Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from Snow White and Happy the Dwarf!

And since I have not heard from the winner of The Magic Pattern Book, I have chosen another . . .

 . . . Cynthia Lanahan . . .

please send your mailing address to lauramae.p.s [at] gmail [dot] com so Workman Publishing can get you your new sewing book!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Final Details

This dress was originally for New York and Male Pattern Boldness Day.  The rose print was a gift from Peter which made it the perfect choice.  

I had enough yardage leftover from this blouse to make myself a Georgia dress thanks to those princess seams and all those narrow pattern pieces.  The busy floral motifs meant that print matching was unnecessary (especially helpful when working on a deadline!). 

Alas, it was not meant to be.  A few days before my trip, I decided that rushing through the last few steps was just silly.

This crazy weather we have been having was a good motivator to get it finished and have at least one chance to wear the finished dress before next year (even if a white cotton dress is a bit ridiculous to wear in October, the 80 degree days makes it weather appropriate).

I have very few progress shots of this dress - mostly because I was too busy to stop and take pictures.  But there are a few hints of a grosgrain stay and the reinforced bodice edge.

Since I already had a muslin to work with from my first Georgia dress, this one was pretty straight forward.  I decided to add sleeves again, although these are meant to fall off the shoulder.

And it feels really good to complete an unfinished project; I always feel guilty leaving bits and pieces of a dress behind as I move on to new things.

I could always call it “winter white” and get a bit more wear out of this, right?!  Then again, I think it is time to reacquaint myself with all that wool that has been stashed away.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Small Selection from the Archive

McCall has released their new pattern collection for the holidays.  Generally, I prefer Vogue and Butterick designs, but now that The Archive Collection exists, McCall has my attention.

McCall 7053

There is definitely a theme here.  In fact, the photo shoot is recycling the skirt from last season, and has added two blouse and vest options to complete the look.

I see the appeal of a capsule collection.  What confuses me is that you get an entire suit pattern from Vogue (which costs more) and yet these Archive Collection pieces have to be purchased separately.  What is that about?!

McCall 7056

It would have made more sense for last season’s skirt and jacket combo to be released as a single pattern, and these new offerings of the blouse and vest combo to be released as a single pattern.  McCall is clearly marketing the pieces as part of a whole, so I can’t think why they are going this route.

McCall 7053

But I do love the blouse pattern.  Love the lantern sleeve, love the tie front – just love it!  Both options are fabric hogs, but boy are they pretty.  The vest . . . well, I can take it or leave it at this point.  It has some cute features, but I am not sure I would ever wear it.

McCall 7056

The rest of the new patterns are not doing anything for me, but I am fine with that – there are plenty of projects in my queue without adding more!

McCall 7053

Do you have any new favorites?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Why do you write?

Beth of SunnyGal Studio (one of the real-life sewing friends I have made thanks to the online sewing community) nominated me for the blog hop that has been making the rounds.  No doubt you are already aware of her amazing tailoring skills, and if not, make sure to stop by her corner of the internet where there is sure to be gorgeous sewing and beautiful flowers blooming.

So here we go . . .

Why do you write?

Well . . . because I enjoy it!  Why else would we all be spending hours at the keyboard, right?!

There was a period of time when I made daily entries in a journal, and there was a whole lot of letter writing to friends in college (yes, email was possible, but we were Jane Austen fans with no patience for keyboards and internet connections).  Once I left school behind, I no longer had a desk whose sole purpose was for writing, and the letters and journaling dropped off.

But my trusty needle and thread were never far away.

I discovered the online sewing world while searching for vintage patterns about five years ago.  Each new blog I discovered led me to another and yet another online chronicle written by a kindred spirit who, like me, could spend hours in a fabric store and was obsessed with the way clothing is made.

And I wanted in on the fun!

Blogging seemed like a good way to keep track of my sewing process and get a bit of feedback along the way.  Taking the time to write also helps me slow down and enjoy each project before rushing onto the next.

