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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Pretty patterns

I got my very first Colette pattern in the mail today, and all I can say is “WOW!”

You can really tell that Sarai came from a Usability background.
I’ll be making a lot of Senchas…several for me, and one for my little sis for her graduation. I can’t wait to get started!

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It’s a booklet!

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Isn’t that amazing!?!

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Posted by on August 21, 2011 in shopping

 

Oona-balloona inspired dress

I love Ms. Oona-Balloona. She is rockin’ cool. I wish I could be as cool as her.

I’m just a humble librarian though…

But with this dress…

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I think I can channel a little Ms. Oona of my own.

WOW this is a loud fabric. For someone who is pattern averse, getting this freebie in the mail made my head spin. What the heck was I going to do with ZIGZAGS… holy moly!

I decided to do a dry run of the halter neck shirt pattern I found in Burda that I was going to make with my cherry red silk jersey.

I’m SO glad I did! I forgot that halters require special hardware for busty gals…see?

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I don’t have any special hardware…. but that’s okay though because I LOVE me a bateau neckline, which is how I wound up modifying the dress after looking at it as a halter and hating it!

You know what?

I actually kind of like it.

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Shhhhhhh…..

Maybe with a black cardigan to tone it down a little?

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2011 in creations, inspiration

 

Planning a Wardrobe

After seeing a post at the Coletterie about Sarai’s wardrobe, I was inspired to get organized with my own sewing projects.

So what do I actually *need* to be happy? Well, I feel like I’m not too far off right now. I’m a simple girl, and I like to have a trim wardrobe where everything plays nice with everything else.

Rather than try and photograph my dark closet, I prefer to sketch out what I’ve got… since I don’t own much, it’s pretty fast :)

Here are my current tops (colors approximate and limited by my colored pencil selections)

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And my current bottoms….

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For someone who really, really likes green and purple, I’ve currently got neither of either! That makes me very sad. But that’s great! Because it means that I know where to focus the efforts of my next projects.

I’ve got the supplies on the way for a Colette Sencha Keyhole blouse (purple silk charmeuse) and that Tracy Reese knit dress from Vogue (in a crazy black and white animal print with jade green outlines). I still want more green in there, but didn’t like ANY of the green fabric I found so that will just have to wait for now.

Here’s my planning sketches:

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Posted by on August 19, 2011 in inspiration, planning

 

Plotting and scheming

I’ve been trying to decide which project I want to start on next. You’d think this would be easy, since I just got a bunch of new patterns, and a bunch of new fabric from various and sundry sources.

Unfortunately, when I try and match up the two, I keep coming up with goose eggs! Does this happen to all new sewists?

I’ve got that gorgeous cherry-red silk jersey, but since I haven’t sewed with Jersey yet, or silk, I figure I need to play with something else before cutting into the most expensive thing in my stash.

Then there’s that red silk I got from the garage sale, but I can’t decide which sheath dress I want to make out of it. Sheath dresses are good for Duponi, right?

Then there’s that pretty blue and white fabric with the lilacs… I’m almost 100% positive I want to do a retro pattern with a boatneck and wide skirt (very Audrey Hepburn), but I haven’t found a pattern I like yet.

Then there’s some odds and ends and a bunch of woolen plaids… but it’s 105 here and I just can’t make myself touch those wools!

So, what’s left? Well… there is that crazy zig zag fabric I got from Fabric Mart. I *could* sew something up with that. And it *is* a slinky knit, so I could get some practice that would help me out with my silk jersey project later. Hey, I could finally make something using one of those Burda magazines I paid an arm and a leg for. I did actually get tracing fabric so I could replicate things from that crazy insert…

Hm…

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2011 in musings, planning

 

This is fall gardening weather

It’s been the weirdest summer. No rain… At all. We usually get a bit, but it’s been really terrible this year.

So sewing projects must be put aside in favor of finishing installing our drip irrigation system. We’ve put a lot of sweat and money into the yard and this is one of those years where you can lose everything — even xeric plants — if you don’t lend a hand.

