Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Finished in the Nick of Time!

It's time to pack my suitcase for Puyallup, but today I had to get some sewing done. As I was picking garments to wear in the Wild Ginger booth, I discovered that I really don't have many tops made with PatternMaster. Dresses, yes, and pants too, but few tops. Oops. Luckily I had a pattern printed out for a blouse I wanted to try, and I had some nice pre-washed rayon print that would be appropriate, so I spent a few hours today putting it all together.

And what do you know... It fits and looks nice too!

It's kind of hard to see the details due to the busy print. It's a shawl collar, side dart, with fit-and-flare sleeves.

Back view:
I really do like these sleeves, and plan to make them again. I cut the top part of the sleeve on the straight of grain, and the "bell" of the sleeve on the bias (the pattern gives the option of doing it on the grain as well). Looking at the pattern piece, I didn't think there was going to be enough flare, but now I'm glad I didn't increase the flare manually -- it would have been too much.

Here I'm pointing to where the seam is between the upper and lower sleeve sections.

The whole shirt went together very quickly and easily, and, thanks to my wonderful Bernina 930, I'm no longer avoiding buttonholes. That machine makes great ones!!

So now I have a nice top to wear at Puyallup! And with that, it's time to go pack my suitcase! Remember, if you're at the Sew Expo, stop by the Wild Ginger booth and say hi (and get a free demo CD!).

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What Should I Wear to Puyallup?

In four days I get to pack my bags for Puyallup. Yippee; I'm so excited!!!! But here is the BIG question:


What Should I Wear?

I'm open to suggestions on what to wear while working at the Wild Ginger booth. Ideally, it should showcase the program's abilities. Ideas? You, dear reader, are probably a better judge as to what looks good.

Also, I'm going to be spending an additional five days in the Pacific Northwest, traveling with some friends of mine, and am looking for interesting places to visit. I've seen a little bit of Seattle, but am going to be spending time mostly in the Portland, OR area. I'd love to hear some ideas on can't-miss places!

Oh, and if you're planning on attending the Sew Expo in Puyallup, be sure to drop by and say hi!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Okay, NOW it's done!

I managed to scrounge enough fabric from scraps to make the belt for my Peterman Knockoff dress. And, since the consensus was that the short length was more flattering, I cut off the extra 4" that had been folded into the hem and redid the bottom edge more neatly. I also washed the dress, which seems to have removed most of the wrinkles.

So here's the original dress I bought years ago from J. Peterman:


And here's the finished copy:


Note the different shoes, too.

The only real issue I have with the dress is the "bat wings" connecting the bodice and sleeve areas. The original dress doesn't have these, and I'm trying to figure out if I can just edit them out of the pattern when I make this again (yes, there's another one in the works... this time in a soft denim).

Here's the view with my arms down:


The extra fabric in the "bat wings" does bunch up under my arms. Yes, it's comfortable, but I think less fabric there would look better. The original dress is fairly tight in the armscye area, but not restrictive. Maybe I just need to play around with the draft a bit more.
In any case, thanks SO much for all the comments; they were really very helpful.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Another UFO done

Late last year I cut out a blouse for myself but never got around to sewing it up. Finally I decided to either sew it or toss the pieces, so I sewed it up. It's not bad... not sure if it's wearable, but not bad.

The basic design is a no-closure waist band blouse with a curved vee neckline, Italian collar, and bell sleeves gathered into cuffs.

I really do like the sleeves; I made the cuffs just wide enough so I could slip my hands through them, rather than fuss with buttons.

But that collar!! I'm not sure what to do about it. I didn't put in a facing (although I wanted to... trouble was, I didn't cut one out last year, and now I can't find the rest of the fabric). The weight of the collar pulls the neckline open. I used a neckline width of 2 and a depth of 5; maybe this kind of collar needs a narrower neck.

Otherwise, I kinda like this style. I may make another one with a different collar, and gather the bottom just a little into the band (to make the band a bit more obvious... here it lies flat and just about disappears).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Finished, but Not Done

I've been working on a dress for the past few weeks and finally got it hemmed and done this evening. It's a copy of a ready-to-wear dress I've had for a long time that I bought from the J. Peterman catalog.

Here's the RTW dress:

The bodice and sleeves are cut as one; there's an overarm seam and a waist dart. The fabric is a lovely corduroy, with covered buttons and a sash belt to match.

I really love this dress, even though the waist is just a bit too high. I decided to try and copy it with PatternMaster Boutique.

