Monday, December 30, 2013

Simplicity 3833 Sew-A-Long

Lauren, who authors the blog, Rosie Wednesday Adventures in Vintage Style Sewing, asked if I would help with her Simplicity 3833 sew-a-long. Normally I'm not a sew-a-long kinda girl but Lauren had an interesting proposition.  She wanted me to blog about the plus size experience with this pattern.  Now you know that intrigued me.

Back view

It's not like I wasn't already interested in this pattern since I blogged about these 60's mod style dresses back in 2008.  I even made a dress or two from some 60's vintage patterns. So I told Lauren that I was in and would make the dress, then post my plus size body alterations hoping that these would help another plus size sewist.

Now here's the disclaimer ~ these will be the pattern alterations that I make to the pattern for my body!  Hopefully if you're a plus size sewist and you're participating in the sew-a-long something I do will help you.  

My idea for the fabric for this dress will update it, make it look less vintage and make it more appropriate for my work situation.  All of these choices will be discussed in a future post since I'm still gathering materials.

Lauren has discussed the particulars of the sew-a-long on her blog post here. She has set up a Flickr group.  There is a badge to put on your blog, if you have one and there are some resources if you need additional information. Since the date of my post is January 14th for pattern alterations, I probably won't say anything else about this until then...however, if you want to participate, please join in.  I've already noticed the badge up on my new blog crush's blog ~ so thrilled that she will be joining in.

This is definitely my last post for 2013!  I'm wishing everyone a very happy, blessed and joyful New Year!  See you in 2014!!! always more later!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Quick Note on a Sunday Evening... this is an additional post and not my last one for twenty thirteen.  In my travels through blogland this evening, I came upon two posts that I want to highly recommend.  

The first one is from Beth the author of SunnyGal Studio Sewing.  This one struck me because she writes about how precision sewing is an important component in achieving a good result.  I know that I write alot about inspiration and fabric but believe me when I say if I didn't use a little precision sewing in my garments, they would not turn out so well.  Plus Beth is one of the sewists that I aspire to sew like so I'm always reading along picking up tips so that some day I can sew on her level! 

The second post I'm highlighting might seem like I'm patting myself on the back but I'm not.  The reason that I'm recommending it is because I believe that Barbara, of Sewing on the Edge, was more eloquent than I was in my Photo Backdrop post...and because I love that she understood exactly what I was trying to say.

I know y'all probably know this already but I guess I'm slow.  You can learn anything on YouTube.  I spent some quality time there last night watching videos about my sewing machine (Janome 8900 QCP). I'm so thrilled that I did because I can now use my automatic needle threader better, fill a bobbin more evenly and know how and why I'm suppose to use the stylus that was included with my machine. I picked up a few more tips that once again emphasized to me how much more I have to learn about my sewing machine. Thank goodness for YouTube! *LOL*

Finally, I sewed today...all day. Here's a quick peek at the first top and the pants from my Crazy 8 Wardrobe plan. always more later!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Top 5 in 2013

I wasn't going to do a review at the end of this year.  I really just wanted to make it safely into 2014 since the last three months have been so drama filled.  But then I read Beth's review at SunnyGal Studio Sewing and I went hmmm, but I still wasn't convinced. 

Then I read a few others, but the one that pushed me over and made think I could just name my Top 5 pieces/outfits was HeatherB, who blogs at Handmade By Heather B.  I read her posts this morning on the bus and they made me smile. There is such joy in her posts that I thought that's really how I should end my year with joy, not drama, not sorrow or worry but joy.

So a little background ~ this Top 5 concept started on Gillian's tumbler post, Join Me in Posting Your Top 5 Lists for 2013.  She did this last year also with a graphic to announce that you're participating.  I know that I've been doing an "end of year recap" for years, as many others have, but Gillian kinda gathered everyone together under one umbrella.

This year I've decided to stand under the umbrella with my fellow here is my graphic...

