Sunday, October 18, 2015

Spadina musings

Now that I have the garments chosen, I need to finalize fabrics and patterns.  I did some block draping with two knit prints that will be tops and the two skirt fabric options.

Tops - Pucci print and a silk jersey paisley
Skirt - wool grab and lightly felted wool

I also draped the Pucci as a wrap style dress.  I live the colours, it is most definitely my colour path, but am worrying the print will wear me rather than the reverse if I do this in a wrap.  I have never worn a large scale print like this full body.  Huge leap here...

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Trilogy part 2- the Tunic

I realized that this is posted out of order...  this was supposed to post BEFORE the Spadina Collection post.  I published the wrong draft first ... sorry!

I am not sure about tunics on me and my shape.  As I am somewhat curvy, they tend to look chunky on me.  I am also not one for belts as I find them uncomfrotable when sitting at a desk.  But that could also be a posture issue.  I think the length hits me wrong as well.  Believe it or not,there is a waistline in there.

For this one I used a wool challis in a wonderful paisley print that will go with denim or wool suiting.  Love it to death!  What I did not realize is that not all challis behave the same.  The Trilogy calls for RAYON challis.  Different drape all together.  Still nice but not tunic drapey, if that makes sense.  Will have to think hard about which pattern I choose for the rest of the fabric.

This might have been better for the bias version...

Spadina Collection

I have given up in the HP Trilogy pattern... but only because fall has arrived in Ottawa and I am cold.  So, the bias version and the top are delay until either spring or a trip south.   On the upside, the question of proportion has been solved.  I belted the challis the tunic length and bloused it to the top length.  Eureka! So, one day when I REALLY want to wear it this winter, I will pull the side seams and chop her down in length!  It will work well with the SWAP (Sewing with a Plan) I sort of have in mind.  The paisley colouring will go well with the bottoms planned and already completed.

I am calling this capsule the Spadina Collection.  It was inspired by my wonderful visit with MaryBeth and Els in Toronto a few years back.  We spent the day wandering the Garent District.  I was in seach for a fabric to coordinate with a piece of wool boucle I bought at Darrell's.  I was looking for burgundy, but was convinced to go WAY outside my comfort zone and try a deep lilac/mauve colour instead.  I have spent the intervening years avoiding the cloth.  Now that I am working in a professional office, I needed to get at it!

The jacket has been progressing, but I am taking my time here.  I have spent time on this one, adding a canvas mount, interfcing the boucle and adding organza interlining and padstitching.  It is my skils project.  Before I put the sleeves in, I need to decide on the lapels.  They are quite wide, very on the 70s trend right now, and I think I can pull it off as I am not a small woman.  I just don't want to date the jacket.  I want it to stay classic.  SO, before I put sleeves in and add the lining, I need to decide.  What do you think? The sleeves will be the same blue as the peplum and lapel.

The shift dress peeking out from underneath is the fabric from Toronto.  It is ready for sleeves and neck facing and hemming. The stalling point is that I have decided it needs a lining.  That means I have to go back to the cutting board and cut the dress out again.  As my sewing time is limited, I need a day to to that and then sew it.  I am very happy with the fit after some tweaking and consistant excerise.

I have enough of the wool gab from the dress to make either a top or a skirt. Decisions, decisions... am leaning towards the top for versatility.  The fact that I have some luscious Pucci knit that will coordinate is one of the things pushing me to a skirt.  I do have other top options to go with said skirt, though.  So maybe it will become a skirt.

The real battle in my head is where to go next.  I am in SUCH a need for
office wear that I do not know where to logically start!  I am not sewing many TNT patterns as most of those are not fitting or are too casual.  so quick question ... do I START WITH THE BOTTOMS (PANTS) or do I start a marathon of tops and then move on to the pant marathon?  Is it better to sew outfits or or pieces?  How do I stop overthinking this??  If I was shopping, I would buy outfits.  Logic says I should start there.  So, a simple bottom and a couple of tops.  To stay with the thread on the machines I will do the pencil skirt and the Pucci print, then perhaps a button up in a classic stripe. Then move on to a pair of pants.

Pucci print
This where I will start.  I have been trying to determine what pattern will suit this lovely.  Was thinking dress, but now that the weather is cooling off, it will be a top with enough for a flirty skirt come warmer weather.  I think I even know where I am going to start pattern wise!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Tale of the Trilogy - Part 1

After a raft of fit disasters on previous projects, I have been avoiding my sewing room and sulking.  My hour glass silhouette has turned more pear shape in profile resulting in some major body image issues.   This then led to changing how I sewed and resulted in the aforementioned disasters.  I went back to basics - starting with size.

I think I was sewing too big on my last few attempts.  I think I was so bothered by my weight gain that I was sewing his I felt, not how I actually looked and measured.  Going back to almost a sloper was just what I needed.  Guess I have not gained as much as I thought... Either that or it is actually starting to come off due to a change in eating habits and going for long walks.

