Saturday, December 31, 2011

Adios 2011!

It's the last day of the year ... time to wrap it up!   I summarized the first half of the year back in June, and good thing since it seems a million years ago now.   This has been the year of serial sewing -- making multiple garments from the same pattern.  Butterick 6149 (four very different variations), Sew Serendipity's Claire Cami dress (four pretty similar variations), and my own mash-up of Sewaholic's Crescent skirt (four for schmeebot, nine for me) got the most love, but I also made a couple of dresses from Anne Adams 5753.  

Here are the counts for this year (sorry, no pretty infographic):

Dresses:  13 (hopefully 14 by the end of the day!)
Skirts:  11 for me, 4 for schmeebot
Other:  2 camera pouches

Thirty-ish items -- woo hoo!

I started a blouse but it ended up in Waddersville and I walked away from it.  I can't recall any other categorical failures.  I had to re-do a few dress bodices and I started American Weekly 3794 which totally did not work for me, but I was able to morph Butterick 6149 into a similar style, and it became one of my favorite dresses of the year.  It was also the first time that I had attempted pattern re-drafting, and it turned out not to be so scary.

B6149 inspired by American Weekly 3794

That's not to say I wear everything I made.  I do wear most of the skirts, but the dresses don't get as much love as they should.  Some of the vintage styles come across as a bit costume-y for everyday, but I love sewing them and don't plan to stop.   (I might sell some on Etsy though.)  The Claire Cami dresses I just kind of forget about, as I tend to reach for t-shirts and jeans on the weekend.

Here are a few more of my favorites for the year (and hm, three out of four have birds on them):

Original B6149
Claire Cami dress #3
Aviary dress (B6149 variant)
Birds of Norway skirt (Crescent variant)

But my most favorite garment of the year?  I just finished it!   Photos coming soon!

The best thing about sewing in 2011 was getting the bodice of Butterick 6149 to fit me well:  it proved to be a great starting point for fitting other patterns.   It's the reason I had so few wadders this year.   When I put my B6149 bodice pieces over another pattern, I can quickly see how darts need to change, and where I need to add or remove width.  It would be nice to get a princess-seamed bodice similarly figured out.

I took a look at my final post from last year, and while I didn't have an exact count of garments made in 2010, I think I finished a few more projects this year than last.  As for the non-sewing 2011 goals I mentioned in that post, I only did the last two:  selling some of my cameras and contributing more to the knowledge communities at work.  I should do more of both those things in 2012.   I failed to draw regularly, but I'm going to get back on that horse this year.   My house is still messy and I still eat cake for breakfast sometimes, but I did try to do battle with those particular demons even if the result was somewhat less than transformational.

I don't have any sewing goals for 2012, other than to keep on making stuff I like.   But there are lots of things I dream of doing:  get going with knit tops (a wardrobe staple for me),  make a bunch more skirts, since I wear those to work a lot nowadays, make some blouses I like (store-bought blouses rarely work for me), try a 1930s pattern, make more 1950s dresses since they always turn out to be my favorites, and finally cut into some of that Liberty fabric I got in London last year.  I'm sure I'll discover other things I want to do as the year unfolds.

Finally, a big thank you to everyone who reads my blog, and especially to those of you who provide feedback!   It gives me perspective on what I've done -- sometimes it's hard to spot fit issues, or to get past the frustration of making a particular garment, and that's where y'all come in.  I enjoy reading your blogs too -- I'm not always the best commenter, as I generally read blogs first thing in the morning or at the end of the day:  not the best times for me to string together a coherent sentence!  I will try to do a bit better this year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holiday roundup

I hope everyone had (or is continuing to have) a good holiday break!   December was a really hectic month for me, and I feel like I am still catching up.  I took two trips -- to Las Vegas, for work, and back to my hometown in Florida, because my dad needed emergency heart surgery (which went well thankfully!)  I also had a lot going on at work, and on top of everything else, I got sick.  I did absolutely no sewing this month until Christmas Eve, when I started a dress.  And I intend to finish it or die trying.  For some definition of "finish", anyhow ... It's not particularly complex, but it seems that everything that can go wrong has!  

