Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th (and Emery #7)

I realized I had a red, white and blue Emery that I hadn't posted: what better day to do it than US Independence day, aka 4th of July!

I don't usually go for red and blue together, but I really like this combo:  I think it's the way the specific shades or red and blue play off each other, plus how the white in the print provides some balance. It's from the West Indies collection by Jennifer Paganelli, and I believe it's called "Matilda".  It's from a few years ago -- I got mine on eBay.

Seven dresses in, what more can I really say about this pattern?   Other than I still like it a lot:  there are two (aaaaaalmost three) more of them completed since this one.    Have I mentioned that it's a fine twirling dress?  Good amount of movement, no real danger of indecent exposure.

It seems weird to have so many of the same dress, but I already bought multiples of favorite clothes, and my personal style doesn't really change from year to year.   And hey, Steve Jobs wore the same black turtleneck every day and everyone thinks he's a genius.  ;)  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Strange Fruit Pacific Moon

Today is schmeebot's birthday!

From me she gets a skirt.  What a surprise.  

Perhaps it even looks familiar.  I used this fabric to make her a skirt earlier this year.  But for that one, I used only the green fronds.  Here I used (mostly) white ones.   I couldn't get as nice a match across the back seam. (Though I probably could have done a little bit better at matching the brown stemmy part -- oops.)

v1 -- we call this one "Leaf"
Why is this one called "Strange Fruit"?  Look inside:

It reminds me of an oddball watermelon.  I also added a label -- finally managed to catch these in stock at Sublime Stitching.   There wasn't truly any #%&!?* involved in the making of this skirt, but I think the label is funny, so there.

Happy birthday schmee!   At least I mailed your gift on your birthday ...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

When flowers attack (and a woeful tale)

I've been into big-ass flowers lately -- the bigger the better.  These here flowers certainly qualify.

This is the same skirt I've been making, just a touch shorter because the width of the fabric demanded it.  I did try a little pocket mod on this skirt, though.  I just happened to have a green scrap that matched the green flowers (and what is up with green flowers, anyway?) perfectly.  To make the tulip-y shape of the pocket, I simply attached the front pocket with a curved seam instead of simply sewing along the seam line.  The back part of the pocket gets sewn as normal, and when they are sewn together you can see the pocket back in the cut-out.  The only difficult part is that you cannot press the front pocket seam flat after you attach it to the front skirt piece.

Sad to say, the yoke facing does not match as perfectly as the pocket fabric.  A first world problem if there ever was one, I know.

This may be my favorite skirt so far.  I know I say that a lot, but that doesn't make it less true!  The simple switch-up on the pocket is fun, and I should remember to try stuff like this more often.
I wore this skirt to work last week with The Brown Cardigan of All-Matching-ness.  Seriously, I have since been going out of my way to not make garments that match this cardigan, with only partial success.

The skirt has a fairly satisfactory twirl rating, too.

Finally, my tale of woe. My serger ... it sergeth no more.  I spent hours on Sunday threading and re-threading, but no luck.  I've had it for five years, give or take, and nary a service in all that time, so maybe it's simply on strike.  Either way, it's off for an extended vacation at the sewing center tomorrow.

That would leave me sergerless.  Or would it?  

It's funny how I used to do all my sewing sans serger, and thought nothing of it.  Even when I bought the serger, I thought it would be mostly for knits.    But now I finish all my seams with it, and the serged edge makes a rolled hem super easy.  (I should probably try out the rolled hem setting though ... never crossed my mind before this post!)   I didn't like the idea of going back to French seams or unfinished edges, even just for a few weeks.

After 24 hours of pondering a sergerless life (for any duration!) I decided a "backup serger" was in order.  Given that I have nine or so "backup" sewing machines, this probably isn't such a surprising conclusion.    Anyhow, a Brother 1034D was duly ordered and I am anxiously awaiting its arrival.   I don't expect it to replace my original serger (a Janome MyLock 634D ... why do serger numbers end in "D"?).  But the Brother seems surprisingly well-loved, given its price, so I am hoping it will be a good stand-in, and maybe could become a dedicated rolled hem machine when the Janome returns home hale and healthy?    Once I've used the Brother for a bit I'll try to post some thoughts on how they compare.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Emery #6: Strange Submarines (and Emery #2 at long last)

Say hello to Emery #6!  

Worn to work with an aqua hoodie exactly the same color as the print -- I love me some matchy-matchy, I confess.

And look what is hiding in this fantastic print?  Submarines and mermaid tails!   This fabric is from Tula Pink's Saltwater collection.  I love this design for both its intricate detail and subtle cleverness. I wore this Emery to work last week and I wouldn't be surprised if nobody noticed the submarines hiding in the design.   Somehow it makes me think of steampunk, which is not a bad association.

Somehow this one came out a touch longer in the back than in the front in at both waist seam and hem.  I'm wondering if it's a screw-up in hand-sewing the bodice lining at the waist.  Possibly I turned under too much of the lining in front and it's pulling things up a bit?  However, it doesn't seem noticeable in photos and I forgot about it after I quit scrutinizing the dress.  Maybe its just the typical hyper-criticism reserved for hand-made items .... because I could have made it perfect, suddenly it becomes an obligation.  Sigh.  Given my lack of enthusiasm for hand-sewing (Emery #8 is waiting for some already!)  I will try to forget I noticed any irregularity: seems the easiest way to go by far.

