Thursday, August 27, 2009

Do You Shift or Sheath?

Fall! Fall! Fall 2009 Sewing is in the queue!

The shift dress can sometimes be mistaken for the sheath dress. Especially when there is a little more shaping in the waist area. The truth is they produce to very different silhouettes and more or less attention to the waistline.

Shift has no waist shaping or seam. In other words is comfortable to wear, kind to the waistline and very versatile.

Sheath is designed to tightly fit the body. Can be short and sexy.

I like both style of dress. But at times I find myself somewhere in between not wanting the dress to be too tight and a little more shapely than the average shift.

This fall/winter I plan to make two Vogue sheath styled dresses.
Vogue 1118

Vogue 8594

Which do you prefer? The shift or the sheath?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Gifts Keep Coming!

Over the weekend I received an e-mail from Pati Palmer (Palmer/Pletsch) letting me know she had published a photo of me wearing my dress(M5818) on her website. You can imagine I had a smile from ear to ear and was very grateful that she asked if she could publish it.

Thanks again, Pati. It was so kind of you to consider me for your posting.

Happy Sewing!

Gifts From A Friend Who Sew

There was a time when it was hard to find women who didn't sew. Now it is the other way around. It's really nice to find people who love to make things. Nowadays, it feels like you've found a long lost friend. The lady above is that kind of friend to me.

Last Tuesday, I stopped by my place of worship to see if there were any orders for recorded services to fill. While I was there, I called Pauline. During the course of our conversation I told her I was at church. So she said, "I have something for you. I'm going to bring it now." To my surprise, she brought me eight very generous cuts of fabric (rayon/wool blend). What a great gift. I was over enjoyed to say the least.

Word on Ms. Pauline - She's not a blogger and doesn't plan to start any time soon. On occasion, she has asked me, "Where do you find the time?" Chuckle, Chuckle. Pauline is a designer/sewist who has enough clients to run her own business full time. That's not to say she accepts every requested commission. No, no. She is selective. The client, the job and price have to be just right.

It's great to have more fabric to choose from for my fall wardrobe. I do see at least a couple pair of pants for me and DD. Maybe a jacket or two.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, August 21, 2009

It's The Weekend - Try the Texas de Brazil

About once a month, the family "formally" gets together for an afternoon fellowship at one of our favorite restaurants. Last weekend a partial group went to the Texas de Brazil in Schaumburg, Illinois. Talk about good eatin'. Everything was over the top: food, ambiance, and service.

The Texas de Brazil is a brazilian steakhouse. But their salad bar is exceptionally delicious, which comes with a variety of fruit and vegetable dishes that are equally satisfying. So if you are a vegetarian, you won't be disappointed.

This is a chain restaurant with locations in most major cities in the US. There are two locations is the Chicagoland area: Schaumburg and Downtown (Ohio Street). Brunch is about $35.00 excluding beverage and dessert (half price for children 12 and under). The Schaumburg location is adjacent to the Woodfield shopping center. Woodfield is an experience in itself, great shopping. Anyway if you are in the Chicagoland area and are looking for a great place to dine, checkout Texas de Brazil.

I took a few photos with my Blackberry. Always forget to bring the camera. ;-)

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Another Chapter In The Jean Pool - M5515

First I want to start out by saying this is a loonnnng review. I made several changes and want to include some quick, pro, and sew tips. I'm hoping this review will help other sewists with making jeans.

I started a series, June 2009, on making jeans to document and set some standards for myself for making jeans for myself and DD. Last spring while admiring the many, many patterns I own, I rediscovered a Palmer & Pletsch jean pattern c1981. I used this pattern, back in the day, to make jeans for my mom. As I started to read all of the tidbits in the instructions, I realized this pattern contained a treasure trove of tips that many would like to have. So on that note, let me get started with the review.

