Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Cardigan and the Top

Pieces number 5 and 6 are now done.  The cardigan was made from my tried and true Burda pattern 8869 and the top is from Butterick 3124 which is now out of print.


I took several pictures of the process because even though the cardigan pattern is a TNT, the fabric dictated that it get some special consideration. There is a lot of fusible interfacing in this garment to give it structure in all of the important places like the sleeve hems, the hem of the cardigan, and the binding along the neckline.


interfacing at the seam hem


At one point I contemplated adding pockets to the front of the cardigan but discarded that idea after I let it sit overnight.  I didn't like the idea so much in the morning.




Otherwise, it was a pretty straightforward construct with most of it done on the serger.




The top is a good first make and it will be a wearable muslin.  I will make it again because I love the way the neck and the shoulders fit.  Although, I still need to do some work on the body because this one was cut too big and I had to take the side seams in alot.


Here is a picture of the collection so far:


Cardigan, top, pants, jacket
skirt and dress

I will have more about the pieces after I work some more with the tripod.  Because this is the best picture from my first effort.  Now if I can just learn how not to cut my head off, it will be a good thing! *LOL*




The last piece in the collection is the white shirt from Simplicity 2566 which I will work on this weekend...


...as always, more later!







Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Morning Diary Bits

Well it's the weekend again...and thank goodness because it has been a long week!  I've done no sewing this week but that's no surprise since I rarely sew during the week.  However, I have purchased a few things:


1.  A tripod


Thanks to Shams who fielded quite a few questions and gave me a lot of encouragement, this arrived a couple of days ago.  So not only will I hopefully be able to take pictures of myself in my garments but you will probably be subjected to a few posts on me learning how to use it too.


2.  A book, "Professional Sewing Techniques for Designers"


This book has been on my Amazon wishlist for awhile, ever since Ann, of Gorgeous Things, reviewed it.  It went on sale earlier this week, a $22 savings, so I snatched it up.


3.  February 2012 BurdaStyle Issue




You know I gave up Burda Style pattern magazine last year.  In my opinion, the subscription price is over the top for patterns that I was no longer inspired by and the Universal newsstand where I bought the issues one off closed a few months ago.  They had stopped carrying them before they closed and I just didn't have the time to troop around NYC to hunt down copies.  So why did I buy this issue? I loved this dress.




The color blocking is awesome and I thought I could make it using my TNT pattern but I really wanted to see the pattern pieces so that my rendition would be as close to the original as possible.  Then Audrey of Sew Tawdry went and reviewed it on PR, and I knew I had to own a copy of the magazine.  I don't know if I will get to it soon (like in the next 2 or 3 weeks) but definitely before February is done...there is that 3 day weekend coming up for President's Day and it would give me the time I needed to work on the pattern alterations since it only goes up to a size 42.


4.  A piece of fabric




I was in a bad place earlier in the week and the only thing that would soothe my soul was fabric.  You know how it is, the imaginings of a new garment from a new piece of fabric ~ okay maybe you don't know how it is! *LOL*  But it works for me and in this instance I even showed restraint and only purchased one piece along with a piece of lining to make the $35 free shipping on fabric.com.  Anyway, I also found this Vintage Vogue Pattern on eBay that perfectly displayed the idea I saw in my head when I bought the fabric...


Vogue 9127 is on the left and the one I want to make


Another idea added to my sewing list...this is a piece that can be worn into early spring and would make a great work dress...so even if it doesn't get made until April it would be fine since the wool is a lightweight wool blend.  Speaking of April...


5.  10 more weekends to sew winter gear
...that's including this weekend of course and also includes one more three day weekend.  I worked this out earlier in the week which was really helpful in figuring out how many outfits from my sewing list have the ability to be completed. Sometimes my sewing list can overwhelm me, so knowing how much time I have left to complete it, helps me to assess what from my list will actually get made.  I mean not like anyone else is as obsessed with sewing as much as I am!  *LOL*


So I'm off...I want to work on my cardigan and top for the Lavender and Gray Skies wardrobe.  I'm getting close to finishing up this wardrobe and I want to wear it to work this week especially since we are experiencing unseasonably warm temps for winter here in the NY/NJ metro area.


...as always, more later...











Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pockets, Pockets, Pockets

Last night "The State of the Union" address was given by President Obama and this morning I went to the blog, Mrs. O, to see what the First Lady wore.  I missed the address because I was out.  She was wearing a Barbara Tfank dress from the Resort 2012 line so I moseyed on over to style.com to check out the line.  After closing out the screen, the Spring Couture 2012 lines popped up and a blue dress in the Chanel line caught my eye.  I clicked in and thought I would just take a peek...


