Sunday, January 29, 2012

Lace Love: The Details

Sorry to leave you with such a small post last night, but I couldn't wait to post until this morning, as I was just too excited about how it turned out.

Never had my picture taken in front of one of these "red carpet banners" before, so I couldn't resist! It's DH behind the camera, not the press!!! Pattern: McCall's 6505 (Phoebe Couture)

I cut the size 14 (which has been fitting like a glove, but I knew from the flat pattern measurements that it would need to be sized down. The dress has much more of an A-line shape than the illustration/photo shows. I left the sleeves off, and used the outer "lace" pattern pieces as the lining, since my lace wasn't sheer. Alterations: -I took in the side seams 1/2" from the armhole to the waist, then grading out to 1 1/2" at the hem. -I added waist darts to the front piece, because without them this dress just falls slightly away from the body, hanging off the bust. With a slightly heavier fabric and the desire to belt it in the future, I needed a more contoured fit. I used a different sheath pattern from the stash and transferred the markings. I did the "sewing room happy dance" when I pressed and the darts were invisible! (Isn't DH extra handsome in uniform???)

Construction: Very straight forward! I whipped this up between a evening and a morning. I placed the hem at the selvedge, to take advantage of the "just lace" edge. Everything was normal and easy until I had to attach the lining. Since I strayed from the pattern lining and used the outer pieces, I sewed them right sides together all the way around the neck line, trimming, turning, and pressing the finished neckline. I finished the armholes by hand, machine stitching the seam line, clipping and pressing it flat, then hand-stitching the two layers together along the stitched seam line. I love the back, as it has a back "V" that is very pretty. Supplies: I lined it with ivory china silk from Gorgeous Fabrics, as I wanted a natural fiber that was light as air. I used a black invisible zipper, and 1.5 yds (60") of the lace covered wool from Haberman Fabrics. All in all, this dress cost under $50. But, the belt would change that price... I gotta story about that! I went to the Michael Kors Outlet store at the local mall and spent my Christmas money on a fabulous tweed dress that came with this thin black leather belt. It was on the clearance rack, which happened to be 50% off that day... so the dress and belt came to a whopping... $50. I'll show you the dress time, but isn't that a great belt???

The Event: The Pontiac Fire Dept. was holding a funeral... for itself. The city fell into financial crisis, and the governor placed an "Emergency Financial Manager" in charge of correcting the problem. He has dismantled the police department (the county deputies now patrol there), and now has dissolved the fire department. PFD has 180 year history, and fights multiple house fires every day, along with transporting many patients to the hospital. Our friends on the fire department will be now employed by a neighboring community, and last night's event was to honor the legacy of the past and present that made the department a true Brotherhood. As of Tuesday, the PFD will no longer exist, and this was their good-bye. It was sad, it was humbling, and it makes me angry. Detroit is about to fall prey to the same situation, and it's very scary. Just Google it, and see for yourself. DH, along with firefighters from other communities, came to bear witness and honor the department.

So, there you have it. ALL the details! Sorry it was a novel, but thanks for reading to the end! In conclusion, I love this fabric and will get lots of use out of this dress! The pattern needs tweaking, I strongly recommend you muslin it first and make sure it hangs the way you want. Have a great sewing week!!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lace Love!!!

Headed out the door to a fancy night out, just had to show you the finished dress! Details to come, but its exactly what I wanted, so I am thrilled!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

ALERT: Fabric Enabler!

If you loved the lace wool I posted about the other day, here is the link to Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan where I bought it. There was plenty left on the bolt on Tuesday... If you call and ask if the ivory is still available, they will take your order over the phone and ship it to you.It was also available in a lime green under the black lace for the same price...

In my efforts to find some images of RTW sheath dresses and skirts of lace overlay, I found that Mood also sells this same exact fabric, in more colors! Grey, royal, pea, and I can't tell if it's white or the ivory I bought...

From the Mood website:
This is heavy weight boiled wool with a black lace laminate, making a reversible fabric.
Content: Nylon-15%, Viscose-50%, Wool-30%
Width: 57"
Price: $30/yd

From the Haberman's website:
A soft, medium weight boiled wool with black lace attached to one side.
Color(s): Lime Green, Black
Width: 56"
Fiber: 30% Wool, 50% Viscose, 15% Nylon
Care: Dry Clean
Recommended for: coating, dresses, handbags, jackets, skirts, totes
Price: $27.98/yd

Detailed descriptions are mandatory for me when buying (expensive) fabric online, and I find the differing opinions of medium or heavy weight interesting...

Thanks to all the responses on my last post, its so nice to know that I am not alone in talking/listening to the fabric!

I've definitely narrowed down my choices to skirt or dress, and am leaning toward dress. Making the most of the yardage I bought is important to me, although I did consider splitting it, keeping 3/4 yd for a skirt and selling 3/4 yd to one of you. Maybe.

Last question: When you are torn on how to use a fabric, how do you decide? Do you drape your dress form, like me? Do you search the Internet for similar images? Ask your Facebook friends?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Listening to the Fabric...

