Friday, July 31, 2009

3 in 1

Last week I made (mostly) 3 skirts in 1 week (even though four were cut out). I had fitting issues with almost all of them. Here’s what bothers me…they are all a-line skirts. If it fits at the waist it tends to buckle under my tummy. If it doesn’t buckle under my tummy, then the waist drops down to my hips. Anybody else deal with this? I’m also having issues because I gained some weight this spring and because of well, previous surgery mentioned somewhere in the middle of this post, my stomach is uneven. My body shape looks really weird. I don’t know how to fit my waist anymore. You know, if you have to add 1-2” to the waistline of a pattern it’s not a big deal. But if you have to add a stinkin’ 5-6” it changes the design! Okay, enough whining about fit. Time to whine about something else.

You won’t see any detail shots of any of these garments. If you read the last post about me being “project-oriented” that’s why. Too many interruptions = crummy workmanship = no detail shots! Okay, whining is over.

This year I decided that my outfit of choice for the summer would be some fun prints – skirts/dresses. But because I like to ride bikes and generally play with the kids in the summer, there is the issue of modesty. At first I was going to do the jumper with overskirt route (and hopefully I will get one of these done) then I decided to just make some simple knit shorts to wear underneath the skirts/dresses…for security. That should explain the “under” pix.

Greeny – this is Vogue 7879 (Sorry, many OOP’s in this post.) I think this one fits the best of all but there are no pockets! I guess I mean it looks the best on. The skirt really sits about 1" below my waist. There are pockets on the skirt, they’re just not functioning. At first I thought I would just add them in the side seams and all would be okay – uh, no. They’re still in the side seams but when I decided it looked awful I just sewed the seams shut.

Yellow-y – this is an OOP McCall’s 3656 pattern. I just loved all the options on the cover, so I cut out three from this pattern (blue-y isn’t done yet). Also, one of my inspirations was a Talbot’s skirt that I saw online - a-line with front pockets. For all three (McCall's) skirts I cut size 16 at the waist and tapered to an 18. And when the first two were all done – I had to remove 2” of width from the waist down. For this skirt, since it didn’t have a waistband, I just made a stinkin’ CF seam and got rid of the excess. The fabric is from JoAnn’s; a good cotton from one of their collections (i.e., not the Keepsake collection).

Greeny II – another skirt from the McCall’s pattern and the least favorite (a big disappointment as I really liked this Amy Butler print). I removed the 2” excess with this skirt from the CB. That’s right, took out the zipper and put it back in again. Somewhere along the line while sewing these I determined that I just might have to make a swayback adjustment, from the waist down. For this skirt I removed almost 2” at the CB waist which then made the back hem, um, really short! It looks even now...on the outside. Underneath, the front hem is 1-1/2" and the back is 5/8". It's not pretty. I should have just stuck with Simplicity 3754. That one worked out great last year and it has fantastically deep pockets!

On a fabric note, I ordered this fabric - oops, was going to give you a link but it's all gone, when Carolyn speaks the bloggers listen! It's a silk/cotton twill - and even though I listened to Carolyn when she said, “the softest, drapiest fabric...and wonderful to work with”. I seemed to ignore the shopping online advice that said, “read the descriptions for key words”. The fabric came and it was much too yellow for me. (Yes, I know it said “yellow” in the description. I just wanted it to be more of a yellow, um, “tint”.) So I decide to dye it. Here’s how that project went: 1. Yellow to ecru = weird spots, color only mildly darkens the yellow. 2. Remove color = back to the original yellow, spots still there. 3. Go black = a really flat, dull gray. 4. Add fuchsia = mission accomplished. Even though the results are not a color I would have picked out, I checked on the dry piece of fabric just after shopping at Ann Taylor and getting an eye-full of this same exact shade of purple. In addition, it will look great with my gray pieces from last year and soon-to-come ivory pieces for this year.

Took a bunch of project pictures today, so I may actually post again before the month is over!

Oh yea, like I told my sister, I knew you would all jump on my case about that Vogue dress (8552)! I have to admit that when I saw the picture I liked it a little better. So at the last minute and I mean really last minute – we’re talkin’ loading up the bags of donation clothes in the car – I saved it. I saved it and threw it in with the silk (step #3, black). It also came out a dull gray and I was ready to make another trip out for some black dye until I saw this. Will this really and truly save the dress? I haven’t tried it on yet to check out the new color. I make no guarantees!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rambling - Or "Why I Haven't Posted Lately Even Though It's Summer And I'm Not Working"

  • This full-time mom thing is just too much. I want my old schedule back – the one where I teach all day. My youngest is totally exhausted. Today the only option for extra rest was to make him stay home from his baseball game. This child Lives. For. Baseball. I listened to his tired little body cry and beg for a good 15 minutes before I caved. Fingers are crossed for tomorrow. But before all this my daughter put on her best "please don't leave me" crying performance (a face that I have actually seen her practice in the mirror) as I dropped her off camp!