Too hot to garden and fighting a headache Saturday... Excellent day to devote to sewing!  Two pattern muslins cut for Hot Patterns latest release the Fast and Fabulous Trilogy Shift dress tunic top.  A basic pull on shift dress, it comes in three lengths - top (at low hip length), tunic and dress length.  Due to the above, I was a bit hesitant to order this as I did not want another garment that did not suit.  After chatting with Trudy, I decided to take a chance as there is more shaping than in the pattern picture.  For the hourglass silhouette that turns to a pear profile, This dress is a great fit!  There is very little shaping on the sides and CB but none at CF.  That was a concern as I do not like tents except to sleep in!

Muslin #1 - Cut out the top only (without the added length) as this was purely for a baseline fit.  Cut a size 14 without alterations first to see what was really needed.  The fit was pretty damned close.  The only change to the base pattern was to add some shaping to the CF from under the bustline to the waist.

Body of the top without the length extension; no added shaping or seam allowance; straight 14

As you can see there are some drag lines in the high hip area even though the Side seams are hanging straight.  I thought I would have to blend to a 16 below the waist.

Muslin #2 is a rayon batik in the full dress length.  The sides have the extra width and I have increased the shaping at CB as well to cover off a hollow back.  This fabric was a gift from dear friend MaryBeth a number of years ago.  This fabric was reclaimed from the very aging stash of the Diva.

This turned out to be wearable ... maybe not to work as this is quite lightweight fabric, but a runabout dress all the same.  I have yet to hem it and I did end up doing 5/8" s.a. vice the 3/8".  In hindsight, I could do the 14 without blending to the 16.  The Pilot suggested more shaping at the waist but if I do any more I will have to add a zipper to take it on and off. Not something I want in this version.
Size 14 w/shaped seams

To appease the Pilot, I took some fabric remnants and mocked up a self fabric belt.  I like that look much better.  I may add some loops to the side seams once I finish the belt. This version still needs to be hemmed so it will be shorter by about 1" all around.  It hits me at mid calf.  Not sure if I like that length on me.  Once it is hemmed and the belt is done I will post a final shot of me wearing it.  The Pilot liked it and The Diva did not veto it.  I guess it is a keeper!
Self fabric belt option after taking in seams to 5/8"

Version 3 will be a knit version.  I have some luscious Pucci knits to choose from.  It will definitely be the 14 with 5/8" seams and more shaping.  Then I have to decide on fabrics for the tunic length and the top.  After all, it is the Trilogy pattern!

Still considering the bias cut version for fun... That will be another start from scratch muslin attempt.  After seeing the shaping, though, it would have to be the tunic and not the dress.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Many Happy Returns

I have a love hate relationship with blogging.  Before I Went back to work full time, I sewed A LOT for my kids and did casual wear for me and the Pilot.  Blogging allowed me to do detailed reviews of the projects in a forum that I could link back to in a couple of sewing sites I frequented.  As I got busier with volunteering and working part time, I found I wanted more to sew and less to write.  I wanted to maximize my time available to me but mainly I realized that I was writing more for me and not for anybody else.  Therefore my notes to self can be written in a book on PAPER with a pen if needed. It is not like I am famous, or have clients that follow me religiously, so I stopped blogging.  As I changed to full time work and even more full time volunteering, I discovered that I really had no desire to sit and write about my sewing.  I stopped writing reviews and just plodded along when I was able to sew.  To get that community feel I used to have online, I joined a few select FB groups.  For quick one offs of posting a project or a question, that served me fine.

What has not changed is that I am still not famous and don't have a huge following.  Not sure I want one, to be honest.  I have a few select friends and followers that I know will read and may or may not comment.  Maybe more will show up (especially if I link to said FB groups).  Who knows?  What I do know is that I am no longer volunteering.  It was becoming to stressful as I could never figure out how to stay on the sidelines and not go all in.  So, this year, I am out.  Of it all.  My nights for me and the occasional work session when required.  I. Can. Sew!!!  I can attack my stash of fabrics that I have acquired thanks to my dear friend's store (Darrell Thomas Textiles).  I am determined to make myself that work wardrobe that I have been dreaming and chatting about for years.

While I do have that nice wool boucle jacket still on the table, most of the hand work on the bodice has been completed.  Now it is stalled at the facings.  I have to be in a good place to do collars, cuffs, closures and waistbands or things go wrong fast.  So I am plodding on that one, but have started a faster one - the HP Fast & Furious Four Seasons Kimono Jacket to get me into the swing of things.

