Monday, March 30, 2015

The New Exhibits at FIT

Miss Cellie's Pants blog post about the new exhibits at FIT reminded me that I had not seen them yet. So a friend and I went down to see the new exhibit together.

There are presently three exhibits at the FIT Museum:
  • Lauren Bacall - The Look
  • Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the 70s
  • Faking It: Originals Copies and Counterfeits
The Lauren Bacall and Faking It exhibits were upstairs. The Bacall exhibit was too short and because of that I only took two pictures of the exhibit:


This was fascinating because the coat was lined with the 
same fabric used for the dress!


Lauren Bacall's every day dresses. I would wear all of those now!

The exhibit that I really liked was the YSL + Halston one. A few pictures:



Menswear type suits for women

Gold lame evening suit


Sweater jacket and dress

Gingham shirtwaist dress

To me the most memorable thing from the day was the conversation we had during and after the exhibit. My friend didn't realize that Halston had started as a milliner. Or that he had designed the pillbox hat that Jackie Kennedy wore to the Inauguration. Or that he had won five Coty Awards. The awards that were the precursor to the CFDA awards.

Its truly sad that by selling his name to JC Penney, he ended up losing his name and reputation. That all he's remembered for is cheap perfume and clothing that was licensed under his name. For more information on Halston - click this link.

Or check out this youtube video from Madoff Productions~



The Yves Saint Laurent + Halston exhibit lasts until April 18th - not too much longer - so if you're going to be in NYC before then I highly recommend that you see it. The clothing is amazing and the timeline that tells the history of YSL and Halston is really enlightening!

...as always more later!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Couple of Tops - Vogue 8209

I've used this out of print pattern before but for the jacket.  This time though I was looking for a princess seamed tank top to wear with the Vogue black jacket and the accompanying pieces.



Version One:
Choosing a white ponte from the collection to make the wearable muslin resulted in this...which is nuthin' like the pattern envelope. I started out on the right track...making pattern alterations to the pattern pieces...


- added an inch to the lengthen/shorten lines
- split and spread from the hemline to add an inch at the hemline
- did a pivot and slide on the center front piece adding another inch at the hemline.
- used an invisible zipper instead of the separating zipper the pattern recommends
- added an inch to the center back so that I didn't lose the darts in the back

Then when I tried the top on after basting the sides and the shoulders together...I ended up with a top that fit at the hemline, slid off my shoulders, gaped a lot at the back neckline and the neckline princess seams needed to be sewn a little closer to my body.

Now when I started this journey, I fully expected to make some changes to the pattern. Since I'm now making closer fitting garments it means that I spend a lot of quality time in front of the mirror assessing where to tighten up and where to add space to give me THAT closer fitting garment. (Do you know that I cringe every time I type that?! *LOL*)

Anyways, I took some in...added darts to the back neckline...and then when I determined that I didn't like how the cap sleeves fell down my arms, I did a tuck in the mirror to determine how to make the change. I decided I kinda liked the tucks so I pinned them and sewed them down.




From there the changes took on a life of their own and I ended up with this kinda funky top which was sooooo fun and fast to make! A great wearable muslin...


These are my regular glasses they've just changed to sunglasses
because we were taking some pics outside too. 

Version Two:
Now this version looks more like the pattern envelope because I incorporated all of the pattern alterations from the first one. Although after constructing it, I did have to go in and make a few more changes. Primarily because the brocade is a woven and the original is a ponte.



This is super tight on Lulu! It's really shown me how much weight I've lost because Lulu needs to be restuffed or I need to just break down and purchase another dressform...

The changes I made for this top ~
- sewed all of the seams 1/2" instead of 5/8" wide from the waist down
- sewed the neckline seams at 3/4" instead of 5/8" wide to the bustline curve
- added darts to the back neckline - even after the alterations I made to the pattern
- removed the flare at the front - I didn't really like the peplumy look of the white one
- I finished the neckline with black bias binding but I turned down and stitched the armholes and hemline down

I really wanted a tank from the red & black brocade fabric to match the skirt that's how this second version came to be. Here it is with the matching skirt.



I like this top. With a few more alterations it will be an even better fitting top. I've made the changes to the pattern pieces and stuffed them back into the folder. Don't be surprised if you see another top or two showing up before the summer is over!

Lastly, these pictures of me were taken by my daughter.  Josh is just 3 weeks old but she came over, did my hair, styled me and took pictures just to get a day out of her apartment.  Thank goodness for OnDemand. She watched movies while the baby slept and I finished up some sewing. Best daughter EVAH!

