Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Birth of a Bustier

I'm taking Kenneth King's class on bustiers at Pattern Review. He is such a personable guy and very helpful. The class is great with detailed photos and instructions in PDF format. I went out and purchased some beautiful brocade to make the bustier, but then decided I better make a practice one in another fabric first. I had some old yarn-dyed fabric that I used for a muslin and think I got the fit right.

Now I am making the first bustier. My fabric is a cotton tropical print in green and black. I am using a black broadcloth for the lining, muti colored plaid duck for the interlining, and aqua flannel for the underlining. Wow - four layers!

So far I have cut all fabrics and sewn the foundation piece. This is the lining and interlining and they are sewn as one fabric. The outer layers (fashion fabric and flannel) will also be sewn as one layer.

I have also eased the top portion and secured it with twill tape, which has really given it some shape.

Now I am in the process of feather stitching down all of the seam allowances. If you click on the picture, you can see the hand stitching.

I am about half way done on that.
Next, I will do all of the above (sans the twill tape)_ to the outer layer. The good thing about all the work involved in this garment is that it gives me plenty of time to lose five pounds so that it will actually look rather good when I finally get to wear it!

Oh - and for your viewing pleasure - this is what used to be my dining room table! (OK, it still is, it's just such a rare thing that anyone actually gets to see it without all my sewing on it!)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

reversible top - finished

I think I'm really going to like this top. It is a little shorter than I like, but I actually increased the length by about 1/2 inch. That's all I had room for because this pattern had NO EXTRA room for anything. In fact, because I increased the size of the dart, I ended up not having enough room and had to put a little triangular piece under one of the armholes. Darn that 43" wide fabric from JoAnns. :-)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Moving Along

I now have 3 items finished for my wardrobe plan. Marfy dress (&jacket), dupioni tank, and black capris. These capris were super simple and I really like them. I've been seeing a lot of the elastic waist linen pants with easy shirts all over the stores, so I decided to add these. I decided my swap needed a punch of color so am adding a reversible top in gold and rust. I would have rather used silk, but I think it must be against the law to sell silk around here. hahaha. Anyway, I bought these two lovely silk-like fabrics and thought they would work perfectly for the top in this vogue pattern. I am going to make it lined to the edge so it will be reversible so one or the other of the colors should go with everything in my swap. I also purchased enough of the rust to make a long skirt.

I am taking Kevin Kings "Birth of a Busier" class and have to make a trial garment. I am using Vogue 8393 and a denim fabric with a teal and white stripe running through it. I may use this to replace one of my swap tops. I am also changing some of my swap tops because I want to do the "one pattern multiple looks" contest. i have the Sew You book by Wendy Mullin and it comes with a basic skirt, blouse, and pant pattern. Each pattern comes with directions and other ideas for changing it up. A couple of the blouse ideas will work perfectly with my fabrics and swap plan. Now... if I can just find more time to sew.
And here is the once again updated wardrobe plan

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mother's Day Requiem

Just when you're ready to throw in the towel, something happens to change your mind. Mother's day has always been difficult for me for a variety of reasons. This year, I was not really expecting anything. Friday my husband surprised me with flowers sent to work, but the biggest surprise came on Sunday. I was excited because not only could I wear my new Marfy emsemble to church, but I was singing as well. Since I only get to do it once a month, I always look forward to it. I had asked both of my kids to go to church with us. Nick had to work, but Grace said she would go. Well, she didn't show up. I was disappointed, but not surprised. I was surprised however, when I got up. Grace had gone to the store, bought food, and made us a spaghetti and French bread lunch. Now this girl does NOT cook, so this is a big deal. (OK, hilarious side note - she was so exhausted from it that she slept all afternoon LOL) Oh, and cupcakes. She made cupcakes and she and Nick had bought me flowers. It was really very sweet. A little while later, Grace was making up some lame excuses for me to go into my bathroom. when I did, I saw that she had made a "spa retreat" for me. She had spread sea shells and candles all around the tub and had bought bubble bath (which actually turned out to be liquid potpourri, but it's the thought that counts), incense, and dried potpourri. Since I had to go to the grocery store, I didn't get to enjoy it until later (when I took this picture) but that actually helped spread the joy through out the day. Then, to top it off, my DD did the dishes after dinner. Wow!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sometimes it's the Little Things

I knew I wanted to wear the Marfy dress to church today, so I had a little work to do last night. I noticed that when I tried on the dress for the first set of pictures that the lace was sticking out since I only sewed it above and below the ribbon. The top of the lace is supposed to be loose and gathered, but it was falling out and creating width - which I certainly don't need! I hand tacked it down about 1/2 inch down from the top and it made a big difference. It looks much neater now and slimmer. I really love this dress and jacket and got lots of compliments today.

