Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Top and a Skirt

I have some quick and easy sewing to share this week: a top and a skirt, though not to be worn together!

Another top from the #fabriclove giveaway fabric

So this is what happened.

When I received this rayon challis from the Elliott Berman #fabriclove contest, I wanted to make my already-altered McCalls 7194, but I couldn't find the pattern anywhere. Instead, I decided to work up another design. For the new top, instead of sewing the border on the bias, I decided to create a pattern that used as much of the border along the hem as possible. I measured exactly how much border I had (two yards) and modified the pattern to use every inch.

I started with Vogue 8913. After altering the pattern extensively, I found my copy of McCalls 7194. After a short dither, I decided to go with my original plan. I made this top, which I blogged about in my last post:

Top #1 - McCalls 7194 (altered to increase hem angle)
I've already worn this top quite a bit

The first top used half of the fabric. I still had 2 yards of border left (the fabric had a border along each selvedge)— it was enough for a second top. (It might seem confusing, but imagine splitting the fabric in half the long way, resulting in two pieces each measuring 2 yards by 30", and each piece with a 2-yard border. The original fabric was big enough for two sleeveless tops.)

I decided to make the Vogue 8913 pattern that I had altered and cast aside. I had purchased this pattern for the pants, so it was in the small size group of 4-14. For a top, I typically start with a size 18 and increase the width at the bust. Since I was starting with a 14, I had to add even more width, especially because this top is made for woven fabric.

Vogue 8913

I made numerous changes to achieve the design I wanted:

  • Started with View A, size medium (the biggest size in the envelope).
  • Joined up/bottom pieces on front to make a single pattern piece.
  • Extended the hem horizontally to use as much of the border print as possible. This results in a hem that hangs with points at each side seam which is exactly what I wanted.
  • Performed a 1-1/2" FBA, resulting in side seam darts.
  • Performed a 1" broad back adjustment, resulting in back darts.
  • Finished neck with self made bias tape.
  • Finished armhole and hem with tiny hems.
Top #2 - Vogue 8913 (heavily altered)

The lightweight rayon challis really flutters in the breeze!

Worn with beaded ballet sneakers! (The only shoes I purchased in Florence.)

A striped scuba/mesh skirt

When I was in NYC recently, I picked up a striped mesh/scuba knit fabric. I decided to make it into a skirt, using the same pattern I drafted to make a laser cut faux leather skirt more than two years ago. I really enjoy wearing that skirt, which is a simple a-line shape cut on the bias. In fact, I've had multiple offers to buy that garment right off my body.

As before, I cut the striped scuba/mesh knit on the bias. This skirt is dead simple to sew with two side seams, and a waistband casing made from a contrasting jersey print. Easy peasy.

Matching the stripes

Carefully pinning the stripes. I found that this fabric presses easily on the #3 setting (out of 4) and with steam, though I did use a press cloth

Two rows of parallel stitches, trimmed at 1/4 after sewing"

The remaining seam allowance

Sewing the waistband casing for the elastic. I like the secret surprise of the jersey print, which no one will ever see

Worn with an Angela Caputi necklace. I made this novelty pleather jacket last summer

Happy birthday to me!

My birthday was a couple weeks ago, but I had just returned from NYC, and DD1 had just returned from Mexico, so we decided to delay our celebration. Last weekend, we got together for dinner on a chilly San Francisco evening. As we walked to dinner, DD1 asked me how old I am. "58", I replied. "Wait... haven't you been 58 for several years now?"

LOL. Nope, definitely not!

For some reason, DD2 thought it would be fun to swap jackets. DD1 took some pics. Here we are in our own jackets. (I made my white denim jacket with frayed edges last July.)

Not a flattering pic of me, but I'm trying to put on her jacket. This pic of her watching me wiggle into it makes me laugh.

DD2 in her jacket

Me in DD2's jacket. She stealthily took this pic to show me that we look kind of alike from behind. How many people think they look better from the back than the front?
Well, I DO! I always have.

DD2 in my jacket. It's too big but looks pretty good on her. Ironically, even DD1 is wearing one of my jackets. She pulled this out of the donation bag in my car because it was chilly. It's a Sewing Workshop West End hoodie that I made some years ago

Wow, each daughter is wearing one of my self-made jackets! I bet that never happens again. :)

It was windy and cold!

It was a gorgeous afternoon on my street when I took the garment pics in today's post.

I'm not sure when I'll have another garment to show so, have a great week! (or two or three...)

And please join me on Patti's Visible Monday!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

New Top, New Pants, and New York!

The Rei Kawakubo exhibit at the Met

On a random street in NYC


Since my last post, I've sewn a couple things, and I've traveled a bit. Just a few days after returning from Italy, I went to Seattle for work. About a week after that, I went to NYC, meeting up with Kathryn Brenne. I also spent a morning with Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic.

I'm glad to be back! All this running around tired me out and I caught a virus. I haven't been sewing as much as I'd like, but I did make a top and a pair of pants. I also had a dress made in New York City.


Elliott Berman Fabric Top

If you are on Facebook, you may have liked the Elliott Berman Textiles page. Every Thursday they post a #fabriclove post. If you've liked their page, liking the post enters you into a drawing—the winners are announced on Friday. Winners are sent 3 or 4 yards of fabric, usually two different pieces. The fabrics received are a mystery—you don't choose them.

I won the Friday before I left for Italy. The fabrics arrived while I was away and consisted of two pieces: a) two yards of a beautiful lightweight rayon challis border print and, b) two yards of a viscose/lycra knit. Actually, the rayon challis is a double border print as the same border appears along each selvedge.

