Checks and such

All done!

Finishing touches have been applied to my gingham top and matching zipper procured.  For this particular make I’d bought some gingham from Fabrix when I should have been elsewhere, doing something else.  But, as happens, when you put a fabric store next to several of my favorite dim sum bakeries, chaos ensues and gingham is bought with a pork bun side.

After buying the gingham I was at a loss as to what to make out of it that didn’t look too little girl or “guess who repurposed a tablecloth?”  I finally decided to to troll through the really old copies of Burda World of Fashion I have in my garage.  These date back to times when the pattern sheets were not totally crammed with patterns and tracing off was much easier.  I also wanted to justify keeping a couple dozen copies of old pattern magazines.

So after much looking and dithering I decided on a simple shell.  This one is from 3/1999 #117.  I only added 2″ to the length of the body, other than that I made it as writ.  Nothing too outlandish, princess seams, small bust darts and a one piece neck/armhole facing with a back invisible zipper.  I didn’t follow the directions (which were as brief then as they are today) but this was pretty darn straight forward.

I’m glad I looked through the old patterns (1999-2002ish) since there are a lot of good basic shapes in there and if high waist pants reemerge, I’ve got a collection of patterns from which to choose.  There were also many good skirts, blouses and dresses as well as my love of old – coats!  Too hot to think about coats right now though.  Happy 1999!

Squashed

There has been a bit of sewing around here!  I know, finally she gets off her ass and makes something.  I’ve seriously lost my momentum so hopefully this latest make will help my mojo.

That said, my top is not done for lack of an appropriate zipper.  I had no light colored zips in the zip box!  Crikey, so instead of finishing my top I made zucchini bread.

I know, zucchini bread is trial and scourge upon humanity.  I like it, so bwah!  Now I don’t have a garden and don’t grow stupid amounts of it, but I did buy some young zuchs at the farm stand and used those.  I used this Zucchini Bread recipe which is all about cinnamon.  Plus you get to squeeze the liquid out of your shredded zucchini and that’s fun.  Really.

Hopefully I’ll get my top finished soon.  I’d thought to bring it to work on the 4th of July since I was scheduled to go to Honolulu, but fortunately for me I was able to get rid of the trip.  Sure I’ll have to pick up another one, but I so hate working holidays.  So now I’ve got a summery top almost done and no place to wear it.  Except for here I guess, where it’s been about 90 for days!  Stay cool friends!

Lagging

I just came back from a few days in Copenhagen and have nothing to show for it except jet lag and tight waistbands from eating all the pastries I could find.  As you do.  Oh and clogs ’cause I ran over to Sweden one day.

So hopefully I’ll finish my baby blanket before the little girl hits college (only 8″ to go really) and I’ve got two sweaters and two pairs of socks started.  I’d like to sew something too but have no clue what to make.  Every time I decide on a project I rethink it.  I guess that means hold your horses until you get a clear idea.  Or the jet lag clears.

So back to work to pay for all the fun.

Skirting around the issue


The last time I went fabric shopping in NYC I bought some black stretch denim in a light medium weight to make a jeans skirt.  That would plug a little hole in my wardrobe and be fairly easy to make up.

Why then did I just use that fabric for jeans?  Not a jeans skirt, just jeans?  I guess I’d seen one to many versions of Ginger Jeans  from Closet Case Patterns popping up around the web.  I actually have well fitting rtw jeans available from Levi, but I must have been caught up in the enthusiasm.

I downloaded the Ginger Jeans pattern, taped it together and made some adjustments to accommodate the curves and had at it.  I’ve made fly front pants before so that wasn’t a problem, I was leery of the topstitching.  But that turned out to be fine too.  It just needed a bit of machine tweaking to get the stitch tension working and voila!

So a pretty straight forward make.  I had to take two little darts in the yoke back to get the waistband to lay flat above the wagon I’m dragin’ (which is an adjustment I’ve since made to my pattern as shown by those illustrative red lines below).  The pockets and waistband facing are made from leftover aloha dress fabric and the topstitching is purple.  So a pretty sedate pair of black jeans, not too heavy which will be good for packing.

