Thursday, October 29, 2009

S2922 Tunic

It's time for an update. I finished the S2922 tunic a while ago and wanted to take pictures of me wearing it. The fit is better on me than on Dolly (Her arms are too fat so I have to put her on a diet before long.) Anyway, I think the top turned out pretty well for a wearable muslin. I definitely will make it again in good fabric. The pattern is an "inspired by project runway" one and has lots of options for different tops and dresses. I think that pattern purchase will get lots of use!
I made the front and sleeves straight from the pattern. Well, almost straight from the pattern. I did use one size smaller for the neck, shoulders, armscye and sleeves. I tapered the side seams to the hip line which fits my straight body and still gives it some shape. I can pretend, right?
In the back, I eliminated the gathering and adjusted the yoke to fit. The gathering made me look more like a hunchback than I am. The fit is wearable but I will check the back with photos of me in the blouse. It may need a bit of tweaking.
Most of the month I have been working on a pencil skirt muslin with multiple tries. DH was starting to get irritated taking the photos. I usually am reasonably patient about pictures, but I wanted those photos right away so I could post them on the class board. Now I am started to think seriously about going the timer and tripod route. That means a new camera and, naturally, I want a good one. Hey, Christmas is coming! Maybe DH will be tired enough of the "Mr Deville, I'm ready for the closeup".
While waiting for the skirt feedback, I've been working on a hopefully wearable muslin for the J Stern Tee. I like the style a lot but would never wear it as tight as she does. I've just about got it (I think). The skirt muslin is done but still needs marking, sewing up the areas that are pinned, and a final check fitting. Of course, the jeans class starts Monday. I need to do a jeans muslin in the next few days. Jeans are too much work to have something I can't wear because of the fit. Naturally, there are a number of garments in the November Burda that I'm itching to make. Oh my, there's so much to do and so little time.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Is it just a t-shirt?

Well, yes it is just my TNT t-shirt which usually would not be much of a post. This poly lycra jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics makes it a special one. I just love it!! The fabric is so wild that I wasn't sure about it but I am now.
I have finished the yellow and blue blouse - just have to take pictures and will do a post. About the only other thing that I have done is work on a pencil skirt muslin. Every Fall I seem to get an itch to improve fitting. I now believe that I don't have the body to wear a fitted pencil skirt which is the reason I never could get one to fit well. I did sign up for Shannon Gifford's muslin skirt on Pattern Review and, currently, I am working on Muslin Try Four. I'll work on it for a bit more with hopes of having a skirt sloper. I'm sure that it will help with the fit in the the waist and hips for other skirts and pants. This "fitting gig" requires a lot of work and patience. That's the reason I made the t-shirt while I was waiting for feedback from Shannon. I'm waiting for Shannon's comments on my last attempt. Believe me, I'm ready to move on to more exciting projects!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Burda 08-2009-110 High Waisted Skirt

I love this skirt and love the fabric. Actually, it was easy to make. I took my time with it because I used Dawn's skirt facing tutorial and made a walking vent for the first time (much easier than I thought!). The fabric is from GorgeousFabrics and is a dream to sew and wear. I like the blue so much that I want to buy more fabric in the color (after I do some stash reduction!!). Unfortunately, I don't have anything to wear with the skirt until I finished a blouse that is currently in progress. I made the belt loops about an inch and a half lower than the pattern. The skirt seemed to look better with my short proportions. Most of what height I have is in my legs. Here's the skirt on Dolly:

In MHO, the inside of the skirt looks a lot neat than what I usually do. I wish that I had thought about matching the patterns on the lining. Oh, well - next time!

Because I happened to have some binding that matched, I bound the hem of the lining. It hangs so well that it was worth the little bit of extra effort.
I'm off to hem a t-shirt in some more wonderful fabric from Gorgeous Fabric. The t-shirt is just standard but the fabric is a lot of fun.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Casting for My Life Story

This meme was started by Ann. As soon as I saw her post, I knew The actress that I would pick to play the role of me in a movie about my life. Kristin Chenoweth would be my choice for the role.
She's tiny. I'm 5' tall and most of my life I weighed 100 lbs. wet. I think that she could portray the contradictions in my personality. There's a crazy, fun loving side and a serious, get down to business side. In her role on "Pushing Daisies", she showed the adventurous, let's just do it side of me. I lived in many states and lived and worked in Australia for 2 years. I've completed 30 marathons and did my first triathlon before I knew how to swim (lived to talk about that one). Heck, who needs to know how before you do it. I did learn to swim before the next one. I rode my bicyle 170 miles across Florida in one day and did it again three times. The list goes on too long for this post. In the other side of personality, I'm serious about accurate, honest, don't-pay-more-than-you have-to tax returns, appropriate discipline, and budgets that must balance. My checkbook is balanced to the penny (actually found a 1 cent error on the bank's part once). Besides, Kristin played the good witch in "Wicked" and "The Wizard of Oz" is one of my favorite movies. One of the fun things I did when I was Dean of Students at the community college was to dress up as the "Good Witch of the West" at Halloween. One of my friends enjoyed being the evil witch (She wasn't evil at all). We had a lot fun for a number of years and the students loved it. I bet she could even portray me trying to learn to sew and buying fabric like it was the wonderful investment that it is!

