Sunday, October 31, 2010

Giant Houndstooth skirt - fabric

I had a couple of hours yesterday, and I headed towards the fashion district, hoping to find some perfect giant houndstooth fabric to make myself a Mondo-inspired pencil skirt (my own expression of outrage over Project Runway's outcome.)

Yes, I don't need any more fabric. Whatever.

I hit gold at LA Fabric. They had a wall of wool fabric on sale for $10 - here's what I bought.

Isn't it perfect? I love LA Fabric.

After LA Fabric, I headed over to King's Textiles - since it isn't right on the strip, I've never actually been there. But wow! It is pretty amazing. I was thinking of trying to mix prints and make a printed top - more Mondo tribute. But I think I'm going to be boring and safe, and pair it with a solid. Instead - I bought this houndstooth knit - which is going to be a dress.

Good fabric times.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Gretchen? Really?

Enough said.

I think I'm going to go make myself a giant houndstooth pencil skirt instead. Readers? Want to join me with your inspired-by-Mondo sewing?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rummage Sale Goodness

Saturday morning, I did something that's pretty unheard-of in my world - I set the alarm, and woke up before 10. (Look, don't hate me. I'm single - there are pluses and minuses.)

Why? Because I'd seen a rummage sale advertised at a nearby church, and I was convinced I was going to find stacks of vintage patterns there. (Food, beer, patterns, fabric. Things I'm moved by.)

I didn't find any patterns (insert sad face here) but I found fabric! Yay! Here's what I got:

This is a skirt-kit - the kit has lining, this beautiful yellow fabric (Scottish wool - with label) and even a zipper. I paid $5 for it.

More Scottish wool. Check the tag. Also $5. I see this as a sheath dress. (Seriously, this kind of fabric is stuff I fondle on vacation, and then decide that 100 euros for fabric is a bit much.) It has a bit of an open weave to it, and I'm afraid it'll fray like the devil, so I'll have to do some research into cutting, sewing, etc.

There's only scraps of the red wool, but I thought it'd make a fun tank-top, if I can play with the bias a little. The white on the left - I figured I'd use as the hem of a petticoat. (As if I wear petticoats. It was 50c - I just bought it.)

Mustard dupioni silk - this will become a shirt.

Ombre chiffon-like fabric. I see a dress or a top, but at the same time, sewing with chiffon is the project-from-hell. We'll see.

This blue wool will be a skirt.

Assorted hem & bias tape - I can always use this stuff.

Sleeve presser thing (it is called a clapper, right?) By this time, I'd bought close to everything, so the lady at the counter just gave it to me for 50c. Score!

As if that wasn't enough, I headed over to the linen area, and bought these.

A circular table-cloth that seems destined to become a circle skirt. (My brother pointed out that I'd be walking around in a tablecloth, and then decided it would be no worse than this.

I love vintage embroidered tea-cloths. This one was lovely. I don't have many, since I have no storage room, but it is always a struggle to keep myself from buying them. This time, the tea-cloth won.

And then, there were pretty glasses I couldn't resist.(There's 5 of them.)

It was a *good* rummage sale.

Parting Shot (shamelessly copying Summerset): Never annoy a little Biscuit.

Biscuit is a pretty independent little cat, and she rarely will come sit on my lap. However, as the weather gets cold, she's been significantly more friendly (Reethi = Source of Body Heat.) Here - she's sitting on my lap, disrupting any sewing progress.

And here, she's annoyed with me because I stretched my hand out to answer the phone. Silly Reethi. Sources of body heat are supposed to sit very still.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Simplicity 2473 update

So, the good news story, the dress is basted together, and fits. Barely. It turned out that in a flood of truly misguided optimism, I'd cut out a size 8, not a 10.

Still, wearable with Spanx. Spanx is my new best friend.

What's left on the dress? All the work on the lining, of course, except for the cutting. On the dress, the zipper and collar are basted in, the back vent needs to be finished.

But I've no plans for tonight, and I'm hoping for an extended stint of quiet sewing.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sewing Pattern Review - Vogue 1183 - the Kay Unger dress

Serious catching up to do with this review! I finished this dress a month ago, but found it needed Spanx to wear. Now that I have Spanx, a review can happen.

Here goes!

