Saturday, January 31, 2015

Black and White: Contest and Wardrobe Capsule

A few months ago, Rhonda asked if I would be interested in participating in the "Motor Running Competition". I was delighted and accepted her offer. Each contestant was given about a 2/3 yard piece of fabric to incorporate into a design of their choosing.

The fabric is a shirt weight barkcloth that feels like a poly/rayon blend. I didn't know the name of the fabric until Rhonda told me, but have used it in years past. I like the texture and feel of it, but hate the wrinkles. I thought it would be great to incorporate in a kimono style jacket or accent for a skirt or dress. I couldn't decide. So I turned to Pinterest to find inspiration.

I chose a black polyester crepe to complement the barkcloth.  Even though they have slightly different texture, they work well together.

A swirl design in this evening gown caught my eye. I like the waist slimming affect of it, and thought it would be flattering on my somewhat boyish lower half. The illusion of a smaller waist and curvier hips was perfect for me.

Looking through my pattern collection, Butterick 5147 was the perfect starting point for drafting the front of the dress. I used this pattern twice before; here and here.  No need to go through the long process of making my standard alternations. My concentration was more on the design and the placement of the floral print.

My first step in the drafting process was to make a copy the full front of the dress, one pattern piece. After copying the front for the left and right sides onto tracing paper, I free handed drew the design lines dividing the pattern in three separate sections for the front of the dress. I tested placing the pattern over the fabric to determine how to use the floral design in the dress.

Oops, forgive the wrinkles.

Next, I cut the apart the pattern pieces. I added the seam allowances as needed while cutting the muslin. Surprising, there were not a lot of changes needed to the muslin. One of my concerns was with the placement of the bust and the vertical waist darts. My hope was to use the design lines to absorb the darts. I achieved that for the bust darts, but the waist was a little more challenging. Some of the excess fabric of the waist was absorbed in the half circular area (in the middle) and in the side seams. That was not enough, so I found the least noticeable area in the floral print to make a shallow dart. You can see it here.

I used the same pattern pieces to create the lining. Because I only had an off-white lining on hand, I made a front and back neck faces. I didn't want the lining to show. Vogue Patterns sometime include facings and separate lining pieces. I'm going to make a point to create facings for similar lined dresses.

My construction did create a little more bulk, but it's not bad. Once I worked out the design, sewing the dress was not difficult. It went together as easily as the previous versions. This one just has a little twist to it. A fun project.

Thank you Rhonda for asking me to participate.

Wardrobe Capsule Inspiration:  Black and White

Happy Sewing!

PS -  This was all that was left of the barkcloth panel.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Multicolor French Cotton Jersey - Katherine Tilton/Butterick 5925

Happy New Year all!

It's been such a long time since I've posted on the Mood Sewing Network. I'm very happy to be back!

Today I'm showcasing an unusual fabric, multicolor french cotton jersey (FC19834). At least it's unusual for me. I found it months ago while searching the Mood online store. It has two layers of fabric fused together. The top layer has a burn out affect with some parts of it unattached to the under layer. Too bad it is no longer available, but there are other options to chose from. I paired this unusual textile with a Katherine Tilton top, Butterick 5925.

This pattern is described as: MISSES' TOP: Pullover top has neckline and pocket variations, seam detail, and shaped hemline. A: slightly draped neck and pocket bands. B: pocket binding. A and B: semi-fitted, stitched hems. C and D: loose-fitting, hem band, and narrow hem. B, C and D: neck binding. Wrong side shows on hemlines, and C and D pocket openings. I make view C. The sizes available are X-small to XX-large.

Seaming along the shoulder blade.

Unfinished lower edge of the center front.

The pattern looks like the drawing on the envelope. The instructions were easy to follow, standard for the big four. The only part that did not translate well into this fabric were the pockets. I could have been me, but I think it was the fabric.

When I purchased this pattern, I was looking for relaxed fit wardrobe options. This one was good. It's loose fitting and great with leggings or slim fitting jeans. Excellent weekend outfit.

The only change I made in the construction was to have the right side of the pockets exposed.

I'm not opposed to making this top again, and I do recommend it to others. This was a very interesting fabric to try. It's so unlike me, ;-) but a great option for this Katherine Tilton top.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Palmer/Pletsch Knit Drape Neck Dress - McCall 6282

Hello Friends!

