Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fall/Winter Wardrobe: A Fantasy, Perhaps?

Yeah, a fantasy. I just realized that I can't fantasize about any other items of clothing because I still have all of these projects (most with fabric in my stash) lined up. However, look, I added those ones on the bottom row. They were put on there because of some new fabrics at Joanns that they would look great in and I have been wanting those Marcy Tilton pants in a nice ponte forever. There's even a great stretch sateen print for another pair of cigarette pants. Of course, there can't be another pair if I still haven't tackled the first pair, right?

My new resolution is not to say I can't buy any more fabric ('cause that's ridiculous, right?!) but that if I do, then that item has to be made immediately, no delays, no waiting in the stash. The new fabric will be brought home, washed, pressed, lain out, and cut, and sewn in quick succession.

Click to see bigger
Let's see if I can follow through on that pledge, it's been getting harder and harder every day.

This past weekend, a friend and I checked out local ritzy clothing store The Phoenix and I tried on a few of their more experimental pieces, from Ronen Chen and Just Jill. These pieces had unusual seam lines, asymmetry, and unexpected volume, very similar to the designs by Mizono, Marcy Tilton, and Sandra Betzina in Vogue Patterns. Now I'm tempted to try some of those but that would require purchasing some double knits in colors other than black. So who knows when I'll ever make them up but at the next Vogue pattern sale, I'm still going to pick up Vogue 1234 and Vogue 1312 just in case.

Photos for reference

Monday, September 17, 2012

My First Quilt Is Done!

Unfortunately, the sun wasn't out the day we photographed, so here it is held up in the fluorescent lighting of my office. I hadn't named it before but I will now, the Moneta d'oro (the Golden Coin) quilt.


I am so happy that I took this class, I highly recommend it. You learn the correct techniques for making a slightly larger than crib-size quilt  (35" x 49") based on the Twisted Coins design in four 2-hour sessions. All of the instructions for this and fourteen other quilts were from the book, Piecing the Piece O' Cake Way by Becky Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins. This book was required for the class and I also recommend it.



In total, the project cost more than I expected, even with my store discount. You see, I had never gotten around to buying a rotary cutter and mat before this. However, I was able to purchase the mat, rotary cutter, and a "6 x 24" quilt ruler at a 50% discount from Joann's for $46.00 with some of my graduation money.*

The fabrics for the front (1 large piece and six fat-quarters) and thread cost $27.00. The next purchase (white quilting thread, batting, and fabric for back panel) cost about $29.00. Required notions like a walking (quilting) foot, curved safety pins, and a pack of needles totaled $29.00. So, in total, this project cost me $131.00 or $89.00 not including the items that I would have probably bought anyway; the rotary cutter, mat, needles, and white thread. Oh, and I have enough fabric left to make a matching quilted pillow or bolster to coordinate with the new Moneta d'oro throw on my couch.

I can't remember right now, but I have a post on here that listed things I wanted to accomplish. I can now check off Make a Quilt!

* Thanks Aunt Teresa and Erica

Images: courtesy of Joanna Wilson-Green and myself

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

7. Summer Shift Dress - New Look 6939 (OOP)

Pattern: New Look 6939 (OOP)

Pattern Description: Slightly A-line, knee-length shift dress with v-neck option and front darts.

Pattern Sizing: (8-18) I made a size 12 bodice, blending out to a size 14 at hips.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing it? Yes, except I did not include the neckline ruffle for this version.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, extremely easy.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It's easy, perfect for a quick, cute make. I have made this dress before and love the forgiving shape, its perfect for a summer dress.

Fabric Used: 2 1/2 yards cotton in Alexander Henry Mocca in Chocolate from my stash, bought years ago in 2007 for $7.25 per yard. This feels like a thin crisp poplin and doesn't wrinkle! 1/2 yard matching red rayon challis from Hancock Fabric for the contrast skirt border.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I made no size changes because my other version of this dress still fits well and I had altered the pattern pieces at that time. However, both the drape, weight, and neckline of that one was different and I should have taken that into consideration. I ended up shortening the shoulder length by 3/4" inch because the bodice would rise above my shoulders when I sat down. There was too much length from armscye to shoulder seam, something that wasn't as noticeable in the first dress.

It took me a long time to finish this dress because I didn't have enough fabric and had to add a border of a different fabric to the bottom to make up the length, much like my other dress. The print fabric does not wrinkle; however, the challis does and did not have as much body. Therefore, I used two layers of the challis, a self-lining of sorts, to provide more structure and eliminate the need for a hem.

Instead of trying to cut straight on the slippery challis, instead I pulled threads to straighten the grain, making a perfect rectangle, that I folded it in half, and attached one side to the bottom of the dress and hand sewed the other over the seam, encasing it inside. Both fabrics pressed well and resulted in a neat border. I  finished the inside side seams by folding the seam allowances under and stitching down the middle, leaving no raw edges visible.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I will probably make this dress many more times. However, for some reason, the dress feels a wee bit looser this time, perhaps the linen version shrunk at some point. I love that this dress pattern can be adapted and changed infinitely. It would look lovely as a brocade cocktail shift from the 60's. If you can not find this exact same pattern, there is now a more recent version, New Look 6095. It is a quick dress to whip up in a day or two. Just remember to buy enough fabric!

Conclusion: I knew this was a perfect marriage of pattern and fabric. I wanted a simple dress design that wouldn't steal thunder from the large, bold, and colorful print and I believe I succeeded.

Images: My own photos

Thursday, September 06, 2012

6. Summer Tank Top - Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank #31001

Pattern: Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank #31001

Pattern Description: (0-18) Tank top with bust darts, bias bound edges, and a slightly relaxed fit.

Pattern Sizing: Neck, shoulders to underarm in size 8, the rest in size 10.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing it? Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very much.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like how the tank is fitted at the top but flows along the rest of the torso. It does not use a lot of fabric or take up a lot of time to sew. I loved the bias-bound neckline as it gave a RTW look.

Fabric Used: A somewhat shiny, lightweight, horizontal striped gray fabric with a foulard pattern perfect for a man's tie. The fabric is a recycle of a dress that Slapdash Sewist wasn't happy with, in fact, she called it her "Prison Matron Dress".

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made?: I originally was going to use the dress as a dress, slim it down or make a tunic out of it. However, I had the Grainline pattern raring to go and I had made a promise not to buy any more garment fabric, so...  A great recycling project at hand, I laid out the pattern on the dress and it was going to work! The only difference would be that there was a back seam.

The first thing I did before I cut any pieces was to make sure the fabric was on grain. It was not, so I used the pull-a-strand method and luckily still had enough width to cut the front with no piecing. However, because of the grain being off I  could not use the existing back seam. I recut the back on the grain and sewed a 1/4" seam allowance, folded it to one side and made a flat fell seam. In addition, since this fabric seemed to unravel at a glance I encased the shoulder and sides in French seams. I finished it by following the instructions for the tiny 1/4" hem.

This is the true color

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I will make this again, as a top and also as a dress. I also love how Grainline patterns are nested so that you don't have to sacrifice the smaller sizes when it is cut out.

Conclusion: This is a great versatile tank for summer.

Images: my own photos,