Thursday, December 31, 2009

Still Working

It's been a busy week.  I have worked on some of the coat...just not as much as I would have liked.  As with Simplicity 2427, I'm going to baste the seems of the jacket to see how it fits prior to committing to it.  One of my goals (in a post to come) is to learn to use my serger this year.  It was a gift two Christmas's ago, and while I have used it, I'm not even remotely comfortable with it.  While I plan to do some french seams on the sides and back, those front princess won't want that type of seaming.  OK, I guess they could, but I'm not that comfortable!  I think I'd also like to put lining in the sleeves.  I know, I know, I said no lining.  But I also don't want my jacket sticking to me or making my linen dress any more wrinkled that it will obviously get.  And I have lining material here...so...it's a thought at least.

Sewing resolutions to come...



Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Simplicity 2508

SO. Simplicity's web site says this 2508. And my pattern tissues say it's 2508. However, my pattern envelope says 0571. And it's a brown Project Runway envelope, rather than the blue shown here (and in every other PR envelope I've seen). Which made it hard to find reviews on PatternReview . I just thought I'd start with that.

My second warning on this: There are a billion pieces. And while normally I disregard the amount of fabric needed to sew up a PR pattern, I'm very thankful that this time I just happened to have enough of the stash fabric on hand (and really don't have a great need for a matching skirt is I am being honest...). Here are some things the back of the envelope DOESN'T tell you:
  1. You are going to cut four of the front panels for the jacket - they use the second set for the matching facing. But this isn't clear until you start sewing. I somehow missed that I needed to cut four of the front panels and had to go back and cut more. Had I not had the fabric, I wouldn't have been happy at this point.
  2. Those facings have to be interfaced. But you're not going to 'cut' the pieces out. No, they want you to lay your fabric pieces, right side up on the adhesive side of your fusible interfacing, fuse them, then cut them out. Which works great, if you were planning on using fusible interfacing. I wasn't. I don't like fusible interfacing. And my light weight interfacing is not featherweight, while the fabric is medium weight. So now I'm going to have to run by Joann's or Hobby Lobby and pick some up.
  3. Lots of the detail pieces are on the bias. This is why you need all that fabric. The cuff's? On the bias. The collar pieces? On the bias.
And then there are the design changes I decided I needed to make:
  • omitted the lining - I live in Houston. I don't have the need for a traditional lined coat for warmth (I type as the temperatures are actually quite frigid here today) as a rule. So I took a nifty little idea from a trench I saw at Target. There is an option for a decorative yoke piece on the back of this jacket. For future design options, I'll contemplate embroidery or something decorative like that. But today, I'm using it on the inside of the jacket. I cut the yoke from the linen from my last dress. Decorative yet subtle!
  • french seams - when one omits the lining from a jacket, one must come up with something for those seems. I could serge them and top stitch them down. I could. I just don't want to. The only seams I'm not doing a french seam on is those front princess seams.
Everything is cut (except for those stupid facings, gggrrr) and I've basted most of the pieces that needed interfacing. I'm still considering the fusible interfacing for the facings. I don't see a way around unfortunately. Photo's to come!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I <3 Simplicity 2724

This, officially, is my new FAVORITE pattern. I actually finished the 'first' dress two days ago. I posted a couple of pictures earlier this week about how well it was working out. And it really did.

First of all, the photo's don't do this dress justice. I chose to use taffeta because this is going to be my Christmas dress. As I mentioned earlier, I really wanted the green that I saw in another blogger's review. Alas, I couldn't find any. However, this navy blue really works for me. I'll have to make sure to get photo's on Christmas. I'm wearing sparkly high heeled sandals too. It was in the low 70's here today, and while we're supposed to drop down to the 50's by Christmas day, it will be warm enough inside to take a picture! I was really worried that that taffeta would be too stiff. I even went up a size to accommodate for the lack of ease in the fabric. I think it was a good choice because the dress fits like a glove.

You can't see the pleats in the sleeve here and it "looks" wrinkled in the photo's. It's not. It's just that this taffeta is a very firm fabric. Very little drape.