  • I have fingernails. It’s not the first time in my life…maybe the third time. But this time I have them because I’m trying to be a good mom. Both my kids bite their nails…like I used to. They had to learn it from someone, must’ve been me. So I stopped biting my nails - for the kids. They (the nails, well, the kids too) tend to drive me crazy. I go to scratch and almost tear my skin off. Recently, they’ve been hitting extra keys on the keyboard. And, it’s more work. Now I’ve started using polish because they look much better covered, but it takes soooo much time!!! I’m trying so hard to keep it up, to set a good example…for the children.

  • I just about paid twice as much for a fabric I wanted on Long story about why I'm buying a piece for the second time, but you really should check out the Designer section (apparel fabric) of the site. Yesterday this silk was $10.98. Today I went to order and it was $5.49 – awesome! I didn’t even get the e-mail yet about whatever this sale is.

  • If I don’t start sewing by 7:00 p.m. I don’t sew. I really thought that I’d grown out of this habit but now that the kids are staying up until 8:00, I just can’t get anything done at night. It stems from my single days when I could make a lined straight skirt in three hours and still get my required hours of beauty rest.

  • I’m a project-oriented person. I need to sew in big chunks – one skirt, everything except the buttons on a blouse, the outer fabric of a jacket. My life doesn’t let me do that anymore. I can’t cope. My garments will agree.

  • Summer accomplishments so far: 1. completely cleaned out my closet, 2. completely cleaned out the closet that no one uses because it has so much junk in it, 3. moved my sewing area to accommodate the “zoom, zoom”, 4. scheduled ¾ of the kids dr. appointments, 5. made a small dent in the summer fabric stash. I can’t even begin with the “yet to do” list – it’s big.

  • Hopefully the next post will have some actually sewing info and pix, cause really, I hate to read. Just show me what you’re trying to say.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

2 Fer 2

Meet my new Fourth of July uniform, let's call her "Forever The Fourth" – Simplicity 3773. I was desperately putting this thing together Wednesday night to wear to a parade on Thursday. There are no zippers, or buttons, and it isn’t lined. I have my zoom zoom so it should easily be done in two hours. Well, that didn’t happen. It ended up we skipped the parade too so I was able to finish it under less-stressful conditions.
You may not be able to tell, but I added piping to the outer edges and facings at the armholes to enclose the seams. I would have piped the pockets too but I ran out. I added 1-1/2” to the shoulder seam to make sure my bra straps would stay hidden. My only problem with fit is the right collar. I pressed it to death to get it to look somewhat acceptable but it really wants to stand away from my body by about ½”. Yea, I can live with that.

Now meet my two most recent waders. Number one I’m calling “How Do You Take Everyone’s Favorite Pattern And Make It Look Bad?” I bought the pattern after seeing it on PR’s top ten list last spring. I bought the fabric from JoAnn’s. Last summer I made a top using a similar fabric. This is a knit fabric with some sort of clear coating stamped on in a print design – but the coating doesn’t melt!? Anyway, I had a fit with the top, my machine hated that fabric. So the pink dress, all cut out and ready to sew, sat in a holding drawer for an entire year. I either needed to dump it or make it and for some unknown reason, when I’m still feeling pressed for sewing time, I decided to sew it. Well, I’m happy to report that my zoom zoom had nooooo problem with the fabric. The big problem is that the fabric has no stretch. Ugh. Even if it looks okay on the picture, it feels horrible! I don’t like the length either! Yuk, it’s already in the donation bag.

And number two, “I Knew It Was Wrong Before I Even Bought The Pattern.” Vogue 8552. I don’t know if I’ll ever outgrow this habit. In my quest to try something new I picked out something that I knew deep down wasn't going to work. But, I refused to listen to my little voice and found some lightweight linen from my stash. I don’t have too many pieces in my stash that are more than two years old, but this was one of them. I didn’t make any changes to the pattern but the detail that really convinced me it wouldn’t look good, was the neckline. It’s too low. The necklace helps but… I think the other disaster factor is the color. Never should have ever purchased fabric that color. This pattern goes in the “it’s just not me” file and the dress joins pinky in the donation bag.

This dress almost didn’t make it. It’s vintage Simplicity, #6499 . I thought it would be so cool to match a boring old shift pattern with a funky print. (I just love all the cotton prints that are out there and am constantly looking for something besides a craft project to make with them.) At first I was looking to the Amy Butler fabrics, but then I found this fabric in my stash. It’s a Michael Miller print that, I think, I bought it a JoAnn’s last year. I didn’t even try to match the pattern in the front because I didn’t have any fabric to spare. The reason it almost didn’t make it was the neckline. I think I used the wrong SA’s, I mean I didn’t sew the same width that I cut. I used to cut every single neckline with a 3/8” SA no matter what the pattern called for. I’m not sure why, but I gotten away from that. Well, I think t’s because I started forgetting to sew them that width. Anyway, if the zipper is open too far the entire collar stands away from my neck. I was going to just remove the collar, but a day came when I was desperately looking for something besides shorts and a t-shirt to wear. I played around with it a bit and decided it would work just fine as it is.

I thought my schedule would slow down a little but I decided to take a class. (Instrument repair – and it is the BEST class I’ve every taken! The first day we completely took a clarinet apart! Yes, we did manage to put them back together and they are playable ;)) One more week of trying to manage all the summer schedules, learn something fun, and do lots of driving (it’s about an hour’s drive one way to my class). Then the real summer sewing will begin :) Happy sewing to all!