Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Birthday Pacific Moons

Guess what?  Today is schmeebot's birthday!  It's not hard to guess what I gave her ...

She had asked (a looong time ago) for some skirts with yellow in them.  75 percent of these skirts comply with this request.  Schmeebot chose the two fabrics on the right, and I chose the ones on the left. (But I choose which turn into skirts when!)    All four fabrics are from Ikea.  No mysteries remain when it comes to Pacific Moon-making, so let's jump to views of the finished products.

First up, my favorite of the bunch:  the Applebees skirt!  Here's the apple:

... and here are the bees!  I found them in Hobby Lobby before I had the Ikea fabric on hand.  I just knew they'd be perfect for something.

And here is the back.  Just a leaf ... but Applebeeleaf is a dumb name for a skirt.  I did (mostly) match the pattern across the back seam though.

Next up ... BUTTS.  Schmee sent me this fabric months ago, and when we talk about it in chat (Don't you instant message about fabrics?  Doesn't everyone?)  We always call it BUTTS.  Here's why:

More butts on back.  Again, (almost) pattern-matched across the center back seam.  Also on one side seam, but not on the other.

Inside BUTTS are dots.  Also from Hobby Lobby I think.

Now ... TexMex.  I was struggling for a name for this one, and so schmeebot did the naming, in honor of the color palette.  It was not the fabric we wanted, which was  this one with amorous moose on it.  I went to Ikea in Houston no less than three times over the course of a month for this fabric (OK, and maybe for some bookshelves and other stuff too.)  Every time, the website said it was in stock.  Every time, nada.  I finally gave up and bought something else, and made ...

Unfortunately this one has a slight quality control issue:  the waist came out half an inch too big.   I measure (and re-measure) very carefully during the skirt-making process, so I am not sure what went wrong.  There will be a thorough investigation, I assure you.   We take quality very seriously here at Invisible Flower Industries.

Anyhow, here's the back.  Didn't even try to match the pattern -- for shame.

And finally, the yoke fabric, which I have used before, in this dress and inside this skirt.  But it was too nice a match not to use again.

Last one ... Melty Trees!  Or should we call it Melty Trees the Second, since I already made one for myself?  I actually prefer the design placement on this one to my own.

Pattern matching(ish) in back, woo hoo!  Well not really, but I did match the yellow line and tried not to chop any major design elements in half.

Inside we have some ancient orange fabric, from when I first tried to sew in my 20s (but ended up fighting a constant battle with my crap sewing machine and eventually gave up).  And I did hand-sew the edges of the yoke to the zipper before I mailed the skirts.  It was late in the afternoon when I reached that point and I realized the light would be too dim by the time the hand-sewing was finished if I did it first.

So there you have it -- birthday skirts.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY schmeebot, I hope you had a great day!!!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

First vintage of 2013: Butterick 6520

Hard to believe that half the year is almost gone and I am only just now dipping into the ol' vintage pattern collection.   Well, for the sake of full disclosure, I must admit that I dipped into the vintage pattern collection that is Etsy for this one, rather than my rather plentiful existing stores.  But it's part of my collection now, that's what's important, right?

Anyhow, thar she blows.   Butterick 6520.  1950s Buttericks are my favorite!  And this one did not disappoint.  This time around I tackled the dress, but I'd love to get the jacket a try someday.   I made a "muslin" to test fit, after applying some best-guess alterations based on comparison to bodice pieces from another pattern that I knew fit well.   I added about two inches total width at the waist (too much, as it turns out), narrowed the front neckline a bit, and added darts at the back neckline.

This pattern's front pieces are cut on the bias, and it relies on gathering at the wide neckline rather than darts for bust accommodations, making it significantly different than my comparison pattern,  So I didn't figure the fit would be spot on with the very first attempt, and indeed it was not -- but it's not bad.  I'm actually pretty happy with it, enough that I wouldn't consider going back and trying to do alterations (bleh).  I'll just fix it next time.