Yesterday I finished another item for my swap - the silk dupioni top. You cant'really tell in the photos, but it is a beautiful teal with purple. I'm glad I switched to the tank pattern. It is loose and flowey and shows off the fabric. The top is a little big in the shoulders. I guess I'm going to have to start cutting an 8 in the shoulders instead of a 10, which is already 2-3 sizes smaller than my hip measurement! The only thing I worry about in cutting an 8 is that the arms and sleeves may be too small. I will have to look up narrow shoulder or narrow upper back adjustments.

These are the books I use most often for fitting and alterations. I really like Nancy Zeimans pivot and slide method. It just makes sense and is the easiest to do. I use Fast Fit for princess seam adjustments and smaller details such as her "full thigh" adjustment. I have only had FFRP for a few weeks and haven't read through all of it yet. I'm sure it will be a great resource as I see it mentioned quite a bit on PR.

I have more dress pictures

Also, I'm making some changes to my swap - but I'll post those later. Oh, I almost forgot - I added a photo tutorial on making french seams (see sidebar under tips)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

What's Wrong with this Top?

I made this top out of this blue cotton before cutting the dupioni for the swap, and I'm glad I did. Unfortunately, I don't like it.
1. I usually start with a 10, but this is a 12. I tried to make it smaller in the shoulders, but I think my alterations are off a little. I plan on making it out of the black and white fabric, so, maybe cut it a little bigger in the side seams.
2. It's too short - I can lengthen it next time
3. The trim is crooked - That was just basted on by hand (except for the ends) so I should be able to adjust it.
4. My DD hates it - OK, I didn't make it for her.
5. I'm not crazy about the fabric or color
6. It just doesn't seem to fit right. I wore it last night and it kept wanting to ride up - I felt like I was tugging at it too much. This must be a fit issue, but I'm not sure what. It wants to ride up and I could take about 1/2 of the top of each shoulder. The problem is, I do not have a high bust, so Iwould have to lower that, which makes the pattern exactly as it is now. I seem to have this problem on fitted dresses. They want to gap out like the shoulders are too high or too big.

7. I think the upper back is too big, but there isn't enough ease across the middle back and bust. I either need to widen the back or make a bigger FBA in the front

Sooo - What's wrong with this top?

Monday, May 07, 2007

And...the Jacket

Yes! I finally finished the jacket. It was a challenge to figure out how the neckline and collar all went together, but I finally got it. Here's what the pattern pieces looked like after I got them traced and added seam allowances.

Next time I would add a back facing. It just keeps the shoulder seams neater. I Knew that wasn't going to look good, so I did hong kong finish on the shoulder seams. The fabric is very sheer, so I used french seams on the side seams and sleeve seams. The facing I finished with a strip of bias. I used the left over batiste from the dress for all of the seam finishes. I also bound the armholes. I'm posting a view of the inside.
My DD took a lot of pictures of the dress on, but the white was too glarey, so I'll have to try to take more tomorrow, inside.
The big news if the day is that I am finally free of the collar. I'm sure it will be wonderful to sleep tonight without that thing! I celebrated by going out and buying 2 hats.

I also went out to buy fabric to make a muslin for one of the tops I'm making for the swap, but got carried away when I saw this cute black and white print at Beverly's.
I then went over to JoAnns and bought yellow rattail, buttons, and organza to make piping for the top. I want to try something like the flowers I saw in one of "nicegirl's" reviews around the button holes. Some muslin? huh? At this rate, I will never complete my swap. I go back to work on Wednesday and I know I will just come home and collapse every night. My sewing will probably only happen on the weekends. BUT only 3 more weeks until summer vacation!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Marfy 1214

It's finished - and I love it.
I've been reading all the Marfy reviews on Pattern review, but never knew what the big deal was. Why would you pay that much for a pattern that has only one garment, one size, and no directions???? Well, I finally bit the bullet and got the spring catalog. What beautiful dresses and suits they have! Lots of creative ideas that you could adapt to other patterns as well. The catalog comes with several patterns in it ( sort of like BWOF) so I looked them up and thought about it. Then one day I was in Walmart of all places and saw this lace. I knew it was perfect for the dress, so I bought the lace and later bought the fabric.

