Monday, March 26, 2012

Why, oh, why?

I will be off for a while. My husband and I are dealing with the sadness of a second suicide of a young member of my family in less than a year. It is so hard to be a young man today. We hope to work on some home projects together for a bit and I will be back in God's good time. Thank you all,

Bunny Pepin

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Carly's Circle Dress, Simp 2466



I really wasn't sure how I would like this dress while I was making it but now I love it. DH really loves it.  The dress is a complete circle and I wasn't sure how all those folds would work on such a little girl but now I think it will. It definitely has major twirl factor and that's always a big plus.
Here's the 411:

Pattern: Simplicity 2466, Daisy Kingdom. Lots of pluses as well as minuses here. All sizes, 3 thru 8, are on four very large sheets of tissue. Some pieces overlap, some don't. Given that the fabric calls for two fabrics, (I used three), and all those pieces in all those sizes, it was a bugger to cut. Plan out a long afternoon or whole day just to get through the cutting. I recommend buying this in several sizes on a 99 cent sale as it is just too much of a pain to work around the different sizes, IMO. The instructions given in the pattern are clear. There are just not enough of them. I also don't like the v. large hembands not being cut on the fold. I learned that lesson too late as you can tell but Carly won't mind!

Construction: As mentioned yesterday, no interfacing is required. I highly recommend you interface the yokes. Also understitch the yokes, something not mentioned in the pattern as well. Topstitch the hemband to give it a more finished look. Edgestitch the neckline edge of the sleeve ruffle.

I did make this a bit more difficult for myself by using three fabrics. I also chose to bind the hem band which I think is much better looking. As I often do, the side seams are french seams and the center back seam is serged separately and then stitched together in a 5/8 seam. The pattern then has you turn under the SAs to create an open placket. The ties are attached to the placket in the seam.

One of this pattern's charms is the large flower on the hemband. I did this a bit differently from the pattern.
I actually tried two techniques. First I fused two layers of fabric using Steam A Seam and then cut out the flower with pinking shears. My other sample, the one I decided on, veers from the pattern as well. I cut two layers for each flower layer, turned them and then zigzagged on the designated stitching lines, simple but cute. I like the finished edge better than the SAS edges. The pattern has one layer with raw edges. Because some of the flowers are straight edges, this would not look good once it survived the wash. The pattern also has you put a smaller flower on the yoke. There is also a pattern for a bag with the flower as well as a headband with the flower. I decided to make the headband with the flower because Carly loves hats and headbands. I am leaving the flower off the yoke, just too much IMO.

 When I spent the day cutting this out it included bias binding from one of the prints, the small one.  I added the binding to the sleeve edge and the hemband. In the pattern it is only spec'd on the armhole.

Fabric: The large print is an Amy Butler design from our quilt shop on the nearby Native American Reservation. The plaid is a cotton homespun and the small print is a quilt cotton, both from Joanns. When I blend prints I like some connector in each print. In this case it was the rasberry plum-ish color.  I like to have a large print, a small print, and a geometric of some sort, in this case the plaid. Sometimes, if I can get the right coodinates, I will go for a medium print, stripe, and a dot. I really enjoy the hunt of pulling the fabrics together. You just never know if it works, though, until it is completed.

I would recommend this pattern based on it s high cuteness factor. I would not recommend it for beginners. The pattern leaves off information, that in my opinion, would make this a more professional garment. I also think dealing with all the tissue and pieces could discourage a newbie. This really simple design became much more difficult due specifically to the directions, or lack thereof, and the way the pattern is printed, not for the faint of heart. I would definitely make this again and think it is quite darling and unique, just like my precious Carly who I know will look wonderful in this minty color....Bunny

The back:



Sunday, March 18, 2012

Simplicity 2466, Carly's Circle Dress

Would you look at this mess? I have lots of issues with this pattern. Yesterday I went through my patterns for little girls and found this darling Daisy Kingdom dress, Simplicity 2466.
It is a full circle around with a separate hem band. The sleeves are gathered with elastic inside but the yoke is flat. It's an all around twirly girl dress including the flower at the neckline and the big flat flower on the skirt hem which is hard to see. It looks sort of like a sun rising out of the hem band. See that mess on the couch? Thats the four, larger than usual, pattern tissues for this dress. There are lots of pieces and the pattern takes a lot of fiddling. Some pieces are overlapped and need to be traced and others aren't. Separate pieces are drawn out for the shorter top. Why not just have a "cut here for top" line on the dress pieces? Clearly there is no worry about concern over our forests with all the paper used in this one. I haven't seen a pattern this big with so many pieces since my wedding gown, seriously. Anyway, its really cute and I'm powering through.


