Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A quick note ...

This is just a quick note to say that I am about 30 minutes and one load of dishes away from leaving to join the Pilot. I am picking up the kids and then heading to my sister's for one night and then leaving them with her for the rest of the week whilst I and the Pilot enjoy the first weekend without children since before Hamster Boy was born. In that time, we will pack his room up, attend a garden party/graduation ceremony, a formal dinner at Toronto's CN tower and then maybe even dance the night away! We will then return home with the kids on Saturday, in time for our National Holiday.

The dress is finished, but I have to apologize for not having a photo done. You'll have to wait till I come back and have the photos uploaded. The skirt is also done, and while I did manage to get a top cut out, it is not coming with me. I ran out of time as there was unexpected laundry to be done last night as well.

So, I will post when I come back, with my family reunited at last! Then it will take a while to get used to having him here full time again! I love being an Air Force Wife!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Bollywood Gets a Makeover!

Yippee! The redesigned bodice works wonderful! Extending the contrast bands all the way to the waist panel looks really nice. The slight gathering on the bodice also works well. The fit is better and I love the look of it. Uniquely me!

Something that I found difficult was the understitching of the lining. I had to understitch the armscye and the neckline and I found that I had to start at one end of the armscye and then stop at the shoulder seam, then start back at the other end of the armsyce and do the same. It probably would have been easier if the shoulder was a bit wider, but I managed it anyway.

The skirt gathered like a dream as I laid it out so that there was less embellishment at the top edge. I even managed to French seam the sides and the contrast panels. All I have left to do is to hem the skirt and the lining. The zip is in and hand stitched already. I am happy with it, although I must say that this has been a hard journey. I probably could have done without the bodice gathers in hindsight, but I am not about to take it apart!

Tomorrow I leave to go bring back the Pilot for good. His course ends on Thursday and my sister is taking the kids for me for the week. Yup, we have reached the point in our parenthood journey that we are taking a few days WITHOUT the kids as we pack him up and attend all the functions this week. So, I hope to have the dress photo'd up and posted tonight. I may even have something else done as well ... I have the HP Trumpet skirt half cut out already. I had already done a muslin in the fall, so this is an easy sew up. It is getting the bias stripes matched up that is the fun part! I am dreaming in technicolour here as I also hope to have a simple bias top cut out and sewn together to hang overnight for early morning hemming.

See you all later (much later) on tonight ...

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Bollywood Saga Continues ...

Well, I have finished the bodice and pinned the waist panel to it to see if I like it more than I did this morning. I don't. I dislike it even more. As you can see, the pleats are really invisible and it is much fuller than the muslin was. Even though the pleats are mainly on the side, I don't think that moving them over closer to the CF would change the armscye puff. It just is not appealing to me as it would give the dress the appearance of a puff ball tied in the middle.

So, I spent the better part of this afternoon cutting out another bodice. This time, I started with the bodice mount/lining pieces. I liked the princess line of the mount and it fit well. I added 5/8" in length and also constructed a contrast band for the neckline. Instead of the simple V, I took the contrast band all the way to the waist semline, so the dress will have a Duro like effect. To keep some of the original feel of the dress, I also added some slight fullness to the bodice, which I will gather in. I kept the mount fitted without any gathering as per the original pattern. As the gathering is so slight, I am omitting the interlining. I suspect that the interlining is another reason for the extreme puff factor. This omission will, I hope, give the bodice a softer feel to it. We will soon see ...
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Listening to Your Fabric

I am deep in the throes of Bollywood. I have completed the bodice, complete with one recut of the front. I am not sure what exactly went wrong there, but something did so I redid the fronts and things matched up this time around. I suspect that I forgot to add a s.a. on the contrast band I added. I am so glad that I reduced the gathering on the skirts, because I now have lots of Uh oh! fabric to play with! Of course, with each Uh oh! my wrap gets considerably smaller ...

Anyway, today's conundrum is the pleats. What looked very Grecian in the muslin, looks almost sloppy in the silk. I suspect it is the pussy willows that are causing the problem. The actual buds are almost chenille like, so when one lies on the crease of a pleat, they round it out like a gather. So, the seamline is trim and neat, but the pouf factor seems to be exagerated as the pleats are forced open by the fabric. As a result, I am going to remove all the pleating and gather the seamline. If I think it is still too full, then I will go back to the yardage and cut a new bodice, styled after the princess seamed bodice mount, only adding slight fullness at the bustline to echo the original design.

