Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Work Wear 4

No, I really didn't forget...just haven't worn anything worth photographing.  But today I did something I don't know that I've done very often...if at all.

I have a few 'fashion' blogs on my feed burner; one of them is The Vivienne Files.  For someone who has toyed with the idea of writing a book called Confessions of a Fashion Klutz,  this has been highly educational in the area of combining wardrobe elements into something like style.

Janice frequently starts with a scarf, then pulls things from a previously defined wardrobe to create different outfits based on the colors in the scarf.

So, for a fashion exercise, I thought I'd try it.

I pulled a scarf from my closet that is (well, was...) under consideration for the 'donate' bag.  It's a remnant from a skirt I made for my sister's Christmas gift quite a number of years ago...just a hemmed strip from the end of the piece of fabric.

I made several scarves-from-remnants like that before the lightbulb went off and I realized that a 45" width really is not long enough for an oblong scarf...I need an oblong scarf to be at least 60" long. 

But, when I was sorting through my scarves to see what I wanted to get rid of, I suddenly had a thought about the colors in this scarf...would that rusty brown match that sweater vest I got on a whim from Coldwater?

It did.

And the teal matched my linen-rayon Stars In Heaven tunic.

The tan was perfect with the original Daphne Pants.

With a scarf clip instead of a knot, the scarf isn't *too* short.

Now, this is not the most physically flattering look for me and I know it; I really need a longer top with pants that skinny.  And the underarm on the tunic is actually lower than the underarm on the vest, which pulls the sleeves up a bit.

But it was fun to actually plan something a bit; I would never have put these colors together otherwise.

I think I'm going to have some fun playing with my scarves now...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Challis Hints

Gaylen asked for some tips on sewing Challis; I'm not going to pretend to be an expert but I'll share what I've learned...

For sewing rayon in general, check Shannon Gifford's sewing guide at Emma OneSock .  I thought she had written a guide for challis, but I didn't find one.  So here's my two cents' worth.

First, make sure you pick a pattern that is compatible with an uber drapey fabric. Think loose, blousey, soft.  This is not a fabric from which to make a pencil skirt. ;-)

Challis shrinks; be sure to pretreat it.  Sometimes the dyes are not stable; I ruined a very nice new top by putting it the same cold water wash as a new piece of (admittedly cheap) rayon challis.  So wash it cold by itself.    I usually run it through the dryer, too, the first time, although I will drip dry the finished garments.   Rayon feels very stiff and woody when it's wet; don't panic, that's a function of the fabric (also a way to know it's really rayon...).  It will soften again when it's dry.

Actually constructing the garment is an exercise in patience; challis can't be rushed.

Challis is very unstable, which means it is a PITN to cut.  A helpful hint here:  spray starch.  That will help stabilize the fabric so that it doesn't slide off grain or distort.  Press and starch the fabric immediately before laying on the table.  Also using a cutting mat and rotary cutter will help lessen the distortion when cutting out the pattern.

Once the pieces are cut, handle them as little as possible to keep them from distorting.  The fabric is fragile at this point.  It will ravel; zigzag or serge the seam allowances after a seam is sewn.

(This is important!) Mind the direction of the stitching; always sew from the wide end to the narrow end; sew slowly and avoid pulling on the fabric as much as possible.  I don't pin much, but when I'm sewing challis I will use pins to make sure the seams feed evenly and don't shift.  Pin on the seam line (put the pin in perpendicular to the seam; in and out of the fabric right where the seam will cross).  Hand basting can also be your friend here.

If your garment is a bias cut, allow extra seam allowance width and sew with a very  narrow zig-zag

I know all of this sounds very tedious and picky, but a well-sewn challis garment falls beautifully and feels very feminine.  Be careful and don't hurry and you should be fine.

I have a gored rayon skirt with godets that I thought I could sew right up; the gores all went whopperjawed and none of the seams were the same length (those bias edges really distorted).  I unpicked the whole thing, pressed it carefully back into shape, and restitched, paying attention to direction and such and it actually fit together and is one of my favorite summer skirts.   Wish I'd been more careful the first time...

