Monday, June 30, 2014

When bound buttonholes go awry

So anyway... the coat is rolled up and tossed in the corner to be dealt with another day.  I sat down early yesterday morning to finish the buttonholes, even though I still don't have buttons for the blasted thing, and then messed up on one of them to the point that I'll need to rip out the facing on that side and start over again.  No photographic evidence.  I'm slightly embarrassed to say the least.  But what's a girl to do when life throws her a curveball?  Sew another version of Vogue 2514, what another pencil skirt?  How boring, but yet, I've changed it up enough to make it interesting.

I was inspired by this post by Charity Shop Chic the other day, but decided I needed to put my spin on it.  This is what I came up with.  What do you think?

It was rather bright this morning when we took photos, so let me show you a little bit closer, so you can see what's going on better.  And yes that is fabric bought on Saturday.  Sometimes you're just inspired right?

The fabric is a printed cotton, about medium weight, meaning it was super easy to work with.  The pleating is silk organza folded over.  I also for the first time pegged the skirt. 
I did it whilst sewing and guess at that.  I think that I ended up taking about an extra 1.5 inches out of each seam.  I made sure the bottom four inches were straight, so it would be easy to hem.  (This pattern has roughly a 1.5 inch hem.  I measured it today for another iteration of the skirt, but before that I didn't actually know, since with the mitering of the corners you don't have to measure the hem.)
For the organza pleating, I cut a strip of organza 8 inches wide and however long my piece of organza is (I think it was 2 yards.)  I think folded it in half longways and sewed each end about 1/8 of an inch from the edge.  I trimmed it to about 1/16th and then turned it right side out.  I then marked the center of the front skirt panel and the organza.  I started with pleats that were 2 inches wide and 1 inch deep.  That didn't work out, so I went to 2 3/8 inches wide and 1 inch deep.  Which almost worked out perfect, but I had forgotten to account for the vent.  I moved the center line 1.5 inches to the side (I think it was to the left, but whichever side puts it closer to the side that the vent is on top?) and then redid the pleats with the 2 3/8ths and 1 inch deep.  It worked out this time.  I basted the organza to the hem (the turned up part only) and then serged it.  If I had to redo, I would have basted the organza with the pleats in it, then bound them with bias tap, and then sewed it to the hem allowance.  It's a tiny bit itchy as is.  Not enough to rip it out and start again, but enough to comment.

Another look at the pleats!  Once it was serged, I slipstitched the hem and then called it a day.  Well not really, I had to finish the waistband as well.  It is also slipstitched, because I didn't feel like stitching in the ditch.  It's tough when your light is burnt out on your sewing machine
Here's a closer look at the pleating. I think it came out pretty nicely.  But what did I pair the skirt with.  It's an old make of mine, made sometime in 2012 (it was made in Yekaterinburg, so that's the only reason I know the year).
It's a Vogue pattern, a Koos van den Akker design.  It's a bias cut top with a cowl.  I used a sweater knit for it.  The fabric was thicker than suggested, so I ended up pleating the shoulders rather than gathering them.  (The black peeking out, is a slip... I wore it to help with the scratchy-ness of the skirt.)

Anyway one last look at the outfit.  The fabric doesn't fade out like that, it was really bright this morning, and I totally didn't realize how blown out the pattern got.  This is my feeble attempt at fixing it with photoshop.  Anyway... that's all for today  Tomorrow, I have some new shoes to show you for Shoe Tuesday.  I'm excited.  Now to work on my next iteration of V2514.  It should be good.  Until next time!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Luckily my favorite fabric store was still open

This is Bras at 9 AM on a Saturday with only 1/3 of the stores open.  Usually it's even busier than this.
So, I've been planning on going to Bras (should in all honesty have an accent over the a) fabric district for at least a couple of weeks, but work has thwarted all attempts. Damn you World Cup!  Not really, because I actually enjoy the World Cup and soccer in general (if you can't tell from my posts, I do watch quite a bit of sportage).  Until today, but then it wasn't truly a full Bras experience because of the World Cup.  Brazil played today at one, so most of the stores were closed.  Including the notions store with aaaaaalllllll the buttons, so I'm still meh about buttons for my coat, so it's still not done.  At least my absolute favorite fabric store was open.

