Sew, to catch up with my postings….

I deeply admire all of the seamstresses out there that can not only sew insanely talented pieces but can also crank out witty blogs with clear, professional photographs.  It is not easy and I get a tad envious I will admit.  I have however learned to appreciate what I am able to do and be happy about it.  Period.    I have sewn seven or eight pieces in the last few months so I did meet my goal of “sewing five pieces that I would wear”  so here we go!

Number One: was done while it was still warm but my daughter wants to wear it for the holidays with a sweater.  It is Colette’s Macaron and I think it is an adorable dress.  I challenged myself to match stripes which I was able to do at least down center front and a few inches on either side AND to use a very thin cotton voile for the bodice.  I was surprised at how delicate this fabric was to work with and attach to the heavier cotton pieces.  Sometimes I like to sketch out my idea first:

Macaron sketchI use a bit of sketching paper and colored pencils and cut a swatch of the material I want to use.  When I am working on it, I tape it on my wall and if I like it maybe it stays for good!

macaron oneThis photo really captures just how cute this dress is.  I did not make the waist band contrasting so that I could highlight the contours and pleats.

macaron sixMy daughter plans on wearing this with tights and a sweater for the holidays but you can see what a great summer dress this would be!

macaron threeThis is CF and I was able to line up using a bit of glue stick to help but I did realize that the pattern instruction shows that the bodice and waist are supposed to line up perfectly before you sew, but they are not.  If you follow the ‘matching notches’ it will be counter intuitive and will be sewing a curve to a flat piece but I checked with a very nice person at CP and they assured me that was the case!

Dress 2:  The “Do I like this dress”? Vogue 8918

I will not say too much about this other than the jury is still out….I used a wonderful Italian wool knit from Gorgeous Fabrics and I really want to like this.  I will say…the pictures do not do it justice but  it is just a tad awkward.  The sketch:

drawing of vogueSo far, so good.  Instructions are clear, material is to die for…it took just a couple of hours until I tried it on.  HMMMMMM!

V8918 oneMy daughter’s bewildered look says it all.  what is the neck supposed to do?  In all fairness, I have seen this work in two other posts but I still felt the same way…torn.  And I really like the idea and thought many, many times about trying it again but making the curve less dramatic but there are SO many other patterns I want to sew…so

Hold on, does this change your  mind?

V8918 twoOh good gravy I should not have posted that.  I do realize I can delete but you know what?  I am not sure if I have any readers so what the heck!!  OK, wait….I was able to get my daughter to stand just right…so if you are at that cocktail party stand by the wall and DO NOT move!

last oneSee, it does have potential to look like the pattern picture but you have to also be the sketched mannequin 🙂

Not to be deterred.  I have better pieces to come.  Like….

Number 3: Sewaholic Hollyburn

I really, really like her patterns.  They are so darn easy and fit so well.  This is a red wool crepe and I ended up doing a lining in silk georgette.  A bit bumpy on the pic but it is cute, trust me!

hollyburn 1So, two things on this skirt that I want to showcase.  Number one is the back zipper.  I used a fun striped number and since I have loved the way pick (or prick) stitches look, I wanted to try it for the first time…and you can tell.  But you know what?  Next time I know what I will do in order to have neat and even stitches, so I learned something!

hollyburn 2So there.  In addition, I really like having a wonderful silk lining to help the drape and it feels great!  I serged the seams of the lining using a rolled edge and silk thread AND in this next photo you can see that for the hem I used bias tape….WHAT?  I loved the way it worked.

hollyburn 3This is the inside of the skirt!!  First time for the rolled edge on the serger.  I changed the thread, removed the knife finger and one needle….all in one afternoon. 🙂

Moving on to Number 4:

This is a quick snap of a blouse that I am officially in love with!! the Sewaholic Alma.  Can you say options?????  It is easy;  I am getting used to that with Sewaholic patterns but the result is anything but simple!  I had yards of vintage material from a flea market and had washed it about twenty times to become usable. To muslin this pattern that material kept calling at me to be used and guess what?  My daughter snatched it up and by golly just look at her face…you would think she were in a trance from watching too much “New Girl”.

vintage almaThe only thing I did was add some bias tape to the sleeve to help balance the collar.  This fabric has been folded for about forty years so I do not know if I will ever get the cf crease out but note to everyone:  Alma is fantastic!!

