Monday, October 11, 2021

Stages of Construction

I wrote a friend the other day that I don't sew as much anymore...even when I take days off thinking I will sew.  Since moving into my own place, there is so much to do like cleaning. I got rid of the cleaning crew when I moved thinking I can clean a one bedroom apartment. Seriously I'm thinking of having them come in once a month to deep clean. *LOL*

Or decorating, I'd settled into my previous spaces. Having only lived here 13 months there are still things I want to do.  Paint, wallpaper (peel and stick options are amazing) add some furniture to my balcony, etc. So I spend time looking at decorating sites, imagining new things to do, things that are not sewing related.

Let's also add in that I'm back to commuting to NYC 2-3 times a week so my sewing has taken a back seat. I feel like my life has gained a balance I was lacking pre-Covid since I primarily worked and sewed. 

However I am sewing...just in small amounts of time...and not always completing everything I start.

Here are a few pieces that are in various stages of completion...

Simplicity 8875 ~

I don't know what got into me and made me think I could make this slim fitting dress fit my bodacious body...especially since I'm no longer a fan of a close-fitted dress. Wait, was I ever?  Oh yes, in my 20s! *LOL*

I made a 101 fit changes - all documented by the way for a future blogpost - and stopped when I tried it on.  It just needs the bottom ruffle added which I have not been able to bring myself to finish and add to the dress.  Why?  Because I'm not sure I will ever wear the dress due to its close fit. 

BTW, that amazing fabric I used was purchased again, as soon as I had doubts about this original garment.  Another five yards resides in the collection because I was so scared that I'd wasted the fabric.  While this was a spring fabric purchase from StyleMaker Fabrics, it is sold out.  Now do you understand why I immediately bought another five yards?

McCalls 7943 ~

This dress was the victim of bad timing. I started it at the beginning of September thinking I would get it finished in a week or two, photographed and worn. Ummm no! Some family matters came up that ate up several weekends.  Then it really started to look like autumn around here and I lost interest in a floaty, summery, sleeveless maxi dress. This one I want to finish but it's going to end up waiting until next spring.  Fall Sewing is calling my name.

This TNT shirt ~

I was done with this shirt BUT I hung it up on my sewing rack at the beginning of spring. Now that it's getting cooler, I'm thinking about fixing it and adding it to my wardrobe. It is a really cool idea and there is a lot of money invested in that fabric. So look for it sometime this fall/winter on the blog.

Lastly, I'm finishing off my black & white version of the Style Arc Hope Dress. Like I said I have several garments in stages of construction, now to finish them or pack them away to wait for another season. Hopefully some will make it to the blog sooner rather than later! always more later!

Saturday, October 02, 2021

Strolling into October

I haven't sewn much lately.  I've been unpacking and getting the last of the bins leftover from moving put away.  Sort of like a squirrel storing away nuts for the winter, I'm making my place cozy for the long dark nights ahead. I do still have two pieces to photograph and share on the blog and they are coming...

For awhile I thought I would do a recap of September but y'all have already seen the makes so I'm moving on to share a few other things. First, thanks for all of your comments and the thoughtful conversation on my last post. I so appreciate it when you talk back to me.

Second, I want to acknowledge a sewing friend whose blog is closing.  Barbara Emodi, author of two sewing books, newly anointed cozy mystery writer and owner of the blog, "Sewing on the Edge" will stop writing her blog. She's listed her reasons and so many of them I understand. She is moving on to another creative challenge and I'm wishing her much luck in her future endeavors!

I'm featured on this week's episode of Black Women Stitch's podcast, "Stitch Please" where I discuss moving my Sewing Room. I talk about the reasons why I changed living spaces, how I set up my original Loft Sewing Room and why I ended up sewing in my dining room.  All info I've posted on the blog but the conversation with Lisa is so good that I hope you will give it a listen!  BTW, if you don't listen to her podcast, you should...especially the Sewing Room series.  She has highlighted several sewists who have interesting sewing spots and how they came to be.  Who doesn't want to know more about our fellow sewists sewing spaces, really?!

