Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tiny Hawaiian Shirt

This Hawaiian shirt is for an 18-month old. 

It's Burda magazine #136 from March, 2007.  What a great source for children's patterns. I never throw those magazines away, and eventually you realize you have a fairly classic pattern for most children's garments, and quite a few adults as well.

I heard that Nikki was having trouble finding a Hawaiian print shirt for Carmine's Halloween costume (he's going to be Ace Ventura, Pet Detective) and I volunteered to assist.  Then I had to find fabric. 

 I realized that most Hawaiian prints are very large-scale, and would overwhelm a small boy.  Luckily, we have a great source for prints of all types here.  The Cosmic Cow.  It's a quilting shop, but a really great one.  I was pleased to find just what I wanted.

This is a photo of the pattern schematic and beginning of the instructions, in case you don't know what Burda patterns are like.

I've made a lot of shirts, but never one this tiny, and it was fun.

Flounced Mauve Dress

Ruffles are not my style, but flounces are not ruffles, and asymmetric designs are always fun.

This Marfy pattern (#3744) appealed to me immediately when I received the catalog, and just FYI, there's a floor-length version that's beautiful and would make a great prom or evening gown.  It's a separate pattern, which I can  understand, since all of those flounces are redrafted to attach to a longer main skirt.  This keeps the proportions correct.

It was somewhat challenging to alter since the bodice is not symmetric, and it also has no 'regular' darts.  So I used a combination of a princess FBA and using my saran wrap block to make sure I had made the changes I needed.  I think it turned out pretty well, and actually, this was my 'muslin', though I had hopes that it would be very wearable.  I think it is.

I used a lightweight matte jersey I got from Kashi at Metro Textiles in New York. 

I left all the edges raw.  In snoop shopping in NY and Chicago recently, and online of course, I am seeing a lot of this, and if they can do it, so can I.  The trickiest part was making the hook and eye at the top of the zipper look neat on the outside since there was no facing to sew it to.  I think this works well.  It's visible, obviously, but not messy looking.  It's stitched through the top of the zipper tape for stability, and to control the zipper tape as well.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Kearney and Sarah Veblen

I  had such a good time in Kearney last Friday and Saturday with old and new friends from the Kearney Area ASG chapter and the NBMCC (Nebraska Bishop Method of Clothing Construction).  They put on a fantastic Expo every fall, and this year the presenter was Sarah Veblen!  Of course, I could not miss it.

What an expert fitter she is, and I am dying to try some of her techniques.  I'm on my own, since I was unable to stay for the hands-on workshop on Sunday at Cari's lovely sewing studio.  It makes me think about going to one of her sewing weeks in Baltimore.

Here are a couple more photos of  Sarah's classes, but you can probably tell that I was enjoying, and taking notes more than I was taking photos.

Marfy 1128 - Autumn Cocktail Dress - Completed

This latest iteration of Marfy 1128 turned out really well, I think.  This is the finished look.  It's hard to catch the sparklieness of the actual dress without having it be almost impossible to actually see.  I got to wear it this past weekend to a fundraising dinner, and I felt very appropriately dressed.

 The hem is my favorite part.  I love the way it drapes and catches itself up, especially in the back.  I changed the back neckline from a very low square back to a higher scoop, which is still fairly low. 

I have quite a few inner construction photos for this.  The blog photos are smaller than those you can see if you click here.  As  I think I said previously, I underlined this with a fairly heavy satin lining, almost something you would use for a coat lining.  I turned the satin side toward the body, and extended it about 5" longer than the dress hem edge. 

 You can see how I turned the hem up to the outside on the finished garment photos, but here is the inside of the hem, which comes out very nicely since all the raw edges are inside the rolled part on the outside of the dress.

The original pattern has front horizontal and vertical darts, and gathering at the neckline under a chiffon collar.  I stitched the horizontal darts, but used the other ease to drape from the waist up to the neckline.  You can see close ups of the neckline and waist draping here.
The facing you can see on the neckline is a folded bias strip of the lining fabric.  The neckline stands out in places, as it is supposed to, and the bias band helps it to stay close to the body in any case.
 These two photos show the inside front of the body of the dress with the stitched waist tucks.
In the close up you can also see the stitching which tacks the bow in place.

 This is the slight flange edge of the sleeve, almost just a facing which peeks out.  It's widest at the top, narrowing to nothing at the side seam. 
You can see inside that it is also a bias strip, but of the fashion fabric.