Because I only had a yard of the large print I came up a bit short on one part of the circular skirt. After talking it over with myself I remembered that often in bias garments there is piecing, so I just went for it. Here's what I did in case you ever have this problem.
First I arranged my pattern piece so it was on grain on my board. Then I cut the nasty raw edge so it was perpendicular to the grain, nice and straight. Then I had to look through what little was left to find an "almost" match. I knew I couldn't have a total match with the amount of fabric I had left. I matched it best I could while keeping the same grain on the new piece. I cut a strip long enough to fill in the missing fabric, stitched it on to the skirt, serged and pressed it. The I recut the pattern.  I think it looks quite good. At this point I am actually nearly complete on the dress and you don't even notice it.
I think it was a good save. Once that was done I started on the dress. I spent most of the day cutting yesterday. I haven't taken so long to cut something in a long time. I have three different fabrics being used here. That takes a lot of thought and time and going back and forth with the cutting.  I also had to make bias binding. All of that with adding on the missing fabric just took a lot of time before I could actually get started.
Once again, there is no mention in the pattern of interfacing or understitching. I interfaced the yoke and understitched. I mean, these dresses are clearly going to be made from lightweight, usually cotton, fabrics. They need interfacing, Pattern People! The better someone's finished garment comes out the more likely they will buy another pattern to sew some more, duh! Oy,,,,,all I have left to complete the dress is the hemband and I should get that on tomorrow....Bunny

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spring is Sprung!

Or I should say Mud Season has arrived in the Adirondacks. There's not a bit of snow left on the ground and the Deer River iu our back yard is doing its annual rage.

It is so sunny today that I got out my first load of laundry on the line since last year. I have spent two trips and two days trying to pull together the prints for Carly's dress. I need three. In a perfect world I would have a large floral, a small dot and a stripe. Because my inspiration fabric was the mint/raspberry piece in the middle it was difficult to find coordinates. I am hoping these work.

I am also having second thoughts about the knot dress. The little ruffly number pillowcase type dress I made Sophie last year is really cute too so that may  be it. I will spend this afternoon going through my girly patterns and see what hits me. Its way too muddy to work in the yard and I will get a long walk in after so no guilt about going into the cave on such a glorious day. 
I spent time this morning felting and foiling. I am still waiting for something to gel. The purple boucle I purchased a couple of weeks ago felts beautifully. Do I dare? Not sure. I have figured out a couple of ways to foil, one keeping the foil shinier and the other making it more part of the textile.

  

On the left you can see a bow out of felted pink wool. Playing with that idea too. I love it on the orange wool I got recently and felted as well.

So as Spring springs, I am dawdling between projects, neither one turning on my sewing OCD. But I will forge through, just like these daffodils, and know it will all happen in the end. Happy Spring!....Bunny


Friday, March 16, 2012

Sophie's Knot Dress, Simp 2171


 

Pattern:  Simplicity 2171, a "Sarah Rose" design. Frankly, I don't know who Sarah Rose is and must do a google. This dress is easy, peasy with little fit issue. It is called a knot dress among the cognoscenti as the straps, which are sewn into the back bodice, come over the shoulders and in through a buttonhole and after adjusting, are tied in a knot to hold the dress up.  In this case I used the heavy turquoise lace I got at Fabric Place Basement for the straps. I did not want to knot the lace until I try it on Sophie so what  you are seeing are rolled up balls of lace, not the knots. This pattern has an optional apron which I gave a bit of smocking to as well as some ruffly bloomer type pants. Originally I was going to do the pants but there is enough volume here and I think this will be cute with a little white tee and some white leggings. 
                                                        (The buttonholes appear uneven. Not.)
Construction: There is nothing complicated here and this would be a great design for a beginner who is not afraid to make the big buttonholes on the front bodice. I did make a few changes, however:

*   I added piping to the waistline seam. Smocking just is not pretty butted up to a plain seam. 

*   I found the fabric just didn't have enough oomph to carry all of the volume of the skirt and apron. I backtracked at the end and interfaced the bodice. This helped prevent seam show-thru from the waist seam as well as give it needed support. Highly recommend you interface back and front bodices. You will be glad you did. 

