Monday, April 30, 2012

ready.... set....

Gearing up for Me-Made-May, which mostly means making sure laundry is done and deciding how I want to do it.    I think I'm going to stick to end of week round up posts here unless I finish something new and wear it in the challenge.   (Which I should also mention, won't be much of a challenge.  I wear me-made stuff almost everyday anyway.  I know she wants people to challenge themselves, but frankly. I don't think its worth the stress.  For me, the me-made/self-stitched events are more about finding like minded people and enjoying what they've created.   I never needed to be pushed into wearing my garments.  

Anyhow, if you have a burning desire to see the daily outfits in a more timely manner, check out the flickr group

Monday, April 23, 2012

black lace

Here we have the original inspiration.   (Not sure of the source - if anyone knows, tell me and I will credit it.)   Black lace over a pale slip with a magnificent skirt and a train that I can't really justify for day to day wear.

For my version, I used Vogue 1086.  This is the fourth time I've made up this pattern, and the first time its been as a dress.   (Tracy Reese makes marvelous patterns. More marvelous than she knows, as they are wonderful building blocks.)

And here we have the current status of my version --  Not nearly as stunning, in part due to the much smaller and thinner scale of the lace. (next time....)  The paler the background, the more the pattern shows -- however I found that despite being very careful about getting all the motifs evenly distributed, I didn't actually pay attention to their location on the pattern pieces.....    Great big flowers, right on the bust points.   So, between that, and not putting the midriff on the cross grain (it just looks funny) I've decided to go with a black slip.  Technically, everything is still visible, but really, who is going to look that closely?

Since I rarely wear all black, me thinks this is going to take over as the concert dress (so I can reuse the satin!) and that pattern will end up with something else.   I have a stripe I think will work well......

endless pinning and pattern matching...

pin pin pin pin pin pin pin pin pin pin pin pin

....but all the 'stripes' match up around the skirt and bodice.  So... I shall count this as a win.

taste -- she has it.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

::waves from the couch::

Hi all!  Thank you for all the comments, encouragement and ideas on my last post!  Between extra rehearsals and being sick (I was about to go into way too much detail.  Let's just say drippy ick and satin is a poor mix) I never got a chance to touch it last week.   I will try to fix it as is - but I' going to need to grab a bit more material first, so that will have to wait a little while.

No sewing news to report - my body shut down yesterday and I slept until dinner time - so instead I offer pictures of pretty things I've been seeing of late.

As usual - pretty things on modcloth.   This one is pretty recent (as of writing this post).  I really like how they sort of interwove the lace and the solid fabric -- it looks like the look is achieved by appliqueing strips of lace to the solid and the gathering everything and tacking it down.   I'd like to try something like this at some point, it could be very elegant.  [Edit:  further investigation shows it appears to be pieced and set over a lining.]

This is also from modcloth (I think) but its quite old (at least in their terms where things disappear in a few weeks) Anyhow -- look at the lines.  It has the look of an underbust corset with piping to draw attention to the seaming, a shawl collar  and a crazy multi-layer skirt.  I wouldn't normally think all these elements could come together, but I really like the result.   I'm wondering how it would look in a solid, or if a large part of its charm is due to the plaid being on the bias and adding a lot of interest to the design.

Monday, April 16, 2012

It's... meh...

This just isn't working for me.   (Ignore the wrinkles along my left -- it's pinned in place)  I'm not sure why, but I'm just not liking the dress as is.   I think its partially because I really never wear all black (except for concerts, and I usually just throw stuff together, so less time obsessing over every detail)  and I rarely do shiny....     I'm also thinking the proportion of the skirt is wrong... it should be wider or a wiggle -- either way, but for comfort I'd go with wider.  

However, I'm out of fabric (this was bought as the lining for another project I never quite got around to starting) so I'm not really sure what to do.   I plan to play with the pattern a bit more, as it keeps slipping off my shoulders, and I'm thinking box pleats would work well.... but thats all for another incarnation.     What do I do with this one?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Copying and fitting the pattern -- Meema's dress, the continuing adventure

I heard about the plastic-wrap method of pattern making forever ago -- but I'm not sure where, so I can't give credit where credit is due.   I think it was in a forum or a magazine tips section or something along those lines.

Anyhow -- the plastic-wrap method of pattern making is just what it sounds like.  You take the item to be copied, in this case Meema's dress, pin on some plastic wrap and trace the seams with a permanent marker.   (Be very careful you have a lot of margin.  You don't want to accidentally draw on the dress)  Then pull it off, lay it down on tissue paper (maybe mark seam allowances...) cut it out, and presto!   pattern!    This was my first time trying this one out, and I have to say it was one of the easiest transfers I've ever done.

<--  flat pattern for side front bodice

in progress -->
front bodice and sleeve

As you can see from the resulting pattern, the bodice front and back merges into the sleeve.   Eventually, this may lead to some interesting color blocking and becomes more visible during the fitting.  

Anyhow, the straight part at the top is the shoulder, the edge opposite the neckline is the sleeve hole, the next one is the bottom seam from armpit to sleeve edge  and then the fourth edge goes across the side back/front pieces.

Between the original dress being just slightly too large for me and what I think were overly generous seam allowances, the first version was far and away too big.   I ended up taking an inch off the shoulders to raise the bust points to the correct location, about two inches out of the center back, an inch or so off each side and 'invisible darts' from the front and back neckline to keep the shoulder in place.  Invisible darts go all the way from one edge of the pattern to the other and result in a slight reshape rather than an actual dart.

