Friday, October 26, 2012

VA/DC/MD Meet-up Information needed!

I still have no way of contacting by email the four women below. I would like to start communicating through emails to the group instead of these posts on the blog. So please email me (also see questions below) at metamorphpursuit(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Robin of A Little Sewing - need email
"Greytone" of Gotcha Covered - need email
Jamie of A Strange Girl - need email
"Merry-one" of Originally Styled - need email

Which Saturday?

A few people let me know which dates would not work for them, so I have narrowed down the options.

November 10 or 17

December 1 or 15

Could everyone please send me the following information:

  1. Your prefered date of the trip
  2. If you could drive some people if we set up carpools?
  3. If you need a ride to Rockville?
  4. Your zip code so I can see who could travel together.
  5. Preference for type of cuisine?
  6. If you have any dietary concerns I should plan for?
  7. Would you all like to participate in a pattern/fabric swap like all the other meet-ups?

Thanks! I am really getting excited to meet you all. This is going to be a blast. I'm calling G Street-Rockville on Monday!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

VA/DC/MD Blogger Meetup Update!

Woo Hoo!  We now have ELEVEN bloggers interested!

Audrey of Sew Tawdry
"Smunch" of Smuch
Robin of A Little Sewing
"Greytone" of Gotcha Covered
Jamie of A Strange Girl
Kyle of Vacuuming The Lawn
Sue of Sewing Steady
"Merry-one" of Originally Styled
Lisette of La Cubinita Cose new!
Sophie of FilASewphie  new!

I am getting so excited! I'm in the process of researching and making plans now. Can you believe I've found 18 bloggers in the Metro area since I started this? We're even getting word-of-mouth participants.
  1. If I haven't sent you an email it means I don't have one for you. Email me at metamorphpursuit(at)yahoo(dot)com with your real first name please if you don't go by that on your blog.
  2. Of course G Street Fabrics will be involved, we're going to the original Rockville location.
  3. If we want to do this in 2012 (which I do!), we have to move quickly so I can arrange things with G. Street. Let me know which of the following Saturday dates will work for you:

    November 3, 10, 17
    December 1,
    8, or 15?


Monday, October 22, 2012

8. Summer End Tops - Vogue 9772 (OOP)

Pattern: Vogue 9772 (OOP) from the VogueElements line, c. 1997

Pattern Description: Two bias pullover tops: 1) fitted, v-neck with bodice seaming, side slits and 2) loose-fitting, scoop neck with back extension to upper front (to be worn over first top).

Pattern Sizing: Available in XS-XL (6-22). I made a M (sizes 12-14).

Did they look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing? Yes

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

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It was very easy to put together, though I ended up making it more involved by underling the fabric and using French seams throughout. I liked that the visible seaming on the front of each top was topstitched.

Fabric Used: 1) Multi-colored (orange, gray, white, tan, ruby red on an off-white ground) Prairie Rose Swiss dot fabric from Joann, $4.85. I bought the very last bit, actually less than the 1-1/4 yards needed according to the pattern. 2) 1-1/8 yards of Daphne batiste in papyrus, $12.48 for the overblouse and enough left over to completely underline top 1.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:

Top 1: Originally this top was going to be one layer, but luckily I had purchased enough of the coordinating batiste that I could underline all four pieces. This Vogue Elements top is a simpler variation of a Marc Jacob pattern, Vogue 2068, that was released the very same year. I made a version of that top years ago. The necklines are different and the Jacobs pattern used French seams throughout. I wanted that same quality so I incorporated the French seam construction for this top too.

It is hard to see but the pieces are basted using intersecting diagonal lines.

Since I was going to use French seams I thought I should also use the correct method of underlining according to the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing. This method has you reposition the underlining because that layer should be slightly smaller that the outer layer to reduce bulk.The technique involves hand basting and the spine of a thick magazine, pretty cool!