*   To finish off the inside facing the seam was understitched as you can see. This is not recommended in the pattern. Again, all that skirt weight will pull those facing out, guaranteed. So, understitch! 

*    To further secure the facings, the raw edge was serged and then the facing was ditch stitched in the well of the underarm seam to prevent roll out. 

I pretty much followed the embellishment ideas from the pattern other than adding the smocking to the top of the apron, the extra row of lace to the bottom of the apron and the piping to the waistline.

I will definitely be making this again, for Carly next time. I am on the hunt for fabrics but so far have struck out. I highly recommend this easy, quick to make dress for any little girl who wants to twirl and catch a few rays in the sunshine...Bunny


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sophie's Knot Dress

Here is the corner of the apron on the skirt of the dress I am currently making for Sophie. I decided to over embellish and use some of the lace I just picked up at Fabric Place. This is a Knot Dress and there are a couple of patterns out there for this design. The straps are sewn into the back bodice, come over the shoulder and go through buttonholes in the front. They are secured with a knot. I like this because it allows the garment to be adjusted and re adjusted as the child grows to just the right length, pretty smart. It does pose a small challenge but more on that later.  I am using Simplicity 21 71. It works up VERY fast and I should be finished today. I will have more details when I finish, but you know that!
Thank you, everyone for the great response to the D & G jacket. It was a very satisfying project made all that much more so because of your support and encouragement. Not sure what is next in the queue and will do some stash re arranging today to get some inspiration. I have all those lovely wools to work with but I really need to think Spring....Bunny

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, Sew Beautiful!

Happy Birthday, Sew Beautiful! This magazine is a celebration of that milestone. I decided to do a review as this is not your usual SB. It also has had pros and cons out there on the internet. I don't know what I expected. I expected BIG, new, splashy, I don't know, just not this. Instead I got a wonderful commemorative issue that I think is very special.

What first struck me was the heavy stock of the cover, sort of like what's used on Altered Couture, maybe heavier. It gives this a lot of presence and contributes to the feeling that this is not something to be tossed once read but kept and reread over and over. Then I went inside. I love how the editors picked the most popular Martha Pullen Company designs and their many many iterations to showcase the versatility and timelessness of heirloom sewing. The classic designs are shown many different ways by many beautiful little models. Lots of paper is given to boy designs, designs for teens and tweens and Moms. It is a real celebration of heirloom sewing all preserved in one quality issue.

But the very best part, I think, are the very clear instructions on how to do heirloom sewing. If you want to ever try that sort of stitchery this is all you need. The technical drawings are clear, large, and lovely. The verbage is easily understandable . Lace shaping, puffing, and all sorts of entredeaux, fabric, and lace joinings are shown and taught clearly. This makes this issue an excellent investment for the sewing library.

When I first thumbed through this I thought, "oh, there's the Pascal again, and the Frannie, and the....". Then I read it through a second and third time. Now I realize that this is a Commemoration, a celebration of all things heirloom and of the influence that Martha Pullen and Company have had on the sewing world. It belongs in the library of everyone who ever wanted to learn or does practice heirloom sewing. You won't need much more, for either inspiration or tutelage.....Bunny (NAYY!)
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Still doing catchup around here but should be able to finish Sophie's latest this weekend. Then it may be on to some bag making, not sure. Here's a peak at the smocking for the top of the apron.
I swear, if I hear "cheesy grits' one more time....................................

Monday, March 12, 2012

I Died and Went to Heaven!

It may have looked like I disappeared from the planet but a sudden extended business trip for Boston DD had me driving down there for the week. I did get to see both sets of grands and it was wonderful, tiring, but wonderful.  Between schlepping munchkins, waiting for housekeeper, etc type stuff, I managed to get most of one day free. I took advantage to visit the new Fabric Place Basement in Natick, Mass. I did feel like I had died and gone to fabric heaven when I walked down those stairs and into  a basement the likes of which I haven't seen in years.Because the fabrics were so well merchandised and the area mucho spacious, I didn't get that overwhelmed feeling. You know the one. When rolls and rolls are stuffed stacked on top of each other in intimidating tightly bound piles on racks that go over your head. While that type of store appears to have impressive stock, it is murderous to shop. Fabric Place Basement is better. The fabrics were all accessible and easy to find and shop. Some were displayed in shelves, others in huge cans, some on tables. There were racks and racks of home dec and absolutely luscious formal fabrics. I truly can't wait to shop for fabric to make a dress for my upcoming nephew's wedding. The ideas were just coming at me so fast and furious with the luxury fabrics! There is an entire quilting department as well as a very large yarn department. Tables and racks of rolls of silk dupionis, chiffons, and crepe de chines were doing their best to seduce. There were tables of large leather hides and smaller hides of all sorts, pink patent leather to metallic blue leather and more. Bins were filled with sewing chochtkeys, buckles, appliques, beading all under 3.00 dollars and much at 99 cents. I tell you, it is textile heaven.