I added a screen to block the sewing room view when
 you enter my apartment. Giving it a cleaner look.

Since I'm down to the last two pieces I want to sew from my cut pile, I will be using the Columbus Day holiday weekend (Yes, I know it should be called something else, because how do you "discover" a country that's already inhabited?) to make a fall cut pile. I have a couple of transitional Vogue 9299's I want to add to the pile. I've got this idea roaming around my creative brain about a pantsuit using the Friday Company Ilford Jacket. And is this the winter I finally break down and make some pjs for myself?  Well maybe? LOL!

Otherwise, things are plodding along here. Hope all is well with you too! always more later!

Friday, September 24, 2021

Notes from my Sewing Machine

A few thoughts while sewing...

Buttonholes ~

Have you ever noticed how many choices you have to make when sewing a buttonhole?  Not only is the color of the button important but the thread and color you use to make it?  Which style do you choose? Is there a particular style for the type of garment you're making that's preferred?  Is this a time where you can use a more funkier, fun buttonhole?  Or are you worried that it will look to artsy craftsy?  See choices...and we didn't even discuss buttons!

Silhouettes ~

I don't know about you but the Big 4 pattern releases have done nothing for me recently.  I know they're working on updating their selections since their acquisition but no....nothing inspires me.  Although recently I realized that I've gone back to using patterns like I did in my youth. I select them by the silhouette and then proceed to make the garment I see in my mind or the one that inspired me by adding or deleting construction techniques. Rarely do I make a garment that looks like the pattern envelope anymore. Honestly I just need the patternmaker's expertise to design my own garment.

Pictures ~

Pictures are becoming the bane of my existence.  I had six garments to shoot three weeks ago.  Only four were actually photographed because it was so hot outside. I know I need to figure out my picture taking situation here...well I know where it can be...I'm just dragging my feet on buying MORE equipment. Haven't I shared this whine before! *LOL* I'm so missing that white fireplace wall right now!  Also, my neighbors here spend way more time outside than where I use to live. What's up with that!?! 

I understand now how people sew and barely document what they make. I'm actually starting to wonder how much longer I will do this because of pictures. Almost everything I've shared this month was worn prior to pictures being taking or making it to the blog. Such a turn around from times past...

My Cut Pile ~

I have to tell you my cut pile is the truth right now.  When I want to sew, I don't have to think about it. I just go to the pile and see what I feel like working on. There are two pieces in my current cut pile that I'm going to move into the drawer to wait for next summer. They're just too summery but there are two pieces in the drawer that I will bring out and add to my fall/winter cut pile. Somewhere in here I have to schedule another cutting session so I'm ready for fall/winter sewing. 

I highly recommend making a cut pile! It really helps. I didn't photograph everything in the last photo taking session with my daughter, so there are more garments coming to the blog. always more later!

Monday, September 20, 2021

I Love Gingham

I did NOT plan on making another Myosotis dress this season. I have a deep bench of dresses that I've worn all summer. My plan was to explore other maxi dress patterns to add some new new into my wardrobe.  Then I saw this fabric on StyleMaker, which sorry it's sold out, and my plans changed.

I purchased four yards earlier this summer and surprise, surprise, it got cut and sewn in the same calendar year.  I will admit that I buy with the intent of when I get around to it, not use right away. I rarely purchase fabric that way. There are two many ideas floating around in my mind to tie things down.

That was the last good thing that happened to this dress. I cut it out in July because I planned to take it to Sew Camp.  However, it didn't make the final cut.  Normally I take 2-3 projects, things I know I will complete. This time I took 4 projects and of course only finished 3.

