Sunday, March 28, 2010

New Project: The YSL Mondrian Dress

For my birthday this coming weekend, we're having a 60's-themed party, and I finally decided what to wear.

This is by Yves Saint Laurent, from 1962. I've always loved this dress, and finally decided to try and tackle it.

The issue with this dress is its deceptive simplicity. The darts are cunningly rotated into the seams, so while it appears to be a series of flat rectangles, there's actually a fair bit of shaping going on.

Close analysis and a bit of playing around with Pattern Editor got me pretty far in designing the pattern:

These pieces don't show the black sashing between the sections; since those are just straight pieces, they didn't require pattern pieces. Also, there will be a lining, just to prevent the fabric from sticking to me.

And the fabric! The original is in a wool jersey. I thought for sure G Street Fabrics would have an outstanding collection from which to choose. I wish!! I was so disappointed. Even their cotton knits didn't have the range of colors I needed. So I resigned myself to going to JoAnns, which ended up having every color I needed.

The blue I found is a bit more royal than the original, and the yellow looks a bit orange-y, but I think it will all work. Right now, the biggest snag I'm encountering is that my wide-format printer seems to be on the fritz, so I'll have to print these on regular paper and tape them together. I've gotten so spoiled, not having to do that anymore.

I'm not going to do a real muslin; rather, I will cut out the pieces and baste them together and test the fit that way. My goal is to get the fit tweaked by Wednesday and get all the finishing work done by Thursday.

Now I need to find a pair of white Go-Go Boots to go with the dress, and I'll be all set!

Friday, March 19, 2010

"Curiouser and Curiouser..."

Last night we had a fabulous family outing. We went to see Tim Burton's film "Alice in Wonderland", in 3-D, at our local theater. I figured a Thursday night probably wouldn't be that crowded, but get this: We were the ONLY PEOPLE in the audience!! We had the place to ourselves!! So we could be as totally snarky as we wanted to be, commenting on the movie loudly and having a marvelous time. We felt like celebrities, having a private screening. And, oh yeah, the film was great to boot.

So one of Diana's requests during Spring break was another one of the sun dresses I made last year, but in a different color scheme. She wanted "Alice blue" with eyelet lace. We went shopping together for fabric, and I did a quick muslin to make sure her measurements hadn't changed since last year (which they hadn't; by some miracle she's avoided the Freshman 15 -- probably because her school is on the side of a hill and every day she trudges up and down the hill to get to various classes).

I finished the dress this afternoon, and she's going to wear it to the opening night performance of "Ragtime" at Northwest High School.

Front view:
The blue fabric is a "linen look" from JoAnns; the eyelet is a cotton.

Back view:
(Yes, that's a tattoo on her back... She got it with her own money when she turned 18. Sigh.)

One change I made to this dress is that I added stabilizer to the blue midriff portion so it would hold its shape; that's the one thing that bugs her about the first dress.

The dress inspired her to do a little curtsy:
All we needed was the white rabbit scurrying past. Oh, and it doesn't really show up on these pictures, but there are four small lace butterfly appliques on the skirt front.

The bodice triangle applique included a faux "placket" this time, with cute little shell buttons.
I can't help it; she's so much fun to sew for.

Details: Drafted with PatternMaster Boutique. Self-lined; side zipper.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Tale of Two Tab Collars

My husband Bob and I had a booth at our local Home Show over the last weekend to promote his Home Inspection business. Rather than wear the regular woven work shirts, which would be subject to wrinkles, I decided to make knit shirts for the two of us.
The trouble was, the pattern pieces generated by PatternMaster were a bit confusing.

The instructions provided with the program are usually very easy to follow, but for some reason I just couldn't wrap my head around the ones for this tab collar. I looked in my various sewing books for help, but the ones shown in the books looked very different. In desperation, I turned to the most wonderful resource: the Creative Machine List on Yahoo (Full disclosure: I am the owner of the list). Within a few minutes, I had my answer: this is called a "shirt neckline placket". And a member was kind enough to scan some instructions so I could complete my project.
Here we are at the show (apologies for the fuzzy picture...):
Now that the hustle and bustle is over, I got the chance to take pictures of the shirts in better light. Here's Bob's shirt:
And here's my shirt:
Now here's the interesting part: I made my shirt first, so the tab is a little wonky, but it wasn't immediately obvious. But one thing did bother me: the instructions my list friend provided called for the collar to be inserted in such a way that the seam between the collar and bodice would be on the outside of the shirt.
Luckily, it doesn't show at all when I wear the shirt, since the collar folds down over it. And doing it this way does mean there isn't a seam showing if I keep the top button undone. (In this picture, you can see the bottom of the tab really didn't turn out too well, but again... no one better be looking this closely!)