I want for little in the sewing room these days, but I still managed to find a few sewing-related items to put on my Christmas list:   The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook, The Colette Sewing Handbook, and two Colette patterns: Jasmine and Ginger.  My book-loving husband was more than happy to oblige!   I also got an awesome sewn gift from my friend schmeebot:   a stuffed owl made from thrifted mens' suits.  How cool is that??   She used a pocket from a suit jacket to give the owl a little pouch for treasures (there was a gift card in there!) and a sweet little heart with mine and my husband's initials on it.   The owl was my and my husband's university's mascot, so hopefully he feels right at home with us!

I'm off from work until 2012, and life is good!  Hopefully I'll finish my uncooperative dress and move on to at least one of my Christmas patterns before I have to go back to work.  I enjoy being a bit reflective this time of year, and while I don't make resolutions, I do think about what I want in the new year.   I'm not making any sewing goals, other than to enjoy whatever sewing I do have time for.  That said, I think I'd like to learn a little more about fit and finish, the two things that bring me the most satisfaction in a finished garment.  I got better at both this year, but it may be time to study up on techniques.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Anne Adams 4753, take two (this time it's all my fault)

I tackled Anne Adams 4753 (of abundant bodice space fame) again over the Thanksgiving holidays.  The second attempt is better, though still not perfect.  This version is made from rayon challis, and the olive contrast material is some mystery blend of (I think) polyester and rayon.

I took a good bit out of the bodice area, which helped the fit, but I think I could have done even more.  Unfortunately, the way I did the modification enlarged the armhole a bit, which was not a particularly good thing.  I have no immediate plans to make this a third time, but if ever do, I'll try to redraft to fix those issues.  The neckline's also a bit wide:  the first time I sewed a narrower seam to give a little bit more coverage, but I forgot to do it this time.

It's also a little baggy in the back -- not sure how that happened, as I didn't change the back piece.  I think it's the result of using a more drape-y fabric (that also may have grown a bit while I sewed).

The round tab part could be a little better, but I don't think its flaws would be too noticeable to the non-sewer.  And I really like the buttons I found: they were on clearance at High Fashion Fabric, and remind me of contour maps.

I hung the dress for days before hemming, but still managed to achieve the most crooked-ass hem I have ever sewn.  Also, I noticed as I was finishing that there's a visible irregularity in the print that shows up in the skirt pieces.  It disappears when you're up close to the fabric.  I self-lined the bodice, but used cotton/poly lawn for the skirt.  Next time I'll line the whole thing in lawn for added stability.   I only interfaced the lining of the contrast fabric: next time I'll interface both sides.  That would fix the pucker you see in the photo above.   Nit-picks aside, the dress isn't so bad.  I like that it screams "Autumn!" ... it's the perfect Thanksgiving dress.  Too bad we're well past that and hurtling toward Christmas.

It has been two weeks since I did any sewing!    I have another vintage pattern and not-so-vintage fabric waiting for me on my sewing table -- hopefully I can spend some quality time with them today.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pacific Moon, Christmas Edition

These two have already migrated towards the Pacific rim ... and yes, the orange one is pretty much that bright in real life!  The aqua mini-dot fabric is actually home decor fabric, and the orange is a fairly substantial bottom-weight cotton fabric with a little stretch in it.   schmeebot prefers heavier-weight fabrics for skirts, so they won't be whipped around so much on windy hikes.  

I used scraps left over from skirts I'd made myself in the past.  The fabric for the aqua mini-dot skirt came from a version of Burda 7741 that doesn't see much wear because for some reason the lining likes to creep  out and show itself while I'm walking.

The facing for the orange skirt is leftover from a drawstring-waist skirt I made in the 90s.  I did wear it some at the time, but I have no photos of myself in it and there will not be any.  :)  That skirt currently resides in my attic but I think Goodwill is probably a better place for it.

While looking for facing fabric for these skirts, I found another skirt I made earlier in the year.  I had declared it a failure and stuffed it in the scrap drawer.  However, it doesn't seem too bad to me now.   Does anyone else ever need time to forget your sewing mistakes in order to be able to accept something you've made?    

Monday, November 21, 2011

Anne Adams, we meet again

On the drafting front, Anne Adams and I have had our differences before.  But I'm happy to say that with the continued improvement of my sewing skills, I was able to take it in stride this time around, and I really like the finished product -- definitely a "make again" dress!  (Incidentally, I picture Anne Adams as a stern, bespectacled home ec teacher.    Whereas Marian Martin seems just a little bit more fun-loving.)

