crafts · fabric · Sewing

Greetings from Waddersville

Yes, it’s true… things have not been going well with Vogue 1192, and the time has come that we must part ways.

From the envelope photo, I thought that the side pleats would be lovely and elegant.  In truth?  Side pleats=an instant extra 10 pounds on me.  I don’t like ruching or wrap waists, or anything really that adds bulk and folds of fabric around the midsection, a fact which I conveniently forgot.  “But it’s a mock wrap style,” I thought, “Surely that’s not the same!”  It’s possible that a lighter fabric might have less of this effect (this is a medium weight,) but the extra fabric for the tucks has to go somewhere.

In addition, it’s rather large through the shoulders.  And I think there might be an error with the largest front lining piece.  Mine did not come out the same length as the back pieces (but I suppose this could be operator error, I’m not making it again to find out!)  And the fabric is rather icky.  Does anyone else hate the smell of polyester when you iron it?  It reminds me of choir robes… so many memories of overheated Sundays.  So oh well – I will rescue the zipper for another project.  This was at least not fancy fabric, so I consider it a lesson learned!

I am instead going to start Vogue 8667, since my knit tricot lining fabric arrived today.  I can’t wait (I know this style will suit me!)  I ordered a few new pieces from fabric.com (love them!)

The fabric on top is rayon challis in a lovely raspberry.  I will say that this is not the same challis I bought from them in the summer… it’s thicker and perhaps a bit more rough.  I will have to wash it to see, but I think it will work for a 1940s pattern (I was going to use the Vogue reissue 2876, but since I note that it has a side tie I think I’m switching that… I have a ton of 40s patterns and I’ll go through them.)  The printed fabric is from Patty Young’s new collection of interlock knits, and I’m going to use it for Vogue 8593 (the Michelle Obama dress.)  Interlock is one of the recommended fabrics.  I love the print!

These are both Sophia doubleknits.  A few of you told me how nice they were, so I had to find out for myself!  The green (which in real life is a gorgeous dark teal) is for Vogue 8413, because I love the stand-up color that looks very 60s.  I bought the gray for a jacket, but it’s a bit too light and drapey for that – it will also be a dress, I’m not yet sure what.  I bought all these knits because I really want some knit dresses to wear for self stitched september -I love my ponte dress!

I’ve worn that dress 3 times already.  I wore it yesterday to get my hair done:

I went a bit shorter – it’s shoulder length with an angle in the front, and should be great for lots of hairstyles.  It was getting a bit too long to do what I like with it.  The color is a cool mahogany.  It isn’t this bright in normal light, but I love how it looks in the sun.  In normal light it is dark.

Closeup of the color: I love it!  My hairdresser is so great, I wouldn’t trust anyone else to deal with my frequent color changes!

I’m off to cut some patterns… my left thumb still isn’t 100%, but luckily I don’t need it for that!

crafts · fabric · fashion · patterns · Sewing

hand injuries, and runway inspiration.

I have a great deal of paranoia about hand related injuries.   I already have tendinitis from years of excessive piano practice (from poor body technique in college… thank goodness I’ve fixed most of my issues!)  It rarely flares up, and at this point it’s more likely to be from excessive knitting or handsewing.   But I still avoid things that might irritate my hands.  I don’t bowl, or play volleyball ever. I gave my old laptop away because the mousepad was in a terrible spot and was giving me thumb issues.  At the first sign of issues, on goes a brace and I rest.  Right now I’m having problems with my left thumb.  Last week I lowered the presser foot of my sewing machine on my 3rd finger in the left hand, and bruised the tip.  I think that may have thrown off my technique last week, as I tried to avoid the injured finger, and hurt my thumb.  I’m hoping it gets better soon, because if not I’ll have to go to the doctor.  I’m afraid of arthritis, as I have some family history, although not in my immediate family, and they all had RA by age 20.  I am… not 20 (ok, I’m 31) and have avoided it so far.

So that’s a long way of  saying that I didn’t sew all weekend because I was resting my hand.  I prewashed the denim for my jacket – 3 times so far on hot, and even with white vinegar it’s still running.  Should I just give up and remember to always wash it alone?  I’m not making a muslin, because the denim was really cheap.  I am taking a little width out of the back to start, as recommended on patternreview, and I’m going to try hong kong seam finishes for the first time!

I also went through my pattern collection, and tried to get them in some semblance of order.  I paired patterns with fabric, as best I could, and uploaded them to flickr, should anyone be interested in my obsessive need to organize, plan, and make lists.   Right now it’s just a collection of ideas, and I’m not sure how many of them will actually get made that way!

Joann has gotten in their fall fabric now.  My Joann is a superstore, so it may have items that others stores don’t carry, I’m not sure.  And you know?  Really, it’s not bad.  I get the impression that they are at least trying to do better with the fashion fabric, though there is still far too much polyester for my taste.

