Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Fun Saturday with Barbara & A New Top

Photo Link
Most of you are familiar with Barbara of Cat Fur Studio. I'm very lucky that she gets to Omaha once in a while which is close enough to me to make it easy to meet and visit. We've had some wonderful adventures in past visits. We've visited the Pendleton Outlet in Nebraska City, she's come to see my sewing studio, and this time, we shopped and lunched in Omaha's Old Market area. It was a beautiful day, and we had a great time! Barbara won the Best Shopping award, and I helped. I did buy a hat. It's a nice, warm one, although stylish as well, I think. Today is windy, cold, rainy, and I may try my new hat sooner than I thought.

You can see here that I'm pointing out one of the features of Barbara's new Hot Patterns Primavera dress. I enjoyed seeing it and the great cape she made recently. Both very nice, and great wardrobe pieces; just what we all wish for as an outcome when we sew.
Photo Link

I will also say that the top I'm wearing is a new one. I used the FSG #1960 Top pattern (my go-to Tee pattern) and cut the neckline deeper and added the floppy collar. The fabric is one that I got from a member of the Omaha ASG group. She was moving and retiring from sewing, and donated all of her fabrics, etc. to the group for distribution with donation. It's a wonderful blue/rust cross-woven french terry. It changes with the light and I love it. It's really soft and comfy as well. You've seen the little knitted Gedifra vest before. It's the one I finally overdyed a couple years after I finished it, to improve the color. Now it goes with lots of things, and I wear it much more often.

Kudos to Barbara's wonderful husband, Nick, for taking these great photos! I think we look good, although we did get a little silly when encouraged to "be dramatic", but we had fun, and he got some nice photos.

I have to show off the darling notebook Barbara found for me. Its covers look like pattern instructions. What fun! I will be using it with pleasure. x Photo Link

I think I will be making more of this style now that winter is upon us. I hate to tell you this, but it's SNOWING here today! Ick, I hope the warm-up predicted for tomorrow will come and do its best. I'll leave you with the very sad view out my back windows. I just don't really like snow, especially not this early.
Photo Link

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Swimsuit With A Zipper

From Drop Box

I used the same fabric as the first suit I made to make another one which is almost the same, except for one glaringly obvious diversion. It has an exposed zipper right in the front. The suit I copied and my first two copies all have a hook at the CB. This is fine, except it's sometimes hard to hook since it's fairly high up in the back, and it's tight fitting. I feel like I ought to be able to dress myself at this stage in life, and I have had to ask for help with this once or twice. I began to try to think of a better closure option.

From Drop Box

A center front zipper seemed the obvious choice, and so far, I like it. I've worn it twice now, and it's fine. I plan to make more like this as I need them, and perhaps several fairly soon. I have a few of these zippers on hand, and I might as well use them if they happen the right color. Finding swimsuit fabric is the trick. Here's the back view.

From Drop Box

I used Fold Over Elastic for all of the edges except the legs. Maybe I should put it there too, in future, but I'm not sure that would be worthwhile. I sort of guard the FOE, since it's a little hard to find. White isn't so precious as colors, but none of it is available locally.

You can see the inner structure. It's the same as the others except the zipper goes right through it. I use a powernet shield in the front bodice area. It has a strip of 3/4" elastic at the bottom, which floats free, and the powernet is basted to all corresponding edges of the front, and constructed as one. This gives it great support, just about like a sports bra, and perfect for water exercise.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The Gown - Details on Vogue 1250

From 2011Gown
From 2011Gown

Finally, photos of the Gala Gown made from Vogue 1250,lengthened and with a train added. This is the gown I wore to the Lyric Opera opening night.

Carolyn was interested in how I did the train. I thought I would probably want to add a godet at CB, but didn't know if I should put it in the seam, or cut it onto the main skirt, which was what I had hoped would work, since with the ribbed knit fabric, the fewer seams the better. I looked in all my books, and found just about nothing on the subject.

