Thursday, February 25, 2010

Slowly, But Surely...

Things are getting done around here in the sewing studio.  Albeit Boring things (with a capital B!), but knocking anything off the to-do list is a Good thing!

Thanks to Monday's snow storm (8 more inches), I have 15 shirts all embroidered and ready for pick-up/delivery! I owe this particular Fire Chief big time for all the business this winter!
I have the prom dress muslin nearly completed, thanks to Martha (the amazing vintage White Rotary)! 
Since busting my machine this weekend, I've had to make the most of my resources.  Since a simple straight stitch was all I needed, Marth got the job done beautifully.  And the bright side of the broken machine issue is that I will be saving myself more than $80 by doing the repair myself!  My dealer said the repair would cost a $79.95 plus parts, and take at least 4 days, maybe as long as 2 weeks!!!  Next time I won't overtighten... CRACK!
Back in the fall, when I first got Martha, I found and joined the "We Fit It" Yahoo Group for sewing machine rehab and repair.  It was a great place to get questions answered about vintage machines, and as it turns out, an awesome resource for parts and repair help!  I posted on  Monday that I broke my needle clamp and asked if it was a hard part to repair, would it take long for my dealer to fix? 
Reply 1: Here's a link to a website where you can replace the part for $32.95.
Reply 2: I'll order it for you, and only charge you $24.95. (I love looking at this website, and her blog has lots of repair tutorials!)
Reply 3: Let me help you, it'll only cost $21.95. (No blog, no website, but can order parts and was super helpful!)
So, my part should be here early next week, and it's supposed to be a simple fix, see that tiny little screw above the needle screw?  I've got the tool for that!  Meanwhile, I have a knit from Gorgeous Fabrics that is all cut out and ready to zip through the serger and coverstitch machines! I love this Simplicity top pattern, and will never understand why it's out of print....
  • My next pattern to trace is for this jacket from this month's Burda, using the cotton lycra "snakeskin" print from Haberman's.  What's with me an animal prints lately???
  • My next pattern to cut is for this dress, Vogue 1152, which will be made out of silk crepe de chine. Did you see Very Prairie's blouse version? Love it...
  • My next muslin to make is for this jacket, Vogue 1169, using some pretty pink basketweave from Ressy's co-op. I must be partial to Rebecca Taylor designs!
Oh, I almost forgot! There were a few questions on the last post...
1.  Jill from the co-op reminded me that a leather scrap would likely be enough for another belt treatment, so I sent out a message, and may have an offer of brown leather to make up another version of the Ralph Lauren skirt! Thanks, Jill!
2. Estee asked if I muslin everything I make, and the answer is NO! Just the garments that either require an excellent fit or are going to be made from a more expensive fabric. I've found that they are worth the time and trouble, since the fit is superior and the construction is easier after having done it once before.  I don't do "wearable muslins", so there are no hems to finish, and I'm focused soley on the fit.
3.  Meredith P (and Laura) commented on my productivity. When the kids go to bed (8 pm), I will spend a little time sewing or tracing at night.  On the weekends, I get a lot done, and am lucky that my kids play so well together!  Also, I've found that I've gotten faster over the last year or so.  Summerset taught me to sew as many seams as possible at once, then go forward with construction, always making the most of the machine time, and reducing the up/down/press/repeat down time! So, I pin and sew as much as possible on as many pieces as possible, then move through the instructions to the next step.

It's a Project Runway night, but a rerun of last week (Booooo...)! My early favorites are Amy and Emilio.  How about you? 6 designers gone, and 10 left... who will make it to Bryant Park???