In the final version of the pattern pieces, you can see the invisable darts and the length I added (post muslins) to the bodice as a whole and to the sleeves.   Not shown in the tissue removed from the back and sides, but those were straight forward crops.)

I didn't bother copying the skirt as its a straight forward full skirt, identical to any number of others already in my pattern collection.

I have the whole thing cut out of black satin (from the stash!  I got it was year to make a choir dress and never quite got around to it) and aim to finish it in the next few days.   I'm singing in a concert on Friday (Beethoven's 9th, so mostly sitting and waiting for the orchestra, but c'est la vie) and I'd like to wear it then.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I got distracted, or clown couture.


I seem to have made a clown dress.  

 Last week I went to the fabric store for bias tape, and was being very good and not getting anything extra until I saw this fabric.   I immediately imagined this dress, just as it is, found it was half-off and bought four yards.   Up close, the fabric looks more water-colory and less bozo-escaped-from-the-circus, although I must say I think I like it all the more as a result.  

I used McCall's 5292 and added my own pockets (I think these are called pouch or apron pockets, but its also 100% possible I'm crazy.  Does anyone know the proper name?)

The fabric is a sort of silky polyester and the lining is a blue mystery of about the same "fiber" content.   Its actually the truly mysterious project I cannot remember cutting out.  I wouldn't normally have chosen a dark blue for this, but half the cutting and using up this enigma made it absolutely worth it.   Technically its still unfinished, as I've yet to hem it, but its freeeeeeeeeezing cold today and the heat is off in my building, so hemming shall wait until I can pull it off without shivering.

In other news, Magpie Mimi has given me a Liebster Award!   (Thank you!!!!)

Totally made my day.  As I understand it, its for blogs one likes that have less than 200 followers to help people find them.  Now, fun chain letter type of things that it is, I am to nominate five people myself. Now, I'm not sure about exact counts, so just feel the love if you are actually world famous and I am too much of a hermit to know.  On that note, I choose:  Quixotic Pixels  Small Things  Quiet and Small Adventures Sycamore Stitches (maybe this will get her to post more often... hint hint) and Scruffy Badger who I'm sure has well over 200 followers, but there are no numbers listed anywhere, so I'm pleading the 5th.  (except that I gave myself away... hrmmm)

The way it works is:
1) thank your liebster blog award presenter on your blog
2) link back to the blogger who presented the award to you
3) pop that icon onto your blog
4) presented the award to 5 blogs with 200 followers or less
5) let them know they were chosen by leaving a comment.

Oh, and I signed up for Me-Made-May-2012, but this post is already too long.  More next time!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Meema's dress -- in action

 I was home this weekend and spent some time digging through boxes of old pictures and managed to unearth a few of Meema's dress in action.   Unfortunately, most of them are black and white, and the only color shots are from the '3D' slides which don't scan properly.  (I also tried projecting the image onto the wall, but that didn't work out so well either...)  Anyhow -- see the woman dancing in the middle of the slide?   That's Meema and her sky blue dress.

For family reading this:  Nana, Garky, Grammy,Chiefy, Meema and Grandpa George.  
For everyone else:  Look at the woman 2nd from the right in the first picture and, well, the only woman in the second.   That's the dress I'm going to be copying (and if you click at the link at the top, you can see it fits me fairly well)

At this point, I got a little scan-happy, but go with it, because the pictures are awesome.    This is Grace, my grandmother's maid of honor -- not only is she in a marvelous dress of her own, but check out the serious expression.  She is concentrating like crazy on not dropping the flowers on her head.  They arrived from the florist without a clip to hold the little coronet to her hair, so she just had to balance it throughout the entire wedding.      
Now we go further into history -- we were on a wedding theme, so here is Meema's wedding, from 1921.   I don't know much about the dress other than what I can see from photographs -- but there was a lot of embroidery or other embelishment of some kind on the skirt.

Although this picture isn't dated, from the outfits, her face and the fact that she was born in 1900, I'm putting this picture at around 1915.   Check the hairdos.   (Meema is sitting, front right in the white dress with black trim.)  So, not only do a couple of girls have crazy faux-hawk poofs going on, the other reclining girl has basically *all* the curls.  That's not just loose hair -- that's hardcore ringlette action.

 Also undated, but once again from her clothes I'm putting this one closer to 1910, although she looks more than 10 years old.  Maybe we should nudge this to 1913 and push the other to about 1917...

Either way, I thought they were fabulous and growing up with the century she had some amazing clothes, and happily, we still have a lot of the pictures.

Monday, April 2, 2012

arm brace, version two

Here we have the lasest -- although not the greatest.   I wanted this one too be stronger, so I used a thicker material (I think its moleskin.  The selection of fabric I ordered wasn't labeled when it arrived, so I'm guessing by the weight) and doubled it up.   In addition, I used polar fleece batting to cushion the splint again - but this time it went all the way from seam to seam across the front of my arm.  Needless to say there was a lot less give to the brace -- I ended up having to insert a panel in the back before I could even get my hand in -- and it still cuts off my circulation.  (My hand isn't normally quite that red.)  It has a mesh cover, as (in person) it looks a *little* closer to my skin color....   yeah.  I know.  colors on the screen and colors in real life vary.  ::sigh::  but there is no good local source for spandex and its stretchy stretchy friends.
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