You know I ended up taking more than a peek.  I ended up viewing the entire collection, then printing some pics out for my inspiration board...but as I looked at garment after garment, all I could think is that it was all about the pockets.


Now what does this remind you of:


(all pics courtesy of style.com)


And doesn't this look like 




Aren't these pants kewl with 
the deep pockets on the side:




I just love what I can see of this dress:




Almost every model walked the runway with her hands in some type of pocket.  But what struck me the most was the use of that invisible pocket that was featured in the Rachel Cormey skirt.  I mean Karl Lagerfeld used this pocket quite a bit in some really creative ways...he added a satin band, he added a floral embellishment, a sequined embellishment, and the frayed edge of the fabric.  I thought I was doing something when I used that pocket on my Rachel Dress but Lagerfeld took it to an entirely different level.


I have another Rachel Dress on my winter sewing list and after seeing the Chanel Couture Spring 2012 line, I'm moving that one up to the top of the list cause those pockets, pockets, pockets are doing a number on me!


...as always, more later!

Monday, January 23, 2012

It's starting to look like a collection

There are now four pieces of the Lavender and Gray Skies Wardrobe completed.




The dress, the pants & the skirt are all from the 
gray tropical wool using my TNT patterns.



I know hanger shots stink
but they're all I've got now!


The jacket is finished and made from the wool jersey 
and sweater knit.  I'm still not in love with it...*sigh*



I've cut the pieces for the cardigan out so its up next. Thank goodness because I so need to work with some color because the gray is seriously getting to me.  So glad I've sewn the last piece in it...Yes!!!...It's starting to look like a collection...


...as always, more later!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday Update

So it's Saturday afternoon here in NJ and it's stopped snowing...I'm safely ensconced in the sewing cave with the heater going and the TV playing...more Law & Order of course! *smile*




I'm going to spend the weekend working on the rest of the pieces of the Lavender and Gray Skies wardrobe.  I'm adding the facings to the jacket and hemming the sleeves then I'm moving onto the dress.  If I have time left this weekend, I will work on the cardigan also.  If I get all of this done, it will leave only the two tops to be completed.


As a reminder the two tops are, Simplicity 2566 ~ in the white cotton stretch fabric and I've added Butterick 3124 an out of print sleeveless cowl neck top from the cardigan fabric.




I've read the PR reviews for it and Lara's review on her blog, Thornberry.  One of the first things I plan on doing is lengthening the top.  Even from the photos on the pattern envelope the top is too short.  If I have enough fabric I may make it dress length but that's something that I will determine when I'm working on the garment.  I do like the fact that the top has side bust darts, which are my darts of choice.


Since I no longer have a photographer and haven't figured out how to take pics of myself yet...trying to decide if I want an entirely new camera...it will be a minute before I have pictures of me in the completed garments.  But I am happily sewing away in my sewing cave working on finishing up this wardrobe.


...as always, more later!


  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Just the Basics...

I finished three pieces this weekend...


I'm really missing my white closet wall these days!


...although all the pieces didn't belong to the Lavender and Gray Skies wardrobe. As you can see from above, I made 2 pairs of pants and a skirt.  The pants belong to the UFO vest that I mentioned in this post. I guess the cold got to me because when I sat down to sew on Saturday I started working on the pants first. Well actually I spent Saturday cutting out all the pieces from the gray tropical wool, the lining for the pieces and pretreating the white fabric for the blouse.


I made the pants on Sunday with no changes to the way I make my TNT pattern. Except that when I made the gray & white pinstripe pair last year, I used a flat lining technique. After wearing them, I realized that I don't like the seams on my inner thighs. So even though the linings don't rub out this way, I'm not comfortable using this technique in my pants. The cheater method (serging the lining fabric to the fashion fabric and then sewing them as one piece of fabric) works so much better for me.  


The fabric for the second pair is from the Vera Wang fabric haul from a few years ago. And of course, both have rayon bemberg lining in them, the stretch elastic in the waistline and seam binding in the hems.


The Lavender and Gray Skies Straight Skirt
Pattern:
TNT skirt pattern


Fabric:
Gray wool tropical from Fabric Mart


Notions:
White Rayon Bemberg lining
9" invisible zipper
2 - 1/2" steel buttons
1 yard of 2" wide lace
1 yard of gray seam binding


Again this is a TNT pattern so there aren't any new construction techniques. However, the fabric did require a little assistance. I added a 1" strip of fusible interfacing to the center back seams to stabilize them for the invisible zipper insertion...




The lace that I chose to add to the lining will also be used on the dress lining...




