Sewcation Review ~
I usually write this review immediately after the sewcation. This year I decided that I would take my time and truly reflect upon it - not only what I accomplished, but what I learned and where I want to take my sewing to.
First let's start with some stats ~
I only made four garments during the nine days, which is considerably lower than in sewing vacays of the past, though relatively the same as last fall, however, I was much more creatively fulfilled. I'm sure because the pieces I chose to make challenged me in a positive way.
There were two dresses made from my TNT pattern, one was an easy let the fabric speak dress and the other was a designer interpretation. I used two new patterns, Vogue 8815 and Butterick 5821. Because I used new patterns and made a designer interpretation, these garments required a lot of thought, alterations to the pattern and thinking out of the box to make them work.
Going forward ~
This is how I want to sew this year. Involved interpretations of designer originals that can be adapted to my plus size body, more detailed pieces and of course using some of those patterns I keep purchasing! Of course, I will still make a few quick and easy pieces, as well as, some basics. I have a very well constructed wardrobe (finally!) and I want to sew more creative garments that fit within my conservative work atmosphere...always a challenge!
Questions and Answers ~
There were a few questions that I promised to answer...like 14 of them! So if there are too many for you, please feel free to skip to the next section.
BJ in TX asked on the post Valentino Inspired:
"Are you going to be playing with your new sewing machine?"
I'm moving the sewing machines around this weekend and will start my next project on it. I'm a mess of feelings...anticipation, gratitude, desire, fear, LOL! But I did buy it to use so use it I will!
LisaJane said on Twenty Twelve A Review:
"It seems everything you make is a win"
*LOL* Do I need to remind you of McCalls 6559? Yes, I have failures but not as many as I use to. I try hard to remember what styles work for me and sew only them...probably why so many of my dresses look the same! *smile*
Claire (aka Semane) asked on Ponte & Leather Dress - Part 2:
I wonder if a mini-version of your TNT dress pattern on A4 / Letter paper showing the road-map of the jigsaw pattern pieces would serve as a) a handy reminder of what goes where, and b) a useful easy to access n view at a glance version to file away on top of the full-size pieces when you store them? (P.S. I guess a mini version of your TNT pattern F + B could also be used a little like a Croqui when planning new iterations of your favourite pattern too :) ?)"
I think I understand your question and if I've got it wrong, please let me know in the comments. I guess I made a full size road map. I did save it and add it to the folder where the pattern pieces are stored so there was no need to have a small version. Also, I seem to sew best when I just go for it. I try to mentally sew and plan as much as possible prior to starting a garment and that really helps me. I think I answered your question, not sure? If not, let me know.
Andib asked on Ponte & Leather Dress - Part 2:
"Is it a stretch faux leather? How can you press it and not melt it? Any recommended places to purchase it?"
You know there is a little stretch to it but I wouldn't call it a S-T-R-E-T-C-H faux leather. Now about pressing it - I pressed the fabric on a synthetic setting using steam and a silk organza pressing cloth. I did manage to "bruise" the faux leather in a few places, nowhere really noticeable, so that's how I can tell you to be careful! Mood has a great selection online of faux leathers, I suggest that you start there.
Pam from South Australia asked on Pleasant Purple Dress & Jacket ~ The Idea:
"Have I used interfaced backed fabric before? What's my take on it?"
Yes I have, both purchased with the fusible interfacing back on it and when I've done it myself. Personally I prefer buying it already backed because its done professionally and I don't have to do it. I've seen a few pieces in my travels online and if it's available I generally purchase it. There are a few of these pieces in my collection so if you keep hanging around I'm sure another one will show up sooner or later.
Maureen O'Danu asked on Pleasant Purple Jacket - Vogue 8815:
"What would you say is an ideal project for an ambitious beginning sewist?"
When I taught sewing eons ago *smile* I always started with a straight skirt because based upon the commitment of the student, you can either make one with an elastic waistline or one with the waistband and zipper. But either way the student walked away with a garment that they could wear and that encouraged them to continue sewing much more than a pillow or tote bag did. So my recommendation is to make a skirt...make a lot of skirts until you're comfortable to move onto another piece. A wardrobe of skirts can take you a long way.
Debbie Cook asked on Pleasant Purple Jacket - Vogue 8815:
"Are you sleeping at ALL during this sewcation?"
Debbie I know you asked in jest but seriously I didn't spend as much time sewing as I did vegging and hanging out. If I had spent more time sewing I would have had more completed garments. It really was just the perfect vacay because it had the right parts of vegging, sewing and hanging out. I left the house a couple of times...to see the movie, Lincoln...to go shopping and several times to church during the week. Other weeks, I've totally stayed in the house, not moved and just sewed. I was trying for some balance this time!
L asked on Pleasant Purple Jacket - Vogue 8815:
"Will you have facings or line to the edge?"
Definitely facings...I really just wanted it to look as much like a jacket as possible.
