Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Survived Self Stitched September 2010


It's over! Self Stitched September 2010 was an interesting experience. Every day throughout the month of September, I wore an outfit that was entirely self-stitched by me, with the exception of underwear, socks, shoes, and accessories. I took photos of every day, except Sept 3rd, when I was sick and spent most of the day sleeping in my self-made PJs. ;)

This project was conceived by Zoe, immediately on the heels of Me-Made-May earlier this year. She posted a participant list, started a Flickr group, and off we went.

My personal challenge was to move beyond my favorite garments, those that I wear over and over, and to delve deeper into the recesses of my closet.

Here are some of my observations about this experience:

  • Everything I wore was made in the last 13 months, when I returned to sewing. Yowza, I've made a lot of clothes in that time. :)
  • There were several self-made garments that I didn't get a chance to wear. o.O
  • I do not have enough clothes for hot weather, which is not too surprising, since I live in a climate that has very few hot days per year and I don't really like sewing, or wearing, that sort of clothing.
  • The photos are very helpful to see how an outfit is working. There weren't too many unfortunate outfits, but there were a couple. I have already started a Goodwill bag and have placed several items inside. I'm not going to say which ones, because I don't want anyone trying to talk me out of it.
  • A few garments were worn over and over: my black Teagarden T, my black ponte Marcy Tilton pants (V8397A), and my new Jalie Jeans. Thank goodness I made those jeans just before Sept 1st! I generally wear jeans very rarely but these were so comfortable and flattering that I wore them over and over!
  • I am not a person who likes to dress up, sit on the couch, and work. I guess I'll never be that sort of person. I prefer to work in my PJs and get dressed if and when I need to go out.
  • Some outfits emphasize my bust much more than others!! Not in a good way. ;)
  • Structured jackets are my friend.
  • Accessories that divert attention from my bust are my friend.
  • More fitted tops (rather than long, loose tops) are my friend. I'd pretty much figured that one out already, but sometimes I'm gonna wear those tops anyway. :)
  • As so many other participants noted, taking a photo of oneself every day is a pain. And it's a bigger pain if you have to rely on someone else to take the photo. I'm glad I can do it myself with a tripod and my camera remote, but still, it gets old. Because the photos are so useful, it's worth the effort. I'm getting better at taking photos of myself. It's actually less embarrassing to pose for a camera when no human is behind it, but I wonder what my neighbors thought about it. :)

That's all I can think of for now. Feel free to post your own thoughts, if you want to go peek at my Flickr album.

All week I have been working on a wool coat in the evenings. It was very hot earlier in the week, so it was very slow going. But now, our wonderful, blissful, cold fog has returned and it's become more enjoyable to sew with wool. The shell is mostly constructed and tomorrow night I plan to cut out the lining. I'm hoping I can finish it this weekend and can hopefully blog it before Monday.

Yesterday I took advantage of the BMV sale and ten new Vogue patterns are winging their way to me, including the new Marcy Tilton jacket that is so cute.

Three cheers for Fall Sewing. Yay. Yay. Yay. ;)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pattern Giveaway and Artistry in Fashion 2010

I am recuperating from another great (and hot!) Artistry in Fashion. I really enjoy this annual tradition. This year the guest speaker was Sandra Betzina. She gave a lecture and fashion show highlighting her patterns (in a nicely air conditioned theater). It's so great to see her renditions of her patterns, which are often different (and to my mind, more attractive) than the Vogue versions.

There was also a vendor area full of beautiful clothing and jewelry – it would have been sooooo easy to spend hundreds of dollars (and still save lots of money over retail) but I was restrained and bought a necklace (that can also function as a bracelet) and two gorgeous glass buttons from the glass maker herself who was very excited to tell me how she made them. I will have to come up with something special for these buttons.

Of course, it is still September, so I wore something I made. A just-completed Teagarden Tea (#6), made from a copper-colored bamboo jersey, and a Sandra Betzina skirt I made last year.

I returned home wanting to sew, but pooped from the heat. This evening, after it had cooled down a bit, I cut out Teagarden T #7, so at least I got some sewing accomplished today. :)

Pattern Giveaway

My other activity this evening was to draw names for the pattern giveaway in honor of Fred Bloebaum. Originally, I had planned to use a random number generator, but realized that wasn't possible since not everyone who commented wanted both patterns and, in some cases, didn't want a pattern at all. I wrote the names on slips of paper, put them in a colander (it was close at hand), hoisted it over my head, and drew names. I did this process separately for each pattern. I would have had one of my daughters draw the names but neither are here at the moment.

