Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ready to Cut

The tinkering is finished, and the cutting is about to commence! I did a final version in the fleece, taking a wedge out of the front sort of a la Patty the Snug Bug, and I also needed to take an inch out of the side front piece above the waist to accommodate my short waistedness that I was trying to ignore. I was also trying to ignore my narrow shoulders, but also ended up narrowing it at both the front and back and will still use the shoulder pads to make it hang more nicely.

It looks a bit like Frankenstein's monster, but that's not so evident in the pictures. And the back is hemmed and front isn't. C'est la vie. Today's goal is to simply prepare the pattern pieces, making sure I have all the markings on them. Another option is to take it all apart and use the actual "muslin" as your pattern, but this fleece tends to do some weird stretchy things, and I'm not really comfortable doing that, so paper it is. Plus, have you ever tried to write on fleece? Not easy.

Gertie has laid out a very doable schedule for the making of this coat, and that will also allow me to get a couple of other things made that have been either in the queue or floating around in my head for at least a couple of weeks now.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lady Grey "It's SO FLUFFY" Coat

Let's just get this out of the way:

I've made my second muslin and this time I used fleece which is closer in weight to the wool that I've chosen. So, what changes did I make? Here ya go:

First, please ignore the wonky hem. I lengthened the pattern, and then turned up the hem, just to get an idea. I like the length. I shortened the sleeves. Are they too short now? That's an easy fix.

I made the lapels and collar slightly smaller. I think I like this better. And I deepened the armscye 3/4". That seems like a lot, but it feels so much better, and will allow those winter clothes that eventually we may need. (The ceiling fan AND another fan, plus the AC, are going for this photo shoot!)

I stuck with the size 10, but graded out to a 12 at the waist on all the seams and then back to the 10. Then, when I stitched the princess seams, about 2-3" above and below the waist, I used a 1/2" seam allowance, then back to the 5/8". I don't think that will be necessary at all on the front and will stick with 5/8" SA all the way.

Now for the back view:
I think I will keep the 1/2" SA on the princess seams for the back. It's a bit wrinkled looking, but that is really from the belt. Take a look without the belt:
The back is much better, and I think with a lining, many of those wrinkles will not be in evidence.

The thing I'm most concerned about on the back is how the shoulders look kind of droopy, and it generally seems a bit too wide. I'm wearing sweater underneath, and it's plenty comfy, so I think I can do a bit of narrowing at about the halfway mark on the armhole on up to the shoulder on the back and the front. No more than 1/2" narrower. I'll unstitch and try again and see what happens.

I'm feeling pretty good about this version, and it will come in handy as a bathrobe, I think. Or not.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Award Time -- 10 Things About Me

The blogging awards are making their rounds, and earlier this week, Julia presented me with the Beautiful Blogger Award. Thanks so much, Julia! The rules are to post 10 things that you don't know about me, and to pass it on to more bloggers. First, on the passing it on... lots of the sewing bloggers that I read have already gotten this award, so I'm going to branch out, and pass it on to the Etsy group that I'm a part of, The Daily Sweets, and to those girls that have blogs.

Now, on with the 10 things:

  1. Julia (yes, the one that gave me the award) and I are practically related! Let's see. My daughter, Laura, married Thomas who is from Julia's hometown, and Julia is married to Thomas' aunt's cousin. Or something like that. We've met once, but a proper meeting, where we both know who we're actually meeting, and not realizing it later is definitely in order!
  2. I've been in the Etsy group I mentioned, The Daily Sweets,  for about 2-1/2 years now, and several of us are meeting up for the first time next month in California! I can't wait!
  3. I'm addicted to certain reality TV shows, especially the kinds that have competitions. Project Runway, the Amazing Race, and So You Think You Can Dance are my favorites.
  4. OK, so I'm also addicted to other TV shows, but I rarely turn the TV on until later in the afternoon, and then it's CNN.
  5. I like it completely quiet when I'm sewing, but occasionally will turn on some music, or CNN, when I want a little "company."
  6. I really like hot weather, and am secretly thrilled that it still feels like summer outside.
  7. I don't like to go fast, as in when you ride a jet ski, or ski downhill, much to my children's dismay.
  8. There are no teenagers in my house anymore. Both my kids are now in their 20s.
  9. I recently killed my son's pet fish. Who knew that betas really thrived on neglect?
  10. I love growing avocado trees, starting them from seeds, though I have only done it once successfully. I do have another seed trying to get started now though.