Once that was done, the rest was easy, I just followed the seaming instructions from the earlier pattern. Once I made the first French seam at the shoulders I decided to baste the rest of the top together and see what I had. The V-neck was really too low; you can see that in the drawing but I thought that was an exaggeration.  I ended up taking that seam out and taking one inch off both the front and back pieces. This not only brought the neckline and armholes up but also put the waist curve of the pattern where it should be, at my actual waist. There was also an issue of a bit too much length in the front armscye, so instead of cutting out a replacement front I added an ease line and lightly eased/gathered some of the length out.

Top 2: There couldn't be an easier pattern or instructions. Again, I incorporated French seams to match the other top which will be worn under this one. Despite using the instructions from Vogue 2068 I decided to start with a 3/8" seam first and then 1/4", the reverse of what they indicated. This top assembled quickly with tiny 1/4" hems and seams all-around. The batiste ended up being a really nice fabric, in look, feel, and weight.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Perhaps. I did end up making alterations to the garment during construction until I was satisfied and unfortunately, I did not transfer those changes to the pattern pieces before completion. I would highly recommend this pattern if you can find it online.

Conclusion: I love how both of these tops came out with a flattering fit and clean interior finish. However, at least from the way that I made them, the second top does not really work as an overblouse to the first one. It is too bulky. However, it works as a perfect complement over the original Marc Jacobs top, which it matches in color. So, win-win.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sewing For A Friend - Purl Bee Necktie

This was a two in one project. Not only was I able to give a friend a gift that I think he will appreciate and  use I was also able to make something I have never tried before.

I made my first menswear necktie. I used this free pattern and tutorial on the Purl Bee blog. However, what's really special about this project is that I used a unique batik-like print fabric that I actually acquired from the gift recipient himself. From the first time I spied this fabric I knew I had to make something special out of it, however, originally I was thinking that something would be for me.

Two years ago, this friend temporarily moved cross-country to take care of his ailing parents. After almost a year and only a few months apart he lost both parents. As he went through his parent's 40+ years of belongings he had to decide what to sell, take with him, put in storage, or give away. I became the recipient of his mother's sewing notions and fabrics. He wanted to give them to someone who would make use of them. Last year, I used one piece to make a summer top that I wear frequently. Then I saw the Purl Bee post using all of the lovely Liberty prints and I knew what I had to make and for whom.

The tutorial was simple and I had more than enough fabric. The only thing that stumped me was what to use as tie interfacing. From looking on the Internet, it seems it's not an easy thing to find for the home-sewer. I was going to use muslin or linen scraps when I remembered I already had vintage ties people had given me and took out my trusty seam ripper and voila! After a good soapy soak and drying session I had the exact type of interfacing I needed for this tie.

Can you see my almost-hidden signature?
Though the construction of the tie was no problem, I slowed myself down when it came time to finish. In the past, I've never placed labels on my handmade gifts. However, since this item was very special, I wanted it to be marked that it came from me. I am not skilled in freehand embroidery and my first tries were awful. I finally stuck to it and placed my initials discretely on the back of the tie (see above), in a color chosen so that they are nearly invisible. I also added his monogram on a strip of matching grosgrain ribbon; however, I don't know if it is in the correct position to be used as a keeper.

Note: I think there may be some mistakes in the instructions. The original May 21, 2009 post was updated in April 7, 2011 with a new pattern download and included some images and instructions from an earlier tutorial for a child version. I'm tempted to believe that some of the instructions might have been transferred over without size adjustments. According to the adult tie project the finished tie should be 3" at its widest point. Mine only fit those measurements when I folded in the sides once instead of  twice as instructed. Also some comments have mentioned that the finished tie will be shorter than the average store-bought tie. I will cross my fingers and hope that it doesn't look ridiculous on.

The ribbon actually matches in real life.

Looking around the web this tutorial was also recommended : David Hober custom made tie tutorial. I think I will try that one next. Hopefully, I have some more of his mother's fabric suitable for a man's tie if this one is too small.

Images: My own photos

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

VA/DC/MD Blogger Meet-Up, Anyone?

