Friday, March 30, 2012

It's An Award!

It appears that it's Awards Season for the sewing bloggers, and I've been presented with one! A huge thank you to Sarah from her Musings of a Seamstress blog for the Liebster Blog Award!! The wonderful thing about these awards is that it brings other great blogs to my attention.

The rules of the Liebster Blog award are:
  1. Thank your Liebster Blog award presenter on your blog
  2. Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.
  3. Copy/paste the blog award on your blog.
  4. Present the Liebster Blog award to 5 blogs (with 200 followers or less).
  5. Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment.
One thing you don't have to do, like you do for some other awards, is answer any questions about yourself, but I'm just going to share, that I have way too much angst over who to award this to. But it's supposed to be fun, or at least I think it's supposed to be fun, so on that note...

I'm passing this award on to these 5 blogs, some I've known for awhile and some are new to me, too. Check them out!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mad Men Challenge Dress Revealed

Does hand sewing take everyone a long time? Or at least longer than you think it should? Well, never mind that! My Mad Men Challenge Megan inspired Little Black Dress is complete.
The actress that plays Megan is young, tall, thin and gorgeous, so I hesitate to re-show my inspiration picture. Aw heck, scroll down to Monday's post to see it, hee hee.

Back already? How'd I do?

Some details:

  • Simplicity 6094 (that's in Monday's post, too) was the basis. My pattern is a size 16, bust 38 released in 1973. I had to narrow the bodice, changing the shape of the armholes and the neckline just a bit, and I made the back neckline lower, though not as low as the inspiration dress.
  • Fabric is a cotton pique that I picked up at Mood during my New York trip. It has a wonderful hand and a slight sheen making it kind of dressy. Also, it is machine washable.
  • The cotton will make it nice for the 2 weddings that we may attend in Texas this summer. Where it's really hot.
  • You're looking at a hand-picked invisible zipper.
  • What?
  • I'm using my back up Bernina and I don't have an invisible zipper foot. I inserted it, by machine, with a regular zipper foot, but there was an unsightly gap, showing too much zipper. I solved it by meeting the edges of the fabric over the zipper, pressing and then using the prick stitch to secure in place. Not nearly as time consuming and as curse worthy as trying to pick out the black thread stitches from a cushy pique.
  • Can you see the trim around the neckline? It's not quite as big and showy as the inspiration dress, but more of an understated style that suits me.
  • I'm fine with those wrinkles in the back.
  • Much lower cut that I anticipated. I do realize that I had complete control over that, but it wasn't until I tried it on for hem placement that I became completely aware of the cleavage factor. Well, it IS a LBD for going out.
  • I tried to lighten up this picture a bit so you can see the underbust seaming detail. There is also a center front seam. Those seams enhance the fit over a simple shift. My muslin fit tighter, though I didn't make another muslin after I made the bodice changes and I think that affected the tightness and where the underbust seam hit on my body.
  • You still can't really see the trim very well. I purchased it at M&J Trimmings, also on the NYC trip.

I really like how it turned out. I didn't line it (the heat factor), but did line the front bodice piece where I made the cut-out, simply sewing right sides together the lining and the bodice where I wanted my square, cutting out the center of the square, understitching the lining, and pushing it through to the inside.

The rest of the seams are serged. I did use regular neckline and armhole facings, pinking the edges because of the bulk factor, and catch-stitching them all to the inside. I used narrow hem lace at the hem which I made 2-5/8" deep (after cutting off 5"!! these patterns were made for tall women). The hem was slip-stitched.

Am I forgetting anything? Probably. How about a couple of parting shots:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mad Men Challenge Update

I haven't mentioned this particular challenge lately, but that doesn't mean that things haven't been happening behind the scenes. In fact, I was really, really hoping to have it finished today, just in time for the premiere. Alas, it was not to be. I'm going to try to get some handsewing done on it tonight while I watch, but it's black, and it's night. Two factors that mean the possibility for success is low. We'll see.

In the meantime, I'll show you what I've chosen to do for the challenge. I'm going to challenge my inner young, cute, sexy secretary/nanny and am choosing this as my inspiration:
And I'm using Simplicity 6094 as it's basis.
It's not for sale yet in my shop, but an eerily similar one is here. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will be done tomorrow. Tuesday at the latest... be sure to check back!

And, sshhhhh, it's about to start!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Sweater? A Sweater!

I knit a sweater! A cardigan to be precise, and to be even preciser (preciser?) I finished knitting it, um, last summer. It's a cropped, 3/4 length sleeve, scoop neck cardi knit in some kind of washable cotton yarn that is soft and scrumptious. I think you have to be a member of Ravelry to see it, but it's the Miette pattern that is a free download from there.

A couple of details. Well, I can't remember any of the details of the actual pattern. But as a beginner knitter, my grasp of size and gauge is, well, admittedly, weak. I made this with one particular dress in mind, and when I put it on with the dress, I just wasn't thrilled. Does that ever happen to you? What you see in your mind is really different than how a project turns out.