Bob's tab turned out nicer, and for his I did the collar in such a way that the seam is on the inside. I'm really not sure which version I like better; in either case, I need to bind the seam so it's not so unfinished. Live and learn.

And, of course, the company logo had to be featured on the shirts. I digitized the logo with Embird Studio (love that program!) and stitched them on the knit with my Designer 1 (now that I raised it on a platform, I'm doing a lot more embroidery!).
Next up on the sewing agenda is a new sundress for Diana, using the same pattern as for this Anthropologie knock-off.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

More from Sew Expo

Since I was at the Sew Expo to work at the Wild Ginger booth, I didn't have the chance to take any classes, but I did get a few breaks to wander around the booths.

This is Nifty Thrifty Dry Goods' colorful booth. All their ribbons, buttons and trims are organized by color, so it's really easy to find things that go together.

One thing is for sure: the food available at the Expo Center is awesome!! Here's one of the food service guys preparing my ham and cheese crepe for lunch one day. The dining area was nearly always packed, and the choices of food was amazing: everything from soup in a bread bowl to BBQ ribs.

The Sulky booth had some great displays on decorative uses for threads. I loved the array of colors!

The Wool House had so many gorgeous fabrics; it was hard not to buy a bit from every bolt.

The Fasturn booth always had people gathered around the demo area. I have a set of their turning tubes and love them; this year I added the big blue tubes that let you make really fat fabric tubes.

The Fasturn booth also had lots of things on display to give you ideas on how to use their products. One of the neatest was this one: making lots of thin fabric tubes, joining them end-to-end, and using them to knit with!

The Vogue Fabrics booth. This one was ALWAYS bustling. And it was only two aisles away from our booth, so it was far too easy to slip away for "just one more peek", because they kept bringing new bolts in off the truck. Only my limited suitcase space prevented me from making some serious additions to my stash.

This cute clown was the hostess for the special area sponsored by Janome, where attendees were invited to take scraps and cast-offs and remake them into new things. I would have loved to play around in there, but alas... work prevailed.

More clothing ogling. This dress was just too cute.

This funky vest was made using the Green Pepper Rogue River Vest pattern. The lady wearing it said she chose to make the pattern specifically to get over her fear of zippers. And yes, she said, that did the trick!

Next time, I'll share some of the things that did make it into my suitcase.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I'm Still Alive, and Back from Puyallup!

Sorry for the hiatus in posting; I was too busy enjoying my trip to the Sew Expo in Puyallup and the vacation following it. So now I have a lot of stuff to write about, and have to resist the temptation to put all of it in one post!!

Today, I'll share my impressions of the Sew Expo, along with some pictures.

So here is the Pavillion, which houses most of the vendor booths. There is another building with more booths and classrooms.

Here is where I spent four days (Thursday through Saturday, 8:30am to 6pm; Sunday 8:30 to 5pm). I'm so happy we had padded carpeting, and places to sit while doing the demos. Rather than having real garments hanging in the booth (as in previous years), there were lots of pictures of people wearing garments. This way we could talk more about the fit you can achieve with the software.

Part of the fun of being at Expo is meeting people you know from various email lists and forums. Here's Deepika Prakash, owner of PatternReview. This was her first trip to the Sew Expo, and she was having a fabulous time. I'm sorry I didn't get to any of the PR get-togethers... our booth was just too busy to get away!

Here's the Wild Ginger Tech Support Maven, Karen, modeling her stylish new necklace, purchased from the Saf-T-Pockets booth. If you look carefully, you'll notice it's made entirely of zipper tape!

The trim on this jacket really caught my eye... It was made entirely of safety pins, snaps, and small pieces of chain. It just looked so different!

This quilted wall hanging was displayed at the booth next to ours. I thought it was so clever, with the frayed fabric under the cat's claws.

One highlight of the week was a surprise delivery of this gorgeous vase of roses, courtesy of my wonderful husband, Bob. He did it for no other reason other than that he missed me.

Part of the fun of being at a sewing show is seeing all the wonderful clothes. The cape on the right was designed by the young lady on the left; I really loved the creative pop of color supplied by the vivid pink of the undercollar; the buttonholes were sewn with the same pink thread.

That's all for right now... In my next post, I'll have pictures of some of the booths and what I found in them.