Fabric: Some kind of wool blend that I bought ages ago at Fabricland. It was a remnant, dumped in a bin, with some holes here and there. I think I paid $3? $5? for it? My lining is cotton voile that I bought in India - it is very thin and sheer, wrinkles like the devil, but I like how cotton feels against my skin.

Vogue 1183.

Pattern adjustments: I cut a size 10, graduating to a 12 at the waist and hip. A bit of petite sizing in the torso, and I also made the waist band an inch narrower.

One issue I have, the bodice gapes. I have it pinned in this picture, but I'm going to tack it down.

Time taken: I think I sewed this over 3-4 evenings. While things like top-stitching are time-consuming, this is a straight-forward dress to sew.

Favorite bits:
While I don't look particularly slim in this picture, my family saw me wear this dress and told me it really made me look thin. Yay. (Spanx helps, of course.)
I also like the top-stitching - though it is a bit of a pain to do, it really makes this dress pretty special.

In conclusion: Gaping aside, I've already worn this dress twice to work, so I think I love it!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The ongoing story of Simplicity 2473

Yesterday, I spent most of my evening hanging out with a friend and dropping her off at the airport - she's moving to Denmark.

When I got home, it was close to 9.00pm, and I was exhausted! (Hanging out in an airport without the excitement of a trip is a bit energy-sapping, I think.) I *should* have traced out my BWOF pants, but I couldn't summon up too much enthusiasm for tracing, so instead I lounged around, watched TV, and eventually dragged myself towards an old UFO.

My version of this dress is asymmetric collar + short sleeves + straight skirt. My fabric is a beautiful grey, burgundy and navy houndstooth that I actually found in a thrift store.

Simplicity 2473 has been sitting, pattern and fashion fabric all cut out in my queue since December. In December and January, I had sewing machine issues. In February, I was on vacation. I can't remember what my excuse was March & April, but by the time May had rolled around, I was thinking of summer dresses, and so, this dress got consigned to the UFO basket. (Plus, I hadn't cut out the lining, and I hate cutting out lining. That might have also doomed the dress.)

Anyway, it is now fall, and woolen dresses are useful. So, I'm going to be finishing this one before the next pants effort.

One problem - this dress is cut in a size 10. In December, I think I'd lost a few pounds, I've promptly put them back on. (I yo-yo within a 10 pound range, which wouldn't be too bad if I weren't super-short. However, being super-short, 10 pounds is totally visible, sigh.)

So, yeah, I'm going to be making a dress that I'm not sure will fit. Exciting!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Are you right for me?

ETA - I found the image on the Russian site, but seriously, Burda, WTF?

The newest plan? BWOF 02-2010-102, the proper, non-optimistic size this time, with some measuring of the width of the pant before I cut, and some fly-front alterations. I'm hoping that this will be it.

On the other hand, I am slowly figuring out how to sew fly-fronts and pant pockets without undue panic, so this journey is totally worth it.

Except, of course, I have no pants to wear.

At times like this, I keep reminding myself of sewers like A Sewn Wardrobe, who made at-least 5 muslins for her sheath dress.

Incidentally, BWOF - WTF? How the heck do I find and link to line drawings anymore? I don't have either the time or the patience to search the Russian/French/German sites for this, perhaps the English one could stop sucking?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Goldilocks & the three pants

These ones are too loose (and also too wide at the bottom.)

(Simplicity 2700 Average Size 12, only alteration was to petite-size them.)

And these are too tight (and too narrow at the bottom).

BWOF 08-2009-110, size 19. (Ok, I should have just cut the damn size 20, but I was being optimistic. Perhaps if I don't eat for a month?)

I'm still searching for just-right.

(Excuse the horribly wet hair - I just got out of the shower.) And also the crap photos, I'll try to get some clearer, daylight ones...

Friday, October 15, 2010

All ready to sew...

This time, I *will* have something to show.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Awards! I have them!

I've been very lax about accepting them, but KnitMachineQueen, Clioand AllisonC nominated me for the Beautiful Blogger Award, and Clio added the One Little Sparkling Award. Awww - thanks!