Anyhow, the dress!  It's a mail order pattern (number 4753) from the 1950s.  I like it a lot, but short of extreme plastic surgery I will never have the bosoms to fill it out.  I'm wearing a padded bra in these photos.  It doesn't make a dent.   (But I will  wear the dress anyhow, though maybe not to work.)  I had hoped that the lightweight fabric would make the extra leeway look more like ease and less like space for rent ... it almost does.

With trusty sidekick, ready to investigate
the Case of the Missing Boobies.

I wasn't sure how this was going to work out, so the fabric's some cheap stuff nabbed from the clearance section at High Fashion Fabrics a few months back.  The plaid's approximately lawn-weight, and the burgundy material is also fairly lightweight.  And has a sort of polished shine on the "right" side -- ew.  So I used it wrong side out.  There's not actually any burgundy in the plaid, but it "goes", as they say.  The dress is fully lined in a pink poly-cotton batiste (As usual, I just cut the pattern twice, and cut interfacing from the facing pieces and fused it to the lining pieces at the appropriate places.)

I shamelessly re-used the belt pattern from the Colette Peony to make the belt for this dress.  Since the sides were too angled for me, I lopped off the angles -- now the pattern pieces are just two rectangles.   I used the plaid for the gathered section in front, and the burgundy fabric (with some interfacing) for the back pieces.   I really dig this belt -- it's fairly easy to make, and looks more refined than a simple tie belt.

Look how I matched my plaids for once!

This was one of those patterns that bore signs of previous use -- the skirt pieces were pinned up to make the length shorter without losing fullness.  (I decided that losing fullness was the better route, and just lopped six inches off the bottom).  The previous seamstress had already shortened the sleeves as well -- not quite evenly, but it worked out without much fuss.

Now, the drafting issue:  the bodice piece had this little hump on it, and I could not for the life of me figure out how it was supposed to fit with the neck yoke.  The instruction illustrations don't show them, either.  I ended up just trimming them off, but I am bemused.  Why on earth were they even there?

Original version with "hump" on top,
shown with my "humpless" second draft.

I'm working on another version of this dress, this time out of rayon challis, which is one of my favorite fabrics.  I removed about an inch off each side of the upper bodice, and I'm hoping that plus the more drape-y nature of the challis will resolve the issue in the bust area.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Colette Peony: round one complete

I went back to the Colette Peony, and this time I got it done!   I ended up tossing the first version of the bodice I made (well, actually, I used it to dispose of a dead bird that had crashed into the living room window ...) and just re-drafted the thing using my old standby Butterick 6149 as a guide.  From the armpits down, it's pretty much 6149 -- I was not even close to filling out the bodice as drafted!  From what I understand, Colette patterns are drafted for a C cup.  I'm a B, so I expected it to be a little loose, but clearly a larger under-bust measurement is expected as well.   Rather than twiddling with dart size and placement, I just took the easy way out, and more or less got away with it.   I also brought the neckline in on the sides about 3/8", and scooped out the front neckline about 5/8" because (not to be dramatic or anything!) I felt like I was choking in the first version.

Needs a haircut.

I think it's perfectly wearable as is, but the fit in back needs work.  Deeper darts at the back neck, and maybe shortening the bodice length in back will help.  It also feels tight when I extend my arms forward, so I need to figure out the best fix for that.  And eek, as drafted the skirt is pretty short!  I finished it with self bias binding so that I wouldn't lose any length, but as a work dress it's pushing it.

There are some neat little details in the design that I love: like the neckline, and the two gathered areas in the front of the skirt.  It looks early 1960s-ish to me.  And the belt -- I'm not that big on belts in general, but I love this one!   I need to do some re-drafting on it: it's too loose, and expects you to taper in at the waist, which I don't, so it's sitting a little low.  But I love the design, and will use it to make belts for other dresses too.  I actually made it twice:  the first time I tried to use the main fabric for the gathered part, and it didn't gather nicely, so I did it again using the lining fabric, which happily is a really good match color-wise.