Last but not least Number 5:

I will affectionately call this my pajama dress, aka Vogue 8665.  Great easy pattern and a HECK of a comfortable dress!!

V8665 oneI used two different ponte’s to create a bit of shaping.  This dress took a lot of material at this length so I will warn you about that, BUT it is easy, comfy and I think it looks pretty darn good! I skipped the zipper, what do I need it for if I can slip this easily over my head?

V8665 twoIf you can tell, I have not hemmed it yet but I am planning on doing the same thing to the hem as I did to the neckline.  Instead of the double fold method that Vogue calls for, I made my own bias tape out of silk charmeuse and voila,

V8665 threeI think it adds a nice touch!  I went a tad too narrow on this at 1 1/4 so next time I will do 1 1/2 so that there is no issue of catching it on the other side!

That’s it for now,  my five “wear-ables”.   I am working on a beautiful jersey cowl top with fabric from Sawyer Brooke and will post within the week.  Thanks for reading!!

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Leads to another

senchaThis photo might be a tad blurry so apologies in advance! As spelled out in my previous post, I was literally sifting through patterns and have my list at the ready….I had not checked email in a while so thought I would and WOW!  That amazing Colette Patterns chose my Doctor Who Sencha for their monthly list of five.    Here is the link:

http://www.coletterie.com/your-creations/your-creations-5-favorites-for-august#comment-30719

I purchased this amazing silk at Spoonflower and if you have not tried Colette Patterns Sencha…DO IT!  It is an incredibly fun pattern to make and just really unique.

Please, please go to Martha Stewart American Made contest and vote for Colette Patterns.   Have a great week-end!

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One good thing

The last few weeks have been worse than normal .  The pain has dulled every sense and dragged my disposition a bit into the dumps.

I had started to get quite grumpy about not being able to sew….but!, as I always try to find a detour to my roadblocks I think I came up with one.  If I can not get down to the sewing table and finish cutting that Ginger skirt out,  I will get my own Look Book started.

I will get pictures and textures and things that I love and and think about what are the top five things I really want in my wardrobe.  Not anything to do with a sew-along or contest, or even what someone says is the “must-have” for Fall.  Just me.  Five pieces that I really want to wear.  Then, I can pluck through my favorite fabric sites and find the perfect match for my list. If I can not move too much, I can still  imagine different dart placements and fabric pairings and take the time to organize my projects.

I may not be able to sew just yet but my mind will always work….so I must give it something to do. I will give myself a project that makes me look forward to something, keeps me occupied and maybe by the time it is done I will be ready to get those pieces cut!

Take care!  I will be back soon and share my five “must haves”!

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My Christian Dior Lace Inspired Project

So, I became obsessed with a Threads article (I think January 2013) about a Christian Dior Lace dress.

InsideDior_lgHere it is.  It really is not my typical cup of tea…in fact, I have never owned or worn a lace dress.  But for some reason, I had to make it. Claire Shaffer did an amazing job detailing all of the design issues; how the seams were overcast on the edges and it made me keep thinking “I could do that!”

