Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wednesday Words




The story of technology is in fact the story of textiles. From the most ancient times to the present, so too is the story of economic development and global trade. The origins of chemistry lie in the colouring and finishing of cloth. The textile business funded the Italian Renaissance and the Mughal Empire; it left us double-entry bookkeeping and letters of credit, Michelangelo’s David and the Taj Mahal. As much as spices or gold, the quest for fabrics and dyestuffs drew sailors across strange seas. In ways both subtle and obvious, textiles made our world."..........from essay written by Virginia Postrel and found here.  , a very interesting read. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Simplicity 1166, my next skirt


This is my next skirt project. I had a skirt like this at one time and wore it till the seams unravelled, rayon that it was! I love the vertical line of the buttons and this silhouette usually works for me. The back of the skirt is a full a-line so attention to fit is a bit more important than on the last skirt.  Lots of bias drape here. 


The fabric is this cross dyed linen made by Kaufman. It has a black and white thread, nice skirt weight and a lovely drape for the bias.  I've used this fabric before and really liked the final result. 

Unable to find anything with appropriate crispness to make the blouse in the pattern, I asked sewing friends about finding shirting. Mrs. Mole hit the jackpot, suggesting I try Farmhouse Fabrics. Now I know about Farmhouse Fabrics and their wonderful stock geared to the heirloom sewing crowd. I've bought from them before. It never occurred to me to check them out for shirting. Well, they have wonderful shirting and great prices as well. I purchased a white Italian cotton shirting and it is on its way. So the plan is to make the blouse in the above pattern when that arrives. Also on tap is a new spring bag. I'm thinking a basic tote but with some really fun color. 

I hope to get on this as soon as I feel up to it. Happy sewing, everyone!...........Bunny

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wednesday Words






"When I was employed by a major pattern company years ago, I learned a very important piece of information that I never forgot.  Pattern companies don't sell patterns; they sell dreams.  75% of patterns purchased never even get opened by the person who purchased them.  Look in your own storage, and tell me I'm not wrong on this... right?" ....by Mimi of Shop the Garment District
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Thanks for all the well wishes, prayers, cares and concerns. I am gradually getting ahead of the pain and should be well enough to go back to work Monday. It's been pretty discomforting but I'm managing. The short simple story is that I , who have always had very bad peripheral vision, misjudged and hit the kitchen island with the full force of my body while making an animated conversational point. Yes, I was attacked by a kitchen island and lived to talk about it. You had to be there! It sounds so silly and implausible but wasn't at the time. No dancing on the island or crazy drunkenness, just a bunch of friends laughing and having a good time and good conversation. You just never know! Thanks again for all your thoughts and prayers. Now back to sewing! Do you not open 75%  of the patterns you buy?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Wednesday Words




courtesy http://surfacedesignwa.com/

"My husband says he has just copyrighted a new word: fabrilanche. It is when a giant pile of fabric falls, endangering lives. He predicts this is how he will die and may be why one of our tiny dogs goes missing in the future."  .........Caroline Gaddy on FB


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Sunday evening, while friends were visiting, I had what only could be called a freak accident while we were all hanging around our kitchen island. It's a bit too crazy to even describe. At this point I am out of work for two weeks, in major pain, and have seriously bruised  ribs, spleen (real bad) and lungs. Luckily nothing was punctured despite my having the wind knocked out. I am on "lay down" orders. That and sitting for a while on the edge of chair, nice and straight are about all I can handle right now. Blessedly, my hubby is taking great care of  things. So I don't see much sewing for a while although I sure wish I could take advantage of the time. To everything there is a season......so blogging and sewing will be sparse  till I can move around a bit more comfortably. I should be able to visit you all  while I chair sit, however. 

I say all this because I didn't respond to the many lovely compliments, great binding suggestions and hair comments yesterday. They were read and all appreciated. Hope to be back at the machine and keyboard soon. Thanks for your loyal following. Don't you just love the Fabrilanche comment?...........Bunny

Monday, March 14, 2016

Simplicity 1484




I love skirts. But skirts mean legs and years of working on my feet during 12 hour shifts have taken their toll. But now there are awesome boots, leggings with flats and even Sally Hansen leg makeup, which I adore, by the way! So I am on a skirt tear. I've ordered some black cross dyed linen for a vintage look pattern but it won't be here until later this week. In the meantime, this stinkin' skirt bug has hit bad.