So, there's my limited wisdom on sewing challis.  If anyone else has any tips or suggestions, please leave them (or links to them...) in the comments!   Gaylen and I will both appreciate it. ;-)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Skipping February and March...

 I splurged and subscribed to Burda World of Fashion after Christmas in 2007.  My subscription started in March '08, just AFTER that fabulous Feb 2008 issue that everyone made tons of stuff out of.

I renewed it four times, but decided not to renew the subscription this year after 1) The price went up and 2) the readability of the patterns went down and 3) I was seeing lots of repeats from earlier magazines and 4) I already have more patterns around than I can possibly use.

And around the end of January I started seeing pattern reviews of very cool things from the Feb 2013 issue, which should have been my last.

I waited two weeks, then emailed the company linked up on Amazon about my missing issue, stating that, while I realized Feb 2013 was my last issue, I would still like to have it.

They emailed me back promptly that, according to their records, my subscription ended with the Jan 2013 issue.  I was thanked for my interest.

So I emailed them back the particulars (that the subscription started w/ March '08 and should therefore end w/ Feb '13) , mentioning that Amazon showed the subscription active through March 2013.

Reply email.  'Please be advised that the dates listed in Subscription Manager are  estimated by Amazon"

Then they listed out the year-by-year:  March '08 through Feb '09; March '09 through Feb '10....etc....ending with March '12 through Feb '13.

No acknowledgement of my original question about the missing Feb 2013 issue.

So, once more I replied. 'Yes.   My subscription should end with the Feb 2013 issue...which I still have not received.'

Finally, a reply with an answer.

The February 2013 issue is no longer available to resend. The publisher will extend your subscription by 1 issue. The publisher will send the April issue as march is also no longer available.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Not deleting any emails until the April issue arrives.  Hoping it's a good one, as it apparently is subbing for the Feb. issue which, from what I've seen, was a good one.

Sure wish there was a local shop that carried the Burda mags...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Owning up

And it wasn't even a sale.

See, I fell in love with rayon challis back in the '80's.  So pretty, so drapey, so feminine.

And then it disappeared.

For years, there was no challis to be had.

So, I kinda have a knee-jerk reaction to pretty challis...and before I knew it, a couple of pieces were being delivered to my door.
Roughly 2.5 yards of each, to be exact.  The one on the right shows up as being much more blue-tinted than it is in real life; it's really shades of purple.  Both settle that rayon craving nicely.

Just hope I can actually make them into something. ;-)

Of course, one of my favorite online vendors just announced a big sale; if I can get something sewn up before it ends, I might just let myself order a little more...we'll see...

PS to my blogging buddies... have you put yourself on the map yet?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Choir Wardrobe 02 17 13

Yesterday was a busy day...I took my high school girls' ministry class to a local paint-your-own-pottery shop and we painted mugs, trinket boxes, bowls...and then had dinner at Pizza Hut.  Lotsa fun but...I hit the hay early, so the choir post is a day late.

Anyway.  Gray scale for February; I've always liked the look of a turtleneck sweater under a matching jacket so I kinda fudged that idea...RTW baby cable gray turtleneck sweater, Lee bootcut jeans and the Jalie 2320 gray denim jacket.

And...miracle of miracles...I do not appear to have any paint anywhere on my clothes.  Whew. ;-)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

An Alterations kinda week

No photos today, unfortunately.

I did get the Mousetrap garments that came home with me altered up and delivered this morning - a jacket, a vest and about 4 pairs of pants, 3 of which needed girth alterations and two of which needed hems.

Costuming for The Wiz is supposed to begin next week; our costume mistress is currently tied up with another production.  So I have a *little* breathing room.

And, after a long absence, the sewing urge is upon me again.  I don't know where it went, or why, but suddenly I am full of the desire to clean out my sewing nook (which is probably about a 30 hour job by itself) and SEW for my wardrobe.