Heck, I'll just show you some pictures!
Doesn't look too bad from this angle. I'm not wearing the dress I imagined it with, but a different skirt and top.
It's supposed to be pretty much fitted, and it is just too wide across the back and at the neckline. (It's also a little long to be called a cropped sweater, oops.)
Oh, maybe I AM wearing the dress, hee hee.
Yep, I like it better with the skirt, which looks fluffy and full over this full skirted dress.
I want to leave you with a close up of the chartreuse green square buttons and the eyelet design. But don't look too closely, as there are tons of mistakes!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Images of New York City

It appears that I've been missing from the blog! Not much sewing happening, but that's not the reason. The real reason is that I spent last week with my daughter, Laura, first in NYC, and then with her and her husband, Thomas, at their apartment in Alexandria, VA. I'll let the pictures do the talking. Bonus points if you can name some of the buildings or places and even the dogs. Enjoy...

Me and my friend Amy
You bet!
Is it over?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A '70s Halter: Simplicity 6358

Finished! Simplicity 6358. From 1974.
I saw this pattern, and knew I had to make it. View 3. And I knew the fabric, though theoretically, I'm kind of calling this a muslin. Bust 34 is a bit small for me, and certainly through the waist I had make some serious width adjustments. I also did a highly technical measurement from the center of my neck in front, down around under the arm, and then back up to the center back, and determined that I needed to add about an inch to both the front and back "armhole" length.

The fabric I used is a black and white plaid cotton that I bought for 50 cents at an estate sale. One of the reasons this fabric and pattern called out to each other was that I only had about 2/3 of a yard. And it's a plaid. I'm not sure my matching is spot on, but did you see the mention of muslin above? The armholes have facings, but without enough fabric, I just used self made bias tape.

Also, that collar! It's supposed to be 4 inches wide. FOUR INCHES! My neck is not that long, people. The pattern piece has you cut it out in one piece, on the bias, and then fold it over. Easy, but I didn't have enough fabric for that, even narrowing it to 2 inches. I added a 3/8" seam allowance to the fold line, and cut a 3" wide bias strip which I had to piece. Then from a scrap, I cut another strip that became the collar facing.

I would have liked to add a bit more length to the entire thing, but there was that lack of fabric thing. Next time.
See how short it is? It's not tucked in. I did add waistline darts to snug it up a bit. Hmm, that picture looks oddly blurry. The skirt is an old one of mine from Ann Taylor. Do you like that length? It's hiked up to just under the boobs. Here's what it looks like at it's original length, and when I looked at the picture I thought it looked a bit dowdy.
You are supposed to put hooks at the back of the collar, but I left those off for fear that they would just catch in my hair and be annoying.
This kind of top can be really versatile... throw on a blazer or a cardigan, and the covered up look goes to the office or church.  Take the jacket off, and it's ready for evening. And it's also the perfect backdrop for a great necklace. You'll just have to take my word for it, because I was quickly running out of daylight, and the dogs and the husband were anxious for dinner.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Big Zipper in the Room

... or why I haven't shown you any pictures of my made-over studio...

There it is, people. A door length zipper. Awe-inspiring, no?

But let's back up. Have you ever done any remodeling? If you have (or maybe even if you haven't), you know that one thing leads to another, and this is definitely a case of that. For your enjoyment, let's go through a brief outline of those one things leading to other things...

  • Kyle moves into a house in Macon (whoa, how does this fit in?)and needs furniture
  • We give him the furniture in the guest room/studio, making it possible to simply have a new studio... woohoo!!
  • We decide to remodel the kitchen
  • Get quotes and pick a designer/contractor
  • But wait... the kitchen floor is seriously not level. Can't have that.
  • Luckily, the kitchen is directly above the open storage area in the basement. Engineers descend.
  • A plan is hatched. Must clean out the basement. Studio redecorating is fast-tracked. Woohoo!!
  • The basement is cleared out, and a little plastic room pops in.
  • With another big zipper. This is to hold all the cement dust in when then cut a hole in the basement floor. It works.
  • And now we have this:

  • Clever, right? It's like a giant car jack, hoisting up the kitchen floor 1/16" of an inch at a time. Those little red "feet" on the bottoms of the outside posts are really the jacks that the guys come in and raise up almost every morning. The floor has been raised 7/16" as of last Wednesday, and we're giving the walls a chance to adjust so they don't crack. So far, so good.
  • Leading us back out of the basement, through the big zipper:

All, of this is to say that while my sewing studio is completely usable, it's kind of a mess with things stacked up in it that will go back into the basement. And I haven't put up any of the decorations, and really made it pretty. Just functional. Soon, I'm promising myself, soon.

I have big sewing goals this week, too... but lots of appointments, etc, too. Probably too ambitious, I know. But on the 13th, Laura and I are going to New York for her spring break, and I need a new dress! Vintage pattern made up in a red ponte knit. Oh, it will be delightful.


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