I pulled out all my bottomweights, opened them up and started measuring. I also pulled out all my skirt patterns. Could I find enough yardage to make the skirt I wanted, once I figured out what that was? It was like haggling at a yard sale, but eventually we had a meeting of the two participants. It would be Simplicity 1464  and the blue denim border  print you see above. I had just enough to make it in a longer length. I think it would be cute in the shorter length but it was the waist I was concerned about and I had thoughts that it could make this project one condemned to the back of the closet.



It's been a while since I've worn a full profile skirt with a waistband. This could be one of those reality moments that hit post meno. Fingers crossed, I proceeded.  That style was one of my favorite and most flattering in younger years as my waist to hip ratio worked well with that look. This pattern says the waistband sits one inch below the natural waist. I didn't want that. I was going to make this sit higher, closer to my natural waist. It needed to be fairly stiff so it wouldn't wrinkle with bending and would keep its crisp look. I would not do the band shown as the border print would add interest.


Fabric:

This fabric was purchased long ago, I think maybe from the now departed Fabric Fix in Manchester, NH. ( tears ). It is 100 cotton denim but very lightweight. It looks just like jean fabric but is the weight of a chambray, so nicer for the skirt.  It has little snowflakey motifs and a border. I like that I had to run the border on the length as I think it's probably a better look for my height. Where the little snowflakey motifs hit near a seam and in one case, the bottom of the lapped zipper, they looked more like unravelling denim. I took out a Tee Juice fabric marker and painted the motif that peeked out of the bottom of the zipper making it look like a poor installation. Worked like a charm!  Sewists need permanent markers nearby for these sorts of moments!  There is no lining, none really needed and the waistband is backed with a medium weight fusible cotton interfacing. It's working well to keep it all upright in the waist. I thought about doing boning but the interfacing has it under control. 

Pattern:    

This is Simplicity 1464. It has pants, shorts and  long and short version of this skirt, having bands decorating the lower part of the skirts. There are three box pleats in the front, three of the same in the back and a side lapped zip. It is unlined.  I added 8 1/2 inches to the short version to get the length I wanted. I like that the skirt is curved at the hemline, therefore falling much better than a simple tube. The pattern has shape to the sides, no tube here!




Construction:

This was really Sewing 101 and would make a great beginner pattern. I did things a bit differently to make sure the waist fit. I sewed the front waistband to the front skirt panel, then did the same for the back  pieces. The notches and seams  matched perfectly. There are only three pieces to this pattern, front and back being the same. This way I was then able to baste the two sides together to check fit. Good thing.....seems I imagined my waist to be much bigger and ended up taking out another inch on each sewn side seam, down from the size six. That was blended down into the hipline and also made the waistline raise, my goal. . This skirt has a really nice hipline curve. 

Seams were all serged before sewing started. They were then machine stitched and pressed open. The waistband facing was the last thing to happen and was serged at the bottom and then ditch stitched on the public side in the waist/skirt seamline. That made the waistband finished and the innards hidden. This has a lapped zipper that I ran to the very top edge, no snaps, tabs or buttons. I do that almost all the time as it gives a cleaner look. The 5/8ths inch hem was serged and topstitched, all very simple.


In conclusion:

This project gave me great pleasure. That is because it was very simple, great fabric, it fit in the end and most of  all went quickly. I don't espouse sewing fast nor do I belong  to the Make It Tonight, Wear it Tomorrow Club. But I really enjoyed starting cold turkey on something at 11.30 in the morning and having it nicely completed at 4:30, the same day.  I can't tell you the last time that has happened for me and I took my time, too. I think my lesson is: let the pattern and fabric talk. Choose a simple design, Don't race and just enjoy the process. And don't always feel you have to change it up, "make it better", embellish it further, or use a couture technique. This is real sewing that anyone can achieve. I like that. Highly recommend this one, a very enjoyable make. ...Bunny

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Grand Godet Top, Vogue 9169


This has been a very productive week! I have finished two projects, a top and a skirt. It was a toss up which one would go first but since I did the last post on the top, let's continue! I will start by saying I LOVE THIS TOP!  It is comfortable and if positive comments were worth money, well, I'd be buying you all lunch!