The staff were impressive! Did I have fabriholic written on my face? One staffer commented on my bag and then said "you have to check out these bins for bag buckles." Like I said, seduction, of the most unobtrusive understanding kind.  It was a fabric shopping experience the likes of which I haven't had in years and I hope to get back every time I go down to Boston. I pledge.

I have no affiliation here, just a totally pleasant shopping experience and wanted to pass it on. You can't get this sort of feeling on line, sorry, its just not the same. So without further ado here are what I came home with:
First, the black you see at the bottom is the reason for the visit to begin with. I have been searching for a black wool coating, not a coarse one, that I can actually feel and drape in my hand. I have come close over the past two years but have not been able to match my finds with yardage amounts needed. At FPB I did, purchasing a black angora wool coating that drapes beautifully and is just luscious. Winter coat, here we come! The blue heathery wool you see here is very soft and could work great for a CJ but I doubt that is what I will use it for. It has a teensy blue metallic speck that makes it special and is much prettier IRL.
 This is a silk chiffon that really looks much softer IRL. There is one six inch stripe of geishas among two yards of fabric so I can easily not use the girls if I don't want. I am seeing a summery sheer flow-y top over a cami with this fabric.
Here you can see some great trims for 99 cents a yard that will work wonderfully for outfits for Sophie and Carly. There is a huge selection of very well priced trims.
These buckles  will look great with scarves or worked up on bags. The upper left one is much more salmon colored and really pretty.

Not to give short shrift here, I also managed a quick trip to Fabric Fix in Manchester at the start of my trip and came home with a few goodies as well. Here you can see a lovely 100% wool boucle. You know what that will turn into!
At this point I am brainwashed by Pantone so felt a need to  bring home some of this orange wool coating . This will be felted tomorrow and will be made into bags. I have a vision of grey and orange felted wool swirling around.
I also purchased some lovely white shirting, a rayon/cotton combo. It is what you see under the laces and buckles.

So between these two vendors I have enough to keep me busy for a while. I am glad both these stores are out there for us home sewists. Please give them as much business as you can. We want them to survive, prosper, and be there for our creative needs......Bunny

Fabric Place Basement
321 Speen Street
Cloverleaf Mall
Natick, Mass

The Fabric Fix
45 Blaine Street
Manchester, NH

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Dolce & Gabana Jacket Completed

The final word: I like it a lot. It's comfy, fits really nicely, just skimming things, and I know I will get a lot of use from this when it gets a tad cooler. Here's the 411:


Fabric:  The boucle, I'm embarrassed to say, was from Joann's clearance and scored for 3.00 a yard. It's 60% cotton and 40 % acrylic. It was washed and dried in the machine twice and came out  beautifully so my usually fabric snobbery got put aside for this one. The lining, on the other hand, is a silk charmeuse print that ran about 20 dollars a yard and was from Thai silks. It is so yummy. If you  have made one of these jackets you know how luscious they feel to wear. This one is no different thanks to the lovely silk. The boucle is fused to a lightweight tricot and I will definitely do that again. A lot about this jacket is Chanel technique and a lot is sacrilegious. I cherry picked how I wanted to make this and since the sewing police were busy going after the big criminals, I got away with it.

Construction:  This is where it gets interesting and here are the highlights.

*    The boucle was block fused to nylon tricot fusible interfacing. Will definitely do that again. (Not Chanel).
*    Seams were traditional  5/8ths on the inside. The outside of the seam was embellished with bias silk strips  with one turned under edge and one raw edge. The edges were brushed to promote fraying The interior seams were not overcast down. For one, the fusible prevented the fabric from fraying so this technique was not needed to finish the seams. Also, the stitching required for the bias strips secured  both of the seams down. (Not Chanel)
*    The side fronts were cut on the bias, something not in the pattern. This was to eliminate pattern matching issues and add a bit of interest. 
*    The silk lining was machine quilted to the boucle (Chanel).
*    The lining, other than the armholes, was totally stitched together with tiny fell stitches all by hand. (Chanel)
*    The sleeves have the lining/fashion fabric stitched as one to the bodice lining/fashion fabric. (Not Chanel).
*    Sleeve seam allowances have a cording stitched along the cap and are bound with more charmeuse. (Not Chanel)
*    The collar was put on in a unique fashion to eliminate facings and come up with an edge to edge lining. While the collar technique is my own, sewing the lining edge to edge with the jacket is definitely Chanel.  Here you can see the wrong side of the collar and how it is triple zigzagged to the upper collar to keep it crisp and give it a roll. My post of two days ago has details of how that was achieved.(Chanel)

