Monday, March 20, 2017

A Matched Set

On this first day of Spring, the weather took a bit of a backward turn, and last week’s gorgeous sunshine was replaced with gray skies and rain.  Boo.

This skirt was what I pulled out of the closet this morning to brave the wet weather, along with a sweater, a pair of pumps, and some red lipstick.  It was a bit of armor, if you will, to face the week.  

The first outing for this skirt, however, was back in December.  It has taken me this long to get through the photos, and there are quite a few other finished garments that I would like to get around to posting at some point!

This daisy print was originally destined to be something else entirely, but I have managed to make a cropped jacket, a full skirt, and a pencil skirt from the yardage.  So, all in all, I am going to call this a success!

These three pieces have become staples in my wardrobe.  They are in heavy rotation from season to season, and I think they will continue to be for many years.

I love the opportunity to go all out with an outfit, including a hat and gloves, but I am also finding it very helpful having more and more separates in my closet.

Now I just need to make friends with solid colored fabrics so more of those separates will work with each other.

But I am not sure I will ever be able to resist a textured floral textile, and I am not sure I want to!

Jacket:  Made by me, Vogue 9082
Skirt:  Made by me, McCall 2698
Shoes:  Royal Vintage “Marilyn
Hat:  Made by me
Necklace:  Grandmother’s (borrowed from Mom)
Earrings & Brooch:  Grandmother’s
Gloves:  Vintage

Monday, March 13, 2017

A Beautiful Silk Wool Blend

There are so many reasons I enjoy working with gorgeous fabric; one of the main ones, of course, is that it makes garment construction so much fun!

After managing to squeeze all of the pieces out of my leftover fabric, it was time to baste the layers together.  I like to use silk thread for this task - it is so much easier to remove, and definitely a pleasure to hand sew with silk.

I had my suspicions that the neckline might want to gape, so I used a scrap of organza to stabilize that portion of the fabric (this particular scrap is dark green because I dyed it for use as the underlining of this dress, so it is a little bit difficult to see, but it's there, I promise!).  I measure off the length of the seamline and then subtract an eighth to a quarter inch and distribute the extra ease in the garment fabric along the length of organza.  The organza is then stitched into place just inside the seamline so those pick-stitches will not show when the edge is finished.

The skirt and midriff pieces went together fairly easily.

The most irritating part of the process is removing those white basting threads after each seamline is stitched by machine!

The skirt was then pinned to my dress form while I cut out a second version of the dress.  Does anyone else have nightmares about slicing through a portion of a work in progress while using scissors on something else nearby?  I have never been able to get over the paranoia, so I try to keep everything at least three feet from the working scissors!

The bodice sleeves are raglan for this particular design, so everything looks a bit crazy during the construction process.

For very special fabrics, like this one, I do a lot of hand stitching.  Because all of the pieces are underlined, those stitches are easily hidden from the right side of the garment.  In a silk blend fabric, this is especially helpful, since even the tiniest of stitches stand out.

The midriff cutouts on this design require that certain points be snipped right up to the seamline.  A simple line of stay-stitching did not feel sufficient, so I used another scrap of organza and this gusset trick to keep any raw edges nicely contained.

There is quite a bit of catch-stitching in this piece!

I like to use a ham to elevate my project an extra few inches - this makes it easier on my back when I am hand sewing for long periods of time.

The real moment of truth is putting the bodice, midriff, and skirt sections together.

Everything looks good!  Now I need to tame those oversized seam allowances . . .

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Leftover Cherries

I am currently working on two different versions of Butterick 6413.  I don't believe I have ever done this before, and it certainly has its benefits, but since I am constructing the two dresses slightly differently, it is messing with my head!

When I brought this pattern home, I really hoped it would be the perfect design for my leftover cherry silk/wool from New York.  I have tried repeatedly to use this fabric, but there is never quite enough.  I really am down to scraps!  In fact, the muslin for Vogue 9125 was meant for this fabric, but it ended up working better in a knit.

Since this design has quite a few smaller pieces, I thought there was a good chance that this might work.

Of course, I started with a muslin.  Finding enough scrap fabric was even challenging - I ended up piecing the skirt front.  Which reminds me that I have to order more!

My standard alterations made this dress fit quite well, but that did not stop me from messing with the back skirt darts.  In the end, I went back to the original placement, and just shortened them a bit.

Then the whole thing was ripped apart.

The real test, of course, was to see if the pieces would fit on my leftover fabric (basically a yard of 60" wide fabric with a flaw smack dab in the center, plus scraps).  It took a bit of finagling, but I did manage it!  

I took pictures of my layout, and I also drew a sloppy diagram in case the pictures somehow disappeared and I was unable to replicate the jigsaw puzzle!

The underlining for this is plain old mid-weight cotton.  The stitching lines were traced onto that, and then I had to fit those on my cherry print.  I would have liked a deeper hem on the skirt, but really, I am very, very lucky that everything fits!

Next up is a whole lot of hand basting . . . because such a gorgeous fabric deserves special treatment!