Wednesday, February 28, 2007
More embellishment isn't always better.
I've done a few more experiments on the Diamonds bodice, and although I'm getting closer to making this all work correctly, the muslin is getting uglier! Take a look:
Thank you to everyone for your input on the chiffon squares. I came to the same conclusions/concerns you did. First, the smaller squares look better. Second, the method of attaching might cause a flopping issue.
Let's address the size first. If you look closely at the new pictures, you'll notice I actually have two sizes of smaller squares on the bodice. At the top, I have the 1 1/2" squares and after about four squares, they get a bit bigger at 1 3/4". I didn't try 1 3/4" originally and if I hadn't, I 'd always be wondering if that was the perfect size. Hence, cutting another size. I think graduating the squares in 1/4" increments is the right answer. For the large attached sash, I'll start with the 1 3/4" squares and then gradually increase the size of the squares by 1/4" for each increase.
Now, let's address the real issue I worked on with today's experiements: the attachment method. This row of squares is attached with a bead/sequin combo only:
I see *at least* two problems. First, the squares tend to rotate which ever directions they feel like and don't stay lined up neatly. Notice the one with the gold center is now a square, not a diamond. Second, as is obvious with the second picture, there's some major flopping.
The next picture shows the next row of squares with another style of attachment. These squares are attached with a row of stitching. This is the method that is in the instructions of the Threads article.
This method works nicely. The squares stay in place and while there is some flopping, it's supposed to be that way for a little movement! I'll color match the thread to the blue - the only question now is, do I do a matte thread or a sparkly thread? I think it's going to be a matte one, because I really want the sparkle to come from the beads/sequins/whatevers. Speaking of which, I think this size of sequins are too small, so I'll need to hunt something larger down.
One more thing, those blue squares are the real chiffon fabric. I just took a small corner for testing purposes.
Parting shot: I found a picture of the cream/pink suit. It's pretty bad, but there's another small one of me in the same suit. It's 1989, and I'm 17 in these pictures.
Tomorrow I'll either work on Diamonds or another project, which I should introduce to you: Waiting for Spring.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Fitted Trousers, with zipper!
I had to fix the number in the series, in case you didn't notice. When I went to figure out what number in the series I was to post tonight, I noticed that I was supposed to post number 8, but I already had eight posts. Hmmm . . . yep, I had two of "post four". If you caught this before I did and was wondering how long it would take me to catch it, well, I finally figured it out. If you didn't, don't worry about it - I made the mistake five posts ago and didn't notice.
The correct color for the trousers is in the photos below. The fabric is a really nice fawn stretch sateen from Timmel Fabrics, which was part of my original entry to the SWAP purchase. It was a dream to sew and if she had this same fabric in black, I'd buy it, too.
The pattern is Simplicity 4208, pictured below. I actually really like the way these turned out. They fit my daughter fairly well, and needed a few minor tweaks. First, I needed to take some fabric out of the center back, about 2" at the waist and tapering down to 0" about 5" or so down the back crotch seam. No problem. I do this adjustment all the time for myself. Second, I needed to add another 1 1/4" to the bottom to adjust for her leg length. At the tissue fitting the pattern was the correct length without even turning up for the hem. No surprise there, as I add length all the time to her patterns in the waist and hem areas.
These trousers have a facing for the finishing of the waist edge. Here's how I do quite a few facings so that they have a neat finished edge. I don't do this every time, because if the fabric is too thick it leaves a weird ridge, but it works for most fabrics. First I sew the facing and interfacing pieces together into two units. Remember not to iron the seams of the interfacing if it's a fusible. Just finger press or you'll end up with a mess on your iron. You shouldn't have to ask how I know. I then stitch the two units right sides together, with a 1/4" seam. Sometimes, as in this case, I stitch across the ends, too, using a 3/4" seam so that edge will be finished, too. Other times I finish that edge the usual way when sewing on facings. I then turn the pieces to the right side and iron carefully. "Carefully" is the key word. Most of the time I'm using fusible interfacing, so I am very careful to get it smooth. I then trim away any excess interfacing beyond the edge of the facing. I learned how to do this a long time ago, the summer I graduated from high school. I made a cream/pink suit of linen like fabric (I'll have to find a picture of it) and did the facings this way for the first time and have used almost exclusively since. The pictures below show the process:
For the topstitching and buttons, I had several choices. I finally decided on tan topstitching and brown/tan buttons. The aqua topstitching looked a bit weird, as did the aqua buttons. These buttons which are both dark brown and tan work nicely with the applique, as it has some dark brown, too. To further pull together the embellishments, I added some aqua and green beads to the button stitching. I machined stitched the buttons on, but added the beads by hand.
