Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bits and Pieces

I realize I haven't posted in a while, and thank you to those who kindly inquired about me!  I have been extremely busy with costumes for the past 3 weeks or so and it looks like I will be for the next couple of weeks.

The other news is that I have an immediate family member that will need two surgeries this winter and spring, which will leave me with helping out quite a bit to make sure things go smoothly.  I'm not sure how much time I will have to blog.

That said, I will try to post a few things here and there when I can!

Parting Shot:  Franconia Ridge.  This was taken last week before the day before the last snow storm, from across Franconia Notch on Cannon Mountain.  Even though we don't have a lot of snow at the lower elevations, there is plenty higher up on the mountains!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Spring's First Blush - Final Post, For the Second Time

Here is the new and improved Spring's First Blush art garment piece:

I started out with a necklace, but after taking it apart, redesigning and reworking it, I've ended up with a top and skirt ensemble.

I'm pleased with the ensemble - it is exactly as I envisioned.  Believe it or not, this garment was a little more difficult in terms of design because I wanted to do something more restrained.  While by everyday standards, this isn't very restrained, for my type of artwork, it is!  I wanted something pretty, something with beads, but not so over the top as let's say, Garden Path was.  I think I've done pretty well.  I've used beads and sequins, and one glittery thread, but I've kept those things to a minimum.  It was hard not to go overboard, as there is a danger in knowing a lot of different embellishment techniques:  you want to use them all at once.  The art of restraint is a hard one to learn!

Now, I need to work on that Wedding Suit!

Parting Shot:  Garden Update.  My son's plants are growing!  We're even seeing tomatoes and not just flowers.  I think my son will be surprised at how much his garden will grow while he's gone to camp this week and how nice it will look without the weeds, courtesy of his sister and me.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Spring's First Blush - Part XIX

Attaching the Yoke - The Harder Stuff

To finish the top, all that needs to happen is to attach the yoke, face it and add the label.  It sounds simple, but isn't.

Let's start with getting the yoke attached.  First, I needed to get the the pleats lined up and pinned.  Let's just say that was not easy.  For some reason, even though I measured and marked carefully, the pleats just weren't happening.  I think it might have been the assymetrical curved edge I was working with.  Hmmm . .

What I ended up doing was changing the pleats to gathers - it accomplishes the same thing but was easier to do.  I ended up having to make two rows of gathers, one higher than the other.  I had to do this to accommodate that unusual curve.  That curve looks cool, but it actually is harder to work with than a straight line or even curve.

I then turned under the edge of the yoke and slip basted the yoke to the front of the top; see photo below. This was an important step, because pins just would not hold everything in place properly  Once that was done, I was able to take it to the machine for the first pass of stitching.  This first stitching attaches the yoke to the top. 

Next, I had to attach the facing.  I basted the neck ties in place before proceeding.  I had a square of silk I saved for just this purpose.  I  placed the facing and yoke right sides together, carefully sandwiching the body of the top in between.  Very carefully.  Thankfully the silk jersey was able to fit in the small area of the neck between the two ties, which was my opening for turning. 

Once stitched, turned and  pressed, all I had to do was hand stitch the neck opening shut.  Whew.

The label was, thankfully, easy to applique in place!

That's it!  This ensemble is done!  Next Week:  Final post with the ensemble being modeled!

Parting Shot:  Vantage Point.  Kiwi finds a good spot behind the fabric to watch Pix without being seen by Pix.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Spring's First Blush - Part XVIII

Constructing the Top - The Easy Stuff

Most of the top construction is easy.  The only hard part is getting the yoke attached and faced properly.  To start construction, I made all the ties.  There are two waist ties and two neck ties.  Simple to make - cut rectangles stitched right sides together, turned to the right side and pressed.  The ties needed to be made first because the waist ties are incorporated into the side seams.

The side seams were stitched, including the waist ties and the seams were pressed open.  The waist ties were then tacked to the seam allowance so that they would not flop about on the inside of the garment.

Now the top edge and bottom edge needed hemming.  That was easy to do with the coverstitch machine.  I experimented first to see whether I'd need to interface and stabilize the hem and found out I didn't need to.  The extra interfacing made the edges bulky and wasn't needed to prevent a wavy hem.  Outside:


Up next:  The harder stuff - attaching the yoke.