If you've made it this far, how about a Lady Grey update? I've decided to make another muslin from the changes on the first one, and I'm retracing the pattern with the changes, and I'm going to use fleece, which feels way more like the thickness of my wool than the muslin does. Pictures tomorrow (hopefully).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fabric Shopping in Maryland

Do you have those? I sure do, and one of my favorite fabric store memories is from when I lived in Maryland and was able to shop any time I wanted at G Street Fabrics. And take classes. Of course, it wasn't on G Street anymore, but was in Rockville on Rockville Pike. And, most of the time, the fabric was out of my budget. So, yes, it was Cloth World for me. Is Cloth World even still in business?

I'm not a huge shopper, but on the recent weekend getaway, G Street was the only place that I had to shop in. Now there are 3 G Streets, too! Two in Virginia. The Centerville shop was too far. Falls Church was a possibility on Saturday, but we didn't fit it in. That left Sunday and the Rockville location. I had printed out some coupons, so that was great, and it turned out that all their apparel fabric was 25% off with some 40% off. Yay!

It wasn't on Rockville Pike anymore, but had moved about a block away, and did not have nearly the glamorous feel that it did before, but I still had some good luck shopping. I bought 3 pre-cut "skirt" lengths of suiting fabric for $6 each (actually less with the discount).

Then I found a plain gray cotton jersey that's a really nice weight. Not too light. I didn't take a picture of it, but gray is gray. The best deal is a matte jersey border print that turned out to be 40% off! I ended up getting 4 yards because it was the end of the bolt. Are you ever talked into getting that extra that you didn't really need just because that was it? I am such a sucker for that. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, and while stash builder is not really how I would describe myself, I think there are lots of possibilities for creativity with it.

Finally, I bought another button for my Lady Grey coat, and all the interfacing and other notions that I'll need, too. My one disappointment was that they were out of Burda Magazines. Silly, I know, but I can't find them anywhere in Atlanta.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What I saw...

... on my run yesterday. And, yes, the sky really was that blue!

Roland and I spent a long weekend in the Virginia-DC-Maryland area this past weekend, mostly catching up with old friends, but doing a little sightseeing. I had not been back to the area since we moved away more than 5 years ago, so it was wonderful! We did visit the new Native American Museum which opened after we had moved (wonderful cafeteria!), and I managed to squeeze in a shopping trip to G Street Fabrics. I'll show you what I bought tomorrow.

It's time to restock the pantry and fridge now, though!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Lady Grey Lab Coat

Oh! That's not what we're making? Well, darn, must go back and read the instructions.

Ah, yes, it's just muslin time, and so, what did I do? First I measured across the shoulders of my current favorite coat, and chose the size based on that, and went with a 10. I realize that I don't appear to be a 10, and that none of my other measurements match up to that, but never mind, I didn't make any changes (yet) and just cut out a straight 10. (The snazzy red belt belongs to my trenchcoat.) Here's the result:
So, on first glance, the collar over my right shoulder is crumpled up. And do you see that leaf on the ground? That doesn't mean fall right now... it was 92 degrees F when I took this picture. So I'm wearing a sleeveless dress. Yep, the Lady Grey fits me great! As a blouse! Look at the back:
Hmmm, I'm leaning just a bit. See that big ol' wrinkle across the middle of my back? That will have to go.

I don't know if you can see it, but the dark line on the lapel is the seam line. I'm still on the fence about narrowing the lapels and collar just a bit, but I kind of like how the width of the collar/lapel balances out the width of the hips. Covers up my narrow shoulders in other words.

So, a few changes to be made:
  • the excess on the back.
  • the super long sleeves. What's up with the sleeve length? And is it just me, but I couldn't find in the instructions how deep the hem was on the sleeve or the coat itself. I tend to be a skimmer though.
  • I actually like the length of the coat. I think that length makes the peplum hit at a more flattering place on my body, so will make that my finished length and add the hem depth to the pattern.
  • I think I'm going to go with 1" seam allowances on the body and give myself some extra room for actual winter clothes to fit underneath. My wool is a medium weight, so I'm a little concerned about how that's all going to fit and plan to baste the seams first for fit when I hit the actual fabric.
  • add a bit of extra depth the armscyes for those winter clothes that I mentioned above. I don't plan to interline because I live in Atlanta after all, and it just doesn't get that cold. And if it happened to have a day or three where it was that cold, this is not the coat I'd be wearing.
So, what do you think? Am I delusional? I know there's some discussion on whether or not this coat works for everyone (uh, no), but I'm kind of liking it on me.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Future Lady Grey