...as always more later!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Garment District: A New To Me Trim Store

Yesterday evening I was rushing to meet a friend for dinner.  I'd been at Macy's to snoop shop, got caught up and was late leaving.  I was walking to the subway and diverted down a side street, coming to a dead stop in front of East Coast Trimming.



As I pushed open the door, I thought that I had a few minutes to peruse the stock then come back another day to fully investigate.  However, when I walked into the store, the displays and the charm of the store made me linger.


The buttons and snap area


Bridal laces and trims at the rear of the store


Vintage trims and yardage


The embroidered ribbons

I approached a sales girl and asked if I could take some pictures.  She kindly said yes and as I wandered around the store...more infatuated with each step I took...Donna, the store manager, came up to speak to me. 

One of the things that entranced me about the store was that I felt that I knew or had seen the trimmings before. Come to find out I had.  Donna explained that a lot of the vintage trim was the stock from the old Hyman Hendlers store. This store use to be located at 38th and Avenue of the Americas and was a treasure trove of vintage ribbons and trims.


Vintage silk trims including silk piano fringe

Kewl neon funkiness!

Donna further explained the history of this new store, how she purchases trims and the restoration process of some of the vintage trims. The pieces contained in the store are just awesome.

Now this is the place where you go to get that special trim for a wedding or prom gown...or if you're looking for something amazing to complete an outfit. It's not a Pacific or Daytona where you're buying basics...this is the place to get the trimming/embellishment that takes your garment to another level.

So the next time you're in the Garment District, please stop by and visit Donna and her very helpful and welcoming staff. 

The East Coast Trimming Corp is located at:
142 West 38th Street
New York, NY  10018
Phone:  212.221.0050 or 212.221.0052

Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday: 10:00am to 6:30pm
Saturday: 12:00 to 6:30pm
Sunday: Closed

Or online at:  eastcoasttrimming.com

The online store is not up and running yet. However, there are some great shots of the store's interior and the about us section is really interesting.

I was now 20 minutes late for my dinner reservation but everything was so fascinating about the store...or maybe I'm just an embellishment junkie! *LOL* So as we were looking at one of the vintage ribbon cabinets, Donna asked me which one I'd like and how I would use it.  My first response was to suggest a skirt with the trim added to the hemline.  A very basic and easy to make skirt...then she pulled the ribbon out and cut me 2 yards!


Not only was I soooooo appreciative but you know I thought about that ribbon all the way home and have come up with a totally different use for it. So my to-sew list has been revised yet again to include a garment featuring this amazing piece of silk ribbon. 

Oh one last thing...I did a post on a garment I made pre-blogging days...using ribbons for the jacket front. You can read about it here. See ribbon and trimmings have been a part of me forever!

Now that I've fully disclosed my connection to the store...please go by and check them out!  I guarantee you won't be disappointed!


...as always more later!


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Vogue 9095 - Construction Details

The thing about making a jacket is that it takes time. Normally when I get the shell of a garment finished, I know that I will be done soon.  Ummmmm, not so much with a jacket.  There are still a million and one steps to do to finish the jacket...okay I'm exaggerating but if you've made one you know what I mean.


Here's the jacket so far on Lulu - almost done!

Basically my pattern alterations to the jacket shell worked...I ended up sewing the seams 1/2" instead of 5/8" from the waist down on the jacket front seams. Otherwise, I was pleasantly surprised at how easily the shell went together and how well it fit.



The bands were next. Since I didn't alter the pattern pieces for the bands until after the jacket was assembled this took some fiddling to get them to work. I wanted the seams for both the jacket & band to match. To achieve this I took the pattern pieces and laid them on top of the jacket to see where I needed to make alterations to the band pattern pieces.



My front band ended up with a curve since it mimic'ed the curve of the jacket front.

My lining was cut from rayon bemberg lining that I bought from Elegance Fabrics in NYC. The lining had a little more body to it than the bembergs I've bought in the past. This was great because my jacket body is a little drapey so this lining should give the jacket a little substance.

The sleeves were constructed out of order. Probably because I was concerned about them sliding over my bodacious biceps!  This was the only challenge I experienced because I overcompensated the width needed. See even my biceps have changed with the weight loss.  All of the extra that I added had to be removed because the sleeves didn't hang correctly.

So here is a picture of the sleeve pattern pieces with the added space...



Now as an experienced sewist I know that adding to the sides of a garment affect the hang of the garment.  That's what the problem was with the way I added to the sleeve pattern pieces and once I removed the extra, I no longer had an issue.

I can honestly say that the most challenging part of constructing the jacket was adding the sleeves...because I still had to cut lining fabric and set in four sleeves.

Some other thoughts...