I thought it would be fun to sew up the fabric and wear it when visiting Elliott Berman in NYC. I used a TnT pattern that I've made twice before, McCalls 7194. This top has only 4 seams, so most of my time was spent finishing the neck and armholes with self-made bias tape and finishing the teeny tiny hems.

For my visit to Elliott Berman, I met up with Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic. She seems to enjoy watching me spend money in the garment district. ;)

As soon as I walked into their warehouse, the owner and the manager almost simultaneously exclaimed, "I like your top! Great fabric!" They recognized it immediately.

The good folks at Elliott Berman: Mathew and Eugenie

Melissa Watson posted a blog post a few days ago about her mom's (Patti Palmer's) summer sewing. I noticed that her mom had the same fabric as my Elliott Berman rayon challis, but in a pink color way!

Copying RTW Pants

Before I went to Italy, I bought a wonderful pair of drapey stretch crepe pants from Simply Bella. I loved wearing these pants in the hot, humid weather of Italy and NYC. I especially liked the full leg, which tapers at the ankle.

I decided to trace them off and make a pattern.

Once I'd made the pattern, I dove into my considerable stash to look for a drapey stretch woven fabric.

I came up with nothing. Drapey stretch wovens are something of a unicorn fabric. This pant really sings in a drapey stretch crepe, but I wanted to test out the pattern, so I sewed them up in a ponte. This pair will be fine in the cooler climate of San Francisco, but I'm still on the lookout for a drapey stretch woven or two.

Unfortunately, some of my pics have sun spots

I used up my stash of black ponte on these pants, which was well-timed, because I bought more in NYC.

A Custom-Made Dress by Martina Dietrich Couture

I did something in New York that was rather foreign to me, but lots of fun. I had a dress custom made!

Originally from Germany, Martina Dietrich spent many years working as a designer in Italy and Paris, and has now built a custom business in NYC. I wasn't sure what to expect when Kathryn and I visited her studio, but the process of having her make me a dress was a fabulous. She is a total delight.

I love my dress, especially the flutter sleeves! One of her trademarks is incorporating orange into her designs, even if it's just the exposed seams and bindings. I wasn't sure about the orange when I first saw her collection, but I now love it!

You can read more about Martina here, and you can follow her on Instagram. As you'll see on her Instagram feed, she hangs out with some of the Advanced Style ladies.

Antonio Marras Garments

When I blogged my Antonio Marras presentation, I said I'd bought some pieces at his high-concept store in Milan. I promised photos.

I finally took pics of both pieces: a jacket and a cardigan. I've worn the jacket quite a few times and I love it. I haven't yet worn the cardigan, but I'm sure I will this fall.

The print features Marras' artwork—his interpretation of camouflage—it's a beautiful woodland scene. When I wore this to work recently, my colleague took one look at my jacket, burst out laughing, and said, "Blinged up camouflage?" My response was a delighted, "You GET it!!!" The right front of the jacket features an applique from the same fabric, embroidered with beads and sequins.

My second piece is a shibori-dyed knit cardigan. I first took pics with my new pants, and then I took pics with slim-legged pants. I think it's interesting to see both, though I generally prefer a slim-legged look with a long cardigan or jacket.

Full-legged pants

Slim-legged pants

Full-legged pants

Slim-legged pants

New York 2017

I'm not going to write a separate post about my visit to NYC, but here are a few pics. Enjoy!

Carolyn and I in Kashi's (Metro Textiles)

The black ponte had a hole!

Measuring my silk

With Kashi

Kathryn and I visited the Cydwoq store.

Wearing my first pair of Cydwoq shoes and a necklace made by Martina Dietrich in front of the colorful Fluevog store

Closeup of the shoes


We visited the Rei Kawakubo exhibit at the Met

The Irving Penn exhibit, also at the Met, was wonderful. Here is one of Irving Penn's original backdrops. A woman behind me offered to take my pic, then told me that she is a portrait photographer by profession.

We saw Hello, Dolly. It was amazing!!

We met Dayle at the Museum of Art and Design where we saw three wearable-themed exhibits. You can follow Dayle on Instagram, as well as Kathryn!

The first exhibit at MAD, Counter Couture, features hippie clothing from Haight Ashbury in the 60s and 70s. I first saw this a year ago in Bellevue, Washington. It's ironic that this exhibit seems to be going everywhere except San Francisco!

Also from Counter Couture

Next we saw an exhibit about the future of fashion, including the mix of technology with fashion. This exhibit of interchangeable sleeves, conceptualized and made by Lucy Jones, is for people who are seated, such as people in wheelchairs. (Though even standing people usually have bent arms, so it's rather universal.)

The third exhibit features purses by Judith Lieber. This is the last purse she made before retiring in 2004

That's it for now. I have other sewing projects in the works. I have work deadlines looming. More fabric has arrived from NYC (most places are happy to ship it home). I have a blog post about Italy started. I've even booked some upcoming trips. In fact, I've signed up for Kathryn Brenne's trip to London in March 2018. It's a one-week tour—this trip has no sewing component. I think she still has one or two spaces left, so contact her if you are interested!

On a sad note, Lucy Spector, founder of Britex fabrics, has passed. Her daughter, Sharman Spector, still runs the store. You can read more on SFGate. My condolences and best wishes to Sharman and her family.

Please join me on Patti's Visible Monday! You can also follow Patti on Instagram.