Friday, February 28, 2014

I'm in a Tweedy Mood in Chi-Beria

I'm so happy to showcase my first Mood Sewing Network project.  As I perused the online fabric store, my thoughts were racing.  There were so many possibilities.  The online fabric choices are endless.  It was hard to settle and pick one project AND one fabric to make something special for myself.  Finally, I decided on a purple tweed and a rasberry pink poly charmeuse to make Vogue's Badgley Mischka suit.  This has been on my to-make list for over two years.

With the polar vortex back in Chiberia (Chicago), I can hardly believe that Spring is less than a month away.  This suit will be in rotation for at least three months.  So I made a great choice when I paired the pattern with this beautiful fabric. Tweed is often described as a rough, woolen cloth.  This one is actually soft and supple.  The natural fibers make it easy to sew, shape, and press.  It was a dream to work with.  Charmeuse was the perfect complement to the tweed.  I lined both garments with it and used it to make the seam binding. With the Charmeuse lining and the supple Tweed fabrics together, the garments move smoothly as you wear them, adjusting fairly easily to unexpected activities like clambering over snowbanks.

This pattern is rated average.  That is a fair assessment.   The original pattern calls for the jacket to be unlined. But there are some details that make this suit stand out. The pronounced collar helps to soften the contours of someone with boxy shoulders like mine, and give the jacket a more regal air.  The straight shape of the sleeves, curve into the armhole and back area to create a different design line in the jacket.  The bound seams give it a polished and sophisticated touch.

I spent several hours making this suit.  But none of the construction techniques were difficult.   The seam binding takes a bit of time and patience to complete.  In the end, the jacket is beautiful inside and out.   I decided to make bound buttonholes and underline it to complete the polished look.  The facing and the hem of the fully lined skirt are bound as well.  And the invisible zipper completes the smooth exterior.

After I put the jacket together, I noticed the placement of the last buttonhole seemed a little low.  I referred back to the pattern envelope to see if this was consistent with the photographed jacket.  It was.  I decided to lower the hem 1/2 inch and it looked better to me. 

I used a sizes 14/16 adjustment based on my fitting needs.  Of course, I made my usual FBA and prominent shoulder blade alteration adding a few inches to the length of the skirt and sleeves.


I am pleased with the outcome of this project and am ready for the next.  The suit wears well.  The fabric is not scratchy and does not constrain.  Movement is effortless. 

Next review:  The blouse from Vogue 1127.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Get Earthy - Spring 2014 Trend

One of the top 10 Spring 2014 fashion trends is earthy tone. Neutral tones are featured in the Spring collections of Michael Kors, Valentino, and Donna Karen.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I'm a New Member of the Mood Sewing Network

I have some great news!  Meg invited me to join the Mood Sewing Network.   From what I know of the other Mood bloggers, it is a great group of talented sewists.  Having an opportunity to write for and support a fabric store that is commonly featured on Project runway is a real honor and privilege.

Thank you Meg and Thank you Mood Designer Fabrics!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Quintessential Little Black Dress

The Quintessential Little Black Dress is always on trend.   It's an easy solution for most occasions.  The selection of RTW styles is endless.   There is something for every age and every lifestyle.  But of course, most of my followers make their own LBD's.  So, how many LBD's does a lady need?

This year I made two, and it's only February.  Both dresses were made using patterns previously reviewed.  So I won't re-review them.  Details on the reviews are here (B5672) and here (S2054).

Sorry, I only have one picture of me wearing my new LBD, but I managed to get a few more indoor shots of DD in her new dress.

For my dress, I purchased a burnout stretch velvet.  I wanted to make a dress to wear to the American Opera Society Gala last December. I did not make it until early January.   I used a nude knit lining, hoping it would show through the burnout section of the velvet.  No luck.

DD's dress is made from a textured knit from my stash.  Anyway, we both have a new LBD to add to our wardrobe.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Another Easy Knit Top - McCall 6241

Today's review is on McCall's 6241. I was surprised to see that it was out of print so soon. It's easy and great to wear with leggings. I made this version over a year ago.  

Pattern Description:
MISSES' AND WOMEN'S TUNICS IN TWO LENGTHS: Pullover tunics A, B, C have extended shoulders with pleats at one shoulder and side, machine-stitched hems and asymmetrical lower edge; tunic A has cap sleeves; tunics B, C have long sleeves.