Materials ~

Pattern:  My TNT version of the Myosotis Dress

4 yards of fabric from StyleMaker Fabrics

13 buttons from Joyce Trimmings in NYC (so sorry this shop closed)

Remnants of interfacing from Steinlauf and Stoeller

1/2 yard of red piping from Daytona Trimming in NYC

Construction ~

May I start off by saying that I made every rookie mistake in the book in this dress...

1. From cutting it out without paying attention to the gingham plaid. Because of course it doesn't match in some places. Other places I had to force it to match.

2. Deciding to put piping on the collar at the last minute. Usually last minute additions don't backfire but I think I was annoyed at myself that I wanted to add it.

3. So I didn't do the corner correctly. It was such a hot mess that I added buttons at the corners of the collar to hide that hot mess!

Finished dress with buttons on collar

4. Then I assembled the collar with the wrong side as the underneath. Now a good sewist would either take it apart or cut another one. Not me. I was so disgusted at this point that I left it.  If you're touching my collar, you are too dayum close to me.

Since I really wanted the dress finished to be photographed with the other things that my daughter was shooting, I pressed on. I did manage to get a workable dress...though the fronts don't match either and I don't care!

A Few Photos ~

In conclusion, in this instance don't sew like me.  Be more aware of matching the plaid during the cutting out process so it doesn't make it harder to match them in the sewing stage.  However, I'm glad I did make one new Myosotis for summer/early fall, since it's my go to dress. 

There will be another one for fall. I cut it out back in January and never made it.  So it will make an appearance either this fall or in 2022.

A Parting Shot ~

I was really feeling myself in this dress...*LOL*

There are more garments to be shared.  I had two more that are more cool weather pieces and it was just too hot to photograph them. So more is coming... always more later!

Friday, September 17, 2021

Why Make It Again?

I love the Vogue 9299 pattern with the changes I've made to it. It works for my lifestyle now...for zoom meetings at home and for in person days at work. It's casual with a dressed feel that makes me feel well put together when I wear it.  This makes my third one...  

I have another one completed with numbers 4 and 5 swirling around in my mind. Honestly I will probably make several more during fall/winter because it's the type of garment that works well in a multitude of fabrics. Cottons, silks, denim/chambray, wools and corduroys would all make great toppers and a wonderful wardrobe of tunics. 

This garment gives me an alternative to my shirt collection. While I have plans to weed out my shirts and probably make a couple more, I like the length and layering ability of this tunic.

Fabric Choice ~

The tunic is made from a gifted fabric from Dibs at Selvedge & Bolts.  I understand that I'm supposed to use gifted fabric right away but I don't always "see" a garment immediately. So while I was gifted this fabric last year, I've just used it.  When I was looking for a blue fabric to make this version, I touched this lightweight linen and knew immediately it would make the perfect tunic!

BTW, may I stop here and say that Dibs fabric store is amazing.  She has a wonderful selection of designer goods. The only challenge is that she's located in the UK and the US dollar/GBP is more favorable to the Brits. I may have another designer piece purchased from her that was worth the price and the wait. So go visit her online shop!

Construction/Techniques ~

There are no new construction techniques in this version. I constructed it at Sew Camp and used buttons from the collection. They were previously used in this garment.  However, the buttonholes and buttons were done once I got home.  

Okay now that I've run out of explanations some photos...

We took these pictures on a very warm late summer day and it was perfect! always more later!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Visiting some new exhibits at the Brooklyn Museum

If you've been following me for awhile, you know I love museums and their exhibits. I try to go to every fashion related one in NYC. Also, I know I'm blessed to live in a city with so much access to these events and appreciate every minute of it. Besides missing people, I've missed museum trips! I've most especially missed spending time with my friends.  Thanks Wanett (sewnbrooklyn on IG) for spending the day with me, it was just everything!