So, I am listening to the fabric on this one. The lesson for me? What looks good in muslin may not translate into the actual fabric. I trialed the gathers with a strip of the silk, I should have done the same with the pleats. I could have been done by now, but the song of the muslin was so much louder than the silk. It tends to be subtle and understated in it's teaching style. That muslin is so bold and bossy ... so pretentious, thinking it can behave like silk. This muslin didn't come through Ressy's dungeon, so I am not sure where it got such attitude!

Off to get the hair cut. I need a trim and Martin the Marvelous will be playing with the finish today as he tries to teach me how to "do" my hair to match this dress! If I can't do it on my own, then I have to try to get an appointment next week at a salon nearby the Pilot's residence. He comes home tonight for one last weekend trip.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

On Shaving silk ...

No this is not typo. I don't mean saving, I mean SHAVING. As in with a razor blade. The pussy willows on the silk are almost velvet like but are actually just satin stitched patterns. That means that I have to shave it down in the seamline areas so that the seams are straight and that they lie flat. That tends to slow down the pace a bit. I found that a plain blade works best in the hand and that I need to angle it slightly to get the best shearing effect without slicing the base silk.

To test my method out, I stitched the contrast hem piece to the skirt bottom on the front panel prior to completing the French seam. I think that this will be the most time consuming portion of the project. I also think that I will be pretty good at French seams by the end of it as well!

All I managed to do was completely cut the garment out and to interface the waist lining and to construct the waist panels. I had the final Scouts leaders meeting tonight. But I did manage to get some time in, anyway! Off to bed ... tomorrow is another day!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Beginning Bollywood ... for real!

Although I said I wasn't going to sew over the weekend, Monkey Girl had a minor crisis. Her bathing suit from last year is too small and had a rip that was not worth fiddling with the stitch length on the serger for, so I threw together another suit for her. You see, she goes to the water park adjacent to the Rugby Pitch while Hamster Boy is playing. He is a proud member of the second tackle line on his squad. Now he gets to take down all the people he wants ... only he is discovering muscles he didn't know he had after an afternoon on the field! But he loves it! And I am proud to say that his squad won all their little games! WOO HOO! Go Scottish ...

I am about to head to the workshop to start cutting the fabric and lining. Unlike most linings, the Bollywood lining is not constructed independent of the dress and then bagged. Rather, it is attached in sections, so I actually have to cut the whole shebang out today. I am going to use some organza that I have in the stash for the bodice interlining rather than use self fabric or 2 layers of the lining.

I am taking a deep breath and readying myself for this. To keep me in the frame of mind (and to work them in), I am wearing the new shoes, bought just for this dress. I also am keenly aware of the fact that I only have 6 days in which to finish this dress and get the garden party dress done as well. So, I will be limiting my time online as I stick to the machines during the day. I will try to post my progress in the late evenings so that I have a means of ordering my thoughts for the next day. I make no promises about photos, however, until I have some significant progress made!

So, I am now off to pre-thread some needles for basting layers together and to layout and cut! I hope the silk is ready for this ...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Movie Night ....

The Pilot and I had date night tonight! First one is a while, so we took it easy and saw the latest in the Pirate of the Caribbean Trilogy. AS the others, it was was a wild ride! Questions were answered and more were left asked ... but all I will say is, STAY UNTIL ALL THE CREDITS ARE DONE. Otherwise you miss a part. No spoilers, here, me hearties! Just sty till the credits are done... and there are a LOT of credits!

G'night all ... Hamster Boy has his first tackle rugby match tomorrow at noon thirty. I get to watch the half the match after I take my turn watching Monkey Girl in the water park adjacent to the rugby pitch. I think I will take the second half! Let the Pilot tell her it is time to get out of the water! Mwaa ha ha ... why should I always have that privilege?!

Go Scottish!

Sitch and Bitch Report

No sewing to report, the Pilot is home for the weekend and the dress is to remain a secret until it is done and I am getting ready for the dinner!

BUT, I will give a little bit on the stitch and bitch that my friend, Darrell Thomas hosted last Wednesday. being the first session, this was more of a brainstorming session about what we all wanted this group to be. The first thing we all agreed on was that we would do some charity sewing. First project, to be handed in next month, is an apron or two for a Men's Shelter in the area. This organization helps men who are in need with shelter and whatever supplies they need to get back into a normal life. They always need aprons for their community kitchen, so that is what we will each do.