And we have tons of baby trees that are only a few years old …. They need our help.

Wish us well and do a rain dance for us or something!

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Posted by on August 7, 2011 in garden

 

Hotter than Hades

It has been crazy hot here this summer. Like 108 for days in a row, and I’m not even kidding.

So I didn’t sew any clothes today.

Instead, I sewed some blackout lining for the bedroom curtains. It’s SO awesome to have someplace to escape the death rays… Why did I wait so long?

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It isn’t true blackout, because I like to wake up to the sun, but those curtains were basically sheers before.

We are really appreciating it during breaks from gardening.

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Posted by on August 6, 2011 in garden

 

Post Mortem on Sorbetto

So yesterday, I unveiled my finished Sorbetto top:
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Which I wore the day before to work. And I got so many compliments! Which made me feel much better about the bits that didn’t come out perfectly (or even how I wanted them!).

Here’s a few of the things that went wrong:

When I pin fit the pattern, it looked like my bust point actually didn’t need any adjustments at all… so I didn’t move the dart and didn’t really even look at it much during the rest of the fitting. Big mistake!

As you can see in the photos from yesterday, the bust dart is both too high and too long. When I sew it again, I’m going to shift the dart down at least 1 inch, and shorten it by 1-2″. Right now, the dart sits right on top of my bust, which is uber distracting for me. My Mister says it isn’t noticeable, but I have to look at the darn thing all day, so it’s noticeable enough!

So I’ve marked that on the pattern for next time.

I also don’t think the dart took in enough ease because I had a small amount of gaping around the armhole at the top. I hear you can adjust this somewhat by having a slightly wider side-seam at the top, but I think I’d rather take the time to figure out how to get the bust right!

The other thing that went wrong…oh y’all! I don’t even want to show you the photos its so bad!

But in the hopes that someone else can learn from my mistakes, here it is.

Pardon me while I avert my eyes…
Stupid cap sleeve...buh-bye

Gah! I tried to be smart and use a pattern piece from another pattern to make a sleeve…but I forgot to look at the fabric! This was for a knit fabric so when I first attached it (I didn’t even get a photo because it came off THAT FAST) there was zero ease and I couldn’t move my arm. Ha! So I attempted to shorten it and make a teeny little cap sleeve with gathers but as you can see that was an abysmal failure.

Why did I want sleeves on this so bad? Because my office has a policy against sleeveless shirts. I will not pretend to like this policy, especially when we’re on day umpteen of 105+ degree days! So I really wanted some sleeves on this puppy, but it didn’t happen. I might try again with Mena’s sleeve pattern but I don’t know if it’s worth the bother.

I like the contrast binding a lot, but I didn’t really like the instructions Colette gave for how to install it… I used the method I’ve always used on the neckline and that came out well, but for the arms I used Colette’s method. Now, of course, I realize that she didn’t actually call for double-fold bias tape which is what I was using, so maybe her method would’ve worked better if I’d had regular bias tape? I don’t know! But the arm holes have a weird tendency to roll in funny directions. I guess it doesn’t really matter though, since I have to wear it with a cardigan (GAH YES A CARDIGAN IN TEXAS IN AUGUST GAHGAHGAH) so no one sees it but me.

I’m so critical!

But all in all, I really love the shirt. It was gloriously cool when I wore it around outside getting to and from work (when I kept the cardi in the bag, thankyouverymuch). So, it was a success… and as I said, i did get lots of compliments so I’m trying to take it easy on myself.

I’m just itching to modify the pattern and give it another go! I don’t know if it will happen this weekend though because I’m working on a massive writing project and have several social events planned, but maybe next week!

Have a great one, and stay cool out there, lovelies!

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2011 in creations, Rookie Mistakes, spot of bother

 

Latest project: Colette Sorbetto

A full blow by blow to come, but for now, here’s a peek at my first Sorbetto top:

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I learned so many things with this project!

