Thursday, June 30, 2011
And the dress came off. Quickly.
And I took scissors to it before I gave myself the opportunity to do the inevitable: It's a nice dress, it's Liberty, that stuff's expensive, I'll wear it eventually, and I'll find a way to make it work. Right. I'm not that good.
The dress pieces sat around for a week or so while I attempted to locate my TNT skirt pattern, which was hiding in the depths of the workroom. I actually had pulled out a lot of my TNTs so I could trace them off onto cardboard to make for easier repeat usage, and then I lost the stack of patterns under an avalanche of fabric. Who, me, a packrat? Say it ain't so.
I wore it Tuesday with a white tank and a pale blue cardigan for my ever-arctic office. Much better than an unloved dress in my closet.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
I changed the pattern slightly this time around - lowered the waist seam by about an inch, because the blue and white one was a teensy bit high (riddle me this- how can I be long-waisted at 5' 3"?), and I stabilized the neckline with fusible bias tape in addition to staystitching, because it gaps just the slightest.
And it still does, though not as drastically as the blue and white version. I may just take a tiny little discreet dart in each "corner" of the neck, to make it lay flat. Because it irks me just the slightest, and clothes that irk do not get worn.
Other than that, this is a quick and easy pattern (2 pieces - front and back, and a big old rectangle of a skirt). Sleeves are cut on, looking much more sleevelike on than they do as pattern pieces. Fully lined, with my favorite pain-in-the-butt technique of sewing armholes and necks together, then turning the pieces out through the open shoulder seam. Love the technique but I can't be the only one who manages - almost every time, and despite fanatical marking and measuring - to have extra fabric either on the outside or the lining and have to fiddle that shoulder seam into submission.
I cut this out the other night because I couldn't be bothered to work on the dress I'd been thinking about all day, and, confession here, because I had white thread in the machine, and 2 other white bobbins standing by. Whereas for the other dress, I would have had to dig out the dark brown thread and wind a bobbin or two, and find the brown lining, and . . . it was just easier, okay?
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Wednesday night, I got tired of myself, and I went in and cut out a dress. I've decided I need a few more dresses with full skirts; if I can't have a smaller waist (and that doesn't seem to be happening without significant effort on my part), I'll have more skirt and go with the optical illusion instead. It's my illusion, let me keep it.
I cut out NL 6587, a pattern I've had for years and never made, from a bitter chocolate cotton lawn with tiny peach-colored embroidered flowers. I bought the fabric in Paris in 2008 (actually shopping with Trena) and it's been sitting. Now it's sitting again, but on the table and in pieces.
I was excited about the dress when I cut it out, but I spent all day Thursday in work sewing it in my head and when I got home I had absolutely no interest in repeating the imaginary work I had been doing all day. So I cut out another dress, a repeat of BWOF 2/11 #101, the scoop neck dress that I made in the blue and white striped eyelet. This time I'm using a black and white border print that I got from Gorgeous Fabrics a while back, and this dress I'm just about finished. There would be photos, but I'm hoping to wear it to work tomorrow, so I might as well wait for that.
We had breakfast together on Friday morning on someone's front steps. She ate an entire bag of cat treats. I know I could lure her into a carrier with food, if only she'd show up when I wasn't running late for work.
Must get up earlier tomorrow.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Several community organizations in my neighborhood have organized what they're calling Sustainable Saturday - The West Philadelphia Local Food Series. The third Saturday of every month is going to be a series of garden tours, workshops and presentations on growing and preparing local foods. Yesterday was the first day, and if this is what it's like, count me in.
They talked a lot about raising vegetables and poultry, and what can and can't be done in an urban setting (apparently nothing is impossible) and they emphasized the amount of work involved in that kind of operation. Funny enough, both men admitted to eating a lot of pizza because once they're done their day jobs, and come home and work on the farm lot, they're too tired to cook their own produce and they sell it and give it away to the neighbors.