There was a collection of animal print fabrics, and I picked up this leopard (of course!) ponte knit.

Yes, I’ve bought some of the new Vogues, and I’ll get a few more when they go on sale this week (I got this one at Hancock’s, which actually had the new patterns for the $3.99 sale!)  I think the full skirted version with the round collar will look great in this fabric.  I also want to make view E, the 2 tone with a straight skirt.

They had a collection of fabrics in 3 colorways – red, blue, and black/white.  I didn’t get any of those, because they weren’t on sale this week, but I did pick up a plaid RPL from the collection of plaids they have out.

I wasn’t originally going to get this pattern, but the illustration in plaid was so cute that I couldn’t resist.  I will have to grade it down a size – why does this pattern only go to a 10?  I really like the sleeves.

I have to say, doing my colors with the Color me Beautiful book has changed the way I look at my wardrobe.  I no longer (for instance) feel compelled to add brown to my wardrobe.  I look better in black, navy, and charcoal.  Now that I realize that I need clear colors, I don’t look at muddled shades as often.  I realize that I can wear both purple and magenta, shades that I thought were off limits, but I now love.  Sadly, though, jewel tones are hard to find.  And I still have a few pieces of fabric that I want to use, because I love them, even if they aren’t the best colors for me.

I am not usually into fashion shows so much, but I find myself very inspired by the Louis Vuitton fall 2010 collection.  Such lovely 50s silhouettes, in great menswear fabrics and plaids.

I have a plaid dress planned, and might do another… I love plaid… and for the suit I think the new Vogue 8679 would be wonderful – not quite as full, and so easier to wear.  And perhaps a tweedy full skirt.  I’m glad that the full skirt is back – I love them, and I was tired of people looking at my oddly when I wore my circle skirts!

crafts · fabric · Sewing

Are you a print or a solid?

Yes, I’ve been buying fabric again. But!  I found the perfect fabric for my 70s jumper, and then of course I had to order more than one fabric (not use paying shipping for just one, right?)  But it did get me to thinking – it’s pretty clear from my choices that I prefer prints to solid colored fabrics by a pretty wide margin.  I’m just not drawn to solids, you know?  And then there’s the issue of scarcity – I know I can probably find more brown gabardine, for instance, but whatever fabulous print I’m looking at will probably never be seen again.  But really I just love prints – I have mostly prints in my RTW wardrobe, except for basics like pants, so it makes sense that I would sew them.

I am super picky about the scale of prints  – as a small-ish person I have to be careful with larger designs, because they can become overwhelming really quickly.  I rarely buy knit prints, for instance, because all the ones I find seem to be really large.  I’m drawn to unusual prints, but I do like symmetry – something too random and splotchy just doesn’t ring my bell.  I also love prints that have a hand drawn or watercolor effect – one thing I don’t like about modern quilting prints is that they often look computer generated to me – he edges are too smooth, and everything is very perfect!

I bought this ITY  knit print from Fashionista Fabrics today – I don’t know if you can tell from the photo, but the red print is made up of tiny exclamation points.  I really like that – it’s a bit whimsical, but since the print is small it isn’t too wacky.  I am not at all sure what I’m going to make out of this.  A dress for sure – I have 2 yards, and I can get a knit dress out of that.  Do you have a favorite knit dress pattern?  I am open to suggestions (it’s the one type of pattern I don’t usually buy!)

When I buy solids I look for good colors, which on me are mostly jewel tones (surprisingly hard to find, which is another reason I don’t buy many.)   Not all patterns work with a print – there’s no point in making something complicated if you can’t see the details!  And then there’s the issue of matching the print (I often don’t bother – I will match at center front, but not generally at the sides, unless it’s a plaid or stripe.)  I thought about being super OCD about matching, but I see an awful lot of expensive print dresses that don’t even match at center front.

So which do you prefer?  Are you a print or a solid?

Oh yes, and the rest of the fabric I ordered.  I decided on a fairly traditional choice for my jumper:

Yes, my polka dot obsession marches on full force!  I didn’t want a real print for the jumper – I thought that with either a solid or small dot I would be able to wear it with a blouse in the fall.  I also love navy and white together.  It seems hard to find navy – I’ve been searching for a navy and white stripe knit (with at least 1/2″ stripes) for ages, and can’t find one anywhere!

Finally, I got 3 yards of  rayon challis.  I love this – it’s unusual to find rayon challis in a modern print!  Challis is currently one of my favorite fabrics – it’s got a lovely drape, but it isn’t sheer!  I’m making my Tara dress out of challis.  I knew immediately what I wanted to make with this fabric.