Like:

Full bust adjustment
Waist and hip adjustment
Dart placement…or how to figure out where it needs to go and how long it should be
How to use my hemming foot for a rolled hem
How not to use double fold bias tape
How to hang dry linen to minimize distortion
How not to make a sleeve pattern (hint: don’t use a knit pattern piece for a woven fabric!)

But all that is going to have to wait because I’m exhausted just thinking about how hard I made this top! I spent about 5 hours on it, which is 5 times as much as most of you!

 
 

Sorbetto by Colette

So many bloggers are whipping up the charming (and charmingly free) Sorbetto pattern from Colette, that I just couldn’t resist. I dragged my printer out of the closet and printed this adorable little tank top (and the bloomers, too, because why not?).

I laid all the pieces out, and then taped them down after snipping away the excess.

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As you can see, our house is more construction zone than office space, so I had to make due with painter’s tape. That’s okay, it worked great because it was re-positionable! Once I had it all laid out, though, I did cut strips of packing tape (seriously, we do not own scotch tape, I think there must be a law against it or something) and secure all the seams down very well.

Then I cut the whole thing out.

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And then I took a deeeeeep breath.

Because I wasn’t going to sew this little top up as-is. No, I was going to do my very first Full Bust Adjustment (FBA). Which I was kind of afraid of doing. But what better pattern to try it out on than the world’s easiest tank top?

So here’s how I did it (using Nancy Z’s method, from a few weeks ago).

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I rolled out some craft paper and traced around the whole pattern, both pieces.

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Then, I took a pin, and put it in shoulder, where the two seam-allowances crossed eachother (I had to draw these in, and remember that the Sorbetto had a 1/4″ SA on the arm holes). I had already figured out that my bust measurement was 2″ more than the size 18 bust measurement, so when I divided that by 4 (4 cut edges) I got .5, so I made a small mark 1/2″ outside the bust-area seam at the very top. Then I pivoted the pattern over to meet that line (keeping the pin in place to act as the pivot), and re-drew the arm hole.  Then I did the same thing again, but this time down to the waistline to give me a little more ease in the waist and hip.

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It’s funny how scared I was to do this — because it was really easy! It didn’t even mess up the original pattern piece, which is awesome.

I repeated this whole procedure on the back bodice piece, and then I was done!

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Tune in next time when I figure out how to re-position the dart on the modified front!
Now, I just need to figure out which fabric I want to use… decisions, decisions….

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Librarian’s Corner: Make Your Own Patterns

This is one of my very favorite books about sewing: Adele Margolis’s Make Your Own Patterns from 1985.

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I first found this book at my local library — way back before I even knew I wanted to be a librarian. When I found it, I thought “Cool! What neat old stuff they have here!” As a librarian now, this comment by unknowning me makes me cringe — I’m surprised we hadn’t weeded poor old Adele long ago!

But I’m glad we didn’t, because she’s got some really great information in here, and while the odd image here or there is dated, for the most part, the illustrations look fresh and relevant, even today. They’ve held up well! I bought my very own copy from Half Price Books for a whopping $30… but I figured it was worth it since I’d probably checked it out a dozen times by then.

She’s an excellent teacher, too.

She starts off by describing clothing in terms of shapes. She goes through all the different shapes and shows how they would look if you used that shape (and no other tweaking) as a garment. One of my favorites is this split-front circle cloak:

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Then, she says, you can add darts, to make the fabric conform to the contours of the body. She mostly assumes that her audience is women, here.  She goes on to describe all the different darts you can use, where you could place them, and how to get rid of excess ease without darts

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Isn’t this a compelling idea?

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You can tell already, I’m sure, that the illustrations are one of my favorite things about this book. So many great ideas!

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Adele then goes on to show you how to make a sloper, and then how to make modifications to that basic pattern piece, so that you get different looks. Here’ she’s showing you how to spread a sloper to get a fuller skirt.

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I really love this book. I wish they’d put it in print again, because it’s such a thorough and accessible approach to pattern design. But they’d probably muck it all up and put in photographs instead of line drawings, and we all know that photos never age as gracefully as line drawings.

I’ll finish for today with some more Collar candy

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Posted by on August 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

 
 
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