Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Stretch fabrics...ugh

I am still working on that UFO Vogue 9277 dress I started in the early part of this decade.

I have found that working with this particular knit is worse than the one I just finished with. This one, a stretch velour, has a weird tendency when you place the fabric right sides together, to change texture and seem as if it is starched. I think the naps mesh and interlock. It must have something to do with the nap of the fabric laying against itself. However, it still shifts when I try to sew the seam allowances. While I can still stitch through it the fabric rolls onto itself and pulls away as you stitch it; no matter how many pins I use. The seam allowances are never even from one side to the other because there is such a drastic shift. I've taken the seams out and redid them (many times) to get something closer to how it's supposed to be. I am SO tired of frustrating sewing projects!

Can anyone explain why stretch velour does this?

After taking a small break from sewing, I searched for someone somewhere having a similar problem (and hopefully some advice) and all I found was here from Linda S, does anyone know of anything else?

Here are pictures of the offending fabric to help you a bit in figuring out the problem.


The back is slick like a satin.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I'm Ok...

and working on a few posts for you right now.

Sorry for the absence, we just got Fall here and my sinuses are not happy. I did do some sewing, but did a whole lot more sleeping, to tell you the truth.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Maternity Dress UFO to WIP - Vogue 9277

I just discovered that I still have the project that started my fear of sewing with two-way stretch knits; Vogue 9277.

This dress (View A) was meant to be a present for one of my oldest friends on the occasion of her first pregnancy. After what I just experienced with the two knit dresses and the top I was shocked to find the state of this project and acknowledge that I never completed it. The stretch Velour fabric I had picked is much more stable than what I just worked with. It also has the simplest construction: shoulder seams, side seams, sew skirt to bodice, sleeves, neckline elastic, hem and it's done. SO simple and it would have been so lovely. The worst thing is that it has been completely cut out all these years. I just needed to get over myself and complete it.

So, that's what I am going to do. Even though the pregnancy it was meant for produced an adorable little girl who is now...get this...nine years old!!! And has a baby sister two years younger. So yes I had two chances to make this and didn't. I thought my sewing procrastination problem was new but this proves that wrong, doesn't it?

Since it's not an extremely maternity-looking dress it might go to the original recipient despite her not being pregnant now; I might keep it; or I might give it to a friend who is currently pregnant who might like it. We'll see when it is done.

I'll have this done by next week, I promise.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Simple To Make...

and easy to love!!

Simplicity's 1950s collection of Simple To Make patterns always seem to intrigue me. Here are a few that just came available last week on one of my favorite pattern vendors, Lanetz Living. They have a whole group of them, in number sequence to boot.

All of the below are available now.

Simplicity 2442

This 1950s dress strangely has an early 1918-1925 vibe with the lowered waist belt and slim silhouette

Simplicity 2444

I already own this pattern and made a favorite red & white polka dress from it. I think it might be time to make another one to replace that old faithful.

Simplicity 2445

I'm really tempted to buy this one and make that jacket to go with the Simplicity 2444 dress.

Simplicity 2446

I love the little sleeveless red vest with the surprise candy-stripe lining!

Simplicity 2447

What a great dress for embellishments (Ric Rac!), though I prefer the stand-up collar to the other one.

And well, this next one isn't part of the sequence but it came out around the same time and I love it! All these years that I've owned 2444 above, I thought that particular dress was called the Answer Dress because of the pattern envelope. Now I guess that it was a collection all its own. So, here's another Answer Dress and I know that my answer is yes!

Simplicity 2427

Is not that sash the best? And look there's an overskirt too! I love the bateau neckline with the symmetrical tucks. I'm not a big fan of pink but if someone gave me this identical dress I would wear and love it.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Looking Forward To: An Education

Found out about this from Brilliant Asylum:

Cast: Carey Mulligan, Emma Thompson, Alfred Molina, Olivia Williams, and yum yum actor Peter Sarsgaard!

Time period: Early 1960s in England and France.

Nick Hornby adapted the screenplay from journalist Lynn Barber's memoir. Hornby is also an executive producer so I have a strong feeling that the soundtrack will be excellent like in all his other films.



Costumes (which look lovely) are by Odile Dicks-Mireaux; who not only did the costumes for the BlackAdder series (!!) but also for Gormenghast.

Check out the website as it's very clever and has a huge gallery of stills from the film. The section transitions are also clever; line animations of different symbols from a young girl's schooling and life; pencils, books, bar graphs, chemistry class, and record players.

Can't wait to check this one out! Opening in NY and LA on October 9, 2009.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Knit Top - New Look 6807


Pattern:New Look 6807

Pattern Description:
Misses Easy Two-Hour Knit Tops, View C

Pattern Sizing: Size 12 tapering to a 14 at the hips

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it did.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very much. There isn't much to them but I did appreciate that New Look starts the pattern off with some tips on sewing knits. Therefore, I used a combination of straight and zigzag stitches.


What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked the neckline and drapiness of the design. However, there was too much ease for a knit pattern and there was no need for the opening and ties in the back of the garment. Because of the deep neckline I can easily slip this over my head even with it tightly tied in back. In fact, it may be too big to wear comfortably at work.

Fabric Used: A rayon/Spandex knit in Potent Purple from Jo-Ann Fabrics.



Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I made View C with the 3/4 length gathered sleeves. I had made a size 12 and tapered the pattern to a 14 at the hem but I am sure I could have used a size 12 or maybe even a 10 tapering to a twelve because of the excess ease. I also hand sewed the neckline inside edge because I didn't trust my machine to topstitch through the knit fabric.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes. But next time, I will cut the back on the fold and eliminate the back opening and ties. I recommend it but others might find the neckline too low so you should definitely test that out before you make it. Because of how wide and low the neckline was, I will have to be cautious when I wear it as it could slip off the shoulders easily.

Conclusion: A very comfortable top that can be done in a few hours like the pattern said, even shorter if you eliminate the back ties.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

If Max Were A Girl...

Is this not the best movie-related fashion post?

Hurray for Lost in the Forest!

More movie stuff: notice how the color scheme goes along with Amelie, another fave movie.

Slips, They Make Me Feel Dainty...



I saw Gertie's tutorial and I knew I had to try it. I already had fabric purchased for making some slips a while ago. However, I had lost my motivation once I found out the pattern I wanted to use was not suitable for this fabric. Update: I forgot to say what the fabric is. This is lining fabric but it has a sueded finish to it as opposed to a slick surface. Nothing expensive, about $5 a yard from Jo-Anns.


I used Stretchrite lingerie elastic (64% poly/36% rubber) from Jo-anns. It came in a dual pack with 30" of 1/2" wide for waistbands and 54" of 5/16" wide for legbands. As it turns out, I preferred the more narrow elastic (legband) for the waist of the slips. I will try to use this technique as much as possible. It's very similar to the look of the Vogue skirt in that, once on, the elastic doesn't add bulk to your waist because it and the fabric stretches just enough to fit. With both designs you need just enough width to get it past your hips.


Wrights 3/4" wide Flexi-Lace hem tape in #167 Colonial Rose*



For the hem, I originally tried to find wider scalloped lace but there was only black and white available in Jo-ann and Hancock Fabrics. I wanted to try more sophisticated combinations like Angry Chicken did with her homemade underwear. What I did find was this cool aged rose color to spice up the ho-hum pale pink color of the fabric. If my first thought hadn't been to buy one color that would work with both fabrics I probably would have used lavender on the blue and orange on the pink. Perhaps, next time?



I ended up making three slips in different lengths, 16", 17" and 22". The two I made in pink for shorter skirts and dresses, I finished with the lace trim in two different ways. The first one I applied the lace 1/4 inch over the edge of the fabric, stitching close to the edge of the lace, and then folded the fabric back up and stitched again. With the second slip I thought I was doing it the same way but I ended up sewing the lace near the bottom edge; therefore, having it peek down from behind the skirt. I prefer this look.



I decided against using the pink lace on the longer dark blue slip and luckily Gertie had also posted an alternative way (the scallop stitch) to finish the hem, which is the way I decided to go with this one. Even though I had read the instructions before; when I got down to doing it I totally forgot about using spray starch to stabilize the fabric. Luckily, it still worked out and my needle didn't get jammed and ruin the stitch on the slinky fabric.

I officially will never buy another half-slip again! These were so simple and quick (less than two hours to make all three) that I highly recommend them even for beginner sewers/sewists.

* The color of the pink slips and lace are more accurate in the pre-sewn picture.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Just a teaser...

Sorry for the blur.

Three different decorative hem treatments. Details forthcoming.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I want!

I would love to take this class at the Visual Arts Center of Virginia!

Draping - Learn to Design Using a Dress Form

Learn to drape your own design ideas with muslin on a dress form. This course is ideal for people interested in exploring fabric draping and clothing construction using a dress form. We will use different types of fabrics to play with clothing designs that fit and flatter your body. Draping is used to construct necklines, blouses, skirts and sleeve pieces. This course will cover basic, classic, and contemporary draping and pleating techniques.

6 Mondays, October 26 – November 30
6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
$140 / 6 = only $23.33 a class!

I really need to start making enough money so that I can treat myself to something like this one of these days. It's funny because I never thought I had money before but hindsight sure is a hoot, isn't it?! I mean, I could have swung this class with almost any of my other jobs before this one.

Monday, September 07, 2009

I have been working...

and I have some sewing to show you. However, I first have to get myself motivated to write about them and get situated for the photo shoots!

I now have a purple knit top that I love and three (yes, count that again if you must!) three lingerie slips that I made from Gertie's great tutorial. Hopefully I'll get myself together before the day is over. Right now I'm gonna read some more (How To Have Style by Isaac Mizrahi) and maybe take a little nap.

If you're cooking out today, have some potato salad for me.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Ones That Got Away...

I have a bad habit of talking myself out of buying vintage patterns. Vintage patterns that I never see again at a good price. I make the mistake of saying the following to myself:
  • When will I ever find the time to make this?
  • Where will I wear it if I did?
  • I can't believe they're charging that much for it.
  • It's too time-consuming of a pattern.
  • I don't have the money to treat myself to anything I don't definitely need right now.
So, I missed out on these and regret it every time I see them.

Simplicity 8858
I would have used this one to create a snug fitting shell.


Simplicity 4920 and 3472

McCall's 8141, another try at this look?

Simplicity 4181

Vogue 7674, sophisticated, no?

Simplicity 2089
If I ever decide to get married this would be the one

So now these patterns are all back on my wish list. Though I still have to get the money to buy them, guilt-free. Wish me luck.