The dress fabric is Tencel twill, purchased from the clearance area at JoAnn's last year.  I made a skirt from it already too, and have enough for one more garment, probably.   The lining's a poly-cotton lawn.  I expect to make another Peony at some point, from aubergine lightweight suiting material.  I'm not sure I want the longer sleeve as originally planned, as I like moving my arms a lot, and do not wish to feel constrained.  :)  In fact, I might go sleeveless.

While pondering the sleeve question, fitting changes, and other deep earth-shattering issues, I have pretty much finished another dress.   I had been away from my vintage pattern stash too long, so I dove in and came up with a nice 1950s mail order pattern.  I can already tell that I'm going to love it!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Do you have a uniform?

As I just completed my ... er, sixth seventh version of what is basically the same skirt, I don't think I need to answer the question that is this post's title.   I wear a broad range of colors, but I tend to return to the same basic shapes that work for me:  a-line to fuller skirts that hit just above or below the knee, boot-cut to wide-leg jeans with a middling rise, fitted tank tops to layer with classic cardigans and/or hoodies, and the occasional scoop or boatneck top.  I like blouses, but finding ones that me well is not easy ... this might be a sewing challenge for me someday.  Though alas, even if I come up with a tried-and-true blouse pattern, it's still not gonna iron itself.

Here's what I avoid:  skinny jeans:  I just look ... weird in them.  Like I need to go put on some pants.  Long-sleeve knit tops with tight sleeves do me no favors.   Overly blouse-y tops often look poorly fitted on me, and tunic lengths  usually don't work either, though I'm less sure of the reason there.  Straight skirts have historically been passed over for the ease of fuller shapes, but for my birthday I acquired this one from Anthropologie so we'll see if that changes things.  I was going to just try it on to see if I should give the much-loved Beignet from Colette patterns a whirl.  However it was more comfortable than expected, and the husband gave it a thumbs up, so home it came!

Sooooo .... I'm wondering whether there's the makings of a uniform in your closet?  Or do you sew to try new things, to reinvent your personal style?   Sewing has certainly tweaked my personal style:  my wardrobe was very low on prints pre-sewing, and I had far fewer skirts, and even fewer dresses.  (I still haven't figured out what kind of dress I want to wear to work, but that's another subject.)   I have learned that sewing's not the place to try totally new looks ... what a lot of work to end up with something it would have taken two seconds to reject in a department store dressing room.  Your mileage may differ:  it does seem to me that some sewists let their imaginations run free and come up with all kinds of unexpected but flattering looks.  Is that you?

Anyhow, here's the latest skirt for my uniform collection. (And yes, a few co-workers have picked up on my tendency to have a new-but-somehow-eerily-familiar skirt more Mondays than not of late.)  I'm calling this one the "Moroccan Meadow" skirt.   For some reason I did a terrible job getting the waistband seam aligned with the skirt side seam ... it's shifted fully a half-inch.  Actually, I know what the reason is:  I lined things up with the lining seam when pinning, instead of the outside seam.  I hate sewing gathers so I didn't re-do it!   I don't think it'll be so noticeable anyhow.  I added navy piping and trim because I thought it looked nice with the light yellow-green, and I have plenty of navy options to wear on top. And navy shoes.  Matchy-matchy-matchy-matchy.

As for the main fabric, it's quilting fabric from Quilthome ... I can look up the name if you are interested.  The facing fabric was a JoAnn's fat quarter purchased a million years ago, and the lining's poly-cotton batiste from High Fashion, as I recall.

Now I think it's time to return to the Colette Peony!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The slower sewer

Another skirt came down the assembly line last weekend ... I am not tired of making them or wearing them yet!   Once again, I piped the pockets ... not tired of that either!  Here it is:

The images are a tad blurry because it was pretty dark and rainy when I took them, and because I was using my new Holga lens for my digital camera (Olympus Pen E-P2) -- just like the Holga, it performs a little better in brighter lighting conditions.

The fabric is quilting cotton -- a cute bird print by Carina Gardner.  Strangely, this fabric ends up crazy wrinkled by the end of the day, whereas my Birds of Norway skirt barely wrinkles at all.  Clearly not all quilting cotton is created equal, not even designer quilting cotton.    But the reason I'm sewing with it in the first place is because all the best prints are on quilting cotton, so if I want them in my life I have to make it work.   :)   Anyhow, here's a better look at the print:

I also tracked my sewing time.  I did this a while back while I was making a shirtwaist dress ... then it took about 14 hours, and the skirt took me almost seven, which makes sense I guess since a skirt is half a dress!

