Monday, February 29, 2016

Colette Laurel and M7053 (or the Monet Top)

At the New Year I made a couple of resolutions, one was to only spend $150 per month on sewing (we'll call that an aspiration, as I'm still working on it), and the other was to work out more days than not.  You may recall I made the same resolution last year for the working out, and it worked.  I do yoga, barre, or Wing Chun (Chinese self defense) at least four days a week.  Why does that matter?  On days I don't have a class scheduled, I tend to do yoga videos on youtube.  I'm currently slowly working through Yoga with Adriene's 30 Day Yoga Camp series.  Today mantra was I release.  This is a mantra that we can all use within our sewing, and our lives in general.  I release that my top is a Monet, so if you look closely you can see that the top-stitching is not great.  I release that I would rather get eight hours of sleep than make all the things I want to make.  I release that even though what I see in the mirror looks good, and I feel good about myself, the photos don't always say the same.
Now that we have that off my chest, let's talk about sewing.  Over the last week I've been working on M7073, a McCall's Archive top.  I got this top because of the interesting sleeves, for whatever reason, I have been totally loving the bishop sleeve.  Ha! you say, you can't hardly see a top with sleeves.  That's because during the making of the top, I was like woah, you know this would look awesome under a jumper.  Then since I work in a fancy schmancy office, I had to wear a blazer on it.  At least my blazer isn't black, right?  Alright, let's take a closer look at the top.
So, yeah, we won't look any closer than this, as this is a total Monet.  You would think I didn't know how to sew a straight line by looking at it.  My last foray into silk charmeuse was a breeze, but this time, my machine was not feeling it.  I really think my machine needs a good service, but I haven't found the Bernina dealer in Kyiv to service it.  Anyone know and want to let me know?  Once I got the top almost made, I questioned my judgment about those sleeves.  But I decided screw it, life is too short not to have an interesting sleeve! They not quite half circles gathered at the bottom and bound. Final details about the top, I made a size 12 graded out to a size 14 in the hips.  It fits rather well.  I love the seam detailing on the front of the top, I think I might make one without the bishop sleeves and the bow, maybe a v-neck that matches the angle of the lower v?
Here are the sleeves in action.  I am feeling very 70's working girl in this outfit.  I really enjoyed wearing it at work today.  The jumper is a sleeveless Colette Laurel.  I have made this dress a couple times before, but I think this is my favorite version, it is most definitely the best fitting one.  As I went to lower the darts, I had an epiphany, drop the shoulder to the front, rotate the darts to shoulder gathers.  No dart to deal with!  In the last year or so, I have come to love gathers acting as darts.  I am a pretty full busted gal, so that usually equals giant darts.  Giant darts equal weird points.  Gathers solves that problem.  It also solves matching plaid on the side problem.
Not to shabby, eh?  I made a size 6, with 3/8" seams at the bust and the hip.  This seemed to work well.  I usually need to narrow the shoulders, so I took 3/4" seams there.  I changed the neckline to a v-neck to accommodate the bow.  I also took about 1.25 inches out of the back neckline by folding it out on the pattern.  I have worked hard on my posture over the last couple of years, so I have less of a curve there than what is drafted.
I also cut the back on the fold, saving me the hassle of matching the plaid.  The pictures how that it might be a little loose over-all.  This was something I wasn't expecting, as the last woven version I made was a little snug.  I think I might put in front darts.  I am pretty pleased with the back darts.  They're fairly invisible. 
I finished the neck and armholes with bias binding.  The seams are serged.  The hem was super easy- I cut the bottom on a line in the plaid and folded up twice, using my glue stick to keep it in place while sewing.  I also did this with the hem on the shirt.  I should have used my glue stick a lot more on the top, it would have turned out cleaner.  Oh well, no one will be close enough to see the flaws.  I release those flaws!  Now, you may have noticed my little guy mimicking my poses in the pictures.  I take most the photos right when I get home from work.  Today, I pulled out the camera and asked my assistant (his brother) to help me, and he decided to show off his outfit:

Way better at it than I am.  What a cutie!  Well that's the end.  I need to get back to working on my plaid jacket.  I am sticking with the 70's theme and making a professor style jacket, with elbow patches.  This is my inspiration, but using the same plaid as the jumper, and turquoise ponte scraps for the collar (shaw) and elbow patches.  What do you think?

