Sunday, May 31, 2009

I should make more mistakes

Well, actually, if I did make more mistakes, I would probably quit sewing. I make plenty of mistakes, but sometimes, like this time, it leads to good design opportunities. the other day I was trimming the seam allowance on the yoke of my skirt (when will I learn not to sew when I have a headache?) and I cut the fabric. Not just a little snip, but about 1.5 inches long, parallel to the seam. The seam was already double topstitched, so there was no way I was going to take it out. I tried to think of a way to cover it up. I tried interfacing it on the wrong side, stitching it, but it was so close to the seam allowance that it wouldn't even lie flat.

I thought about using ribbon, but then I would have had to take the zipper out. I thought about embroider, applique, and other trims, but none seemed right. Then I came up with this idea.

I really like it. I like it so much that I decided to do this.

I used the same gold fabric that I used on the BWOF blouse. Now I'm wishing I would have interfaced the yokes of this skirt. Even though the pattern doesn't call for it, I think it would have given a nicer finish. I'm also thinking I should have lined it. I haven't sewn in the yoke facing yet, so I still could, but I'll have to attach it by hand since I've already topstitched the yoke. Or, I could just attach a lining to the yoke facing and then figure out how I want to attach the yoke facing to the yoke.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how Elaray always makes outfits. I need to do more of that. I also like the idea that Jennifer Skinner has about having 2 tops for every bottom and making outfits rather than a core wardrobe. (I wanted to link to her website, but she has taken it down.) Today I pulled out some combinations, keeping within my summer dreams, and continuing to try to reduce my stash. Last week I was in JoAnns and wanted to find some stretch pants fabric to make the Jalie pants. I found a cotton/lycra "ripstop" for less than $3.00 a yard. I took it home and washed it. It only shrank less than 1" per yard and came out looking nice. I went back and bought it in two more colors. I need to make pants, shorts, and cropped pants for summer. All of these combos will be for one bottom and 2 tops. Here are some of the combos I came up with.

First, olive cotton/lycra "ripstop", white handerchief linen, and dark purple and green stretch lace with a dark taupe lining.

Next, kind of a sage colored "ripstop", embroidered linen, and white organic cotton knit

The colors don't look great here, but this is a stone colored "ripstop", white swiss cotton, and brown and pink dot rayon knit.

Black med weight linen, black and white poly/lycra knit, and black and floral slinky

Dark brown poly "linen" blend, colored dotted swiss, and lime green cotton/lycra interlock.

I'm not sure which of these combos I'll tackle first, but before I do, I think I'm going to try to get started on the bra.

As soon as I finish the skirt, I will post pix.

And now, since I saw all those cute dresses in Cidell's last post, I just had to post two pictures of my daughter in dresses she was showing me yesterday for upcoming events. This girl has an active social calendar! Of course, I'm a little (Okay, a LOT) biased, but I think she is just the prettiest thing.
This dress she got at a local boutique. The fabric must be some kind of nylon and it just feels liquid. The front panel comes up from the bubble and is sewn into the bodice, almost like an apron that is attached below the hem

This dress, believe it or not, she got at Target! It seems pretty well made and has several rows of boning in the front. Sorry, black doesn't photgraph too well. If you click on the photo, you can see the boning detail. It's a little different from the typical. The back has a gold exposed slot zipper with a medallion pull tab. Very cute.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Summer Dreams

Well, who knows what I'll really get done this summer, but school's out in another week and I'm already dreaming about what I want to sew. I have 2 pieces to finish for mini-wardrobe, and then I think I'm going to tackle a bra. I've joined Sigrid's lingerie sew along, so I'm really hoping to make