And the winners are:

  • Kathryn (aka fzxdoc) for the Daphne pant
  • Deb for the Maia jacket

Yay! Email me your addresses and I will get the patterns to each of you. It was really nice to read through the comments again and think about Fred. She would have enjoyed Artistry in Fashion today.

Friday, September 24, 2010

More Fall Vogues are Out!

A new batch of Fall Vogues were released today. Like many sewists, I love fall clothing and this batch does not disappoint. Here are some of my favorites (and a few "almost there"s) from the new lineup.

Vogue 8693

I just love love this jacket from Marcy Tilton. Of course, it will look best when worn with a narrow legged pant, but I don't mind whipping up a pair or two. Because of the location of the princess seam, an FBA might be a little tricky - I won't know until I can try on the tissue paper. I love the shawl collar and the funky hem!

Vogue 8691

A cute top from Katherine Tilton, Marcy's sister. This one has princess seams, which are perfect for absorbing an FBA. This will also look great with a narrower pant.

Vogue 1216

A new coat from Lynn Mizono. I really respect Mizono's designs. This coat, for example, has very interesting design lines. Unfortunately, I am not sure how flattering it would be on me, because I have recently been forced to admit that oversized tops/jackets don't do me any huge favors, but I really love the lines on this one. Maybe one of my friends will make it and let me try it on. <hint hint> :)

Vogue 1213

Omigosh, I love this Koos coat! So interesting! And it has princess seams, so I think I could even make this one work. I have other coat patterns higher in the pecking order, but I do like this one.

Vogue 8690

Another pattern by Katherine Tilton. This pattern is very much like the Sewing Workshop Liberty top, especially with the Heather modification I posted recently, but many people will find it more affordable to buy the Vogue version, if you don't mind dropped sleeves. It's a great design!!

Vogue 1212

This new Sandra Betzina coat is really beautiful but it's not for me. At least I don't think so, with the design emphasis on the under bust seam. But it has interesting lines and would look fabulous on the right figure.

Vogue 1210

I like the asymmetric hem on this Sandra Betzina dress but, again, on me, it would be cringeworthy with the bust detailing. On the right figure, it would be flattering, flowing, and easy to wear.

Vogue 8704

Another new pattern from Lynn Mizono. I need one of these hats this winter.

Vogue 8700

So often I find that the Vogue Women patterns seem a bit "off." Take this pattern, for example. The side drape is so extreme that it feels unbalanced, but not in a good way, especially with the buttoned up neckline. The cropped version is better but still doesn't excite me.

Vogue 8703

Another fun accessories pattern from Marcy Tilton. This one features fingerless gloves and scarves. Two of the scarves have pockets. :)

Vogue 1211

This Guy Laroche jacket intrigues me. I like that it's asymmetric. I like that there is shoulder interest. I like the armscye and the pleats on the sleeve head. I like the hem. But, I don't know... there is almost too much shoulder interest, at least on the left side. I have to mull this one over for awhile. I definitely wouldn't use a shiny fabric if I did make it for myself. :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sewing Workshop - Now Jacket

I first made the Sewing Workshop Now top last March. Around the same time I scored some of this Nani Iro fabric. If you aren't familiar with the name, Nani Iro fabrics are designed by Japanese artist Naomi Ito. Her designs are very graphic and very collectible – the fabric and notion equivalent of Beanie Babies (way back when), at least for some folks. I bought several pieces of her fabric from Korea by mail order early this year. The other pieces I purchased are Japanese double gauze - I love Japanese double gauze. This particular piece was advertised as cotton/linen, so I expected it to have a bit of drape, but when it arrived I was surprised how stiff this fabric is - almost like an upholstery fabric. I might venture to guess that the inks used to saturate the fabric added to its stiffness.

Nani Iro cotton/linen

I went ahead and washed/dried the fabric and, other than some stubborn wrinkles, it was fine. I wanted to use a design with minimal seams, so as to disturb the print as little as possible. Of course, this has the disadvantage of requiring a giant dart - not my favorite look, but oh well. I decided to use the Now pattern, but this time to make it so that I could wear it as a light jacket.

I actually made this jacket last spring, but didn't finish it and so I didn't blog it. (Meaning I am a bit vague on some of the details.) For this version, I lengthened the pattern a bit. (I can't remember exactly how much.) I put side slits at the hem. I bought some orange buttons for it but I cannot find them anywhere, so for now, I am wearing it without buttons. :) I finished most of the seams with French seams.

I also mused that it would look nice with curved welt pockets and some lightweight shoulder pads, but never followed up with either. Who knows, I may go back and tweak it more later.