*    The buttonholes were machine stitched. They look rather large and are because a boucle covered button is not easy to get through a buttonhole. Additional length was added to the BH to facilitate. (Not Chanel)
*    Here you can see the boucle covered buttons. They have a tiny piece of charmeuse underneath to prevent the metal of the button from showing through. I made the first one without and it was definitely needed. Getting the boucle to stay in the button cover was not easy at all and an entire afternoon was spent making these six buttons. I eventually figured out that if I got the  fabric and button pushed into the little rubber thingy and then soaked the remaining boucle with fray bloc I could manipulate the fabric to stay inside the button and accept the cap. This was probably the most difficult part of the jacket. The Fray Bloc worked and they seem quite secure. (definitely not Chanel)

Pattern: I love the way this jacket fits. It has gone into TNT status and is now waiting to be made up again. My next vision is in leather with lots of zippers. Hey, stop rolling those eyes! 

The pattern, Simplicity 2284, I HIGHLY recommend. There is a really nice shape to the two piece sleeve. The side seam sits back from where a side seam would be giving the impression of an under arm panel and helping with the fit. This patterns HAS CUP SIZES. I think the bust fit is beautiful on this pattern and I did nothing but "petite" it by shortening the bodice a bit, something I always do. If you are planning on a similar jacket, just know that the pattern meets at center front. I added an extension and collar to make it look like my original inspiration from Dolce Y Gabana. Originally I remarked how bubbly the bias trim looked on the original. Well, its not easy getting it to be flat, let me tell you. But I think I scored a little higher than the original on that one. I think only a wet baby's bum is more slippery than bias strips of silk charmeuse.

It's time to move on to the next project. Some smocking for Sophie and some bag experimentation are in the offing. I will be pleating this afternoon. As far as the bag, it will utilize a very simple design and on the bag  the foil technique I have been aching to try. 

Just want to pass on a very big Thank You to all who follow and those that just drop by and visit as well. I so enjoy all your comments and appreciate every one of them and you as well. Thanks again for making blogging and sewing such and enjoyable endeavor for me. Its always nice to share with kindred spirits....Bunny




Sleeve Improvement

First I want to acknowledge and thank Claire Kennedy who generously shared knowledge and opinion regarding the sleeve heads. Thanks, Claire! I have narrow shoulders. I can also  use all the width I can get to balance the hip area. I tried shoulder pads of varying styles and thickness and they just didn't have the correct look for this jacket. I also was not crazy about the "soft hang" of the sleeve head area on my narrow shoulders. They needed a bit of support.

I remembered and made note of one of Claire's blog posts when she did a CJ. She shared the same opinion, that the shoulder needed a bit of support. FWIW, stronger shoulder lines are definitely the trend. We both know that this is not the traditional "sweatery" look but personal preference and when you sew for yourself, its all about personal preference. After consulting with Claire and also using my gut instincts I sewed the sleeve and lining into the bodice and lining like any blouse or jacket. This is not the traditional Chanel method of treating the lining and boucle separately.  To get the slight lift I wanted I took a poly cord and stitched it the only the area between the notches around the cap. The seam was then bound all around with silk charmeuse. Can you tell I am now out of my lovely print? Luckily I had some silk charmeuse in the stash in a color that worked well. Per Claire, the SAs on the lower part of the armscye were trimmed back and the SA around the cap left in place and pressed toward the sleeve. Because of the change in thickness of the SAs, the binding is fairly wide, but it is so thin it doesn't add any additional bulk and looks pretty. Doing this gives the cap just the slight bit of lift I wanted as you will see shortly. A bit of personal maintenance and I will be ready to try on and model....Bunny

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Third Time..........


is the charm! I set these sleeves in three times before they were to satisfaction. At least now it is done. All that is left is to hem the sleeves and it is totally un fait acompli! Should be up with modeled pictures soon....Bunny