Thursday, September 24, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy...

Hi folks! I know I've been a little absent lately, September has not been kind to me!! School started, giving me a new class to teach this year (AP Statistics... sounds like fun, huh?), I've tried to finish my Chanel jacket (trim is on, just needs hems, pockets, and chains), my son turned 4 last weekend (birthday party set-up and clean-up), and this Saturday will find me at the Sewing Expo in Novi, taking classes and modeling my dress and hoping for a prize, too! Lastly, I've been hired to make a Homecoming dress for next Saturday's dance. Thankfully, the muslin was a perfect fit, so when I found out today that my "client" has been voted on to the Homecoming Court, my stress level rose slightly, but did not skyrocket! Yikes... that means my dress will be modeled in front of the ENTIRE STAFF AND STUDENT BODY. I don't know whether to laugh or cry!
Here's what I've got so far...
The Pattern: Simplicity 2692 (view C - top left, 1 shoulder)
Actually, I'm only using the pattern for the bodice, the waistband and the drape. The bust gathers have become darts, for a much smoother, fitted appearance. She really wanted a full length (fitted at the waistband) A-line skirt, so I grabbed a skirt pattern from my stash (with a similar waistband yoke), and added some length.

The Fabric: Valentine Red Duchess (poly) Satin from The budget didn't allow silk satin, so poly will have to do. It has a great weight and drape, and the color is actually more of a true, scarlet red.

The Trim: 3 5/8" wide embroidered/beaded black trim from M&J Trims, NY. This will be backed in black, and is wide enough to stitch right into the bodice and skirt seams. It is the basis of the waistband and the beads on the "flowers" are actually irridescent (blue/purple/green), but the "webs" of beads are black. When the M & J website wouldn't let me order increments of a yard, I called the store and they allowed me to purchase a 1 1/2 yds. I wondered about putting the red behind it, but the fabric the beads are stitched to is slightly frayed in parts, and is a more striking waistband on a field of black (which also hides the fraying little threads).

I also have the sketch she initially gave me to work with, but I'll leave that to the final post next week so you can compare the two! She is a really sweet young lady (I'll call her "Miss M"), a senior this year and was in one of my classes last year, too. Always smiling, a hard-worker, and quite responsible. NHS President, Student Council President, and wonderful math student to boot! I'm quite honored to be able to do this for her, and am so excited that she's been recognized by her classmates in such a wonderful way. No, she won't be Homecoming Queen (we don't have a King/Queen at our school, just a court), but she'll certainly look like one! The muslin was a fabulous fit, just a 1" adjustment at the top of the zipper, under the arm. In my opinion, NYC did wonders for my sewing confidence, as I was able to put the muslin together in less than 2 hours with fantastic fit!
Please keep your fingers crossed for me this weekend (Top Ten Fashion Show) and next week, as I work on this dress that will be displayed for all my colleagues and students to see... OMG, what have I gotten myself into?!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

It's a Jacket!!!

You might be thinking I'm crazy, but this project has finally taken shape! It's hard for me to believe that is was just 2 weeks ago that I was in NY starting this project, it feels like I've been stressing over this project for at least a month! This week I had enough time to get the lining hand-stitched closed (including the sleeves), and today I was able to attach the sleeves and close up the lining there, too. Although it was incredibly frustrating, and painstakingly slow, I did it the way Susan told me to, and handstitched the sleeves on. I dragged my dressform from downstairs, and in my sunshiny kitchen I wrestled, trimmed, clipped, pinned, and sewed. The second sleeve went on much faster than the first, and I have to admit, with each completed step, I am more proud of myself and more confident of my sewing skills.