The connections I have made are pretty fabulous as well.  This little blog got me way out of my comfort zone and all the way to New York City!  So, in an odd way, spending time alone at the computer keyboard has brought some incredible people in my life that I would never have met if not for the solitary act of writing.  Funny how that works . . .

How is your blog different to others of the same genre?

One of my favorite things about reading blogs is that everyone has their own perspective to share.  In that way, I think we are all different.  

But I suppose I fall into the "vintage" category.  And clearly, I love rather antiquated styles.  Unlike some of my fellow vintage enthusiasts, I am also a fan of the reproduction pattern.  It doesn’t have to be original for me to enjoy a great style line or an interesting detail.  And I am not opposed to contemporary designs.  If I am drawn to a design, the year does not matter to me.  But I tend to use old school techniques in all of my work, even if the directions do not call for them.

Other than that, I am just like every other sewing blogger out there, sharing my work and a few techniques along the way.

What am I working on right now?

I just finished a dress that I started back in July for my New York trip – whoops, missed that deadline by a mile!  After my gala gown adventures, I am trying to catch up with my life and my sewing and blogging!  Work has been rather busy lately, and the sewing has taken a back seat - and perhaps I needed the break.  Just yesterday I finished stitching ribbon hangers and thread loops on my gown and petticoat and made a couple of garment bags.

At this very moment, my red linen jacket is laying on the sewing table.  I have started the hemming process and hope to finish the project this weekend!

What is your writing process?

I would love to say that I am incredibly organized and have a schedule planned out, but that is far from my reality.

I try to post what I am working on at the moment, when possible.  Some projects get more step-by-step attention than others here on the blog, depending on time constraints, how many photos I feel like taking while I am in the sewing room, and how much energy I happen to have that day.

I still have not figured out how to manage both sewing and blogging.  Generally one is getting all the attention and the other is on the back burner.  If only there were more hours in the day . . .

Every once in a while I think I should get a few drafts written up and scheduled for publishing, but it doesn't seem to work with my creative process.  So I am just going to write when I want, and head for the sewing room whenever I feel the urge.  After all, this is supposed to be fun!

If you would like to take some time to ponder these questions, feel free to consider yourself nominated for the Blog Hop.  I have to say, I enjoyed taking the time to stop thinking about my massive “to-do” list and just enjoy the fact that I have a creative pursuit that brings me a lot of joy and has helped me discover so many wonderful people and learn so many new things!  Thank you, Beth, for the opportunity.

And have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Winner of The Magic Pattern Book is . . .

The Winner of The Magic Pattern Book is . . . aus_chick!
Congratulations!  Please email your mailing address to [lauramae.p.s [at] gmail [dot] com] so Workman Publishing can send you your new book.

 And happy sewing, everyone!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lots of Little Details

When I left off sharing the insides of this dress, I was working on the skirt, which includes a layer of Pellon.  Watch out, my hips and I are coming through!

There is a bit of seam binding in there, surprise, surprise!  I rarely make it through a project these days without adding a bit of the stuff.

The instructions for Vogue 4203 included a new-to-me bound buttonhole technique, so I tried it out (first on a scrap of muslin, of course).  

It will not replace my favorite technique, but I love having different options.

And a bit of thread tracing is still a good idea, no matter which technique is used!

And, of course, the facing . . .

Lots and lots of buttonholes!

It's funny, I have done this so many times, I actually find it relaxing.

(Provided I am not working on a deadline, or in the dark - bound buttonholes are definitely a day time activity!)

I also underlined the bodice with a plain cotton.  It didn't seem fair to give the skirt so much extra body, only to ignore the bodice pieces!

The waist seam has bias covered piping made from the thickest yarn I could find in my stash.  I pre-wash a length of yarn and stick it in the dryer before doing this to make sure all of the shrinking is out of the way. 

The piping is then basted to the bodice.  It also finished the neckline as well.

The pattern includes this feature.  Oh Vogue Special Design patterns, how I love thee!

