Monday, November 23, 2015

Connect the Dots

There has not been much in the way of sewing happening around these parts.  I seem to have lost all my creative motivation.

But I did manage to get through the photos of this dress.  

The weather has started to turn cold which means this dress will get stashed away in the closet for a few months.  But it will definitely see some wear next year - these Alabama Chanin style clothes really are extremely comfortable!

And as to what my next project will be . . . I have absolutely no idea.

I have been meaning to make myself a new coat for the last couple of years, but never manage to get to it while the garment would be weather appropriate.  And working with heavy wool in the Spring just feels wrong.

A hand sewing project actually sounds rather appealing, but I think I want to take a bit of a break from cotton jersey.  Hopefully a few days of vacation will get me back in the sewing room.

Dress:  Made by me, Butterick 6129
Shoes:  Banana Republic

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Portable Project

It was only a matter of time before I jumped head first into another Alabama Chanin project.

First up was a dye job.  This time around, I had a slightly streaky outcome using Dharma’s Fiber Reactive Dye.  I cannot explain what I did wrong, except perhaps I was trying to squeeze too much yardage in my kitchen sink?  Because I was not happy with the color, I cut the yardage in two and sent one half back in the dye bath.  I actually like the darker color better, so all is well!

The polka dot stencils from the Alabama Chanin website were not quite right (mostly because I was paranoid that my periwinkle leftovers from this top would not be enough to cut the number of appliqué pieces needed).  In the end, I just drew a grid and traced my own dots to create my own stencil.

Since I love this dress so much, I thought it would be worth it to make another version.  The skirt pleats seemed like a bad idea with double and triple layers of cotton jersey, so I swapped it for Sewaholic’s Hollyburn Skirt.

A running stitch did not seem like the best option for the appliqué.  Instead, I pulled out some scraps and re-familiarized myself with how to work a blanket stitch.  I am hoping it will also keep the fraying at a minimum.  

Because I knew that I was going to travel with this project, I tried basting my polka dots in place on a couple of pieces.  This did not work well at all.  The jersey started to curl at the edges, and the hasty basting started falling out when I handled and stitched things together.

What ended up working best was pinning as I went.

And although I did not get as much sewing done on my trip as I hoped, it was certainly nice to be able to work on something without needing a machine!

The many layers of jersey was challenging at times, and my fingers are still recovering, but I sure do love me some hand sewing!

I did manage to ruin three needles on this project.  Top-stitching those seamlines required the use of jewelry pliers, and my tiny needles were not up to the task.  But sacrifices must be made!

I would like to say that these projects have made me less fearful of knits, but I was just in the fabric store today and those super stretchy fabrics still make me very nervous.

Until I get over myself, I suppose 100% cotton jersey is a nice substitute without the crazy stretch.

Except for the finishing . . . look at those raw edges . . . the Hug Snug is getting pretty jealous of all the time I am spending with this knit fabric!

But this process is pretty addictive, and I have a feeling there will be more of these projects in the future.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Minnie Mouse

Here is my finished Sewing Indie Month dress!  I have plans for another version, but at the moment I am still playing catch-up.

I did manage to finish another dotted dress.  Clearly, I am obsessed.

I just cannot get enough of polka dots!

With all the hand sewing I have been doing, the pads of my fingers need a break, so one of these days I am going to uncover my sewing machine and get back to it.

But since the project I left on my sewing table is no longer weather appropriate, I may pick up my knitting needles instead.

And at some point, I am going to cut into that velvet and make myself another Tea Dress . . .

Dress:  Made by me, Sew Over It "1940s Tea Dress"
Shoes:  Colin Stuart

[I received the pattern and the rayon fabric for this project because of my participation in Sewing Indie Month]

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Holiday Patterns

It feels like I have not posted here in months, but I am slowly getting back in the swing of things.  I have not touched a sewing machine in almost three weeks (which feels bizarre), but there has been some knitting and hand sewing.  One of these days I will cut into a new pattern, and who knows, it may be one of these . . . 

