Sunday, April 28, 2013

Summer Vogues 2013

While I was sitting in a Marine's Club Hotel in downtown San Francisco on Friday morning (along with 84 other sewists) listening to Sandra Betzina speak, the summer Vogue patterns were released to the BMV website. I was sneaking peeks at them on my cell phone. They are also on sale on the Vogue website, through today, Sunday.

But don't rush over to the website, as the patterns I am listing here are all sold out! I have never seen current patterns sell out before. The website was like molasses, even on Friday, but I was lucky to get all three. Either Vogue is printing fewer than normal, or have underestimated our hunger for new good patterns.

Here are the (very few) patterns that got me excited. But first, let me ask, why do the models (in all three designs) look like they should be holding a plaque with their prisoner number on it? Since I am glad to see the designs, I won't complain (too much) about the mugshot-like quality of the photos.

First up, Marcy Tilton's new dress, that she has referred to as "The Shingle Dress" on her blog. One of my sewing friends, Karla Kizer, has already quipped that she'd better be careful when sewing it so she doesn't end up with "Sh*t on a Shingle." This dress is very current and is similar to dresses that have sold well at stores like Anthropologie.

Vogue 8904

I just love both of Sandra Betzina's new patterns. The first one features some interesting pants. Sandra called these "her version of the harem pant". They have a high "normal" crotch (yay!), and some nice draping towards the hem. I am especially hungering for interesting new pants patterns and can't wait to get these. The top, however, is less than ideal for my busty/hipless shape, but could be fabulous on a less busty pear.

Vogue 1355

Finally, I just love Sandra Betzina's new duster. I don't wear a lot of dusters, but I may work on changing that. I especially like the button/snap placket on this one.

Vogue 1356

I was hoping to get some sewing done today, but DD2 just called and asked to get together, so we'll see. It has warmed up again today, after the last few chilly days in SF. I hope it's nice where you are!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Male Eggplant Make Better Eats - A Pattern Review Weekend Recap

Pattern Review Weekend, 2013, in San Francisco has concluded.

This was my first PR weekend and, since the event traveled to me, I decided to attend. I was mostly looking forward to meeting folks I know through blogs and sewing forums, and to seeing folks I'd not seen in awhile. I was quite eager to meet Claudine, of Rolling in Cloth. I have been reading her blog since I started blogging, almost 4 years ago, and I really admire her creativity. She was flying in early-ish on Thursday, so we arranged to meet beforehand.

About 30 minutes before she landed, our gloomy, overcast day turned sunny, so we decided to take a quick visit up to Twin Peaks. (Where I took the windblown picture with my cell phone.) Though it was quite windy (or maybe because of the wind), the views were good and we could see both bridges, the capitol building, Alcatraz, and other downtown landmarks.

Claudine wanted to visit Dharma Trading in person, a business she has mail ordered from many times, so we crossed the Golden Gate bridge and braved commuter traffic deep into Marin. On returning to the city, we had a nice dinner, then drove to the hotel to register for the weekend. It was nice meeting other people at registration and I ended up hanging awhile to chat, before heading home to my own bed.

The main event of the weekend is held on Friday. Sandra Betzina spoke in the morning and afternoon, ending around 5pm. She is a delightful speaker - very amusing - and she covered a lot of ground. We re-convened an hour later for a group dinner. The day was so jam-packed with activities, that it was difficult to meet and talk with people.

Saturday (today) was a shopping day but I slept in and then sequestered myself in the sewing room. Jillian did such a nice writeup of the weekend, that I refer you there for a more detailed description of the event. (I am feeling a bit lazy!) She called me this morning from Stone Mountain & Daughter, one of my favorite fabric stores, and it sounded like many of the 85 attendees of PR weekend headed right over to scoop up fabric treasures and exercise their 20% PR weekend discount.

It was all over so quickly, but it was so nice to meet and talk with everyone! To the rest of you attendees, I hope your Saturday shopping was successful and, based on Facebook updates I've been seeing, I should say so. :)

P.S. One of the topics discussed at my table last night, is the fact that male eggplant is better tasting and less bitter than female eggplant. I refer you to this article for more information. And, yes, I do check the gender of my eggplants in the grocery store and buy only males. Though I buy eggplant so rarely that I usually have to look up the "belly button" code. :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sewing Workshop Opal Jacket

The Sewing Workshop released the Pearl and Opal jacket pattern just days before Puyallup last month. I really liked the look of both jackets. I decided to make the Opal first, largely because it has less fabric over the bust, so I knew it was a safe bet to be flattering for me.

This is actually a very quick sew, especially if you use a fabric like this viscose/wool boucle (also from Sewing Workshop), which doesn't require seam finishes or hemming. Sewing this fabric is similar to sewing a wool felt, but with texture. It is a very forgiving fabric and is easy to sew, or un-sew, if that should be required.

The design is basically a cardigan style, with cut-on sleeves. (The front sleeve is sewn on with a dropped seam, but it's a cut-on style. There is a center back and back should princess seam, as well. Lots of fitting opportunities.) This jacket is the perfect layer for our chilly, but not freezing, San Francisco weather. (It has been very sunny lately, and, in fact, the sun on the camera caused the glare in these pics, but it is not super warm.)

