Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Vogue 2637 Evening Skirt


It's been a while since I posted. But in my absence, I've been working on a sewing project in addition to working some crazy hours. Our niece's wedding was October 11 and I needed something to wear. I already had part of an ensemble, starting with a sweater I bought last holiday season from Coldwater Creek but never wore. It was an orphan piece, so I decided to make a matching skirt. I found an excellent match at Silk Baron, so while waiting for the Evergreen silk dupioni to arrive, I began auditioning patterns.


My first choice was the Iris Skirt from LaFred. Unfortunately, this pattern line is no longer in production due to the untimely death of its creator but the design is classic. I traced it off and made a prototype out of one of the many cuts of fabric I bought from the Vera Wang liquidation. This one:


The Iris Skirt pattern is really great. The pattern is well drafted and the view I chose includes lining pieces for a kick pleat. The guide sheet has excellent instructions for installing an invisible zipper, too. I loved putting it together, but quickly realized that it would take longer to perfect the pattern than the time I had available. I've set it aside for now and will revisit it later. A good pencil skirt (with pockets!) is definitely worth developing into a TNT pattern.

By this time the dupioni had arrived and was prepared for sewing by machine washing and drying. I usually prewash dupioni because it knocks down the shine and mitigates the risk of water spotting.  I decided to revisit a TNT pattern that I had successfully used before, Vogue 2637. This is an early 1990s pattern that I previously used for my wedding so I knew it would work.


Like the view of the Iris Skirt that I tried, it's a pencil style with pockets and a kick pleat. But this skirt has an elastic waist instead of a zipper. That's ok because I had not planned to tuck in the matching sweater.

When making the skirt, I underlined the dupioni with flannel. This is a technique I learned from Sandra Betzina and Kenneth King's books. Underlining strengthens the garment and prevents wrinkling when wearing. My mom also used this technique when making dance costumes for me and my sister--it makes the garment look more luxe as well. I have plenty of flannel in my stash and just used one of them. The print doesn't show through the dark fabric.



I also lined the skirt to finish it. Because I had made it before, I had already drafted a lining pattern The poly charmeuse is (again) just something from my stash. It's a nice surprise to have a pretty print inside.


Wedding activities started around 3 pm and continued late into the evening, and the skirt performed perfectly through the ceremony, photos (in the cold!), pre-reception cocktails, and reception dinner with dancing.  The only thing I would have changed is to snug up the waistband a little bit more. I did the fitting without wearing shape wear, but added spanx for the wedding (which I forgot to wear in the photo above!). Oh well, still wearable and easily fixable in the future.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Kwik Sew 2565, Again

I hope you're not getting tired of seeing the many versions of this TNT. I know it pops up often, but when it's a wardrobe basic and tweaked exactly as wanted, what else can I do? At least the fabric is  different each time, as with this one:


I used an incredibly soft rayon knit from Gorgeous Fabrics that I bought this Spring.

I also added a slight mullet hem to this one, because a) I'm on a roll and b) the lower edge of the pattern is not absolutely straight due to a non-darted FBA. I'm at a slight angle in the photo; however the curve is actually centered.

The pants are the same Hudson Pant from TSW that I showed you in the last post. The linen was another purchase from Gorgeous Fabrics.



Monday, September 1, 2014

Revisiting the Eureka Top by TSW

I'm still not ready to let this pattern go so I made another out of the woven crinkle rayon that I used for the Asymmetrical Skirt. The crinkles approximate the stretch of a knit, and I still have a lot of it left over.


This time, I made a couple of changes. I left off the sleeve bands and simply turned up a narrow hem instead. I also made a slight "mullet" hem, with the back longer than the front, and turned up a narrow hem there as well.


The result is a very loose fitting, swingy top that I like better than the original.  It also makes a nice ensemble when combined with the skirt. Thanks for the suggestion,  Janine! Here are a few shots of that:



Also, I couldn't resist a Shams-style twirly shot so you can see the skirt in motion:


Yes, Summer is officially over, but it's still warm and it's fiesta time, so I'll still get some wear out of this before the weather gets too cool.

PS-the black pants are the Hudson Pant by The Sewing Workshop (aka TSW) made from linen I bought from Gorgeous Fabrics last year.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Simple Skirt


This is a simple, one-seamed skirt with an elastic waist that I made from a border print cotton sateen I discovered at JoAnn's last summer. But as you know, simple isn't easy...

I matched the print at the back seam


Difficult to see (success!), but I assure you that there is a seam running up the center back of the skirt.  You can tell a little bit at the bottom, because...


...I also added a kick pleat.

My hip measurement and the print dictated the circumference of the skirt, and I used this technique for the matching after pressing under the seam allowance and facing for the kick pleat.

If I had it to do over again, I'd add a lining to minimize wrinkling but I'll just wear a slip with it in the future.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

T Shirts--A TNT and a New One.

