I bought the linen at Textile Fabrics Annual Big Sale last July (as in, 2009). I love the colors in it, but the stripes run crosswise. Interesting. I cut the 'upper sleeve' on the cross grain, so that there's some variation happening. I've got stripes on running crosswise, lengthwise and diagonally...whew! ;)

It's gonna wrinkle like crazy, and it doesn't drape at all, but for all that it's a very comfy summer-feeling top.

Which is good, because even though we're officially past Labor Day, it's still gonna be 90 something degrees Fahrenheit today...

Monday, September 06, 2010

A year in the works...

I finished up two tops today! First up was the teal New Look top that I cut out last week; all I had to do today was put on buttons and buttonholes. I'm a little happier w/this top than I was with the first iteration on that pattern, but I've still got some tweaks to do 'next time'. But it's getting very close to TNT status.

After I hung that one in the closet, I pulled out a zip-lock bag that had been sitting in the corner shelf since last fall and sewed up the stripey linen Stars In Heaven tunic that was cut out and in the bag. I'm not sure how this is going to wear...I *love* the SIH tunic that I made a few years back from some soft, drapey rayon/linen blend fabric. This one is 100% linen, and it's rather wirey. It is a different top.

But when I updated my 'WIP' spreadsheet, I discovered that it had been exactly a year...I cut that top out on 9/5/09.

Feels good to mark that one 'done! ;)

I'll try to get photos the first time I wear 'em.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Sad News

I was grieved to read today of the death of Fred Bloebaum. Fred had been battling cancer for a number of months; I'd been following her story sporadically on Care Pages; I'll confess, I was annoyed that I had to log in to the site to read it and I tended to only check in once a week or so.

So I missed the post last week that said it had been determined that the cancer was no longer responding to any therapy, so they had ceased treatment and called in hospice. I thought Fred was more or less holding her own; I was shocked to hear that she had died.

I actually was privileged to meet Fred at the Atlanta Sewing Expo a few years back; she was delightful and charming and gracious. Her battle was bravely fought; the sewing world has lost another gem this year.

I think I shall make something from one of my LaFred patterns soon...

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Coming to Grips

I'm in a position I'm rarely in...

I've had several events (mostly weddings) this summer to which I've had nothing to wear. Oh, I made do with something, but it didn't fit well and I wasn't happy about my appearance.

Which was ok, really, at the weddings, since we were but minor guests, but at my 30th anniversary dinner I wanted to be happy about the way I looked and, well, I wasn't.

It's been The Year. Y'know, the one in which you wait from month to month to see if all the hormonal shifting has really more or less finished.

By the time The Year was officially up, I found I'd gained 10 pounds.
Part of the trouble is that most of this year I've been dealing with some pretty aggravating, mobility-limiting back/sciatic nerve pain. A recent MRI finally pinpointed the problem: a flattened/bulging spinal disc at L4-L5. I now have an appointment with the spine guy at the local orthopedic group to see what HE can do. The chiropractor has helped considerably, but it still is very prone to getting aggravated.

And, unfortunately, spending even moderate amounts of time standing at my cutting table is one of the things that super-aggravates it.

Part of me has been in denial...I've never really been heavy or overweight, and I just don't want to deal with it. But after seeing the photos from our anniversary celebration, I've got to deal with it.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do about losing weight; I really do need to lose about 25 pounds for my health (things like blood pressure and cholesterol levels have also suffered during The Year). And, I honestly think my back might be better if I were a little more fit. So, if the spine doctor clears me, I'm going to start seeing a trainer at the fitness center which is in partnership with the orthopedic clinic. I know I need some exercise...but I want to proceed carefully so I don't aggravate anything.

So...meantime, I have no nice dressy clothes. I already have one project that I've promised myself I'd get cracking on this month -- the long-delayed trench coat. But I'm gonna promise myself one other thing, too: a garment that I can wear to a wedding or other dressy event that fits the body I have now. If I lose weight I'll kiss it goodbye, but I'm tired of squeezing into things that are too tight and feeling like a stuffed sausage all night.

So...that's my goal. Actually, I like the idea of making a jacket, a dress and a couple of pairs of trousers all that fit now....but I don't want to over goal.

Because my back hurts when I spend too much time at the cutting/pattern drafting stage.

Babysteps... ;)