...and I added two buttons to the waistline...the same buttons that will be used on the cardigan and coordinating jacket.


Gawd is that stitching crooked...thank God it will be covered!
Egads, I'm gonna have to remove that...I don't think I can live with it. *sigh*


I have to admit that before I began working on these pieces I was worried that they wouldn't work with the jacket...that light/dark contrast thing. But they seem to be fine and I'm encouraged enough to continue working on the rest of the pieces.


I'm finishing up the jacket now and will move onto the dress, cardigan and shirt. I hope to finish these pieces up by the end of the month because I really want to finish off the other garments on my list before I catch spring fever.


...as always, more later!







Monday, January 16, 2012

MLK Day

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
January 15, 1929 ~ April 4, 1968


"Now I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.  I have a dream that one day, this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed - 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'


Speech on Civil Rights March on Washington, August 28, 1963

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Watching the Golden Globes...

Okay this is a very exciting Sunday for me...

www.yahoo.com

First the Giants Won!  OMG!  The Giants won!  
I have to admit that I thought the Packers were gonna wipe them off the field (bad fan, bad fan!) and I could only watch the final quarter (kept updated by Yahoo) because I was watching the Red Carpet on E!  But they won!  They won!!!!!  Next up the NFC Championship game...


Second, I LOVE red carpet season...the shows are okay and I do watch but I avidly watch the red carpet shows, check the internet afterwards to see the dresses I missed because I'm so inspired by the fashion.  I'm sure you're wondering how can evening gowns inspire...but think about it.  The colors that are on the red carpet are usually the new trends.  I love the silhouettes and how the dresses are put together.  I definitely get ideas for combinations and colors from the gowns...and my favorite of the night hands down was Angelina Jolie:


I also loved Viola Davis' dress, Kate Winslet, Claire Danes (wouldn't this combination make a great dress!), and for plus size chicks Octavia Spencer.  To me everyone looked so amazing tonight!  Even Sarah Michelle Geller who has already been panned for her dress.




Finally the red carpet fashion show made me think of my top five fashion movies.  I own all of these except one on DVD and love them for the fashion inspiration that they provide.  They are:


1.  Lucy Gallant
This movie is from 1955 and stars Charlton Heston and Jane Wyman.  It is the story of a woman who goes to Texas and starts a women's clothing store devoted to high fashion.  One of the highlights of the film for me is the fashion show that is narrated by Edith Head.  (btw I have this on VHS, I taped it from the TV one evening, have been totally unable to find this on DVD.)


2.  Mahogany
This was Diana Ross' second film and was about a girl from Detroit who only wanted to design and the price  she paid (giving up Billy Dee Williams - what the h*ll was she thinking!?!) to have her dream of designing her own fashion line.  Okay she gets Billy Dee in the end but seriously she left him...


3.  The Women (2008)
This is the adaptation of the 1938 movie featuring Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford but updated with Meg Ryan, Annette Benning, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett-Smith, etc.  But my favorite part of the movie is the fashion show towards the end that features Narcisco Rodriguez's garments.


4.  Valentino - The Last Emperor
This is just the most amazing display of photography...my friend called it an art show and not a movie and I have to agree!  It is Valentino all the time and an awesome tribute to this marvelous designer.


and finally the one that would make everyone's list...


5.  The Devil Wears Prada
Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, designer gear, and a much better story than the book!  Oh yeah and the designer clothes! *LOL*  ..."that's all"


So what would your top five fashion movies be?



...as always, more later...and sorry Packers fans!


Saturday, January 14, 2012

The fabric collection spreadsheet

Shannon of Hungry Zombie Couture is an Organizational Goddess.  Seriously!  Her last couple of blog posts have been about her fabric closet, how she organized & folded it and how she keeps track of her fabric.  Since I'm getting ready to move my fabric from the bins to fabric shelves, these posts really caught my eye.


After moving all of this fabric from the old apartment to the new townhouse, I've decided that somewhere there should be some kind of list of exactly what I own.  I have a good idea in my head but I can tell you that I definitely found pieces that I'd forgotten about as I packed up the collection.  So instead of laying out and cutting my gray pieces last night, I embarked upon making my own fabric excel spreadsheet.




I decided to start with the pieces that are laying around.  I can tell you that this is a very involved process and I applaud anyone who has maintained this type of database.  I've entered exactly 17 pieces of fabric and I'm in awe of how much work this is.  I think I'm gonna enter a few of the fabric bins before they are opened and placed on the shelves because can I say it again, this is ALOT of work!  *LOL*


However, I've learned a few things:
1.  Did you know that both Fabric Mart and fabric.com keep a listing of all your fabric purchases.  
Now this can be a good and a bad thing.  Good because I was able to find a piece of fabric on Fabric Mart's site that I purchased in 2005 enabling me to get most of the specifics onto the spreadsheet.  However, they have every purchase I've made since 2005...people that's 7 years of fabric buying which is definitely the bad side.