I asked, and got good suggestions from my friend Jane, who gave me several patterns from her 'permanent collection' to look at, including the one I finally decided was just what I wanted, (OOP) Vogue 9400, which has a very similar skirt, with a cut-on godet train.
I laid it over my pattern, but only used it as a guide, since it had side seams, and my skirt was one piece from the CF fold to the CB seam, necessitating a narrower godet, even though my fabric was quite wide.

For general informational purposes, Jane says that a train will usually start where the top of a slit would be in a skirt, but I thought that since this was a knit, I could preserve the columnar effect of the skirt a little more by starting lower, and still have plenty of walking room, which proved to be the case. I started angling out at about the knee, and made an angle that brought me to the edge of the fabric at the length I wanted. Not very technical, but it worked perfectly.

From 2011Gown

She pinned the hem for me too, and used her standard 'bridesmaid length' which finishes 1 1/2" above the floor, giving plenty of room to walk, and looks floor-length to viewers. I worried a little about it being that far off the floor, but I have to admit, it worked perfectly, and I had no trouble walking, although one must 'manage' one's train when backing up, etc.

I did a hand stitched hem, using a supported catchstitch, and very fine silk thread. I started it with regular sewing thread, and it showed a lot. The fine thread made a great difference. You can see both the inside and outside of the hem in the photo below.
From 2011Gown

The shoes are slightly visible in some of the photos, but here's a better picture.
From MuPhiConvention
They are the ones I had to put 4 coats of ModPodge on to keep them from 'adhering' to the dress. I had no problems walking in them, quite a few blocks total in downtown Chicago, and wore them for about 6 hours total that night. As I'd thought, they were quite comfortable, although going down steps in them is not my favorite thing.

You can see all the photos in the slideshow above, but I'll leave you with a back view showing the train a little better, and a better view of the wrap I made to wear with the dress.

From 2011Gown

Sunday, October 02, 2011

A Gala Evening

Here is the promised photo. Norm, Patti, me and Rhonda at the Lyric Opera's Opening Night. Tales of Hoffman was great, the people-watching was very good, and we finished the evening with a tapas dinner. It was just a lovely evening.

For those of you who know Patti, a small disclaimer; I do have her permission to post the photo of her. Isn't her dress gorgeous? I think that should be her signature color.

One other thing, Patti gave me a rare treat that I forgot to mention. On Thursday afternoon, I got to sit in on the graduate-level statistics course she's attending at Northwestern. I didn't want to make trouble for her by putting this on the blog since I know everyone will be clamoring to go too. Honestly, it was very interesting, and the professor, Bruce Spencer, was most gracious to let me sit in.

Home tomorrow.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Thank You Haute Couture Club

I gave my program on Marfy patterns to the Haute Couture Club of Chicago this morning, and I think it went very well. There were over 50 women in attendance, and it was such fun to discuss fashion sewing with women who also sew, and who are most definitely fashionable. I had the best time! I hope that many of them will give Marfy patterns a try. Nancy Erickson (N.A. Marfy Distributor) is extending Postage Amnesty ordering until tomorrow at midnight (Oct. 2nd) so now is the time to order if you want patterns.

I have to admit right now that I forgot about asking someone to take photos, although I had my camera along. So, there are no photos. I wish I had some to share with you. It was a great group.

The members' Show & Tell included several Marfy garments, and they were lovely. Rhonda Buss showed the fabulous skirt and bustier she's wearing tonight, and I plan to take a much closer look. We also got to see her darling Obi Bag. She includes instructions, so go and look.

And next, Tales of Hoffman at the Lyric Opera. I can't wait! I promise pictures of my dress at least.

Friday, September 30, 2011

More Stained Glass + A Little Fabric.

First things first, of course, and we went to Vogue Fabrics first this morning. I can't show you most of what I got since they're shipping it. It's not really that much, but I think I'm pretty close to the weight limit on my suitcases, and I don't want to push it, plus they're very full anyway. I will tell you that I got a Donna Karan fine wool blend wavy print in very dark colors, a tiny check/birdseye wool blend, a mushroom-color wool gauze, and a wheat-color wool blend brushstroke print. I also got a couple of woven ribbons, which you can see above.