Alberto Kim Tecidos is within the first block of the fabric district, right next to the parking garage, but it always, always has something that I want to buy there.  The prices are good, and the guys are nice.  I didn't get a picture of the main guy who works there, but he's super cool, and was shocked that we were moving to Kyiv.  I'll miss this store!
I could have bought tons of fabric today, everything was calling my name, but I restrained myself.   You can see the hot pink polka dots that I did buy last time I was there.
The little guy and husband came with me today, because the whole plan was to go to the Fifa FanFest afterwards to watch the Brazil game.  Well that didn't work out, since we weren't in Bras long enough.  They were troopers, as the aisles are super tiny in each of the stores, so usually they waited outside.  I took way too long in Kim's today, so they were a little antsy.
I did finally find a navy blue that matches my Russia blue and gold trim.  I found it at some random store in one of the alleys, thanks to the shop assistant for letting me take a picture.  It's surprising that most everyone who works in the district is a male.  It's rare to see a female shop assistant.  I also have some gold Swiss knit coming from Gorgeous Fabrics, so hopefully in the next two weeks I can start my blue and gold dress.  Luckily two new patterns came out this week that will help me with the design.  First is the Bronte top by Jennifer Lauren.  Found here.  It's for knits, but it has the right style lines (or at least close to the right ones, so I have something to work off of).  The second one is the new pattern company Capital Chic.  It popped up in my blog reader this week more than once, and it's like she read my mind!  I'm going to buy the Martini for the bottom part of the dress.  I think it will work.

Anyway.  What does one wear to Bras on a day that Brazil is playing? My only Brazil top, which has seen a lot of wear in the last couple of weeks, and a cute tropical print skirt that I made ages ago. The pattern is my second favorite pencil skirt pattern, it's a Vogue, but I'm too lazy to look up which one. (To be fair, I just spent two hours scrubbing my kitchen floor and my shower, and then had some green wine with dinner, so I hope it's justified.)

Irritated that buttons are still not found.
It was hot today, so I put my hair up in pigtails.  My hair is at an obnoxious growing out stage.  It's long enough that I constantly feel it on my neck, but too short to really do anything with.  I need to get over this hurdle, as I really miss my long hair.  I just need to squelch the urge to dye it, so that I can grow it longer.  Oh well, enough about my hair, I'm sure you want to know what I bought!
Here is my loot.  I spent about 200 reais (about $80USD) for 17 meters of fabric. The most expensive was the second to the right at 19,90 reais a meter- but oh my god am I in love with it.  It's a cotton backing with a sateen-ish print on top (I think, it rustles, so it might be something else, it feels like it could almost be cotton wax?  Who knows?  Most of the  time, the fabrics are not labeled as to content.)  But my dear readers, not all this fabric is for me.  Come August 1, I will be back in the states on vacation and since I will not be sewing much for the month (as my serger will be on it's way to Kyiv, and my machine will be with the Bernina people getting a much needed service), I bought some fabrics for you guys. You'll just have to wait and see what's for you.  I also have been hoarding Manaquins, which is a Brazilian pattern magazine similar to Burda. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Don Cherry might have some Competition from Andrew Wiggins

Lo and behold, as I was trying to get motivation to finish my coat, this picture popped up in my facebook feed.  (Original picture found here.) It's University of Kansas basketball player Andrew Wiggins, he was the number one recruit last year in the nation, and I guess he's already going on to the NBA.  But look at that jacket.  Amazing!  I'm also digging the red suit his friend is wearing.   As I've been trying to make country appropriate outfits for cheering on countries during the World Cup, I've been remiss about the lack of red in my wardrobe.  That's a suit for another day.  (To be honest, for the number of black shoes I own, I have very little black in my wardrobe as well.)

Now... how could I replicate Mr. Wiggin's jacket?  If you look closely at the left side right above the big flower, you can see a slight change in the pattern, likely from a dart (because on guy's jackets, you wouldn't see a princess seam would you?  There would be no point right, as there are no boobs to work around.)  I've been thinking about trying Style Arc for quite awhile, but have never done so because of the having to ship from Australia to the U.S. to Brazil.  (Usually it takes 2-4 weeks to get things from the U.S. to Brazil.)  But maybe since I'll be going home in August, I can buy up some of their patterns and have them meet me in Kansas?  Namely this one:
It's the Bronnie Tuxedo Jacket and it would be perfect to pay homage to Mr. Wiggins' outfit.  (I would take out the flaps for the pockets and make them single welts.  I wonder if I could find suitable fabric this weekend on my button hunting trip to Bras?  What do you think, tuxedo jacket later this summer?

