Friday, November 29, 2013

Post Holiday and Vintage Pattern Sales

 My Kitty Tigger enjoyed his Holiday, if only we could lay around on the floor after a meal with our full belly on display. Happy Holiday weekend!

Many Etsy Vintage patterns are on sale today.If you like to sew with vintage patterns now is the time to go shopping. 


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dreamy Quilted Robe

What are the rules with Christmas gifts? Are they considered on time as long as they are given with in the year like weddings? I have been busy working away on a project that was requested last Christmas but the pattern arrived after Christmas and life continued on while the pattern was filed away. I had a week of time with no extra days working and a husband away on a fishing trip so I decided I would finish it for my daughter to have now as her current robe is well worn and stained.
The inspiration Photo is a gorgeous quilted robe from  Dollhouse Bettie, the photos online are so dreamy.
The robe is no longer available.

Snuggle up in this new old stock quilted robe. Classic 50s style is fashioned from shimmering ivory satin and has a stylized peaked collar trimmed with pink piping. The fluffy quilted exterior is lined with pink nylon tricot for addition warmth and comfort. Robe secures with an interior side tie and hidden snap, then ties with an exterior self fabric belt. Cuffs and bottom hem are hand stitched with satin ribbon trim. Robe maintains the original paper tag which reads, "Size 18." Measures 18 along the shoulder, 42 at the bust, 32 waist, hip free, 57 in length from the neck to the bottom hem. Fits a size S/34 as shown, best fitting a fuller M/36 or L/38. Garment is in mint condition, and is without flaws.

I decided I could create this using this pattern purchased from JuneeMoonVintage on Etsy.

 I had purchased  4 yards of off white satin charmeuse from last year intended for this project and planned on quilting it with another similar weight  fabric.The pattern arrived after Christmas and life continued. I had occasional reminders from my daughter that she still needed a robe.

When I temporarily lost my mind, and pulled this project back out to complete it before Christmas 2013. I decided to use china silk lining in an ivory and quilt the entire fabric before cutting out the pattern. As I laid out the yards and yards on my kitchen floor (which by the way had to be freshly mopped ). I decided that it was too much fabric for me to deal with so I cut out the pattern loosely to make a big section for each pattern and then started quilting it together. I used my quilting seam guide and measured out the lines. I started with the pockets, then the sleeves, then tackled the large back section. It seemed easy and fun and I got into sort of a rhythm. I had started to understand why quilters enjoyed quilting.

 Six Bobbins later, I had completed the front right side. I proudly displayed my work for my daughter. She said the design was different and that the front looked more like diamonds and the rest more like squares. Hmmm... . I looked at it and she was right, now at this moment I thought I might actually cry. I generally do not cry but I have found some frustrating moments when sewing that have pushed me to tears.

I know many of my fellow sewists have been in a similar situation. I put it away for a few hours then decided I would unpick the second crosswise row of seams while watching Call the Midwife on Netflix. It went fairly fast and a day later I was ready to carefully measure comparing it to the back sections and get the correct.angle to match the squares. Now I am ready to carefully measure and quilt the left front piece to match the right. Although I doubt there will be a next time, the lesson I have learned is to quilt the entire portion of fabric then it will be the same. The assembly of the pattern is really simple, or so it seems from this point. I plan to assemble the robe then wait for the Light Blue 40 Denier Tricot for the lining to arrive from
Glamorous, dreamy robe photos to follow ( I hope). Wish me luck.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Gertie's' NBBS: The Portrait Blouse

When I first read Gertie's Blog post post on this blouse I knew I wanted to sew it. I purchased the fabric at Nancy's Sewing Basket in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle. The fabric is not my usually basic colors that I typically choose but I really loved it so I went for it. The Fabric is a dark teal green in a linen, cotton and silk blend.

 The fabric is very sheer and I decided to underline it in a seafoam green china silk. Working with the two fabrics as one I sewed the darts and all of the seams. I did a narrow hem for the neckline and the sleeves and added the hand picked zipper. I used the size 4 then did my usual alterations of 1/2 inch to adjust for my narrow shoulders. I finished the exposed seams with pinking shears.This blouse was a quick and fun project using very little yardage.  I plan to sew another in a 4 ply ivory silk charmeuse next.