I'm wearing it today because of Self Stitched September and because it's a warm day. In fact, I hemmed it last night, so this is the first time it's been worn.

The cream top is Christine Jonson's v-neck tee, which is a pattern I've made twice but haven't blogged - I still haven't tweaked it to my satisfaction, but it's fine to wear under other things. The pants are my white linen Trios, which have been washed and dried several times and are almost impossible to iron with those 3D pockets, so they are a bit rumpled. :)

From Sewing Workshop Designs

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Vogue 1018 - Sandra Betzina skirt #5

I liked this skirt so much, I made it four times in late 2009. For example, here and here. I made this particular version in January 2010, using fabric left over from this Au Bonheurs skirt, but I didn't get around to blogging it. For this version, I cut the unusual striped fabric on the bias and omitted the drape. I made sure all the tucks were on the "gray" wide stripe. I also increased the angle of the hem.

I'm finally blogging it today because I'm wearing it for Self Stitched September.

I also knitted the scarf, though it was several years ago. I used a skein of Nepalese silk sari "leftover" yarn, cast about 16 stitches onto largish needles, and knitted in stockinette until the skein was gone. (The scarf curls in on itself.) I then sewed little felted balls to the ends – sort of a funky fringe. I got the idea from Renee, a very creative friend of mine. :)

By the way, I chose that yarn link at random, I bought mine from a local knitting shop. I got a bag of felted, oblong balls from either the Hearthsong or Magic Cabin online store several years ago, I can't remember which.

The skirt pattern is one of my favorites and is now out of print, but shouldn't be too hard to get a hold of.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Territory Ahead Cascade Skirt

Last year on Stitcher's Guild, someone mentioned this great skirt on Territory Ahead, called the Cascade skirt:

This skirt is similar to the Sewing Workshop Lotus skirt:

But the Territory Ahead skirt is also similar to a a slit style circle skirt that I drafted last year:

In fact, it is almost identical to one-half of that skirt! But I am getting ahead of myself...

I decided to try to reproduce the Territory Ahead skirt, based on the photo on their website - I have not seen the skirt in person. It is basically an a-line skirt with a side drape and lined to the knee (based on one review that was posted). I played with the design in a small scale, using fabric scraps. Once I had the design figured out, I then realized it's pretty much the same as the slit circle skirt I drafted last year. Here is what the main pattern piece looks like (I neglected to add a grainline to the sketch, but the grainline runs perpendicular to the top of the skirt):

You cut two of these pattern pieces and sew the a-line side. You then sew the portion marked as "waist" (see the diagram), to the bottom of a yoke. My yoke is straight across at the bottom, but it doesn't have to be - you trim off any unevenness later when you mark the hem. I used a rectangular yoke with an elastic waistband, but if you prefer a fitted yoke with darts and a zipper, you can use that instead. You make the yoke as wide as you want, but I made mine about 4" from the bottom of the waistband to the skirt, because that placed the side drape on the hip where I liked it best. I also liked the selvedge on the fabric, so I sewed it to the outside of the yoke and let the selvedge edge form the side of the drape. But you could construct it more conventionally, if you don't want the selvedge edge showing.

Because the drape is not stitched together, it can fall open, revealing a lot of leg. So the skirt is lined to just below the knee. I used the same a-line shape that I used on the skirt (the non-draped side) and cut it out of a semi-sheer crinkled polyester from Fabrix. I left the bottom edge serged.

Inside out, showing the lining. The skirt is listing a bit to the side due to the weight of the drape, but it does not pull on the body because the fabric, a cotton rayon blend from Fabrix, is not that heavy.

Another peek at the lining.

When I drafted the skirt, I did not worry about the curve of the hemline. I just ignored it. After I sewed the skirt up last Sunday, I hung it for almost a week before hemming it this morning - I would recommend hanging it a bit because the drape is on the bias. When it came time to hem it, I pulled out DD2's punching bag, placed it upside down on a box, and put the skirt on it. The punching bag has a depressingly similar waistline to mine. I was then able to pin in a straight hem and to cut off the excess at both sides. Of course, a dressform would work even better. :)

My Impromptu Dress Form

Will I make this again? Yes, I really like this skirt. Because it is an a-line, it is easy to wear and move in - there is not too much fabric at the hem to get tangled around your ankles. It requires a drapey fabric, but not one that is too heavy or you might start to list to one side as you walk or it might pull on the skirt too much. The lining gives you the modesty you might require. All in all, it's a great design!!

Here you can see the overall shape.