The fabric I used is some rayon challis that was cheap ... I think from the High Fashion Fabrics clearance section.  I was a little eh on the overly washed out pastel-ness of it all, so it was a good compromise choice for this project.  However, it's not so great to photograph, especially in bright sunlight.

It's not super apparent, but the bodice is a bit loose.  I think I'll narrow it from the center front and center back seams, and add some length to the front of the bodice,which had a curved bottom that I thought was to balance out the gathering/bias cut, but instead just hiked the skirt up in front in an odd way.  I adjusted the hem accordingly, but I'd rather have a straighter waist seam.  I ended up letting the shoulder seams out to balance the bodice shortness, but obviously adjusting the pattern piece is the better way to go.

Here's a better shot of the fabric.  I used the lavender poly/cotton lawn I lined with (also from High Fashion) to make bias tape finishings for the neckline and armholes (as instructed) and hem (for the hell of it).

I fully lined the dress (yes, this dork even puts full linings in muslins -- I hate slips!) but took a few short-cuts that make the lining more of a lining-underlining hybrid.  Rather than gathering the lining and main fabric separately and attaching them, I gathered and attached the layers as one.  (Win!  I haaate gathering.)   This meant that when putting in the zipper it was easier to treat the layers as one there as well.  Minus one for the zip showing inside, but plus one apiece for the lining adding stability to the main fabric (resulting in a better zipper insertion), and for not having to do the hand-sewing of lining to zipper,  So also a net win.

I haven't shown any "dress guts" in a while -- do y'all find this kind of shot useful?  Hopefully this better illustrates the description above.

Hopefully this week I'll build my brand new Expedit to house my fabric collection, which has been packed away since we moved last year.  Whoopeeeeeee!  Only I think the fabric collection may have expanded while it was in the closet and may no longer fit on a single Expedit.  Yep, that's my story and I'm sticking with it ... 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A few more skirts

I've finished up a few skirts ... I'm gonna be lazy and just post pictures of them on hangers.

Skirt #1 is another Hollyburn.  Again, I went with the fullness of the shortest skirt in the pattern, but lengthened to the middle of the three lengths.  I made the waistband narrower, too.  Since I'm not wearing this at my true waist it just works better that way.   The fabric is a JoAnns find: some sort of cotton (a poplin, maybe?)  with soutache sewn on it.  I tried a closeup to show the soutache better, but there's too much contrast between the navy and white.  Naturally the skirt's lined too, with a navy poly-cotton lawn that is not really the same navy as the skirt (much greener in tone) but hey who's lookin'.

I finished this like two months ago, yet have not worn it yet -- it just feels so ... nautical.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.   I guess I just haven't been in a seafaring mood.   But now that Summer seems to be on our doorstep it has a bit more appeal for some reason.

Skirt #2 uses the skirt pieces from a 1950s Butterick dress (Butterick 6075) paired with a self-drafted waistband and in-seam pockets stolen from I forget which pattern.   I used silk dupioni which I machine washed to make a bit less shiny and crispy.

I lined it with a hot pink cotton batiste, and used a quilting cotton with white dots on hot pink to face the waistband.  All my pictures of that came out super blurry so just use your imagination.

I really liked the texture of the silk dupioni after it was washed.  YMMV.  It still feels a bit dressy but it's not quite as fancy-pants as it was before.

So OK, enough skirts already.  On to dresses.  Here's the project I'm currently working on:

It's another 1950s Butterick pattern ... I love these things.  I took my draft of  Butterick 6075 as a starting point and did some seat-of-the-pants re-drafting to get to what is hopefully a wearable starting point.  The making is currently in progress, using a rayon challis that was cheap and that I don't totally love, with the expectation that I will still need to tweak some stuff because the bodice shapes of the two dresses are not the same.

Besides sewing, I have also been working on our backyard a bit.  Among other things, we're adding fruit trees!  I'm kind of excited about them.  We have a satsuma (a small orange-like fruit), sweet kumquat, peach, and key lime (even though we a tad north of their ideal climate).   I'm hoping they survive and that a combination of the brutal Texas summer heat and my gardening ineptitude don't kill them.

My gardening assistant with the satsuma.