Monday, January 26, 2015

Exclusive Buttons to the Rescue

This past weekend was a very productive one.

Saturday morning I headed over to the East Bay for a get together with a lovely group of Bay Area Sewists for a fabric swap.

While I was across the bay, I stopped by Exclusive Buttons with a few knit swatches.  The only downside of being surrounded by thousands of lovely buttons is that it can be overwhelming.  Looking for something specific helps me focus among such riches!

One of the swatches was for this sweater.  It was finished months ago, except for the buttons.  I have been looking, but nothing  I came across was quite right.  Mary knew exactly where to find the perfect button (no small feat considering the selection in her shop!).

And I may have also stopped by Stonemountain & Daughter and picked up a yummy wool fabric while I was there . . . I already have plans for it . . . we shall see if it gets cut into before the weather turns warm.  But before I start playing with new fabric, I have promised to finish one of the numerous works in progress strewn about my apartment!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Basic Pencil Skirt

With the leftovers from this dress, I managed to cut out a pencil skirt (just barely!).  The pattern was out because I am still working on this skirt, so why not start another?

The rest of the project was cobbled together with stashed items.

The bemberg lining was purchased online years ago . . . when it arrived, the color was not what I was expecting, but it has finally come in handy.

I interfaced the waistband with leftover quilting cotton.  And there was even a suitable invisible zipper on hand. 

The boning is the cheap stuff, and the casing it comes in is garbage.  The stuff frays like crazy and it was almost impossible to get the boning back in once it was stitched into place.  Of course, I could have made my own channels, but I was feeling too lazy for that.

I am not having much success with completing projects so far this year, but that does not keep me from starting the next.  Case in point, this skirt still needs a few thread tacks at the hemline . . .

So this one is staying on the dress form and in my face until I find the motivation to finish what will probably take a total of fifteen minutes.  But at the moment, I would rather work on my Alabama Chanin skirt . . . so, what can you do?!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Designs from Vogue

Vogue 9082

The new Spring Vogue Collection has been released, along with two new Vintage Vogue designs.

Vogue 9082

Vogue 9082 would fit right in with the recent Dolce & Gabbana collections.  The dress is rather bland, but I LOVE the jacket and the notched detail on the shell is a nice touch.

Vogue 9082

And I see quite a few wonderful little details on Vogue 9083 . . .welt pockets and pleats, princess seamed bodice with double darts, and a matching button-on collar.  This one reminds me of one of my favorite Butterick designs (I still prefer the Butterick, but this one has definite possibilities).

Vogue 9083

Does anyone remember the vintage accessories line?  I guess the patterns did not sell very well, because they disappeared from the catalog rather quickly.  Time to pull those old patterns out and make myself a hat, I think!

Vogue 9083

Vogue 9076 reminds me of a hybrid of a late 1930s pattern, one from the 1970s, topped off with a splash of Anna Sui (just imagine it in a fabulous silk or rayon print).

Vogue 9076

There are quite a few other designs with some amazing seaming details.  And while they are not my style, I am definitely pleased to see that Vogue is continuing to produce more complex designs . . . let's hope the trend lasts!  On the other hand, this means more patterns to add to the stash, and project ideas to add to the queue (that list is getting really, really long . . . ) 

What do you think of the new designs - will any of them be added to your wish list?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Hand Sewing Heaven

Hand stitching two layers of cotton knit jersey together has become my favorite creative winter activity.  This means my knitting is not getting much attention, but I am having too much fun with all this hand sewing to stop now!

After realizing that my small embroidery scissors were not incredibly comfortable to use for all the cutting required to reveal the under-layer, I splurged on a pair of appliqué scissors.  I have found my new best friend . . . I think they are going to get a lot of use.

Which leads me to the scariest step of this process . . . the cutting.

The process is getting easier as I work my way through each piece.