Today's review is on McCall 6282 dress, View D with 3/4 sleeves, finished a few weeks ago.

This is an easy dress to sew. It is a no fuss wardrobe staple that can be easily dressed up or down. McCall's describes it as: MISSES' LINED TOP AND DRESSES: Straight, hip length, lined top A, above mid-knee length lined dresses B, C, D have front high or low cowl, side and back gathers, sleeves in two lengths or sleeveless and optional back invisible zipper; top A has three-quarter length unlined sleeves; dress D has unlined, above elbow length sleeves. It comes in a variety of sizes; 8- 22.

The photos and drawings are very good representations of how the dress looks when it's sewn.  The instructions were pretty standard for a Palmer/Pletsch pattern. One of my favorite aspects about the pattern itself. It has all the alteration lines drawn on the pattern pieces. I also like:
  • The dress is lined and the drape has a front self facing.  So the lining does not roll to the outside of the dress.  \
  • Ruching along the waist.  It looks better on me than other dresses with the ruching along the side of the torso. 
  • I like the recommended FBA for this pattern.  It ends up with a bust dart, but the drape does not appear to be increased.  
I used a medium knit with assorted fibers from Vogue Fabrics.  It has 30% stretch. 

I made my usual alterations:

  • FBA (less than I normally make). 
  • Sway back and broad shoulder (resulting in a small dart at the shoulder).
  • Added about 2" to the length.
  • No zipper added to the center back.
I recommend this pattern to others and may make it again.  It's easy and comfort.  And once you have the fit down pat, why not use the pattern again.  It is a good pattern to beef up your work gear.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

In Review: Rhonda's Raised Waist Skirt with a Back Flounce

Good morning dear friends!

Today's review is on the "Raised Waist Skirt with a Back Flounce" that Rhonda taught us how to draft in November. I actually made this skirt in December. The only thing it needed was a hem. Saturday I was determined to finish at least one of the many UFO's hanging on the closet door. This was the first of two finished that evening.

I'd planned to wear this during the holiday season. Plaid is always in. This is the second of three plaid garments to make for fall/winter 2014. The first, a coat, is still in the works. More on that later.

This skirt is clearly described by it's title. It has a raised waist with two back flounces. The waist is secured and finished with a zipper and facing. The invisible zipper is on the left side back. I used Butterick 5147-E to copy the basic straight skirt design.  Rhonda's instructions are clear and easy to follow. It didn't take a long time to create a new pattern.  The fabric used is from Hancock's. It's a medium weight poly/cotton blend. I pre-washed and pressed it before cutting out the skirt.

I like the idea of added a little flare to conservative, classic plaid. This was also a great opportunity to practice pattern drafting. I didn't make a muslin. I thought it would be easy it fit using a simple straight skirt pattern.  After I put the skirt together and tried it on, I didn't like it as a raised waist skirt. So I simply cut the extended waist and finished it with petersham ribbon. I also changed the location of the zipper, placing it at center back. Note: Before I attached the flounces to the skirt, I finished each with a narrow hem.

I didn't have a new blouse to model with the skirt.  I decided to pair it with my old stretch velvet mock wrap top. I really wanted to match it up with a button down blouse. I tried shopping for one last week. The picking were slim; color and styles. Are they not in style anymore? Something else to add to my long list of things to make.

I really like how my version of this skirt turned out. My DD has asked for one too. So, I'll at least make it one more time. This is a good drafting project to try. Starting with a simple straight skirt pattern, it's easy. It is a winner and turns ordinary conservative plaid fabric into a contemporary sassy little flare skirt that I will certainly enjoy wearing.

Happy Sewing, kittens! Thanks Rhonda for showing us how to draft it!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Rhonda and Susan's Workshop - Chicago November, 2014

Susan Khalje teamed up with Rhonda Buss for a mini workshop in Chicago.  How cool is that?  I had the pleasure of being one of the fortunate souls (sewists) who attended the sold out workshop last November. The group gathered at Soutache on the North side of Chicago for a full day of learning from master designers/couturiers.