The Blog for Better Sewing (you know, Gertie's blog) Lady Grey Sew Along is underway! I've accomplished a few things, besides deciding to participate, and the first thing I want to share is my fabric. After deliberating on color, I settled on a medium weight almost black navy wool from Gorgeous Fabrics and a polyester charmeuse hot pink with white polka dots from Gail K's Fabrics in Atlanta. Oh, and I got my buttons at Gail K's too. I got one dressy button, and one plain flat navy blue one for the inside if you're wondering why there's only one button in the picture. I'm not 100% decided on the button, but have yet to look through my stash yet.

There you go. On my monitor, it really does look black. I'm slightly ahead of the sew along, as I've finished my muslin, at least version #1, and I'll reveal that tomorrow. I'm pretty excited though!

Oh, I almost forgot... I took the wool to my local dry cleaners to be steam pressed. And then when I got home I was reading the comments on Gertie's blog and saw the one from Ann at Gorgeous Fabrics mentioning an at home shrinking method. Arghhhh! Oh, well, next time.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sewing Book Giveaway!

The Blue Gardenia is at it again! To celebrate the success of her Sewing Spaces Series, Denise is giving away The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing: 1100 Full-Color How-To Photos by Singer. Go visit her blog, The Blue Gardenia, check out all the featured sewing spaces, and leave a comment to have a chance at the giveaway. That's it! Good luck, and thanks, Denise!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Take a Peek at My Sewing Space

Not here, though! Do you know The Blue Gardenia? Purveyor of delightful vintage patterns, Denise keeps us entertained regularly with enchanting stories based on these very patterns. When she isn't doing that, she is hosting tours of sewing spaces of wonderful sewing bloggers, and I'm honored to be included. Click here, and you can see what I see while I sew. And then spend your afternoon browsing through the patterns at the Blue Gardenia. You're sure to find at least one that you just have to have!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

You've Seen Her as a Bride...

Today, my baby girl, turns 23! Happy Birthday, Laura!

She was adorable as a 6-month old:
She's still quite the Daddy's Girl! You can't really see the details of her little Easter dress, but it's one I made and smocked for her. We had attended our church's sunrise service, and then headed to the Mall to check out the cherry blossoms.

As she got older, this is how we usually saw her:
Yep, nose in a book, no matter what the scenery around her. This was taken on a ferry crossing from northern Germany to Denmark.

Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bohemian Butterick 5046

Now, this was a fast pattern to make, just as Butterick promised... Fast & Easy!

I've broken a some home sewing rules here, the biggest of which is to not use quilting fabric to make garments. Well, at least if you're an adult. First a picture:
I bought this Andover Fabric design from Whipstitch Fabrics here in Atlanta. I originally was planning to make the dress (view B), but making it a shorter length will be more functional when it starts to get cooler. And it will get cooler. Really.

Things I like:
  • the colors and batik-y look of the fabric.
  • the 3/4 length sleeve, which you may notice that I narrowed, taking out the hippie-angled hem.
  • the bias contrast edging on the neckline and sleeve hem.
  • the great Australian timber button I purchased from my Etsy friend, Kylie, in her supply shop, Meluna Beads.
  • I'll be able to wear this over jeans or leggings (though I'm not really a leggings girl).

Things I don't like:
  •  this cotton isn't a silky feeling cotton, like apparel cotton, but has a more homespun feel. And it's kind of scratchy.
  • the sleeves could be just a skootch shorter.
  • is it too long for me? I'm kind of thinking that I might shorten it just a bit, maybe an inch, but I might just leave it as is.
  • the shoulders are just a bit wide.
  • I will always have to wear a cami, or some kind of top under it, as the V is just a bit deep and gappy which is my own fault, as I didn't do any kind of pre-fitting.
  • the too-wide shoulders lead to all those wrinkles and extra fabric around the sleeves on the back.
 So, my first fall garment, and I'm mostly happy with it, and it will get some wear. And I was pretty darn excited that I could actually zip up my jeans, albeit with the laying on the bed method. Eek! Good thing the point counting has started.