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Feelin' Pretty in a Pencil Skirt

I wanted to model my version after the Ralph Lauren version, and I think I did... okay.  The buckle closures were different than I expected (shorter than I wanted), and I decided to keep the front on a fold (with a side invisible zipper), rather than make a front fly zipper opening.  Also, I redrafted the Burda pattern pieces for the front waistband.  When I muslined it to check the fit, I was unhappy with the roundedness of the front waistband piece.  I really wanted a flatter seamline (like the Ralph Lauren version), so I redrafted it and like it so much better!  ETA: BeeBee asked how I finished the inside, so I thought I should mention that I skipped the facings, and cut another set of waistband pieces.  Once the zipper was in, I put the waistbands right sides together, stitched the top seam (and stabilized with a strip of ribbon to prevent stretching), and turned it to the inside.  I folded the seam allowance under, and handstitched it down on the inside.
The fabric is black stretch cotton sateen from Haberman Fabrics.  The buckle closures are from M & J Trimming in NYC (I bought online), and I'm glad I did.  Even Haberman's had nothing remotely close to these.  Yes, that is scotch tape holding them in place.  I couldn't pin them down, but needed them to stay put!
As I was changing the needle to attach these, I broke my Viking.  I was tightening the screw to clamp the new leather needle in place, and overtightened.  CRACK! I thought Vikings were supposed to be indestructable??? The ring piece is cracked and the screw just spins in place now.  Good thing my vintage White was ready to get the job done!

And you haven't seen me modeling the leopard print blouse, another Burda pattern... 01/10, #129.  I wore it to work last week and it was well received!  I really like it with the pencil skirt, and it still works with it untucked and belted!  The drawstring opening takes some getting used to, but it's comfy and fun to wear.
In other sewing news... I've got another 20 shirts to embroider, and the prom dress to start.  I've got to get the muslin done this week, as we are fabric shopping for it next Saturday.  Martha (the 1926 White) will get me through, and hopefully my Viking will be repaired (and ready to sew the fussy new fabrics) later this week.  Then I'd love to whip up a couple knit dresses and a muslin for the Vogue jacket...

The weather forecast is predicting another 8" of snow for tomorrow/Tuesday, so I'm hoping for another snow/sew day!!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Kristine's Fun Friday!!!

I've been gifted a 4-day weekend in the form of "Mid-Winter Break", and I enjoyed myself thoroughly today.  My kids had to go to school (I live in a different district than I teach) and DH had to go to work, so that left little old me all by my lonely with 8 hours to pass.  Geez... what's a girl to do???

Fabric shop, of course!!!  Haberman Fabrics is a phenomenal fabric shop, carrying the most beautiful silks, wools, cottons... you name it, they've got it.  Along with notions, home dec, bridal, sewing machines... I can usually only manage a trip there about twice a year (a day off with no kids is rare in these parts, and they're about 45 minutes away), so I always make it count!  To top it off, my super-sweet-super-mother-in-law got me a nice big gift certificate for my birthday, so I could really splurge! (This weekend the "independent pattern companies" they carry are 25% off, and they do offer shipping...)

It only took me 2 hours to find everything that my heart could possibly desire (and that my pocketbook could possibly handle)!
This pretty pastels cotton sateen will be Little Miss Princess's Easter Dress

This Diane Von Furstenburg jersey of burgundy, black, and taupe brushstrokes will be a dress...

This silk crepe de chine border print (1/2 off!!!) will be Vogue 1152...

This cotton/lycra textured snakeskin print will be a denim style cropped jacket, probably jacket #121 from the upcoming March 2010 Burda... (the "stripes" run with the grain)

Here we have (from top to bottom) stretch denim for Jalie jeans,
a heathered grey knit for Butterick 5313 (view B, bottom right),
and stretch cotton sateen for the Ralph Lauren pencil skirt.

The pink basketweave came from the co-op, and will be the Vogue 1169 jacket.  The silk print will be the lining, and I found the perfect buttons today.  Still need black piping...

And finally, this rust/gold Prada silky linen came from the coop, too.  Yes, I did say "Prada"!
It's going to be a sheath dress, so I got this peachy lining for it.