I'll be honest, I don't know though if he'll ever be able to out do my favorite sports style icon.  What do you think?  Andrew Wiggins or Don Cherry?  Do you have a style icon that is out of the norm?  I'm curious to know!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Shoe Tuesday

As many of you know, Tuesday is my least favorite day of the week.  Seems random, but there is a method to my madness.  At least on Monday, you are refreshed by the weekend, and then on Wednesday you're halfway there.  It doesn't help that many times Tuesdays are both terribly long, but equally busy.  I was not thrilled that today was Tuesday, so what did I do?  I finally wore my Melissa + Karl Lagerfield ice cream cone pumps.   I bought these last year after I got tenure, but had never worn them.  They were just too pretty, and what would I wear them with?  Well late last night, early this morning, I decided fuck it, I'm going to wear some cute shoes and they will make me happier that it's Tuesday. 
The little guy likes these shoes.  He would honestly like to eat them.  Anyway, without further ado, here is how I dressed around my shoes:
I paired it with the first suit jacket I've ever made, the Starlet Jacket by Gertie. I modified the collar and the pockets (making both of them smaller).  I also did several muslins to get a pretty decent fit.  The few wrinkles are caused by the pose, because they aren't there in real life.  The dress is a modified Anna Dress by By Hand London.
The fabric is really what makes the dress.  It's a silk twill by Carolina Herrera.  I lined it with a cotton/silk voile, and honestly it's the floatiest feeling dress I own.  To finish it off I used bias binding.  Unfortunately, the fit on this dress is not perfect.  I have made 3 other iterations on the Anna Dress, and the weird fit across the chest doesn't happen with any of the other ones.  (And they were all made before this one.)  I should really go in and make some of the seam allowances smaller.  I think that would help.  I moved the pleats, and that helped enough that it's wearable, but for the amount of money I spent on the fabric, it should be more than wearable.  It should be amazing.  Oh well, not everything comes out perfect.  

I was extremely happy with my outfit today, even though it turned out that the shoes are not meant for the amount of walking I have to do at work.  (A lot!)  During the day, I decided that I need to do something to make Tuesday a more enjoyable day for me.  What do you think it should be?  I'm thinking of wearing outfits that I want to wear, but have always been worried about how they look?  Ie. that they're too far out there?  Or fancy shoe Tuesday?  Build an outfit around my fancier shoes I don't wear much? 

While you think about that, I finished the lining to my jacket, and took out the current facing.  I recut and resewed the facing with a black cotton instead.  The coat is all ready to put together.  I just need the inspiration (energy to get off my butt) and do it.  This Saturday I am going to Bras fabric district to buy the buttons.  :)

 As you can see, I went with the super luxe Turkish fabric for the lining.  But never fear.  The pockets were made with the polka dots.  Sneaky, eh?  I'll leave you with a closer look at the lovely ice cream on my shoes.  I believe she was going for pistachio flavored?  Mmmmm.  (You know the best think about Melissa shoes, they smell like jelly beans.)  Oh and, please ignore the bug bites around my ankle, a family of mosquito feasted on my family and me sometime in the last couple of days.  Until next time.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Progress on the coat

I haven't ironed down the facings, and I'm a bit worried that they're too thick.  I used the same fabric as the shell.  Hopefully with a good press (but not too good, don't want to melt the faux patent leather) it will be fine.  I cut out the lining tonight, and started to sew it, but... as we all know, it's the World Cup.  And tonight the US played Portugal.  I watched a good chunk of the game, and I can't believe we didn't hold them off.  Literally with 20 seconds left the US allowed a goal for the tie.  Seriously?

I guess we'll see how it goes on Thursday to know if the US makes the elimination rounds.  My coat has been slow going, as due to the Copa, I tend to have to work more.  I spent a couple of hours at work today and yesterday.  However, luckily because I'm in Brazil, we have more days off or early release for the important games.  I.E. any Brazil matches or U.S. matches.   :)  I might get to Bras (snigger) this week after all.  I need to go, as the local button store closed down, and I couldn't find any suitable buttons at either the fabric store or knitting store (which has a lot of trims/zippers and a minimal amount of buttons).