Butterick 6286

The Holiday Butterick Collection has something for everyone, including some new vintage reproductions.  And they actually have some interesting style lines!  Now if only those hats were included, I would be a very happy girl.  It has been far too long since there has been a vintage hat pattern released.  Hint, hint!

Butterick 6286

The sewn version of this suit is very unfortunate looking on the model, but with proper fitting and some tailoring, I think it has some real possibilities.  Of course, finding three suitable fabrics might prove to be a challenge.

Butterick 6282

This dress reminds me of Vintage Vogue 9127 but with a little less finesse.  The upper pockets throw off the proportions for me, but this one has potential as well.  

Butterick 6282

The blouse and skirt combo from Gertie is cute. Having her model the designs was an excellent idea - she looks so much better than the other model, and the clothing actually fits.

Butterick 6285

The Gertie dress reminds me of this Butterick pattern, although this one has cut-in-one sleeves and I think I spy gussets in the line drawing.

I am pleased to see some new Retro patterns from Simplicity as well.  I love the dress, although it is a massive fabric hog.  Then again, most of my favorite silhouettes are as well.

The 1970s skirt is cute, although nothing jaw dropping.  But since I cannot recall having a button front gored skirt in my pattern stash, I am probably going to add this one to my collection.

These designs are slightly more complicated and interesting than the recent 1960s sun dresses that were released this past year, so hopefully Simplicity will continue to search their archives for more interesting styles.

 And as soon as I find some appropriate fabric, I want to add this 1960s dress to my closet!

What I will not be able to handle is a Retro pattern from the 1980s, although I suppose it may come to that soon enough.  Yikes!

Friday, October 2, 2015

"Pennsylvania 6-5000"

I will be traveling to Warrington, PA (Bucks County) to help with some family stuff for a couple of weeks beginning next Tuesday.  I am not going to have much free time, but if there is a museum or event that is too fantastic to miss, I plan on sneaking away for a day.  

If you are a local and know of any small but fabulous fabric stores or a vendor with an amazing stash of vintage buttons, etc. I would love to be apprised of the situation! 

New York is a possibility, but my time will be extremely limited.  So are there any costume or textile exhibits that just cannot be missed?  Enquiring minds want to know!

[Click on image for source]

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Test Run

I hope you are enjoying the Sewing Indie Month festivities!

My sewing project for this month was the 1940s Tea Dress from Sew Over It.  This was my first time working with one of their patterns, so a muslin was in order.

A mock-up is a great way to test a new pattern, but sometimes it does not tell the whole story.  First of all, a stable cotton will drape differently than a lightweight rayon.  But I was able to tell that the dress was a pretty good fit with a few minor tweaks.

In the case of PDF patterns, I love having my muslin pieces to use as pattern pieces.  I absolutely hate pinning into paper!  So once the pattern is traced onto muslin, I get to ditch the printed paper.

I never work through an entire project when I make a muslin - I eliminate facings, hemming, finishing, etc.  This saves time, but it can be nice to run through the entire process before working with a precious or difficult to work with fabric.

So before I cut into my precious velvet, I wanted to go a step further.

I never really know just how much I am going to love a garment until I have spent a day wearing it.

Does the length really work?  How much mobility do I have?  And most importantly, do I really want to use that fabric I have been hoarding for years on this particular design?

Sometimes a muslin is just not enough of a finished product to get a real idea of how much I will love a dress.

So I made myself a rayon dress!

I am going to live with this version of the pattern for a bit and decide if I want to make any other changes before I spend a lot of time basting pieces of silk velvet together.

And to be honest, I did not need much of an excuse to add more polka dots to my wardrobe!

Happy National Sewing Month, everyone!

[I received the pattern and the rayon fabric for this project because of my participation in Sewing Indie Month]