...and here are my Top 5 Hits of 2013...

My Ponte & Leather Lafayette 148 knock-off started January off with a bang. I get compliments every time I wear this dress and I think it symbolizes how I wanted my sewing to evolve in 2013.

Pantsuits are always on my to-sew list.  This year I actually made one and for that reason alone it makes the list.  Even though this jacket just about killed me...however, after a time-out, it's been worn several times for important meetings at work.  I've gotten over the pain of it's birth and have come to love it for how easily it wears, yet how professional it looks.

I really pushed myself for the Mood Blogger's Lace Challenge.  My Easter Dress had 25-30 hours of hand stitching in it.  It was a knock-off of an Oscar de la Renta dress that was priced at $2,990 and as much as I love Oscar, he didn't make this dress in plus sizes.  My version was about $350.  A lot of money yes but it has the most amazing guipure lace hand stitched to the wool tweed fabric which was used as the base of the dress.  I was thrilled with the final dress which I've only worn twice.  Once to church and once to a wedding but I learned so much from making this dress, that it was worth every penny!

Number four is another outfit that's been on my to-sew list every season...a jacket and a dress combo.  I did manage to make a couple of these this year but this one stands out because it's so trendy!  More pleather and ponte - my two favorite fabrics this year!  I have loads of ideas for additional outfits using ponte and pleather but I've tried to restrain myself because I don't exactly have a job where I can look like a rocker chick!

My final piece for the Top 5 of 2013 ~ would be my latest sew ~ Vogue 1370. This is the perfect piece to culminate my sewing journey for 2013.  It's a sheath dress (my favorite silhouette) in black 'n white (so trendy this fall) and it brought the drama...which is definitely how 2013 is ending for me.

I have one runner-up garment and that would be my niece's prom dress.  I would never have been able to make such an elegant gown for her if it wasn't for the Lace Dress I made for myself.  Her dress had just as much hand sewing in it and a whole lot of handwringing but mostly I was just thrilled and proud that she had the dress of her dreams to wear to prom.

I won't be listing any of the other Top 5's because like I said earlier I want to end the year with joy.  In 2013, I made 35 outfits which you can see here and here. However, I have no sewing resolutions for 2014 other than to sew as much as I possibly can and to enjoy the journey. 

There will be one more post before 2013 rolls into 2014, I'm participating in a sew-along that I'm excited about and the details will be in that post.  I am sewing this weekend but I won't have anything to share...hey I'm taking my own advice and enjoying the journey!

Do tell me though, did I list your favorite of my garments for 2013?  If I didn't which one did you like and why? Oh and one more thing...I've finally changed my comment section and can reply to questions as they are asked.  Now here is the codicil...I won't be answering every comment but I will try really hard to answer any question left in the comments section.  So if you leave a question check back later, there will more than likely be an answer. always more later!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Fashion Fund on Ovation TV

Yesterday evening after all of the festivities had quieted down, I was flipping through TV channels to find something to watch.  I don't know how long Ovation has been in my cable channel line-up but I do know that last night was the first time I watched it.

During one of the commercials, Ovation featured the second season of The Fashion Fund with Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue Magazine and Diane von Furstenberg, designer and CFDA council member, beginning on January 22.

This looks interesting and since all of my favorite shows are on winter break, I will definitely be checking this out!

A little background on CFDA - which stands for The Council of Fashion Designers of America - it is a not for profit trade association whose membership consists of more than 400 of America's foremost womenswear, menswear, jewelry and accessory designers.  (So if you want to be a fashion designer, you definitely want to gain membership to the CFDA, which is by vote acceptance only!)

The Fashion Fund was established ten years ago as a competition for aspiring fashion and accessory designers.  The winner of the competition receives a cash prize to help them fund their business and a mentor (an already established fashion designer) who provides advice and counseling. More about the rules and application process can be found here.  Previous Fashion Fund winners have been:

2009 - Sophie Theallet 
(a favorite of Michelle Obama's)

2008 - Alexander Wang

2004 - Proenza Schouler

...and a complete list of the winners can be found here.