Honestly pre-pandemic, I wouldn't go to the Brooklyn Museum, declaring it was too far to travel on public transportation. I've since changed my mind! *LOL*  Sitting at home for 18 months makes you realize the importance of experiencing as much as you can. Y'all I don't drive, so this was a trip totally done on public transportation. An Uber to NJTransit train to NYC, then an Uber to the Museum reverse it to come home...but it was so worth it!

Please note this is a picture heavy post.

There were two exhibits I wanted to see ~

The Obamas Portrait Tour which will be in Brooklyn until October 24th

and the 

Christian Dior Designer of Dreams exhibit that will be in Brooklyn until February 20, 2022.

I took a lot of pictures beginning with my trip across the Manhattan Bridge...

My Uber was stopped at the light and I loved the graffiti
versus fire escape color on this building...

Columns at the Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum is doing timed entrance tickets so our first set of tickets were for The Obama Portraits. I loved that there was biographical information on the artists who painted the portraits, why Michelle chose that dress, and the mediums used to paint the pictures.

We had a short snack and talked and talked while we waited for our timed admittance to the Christian Dior Exhibit. Now I'm going to admit this exhibit made me cry. By the end of it I was so overwhelmed with how it was displayed, the sensory perceptions and the beauty of the garments, that I cried. Thank goodness for masks because no one could see me lose my sh*t!

Wanett and I took a lot of pictures and this is the combination of both of our picture taking efforts. I'm sharing them as they appear in the exhibit with a little commentary thrown in.

This is right as you enter the front 
and it's a quilted textile

I loved that cranberry dress in the middle. If I was still working
in Corporate America, I would be scheming how to interpret it!

The pleated skirt on this dress was awesome!

"The New Look" outfit!

Natalie Portman's Dior Commercial Dress

The next section shared garments by other House of Dior designers.  I only took a few pictures here because so much of this has been shared on social media and in magazines. At this point this still seemed like a regular museum exhibit. A really thorough and well displayed exhibit.

Loved the embroidery and trim on this jacket

This dress was all hand was stunning!

Then you moved into a display organized by color and full of miniatures, shoes, hats, jewelry that was fabulous in the way it was displayed.

Finally we moved into the room where the toiles are displayed. This is the room I've always wanted to see after seeing the pictures of the exhibit online. Because I marveled at the height and number of toiles displayed...

So imagine my shock and surprise when I realized that this effect was achieved by mirrors!

I stood there for five minutes with my jaw hanging open. The use of the mirrors and the optical illusion was everything! I had set my camera to record and someone had to walk up behind me and tell me I wasn't recording. It was because of the effect of the room.

The next room we moved into is the piece de resistance of the exhibit. It was so overwhelming and amazing that I walked around the room twice before I could focus on the garments. The staging in this room is perfection. I've never seen an exhibit like this and if you think I'm spoiling it by sharing all of this, I'm not.  My words can NOT do this room justice.

So some pictures...

I loved this exhibit and stayed here for a minute!

Side/back views of the dresses to show the artistry

I spent the most time in this room and this is where I cried. Even typing this reminds me of the way the exhibit made me feel and I needed to exhale.

The final room shows dresses the stars have worn...and there are decades of them. I'm not sharing them all, just a few of my faves. It was the perfect decompression after the excitement of the previous two rooms.

Grace Kelly & Josephine Baker wore these dresses from left to right

The back of the dress Nicole Kidman wore to the Oscars

Princess Diana wore the blue slip dress

I know I shared a lot and believe me it's not half of the collection. I wasn't a fan of the House of Dior when John Galliano was the head designer so his entire section is missing. Quite a few garments from when Dior himself designed it because I had seen a lot of them.  All of this is to say go and see the exhibit for yourself. IT IS SO WORTH IT. I'm actually determined to see it again before it leaves, it was that good!

Some of these pictures were posted to my Instagram account and quite a few sewists talked about seeing it in London, Paris and Dallas, TX. And how it looks like they're sharing different garments, so if you get a chance, please go and see the exhibit.  It's so worth it! always more later!


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