I like the yellow dress with the ruffled bodice.   This pattern came out this summer, and I haven’t seen anyone make it yet – I may be the first!  This dress is not my usual style, but  it looks comfortable.   I am also in major love with this sort of ruffle.   I might make it with the 3/4 length sleeves, since I doubt I will be able to wear a sweater over it (and I am always cold!)

I hope to be back soon with modeled photos of my latest dress – I just have to pin down my photographer!

fabric · Sewing

Wedded out

I seem to attend a lot of weddings.  Of course, in my line of work one performs at a lot of weddings… and lately it seems as though our cousins are all getting married at once!  I actually love weddings, because I love any occasion that allows me to wear a nice dress.  My husband’s cousin got married on Saturday in Cincinnati, and I wore the dress I made for the occasion (it was horribly humid in the Ohio valley, excuse my flat hair!)

Marc is so sweet… he spent literally all night telling people “My wife made her dress, can you believe it?”  The dress was really fun to wear and dance in (the skirt is very twirly!)  I did have to have my sister-in-law pin my bra straps in two places so that they wouldn’t slip out… as I said before, even with a low back bra, this dress is tough to wear with anything because of how low cut the back is.

While we were in Cincinnati we visited their independent fabric store, Banasch’s.  I’d never been, but I believe I will be returning on future family visits… the selection isn’t huge, but the quality was  nice… and I finally found fabric for Vogue 9668 – a lovely cotton jacquard (reversible!) from Alice and Olivia.

It’s got a nice weight, and if I line the dress I think it will span several seasons.  I will be using the black side.  Waechter’s silk shop has this fabric in their online shop – in fact, I noted several fabrics I saw at either Waechter’s or Sawyer Brook.  I never would have ordered this fabric, since it looks rather heavy in the photo.  In reality it is slightly crisp, but lighter than other jacquards I have felt – very good for this design (I am making the version with the full skirt.)  Since the pattern is regular, matching shouldn’t be too hard.

I have finished underlining my vintage dress, and I’ve started construction of the shell.  I’m using the same underlining method I used for the dress I’m wearing above.  Hopefully I will have time to work on it this week – summer isn’t terribly busy for me, and my Mondays are especially light now!

crafts · fabric · knitting · patterns · Sewing

Next on my plate

Thank you for the kind comments on my cocktail dress – you have inspired me to throw a cocktail party!  My husband is excited about the idea, and I know our friends will be into it – maybe we can start a new trend?

Now that the cocktail dress is done, I’m considering what to make next.  I was wanting to make Vogue 9668, but I have not yet been able to find a fabric that I like.   I want a print, and I will just have to wait until something nice comes along!  I find fabric shopping frustrating, since I am unable to buy much locally… when I see something I like I usually just buy it, and figure inspiration will strike.

Speaking of that… here are my upcoming project plans (subject to change as always, but I usually do pretty well making it through at least a few!)

I’m going to hopefully pick up some muslin tonight at Joann’s (I have a recording session near there  tonight… I think I can get there a little early!) and start making a muslin of Vogue 1137.

I’m using the rose cotton satin I got this week (on the bottom in this photo.)  It’s a little lighter weight than I thought, though still nice, so it will work great for a summer sheath dress.  The other print (the brown above) is gorgeous in person and quite heavy… it will be very nice for fall.)  The dress calls for a lined bodice, but I’m going to line the skirt too… I may underline as well, but I haven’t decided for certain yet.

I’m also really excited to make an outfit from the April Burda .

I’m making the pants on the top and the blouse on the bottom, the pants from a nice black RPL, and the blouse from this lovely silk jacquard.

Yes, again with the polka dots… apparently I have a thing for them!  I haven’t tried Burda pants yet, but I do hear good things.  This pair look like something I would buy in a store, so hopefully they will work out for me!

And finally, I want to make my own dress inspired by  this dress, from Modcloth, using Kwik Sew 3758, which I posted about last week.

I have some cotton/silk fabric (Radiance by Kauffman) to use for the skirt (I plan to use the non-shiny side, and since it only takes 1.5 yards I should have enough left to use the shiny side for a blouse later. ) I still need to buy fabric for the top.  It won’t be exact, since I think I’m going to make the version with 3/4 length sleeves, and my stripes will be more narrow.

On to knitting… I finally got my yarn in the mail, and made my tension swatch for Petal.

I love the yarn (Rowan Milk Cotton.)  I know a lot of people bemoan the loss of 4-ply cotton, but while it came in fabulous colors I always found it rather hard, and the sweaters I made of it feel a bit like armor.  This yarn is lovely and soft.  It’s quite thin – I almost always have to go down a size or two in needles, but my swatch on size 1 needles is actually too small.  I haven’t decided yet if I will go up a size, or whether I will make the sweater a bit smaller, figuring it will stretch out anyway.   I am going to leave off the picot edging, as I don’t like the way it flares out.  I am very excited about making this sweater – I am so glad I am knitting with skinny yarns again!