Again I will definitely be watching this because it's about fashion and it's something different from what is already playing on cable TV.  Also, I've been following The Fashion Fund now and then over the years and the entire process fascinates me.  There are loads of clips on YouTube, if you are interested in learning more and also seeing a more vibrant Anna Wintour than was in the movie, The September Issue.

I'm at work until December 31st when I officially begin my "Winter Sewcation." It's only six days off and right now my plan is just to work on the separates for my Crazy 8 Wardrobe.  However, it is six days of uninterrupted sewing time so I'm not complaining! 

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your family... always more later!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

My Fabric Confessions...

First I want to say a very heartfelt thanks to everyone who left a comment on my last post.  I'd written the post a couple of weeks ago and I kept dithering about whether or not to post it.  I mean it's the internet and nothing is ever lost or gone and did I really want to be that vulnerable here or even worse start a firestorm over my opinions?  So thanks for understanding and for your own wonderful comments!

Everyone has their coping mechanisms...mine is to buy fabric.  Seriously, I've been known to skip lunch for a week or two and save that money to buy fabric...and as you can tell from the previous post, it's been stressful around these parts so ALOT of fabric buying has been going on. Storage be dayumed! Peace of mind and not standing in Times Square screaming like a lunatic is more important to me. So along with boxes of Christmas presents arriving on my doorstep, there have been several boxes of fabric.  Yes, I know I said I was going to stop but when it comes to balancing sanity vs holding to a pledge...I'll go with sanity every time!

I've seen various sewists in the blogosphere making amazing outfits from Girl Charlee fabric and you know I can't let there be a new fabric spot out there that I haven't tried. When my girl Gaylen, who authors the blog, GMarie Sews, made this cute dress...I knew I had to go find out what was happening at Girl Charlee. They have some awesome ponte of my new favorite fabrics. I purchased a couple of yards of both of these...

The ordering process was very easy. Costs per yard aren't prohibitive. There were emails upon the purchase and when the order shipped with tracking info. Which I personally love because then I can figure out when my package will arrive. I will definitely order from them again because there are a few other pieces on the site that I want!

I think I'm one of the last to jump on the Girl Charlee bandwagon but a whole bunch of sewists can't be wrong so I would definitely give them a try!

Want to see the other pieces that have arrived lately?  These are from some of my favorite internet fabric haunts...

From Emmaonesock...

From Fabric Mart...
these just recently arrived:

Red/Green/Tan wool plaid suiting

...and these are winging their way to me as you read this...Fabric Mart is having a sale ~ 40% off suiting and yes, I bought me some...yesterday was particularly stressful...

I can honestly say that not only did each purchase make me feel better but also that as each package arrived I was even happier to have them join the throng in the sewing cave.  Speaking of my fabric collection, I found this photo on Pinterest and I have to tell you that my blood pumped a little faster and I started to drool...

photo courtesy of:  Clearview Designs

Is this not the most amazing fabric collection evah?!  By the looks of it she has more than I do which also makes me happy! *LOL*  I won't be the only old lady who dies with more fabric than she had time to sew! always more later!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Photo Backdrop

This is where I will be taking my photos from now on (taken prior to putting up our Christmas Tree).  It's cold outside here on the East Coast and I'm truly a cold weather wimp! *LOL*

I've had a few things on my mind and I wanted to share them...

