Wednesday, August 31, 2011

thoughts and a movie!

Its not really sewing, buts I liked it. Plus fashion history == awesometastic.

On a more sewing related note, tomorrow begins Self Stitched September, but I will not be an active participant.  The primary goal of wearing one's creations doesn't apply, because I already do most days, at least throughout the warm months.   My cold weather wardrobe is still mostly store-bought, and I have no intention of getting rid of something I like just because I didn't make it - and while I'm not going to make a never-buying-anything pledge, the reality is I rarely purchase clothing these days, and the in a few years, just about everything in my closet will be me-made.    I realized the main reason I'd done March and June was to be a part of the sewing community, and for that reason I loved it (and found the Scruffs, Mimi and Quix) but I can merrily stalk away, be perfectly content, and not add the stress of getting the damn daily photo or limiting myself during a month where there looks to be a fair amount of business stuff that will continually require this whole dressing like a grown up thing.   (I have plans for this too, but I want to work on them at my leisure.)   So, huzzah to those who do.  I will be over here, puttering away as usual.   

And on an actually sewing related note, I got all the seams tacked down inside the body of the jacket, next up is actually sewing the shoulders and then setting the sleeves.  ::does a little dance of almost doneness::

Monday, August 29, 2011

V1040: getting the fit!

Ignore the wonky sleeves and marvel at the difference lifting the shoulders and taking the waist in can produce!  As the fit in the front was fine, I only raised the outside edge of the back of the jacket - basically taking out a triangular wedge an inch high at the outside.   Then, rather than take it in at the center back I ended up taking a scoop about an inch deep from each side seam.   Not only did this pull the back of the jacket in to match mine, but it also gave me much better waist definition.   Granted, there isn't much when one works with polar fleece, but it helps me look curvy rather than lumpy, which I tend to do with loose fitting garments made of thicker material.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

V1040: Working on the fit

Currently being thwarted by the fitting gods...   despite a lovely  (and unphotographed) muslin that got rid of most of the oddities, I'm still having issues with my lower back.   As may be seen, fabric is pooling in my truly massive sway back, and is catching behind my shoulder blade.   (Pictures really are a marvelous way to discover fit issues - although a dummy with my measurements would be better.) 

The plan of attack is to take out the sleeves (only pinned in place for the moment - seam ripping polar fleece is .... fun) and raise the outside edge of the shoulders by about a half an inch.   I'm also going to take in the center back seam and see if I can smooth everything out a bit more.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ruminations whilst I still have power

Tuesday we had a earthquake.   Sunday we're having a hurricane.   Today, I bought polar fleece.    I figured swarms of locusts were next, and provided we were doing the whole end up the world thing, the fact that I was blowing my stash-busting vow to bits was pretty insignificant.  (plus, I found really cool buttons!)
  For the past two years I've more or less lived in this shapeless purple confection.    Despite holding up rather well to everything I throw at it (10 points to L.L. Bean) it remains shapeless and frankly altogether unflattering -- but it is warm, and when it starts to get cold (or my office neglects to turn the AC down from the heat wave induced peak, despite our current mild temperatures) I choose warmth over style every single day.    So, today (while bundled up in an extra-cold lab) I decided I needed new polar fleece, flattering polar fleece, and if at all possible, exquisitely tailored, over the top, did-she-really-make-*that*-out-of-polar-fleece polar fleece.   Cue Badgley Mischka.   May I introduce V1040?  This baby is going to be made of moss-green polar fleece, and as I am fairly certain to be trapped inside for significant portions of the weekend as the storm rages on, perhaps even by Monday.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

variations on a theme

Hola Chiquitas*  The dress is done!     ::does a happy dance of happiness::   This is my fourth version of New Look 6557 - which I think officially makes it my favorite.   As google+ ate the pictures of my earlier posts, I offer you a glimpse through the ages right here. 

