Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Weekend Meetup

On Saturday I met up with Sonja (Ginger Makes), Kelli (True Bias), Kerry (Kestrel Finds and Makes), Liz (Busy Lizzie), Janice (She's in Fashion), Cindy, and Marina (Frabjous Couture) to shop in the Garment District.  I had a great time - everyone was such good company!  It was really fun to see what different people gravitated toward in the stores, and what everyone took home.  And shopping with these ladies is so much more fun than going by myself!

I brought an extensive list of things I'm thinking about for fall & winter, and managed to largely stick to it even though it's still in the 80s these days.

I ended up with nearly 4 yards of black stretch sateen (a great deal at Paron, it was half off of $16.50, and I asked for 2 yards but since it was the end of the bolt I got nearly 4.)  Boring, but will make a much needed pair of Clovers and maybe some shorts if I can make that happen soon enough.

At Chic Fabrics I picked up this red and black heart print silk, which is destined to become the bow blouse version of New Look 6107.

My last purchase was some very pink bemberg lining from Mood.  Mood can be pricey for many things, but their rayon lining prices are hard to beat, usually $4-5/yd.

And then I came home and could not resist some great deals at Fabric Mart, where I bought enough fabric for 2 skirts, 2 shirts, and 2 dresses, all for $40 (including shipping!) after using a coupon code and their $10 off $50 promotion.  Oops.  More on these later!

Whew! So much for my fabric shopping ban... on the bright side, I'm feeling much more excited about the upcoming season now that I have some appropriate fabrics in my stash.  And really, no more shopping for me for a little while.  I mean it this time!

Friday, August 24, 2012

New Butter-ICK. (And getting ready for Fall.)

Ok, so it's not that bad.  "Ick" definitely came to mind a few times though when I was browsing the new fall/winter patterns from Butterick.
I mean, really, why, when you are a giant pattern company with presumably endless resources, would you use electric blue polyester lace?

Butterick 5812
The line drawing admittedly shows some potential, which makes the fabric choice even worse.  It could have been cute! They have another sample that's not nearly as bad, but someone made the brilliant decision of using the blue raspberry candy color for the main photo.

Then there are these HUMONGOUS tulip sleeves.  I just don't understand.

Butterick 5815
And this color combo (in taffeta, of all things!) is not my favorite.  I'm also not a huge fan of the giant peplum.  I do think this pattern has some potential for a good work dress sans peplum.

Butterick 5811
Gertie has three patterns out through Butterick now, which is very exciting! My favorite was this dress:

Butterick 5814
Unfortunately, with entirely too many patterns in my stash already, I can't justify purchasing this one.  This sort of neckline tends to over-emphasize my broad shoulders, and makes my head look really small.  It sounds ridiculous, but its true!  Besides that, I'm trying to make more easily wearable things that fit into my everyday life, and a fancy-schmancy dress like this won't cut it.

Speaking of stash... I'm breaking my fabric shopping ban to hang out in the Garment District with a bunch of other bloggers tomorrow (if you're in the NYC area, check out the details on Ginger Makes!).  I am not going to buy any more summery fabrics.  Not.  No matter how pretty.  I'd like to avoid wearing the same outfits every single week this fall and winter, which means I need solid and maybe a few graphic print knits, rayon challis, suiting, and a good stretch black for another pair of Clovers.  Must. focus.

Is anyone else having trouble letting go of summer sewing?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

FO: True Blue Love Dress

Let's count the reasons I love this dress...

  1. It's a textured solid - versatile without being boring.  
  2. The A-line skirt - more "me" than a pencil skirt, but not too "fluffy" for work.  
  3. No lining or pesky facings! This does mean that I probably can't wear it with tights, but it's perfect for warm days since its just one layer.  The pattern uses a combination of facings and bias tape.  I used bias tape throughout.

  4. IMG_4734

  5. The nautical insides.  One of those little things that counts even though no one else can see it.

  6. IMG_4767

  7. The zipper.  This is my first practically perfect invisible zip.  It's actually invisible, and there are no weird bubbles in the seam at the beginning or the end of the zipper.  Yay! 
  8. This dress goes with everything.  All of my sweaters, all of my shoes, all of my belts.
  9. IMG_4761
  10. The pleats.  I love pleats.  The pattern envelope shows the bust darts sewn up about 1".  The instructions show them sewn up completely.  I went for somewhere in the middle.  A small part of me thinks it just looks like I forgot to sew up the rest, but mostly I like the way they echo the pleats on the skirt.  
Pattern: Simplicity 2209
Fabric: Navy blue cotton from Paron.
Modifications: No facings, shortened hem by 3" and bodice by 1/2", sewed up darts halfway.  
Do you have a piece like this - perfect in its simplicity, goes with everything in your closet?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday night...

Dark Chocolate & Caramelized Banana Tart (recipe here)... Good, but next time I'd bake the crust for a little longer - it's not soggy, but the bottom doesn't have enough "snap" to it.

And this...