Simultaneous presentations which I missed out on: Irrigating with Stormwater (I figure I've got that under control with 2 55-gallon rain barrels in the back, both full at the moment), and Foraging for Edible Plants, which I thought was intriguing but it was at the same time as the Urban Homestead workshop. There was also a trolley tour of numerous community gardens and restaurants which serve local food.
It was great to see so many people show up at these workshops yesterday; like sewing, sometimes my sustainable living obsession makes me feel like I'm the only one out there, but apparently I am not. The presenters also were very clear that all this is an experiment: if you don't know if it'll work in your yard, give it a shot. What's the worst that can happen? You'll either have a few dead plants, which you'll have at the end of every season anyway, or it might actually work.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
I forgot to upload this picture last night and I do think it gives a slightly different view of the dress, so I'm including it here, partly to share it and partly because I've been a lazy sewist and gotten nothing at all done tonight that wasn't outside in the garden, and I don't always want to write about the garden.
And I just did a post with cat photos because I couldn't come up with anything else.
So there you have it. Gratuitous dress photo. Lazy sewist. Rained-on gardener. Happy.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Feeling much more positive, I put it back on the table to rest again for a few days.
Tuesday night was a whole different story. I blew off book club, got a few things done around the house, and then retreated to the workroom after dinner. All of a sudden everything started to move. I marked and made the buttonholes and sewed on the buttons. I LOVE the buttons. I got them at Pacific Trims in NY the last time I was up there, and they were exactly what this dress wanted. I knew that before I had a complete vision of the dress - I had black and white stripes, red gingham and red domed buttons in my head but nothing else for quite some time.
I tried the dress on after I sewed on the buttons, and now I have another small issue - I need to figure out which bra will work best with this dress because my usual ones are a little much, and I can see a smidgen of the gingham when I look down. I need one of my more minimal bras, which the underwear drawer has apparently hidden from me. Grrr.
Last of all was the hem. There's a good bit of skirt here, and by that point (around 11:00 p.m.) I just couldn't cope with the idea of hand hemming. Problem: I also couldn't cope with the idea of visible black thread on my white stripes, or white thread on the black. What's a girl to do? Machine hem with white thread, that's what, and then spend some quality time with a black fine point Sharpie marker.
I know it's cheating, but sometimes - especially on a dress that's been in the works this long, and was so close to being trashed - cheating is okay if it gets something finished and wearable.
End result: I love it. It's going to be up there with the Cherry Bomb dress in the category of dresses I reach for on gray days, or cranky mornings. Cheerful!
Monday, June 13, 2011
We had dinner with friends on Friday night - long-planned and long anticipated. They're the ones I made the ridiculous pink velvet Easter dress for, and I haven't seen the baby since her christening, so she's 7 months old now and a whole different kid. We were entertained by her and her mom, and well fed by her dad, and we didn't get home until nearly midnight.
The next part of my lost weekend was entirely my fault. I sat down with a book and fell in. We've been watching Game of Thrones on HBO and a friend lent me the first book of the series. I was gone for about 2 hours, or until it was time to have dinner. By that point, we were both so wiped out from running around that we didn't get off the couch for the rest of the night, and I read some more.
|Max - another reason for not getting things done|
At least she's on better behavior with Mario there, so I got off relatively unscathed, and some other people dropped in at the same time so she really couldn't lash out. Yay! On our way home (mid-afternoon by that point), we stopped and did the rest of the grocery shopping, got home, put it away, and went to visit a neighborhood friend whose mother-in-law had died this week. It was the next to last night of shiva and we wanted to stop by, and I knew there was very little chance I'd get there on Monday night.
Now that it's Monday, I'm even more sure. Tonight, between getting home and going to bed, we've dealt with the trash, recycling, 2 loads of laundry, making dinner, doing a little work in the garden, finishing that book so I can give it back tomorrow and, you guessed it, NO SEWING. Maybe tomorrow.
Cross your fingers for me, okay?
Thursday, June 9, 2011
I started with sewing. I ended with wine.