So, the rules are that I need to tell you a bunch of things about me that you don't know, and also nominate people for the award. Since I don't really believe in rules (many unpaid parking tickets are the sad proof of this, and yes, they get paid - eventually!), I'll just tell you things about me, and ignore the second bit.

(I'm copying the format that Sarah Wilson used in her post about a 10-things list. I'm not sure how I stumbled upon her blog, especially as it has nothing to do with sewing, but I enjoy reading it...)

1. What I wear: Well, you already see it. I have entirely too many summer clothes, and entirely too few winter clothes. I haven't really bought RTW in any significant amount for the last year or two, and a lot of my winter pants really have seen better days. Hence pant sewing.

2. What I eat:I'm vegetarian, which you'll know if you read my blog. What you might not know is that I've been vegetarian my entire life, I was raised vegetarian.

3. My favourite things to do when I’m a bit flat: TV - my current favorite show is How I Met Your Mother. (I love Barney.) I love reading as well, except it really has to be the right book - something that takes me totally outside myself. (Sci-fi and fantasy tend to do this the best.) Cooking works, but oddly enough, sewing doesn't. I can't sew in a bad mood, sewing is a strictly good-mood activity.

4. My favourite smell: Jasmine. (Related note, my favorite perfume is the hard-to-find Diorissimo. )

5. My essential online aid: Google Maps. I would *literally* be lost without it.(Side note - I love map books, and I hate GPS. Really, really, really hate it. I think GPS makes people stupid.)

6. What I do for fun: Apart from the obvious stuff (sewing & cooking) I really enjoy drives in the country, no agenda at all, stumbling upon farm stands filled with fresh produce, or thrift stores filled with vintage patterns... Hmm. There is a theme around sewing and eating, evidently.

7. What nourishes me: the sound of the ocean, the smell of rain striking soil, Biscuit sitting on my lap, a really awesome email conversation, an afternoon in a coffee shop in a strange neighborhood...

8. My guilty pleasure:
Children's fiction.

9. My favourite travel destination: It's a hard one to narrow down, but I'd go back in a heart-beat to Thailand and Ireland. (I don't think I've ever had a bad trip though...)

10. My favorite feelings: High on the list - that feeling of almost-shock/pleasure when I walk into a spotless kitchen (needless to say, it doesn't happen often.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Listening to that little voice in your head

You know that voice? The one that tells you to stop being lazy, and trace that Burda out already, rather than wasting time getting the Simplicity pattern to fit right? For a change, I listened.

So, last night, rather than cutting out the Amazing Fit 12-Slim, I traced out BWOF 08-2007-110 - a petite size, straight-cut pant. This is a pant with a side zipper, but I'm going to alter it so it is a fly-front. Countless RTW pants have convinced me that a side or back zipper on a pant is just weird. (Though, of course, a lot easier.)

Unfortunately, I don't get to sew up this puppy until Friday evening, earliest. A friend is moving to Denmark, and tonight, I'm going to give her clothing advice. (I'm not sure why.) Tomorrow, I've social plans, aargh. So - no finished pants till the weekend.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ramblings + Up Next.

Thank you so much for all the sweet comments on my last post. You are all awesome!

I've been sick-ish all last week; there's some kind of flu bug going around, my work-place is awash with germs and misery. I was pretty tired and beat up on Wednesday, and so I called in sick on Thursday, and spent most of the morning in bed. (Which is lovely, even when you are sick. I love sleeping.)

After I woke up though, around 1pm, I decided that since I was grounded at home, I might as well get some sewing done. And so I pulled out Simplicity 2700, cut out the Average size 12, and got to work.

I used some fabric I'd bought in India in February. These are a taupe, medium-weight poly-cotton - not suitable at all for fall/winter, but these were going to be in the nature of a muslin.

My motivating cry was - Pants in a Day. I was determined to finish these before the day was done. And I did, mostly, all but the fastening.

Such triumph, or was it?

Meh. I'm not thrilled with the fit, it is a bit too baggy in the butt and thighs. (Pausing to scream in frustration.) I *should* be a size 12, for heaven's sake. Whenever I optimistically cut a size 10, I always end up with too-tight clothes.

(I promise, I will take a photo, since I will get a fair bit of use out of these pants. They don't fit well, but they don't fit poorly either.)

Which brings us back to the Up Next.

