Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It's Windy! (everyone knows)

Who's peekin' out from under a stairway? 
I haven't been in flurry of creation, but I have been documenting it well, suddenly.  I think it's wanting to wear Me-Made things to work at the store, and then also realizing I should quick take some pictures.  So without further ado, let me show you my Macaron!

When I finally decided this dress would work for my figure, my main goal was to make a version I liked as much as The Sew Convert's Festivity Macaron.   But without copying it.  And to make it in time to wear to the Frocktails launch for the Summer of Dresses on May 3rd.  I cut it out around April 24th.  By May 3rd, I knew my harebrained idea of making the bodice yoke out of interlock would require some refining.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Voile -la A Wrap Skirt!

Anna Maria Horner Voile- Slow Dance in Heather available online
Have you recovered from the horrible warping of the English language I perpetrated in the blog title?  No?  Here's another pretty picture then!

The Wrap Skirt is often touted as the perfect beginning apparel project.  And technique-wise, it really is- although I think the optional button-hole to thread your tie through makes it more complicated unless you happen to have a one-step buttonhole.  But let's be honest, even a one-step buttonhole function requires a special presser foot, and for some beginning sewers that's really scary.  In any case, the button-hole is optional on Kwik Sew 2954, (the pattern we use for our Wrap Skirt Class) although it an option that really adds to making a flattering fitting skirt.  I wanted to see how using lovely silky cotton voile added to the flattery and sure enough- it turned out pretty slinky.

It's kind of the perfect skirt to transition into colder weather, since I think it'll look smashing with knee-high boots.  I used the repeat of the pattern, almost like a border print, or rather, I hemmed the skirt right under the bottom of the pattern, which was pretty easy to do while laying out the pattern and turned out really cute.  I was lucky that it fell right into my 22" ideal I guess.

I also used a french seam to make the insides extra special.  Be sure and peek to check them out if you come into the store!  In this pattern, it was a super easy application.

The skirt makes you magically transparent!

This was a sample for the upcoming Wrap Skirt class at Sewtropolis, which I'll be teaching on Friday, September 9 from 6-9.  There's still room in the class, and you can register online!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Skyline Circle Skirt

I've been thinking about circle skirts a lot lately.  I have several plaid suiting/wool skirts planned for Fall/Winter wardrobe building, and although I am an impatient girl, and you have to let your circle skirt hang before hemming,  I do feel like there is no substitute for how you feel when you rock a circle skirt.   Casey is having a sew a-long, where she's showing how to draft a circle skirt- and Patty recently posted a fantastic Circle Skirt Calculator showing how to alter and or draft full circle, 3/4 circle, and half circle skirts! 

Here's my favorite skirt of the summer, my half-circle skirt made from fabric with a printed panel just made to create a border!  On a circle skirt, since the entire hem is curved, you can't use regular border fabrics to decorate your hemline with a mid-century style illustrated skyline, so when I was at Walmart 5 or 6 years ago, I couldn't resist adding this panel to my stash. 

Simplicity 4236 still available!
It must have been a cross-promotion with Simplicity, since the printed panel is represented right on the Simplicity pattern envelope, but it was ever so easy to make the skirt without any pattern, since the panel did most of the work for me!  All I had to do was measure the length I wanted my skirt to be from the hemline to find my waistline, and mark that width accordingly!  I used packaged piping to face the hem, to accent the skyline illustration, and to add some body to the skirt much like horsehair braid would.  It worked really well!

A circle skirt just makes a girl FEEL angelic. 
I used 1 1/2" black elastic to make the waistband.  I sewed it on like a facing, and I can wear it up with the black showing, or turn it all the way in like a facing.  I've been wearing tucked in shirts with this all summer, so I've really loved the belt-like effect of the solid contrast waistband.  The quality of the black elastic I used, is sadly lacking, however.  It's already showing threads, and I will have to replace it soon.  It was packaged elastic also bought at Walmart, but it's Dritz, and I am confused as to why the Dritz elastic by the yard would be twice as sturdy.  I am sad, because this elastic is very soft and comfortable.  It will be easy to replace, but boo for having to do so.

