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.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The skulls aren't on fire, but it sure is hot

Where does the time go?  Not so much to sewing, of late!   I do have a finished dress to show you from a few weeks ago, though:

Since this is the fourth dress I've made from the Serendipity Studios Claire Cami pattern, I won't say too much about it.  I lowered the waist a tiny bit more on this one, which is a bit more comfortable for me, since it hits under, rather than on, my ribcage.   My brain wasn't in the right gear while I was sewing this, and I made like half a dozen mistakes or almost-mistakes, but it came out okay nonetheless.  I forgot that this pattern uses a 1/2 inch seam allowance at first, so the straps came out narrower than the previous versions, but no big deal.   I showed a closeup of the fabric in a previous post, but since that was a million years ago, here it is again.  I used a bit of a third fabric, with a gray pattern on black for the self-made bias tape hem and belt.  None of the fabrics used were purchased specifically for this project, but think they play well together!

I know for many in the northern hemisphere, it's time think about sewing for Fall.  But here the temperatures have been 100 degrees F pretty much every day since May, so I think I have forgotten what Fall feels like.   The picture on the right was taken in my car last Saturday, in a freshly paved parking lot with no shade.  It truly is the hottest, driest summer on record for Houston.   Anyhow, I am thinking about sewing cases for my new cameras, and skirts for schmeebot and myself.

Finally, Krafty Kat chose me as a recipient of the Liebster Blog award!

This award is for "those who have less than 300 Google followers but deserves a lot more recognition and following than what they currently get. They are the unsung heroes of the blogsphere, plugging away in their little corner, churning out fantastic work and we need to do something to help them get some publicity."  I'm not sure my blog deserves so much publicity, given how little updating I've done of late, but I appreciate the award nevertheless.  I also like that it has a German name!   I'd like to pass the award along, as well.  I know some people love this kind of thing, and others rank blog awards somewhere alongside chain letters and spammy emails from Nigeria, so don't feel you need to do anything with the award, unless you want to!

Rebecca, of Ugly Cute Designs.   Rebecca's gone back to school for fashion design, and I find her window into this world fascinating.   (And also, it confirms that I would not survive fashion design school.)

Little Black Car, fellow Houstonian and lover of vintage patterns.   I love her taste in patterns, and penchant for quirky contrasting facings!

... and finally,

Bea, of Butterflies and Hurricanes, who also has incredible vintage style -- I love her shirtwaist dresses, especially.  She started selling custom vintage-inspired clothing this year, so you should check out the site for her business too.