This project was the result of my frustration with the fuss of fitting the mod cloth inspired dress and the other jacket I was trying to make for the work event.  Both were coming together, but it was too slow and I just wanted to knock something out.   Earlier today Scruffy Badger was talking about favorite parts of sewing, and I've realized mine is the victory dance when I finish a project.   I enjoy the process, but too long without a feeling of accomplishment and I get grumpy.    I'd planned to take a few days off sewing, but found myself going through my stash and landing on my perennial favorite, the brown border print eyelet- I decided if I did a straight skirt, I would have **just** enough to pull off this pattern and not muss the pretty design.    It was close.    Originally, I had planned to leave the skirt unlined, and let the holes rest around my ankles, cut the middrift out of plain eyelet, since and otherwise have a low key-vacationy dress.   However,  I realized I didn't have a facing for the bodice, which would make it messy, that the fabric was awfully transparent for a single layer, and that an unlined middrift would limit the times I could wear it.  

So... I came to my senses, cut off the top, unadorned portion of the skirt fabric and used it to line the bodice.   This left me with a knee length skirt, the solid part of which actually reached mini-skirt lengths, but with what was peaking through the eyelet, it actually seemed rather more provocative than a regular short skirt would be.   (It struck me as very naughty librarian, when outfitted with the cardigan I would normally wear it with) 

Thus, It required a lining - being at this point down to tiny scraps, I went off to the fabric store and found the darkest brown they had, and popped it in - and it is now perfect.  (despite the lousy picture - trust me on this one)

The construction may be a bit half-assed (I finished no seams nicely) and the skirt pleating slightly uneven (I did it by eye with what I had) but I am as pleased as punch.   Huzzah for random urges.   Oh yeah, and this is stash bust 2-6.

*on the off chance you were curious, I use this as a general purpose greeting, regardless of the gender(s) of the party I am addressing.   While it occasionally causes my gentleman friends to blink once or twice, they then realize its me, and that I spent most of last summer desperately trying *not* to address my entire office as string cheese, and they just go with it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

worthwhile fidgeting

 This was originally an *extremely* extended ramble of a dress I wasn't going to show you pictures of, as it requires a lining before being displayed to the internet.    I've decided to save it for when you will actually be able to see what I am talking about, and instead offer a quick shot of some of the pretty pretty eyelet.

Although the lining has been purchased, life is once again intruding into my sewing time, this time in the form of a conference paper, the deadline of which is fast approaching.   Consequently, posting will remain sparse for a little while.  But trust me, its a very pretty dress :)   (with an interesting, '50s ish, pleated skirt)

(the title refers to my inability to sit still, which produced a dress I am very happy with - there was rather a lot on this general theme in the extended ramble)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sewing, cartoon style

The most accurate cartoon depiction of sewing I have ever seen.

EDIT:  This is supposed to be "Suited for Success" an episode of "My Little Ponies, Friendship is Magic" which is what shows up on my computer.  Sabra-n reports that it turned into "Sunday in the Park with George"   Not quite sure whats going on there, but...  you should be seeing a purple haired pony in her sewing studio.

Proper blogging is being temporarily put aside due to guests and the need to get some sewing done whilst they sleep.  (The time difference between the coasts can actually be remarkably useful at times.)   I'd known for a while I was going to a business thing next week, but then on Thursday we were told we had to wear suits... EVERY DAY.     I know.   Who in their right mind dresses like a grownup that often?  So, I'm going to get to wear my pretty brocade jacket, and luckily my interview suit still fits, but I needed at least one other jacket, so I'm in the midst of getting V1136 together.   (more on that later)  My guest walked in to find me all pinned up with tissue paper strewn about the floor and decided I needed see to the video posted above.   Enjoy!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

murder most foul!

my charming hostess
The story of the shift dress --  This weekend I went to a 60s themed murder mystery dinner party (hence the 'cigarettes' -- cardboard and glitter, don't worry) to which I had planned to wear a dress I'd left at my mother's house.   Since then, my old bedroom has become something of a storage room, and the dress, despite my frantic and harried search, could not be found.  So- the search began for something - anything - that could be made reasonably 60s, reasonably glamorous and really really fast.  Finally,  I landed upon a truly horrible shift dress I'd made my sophomore year of high school  (shapeless, ankle length and originally worn with a a lace overcoat thing)   Anyhow, fast forward to yesterday, and I realized that if I cut off about two feet, it would be more or less appropriate.   Following a hasty hem, the addition of some crazy 60s jewelry, something of a half beehive and knee high boots (that didn't make it into the pictures), I was ready to go.