For my sister: gratuitous picture of avocado plant that I started from a seed.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Frock by Saturday

OK, I do know that it's Sunday but... I finished my frock yesterday, during the Kentucky-Louisville game. Go Cats. Just so y'all know... I'm a HUGE college football fan. Not fanatic or anything, but I really do enjoy it, and so starting at 12:21 for the kickoff of the UGA-UL-Lafayette game (Go Dawgs!), until I just couldn't stand it anymore last night about 10:30, it was college football! Bottom line, though, is that I just wasn't up to frock fotography. As I write this, I'm watching my alma mater, SMU, try to come back against Texas Tech!

Anyway, back to the dress... This morning, I actually did a little more tweaking, but here it is:
 So this is a combination of the skirt part of McCalls 5466, available free from printsew.com, and the Alexander blouse pattern from BurdaStyle. I did attach them, making it a dress.

Things I like:
  • that it's a dress.
  • the fit and my method of taking up the extra fabric in the skirt by sewing the pleats all the way to the hem. This helped eliminate the skirt poofiness which exaggerated my own natural poofiness. Now it looks like there are seams.
  • the belt loops, and the covered buttons. You can't see the belt loops in any of the pics, but I had a bit of extra from the button loops, and it was perfect for belt loops.
  • the peplum. Ordinarily, peplums can be dicey affairs, but I've already got the tummy, and it seems to camouflage it nicely. Am I in denial?
  • the lapped zipper and the back vent.
 Things I don't like:
  • I'm not crazy about the color on me. The blouse portion is a gray silky-feeling cotton, originally purchased to be a flower girl dress.
  • I think the ruffly sleeves may be just a bit twee. Roland didn't like them.
  • I'm not crazy about the skirt fabric. I think I mentioned this is from a fabric.com warehouse sale where you bought fabric by the pound. It's a poly-blend suiting fabric that doesn't really want to hold a crease.
  • The gapping of the buttons. Because there is a back zipper, the buttons are really just decorative, and I'm going to slipstitch the opening closed.
 It was a fun project, though perhaps a bit ambitious for a quickly made frock, and definitely not a beginner project. I'm working on a little bohemian wrap dress right now, that actually isn't taking that long. And I'm so excited about the navy wool I ordered for my Lady Grey coat! I'll show you pictures when it arrives.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Frock by THIS Friday?

I've been working on the Frock by Friday sew along that's going on over at Grosgrain Fabulous, but I'm just a wee bit behind after what I thought was a really promising start. Monday's assignment was to tape together the patterns (it's a mashup of a the Alexander blouse from Burdastyle and a free McCalls pattern, click on the link to Grosgrain above and you can see what they are). Oh, and you were supposed to cut everything out. So, I managed to cut out the skirt part, and realized that I didn't really have enough fabric for the pockets (which were the kind that you had to have matching fabric). My solution:

But the Burda blouse didn't actually get cut out. Moving on though, yesterday it seemed I lucked out and the assignment was to sew up the skirt. Well, I managed to get the pleats put in, and the pockets attached. I felt myself falling behind. This sewing along to get a frock done in a week seems fraught with disaster. My pictures aren't that good, but look anyway. A picture of how the pocket looks:
The fabric is a cheapy suiting dark gray thing that I bought a couple of years ago at the Fabric.com warehouse sale. You know, where you bought fabric by the pound. It was awesome in its own way, but I digress.

That brings us to today. I did a pin fitting, and whoops, it was too big. FOUR inches too big. I don't really know how that happened, but I measured the pattern and my body, and cut the fabric accordingly. Well, never mind because too big is easier to fix than too small. With the pockets, I couldn't just make huge side seams, so I added four more pleats, so now there are three pleats on each side, front and back. That worked pretty well, and I did 5/8" side seams down past the pockets, and then widened the side seam allowance all the way to 1".

It looks kind of poofy, and I'm toying with the idea of sewing the middle pleats down all the way to the hem all around. It's something I can do at any stage though, so I think I'll wait. Ignore the white top.

For the top, I was going to use some silver silk charmeuse that Laura had picked out for a sash for her wedding dress, and then she got a different dress, and that meant no sash. (Wedding dress drama) I'm kind of glad that I didn't cut it out though, because I think I'm going with some gray cotton that was going to be a flower girl dress before we decided to go with lavender. The top looks more complicated. Not hard, but just more involved.

No post on Grosgrain today about an assignment, but besides cutting out the top, I need to buy a zipper, maybe buttons, do laundry, and we're having out of town company on Friday. Well, you get the picture.

In other sew along news, I received my Lady Grey coat pattern in the mail today! Woo hoo! Does a black wool flannel coat sound too boring? I think I'm going with black with a snazzy lining.


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