  1. a good bra.
  2. I also want to make the Jalie Jeans that I showed in my last post. They were so cute when I saw them on Emilee at PR Weekend. (Of course, I don't have Emilee's cute little body, but this is my dream) I've seen several reviews on them over at PR and they've been getting rave reviews.
  3. I also want to make a bathing suit this summer. I have fabric for two suits, and since I swim almost every day in the summer, I need to do this. I was inspired by the suits Cidell made last summer.
  4. Tops - I bought several knits at PR weekend and want/need to make tops
  5. DRESSES - I need dresses. Dresses are the coolest thing to wear in summer, so I definitely need dresses. Even though I'm working on a skirt right now, skirts don't seem to be working for me lately. They keep twisting around on me all day long. Does that mean that I'm walking crooked? No, really.
  6. Sleeveless blouses. I'm in love with the BWOF blouse I just made, so I'd like to try it as a sleeveless since I wear a lot of those in the summer.
  7. Oh, and what about those coat fabrics I have that kept me from buying the beautiful red burbury at PR Weekend? I need to make at least one coat/jacket for the fall.
  8. A beautiful white boucle jacket that I intended to make LAST summer.
  9. More twinsets for fall (This can wait until September or October - fall is short here.)
  10. I need more shorts
I also want to make a new handbag, knit dresses (I loved Melissa's so much that I went out and bought the New Look pattern), vintage patterns, Jalie pants, and finish a couple of quilts. YIKES!! I can see that I'm going to have to narrow down the list. Six weeks is just not enough and during part of that time I'm going to have to have foot surgery - on my right foot! I wonder if I can learn to use the foot pedal with my left foot. The Bernina ladies do it all the time. I do have push-button sewing on my machine, so I could try that. OH, yeah, I also need to move my sewing room and paint the living room. I need a clone.

I better love this skirt!

I started making this skirt over the weekend and I better be loving it because it sure is a PITA to make. First of all, there are 18 pieces! That's right 8 yoke pieces, 3 skirt pieces, 1 waistband, 2 bottom band, and 4 pockets. And the worst part is that most of them have to be single cut! I'm pretty sure that it took me over 2 hours to cut this out. I could have done it faster with the rotary cutter, but I've been trying to get better about using my scissors. Still, I think it is more accurate to use the rotary for most things since it does not lift the fabric the way scissors do. Also, all that pinning takes a LOT longer than using weights and rotary cutting.

I had exactly the amount of yardage suggested on the envelope (1-7/8 yd) and there were only small scraps left over. No room for mistakes here. Good thing I had already prewashed this fabric. I'm using a soft-white linen-look poly/rayon blend. I've used this fabric on another top once before and liked it, so I'm hoping I love this skirt. I'm kind of wishing that I would have lined it, but it's kind of too late now unless I hand stitch it in. I'll probably just wear a slip if it needs it. I think the style looks really cute, but I have no idea what it will look like on me. This is what I've done so far

This skirt is also very time consuming to make. There are several rows of topstitching, which I don't mind usually. I use a 14/" foot or an edgestitch foot to topstitch because they each have a "rudder" that runs along the seamline that makes the stitching stay much straighter. Unfortunately, there are pleats on this skirt, so when topstitching the bottom of the yoke (two rows) the rudder kept getting stuck in the pleats, so I had to lift the presser foot every time I came to a pleat. Front and Back of the pleat. Next I am going to sew in the zipper, but my back is hurting me today, so now that I finally have time to sew, I'm not doing it.

Yesterday was a fun day. I was so happy because Nick came over. I hardly get to see him now that he is living in Fresno, even though it is only an hour away. Between school and his work schedule (and social life, I'm sure) we don't get to see him much. He came over in the afternoon and he and DD Grace were laughing at me taking pictures of them. We all went to a great resaurant called Fugazzis and had dinner. I had a great spinach salad with grilled shrimp on it. After dinner we went on a hunt for a water gun. Friday is water day at my school and it is lots of fun. We rent a bounce house, water slides, slip and slide and have other things like relay races, obastacle course, face painting etc. Every year this one teacher has a really big water gun and drenches everyone. I wasn't there last year, but the year before he came up behind me and drenched me. Before he even halfway emptied his "big guns" I was fighting back. He was laughing at me because I was the only one who shot back, but all I had was a little "pea shooter" Well, Jason, watch out. This year I have THE VINDICATOR!

Of course, you can imagine who got drenched with the water guns (we also got two smaller ones,uh, for back-ups) when we got home. OK, Grace got drenched too. Hmmm, Nick didn't get wet. We'll have to fix that on the next visit! Good thing it was still hot out at night.

