Monday, September 30, 2013

Something to Wear Right Now

Lesson Number Five

This is the time of year when our wardrobes collapse under us like a house of cards.  It’s an old story but a perennial one.  No matter how bitterly we remember last year’s experience, how forward-looking we think we are being – it happens again.

Obviously in a season when most of the clothes we wear are washable ones, there are bound to be disconcerting days when all tubbables are in the tub.  Yet there is never any time when we can afford to look bedraggled.  Even with the heat at its height, our bosses expect us to look fresh and efficient, our husbands will notice any let-down in our appearance.

So we decide to get something new quickly and the thing most of us decide to get is “something to put right on now and wear into the fall.”  That is a decision I want to forestall for it is not a solution.  True, we can begin to plan our fall clothes now but – we can’t wear them.  The sleek black satin dress, the thin wool looks new and autumnal.  But when we try to wear it we’re miserable.  It is much too hot for the boggy days of August and September and we’re constantly afraid of ruining it before fall actually comes.  Furthermore, we’ve probably bought it in black, entirely overlooking the fact that all our summer accessories are navy blue so we’ve nothing to wear with it except last winter’s wintry looking hat and shoes.

I have found the solution.  Get something new you can wear right now – something that will not carry over into fall but that is so new and smart that it will provide you with a flawless ensemble to start next summer.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Whatever Lola Wants

I finally did it! 

I purchased a dress form!  

It has been on my mind for quite some time, so when PGM Dress Form had my size back in stock, I grabbed one.  The form was purchased through their ebay store.  I was outbid two weeks ago, but when I tried again last week, no one else seemed to be searching for this particular form.  Lucky me!

Lola is decidedly slimmer through the hip than me, but I can always pad her.  And she does not have my squishy bits, but I will not hold that against her.

And, unlike me, she does not mind pictures taken of her naked form.  But to keep things from getting too scandalous, I put a slip on her.

Someday I hope to have a Wolf Form made to my measurements, but at this point, that is about as likely as owning these shoes.

I keep waiting for the excitement to pass, but every time I walk by her, I giggle - I finally have my very own dress form!

Slip:  Made by me, VPLL T1136

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Summer Eyelet

Remember this eyelet project

Well, I finally finished it!

I am slowly working my way through all of those unfinished bits that are cluttering up my sewing room so I can begin my gala project in earnest!

I have a bad habit of getting excited about a new project and jumping right in without finishing what I currently have on the sewing table.  This particular dress was put aside when I was distracted by my Fall for Cotton top.  All it needed was a hem and a belt. 

Since I will be focusing on just one outfit for the next month or so, everything distracting needs to be out of sight.  Not to mention the change of seasons will make anything summer related much less exciting, which is a great motivation to finish something made of lightweight eyelet.

There was not quite enough fabric for a belt, and all that pink needed a bit of contrast anyway.  

Years ago, JoAnn Fabrics had a deep burgundy velvet, and I was really hoping they might still have some in stock since my remnants from this hat would not accommodate a belt shape.  And, miraculously, they did!  

I ended up doing something a little different for the "buckle."  Using the top from a plastic container, I cut an oval form, which I then covered with cotton batting, followed by the velvet fabric.

Now it is time to clean up that sewing room!

Dress & Bolero:  Made by me, Simplicity 3224
Belt:  Made by me
Shoes:  Banana Republic
Necklace:  Judith Jack
Brooch:  Vintage
Earrings:  Macys

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Scalloped Apples

I do not do well in the direct sunlight (just call me a vampire).  Long ago, I gave up on the idea of looking bronzed by the sun – a few attempts as a child only led to lobster-colored skin and a couple of really bad burns.  Have you ever had a sunburned scalp?  If not, I suggest you avoid it at all costs.

My mom and I attended the Marin Symphony’s Waterfront Pops Concert last weekend, which was the perfect event to debut my Fall for Cotton top.  With the addition of an umbrella to shield my pasty skin, along with multiple layers of sunscreen, I made it through the day unscathed by that ball of fire in the sky!

And once the sun went down, I could focus on the beautiful music.  Hopefully the event will be an annual one!

Simplicity 1644 was the design I initially had in mind for my latest Britex project.  And since the pattern was out, and I knew I was going to “need” something new to wear to the event, a quick little cotton blouse was just the ticket.

I love my apple skirt, and have been meaning to make a matching top with the leftover fabric for some time.  The scallops were too much of a design coincidence to ignore!

