Sunday, July 24, 2011

Packed

The sewing machine and serger are packed.  The new box of fabric has been fondled and taped back up.  The thread is in it's box along with needles and the seem ripper.  Which means I am almost ready for the move next week.  While I'm going to let the movers take most things, my machines will be traveling with me.  I have my husband convinced that not a seamstress I know would allow movers to mover her machines, particularly when it's a needless 1 mile move, right?!

I already have some home dec projects I'll need to complete to be "settled".  But I'll post more on that later!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Brief Hiatus...


So.  I'm moving.  Again.  Four moves in two years is officially a new record for me!  My landlord's unexpectedly announced they are moving back to the US and are moving into MY home.  Which, of course, means I will be moving out.  I'm not sure how much sewing I'll get done between now and September, seeing as how I'm packing and unpacking a household, but my husband (the most wonderful man on earth!) has agreed to hire movers again to help, so hopefully I'll be sewing again by Labor Day.  I'm already dreaming of curtains for the bay window in my new home.  As always, more to come!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wardrobe Realities

Despite the ridiculous heat here in Houston, I've been thinking about fall sewing.  Now please understand, fall is not cool here in Houston!  September usually feels like an extension of August.  October, while slightly cooler, isn't really what most people would consider to be fall temperatures.  It isn't until November that I'm usually back in cardigans and light weight jackets.  I'm not complaining.  I don't actually mind the warmer weather.  But November is probably my favorite 'fall' month.

Since we don't usually need heavy cold weather jackets (yes, we have had some temps down in the teens last February, but that is really unusual!) I rely on a lot of light weight jackets and layering.  Layering is really my friend!!  Yet I love the look of jackets.  I have at least 3-4 jacket UFO's sitting in my sewing area.  Apparently I hate sewing them.  Guilt overtook me this weekend and I was really determined to finish one of them.  After all, I do have several jackets I've made, and one of them I really love.  Which got me to thinking about why I really love it.  The answer was really simple, and it was a light bulb moment for me.  Are you ready?  I don't like lapel jackets. ALL of the UFO's I have are lapel jackets.  Yet jackets like KS 2616 I can make over and over again, I never get tired of the style, and they end up being staples in my wardrobe.  I'm also really loving Simplicity 2149 which you can see above.  Probably not the bolero style jacket, because it would really emphasize my "I've had four kids" tummy, but the other two versions are really nice.  I love the raglan style sleeves.  This is one I definitely plan to add to my fall sewing.  I also want to make a sleevless jacket.  I was browsing the fall Simplicity patterns on Pattern Review and saw the anorak jacket.  While I really like it, it's just not something that I would get a lot of wear out of as a traditional jacket.  However, the vest version could really get a lot of use.  You can see it here, View A.  Sorry about the link, but the photo wouldn't load in blogger well!

In addition to light weight jackets, I also like a few cardigans.  I have the traditional cream and charcoal, that match 99% of my wardrobe.  So this year, I'm going to make a few fun ones!  Most likely as twin sets.  I found this sweater knit at fabric.com.  I really, really fell in love.  It will go great with several khaki skirts as well as a pair of brown trousers that I own.  For this twin set, I'm going to use KS 2948.  I've owned this pattern for years, but when I bought it, there wasn't a lot of selection when it came to sweater knit fabrics.  Plus I could buy cardigans on sale at the end of the season, and became well stocked in the basics.  So this has sat on the back burner for ages.  Of course, fabric shopping online has come light years from where it was 10 years ago, and now I can easily shop at a variety of online stores and get great selection. 

Because I work in the corporate world, my wardrobe tends to be pretty tailored.  Even my 'casual' wardrobe isn't very casual.  I rely a lot on separates to mix and match and extend my wardrobe.  Knit tops, hands down, are my biggest staple.  And Kwik Sew is always my go to pattern choice for knits.  I have no desire for 5/8 seam allowances that I'm going to have to trim down.  I also love that KS usually has a variety of options in one envelope.  Take for example, KS 3036 (apparently OOP, but still available at Patternreview.com).  There are four options for a knit shirt.  One with a more traditional neckline (think t-shirt without the ribbed band) and a scoop neckline.  There is also a bias cut front and back with center font and back seams with a boat neckline option (which I will be making with a lace knit fabric for the fall!), as well as cowl collar.  All of these use a dolman sleeve, which I think is a little dressier for a work t-shirt.  A cut on sleeve is just a more casual look.

Now for business casual Fridays, where we can actually wear jeans and khaki's, I rely on KS 3059.  I admit to only using view B.  We can't wear sleeveless in the office without a covering of some sort.  But I love that I can make a classic polo in a silk knit (very yummy fabric).  Fabric choices can really dress up a pair of jeans!  Because sometimes you have impromptu meetings, even on Friday, when you still need to make a good impression from visiting vendors.  I hate boxy polo shirts, so this is definitely a favorite!