2.  Even the coupon codes are listed on both sites.
So you not only know how much the yardage originally was but what discount you received.


3.  Thank goodness that I've been tagging my fabric as it's shown up.  It will make putting most of the entries in very easy...time-consuming but easy.


I've only got 17 pieces entered but I want to keep this up because it's not only informative but it will be very helpful.  It's just a very large task entering all of the fabric I have...guess I'll just have to take it one piece at a time.


There was a question on my "Thanks" post from Szmusil...
"Regarding wool...Once your garments are sewn, how do you care for them?  Do you dry clean?  Hand wash?  Some other method?"


Szmusil - let me tell you first that I have ALOT of clothes.  For the last few years on average I've made at least one garment a week.  So most of my clothing gets one or two wearings a season.  Pants get a little more wear but I'm trying to change that by wearing more dresses/skirts or my jeans to work and changing into a dress or a skirt. Okay so that was a huge aside but I think it's important to understand why I chose the method of cleaning that I have.  I dry clean my wool garments and not very often because I don't wear them repeatedly.  I just like how they are cleaned and how they come back pressed.  I know that drycleaning is not everyone's preferred method of cleaning but it works for me.


I think I'll get to the actual business of sewing tonight so more about the new pieces soon...


...as always, more later!











Friday, January 13, 2012

In Real Life...

I've wanted to do this before but I never get a full week of pictures taken and I didn't this week either.  But I'm going to share the pics with you that I do have...


Monday
The revised MK dress 
with a RTW cashmere turtleneck


Tuesday
(notice it's missing the great shoes)


Wednesday
I made this skirt 5 years ago 
and am wearing it with a RTW twinset


Thursday - I wore a RTW sweater dress that I got for a song so no pic.  And today I wore jeans and a turtleneck with cardigan combination because we were cleaning out our storage room...and most of the staff was in jeans.


I called this post "In Real Life" because I find that many times I take pictures at home and I don't always bring "the look" to work for one reason or another...sometimes because I just don't want to cart my shoes with me that early in the morning! *LOL*  Sad to say I have 2 complete sets of shoes at work and home...


Anyway, it's Friday!  I'm home (jetted out of work as soon as I possibly could!) and I'm in the sewing cave with the heat pumping and the TV talking to me.  I'm going to cut my basics (skirt, dress, pants) out tonight so that I can start stitching in the morning.  I have no incentive to leave the house this weekend because the temps just plummeted here in my corner of the world and you know how much I hate the cold!


A parting shot:
A close up of my necklace ~ I love Heidi Daus jewelry and I just started collecting it. This is one of my favorite pieces and I love it against the Erdem inspired dress...






...as always, more later!



Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thanks!

Overwhelmingly, I was told that the Lavender & Gray Skies Jacket is a success in your eyes!  You also supplied some food for thought with the suggestions you left in the comments section.  Some of which I am seriously considering because they jive with my own thought patterns and some I'm considering because they have ignited a creative spark.


I am, however, taking the advice to withhold judgement on the jacket until all the other pieces are completed.  I can see how I'm a little too close to it and even though I don't make alot of jackets, I still end up with 4 or 5 every year.  So Sherrill, you are right that I do prefer cardigans but I still need jackets in my work wardrobe for certain events and meetings.


Someone asked what I do.  I work for an investment bank so it's a pretty corporate environment and the only time its casual is on Fridays...and even that depends upon what type of meetings are scheduled for that day.  MaryBeth, I'm definitely considering a scarf from the knit and I think I have enough left over that I may even see if I could make a sweater dress.  So there are possibilities, which is why I'm keeping my mind open.


Ursula, thanks so much for your kind offer of the wool jersey but the jacket is almost done and the sleeves work for me so I don't need it.  But that was very, very kind of you to offer.  And to everyone who offered a solution, thank you for caring enough to share your thoughts. Please do not feel that you need to apologize or add a disclaimer when you offer your opinion.  I have no problems with you leaving your comment/opinion as long as its done respectfully...and since all of you were so much more wowed by the jacket than I was, I don't think that was an issue!


I have three days off this weekend because Dr. Martin Luther King's Birthday is celebrated on Monday.  I have no real plans for the weekend...so you know where I'll be...SEWING!  I want to work on the basics, the skirt, the lined pair of pants and the dress from the gray tropical wool.  If I'm really industrious maybe I can get the white shirt or the cardigan made too.  We'll see.