Now, I do line pretty much everything I make, and do serged French seams, and hand-sew the lining to the zipper, but still ... that's pretty slow, isn't it?  I only ran the timer while I was actually working ... okay maybe there was a few minutes of dog-petting or enjoying the (very rare!) rainy weather, but really, it was mostly sewing.  If I left the sewing room, I stopped the timer.  

While it would be nice to be able to sew faster (since I could make more stuff!)  I don't really want to rush the process, so if I am slow, so be it.   But I am curious:  have you tracked how long it takes you to complete your sewing projects?   I imagine lots of things -- skill level, but also attention to detail, and degree of prefectionism impact how long sewing takes us.    It's a bit like cooking, I suppose:  some people follow recipes to the letter, while others just throw stuff in the pot  based on instinct.  You can end up with a lovely result either way.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Birthday awesomeness

Last weekend I celebrated my 39th birthday by doing all the stuff I love to do ... spending time with my husband, photography, sewing, and a little shopping for fun stuff!    My husband and I both took a day off from work so that I could do even more of what I like to do.

The shopping part of the weekend included a trip to High Fashion fabrics, where I bought five pieces of cotton to make into yet more "new moon" skirts.  I, uh, also ordered a few additional pieces from Quilthome.  (Hey, it's my birthday!)  I'm definitely set for fabric for a while.  Maybe until the apocalypse.

My iPhone was challenged by he harsh sunlight.  But you get the idea.

One of my birthday gifts was made possible by the kindness of another sewing blogger!  Back in the Spring, Liberty of London collaborated with Nike to produce a run of sneakers in Liberty prints.  I really wanted some!  But my size was long gone by the time I discovered them.  Later, I saw that  CarmencitaB had been lucky enough to get a pair, and I mentioned that I'd missed out because I'd heard about them too late.  Lo and behold, Nike and Liberty came up with another collection for Fall, and Carmencita forwarded me the announcement!   Thanks to her kindness, I was able to snap up a pair this time!  They were pricey at 70 pounds plus 30 for shipping, but they are so cool.  And you do get your money's worth on the international shipping -- I had them within 48 hours of placing my order.  Then my husband hid them away until my birthday.  :)

My birthday weekend also included sewing -- I got the bodice of the Colette Peony dress done.  It's going to require some redrafting to get the fit right.   The neckline's quite wide on me, and I need to figure out how to adjust the bodice.  Not only do I have a smaller bust than Peony is drafted for, I have a smaller rib cage:  I could almost fill out the upper bodice with a padded bra, but then I had a lot of bagginess right underneath the boobs.  I suspect there will be a few other minor adjustments, but I need to attach the skirt and baste in the zip to be sure. I think I'll be able to figure it all out, and I have plenty of fabric to re-cut the bodice.

Looks a little sinister, doesn't it?

However, just now I have more than enough challenges to deal with at work: thus I want fewer of them in my sewing room, if that makes any sense.  So I'm going to do something I've never done before:  put away a dress mid-make simply because I'd rather be working on something else.  I will return to it, but I don't have much sewing time right now, and the thought of spending the rest of the month trying to get one dress right doesn't appeal to me.  So back to making more of my favorite skirts!  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Birds of Norway

Can you stand one more New Moon?  I hope so -- this is my favorite one yet!

The fabric is quilting cotton -- Michael Miller "Birds of Norway".   I love prints with birds in them, and this one is so cheerful and full of great colors!   The background is dark brown:  to the extent that I have a Fall wardrobe wish list, adding more brown items to my wardrobe is on it.  (I may share a little more about my Fall yens before too long.)

I made the waist a little smaller than I have on previous skirts, so it sits a tad higher.  Turns out I really liked the fit, so this is something to repeat.  I also added a total of four inches to the skirt width,  which seems just right for this fabric.  I have so many things in my closet that will pair with this too!  No surprise, I guess, given how many colors there are in the print.