Yesterday was also a good day, because look what I got in the mail!

Monday, May 25, 2009

More on Uganda - dress

I've been wanting to do a post on how people dress in Uganda. The thing that struck me most was the fact that people were surprisingly well dressed. Even in the slums of the city, everyone always looked clean and their clothes looked freshly pressed. You would see women working outside or cleaning steps in a dress. Women mostly wear dresses or skirts, and you only see pants on occassion in the bigger cities. When you do see women wearing pants, it is usually at matching pant suit. It also surprised me how much clothes they wear. Men and women often wear long sleeves, even though it is VERY hot there. (never mind that the thermostat says 80 something - it definitely feels high 90) Everybody irons their clothes there, and when the electricity goes out, they use charcoal powered irons.

One of the dresses that you see a lot of in Uganda is called the kitinje (in English it is pronounced ka-teyn-gay and in Swahili it is pronounced something like ka-tinge-eh) It is very tight fitting in the bust, waist, and hips. There are many different styles, but most are close-fit. Some of the other mazungus (white people) and I went into the garment district and bought fabric. The wax print cottons are the "official" fabric for kitinjes and I picked up two beautiful pieces. I also picked up another piece of fabric that I thought would make a cute skirt, but I was informed that this fabric is for wraps - sort of like an apron- only. They laughed at some of us because some of the girls picked out shiney polyester fabric and wanted kitinjes, but that fabric is supposed to be used for the gomez, another type of dress that is actually the native dress of Uganda. Fortunately, all of the Ugandan women I was working with approved of the fabric I chose.
After I picked out fabric for the kitinje, we had a seamstress come over and measure all of us. There were 4 women and we each had a dress made. Well, I had A dress made. Mary had 3 dresses made and Rae had 2 dresses and a man's shirt. Loring had only one dress made as well. The lady who made these clothes for us finished all of this in less than a week! It is interesting to see how she made the pieces. For example, the bodice front and back are lined separately and then sewn together at the side seams. This was nice since I had to take out the side seams quite a bit at the bust and hip, as well as taking it in in the shoulders. I think it looks pretty cool.

In all of the clothing shops and shoe shops that we saw, they had only used clothing and shoes. I wondered where the new ones were sold since they had to get "used" somewhere. Well, apparently, the US sends over things that don't sell in the GoodWill and Salvation Army stores and then they are sold in Africa. So, you see people wearing logo clothing and having no idea what the logos say, let alone what they may mean! Sometimes the clothing is nice, other times it is not. As I said before, most of the people (adults) in the city dress very nicely. In fact, I felt like I was not dressed well enough most of the time. However, in the villages, it is a different story. Most of the time the people are wearing very ragged looking clothes because they may only have one set of clothes per person and they wear it until it wears out. Most try to dress as nicely as they can. So, you either see people wearing Salvation Army clothes, or the native dress, which is called the Gomez. The Gomez is identifiable by the big puffy sleeves and usually many layers of fabric that may or may not wrap around the body a couple of times. They are usually long to the ground. You see womenn going to church in these dresses, but you also see women cleaning, cooking and doing field work in these dresses too. They are always very colorful and are usually made out of cotton or shiney polyester fabric. The girls on the worship team were calling them "prom dresses"

This woman is wearing a Gomez

This is typical of what you will see people wearing in the villages unless they are wearing a gomez.

This is me and the gentleman who helped translate for us in the village. He was wanting to pastor his own church, but said he could not because he could not afford a PA system. In Uganda, if it's not loud, its not happening.

Whether in the cities or the villages, the children wear uniforms to school. They wear their uniforms every day and seem to have pride in having the uniform for school. Every school has a different color combination and there are LOTS of schools, because there are LOTS of kids everywhere.

Clothing was interesting in Uganda, and you really saw pretty much anything anywhere. You would see women wearing sequins and beaded dresses to the same event that they may have worn and old skirt and tank top to the day before. They seem to wear "dress up" clothes (if they have them) even for every day events. It is easy to get clothes made there and cheap too. There are lots of seamstresses in the cities and treadle sewing machines everywhere. I wonder if I could find a Singer featherweight there...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Gold Blouse finished!