"Located at Navy Pier, The Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows is a permanent display of 150 stained glass windows housed in an 800 foot long series of galleries along the lower level terraces of Festival Hall. Open since February 2000, it is the first museum in the United States dedicated solely to stained glass windows. It showcases both secular and religious windows and is divided by artistic theme into four categories: Victorian, Prairie, Modern and Contemporary. All of the windows were designed by prominent local, national and European studios and most were originally installed in Chicago area residential, commercial and religious buildings. "

It really is a worthwhile exhibit, and it's easy to walk through it and enjoy. Here's a photo I took showing a window made for a stairway. I love the scrollwork designs.

Tonight Patti's doing a supper for about 10 women and we're going to have a good time visiting. (The smoke alarm is going off as I type....) Everything is under control. It's Barbara's Apricot Bourbon Chicken,via The Pioneer Woman Cooks. It smells wonderful, but I have to wonder if Patti's been dipping into the Jack Daniels a bit early? Possibly just for quality control purposes.

Tomorrow is the Trunk Show and Program, and of course as a finale,the opening of The Lyric Opera.

Chicago = Jazz + Stained Glass

I went to my first Jazz Club performance last night, and it was great fun! We went to the Jazz Showcase and heard Eric Reed and his Trio. It was a great set, and I thought the ambiance of the club was wonderful as well. Definitely something I will be repeating, I hope.

As many of you know, I'm working on a stained glass project, and in furtherance of that, I'm trying to educate myself on various styles and genres of stained glass. I have been viewing various churches, etc. for some time now, where ever I go, and had two viewing opportunities planned for this trip. I will be going to The
Art Institute as well as The Smith Museum while in Chicago.

Earlier in the day we did go to the Art Institute to see the Chagall windows and the Spider Silk Weaving exhibit. Both were amazing, but the spider silk textile is something you really need to see in person. I'd read about it in several places and seen really good photos, but the reality is something special. I'm certainly not a fan of spiders, and I don't know that I could have worked on a project like this, but the results are spectacular.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Marfy Magic in Chicago and You're Invited

From DroidUpload
I'm off this morning on an exciting adventure. I'm going to present a program to The Haute Couture Club of Chicago on Marfy Magic!  If  you're a sewer in the Chicago area, please come.  I'd love to see you!  (Details at the link to the Club above.)

I'm doing a Trunk Show of most of the Marfy patterns I've made, and will be discussing how to go about starting with Marfy patterns, how to succeed with them, and where to get them. Thanks to my good friend Jane for letting me take a few things of hers along as well.

Patti has graciously agreed to be my host and I know we're going to have a good time! We have several musical events planned besides the sewing connection, including (drumroll, please!) Opening Night at the Lyric Opera. I have a gown worthy of a gala evening, and there will be photos.

The big thing right now is making sure my bags containing the trunk show are not overweight. If they are, I'm not sure what I can do about it at this point. Thank goodness for SouthWest, and 2 free bags per passenger. I think I'm using my quota this time.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Tan/Black Floral Swimsuit

Since my first swimsuit was a success, I had my eyes open for fabric for another, and found this at Hancock Fabrics.
From SwimSuit"
Kathi R had sent black FOE (fold over elastic) to me, so I had it on hand. It's only about half as wide as the lime green that I used on the other suit, but i think it's a good size with this print. I wasn't sure I was going to really like this fabric once it was made up, but I think the print is awfully nice.

I've been thinking about the problem of Spandex being a fairly quick casualty of the chlorine in swimming pools, and I've decided I'm not going to worry about it since even if I find 100%-polyester swimsuit fabric, as some of you wisely suggested, I'm still going to need something like a powernet lining in the bust area, and that's will have spandex in it anyway. At least for now I'll just figure they'll only last so long, and take it in stride. I'm sure 100% poly is the way to go, but without a powernet lining, which would defeat the purpose, it really won't be useable for me anyway, especially for water-aerobics.  At least they're quick to make, and take very little fabric, less than a yard, plus notions of course.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Marfy Shrug + Skirt

From Marfy Shrug

This is actually the fourth shrug I've made from this pattern so far. Between the floral one I did first, and this one, I made two black ones for a couple of friends. I'm really pleased with this pattern. Sorry for the poor photo quality; I was reduced to doing mirror pictures today.