The make up of the group is nice. There are some older ladies and one that is a bit younger than me and we even have a gentleman who has taken the fashion design program at the local college. His wife is also a big sewer, having graduated with Darrell. what a wonderful concept ... couples sewing! Can you imagine shopping trips with those two? We all are looking for group support and the chance to learn some techniques and critical thought about current projects.

So, it looks like there will be some Show and Tell, some technique and some learning as well. The first Show and Tell was a Chanel jacket. One of the members attended a week long course one summer in Halifax, organized by Julie Culshaw of Timmel Fabrics. Susan Khalje and Judy Barlup were giving a week long seminar on the Chanel Jacket. Most of it is hand done and I tell you the result that I fondled and drooled over is fabulous! Hand quilted and even the sleeve was hand done! My word, it was truly inspiring to see the final result. Next session I am on tap to show the Bollywood Dress (no pressure) and our gentleman sewer will bring in one his tailoring projects he has underway for a client.

Aside from the program at the local college, there is a private school as well, but the cost for one year is way out of my league, so it is out of the question. But I think I may seriously look into the college program as it is in the part time studies department, so I wouldn't have to take it full time and spend $ I don't have. I could do a couple of courses at a time, which I can afford! I have 5 years to do 12 courses. I think I could manage it in 3 if I could take 2 or 3 courses per term. Have to see what the Pilot says; maybe if I pick up a part time job in the fall, that will pay for it ... The program is heavy in construction courses, there are 2 basic, 3 in tailoring and 3 in pattern drafting and one in draping plus a couple of others. I am really drooling over the chance to take these ... I have a few months to work on the budget to see how to make this happen!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bollywood Gathering ...

52" of one skirt panel needs to be gathered into a 9" waist panel. That's is what I measured today. Those numbers are from one back piece. The front is double that. 104" into about 18". Seems a bit excessive for my taste. So, I cut a 3" wide strip of the silk to 52" long and then gathered it into the 9". Then I loosened the gathers to the 18" of the front panel. Much nicer! So, I think I have my solution. I will reduce the skirt fabric width by half in each piece. That will still give me some fullness while not making me look huge!

Playing with that strip of silk also showed me how much "fun" I am going to have with this fabric. My word it frays fast! I am going to have to serge the edges clean, but I think I will also attempt French seams on the verticals. I have not used true French seams before (something which shocked Darrell last night), so this is another opportunity to expand my knowledge. I will practice on scraps.

I removed the too full skirt and then attacked the bodice. I took the bodice apart but for the CF seam. I removed the gathers in the bodice and then re-pleated, trying to keep the pleats more even in depth and in location. Rather than do it on Mindy as I did the first set, I took the bodice and had it flat on the table and then used the waist panel as a guide for the pleats. I started at the CF, about 5/8" away from the CF seam, taking about 5/8" in depth for each pleat. It took 13 pleats to make it fit the waist panel, with no side pleating this time. The same process was taken in the back, which I think looks particularly sharp! The skirt was reduced by 50% and then re-gathered and attached.

When I put it on Mindy, with the lining underneath, I see that there is room to deepen the waist panel a bit. I also see that I have to add some extra length to the bodice in the pleated area as that area seems to ride up a bit compared to the rest. I really love the way the back panel came out.

Now all I have to do is get the other side of the back done and try that on Mindy to see how it lies. I am a bit concerned about the fullness closer to the s.s., but will check that out on me before I do anything else. My hip curve is slightly different than Mindy's lately. She doesn't work out as she has an orbital right in front of her but she never seems to use it ...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bollywood Day 2: things that make you go HUH?

I have the front pleating redone and the waist panel and skirt attached to the bodice. The first comment, the bodice lies better with the skirt to weigh it down. And believe me there is a lot of fabric to weigh it down ... The front alone has slightly over 2 3/4" yards of fabric gathered to the waist panel, so there is a lot of downward pull. Here is what I mean about the fullness:

I am not sure if I like the hip effect of all that gathered fabric! There is the same amount of fabric in the back as well. This design is hiding the fact that I do have a figure, full that it is. I am not that square in shape! If it is way too much in the gingham, so I can only imagine how much it would be for the dupioni! I think I can safely remove at least half of the width and still have some slight gathering to give the fullness the design requires and the silk will give.