I could not find any pattern whatsoever that even remotely resembled something like this.  It has a bodice, dropped waist yoke and then a 3/4 flounce.  I had no idea what I was getting into so I studied non stop for three months about pattern draping/making and drafted a muslin, that fitted nicely and had the lines and flow I wanted.  I set about understanding how to back your lace with organza and here was the start; this is my bodice INSIDE OUT so you see the back darts, the centered invisible zipper (cute, huh?, it is lace from ZPRZ I think).

dior2I got a bit ahead of myself.  Underneath all of this lace is a slip.  Two layers, one of nude chiffon and a second of black chiffon.  The mix of the two softens and serves as a slip that does not overtake the lace dress. Here are some shots of the slip.  If you are wondering why the straps look like an awful color, oddly enough this color provides the perfect camouflage and can not be seen under the dress. It is a gauze fabric from Mood.

dior4dior3aSo, the dress came together somewhat successfully, although I am sure I need more practice on the seams and attaching the “undulating” yoke and flounce! But you know what, I learned a heck of a lot and that is what we are doing this for right?  Passion, learning, and then having a finished product that we love, and at the same time see our glaring mistakes! 🙂

dior5dior6Here she is.  I think everything turned out as I wanted but I do have to mention that I meant to split the lace ruffle and sew it along the seam as the original dress was done….BUT, it is done.  BTW, it is August 7th at 2:25 p.m. and I made Top 5 in the Threads Magazine contest!! Yeah, how exciting!

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Hawthorne Sew Along

26 days after my muslin, I am finally posting a few photos of my Hawthorne, I have more on my Flickr page.

Notes on a Needle

hawthorneAfter looking at what seems like hundreds of fabric samples (and buttons!), I finally decided on a Hugo Boss shirting that is a really surprising mix of charcoal grey and dark purple.  It is a great weight and drapes well.   It looks kind of plain but when you get up close, look

 

This photo of the cuff on my 3/4 sleeve really showcases the beauty of this fabric close up and the button.  They are actually clear but pick up the colors of the pattern and I think dress it up and make it more feminine.

hawthorne cuffI did a “patch” method bound buttonhole,,,wow, a lot of work but I learned a lot from this process.  I had a copy of Threads magazine that really clearly stepped me through this special buttonhole process, this probably took me two days off and on!  My thumb looks really weird–sorry for that!

hawthorne bound buttonhole

 

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Hawthorne Sew Along

hawthorneAfter looking at what seems like hundreds of fabric samples (and buttons!), I finally decided on a Hugo Boss shirting that is a really surprising mix of charcoal grey and dark purple.  It is a great weight and drapes well.   It looks kind of plain but when you get up close, look

 

This photo of the cuff on my 3/4 sleeve really showcases the beauty of this fabric close up and the button.  They are actually clear but pick up the colors of the pattern and I think dress it up and make it more feminine.

hawthorne cuffI did a “patch” method bound buttonhole,,,wow, a lot of work but I learned a lot from this process.  I had a copy of Threads magazine that really clearly stepped me through this special buttonhole process, this probably took me two days off and on!  My thumb looks really weird–sorry for that!

hawthorne bound buttonhole

 

Here is my muslin…did not see any fitting issues but I also can not gain even one pound in July. More to come on putting this together…there are some interesting challenges with this pattern as I am doing the sleeve/placket/cuff version.

hawthorne muslin

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Life with Trigeminal Neuralgia

After five years my daughter still asks me “what is the name of your awful thing”?  She is referring to Trigeminal Neuralgia and it is awful, but it has changed my life in so many ways.  My Neuralgia began in an atypical way, when a firework came back down from space and hit my eye. Many years, surgeries, 12 MRI’s and kooky neurologists later,,,,,I am alive.  Different but alive.  This disease pulled everything I knew out from under my feet.  My job, friends, way of life–they all ended.  But I feel like that nature show that describes what happens after a forest fire.  The earth is charred, knotted and black and somehow a miracle happens and shoots of tender green struggle past the decay to find sunlight and fresh air.  Slowly but surely life begins; it looks and acts differently but it is life and it is cherished.

I struggled for years hoping the surgeries and treatments would work and I have finally realized that I can still hope for this pain to subside but I must live FULLY in the meantime.  I credit cognitive behavioral therapy, a great pain med doctor and the love and support of my family whose faces I see every time I want to quit.

I will not write often about the pain (part of CBT) but if anyone needs to chat about dealing with this, I will be happy to help.

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