Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Cutting into some heavy wool fabric.

I have had this fabric stashed away for many, many years.  I never really forgot about it, mostly because it takes up a crazy amount of space, and it has been living in a box in the corner of the sewing room.

This has got to be the thickest wool I have ever attempted to sew - it was one of those online orders that arrived and was nothing like I had expected.  There have been different patterns that I was tempted to try with the fabric, but the idea making a buttonhole in this stuff was terrifying.

Then Simplicity 8509 came along, and the wool finally found its match.  No closures!

I hesitate to call my first version of the design a wearable muslin because the fabrics are extremely different in weight and drape, but it did confirm that I can always use another swing coat in my life!

Pinning the pattern tissue to the wool was proving to be a problem and I felt like there was a little too much distortion, so I chalked the outlines and cut along those marks.

And I happened to have some mid-weight satin rayon that coordinated nicely with the wool. Hooray for using stashed fabrics!!

That rayon did have a few flaws that I discovered when ironing it, so I used thread to mark those spots.  

If I don't take this extra step, I inevitably end up with those flaws front and center on an important piece that is too large to re-cut.

And now I just have to figure out how to sew this incredibly thick fabric together.  

I have a feeling the most challenging part of this project is going to be lugging around the heavy fabric as everything begins to come together!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

New Butterick Patterns for Spring

Ah, the lure of the new pattern catalog . . .  I am continuously tempted.  Suddenly a new option is the only one that will do for that fabric yardage I have been hoarding.  And yet, so often, I never get around to making that particular pairing because in a couple of months something new and shiny will catch my eye.  It's a real problem!  And yet here I am perusing the new offerings.  So let's take a look, shall we . . .
My favorite new pattern is this Gertie dress.  Although upon closer inspection, there is nothing exceptionally new or interesting here.  It is a lovely frock, but I am probably more intrigued by the lovely border print and her fabulous hairstyle!  But I do love that pleated skirt, and I know that I will be adding this one to my collection.  I know you are surprised, right?!

Gertie also has a button front blouse.  I am ever searching for that perfect blouse design, but I don’t believe this will be it.  It's cute, but I feel like I must have something just like it in my stash of patterns.  And none of the sleeve options are calling my name.

As far as trends go, there are quite a few cold shoulder designs included in this catalog.  I have always liked the look, and I see possibilities in this top.  I would probably cut it at the waist and attach a long skirt, or mess around with it in some other way.  But do I already have something like this in my sewing room, as well?
I am interested in the new Lisette design (Butterick 6567), although it is not really “me.”  Will I ever make it if I purchase the pattern?  The jury is still out on that one.  I do not have a great track record with straying too far from my comfort zone when it comes to modern designs.  The pockets are pretty fabulous, though!

I love the illustration for this classic wrap halter dress.  But do I need another wrap dress pattern?  Probably not.  I do love those ruffles, though . . . and the shoes illustration looks a little 1940s to me - where can I find those (hint, hint, Royal Vintage Shoes!).

And while I do not like either of the samples of Butterick 6558, this illustration is making me take a second look.  I guess I am still a fan of the cold shoulder.  I believe that floral print is distracting me.

Do you have any new favorites?  I will probably grab a couple of these at the next sale, but I do not feel the need to rush out immediately.  It feels rather strange, but the thrill of a new catalog appears to be diminishing as the years go by.  Is it me or the patterns?  It's probably a combination of both.  Would I be clamoring over a catalog filled with vintage confections with interesting seaming details and advanced ratings?  I think I would.

[Click on image for source]

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Adventures in Serging

It has been months since I received my Janome serger.  And, as many sewing friends have mentioned, these items often stay tucked away in their box for months, and sometimes years.  What is it about these sewing accoutrements that some of us find so intimidating?

Well, the time finally came for me to slice into the packing tape and meet my new sewing friend.  I have yet to name her, but we only have spent an hour or two together, so I am going to wait for inspiration on that front.

I did use a serger in college in the theatre costume department, but all I had to do was walk up and press the foot petal to make it go.  If any problem occurred, there was always someone to help.

With this machine I am going to have to figure it out for myself.  It was necessary to adjust the cutting width right off the bat, which was easily accomplished.

I also adjusted the differential feed for my rayon knit.  The quilting cotton went through without any distortion, but the lightweight stretchy stuff needed a bit of help.  That was also fairly straight forward.

But then, the lower looper somehow came out of one of its loops, so it was necessary to rethread  . . . the dreaded rethread.  The instruction booklet was worthless.  The numbers and letters referred to have no place in the diagrams referenced, and one arrow appears to be pointing in the wrong direction.  So it was necessary to ask the internet for help.  The first YouTube  video was not very useful for the step I was needing a bit of help with, but the second confirmed that the diagram in the instructions is either incorrect, or I am not reading it properly.

Well, whatever the case may be, I figured it out!

I have yet to rethread the other three spools, but I believe I will tame this beast, yet!

And so far, I am very pleased with my results!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Orange Colored Fabric?!?

While it may not be a part of my preferred color palette, I have very fond memories of the color orange because of a high school friend.  Her favorite sweater was “pumpkin” colored, and simply wearing the color could uplift her mood.

The memory was so positive that I purchased my own pumpkin colored sweater in college as a reminder of her.  And yet, I rarely wear the color these days.

Yellow is another color which I am not often drawn towards.  But I could not resist this print!

The fact that it is printed on a lightweight rayon helped!

But it did take me a while to figure out just what I was going to do with this fabric.  During one of the final heat waves last year, I decided to add another Anna dress to my wardrobe, and this was the fabric that seemed like a perfect choice.

This particular pattern is one that I keep returning to.  I love how easy it is to throw on, and how comfortable it is to wear all day long.  It is certainly not the most technically perfect pattern ever drafted, but I loved the design the first time I saw it, and I still love it, flaws and all. 

I would say that I have probably had my fill of the Anna Dress, but each time I make that statement, another fabric comes along that makes me want to pull out the pattern - so I am not making any promises!

Dress:  Made by me, "Anna" Dress
Shoes:  Colin Stuart
Earrings:  Morning Glory Designs