Hey, I'm finally getting myself out in public after years of pinching my pennies and staying close to home because of school and lack of funds. I missed out on all the New York meet-ups and even that Philadelphia PR Weekend, which really upset me because I have family there.

So I'm interested in some sort of meet-up of all the Virginia/D.C./Maryland sewing bloggers that I now know of. The number is much higher than I originally thought. (Oh, if you know of any others, please let me know!)

District of Columbia:
Slapdash Sewist IN
A Little Sewing IN

Miss Celie's Pants IN
Smunch IN
Lemony Fresh

New Jersey:
Vacuuming The Lawn Tentative IN

Sew Many Happies
Sew Tawdry IN
As I Said… IN
Sewing Steady IN
Danville Girl Sewing Diary
Gotcha Covered IN
Such a Strange Girl (just found another one!) IN

Are any of you guys interested?

Unfortunately, we don't have that many Virginia options for shopping except for the G Street Fabric locations but I think when ever sewing bloggers get together it's more about the camaraderie and meeting someone interested (or obsessed!) with the same things that you are. Am I right? In addition, G Street does have that $2.75 table, not even Joann or Hancock has fabric that cheap!

Before making any further plans, I first want to know who is interested in meeting up?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I Won A Giveaway!

Patternmaking by Dennic Chunman Lo
I can hardly believe it! I rarely win things and definitely not things that I really REALLY wanted. But this time, I did.

Thanks to the generous giveaway last month by Shams of Communing With Fabric, I won a fabulous copy of the above book, Patternmaking by Dennic Chunman Lo, the director of the Creative Pattern Cutting program at the London College of Fashion. He is also the designer of his own Lo and Cabon label.

The thing I love most about this book is that it provides a detailed step-by-step guide to creating the basic pattern blocks for a bodice, sleeve, skirt, dress, and pants along with information on how to create patterns above and beyond the rules, ex. the book's cover photo. This book looks at pattern making as it applies to the actual human body by giving written and photographic examples of  the body's range of motion and the considerations that must be drafted into a block to accommodate them. There are no complicated formulas to memorize and everything is created by using true body measurements. Although, the book uses a standard English size 12 in the examples all you need to do is replace those measurements with your own.

Patternmaking is part of the Portfolio Skills series of books for student designers (architecture, advertising, fashion, etc.) that are written by top professors at leading art and design schools. They are all published by Laurence King Publishing, Ltd.

For more information on his course, click on any of the links in this post. You will find more detailed reviews of the book on the Flossie Teacakes and Fashion Incubator blogs. In addition, you can also check out this video by Mr. Lo himself:

Pattern Cutting by Dennic Chunman Lo from Laurence King Publishing on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Alabama Chanin and Sewing Patterns

I wanted to let you in on something I noticed a few weeks ago that I think is fabulous. You know Natalie Chanin, right? I've written before about her and even have a link to Amy Palanjian's blog posts about her jersey wedding dress made in collaboration with Chanin's workshop. (Check it out, it's awesome, especially if you love hand sewing, which I do!)

However, have you seen this?

On the Alabama Chanin website, they have a weekly post called DIY Thursdays where they present projects that you can do at home using her techniques. What caught my attention were the posts where Natalie took the intricate and hand sewn details that abound in her clothing line and transferred them to the construction of designer sewing patterns from Vogue (Anna Sui, Vena Cava) and independent designers like Anna Maria Horner.

It's amazing to see the same garments that Vogue makes up in slinky patterned knit and shiny silk fabrics now made up in soft organic cotton jersey with exposed seams, visible hand stitching and sometimes elaborate appliqueing. What she accomplishes with Vogue 1175 (see Vogue's taffeta version below) is amazing. I suddenly want to buy this pattern and make it in a knit. Let's say I was not impressed by it in the stiff, shiny stuff but in a knit jersey it hangs completely different and looks so comfy.

Here are a few of the other patterns that Ms. Chanin choose to replicate, (click on the captions to see the Chanin versions on her blog.)

Images: The McCall Pattern Company, Alabama Chanin