Monday, July 28, 2008

Photos Only

It's been a busy day, but I did finish DS's shirt tonight. The review is here. All the photos are below.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Up Next

I bought this now-OOP pattern a while ago for the orange/tan version because DS#2 likes the (DaVinci) shirts Charlie Sheen wears on Two And A Half Men. I also bought fabric. But then I let it sit and sit because I knew that *I* would be the one to iron this shirt every time it was laundered. I do well enough to keep up with my own ironing.

Fast forward to a thought just flying into my head one night last week: "Knit, Debbie. Make the shirt in knit."

Well, yeah, now it's obvious.

I've got some great Milano knits I bought I couple of years ago. They're a stable poly/cotton blend and wear like iron. This knit will be perfect for the shirt, perfect to save me from ironing something that's not mine, and perfect for using up stash that's not "my" colors, and which was bought with the men in mind to begin with.

I just finished cutting out the pattern and I'm going to work on sewing the shirt tonight. We'll see how far I get. DS has no idea I'm making it and with my luck, the surprise may go bust since he usually prefers "style input." Fingers crossed.

Update: The shirt is not finished, but DS has seen it and approves.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What I Wore Last Night

No sewing going on this week yet, but I thought I'd fill in the empty space by showing you the latest Jalie Sweetheart top actually on me.

I had a dinner meeting last night with my new boss and a co-worker. (Still the same at-home job, but it's expanding.) It was a casual meeting and the first time we've actually all met in real life. But any opportunity to dress up a little more than my usual capris/tees home uniform is an opportunity I'm going to run with.

The photo was taken after I got back home, which is why I'm a wrinkled mess. It was humid and raining, then add a round trip in the car plus a couple of hours of just sitting and you get a wrinkled linen skirt that is also kind of shifted off to one side after getting out of the car. Oops. I didn't catch that until I saw the photos.

The skirt is the same Butterick 4877 that I made a couple of weeks ago. The green of the linen matches perfectly with the lighter green of the fabric. The photo does no justice to the in-real-life great color match.

I love this Jalie pattern! Do you think it would be too much if I had, say, 10 of them in my wardrobe? ;)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Down and Dirty Stashbusting

Making PJs is very gratifying. It's fast sewing that doesn't have to be perfect since they are just pajamas, I get to use up older stash, and I can stretch out the laundering of my stuff a bit longer. (I think the latter is my favorite!)

Both of these tops are the gathered front tees from the 02/2007 issue of Ottobre Woman. (So Belinda, who's ahead now in the count?) The pants are no-sideseam, Kwik Sew 2779. The green pair is not new. But I needed a short-sleeved top for them since the top I made when I made those pants is long-sleeved and too hot for summer in Florida. You would think with the A/C running 24/7 it wouldn't matter, but it does. My body knows when it's 40 degrees or 150 degrees outside, even if the inside temp remains constant.

I haven't really fit this pants pattern because I just don't care if my PJs have a baggy bum or crotch wrinkles. The pants fit well enough and they're always made from knits, which stretches when you sleep in it anyway. The only "alteration" I've done is to reduce the CF length for my tilted waist so I don't have to pull them up to my armpits in the morning. ;-)

Both tops are a longer length than I'd wear out of the house because I like more coverage when I'm sleeping. I don't like my shirt hems in my armpits either. I made the yellow top with extra ease because it's a really cheap knit that I just know is going to continue to shrink.

I cut these out one evening last week, so it was all construction today. The fun stuff. But I was a little *too* quick on the draw when I cut up the scraps to use as household rags. Seems I forgot to cut a binding strip for this one. Oops.

Oh well. I just dug out some plain white interlock and threaded up with lime green thread and called it an embellishment. PJs, remember? Who cares!

I used my coverstitch binder for both necklines and also for the sleeves on the yellow top. I had to wipe off the cobwebs, though, since it seems like forever since I used any of my binders.

And voila! Dirt cheap pajamas that took less than an afternoon to sew, and which look a whole lot prettier than sleeping in a ratty old tee shirt. The only problem with pretty PJs is that one may not feel highly motivated to change out of them in any big hurry in the morning. Ahem.

Next on my agenda is to have a look at Jalie 2806, which arrived here Friday. I'm going to compare the sizing to both the recent Jalie Sweetheart top and to my ever-TNT Ottobre tee before deciding on sizing and/or alterations. I want to make the gathered fold-over neckline, a style that's been popping up all over RTW and which I've wanted to make since I saw one in a Burda WOF from over a year ago (too lazy too look up exact issue). I need to do it soon before it pops OUT of style.

But I think right now I need a nap. That's what Sunday afternoons are for, right?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My Latest Sweetheart

My new favorite top! (Jalie 2794.)