Pattern:

This is Vogue  9169, "Pullover top, has neckband, seam detail variations, and stitched hem" per the pattern description. I did View B with what it calls an "applied upper section".

This is a tricky pattern to alter, obviously.  I cut a size six morphing to ten at the hips. This was directly as a result of flat pattern measuring. That was tricky too but I thought I nailed it. I didn't.  I also did a minor "cheater" FBA, curving out the side seam at bust level. I still could use a tad more fabric on the bust and will do a more traditional FBA next go-round.  I DID NOT petite this pattern as it seemed to be just right when which you can see by no horizontal wrinkles between neck and bust.  Also, the apexes matched. The big fit issue were the hips. Yes, they would meet but I am not a fan of negative ease, just not me. So I added the godet as I showed you in the previous post. Frankly, I am starting to think of myself as the Godet Queen. Heaven only knows how many times you have seen me solve a fitting challenge with a godet. We've done hips, backs, sleeves, underarm to hem, you name it. Doesn't fit? Stick a godet in it! But don't call it a wadder and give up. Worse case, you donate it, but you will have also gained lots of sewing knowledge and experience in the interim. Out of the pulpit!

I also added one inch to the bicep area of the sleeves. I do this now automatically to all my patterns. I know most probably wouldn't alter the sleeves on a knit top, but again, I am not a fan of negative ease. Maybe I've just lurked too much on People of Walmart. The sleeves have been shortened to my preferred 7/8ths length.

Fabric:

The print is an ITY knit from Fabric.com. It is thin but not too thin. The stripe fabric is from a maxi skirt purchased at our local thrift shop, St. Vincent de Paul's. I have several knit garments I've purchased recently just to have the fabric. There is a lot of fabric in those maxi skirts!

I backed the hems with Dritz quilt batting tape, a soft but stable tricot fusible tape. For the neckline I used regular fusible tricot interfacing, however. This is because the neck hole really is not that big on this pattern. It goes over my head, certainly not the biggest, just barely. And the ITY is definitely VERY stretchy in all directions. That neckhole really needs to be a bit bigger, or something, so fair warning there.


Construction:

This was pretty straightforward for a knit top. Since I didn't have to do any petite adjustments or narrowing of the shoulders, I would recommend double checking your measurements in the upper bodice area. I am very narrow there and it fit just right in the size six, which usually requires some alteration for me.

All seams were stitched with a wobble stitch,  a very narrow zigzag of  1.0 length and .5 width. I did another row of stitching one eighth inch away and then trimmed back to the second stitching.

I was not happy with the neck binding.  I matched notches and seams  and the seam that closes the binding ended up in an odd spot. Watch out for that. I also have a question for all you knit experts out there as I certainly don't fit into that group. When you use a pattern piece for a neck binding on a knit pattern, do you cut it smaller? Or does the pattern take that into consideration. The binding was smaller but I felt it could be even more so to lie just a little flatter. I'd appreciate any input. So do you automatically cut back your binding a certain amount, even if it is from a pattern? Thanks for your answers.

I found matching the stripe section to the print section a bit confusing. There is supposed to be a line to match the two on the pattern but all my pieces had was a line for folding up the hem on the top bodice. So what I did was match the raw edge of the stripe with the raw edge of the folded under hem of the print. This put the stripe an inch and a quarter underneath the print. Then I topstitched. I found the topstitching directions/drawings a bit confusing, too. There is no topstitching line on the top bodice so you are on your own to figure out the best place to topstitch and how many rows. It would be hard to make that look really bad but it would be nice to know what the original designer intended.  In the pattern, the sleeves are installed in the round. If I did it again They would be done flat. I also think I would leave a shoulder seam open to insert the binding that way.

In Conclusion:

All in all, I am very happy with my top. It fits quite nicely even if not perfect and I can see myself making this again, It could be fun in a solid with maybe just a binding on the hem edge. There is a lot of opportunity for creativity here.


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I have been in a skirt sort of mood lately and am anxiously awaiting some linen purchased on line. In the meantime, I took some denim I've had for some time  and just went with it. I tried a style of skirt that I really wasn't sure would work. I think it did and will have that coming up next. It has been a fruitful week!

