Friday, April 24, 2009

Dressing Up: Florida Beach Style

I live in Central Florida, 30 minutes from Daytona Beach and 45 minutes from Orlando. DeLand is a small (but growing) college town where the most commonly seen shoes are flip flops. The standard summer dress for women, apparently, is cutoff shorts and tops that resemble t-shirts. That attire is often seen in nice restaurants on the beach side. I can understand that many tourists just want to relax here and "dressing up" is not on their agenda. That's fine as it certainly helps our local economy! I still have my Virginia (where I was born) dress code and can't seem to let that go. Sooo, I wear flip flops but only at the beach. Since we are going on a beach vacation, I wanted to make something to wear for an evening out for dinner. Of course, most on the time will be spent playing in the waves and strolling the beach. Here's my "dress up" top, V8151, made from 100% cotton knit from Wazoodle. Funny, my Florida top is made with fabric from a Canadian internet source!
The sleeves fit better on me than on Dolly here. I made Dolly's arms a little too fat at the top. I made a pair of white twill pullon pants to wear with it. I'm set for "date night".
I'm continuing my quest for the perfect t-shirt. This Sandra Betzina pattern has darts on the side which help the fit at the top. It looks a bit more formal to me. I guess I'm just not accustomed to tops that fit! I still like my TNT Kwik Sew pattern so I'll be making both patterns in the future I'm sure!
Well, my outfit is made, the suitcase located, and new paperbacks purchased. I think it's time to pull out the bathing suit and, maybe, clean up the house a bit :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

The First BWOF Garment

I finished my first BWOF garment and I know it will the first of many. This one is BWOF, 02/09, #108B. I made a size 40 with no pattern adjustments just to see how it fit. Actually, the fit is pretty good. Next time I make it I'll add a tad to the side seams for more ease, add 1/2" to the shoulder to bring it closer to the neck (bra straps tend to peek out), and include a sway back adjustment which is obvious in the picture of the back. I usually do a sway back adjustment but sometimes can get away without it in a knit. This fabric was purchased from GorgeousFabric and was a joy to sew. It is a polyester mesh with tiny sequins. You can see the fushia sequins if you look closely. Once I cut out the top I honestly questioned my sanity. Here I am with a new pattern from a source I had never used, sewing on mesh for the first time, and sewing on fabric with sequins that I expected to give me a fit. Two hours later, I had a big smile on my face! Sewing on a good quality mesh is not hard at all. Surprisely, the sequins did not cause much of a problem. I only had to remove a couple to turn the hem evenly. I love when a sewing project actually works well!
Next up is a floral knit top and white pants to wear during our beach vacation. Hopefullly, I'll have a post about these later in the week.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Copy Cat T Shirt

I love reading about sewing ideas that make garments look more professional and make sewing easier. I sew and make a lot of t-shirts - some plain and some a little fancier. When I read Karen's blog post about attaching the neckband I had to try it. Yes, I heard about it before but I never read it explained so clearly. It's so easy to get caught up in pattern instructions without realizing there is a better way. I sometimes have gapping in the neckband, particularly in the back. All she did was sew use the pattern neckband, folded it in half right side out, pressed it flat, sewed one shoulder seam, pinned the band stretching it slightly around the neck, and was left with quite a bit of band at the end. Then, she sewed the neckband on and, then, the other shoulder. When I tried this method, I had my band pinned on and checked her post to see if I was following the method. Well, it looked so much like hers that I had to take a picture. Hey, anything I sew that looks like an advanced sewer, I dance a jig and take a picture. Here are the pictures which look similar to Karen's. This technique definitely is going into my bag of tricks!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Marathon Record Setting Blouse

The Loes Hinse Bergman Blouse is as finished as it is going to get. The fit is not too bad, compared to my other attempts at fitting shoulder princess seams. There are a number of things that I know that I will fix the next time around. Yes, there will be another of this blouse - just not right away. Any constructive comments about the fit will be welcome! Part of the difficulty is the wool crepe fabric seemed to stretch as I fiddled with it. Once I feel more comfortable with the fit, wool crepe would be fine. My next go round probably will be in a polyester before using any nicer fabric. I made this blouse as a part of Sarah Veblen's "All about Set-in Sleeves and Armholes" class on Pattern Review. She helped a lot, but the class was just before the Christmas holidays. There was too much stuff going on. I didn't finish it before the end of the class. I sure wish I had as she is so helpful. Anyway, this blouse set a number of records for me.

1. The longest period of time I worked on 1 garment (4 months) without sending it to the UFO shelf or wadder file. I finished a number of other garments in the process, but kept coming back to the blouse. Wow! Most sewers finish a coat in less time!
2. The only time that I continued working on a project that I was sick of sewing. I love sewing - hope this is the first and only time. Yet, I know it may happen again as I take on new challenges.
3. The happiest I've ever been to finish a project.
4. The first time I've gotten a woven princess seam garment to actually look like a blouse.
5. The most muslins made (3 including many rips and resew). I should have made one more!
6. The most learning about reading a muslin. Now I can see things in a garment muslin (or finished project) and understand a lot more about what is happening in relation to my body.
Here are pictures of the blouse:

The pants that I'm wearing are V1051 made in cotton twill.

Closing Shot:

During my hectic month of March, I finished another quilt block: the last block for an applique wall hanging. I'd like to finish the quilt as there is a big, blank spot in sewing room. Every now and then I hear the wall crying to be covered!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Is it Spring?

Actually, it feels more like summer around here, with temperatures in the 80s. It will soon be Spring in my sewing room anyway. Here's my 4 garment plan for Spring 2009:
I tried to keep the plan fairly simple. It will be my first time using BWOF patterns which should be fun. The major new learning will be inserting an invisible zipper - something I must learn to do if my sewing is going to go to the next level.

I still have 3 garments to finish before I can begin on my plan in earnest. Unless a bunch of unforeseen things happen, I should be able to finish them in the next week. The garments are a knit t-shirt (I wear a lot of those), the LH blouse, and a KS blouse. The t-shirt is quick and the LH blouse only needs the sleeve hems and button(s). The blouse is a little more involved, but the hard part of fitting is done.