That's garment #10! One more to go, next week: the jacket!
Today's parting shot: the studio in full production mode. If you were any closer you'd see the utter disaster I have in this photo. Every surface, including the floor has projects or parts of projects all over the place. You don't even want to know what's behind curtains 1, 2 and 3. Guess I'd better get some cleaning done . . .
Monday, February 26, 2007
Actually, thanks to everyone!
Thanks to all you for your congratulations on American Beauty's first show.
Very special thanks goes out to Vicki, who actually was able to go to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival and while she was there was kind enough to take some pictures of American Beauty for me. Here are a few of the pictures she sent me from the displays:
Today's parting shot, cutting out something - guess what tomorrow is?
Sunday, February 25, 2007
I apologize for not posting this yesterday - I actually didn't get to working on this until today. Between my husband's car being in the shop and my kids being sick last week, I didn't get out to run errands or shop until yesterday. The errands took part of my day and I'm working on another project, which now has a deadline. I'll post about that some other time.
Back to Diamonds. I haven't done the final fitting tweak yet - I need to play with the embellishments first and once I'm happy with those, I'll do the final fitting.
Just what is the embellishment? Chiffon fabric diamonds. I got the idea from Threads magazine, in an article entitled "All Aflutter with Chiffon". The featured garment, a skirt, isn't quite my speed, but I liked the idea of the embellishment and envisioned it used another way. My vision was rows of diamonds moving diagonally down the bodice of a gown, vintage gown, of course. Actually, this is how the whole projects of Diamonds was conceived. This also explains why I went to the trouble of altering the pattern for a smooth crossover bodice: I needed the plain front to attach the fabric diamonds.
Now we come to pictures of the first two experiments. I'm trying to decide whether I like this embellishment. I don't want to spend a lot of time working on a gown if I hate the embellishment. To start, I'm trying different sizes of squares. The original skirt's squares are smaller at the waist and get gradually larger toward the hem. I think I need to stick to one size - there's not a lot of room to work with on the bodice anyway, maybe I'll graduate the squares on the sash. At this point, I'm trying to determine what size will work for this gown. I've found out that if they're too small, they don't flutter, and too large looks, well, too large. In the first pic, the squares are 1 1/2", in the second they're 2". There will be more rows - I only did enough to an idea of what it was going to look like.
Other than the squares there are no other embellishments on this gown, so they won't be competing for attention. I'm also not sure how I'm going to attach the squares. The original skirt has the squares stitched in rows through the centers. I could do that or I could attach each square only in the center with a sequin/bead by hand. I like the idea of the added sparkle and the handwork doesn't bother me.
So here's what I think so far: I think I like the embellishment, and I think I like the smaller squares, attached only at the centers. I have bought the fabric, it's a sapphire/royal blue. The chiffon and the satin match exactly, so the whole thing will be monochromatic. I'll show you that soon. The embellishment really will be the diamonds/sparkle, lending texture and sparkle to a plain gown.
I know it's hard to tell with all the wacky fabric going on in those pictures, but what do you think?
The parting shot today is of Pix sitting on the ledge in my studio looking out the window. My daughter took this picture this morning, while helping me take some pictures of other things.
Tomorrow, I'll post the pictures Vicki sent me of American Beauty on display!
Friday, February 23, 2007
for the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival!
I went up to the website just to see if there was anything posted as the show opened yesterday. I found the winners list.
I won a 3rd place for ensembles with American Beauty and a Judge's Choice for Little Red Empress!