Finally, you can see that the extra-long invisible zipper opens the entire length of the side seam.  I really have learned that this is not too long a zipper for a dress like this.  It makes it so much easier to put on, and without spoiling one's hair or makeup.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015


It may seem a little weird to get very excited about straight pins, but we sewers know that there are pins, and then there are pins.  My favorite used to be Iris Pins, but the last batch I bought simply weren't as good as they used to be, and this seems to be the consensus.  So I've tried various brands and types.  Clover Quilting Pins aren't bad, but I knew I hadn't tried everything out there.

When I was in Portland last April with the Fiberly Group, we went to Josephine's Dry Goods, a lovely store.  She had Insect Pins in Size 2, which I like so far.  I wanted to try some more, and decided to see what other brands and types were available. 

I ended up purchasing Size 000 pins, to see just how much difference there was in sizes.  These are much finer than the Size 2, and bend more easily, although not as easily as you might guess, given how fine they are.  I like the little gold ball heads on the black pins, and have been happy to use these.

The photo above is of various sewing pins in my collection, and the 2 insect pins.  They are the black ones, and the smaller one on the right is the Size 000.  The pin on the far right is  your average every day pin.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Autumn Cocktail Dress

I'm excited about this dress. It's been awhile since sewing has been this much fun, and I'm enjoying it. I'm going to a Friends of Opera Gala fundraiser this Sunday, and I thought I wanted something new to wear.

I'm using a TNT pattern, Marfy 1128. It's a fairly basic sheath dress, but with the gathered neckline under the chiffon collar, it give you a lot of leeway to manipulate the neckline if you don't want the collar.
One thing I have learned with this pattern is to use a much longer zipper than I originally thought necessary. This makes it so much easier to get into. I bought a bag of invisible zippers last time I was in LA with Kathi Rank shopping the Fashion District, and so I happened to have a 34" invisible zipper in an acceptable color (dark green), which goes in the left side seam from the armscye to the hem. I probably would not have purchased this long a zipper on purpose for this, but it's great, actually. Apparently the longer, the better.

I found the fabric at Hancock, and it really spoke to me. It's a very thin, non-wonderful brocade, but I love the colors and the look. This actually shows the wrong side while it's being cut out.
I'm underlining with a thicker satin lining fabric. Originally I thought I would do something along the lines of a car-wash skirt, as they are so current, and finally wearable now that they're not being shown only with absolutely nothing underneath them. However, I like what I have come up with even better. I extended the underlining about 5" below the brocade and then turned it to the outside and asymmetrically attached it. Here's a photo of it on the dressform with the hem pinned. I am pinning a draped effect from the left waist to the right shoulder and I think the bow will be staying, but you never know.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

New York Trip Part V - Fabric (Mendel Goldberg)

Finally, the pièce de résistance.  I've been told for years that Mendel Goldberg was a magical place if you are in love with fabric, and Rosie took me to see it.  Well, you all were right!  We were lucky enough to be there when almost all of the new fabrics had come in, so we saw the stock at its most complete condition.  Wow, just wow!

Every designer you can think of was represented, especially every couture designer.  Of course there were things that I liked more than others, but the quality overall was exquisite.  Rosie took lots of photos, and I will share with you.

As you might have guessed, the first two photos are of the fabric that arrived on my doorstep.  I am so thrilled with them, and although there was choice enough to find fabrics for 20 different beautiful suit combinations, this one leapt to my eye.  The 'plain' fabric with the border texture is to be a skirt.  The border is pieces of fabric and yarns attached to the base fabric, and as the photo suggests, that border will be a few inches above the hem edge of a straight skirt.  Totally frivolous, yet somewhat restrained and severe.  Just my kind of thing.  The fabric to the left is for the jacket, and it's so much more beautiful in person I can't tell you.  The yarns it's woven with are gorgeous and of such a quality that you would think they were high-end hand knitting yarns.  There's a lot of gold in it and the selvedges are beautiful, and will be used as trim here and there.

Now, on to the other fabrics we saw and 'snapped'.

Do you wish you'd been with us yet?