The more I look at the picture in the last post, the more I realize that I should NEVER wear a jewel neck blouse!!! The good news is, this blouse is finished and I love the way the neckline turned out. All in all, I love the whole blouse. There are still a few minor fit issues that I will not mention, because then that will be all you see! I do know a few little changes I will make for next time, and I think there will definitely be a next time. I'm very pleased with the whole fitting process that I used to make this blouse and basically this is it.

  1. trace and cut pattern pieces for a size 36
  2. try on tissue, find the bust point and measure to see how much is needed to reach CF
  3. add in a dart and use the FFRP method for FBA. This also increases the waist and hip
  4. Tissue fit the blouse and make adjustments. I added a 3/8" forward neck adjustment and 1/2" sway back. Next time I will make a larger SBA.
  5. I then cut out the pattern and pin fit the blouse. Make additional adjustments - I took a lot in on the side seams, but still had to taper out at the hips.
  6. At this point I basted the side and shoulder seams to fit again. My tissue is very firm, so doesn't drape as well as the Palmer Pletch tissue paper. I would recommend using their tissue or something of a similar weight when tissue fitting.
This process worked for me and I will definitely do it the next pattern I tackle.

Speaking of which, now I will have to make a new piece for the contest since I am scrapping my pants. I didn't think they were that bad, but I was very unhappy with the high waist and I would have liked them to be flatter across the tummy. My daughter said they were horrible and that I should never wear them again. So, I cut off the waistband thinking I could salvage these "horrible pants" but now I'm not sure I want to do anything with them. I tried basting the legs in so there is less ease, but I'm not sure I like that either. I have put them aside. Not only that, I think the color is a little off to go with the gold blouse. I probably won't finish the mini wardrobe contest because I doubt I can make two more things in the next week. Well, I could, but then that would mean that I wouldn't be doing anything else that I need to do. Also, since my trips to Uganda and Portland, coupled with the fact that DH's work load has lightened a bit lately, means that he wants to spend more time doing things together. This does not include sewing.

Oh, and yes, that is the naughtiest dog in the world, and I had to include this picture because he looks so funny. Yesterday he grabbed an empty bobbin off the sewing table and started chewing on it. Those of you who have met me know how I constantly talk about how naughty this dog is! But, we love him anyway. Geez....

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I'm impressed with tissue fitting

After tissue fitting the blouse, I went ahead and cut it out. I was going to make a muslin, but isn't the whole point of tissue fitting relief from the muslin? I was brave. I cut my "good fabric" but left 1" side seams just in case (as Patti suggested) Then, remembering what we had learned at PR weekend and what I had seen on the P/P pants fitting video, I pin- fit the blouse next. From pin fitting I could see that I needed to take in A LOT in the side seams at the waist. Although this is a fairly straight fitting blouse (very little curve in the side seams and no darts) it looked like a big sack. I ended up taking in TWO INCHES at each side seam at the waist and tapering out again to the hip. Next time I will need to add a little bit more at the hip as well. Either that or get my sorry butt to the gym!

I could also see in the back view that I needed to take a bigger sway back adjustment. It's too late for this one, but next time I will do that. Since I let out the side seams at the hip a little and took in the waist, the wrinkling in the back isn't nearly as bad as it is in this photo.

After I pin fit the blouse, I basted the side seams with the new curves I added. At this point, I could see that somehow I managed to get the right dart much lower than the left dart. I also had made one dart longer than the other. So, I ripped out the basting (This is why I baste!) and re-stitched the dart and tried it on again. Much better. I could also see that the neckline was too high and the shoulders still too wide. I took a little off of these areas and forged ahead.

I'm always a little worried about collars with bands because although they look much nicer, mine don't always turn out well. Well, this one turned out perfectly! I was so happy. So happy that is until I pinned it on the shirt only to find that the band is about 1/2 inch too short on both sides! I couldn't believe it! I checked my alterations and pattern pieces and couldn't see where I had made the neckline any bigger. I thought maybe it really stretched out (I must remember to stay-stitch those necklines!) But, then I walked the pattern pieces, and sure enough, the band is too short. It lines up perfectly from the CB to the shoulder seam, but the front edge is 1/2" shorter than what it should be. Well, good thing I had extra fabric to cut a new one. Of course, I didn't have any more of my Perfect Fuse interfacing of the right weight pre-shrunk and I didn't want to wait while that shrunk and dried, so I used another interfacing instead. I think it will be OK.