September Review: Fast Sewing for Dummies

I think that a better title for this post might be "Ideas for SLOW sewers to finish more garments without just sewing simple and easy things". That's not as catchy a title although it's more accurate. I don't consider myself a dummie - I just sew slowly. I have been pondering the question of how to complete more garments (so I can use the gorgeous fabric I have and buy more stuff). This month, with only two garments completed, may not be the best one to discuss this topic, but I have been pondering ways to complete more garments. I sew every chance I get in my life which is sometimes hectic. I doubt that I can create anymore actual sewing time unless I give up some others things that I enjoy.

Actually, I am okay with the two garments that I did finish this month. That number is appearing too frequently! My two sisters-in-law (more like sisters) visited for a week. I enjoyed seeing them a lot but it took away from sewing time. Also, this month I took Susan Khalje's Top 10 Couture Techniques Class from Pattern Review. It's a great course for taking sewing up a notch or two or more. I made a lot of samples. That's not a contradition to my desire for finishing more garments. I want to improve quality as well as quantity. Now, I don't think that is asking too much, right? There are a couple of the samples that I am so proud of that I took pictures. For the first time, I actually did bias sphagetti straps. Look at how narrow the little one is! I never could get them to turn before.

I've done narrow hems before and they looked well sewn. This sample actually took less time, is narrower (would work on chiffon!), and neater. I have a better feel for the difference between good sewing and fine sewing. This sample is the inside of the "garment" and done in contrasting thread so I could critique what I was doing

As for the finished garments this month, the jury is still out on what to do with the orange Ottobre top that I finished. I feel so much better about it after reading your positive comments. I'll try taking in the side seams and experiment with a belt. The final decision will be made next summer. The second garment is a skirt, Burda 08-09-110. I love the skirt but discovered that I have nothing to wear with it. I'm working on a blouse to take care of that. In the meantime, I'll do pictures with Dolly wearing it and do a blog post soon.

I am slowly (appropriate for my present sewing speed) getting to the subject of fast sewing. I wonder about people like Karen , Dawn , Shannon , and Carolyn (just to name a few) who produce so many garments, simple and elaborate, and all well made. I think that the bottom line is that they know what they are doing (duh!). I know that a lot of people sew faster when they have a deadline. For me, I can stay more focused if I have at least a week. Most of the time, just sewing fast for me is spelled WADDER. I may "step on the gas" sometimes, but usually I just plod along. I do keep track of my time and, for the most part, I am sewing about twice as fast as I did a year ago. I don't have to stop and think as much. After pondering the question of what works for me, I've determined that most of the helpful things are in the preparation. I hesitated about posting about this topic because most of things are in the category of "I should have known that". Well, I didn't and maybe someone else out in blogland doesn't know either. All of these ideas, so far, have come from someone else. I'll note their names if I can remember. At least, I'll have some reminders for myself. Here are are some of the things that have helped me:
1. Couture sewing is not always more time consuming. Some of the techniques can save time as well as producing quality garments. I won't be ignoring couture techniques just because I am not an advanced seamstress yet.
2. Reading a sewing book from cover to cover often reveals helpful ideas. I am amazed at the number of helpful ideas for a recent or current garment that I find. I tended to use my sewing books as references and will continue to do so. Now I also have a better idea of where to look.
3. I attached a pair of scissors to the thread stand next to my sewing machine. I often stopped to look for those scissors, but no more. I'm pretty good about keeping other sewing tool organized. I have thought about putting my seam ripper on a ribbon around my neck. I keep hoping I will not have to look for it as much (lol). BTW, I am becoming an expert at using my seam ripper and hope to move on to other skills!
4. I press fabric with a spitz bottle (for most fabrics), a dry iron, and with the selvage grain. This tip came from reading through David Coffin's shirt making book. I had been carefully straightening the grain of my fabric and then steaming the fabric out of shape. Cutting is much faster because I don't have to fiddle with the fabric to get it back on grain at the cutting table.
5. Use caution with a TNT pattern or a pattern similar to one I've made. Check the pattern measurements and/or think about how the pattern will sew in a particular fabric. A quick glance at the instructions can help avoid: I thought I knew how to sew this, but I just forgot.

That's all I can think of right now. I will keep a list for next month's review as I discover or think of things.