I started with this for a couple of reasons.  We are into late summer here in the Capital, which means any weather goes, but it usually muggy.  I am in a new building at work with a much more reliable HVAC system and sit in front of a window.  I figured this could be perfect for coolish mornings and AC in the office.  I also wanted to use up some lovely linen I bought from Darrell.  I think this was through one of his charity sales, cannot remember.  It also coords nicely with the print I recently used for two other recent projects (a top and a dress) as well as other extant wardrobe pieces.  Three Pieces.  Cannot get much faster than that.

This is where the blog comes into play - I am not sure if I like the pattern ON ME or not.  So, rather than focus on the FB groups where there are HUNDREDS of viewers who will gladly opine, I am going to focus my thoughts here and then see what/who pops up to give added value to my projects.  Blogging is more of a conversation than FB can be.  Especially for sewers.  Will this turn back into a full recital of everything I do and each detailed step I take?  No.  There are others far more skilled than I taking up your blog time.  I want to chat about the projects that mean something to me at the time of construction and get some feedback/encouragement when needed.

It goes together quite easily and I like the shaping the vertical darts give the pattern.  The facing being top stitched down gives a sporting look and could be switched up by doing an external facing with piping easily.  Lots of play room.  I tossed this together very easily, forgoing the bound seamlines and serging instead as this was intended to be a semi casual topper.  What is not to like?  I received lots of "Likes" on FB when I posted the pics today - both on me and on Mindy (my dressform) and received nice comments.  The thing is, I am not sure about the style on my frame.  I am not sure if it because I added some extra to the sides just in case (I am fluctuating on my weight distribution again, going the right way this time) or if it was the fabric or the sleeve cut.  This is where I think my blog will help.

I wore the jacket to work and discovered two things that I need to do for the next version.  Sucker that I am, I am planning another one in a firmer fabric, with mods added and some held in reserve in case I still feel iffy about it on me.  First of all - for those who have a curvy shape, ADD BELT LOOPS.  Or stitch the belt to the s.s..  Otherwise it rides up or feels too lose.  Having a loose belt leads to the front opening, which I don't like under a belt.  So, I am adding buttons.  Probably only three (if I can find the match in the button box to that perfect button that jumped at me this morning at 7 am).

Here are the two shots I posted.  The green is not as light as pastel as shown here.  Blame poor lighting in the workshop.  It is the shape that I am unsure of.  I think this style does not do me any favours, although I seriously think fabric had something to do with it?

What do you think?

Mindy wearing the jacket.

Here is a "Seflie" of the jacket.  Again, sorry for the lighting.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Banana Peels and Patterns

The Banana Story
Two summers ago I made a quick LBD for the funeral of my MIL.  I used Vogue 1100 and used a beautiful Armani wool from my dear friend, Darrell (Darrell Thomas Textiles.).  The dress went together extremley easy, with the standard FBA and some extra at the SS for a fuller skirt.  Later that year, while looking for a dress for Christmas I fell in love with a dress at Banana Republic.  I felt I could easily knock it off.  It had a slight Aline skirt with a banded waist in a wool look fabric and a satin bodice that had a twist located on the bias not the horizontal line.

I duly traced my trust Vogue 1100 and then hacked and slashed until I achieved the look I wanted.   Bodice Muslin #1 was OK, but needed work.  Bodice Muslin #2 worked better as I used a poly fabric that was slightly heavier than the charmeuse I had planned for.  I still did not like the results.  Too lightweight without going through the hassles of interfacing or interlining.  This Banana dress was starting to wear on my nerves. Enough slipping on the banana peel.  I gave up on the knock off bodice style and went back to the original pattern design and used the charmeuse.  The pattern recommended the fabric, so I felt confident it would work out.  I morphed on a sleeve from a pattern I like and have used before and then cut and basted away.  This is where I think the spirit of the Banana was haunting me.  I did not like the pleating in the silk, it did not seem to lie right, so I converted to soft gathers.  I kept in the bust dart and then added the skirt and waist band (made from a coord slubbed silk remnant from one of Darrell's Cat Rescue sales).  Put the dress on the form and almost cried.  It was that awful.

Overnight it sat and then I woke up, inspired by a new show on TLC (Something Borrowed Something New).  The premise is that a bride has to choose between a new RTW gown or a reworked and redesigned version of her mother's gown.  While watching rugby with the Pilot, I sat and ripped seams.  I peeled that Banana apart and started over.

The Aline skirt is now cut into the HP Moneypenny Trumpet Skirt. Knowing and accepting that I have added to my waistline and hips, I duly added to the seamlines.  This afternoon I will finish the edges, baste front and for fit and then draft a waist facing (will try to use the Banana Band).  Once I add the lining, voila - new skirt!

The bodice is a right off.  Using a silk charmeuse for a top did not work, IMO.  The fabric is too soft and looked way to pouffy on my body.  The tailored look of the Armani is what I wanted.  And the silk was not going to give me that.  An expensive lesson to learn as there is not enough in the leftovers to toss together anything except maybe a scarf..