Vtg 70s Fitted Buffalo PLAID Boyfriend Blazer Professor Jacket Padded Elbows Patchwork Preppy Boho Mod Retro Kitschy Geometric Elbow Patch
Found here

I'll keep you posted.  Until next time, happy sewing!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Sunny Suit or Big Bird?

Last night, I buckled down and finished the matching skirt to the gold jacket I made last week. It had sat languishing on my sewing table waiting for just the facing and the hem.  I lost my motivation to finish it when I lost the back facing pattern piece.  It took me a week to get off my bum and print a new one.  Yeah I know, lazy me.  To be honest, the giving up coffee has been kicking my butt, as I am still getting withdrawal headaches and fall asleep at 2 pm.  Hopefully in a couple of days, my body will balance back out.  It hasn't helped that we had a puppy emergency on Monday night, so I didn't get much sleep that night.  (Puppy has fully recovered from her emergency, as a PSA make sure your dogs don't eat anything they find on their walks, it might be poisoned.)  That aside, here it is:
 I paired the suit with a McCalls 6649 shirt I made earlier in this year.  Let's talk skirt, I made a straight size 12.  My only alteration was lengthening it by five inches.  I topstitched all the seams, as that's what I did with the jacket.  I used my regular sewing machine's overlocking stitch on the seams so I could do them in yellow.
The fit part is made up of several inserts, the most noticeable being the center panel. This is the only difficult part of the sewing the skirt, other than that it is pretty quick to put together.
You can see the panels here a little bit better.  This fabric has some stretch to it, so I could have taken in the seams a little bit, as it sits a little lower than usual. 
And the back view, the skirt had slipped to the side a tiny bit.  I promise the zipper is centered.  But speaking of that zipper.
Look how invisible it is!  This was one of the things I was dreading on the construction as the fabric is thicker and fiddly.  But thankfully it went in super easy and on the first try. 
I used the selvages for the center seams.  Well tried to, but you can see that one isn't the selvage.  I accidentally cut two of the same side.  Luckily, I had just enough to re-cut the piece, and cut the center panel on the bias out of the messed up piece.  I used turquoise bias binding to finish the hem.  I also did not line it.  

I used some left over black stretch cotton for the lining.  I serged the edges of it.  Nothing too exciting. I think that is it on the construction.  So let's talk about the elephant in the room, or should I say bird.  It's a lot of yellow!  Maybe too much, I don't know.  It's also very 70's. At work, I ended up in just the skirt and the button down, losing the jacket, but what do you think?  I have a plaid jacket in the works that would coordinate with the skirt (and matching plaid jumper, and likely skirt).  I think I'll end up wearing it with that more often.

 Well that is all I have.  Next up on my list is a silk charmeuse top, and then all that plaid.  But likely tomorrow, as I might go to sleep now.  Damn you coffee!  Well, until next time, happy sewing, and a picture of the Puppy (Snoopy).  She's super happy to be home.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Dentist, Coffee, and Spoonflower (and Some Finished Makes)

I almost titled this post, things I am annoyed with this week, but thought better of it.  I have had a meh several days, mainly because I decided on Friday to give up my beloved coffee.  A drink that I have only embraced for the last three or so years, but man have I embraced it.  However, it's not awesome for my stomach and so it must go for a while.  Booo... Which has meant I have been not the most fun person to be around since Friday.  Also irritating me is that I went to the dentist today, and have to go back on Thursday.  That's bad on me- since I've put it off for a couple of years.  The hygienist was not too gentle, so my gums are still achy.  But I'm sure you're not here to hear about my petty irritations, but to see handmade clothing.  Here is one of my favorite outfits.  I wear it about every two weeks.
This picture ended up a little grainy, but I wanted to try and get the color correct on the skirt.  It's a deep, deep teal ponte (not my favorite fabric as it's super synthetic-y).  The pattern is my single seam pencil skirt.  The top I think I talked about briefly previous.  It's a pattern by Imagine Gnats, made in a silk charmeuse.  The jacket is one of the few non-me-made pieces I still own.  I bought it in 2010 from Anthropologie.
I only have two usable pictures from my after work photo-shoot.  I didn't realize that one of my sleeves was all wonky from being under the jacket all day.  And also tucked in all weird.  We'll leave it at that.  I used french seams on the top, and finished the neck and sleeve hems with interfacing.  So this was on Thursday, and I had fantastic plans for the weekend sewing- finshing my skirt and top that are in various stages (the top, I think is a wadder, as the material is terrible), and starting the matching jacket.  But then I cut the coffee, leaving me with a terrible migraine Friday afternoon, and going to sleep super early, and then zero energy Saturday.  So I went with a simpler idea.  I received my package of fabric from Spoonflower Friday afternoon.  I ordered 2 yards of coordinating teal and purple damask sports lycra, as I am in desperate need of workout clothing.
And I made two pairs of leggings- Fehr Trade's Dualthalon (as that is what I had).  This by far is not the most flattering picture of me, as I just returned from my Sunday yoga class and decided to walk to the two miles home.  The prints are awesome.  The colors on the fabric are nice and deep, but the fabric itself is a big fat meeeh. I had read some reviews stating that when stretched the white base would show through a little bit, so I made the leggings a half-size bigger. It works, but bags out in the knee a little bit.  But working out in these- they do not breath at all.  Which for the most part is fine, as I do yoga, barre, and win chung, so not running, but eh.  I'll see how they wear in the future.
Trying to get a better picture.  You can see the stripe down the side.  I added a waistband instead of elastic, because I hate elastic around the waist.  I cannot stand it.  The waistband is an inch or two smaller than the waist, and it held up nicely in class.  For the second pair, I hacked off two inches at the hem, which helps with them sitting right, as they are snug around the calf a tiny bit.  I cut both pairs together, as I only ended up with 30-32" of usable fabric for each.  I know fabric shrinks in the first wash, but this seemed excessive.  I should have measured it before I washed- there was significant white space around the fabric- 2-3" on the sides and 1-2" on top and bottom. But it was just enough.  I did have to piece my second waistband, and one piece might be upside down. 
Here are the two together- on my lovely red carpet.  They're now both sitting at work, so no better pictures.  I really do love the print, I am just bummed about the fabric.  Now I know, I really prefer cotton based work out gear.  Live and learn, right?  At least the fabric did not end up in the stash.  Anyway, that is all, I guess.  I should get back to finishing something, mainly my skirt, but I misplaced the second facing piece.  Silly that is what is holding me up (and the hem), I only have about an hours worth of work.  I just need to do it!  Until next time, happy sewing.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Blogging Catch-up Day 2- Four Pieces in One Outfit.

In the spirit of catching up my blog with all my makes, here is another installation.  It will be light on the typing and heavy on the photos, as I am featuring four pieces made over the last two months.  We'll start with my new coat and go from there.  I present you the Watson jacket by Papercut Patterns. It is made from wool I bought in 2011 in Turkey, and some heavy satin from the local fabric store, bough about 6 months ago.  It is underlined with some raincoating that would never be used.