Can you saying "Sewing with a plan"??? Time for me to get to work, so wipe the drool off your keyboards, and get back to your sewing!  Catch up with you Sunday night when I'll post what I've managed to get done...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Wrapover Jacket 12/09 #119

Looks just like the magazine shoot, doesn't it?  Yeah, the 6 yr old got a huge kick out of recreating the Burda set-up...
Like: Warm and Cozy.  Looks much better than a snuggie or a sweatshirt.  Perfect for wearing to that certain friend's house that keeps the thermostat at 65 in the dead of winter.  (If that's you, sorry. Your house is like an iceberg.)  Also, did all the sewing on the serger (4-threads), except for a little hand stitching at the hems.
Dislike:  The length gives it that "almost a bathrobe" look.  No darts = Loose fitting = Not sexy.  (Oh well, we can't always be sexy...)
Here's a close-up of the fabric, a grey/white wool I found at Kashi's in NYC this past summer.  I thought it was a sweaterknit until I handled it more closely at home.  No stretch, and feels like a wool blanket.  Not itchy, though...
I'll give it a 3 1/2 stars out of 5.  It'll get lots of use (with jeans) for at home, or hanging out with friends, but I don't know if I'll wear it to work.  I might give it a shot, and see how it's received.  It's supposed to be made out of a knit, so part of my complaint (too bathrobe-ish) might be due to "operator error".  It's not amazing, but it's highly functional.  Here's my PR review.

FYI: The pattern calls for 3.5 yards of 60" wide because the collar band is supposed to be placed on a fold (twice), but I only had 2 yards to work with.  So, I fudged it, and put the foldline on the selvedge with the yarny-fringe, and cut 2 (not on a fold).  It works for me, but I don't think I folded it over correctly.  No biggie...  I cut it out last night, and started sewing this morning (off and on), and was finished at 5:30pm.  The day included laundry, grocery shopping, baking cookies, and cooking chili.  Not bad for a day's work, huh?

Oooh! I want one of those!

Yesterday I stumbled across this picture of a Ralph Lauren Blue Label skirt.  I don't comb the web looking to copy garments, but I know what I like.  And, I like this skirt.  Except it's khaki.  And the coin purse is silly.  And it's got a goofy fob thingy.  But, I like everything else about it, which include the double belt closure, the high waist, and the cut.  After a little "Googling", I discovered that it is this skirt, the "Dustine Stretch Twill Skirt", and sells for $298.  Yeah, right... $300 for a twill skirt. Crazy...

I've got some fantastic Italian RPL in the stash (black, not tan), and will use the Burda Jan. 2009 skirt 112, which The Selfish Seamstress just made up, and it's awesome.  Burda did it black with a skinny belt, and that's the look I'm going for.  But, twice...

Next stop, over to the M & J Trim website, where after much clicking, digging, swearing, and pouting (why are they under "snap closures"???), I finally found them.  I had a few to pick from, but chose these:

Aren't they fantastic? Simple, elegant... love them!  Lindsay T reminded me that Mood is also carrying more of these types of items, but I'm happy with my first choice.

I think I'll keep with the Burda plan, and use a side (or back) zip, and not do the Ralph Lauren fly front zip.  Less chance for bulk/pucker, and a sleeker finish.  Time to get tracing...  If all goes well (and if I could find tan belt like in the picture), I'd do a tan one in a heartbeat!  Kadiddlehopper and Beangirl are also working on black pencil skirts, so this should be fun!

In other sewing news... Thursday night (pre-Project Runway) I traced off this Burda jacket from the Dec. 09 issue (I must be on a Burda Binge right now).  I was a little nervous, as the magazine calls for 3.5 yds of 60" wide.  I have 2 yds of 60" wide grey/white wool from Metro Textiles (NYC, again...), and had my heart set on this pattern for this fabric.  Upon closer inspection of the layout, I noticed that the collar bands are laid on the fold and cut twice.  Could I get away with them not on the fold?  Hmmm....  I realized that if I put the fold edge on the selvedge, it would not only work, but give a finished edge with a yarn/fringe finish.  Double bonus!!!  So, I'm in the midst of sewing now (and must get back to it, along with more laundry and grocery shopping), and will report back later.  I'm confident I'll have this jacket done and photographed by tonite.