I'm excited. I didn't think I'd win anything - the competition is pretty tough. I recognize a lot of the names on the winner's list, and they're all on the professional level. Judy Mullen, who won 2nd place in ensembles got a 1st at the American Quilt Society national show last year in the professional division and won the Bernina Creme de la Creme award at the Bernina Fashion Show at the Houston International Quilt Festival (this is one of the biggest shows and top awards in this sort of art). I met her last year - her work is amazing. I also met the lady who took the overall top award at Mid-Atlantic - Michelle Mitchell; she and her garments are true prize winners.
This must be my day, not only did I find out about the prizes above, but I got my red lizard shoes in the mail (and they fit, I'll post pics sometime), I got notification I'm accepted into the AQS national show (thankfully - I already bought a plane ticket!), received artwork back from Belle Armoire that will be published soon, and I got a letter from one of my uncles whom I haven't spoke to in 23 years!
It's seems like a good Friday all around. What good thing has happened to you today?
Thursday, February 22, 2007
I made these:
Not that I'm bored or have nothing else to do. I have plenty of things to sew. I still have two SWAP items to make and I need to finish fitting/embellishment testing on Diamonds and there's a skirt I'd like to make, an art to wear vest, etc., etc., etc. *But* both of my children have been sick for the past two days. I'm sending the youngest to school tomorrow, but the eldest is still running a temp of 103, so I'll have to stay home with her tomorrow, too. Hence, a little test project, the buttons.
They're not too hard to make, look at the back:
This is just your standard covered button. I just traced the cover onto some dupioni so that I knew how big to do the beading, then beaded the circle with the fabric in an embroidery hoop. Once that was done, I cut out the circle, leaving enough to pull to the back and inserted the button back. Each one is slightly different from the others:
Parting shot: My new monitor! My husband bought me a new flat panel monitor - takes up less space and is much nicer than my old one. He bought a new one for himself a while ago and wanted to upgrade mine, too! Isn't he great? One really nice feature is the USB ports on the monitor! No more fiddling around under my desk trying to locate the USB port for the camera cable.
Tomorrow I'm working on Diamonds. I'd get more done if I could go out and buy the fabric for it! I'll post a full report tomorrow.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Today is SWAP day!
Today's garment was the reversible capri pants. Part of this year's SWAP rules is that one garment had to be reversible. Since the collection already had six tops, and a jacket which will be worn very little, I decided that one of the bottoms should be reversible. Here they are:
The one side is white twill with eyelet cuffs and hip pockets, the other side is a light weight kiwi green twill with side cargo pocket accented with grosgrain ribbon trim and velcro closures.
A few things to note, in case you're wondering. First, no, you can't see the green through the white side. A lot of white fabric is too see-through, this twill isn't. I promise. Second, the ribbon trim is actually two rows of the ribbon - one didn't make enough of a statement for me. Third, yes this is another elastic waist item, but as you know by now, this works for my daughter's body shape. Take a look at this picture taken the other day, blurry, but you'll get the idea:
This is one case where my long neck comes in handy. Moving along, here are the two patterns I used - I stole the pockets off the one on the left, Simplicity 4209, but used the main pieces and small pockets from Simplicity 4162.
Next week I will be making a pair of fitted trousers with a zipper for her. This will be a first, as I don't think I've ever made her real trousers. [Editor's note: For those of you from certain parts of Europe, I did go back and use the word "trousers" instead of "pants". "Pants" to some of you may be what we call underwear. I would think that underwear with zippers probably isn't appropriate for an 8 year old. ]
Today's parting shot is my son's self portrait. Not sure how he managed this, but I was surprised to see it when I was editing out pictures on the camera and decided to save it.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Thank you Ann!
(Yes, I know, it's Monday and it's supposed to be SWAP day.)
A while ago, I posted this fabric asking for pattern suggestions:
Ann, one of the Sewing Divas, suggested this top, from Burda World of Fashion, January 2007. The top was different, I knew I had enough fabric and I had never sewn anything from BWOF, but there was one problem: I didn't that issue of BWOF. Ann came to my rescue and agreed to let me borrow her copy! We were supposed to get together to hand off the mag, but due to circumstances beyond our control, it didn't work out. She popped it into the mail and two days later, I had the mag. She also sent me a note on this card, the drawing on which, as you should know by now, is right up my alley! Just fantastic!