Finally, I love crime dramas on TV.  Give me a Law & Order (any of the spinoffs or the original), CSI Miami, The Closer or Criminal Minds marathon and I can happily sew away for hours...especially if I've laid in a supply of Mountain Dew to sip on while I watch and sew! So this year for Christmas, my daughters all gave me Amazon gift cards which I applied to the purchase of this:




It showed up this evening and now I don't want to go to work tomorrow.  I want to sit in the sewing cave, slip in disc after disc and watch and sew.  Seriously people, I have issues!  *LOL*


...as always, more later!





Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lavender and Gray Skies Jacket - Part 2

Okay I'm officially back on track...*grateful sigh*  My solution worked.  So what was the solution?  Well the "all sweater" arms was too great a contrast.  One solution would have been to find more ways to incorporate the sweater knit into the jacket so the knit sleeves wouldn't look so extreme.  But that wasn't the path I wanted to take with this jacket.  Instead, I decided to use the small piece of felted fabric I had left to make the sleeves.


I folded the sleeve pattern in the center to take some of the width out. I cut out two sleeves from the remaining piece of fabric.  Then I folded the cut sleeves in half and cut them into two pieces.  I pressed the knit sleeves that I had removed from the jacket and cut the center out of them, stitching the new smaller centers onto the two each side of the sleeve.  Here is how the sleeves looked flat:




With much trepidation, I pinned the sleeves into the jacket.  I wish there was a way to add a drumroll here...*LOL*...but it worked.  Here are a few "not so great" in progress pictures to show how the sleeve now looks in the jacket...


A bad mirror shot

A hanging shot

A view of the sleeve on my arm

Laying on the cutting table with the buttons

I'm thinking I need to invest in a new camera and move away from the point and shoot, but I digress.  Because the jacket will work.  It will fit around my body and will play well with the coordinates.  But here's the thing...I don't think the jacket is me.  Seriously.  I know all of this drama and now I'm not sure.  I don't know about you but there are two sides to me...my business side and my creative side...and I'm always trying to jive the two sides of me.  My creative side loves this jacket...the manipulation of the fabric...adding the knit fabric...making something different and unusual.  However, my business side likes a cleaner, linear line, something serious and same...this jacket ain't that!


So I will finish the jacket.  And I will make the coordinating pieces because I want them.  But right now, I don't honestly know if I will wear the jacket often...then again, I don't wear many jackets often...*sigh*  Maybe that's why I'm on the continual quest to find "the perfect" jacket.  Something I can make multiple times, have it work in all situations and feel comfortable in.  I even wonder if that mythical, perfect jacket exists?


Anyway...this is my journey.  This is where I'm at in the making of this jacket and wardrobe. This is my thought process as I work through the construction of these pieces...


...as always, more later!







Sunday, January 08, 2012

Bits and Pieces from the Sewing Cave

These are just some thoughts that rambled through my brain as I sewed these last few days:


1.  I am enamored of my straight stitch foot.  I put it on to sew the Christening Gown and haven't taken it off my sewing machine since it gives me such control over my stitching.  I usually use my wide/zig-zag foot but lately this one has been working so well for me.  So how about you? What is your favorite sewing foot?


2.  I'm sewing along and I notice that something isn't right with my serger...it's ruffling the edges.  At first I think it's the fabric because it is kinda loosey goosey but then after further inspection I realize that one of the settings has been changed on it.  I've also done this with my sewing machine and was wondering if this happens to anyone else?


3.  I love the fact that I can walk around my sewing table now.  In my old apartment one main section was pushed up against a wall.  In my new sewing room only one of the smaller sides is pushed up against the bins.  It is pretty awesome to walk around all three sides of the table.


4.  Am I the only one that has such a feeling of calm and peacefulness when they spend considerable time in their sewing room?  I love how those feelings balance out the hecticness of my life.


5.  The front of me is bigger than the back of me so now I use a larger front piece to make my dresses and skirts fit.  Does anyone else do that?  Or am I the only one cheating like that!


6.  Sometimes I think I'm the only one that uses my TNT so extensively.  I read other blogs or the sewing boards and people sew from patterns and I tend to sew from designs.  I see a picture or a woman wearing something and I think I can make that.  My first step use to be to find a pattern for the look.  Lately my thought is to chop up my TNT patterns.  It just makes me feel a little different and strange because it seems like everyone else can achieve those looks from patterns.  Am I lazy?  Do I have more imagination?  Or are others just better at using and fitting patterns than I am?  It makes me wonder...