Here are pics of the back and the lining.
Next up is attaching the trim, then hemming all the open edges, by hand of course. Then I'll attach the 2 pockets and chain, and put this baby to bed! I'm really, really hoping it will be finished by September 26, when I go to the Novi Sewing Expo, so Kenneth can see my finished project in person! The next few weeks will be rather crazy though, between a family birthday, the sewing show, and having to also make a homecoming dress by October 3rd! Thankfully, the dress she has in mind is very, very similar to this Simplicity pattern (view C with 1 shoulder and floor length), and should be pretty straitforward to make! I'll post more about this dress later this week, but for now, I'm beat!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Good-bye, Summer! Hello, Fall!

Progress on the Chanel jacket is very, very slow with school starting this week. I had meetings all day both Wednesday and Thursday, and had to hit Costco yesterday to stock up on juice boxes and lunch box stuff! Tuesday morning will come too soon (sob, sob)! We had the most wonderful summer, and I really hate seeing it come to an end. Little Man gave up the paci and diapers, and Little Miss Princess learned how to swim (underwater, too) and ride without training wheels. Our family had a blast camping, DH passed his Paramedic test, and I finally had my dream trip to NYC. Tuesday will find me greeting many juniors and seniors during 3 hours of Trig and 2 hours of AP Statistics, as Little Miss Princess boards the bus 1st grade... Oh, and I almost forgot to update you: I've qualified for the fashion show at the American Sewing Expo in September, and will model my dress in Saturday's fashion show! There are 30 finalists (50 entries), and we're competing for the grand prize of a $1000 gift certificate to! If that's not the icing on the cake of an amazing summer, I don't know what is!

So, back to sewing! All pieces are finally quilted, and today I was able to assemble the body of the jacket. Here you can see that the boucle is stitched together, but the lining is not. The seam allowances are trimmed to about 3/4", pressed open, but not stitched down.
Below you can the lining on the left side is pinned down over the open seam allowance of the boucle. Then the right side is smoothed down over it, folded under, and will be fell stitched closed.
Ick. Gack. Ugh. Barf. I hate handstitching. There must've been a shortage on "patience" when they were handing out the goods when I was born, but I will suck it up, grab the wonderful hand-sewing needles I got from Susan, and turn on a good movie. Once all the seam allowances in the bodice are cleaned and closed, then I will attach the sleeves and close up the linings there, too. The fit had to be checked one last time (and can be adjusted if necessary) before attaching the sleeves.

Between my video of Susan explaining everything in NY and Threads issue #121, I really feel like I have a good understanding of the remaining steps. If you are doing the Chanel Jacket Sew Along, or have interest in ever making a Chanel jacket, I highly recommend calling Threads and ordering issue #121 (January 2006), it's exactly how Susan instructed me during my class in NY. Call me crazy, but I'm actually going to do this all over again, and make another jacket (down the road). I think I just have to prove to myself that I can (all by myself)!

Hope you all have a wonderful week. I have the stinking suspicion that mine will be exhausting...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Chanel Jacket Progress

I have a long way to go, so I'm trying to remind myself: It's a marathon, not a sprint! And with my first teacher work day happening tomorrow, I don't have the energy (or time) to re-draft this blog post, so I'm just gonna cheat, and link you to the post I just did for the Chanel Jacket Sew Along.

I have 1 piece left to quilt, but my walking foot keeps snagging my boucle. Kind of a pain in the butt. I've had lots of embroidery jobs keeping me busy (saving up for my next NYC trip already), so we'll see how much gets done this week! I think the next step will go quickly (Yay! for machine stitching!), and closing the lining will be the next ugly step.

I'm expecting my fabric to arrive from NYC any day now. I got some really lovely pieces at Paron's and Metro Textile. I'll photograph and post my faves once they land and relax!
Non-Sewing NYC Moment:

Friday night after dinner, we stumbled across a little shop called "Fur & Furgery". As we looked at all the lovely items in the window, the owner waved us in and showed us some of the amazing garments and hats he's made. The lovely I'm modeling above is a reproduction of a hat he made for the Queen of England. When the cashmere cloche he's making me arrives, I'll be sure to photograph it and show you!