Sunday, May 31, 2015

Vogue 8630, an underlined sheath with portrait collar


The dress is done. The hat arrived on time and was the perfect color. The wedding was so lovely. It does the heart good to see all the hope of the world in the eyes of a beautiful young couple choosing to spend forever together no matter what life sends their way. The venue was gorgeous with a large outdoor porch and gardens that made catching up with family a delight, not always the case when the amplifiers are going full blast with the dance music. And I did dance! Now to the dress details but thanks to Dd Audrey who took the photos in her lovely yard. I told her I needed to have a picture of the back and this is what she gave me:


Forget Mom, show the sewing! She has learned well! Above you can see the handpicked zip with the tiny tortoise shell beads and a fabric belt I made for the dress as well. Let's get down to the real nitty gritty.




Pattern:  This is a Very Easy Vogue pattern, V8630. I have always loved VEV patterns. They have minimal pieces and can usually be made in quick time, that is if you leave out all the extras this dress ended up with.  A couple of things I really like about the pattern were the curves in the lower back bodice and the upper back of the skirt, perfect for those with some swayback issues. I did not adjust this dress for my sway back at all and it hugged my SB curves just right.  I did find the bodice a bit short all around and lengthened it a half inch and will lengthen it a bit more if I make it again. Another great thing about this pattern is that it comes in various cup sizes. I used a C cup but the missing length was all around,not just the front. The pattern calls for a lining. I underlined it instead.

Fabric: This is a 100%  rayon designer fabric and I wish I could remember who the designer was. It was on the tube when I bought it a few years back at Fabric Fix, right before they closed. The fashion fabric has a linen type weave and it's a perfect dress weight, not too light. I fully expected it to fray like mad but it never did. The lining is 100% cotton but much nicer than muslin and heavier than batiste but not as heavy as a Kona cotton. I used cotton because I knew the wedding would be outside for a good part and it could possibly be a very hot day. It was! I used a poly silk charmeuse for the Hong Kong seams and bindings.

As mentioned in the beginning of this project. I interlined the skirt with large hole nylon net from Joanns, the kind of stuff you make those scrubbers with. It did a wonderful job of keeping the wrinkles out of the skirt and I would definitely use it again. Since all the seams are enclosed, scratchiness was never an issue. It was cut out of the hem and vent area. You wouldn't know the netting was in there if I hadn't told you. It worked! The collar is 100% heavy white linen and faced with white cotton as well. Interfacing is in the collar and I used a woven interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply.  When this project was started I majorly stressed over matching the print which I soon discovered wasn't going to happen. I think my "sort of" matching looks fine, don't you? The goal was to keep the bulleye effect away. 

Construction:  I read through the pattern a few times before I started but really didn't follow it at all. The first issue was the underlining. The cotton and the FF  were stitched together as one. All seams were bound, including the hem edge and vent. No facings! Holes were bound with bias strips of charmeuse. 


The zipper a hand picked beaded zipper. This was done by first sewing the seam shut with a machine basting stitch. An adhesive measuring tape was then placed a quarter inch away from the seamline on the right side. This allowed me to accurately place the beads exactly every 3/8ths of an inch on both sides. I used a back stitch and the zipper is as sturdy as any if not more so. Once completed I removed the basting. The zip on this dress stops about three inches from the top of the dress and the end is hidden under the  collar. 



The edges of the zipper seam have the Hong Kong finish as well. I also covered the inside of the zip with a folded strip of bias charmeuse. I love this touch. I feel like a princess whose tender skin should never touch anything mechanical! I can dream, can't I?  The three unfolded edges are catchstitched to the underlining. 

The neckline and armholes were bound with bias, understitched and catchstitched to the lining. 


I added the vent to the construction. The pattern has a "slit" at the center back seam and the skirt definitely needs some accommodation for movement. Personally, I think slits at the back rear don't do a very good job, pull apart, and just look cheap and like someone  didn't try, my personal opinion. So added a vent to the skirt. the edges wre bound. The outside of the vent was secured with a tiny zigzag. I saw that touch on a garment and really liked it.

I also added a self fabric belt to the dress. My hat was the major accessory so a contrasting or thicker belt would have competed too much. I had to "make do" to make my belt but it came out really well. I will try to do a tute on it soon. I used drapery header to make it, fashon fabric and an antique buckle, all pretty low key.

You can't see it but with the dress I wore alligator pumps in dark brown. I packed a pair of coppery sandles in my bag and put them on for the serious dancing! I told you I danced!  There is no black in this fabric. It goes from snow white to the deepest chocolate brown. My hat is the same color dark brown. I picked it out at a store in Disney, Chapel Hats. They accommodated me with the info I needed and I ordered it on line when I got home. Unlike my Macy's bed set, this hat arrived in perfect shape. I will definitely use Chapel Hats again. DD bought one of their hats as well.