7.  I wish I sewed better!  Seriously, I wish I was one of those sewists that did everything right and made these amazing garments because sometimes I feel like a rank amateur...*sigh*


8.  Someone asked me in one of the earlier posts on my sewing room if I could tell them how I liked the floor after having living in my sewing room for a minute.  Well I can tell you that the floor is no colder than any other and with the heater it is very comfortable.  I love being able to sweep up scraps and pins so easily.


9.  Which brings me to the fact that I love my sewing room/cave!  I love having a dedicated place to sew.  It has everything I need to make me happy creatively...and as soon as I get the fabric & books situated it will be perfect...well perfect to me!


10.  Denise, the owner of The Blue Gardenia Vintage Pattern Site is having a sale.  The details are below:

Take the left turn at ABQ and save, save, save on lovely patterns!

You're wondering— I know you are — about our annual end-of-year sale. The bad news: We didn't have it. We were in Prescott packing. We were. Box after box.
But.
There is good news: The Blue Gardenia is having a Take the Left Turn at Albuquerque sale instead. So here's the scoop:
Buy 3 or more patterns, get 35% off your total sale!
Sale prices good now through
11:59 p.m. PST Sunday, January 15, 2012
Payment must be received by Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Shop Early for Best Selection!
Happy New Year!


...I'm working on finishing up my Lavender & Gray Skies jacket, I think my solution is working, which is making me happy...


...as always, more later!









Saturday, January 07, 2012

Lavender 'n Gray Skies Jacket

I think I'm going to stay away from felted wool jersey because I don't think it likes me anymore.  I've made several successful garments from it but lately the last few things I've made just haven't worked.


I'm saying all this to say that my lavender 'n gray skies jacket looks like cr*p! How did this come to be?  Well I ran short of fabric even though I purchased 4 yards.  I thought I bought more than enough to felt but obviously it shrank more than I thought both width and lengthwise.  And then in a fit of inspired stupidity, I added the sweater knit to the jacket as sleeves thinking I would emulate this Valentino jacket.




Since this is the basis for my wardrobe, I started to get a little hysterical at the thought that I wouldn't have the main piece of the collection.  And that's when from the back of my brain I pulled the remembrance of the Valentino mixed fabrication jackets.  Now in Valentino's collection the sweater knit used for the sleeves matches the jacket fabric exactly...but since I don't have the Valentino designers fabric budget or influence, I used the heather violet sweater fabric that I'd bought for the cardigan.




At first I was concerned because it is darker than the base fabric but then I thought that it would be funky and fun so I went ahead and cut out the sleeves and sewed them onto the jacket. Well ain't funky and it ain't fun!  It just looks crappy!




So I have to come up with a new solution.  And since I had to go into work today for a couple of hours, I've only gotten as far as picking this all apart so that I have the base of the jacket and nuthin else.  Anyway, I think I have a solution.  I'll work on it tomorrow and hopefully this will solve the problem.  If not I really don't know what I'm going to do...*sigh*...because Fabric Mart has no more of the lavender wool jersey.


...as always, more later





Friday, January 06, 2012

Sewing Designer Inspired Garments

Robin left this comment on my Erdem Inspired Dress post:
"After seeing your dress, it motivated me to learn more about Erdem.  Honestly looking at the runway models does very little for me.  It takes too much imagination for me to see how I might make it wearable for my age, my figure and my lifestyle."


Robin I'm sure you won't mind that I pulled your comment to use as the basis for this post because I think it will help not only you but other sewists.


First let me state that I love designer fashions.  I spend a lot of time on style.com, net-a-porter and other designer sites (especially the iPad apps, which I love!) peeking at details, checking out colors and silhouettes.  So here are my five rules/guidelines for deciding if I can "interpret" a designer look.


1.  I always look at silhouettes and never at the models.  
Come on let's face it, I look nothing like the models used in publications or on internet sites.  But I'm not looking at them.  I'm looking at the silhouette of the dress, just like you look at the line drawings on patterns, each garment has a line drawing (silhouette) and that's how I choose if I can interpret a garment.


2.  I know which silhouettes work on my body.
And here is the catch...the thing that I believe trips up a lot of sewists...knowing exactly what styles work for them.  And that's really important...see I know that I don't look good in waisted dresses.  I love those styles but if I want to look pudgy, dowdy and fat, I should make one of those type dresses.  I like long lines.  I think that they make me look slimmer, taller and more attractive.  So the first thing I look for is that long clean line.