Apologies for the morning face (and canine back-end) -- I did a quickie photo session before heading to work in my new skirt Monday morning.  At least the skirt looks great!   The light olive top is from Target a few years back, and the cardigan is a super-ancient Gap item that I'm not sure whether I thrifted or bought new back when I was in grad school.  It was actually lost in my closet for a while, but I hunted it down just for this outfit.  The shoes are Dansko, from last year.  They are awesome.

Here's the inside.  The blue voile is just something I had on hand, and I used a scrap of vaguely-coordinating yellow quilting cotton to face the waistband.  (The same yellow fabric is used for the fronts of the pockets in schmeebot's latest skirt, not that it matters, but it did a nice job keeping the bright flowers from showing through the white.)  The zipper is green, because for all the colors in the skirt, that was the closest I had in my zipper-wad.    The pockets are piped perfectly -- I am so very proud.   When it comes to the sewing on the bias tape bands, maybe not so much: turns out that stitching wobbles there are kinda noticeable.   But not enough to motivate me to pick it off and re-sew.

I did not bother at all with pattern-matching, one because it never quite works out for me, and two because I decided to be a fabric miser instead.  I could just cut the front and back lying side by side, and now I have a yard plus of this fabric left for something else.

Though I am EAGER to make yet more of these simple-yet-addictive skirts, I am taking a break to try something new:

Colette Peony!   It has a slimmer skirt than my usual, so we'll see how I like it.  I have it traced off already, and will try making a test run of the short-sleeved version, probably with the blue splotted Tencel twill  (which I have used before) on the right.  If I get it fitting well, then I may try a three-quarter sleeve version outta that aubergine suiting material, assuming there's enough of it there.  (The green and white quilting cotton lost out this time around -- probably not the right fabric for this fit.)  Hopefully Peony will come out more flattering than my only other attempt at a three-quarter sleeve dress.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The "moon" kick continues

I fear that this blog may be getting boring.  I own many hundreds of patterns ... why is it that I've spent this year mostly making the same two over and over?  Eh, rhetorical question.  Anyhow, long story short ... here's another New Moon.  Boring?  Maybe, but this sucker is gonna get worn.


Back (and inside-out)

Piping on le pockets!

I used some lovely voile I got from a while back.  (It's gone from there now, but I see it at  I actually have a lot left over from the 3-yard piece I bought, so I can probably make another top or skirt from it sometime in the future.   I lined with pink batiste, and faced the waistband/yoke with some almost-matching quilting cotton found in ye olde scrap box from the attic.  

I bought some navy piping to use on this project, but once I got it home, it seemed too bright compared to the blackish-navy in the print.  Fortunately, I had some of this cranberry color on hand, so I used that instead.   It doesn't match, but I declare, it "goes", as they say. And I should do more piping.  I heart it.

At some point during the construction, I became convinced that the skirt (which I have sewn several times already, so WTF???) was going to be too short.  So I added a three-inch strip of navy voile to the bottom.   Then, guess what -- it was too long.  Duuuuuh.  But I thought the navy at the bottom added something, so I reduced it to about 3/4 inch.  The lining would have been the perfect length if I had not already added some navy voile to it too.  Usually I like my lining to be an inch shorter than the skirt: this is barely 1/4 inch shorter, but it beat picking out the seam!

I've already worn it to work, but failed to even get a camera phone shot of it.  It may not be exciting, but I do so love having dependable favorites to reach for in my closet, and that it will most certainly be!   And I have another already cut out, plus I think I'll make a basic black one as well -- that'll be my fall New Moon lineup, and then for God's sake someone take this pattern away from me!  (No, please, don't really -- I promise I'll put it away and make something else ... really soon ... )

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pacific moon rises again

The next skirt for schmeebot is done.  I showed you the fabric (from Ikea) in the last post.  The pattern is the same one I made for her twice before:  an adaptation of the Sewaholic Crescent skirt, which I'm calling "Pacific moon".  Here's the finished product:

... and here's the back.  Look, I almost got the print matched up, both on the back and the pockets!   The circular elements of the pattern are actually slightly egg-shaped, so it was hard to line things up.   That, and I may not be all that good at it.  I know schmeebot likes pink, and orange, so I focused on those parts of the print as I was laying out the pattern, and tried to get a good overall balance of shapes.

I added a candy-striped facing:  I just happened to have gotten this scrap out of the attic the week before, when I was thinking about camera cases.  I think it's a nice complement to the the happy floral.