Pattern Description: MISSES’ LINED JACKET AND PANTS: Fitted, lined, above hipline jacket with flounce has separating zipper and pockets with band and zipper, princess seams, standing collar, two-piece sleeves with cuffs; jacket A has contrast bands, cuffs and collar; pants C with side slant pockets, below waistline contour waistband and mock fly zipper opening.

Pattern Sizing: 4- 16. I used size 14 with several modifications.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? The design lines looked pretty much like the pattern cover photo. There were a few details that I omitted and/or changed.

Were the instructions easy to follow? There was nothing difficult or confusing about the instructions or construction of the outfit.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I particularly liked the design of the jacket: the peplum and the pockets with zippers. Nothing to dislike.

Fabric Used: I used an apple green demin that my Dad gave me several years ago. For the lining, I used a floral cottonthat's been in my stash for over 15 years. Originally bought to make DD (little DD) a blouse. Both were pre-washed and dried on hot to pre-shrink the fabric.

The suggested fabric for the jacket is faux leather or suede. Of course I used demin for jacket and pants.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:

Jacket -

I did a FBA to the front jacket pattern pieces. The jacket calls for a 16 inch zipper, because of the FBA I had to install a 18 inch zipper.

I didn't use the front band or the pocket band. If I had used faux leather or suede I would have. But for the demin I skipped it.

There is a lot of top stitching in the construction of the jacket. I omitted the top-stitching at the shoulder seam. Not on purpose; I simply forgot about it. When I realized I had omitted it, the jacket was finished.

I omitted the button on the cuff.

The peplum wasn't as long as I thought it should be.

Back of jacket showing overlap of peplum. There should have been a little more over lap at the center back. Additionally, I ease the bottom of jacket to fit the peplum.

Inside sleeve cuff didn't have enough fabric to make the inside. So I used the lining fabric for it.

Pro Tip - When pressing, roll seam slightly toward facing side so it won't show.

Pants -

The pants pattern included is really not a jean pattern, but I made changing to incorporate the stylings in a pair of jeans by:

Adding pockets to the back pants and following some construction method in the M7555 instruction sheets.

Back pocket sewn to back pant.

Sew Tip - Know your presser Foot - It makes top-stitching easy! Measure the presser foot. Most are 1/4" 6mm, from needle to outside edge. Most top-stitching is done 1/4" 6mm from the edge, so the edge of the foot is your guide. If your presser foot measures 3/8" 1cm stitch 3/8" from the edge.

Sew Tip - Stitch row closest to edge first, then using presser foot as a guide, stitch the second row 1/4" 6mm away.

Quick Tip - Instead of breaking stitching who you edge stitch and then top stitch, make the row of edge-stitching then pivot and stitch across; pivot again and top-stitch to complete the second round of stitching.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I'm not sure if I'll sew this particular pattern again. I have so many pattern to try. But I will follow some of the techniques: adding zippers to pockets (first time) and instructions on sewing synthetic suede and leather. I would recommend trying this pattern to others if you have it. It's out of print.

Conclusion: I like the grean jean outfit. Am glad I was able to finish it before the end of summer. The pattern is not different, but requires a little patience with the top-stitching, pockets, lining, and facings.

My flickr set on the makings of this outfit.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tangerine Pleated Dress - M5801

I was delighted to finish something over the weekend. This dress and a few other projects were slowly becoming UFO's.

What attracted me to this pattern was the shirt/skirt style. I thought this would be a nice dress to wear to work. And the fact that it contained multiple pattern pieces for various cup sizes. A plus for me. No FBA. But after I finished it I thought it made me look a little chunky. Or maybe I'm getting a little chunky.

Pattern Description: MISSES' DRESSES AND SASH: Below mid-knee dresses A, B have fitted bodice with princess seams, front band, collar and collar band, sleeveless or above elbow sleeves with turned back cuffs, flared skirt with pleats and right side seam pocket, front snap and left side zipper closures; dress A bodice has topstitching details and self-fabric sash; dress B has purchased belt.