  • Can I say this is one time where saving the scrap pieces of fabric from a previous project worked to my advantage. I had some very large scrap pieces that I used to cut the bands and the collar for the jacket from. Just one tip, make sure that you are cutting the pieces on grain. My scraps still had the selvedges attached so determining grain was easy.
  • I will use this jacket pattern again both without the shawl collar. I think it will work well with both skirts and dresses, as well as, thrown over a pair of jeans or leggings.
  • I don't like constructing jackets. They take a really long time and challenge me in ways that I don't enjoy. So I'm gonna try and make a few more this year. This is something I need to get better at so I'm going to use some of those patterns from my pattern collection.
  • This jacket is very basic. I've removed the welt pockets and sleeve bands for this version so that it will go with just about anything in my wardrobe. Also the fit is okay...not perfect. I think it's good through the body but the shoulders and sleeves still need some adjusting...not a lot but some.

Pictures of the jacket with the altered pants - the legs are just too wide now - and with the brocade skirt will be up next. 

...as always more later!




Sunday, March 15, 2015

Vogue 9095 - The Jacket Pattern Alterations

This is a recently released pattern and though it's similar to the iconic Vogue 7975, I really like the shawl collar option that's View C. Ages ago, pre-blogging days, I made a navy blue pinstripe jacket and dress combo using a shawl collared jacket that I really liked wearing. This view of the pattern brings back those pleasant memories.
Vogue 9095 - View C - Shawl collar version


Front & back line drawings

I started out making two versions of this jacket from the remaining black fabric from this outfit:



Now I know you're wondering why two versions ~ well it's because I got this idea in my head that I can't shake. I want the shawl collar and bands to match the brocade skirt I just completed. While this will be an awesome suit (and probably my Easter outfit this year), it's not really a standard black suit. So I'm making the jacket twice ~ once fancy and once standard ~ especially since I already have the black pants in that fabric which will make a great pantsuit.

However, after laying the fabric out, I will only be able to make one jacket. So I'm going with the plainer version of the jacket because it's the more practical wardrobe choice.  I think I'll have enough leftover to make a simple elastic waist skirt which will give me several mix and match opportunities.

Next pattern alterations...

This pattern has a lot of pieces to it which means a lot of fitting opportunities. After tissue fitting the main pieces and the band to my body, I decided to add an inch in length because I didn't like where the hem of the jacket was hitting my body. 



  • So one inch was added at the lengthen/shorten line.
  • The hip measurement didn't fit my body so 1/2 inch was added to each front pattern piece by cutting and spreading.  
  • I only added to the front piece because that's where I still carry most of my weight.
  • The bands will need to be adjusted but I'm waiting for the jacket fronts and backs to be stitched to make the alterations to the bands.
  • I added a center back seam to the jacket even though the pattern has a solid back piece.
  • I added 1/2 inch curves at the sides of the sleeve pieces to accommodate my still bodacious biceps.

I think that's everything. I did a lot of flat measuring and tissue fitting and now I'm moving onto cutting out the fabric...well more like procrastinating but after such a busy week it's taking me a minute to get back into the groove.

There will probably be a construction post for this jacket before the reveal. There is still soooooo much left to do for this jacket ~ the lining and the pattern alterations to the bands.  I just don't want to cut the lining or the bands until I'm sure that the jacket shell will fit.

That's where I am right now.  Will probably spend all day today in the sewing cave. I'm hoping to get this closer to the finish line sooner rather than later!

Oh and can I share my new obsession with you?  Well I'm gonna anyway! *LOL*  



I'm totally obsessed with the show, Empire.  So much so that I purchased the soundtrack from iTunes and have been blasting it while I've been in the sewing cave today! So you know where I'll be Wednesday evening - glued to my television watching the season finale!


...as always more later!


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A New Member of the Family

All sewing has ceased at Casa de Diary of a Sewing Fanatic because my daughter has delivered her last baby...




Joshua Mason 
was born on Saturday, March 7th 
at 12:39am 
weighing in at 7 lbs. 3 oz and 19" long

He is my daughter's fourth child and she is now the proud mother of 2 boys and 2 girls.  So I spent my weekend watching his siblings while his mother and father were at the hospital with Joshua. I had Monday off but was too exhausted and needed to run some errands to even think about sewing. 

One of my errands was to pick up my new glasses...


My new distance glasses

Jackie O type sunnies

Today I was back with them.





So there will be no more sewing here until the weekend...and my apologies if you've already seen these pictures on Instagram!

One more thing...keeping a 6 yr old, a 3 yr old and a 13 month occupied takes a lot of energy. But they loved this video and I had it on repeat for 30 minutes so I'm kinda taken with it now...