Here's the finished top, sorry for the dorky white tee underneath, I was in a hurry and didn't bother to change to better top underneath. I did wear it to school today like a sweater with a white button up top underneath and got compliments from the fashion snobs I teach.
The original top has elastic shirring at the front shoulders, and applying it to such an open sweater knit wasn't going to happen easily. I decided that it needed a stay (a backing piece). I wanted something fairly sturdy, but sheer. I was hoping to find some black organza, which I have somewhere in the stash, but only found chiffon and netting. I used the netting and everything worked out fine. I drafted up a piece to fit right behind the shirring and basted it in place by hand:
The cording foot was perfect of applying the elastic cord, but it also works great for applying other narrow trims, too:
Here's the front with the shirring portion finished:
To finish the top, I used some foldover elastic that I ordered from Sewzanne's around the neck, bottom hem and sleeve hems. I had never used this type of elastic, but after a bit of research on the internet, it seemed pretty simple. I found some good tips on PatternReview. I was surprised at how easy it was to use and it didn't play havoc with my machine or needle! I finished the front with regular sew on snaps sewn on invisibly, I may add some fake buttons later, not sure. I really like the fit and cut of the top especially the armscye, so once my BWOF of fashion subscription starts, I'm sure I'll be making more BWOF designs.
Here's the parting picture, which includes my ancient cat, Max. He's pretty old for a kitty, we know he's 16 at least and is probably a year or two older.
Tomorrow will be a SWAP day. My schedule changed at work, and now I work Monday, but have Tuesday off.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Guess what I just won on eBay?!?!?
Aren't they great? Vintage, red, and lizard, too! I can't believe I found these in my size. As far as price, they're a little more than I like to pay for show/runway shoes (I like to pay no more than $15 for shoes that will see little use), but these are vintage. With shipping, the total is less than $50.00, so I'm very happy. Can't you tell?
One last look at my ruby slippers:
Thursday, February 15, 2007
The other shirt
I did get the other shirt done this week, thanks to the snowstorm yesterday that cancelled school yesterday and today. We ended up with 14 to 18 inches of snow!
My daughter has American Girl dolls, and with the dolls come the catalogs with all the latest and greatest clothing and accessories for dolls *and* girls. My daughter saw this eyelet top in one of the most recent catalogs:
Once again, I thought, "I know there's a pattern for that!". Sure enough, the same pattern I used for the tunic (Simplicity 4568), has a view for a similar top. This top also works well with the SWAP, and after I found the eyelet on clearance the deal was sealed. I was also able to the cut the whole top out of that piece which was less than a yard. Here's my version:
Close, but not exact. The fronts overlap differently, and there wasn't enough border eyelet for the hem, the original has more shaping and a side zip, but this one has ties in the back for shaping. My eyelet is prettier, has ribbon that matches the SWAP, and fits in with the other butterfly in the SWAP:
Even with the cost of underlining the whole thing in batiste, it was certainly less than the $30.00 American Girl wants for it!
Next week I'll be making the reversible capri pants. Not my favorite style of pants, but you can get away with a lot when you're only 8 years old! I'll only be doing those next week as technically I have to make two pair so that I can make the whole thing reversible!
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
What better way to celebrate than with a red dress?
This dress came about a result of some Internet snoop shopping, looking for some sewing ideas for Spring. In addition to reviewing the spring fashion shows on Style.com, I also hit a few other places. I found this dress at Anthropologie:
Now, I know it's technically not a spring/summer dress, but nothing cures the blues for me like a new red dress. This is the last winter item I'll be sewing, so I wanted something bright and cheerful. As soon as I saw it, I knew there was a pattern for it, or at least something similar. Behold, Butterick 4914:
The bodice only needed the pleats under the bust converted to gathers and gathers added at the front shoulder only. I only slashed and spread the pattern at the shoulder to add the extra width needed for the gathers, not to add extra material through the bust area. Again, the red lines are the original lines.
Other than a few tricky moments with the knit fabric, it went together pretty smoothly.
By the way, the pattern cost me $5.99, the fabric $12.98 for a total of $18.97. The original dress retails for $128. Besides saving money, I have a dress that fits!
What's not to love about that?