3.  Color and pattern
I'm always looking for an interesting play of pattern and color.  The reason the Erdem line caught my eye is because he is doing a really fresh take on the play of color, print and pattern.  I honestly did not care for his Fall 2011 line...it looked really grim and Morticia Adams dark to me.  However, his Resort and Spring Lines for 2012 have a lot of color and pattern.  But this is what I like.  Have you determined what you like?  What colors make you feel good when you're wearing them?  What colors get you the most compliments?  What styles are guaranteed to get someone to say, "Boy are you looking good today?"


4.  Does it work for my lifestyle?
I think if you have a defined dress code for your job it's easier to pick garments.  But, it is also easy to fall into the bland trap which is dressing like everyone else in dull colors.  I know what the requirements for my job environment are and I try to stay within those guidelines but I need color so I try to add it in my jewelry, shoes and certain pieces (top, skirt, dress).  


Now to me, working in a business casual work environment, gets a little dicey because I think you need to determine what you want to look like and that's where it gets a little confusing.  At my last job I worked in a business casual atmosphere and I had to chose a path that wasn't very casual but not very professional.  I solved this by wearing alot of twinsets with skirts and pants with the occasional dress.  I never wore a suit.  The minute you showed up in a suit, you were asked if you were interviewing.


Also you need to determine what is comfortable to wear on your job.  I can't imagine wearing a suit as say a kindergarten teacher.  I would think it would cause a distance between you and the children.  Any job where you have to wear a uniform (nurse, policewoman, contractor, postal person etc.) means that you are only determining what to wear when you're not working.  A SAHM has a different need than someone going out to work and I think you have a degree of freedom that I don't have.  


I'm saying all of this to say that you have to determine what clothing is comfortable and appropriate for your job or lifestyles.  Now there are books on this subject, magazine articles, people who have "the credentials" to tell you how to do this.  I'm just saying that this is a journey...just like learning to sew is one...so is determining what to wear.


5.  Is it fresh and new and does it touch something in my creative spirit.
That is a huge thing for me when picking which designer gear to interpret.  I also keep a large file on my computer and with magazine clippings to inspire me.  I'm looking to the fresh, the new, the different that inspires me and makes me want to leave work and sew.  It's just something that grabs me.  And if you like it, copy it!  That's pretty much my motto!


Now these are all my opinions.  This is what works for me.  This may or may not work for you and please feel free to ignore me.  But I thought I would respond to Robin's comment and tell everyone that first and foremost, I don't look at the models.  They are a non-issue for me!  *LOL*  They really are just the hangers wearing the clothing, sad to say.


And Valerie C., feel free to copy anything you see on my blog.  I'm honored that you like what I make enough to want your own copy of it.  Finally to my plus size sistahs, having the ability to sew means that we can have alot more than what is available in RTW and even in pattern sizes.  If you have a few TNT patterns and an adventurous spirit, you can cut them up and get the clothing you want.


...as always, more later!



Thursday, January 05, 2012

Lavender 'n Gray Skies Wardrobe

I've wanted to make these wardrobe pieces for the last couple of months.  I haven't sewn a wardrobe (series of garments) in awhile and I've been jonesing to do some coordinated sewing.  So I've pulled together all of the pieces ~ patterns, fabrics and notions, for the wardrobe.  


First the wardrobe pieces:
1.  Jacket from Butterick 6002
This is the foundation piece of the collection.  The jacket will be made from the felted/fulled lavender wool jersey.


2.  TNT straight skirt
3.  TNT lined pants
4.  TNT sheath dress
These pieces will be made from the gray tropical wool from Fabric Mart and have all made appearances here before.  They are staples in my wardrobe.


5.  White shirt
I've decided to go with a non-traditional white shirt.  I've always wanted to use the Khaliah Ali Simplicity 2566 pattern and the shirt included in this pattern does have a collar but its a pull-on...not a button down shirt.  It also comes with a tie which I will make because I like both of these features...so that's my non-traditional white shirt.


6.  Cardigan from out-of-print (OOP) Burda 8869
Burda 8869 is my go to cardigan pattern.  It always works. I just have to determine the right length for this collection. I want the cardigan to work with not only the dress and skirt but the pants too...so I'm thinking this will be a little longer especially since the jacket is on the short side which will give some balance to the collection.


It's a pretty basic wardrobe but it's perfect for work.  Here's a look at the fabric combination:




I had the same button on hand in two sizes so that the cardigan and jacket will have matching buttons.  I really like that the buttons will tie the pieces together. I've already made the pattern alterations to the jacket pattern pieces and have begun working on it's construction.

Finally a few answers to comments left on the Erdem Inspired Dress Final:
1.  Glad everyone liked the shoes.  I worried that they might be a bit much with the dress but I really liked the look...especially now that I'm on the second floor and not the main floor of our office...I can look a little more fashion forward.