I decided not to do anything too complicated, since I was already vibrating at a frequency that felt like 2-3 glasses of that wine. I had pre-treated all my Liberty fabrics last week, and I decided to cut out the replacement sleeves for my dress. I found the wad of white batiste that I failed to fold when I put away, ironed it, ironed the Liberty, cut out sleeves and underlining for the sleeves and basted them together.
Then I sat with Mario for a few minutes and picked the old sleeves off the dress. They were cute, but they were a little too fluffy, and I don't do fluffy well. The new sleeves, even with a few gathers, seemed much more smooth and minimal. Sleeves off, pressed the seam allowances flat again, pinned on new sleeves, sewed, finished seam allowances, pressed again.
And the memory came back.
Of how I didn't not wear that dress just because of the sleeves, but because it wasn't flattering. It made me look like I had no waist at all, and all the cute new sleeves in the world weren't going to give me one.
I'm making a new skirt out of some lightly worn Liberty fabric that used to be a dress. Photos to come.
* thanks to Andrea for the title of this post. That was her response to my email of what happened in the sewing room.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Unless I think of something else.
This dress was made (and mentioned) several months ago, but I didn't want to post it until I'd handed it over to the recipient - Deepika - which I did at our Friday evening dinner at the Berghoff.
I was going for cute, and I think I succeeded. Any cuter, and it might make your teeth hurt.
The best compliment I got on a garment during all of PR Weekend was on this - someone looked at it and said, "If I didn't know you'd made it, I'd know. It looks like something you'd make."
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Here's the pattern review:
Pattern Description: Men and boys shirt, cargo shorts and hat.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes! The pic of the shorts on with his shirt pulled up shows the faced waistband and belt loops, front and back.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Mostly they were very clear. There are 36 steps for these shorts, from start to finish. I was with them until step 33, a particularly strange way of handling the waist facing (the shorts don't have a waistband, but a faced waist that somehow - I did it and I still don't know how - is folded one way, sewn to the zipper area on either side, then flattened out and sewn at the waist seam. I think they neglected to mention the flattening out after doing the odd seam at the zip, which makes it look like there's no way the thing will EVER fit. Once I stopped puzzling over the instructions and just played with the fabric, it made sense. Almost.
No dislikes, other than the slightly unintelligible finishing instructions.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: No changes or alterations for this pair. On an unfamiliar pattern (especially when not sewing for myself) I usually try to work up a pattern exactly as is. This was very well drafted; everything matched up as it should and the only problem was one that I hadn't - and should have - anticipated.
Hemming them to the knee, and still a smidge longer than I would like, takes the length exactly to the bottom of the cargo pockets. I was going to pick out the bottom seam of the pockets, shorten them and restitch them (couldn't remove them entirely and move them up because the top pockets are applied, and they would end up on top of each other). He convinced me to leave well enough alone - they ARE a muslin, after all - so I did. But they bother me.
For some reason, there's only one back pockets on these shorts. I added another one for balance.
The BEST thing about this pattern, and something I will take with me onto the next pair of jeans I make, was the fly front. I hadn't made a pair of pants before with the extra flap sewn on the fly. I've done the fly shield, but using the extra piece adds more stability to the fly and gives more layers for the final stitching. Much better, and the zipper is set back like a proper RTW zipper, instead of the too-close-to-the-edge effect I've gotten a few times with jeans instructions. Here's the inside of the fly area.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
5 garments, 10.5 yards of fabric out of stash for the month (interestingly, that's just about how much fabric I bought in Chicago, so I may break even for May).
First off, I had to make another shirt for Mario out of the black and white stock market print. Andrea made a fabulous skirt out of the same fabric which she will review eventually.
For some reason, the new June Burda mag hit me hard. I made 2 pieces almost immediately, the #120 tshirt (to compare to my TNT KS 3338 shirt), and the #120 A-line shift dress. Which I promise, will be shown on me, or at least on the dress form, when it comes out of the laundry basket. Both of these projects were ridiculously quick and easy, and made me feel like I got a lot more done than I did.