Sunday, April 19, 2015

Spring for Cotton Photoshoot

I finished my Spring for Cotton dress and now here is the much lauded and talked about photoshoot results. My dear friend Mary, brought me to the undeveloped portion of the Gym building she goes too. It was an amazing place to shoot! Mary is incredibly talented. She makes everything look as good as it possibly can. I love these photos.

After this whole long journey, losing almost 30 lbs., new job, and rolling the derby, I'm just so happy. I like how I look and even more than that, I like how I feel. One bitter sweet thing is that now some of my measurements are smaller than my dress form. It's so sad, dress forms are expensive, but at the same time yay for me.

I love this shoot. Can't wait to do more! I'm working on a new dress with teacups on it. Perhaps in a tea shop or something. We'll see what the incredibly talented Mary thinks.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring for Cotton Dress is done!

I've finally finished it. There have been many moments of hemming and hawing and changing my mind but it's done and it's beautiful. I don't yet have any pictures of it on me and not just my dress form but I will have them soon.

One of the first things I vexed over was how to finish my armscyes. Turn and topstitch? Turn and hand stitch? As I pondered I came to the realization that I wanted to use single fold bias on the edge, press it to the inside, and then hand stitch it. I debated using hem tape and gave topstitching a shot but I wasn't doing either of those things other places so it just didn't flow the way I wanted it to.

This dress grew on me the more I worked on it. I think one of the things that I loved most about it was that I didn't have all the answers. I played with things, looked at it on the dress form, and I let the solutions speak to me. One of the next issues was figuring out what I wanted the neckline to be when I didn't have the vest on. I initially thought these fold backs were the answer, but it just wasn't sitting right and when I had the vest on the fold backs sat beyond the edges of the vest. I ironed out the creases I made when putting the lapels in and then I put it back on the dress form to play with it.  

I really loved what it looked like without any fold backs in it at all. It's modern with retro styling. It was such a happy accident. It looks so cool!

It should not go unmentioned that Hobbes did not let my crafting get in the way of his need to sleep in the middle of the of the floor in my studio. He's got a commitment to excellence.

I used an invisible zipper on the side seam and for the first time in a long time it lined up perfectly on the first go. Goodness gracious what a score!

Look at that beautiful zipper! Heck yah!

Also just on a side note (Get it side note? We're looking at the side seam), I also added pockets to the skirt. All dresses should have pockets. It should be a prerequisite.

One thing that made my life incredibly easy was that because the skirt was just two gathered rectangles the hem was straight. So I just picked the depth of the hem, I chose 4" because I wanted it to be substantial, and then I took to my glorious machine, and blind hemmed it. 

It looked great but then The dress felt very plain and was almost veering into weird cat lady jumper territory. I began playing around with different hem lengths but when I made it shorter it didn't look balanced and I didn't want it to be longer. That was when I noticed the leftover red bias. I started playing with it and I really love it at the hem.

Now let's have a conversation about the vest. It was one of my favorite portions of the dress. In my last post I spoke about the vest issues I was having because I hadn't interfaced it on both sides. I entertained trying to take the first one apart and adding interfacing to it, but it was too much work. I decided to just recut and start over. It came out much better. I am really happy with the end result.

I love my dress! I'm not on the fence anymore. There will be more pictures forthcoming of me in the dress. I have plans with one of my favorite photographers on Wednesday. Till then!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Spring for Cotton is ON!

Okay, so now that I have waded into the water of my dress/vest situation, I have decided that I do in fact love it. I've been fascinated figuring out this puzzle and how to put it all together.

I have chosen my fabric. I am going with a 100% cotton Chambray from Gertie's new fabric line at Joann's, it has these brilliant red printed polka dots. They're amazing. And I'm pairing it with a solid white 100% cotton shirting.

After trying on my muslin I did adjust the fit a wee bit. I mean don't get me wrong it went on my body but it looked painted on my body. I loosened it up a little bit by just adding a 1/4" to the side seam of each pattern piece. It just needed the barest breath of space.

Aside from the fact that she needs a press I am happy with the result. She'll have buttons up the center front of the bodice, a side zipper, and a dirndl skirt. I like the little fold back almost shirtwaist feel of the bodice. On the back of the neck is a little mandarin collar that I am going to attach the vest to with a button the inside on the center back.

I laid the mock up for the vest over the bodice and I really liked it, so full steam ahead. My next step was to cut and assemble the vest.

Now here is the problem that I have. As I usually do with collars I only interfaced one side of the vest. I chose the part that would be facing out at the neck edge. Now the front lacks the crispness that I want it to have and you can see the ripples where the button loops sit in the seam allowance. It feels crazy but I think I am am going to remove all the buttons, open her back up, and re-interface the other side of the fabric. I just can't handle the ripples. Oh Dear.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Spring for Cotton and a dress I think I love, but I'm not sure that I do...

Have you heard? Lucky Lucille is starting a sew a long. Following the template of Fall for Cotton, Lucky Lucille is bringing us Spring for Cotton. The requirements for this sew a long? 100% cotton and vintage pattern inspiration. I know it sounds simple but isn't that what is so amazing about it? I've done the Fall for Cotton sew a long before and it was so much fun. I drafted my own pattern, and it was wildly successful.

Naturally I was once more inclined toward making my own pattern. I was inspired by a pattern book my friend gave me from 1947. There is this image in it that has this great rolled collar. I was fascinated by it and by figuring it out. It was like a fantastic puzzle! I just kept looking at it and I just wanted to know how it "rolled" to use the pun.

They classify this collar as a vest. It says it right there in black and white, but for some reason I kept trying to make it attach to my bodice. I was saying to myself, "Where does it attach to the bodice?". The answer is that it doesn't, it doesn't at all, it's a vest, and vests don't often attach to things, that is what makes them vests.