Just like the skirt, I used some contrasting red and white cotton gingham for the facings.  And while the instructions include inserting shoulder pads, my cotton was crisp enough to stand out on its own.

I just wish I had made the top earlier this year so it got more of a workout during the summer months!

Top:  Made by me, Simplicity 1644
Skirt:  Made by me, Spadea 1149
Shoes:  Miz Mooz
Necklace:  Rafael Jewelers

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pattern Review: Member in Focus

I am currently Pattern Review’s Member in Focus!  You can check out my interview here.

Thank you to Diane and Pattern Review for the opportunity!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Draping, The Complete Course: A Review

As you may already know, Laurence King Publishing has a new treat for those of us who love the sewing process!  Draping, The Complete Course is a stunning 320 page tome.  And it is currently available for pre-order (the release date is set for October 1st).

While I have been sewing for many, many years, I know little to nothing about draping.  But this book is going to change all that!

It is HEAVY! Or perhaps a better word would be substantial – and chock full of wonderful inspiration as well as extensive instructional information. 

The book takes you through what might be described as an intensive class or workshop as the pages unfold.

Starting with more basic projects and then working through much more complicated designs, Ms. Karolyn Kiisel runs through skirts, blouses, dresses, pants, working with knits, and even on the bias.  Proportion, design, functionality, shape, and three dimensional form are discussed at length.

The projects include contemporary and vintage designs, classic silhouettes, runway looks and even a few familiar red carpet pieces that the reader can recreate by following clear and concise diagrams.

Stunning photographs of the "finished" garment made from muslin are also included.  Some people might find them odd and perhaps unfinished looking, but personally, I think they are stunning.

And if hundreds of detailed pictures are not enough, a DVD is also included to help walk the reader though the process.  That being said, a basic knowledge of apparel sewing is a prerequisite – I believe this book would be quite overwhelming for a true beginner.

This is a comprehensive look at the art of draping, and if you are looking to scratch the surface or even master more complex designs, this is definitely a book to have on hand!

[Disclosure:  I received this book from Laurence King Publishing in exchange for a review, but the opinions expressed are my own.]

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Rambling Rose

I just love silk and cotton blends!  And, of course, just about any floral print is going to have my full attention.  Beautiful fabric is such a pleasure to work with - spending extra time and working on those pesky little details does not test my patience at all (well, almost!).

The blouse may not have turned out exactly as I initially envisioned it, but I am very pleased with the finished result.

For some reason, I am not as attracted to separates when looking for patterns, but once they are completed, I suddenly remember how versatile they can be.

And no matter how many times I wear the fabric, I always manage to forget how lightweight silk dupioni is!  Dealing with the wind was a challenge for these pictures, so I think I will have to make myself a red skirt that is a bit more weather proof as the seasons change!

Blouse:  Made by me, Simplicity 1692
Skirt:  Banana Republic
Shoes:  Naturalizer
Earrings:  Shadows
Minaudière:  Banana Republic

[The fabric for this project was received in exchange for my contributions as a Britex Guest Blogger.]

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Change of Plans

I knew I would be making another Simplicity 1692, I just did not realize it would be so soon!  But it ended up being perfect for my latest Britex project.

When my latest Britex fabric pick arrived, I knew that my initial idea was not going to work.  The silk/cotton was deliciously sheer and delicate, and completely unsuitable for a scalloped edge - whoops!  But it is the perfect choice for a beautiful blouse.

For a bit of a change to the original design, I altered the sleeves.  Working with the curve of the original long sleeve pattern piece, and laying Advance 5470’s lantern sleeve on top, I mocked up my idea - and it worked!  

For my next project, I am promising myself that no underlining will be required!  I really do love hand sewing, but having to work on a flat surface (my sewing table) can be rather tedious.  The result is always worth the extra effort, but I cannot curl up with my pup while standing at a table.  He keeps coming to check on me in the sewing room, and I think he is starting to feel neglected, poor little guy (or at least, he is pretending to be).

Because of the sheer fabric, I decided to go with silk organza for the back neck facing. 

Last time around, I eliminated the need for the facing altogether by cutting the back piece on the fold, but with this fabric I was more concerned with motif placement.

And I added 1 ½” to the hem length, also adding a bit of width at the bottom edge since the blouse now falls lower on my hipline.

And a hand-stitched hem is something that can be done with a snuggly Chihuahua on the lap!

[The fabric for this project was received in exchange for my contributions as a Britex Guest Blogger.]