Other than elastic quality issues, there's nothing I don't really like about this skirt.  I have a black tulle skirt to layer under it as soon as I can stand to wear something lined in nylon poly again, and I think the lines of this skirt are immensely flattering to me.  I feel so girly and angelic too!  I guess technically, since this is a half-circle skirt, I feel like half an angel.. But stash busting totally made me feel like I brushed that l'il devil who constantly encourages me to buy new fabric right off my shoulder!  For one project anyway...

I'm really excited to be sewing along with Casey too!  In the combined interest of stash-busting and wardrobe building, I'm hoping to add one full circle skirt (in an awesome red and blue classic wool plaid), a 3/4 circle skirt (yet to be determined), and to finish a half-circle skirt I cut out last Fall that is completely Anthro-inspired with a contrast hem facing..

Blossom Blockade Bias Skirt

This is my expression after dealing with out of focus pictures shot by a 12 yr old...

Behold View A of Kwik Sew 3003, the extra-simple two piece version of the bias skirt.  I thought this juicy red and pink fabric could take me into Sept nicely.  I used the serger to make a rolled hem, making finishing even faster!  This one was 40 minutes from layout to finish.

 The two piece version is a lot swingier than the four pieces with the chevroning.  This is bias cling and swing at its full potential.  Joel Dewberry Heirloom Blossom Blockade in Crimson available online here..

I took a picture of my mid-western flat backside.  It only curves at the bottom!  I cropped the picture so you couldn't see how it looks like my bottom is hiding up front in my belly from this angle...

 The Mina (age 12) was very impatient with this photo shoot, and kept coming too close for the skirt to be in the pictures.  And all the pictures are pretty much out of focus.  Here's my favorite pose, so sad it's fuzzy.

At the end of the shoot, she backed up really far and I got angry.  The final shot, of course, was not out of focus.

Although when I was playing with effects to add definition, I turned myself into a Linda Ronstadt album cover!

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Biased Afternoon..

We got the Joel Dewberry Heirloom line in at the store, nearly a month ago, and yet I hadn't made anything- not even a schmatte, out of any of its gorgeousness yet.  So when I found I was going to get to teach the Bias Skirt class, I was struck by a hard fast need to create.

This is Kwik Sew 3003, a simple oull-on skirt cut on the bias.  It has two options, to make the skirt in two pieces, back and front, or to make the skirt in 4 pieces where you can use a striped fabric to make a cute slimming chevron effect.  I just knew this marble stripe pattern was perfect to chevron.

joel dewberry heirloom "marble stripe" in jade

see how the bias hugs my girly & feminine belly?
In a bias cut, the pattern pieces are cut diagonal to the warp or lengthwise grain of the fabric giving the garment more stretch, drape and “cling”.  In a simply cut skirt like this, with a curvy figure, the "cling" provides a LOT of sass.  I have wide hips, but a mid-western recessed tail-feather, so a bias-cut does a lot to create some booty curves.

This pattern could not have sewn up faster.  Even with my careful stripe matching, the cut-out took about 40 minutes, and sewing it up took maybe 40 minutes- and that's with store business going on!  It has an elastic waist, so I am thinking of making an obi-style wrap belt like the one from the Knit N' Woven Dress used in Patty's class..Kwik-Sew 3758 so I can have a tucked in shirt option, or a nipped in waist option.  Maybe out of a coordinate from the Heirloom line like one of these two.

Empire Weave in Dandelion
Heirloom Opal in Jade

But with a skirt cut on the bias, maybe it makes more sense to not tuck or nip, and let the curves roam free-range...

Sorry I felt the need to stylize the photos of myself so much.  The bright sunshine required that the contrast be amped up, and the additional filters just followed naturally..