Hello, sweet thing! You are the prettiest wool I've ever seen, yes you are! Who's a pretty girl? Who's a pretty girl? That's right... You! I've been dying to find the perfect lace to an overlay with, and there you were yesterday, just sitting on the shelf at Haberman's, waiting for me to take you home! You and your ivory wool already fused with a cotton lace, just to make my life easier, too! Did I take the lime green underlay? No, ma'am! I took the ivory and black, for a classic color combo. Thankfully you were on sale too, but with my birthday money burning a hole in my pocket, I probably would've bought you anyway! A yard and a half of 60" wide could be lots of things, so please tell me... Whisper it in my ear. Do you want to be a skirt?

Kind of boring, but very useful. Maybe. How about a jacket? A nice Chanel number with some pretty black lace and trim along the edges?

Ooh... Now, you're talking! Mommy likey that look! Or perhaps a simple, but elegant sheath dress?

Easy to dress up with jewelry for a night on the town, or dressed down with a black cardi for work. I did buy some of that black wool cashmere yesterday, too for a nice simple jacket that would match!

What to do, what to do with a fabric like you? The extra lace hanging loose along your selvages are screaming to be put to good use, which just makes my wheels spin more...

Being a mid-weight slightly heavier than a suiting, I can do any of these pieces. The skirt seems like a waste, in my opinion you're just to pretty to get noticed more! I really like the idea of edging you in bias strips of black organza with a pretty braided trim centered inside for the prettiest Chanel jacket! Then again, you are so very similar to the awesome lace overlay dresses that Kate Middleton wears, that I feel the urge to go in that direction, feeling like a Duchess myself! Decisions, decisions... What does my readership think? Skirt, jacket, or dress???

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Winter Wonder

Pattern: Vogue 8346

Fabric: Wool Coating and lining from Gorgeous Fabrics (5yds of each). Faux fur from Ressy's co-op (0.5 yd). The buttons are from Etsy.

Sizing: I made my standard 14, and it's perfect. Fitted, with enough room for a sweater underneath.

Alterations: None. Usually the sleeves are crazy long on me, but these are perfect. I hemmed the recommended amount on both the sleeves and hem, but the only problem I encountered is that it seems like the coating grew a little in length, so the hemmed lining is a touch too short. I can let it out and fix it, but I am the only one who will ever see it!

Special touches: The pattern calls for snap closures, using the buttons purely as decoration. I chose to make bound buttons holes (sorry, forgot to photograph them), which weren't nearly as terrible as I anticipated. I debated on the right time to make the openings in the lining, whether to do it according to the pattern placement of the buttons, or after attaching the lining to the coat. I decided to use the pattern, and do it prior to fixing the 2 layers together, as it would have been a monstrous amount of fabric to manipulate under and around the machine. Working with fur: I was afraid the fur collar would be "too much", but once I cut it and draped on the shell, I knew it was exactly right. I used my scissors to trim the nap down within 5/8" on all sides, then used a needle to pull the strands that got cut in the seam anyway. It finished very nicely, and so so so so SOFT!

Conclusion: A big project, but definitely a garment that will land in my Top Ten (most proud of making) list! I'll be warm from the inside-out whenever I wear it! Just check out the twirl factor:

I almost forgot... My inspiration for making this coat! I've always loved the dress that Audrey Hepburn is wearing in the closing scenes of the movie "Roman Holiday". Shawl collar, double-breasted, full skirt... Not a look I could pull off as a dress, but when I found this coat pattern, I knew I could portray the look in a different way.

Friday, January 13, 2012

She's Learning...

Thank you, American Girl! We found these awesome craft kits at Meijer, and she's loving it! This is the "Coin Purse Sewing Kit" and she's already decorated a mirrored tag board. She's learning a running stitch and a cross-stitch here, and I must say... She's doing a great job! Threading the needle had proven to be a little tricky, but the threader (included) is getting much use! Tonight I will finish hemming my beautiful "couture" wool coat, and we actually have snow (finally), so a photo shoot is likely to happen tomorrow! I can't wait to show you, I'm quite proud of myself!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Resolution #1: CHECK!!!

Happy New Year, everyone! 2012 is off to a rip-roaring start, look what I did this morning!

My first 5k! It was cold, but the rain stopped just as the race started, and the sun even came out! DH stayed by my side throughout (which kept me moving when I'd really rather slow down), and even said, "Ladies first!" at the finish line. Who said chivalry is dead? I didn't finish first, but I didn't finish last... Which is all you can hope for the first time out. 36 minutes was my finishing time (which is my normal pace on the treadmill), with just 3 brief walking intervals needed.

Here we are at the finish line:

There were over 100 other runners out there with us, and it was a really fun way to set the tone for 2012. I NEVER thought I'd EVER say this, but... I like running. Not the during, but definitely the sense of accomplishment after. I would like to participate in another 5k soon, as there is nothing like having a date on the calendar (and someone else reminding you of said upcoming date), to keep you training and motivated.

I hope we are all able to make our dreams and goals a reality this year! Good luck and stay focused!