The whole process for this dress was fascinating to me and at the same time I wasn't sure that I liked it. Have you ever had that moment when you are drawn to a project and you cannot explain or understand why? I think that is where I am now. In theory I love this dress, in practice however, I am not sure that I do. 

I have decided to combine my late 40's bodice and vest with a more 50's inspired dirndl skirt. I want something that I can wear for spring and will look crisp for work. I drew it out and I was still oddly attracted to it but vexed as to why. Also at the time I drew this I was still thinking that this was not a vest and that it was part of the bodice some how. ***It took a while before I figured this out. It wasn't until I actually made the darn thing that I realized how it worked. I did not even learn this in the pattern phase. It made me feel a little dim, but it did actually work, so I guess it works.

Once I had my design worked out it was time to start patterning. I started by draping a simple two dart sloper. One of the reason's I went the direction of creating a sloper is because the 1947 pattern book uses a sloper as a starting point for pattern modification. On a side note I haven't had a sloper since I lost all my weight, so it was good to create a jumping off point for this and future projects.

After I had a draped sloper I commenced with the pattern modifications. All the while I was questioning this project and yet at the same time being drawn in further. It is a very strange and new sensation for me to be on the one hand incredibly certain and on the other hand highly suspect. It's exciting and a little scary.

When I first made up the muslin I was appalled by the collar. I think that the reason I was so repulsed by the collar was because it wasn't until I made the muslin and tried to attach the collar to the bodice that I realized this pattern piece needed to be a separate vest not an attached collar. It was very vexing. I wanted this collar to be attached and this pattern was being willfully disobedient. 

The more I looked at this collar and bodice, the more I began to love them. Like really love them. Once it really sunk in that the collar needed to be a separate vest I began to embrace it. Something that I also began to think about was what this dress may look like without the vest on. I mean if the vest was going to be separate, then the dress had better be cute! That part I am still working out, but I Have an inclination toward a fold back collar with an abstract mandarin stand. I haven't tested it out but I think it will work.

Another query I was having was how this collar was going to stay in place on the dress. Now that I have accepted that this collar was actually a vest I wanted to know that once on the dress it was going to stay in place and look cute. I think that I have realized that by employing a series buttonholes, loops, and belt like waistband, I could keep the vest where it needs to be and make it all work.

For now that's the where I am on this project. I have more questions than I usually do when I start a new endeavor, but that in and of itself is exciting. Who knows what road this dress will take me down, but it's exciting. I'm going to make this look GOOD!.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Round Robin of Spring Gifting Anyone?

I have this idea that's been buzzing through my head for the past few weeks. A few friends of mine were part of a geeky gift exchange. I have been thinking that it would be wonderful to institute a sewers gift exchange. This winter has been so long, there has been so much snow, honestly I could use a pick me up, and I have a theory that I'm not alone.

I was thumbing through my stash of patterns and fabrics and it got me thinking. I have so much fabric, I know there are some pieces I'll never use, and there are some patterns that I love and would like to share with someone else. It would be a sort of spring gifting rather than spring cleaning. It would also be a way to get to know some other crafters out there in the world.

These are some of the items I received in a giveaway last year from Lucky Lucille. Think of it as inspiration for your gift pack. Doesn't have to be a ton of stuff, just something sweet.

Here's how it will work. Comment on this post and I will send you a questionnaire to fill out and match you up with a fellow sewer. You will also get the questionnaire of a fellow sewer so that you can make a gift pack for them. Here are some of the parameters:

1) This is open to anyone who is interested, but you must comment signed in so that I can email you or leave your email in your comment.

2) Ideally you will send either patterns you like or fabric you loved upon purchase but may never get around to using. You could also send notions of a little sewing tool that you love.

3) You may spend money on the items for your gift pack but I would like to cap any additional out of pocket expense at $20.

4) You must write a note to send along with your package.

5) All items should be posted by April 30th.

6) If you blog throw up a post when you receive your gifty. Let us know about it.

7) This is going to be open to international sewers and there will be a question on the survey about your willingness to ship internationally.

I'm happy to answer any questions. This is the first time we're doing it and if it goes well perhaps we'll do it again. It's so exciting!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Electric Purple and Sequin Leopard

Every once in a while, as I am perusing the wares at my local textile dispensary, my fingertips will graze an item so deliciously dangerous and out of my normal taste, that I simply cannot fight the urge and I must make it mine. This happened to me recently with an electric purple twill and a black sweater knit with matte gold sequin leopard print pattern. So basically these fabrics are amazing.

I made my own skirt pattern and then I'm sure you guessed it, I rolled out a Gertie pattern for my top. I did her knit sweetheart top and it is so cute!!!

I want to have a moment for my pattern weights. They look like gold spools of thread and they are so awesome. My friend Todd made them on his lathe and they are one of my absolute favorite sewing tools. They are the perfect weight and the perfect size. As you can see I am in love!

The quandary I had was how I was going to bind the neck and sleeve edges. That is when I took a little peek at the fabric and saw that they had made this sweater knit with a very generous band of unsequined fabric near the selvage. Score! I used that to bind my edges and I was super pleased!

Another bonus in finishing this project was that I got to spend more time with the ever so talented Mary, for our little photoshoot. We had some beers, delicious, and then we split a bucket of endless wings, also delicious. We refilled that stuff three times. I will say that the bartender was trying to be stingy with wings, but we were like, "We're growing girls and that menu item said endless, so keep em' coming...please" They were delicious!

I had so much fun in both the making and the photographing. I was thinking that perhaps the next project we could shoot outside, but mother nature just dumped another 6" of the awful white stuff on us. Will it never end? Well more soon!