Pattern Sizing:
8 to 24W; I used size 14; 16 across the chest.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes. I thought I might make a pair of sequined leggings to go with it to match the outfit the lady is wearing on the pattern envelope. It never happened. Maybe later. :-)

Were the instructions easy to follow?
No problems.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked the pleating at the shoulder and waist. The drape neck is a good look for me. No dislikes.

Fabric Used:
The rayon knit is from my stash.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
No significant changes.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I will and I do recommend it to others. I hope you have it already.

Conclusion: This is a very easy knit top that sews together very quickly. You can style it will your favorite leggings. I like to wear it belted to add some definition at the waist.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

In Review: Vogue 8670 and McCall 6404

This afternoon I was determined to take more pictures. So, instead of eating lunch, I decided to try a third time to get pictures for my reviews. These garments were made for weekend comfort.

Lately, I'm not able to spend as much time as I would like sewing. So I'm making things that sew up relatively fast for immediate gratification.

I had both patterns in my collection for some time. Both have been reviewed on pattern review and in blogland multiple times. But that's all right. I wanted to tell about my experience of working with them. They served the purpose of making some quick outfits to add to my small weekend gear. First, I will review the knit top; Vogue 8670.  

Pattern Description:
MISSES' TOP: Close-fitting, straight, below hip length tops A, B, C, D, E have front darts, raglan sleeves with length variations, stitched hems and neckline variation. A: neck band and short sleeves. B: neck band and contrast three-quarter length sleeves. C: scrunch turtleneck collar and long sleeves. D, E: mock turtle neck with button closure. D: three-quarter length sleeves. E: long sleeves. I made view B twice with long sleeves.

Pattern Sizing:
8 to 24; I used 16 with modifications.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, pretty much.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
No problems, easy.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked that the tops were easy to sew; the raglan sleeves and the optional collars. No dislikes.

Fabric Used:
I used ponte and faux snake skin knit from my stash. It's not on the suggested fabric list. My choices had little stretch. So I cut my tops a little bigger.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I made my usual FBA, prominent shoulder blade adjustment, and sway back adjustments. I also added an inch to the length of the sleeves and two inches to the length of the top. I wanted full coverage of the derriere. I also, added a triangle to the back at the neckline and added a center back seam.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I will make views C and E at another time. This is a great wardrobe builder and is perfect for the cold, cold winters of Chicago.

Conclusion: This was an easy top to sew and is a great wardrobe builder. I recommend it to all level sewists.

Now, the leggings.

I think I have about five different legging patterns in my collection. I've wanted to try them for a while. Last month, I finally got around to it. For my first two pair, I used McCall's 6404. It's out of print.

Pattern Description:
MISSES' LEGGINGS: Close-fitting, casing with elastic. A: Welt pocket with hidden zipper. SUGGESTED FABRICS: Two-Way Stretch Knits: Double Knits. Contrast A,B: Synthetic Leather, Synthetic Suede. Lining A: Lining Fabric. I made view B and D.

Pattern Sizing:
XS to XL; I used Medium with modifications.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
No confusion. easy.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I bought this pattern because of the multiple variations. The design will give me opportunities to add uniqueness to my leggings without drafting a pattern. No dislike.

Fabric Used:
I used ponte knit. It does not have as much stretch as the recommended fabrics, but I was able to modify them to fit through the crotch area. I didn't have any fit issues in the leg.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I only added a few inches to the length of the brown pair because I had limited fabric. The cream/beige pair I added about four inches to the length. For both, I lengthen the crotch on the back pant.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes and yes. I plan to make more.

Conclusion: These are a good alternative to the average legging pattern. The pattern is easy to sew and goes together with no problem.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Haute Couture Club of Chicago

Hi There!

For days I've tried to get some decent photos of the garments I made recently.  But I haven't been successful.  It's too cold outside and not enough light inside.  Sooner or later it will work out.

Today, I wanted to invite everyone who is interested to become a member of the Haute Couture Club of Chicago.  It's a great group of creative ladies plus one gentlemen who recently joined.  So, men, you're welcomed too!

Last weekend we were hit with another mini-snow storm, but I was determined to attend the February meeting.  Our presenter was none other than Mr. Kenneth King. 

It was a fantastic program.  I walk away inspired to try new approaches to making my garments unique.  I also have a new perspective of  being a "perfectionist" and how it can cripple creativity.  Immediately after the meeting, we lunched.  Several members signed up for classes f Saturorday and Sunday afternoon.

Here are a few photos from the meeting.  If you are in the Chicagoland area, consider becoming a member of our great club.

Please visit our website (Haute Couture Club of Chicago) for more information on the history of the club and upcoming events.

Happy Sewing!


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