When I was working on this project, seeing it sink deeper into oblivion, my confidence in my skills and in my desire to continue plummeted.  I looked back over the past few years of sewing and realized that I have been progressing further into laziness.  As I revelled in the fact that there are patterns out there are that are designed on a sloper that is almost me, I stopped adjusting for me.

As I pulled out one of my Palmer Pletsch books, a slip of paper fell out.  It was from my first fit seminar, back almost 20 years ago in Halifax, when Patti introduced me to FBA's, broad and high round backs and forward shoulders.  All adjustment I needed and that she diagrammed out for me on a bodice sloper picture.  I cannot remember the last time that I performed any of those back adjustments.  Good enough had become my philosophy, but deep down I knew good enough was not sufficient to cut into the wools and silk suitings in the stash, let alone the Chanel sitting there.  working with the silk remnants made me want to work with the aging stash.  It is calling to me.  Remembering the weeks of fitting and adjusting it took to perfect the dupioni cocktail dress, the fun I had in the process.  I want that feeling back.

This all started because I needed clothes for a new job and had little time to sew what I wanted.  So I accepted RTW and good enough.  Not anymore.  I am worth more than good enough.  If I can't give 100% effort to myself, then who should I be giving it to?

I am going downstairs to ponder patterns for a new top to go with the skirt.  The one I was thinking of using I am going to toss.  It was a compromise that I am no longer willing to make.  Then I am going to work to the level of my ability and push beyond.  Because I. Am. Worth. It.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Happy Returns

Thanks for hanging in there over the past week of silence!  We got back into town two nights ago and are still catching up on sleep lost due to time zone shift and then there is the catch up at work after a week's unexpected absence.

First off, I DID manage to exercise while away. I took my TRX for self inflicted torture and set it up in the walk out under the BIL's back deck.  Nice and cool in the shade and those floor joists were definitely sturdy enough!  Top that off with an hour long brisk hike in the hills with the Pilot in tow and  making really good choices for food, I think I did great considering I had almost no control over where we ate and when!  What did you do over the past week?

The dress was finished onsite.  I had to finish hand stitching the hem and the lining to the zipper once I arrifved, but really that only took about 30 minutes to do while listening to all the chater going on around us.  I used Vogue 1100 and some wonderful stretch wool crepe from Darrell.  Lots of complements on the dress.  It was classy with a modern twist with the neckline treatment.  The fabric made all the difference in this one.  The wool didn't wrinkle, it was a perfect weight and the lycra made motion easier.  Unlike some reviewers, I didn't have any armhole issues, but that could be due to the FBA I always do changing the curveof the armhole.  I also adjusted the vertical pleats, lengthening them as well as widening them for a closer fit and shortened the V opening.  A funeral is not the place to flash the twins, especially when one is doing a reading at the Mass!

Having made this in wool, I do not think I would make it in charmeuse (which is the original reason for buying the pattern).  I think the fabric would be too light for the fit of the pattern and I don't think it would move as well on me, anyway.  It has been done by another reviewer who had great success, but for me, this is now my LBD.  Ellen would be proud of the handwork and that I honoured her by sewing the dress.

I have some of the wool left as I had bought enough to do a princess seamed dress.  Now I have to decide if I want to do a skirt or if I have enough to do a jacket to go with the LBD.  I don't think I have enough for a jacket, (and that would be too much black I think) but maybe I can make a snazzy vest/waistcoat?  Hmm .... time to go browsing for pattern ideas!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Daily Dose of Diva - Part 3

Just a short post today was PJ bottoms day.  She decided to do shorts for summer out of another batik from MaryBeth.  She loves how soft it is!  The top will come later on, I think.  Tomorrow is her last day at camp, but not the last day sewing.  This was a great opportunity for her.  If she wants, I may sign her up for some of the weekend classes in the winter if Darrell runs any follow ups (like maybe a jeans course to go with all that great denim you have in stock???  What do you think about that idea, Darrell!  Great for the teens and tweens!).

It was TRX torture day.  It is getting easier each week.  The muscle memory is coming back.  I am able to do more for longer now on some of the harder moves.  I would be better if I did more at home with my own TRX, though.

The dress is ready to put together.  The lining is done as is the dress.  Tomorrow I have to finish.  I have run out of time.  I may leave the neckband off for expediency at this point.  Will see how things progress tomorrow.  I have only a half day of work, so I will be able to do more when I get home.  I also have to add a modesty panel to a tunic that was given to the Diva by a friend.  She can't wear it as is at this point.

I know that I just stated posting again, but I am giving fair warning that I may be intermittant over the next week.  We are going out of town as of Saturday for at least a week. I am unsure of what access I will have.

Stay sewing and start exercising ... See you soon.