I also basted the sleeves and although they fit fine the way they are drafted, they were a little snug for me, so I let them out about 3/8" at the side seams. Because of this, I took an additional tuck at the sleeve bottom in order for the cuffs to fit. So, instead of having 2 pleats near the placket, I have 3.

I haven't done a sleeve placket in a long time and I wasn't quite sure what the BWOF directions were saying, so I pulled out my Readers Digest sewing book and followed their method for a continuous placket. It turned out pretty well.

I'm really loving the fabric of this blouse. It is all linen with a gold lurex thread running thorough it that makes the fabric look metallic. It's a soft ivory-gold. The funny thing is that it only looks metallic on the right side, but the inside is just regular soft linen, so I think the shirt will be comfortable to wear. All I have left to do now is the buttonholes and buttons. I won't be doing double buttons as is shown on the line drawing because I have 9 beautiful buttons that I want to use. These are beautiful vintage buttons that Birgitte picked out for me to use on this fabric. I'm planning on finishing this sometime this weekend and then I will show pix!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Fit

Part of my mini wardrobe is the 105 blouse from BWOF April 2009. After seeing Pati Palmer last weekend I decided to try the FFRP method for FBA again and use tissue fitting. I cut a straight 36 from BWOF and tried it on as shown in the book. I found that I needed about 1-3/4 -2" to meet the CF, but the back seemed to be right. I'm doing all the fitting without a "buddy" using just the bathroom mirror and a hand-held mirror.

I noticed that the neckline was too low in the back, judging by the location of my necklace on my neck. Pati said that she thought I had a forward neck, so even though I don't have a "high round back", that's the adjustment that would work for this. I did about a 5/8" HRB adjustment and also a forward shoulder just pivoting from the neck to rotate the shoulder seam 1/2" to the front. Now, If I only had to wear a shirt from the collar to the upper third of the armscye I think I would have great fit!!

Next, the dreaded bust. I used the FBA as outlined in FFRP and added 1-3/4" in the width. This also widened the whole front, which means I did not have to flare out at the hip. However, I may need to taper in a bit at the waist. There is no dart in this pattern, so I decided to add one. (You need one to do this FBA) This alteration does lower the dart, so after I tried on the tissue fit, I realized that I needed to raise the dart about 1" I'm still not getting the CF on the pattern to match my CF, but I really don't want to make an even larger dart or two darts. I decided to add an addtional 1/2" to the front side seams only by doing pivot and slide. (which is mentioned in the book, does not go into detail)

I think I will still make a muslin because I'm not sure that all of my alterations are right and I'm using art tracing paper which is stiffer than pattern paper which drapes better.

I'm hoping to do the muslin and make the blouse this weekend.

I Didn't Go Overboard

OK, I didn't need any fabric, but you can't go to PR weekend and not get something!. Actually, I'm very pleased with my little 12 yards of fabric because quite a few went over 30 yards, and some even over 40! It's easy to do when you are in such wonderful fabric stores. We visited Fabric Depot, Josephines, and Mill End. Fabric Depot had a fabulous selection of notions and I dropped over $40 there in notions alone. But, they were all things I've been needing (like tracing paper, a new point presser, loop turner, etc) so I figured I might as well stock up and save on shipping.

Josephine's was our next stop, but Cindy Lou and I had to take a side trip and go to Clogmasters where I bought TWO pair of shoes. Yes, I bought two, but the cool thing about clogmasters is that they "custom" fit you. They size with european sizes (which always seem to fit me better) and have 17 different widths! I took one pair of simple black clogs home with me and ordered a pair of bronze colored sandals.

Josephine's had some beautiful fabrics, and for the most part, I did not think their prices were out of line for what they carried, although they were not "bargain" prices either. I was disappointed when I saw one of the fabrics that I bought there (the dotted swiss) at mill end for almost half of what I paid for it. Oh well, if it's not worth buying at full price, it's not a bargain anyway.