This dress fits many firsts for me
First wardrobe contest garment
First Marfy I've attempted
First garment made with eyelet

(and a few other "first" mistakes that I don't care to mention)
I'm really glad I made a complete muslin (sans facings and lining) on this first. The fit was pretty good, but I needed to take out a little in the hips and take in a little in the back and front neckline.

I think this dress is really cool because of it's seaming. It has darts that run from the small of the back into the armscye and insets in the front that create princess seaming.

Everything just fit together very well. Even though Marfy patterns don't come with instuctions, it was easy to figure out the steps. This is what I did
1. sew darts in back and insets in front on dress and lining - press
2. sew shoulder seams on both dress and lining - press
3. attach dress to lining at neck and armholes
4. Press ALL seams open before turning - I use a tailors board to do this
5. Pull backs through the shoulder seams to turn right side out
6. Understitch the neckline as far as possible - do the same at arms
7. Insert invisible zipper
*. rip out invisible zipper because it is crooked (arghh!!!!)
8, Make sure needle is farther away from seam and insert invisible zipper again.
9. Flip lining over so that it is right side together with dress over zipper and sew in the seam allowance to the bottom of the zipper. Do this on both sides
10. flip lining back over so dress is right side out. Lining is now completely attached at the zipper
11. finish bottom of center back seam below invisible zip
12. finishe lining cb seam starting about 3 inches below zipper and going to hem
13. Pin dress hem
14. serge or finish lining hem
15 Pin lace to hem and sew by machine, catching hem at the same time
16. Use a blunt needle with a large eye to weave ribbon into the lace.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Men's shirts - blehh!

Why, oh Why did I decide to make my husband a shirt? I hate it. The fabric seems like it should be easy to work with (broadcloth), but it puckers and shows every stitch. OK, I chose a solid with darker thread - that's part of the problem. My inability (or my machine's - gotta blame something) to stitch a straight line being the other part. Also, I don't like the pattern. I really need to finish reading David Coffin's shirt book before attempting this again. arghhh

On the upnote, had a great day today and got to spend time with my good friend Maureen, Ran errands, shopped, vented, supported each other, basically had a perfect day. Also bought some closet dowel to make a sleeve roll and got that covered.

Other upnote - talked DD out of the chiffon (we'll save it for another dress, another day) and will make her a black dress from some fabric I have in my stash. AFTER I do something for the wardrobe plan!'

Just had to post this pix today - DD birthday last year (I think) It just reminds me of the importance of girlfriends. Not a great photo (my buddy Maureen is the photographer) but the feeling is there.

Got an email from my substitute today telling me what little jerks some of the boys in my class have been. Really makes me want to go back to work. Three and a half more days and I'm collar free!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Driving again

OK, I'm not supposed to be driving yet, but last night was the my last class in learning theory and I could not miss. DD had to work and I really didn't have another ride - so I drove. I had forgotten how nice it is to just get in your car and go wherever you need or want to go. My friend Maureen is coming over tomorrow to take me some places and that is a good thing. Otherwise I would be a very disobedient patient right now.

I am so excited about the Marfy dress. I got a muslin cut and put together and made adjustments. I really like the princess-like insets in the front and the curved darts in the back. You can't see them in the pix, but the darts in the back start at the small of the back on either side of the zipper and then curve into the upper armscye. This pattern is not difficult but I have been fiddling with the fit. I'm between an hourglass and pear shape. Actually, an hourglass with big hips/thighs. Or a pear with big boobs. No matter what you call it, it makes fitting a challenge - but who doesn't have fitting challenges? Remember when you were a teen and could just take the pattern out of the envelope, cut it and make it? No more.

I've been promising DH a shirt since last summer. Oops - guess I better get that made before DDs dress. I'm planning on cutting that out today. I've changed out some things in my wardrobe plan. Basically, a better capri and shorts pattern. Both from BWOF. The capris are pictured above. Unfortunately, they will never look like that on me. Here are the line drawings for both

And yay! yay! yay! I got my machine back from the shop. Hopefully I'll get to use it today.