Thursday, March 29, 2012

Silk Skirt Reveal

Ta da!!! I *finally* finished the blue silk skirt for my friend. I don't have a picture of her modelling it 'cuz she lives up in Paris and I haven't given it to her yet, but here it is on my sewing space/dining room table:

Okay, my gathers are not evenly spaced, but that's the best I could do. I went back and re-spaced them, but they still bunched up in the middle.

Here's a back shot; you can see I chose a pink invisible zipper to match the warp thread:

A close-up on the back vent:

As far as the pattern goes, I'm happy with it. The instructions were good and I think it was easy to put together. The only difficulties I had were in adapting the pattern to use with a lining (odd that it is not lined though...this kind of skirt really needs either a slip or a lining) OR working with the silk OR my machine and my pinking shears eating the fabric.

I didn't insert the lining in the best way possible, but it's an improvement over my red cotton trial version. The silk is so delicate though that I can see the zipper is already stressing it out. I'll have to tell my friend to be careful with the zipper.

The silk frayed like crazy; I guess this was to be expected. But my machine was behaving itself up until the last day of sewing. Luckily, at that point, I was finished with the fashion fabric and was only working with the lining. But my machine (and my pinking shears, which I think I need to replace) did eat up some of the lining fabric. Hence, you can see here that one part is shorter than the other because I had to compensate:

It's on the inside so I'm not going to worry about it!

My original plan was to keep the selvedge for the hem line, but because of the pattern having a round hem and not a straight hem, I couldn't do that. What I did do though was to cut off the selvedge and use it as hem binding, which I then rolled to the inside. It wasn't pretty enough to keep it on the outside there.

However, I did keep it on the outside at the waist band. I like the effect it has there - a slightly more rigorous trim that provides an interplay for the classy, shiny silk. And of course it picks up the pink threads showing throughout the fabric.

Here's a shot of the pocket. I used the same fabric inside:

All in all, I think the pattern and the fabric go well together. But the fabric is definitely not hard-wearing. I think because of that it's more of an 'upon occasion' skirt than an everyday skirt.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Jupe Droite: La Doublure

I thought you might be interested in seeing how my teacher had me line my straight skirt, so I took some photos. I took the photos after wearing the skirt though, so the lining is wrinkly! You are forewarned! ;)

The bottom hem of the lining is several inches shorter than the skirt hem and it is free-hanging, except along the kick pleat (is that the correct term?). And at that point, it is hand-stitched down for just the length of the seam allowance. You can see how the fabric selvedge (of the fashion fabric) is included in the seam allowance, so there's no finishing needed there.

And along the center back seam, the lining is sewn together a few inches in the very middle, but then it is left unattached to the fashion fabric until just above the kick pleat again. Apparently this is to help prevent fabric stress (and rips) from sitting down, etc.

Can you see the horizontal wrinkle in the photo, just above the kick pleat? Well, just above that, the lining is not attached to the fashion fabric...not until it reaches the back zipper.

(Aside: You maybe cannot see it in this photo, but my lining fabric has already started to show strain along its back (machine-sewn) seam, after only 3 wears. This leads me to conclude it's not very sturdy lining fabric.)

And then the lining is hand-stitched to the back zipper. And the top of the back zipper is hidden in the waist band:

Here's a close-up on the hand-stitching:

Other than that, construction-wise, the lining is enclosed inside the waist band and after folding over the waist band, it's attached by hand inside:

My teacher says that those stitches should be nearly invisible, so by those standards, my work there is not very good! But I'm okay with that. :)

So, overall, the lining is sewn together at the side seams, and then again for several inches in the middle back seam. And you just fold over the fabric (in vertical "pleats") as needed to make it mimic the front and back darts (and get it the circumference as the fashion fabric), then enclose it in the waist band. To finish up, you hand-stitch it to the zipper and at the kick pleat, then hem it.

I was happy with this procedure and it seemed logical to me, until this happened:

The zipper broke! Well, the slider (le curseur, in French) is now only attached to one side. After only 3 outings! This was a minor wardrobe malfunction because it happened on my way to work, or at least, that's when I discovered it. So, I had been bopping along, first in the tram, then the bus, then out walking, with my zipper down. At least I had tights on, so people couldn't see my underwear. And, I tell myself, maybe my bag was masking it a bit 'cuz I often wear my bag across the chest and then turn it toward the back.

At work I was able to pin it together so I taught my two classes without incident.

But now I need to replace the invisible zipper in my practically brand-new skirt! And because of the lining construction, it means at least partially undoing the waist band, as well as the zipper. Unless any of you know a way to put the slider back on? I'm not sure I'd trust it though...

Which brings me to the question part of today's blog post:

1) I used a generic zipper brand; is there a (sturdier) brand which I should be using? YKK??


2) is there another way of putting in the lining which would make it easier to swap out the zipper in such an event? flat lining?

and finally,

3) have you constructed a lined, straight-skirt like this or do you do it differently?