Pattern Sizing: 6 - 22. I made a 14. The sizing is a little on the large size. I think I could have taken in a little more for a closer fit.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Prett y much. I made a slight change to the sleeves.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. Nothing difficult. I thought it was funny only one pocket (right skirt).

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the skirt and the multiple pattern pieces for the various cup sizes. I also thought the sleeves and collar treatment were vintage in detail.
After I completed it, I changed my mind about the sleeves. The replacement of the gathers seemed too high above the ball of the shoulder.

Fabric Used: I purchased a bright orange poplin from Vogue's early summer with this dress in mind.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I only made a few minor changes. The first was due to lack of fabric. So I change the design of the sleeve. You can read about it here.

Finished sleeve.

I sewed a lapped zipper instead of a centered one. I prefer the lap finish on the side seam.

The top snap was sewn off center. I thought it made the opening look better. I followed the recommendation to slip stitch the front band facing and the collar band. No sash. I'll wear a brown leather belt as picture in the review photo.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Probably not. Hmmm..., Maybe the sleeveless version. Yes and no, it depends on the taste of the sewer. It is a easy pattern to sew. Surplice bodice seem to look better on me.
Conclusion: This was a fairly easy pattern to sew. It's great that McCall included the multiple pattern pieces for the bodice.

Tomorrow, I post the jean jacket review.
Happy Sewing!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sewing A Little Here and There - M5515 and M5801

I had the grand plan of finishing the matching jacket to my apple green jeans this weekend. But it didn't happen. Friday night I sat down to sew, completing all parts up to finishing the front zipper. And lo and behold. The zipper was too short. Well I purchased the length indicated on the pattern. I did not think about the FBA adding length to the front of the jacket, which it did. So, I decided to put the lining together a pick up another zipper later.

Saturday morning (not feeling to well), I stopped by to the local WalMart (trying to save time) to see if they had a forest green separating zipper. No such luck. I didn't feel like going to Joann's or Hancock's so I headed back home. No sewing though just resting. I'm having a really tough time with regulating my high pressure.

So, Sunday evening, I'm feeling brand new. Go figure..., So, I put the lining together. Then I starting on my dress made from M5801.

Here are some comments and pictures on both projects:

On the pattern, it is suggested that this jacket is made out of faux leather or suede. I chose demin to match the jacket. The fabric was a gift and a little too short to cut all of the required pieces from it. So the inner cuff are made from the lining fabric.

The front pocket details include a facing that is finished and placed over the zipper. I didn't follow this construction. Once I finished the zipper, I attached the second piece of the pocket inside.

One of the thing that I liked about this jacket is the peplum, which has a slight overlap in the back.

May be today I'll stop to pick up a zipper.

M5801 -

This dres includes separate pattern pieces for the bust cups. I was a treat not to alter the pattern to fit. I cut the dress at size 14 with 1 inch side seam allowances. I didn't do a sway back adjustment to the pattern, featuring I could make that adjustment as I sew, increasing the seam allowances at the area that falls at the small of my back. This worked fine. But this dress is a little too big. So I need to increase the seam allowances (side) for a better fit.

Again, my fabric was a little short. When it came time to cut the sleeves I needed about four more inches. Didn't have it. So I cut the cuff separately then attached it using my own method that I created as I sewed.

First I sewed the underarm seam together; then sewed the cuff. Pressed seams open.

Next, I attached the to the bottom of the sleeve. Sleeve wrong side, cuff right side facing. Pressed and turned cuff to the right side of the sleeve to checked it. Then I turned it out again to press the seam allowance at the top of the cuff. Now I'll top stitch the cuff to the sleeve. It's not the same as the pattern, but I still get a cuffed sleeve.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fall Trends - There Is Something In The Air

This morning as I dressed the weather channel reported news of hurricanes. Can you believe it? Fall is in the air, and I'm still waiting for a "hot" summer. It's been mild weather in Chi-Town. I hope that doesn't mean the winter will be painfully cold.