In this version, it's the fabric that is the interest. This is an unusual two-layer knit The bottom layer is thick and squishy and the top layer is almost like a very fine hosiery mesh which is 'bubbled' so there's a lot of texture. I've had this fabric for quite some time, but never knew just exactly what I'd do with it until now.

From Marfy Shrug

Here's a side/back view, and with a different blouse. I think this is going to be something I'll wear a lot this Fall.

From Marfy Shrug

From Marfy Shrug

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Swim Suit Copy

From SwimSuit

I mentioned a couple months ago that I had started doing water exercise. Well, I'm still doing it, and I like it a lot. One bad thing about it is that you go through a lot of swimsuits because of the daily chlorine wear on them. I have a Kathy Ireland suit that I like a lot. It has a high neck and a lot of support, which is great for this, so I decided to copy it.

Kathi Rank sent me some lovely swimsuit fabric recently, so I plunged right in. It's a very dark navy and white print. I wanted to use foldover elastic for the edges, but had no navy or white or anything that worked, except this BRIGHT lime green. I got it from a co-op a couple years ago. I ordered a few different colors, and they sent me all different colors than my order, but I decided to just keep them and use them as they matched something. I wasn't sure I'd ever use this green, but it was perfect for this.

I decided not to do cups in the lining, but just did a plain powernet piece with elastic at the bottom to see if that would give me more of a no-bounce sportsbra effect. I'm glad I tried it, as I like it. I wore it this morning and had to wait for it to dry before I could take photos. I think I will be making more of these, although I'd like to find a different closure option. I don't like these hooks, and it's high enough in back that it's hard for me to do by myself. Any ideas?

Here's the back, which shows the front lining as well.
From SwimSuit

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Marfy Shrug #0328

From Vogue1250

As I mentioned in my last post, I made a little shrug from a Marfy pattern to wear with the lavender Vogue 1250 dress. Although it was quick to make, I have to admit that this pattern is probably the least intuitive I've put together for awhile. The pieces are odd shapes, and they fold around in a very 3-dimensional way that makes sense, but is hard for me to visualize in its entirety because of all the folding and sewing together. I felt a little like I was sewing in circles, but I trusted that it would come out okay, and it did. I cut it out of a pretty knit print that's quite sheer and that has very little stretch. I considered that it might end up as an actual muslin, but I hoped it would be wearable, as it is, and so I wore it, and liked it.

I will definitely be making more of these, and first of all, I'm going to make a black one for my roommate from the convention. She's a cellist and bass-clarinetist, and after she saw it, I had her try mine on to see how it fit her. It's perfect for playing, as it doesn't restrict your arm or shoulder motion.

Here's the back view.
From Vogue1250

Vogue 1250 Twice

From Vogue1250

From Vogue1250

Everyone's been making this design with great success, and it looked like my kind of style, so I had to do it too. I am pleased with both versions. I made the print one first, with no alterations, although I cut a 14 at the hip and shoulder, moving to a 20 at the bust. I didn't do an FBA since the style is pretty forgiving, with a lot of ease where I need it. I shortened the back waist before making the print version, then shortened it some more, and shortened the front above the bust on the next version. I think on the second (lavender) version it looks very much as it should. The print version hides the excess folds in its busy print, so it's not a problem.

The lavender is a slinky-type knit, although it's not really a true slinky, and it had its ribs and its greatest stretch running on the crossgrain so that's how I cut it. One side had a little more variation in color, so I made that the right side.

Here are side-back photos of both dresses, and you can see the folds, such as they are. I suppose if I want to get rid of more of them, I'll have to shorten some more above the bust point. I'm not sure it's a problem at this point.
From Vogue1250

From Vogue1250

I got a lot of compliments on the lavender dress at the Mu Phi convention, which was nice. I thought it looked good, too. I wore it as you see it here, and also put on a little shrug about halfway through the evening. It's a new Marfy pattern, and I will be posting about it next.

Marfy #093 Skirt with Pocket Changes

From Marfy 093 Skirt

You may remember the tie-dye Marfy skirt I made earlier this month. This time I made Marfy #093 with the cute inseam pockets from Vogue 1247. BeeBee and Carolyn both kindly helped me with the details. Thanks to both of you! I love these pockets. I've worn the skirt several times and I find it both comfortable and stylish.

The fabric is actually a pinstripe. The narrow stripe is a very pale pink, and barely shows unless you really get close and stare at it. It's a stretch woven, and it does stretch out with wearing, so it rests lower and lower on the hip as I go along. Washing and drying seems to help it recover, so it is bearable, but this is the main problem with a lot of stretch wovens, IMO. They are unreliable in their fit because they grow fairly quickly as you wear them.

I wore the skirt on the plane to the Mu Phi convention I attended in Rochester, NY last week. That was fine, except I was surprised to have to be 'felt up' under the skirt by the TSA. Now I know why most everyone wears pants to fly, I guess. I generally do too, but hadn't realized they are anti-skirt. They were even checking some poor woman who had on a tunic and leggings. I guess the original screener didn't know a tunic from a dress, as she was very willing to pull up her tunic for them. I, on the other hand, was not planning to pull up my skirt.

Here's the back view.
From Marfy 093 Skirt

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Eyelet Border Knit Skirt

Photo Link

This skirt is another of the straight skirts made with knit fabric and elastic waistband. Very similar to my recent Blue/Brown Snakeskin Print Skirt This fabric is from my California trip, and again bought with the able shopping assistance of Kathi, DrSue, and Lisa. I was very taken with the fabric, as I have never seen a knit with eyelet embroidery like this before. Lots of wovens, but no knits, and with the stripes as well, it was a much more sophisticated look than one usually gets with eyelet fabrics. I had to have it, and knew it was to be a skirt from the beginning.

Since this skirt has a finished hem edge it was super simple, except for one thing. The fabric is a very soft jersey knit, and without a lining it was going to be clingy almost to the point of indecency, in my opinion. So... to find something to line it with. Luckily, I have a lot of fabric-in-waiting, aka The Inventory, and I found a very nice pale pink stretch woven with almost as much stretch as the jersey. Honestly, I thought it must actually be a knit, but no, it ravels off just like a woven. It's woven with wide, square 'ribs' on the cross, and once again, the stretch is in the lengthwise direction. Obviously planned to be used like pinstripes and cut on the crossgrain, this is a neat fabric.

Here it is as worn, with the lining showing through the eyelet holes.
Photo Link

I basted it to the edges of the jersey pieces and stitched it as one with it, using the selvedge as the hem, thus avoiding the problem of how to hem one fabric and not the other while seaming them together. Here you can see the side seam and the hem edge.
Photo Link

The waistband is simple as can be. The elastic is serged to the edge, then it's turned under, zigzagged, and it's done.

Photo Link

One last photo. The wisteria vines were whacking me in the face when I tried to hold them while talking to the cat at the same time. Ah well, that's real life.

Photo Link

Tie-Dye Marfy Skirt

Photo Link

This is Marfy #093, one of the free patterns from the Fall/Winter 2006/07 catalog.

Photo Link

I wanted a casual skirt that was something different than my usual, and this seemed ideal. I got this stretch woven from Fabric Mart some time ago. I like the somewhat subtle tie-dye pattern.

Photo Link
It's one of those stretch woven fabrics that they weave with the stretch in the warp, thus you cut on the crossgrain. This gives you the stretch going around, where we want it.

A skirt that doesn't sit at the waist or fairly close to it is something new to me, and it's an easy fit. I interfaced the inner band and after applying and understitching, stitched through the darts and side seams to secure it, and am pleased with the result.

Photo Link
The original pattern has shaped beltloops that button onto the pockets. I thought it was a little dated looking, or at least more retro than I wanted. I also don't really need excess bulk right around the stomach area, so I just did the pockets and left off the loops. I cut the pockets double with a fold at the top, stitched and turned, then topstitched them onto the skirt. I ended up facing the hem since I decided I liked the length before I turned up the hem allowance I added. Photo Link

I finished this on Friday, wore it Saturday, and heard good things, so I was pleased.
Photo LinkPhoto Link