The wedding is over. I am craving another round of "event" sewing but for now will settle in on some projects that I have been dieing to get going. First off will be a tunic out of the rust dyed fabric. It is near done already and I can't wait to show you.............Bunny



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Macy's made good


I would like to thank Mr. Fred Schutte of Macy's/Bloomingdale's for responding yesterday and making me a satisfied customer.

Mr. Schutte assures me that actions are being taken to make sure that this does not happen to any customer in the future. I felt he was genuine in his concern and effort and appreciate that.

Thanks to all of you dear blog readers for you support and care. Hopefully this well set systems in motion to prevent this travesty of retailing from happening to any future customers of Macy's/Bloomingdales..............Bunny

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Hell hath no fury............Hear that, Macy's?

OK, this is a disgusting post so if you are weak of stomach, move on.



My bedroom is odd colors. The walls are a rich golden apricot which we have had two people copy, lovely. The drapes are a red and gold and beige silk plaid, love them. The overall effect is glowing golds and reds.  Last weekend was the annual spring window cleaning extravaganza at the Sewista household. That meant I washed and ironed those silk drapes and they looked crisp and fresh when I hung them up. We have a beautiful bedroom set. Remember, I sold furniture for many years. The bedspread has been an exquisite white  hand crocheted number that my MIL gifted us over ten years ago. It has sentimental value. We are tired of it though and after hanging the crispy silk drapery, DH and I decided we really needed to retire her gift and get something more co-ordinated. Off to Macy's on line I went.


I have been shopping at Macy's for my home for over thirty years and have always been very pleased. I've have spent thousands there. Without thinking I went to their site and found the perfect set of bedding. It was bed in a bag easy with seven pieces. You can see it on the ripped and torn enclosure that was in the bed in the bag.



Hubby did watch yesterday for the man in the brown shorts with the great legs and called me when it was delivered. I raced in the house and we opened the bag. The smell was disgusting. Hubby says it's cologne and Bad BO. To me it smelled like a dead animal. It rose out of the plastic bag before we could even get it out. Eagerly I pulled the comforter out to get it on our bed. The stink increased and I immediately noticed stains. WTF? Every corner of fabric I turned was full of hairs, what we hope is snot but could be what we called "giz" back in high school. There were all sorts of stains All Over. There were tons of hair All Over. There was a pucking smell All Over. As my blood pressure rose and I flipped the next wad of fabric, there it was: Bug egg cases stuck to the comforter. I started screaming get this thing out of the house, NOW! with numerous Fbombs thrown in. I was bull  shit. We packed it back in the bag and brought it out to the barn. There was no way this smelly bug infested crap was staying in our home.

Clearly, Macy's took a return on this product for a customer who abused it in ways I have never done to any bedding I've ever owned. It went back on a shelf in the warehouse and was pulled for us when we placed our order. This is bedding people. There are laws regarding returned bedding. It's like returning underwear. Come on, Macy's, you should know better.

I immediately fired off a "rate your experience" email to Macy's as well as a customer complaint. I checked of the box to have someone call me. Hasn't happened.  I live in the hinterlands and  it is an hour and a half ride to find any store besides Walmart and Kmart to get bedding. I relied on my years of positive experience with Macy's for my purchase as I have done many times previous. I am beyond disappointed and so pissed off. This morning I had a form email feeling sorry for my "issue" and " here is a label to ship it back. It will be credited when we get it. Thank you very much." The email instructed me that responding would get me no response so don't try. Well, I am responding now, Macy's. This disgusting experience requires  more than a downloaded shipping label and a form email and me taking time out of my  busy day to ship back your garbage.  I don't know what that is but until you do better, you suck..............Bunny




Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A hand picked beaded zip!


I really enjoy this type of sewing. I get off on the small details that maybe just I know about, like Hong Kong seams and such. I certainly don't advertise such things when I wear a garment out. But it's like wearing the lacy, expensive bra underneath a denim work shirt, just makes me feel good inside. Detailed and sometimes secret, that's my favorite type of sewing!

The dress is close to completion and I am all over it to  get it done on time. I will take pics on my form and let my hobbyist photog daughter take the pics of me in it with her killer camera. That will be at the wedding next weekend. More to come...................Bunny

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A little alteration!