I often make a belt to match back to a fitted waist dress, but every once in a while it is nice to be reminded of other possibilities.

For the view I chose, the back bodice buttons closed, but just to the waistline.  That means a side zipper is needed to get in and out of the dress.

I hand picked a lapped zipper application.

And, of course, a waist stay was added.  Somehow I did not manage to get a picture of that . . . it is a pretty pale pink grosgrain, so you can just imagine that!

Because the bottom of the skirt is cut on a straight edge, a nice deep hem is an option.  It also adds a bit of weight to a hemline that might like to fly up at an inopportune moment!

And that is the dress!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Roses are Red

Wonderful news - thanks to your votes, I am a runner up in the Sew Your Style contest!  So thank you very much - I really appreciate your support!!

This is the dress that reminded me how much I love cotton. 

But I think I am going to wait until next year to pull out more of the stuff seeing as the weather (while quite warm during the day) has changed.  There is a definite chill in the air each morning and evening. 

But at least the print is Fall friendly.  With the petticoat, I should be comfortable for at least another month.

Like a few other projects, this one got sidelined for a while, but I certainly did not forget about it.  And it feels really good to complete something!  Maybe I should pull out a few other works in progress . . . the sense of accomplishment is rather nice.

This dress pattern will probably be used again.

Now that I have a suitable petticoat, I might as well fill the closet with more of the same silhouette, right?!  I think a textured wool would be lovely . . .

Dress:  Made by me, Vogue 4203
Petticoat:  Made by me (tutorial here)
Shoes:  Nina
Bracelet:  Borrowed from Mom
Earrings:  Gift

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Magic Pattern Book: A Review & Giveaway

Today I have a book review for you:  The Magic Pattern Book by Amy Barickman!

The premise of this sewing book is a wearable wardrobe made from six basic patterns which can be transformed into many, many different looks.  Included is a tank top, skirt, dress, cardigan, coat, hat, and tote bag.

The Magic Pattern Book is geared towards the beginner, and uses a very intuitive approach to teach garment sewing.

The book also includes basic construction techniques that will be quite helpful for anyone interested in learning to sew.

Each individual pattern also includes a few sidebars with suggested design changes and fabric choices to keep you thinking of even more creative uses for the base patterns.

The patterns in the book are included on a CD in sizes S-XXL.  Finished garment measurements are noted on the first page of each individual design; for instance, the "Anne" shift dress ranges from a finished bust of 38" - 45.5".  Most patterns work directly from body measurements, so I am not sure why this choice was made.  And yes, these are PDF patterns.  This is my least favorite part of the book, and unfortunately, it seems to be a growing trend.

What I really love about this book is the fact that it encourages beginners to be creative with pattern pieces and fabric choices right from the start.  Six basic patterns may seem limiting, but in reality, it takes away some of the guess work while still allowing for creativity.  (I clearly remember sitting at the pattern book table in JoAnn Fabrics many years ago and feeling completely overwhelmed by hundreds of choices, none of which were exactly what I was looking for - this book would have been very helpful at that moment.)

I think Amy has created a clever approach for someone interested in learning to make their own self-made wardrobe.  There is a lot of wonderful information contained within the pages of her new book, but it remains very approachable.  The illustrated diagrams are clear and concise, and the overall layout of the book is easy to follow.  And best of all, while working your way through several iterations of one basic pattern, you cannot help but learn how to do the same for any design you come across in the future.  

Workman Publishing has generously offered a copy of The Magic Pattern Book to one lucky U.S. resident.  To enter, leave a comment on this post - if you like, tell me what your next sewing project will be.  The giveaway will close at midnight on October 21st PDT.  

And make sure to check out the rest of the blog tour!

October 15          Four SquareWalls
October 16          Pink Chalk Studio
October 17          City Stitching with Christine Haynes
October 20          Cut Out & Keep
October 21          He Sowed, She Sewed
October 22          Chic Steals
October 23          Threads
October 24          Indygo Junction

[A copy of this book was sent to me for review, but the opinions expressed here are my own.]