I'd be grateful for any tips you have!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Striped Sweater Reveal

Here we have it: the Zara sweater by Mission Falls. The weather was a little cooler today, but still too warm to wear this sweater for very long!

I'm happy with the stripe matching. Of course, I just followed the pattern, so I guess it wasn't too difficult! Here's a closer view:

I could've made the sleeves a bit longer, but I'm okay with them as they are.

I didn't block it (yet), so the edge is curling up a bit.

I could've knit it in the round, but I followed the directions to knit it flat and then sew together. I'm not sure what the advantage was to knit it flat, except that it's less heavy while you're knitting.

I don't know what that expression is, but I think I do that often! :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

New Background and Continuing News of 2512

I was having trouble with my other background. I really loved it, but it just wasn't loading properly. So I replaced it with the new yellow and green one. I'm trying to think of it as spring cleaning :)

I'm diligently working on my crafty to-do list. I have (finally) started the silk skirt for my friend, made from the Simplicity Cynthia Rowley 2512 pattern.

See, here's proof!

I cut out the silk, plus the lining, and I fused the interfacing on to the appropriate pieces.

I also trimmed off the selvedge because I'm planning on using it to hem the skirt, as well as using it as a decorative element on the waist band.

In other news, I finally finished sewing my stripey sweater together and weaving in all the ends, so it is officially DONE! Hopefully I'll get some photos this weekend and post it. Of course, I managed to finish it right after the weather turned warm, so I probably won't be wearing it for some months. ;)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Sunshine Award

Meg the Grand kindly shared a Sunshine Award with me, thanks Meg! So I want to pass along the award to 10 blogs that bring sunshine into my life every day :) Some of you have recently received the award, so don't feel obligated to participate, I just want to show my appreciation.

Here it goes for the questions:

Favorite Color: Green, I mean blue! It's hard to pick. Sometimes maybe it's red...but probably most of the time it's green.

Favorite Animal: I really like cats, but owls are cool too.

Favorite Number: Uhhh, I don't really have one.

Favorite Non-Alcoholic Drink: Coffee.

Facebook or Twitter: Facebook. I don't tweet.

My Passion: I love history, I love literature and I love art.

Getting or Giving Presents: Both. There's a distinct pleasure in giving but it's nice to receive too. :)

Favorite Pattern: New Look 6781. It's one my first real successes and I wear my two shirts ALL THE TIME.

Favorite Day of the Week: Friday because I have dance class.

Favorite Flower: Tulips.

Favorite celebrity role model: Yikes. I'm not sure. I generally admire Susan Sarandon's political activism and I enjoy her movies.

And here are the blogs I'd like to pass the award onto:

1) Back at you, Meg the Grand!

2) Farben-Freude: polka dots!! Visiting your blog is a always a treat; the world seems a little brighter there :)

3) Two Little Cabbages and Cie: thank you for sharing your triumphs and your struggles in every day life. :)

4) The Makings of an Urban Rustic - I am truly inspired to make pants (panties) now :) And thank you for all of your encouraging comments.

5) Handmade by Carolyn - I wish I had your skills and creativity! You make it look so easy; thank you for sharing what you know and always encouraging seamstresses (insert alternate word here) to try new things.

6) Minnado's House - lovely knits; and I love how you make your wardrobe work for you!

7) Delfinelise - I wish I could aspire to your elegance and ingenuity! And I love your colors.

8) Sew and So is a blog I've recently discovered and I'm really impressed by the lace knitting!

9) And another new blog to me - Pretty Grievances. I love your take on haute couture and I've discovered a lot of inspiring designers thanks to you.

10) Kestrel Finds and Makes is a blog where I hover and don't leave a lot of comments but I love all the vintage knitwear patterns. The scooter pattern most recently on display got my gears spinning. :)

Thanks to all of you for bringing a bit of sunshine into the bloggy world!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lotus Cami Modeled

I decided to put some buttons on it and I think it brightens it up a bit. You like them? They are vintage buttons from India that I bought in Paris. I still have 22 left. :)

The front doesn't look too bad, but there's still that extra fabric on the right side facing.

A back view:

Another "fashion view," just for the heck of it. Oh, and to show off my new haircut! :)

I plan on wearing it with a cardigan though, with or without a belt:

All in all, I'm pretty happy with it. This definitely was not my smoothest project, but I think this is a good silhouette for me.

If I ever attempt this pattern again, I'll put in some underarm darts (1 to 1.5 centimeters) to take out that excess fabric. It might be easier to just find another pattern with a similar neckline that is drafted for a smaller bust!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

And the Clock Keeps Ticking

I finished the Lotus Cami today. Well, okay, I still have to tack down the facings inside, but aside from that it's done. I'm letting it sit a spell before I take pictures. All in all, it's not horrible but it's not great either.

