Sunday, June 3, 2012

My new most favorite thing I've sewn

Yesterday I finished up a new skirt that I think is going to be my new favorite me-made item.   I may flatter myself, but I think it would be totally at home on a rack in Anthropologie!   No pics of me wearing it, but here it is adorning the wall of my sewing room:

Sorry for the poor image quality (my camera seems to be a bit under the weather) but you get the idea.   The pattern is Simplicity 2655 -- a modern, in-print pattern, no less.  (I'm telling ya, put it on your list for the next 99 cent pattern sale!)  I used a lovely cotton voile by Denyse Schmidt for the patterned part, navy cotton batiste for the flounce (and the lining of the flounce) and a sorta buff-colored batiste for the rest of the lining.  There's piping where the waistband joins the skirt (woo woo!) and I made 1/2" bias tape to put along the seams on the front and back of the skirt.   Taking the time to add the little details is what makes for the super-duper skirt love -- gotta remember that for the future.

A better look at the bottom flounce

Adding cotton batiste bias tape to the seams on front and back.

Because I didn't want to have to deal with the curving hem,  I sewed the lining and outer shell together at the bottom, which makes for a very nice finish.  From there I treated them as one:  I serged their edges together at the side seam where the zipper was placed, and they were attached to the yoke together as well.  So one side seam is not as pretty, but I think the bottom edge is a darn sight nicer looking.  It gives the flounce a nice weight, which I like .... YMMV.

The fabric choices are almost the same as a "New Moon" variant I made a while back.  That one is okay, but I don't think I took full advantage of the fabric's potential, and it's also a bit loose in the waist so it hasn't made it out of the closet too often.  (And now it is in the Goodwill box -- buh bye!)  I used the same navy batiste as a narrow band on the bottom edge.  The lining of the New Moon version is rose-pink -- I think the lighter lining makes the white areas of the print pop a bit more.  You can't tell from the photos here, so just take my word for it.  :)

So long, sucka!

I'd also done a first version Simplicity 2655 using some of my treasure trove of quilting fabric.  That one came out pretty spiffy too, and I wore it to work last week.   This particular piece of quilting fabric came from JoAnns, and the lining is cotton batiste (almost all my cotton batiste is from High Fashion Fabrics here in Houston).  For whatever reason, this is one of those quilting cottons that actually doesn't wrinkle much:  these photos were taken after being worn all day.  Even the back part I spent most of the day sitting on is barely wrinkled.

This print did dictate that I be fussy about pattern piece placement in order to end up with a final result that looks more or less balanced.  Again, the lining's attached at the hem -- I wouldn't want to sew this skirt any other way.   For both Simplicity 2655s I made, I cut size 10 at the waist and graded out to 12 at the hip, plus used a slightly narrower seam allowance on the back pieces through the derriere area.   I also angled the edge of the main skirt pieces before attaching the ruffle so that the front would be about 1/2 inch shorter than the back, which on me is what it took to get a hem that hangs even.

So, in summary -- yay for this skirt pattern.  I'd like to make a "basic" variation next.  (You know, a solid, neutral-colored skirt actually matches stuff?)  Then it'll be time to move on to something new.  But I bet I'll be back for more of this one sometime in the future!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Holy crap I am getting (a tiny bit) organized

It seems there is still some sort of blockage between my sewing machine and my blog ... I've made a few more things and not posted about them since I last posted about the things I haven't yet posted about.   Part of the problem is that once a project is finished, my enthusiasm is instantly transferred in its entirety to the next project.   As a life habit it's both a good and bad trait, I suppose, but for blogging about their sewing I'm failing to see an upside.   I think another part of the problem may be that my own posts bore me.   Obviously that's nobody's fault but my own!

Anyhow, I was struck with a very unusual desire to organize stuff over Memorial Day weekend.  I decided to tackle my jewelry collection, which lives on a shelf in my closet were things just get dumped into little piles. ("Jewelry" is actually a high-fallutin' word for what I have.  I don't have expensive tastes, thankfully!)   I also have several compartmented plastic trays of old jewelry dating back to the 1990s and before, which wasn't seeing any use at all because it was all way in the back of another shelf, behind shoes and piles of clothes.  But the organizational tipping point came when we finally started watching "Glee" via Netflix (yes, making us extremely late to the party).  I decided to eBay up some Emma Pillsbury-style jewelry, and once it arrived it became clear it had nowhere to go other than on top of the piles of other jewelry.  Which clearly would be unacceptably un-Emma Pillsbury-ish.

Anyhow, off to Container Store I went (twice -- didn't buy enough the first time) and came back with these clever little stacking compartmentalized trays made by a company that (also cleverly) named itself Neatnix.   I was able to tidy up the shelf, stash the new "Emma-esqe" necklaces, and unearth some of the ancient jewelry collection.    I also eBayed up some necklace extenders, because apparently I liked choker-like necklaces in the 90s.

I also have a nice little collection of brooches, some of which had been in a hard-to-reach Rubbermaid container that really needed to return to the kitchen where it belongs.  There were also others that were in a little metal box in the back of the closet:  those I had mostly completely forgotten about.   The ones I had not forgotten about were presumed lost to the ages so I was pretty thrilled when I dragged that thing out from behind a dusty pile of cardigans!  However, I was out of room for nifty stacking trays, and besides, I wanted to put my pins on display so that I wouldn't forget them again.

So, I made this:

It's hanging in my sewing area here, because there is no decent light near my closet.  Basically, it's a three-foot long rectangle of cotton velvet backed with quilting cotton with some interfacing sandwiched in the center.   It ain't perfect, but it gets the job done, and I rather like getting to see all my pins.  

Here are the things I'd do differently if I decide to make a second version -- I may, since this one is pretty much full up now.    I like the length, so I'd add enough width to permit two big flower pins abreast.  Also, it really needs a layer of cotton batting in the center to make it easier to pin to.  I thought of this as I was making it, but I didn't have any handy (all this material was stuff I had lying around) so I just forged ahead.

Finally, the top edge needs some twill tape reinforcement.  You can see where the loop of bias tape I'm using for a hanger is pulling from the weight of the pins.

The finished item is hanging in the space between my closet and my other organizational product from last weekend, a new belt and tie rack that holds all my scarves.  (OK, most of my scarves -- I left the very wintry ones off because we won't see cold weather here for another six months at least.)  The scarves were jammed on another shelf and you couldn't pull down one without ten others coming along for the ride.  Now I can enjoy them every day.