I finished them and promptly wore them to the dentist to get a broken tooth seen to.  My dentist is on vacation this week and I am on vacation next week and didn’t want to swan around too long with my snaggle molar, so temporary fix and a crown in my future according to my borrowed dentist.  And much more work to pay for the darn thing!  So black jeans and dental work here on the blog.  I’m not sure where I’ll go next week, but I’ll be wearing my comfy new Ginger Jeans!

Famille Rose Dress

And it has pockets!

Doesn’t this dress make you think of Chinese porcelain?  It does me so that’s its new name, Famille Rose Ranges Dress.

As one can see, my Darling Ranges dress is done and has even been worn.  That is success in my book.  The Darling Ranges dress was all over the sewing blogs a few years ago but I’ve not made one until now.  Luckily that coincided with Megan Nielsen re-introducing the pattern with new stuff (I don’t really know what’s new since I didn’t read up on it) but new and improved.

Basically this is an above waist dress with elbow sleeves and a button front.  The only change I made was to raise the neckline 1.5″ since it was kind of low for me.  I ended up hemming the dress 3″ to make it above knee.  The fabric is polyester crepe that’s super light and scrunches up to nothing, so good for packing.  Add legging and flats and it’s an outfit.  Theoretically is looks cute with a belt, but I still hate wearing belts so that probably won’t happen irl.  The only further change I’ll make in future versions would be to change the sleeves.  Longer or shorter would be better on me.

So that’s it, a vase inspired fabric choice that’s already been worn.  Success!  And I even found a use for some flower buttons from the stash that kind of looked like blossoms.  Win!

Can you spot the button in the picture? It works well enough and they were free…

Darling or no

It’s weird, but I think I’ll wear it. What does that say about me?

I’ve been using my limited crafting time on this Darling Ranges dress.  I picked up the fabric at my fave cheap fabric store and liked the rather odd Asian vase collage, even though it’s not really my style.

The dress is a simple raised waist, button front dress and is super easy to wear with leggings and a cardie.  I thought I’d try it on to see if it looked decent enough to continue.  The fit is ok, but I may add the back ties that I’d thought to leave off.  The sleeves are a bit odd, they have elastic at the bottom (as per the instructions) and are not super full.  They look wonky in the picture but they really are the same length.  They are a tad tight and I’m not large armed.  Those may have to be changed in future versions.  It’s also a bit long, I see this as above knee length to work with leggings.

I shall finish this up and see how it works when I return from my little work trip.  I should be napping so I can work the redeye tonight, but alas, I’m not tired.  I guess I shall be later…

Drape experiment

I recently bought Drape Drape 2 and wanted to try out one of the patterns.  Top number 4 is an asymmetrical side drape top that you trace off from the enclosed pattern sheet.

That sounds pretty simple.  Except that the pattern is just one piece and it’s big.  So I put it off because it seemed like such a pain.  I did eventually get around to tracing it and it wasn’t as onerous as I thought it would be.  Isn’t that just the way?

So pattern traced (1 cm seam allowances are included), neckline raised 3″ (yes it’s super low), two seams sewn.  Yup, just two body seams.  I added a neckband and didn’t bother hemming the sleeves and bottom since it won’t fray as is and I don’t know if this will get worn.

I made the large size (since I’m not Japanese lady sized) and my bust measurement is pretty much off the chart.  I used a very stretchy 4 way stretch rayon knit to try to get this to drape and fit, so I get a good drape, but this top is clingy and I don’t like cling.

So my Drape Drape 2 experiment is rather so so.  Interesting process but the end result may not get worn.  I shall hold onto it for a bit and see if I can wear this comfortably.

I dare you not to buy this fabric!

What?  Fabric buying when you’re over blessed with fabric?  Worry not, this was bought last year and finally worked up.  This fabric was picked up in Honolulu on a layover.  Hawaiian Fabric Mart is cleverly located a few blocks from the hotel where we stay and I can only take so much sun, but fabric shopping, no sunblock needed.

I bought two fabrics, one a poly blend Hawaiian border print that I can’t get to work as of yet.  I’m still trying, but it was time to move on to this cotton print of Hawaiian icons.  Seriously, can you see how amazing this is?  I wore it to get my hair cut so my Hawaiian raised stylist could explain some of the icons to me.  She thought it was just as fun as I did, plus she explained some icons that I didn’t even notice.