Obligatory dress form shots.  The lining is pale aqua Imperial batiste -- it matches the print.

And here's Emery #2 at long last -- Lindy Leaf Emery.  Facings are leftover Lindy Leaf in another colorway, from this project.

Lindy Leaf is a little looser than the Emerys that came after it, and I need to try it on again to see if I'd be willing to wear it to work.

I did some jumping around while my husband was kindly taking my photos.  While most of those shots are total crap,  they really proved to me just how well this pattern fits -- better than any dress I've ever had in my life.   That's hard to beat!

And check out how green the yard is!  I hope it stays this way all summer.  Last summer was lawn-watering hell, just trying to keep everything from turning brown.  That said, I'm loving having a big suburban yard after 20 years of urban living, watering or no.

The feeling around here is still very much yay Emery!  

Monday, June 9, 2014

Garden skirt

I'm still on a skirt kick.   This one's the same as the sunspot skirt, just with side-seam pockets.   I looove this fabric!   Beautiful and also a very nice quality lawn: it hardly wrinkled after a long day at work!  This one's from High Fashion Fabric in downtown Houston, and I've been hoarding it for a few years.

The pattern match-up in the back isn't perfect but will do at a glance.   Lining and yoke follow the usual protocols.

Wore it with my trusty gold cardigan a week ago.  On a very humid morning:  the camera lens fogged over!  Let's call it an artistic effect.  We can say the same about what my bangs are doing -- ew.  

I've been wearing stuff I've made to work a lot more recently.   I think it's finally nailing fit on a few patterns, and realizing that I really like the same simple shape.  For me, color and print is where the fun is at.   So I may not be sewing many wild and crazy new designs, but I'm finally making stuff I can count on liking and wearing, which is a bigger win for me.  At least right now.   The downside is that I am running out of hangers ...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Sunspot skirt

I've taken a quick break from Emerizing to make a few new skirts.  I think I've just about got my "perfect skirt" formula down -- really a matter of getting the waistband just right, since I like full, not fitted skirts.

Thanks to my husband's help (and a newfound interest in wearing my makes to work as soon as they're done), I'm also doing a bit better at documenting my finished items in use.  This is from last Friday early in the wee hours.  I had to leave the house at 7 freaking a.m. that day, so ironically there wasn't much sun to illuminate the ol' sunspot skirt.  Many of the photos came out blurry as a result.

Smiling and foot-gazing just like a JC Penney catalog model.
I'm liking the slightly longer length I hemmed this at.  It's actually the same skirt (modified from vintage Butterick 6075) that I use on my version of the Emery, modified to have front pockets (what's the technical term?) instead of side-seam pockets.  Just because.  The fabric's an inexpensive cotton lawn and I've had it long enough to forget where it came from.    (So when I say "inexpensive" you know I am talking about quality, not price.)

This was sewn with Mrs. Williams the Featherweight, as was several other of my recent projects.  So, the zip came out a bit crappy because I don't have a good zipper foot for this machine.  I put this one in with the regular straight stitch foot and it came out better than the one I used the low-shank zipper foot on.   The zipper foot I have is rigid, and this seems to make it impossible to get over any kind of seam, and what zipper doesn't cross a seam?  Ugh.  I could adjust my foot pressure but it's good for everything else and who wants t fiddle with that every time the zipper foot comes out?   I've seen zipper feet that are hinged ... need to hunt one down I guess.  OK, end rant.  :)  Other than this zipper thing Mrs. Williams' company continues to be a pleasure.

The facing's quilting cotton.  The fact that it coordinates so well pleases me -- the scrap bin gods smiled on this project I guess.  The lining's the usual Imperial poly/cotton batiste.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Anniversary Emery

Say hello to Emery #5, aka The Anniversary Emery.  Since I decided to make it in honor of our 20th wedding anniversary (now almost a month past!) I asked my husband to help pick the fabric.  Then began to waffle, second-guessing his choice and proposing alternatives.  But he was not to be swayed, and he was right, this was a good choice.

Naturally the dog and I have both managed to look like goofballs.  And I look like I am trying to meld with the jasmine on the fence.  But in more urban settings this dress stands out nicely, I promise.  I wore it for one of our anniversary dinners (we had several, because what the hey).

Not much to add on the making of, at least that I can remember anyhow given that it was done a month ago.  Looking at these pictures I did decide that the bodice might be a hair too long in front, even though it doesn't feel long.  So I shortened it ever so slightly for Emerys 6 and 7.  Otherwise the slight bodice looseness is intentional -- yay for a little easy, easy ease.

By the way, 20th anniversaries are awesome.  We originally thought we'd travel somewhere nice to mark the occasion, but decided to take a week to just spend time together and work on some home improvement projects that would make our daily lives better instead.  That worked out well.

OK, side 'n' back views and we're outta here.  Have a good evening, or a great day or fantastic wherever you're at in the celestial cycle.