Check back later!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Best. Sewing. Day. Ever.

I can't believe how much I got done today! Yes, it was super duper cold out, but the road commission did a nice job out our way, so when Little Miss Princess got an invite for a play date, the drive wasn't terribly bad.  Little Man fell asleep in the car on the way, so I had enough peace and quiet to get most of my "To Do List" done!

1.  Tomorrow is the Valentine's Day Party, and with a theme like "Fancy Nancy", some blue jeans and a red shirt just won't do!  So the "Daddy-Daughter Dress" is getting double duty this year!  A very sparkly ribbon/belt was already picked out, but I felt like it still needed a little something.  So, I did some research, and found the perfect embellishment: A fabric flower!
I got the instructions from this website, but changed it up a little.  I added another round of slightly smaller petals, and set a small square of the sparkly ribbon inside the center, instead of a button.  Reminds me of a peony...
I love it, it's exactly what I was hoping for, so I'm thrilled with the result.  So is Little Miss Princess, who also thinks it would look great on a headband (and I agree)!  I'll do a full review and photo shoot another day.  (Check out the snow piled on the deck behind her...)
2.  The leopard print blouse is finished! The second sleeve was attached and the eyelets set for the drawstring.  I used 8 black eyelets and the setter (both from Joann's), and it only took a few minutes.  If I had known how easy eyelets were before, I would've used them sooner, so I'm sure you'll be seeing them again in the future!  The only problem (very small) was that the eyelet setter didn't make a very good hole to set the eyelet into, so I just used my super sharp scissors and made itty-bitty holes instead.  No biggie.
I really like this blouse, and I'm glad I decided to keep it (thanks, again)!  I'll do a full photo shoot later this week, when DH can take my picture...
3.  I went through my Burda files and my pattern drawer, and decided to use Simplicity 2683 for the shrug.  Ironically, this is the pattern from last year's Daddy-Daughter Dress, but I hadn't used the shrug/jacket part.  I had a scrap (18") of bamboo knit I really wanted to use, and it fit the pieces perfectly.  The pattern called for a woven, but I wanted her to be warm and cozy.  It worked fine, and came together quickly.  I decided to set the ties aside, as I don't want to hide the sparkly belt and pretty flower!  I'll attach them after the dance, if at all.
See the writing inside, on the fabric? I didn't notice it until I was nearly done, and so thankful it's on the inside!  This is leftover bamboo from a dress I made this summer, so very, very soft!  This is the neckline, it's an attached band with a strip of elastic inside.  Different approach, Simplicity...
Aren't the sleeves so cute? It ends at her elbow, so not too long, not too short... just right!
Did I mention how much I *love* my coverstitch machine?!?!

4.  Didn't happen.  I didn't think it would.  Actually, I did get 2 more shirts embroidered for a client, so I guess it was really just a change of plans!  I love days when I get to use all my machines in the same sitting!

The pencil skirt is next on the list for this weekend's projects, I've got some RPL that will be perfect for it.  There's also a cozy jacket on the list, a fabulous gray fabric I found in NY that looks like a sweater knit, that will be perfect for this Burda jacket.  Both Katie and Michelle had luck with using a woven instead of a knit on this pattern, so I should be okay, too.
So, that was my snow day.  There were some other activities (setting up and playing with the train set, getting Valentine's ready, etc.), so I had a pretty full day.  Back to the trenches tomorrow...

Snow Day = Sewing Day!!!