In the meantime, here's some photos of other things I've been working on. I don't think I've shown you the progress on my pants for a while...

Here's the front:

And here's where my teacher pinned to indicate where I should sew next:

Pretty pocket lining; I stayed classic:

I've also continued to work on my striped sweater this week. In fact, it's all done - just needs to be sewn together - which, of course - is another several hours of work! But here are the various pieces, roughly in the right position:

I had another failure there too though. I was supposed to make pom-poms for the sweater...well, here's how's my pom-pom turned out:

It's not so much a pom-pom as a cat's hair ball. So then I tried to make a tassel and attached it to my crocheted cord that will pull down the hoodie:

That looks pretty lame too. I'll spare you a close-up of my crochet work; it's not so good.

But I bought this color-coordinated ribbon and I think it'll do the job well:

And just because I need to feel like I did accomplish something this week, here's the last sweater that was waiting for its elbow patches: done, done, done!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Aaarrggh!! The Lotus Cami Saga Continued

I don't know why I thought this pattern would be easy!!! Terrible, terrible.

It fits in the bust and back, but now I have weird extra fabric on the shoulder strap. It's especially bad on the right side facing. And I don't know how to fix it!

Also, the points where the front meets the shoulder strap are not great. One side is not that bad, but the right side facing (again) is terrible and that the best I ended up with after three attempts.

Left side facing:

Right side facing:

I feel like this is going to end up being a shirt I can only wear under a cardigan!

Anyhow, I realized that it wouldn't be easy to button up the back buttons all by myself so I decided to sew together the back along a center seam and to install a side zipper.

I really like the idea of the buttons though (and I have matching orange buttons) so perhaps I'll put on some buttons just for decoration. Not down the center back though, that would look stupid now.

But then again, I might just chuck this shirt into the Never Finish/Scrap Pile!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Spring Sewing Planning

The blog at Colette Patterns hinted that they will host another Spring Palette Challenge this year, but I realized that I've already been planning my spring wardrobe sewing. And the earlier I start, the better, so here's what has coalesced from my musings.

I was inspired by some of the colors from my in-progress knitting:

It looks rather autumnal with this color combination, but when you pick out just a few colors, it looks springy, like this:

So, my palette is: dusty rose, brown, white, and celery.

I've already shown you some the fabrics purchased, but I hadn't yet decided on the patterns. But I have now! Until I change my mind, that is. ;)

Here's the overall plan, and then I'll go into the details. I've planned to sew 6 garments and knit one. There will be 2 skirts, and 5 tops (including the knit one).

Like with my Fall Palette, I have limited myself (with one exception) to fabrics, patterns, and yarn that I already have. Working from stash! Two of the patterns I've used before, one for a skirt and one for a top.

Starting clockwise from the upper right-hand corner, here are the projects:

Another Lisette pattern, this time the Market blouse, pattern # 2211.

I plan to use the leftover white pique that I purchased from my husband's future Negroni(s). That is, if I have any leftover! And I also plan on changing the sleeve style for something without gathers. I don't need any emphasis on my shoulders, thank you very much. This one, incidentally, will also go toward my Closing the Gaps project because the idea is to wear it with my pink polka-dot skirt:

Then next up is the knitting project, a green tank-top with lace detail. I am thinking of doing the lace in the spring green and the rest in the ivy green. The pattern is the Drawstring Chemise by Connie Chang Chinchio, found in Interweave magazine from spring 2008.

After that is a stripe skirt in brown tones that I've been wanting to do for a while; the pattern is from Pink Fig, although I don't see it currently listed on the website.

The pattern is designed for girls aged 10 to 16 years old, but I think I can add in the extra width as needed!

I'm planning on doing the skirt on the left-hand side, without the ruffle. You may recognize some of the fabrics left over from other projects.

I finally settled on using New Look 6870 again, this time pairing it with the new pink voile I bought. I will be sewing view B, which is what the model wears. But I think I want to add some lace along the front panel as they do on view C.

And then for the white linen skirt I'll be using Simplicity 2367 again. This is the one project for which I don't have the fabric. So, that's a minus, but I have extra motivation to complete this one because it also figures on my Closing the Gaps list.

I'm debating about using a red thread and buttons as accents like they do on the cover illustration. Would that limit its coordinate pieces too much, do you think?

Whew, sorry, this is a long post, but we're almost done, only 2 more to go!

For the lovely celery cotton from Ray-Stitch I finally settled on this top from New Look 6407: view A, like the model.

And, last but not least, I want to use my striped-on-white fabric with the short-sleeve version (view B) of Simplicity 3842.

Oh yeah, there's one additional project I wanted to complete...I have a 3/4 sleeve white button-down shirt that I want to dye brown. I have the dye pot, but I need to buy the dye! BTW, did you see Carolyn's dyeing tutorial? Check it out, if you have any interest in dyeing! :)