The back bodice piece is the same as the front, very full. While I have the Girls to help me fill out the front, I really don't know if I like all that fullness in the back. I think I may experiment with the back tomorrow. I can re-shape it according to the bodice mount, or I can just pleat out the extra ease and stitch it down on the muslin. If I like it, I'll transfer the changes to the pattern and go from there.

The waist panel is not near as wide as the sketch gives it to be. The lining has a skirt yoke to it, giving the extra width, but the actual waist panel is not that wide. That also may be widened to better suit my figure ... I will determine that once I have the other design variations figured out.

None of these changes is the fault of the pattern. It is all design changes that are being made to suit my body. The instructions are very clear and make a lot of sense once you see all the pattern pieces. So, before any of you decide to get on the anti HP bandwagon and start to grumble, please go to another blog. This is not the place for you ...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The BollyBodice has Begun ...

I have made the minor alterations to the bodice mount/lining of the Bollywood dress. I forgot to mention that I also needed to raise the front V a bit for modesty's sake. The dinner at which this will be worn has us sitting with some international friends, so out of respect (and not wanting to provoke an international incident LOL!), I thought I should avoid showing my bra at dinner!

Here is the muslin lining:

The only concern I still have is the slight fullness at the armscye. It seems to want a dart there, but that might be because I have not clipped the s.a. in the muslin. It might lie flatter once I do that.

Here is the pattern piece for the front of the bodice. You can see how much it has been spread to give all that ease:

I stitched the fronts together and then pinned it to Mindy to play with, knowing that I need to raise that V a bit to accommodate the higher lining. I pleated out the left side of the bodice and pinned it at the bottom. I think I have some more work to do tonight in distributing the pleats for the best effect. I then gathered the right side and tried to spread the gathers as evenly as I could to make it flattering. I still see fullness starting at the armscye, although not as much as in the reviews I've seen. I will staystitch the armscye and the clip the s.a. to see if it disappears when I sew this version.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Bollywood Begins ...

Although I seem to struggle with the HP pants, I must say that their upper body patterns are perfect for me. So far, I have only done a cardigan and a zip jacket and attempted a coat (which I altered beyond all need thus relegating it to the UFO bin). The two unaltered jackets fit like a dream with only the personal desire for a bit more length to the pieces. So, following this trend, I started the Bollywood dress. I cut out a size 16 from the old Glamour Girl range (which is now the "new" 16) and went for a muslin with standard s.a. of 5/8" in the lining/mount only. I started with this part as it is the more fitted portion of the dress.

The only alterations I had to do are extremely minor! First off, I needed to remove some ease to the front V neck by taking a dart out of about 1/2" at about 2" above the bustline. Then, in order to be able to wear the bra of my choice, I am raising the base of the V back by about 2", extending the zipper to a 16" vice the 14" called for. That, folks, is all I did. I know that the fit is supposed to be "neat" around the waist, and it is at this point of the evening. However, this is also due to me using 5/8" s.a at the CB seams vice the 3/4" called for. That extra 1/4" combined with control top pantyhose will make this dress perfect! So, tomorrow I will start cutting out the dress muslin and see about the fit of the BollyBodice.

I have to say that the fit styling of the lining is amazing! The bodice is a slight princess line with little easing required for the bustline (did I mention no FBA? at all??) that is then stitched to a waist panel. The skirt is also two piece, having a yoke and a skirt piece. This unit is then stitched to the bodice panel. There is a lot of shaping in the waist/hip area due to the separate pieces. Tomorrow I will take a picture and post it right away (now that I have figured out how to post with Picasa!) to show how nice this lies. I feel very glam in just the muslin with the shape this gives me. I would almost use this as a dress on it's own in a nicer fabric ... very 40's glam to my mind.

To say that I am excited about the so far lack of work is an understatement. Now if only I can get their pants to fit out of the package!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Birthday Unwrapping ...

Well, Monkey Girl's party is over and done with and mostly cleaned up. We'll leave the presents out until the Pilot and Hamster Boy come home from their camping trip tomorrow afternoon. The 7 invited girls had fun and cooled off at the end in the sprinkler. After all left, she and I snuggled on the sofa and watched Bugs Bunny, what is not to love about that?

The only part I didn't like was having to disassemble all the toys from their packages. Not only are they sealed in plastic, each piece is wired to the backing board and sometimes even elastic bound on top of that. Then all is taped on the back. Then the whole assembly is in another plastic package. That was the almost tiring part of the whole day!