I didn't add a lining, as the fabric's a home decor fabric and fairly heavy weight.   Because schmeebot uses these skirts for hiking, they go through the wash a lot, and she's had some problems with areas coming unsewed on the previous ones.  This time I did a lot more serging of seams:  the inner parts of the French seams on the sides are serged, as are the yoke seams.  There's no serging in the hem or where I turned under the facing, but maybe I should have done it there too!  We'll see how this one holds up as compared to the others.

After a delightful week of slightly cooler weather,  temperatures will be back up near the century mark again in Houston.   However, I am still determined to ease into the Fall spirit.  I got out a few fabrics to ponder this afternoon:

I'm thinking the chevron patterned fabric (it looks 1930s-ish to me) is destined to be skirt in the very near future.   I'll probably be boring and just do another variation of the same skirt I've been making all summer, but I haven't made myself a version of it with a print, or in voile, so it will be different!    The rusty burgundy rayon may become a skirt too.   The center fabric, with the giant rust-colored poppies, simply has to be some sort of 1950s dress, don't you think?   The print was a bit larger than I was expecting when I ordered it online, but I am determined not to let that put me off of it.    I think the top fabric, with the Norwegian bird design, would make a great shirtdress.   I want to try out a new pattern, with a longer sleeve than the ones I've used previously.   And finally, the fabric on the far left ... no hints yet as to its destiny, but it looks like Fall for sure!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Playing dress-up with my cameras

I finally found a pattern drafting project I could handle: making cases for my cameras.  I now have three Lomo LC-As (an original LC-A from 1988, an LC-A+, and an LC-Wide) and it would be nice to have a case for each!   Pictured above is my first attempt, which didn't reach completion because it was clearly way too big.  (I guess cameras don't require all that much ease!)  The next one came out better, and I've been test-driving it for the past week.

It's a bit too big, but the biggest problem with this version (besides the wonky sewing!) is that the zipper didn't go far enough around.  That meant it was hard to get the camera in and out quickly, plus, the wrist strap had to curl up inside.   It'd be nice to be able to use it even when the camera's in the case.  With those things in mind, I tackled the next version yesterday.  Here it is:

Better!  It could be a little closer-fitting, but I can live with this.  It's much easier to to get the camera in and out, and as you can see, the wrist strap can hang out the side.   On this one, I used a nine-inch zipper, whereas the previous version only required a seven-incher.   Other details of the design:  I interfaced the outer fabric, but there's no padding or anything in there.  Sandwiching some felt or something like that between the layers might be worth a try, for a little added protection.   I found it was worth it to mark all the sewing lines on the pattern, and to use a contrasting thread, because there are lots of fiddly stops and starts and tight corners, and I am not used to that kind of sewing.

From doing my pattern re-draft to the hand-sewing of the lining to the zipper tape, this took me close to four hours to make:  slow by many of your standards, I suspect.   But I think I will get better with practice, and I do plan to make a few more.  

This morning, I accomplished a sixty-second refashion project.  The sad thing is, it took me two months to get around to it!  Here's the result:

Lovely, no?  But since I didn't think to take a "before" photo, you have no idea what the hell I did.   My contribution was replacing the sad gray tie the skirt originally had with black 3/4 inch twill tape straight outta the package.  Who thought a gray tie would be just the thing for a tan skirt?  Maybe that's why large numbers of these skirts were on the clearance rack at Anthropologie for 60 percent off.  Anyhow, I just tied this black twill tape to the end of the gray one and pulled it through.    Easy.  So easy, in fact, that I might make some other ties to swap in, too.  Yellow floral on white?  Pale pink?  Royal blue?  Heck, anything but gray would work!

My next project will be ... another skirt for schmeebot!   She sent me the fabric:

It's a floral kaleidoscope, hailing from Ikea.  It's a home decor fabric, which has a nice weight to it.   Happily I found the missing pattern pieces for the "pacific moon" skirt version, so I am ready to get started on this.

One final note ... we finally got some cooler weather here!  By cooler, I mean the high today will be in the low 90s.  But we haven't seen that since May, so it's pretty amazing.  And they're forecasting a few nights in the 60s -- wahoo!   Suddenly I'm ready to think about Fall!    And maybe do some wardrobe planning, even.   More on that soon.