New York Trip Part IV - Metro Textiles (Kashi)

I love it when boxes are delivered, especially when there is wonderful fabric inside.  As you might guess, more of the fabric I purchased in New York arrived here today.  I am going to show you what I bought at Metro Textiles.  It's a great shop that you should plan to visit if you get to New York's Garment District to shop.  This was my second visit in the last 3 years, so I feel very lucky.
 Normally I think of knits when I think of Kashi.  It's not that he has only knits, or that he even has mostly knits, it's just that he always has very nice knits at good prices, and he usually has lots of colors.  If you follow me at all, you know that I like "off" colors the best usually, and they're often difficult to find.  When there is a limited selection of knits, they generally stick to fairly standard colors, and that's fine, but I tend to look for the ones that look like they might have been mis-dyed or something, and I have had good luck finding those here. 

I got 4 knits.  Counter-clockwise from the top left, they are 1. a Grey-green and 2. a Grey-brown, which go beautifully together, 3. a Chocolate brown, and 4. a Burgundy laminated with pink and orange.  It's not quite as wild as it looks, but it is unusual.

I also got a pair of fabrics that I normally would not really consider.  I like this kind of thing, but it's a little more contrast than I usually go for, but it just called my name, and whispered ladylike suit-type outfit.  the first half of the duo is a Rust and Creamy White Brocade-type weave with a beautiful weight and  texture to it.  (I think if you click on the picture, you'll get a larger image that will allow you to see the texture better.)

  At this time, my plan is that it will be a jacket, and the Rust heavy stretch woven satin behind it will be a skirt.  Things could change, but I'm really kind of pleased with this idea so far.  I suppose I could always do a dress, and in fact, I have an idea that this would be really good for, so you never know.  I love the colors, though.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

2015 New York Trip Part III - Fabric (Elliott Berman)

Elliott Berman Textiles has long been a favorite on-line fabric source for me.  I knew that I had to go there in person when I next was in New York, so we went.  One interesting thing about having Rosie for my guide is that I found out that every fabric person in New York City knows and loves Rosie.  It's quite amazing to be with someone who is so well-liked and who obviously knows all of these people well on a personal level.  It was no different at Elliott Berman's, and I have to crow a little bit about the fact that Eugenia actually recognized me (or at least my name) when I met her.  She said I was just about their first on-line purchaser when they began a website operation.  I feel very special!  I have bought a LOT on-line from them over several years, including the cashmere for the coat I made in 2008/09, and the Evening Coat I made in a gold and coral houndstooth, and it has all been top quality.

If you have not been to their website, then GO!  Right now, and drool over the wonderful, top quality fabrics that are simply unobtainable elsewhere, at least for most of us.  They are also on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, so follow for special deals and just good info. 

I found that the wealth of fabrics on their website is only a very small fraction of what they have available in their warehouse area.  We got a lovely tour from Eugenia, and then she left us to browse on our own and take photos and even a swatch or two.  I didn't purchase anything that day, but I took some photos that I may turn into actual fabric.  Here's what I saved to drool over.

2015 New York Trip Part II - Fabric (Spandex & Notions)

I had the BEST guide for my fabric shopping that anyone could ask for.  Rosie Lynshue, who will be joining us on the Fiberly Trip this year (we're going to Portland!!) kindly offered to show me around.  It's been several years since I was in the Garment District, and then I had the fabulous Barbara Bell to show me where to go, but this time I was on my own with hazy memories of where things were, a list, and Google Maps. 

If you've never been, it's not as easy as you'd think.  Some of the places are on the street, but quite a few are above street level, even unto the 9th floor, and there's not a lot of signage telling you where to go and how to get there.  When you do arrive, they are so very gracious and kind, and of course they have the fabulous things we all want.  My only complaint is that I cannot just pop back in whenever I'm looking for just that particular thing that I want and cannot find anywhere near here, but they have it right there.  Oh well, that's my problem, not theirs. 

Rosie and I began with breakfast and moved quickly to Metro Textiles and Kashi (fabric still en route, so I will report later.)  He always has great fabrics at great prices, and this was no exception.  I was especially looking for knits from him.

I particularly wanted to get some swimsuit fabric and foldover elastic as well as looking at zippers and O-rings.  Spandex House , interior shown on the left, was the place for swimsuit fabric, and I got the 4 pieces that you see above.  A yard will make at least a couple of one-piece suits, and I got about 3 yards of the chain print since I think it will make a fun top as well as a swimsuit.  You can see it in the photos below, as well as the foldover elastic I chose, and the O-rings. Both of those items came from Daytona Trimming.

Lastly, a couple of so very sweet treats from Rosie to welcome me to New York.  Totally unexpected and as I was to come to understand, so very much her style.  Thanks Rosie, for everything!