  • First and most importantly I am a sewing blogger...not a fashion sewing blogger....not a fashion blogger...just a sewing blogger.  Honestly, I don't know if the sewing blogging community is moving in the direction of fashion sewing bloggers, but I'm not headed there.  There won't be a lot of amazing backgrounds and me posed wearing my creations in front of waterfalls and lakes...nope not happening. I think that wall pictured above will work just fine during the winter months and the scenic walkway outside my front door will suffice the rest of the year. My passion IS sewing.  I only model the clothing so that other sewists, especially plus size sewists, can see how things fit or that more styles are available to us than are featured in RTW or even the pattern catalogs.  If I could figure out a way to photograph them on a dressform, I probably would...but it's just not the same as seeing a garment on a real body.
  • I'm having some challenges with photography which I keep repeating over and over again because I honestly have NO desire to learn the intricacies of photography.  There are two reasons for this ~ 1. I have a limited amount of free time because I work a very demanding job which recently became even more demanding with a new boss and more responsibilities.  2. I would much rather sew than do almost anything else during my 48 hours of free time each weekend.  Why? Because sewing calms me.  It smooths out the rough edges of my workweek and it allows my creative side to come to the forefront.
  • Lately I've been feeling strangled.  Tied up in knots so I've been unable to sew and blog.  This has happened a few times before in my life - after the birth of each of my children, during my divorce, moves, etc. Personal times of trauma...there have been some of those types of events in the last few months that have affected my ability to sew.  I believe that I've finally resolved those challenges and will now be able to sew with abandonment...and I don't know if this is good or bad for you as a reader, but if you're looking for new sewing posts...hopefully more will be coming after the holidays!
  • Somewhere in the last couple of weeks, I passed the 1500 blog post mark. One I can't believe I've written that many posts!  And two, I can't believe I've written that many posts...*LOL*  However, I can assure you that as long as I can, I will continue to blog right here, in my spot in cyberspace, because like I said earlier, my passion is sewing and I want to continue to share my passion with all of you.
Now that the desire to sew is slowly returning, I'm going to be working on my Crazy 8 Wardrobe, as well as, going over my sewing list, maybe adding a few new items and prepping my sewing cave for my annual "Start of the Year Sewcation."

BTW, can I share my new blog crush with you...Melody authors the blog, "Sew Melodic."  I'm in love with the garments she creates.  Please surf on over and visit her.  I'm sure you'll love them too! always more later!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sewing Daydreams

I spend a lot of time commuting back and forth to work especially during this time of the year when it seems there is so much more traffic.  I spend a lot of that time surfing the web on my iPad and dreaming of sewing projects.

Although lately I've noticed that even though some of the garments inspire me, I'm much more interested in figuring out the garment's construction versus actually sewing it up.  So as I was perusing Erdem's Pre-Fall 2014 line, I happened upon this dress...

I like this dress.  I really do.  It's the combo of printed top, solid bottom and turtleneck that caught my eye.  But I have a really long list of garments I want to sew this winter and I know that only a half to 2/3rds of them will actually make it from idea to my closet.  So what to do about all of those other things that inspire...

Sewing daydreams...where I take a few minutes/hours/days to work the construction out in my mind.  For the dress above, I realized that I could use my TNT pattern as the basis.  I've already used the crossover v-neck top, a band and a skirt bottom on two summer dresses I made back in 2007 ~ here and here (the post accompanying the dress' photo is actually quite funny). BTW, I wore both of these dresses last summer, though I've made some alterations to them to fit a little better.

That part of the dress would be covered.  It was how do I make the turtleneck work and it hit me - dickey sewn into the dress. I could take an old cotton turtleneck or buy one and cut it up to add it to the neckline.  The thing is that I would want the dress lined so I would have to work out how to add a lining, but it could be done.  

The only thing I don't like is that there is no back shot of the dress. Since these collections are just being shown and not shipped to the stores yet, I really have no idea of how the designer made the back.  Me, though, I would use an invisible zipper in the turtleneck and dress back.  Why?  It would just make the dress easier to get into.  And why a back zipper versus a side zipper in the underarm?  I don't like side zippers but it's definitely an option.

Do you see now how I can while away hours sitting in bumper to bumper traffic happily immersed in sewing daydreams?  And it's not only the construction but what fabrics would you choose to make this up in ~ that can suck up hours of time, too.