There's still room in my Bias Skirt Class on Thursday, September 1!  It's 3 hours, from 6-9, and you can register online!

Blossom Blockade
Tune in tomorrow for the second bias skirt I made that same afternoon!

Be there or be square...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A tale of two dirndls

Photos by my 12 yr old.  Focus on silly!

I've had a recent much-needed burst of creativity, focusing on the simplest execution of some classics to build up my me-made wardrobe.  Because I have a ruffle attachment on my loveable Singer 503A "Rockateer", I have made a few dirndl skirts, this being my favorite. 


Elastic waist dirndl(self-drafted) in Valorie Wells Nest

  Made of medium weight cotton woven from the Valorie Wells Nest line, not only is it a color palette that works immensely well for coordinating with my existing separates, but I got to impudently play with several style rules with great success, mainly, that hourglass curvies shouldn't wear gathered waist skirts, and that white is to be avoided.  It might be the 1.5" elastic waistband, but I really like how this silhouette works for my body, especially with tops tucked in.  I used my ruffle attachment set to pleat every 6 stitches (which is the same recommendations Kay Whitt uses in her Sew Simplicity book) and in the middle center front switched to every stitch for some additional camouflage for my child-torn lower midriff since I'm not big on wearing smoothing shapers.  To draft this, I simply cut two panels of 45" wide fabric, 23" long and gathered as indicated above.  If you wanted to refer to Gertie's dirndl formula, I gathered approximately 89" to create fullness from my 38" waist.  I created the waistband using 36" of 1.5" waistband elastic laid over the stitchline created by my ruffler attachment.  To create an even stretch, I divide the elastic into equal fourths and match those points up to center front, center back and each side seam, gently stretching to line those points up. 

 My other dirndl was made of one of the many circus fabrics in my collection.  This one is especially sweet, retro, with just the right amount of whimsy.  I made a folded over waistband with an elastic casing only on the back waist, but I am unhappy with where it sits on my waist, which is a little too high in my opinion making my chest look more the size of cantaloupes than the preferable pomelos.  My original plan was to make this fabric into the "No Fuss Knit N' Cotton Dress" which is Kwik Sew 3758.  The Michael Miller chartruese dot fabric I was using went with so much of my wardrobe, that I switched gears to create separates instead. This was the skirt I used to refine my personal dirndl equation, but I did even pleating here, and I prefer the switch to single stitch pleats over my belly, for flattery.  I'm switching out the fabric waistband for a 2" black elastic waistband.  I love the small touches of black and gray in this print, and think it will transition into Fall well.  I am excited to layer the black tulle skirt I often wear as a petticoat with this once the weather allows me to wear something lined with nylon polyester as my tulle skirt is.  I tried wearing it in June and it was an awful tactile experience.

The T-shirts featured are also both me-made.  The green polka dot is Michael Miller interlock by Patty Young, charmingly named "Ta Dot".  We're all out of it at Sewtropolis unfortunately.  The pattern is New Look 6569, which I am quite pleased with.  It elongates the neck into slight swaniness, but doesn't take you all the way to Cleavage Avenue.

The gold shirt is from the Oliver and S City Weekend knit collection.  It's called "Cafe Dots", and the mini polka dots are perfect for pattern mixing.  Kwik Sew 3036 is the pattern we're using in the Basic T-shirt class I'm teaching in September.   It's a great first knit pattern, since it's two pieces, front and back with kimono sleeves, and I love it because the pattern instructions are done manufacturing style, with you hemming the sleeves before sewing your side seams.  I was especially pleased because I used a double needle for the hemming, so we could include that skill as part of the class.  It sews up great even without using a serger, and finishing it with the double needle adds that RTW touch that all nervous home sewers crave.

The beard coordinates with the circus skirt AND hides my weak chin!  Styling learned from chubby hipster boys nationwide...

Tune in Tomorrow for a post on the bias skirt frenzy I had earlier this week!