All I wanted was a zipper... I guess the rest of my notions had other ideas though.  Not visible here is the entire box of glass head pins that spilled out of their container and under the bed.  I guess it's time to reorganize...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Looking forward to fall (knitting)

As a resident of NYC without air conditioning, I cannot wait for fall.  Even though summer dresses are my favorite thing to sew, I am so done with the soupy air and my oven-like apartment.  I'm looking forward to wearing cardigans and tights, sewing more pants, and knitting more sweaters.  Here are the projects I can't wait to cast on for:

Glascow from Norah Gaughan
Purl Soho Stirrup Socks
Downton Pullover
Pomme de Pin Cardigan
Array Scarf

I haven't touched my sewing machine in nearly two weeks.  Not good! The Olympics were horrible for my productivity - I kept getting sucked in and before I knew it it was time for bed.  Every night! Is anyone else glad they're over so they can get back to their machine?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Giveaway Winner!

And the winner of these lovely buttons, selected with the assistance of random.org, is......

Karen, of Did You Make That? fame! She's planning on using the bakelite buttons on an Alma blouse, and I can't wait to see it!

I was also thrilled to find out today that I won my first giveaway, for Simplicity 2154 from Shivani! There are so many great versions of the top and skirt out there, I can't wait to make them.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

FO: Meet Maxi.

(Now I kind of want to name my next pet Maxi...)

Paisley Maxi

Paisley Maxi

I finished the dress! After consulting all of you for advice, I deviated quite a bit from my original plan, using a pattern with fewer seamlines so that the pattern wouldn't be broken up.  Though really, the print is so crazy I'm not sure it would have been very noticeable.

I used Simplicity 2497 as my base, but instead of adding the neck band I turned it into a tank-style bodice.   I also changed the back to a racerback with a casing at the top, an idea taken from this dress.  I used bias binding around the neckline and for the straps, and then ran them through the casing at the back.  The original pattern has a midriff piece and a zipper, but instead  I lengthened the bodice pieces and attached the skirt and bodice pieces, made a casing and used elastic.

Paisley Maxi

The last change I made was to add a shelf bra with bra cups.  It's 10000x more comfortable than a strapless, which I don't have anyway.  I collect the cups from old swimsuits just in case I need them for sewing, and my hoarding habits finally came in handy.  I also got to use the pretty aqua elastic that Shivani sent me.

Paisley Maxi

I've worn the dress twice now, and I'm pretty pleased - very comfortable, and different from everything else in my closet.

Paisley Maxi

Fabric: Rayon challis from Metro Textiles
Pattern: Simplicity 2497, with many alterations.  I cut an 8 in the bodice and a 10 in the skirt.
Modifications: Eliminated midriff, changed to tank/racerback, used elastic at waist.

Don't forget... you still have until midnight EST tonight (Wednesday) to enter my vintage button giveaway!

Friday, August 3, 2012

It's Giveaway Time!

I've been blogging for 7 months now! I can't believe it's been that long.  Blogging has made sewing (and knitting and cooking, which I'm hoping to do more of as the weather cools down) so much more fun.  So, thank you all for reading!

And as a thank you, I'm finally doing a little giveaway.  I was at the Brooklyn Flea (which is not really one of those flea markets where everything is really cheap, but is instead one of the ones that's called a flea market because that's the cool thing to do) and I stumbled upon some vintage buttons! So, I picked up some for me:

And some for one of you:

If you'd like to win the buttons, leave a comment and tell me how you would use one set.  One entry per person, please! Entries accepted until Wednesday, August 8, 11:59PM EST.
Ready, set, comment!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Alma Blouse

Alma Blouse

I was lucky enough to be a pattern tester for Tasia's new Alma blouse pattern - it was a great experience, and I love my top!

Alma Blouse

The fabric is rayon lawn, with little butterflies (or apples?).  It creases so easily, but worked nicely for this blouse.  I'd never seen rayon lawn before I found this at Paron, and haven't seen any since.  To be honest, I can't really distinguish between this and rayon challis.  I decided not to use a contrast fabric for the collar.  

Alma Blouse

I made view B, a 4 in the bust and a 2 in the waist and hips.  The only change I made to the pattern was to omit the zipper.  I actually did put it in, but it altered the drape of the top and I did a bad job anyway, so there were a couple of puckers.  In the end I took it out, because I could put on the top without it.  It's not quite as fitted as some of the other versions I've seen, but I don't mind this because the drape of the fabric keeps it from being anywhere near boxy.  Plus if I had made it more fitted, I would have had to deal with the zipper, or find some other way of getting into it. 

Alma Blouse

Overall, the pattern was excellent.  Tasia accounts for turn of cloth with her collar pieces, which I appreciate. What I especially love about the pattern is its simple (but not boring!) shape, and how different the views are.  I had a great time testing the pattern too - it was interesting to get an inside look at the pattern-making process, and Tasia answered any questions I had quickly and thoughtfully.

Fabric: Rayon lawn from Paron
Pattern: Alma from Sewaholic
Modifications: None really, unless you count the lack of zipper.