As for the dress, I wanted to make a shirt dress and McCalls 6696 worked for me.  Gathered skirt, pockets and a proper two piece collar and stand.  Sounds like a perfect match.  And then…

The plan came unstuck immediately because I didn’t have enough fabric to lay the pattern out per instructions.  It was close, but my 3+ yards couldn’t be stretched.  The skirt pieces are enormous and are too wide to be placed when the fabric is folded in half so you end up having to lay them out on single fabric and waste tons of material.  So that was a problem.  Frankenpattern time!  I ended up using the skirt from Simplicity 1419 since that’s my most favorite dress in the world, and it has an A-line skirt with pockets.  The Simplicity skirt is narrow enough to lay out on my folded fabric so I had plenty of fabric after all!

Then I worked on fit.  McCalls 6696 has different bodice patterns based on cup size.  I used the C cup based on the pattern measurements vs. my boobies.  I read the comments for this pattern on Patternreview and a few people found the back gathers to be too poufy so I took some width out there.  I shortened the skirt to top of knee cap and shortened the sleeves a bit because they were veering towards churchlady rather than short and cute.  I also shortened the bodice based on the fit of my favorite dress.

Well, that should have made it perfect.  Not exactly.  The front bust point gapes a bit, so I should have used a D cup bodice and the 1″ I shortened the bodice length was totally unnecessary.  It’s now a bit too short.  Still wearable, but too short.  Ok.  Noted.  The part of this dress I like the least is the back gathering.  It’s still too poufy and because of the pouf the collar tends to float around the body, rather than sitting around my swan like neck.  So yank, tug, yank.  It’s still wearable, I did wear it all day Saturday without any finger pointing and gapes of horror, but I wish I took that gathering all out.  Darn.  And it works ok with a cardigan, since we all know San Francisco summers are COLD.

So what’s the verdict?  Wearable, but it’s not going to be my favorite dress.  Simplicity 1419 retains the prize despite me using the cutest darn fabric evah!  Live and learn.  Mahalo and aloha!

First jam!

The before ingredients.

The bounty at the farm down the street isn’t quite ready yet, but luckily Whole Foods had a special on strawberries that I couldn’t resist.  Strawberries, rhubarb (and maybe some Pliny the Elder) jumped into my basket so I had to come home and make a jar of jam.  As usual, one pound of fruit, lowish sugar (scant 1/2c) and no added pectin (except for juice and rind of one lemon) makes one yummy jam.  This strawberry rhubarb is my favorite since it’s nice and tangy.  I may have to make some bread to complement the jam.  Whole Foods seems to have made a lot of work for me!

Hopefully I’ll have a ridiculous franken-patterned dress to share soon.  I should clarify, the dress isn’t ridiculous but the fabric is a novelty print that I couldn’t resist.  Barring any boo boos, it should be done soon.

The delicious after.

ABCs of A-lines

I am wearing my super cute sewing glasses so I can’t see a damn thing unless it’s 12″ in front of me. Srsly.

It’s a black, A-line skirt with pockets.  As exciting as say, a ballgown?  Nah, but this will get more wear.

I’ve made a version of Sewaholic’s Hollyburn skirt, this one in a tropical weight wool.  I changed the pattern a wee bit to suit my prejudices.  I don’t like waistbands, but rather like a teenage boy, want my garments hanging off my waist.  I shall not subject the world to knee knockin’, boxer short showin’ but I still don’t like a waistband.  Ok, back on track, I left off the waistband and drafted a facing.  I also added a lining since this wool is quite light (and see through) and split the pocket piece so the pocket facing could be made from a lighter fabric (lining in this case).

The zipper is one I purchased in NYC the other day and went in like a dream.  The zipper tape on this zip is much lighter than the zips from Joann (Coats and Clark) so the zipper is truly invisible.  It also helps that this spongy fabric hides stitches like an 8 year old hides her Halloween candy from her siblings.

This is actually an easy sewing project, despite it taking me weeks to finish.  The downside of only sewing for a few minutes at a time whenever you can find a moment, is that thing take an age.  That doesn’t mean I don’t have my eye on a dress pattern for my next project, which will be dependent upon finding a stashed fabric that will work.  Stashbusting in progess!

Pattern Review here.

The inside story: facing with lining attached at center back.