Gmarie asked on Purple Pleasant Jacket & Dress - Part 3:
"Do you have enough purple left to make a skirt?"
Yes, I do, but lately I'm preferring dresses to skirts. I will reach for a dress way more often than I will reach for a skirt when getting dressed in the morning. So mixing it up with another piece of fabric will get the dress I want to go with the jacket.
Romona Sewing Journey asked on Pleasant Purple Jacket & Dress - Part 3:
"Do you give sewing lessons?"
I use to. I just don't have time any more since my commute is so long and the hours I spend at work are considerable. I'm making an exception for my niece because well she's my niece! *smile* Otherwise with the limited time I have available, I like to spend working on garments for myself. However, one of the reasons that I spend so much time blogging about my process is that hopefully it will help someone else with their sewing. Show them a technique they didn't know or another way of looking at how to sew a garment. I know that reading other sewists blogs and sewing forums showed me how they handled techniques that I didn't know or quite understand and allowed me to learn from them. Hopefully other sewists are learning things here too!
AndiB asked on Purple Pleasant Jacket & The Floral Dress:
"Any tips on where to find cute plus sized belts?"
Actually Andi I bought this belt online at Jessica London. Here is a link to their current offerings.
Rachel asked on Valentino Inspired - Butterick 5821:
"Is that fabric (the laminated ponte) available online at Mood?"
No sorry it isn't. They have a great assortment of different colors and weights available online but not any of the patterns or prints that are in the store. I have suggested to them that they might want to add some to the online store but maybe if some of you also asked that would help. If you see something on my blog that I've recently bought from the NYC store, you can call them at 212.730.5003 and tell them that you've seen it here. If it's still available, they will ship it out to you.
Jean asked on Valentino Inspired - Butterick 5821:
"What would a small hem stitch have done? Starting on the edge of the dress and jogging over to catch the trim?"
Okay true confessions time - I only know a few handstitches. I know that I should take the time to learn more but ohhhh let me see, make something new or practicing some handstitches, people you should know the answer to that one! *LOL* All of that Jean to say that with my limited handstitching ability that is all I thought to do. Guess I should have asked a question on that and gotten some feedback, huh!
The final question is from Animat and I'm going to turn that into another section of this very long post.
Animat asked on Valentino Inspired - Butterick 5821:
"Please I would like to know did you do a sway back on this dress?"
The answer is no. Personally, I don't like sway back adjustments on MY clothes. I'm sure you're asking why? When if you don't perform them you get all that excess fabric in the back of the dress.
Well, it's because if you have a slim body with a bodacious booty, I think it's attractive and appealing to point to that bodacious booty. On me, a sway back adjustment removes the extra fabric and points to and illuminates that huge shelf booty that I have. You could almost sit a glass on it and it wouldn't fall over, kinda booty. I'm a big girl. I know this. Maybe I've managed to make my fat look more attractive but it's still fat and it isn't "The Standard of Beauty" that is presently popular in our culture. Because if it was, y'all would be trying to look more like me and Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, and NutriSystems wouldn't be doing such great business. But that being neither here nor there, it is MY personal preference not to do them because I don't like how MY body looks in a garment that has one done.
Now if you point to the picture I inserted above you'll ask why does the fabric hang better in the designer inspired dress? Well that one has been pieced. Also the waistband is curved in that dress which adds to the illusion of a different or better fit. You do know it's made from the same dress pieces as the B5821 dress is, right?
I guess I could not show back shots or only ones where they look perfect...but I don't believe in that. I'm not a perfect sewist. I don't believe that garments should be wrinkle free. The only way a garment is wrinkle free is if you are standing perfectly still and not moving. None of us are like that in real life so why should we strive for that in pictures? I do the best I can sewing for what works for me.
Finally I hope this didn't sound like a rant because it wasn't. Sometimes it's hard to portray tone in a question and an answer. I was thrilled that Animat asked the question. I tend to do what works for me when sewing because when I don't, I end up not wearing the garment. Personally I hope that each and every sewist does what's best for them instead of just following "the rules" because sometimes rules need to be broken.
Another Ponte & Leather Dress ~
In my post I said that if you were making a Ponte & Leather dress inspired by mine or not to send me a link. Sewmanju left a link to this A-M-A-Z-I-N-G version of Vogue 8848:
Isn't it awesome?! When you make your version, please leave a comment in a post, and I will feature it too!
Sorry that this has been such a long post! I was just too lazy to break it up into two posts...hopefully you've made it this far! If you did, thanks for reading along. Also thank you to the 128 people who left such wonderful compliments and comments on my Designer Inspired Dress. Who knew that it would be such a hit!?! Personally I thought the studded Valentino inspired dress was prettier but guess I was wrong! *LOL*
I'm going to work on the Pleasant Purple Dress today and tomorrow so expect photos next weekend - which is Inauguration Weekend! I'm so thrilled! So between sitting in front of my TV watching the festivities, I'll also be sewing.
...as always more later!