Moving on.  As you might notice in the picture above, I have done bound button holes with this coat as well.  I think that bound button holes really can take a piece from good to fancy pants. Also, for this coat, I knew that it would be too thick to do machine buttonholes, especially with my machine desperately needing service.  (There is one Bernina store here in Sao Paulo, but they don't have part, and can't/won't order it, so I have to wait until we're back in Kansas.)
Here's a closer look.  They aren't done, I need to do the backs, but to do that I need to press and add the lining, etc.  As the insides of the button hole are the patent leather and it would be tough to hand stitch and or pin, I had to figure out how to do the button holes without causing too much pain and/or heartache.
I used black fusible interfacing to make the holes.  They aren't perfect, but I don't think it's noticeable.  I hope. 
To ensure that the patent leather inserts were A. straight and B. touching, I stuck them on to some masking tape.  This made my life a lot easier.
I basted the inserts in their spots.  I made sure that I was outside what would show in the buttonholes.  The patent leather shows holes like no other.  I only did three sides as it made it easier to take off the masking tape.
I pulled off all the masking tape.  Some of the bits that were next to the basting were a bit harder than others, but eventually I got it all off.
E viola! Buttonholes!  In the background you can see my buttonhole opener, which works well to cut the fabric in the corners.  What do you use to do that?

Anyway.  Nothing much else to report.  I'll leave you with some advice from a 1949 Singer Sewing Manual.  Tell me, do you primp before you sew?  I tend to change from my work clothes into sweats to do my sewing.  Maybe I am doing it wrong?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Collar down, now for the rest of the jacket

Today is the holiday of Corpus Christ here in Brazil, meaning that I have the day off from work.  Which is fortuitous, since my husband is going to watch England play Uruguay.  So what did I do this morning, while dear husband was still at home?  Well of course, I started my Pavot coat for the Pattern Review contest.  
 The only change I had to make to the pattern was to separate the button placket from the placket facing.  I cut on the fold line and then added the 5/8th inch seam allowance.  I think that instead of turning up the hem, I'll make a facing so that it will be a bit longer, so I'll have to add some length to the placket and facing before I cut.  (I had already traced and cut the pattern about a year ago, and started sewing a periwinkle twill version, but stopped partway through because the twill was cheap, and looked it even with bound button holes.)
I wanted to see how the piping would look and work before I got really into the cutting and sewing (so I could change things if necessary), so I cut out only the collar.  Since it's a Peter Pan collar, this is also the most difficult part to pipe, as it has the tightest curve.  First to make it easier for me, I basted the seam allowance in a different color.
I finally got to use my fabric clips, as the wool is think and then the patent leather is hard to pin.  I matched up the basting on the piping with the basting on the fabric.
Next I sewed it.  Then I unpicked it.  After that I redid the sewing, but basted it.  I used my piping foot and a leather needle, but the patent leather was shifty.  Basting it really helped.  After basting it, I clipped the under collar to it.  That's when I finally sewed it following the basting line.  (I didn't take a picture of this step.)

Once it was sewed, then came the cutting of the triangles.  There were a lot of triangles.  Again.  Now I'll be finding the butterrum and the turquoise ones forever!  I will admit, it's moments like this that I  am thankful that we don't have carpet. 
Once again Alex helped me cleaning up the triangles.  And by helping me, he spread them even further.  At one point he sat down in the pile of them and then took them over to the other side of the room.  Here is the collar fully notched, clipped, whatever you want to call it.

You can clearly see that I had yet to remove the basting.  You'll also notice that I make sure that the clipping on each side is different, so that I don't create pivot points.  This takes longer, but makes a prettier curve.  After this, I pressed it inside out to set the stitching (we'll pretend I took out all of the basting), and then flipped it.  I then pressed again and wished that I had a clapper to help ensure the seams were as flat as they could be.  I may pick one up in the future.
This is after I pressed it.  Looks nice right?  It will hang out on my mannequin while I sew the rest of the jacket.  What do you think of the gold and yellow trimming?  I picked it up last August when I was working in Moscow for the month.  I have an idea percolating in my head on an outfit utilizing it.  It involves the Nettie bodysuit as a base, this Chanel illusion dress, and this neckline.  In my mind it works.  I need to find some thicker knit, and possibly cotton sateen or duponi/raw silk in the right colors.  I smell a trip to Bras fabric district soon. 

Back to playing with a baby, and hopefully putting the bodice together.  Until we meet again.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Second Luffa down... what's next?