If I had an 10-day week, maybe I could get to it...

Meantime, since the last item through the alterations queue used khaki thread, I finished up the alterations on my McCall's 5860 jacket.  The last time I wore it, which was solely  because it was the right color for choir, I looked it over and realized that it was never going to be a useful  part of the wardrobe unless I did something about the floppiness of the lower front.

So, during our 'Christmas Movie Night' back in December, I unpicked all the topstitching on the side front seams from about an inch and a half below the pocket all the way down, and I took out the hem for most of the front on both sides.

Then I hung it up, waiting for the  anointing to sew it back up.

Thanks to the thread in the machine, it hit this morning.  I took 4" out of the lower front, basically in darts along the side front seams, trimmed/serged them down and re-topstitched everything.  It looks altered to my eye, since the center front panel gets narrower as it goes toward the hem, but altered is better than baggy and floppy.  I will alter up the side front panel before I make the jacket again.  I guess it's a good thing this isn't fabric that I loved passionately...but at least I won't feel so incredibly frumpy in it now.

Woot.  Something out of the queue... ;-)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

So, how would you...

...take 2 1/2 inches out of the back of a suit coat, super fast, without messing up the lining?
Here's my best guess...

This jacket has no side seam, but a side panel that curves into the lower back armsceye.  There were just a couple of pins at the back waist; I made a trip to school this morning to put the jacket (and the matching vest) on the actor to shape the adjustment a little better.  So I knew what I needed to do, but not how to do it.

After mulling it over while I was at work today, the best guess I could come up with was to mark the 'dart'  along either side of the seam line, then hand baste along the marking to transfer the marks to the wrong side AND secure the lining.

Then I will stitch up the dart and pound/press the dickens out of it.  Fortunately it's a tropical weight wool.

Costume, not couture...as if anyone was wondering...this is for Mr. Paravincini, the mysterious latecomer.

Crossing my fingers that it works.  I still have to baste the other side before giving it a go on the machine...

Oh. This is what I found when I went back to the sewing nook:

I really hope Mr. Paravincini is not allergic to cats.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Warm Up

Before the musical production gets into full swing, there is a production of 'The Mousetrap' to hit the stage.  The Flute Player is not in that cast...there were only three female roles...but she is on the prop crew.

I'm not making costumes...but there are some alterations to be done to the costumes that have been pulled from various sources.

The director is teaching the kids to do minor alterations, but she thought the guys suits would be over their heads, so I picked up about 4 pairs of pants, a jacket and a vest tonight to have done by next Monday...at the absolute latest...

The pants I know how to do.  But the jacket and the vest need some pretty major taking up.

Not sure it isn't over MY head...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Choir Wardrobe 02 10 13

Continuing with the Greyscale wardrobe...black and white stripes w/ jeans.
Simple, right?

Hot Patterns Free Download Cadeau Top, which is ages old and, except for a little easily hidden wear and tear where the tie ends meet the bottom band, is still going strong.  Like everything else, it looked better 15 pounds ago, but until I can get myself some me-sewing time, I'm just going to have to pretend I don't notice that. ;-)

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Choir Wardrobe 02 03 13

New month -- new color scheme.  This month, we're going grayscale...black, white, and gray.  I have a black and white plaid that I'm really jonesing to make a jacket from, but...that time thing...I don't know if it will get done.  Although the pattern is laid out for tracing.  I'm telling myself I *really* need a TNT jacket pattern, and this one looks very promising...I just need to DO IT.


Today I pulled from the closet.   RTW black silk blend sleeveless shell top and  gray cotton scarf,  some straight Lee jeans and my Vogue 8305 black rayon knit cardigan.

One more compliment on the cardi today made me decide to use that pattern on my gray knit that's waiting to be a cardigan; I'd planned another but if I can get those long points and a shell top on the 3ish yards I've got, I'm gonna go with this one....

If I can manage to get to the sewing room before the school musical costuming frenzy hits, that is.