Back view:

Side. The patterns almost match perfectly. Where the match starts to not match is where the pattern curves. But my arm will cover that anyway. I love all the designs this print makes when sewn together. It's like a kaleidescope in fabric.

Close-up of the neckline. I purposely folded the binding so the fuchsia stripe would not show. Fuchsia is not one of my best colors so I didn't want to frame my face with it.

I can't wait to go somewhere tomorrow so I can wear it. ;-)

I bought 4 yds of this print, because I wasn't sure how wide the fabric was between the contrast bands and borders and my luck would be that it would sell out if I bought too little. Turns out I used less than one yard plus some of the border for this top and the fabric has been restocked.

I'm thinking I'll make a skirt to wear with the top as a 2-piece dress. I did that with another print and an Onion top and I wear them a lot together. Very comfortable, and different from my usual capris and tees summer uniform.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Revving Up the Mojo

No photos of anything today. Not even the dogs. It's been a busy week with actual overtime for my at-home job and I'm being lazy. I can't remember the last time I was *paid* for overtime. LOL!

But once the work week was over today, I was up in the sewing room. Well, OK, after dinner really. I cut out another Jalie Sweetheart top, using the soon-to-be infamous "Bold Boho Chic Jersey." You know the one. Gigi made a Cosmo dress from it, Summerset made a top *and* a tankini, Karen made a tee, Cidell made a maxi dress, and EricaB just came home with some from her NY trip. Though the print is extremely distinctive, all of these pretty garments look different because of each sewer's unique cutting layout and patterns used. That's a pretty cool fabric (and sewers!) that can do that.

I'll be sewing tomorrow, after a run to the grocery store. We're the Old Mother Hubbard family here right now and the boys are starting to melt away. ;-) Yeah, right.

I also cut out some new Ottobre PJ tops during the week, and I have fabric out to cut coordinating PJ pants. Those will be quick projects, but will have to wait until after the Jalie top is done.

Right now it's off to fold the laundry load that I forgot about. Thankfully it's mostly socks and tee shirts, so the wrinkles won't matter.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Carcass

I knew yesterday that the dress was never going to work on me. Yes, there were all sorts of things I could've done to make it a more visually appealing dress, and many of you made suggestions that I had already thought about. (Lighting it on fire crossed my mind too!) But instead of fighting with it, I decided to cut my losses and move on. Literally.

Presenting the Cosmo dress skirt section, a/k/a Jalie 2794:

It's sitting artificially high on Zillie. The neckline is lower cut than it appears here. I'm still debating whether to add the center front shirring, but I thought I'd sleep on it first.

It was so nice to dust off my coverstitch machine. It was still threaded with lime green thread from hemming my slinky items last month. Poor baby, all neglected. It's also nice to finally have a new tee to wear tomorrow.

I had one section of border remaining from this fabric and I used it for the binding and a bottom band. The bottom band was needed because I turned the skirt sections on the bias and by doing so there wasn't enough length to cut whole pieces of the tee front or back. I like the band and while it provides a bit of contrast, it's not so blatant that it screams, "Look at my butt." ;-)

I'll try the Cosmo dress one more time, with another fabric and with the crossover bodice. I still like the style of the dress. The problem wasn't the pattern but that this particular print wasn't the best match for a full dress on my curvy, plus body. Live and learn. Then cut it up and make a tee shirt.

Stepping Back

What a difference a day makes. Today I hate the dress. It just isn't very flattering on me. From the neckline shape, to the print, to the handkerchief sleeves, to the multi-color waistband. Nope.

The neckband is still not attached, the sideseams are only basted and the length is about 3 feet too long. And those ties go on forEVER. I'll stop at this point and put it away for a while to see how I feel later, but at this point I'm not optimistic that the Magic Wardrobe can save this one. And besides, I'm kind of sick of sewing clothes I can't wear around the house. I want to sew tee shirts and capris and cotton skirts. I'm toying with the idea of trying to work the neckline into a vee to see if I like that better, but right now I'm not highly motivated. I do know that I probably should've made the wrap version instead.

A few readers posed questions in the comments about using Power Dry for the waistband "interfacing." I didn't use a fusible because I needed to sew the fashion fabric waist piece to the skirt while still being able to see through it so I could sew perfectly along the top stripe of the border print. A fusible would've made the back side of the waistband opaque. After sewing that seam I made another pass and sewed the Power Dry layer separately, stitching just inside the "real" stitching. I used Power Dry because it was handy, and like one commenter, I have a *ton* of it. On the bright side, I can tell the extra layer really makes a positive difference in how the dress fits and hangs at the waist. Oh, and the fiddly stitching is perfect. Figures. ;-)

In other news, I was offered the job I interviewed for the Monday before last but I'm going to turn it down. I'll stay with the boring and tedious (but great time- and gas-saving commute) at-home job for the summer and set out once more for the real world in late August or so when vacations are winding down and hiring will pick up again. Which means all my new clothes will just gather dust. Meh. Or maybe job hunting will be like boyfriends. When you stop looking, Mr. Right appears. LOL!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Good (DecoVibe)rations

It's coming together. Slower than I want, but I haven't spent much time in the sewing room the last couple of evenings.

