Monday, July 28, 2008

A Dancing Day

Yesterday, I was dancing in my sewing room. Fortunately, DH Richard was absorbed in the Sunday paper and had no idea what I was doing. Now, what could be the cause of such joy? There were several things. First, the coat muslin finally fit without so many pull winkles that it looked like I slept in it. I let out a seam here and there and eventually it hung straight, seams in line, and all those wonderful things. Many thanks to NancyK and Mary OK who gave me the winning ideas for fixing it! Of course, the collar and sleeves weren't in yet but, hey, I'm making good progress. This afternoon I put the collar in. This was not a dancing day. I had clipped the neck seams and had all those big seam allowances. In the future, I betya I'll sew that collar in first rather than clipping the neck line and pressing it under first to check the neckline. Frankly, I'd rather rip collar basting if I have to adjust the neckline. Usually, I dread set-in sleeves, but I actually enjoyed doing anything other than trying to sew a collar/band on a lapel! It should be much easier with normal seam allowances when I do the real thing. O.K., back to yesterday and happier times. The second cause of joy was my Hot Pattern Cosmo Dress. The bodice muslin actually fit with only the flat pattern adjustments I did ahead of time. I thought I'd be working on it for Summer 2009. Take a look:

Now, I know the fabric is ugly, but it is a muslin. Poor Dolly is still wearing my old T Shirt from the day that I made her. BTW, she is crooked because I am, but not as much as the day of her birth. I've been working on my posture through Chi Walking. There was 1 inch difference when I made her. Now there is about 3/8" between sides. Now, that makes a lot of difference with fitting. That difference is the reason one side hangs a bit on Dolly. One of these days I'll have to fix her and make a new cover-outfit for her. There is a third reason for yesterday's dancing. I'd been itching to enter the Pattern Review Mini Wardrobe Contest. I just love participating in contests. Of course, I might as well be on a different sewing planet from the winners, but I love the sewing spirit that happens. Yep, I never seem to finish the wardrobes but I do get a lot more sewing done. Anyway, I was thinking that the Cosmo Dress could be an item in the wardrobe. I hopped on the internet and signed up for the contest. Then, reality set in. I have to have 3 garmets that go with the Cosmo Dress's mod floral print. Oh boy! There is a reason to have a stash! I have a piece of linen that is a perfect color match. Also, I have a floral crepe in the same shades of blue. That print has brown in it which is crying for a pair of brown pants. Naturally, I have brown pants fabric in my stash. I know that is a lot of "floral" but they are similar prints and look like they belong in the same closet. Never mind that I said no more contests until I learned how to do a storyboard. The storyboard will come after the coat sleeves are finished! Ahh... the joys of sewing!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Coat Muslin Burda 7855

Right Side

Obviously, this muslin needs work before I add the sleeves and collar. There is a half inch difference between my left and right side so that part is not my sewing. The left shoulder is lower and the right side is one half inch wider from the center. I'll appreciate any suggestions to get rid of those winkles. Thanks!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tailoring Traditional and Contemporary Techniques

Thanks to Marji I discovered this book. I was working on my white jacket (Yep, the one from the not-quite-finished June Capsule Contest) and decided to do Hong Kong Seam Finishes. Since I'm not trying to finish it in a day, I decided to finish the inside properly. None of the books that I checked had clear instructions that I could follow. I bought this book to use while making my coat and never dreamed I would use it for something simple. Well, I was wrong! The instructions were great and even understandable to me. I looked through the book and discovered that I had purchased a treasure. It's OOP but still available from Maybe I've outgrown some of those real beginner books or maybe some of the earlier authors really knew how to teach and write. I believe that I've made a discovery: tailoring often means good attention to detail and not just something for the experts to do.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


These are the pants that gave me such a fit while working on the June Capsule Contest. Well, the fit was fine (excellent actually), but the sewing was a challenge. If you want to see these pant well made, check out Erica's blog. I adapted the MyLabel flared pants which was an easy process. I traced the ML pants and back pattern pieces, copied the Vogue waistband and pant tops on the tracings, cut them apart, and added 5/8" seam allowances. I used this pattern to get some practice with the fly front which I had only done once. The instructions for this part were excellent. I only had one section to rip and that was because I was not paying attention. I elimated the front pockets. Gee, if I added a half circle under them I would have had a big fat smiley face on the front of my pants. At least I thought I would. The back pockets were big headaches. I really struggled there as I had trouble following the instructions. It's probably my lack of experience and certainly was a time consuming learning process. As I was finishing, I was thinking of throwing this pattern in the closest trash bin. Then, I tried them on for hemming. These are the most comfortable pants I have ever owned. I've worn them out for dinner- still comfortable. Now that I started wearing them, those front pockets should work as long as they are made in the same fabric. I definitely will make another pair for the Fall. Maybe those pockets will be easier next time.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

June in July

I almost finished the June capsule. Actually, three garments and the purse were finished early Monday morning, June 30. I could have added a purchased blouse and submitted photos. The photo shoot was easy but the thought of struggling through the composite of photos was daunting. That should be easy with Adobe Elements, but I take forever (okay, several hours) to complete one. Since I really don't need any more gray hairs, I decided to wait for my instructional DVD. I'll master this composite process before I enter another contest. Certainly, I am not competitive in contests with so many talented and creative seamstresses out there. My prizes are the clothes I make to wear. So, I have some prizes!Pants: V1051 (modified) Cotton/lycra twill
Blouse: S3887 Silk garbardine
Purse: Lazy Girl Designs #120 Cotton fat quarters
Skirt: B5190 poly knit (shown in last post)

Each piece has a story of beginner "learning experiences".

Blouse: This pattern was an easy fit (no adjustments) and quick sew. It only took an afternoon to sew. That's pretty amazing since I have to think a lot as I'm sewing. I needed something quick since my muslin for the original planned blouse was a mess. I think I can fix it but knew another muslin would be required. Even without the contest deadline looming, I wanted a blouse I could wear before the end of summer. That muslin is in the UFO pile waiting for a day when I need a real challenge and feel patient. I did make a tie for this blouse this week. It looks a lot better. If I make it again, I'll bring the neckline in closer to my neck. The blouse is wearable, but the top is too close to falling off for my liking. I did add topstitching and a decorative stitch in orange to tie in the yellow/orange theme.

The Purse: I wanted to learn how to make a fringe to add to a Fall jacket. The fringe I added to the purse was much easier than I thought. It just involved cutting sections of a strip of fabric to the selvage and pulling threads. The problem occurred because I added 1 and 1/4 inch to allow for seams. That's fine but I added and cut apart the width rather than the length. So... I have a shorter length and wider width than the pattern. Of course that meant remeasuring the lining and patterns. I am skilled at making simple things difficult. At any rate, I do like my adaption of the pattern as the wider width fits my wallet and is just high enough.

The pants were my big challenge. I'll talk about them in another post. Tomorrow I play at the beach with my children and granchildren. Then, this weekend I'll start work on my coat muslin and maybe the white jacket that goes with this outfit (when I need a break from fitting). Happy Independence Day!!