 I did not learn as many new skills with this one, but gained more practice at some of these:
1. Working with slippery fabrics.
2. Narrow Hems
3.Underlining a sheer fabric
4. Hand Picked Zipper. ( Really has become my new favorite zipper application)

Narrow Hems
Hand Picked Zipper
The fabric was slippery and frustrated me a little as it always looked like it was fraying. 

 After looking at these pants in these photos, I realized they need to go to a new home. I have not worn them in a year or so and I thought they fit better, but clearly I was mistaken. 

I think the blouse looks its best tucked into a high waisted garment like my Pencil Skirt.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November Gerties NBBS Project : The Pencil Skirt

I planned this skirt when I was making  the Sultry Sheath from last month. When I was planning for fall and reviewing the book I new I wanted to make this skirt and since the muslin was stitched up for the bottom half of my sultry sheath.

It has been my goal to improve my sewing and learn new skills with most of my projects and with this one I will learn the following:
1. Boning in the waistband.
2. Bound Buttonholes, since there is only one I thought this would be a good one to practice with.

The other skills listed I have already accomplished but will get more practice: darts and a lapped zipper I have learned while sewing the Retro-Inspired skirted playsuit and the Sultry Sheath

I  had purchased 1 1/2 yards of this wool herringbone fabric from on a closeout sale years ago and had the lining in my stash.
I do not have much difference in my waist to hip ratio so I picked the size 4 using my waist measurements and graded it down to a 2 in the side seams from the hips down.
I followed along up until Step 5 with my side seams basted and did a fitting, like the book recommends. I also notice that with many of my vintage patterns the recommendation to baste your seams and do a fitting before sewing them permanently. Whenever I read about vintage techniques either sewing or cooking I feel that we have become lazy and more interested in doing something fast and less about quality.
During my fitting I  felt like the slit was a little high so I extended the back seam down 1 1/2 inch past the final mark for the slit.

After putting in the final seams for the skirt I was on to the waistband, I decided I wanted to do the high waist with the boning and following the instructions I gathered my supplies. The list suggested  hair canvas, silk organza and either Rigilene or steel boning. Hair Canvas? I had a mental image of this...YIKES!

I have never sewn with it before but strolled down to my local store and they pulled it out and cut a 1/8" of a yard for me. You can imagine my relief when  I saw that it looked like this...

This had me curious about Why it was called hair canvas? In my research I discovered that the interfacing does contain a small amount of horse hair, and is commonly used for tailoring.

I used Rigilene for the boning because, I had it on hand and it is simple to work with and sews in easily. I added the first strip in the center and the rest 2 inches apart as Gertie advised. I ended up with 7 strips total.
I am short in the torso and was worried the waistband would rest right below my bust line, so shortened it 1/2 inch.

My Bound Button hole was a flop. I practiced and it was turning out poorly so I gave up for this time and did a quick machine buttonhole..which also isn't done very well.   Normally when things start to go south and I have been sewing for a while I know it is time to stop and step away from my project., at this point all I had to complete was sewing on the button, so I finished it up. 

Side seams a little off but I am going to leave it.

I paired it with a blouse that I recently sewed  from the same book, more on the blouse later.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Lazy Day Loungewear

This Lovely ensemble has been my go to cozy, comfy outfit for hanging around watching movies and general lazy lounge time. I know its sad....I was hesitant to post it on the internet, but decided that maybe it would force me to finally but it way in the back of the drawer for dirty cleaning projects.
The sweatshirt has been a discarded favorite from my daughter and the yoga pants I have had forever but they fit poorly. The thing is wearing yoga pants would be fine if I put them on because I was actually going to yoga or some form of exercise.

I decided I needed a change and have planned on sewing something new for a while, but it hasn't been a priority. I decided on a few patterns from Style Arc. The " ELLE PANT: This is the pant of the moment, slim line from ankle to waistline. Elastic waist 35mm or 1 ¼ inch wide. These pants sit so beautifully without any bulk, wear them with your high heels out for the night or with your sneakers for brunch.....a must have piece in your wardrobe!"
As described from there website...sounds much better than hand me down old sweatshirt and yoga pants, definitely not going out for the night or brunch with friends.