Susan and Rhonda taught several couture, design, and fitting techniques. The day begin with Susan teaching the participants how to sew a couture skirt using fine guipure lace. The construction process is slow and the lace is meticulously shaped as one continuous piece. Her lessons also included tips and techniques on the construction of a beautifully sewn brocade dress that included underlining, inter-support system, and hand picked zipper. Susan gave us step by step instructions on the hand picked zipper process. In that lesson, I discovered I had missed a very important part of the process. Where the two sides meet, center of the zipper, there should be a slight hump when the zipper is closed. When the garment is worn and forms to the shape of the body, there will be no zipper exposure. This simple step in the process makes a world of difference in the finishing of a hand picked zipper.

By lunch time the students were all smiles and very pleased with what they had learned thus far. During break everyone was sharing sewing experiences and asking questions. Each person bought their own lunch, though a few kind ladies bought salad and desserts to share with everyone. Mily, the owner of Soutache, was on hand. The shop was open to the students to make purchases during the workshop. I think the location for the workshop was excellent. It provided adequate space to accommodate about twenty students. No one felt crowded or uncomfortable.

The second half of the day, Rhonda taught a mini course on pattern drafting, which included lessons about sleeve design and several illustrations on rectangle and square garment designs. She brought several of her designs as well and shared the construction process of those garments. Rhonda's teachings also included segments on the difference between petersham and grosgrain ribbons and demonstrated how petersham can be used as a facing on a skirt. She also taught the group how to properly sew on hooks and to use a thread bar instead of the metal eye.

The final segment of the workshop was devoted to fitting participants' muslins. We were invited to bring patterns and muslins. We came prepared. Each person was fitted and explanations of the adjustments were discussed and shared among the group. The last half hour was spent purchasing designer trimmings and notions bought by Susan.

This was an excellent workshop. By the end of the day, I wished for more. The room was buzzing with excitement. Everyone seemed enthusiastic about the possibility of using some of the techniques learned at the workshop. I'm putting in a bid to have more workshops like this, and I feel so very fortunate to be a part of the Haute Couture Club of Chicago. This is where I first met the fabulous Rhonda Buss.  Susan Khalje was a presenter at a club meeting about two years ago. It was my first time hearing her speak. Both ladies are experts in the field of couture sewing and are excellent teachers. I can't wait for the next workshop.

Be inspired! Books are good, but a fine teacher is superb!

Happy Sewing,

Happy New Year: Reflections

I can't believe that we are already fifteen days into the new year.  My life has been a rollercoaster from September to the end of December.  Taking a few moments to think about it all was quite overwhelming.  But one of my greatest takeaways is that I am tremendously blessed.  From surgery to recovery and to retirement.   I'm on the path to new beginnings.

So many possibilities.  At my exit interview with the VP for IT, I was asked if I would come back to work on the training project.  Of course, I said yes.  As I was saying it, I was thinking about all the other things I'd like to be doing.  All the things that I promised myself that I would do.  It's funny how when the opportunity arrives for you to do a new thing, you can't seem to get started with the plan. 

My plan for retirement was to sew more, teach sewing, attend more workshops, and explore the possibilities of creating my own line of accessories.  I also considered taking on a few more clients.  That was my sewing plan for retirement.  I still want to pursue that plan. 

But I feel like a fish out of water without my 9 to 5.  And that's crazy!  This is the time I've been waiting for and I can't seem to put things into motion.  Without my university issued laptop, blogging is almost nonexistent.  The portable convenience of the laptop has me spoiled.  The desktop is inconveniently located in DD's bedroom.  I need to purchase a laptop.

Missed Opportunities:

Today, I'm trying to sort out the sewing related posts that never made it to my blog.  At this point some I won't publish, but there are a few that I think are worthwhile and I will try to get them done. This has not been the best year of sewing for me.  Many projects are half done or barely started.  The good thing is many were started at the end of summer and most are fall/winter garments.

What's Next on my blog:

I will review of the Susan Khalje and Rhonda Buss workshop.  Then expect some projects and some fashion inspiration.  I plan to continue the Notes on a Pattern series.

Blog Update:

The ole blog needs a face lift.  One of the things I'd like to do is to reorganized the content on the blog for easier navigation.  This is something that I've wanted to do for awhile.  Now I have some time to do it.

So that's it for now. 

Happy Sewing!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin