Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ta Da! It's a skirt, NOT pants

but you probably would have noticed that anyway!

Yes, I finished the tunic outfit I had started. For some reason, I was apparently convinced that this fabric was 60" wide when I bought it, and thought I was getting enough for a tunic and pants, but lo and behold it's actually 48" wide. I tried to get more fabric, but it was all gone, so it was on to Plan B.

Link to Larger Photos Here.

The pants would have been rather plain, but with the skirt, I decided to emphasize the vertical line of the CF and CB seams by turning the seam allowances to the right side and then edgestitching. I did the hem similarly, and the top elastic casing as well, which I think is terribly cute, although no one will ever see it, as I'm certainly not going to wear this skirt (or almost any skirt) with a top tucked in. I'm just too shortwaisted for that. The skirt pattern is for knits, and although this is a fairly stretchy woven, I was worried that it would be tight, so I added 4" to the circumference. It's just fine, with plenty of room to put it on as well. I attached the 1 1/4" elastic at the top only, so the skirt hangs away from the body just a bit below that, and I think it's a success.

After all the details on the skirt, the tunic needed a bit more oomph, so I turned the hem to the right side, and made it a bit wider than it originally was, and I edgestitched all the seam allowances, although on the sleeves, since they are rolled up, I didn't stitch them to the sleeve, but left them free. I may not always roll them just the same amount, and I didn't want stitching showing on the right side.

I can hardly wait for cooler weather to wear this, as I think it's going to be great fun.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Fabric Inspiration

I got a wonderful book in the mail the other day, and have been poring over it with great enjoyment. It's called Fashioning Fabrics: Contemporary Textiles in Fashion. It has the most fabulous close ups of extraordinary fabrics and garments that I've ever seen. It's a fairly new book too, and they have some couture fabrics from very recent collections. 2005 is the latest I've noticed so far. I would definitely recommend this book if you're at all interested in this subject.

Book Description: (from amazon.com)
Fashioning Fabrics considers the work of fashion designers who put textile development at the center of their practice. Taking in both flights of fancy gracing the most exclusive catwalks in the world and emerging designers working on a much smaller scale, this stunning book explores and pays homage to the experimental, the beautiful and the extravagant in textile design. From Issey Miyake’s sculptural pleats to Jessica Ogden’s salvaged and reworked vintage fabrics, from Pucci prints to conceptual play in the designs of Hussein Chalayan, Fashioning Fabrics concentrates on innovative, challenging approaches to design. Each designer is profiled in detail and their relationship with fabrics and fashion explored. Fashioning Fabrics is beautifully illustrated with detailed images of the textiles discussed and photography illuminating the creative process from studio to catwalk. Whilst it may seem obvious that textiles play a pivotal role in fashion design, the use of fabric is rarely discussed in its own right. Fashioning Fabrics seeks to redress this imbalance. With an introduction by Sandy Black, author of Knitwear in Fashion, and a renowned writer in this field, this book traces a history of innovation and passion for textiles.

Everyone else is getting their Burda World-of-Fashion magazines today, so I feel a bit left out, but I usually get them very quickly, so I shouldn't complain.

I've been working on a Fall outfit. I found a remarkable fabric which is a stretch woven. I know I said I'd never fall for them again, but what are you going to do? It's the very au courant metallized finish as well, and it has a different color on each side, coordinating beautifully. It's a tan/gold on one side, and a gorgeous taupe on the other. I'm using an old pattern for this, the Great Copy New York Pullover, now OOP (out of print) and my favorite pants with a narrower leg. I think this is going to be a very nice tunic look. The top is almost done, and I've color-blocked a bit, with the collar and under-sleeve pieces in the taupe and the rest in gold. The pants will be taupe. The way the pattern is cut, the yoke front, back and upper sleeves are in one (with a CB seam) and the lengthwise grain goes the length of your arms. This makes it look like yet another color, which I didn't realize until I had it together. It's not a big change, but enough to be noticeable, and very attractive I think. Here's a line drawing of the pullover pattern. It was designed for fleece, but I used it once before for a loosely woven wool, and liked the results very much.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

...Tan Shoes & Pink Shoelaces...

Actually instead of a polka dot vest, it's polka dot pants! I don't know how many of you remember that very silly song, but it takes me back to my 4H Song Contest days. Our group didn't sing that song, but we heard it a lot from another club, and it stuck. For us, our leader picked serious song literature.

................."Ja Da, Ja Da, Jing, Jing, Jing.".............................

Anyway, on to the polka dot pants.

Link here to this and a front view.

This is my favorite Double Burda pattern in polka dot embroidered linen from JoAnn's. I think they turned out kind of cute. I wore them to dinner tonight, and I have to admit that every time I looked down for my napkin and got a glimpse of the dots I was sure I had spilled something. I think they look cute with the windowpane blouse, and the linen is almost a perfect match for a gorgeous Sewing Workshop vest that I got from Pam. How amazing is that?

These have my favorite Hollywood waist treatment, a left side invisible zipper and a right side inseam pocket. I have finally learned that I have to hem the right leg about 3/8" longer to make them match. High left shoulder and high right hip I guess. I don't feel all squinched up, but apparently I am.

I got a new knitting pattern book. It's Anny Blatt: Timeless Classics from the Knit Collection
I saw a copy the other day, and it has some really wonderful patterns in it. The yarns will have to be substituted I'm sure, as it's not a terribly new book. I hope I'll actually get to knit some of them. Surely I can get to one of them at least.

Shirts and Sweaters

Photo Link for extreme close up of stitches.

Here's my progress on the Christmas sweater. You can see the beginnings of the first sleeve cuff on the Size 1 double points toward the right. It's been going pretty quickly, although now that the live horse racing season is over for the year, that may cut into my "enforced" knitting time.

I've finished the polka dot linen pants as well, and hope to both wear them and get a photo this evening. I think they turned out pretty well.

I also managed to finish a previously abandoned shirt for Pearle. I'm not sure why I quit working on it before, but it was pretty close to done, and so I did the cuffs, hem, buttonholes and buttons last night, and it's ready to go.

Photo Link here for a more detailed image.

I was very intrigued by the next photo, which shows just how fine and detailed the weave is on this Swiss cotton fabric. It also shows that the regular size sewing thread I used is miles larger than the threads used to weave the fabric.

Photo Link here for an even more detailed shot.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Fall Marfy Catalog is Here

Tra la! My Marfy catalog came today, as promised. I've been looking hard at all the designs, and there are a few that are calling to me, although I must say, not as many as usual. I do really like the free patterns this time. They're shown in the first 2 photos below. There's a nice shirt/jacket, pants, and bias skirt, shown below.

And then a darling cape (very small in the upper left of the picture below) which is going on the fast-track list, and is shown with a cute top and a very casual skirt.

Vests must be very hot this fall as I noticed a couple in the latest Vogue Patterns magazine as well, and wondered about it. I like the one shown below fairly well, but it's the skirt that really caught my eye. (The vest pockets would definitely have to go, or at least move elsewhere.)

This very cute jacket is one that immediately called out to me. I look at it, and I really like it, but I wonder if I ought to be forgoing the short jackets. I think it's the very low closure with the V-neck that I like. It might be enough to counteract the shortness of the jacket. It's pretty cute, anyway. Nice skirt as well.

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This is another skirt that caught my eye. It reminds me a lot of a Marfy from a couple of seasons ago that I really disliked, so I was initially surprised that I immediately liked this one. This is so similar, and yet it is much better. I think the older one had curved panels starting on each hip instead of just one in the back. Anyway, it was unflattering even in the illustration, I thought.

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I will need to ponder these designs and look at my personal fabric store to see what I really am serious about, but there's definitely food for thought here, and I'm very much ready to think about fall fashions rather than summer. I want to make sure that I'm sewing things that are going to work with at least some of the wardrobe I already have, and it would be nice to be a little bit organized about it for a change. When I've done that in the past, it's been a real success, but it's awfully easy to fall back into the routine of just making individual pieces and then afterward hoping they'll work out.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Tracking the Wild Marfy

No wilder than usual, I assume, but I am sort of thrilled watching my Marfy catalog wend its way around the globe to get to me! (Isn't that silly?) I've never gotten a tracking thing for it before, but this time they sent a tracking number, and so I've been watching it start from Italy, go through Germany and now this afternoon, it's suddenly in Kentucky. It's supposed to be here Monday, and I do think they'll make it easily. Here's the chart so far.

Package Progress
Location Date Local Time Description

07/06/2007 1:10 P.M. IMPORT SCAN
07/06/2007 5:30 A.M. DEPARTURE SCAN
07/06/2007 12:24 A.M. ARRIVAL SCAN
07/05/2007 6:57 P.M. ORIGIN SCAN

After all this excitement, I just hope there are some really great things in it. I have very little doubt that there will be.

I went to JoAnn's to get some of the new Vogue patterns on Wednesday, and they only had one of them. So, I bought some fabric instead. A cafe-au-lait linen with cream embroidered polka dots that I'm going to use to make a pair of pants. I prewashed yesterday and laid out the pattern last night, but just couldn't make myself cut. It was late, so that was probably a good thing. Mistakes are made in the wee hours, and I wasn't going to get anything sewn afterwards anyway. One of the polka dots unraveled completely, but all the others appear to be unscathed, so I'm just avoiding that one.
It's really hot here today and was yesterday and is supposed to continue to be hot through Sunday, so maybe I'll get some good sewing time in.

Also, the Couture shows are on now for Fall 2007, so don't miss out!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Cream Marfy 1251 Blouse

Click here for more detailed photo.

I finally buckled down and finished the blouse I've been fooling around on. It's Marfy 1251, the flounce blouse pattern, without the flounce or the sleeves. It's a little longer than the green version, and I must say, it's a very cool, comfortable summer blouse. As you can see, it's a bit roomy although it has some shaping, and in fact, I took it in a lot all around below the bust to the hem.

The fabric is silk with an embroidered windowpane design. I bought it several years ago off the $1/yard table at Wal-Mart. I knew it was going to find it's pattern match someday. As it turned out, I'm not sure this was the perfect match after all. I like it very much, and I like it with this style. It was easy to sew, so what's the problem? It was just impossible to match the pattern because it was not embroidered in a perfect grid pattern. It looks pretty good, but it's not perfect enough to match. The front's good enough I think, but the CB seam was not going to match, so I gave up and decided that's just one of the "perks" of using human-embroidered fabric rather than something done by machine. I'm sure this was done in India or somewhere and thus, like Madras plaid, it's got its own little peculiarities, but that just shows that it's hand done. That's my story anyway!

Click here for more detailed photo.

I was afraid that buttons would be a problem, as I didn't want plain white. The fabric is more of a pearl or pale cream color, and I was thrilled to find these pale, pale pink vintage glass buttons in my button collection. I think they're perfect, and there were just the right number, so it must have been meant to be. There are weird reflections off the button onto the fabric in the photo or something, but there is no discoloration on the fabric in actuality.

I did hand work on the sleeve edges, turning twice and stitching by hand for a very thin, flexible finish, and serged and turned once at the hem and hand stitched. I was going to turn twice at the hem, but it was getting a bit thick, and I didn't want to take the chance of having it flip up, as many very narrow hems do. This seems to be staying down so far.

Click here for more detailed photo.

I like the inverted-V shape on this version, whereas on the green one I wasn't so sure. This is a bit longer and I think that makes a difference.

You can see all the photos and a couple more HERE.

More Inspiration

Better than Christmas is an interestingly full mailbox.

More inspiration arrived in the last few days in the shape of books and magazines.

First came the Ralph Rucci book from Amazon. (I also got a 1930's-green metal colander, but that's strictly utilitarian, although I'm pretty thrilled with it.

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Then I got the new Vogue Patterns Magazine, Threads and the July Burda World of Fashion on the same day!

So, now all I'm waiting for is my Marfy catalog, which I was really sure would be here by now. At least I was hoping quite a lot. Next chance is Thursday I guess.

Thinking of the colander makes me think of food, and we had the first sweet corn of the season last Friday! It was only average. Too old, in my opinion, but one of the guys who farms for us says his first should be ready by the end of the week, so that will be much better. Fresh out of the field can't be beat, and he raises some delicious and very tender varieties. 'Sweet corn' and 'tender' was an unheard of combination for many years, but in the last decade or so, things have greatly improved. Can't wait!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Books, Blouses and Bad Weather

Photo Link for larger image.

The photo above is from June 22 (see how lax I've been!) and I looked out the north window and was just stunned with the beauty of the light, the clouds, and the ferocity of it all. I am very sorry to say that we only got the few drops on the window to show for it all. We're really starting to wish for rain around here, and my grass is not happy either.

Now that June is over, and with it, the end of the fiscal year, and all that entails, I suddenly feel as though a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

I'm getting close to done with a Marfy blouse that I've been forcing myself to work on. Not sure why I have to be forced, as I'm anxious to get it done and wear it, but I think there's something about my ingrained guilt that says if I'm procrastinating about something I don't want to do (like end-of-fiscal-year stuff) then I can't use my wasted time for doing something I really do want to do. Silly, but I've noticed this before. I guess that way, I too, shall suffer.

Anyway, the blouse is the same flounce blouse I did in dark green, except without the flounce, and without the sleeves. It's cute, although the fabric is somewhat of a problem. It's not just exactly what I'd call on-grain. It's silk with an embroidered windowpane check which doesn't seem just exactly square. I think it's going to be fine for this anyway, and I've found the perfect pale, pale pink square antique buttons for it. Only 4, so it's lucky that's what it calls for.

I met with most the the local Sewing Guild officers at the Guild's monthly Charity Sewing night (we're making fleece mittens for the Head Start kids) to begin to think about the next year, and although the programs are all pretty much set, we need to take a different direction as an organization. This has been my feeling for quite a while, and I was so glad that they not only concurred, but had been thinking this for some time also. It's a lovely group of ladies, but it's been very much "stuck in a rut" for a few years. I think the membership is ready to try something new if only someone will tell them what they should try. We are going to start with organized business meetings, no matter how little business. It's been years since minutes have been read of a previous meeting, and even if someone manages to make a motion about something, we don't generally end up voting. Belonging to several groups with semi-rigid parliamentary procedure and this group, the difference has made me appreciate just how far the framework can get you.

I've been knitting away furiously on the Xmas gift sweater, and I've divided for the armscyes and am now getting near the top of the back. Then it's on to the front, the sleeves and then finishing. So, I hope to be done by Fall.

I've also been listening to more Audio Books from my local library.

I really enjoyed The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. It's an unusual construct, but very well-thought-out, and very much a page-turner.

I must wholeheartedly recommend Growing Up Lutheran: What Does This Mean? Janet Martin and Suzann Nelson to anyone who grew up in the Lutheran church, especially if you are Scandinavian. The authors were about 10-15 years ahead of me, and are both Norwegian, and I'm Swedish, but so much is exactly the same. I would really recommend the CD or audio-book, as the presentation is half the fun. This would be a great gift for older relatives who "lived through it." I took a copy to my parents this afternoon, and my mother especially was laughing and reciting with them. "This is most certainly true."