I rarely do alterations and when I do they are only for those who truly appreciate it. The tall and lovely daughter of my friend Mary is going to the prom this weekend and the perfect dress needed a bit of help. Despite her height, the gown still needed two inches off the hem and lining. I also raised the shoulders up two inches, much needed, and that came out really well. the dress looks a bit skewed but that is because it is the appropriate length for someone five foot nine and it is on my five foot tall dress form and a bit twisted. It looks just lovely on Erin. I added the bling too which is perfectly even on Erin.

For the hem I used the Kenneth King hem technique to make quick work of it all. Love that technique and bow down to Professor King every time I use it. It is always up in my list of tutorials.

I am on the final stretch of my dress for the wedding and right now am hand picking the zipper with tortoise shell seed beads, very subtle and I love it. More to come! ....Bunny

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Vogue 8630


This is the view as I look straight down at my toes while wearing my muslin. See that toe peeking out? The muslin came out surprisingly good and I am sure having the various cup sizes made it work. The "C" fit perfectly except for my usual excess between apex and shoulder and that was easily fixed by deepening the shoulder seam.

The big issue, and really only other issue was what you see in the picture above. This happens to me a lot in dresses. I have wide hips. I have a relatively small waist. This means a big dart in the front of the garment whenever one is specified. But this is where it gets weird. I have a short front crotch rise. My lower tummy has always been very flat, almost concave. Is that a tilted pelvis? I think it could be from what I've read. I have made darts in pants that are probably half the length that you would normally use. The dart ends so that the end of it is filled out by my mature tummy fluff. But it can look weird doing that sometimes and it looked weird with that fix on the muslin. In the pic you can see the long dart puffs out beyond my tummy and has tons of dead air underneath. Its all very weird. I've run into this many times over the years and my solution is to turn the dart into a pleat. The fullness gets released softly and falls straight down instead of puffing out like the dart.   I don't have this problem in the back because my booty generously fills out the back darts in the skirt. So that point lump has been converted to a pleat and it looks better.

Here's something I learned from Sandra Betzina. If you fold the pleats outward, your tummy will look flatter and your hips wider. If you fold the pleats toward center front, your hips will look narrower and your tummy more fluffy. I folded them toward center front. I also pegged the skirt. Short women with wide hips can look pretty dumpy with the side seams hanging straight toward the floor. But pegging a skirt can make those wide hips look even wider. Think of an inverted triangle. I go easy on the pegging tapering in to 3/8ths of an inch at the side seams. Any more is not good but this small amount really helps.


I was all set to do some brilliant matching for you but turns out I am not that brilliant, or this print is barely matchable. The horizontal repeats once and that repeat is  only a quarter of the pattern. The length repeat is 24 inches. While I had a fair amount of extra fabric, I would have needed a huge amount to make it work. I tried, I really tried. As close as I got had me with two giant flowers with big dark centers either right on my boobs, right under them or on the hills of my buttocks. To use the less defined fabric for those areas did not work with the limited horizontal matching I could do because of the one  and a quarter repeat horizontally. SWhat you see above is the beginning of the game. An hour and a half later is was decision time. It was either ignore the print completely or try to get the flowers off the boobs and find a "rough match" that would not glaringly stick out. I think 've made it work with the second option and hope the print is camouflage enough to look OK. I think it is.


One thing I really like about this pattern is the shaping. Above you see the center back  and how it curves in toward the waist on the left instead of just being a vertical line. Nice on that one, Vogue. The center back of the skirt is also curved in so this would work well for those swaybacks. I did not have to do any swayback adjustment and that really surprised me. 


At this point all is cut out. There are three layers in the skirt only, fashion fabric, the net layer and the batiste underling. The bodice is fashion fabric and underlining only. Seams all have the Honk Kong finish added where they can be. I like to do that seam finish as much as possible before construction of the garment. It is so much easier that way. Don't you love that antique gold color charmeuse for the binding? If you are interested there is a tutorial on doing the Hong Kong seam finish here. 


Why no muslin pics? Well, Mr. Avedon did a poor job  of them , taking them from way too high at a weird angle.  Given that he was cleaning every window and screen in the house, a chore we always share, and I was in the studio all day, I was not in a position to complain. I thanked him very much, tried to do some mirror pics of my own but that is not something I've ever been good at. At least you got to see my bulging tummy darts. I am going to hit this again big time tomorrow so I can get it out of the way. Still waiting for my hat to arrive...................Bunny

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A true heroine


I have to pay respect to one of my biggest and most inspirational mentors. I have learned so much from this woman, which is evident in the tutorial page. But more than what I learned about sewing is what I learned from her about grace under fire. She is an amazing human, decent, kind, and strong beyond belief. I pray that her journey is an easy simple one, blessed by the Lord watching over her and the comfort of her family and friends. Please keep Nancy Zieman in your prayers as she moves on with her life...Bunny

Rust dyeing? Really?