I made a straight size 6 with no alterations.  I did add welt pockets, as it's winter, and you need pockets.  I used the pockets from the Rigel Bomber, but if I were to do it again, I would make the pocket bags a bit bigger.  I did attempt pattern match with various success.  It was a straightforward sew until you get to the shoulders.  They took me a couple of tries, but in the end it turned out alright.  Everything is top-stitched.
A back view.  So my favorite part is the cape, but it's also my least favorite part.  I feel like it makes my shoulders look super broad, and it's a little unbalanced at the hip. 
And from the side.  I've worn this coat on and off since I finished it in January.  I prefer my floral coat or my moto-jacket.  My guess is I'll make another winter coat next year, and see if I like it better.  The cape does mean it's pretty warm without a lot of bulk.  Moving on.
A Chanel style jacket with matching pencil skirt.  I have learned a new Ukrainian word this month- Chanelka is what they call Chanel style jackets.  I love it, and plan on incorporating it into my everyday vocab.  Both of these are TNTs, so they should have been easy makes.  But the fabric was terrible to work with.  You cannot tell in this picture, but there are a kajillion mini-pleats in the fabric.  I bought it at the same time as the mustard boucle from Gorgeous fabrics.
 Here is a closer look at the jacket, where you can see the pleating.  I kept both skirt and jacket simple, knowing that the fabric would be tough, and wanted to make sure the lines matched up.  The jacket is Simplicity 1699 with patch pockets added, and darts added in the back.  I narrowed the shoulders by 1.25 inch and made it into a v-neck.  I was going to use the fabric as trim in the front, but decided against it.  Editing is good.
The skirt is my single seam pencil skirt.  You can see my exposed brass zipper peaking out at the bottom.  The fabric was terrible to iron flat, so my usual invisible zipper was impossible to insert.
I decided to play with the direction of the pleating, by adding triangles of it vertical on both sides.  It's subtle, but turned out not too bad.  It was a pita to sew. Alright, now on to the last piece of clothing.

The Mathilde top, by Tilly in the Buttons.  I used a wool silk blend by Carolina Herrera, which I picked up from Mood in one of their half-off sales back in November 2014.  It was a pleasure to sew with, as it was textured, so not slippery at all.  I made multiple changes to the pattern, most notably changing the pintucks to gathers.

I also changed the back.  The buttons are supposed to go all the way down, but I really wanted just a yoke with buttons.  I also eliminated the facings by cutting two of each the front and back pieces.  It made it a lot easier.  I used french seams throughout.  I am in the process of making a second version, in white.  This time with pintucks.  I also am changing out the sleeves to ones with a little more poof on top and a little less on the bottom. 
There is a lot of volume with this shirt without the pintucks.  I like it tucked in to my highwaisted skirts, as it shows off the waist quite a bit.  So that's it for today.  I still think I have a two skirts, two pants, and at least one top left to blog.  I have really been prolific in my sewing since December.  On a non-sewing related note, my little guy had some crazy hair today.  He really needs a haircut, but will not sit still for one.  I caught a picture of him, so I'll leave you with that.  Until next time Happy Sewing.

Well, that was longer than expected

So it's been a while.  Well over a month longer than I thought.  And before then I really wasn't blogging much either.  I've debated whether or not to keep blogging at all.  It's been a tough and busy winter, but a productive one at that.  As my time in the sewing room has been limited in the last 3 months, I've had to make every second count. I think to start off I will start with a quick overview of the last couple if months to get back into it. Then go from there.

Let's start with the initial delay. I don't talk about my work ever, but to say it was a busy November/December would be an understatement.  Why you ask?
Yes, that is the Vice President of the United States. He came to Kyiv in early December and I helped organize one of the events. And totally wore some me-made clothing. There aren't many places where a 13 star navy skirt is appropriate.