The sideseams are only pinned at this point. I still have to sew the tie, and it has to be perfectly straight for it to match up with the waist inset. It's not the thing to do at the end of the evening so I'll work on that tomorrow.

I did manage to squeak out the upper back bodice on the bias, but I didn't cut it as straight as I could've. At least it's in the back where I'll never see it. (And, yes, I did cut a bunch off the skirt length but the weight of the knit is dragging it back down.)

I also decided to reinforce the waist inset, after looking at my similar RTW dress and discovering its waistband was double-layer. I was already thinking it could use some stabilization so it doesn't wind up at my hips by the end of the day. I used Power Dry instead of self-fabric not because of any magical properties it might have, but because I think I might just have enough scraps left of the dress fabric for a tee and I didn't want to ruin the chances for that by cutting two more waist pieces.

Parting Shot (Summerset really ought to trademark this): My sewing companion Dani. She's really become "Mama's pooch" (as they all are!) and spends lots of one-on-one time with me in the sewing room. Of course, she's usually stealing things out of the trash basket to cart off and shred, but sometimes she justs hangs out and keeps me company. Tonight was hang-out time.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Final Audition

The fabric cutting is almost complete, which means tomorrow I get to SEW!

As I was deciding how to use all the various prints/borders of the fabric, I had pretty much settled on cutting the upper bodice on the bias so the print would run diagonally. But to be sure before making a fatal mistake, I put Zillie to work auditioning both choices.

My instincts were right. The bias bodice (on the left) looks so much better. With the bodice on the bias, the print is broken up in a subtle manner, instead of reading like wallpaper. ;-) There is turquoise in the print that matches the turquoise in the waist and neck sections, but it's not showing up very well in these photos. Maybe you can get a better idea of the colors from this close-up.

I hope I have enough fabric to also cut the back upper bodice on the bias, but first I need to cut the sleeves before I'll know.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fit Tweaks

Here's the complete muslin. I know it's not flattering on Zillie. But this is icky poly knit, with a slight sheen, some horizontal striping, and without any contrast to break up the solid blue. The fabric I have in mind for the real dress will look so much better than this stuff. Trust me.

So getting past the fabric, the final tweaks to this pattern are:

1. A slight FBA. I've changed my mind on this and have decided that I could use about 1/2" more length in the upper bodice, as well as moving the dart point out as I mentioned yesterday.

2. Scooping out the back neckline.

3. Moving the shoulder seam backward a smidge, less than 3/8". I'm one of the few women who sits at a computer a lot but does not have forward shoulders. I credit my mother, who always nagged me to stand up straight when I was a kid. I have great posture now. LOL!

4. Raising the neckline another 3/4" - 1". I'll cut it at 1" higher and then evaluate. I'm already thinking a vee neckline would be nice for the next version, but I'll stay true to the pattern for the first go.

5. Cutting off at least 5" from the pattern length. This muslin is 4" shorter than the actual pattern because this is all the length I had in this fugly knit. And still, it's nearly to my ankles. (I'm about 5'5".)

And that's it. The skirt is cut from the size 18 pieces, but the front was already widened the same 1/2" as the FBA before I cut these pieces. Other than that, no alterations and it fits great.

Oh wait. I did widen the sleeve pattern before cutting the muslin yesterday, which is a typical alteration for me. But I did nothing to the armhole or shoulder length, and both are great on me. I like high armholes and these are high, but not too high or too tight.

The alterations are done and next will be the real stuff. Cutting the fabric to use the print as I want will take twice as long as the actual sewing. Hopefully, I'll squeeze in some time tomorrow to start cutting.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Heat Is On

This is a muslin for my first HotPatterns pattern, the Deco Vibe Cosmopolitan Dress. A wonderfully nice member gifted this pattern to me and since the huge envelope was taking up so much room in my to-make pile, I decided it was time to give it a go and regain that space.

I traced a straight 18, which (according to the size chart) is near to my actual measurements but definitely smaller. I decided on the 18 after comparing the pattern to my TNT Ottobre tee pattern. The 18 was closest in the bodice to that. The skirt will definitely not fit me in an 18, so I'll need to make a partial test skirt to add onto this bodice to check how much more width I'll need and where/how to morph that onto the waistband pieces. Note to self: Check length of skirt too, to avoid wasting fabric.

The bodice fits pretty well, but I do have some quiggles. First, obviously is the hoochie neckline. And this is already after raising it over an inch while tracing the pattern. (Is anyone actually wearing the original neckline, because every reviewer has mentioned raising it. And if so, were they arrested?)