I kept the girls occupied by tracing off a picture onto pillowcases which they painted with fabric paints. A whole 30 minutes of fun and minimal mess, I was very impressed! Now they all have a special pillowcase to take with them on vacations/car trips, etc. I like doing useful things at parties like this rather than spending $ on dollar store toys that last a day and lots of candy (not that they all didn't get a balloon and a few chocolates in their pillowcases!).

No sewing tonight, I am beat. Having a party without the guys here was great for Hamster Boy, but tiring on me and I know the Pilot was torn between the two events, but I think Hamster Boy needed him more. This past year has been really hard on my son and he really misses his father. He also got short changed on me a bit this year as I still have afternoons with Monkey Girl, but he is at school, so he has little to no solo Mommy time. I think we will go camping for a long weekend once this whole thing is done. That way he and I can get together again without him having to compete with his little sister.

I just finished watching Last of the Mohicans on TV. We saw it on the big screen on our honeymoon. We were in the Rockies at the time, it was the Fall rut, so the elk were in fine form. As we drove through the woods to get back to our little cabin, we had to stop to allow a herd to cross the road. We opened the windows and heard the antlers hitting tree branches and hooves on the road. Very eerie in the dark after seeing a movie like that ... we laughed about that for a while after! I also love the music of that movie. It is great for running to!

I have the muslin lining for the Bollywood dress cut out and ready to go. I will fit that and then go onto the actual bodice. There will be changes coming to the BollyBodice (thanks MB for that term!) now that I see the pattern piece. It appears that the bodice started as a regular block, then was slashed and spread, starting from the armscye, giving the fullness in the design. My initial feeling is that I don't need to have that much fullness. The plan is to gather in one side and then to convert the gathers to tucks to take out the fullness on the other to see which is more flattering to my shape. The only reviews I have seen are of ladies that are less endowed than I am, so I can't really use their photos as a comparison. Maybe I will just fill it out better? Finally a use for the Twins? LOL! I am off to bed after checking on the Rodent while his Boy is away. He's been kicking bedding out of his cage lately as he makes a new nest in the corner rather than in his little side room. Very messy ... naughty Rodent!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Playing Photo Catch Up ...

Sorry for the problems with the photos, it took me a bit to figure out how to post using Picasa! Here is the final post ...

I have been promising for a while now that I would get around to posting photos. Today is the day ... I have the long awaited Dragon shots, shots of the Raglan Princess T's and the Flower Girl dresses.

The initial dragon shots are out of date in that there has been some shape shifting due to going to the gym, so the fit is slightly different now. as such, I have re-taken shots of both pair to show the new fit. I may also cut off the khaki pair at the knee seam to make them into shorts.

The HP Chilled Out Sweats that needed a bit of tweaking are also shown below. Turns out what needed tweaking was my body! After one week at the gym and one week at home working out, things are "sitting" better but there is still room for improvement. This is why all the pant shots are new ones. The earlier ones just aren't real anymore! Amazing what some exercise can do in a short time! This feedback is much better than what I am seeing on the scales!

The Raglan T's got a work out this past weekend at the Area Centennial Beaveree. IT rained most of Saturday afternoon and was really muggy. I was quite comfy in those powerdry T's. And a couple of people actually asked where I bought the Beaver T's as the fabric were in Beaver colours (brown and blue). Very comfy indeed! The next ones will need to have a slightly larger neck opening, though. If I make this pattern in a woven, I will have to add more ease as they fit perfect for a knit. Not too tight and not constricting, but still fitted. LOVE IT! This T started out as this vintage Tunic pattern ...

and resulted in this new T:

Last, the Flower Girl dress. The first shot is the "muslin", where I used a donated stash cotton. I omitted the facing and used a foldover trim for the neckline instead. I also considerably shortened the skirt length, and only lined the sleeves in the muslin. The final version has the requested pink ribbons and unlined sleeves. The fabric is a bit heavier than I would have liked for a summer dress, but it works. There is some stretch to the fabric, so that is a benefit for the little girl who will be wearing it.

I am ready to go on towards Bollywood! I saw another version today. It was done in a silk, but not dupioni. Again, the wearer was not particularly buxom, but the dress seemed to emphasize the upper body and not have as much shape to it as I would like. This version had the added tulle underskirt, however, so that might emphasize the fullness even more. I am going to really need to take this slow as I want this to be fabulously fierce! To tease you all, here are the fabrics that Darrell picked out:

I'll post more later ... I am Bollywood bound for an hour or so before I get supper ready!