Style Arc Elle Pant

Style Arc Laura Jacket
I wanted to make the Laura Jacket along with it, it seems more of a cardigan to me. I have had these patterns for sometime. I have sewed the pants with a knit that I purchased earlier in the year. The pants are cozy and I am happy with the fit but the fabric pills and looks like this after a few washes and drying flat.

My unhappiness with the fabric led me to search for the stretch woven Bengaline that the pattern recommends it turns out that you have to purchase it outside the US.
Thanks to the posts from the  Clothing Engineer about purchasing the right fabric I was able to find I ended up purchasing from Nortex mills on  Ebay. I pre-washed the fabric last week and finally set aside soem time to sew. These pants took 1 hour, to cut and serge together. It was delightful. The only changes I made was I took in the outside leg seams an extra 1/4" to achieve the fit I was looking for

The Cardigan fabric is a soft lightweight wool sweater knit from Gorgeous Fabrics. Looks and feels cozy and comfy right?

The Laura jacket(cardigan) pattern seemed longer than I would like so I shortened it 3 inches off of the bottom, the only other thing I changed was I added stay-tape to the shoulders and the neck line?
The pattern came together simply and I am pretty pleased with my much improved on my stay at home comfy look.

I am planning on redoing this seam, the pattern suggest a felled seam and several reviews online suggested a french seam so I went with that. I think I will do a just plain serged seam.

Her I am with the hood up, trying to give you my best model pose...not sure I will ever wear it this way.

The length is long on the cardigan and the pants, I don't mind and I will just roll it up, I usually have an issue with things being too short in the legs and arms.

All my people have gone to the proper places for the day and now to finish my book, with a warm cup of tea. By the way the book is Rebecca by  Daphne Du Maurier, originally published in 1938 and later made into a Hitchcock movie. It is suspenseful and slightly spooky I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dressform Decision

Thank you for all of your suggestions and input, I have decided to go with a custom padded or plaster dressform.
 I have a short torso and narrow shoulders and found the others with the dials would not reflect those areas properly. The main reason I want a dress form is for help fitting and those two areas are always problems spots for me. 
I have narrowed it down to 3 choices.

                             1. My Twin Plaster Dressform

Last year when I was considering a purchase I stumbled upon the My Twin Dressform not to be confused with the Dritz twin-fit, the My Twin is a plaster dressform kit...although I am still uneasy about the whole standing still while being plastered. My teen daughter seems to think I should do this one and she has volunteered to do it. That also leaves me a little suspicious.
The website is no longer working and I have read on sewing pattern review that I should google Lynda Schoppe, the owner of My Twin. My inner sleuth wanted to find out more so I waited until Monday at a sensible hour to call and found that the phone number listed is for someone else. It looks as though they are no longer in business although I found the facebook page and messaged her. 

2. Uniquely You Dressform 
Go Sew Yourself

 The reviews and research for the uniquely you seem to fit my fitting needs better plus the price is in the middle ground. I found the best price was on Amazon for $189.99 and that includes the cover, and free shipping.
I found many reviews online and helpful tips,two of my favorites are Diary of a Renaissance Seamstress, and Shona Stitches I especially enjoyed the you tube video of the unpack. You can watch it here Uniquely You Dressform Unpack.

3. Fabulous Fit
Fabulous Fit
This one is a significant investment at around $400 with fitting pads. The pros seem to be the base has wheels, there are legs for fitting pants and The arms pin-on at the shoulder, and bend for testing the elbow length and arm position. I also think this one is prettier and I like that it is located in Brooklyn and a product of the US. 
 The smallest size shoulders are 4 1/2 and my shoulder is 3 1/2 and that has me concerned so I decided I would also call them with my shoulder questions. I spoke with the super helpful Alice. She recommended I order the size 2 for the shoulders then round the extra shoulder down into the arm area. The size 2 measurements are smaller than my size so I would then pad it out to be my size.

With the My Twin company having no contact information that leaves it to two options. The Uniquely You has many favorable reviews and the Fabulous Fit has one bad review along with a several good ones. It sounds as both have a little homework that has to be completed with the fitting process and can be refitted if a size change occurs or you would like to use it on someone else.
Any advice or things I should consider?
I have decided to do with the Uniquely You.