There is still a lot of work to do, but I am making progress!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Stretching Out of my Comfort Zone

I am rather excited about my Alabama Chanin progress.  Here is the test run garment that was thrown together before I spend hours and hours on hand stitching and appliquéing.

This knit is more substantial and has a bit more stretch than my cotton jersey, but it was a useful process.

There really is not much more to say about a basic four seamed knit skirt.  Although this one is a bit special because I believe this is my first knit fabric project (took me long enough to work up the courage!).

It also gave me a reason to pull out this sweater . . . so I am going to call this one a success.

For now, it is back to the hand appliqué work . . . I have one of my skirt pieces finished (except for some of the cutting) and am well into the stitching on the second.  And I am enjoying every minute of it!

Sweater:  Made by me, Jenny Cardigan
Skirt:  Made by me, Alabama Chanin
Shoes:  Halogen

Friday, January 9, 2015

Decades of Style

I missed the last few Simplicity pattern updates, but happened to check in today and found some new vintage reproduction designs to tempt me.

There are a few I will be adding to my collection - this blouse, for instance, is lovely.

While not all of them are my absolute favorites, or as complex as I might wish, I do have to applaud Simplicity for the variety of styles/decades they are choosing.  

It would seem that Mad Men and other pop culture references have certainly inspired quite a few of the 60s and 70s designs.  But when they start calling the 80s "vintage" I am going to have a fit. 

I would, however, love to see some romantic 1930s dresses with amazing sleeves show up in the catalog . . . hint, hint!  How about this gorgeousness; or this one, or this one, or this one, or perhaps this one?!

There also seems to be quite few vintage patterns for children – this one is making me want to work with scalloped edges.

And I am rather disturbed that I am jealous of the doll who gets to wear that dropped waist, checked dress . . . I love the style and want my own grown up version.

Certainly YSL's Trapeze silhouette of 1958 has grown on me in recent years.  Does that mean 1970s fashions (other than those that clearly reference the 40s and already have my attention) will tempt me in the near future?  Only time will tell.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hand Appliqué

After testing the pattern, making the stencil, and dying the fabric, it was time to get started with the fun part . . . lots and lots of hand stitching!

There are many different ways to stencil fabric, but I knew I did not want to use fabric paint.  For one, it is something else to purchase.  Also, I do not like the idea of working with a fabric that has been painted.  It seems to me it would get stiff and difficult to hand sew.  So I went the lazy route . . . a Sharpie pen.  

I started with a green felt tip.  There was some drag across the fabric, but nothing terrible.  However, I did not like the way the color looked on the blue jersey.  (My plan is to remove the inked portion, but there are probably going to be sections that remain after everything is trimmed away.)  

After digging around in a desk drawer, I came up with a blue fine tipped pen.  I was concerned that it would not show up well on the fabric, but it is clearly visible, even without the benefit of daylight.  And it glides across the fabric more easily than the thicker tipped Sharpie.

I started my swatch with two small pieces of the dyed cotton jersey.  I have quite a few spools of hand quilting cotton thread and found a blue I thought would look nice with my fabric.  After looking at my sample in the daylight, I decided I did not like the color of the thread - it looked too gray on the bright blue fabric.

And I am making a note:  I am going to have to find different scissors to trim off the top layer.  For my samples, I used a small pair of embroidery scissors, but my fingers started to cramp after a few minutes.  My other small scissors are not up to this task.

Time to cut out my skirt pieces!

Once each piece was cut, the next step was to apply the stencil.  The stencil was placed over the fabric and held in place with magnetic pin holders.  

I decided to orient the pattern along the grainline of the fabric.  Starting at one end, I traced each cutout with my Sharpie pen.  This went very quickly.  The Pellon is thick enough to keep the pen on track and makes for easy tracing.

Next, the stenciled fabric was matched back to its plain jersey counterpart and pinned together.  Thankfully, this fabric like to stick to itself, so I went easy with the pins.

And now I can look forward to many hours of hand sewing!  I am very excited!!