Friday, August 26, 2011

Challenge... Accomplished!!!

I wanted a challenging project, and it certainly was one! Putting the finishing touches on it today made me smile on the inside and outside, as meeting any challenging goal would!

It ended up a little shorter than I planned, but DH assures me that I look great. ;)

The neck facing went in easily, and the armholes were hemmed with just a little issue getting a nice finish at the side seam (because of the two separate layers). The hem ruffle was time consuming, as I used my serger to stitch a nice narrow rolled hem on both the top and bottom. Then, I used my gathering foot to speed up the process (just a little fiddling wi the tension to get the desired result). I applied the ruffle to the outside of the dress, hemmed the lining accordingly.

Photo shoots at the fire station are always more fun...

My only recommendations on the pattern (Burda 7/2011 #138) are to MAKE A MUSLIN. It was much bigger in the waist than I expected (I took it in 1/2" on both side seams and another 1/2" on both the back darts), and much longer than I expected (not afterward, though!)

I love the final results, and while I didn't make a million garments this summer, I am very happy with the quality of the few that I did make!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I think I can, I think I can...

Progress is slow (we are just having way too much fun this summer), but the Challenge Dress is coming along! I have the invisible zipper installed, which meant meticulous matching of stripes. Lots. Of. Stripes.

The chiffon and lining were stitched together along the center back seam, from neck to zipper bottom, and then below the zipper the layers are independent of each other. So, after installing the zip, the center back seams are stitched separately.

This last pic (above) shows that I left the lining long enough to still add the ruffle and hem. It was very important to keep the layers separate for exactly this reason. I will run these seams through the serger to prevent the seam allowances from fraying.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I think. All that's left is to...
-attach the neck facing
-stitch the side seams (separate layers, again)
-hem the armholes
-gather and attach the bottom ruffle (the last "big" job)

I think I can, I think I can...

**ETA: I have been blogging from my iPad2, and the picture quality on the camera isn't perfect, so my apologies. It's my only complaint about this most wonderful tech gadget!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Progress Update

Hey hey! Life continues to be busy, but this summer will go down in history as being one of the most productive and memorable!

We went camping (finally) on the west side of Michigan (Muskegon) and enjoyed some amusement park roller coasters...

I surprised Little Miss with tickets to the Selena Gomez concert. She was shocked, screamed, and then cried "tears of joy", and we were at the venue an hour later enjoying the show from the packed "cheap seats"! It was a great first concert for her, and I enjoyed it, too!

In the sewing room, I have been busy with paying jobs, mending a dress, embroidering some hats, and making a dress! More on this later...

The chiffon dress is coming along, although I made a mistake by using carbon paper to transfer the markings for the front tucks. You can see the blue marks at the base of each tuck below.

I used some coordinating thread to stitch a tight zig-zag over the lines, and I am happy with the outcome.

Meanwhile, Little Miss has made some "back to school" selections from the pattern and fabric stash, so I am obviously trying to do way more than is humanly possible. I had better get moving...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Great Minds, Hatty!

I just came upstairs from reworking this issue, and saw that reader Hatty and I arrived at almost the same solution!

I really want a dress. The heart wants what the heart wants!

I pulled a skirt pattern out with the desired finished length, and found that the Burda dress is too long to start with! I marked the pattern at the desired length, and rechecked... Almost, but not quite enough fabric.

Throughout this problem, it also occurred to me that I will only be happy if the stripes match at the side seams. Now, you're thinking, "Seriously, Kristine? It's not bad enough you're already short on fabric, and now you want to match the stripe? Crazy girl..."

Yup, that's me. Crazy and stubborn. Just ask DH.

So, I replaced the (now shorter) pattern pieces on the fabric to make the stripe match, and can see that it's now the appropriate length of a long tunic (13" below the waist). Now, please remember that I have a single thickness of 72" by 20" left untouched, staring at me. Waste fabric? Nope...

So, that's going to be the lovely 6" gathered ruffle added to the bottom to give me the mini-dress length that I need. Yes, the ruffle will sport a vertical strip, but that's ok with me. An added point of interest, if you will. And if the ruffle looks awful... I will have a cute top (with striped matching at the side seams).

The solid lining layer underneath will just be shortened to the finished length of the dress. I think this is a blessing in disguise, as I like the look of this reworked design so much more than the original, which was a little boring. I feel like I cleared a hurdle in the "workroom" by "making it work", and now I can "carry on"! Yes, episode 2 of Project Runway season 9 is on tonight....

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Trouble in Paradise

I wanted a challenge, and I definitely got one! Apparently, I did not buy enough of this fabric!

I think my options are:
1. Shorten the dress into a tunic/top.
2. Turn the pattern pieces and have the stripes run vertical instead of horizontal.
See, the front has to be placed on a fold, which allows me enough to cut 1 back piece, but not 2!

Here is what it would look like if I turned the pattern and wore vertical stripes.

There is a 3rd option, and that is to piece one of the back pieces to finish the hem and match the pattern. I don't think that would look ok!

So, horizontal blouse or vertical dress????

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Time for a Challenge!

After the disappointment of the Blah-der, I am in need of A challenge. This may surprise you, as most people would head straight for a "sure thing" win, but I have made too many no-brainer sundresses this summer, and I am thirsty for a challenge.

I have this lovely chiffon from Haberman's that wants to be a dress. I tried talking it into becoming a tunic blouse, but it crossed it's arms, lowered it's chin, and boldly refused. I tried to give it the silent treatment by setting it aside and reaching for another nicer (more agreeable) fabric. But, it kept whining and calling to me, begging to be played with since summer will be over soon and the time for lightweight, sheer, bright colored fabrics is coming to an end. Fine. You win. Let's find a pattern that will present some type of "rise to the occasion" attitude!

Simplicity 2187 came out (view B), but the blousy roominess of it makes me nervous, and there's no "challenge" to it. Very wearable, but Not what I want right now.

I flipped through the pattern boxes again (haven't finished cataloging them into the iPad yet)... nada. Then I realized that it's been a gajillion years since I traced and stitched up a Burda. Just following the right lines on the pattern sheet is a challenge in itself! I remembered a dress pattern from a recent month that incorporated a sheer fabric with a close fit, and after just a little digging, I found it in the July 2011 issue.

It's #138, and while the technical drawing is pretty boring, the model photo shows it's potential.

Reasons why this is THE RIGHT PATTERN:
1. Close fit in the waist, with no blousing, no gathering!
2. A subtle a-line to the skirt that will skim over the hips.
3. 1-piece front and 1-piece back is ideal for the stripey fabric (no matching).
4. The solid lining is more fitted (no pin-tucks) and totally separate (not an "underlining"))

This final view shows the shoulder tucks and sheer layering much better.

And, I can always add my wide braided dark brown leather belt to accessorize, so this is my next project. I have challenges on the horizon, as fall is coming, which means "back to work" and the need for some nice structured, tailored jackets. I also placed an order with Mood fabrics, so I am excited about that package arriving!

How about you? Anything you're "thirsting" for in the sewing room?