I made a Jasper hoodie right after that.  Super comf, but nothing remarkable. 
Also pre Christmas was an Imagine Gnats top in silk charmeuse. Also nothing remarkable, but super useful. For the next two weeks we had a house guest and therefore no sewing, but a trip to Lviv, of which apparently I didn't take a single picture. Christmas also happened. 
For my lack of sewing productivity in November/December, I have certainly made up for it in January. I started off with some stash organizing, using Evernote to photograph and log everything- 72 pieces and 149 yards of fabric later, I realized whilst I have a fabric problem it's not as bad as I thought it was. And I've worked through a lot of it since then. In the past several weeks I have made the following: ginger jeans in ponte, a pencil skirt out of the remains of the ponte, a striped Seamwork Astoria top, a button down (all of which you'll see in the next post) and a quilt  Well the front and back of a quilt. I am waiting on thread to actually quilt it. The design is pretty simple, but since it's my first one I didn't want to make it too hard that I would get discouraged.  

Well that's. I am at home with my sick little guy, so I figured it was as good of time as any to try and catch up. Now that's done, hopefully I will be more inclined to blog. Until next time, happy sewing. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Finished Outfit Finally! V8707 and Pleated Skirt

Why hello there!  I know I said that I was going to update more regularly, but then I went way too long again. What can I say, between blogging and sewing, I'll probably pick sewing.  Anyway,  I remembered to to take pictures of the new outfit I wore today, and they were not terrible, so I figured I would show you guys.  We'll start with a picture of the outfit:
The jacket is a now out of print Vogue pattern, V8707.  I have had this pattern for ages, I think I ordered it during the first sale after it came out.  If you know Vogue patterns, it was the one with the green plaid jacket and matching dress on the cover.  I even hunted up and down for a super similar plaid.  Well, even though I've had the pattern for years, and have cut out the jacket pieces twice, I have never made the jacket.  I think it's likely because there are about a kajillion pattern pieces.  Well, yesterday I was highly motivated.  I had a day off from work for President's day, but both kids were in school, and my husband didn't have anything planned for us to do.  So I decided to get off my kiester and make it. 
I had cut out the size 14, so that is what I made.  I narrowed the shoulders by taking a 7/8" seam allowance on the princess seam and upper sleeve seam.  I also sloped the shoulder slightly, as I don't use shoulder pads. Other than that no alterations of the pattern.  However, let's discuss fabric.  For many months, I searched for a nice mustard fabric for a suit.  Finally in December, I found something appearing suitable on Gorgeous fabrics, so I bought 5 yards, 2 interfaced and 3 not.  I knew it was a boucle, but I underestimated the unraveleryness of it.  It is yarn that is about an eight to a quarter inch thick woven together.  So, I cut everything for the jacket and the future skirt of out the interfaced fabric.  I am going to likely toss the uninterfaced as it's unusable.  Since it's super thick, I decided the undercollar/lapels and the facings would have to be made in the lining fabric.  To help with the structure, I did interface them.
 You can see just how thick the individual yarns are in this picture, as well as the undercollar.  Other notes, I top-stitched all the seams.  This provided an extra layer of protection against the fraying (even with the interfacing there was some fraying).
For the closures, I used my trusty mother of pearl buttons.  I had a late start on my work day, so I was able to finish it this morning.  I was pretty impressed with how much I got done yesterday, all I had to do this morning was notching the curves, turn it right side out, iron, hand-stitching, final top-stitching and buttons.
Last note on the jacket, I finished the sleeves with bias binding. I love the pop of turquoise.  Okay, enough on the jacket, on to the skirt.  I made this skirt a couple of weeks ago.  It is made out of one yard of super fancy Oscar de la Renta fabric from Mood. 
It was super simple to make.  I cut the fabric lengthwise into three sections.  One 3" for the waist facing and the other two equal depths.  I sewed an invisible zipper into one of the seams, sewed the the other seam, and then box pleated.  (Baste them first!)  Once the pleating was done, I used the 3" strip for the facing.  As there was selvage, no finishing needed on it.  The hem is a quarter inch turned up twice. Super quick and fast!
And one thing not sewing related, my little guy turned 3 on Saturday!  Three! Where did the time fly.  Here are obligatory pictures of him.  Anyway, that's all, back to sewing for me.  I still have tons of me-mades not blogged.  Hopefully as the weather gets better, I will start catching up.  Until next time happy sewing!