Now I'm sure you're wondering, why go through these exercises if I'm not going to actually make the dress.  Sometimes it's just because.  Sometimes it's because it gives me clues/answers to future garments or things that are languishing on my must sew list...and sometimes after going through the construction sequence, I get inspired and the dress makes it onto my must sew list.

So while I may not be physically sewing...I am always sewing in my daydreams. How about you?  Do you have sewing daydreams?  Do you think about how garments are constructed and work out construction sequences? Just wondering if I'm daydreaming alone! *LOL* always more later!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Doublesided wool crepe & double knit wools

I love fabric.  Everyone knows this and I have photographic evidence of that adoration here on the blog.  Lately, I've fallen in love with these two fabric types ~ doublesided wool crepe and double knit wools.  I've used the doublesided wool crepe before in this dress...

...and recently in the new Vogue 1370 dress...both were purchased from Moods NYC store...

I have a couple of additional pieces of both fabric types in the collection...

Green merino wool double knit, honey beige doublesided wool crepe, 
and red merino wool double knit, all from Fabric Mart

...I just recently added this one also from Fabric Mart which has them on sale for Premium Members now for 30% off.  Can I talk a little about the fact that the stretch goes from selvedge to selvedge on this piece?  I personally love this because when cutting out pattern pieces, it puts the stretch going around my body in the finished garment. This is exactly where I need the stretch, rather than having it going lengthwise, because it expands where my body parts expand...if you know what I mean.

Now you know I'm a Talbots girl. Their selection of businesswear works for my corporate lifestyle.  I even like that they have an extensive plus size section, for those that don't sew or who maybe want to purchase a piece or two.  In their current selection, there's this dress and jacket which, of course, I want to make for my wardrobe.

Both the doublesided wool crepe and double knit wools wear well.  They look professional all day.  They sew well, press easily and they are my new favorite fabrics.  I would say that right now I love sewing with them as much as I do ponte knits, so expect to see more of them here.

A quick definition of these fabrics...

Double-faced or Doublesided fabrics 
These fabrics have two attractive faces but cannot be separated into two layers...they are woven with four sets of yarn that move back and forth between layers.

Double knit fabrics
Are medium to heavy weight machine knit fabric, made with two sets of needles so that both sides look the same (when there is no pattern design). Fabric  has little or no stretch and holds it shape well.

(These descriptions are from Claire Schaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide - 2nd Edition - published in 2008)

Ponte knits 
A great description of the fabric and how to use it can be found here on Emmaonesock's website.  These fabric guides were written by Kathryn Brenne.

I know that many women don't need to dress in the same type of professional/corporate clothing that I wear but these fabrics work great for a cute little jacket or a pencil and/or straight skirt not just the dresses I love. If you get the chance to add some to your fabric collection, I highly recommend that you do so!  Periodically, I will be featuring on the blog other types of fabric that I love sewing with, along with where you can find them - these are just the first.

The pants and the first top are completed for the Crazy 8 wardrobe.  It's snowing here in NJ so no pics today...soon though! always more later!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Vogue 1370 Finished!

I'm just going to let the pictures speak on this one because you've seen all of the construction posts...and after that was is there left to say.  You all just want to see if the dress fits and works so here it is...

So following the advice given, we took to the sidewalk outside my home to take pictures during the cloudy/overcast part of the day on Sunday.  They all came out crappy.  Seriously crappy.  Most were unfocused...none worked on the Canon Rebel.  The outside shots included in this post were taken on my iPad.  The pics by the Christmas Tree were taken inside with the point and shoot.  To me they look the most like me...sad right?!? 

I will honestly tell you that I'm about disgusted with the Canon Rebel and the learning curve.  I would box it up and send it back BUT I keep thinking that if I finally get my act together some day I WILL be able to take pics by myself with the tripod and remote that I now own...something I can't do with the point and shoot.  So the Canon sits while my daughter and I will go back to taking pics with the point and shoot.