It's only a day later than I thought.  I blame the World Cup.  (I am also blaming the World Cup for the couple of grays I have found.)  On Monday, we went to a friend's house to watch the U.S. vs Ghana game, so I didn't get to finish my Luffa that night.  I did work on it Monday, but in the morning, because my darling dog, Snoopy, decided to wake me up at 4:50 a.m, but the little guy stayed asleep.  (I did the hand sewing on the bound buttonholes).  So anyway, last night after the Brazil- Mexico game, I got a chance to finish the jacket.  I wore it to work today. 

I wore it with a Vogue dress I made a couple of years ago.  The dress is made out of a stretchy wool, and is trimmed with velvet.  I think I made the dress in December 2011?  I know it was after November, as I got the fabric on my annibirthery trip to Turkey.  Sidenote: what is an annibirthery?  Well due to the nature of my job, and my older son's schooling schedule, my husband and I got married on my birthday in 2010.  To make it even more sappy it was my proverbial 30th birthday.  So to celebrate both my birthday and our anniversary (and usually husband's birthday which is about a month before mine) we go on a trip somewhere, 2011 it was Turkey, 2012- Chicago, 2013 -Buenos Aires, 2014- who knows?

But back to the dress.  Here is a closer look:
I had to add the picture of the little guy.  He is intent on being in my pictures, which is fun.  The dress is pretty hard to photograph well. It's much greener in real life.  My camera was not having an easy time with colors today.  The dress was fairly simple to make, except I did take the time to match the stripes, so there is a nice chevron effect on the skirt (couldn't get a good picture).  Initially I lined the dress, but the outer fabric was stretch and the lining was not, so it didn't work out.  I wore a slip underneath, as it's a fairly itchy wool. Since it was rainy and cool out today, I paired it with my boots.

Here are some various views of the jacket.   Here's what it looks like on the mannequin.  It was after wearing it all day, so I probably should have steamed out the wrinkles.

Here it is from the inside.  I really like the lavender with the wine.  I did make a booboo which required a decent amount of unpicking.  The pattern calls for pleats at all the back seams, but since I was going from memory in making it (as it was my second time), I put pleats in the front lining as well.  I didn't realize until I was trying to hem it.  Oh well.  Note to self- read instructions even if you think you know how to do it.

A look at the pocket lining and the buttons I used.  The buttons once were part of a necklace a good friend of mine gave me.  They're mother of pearl and I have loads of them.  I have some great friends!  I used the lavender on the pocket linings, they came out pretty well.  (In my opinion, but I did just notice I have a thread to trim, but look at that pretty nail!  I've been trying to paint my nails more often.)

And how about that bow?  I decided while making, the perfect size was the same size as the welt pocket piece. It happened to be around so I used it as a mock up and it was pretty perfectly sized.  So I cut a piece of fabric that was twice as wide plus .5 inches and .5 inches longer.  I interfaced it and  sewed it right sides together the long way.  I then ironed it so the seam was in the middle of the back.  I sewed one side completely shut and the other side partially shut.  I turned it right side out and then tucked in the unsewn part, ironed and topstiched.  For the center part, I decided it needed to be .75" wide (after starting with 1" and deciding nah).  I made it the same way as the larger piece, except the length is longer, probably by an inch or two (but cut long, try it out and then cut shorter- I speak from experience).  I put the snap on and viola a cute, but not too cute bow.

That's the jacket.  So what's next?  I was looking at Pattern Review today as they have revamped their site, and I wanted to see if it was actually navigable.  It is, I may use it more often.  I came across the contest for June, and realized if I sew quickly, I could a. enter another contest and b. finally make my fall jacket for Kyiv.  For our 2-3 years in Kyiv, I will need a bevy of jackets and coats in different weights.  This one will be for mid fall, early winter.  (I already have a deep winter Eddie Baur behemoth from my time in Russia).  I am going to make Deer and Doe's Pavot Jacket, but I need your help in deciding something.
The pattern doesn't call for a lining, but as it's going to be for Ukrainian fall (which is a lot like most winter in a lot of places) I am going to line it.  The fabric for the jacket is deep turquoise wool flannel, and I am going to pipe it with black patent leather.  But I can't decide on the lining.  What do you think?
Option 1: hot pink and black polkadot satin (content unknown).  Super cute and fun.
Option 2: white with pink and black flowers.  A silk jacquard, feels amazing, but might not have enough.
Or Option 3, both.  The white/pink/black for the body, and the pink and black polka dots for the sleeves and pockets.  The pinks are really closer in real life.  My camera couldn't deal with lighting today.

Let me know in the comments!  I am ironing the wool tonight and will hopefully start cutting, as I've only got 13 days to make it!