Here's the finished version. It's not done, though: I actually ran out of fabric for the belt, so I've been trying to find either a matching corduroy (it's been aging in my stash for a few years), or come up with a contrasting belt.

Front view:
I added two inches of blousing (the original dress had no blousing, which made it bind a bit), but without the belt, it means the waistline sits too low.

Back view:
Again, the waist sits too low. I should have used less blousing; the next iteration will certainly have less.

The dress has in-seam pockets, just like the RTW version.

I love dresses with pockets, and always kick myself when I forget to include them in a garment.

The dress has a shawl collar; the back neck was actually raised by a quarter inch.

I've got a few minor issues with the dress, other than the fit. The first is the corduroy! I hadn't done much with corduroy previously, and I had no idea the stuff wrinkled as much as it does. And it's a bear to press!! I tried to get a nice crisp edge on the collar, but was afraid I would totally flatten the nap. Same thing for the hem. Maybe the wrinkles will come out in the wash; we'll have to see.

Also, I'm wondering about the length. The original dress is longer than the copy; I'd love to get some feedback over which length is actually more suitable. I've got about 4" in the hem, so it could be let down.

I'm going to make this again, with a few tweaks, and use some non-napped fabric (like a soft denim), so it can be a summer dress.

Monday, February 1, 2010

My Newest Garment Sewing Client

I'm sewing for someone besides myself now. Mostly, this client likes to experiment with unusual garment techniques, and loves to try oddball outfits, just to see how they look. And since she's so tiny, her outfits don't require much fabric.

Here she is, in her sloper:


Yes, that is a headless "My Size Barbie"! I had often heard how this doll was a perfect half-size dress form for practicing new sewing techniques. I'd been watching eBay for one to come across that wasn't in "perfect" condition, and I got a very good deal on this one since the head was in sad shape. No matter; I removed the head because I didn't want this creepy doll staring at me in the sewing room.

The muslin was generated by taking the doll's measurements, multiplying them by 2, and entering them into the PatternMaster Boutique program as a new client. Then I generated the pattern and printed it in half-scale. This gave me a perfect pattern for the doll!

Side view:

She really leans forward when standing on her own (flat!!) feet; I will have to construct some sort of stand to keep her securely upright. But her side seam is nice and straight!

Back view:
In getting the sloper onto her, I also learned that I need to allow a much more generous zipper opening. I had to unpick about 2" of the back seam to be able to get the sloper on.

For a first try, it's not bad. I do need to adjust the bust point (forgot to do that -- it's one of the things I often forget about), but the rest of it looks pretty good.

My intention is to try out new techniques and designs in half-scale before I take the time to make them for myself. Her proportions aren't anything like mine (darn it), but I'm not really looking to test styles. Rather, I want to try out things from books like this:


I picked these up at Kinokuniya in New York (their sewing section is fabulous). All the examples in these books are done up in half-scale.

I'm especially interested in trying out this sleeve:

This intrigued me so much that I asked a friend to translate the text on the page, just so I had all the information. Like many Japanese tailoring books, most of the information is conveyed with diagrams and photos, but I didn't want to be left in the dark when I tried this.

So, this Headless Barbie will be one of the best-dressed dolls in Maryland!!

Doing Some Home Dec Work

Last month, I got a call from someone who had been referred to me by a past client. I had done the client's bedroom about four years ago, and this friend told me the client was still happy with my work. Even though I've pretty much closed down my drapery workroom business, I took this job on.
This new client knew exactly what she wanted (bless clients like that!), and would be providing the fabric. She wanted me to copy this style of valance for another room:

I measured last week and did the install this afternoon, and it came out looking quite nice.
The only thing that was less than ideal was the fabric: it was a heavy linen, and had been folded up when she bought it, so it had crease marks in it. Once you get a crease in linen, it is just about impossible to remove it, since creasing actually breaks the linen fibers. I had to be very careful when handling this fabric!


The second window. The valances were trimmed in braided cord, which really hates to bend and turn corners.


But it turned out well, and the client was happy.


She had also asked that I make a small pillow for the bed in that room. Since there wasn't enough trim for the pillow, I pulled the colors out of the trim and did this embroidery design. The swirls are from Embroidery Library, but with the "Welcome" generated with Embird's Font Engine. There's a zipper in the bottom edge.

It felt nice to do some paying home dec work again... Now I have some "pin money" for Puyallup!