Honestly I need to lose 10 lbs for this dress.  There's a lot of sucking in going on here.  I have lost ten pounds recently due to a diet change dictated by my doctor.  But this dress is still tight.  I don't know what I did when I was making the pattern alterations because it was based upon my TNT dress. If I were to make this dress again, I would add an inch to the center of the dress front pattern piece to give me the additional needed space...if I make it again...which I highly doubt...not because it's not a great design but because this dress is so distinctive.

This fabric picked up every piece of lint around.  Of course it wasn't noticeable until we took these close up shots of the design features.  Will definitely have to lint roll this dress before wearing it out in public.

Back shot - I'm loving the inserts and the addition of the houndstooth to the sleeve bands, however, that invisible zipper could be better.  Please note that there is no vent in the hemline of this dress and walking around taking pics in it was fine.  I will have to see how this works in my everyday life.  Also in full disclosure, I will probably wear solid black heels with this dress at work...but when I wear the dress to church, the houndstooth heels will definitely be worn with it.

I've already moved onto constructing pieces of the Crazy 8 wardrobe...just wanted to share photos of me wearing the dress.  I think the dress has a lot of potential and if you're up for the challenge of sewing 14 pieces for a sheath dress...go for it! always more later!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

It's Been An Extreme Honor be one of the initial nine bloggers asked to participate in The Mood Sewing Network.  I was thrilled when asked and I blogged about that excitement here.  

Throughout the last year I've had a lot of fun, met and made friends with several members of the staff at the Mood NYC store specifically Todd, Eric, George and Diane. You've all enhanced this experience for me but Monday's post was my last post for the Mood Sewing Network.

It's been an amazing journey and I've grown in so many ways.  I've challenged myself in many areas, especially photography.  But all good things must come to an end and I would like to personally thank Eric Sauma and Meg McDonald for giving me this opportunity, believing in me and welcoming me into their wonderful organization.  I will miss my monthly visits to the store!

I really hope that The Mood Sewing Network continues to grow and touch sewists everywhere.  And if you haven't had the opportunity to shop at the Mood store in NYC, you should put it on your bucket list because it is an amazing place full of wonderful fabrics and magical moments.

Mostly though, I will miss my fellow Mood bloggers.  Many of you I didn't know prior to joining MSN and now I count you as friends.  You know who you are without me naming names and I wish you ALL continued success and many more wonderful sewing journeys!

I will still be sewing and sharing my garments here in my corner of cyberspace and I hope you will continue to follow the wonderful sewists at MSN! always more later!

p.s. Per Meg - if anyone is interested in becoming a blogger for the Mood Sewing Network, you should send an email to: with "Mood Sewing Network Blogger" in the subject line and a link to your blog in the body of the email!!!

Good luck to anyone that applies!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Crazy 8 Outfit Planning

Lately in my blog travels, I visited Dana's blog, Lean Mean Sewing Machine. Dana was sharing her latest makes and how she was incorporating the Crazy 8 wardrobe planning into her sewing.

Stitchers Guild recently announced their 2014 SWAP competition requirements and sewists plans are showing up on their blogs.  I love SWAP and wardrobe sewing and have toyed with the idea of participating ~ but the requirements and sewing 11 garments that work together has held me back.  It just seemed overwhelming and like my sewing would be too planned when I'm looking forward to more sewing whatever.  

However, 8 pieces that will work together yet still work with my wardrobe is quite appealing to me.  I feel like this ties in with my current creative desires to sew garments that will work together but yet be separates.  Also at any point if I want to stop I can. Yet I will still end up with some wonderful new pieces in my wardrobe.

So here is what the Crazy 8 Plan is comprised of:
  1. One jacket
  2. One cardigan
  3. Two tops
  4. One blouse
  5. One pair of pants
  6. One skirt
  7. One dress

Here's what I want to make ~

I will be using Vogue 7975 if possible.  It's my first choice but this may change.  I really want to use this pattern before the winter is over and this plan would allow me to do so.