Saturday, March 07, 2015

Where do you sew?

One of the conversations that I had at The Expo was with Shams, Myrna, Sue and Sarah B., about sewing rooms.  Yes, that's right we were sitting around a table discussing sewing rooms. But Myrna had just taken a class with Diane Erickson about sewing rooms and they shared something that really stuck with me. 

Diane said that your sewing room should be one part of your past, one part of the present and one part of your future.  Then I spent Sunday in Gaylen's amazing sewing room and it made me think about how I view my own sewing space. 

I've called mine a sewing room and a sewing studio but favor sewing cave. However, if I'm honest I truly think of it as a well stocked workroom. I came to that conclusion after reading an interview by Koos where he talked about being a journeyman who sewed. So here are some pics of his workroom:





It made me realize that those lovely pinterest sewing rooms are not what I aspire to. I want and thrive in a well stocked workroom. The rooms that remind me of my garment district roots. 

Why did I bring this up? Because I had a request to share what items I stock so that I can sew anytime. It would have been easy to put together a list and bullet point it here. However, I thought that explaining the backstory was just as important.

BTW, this Koos quote sums up my feelings exactly:
"I think of myself as very basic. I am a craftsperson and I sew like that. I sew beautiful clothes. I am nothing more than a worker sitting behind a sewing machine. That's where I feel most comfortable, that's where I am the best. That's what I do the best and it is very basic."
As a craftsperson I need to have supplies on hand to create.  Those supplies are:
  1. Thread
  2. Lining Fabric
  3. Silk Organza
  4. Zippers
  5. Buttons
  6. Elastics
  7. Trimmings
  8. Piping
  9. Rayon Seam Binding
  10. Seam bindings
  11. Interfacing 
  12. Tracing Paper
I wrote a post about this in April 2013. Not only does it talk about what I stash but it also lists suppliers, in case you're looking for something. FYI, my suppliers are all US based.

Lastly, here are some pictures of my workroom as it appears when I sit down to sew ...








...all those pretty clean sewing rooms are nice but I'd rather see where people really create. So tell me...where do you sew? In a beautifully well-appointed sewing room, a sewing studio, or just in a portion of your bedroom, dining room or family room?



Thursday, March 05, 2015

Vogue 7632 - The Skirt

Classic separates are seriously going to be my friend as I update my wardrobe. However, unlike my previous attempts at sewing my own wardrobe, I want statement separates...pieces that have a little sumthin' sumthin'...that have more details on them or where the fabric speaks loudly. Because unlike past sews, my basics still work due to elastic waistlines...this frees me to experiment and change things up a little. 

In the picture below I'm wearing the skirt with a bodysuit that I bought back in the late '80s/early '90s.



Some stats ~
Fabric:
Polyester brocade purchased from Fabric Mart last fall

Notions:
9" invisible black zipper
red rayon seam binding
1/2" black button
waistband interfacing from Nancy's Notions
red bemberg lining

Construction ~
This is not a difficult skirt to sew.  The pattern instructions were very easy to follow which I needed, to make sure I put the pleat inserts in correctly. I love how they release at the bottom of the skirt, giving it movement yet it has a close fitting silhouette.


Before sewing the pleat inserts onto the skirt front, I basted the skirt front and back together to check the fit on me and I have to say that I was impressed with the fit...too bad there was no one around to take a picture! *LOL*

So a few things:
- the fabric raveled like crazy
- the pattern doesn't call for a lining but I added a short one...ending above the pleats. I probably should have underlined the fabric with a silk organza to help with wrinkling...since it wrinkles easily.


- the lining hem is turned under 1/2" and machine stitched then basted to the wrong side of the skirt front. The center back seam is handstitched to the zipper tape.


- the rayon seam binding was folded in half and pressed. Then I machine stitched it to the skirt hem. The final hem was hand stitched down. However, pressing the hem in place proved challenging. I think I should have paid closer attention to the pattern instructions ~ even though eventually I got it to work!


- the waistband has a button closure. I added red thread to the button as a cute touch. I wanted to show a close up of the waistband to share that I made two buttonholes but only had enough space for one button. See even I make mistakes.

Here is how I styled this skirt for a more casual look...




If you want to make your own version of the skirt since my pattern is OOP. You can try one of these:




Also, my pattern is available on Etsy and Ebay if you want the actual skirt - don'tcha just love the internet!

One last shot...I know that this is a picture heavy post but its been snowing since before I woke up this morning. The newscasters are predicting about 8-10" of snow today so my daughter and I took a couple of pictures on the patio. Here's one...

Yeah that's snow swirling around me and what I'm standing in!



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