.....and in case you were curious, I didn't do it!

Friday, August 5, 2011


Behold the glory of the jacket!    Taken up a notch or two by the ever stylish paring with pajamas -- I know, you are in ever bewildered awe of my fashion sense.    As I mentioned, I ended up binding the edges and skipping a lining.    This will make it a fall / spring weight jacket, which works out nicely, as if it were really that cold, I would want long sleeves anyhow.    Despite my somewhat ridiculous button stash (hoard?)  none of them seemed to work -- and I really liked the clean lines I got from pinning it in place, so I ended up using a row of skirt hooks!  They have a pressure connection, and with the additional pull of my body inside the jacket, they aren't coming apart unless I'm actively involved in the process, so its just as secure as buttons, and actually far and away quicker to put into place.

And for the stash bust count, this is item #5 of the second round.  horray and huzzah!  (like I didn't just break it.   ah well  I'm going to keep chugging through it, trying to limit the insanity.)

Now onto the modcloth dress -- after rinsing, washing and drying not only was the fabric more of a spring green than the forest I had been aiming for, but it was also much more tightly woven thanks to the hot water and the hot dryer.    Both of these, although unintended, work to my advantage - I think the lighter color is actually prettier than what was on the bottle, and goes with the buttons I had chosen rather nicely.   The tighter weave means I don't have to line it, which leaves lots of fabric for another project!
its springy-er in real life

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My mother, the enabler

Lets pause for a moment and consider just why it is I have so much fabric.   (We're talking two giant rubber made containers full, plus, well, a lot actually.)     Whenever Mom comes to visit, she insists on exploring another local (I use the term loosely)  fabric store,  and having done her research, we end up at some wholesaler's odds and ends or designer remnants or something else with a lot of really interesting fabrics for practically nothing that we'll never see again.  Needless to say, we end up with a lot.    (The first time we went to Jomar,  which has all sorts of remnants and extras, we filled two shopping carts with bolts of fabric and were quite literally cackling with glee when the whole thing turned out to be something like $120.  Madness I say! Madness!)   So, inevitably her response to my last post was to encourage me to go get more (like I needed it)  So, Mom, I am blaming this dress on you.   You heard it here first.   (Yeah, I know, there was a reeeeallly good chance I would have gone and gotten it anyway, but you tipped the scales and have lead me down a path of wanton profligacy)

Anyhow, while at the fabric store, I remembered that Vogue had a pattern that was pretty close to what I was shooting for... check out V1044 vs the modcloth dress I'm aiming for.  If I alter it to be a scooped neckline and a slightly narrower skirt, its practically perfect.

Anyhow, the store didn't have any cotton lawn (nor had the sales person even heard of it... she ended up directing me to the 'muslims' ::sigh::)   I ended up finding a nice muslin for practically nothing ($2 per yard) but it was a bit thin, and only 36" wide -- so I got 10 yards and a bottle of dye.  (digression of the moment:  it takes a REALLY REALLY long time to get 10 yards of fabric to run clear after dyeing.)   My plan is to line everything and have a bit left over, possibly for some sort of belt, although I am thinking brown might be nice too.

After wrestling with all that water logged fabric, and dyeing my hands and feet a mottled gray green (it got into my gloves, and during the rinsing I ended up stomping on it in the bathtub....) the jacket is going to have to wait for another day to be finished -- but its so close I can taste it.   Although considering the fiber content, this might not be the best idea.

Monday, August 1, 2011


The only thing stopping me from buying this dress is the fact that they've sold out my size.   (I say this with the full weight of it has been yeeeeeaaaars since I actually bought a dress)  So, me thinks I shall have to make one.  (There are so many things on the list these days its getting more than a little absurd.)

Anyhow, for proper sewing news - I've put a binding around the neckline and center front of the jacket - hem and sleeves still to go.   I realized I'd only been planning on a lining because I thought I 'should' which is a dumb reason to do anything.  So, having come to my senses, and accepted the laziness that is me,  I am very very nearly done.  (this will be stash bust 2-5, which should mean I'm closer to getting fabric for the gorgeous dress shown here, but I'll be honest, I'm thinking of sneakily purchasing some light weight cotton and ignoring my very own rules in the pursuit of pretty pretty things.)
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