I'm determined to get this pants thing right. I'm cutting out the slim fit size 12 tonight, and seeing if that is an improvement. If not, I'll have to resort to desperate measures - tracing out a Burda, which I've always found pretty true-to-size.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Highs & Lows

ETA - I'm supposed to mention my mom took the photos, and that's the reason I won. Thanks, Mom!

The highs: Awww, thanks! So, I won. I'm pretty pumped. I've only been garment-sewing since 2007, and still feel very much like a beginner, so it's extra-nice to be recognized for sewing something good.

Everyone that left a nice comment, both on my blog, and on PatternReview - thanks! Every one of your compliments really made my day. I joke that no-one other than my mom reads my blog, and I cherish each comment I get.

The lows? The way I found out I won was through a rather mean series of anonymous comments.

Let's see - they started out with this.

It's ok, you won! despite not entering on time AND having your items not qualify. Great job!

It felt mean, but I wasn't sure if someone was being mean, or if I was being overly sensitive.

But it quickly got clearer.

The correct date is on the fist page of the contest rules. Not the 15th page. And it does say bolero's are not allowed on the front page as well.
I guess it was too much of a pain to read the rules on the first page of the forums, or ask for clarification.
Very glad to see you won despite all that though! Guess you'll be getting that Jailie pattern :D

Great job winning by getting votes through your blog, even though you didn't technically qualify!
Pat yourself on the back :)

Hmm. I don't know if I should just be laughing here at the idea that enough people read my blog to swing a contest. Not to mention the implication that the people that read my blog & voted for me had *no free will* in the matter.

All I'll say is this - I understand that by blogging, I open myself out to nice comments and mean comments. I've been lucky so far that all my comments tend to be nice and supportive, and that's what I think of the sewing community, it is a nice, supportive group of people.

Dear Anonymous - I'm sorry that my Jalie pattern is causing you so much grief. But let's see - I made the case to the contest organizers that their signage was confusing, and they clearly agreed - otherwise I wouldn't have been able to enter the contest. And also - my cape isn't a bolero, which is clear from the construction instructions. I'm pretty sure boleros have sleeves.

And really, at the end of the day, why am I even dignifying this with a reply?

Back to the highs. I won!!!!! Thanks, y'all.

Friday, October 01, 2010

In which I feel very silly (and also ask you to do stuff for me)

Ok, what a perfect little storm in a tea-cup. That's what happens when you worry about a contest *before* sufficient cups of coffee.

All ended well. Deepika and Bluenines took care of me, extending the deadline till today, so I could get my entry up. My mom took the photos, I edited my review, and I'm now officially in the contest. Yay!

So, now of course, I'll make my shameless request - please vote for me? My entry is here, and the contest gallery (with all the other awesome entries) is here.

(Ok, a big motivating factor for entering this contest is because I want a Jalie pattern, and am too cheap to buy one. Which is ridiculous on many levels - such as - the cost of the pattern pales into insignificance when compared with, say, the amount I spend on beer. But, of course, with three boxes of patterns in my house, it's hard to justify buying another one. But if I win, and it's free? Super-awesome.)

Accessories - the final looks

I am really pleased with my end result looks. They feel normal, not-stunty, and stuff I would actually reach for in my day-to-day life. I do not have enough time to be sewing stuff that does not fit in my life, so yay for me!

In which my life is like an episode of Project Runway

You know the scene when the designers have been set the task, assigned a deadline, and then they go off to shop & sew?

And then Tim Gunn comes into the designers' studio and says, "Contestants - the rules we set out earlier? Not the rules anymore?"

Well, that's the way I feel about this stupid Accessories Contest.

Evidently, that bit where it says Oct 1? Really means Sept 30. Which I would know if I read their 15-page message board thread about the contest. In which I would have also learned that though their rules say nothing about a cape, evidently, the committee has ruled that a cape is not an accessory. (But a scarf and shawl are, of course.)

Excuse me for having, you know, a job, a cat and a social life.

I'm pretty annoyed right now, so I'll just finish up this post and walk away, keeping the ranting to a minimum.

But, if you are going to have 15 sources of information on your website about a contest - would it be too much to ask that they are all consistent?

(I'll still take photos of all the looks, I'm pretty pleased with them.)