The interesting twist to the design is a downward angled dart, which starts towards the side seam, near the waist. It ends before it reaches the front edge, which results in a soft, ruffling effect. This jacket works well in a fabric with some drape to it, or the released tuck might stick out stiffly.

I cut out a medium, which is where my high bust measurement (37.5") landed on the measurement chart. I then added a 4" FBA, to match my full bust measurement of 42.5". The fit was spot on. So do not assume that you should ignore the measurement charts on this one, or that there is a lot of ease, or it might be too small for you.

I had the rough muslin mostly constructed before my talk at Cañada last week, so I took it along. During lunch, Ronda and her staff evaluated the fit for me. Ronda ended up pinning out a second small dart, parallel to the primary dart. With that one little tweak, the fit was excellent.

This jacket has no pockets, and I might add an inside pocket for tissues. Because I did not have to finish the raw edges, I cut off the 3/4" from all around the outside edges, except the sleeve hems. I cut off 2" from the sleeve hems, which is normal for my short arms.

I omitted the button closure, as I plan to wear it open. The only other thing I did differently was to top-stitch the seams.

I am very happy with the Opal. It is so quick to sew, has a very nice fit, and features boutique styling. I would also like to make the Pearl, and I was able to try on Ronda's, which is *very* nice. I am sorry I don't have any pictures of it.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Speaking at Cañada College and a Link Fest

This last Wednesday I was asked to speak to the Designer Detail's class at Cañada College's Fashion Department. (The link takes you to their blog, but they also have a very active Facebook page.)

I was slotted for 90 minutes for a show and tell of my garments and various techniques I've used.

What a lot of fun!

After the talk, several students came up and asked about some of the techniques and garments that I'd talked about. To make it easier for them to find the relevant posts, here are some linkies. (If I've missed any, leave a comment and I will add it.)

Tonight, in fact, there is a millinery presentation at Cañada at 7pm, given by milliner Wayne Wichern. If you are local, you should check it out! It's free, though they ask that you RSVP as they are providing refreshments. Wayne makes beautiful hats!

Also, they have announced the speaker for this year's Artistry in Fashion, on Sept 28th, 2013. It will be Sandra Ericson, from the Center for Pattern Design. The spiral top I made recently is one of her patterns. It should be a fabulous show!

Finally, I am looking forward to some serious sewing this weekend! I managed to get a jacket muslined and took it to Cañada College on Wednesday. During lunch, I asked Ronda Chaney (head of the fashion department and teacher extraordinaire) to evaluate the fit. She made some tweaks and now I'm ready to get moving! If all goes well, I'd like to wear it to Pattern Review weekend at the end of the month.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Top with Print Contrast Binding

Have you noticed this trend in Spring 2013 clothing? I am seeing it everywhere. Tops in solid fabrics (or in subtle stripes, plaids, etc) are sewn with contrast bindings/pipings/etc in print fabrics, usually florals. So I am jumping on that bandwagon.

Never let it be said that Shams doesn't pay attention to trends. (She may ignore them, but she is aware of them.)

I wanted an asymmetric neckline, similar to one I'd seen in RTW, so I started with the Renfrew top and sliced and diced the front - the back is quite plain, though the binding does wrap around the neckline.

The front after slicing and dicing. I added a 5/8" seam allowance to the bottom of the shoulder piece, shown on the left. The neckline bit was discarded. I also narrowed the shoulder, just slightly, at the back to correspond to the narrowed front shoulders.

To construct, I sewed the both shoulder seams, then applied the binding in one continuous piece all the way around the neckline. I then laid the bottom edge of the shoulder piece underneath the front by 5/8", and topstitched in place. I sewed the sleeves in flat, and then sewed up the side seams/sleeve seams. I hemmed the sleeves and bottom using Steam a Seam Lite 2 and topstitched on the sewing machine.

For the heathered "solid" fabric, I had more left over from my first Renfrew trial. For the contrast binding, I grabbed a print jersey from Fabrix and sliced off a 2" strip. I folded it in half and sewed it on with a 3/8" seam allowance.

Easy peasy.

I'm almost embarrassed to blog it. But not *that* embarrassed.

And, speaking of which, so many of my favorite bloggers are either retiring their blogs or going silent. I kind of get it, actually, since the longer one blogs, the harder it is to come up with interesting things to say or show. Life moves on, other things take precedence.

Hopefully, I haven't bored the bejeesus out of you yet.

DD1 was here last week for spring break. It was nice to see her. One afternoon, we both got haircuts. At different salons, but we met up afterwards. She went to the expensive salon (which did a beautiful job but it cost her beaucoup bucks) and I went to the beauty school, where my cut/color costs $18. I meet the nicest students who are about to graduate. It's a win win. Yeah, occasionally my bangs are crooked, but it's all survivable.

On Friday, I took both daughters to dinner. I was hoping we could grab some photos of all three of us, since I really don't have any. Alas, it was not to be.

Work has been intense lately. Most of the time, I work at home, on my sofa. Occasionally, I have a "helper". You can see how "helpful" he is.

The view from my laptop.

I have some sewing plans, but my weekends have been, and continue to be, pretty busy, so we'll see how much I accomplish. It would be nice to have a new garment or two for Pattern Review Weekend at the end of this month.