I love to dye fabrics. It is my way of greeting Spring. After spilling dye on a new floor in our last home, I had to pledge that I never would dye anything in the house again. For the most part I've stuck to that rule and dyeing is an outside sport for me. It's safer and healthier too!

There are so many techniques I want to try and so little time but this rust technique has been in the planning for the past year. I have taken walks in the woods and picked up hunks of small rust and my friends have been on the hunt as well. I've gone to the hardware store and purposely asked for washers, nails and other bits necessary to building. "Do you have any nails that will rust? I need them to rust." Not what the burly hardware guy hears on a regular basis! After my last hike in the woods about a week ago I decided it was finally time to tackle my rustomania. I am pleased with the results.


Look at the lovely apricot shade of this soft thick damask shown above. I placed my rust on the outside edges, attempting to mimic a border print.


This is a simple process of wrapping the rusty parts with damp fabric as desired. Then you wet the fabric further with a fifty fifty solution of water and vinegar. Lightly cover with a plastic bag. The rust process needs oxygen to make it occur so no tight wrapping in plastic. I did this out on our soon to be chucked picnic table and left it in the sun. It stayed there 24 hours. While at work all I could think of was getting home and unwrapping my fabric surprise. Did it work? Will it need more time? It can take anywhere from 1 - 3 days and putting it in the sun accelerates the process. It is imperative to keep it wet with the vinegar water solution, For me, this meant doing it on a weekend. If you go too far with the process it will damage the fabric and the iron in the rust will make the fabric difficult to cut and sew. From what I've seen,  24 hours worked just right for this piece. Once finished you also need to rinse the fabric in a salt water or baking soda solution.

Links to more information on rust dyeing can be found here and here.   A lot of the fun of this process is actually hunting down the rusty parts. I don't quite know what this will become and I am already thinking of overprinting it with something. In the meantime it will hang in my studio and please me every time I walk by. I just love dyeing fabric. What would you make with this piece?..................Bunny


Monday, May 4, 2015

Vogue 8630


Right about this time last year I wrote about making a dress for a wedding with this fabric. I had the alligator shoes to match. What I didn't have was the time. At the last minute I caved and bought a little red knit number from TJ Maxx. That worked well but I have still been so wanting to make this same dress. Try again! I think I may make it this time. I am determined and will budget time each day to get it done.


The pattern chosen is really simple and I have seen some nice results on PR. The collar is really lovely, a design that flatters my narrow shoulders and long skinny neck. The dress is a simple sheath with a waistline. I prefer that to deal with my swayback. I will be doing the sleeveless version and like how the collar becomes a bit of a sleeve. The belt? More than likely self fabric. The fabric? Above you see a 100% rayon dress fabric. It's a bit heavier than usually seen but has a lovely drape, The collar will be an matching white linen, a heavy texture to match the rayon. Construction? It calls for a lining. I won't do that. Since rayon can "hang out" and potentially droop on a very humid hot day, I am going to underline it instead. The last wedding I went to, not far from this one, was extremely hot and humid and I think the underlining with Hong Kong seams will work better to support the rayon. I am going to interline with cheap nylon net. WTH.....I read about this some time back. A designer used this to keep dupioni silks from becoming totally wrinkled and the netting goes between the lining and fashion fabric. Again, to hold the shape and prevent wrinkles on a hot summer day. I am anxious to try this technique and feel I have nothing to lose here. Can't wait to report how that goes.


The zipper on this design starts two inches below the neckline and is hidden by the wide collar. Here you can see my beginning muslin. The form is tilting and no side seams are sewn. My sewing plan has me finishing the muslin tomorrow. Just looking at this I am thinking the neckline may be too wide and will show straps. Or do I go strapless? If I had more time I would build in a corset but not this time! The upper back is looking wide, which usually happens. I don't like the simple unsewn slit for a vent and think it looks a bit cheap. I think I will make a more tailored vent instead. We'll see. I also think I will hand pick the zipper, maybe with some beads.  This garment is definitely planned for dry cleaning only. I also think I will need to peg the skirt. Not sure on the length yet. Your vote may help me there.

I also have ordered a hat to go with my outfit and it will work great with this dress as well as with nothing else in my wardrobe. Once I put down my plastic on the hat I was committed to making the dress. So I am focusing on this bigtime. I still have a long queue of projects I want to do including bags and some more linen pieces. Spring has finally arrived here with it hitting the eighties today and yesterday. Yay!  So vacation and it's mandatory after vakay catchup is out of the way. The now dry green yard is calling but this dress has priority. Stay tuned.......Bunny