Sunday, June 27, 2010

next up

Well, the dress was a hit at the wedding and I am SO glad that I had a strapless dress to wear. The weather was 100 plus degrees and the wedding was outside. Although we were able to sit in the shade during the ceremony, our table was in the sun. We finally all moved the table into the shade, but that was after sitting in the sun for about one hour. Anyway, needless to say, it was HOT, but I stayed as cool as possible.

I guess this has me in the strapless mood now. I've seen a couple of good reviews on PR for this Burda top (I guess we can't way BWOF anymore.) It is from June 2009 #113. I have some mystery fabric that I bought in San Diego last week that is similar to onion skin. I'm about 1/2 way done, so we'll see how it goes!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Vogue 8184 - Strapless Dress finished

Well, I barely finished this in time to wear to the wedding this evening, but I'm glad I did. I won't be making the black and white one anytime soon because I just found out that I have to have leg surgery, so my next week and a half will be spent scrambling around trying to get everything in my classroom and home in order (somewhat) because it is a long recovery from ACL surgery. I am not looking forward to it at all. I had the same surgery done on the other leg about 10 years ago and what I remember is waking up in a LOT of pain the day after surgery and it being a very long time before I could get back to a normal life. I will have to take 4-6 weeks off work, but fortunately, I am getting it done soon, so I will only miss about 2 weeks of work, hopefully. Unfortunately, I am starting a new grade this year, so I have no idea what I'm doing as far as planning for a sub (or even myself.)

Well, back to the dress. I ended up putting a lot more effort into this dress than the pattern called for, but I'm glad I did. I really could play volley ball in this dress and not have to worry about it. At the wedding this evening I saw MANY women in strapless dresses, and I also saw many of them, including the bride, tugging at their dresses. I never had to even think about tugging on mine. I did wear a strapless bra with it, but if I had made the top a little tighter, I would not have had to even do that. (and I NEVER go braless) I was so afraid that this was going to be too tight, so I think I ended up making it a little too loose. Even still, this dress fits well and between the pattern designs and the tips I learned in the Kenneth King bustier class really produced a well-made dress.

Here you can see that the boning is sewn at every vertical seam (except the zipper seam), The waist stay, in this case 1"wide polyester grossgrain ribbon, is hand sewn to the boning only. I also sewed a strip of organza ribbon along the top edge of the bodice to prevent any stretching. KK recommends either twill tape or strips of silk organza selvedge. I thought the twill tape would be too bulky, and I didn't have enough organza selvedge, so I thought I would try the organza ribbon since I already had it on had. That worked perfectly.

The skirt on this dress is rather full, but has a 1.25" hem. Usually this ends up in some pleating or "gathering" of the upper edge of the hem. This time I took my time and really used the iron and a spray mist bottle (the steam iron sagas are another story or two) and the skirt edge eased in perfectly with no puckers.

I think there is something weird with this picture because the zipper looks like it doesn't meet at the top. Actually, it does. I put this zipper in by hand because my centered zippers suck. I always put in a lapped zipper, but then it always makes it tricky to get the lining, or even a facing to lie flat and cover the zipper tape but allow you to zip the zipper all the way up. So, if you have a good tip on that for me, let me know. ANyway, this is a hand picked zipper, because I knew I would need a very strong zipper (thinking that it would be tighter than it was) At PR weekend LA a couple of years ago, we had Susan Khalje teach us some couture stitches and I remember her saying that a hand picked zipper is the strongest zipper application.

I'm glad I learned some of the tips from Jennifer Stearn's embroidery class and got the placement for this embroidery exactly where I wanted it. I wore the dress at the wedding tonight and it was comfortable easy to wear. I definitely want to make another one of these again.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A mess!

Since I am doing this dress without a collar or ribbon trim, I decided I would do some machine embroidery on the front. I am taking the online class from Robin Stearn at Pattern Review and have already learned some great tips. I did a practice piece, and it came out perfectly

Unfortunately, when I did the real deal on my dress bodice this morning, my machine decided to throw a fit and mess it all up!!! Fortunately, I have one scrap barely big enough to recut the center front bodice piece and start over. If it messes up again, I'm sunk!