So here is my fall sewing list:
  • Hot Patterns 1006 Metropolitan Urbanista Coat Dress - this will be made up in a navy suiting fabric with a faint cream colored pin stripe.  I think the fabric will dress this up a little bit, but that's ok!  If it works well, I'm going to buy some chambray and make it a second time for a more casual dress too.
  • Simplicity 5683 Pullover Top, view A - I'm going to use a light blue voile for this with either cream or navy blue lace.  I'm leaning towards the navy blue, because the light blue says more spring to me than fall, but with browns and navy for pants and skirts, I think I can make it work.
  • Burda 7591, view B - I found this great jersey fabric.  The color is what drew me.  Green is one of those colors that I wear really well, and I try to add at least one piece each season to my wardrobe.  This is like an olive color, perfect for the fall color pallet.  I'm searching Etsy (this is my preference at the moment!) and Ebay for the right lace trim!
  • KS 3372, view C - I'm using a charmeuse satin with a floral olive print from fabric.com.  Most of my skirts are solids right now, so this will add some nice contrast and will go with several solid colored tops I have, including the Burda top listed above.
  • KS2566 - an OOP pattern now, I really love view C, which is for a lace top.  I'm going to use this lace which is another green, but very different from the jersey.  Again, it will go with a lot of what is already in my wardrobe, so definitely a plus.
  • Simplicity 2257, view A - I LOVE pencil skirts.  And I have a plethora of them in nice, solid colors.  For this one, I've decided to use this stretch twill.  Yes, this is a loud print.  It's definitely not for everyone.  But with a solid top and a black jacket, it will really fit my personality.  And isn't that really the purpose of sewing?!
  • KS 3036, view B - to go with the above skirt, in a nice, solid color.  I'll definitely have to find or make the right bag to go with this ensemble, lol.
  • KS 3616, view B - I've made this recently, and I really like this top.  I'm going to make this in a solid grey.  A good staple piece, and it may go well with the jacket I'm going to make.
  • KS 2616 - another OOP.  This is a denim style jacket, hip length.  Why I like this jacket is because it has semi fitted princess seams.  I really, really hate boxy fitting things that have no shape.  This has faux pocket flaps that I don't find hit at a flattering point because I'm busty, so I typically leave these off.  The pattern also comes with optional belt.  I like it better without. I'm going to use this twill, which I love.
This is an ambitious list!  I'm going to make the tops first, because they will be the easiest.  The dress will come last, because I need to do a muslin before I cut into my good fabric.  I've ordered all the fabrics and I have all the patterns.  I'm hoping to have all this completed by the end of October.  I'm sure a few extra pieces will get added in when I feel inspired, lol...

Monday, July 04, 2011

Vogue 8553

Yes, I'm catching up on my photo posting!

This is Vogue 8553, which I really like.  I made this dress back in February for Valentines Day.  You know you got it right when everyone in the office comments on how fantastic the dress you're wearing looks and that you must have a hot date!  Well, I did, with my wonderful hubby! <3  

I did the solid version.  Again, I had problems with this being much lower cut than what I was anticipating based on the line drawings.  While it's fine for an evening out with my hubby, it was definitely a little too low cut for the office, so I wore a red camisole under it.  Problem solved.

There is nothing that I didn't like about this pattern!  It went together easily and looks lovely on.  I definitely plan to make another one with a print for a different look.  I think the only thing I would contemplate changing is making my tie belt longer.  But my knit was a lovely bamboo knit that was very stable.  A slinkier knit would have had more elasticity and probably seemed longer once tied.  I did pencil that onto my pattern so I would remember that when I make it again.  No photo of it on me, but here it is hanging on my shoe rack, lol...


McCalls 6163

I have to say, I really wasn't sure about this dress before I started.  The line drawings I liked. The dress on the model...not so much.  She's tilted backwards and sideways all at the same time at an awkward angle all together.  However, the line drawing on the capped sleeve version really drew my eye. I had this ITY fabric from fabric.com that I've been wanting to try out and this seemed like a good choice.

I know everyone seems to love ITY fabric.  For me, the jury is still out.  First and foremost, I do LOVE this dress.  It's very figure flattering.  There are some minor tweaks I'll make on the next dress which I'll share in a moment.  But back to the fabric.  It's very...fidgety.  I went through several, new, schemtz stretch needles because this fabric was a bear to sew.  Ultimately, I used stretch interfacing on the neckline to stabilize it, as well as along the edges of the crossover on the bodice.  Otherwise, I could not get a non-puckered straight stitch!  Maybe this would have been better if I had tried my serger (which I need to go take a refresher class on adjusting the tension because it has not worked right since the move and I can not seem to figure out what the issue is).  But since that wasn't an option and I "needed" a new dress (yep, really, I did) the machine it was.  I have this fabric in another color that I have planned for a Vogue top, and I almost dread using it again, except that the finished product really looks nice.

OK, back to this pattern.  I think the neckline is much wider than the line drawing. And as is the trend with everything I sew lately, it is MUCH lower cut than what it appears in the line drawing.  Is this because I'm busty?!  I don't know.  I'm open to suggestions on this issue.  All I can say is, I now own a dozen or so camis in assorted colors to compensate for this issue.  The next dress I make, I will cut a 16 or smaller in the bodice, even though the finished measurements indicated that the 18 should have fit fine.  It didn't end up being a big issue because I can put a cami under it for modesty.  But the collar is a little wonky, even though I interfaced it.  Again, it could be the fabric.  When I make another one, and I definitely plan to because overall, I felt it's very figure flattering to my body shape, I'm going to buy the pattern in a smaller size and see if the fit is a little more true.