I will use my Butterick 5760 TNT pattern.  I have the fabric picked out for this one already ~ a panel print for the fronts in red/black/white/grey and cotton black ponte for the back and sleeves.

One will be from my TNT dress pattern.  The second one will be a RTW bow tie blouse that I bought and need to alter to make fit me well. Gotta figure out that third top. I have fabric options for only the first top.

RTW floral long sleeve bow tie blouse
with pintucks on the front

Will be made from my TNT pants pattern.  I'm using a black medium weight/heavy weight black wool crepe that I purchased from Fabric Mart earlier this year.

Made in a black/white plaid wool fabric from the collection using my TNT straight skirt pattern.

I will use Vogue 8944, Version A, the sleeveless version in three different colors of wool.  A vanilla white crepe for the top, red wool double knit for the center and black medium weight wool crepe for the skirt.  Haven't decided if I will use the red or white fabric for the back top.  I think the dress will tell me as I'm sewing it.

Fabric Choices
As much as I love color in the winter... you can see that I've got a black/red/white/grey combo.  I know it's not original but it works for my corporate life. Here is the combo I'm using...

Left to right:  
polyester panel print, cotton black ponte, black/white plaid wool
mediumweight black wool crepe, red wool doubleknit, 
vanilla white wool crepe

I have to say that I'm pretty thrilled with my fabric collection right now, because all of these pieces were pulled from the shelves.  I love my fabric collection, truly I do! Pulling the fabric and choosing patterns, have inspired me and reignited my sewing mojo.

I've already started working on the pants. Hey it's cold and I wanted a new pair since I've recently put a couple of pairs in the pile to go to the dry cleaners.  There will be a lot more discussed here about this plan as the month progresses ~ especially since it fits into my sewing separates thing that I've got going on in my head. always more later!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Slow Rolling on Vogue 1370

I know that I'm known for knocking garments out 1, 2, 3 and I've been seriously slow rollin' on this one.  I don't know if its because I made so many fall/winter garments so early in the season or if life is just squeezing out the desire to sew right now.  However, I can tell you that I could have finished the dress this weekend if I'd been sewing like I normally do.  I chose to take my time and not let sewing be the focus of this weekend.

I did take pictures of various parts of the construction and they are included here.  Modeled photos will show up sooner or later... 

The neckline was large and stretched out 
so I added a basting line to the neckline

Then after pulling the threads, I pressed the neckline 
back into shape.  This is just one way to do this.

I decided I wanted more houndstooth to show on the sleeve.

Inserting the lining into the dress shell

Adding rayon seam binding to the dress's hem

I had no more black ambiance lining
so I used a steel blue instead

Front of the dress lined
Still need the sleeves added 
and the dress hemmed

Back of dress with a curved zipper 
that somehow works when the dress is on.

I have a few Christmas pieces that I want to sew...but they are simple and may or may not make an appearance on the blog.  Most of the pieces now clamoring to the front of my brain and begging to be made are simple separates.  Garments that will go with pieces already living in my closet, so they will probably be quick sews.

I know that my blogging has been scanty of late and this will probably continue through the end of the year. Lately I just don't feel as if I have much to say and since I'm also not sewing, there aren't any blog posts.  Just don't want anyone to be concerned if it gets quiet here for a minute, I'm not giving up on blogging just taking some time to recharge.

To all who celebrate, have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I hope it's filled with love, family, good food and afterwards time to sew! always more later!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sewing but nuthin' to show yet...

As the title says, I'm sewing but have nuthin' to show right now.  However, this says it all about how I'm feeling this week...

From Pinterest

...more later!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Vogue 1370 - Construction Notes

After getting all of the alterations made to the pattern pieces, the cutting out process was just as involved.  There are 14 pattern pieces for the dress all of which must be cut in a flat fabric layout.