So, this dress may end up being the "wedding" dress after all. It is taking a little longer than I expected (too many interruptions and machine malfunctions), so I can't imagine that I will have time to make dress number two. Also, I could not get enough of the fabric I needed for dress #2, and when I went to Fresno today to see if they had any (their computers said they did) they did not. I have some creative ideas on how to "make it work", but of course, that will take additional time. I really wanted a black and white dress to wear to the wedding since the theme is black and white, but it looks like I'll be wearing peacock blue and black - if I finish this dress!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Starting the strapless

Yesterday I made a muslin of the top, and after numerous adjustments, I think it's going to fit. I'm concerned because it is still pretty tight in the waist, but according to Kenneth King, there should be no ease... and honey, there aint no ease in this! A couple of years ago, I took an online class on PR with Kenneth King on making a bustier. I'm hoping to incorporate some of the techniques into this garment.

First of all, the whole foundation of a strapless dress is in the lining. The lining holds the boning and the waist stay. Also, there should be a strong supportive fabric as an interlining between the lining and the fashion fabric. KK recommends using wool felt or unwashed denim, but I didn't want this to be a suit of armor. I did want something that would not stretch or give, so I decided to underline the lining with silk organza. I'm hoping this will give enough support while still being light weight and cool. The vogue pattern doesn't call for any underlining at all, so it will at least be a step up from that. This dress has a lot of favorable reviews on Pattern Review, so I'm really hoping for a good result. I have never made a strapless dress before, and probably haven't worn one for 20 years!

the next step on this dress will be to put the boning in the lining. KK recommends using rigeline boning, which I like, but the Vogue pattern called for covered, so that's what I'm using. The advantage of rigeline is that it supports the bodice all along the boning. Covered boning only supports at the top and bottom of the seam since the boning "floats" inside the casing. I've only used rigeline, so I wanted to try the covered and see which I liked better.

I have to drive out of town tomorrow, but I hope that I can get some done on this dress in the morning.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Burda 5775 - finished!

Well, I finally got to my machine today, and I finished my dress. I put in one sleeve, but did not like the look. It seemed to look more matronly on me with the sleeve, so I took it off and bound the armholes with seam bindings. The neckline is finished with a facing. I'm wearing the dress right now, and even though it is pretty fitted, it is comfortable. I think I will get a lot of use out of this this summer.

I really need to get busy on my sewing. I have a wedding that I'm going to next weekend and I want to make this dress. It's Vogue 8184. I'm planning on doing the strapless version with the collar and fuller skirt. I'm going to make a prototype first, just to be sure I like it. If I don't, I'll probably make something totally different, like maybe a knit dress.

Tomorrow I have absolutely nothing on my calendar that I need to do! You KNOW what I'm going to be doing :-)

Oh, and thanks to all of you who made comments about my knee. As it turns out, I have a torn ACL and now I'm going to need surgery. Unfortunately, the soonest they can get me in is right when school starts. I can't imagine taking off work right then because I don't even know what I'm doing since I'm changing grades. I wouldn't even begin to know how to make sub plans. Also, this is a big deal and I will need to take a minimum of 4 weeks off work. I would wait until Christmas break, but right now I can't kneel, crouch, climb, run, or jump. This is not good. I just bought a new bike, and it's even been giving me trouble on the bike. I want to get it fixed, but I don't want to miss that much work. arghhhh...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

i-pod/pad/phone users enabler allert

Well, I was just browsing through bloglines this morning and on dress-a-day's post I read about an intriguing iphone ap. I clicked on the link and it directed me to this Threads review. So, being the tech junkie that I am, I headed straight for the apps store and picked up these two babies:
fabric stash
pattern pal
(sorry, I don't know how to link to these aps, but if you have itunes, open the apps link and then search for these two apps.)

These are both made by the same developer. I'm just downloading the, but they sound very good. I'll keep you posted!

The first day I was in San Diego I traveled all over looking for fabric stores. The first (and best) one I hit was yardage town. Nothing fancy but a great selection of fabrics. The prices were very good and I found a nice rayon acetate blend for a jacket and a tropical weight wool blend for pants. I am going back there again today.

The other fabric store I hit was in LaJolla named Jane's Fabrique. I was not impressed. They had a narrow selection of fabrics - or at least nothing that interested me. Fabrics were either $10-$15 a yard or $80-$90. Not much in between. There was a beautiful red tencel-rayon blend fabric with a wonderful drape. But there really wasn't anything I could think of that I would use it for. If it would have been in navy, ivory, or another good jacket color, I would have bought it for that, but there were only a couple of colors, none of which I was interested in.

Most of the other fabric stores that showed up on either my iphone or gps turned out to be either non existent or tailoring/alterations stores or sewing machine/vacuum stores.