And yes, I am letting my hair go gray, quelle horeur! Truth is I am painfully jealous of my sister's glorious white hair that she has had since she's thirty. If mine can be half as gorgeous........in the meantime it's calico head with the silver up front, the natural dark at the back and sides and the faded brown growing out poorly  on top. I will be happy when it is all grown out. But will it be like Sis's with it's thick white coloring?  Only time will tell.....Bunny



Thursday, March 10, 2016

Thursday thoughts..............

....................which should have been Wednesday's Words! Better late than never and I found this commentary, actually a book review, just last night, so here we go........


"........... The French post modernist philosopher, Baudrillard came up with the concept of hyper reality. This states that what is "real" becomes lost in the modern world behind a facade of marketing and style over substance. I would not have much of a problem with (fill in the blank)'s patterns if I felt there was substance in them. What she has done is taken the most basic sort of patterns, and dressed them up with pretty pictures, colours and a marketing facade that lets the consumer feel they are buying into a lifestyle. The patterns themselves are basic "......................thanks to Kaitlyn's Simply Vintage,


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The Grand Godet top is completed and has been worn to work only to be greeted with claim (wink). I'll have pics up this weekend and will hopefully be onto the next fun project! Me thinks a skirt!....Bunny

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Another save! Vogue 9169, adding a godet

I am the first to admit that I have ample hips. But you can see an issue on my mannequin who is made to my exact measurements. The underlay sections does not meet the overlay section of this tee pattern, Vogue 9169.  I flat pattern measured and there was ease but I am thinking maybe I did something wrong in that process. I did match notches, etc. In the end, there is just not enough room for my booty. What's a sewist to do? I had some stripe fabric left. BTW  the stripe fabric was a maxi skirt from the thrift shop for 25 cents. Let me tell you, there is a lot of yardage in last summer's maxis and they abound at our local thrift, a great source for fabrics.

After a bit of thought, I figured adding a godet would be the solution. However, the underlay was complete with side seam sewn and the hems in and double topstitched. I was not taking that hem out of a thin knit, either. Here is what I did to add the godet to the the underlay. 

 I cut a section, an arbitrary 10 inches wide, on grain. The sides of the underlay are curved at the hip. I took my hip curve ruler and curved the bottom of the godet. This makes it lay, more or less, at the same level as the finished hem. I don't know any math equation to do this. I just curved it up about an inch higher at the sides than the center. The hem was lined with fusible tricot, slashed to accommodate the curve and pressed up the same width as the hem on the underlay. 

Next, the godet was folded in half, all edges  matching. I used the hip ruler to cut a curve mimicking the side seam of the underlay. The top of the godet would be at my natural waist. 

Right sides together, the godet is pinned to the side seam of the underlay. I simply cut off the original side seam of the underlay to eliminate the stitching. The hem is folded out and the folds of the two hems match. I then sewn from the fold of the hem, not the edge, and up to 5/8ths inch away from the top of the godet. You want the point of the  godet to be free so stop 5/8ths inch short, like you see below.


Once that is pressed  (It will be trimmed after),  it is time to match up the other side of the godet. Simply pin the whole length of the underlay. You will sew from the bottom hem fold, again open, to that same point where you ended on the first side, 5/8th inch short of the end of the godet. 


Then stop,cut your threads, flip that end point of the godet out of the way. Go back under the presser foot and start sewing again from that point to the end of the underlay. This will leave the point free. Check the front and see if any correction needs to be made to have a smooth transition at the point and a tightly sewn point. You can maybe see that my seams are a "wobble" seam, two rows,  stitched a quarter of an inch apart. This was then trimmed back to the second stitch. The "wobble" stitch, an Nancy Zieman term, is a very very narrow zigzag which provides the needed stretch. It works great. Why not used the serger? For one, it's not necessary as this fabric will never ravel. Plus it can show bulk when pressed. Just my choice but many sew all their knits with the serger. That's fine, not critique there. Plus, maneuvering that point could get a little tricky with the knife! 

The hem is now folded into place and the top stitching sewn, match that on the original underlay. Now I can connect it to the overlay section, whew! Now it fits! 

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Winter just won't let its grip on us go. This icicles, curving into the house remind me of it's icy tentacles and the way we all feel after the nasty month of February. Please Spring, come!....bunny