Unlike the "second" dress that I'm working on from this pattern!!!

For the second dress, I kept the puff sleeves (I can't go sleeveless at my office, too casual). I want the next dress to transition into summer. If you've never been to Houston in the summer, it's VERY humid here. And while I work in an air conditioned office building, I commute on the Metro. And I wait outside for the Metro. Comfort is a key factor for me. So the second dress is using the scoop neckline and pencil skirt. They call it a slim skirt, but it has all the looks of a pencil skirt to me, just with an attached bodice. I'm also making a jacket to coordinate with it for the winter months here. I'll get to that here in a minute. Here are some photo's of the second dress, done in a light weight linen. As you can see, the dress is almost done. It went together really fast today (aside from sewing the back of the skirt to the front of the bodice the first time...but we won't discuss that!!). The taffeta dress, and that ruffle, took me four days to complete. And yes, as I mentioned, worth every minute of the time it took. But I digress. The first sleeve is pinned in. The fabric was very particular in it's own way. It didn't want to stay on grain while I was cutting it. But with lots of pins and starch, it really came together quickly. You can see the option of the pleated scoop bodice instead of the ruffled one. The third photo shows the slit. I haven't hemmed it yet, and I do have it hanging up to help with the growth factor of linen. I debated cutting on the bias for the bodice portion, but since the grain is so finicky, I didn't want to chance it. I used sew in interfacing which worked well. I just basted it to the pieces I needed interfacing.

I love the color pallet on this fabric. I have a sort of olive green fabric in my stash that has been aging FOREVER that is a perfect compliment to this dress. I'm going to make a light weight coat using Simplicity 2508. And the thing about Houston is, it can get cold and chilly some days, so you need a jacket in the winter. You just don't need a fully lined coat. So look for some changes in the details on a later post for 2508. But what's really great, is that I already have a summer jacket that will work for the office to go with this dress! So it will transition nicely between seasons. I love this fabric, and have been waiting for the perfect pattern to cut into it with. I'm so happy to finally get to use this lovely fabric. I just need to run down to Wally World tomorrow and pick up a cream colored zipper. Or white. Either will work :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Sewing

Simplicity 2724

I have to admit, I glanced at this pattern and moved on. First of all, the one dress is...well...pink. I don't like pink. As a rule, I do not choose to wear pink (my pink wool cape is an absolute exception to this rule, but I have no clue why). The other two dresses looked "OK" just not something I would wear. But then I was on patternreview.com and saw this dress made up in a beautiful green and suddenly it spoke to me!!! I love green. I really, really love green. So I decided to make this for my Christmas dress.

I couldn't find green fabric that I liked, so I've opted for Navy. I figure this might also carry me through a few other seasons without it looking to Christmas. I normally wear red for Christmas exclusively, so this is a definite change for me.

Let me start by saying this is day 4 on making this dress, and I am at the last sleeve facing insert. The first photo is the "almost" finished bodice. The skirt isn't even cut yet. I don't know if this is a particularly difficult pattern, but for me, it is very time consuming!! The ruffle you see on photo 2 uses a very different technique than I've ever done, and I pinned and re-pinned that sucker to get it to look the way I wanted it to.

The pleats that you see in photo 3 gave me fits too. Also the sleeve facing for it requires hand slip stitching. I'm not good at hand stitching of any type! So I did a blind hem stitch on that except for the pleated part (I didn't want to get those perfect pleats caught!). Then I had to carefully tack the facing to the pleated part. If I make this pattern again (aka, if it looks good on me once it's done!) I'm going to make this a very casual summer dress, and go with sleeve facings so I don't have to mess with these pleats ever again.

When my kids leave for school, I'll cut the skirt out and start fitting that before I pin it to the bodice. The skirt has inverted pleats, which I think are much more flattering for my figure type. Aside from that, it "looks" like it should be pretty easy. I'm also debating putting in a side zipper. I used taffeta for this dress that bought online. It's a little heavier than other taffeta's I've used before. However, I didn't have to use an interfacing as a result, so it all worked out. I'll post the skirt photo's in a bit.
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