2.  No, I didn't wear the dress on Tuesday.  It was wayyyyy to cold in NYC to wear a dress.

3.  These shoes are old.  The brand is Bandalino and I have no idea where I purchased them from...sorry!

4.  The construction of the dress really wasn't that fast.  I started it last week (Tuesday or Wednesday evening) and I finished it up on Sunday.  I just had to wait for a photographer to post pictures of it.


5.  Dharma asked about Julie's Swatch Club at Fabric Mart.  I haven't been a member of the swatch club in at least 3 years because they have such great fabric on the website that I felt I didn't need it.  So I'm sorry but I have no information on the Swatch Club.  However, the club is being discussed on Stitcher's Guild in the Fabric Mart 3 folder.  You may find more information there.


Finally thanks for all of your kind compliments on the dress...they are truly appreciated!


...as always more later!




  

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Designer Inspired - Erdem Interpretation Final

Technically this is an easy sew...I mean I started this journey with my TNT pattern...so first some pictures:


front view


back/side view


back view


another front view with the 3/4 length sleeves


Pattern:
TNT Dress


Fabric:
1 yard wool black/white houndstooth fabric from Mood
1.5 yard ltwt. black wool crepe from Fabric Mart


Notions:
ambience rayon lining
22" black invisible zipper
2 yards of 1" black lace
2 yards of black seam binding


Pattern Alterations:
I really liked the pleats in the neckline of the designer original.  So to get them, I altered my TNT dress pattern front by simply adding some space to the neckline and two pleats to the side front.  I went looking for the "how-to" amongst my sewing library, but since it's still packed in totes, I honestly didn't look that hard and winged it for most of the pattern alteration.  That's my disclaimer so that you know that no real technical skill was used to make the alteration.


I added four lines at the corner of the neckline.  Each line was 1" apart and 3.25" long.  I chose this spot based upon the placement on the designer original.
  


After I made the changes to my pattern, I pinched it together to make sure that it worked.  I was a little concerned that when I laid the pattern piece on the fold that I was gaining about an inch in the abdomen area but I thought that the dress was suppose to be shift like anyway so hopefully it wouldn't matter.  If there ended up being too much fabric in the front, I would just make larger side seams.  I know so totally un-technical right?  But you know the cook who doesn't use the recipe or who doesn't look at the measurements but the dish turns out great...well, that's me when it comes to sewing sometimes.  Not all the time, but sometimes.




Luckily my alterations worked but it did alter the neckline of my dress pattern making the fit a little closer to my neck...which was fine because the altered neckline looks more like the designer original.


The 3/4 length sleeves are one of the sleeve options I've developed for my TNT dress over the course of the dress' history.  The 3/4 length sleeves are really the perfect finishing touch for this dress.


Construction:
I've made this dress a time or two before so there are no new construction details.  However, the hand of the fabric did require some special treatment.  


*I added a 5/8" strip of knit fusible interfacing to the herringbone wool's neckline because it was very soft and this added some stability to the neckline.




*I also added the same fusible interfacing to the back neckline of the dress after putting the invisible zipper in because the back was a tad wobbly.  I probably should have interfaced the center back seam too but it worked out okay after some steaming and sewing the lining down.


*The tucks are just basted in.  I considered stitching them down but decided against it.  The released tucks are more like the designer original.




*I also stabilized the shoulder seams with stay tape when I stitched them together.  I wanted to make sure that they didn't stretch out since both fabrics were a bit unstable.




*The dress is lined and has a lace hem...my standard lining hem treatment.


*The sleeves are also lined because the black wool crepe is a little lightweight.  I don't normally line my sleeves but as I stated before I want to wear this dress without a jacket or cardigan.


*I used what I call the Nancy's Notions method of lining sleeves.  Cut the sleeve lining an inch shorter than the fashion fabric.  Add a strip of interfacing to the sleeve hemline.  Stitch the lining and fashion fabric together.  Press the seam open.  Fold the sleeve right sides together and stitch from the top to the bottom.  Press the seam open.  Then fold the lining inside and baste the two pieces together at the sleeve cap.  Give one more good press to the sleeve and insert it into the dress.


Those were the most interesting construction highlights...it is a TNT pattern after all!  But I'm thrilled with the outcome.  One final thing...the net-a-porter dress cost $1,390 and my version cost $49.98 ($35 for fabric, $13.96 for lining, $1.02 for notions).


So my first garment for 2012 is done and even though it didn't appear on my sewing list, I'm glad I was flexible enough to go with the flow.  Next up will be my Lavender & Grey pieces...


Parting Shot:
These are the shoes I will wear with the dress in homage to the original designer look...




...as always, more later!







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