Mill End was my favorite store for a few reasons. 1. They have a huge selection of fabrics. 2. The sales staff and cutters were very friendly and helpful. 3. There prices were good. Everyone was going crazy over the Burberry fabric, and although I did RUN through the store chasing Melissa with a gorgeous bolt of red in her hands, I ended up not getting it. I already have red wool coating and a similar Burberry fabric in tan, so until I make those, I won't even have ROOM to put the other (although I still keep thinking about it.) It was really nice fabric.

Here is what I did buy (between Josephine's and Mill End):

These are all rayon jerseys and mostly tissue weight. I was inspired to get knits by all of the cute Jalie tops I saw people wearing over the weekend.

This is the dotted swiss that I later saw at Mill End. That's OK, I still really like it and I will be making a blouse out if this and the white shirting shown underneath this one.

I kept looking at this fabric on a display up by the cash register and finally bought it. I think it will make a great sheath style dress.

This was taken right before we all left for the airport. We had such a great time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Kate and Gin the dancing dog- Britains got talent 2008

Even if you're not a dog fan, you will love this I think.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

First Garment for Mini Wardrobe

This weekend I had a date with my sewing machine and I was able to keep it! I did get one thing finished and another started.
I made up this top from BWOF 7/08. I had made it once before, but this time I omitted the zipper and pockets. I also did a slight forward shoulder adjustment. Everything else I left as before, except this time I made it the original length and last time I made it shorter. This is the first time I have made a garment out of silk charmeuse. I have used it for lining a jacket, but that's different. It's amazing that a fabric that is so fluid and lightweight can still have so much body!

I used french seams to finish the inside

and lined the yoke with silk habatoi. I think that a slightly heavier weight habatoi would have been a little better, but this seems to be working fine for now.

I also really wanted to do something with that last top I made because I just couldn't stand seeing it go to waste, so I decided to cut open the neckline, shorten the sleeves and add trim. It's still not my best look, but at least I will wear it now. I still think I need to change the buttons. I have some ivory/off white buttons I think will look better.

From Summer 09

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The New Plan

Well, I finalized my new plan for the mini wardrobe contest.  I changed out 2 items because I knew I would not have time to make muslins for the dress and blouse.  Here is the new plan:
I've made the sleeveless blouse and pants before.  I have a few adjustments I am going to make on the blouse and I think I will widen the legs a bit on the pants.  I know a lot of you will remember that silk charmeuse from a while back.  In fact, I have seen this fabric in some of your linings and garments too LOL!  Anyway, I still plan on making the seersucker dress (let's see, I've been "planning" on making that since the issue came out!) and of course, the white blouse WILL get made - hopefully both in June.  I want to finish the above items as soon as I can since PR weekend is in 2 weeks, so that's one weekend of no sewing.  This week looks pretty busy, so I don't know how much I'll get done.  I had a migraine all day today, so didn't get any sewing done, but I did prewash the silk and iron the linen.  

It was a beautiful day today, so I took some pictures around the yard. You really must click on these to see how pretty they are :-)

Moving On

Thanks so much for your HONEST feedback on the blouse. Now I know I can move on to something else and not waste my good fabric. I think I will do a little surgery on this top though since it seems like a waste to such a good fit! I have some ideas in mind, so stay tuned!

I've decided that I'm going to use my "good" fabric for either this McCalls blouse,

or this Hot Patterns Miss Moneypenny blouse.  
Either way, it will wait until next month.  

I am going to update my plan for the mini wardrobe contest and instead of making the ruffled bottom dress, I am going to make another pair of pants out of some natural colored linen with a white stripe.

Instead of the white blouse, I am going to make  this BWOF blouse.  I made it last summer and wear it all the time.  This time, I will leave out the pockets and zipper.  I have some border print silk charmeuse that I am going to try to use to make it.  I would love to show you a picture of it, but I didscovered today that my camera charger is broken!  I'm not sure how I can get another one.  I went to  the HP website (it's an HP camera) and that was not much help.  When my daughter gets home I'll have to borrow her camera for a while - hers is newer and nicer than mine!