The silhouette of the pattern, as well as, the inserts attracted me to this pattern.  I don't think the fabric chosen for the pattern by Vogue was the most stunning or achieved the most dramatic results.  I always saw the pattern in black and white, literally.  Black and white is on trend for fall and this combo produces the dramatic results I think this pattern needs.  So I started with a black double sided wool crepe from Mood.

There was some deliberation over whether to use the scraps of the black 'n white houndstooth wool used in this skirt and this dress...or a black 'n white lacey piece from the collection.  Seriously this piece has been in the collection so long that I have no idea where it came from especially since it's not tagged.  I was leaning towards the houndstooth, then when I was thinking about how I would wear the dress, I remembered my houndstooth shoes and that settled the matter. 

Once all of the pieces were cut out of the black wool double crepe, I cut out the houndstooth pieces. I fused a lightweight black fusible interfacing to the back of the houndstooth scrap prior to cutting the insert pieces out. I wanted to insure that the houndstooth and the wool crepe pieces were the same weight. Also since most of the insert pieces are curved the interfacing will help them hold their shape and assist with stabilizing the seams when sewn to the wool crepe pieces.

I started assembling the back of the dress first. Honestly I did this because the backs are smaller pieces. Putting this dress together is like doing one large jigsaw puzzle and it's important that you not force the pieces together. Each piece has to meet at either end or you throw the center back or side off.  This is NOT a pattern for a beginner or an advanced beginner. You definitely need some sewing experience to handle assembling this garment.

Which brings me to a comment that Nancy asked on the V1370 - Pattern Alterations post, "Could you not have taken your TNT pattern, traced it off, and then sketched the insets on it, just like the Vogue 1370?"  Actually I never even thought of that. That is a viable alternative.  However, I think it would be just as much work as the method I chose.  Even if you'd used either method, I still say that this is an intermediate to advanced sewist's pattern.

Left side with insert

Right side with insert

As mentioned in the construction post I did omit the dart in the left back piece. Although I thought I would make a pleat where the dart portion appears in the lower back so that it would match the insert piece. That didn't work. I ended up removing the pleat and had to hand baste the pieces together to make them fit before sewing them together with the sewing machine. I highly recommend basting sections to anyone else attempting to sew this dress. It gives you so much control and allows you to make sure that the pieces work together easily.

My other tip to anyone making this dress would be to use a lot of steam and liberal use of your clapper. Mine got a serious workout to help seams stay open and flat especially in the areas where the inserts merged. This steam/press was integral to making the inserts work in the dress. That and clipping the seams in stressful spots. I added quite a few more clips in the seams than the pattern instructions suggested.  Having added interfacing to the inserts, I was less worried about clipping those seams and weakening them than if the pieces hadn't been interfaced.

Finally a shot of the front of the dress with the inserts...

I made one change to the sleeves.  I added a 2" band of the houndstooth fabric to the hem of the sleeves. It lengthened the sleeve and made it hit a place on my arm that I like.  It also added some more of the houndstooth to the dress...a design feature that I wanted.

The rest of the dress will be assembled as per the instructions.  I'm adding a lining. However, since my wool crepe is thick I won't be using the fashion fabric inserts as the pattern instructions suggest, instead I will be using lining fabric to minimize the bulk in the back neckline area that I don't want.  

This is a complicated sew. I was wrong to suggest that it wasn't.  I've put about 8 hours of pattern alterations and cutting out the fabric into this and now another 8 hours of construction and I don't have the dress together yet. There is at least another 8 hours because I have to cut out the lining and stitch it together. Then assemble the dress and add the lining, finally doing all of the finishing touches.  I'm going to clock a good 24/25 hours before I finish this it's not an easy sew at all.

I'm not sure that I will do another post on this dress prior to it's reveal.  I think anything relevant can go in that last post. always more later!


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