Yesterday I tooled around downtown and the gaslamp district. Had a great lunch. Eventually I happened across the mall and went into Nordstroms. The salesgirl there was very friendly and helpful and I ended up buying 2 things there. By this time my feet were telling me "enough!" So I headed back to the parking garage - a good 6 city blocks and then back to the hotel.

Today I am headed back to yardage town just to look again with fresh eyes and see if anything else begs to be purchased! Also, I need to pick up some 2" wide elastic for this New Look pattern I picked up the other day.

This afternoon we are going to the zoo. I absolutely love to go to the zoo. I know the SD zoo really requires a couple of days to give it justice, but we only have this afternoon.

We are heading back to the valley tomorrow morning because Andy has a meetiing at 6. He is training for a triathalon for Team in Training which supports the leukemia and lymphma society. He is participating in honor of my dad who died almost 2 years ago (hard to believe it's been that long) of cancer. I'll be posting more about that later.

Hmmmm... I think someone wanted to go on the trip with us

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Not Quite Finished

I was hoping to finish the dress this evening because we are leaving for San Diego tomorrow. If I weren't singing at church, I could probably finish it in the morning. Oh well, when I get back. The neck facing is sewn in and under stitched, but still needs hand work. I just need to do the sleeves and the hem. I really like the fabric on this. It is a heavier weight cotton (& I think Lycra blend). I didn't mark the changes in length above the bust correctly, so I had to make 1/4" shoulder seams. The fabric was fraying at that seam before I could even finish the edge, so I pressed the seam open and laid a narrow strip of fusible interfacing on top of it. This will keep the edges of the seam from fraying and give a little extra stability to the shoulder seam. Most of that will be covered up by the neck facing.

I'll be anxious to get back and finish the dress.

Well, I'm sick of being fatter than ever and none of my clothes fitting right. Today I went back to weight watchers. I want to lose about 13 pounds. Also, we just got Wii Fit and have been having a blast playing it. In fact, DD is yelling at it right now :-) When I was in Uganda I had an accident and tore a ligament in my right knee. It is still giving me trouble, so I have to be careful about what exercises I do. The other day I was riding my bike and it popped out on me, so, I have been hesitant to do that either. I have an appt to get a second opinion next week.

DH has a business trip in San Diego this week, so I am tagging along. I'm hoping to find some good fabric stores to haunt while he is working. I also have a couple of good books I want to read while I'm there.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Burda 5775

I'm working on a muslin, and it's a good thing. First of all, I decided to make this pattern from Burda. I think this is only the 2nd Burda envelope pattern I have made. The sizing is different than the big four, so I figured I better make a muslin. As I was laying out the pattern pieces for tracing, I realized that this is a pattern for petites! I looked at the envelope again, and nowhere did I see anything that indicated that this was for petites. I am 5'6 and the petite pattern is 5'3 and under. Finally I found this little indicator on the back of the envelope.

Well, since I already had everything out and ready, I decided to start tracing and try to get it to fit. I had to make a lot of changes, but I think I have the muslin fitting pretty well now. I have gained weight, so all of my usual changes are even more exaggerated now! After I tried on the muslin, I pinned out some additional changes as you can see here. I started with a 12 on the top, and am ending up taking about 1/2" out of the CF. It fits fine through the ribcage, but I had to go all the way to a size 22 for the hips! This is a very fitted dress - why I decided to make a fitted dress during the fattest stage of my life, I'll never know.

As I was putting together the muslin, I realized that the darts on the top and bottom do not line up. This is a perfect example of why you need to make a muslin sometimes - if not, you should ALWAYS walk your darts when they have seams to match up with. I'm not sure if the alignment problem was with the pattern, or if it had to do with my alterations, but I think it was the pattern because even the back did not line up and I did not change that.

After I tried on the muslin, I pinned out extra fabric at the center front and took out most of the length I had added in. I also had to let out some seams in the thigh area, so I know I have to add more width to the pattern there. Next, I made these changes on the paper pattern. I didn't make a sleeve, but I did walk the pattern lines to make sure they would fit and tried on the paper pattern. I did add 1/2" to the width.

I think the changes I have made will work. Now it is time to cut the real fabric!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Kayla and Kupono - Addiction

SYTYCD (So You Think You Can Dance) has started its new season and looks very promising. This is my favorite dance from Mia Michaels (2 seasons ago I think):