Ok, I'm sure some of you may not be nearly as excited, but this is my first of the year.  It's been a weird winter here in Michigan, I think Mother Nature accidentally delivered all of our winter snow to D.C.  In the last 2 days.  We've got about 8-10", so just enough to make the back roads and subdivisions too bad for school buses.  Since the monster order is done and delivered, I'm free and clear to sew "fun stuff" today!
So, what's on the "To Do" list?
1. Finish the "Pretty in Pink" Dress for Little Miss Princess. She needs it for school tomorrow (Fancy Nancy Valentine's Party, don't ya know!), so a little embellishment, and it's finished.
2. Finish the leopard print blouse, thanks to all of you for setting me straight and not wadding it!  It needs a sleeve and some eyelets (which I grabbed at Joann's yesterday before the storm hit in a moment of pre-planning)
3. Whip up a little black knit shrug for Little Miss Princess.  The dress (see #1) is sleeveless, so the arms need to be covered tomorrow!
4. (Do I dare dream of a #4????) After we go outside a have a snowball fight/go sledding/make a snowman, I'd love to make a black pencil skirt to go with the new blouse.  Again, thanks to all of you for encouraging me with comments like "Yowza. Do it!" and "Watch out, Momma!".  DH thanks you, too...

I'll report back tonight, and we'll see how I did.  Hope everyone has a cozy (productive) day in the sewing studio!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Student of Project Runway

To say that I'm a fan of Project Runway is a serious understatement.  I have every season on DVD, and never miss a Thursday night (Hi, Michelle! *wave*).  I've had the pleasure of meeting Chloe Dao (Season 2 winner), and am trying to figure out a way to get a signed copy of Laura Bennett's upcoming book...

Addiction would probably be the best description, really.

So, as I've been working on a new blouse for myself, I've heard voices in my head.
Tim Gunn: "That's a lot of look."
Michael: "You need to be careful with an animal print like that."
Heidi: "I like that your taking a risk and trying to "Wow" us..."
Nina: *Snickering and shaking her head* "Sigh...."

I've never made or worn an animal print before, so I might be more nervous than necessary.  I'm stepping outside the box here, and you know we become overly critical at those times.

I'm using the January 2010 Burda, with the tunic pattern that was "Make 1, Take 4" that month, after seeing this review on PR.  Dawn had also made up the dress version, and both were so cute, I was sold.
I really like the lace-up drawstring front, and the gathered sleeves are cute.  I thought the design in combination with the print would make for a fun blouse to wear at work or for a night out.  But, as I attached the sleeves last night, the voices started...
Season 3 of PR, episode 10.  The Black and White Cocktail Dress Challenge.
Uli Herzner made a short dress that had long sleeves, and the hem of the dress was the same length as the sleeves.  It looked awful, and the judges made it clear that  by shortening the sleeves slightly (3/4 length) it made for a whole new (lighter) look.  So, as I hesitantly tried this top on, that's what immediately came to mind.  The sleeves are too long.
What do you think? I've already cut a new set of cuffs, but maybe I'm wrong...
Or is the whole thing a wadder???

Oh, and the embroidery continues.  31 done, 19 to go...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

50 more, please?!

This is what greeted me Monday when I came home from work.
55 Heavy Duty fleece shirts to embroider for a local fire department (the same one that just ordered 50 hats)!  I think I should send them a thank you note...

So, I'll be working on these babies all week, while inserting a zipper and hemming Little Miss Princess's Pretty in Pink Party Dress!  And learning how to use my new-old coverstitch machine.  Hey, you "veteran coverstitchers" out there!? What's the best way to line up the hem on the wrong side for stitching, when you can't see it?  The manual recommends drawing a chalk line on the right side where the hem edge sits, but that seems... well... silly.  How do you do it?  Meanwhile, I've got a knit top halfway done (just needs sleeves and coverstitching), and I'm craving a new knit dress.  I've got both of these, and just can't decide...
Butterick 5242 (long sleeve), or...            
Butterick 5313 (bottom right corner, long sleeves)