The bust space and dart height seems to be sufficient for the DD girls (amazing!), but the dart ends right at the bust point. Ouch! I'll have to back that off and redraw the dart.

The shoulders and back neckline are wonky. I believe these are a direct result of the Wild Ginger software used to create these patterns. I recognize the awful back neck curve that I always have to redraw when I draft my own patterns with WG software. I don't have a particularly strange neck or curve in the back, and you can see how high it is on the dressform's standard neck. It's a software glitch, which IMO should've been corrected.

The shoulder angles themselves don't match. The front is more sloped than the back. For me, this meant only altering the front piece for my square shoulders since the back shoulder angle was already "squared." This worked, except the entire shoulder point is too far forward for me so I'll be moving the corrected seam backward about 3/8". With that and correcting the back neck curve, I will eliminate the chokehold effect.

I'm not sure how much more time I'll have to work on this today as household errands are calling, but I'll update here with progress as it happens.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The 1940s Called …

… and said you ain't no Andrews Sister. ;-)

(Is it just me or is anyone else getting a 1940s vibe from this outfit?)

LaVerne, Maxene & Patty

While I do like 1940s styles, I'm not really feeling the love for this blouse. It's OK, but just OK. The problem is the fabric more than anything. It's shifty and limp and fought me the whole time just like if it were bias cut.

The hem isn't crooked. It's that darn shifty fabric. It even looks like it's bias cut, with the diagonal-ish print. I think it needs something at the point of the V for the eye to rest on. I have some ideas but whatever it is, I don't own it yet.

I like tie blouses but this one feels like I'm being strangled a little. It's too high in the back and the fabric is too floppy to stay neatly folded over.

The jury is still out on whether I'll make it again. I might like it in a more stable cotton, for a completely different look. Or not.

I'll add a review to PR, but first I'm going to take the dogs for a sweat, I mean walk.

BTW NancyK, the pleats are centered exactly under my bust apex and were on the muslin too. ;-)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Slow and Steady with Vogue 8118

While trying to find a job, I've actually been working a temp job from home. It's horrible, data-entry type stuff, but it pays very well and it's from home so the commute is great. But after 8 hours of working with huge spreadsheets and figures, I'm cross-eyed and don't have much brain power left for sewing. Still, I have found some time during the week to start a new top.

I've been working, in dribs and drabs, on Vogue 8118 (now OOP). I'm going to make it with the short flutter sleeves and the tie neckline, omitting the back tie.

So far, I've managed to do the pattern alterations and make a muslin. Here's the upper front bodice, altered. The yellow lines below are the normal slash/spread FBA. I had originally entertained the thought of being lazy and leaving the side dart but once I filled it in and folded it into place, I realized that it was going to overlap the empire seam. Oops. So I decided to close that dart and rotate it into the underbust pleats where it belongs. The green lines below are my slash lines to move the rotated dart into the pleats. (Click on the photos for a bigger, clear version.)

Here's the final pattern piece with the side dart rotated into the underbust pleats.

The lower front is cut on the fold so I just added tissue to the CF the same width that I spread for the FBA above (1-5/8").

I also added waist/hip width to the back piece and made a 1/2" swayback tuck. I didn't do anything to the sleeves, since measuring told me that this flutter style would be more than roomy enough for my large biceps.

Then I cut the muslin to test the changes and it's pretty good. I still need to make my usual square shoulder adjustment, but I needed a reference point for where my shoulders hit in the raglan sleeves so I decided to make that adjustment after I could mark a spot on the muslin. That adjustment will also move the empire seam down the 3/8" additional that I still need right under the breast.

Other reviewers on PR have noted that this neckline is low. I'm on the fence, but I'm going to leave it as is because I don't think it's too low on me (even with the SA gone) and the tie will provide additional coverage/camouflage. If I regret it, well, I'll just tie a really big bow.

I'm not usually a fan of flutter sleeves, but the intended fabric is drapey and sheer and the sleeves will hang less stiffly than in this muslin. Plus, the sleeve doesn't go around the whole armhole which means it will be cooler to wear with the underarm open the way it is. Sleeveless, but not really.

I'm going to cut the real fabric today and hopefully get it sewn. It's a pretty easy top, so it should go fast.

* * * * *

I'm waiting to hear about the Monday interview job. The interview went well and I've been told I am a very strong candidate, but now I'm not sure if I want it (for a few reasons). Sigh. But I won't make a final decision about it unless/until it's offered to me. There's also a good possibility that the from-home temp job could be permanent if I'm interested. But am I? (And if I am, what happens to my new wardrobe?) This job-hunting stuff is draining. But at least I'm making some money during the slow summer hiring season so it could be worse.