What happened to July? Seems like I totally missed it--lots going on at work, and I kind of lost my sewing mojo with all that was happening. I actually was doing some sewing though, thanks to my trusty Material Girls group. I nearly always manage to cut out a project or two when I'm there. It just took me a little while to finish them since I like to combine my cover stitching projects.

The first one I made was Kwik Sew 2565, which I must have made about a hundred times by now.



But why not? It's a great pattern that I've already tweaked to my liking.The fabric is a really nice rayon(?) knit from Casual Elegance. It has a good drape, and is thicker than most rayon knits. But before I got sold on all that, I just loved the watercolor animal print. Just beautiful, and can be worn with just about anything.




Umm, yes, the print is a little off center, but oh well. I still like it, and as Ann says, "This is a summer tee, so the slightly off-center placement of the major motif on the front is just fine."

The other one is the Eureka Top from TSW



I have mixed feelings about it, because dang! The sizing is huge. I cut out my usual Small/Medium mix for this shirt and it's enormous. I am going to try again in a straight Small to see if I like it better. At least it will be comfortable to wear in the heat.

For this, I used another rayon knit that I found at Joann's a couple of years ago. On first glance, it looks like a floral but it's really a skull print. 




It's thinner than the Casual Elegance fabric and a more cotton-y look and feel.

Here it is styled like all the shirts you've been seeing lately in fashion shots.




What's with that anyway? Here it is loose. See? It's big. 



I have another project underway that I hope to have finished soon, a border print skirt. And there's also that repeat of the Eureka pattern.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

2014 First Day of School Project, Part 2

I'm well underway with the making of the matching capris for the peasant tops I showed you in the last post. So far, I've completed a blue linen blend pair. This fabric is from stash and came from TSW.


 and two gray cotton pairs. I bought this fabric from JoAnn's last year for boys' pants but the gray looks perfect with the fuchsia, yellow, and gray print tops.  Since they're both the same, I'm just showing one:



They are View E of the same pattern I used for the tops (Butterick 5776). I stopped by JoAnn's on Friday and got a green linen look fabric to match the two remaining tops. The final two pairs are all cut out and ready to be sewn.

A good thing too, this project comes to a close on July the 10th when the outfits have to be turned in. It does not appear there will be any little boys' outfits this year but that will be my priority for next year, assuming that we'll be doing this project again.

This weekend, my sister in law Dorothy came to visit from New Jersey for a little getaway.


Instead of doing a lot of touristy things, we mostly stayed around the house, logging a lot of time on the back patio.  We did go out for a couple of nice dinners and a lunch, since she has become addicted to chile.  She and I also went shopping on Friday at ABQ Uptown--Coldwater Creek, the Loft, Lululemon,  Ann Taylor and Alfred Angelo. I'm not much of a RTW shopper but did find a few items. Of course, Coldwater Creek is liquidating and the pickings are really getting slim, but I did find a couple of t-shirts that are wearable for work and some baubles.




(Note to self: find something to clean the permanent marker stains off the cutting mat.)

I also found a cute t-shirt at the Loft, which was a total surprise. It's eyelet on the front and sleeves, and the back is knit. Sorry for the odd angle but this was the best of the lot for showing the eyelet.


It's wearable as is, but I may make a couple of minor tweaks to improve the fit. The darts are too high for me and of course, that bugs me as a sewist. So I'll be adjusting them.

Lululemon is a new store for Albuquerque. However I'm dubious that $100+ yoga pants will go over with the local citizenry. Or maybe they'll be wildly successful, who's to say?

We stopped into Alfred Angelo, because Dorothy is MOB for an upcoming wedding and is trying to get some ideas for a dress. She doesn't sew and will be buying a gown.  I do sew and will be needing  dresses for the wedding and rehearsal dinner. October will be here fast, so I'll have some work ahead of me.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

2014 First Day of School Project

The Albuquerque ASG is repeating this project this year.  Unfortunately there are still a lot of kids who don't have clothes for school. We had such great support for it last time that it was an easy decision.

I set aside several pieces of fabric that were left over from other projects as well as some donations (thanks Patti F.!).  I'm using Butterick 5776 again for the little girls' tops and pants.


I was able to cut all the tops out at a recent Material Girls meeting:


Two sessions of sewing and the basic tops are done. I'll decide about embellishments later because I still need to make the pants.

The first three are made out of lightweight linen from JoAnn's, which I originally used for a couple of tops for myself.  A watercolor print:


I had enough of the fuchsia/yellow/gray floral for two tops. Matching tops for twins, sisters, or best friends? I hope so!


The next two are cotton. The green came from JoAnn's and was previously used for the Mary Bridge project:


This cotton came from Nob Hill Fabrics in Albuquerque. I previously made a summer nightgown from this:


I have two pair of gray cotton pants and a pair of blue linen blend ready to be sewn. I'm still trying to find stash fabric for pants to go with the green floral and gold/red/purple floral tops.

If time permits, I'll start on some outfits for boys. We have a visitor next weekend, and I have mandated overtime for a few weeks as well.  I'm not sure I will get to all of it by the July deadline, but I'll have least five outfits finished.