Parting Shot:  A Few Flowers.  Some more of my husband's plants are starting to flower.  I think we saved them from the hungry insects that attacked while we were on vacation, so we might get to enjoy the blooms!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Spring's First Blush - Part XVII

The Draping

Now it is time for the fun to begin. I've never draped before, but I've been sewing for over 25 years, so I do know how pattern pieces go together and have a pretty good idea of what shapes I'll need to create the garment I want.

Logically, it would seem that before you even start to pin fabric to a dress form, that you would need to make sure the dress form is the same size as the person for whom the garment is intended. A garment in a knit fabric would be a little more forgiving, but anything in a woven would be a disaster if the dress form was not carefully prepared. To that end, I measured myself and adjusted my dress form to match at the bust, waist and neck to waist measurements. I realize that the dress form does not have the exact shape bust shape as I do, but, because this is a knit and I plan on gathers or pleats across the front, this garment will be more forgiving in terms of fit.

One other thing I'm doing differently is that I am not draping the garment as a muslin (using similar fabric to the final garment; woven for woven, knit for knit), then taking the muslin apart to use as a pattern. That's sometimes how it works, with the muslin then becoming a pattern. I've got extra fabric and am fairly confident I can do this without too much trouble.

I first pinned the yoke in place where I wanted it to be worn. I then started at the center front of the garment, pinning in pleats moving out toward each side.  At this point, I was able to remove the yoke so that I could work without handling it excessively or damaging it.

At the sides, I determined how steep of a slope I wanted from the yoke to the underarm and pinned that in place, creating the top edge of the garment at the side fronts. I then pinned the side seams in place.

At this point, I had the front pretty much figured out. I then basted along all the where I wanted the finished edges to be so that when I removed the fabric from the form, I'd have the outline of the pattern piece, only needing seam allowances to be added. The front will be cut on a fold, so really only one side needed to be traced.

I then carefully cut out a piece of fabric to use to drape the back. The back needed to be tighter to help hold the garment on the body, meaning I'd need to stretch it, then pin it to the form. The side seams and top edge were marked, along with the position of the attached waist ties.

Once all the pieces were removed from the dress form, I cut them out with seam allowances. Everything is now ready for the bit of construction, which should be really easy:  make all the ties, sew the side seams and finish the edges. 

Parting Shot: Double Trouble.  For just a few minutes, the cats shared a window - they were both intent on the chipmunk outside.  That chipmunk has no idea of the danger than lurks on the other side of the screen.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Spring's First Blush - Part XVI

Ideas for The Blouse

So far, I've got a skirt and now I'm going to make a top or blouse to with it.  The old necklace has been taken part and will now become the yoke of the top.   I want to make a halter-style top with pleats or gathers at center front, a simple back, neck ties and an attached tie belt.   I'm also going to make it out of ivory silk jersey. 

I have seen some patterns that are close to what I want to make, but don't have the yoke that I'm going to use.  Burda published a similar pattern last summer, but again that yoke shape could be an issue.

Which leaves me with an interesting option:  design and/or drape my own blouse.  I don't think it will be that difficult to do since the top is simple in design, with only two seams, the side seams.  I've never draped anything before, so this should be an interesting adventure. This little project will at least let me know if I ever want to do it again!

Check back tomorrow to see the progress.  I've hoping to work on the Wedding Suit, but I'd really like to get this ensemble done first. I'm thinking it should only take a few more days to get this done and then next week I can concentrate on the jacket for the suit.

Parting Shot:  Cutting Day.  Yesterday I cut out all the stuff I want to make during this month except for the Wedding Suit.  Now that these are ready to go, I should be able to work on these various projects as I have time around the other two big projects. 

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Spring's First Blush - Part XV

Hem and Label

Thanks for the comments on the waistline finish!  If you chose to use bias, be sure to stablize that top edge in some way such as stay tape sew into the seam or a strip of thin selvedge.  This way your garment won't stretch out of shape at the waist.  I didn't do this because my fabric was quilted and pretty well stabilized because of it.

Well, I'm down to the last two parts: hem and label. First, the hem. This one is pretty simple. I've done a Hong Kong finish for the bottom edge of the skirt and stitched the hem in place by hand.

The lining gets trimmed nice and even, turned under and stitched in place. With a quick press, it is done!

The label isn't anything exciting, just my generic oval labels that I print onto silk using Bubble Jet Set. Not exciting, but simple, done and should not be annoying to wear (some of the fancy beaded ones I have found can be scratchy!)

Next up: an adventure with the blouse!

Parting Shot:  Marigolds.  My husband started some flowers from seed this spring and some of them were marigolds.  These ones are pretty neat due to the stripes on the petals.