I guess it's time to seriously start thinking about fall fashion and sewing. All of the magazines have page after page of interesting fall trends. Ms. Fergie graces the cover of Marie Claire (August 2009) and A to Z Accessories - shoes, boots, bags, jewelry. Most of the looks were in the footwear department. Super cute stuff.

Here's what they had to say:

A - Art
B - Brocade
C - Chains
D - Draping
E - Envelopes
F - Fur
G - Grommets

H - Hosiery

I - Imprints
J - Jewelry

K - Knits

L - Leopard
M - Metal Heel
N - Netting

O - Over The Knee Boots
P - Plaid
Q - Quilting
R - Retro Shades

S - Suede
T - Tassels
U - Unisex
V - Velvet

W - Winter White
X - Extreme Footwear
Y - Yves Klein Blue

Z - Zippers

Update - Product Information

Clutch Wallet LAMB Dorset Imprint $175.00 at Bloomingdales
Guseppe Zanotti Grommet Bootie Neiman Marcus $995.00
SPANX Antique Lace Tights - Nordstorm $28.00
Janie Besner Reversible Polka Dot Smocked Scarf - Nordstorm $32.00
Over the Knee Boots - Prada $1,400 Neiman Marcus
Elizabeth & James Ruffled Leather Bootie - Neiman Marcus $360.00
Retro Shades - Michael Kors Logo Temple Square Frame - Nordstorm $95.00
Furla Margherita Shopper - Macy's $595.00 Bloomingdale's

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Second Time Around for S2724 - A Different View

Last Sunday I made another version of S2724 for DD. She wanted a new dress to wear while in Vegas this week. This time I made the pleated neckline with puff sleeves.

I didn't make any alterations and a followed the instructions to the letter. The fabric used: gauze, which is light and airy. Perfect for the hot, hot desert land of the west. After finishing the seam allowances, it took me about four hours to make this dress. No lining or underlining.

I'm sticking to my original claim that this dress pattern is a winner. You can easily sew four or five versions of this dress each being as distinctive as the next.

DD is able to put this dress on without unzippering it. I also noticed that the waist had about three inches of wearing ease. It could be a combination of weight lose and the weave of the fabric (crinklely gauze). DD loses a few pounds between spring and summer.

There is one thing that I did not like about the puff sleeves. The band is applied to only show on the inside of the dress. My perference is a narrow version of the band used for the 3/4 length sleeves. Outside of that I like the dress. Ms. DD has no dislike; totally satisfied with it.

Jean Pool - Back Pockets Part III

Last night I finished the jeans (M5515). This post I wanted to mainly talk about the process of finishing the pockets and a few changes with the construction of the pants. The full review will come after I finish the jacket.

To stitch the design onto the pocket, I double the thread hoping that it would make the design stand out. As it turns out the tailor chalk stands out more than the actual stitching. Hoping it will wash out.

The next step after stitching, I determined the placement of the pockets. McCalls 5515 did not have a back pocket pattern. I used another pattern pocket. To help with the placement, I used an old pair of favorite jeans measuring the distance from the top of the pant and the center back. The end result placed my pockets with the back dart centered above them.

To hold the pocket in place, I added stitch witchery to each side of the pocket. Two stripes about 4 inches long were place beneath the seam allowance then pressed in place.

Back pocket sewn to the pant.

After completing the pockets, I went ahead with the construction of the rest of the pants/jeans making a few changes from the suggested process.

The instructions suggest that you shorten the zipper and make a new zipper stop. I placed the zipper stop at the large circle. Sewed it in place attaching the left fly. After the waistband was sewn, I cut the zipper even with the top of the pant. I also topstitched the waistband instead of slipstitching as suggested.

Finally, here's a shot of the inside of the zipper/fly area. The fly is tacked to the extension as suggested in the instructions.

This week, I'll work on completing the jacket.

Stay Tuned!


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