Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More communal sewing

We do have a sewing lounge in Baltimore! I remember now; at the Sewing Expo last year I met Blondell Howard and she told me of her dream to open a sewing lounge. How nice it is to read this article about her place called the Sassy Sewer.
And there the Stitch Lounge in San Francisco. And the Sewing Lounge in Minnesota.

If I could have another career, I'd like to sell sewing machines. I'd love to run a sunshine-filled shop with brand new industrial sewing machines and a mechanic on site. We'd also carry home machines like Pfaff, Bernina, Janome and lots of vintage machines. And space - there would be a nice sized room to use for learning and hanging out.

Sometimes I google around, in search of information on how to become a sewing machine dealer, but alas, I have not found much info. It seems to be sorta like becoming a car dealer, or getting a liquor license. Mysterious and difficult.

I just think that's the gap in the market around here. And I want to be the frisky senior citizen lady who will help you pick out the absolute perfect machine for you in your budget.
Of course, that means I want to learn how to repair them, too.
So, these are my daydreams! If you have helpful info, please do tell!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Another Knit Top

I was so pleased with the Christine Jonson 426 pattern that I sewed it again. It only took one evening and I wore it the next day. Inspired by a post on PatternReview by LauraLo, I decided to apply fusible bias tape to the seams. Since I didn't have the product she used, I just cut strips of fusible interfacing on the bias.
I pressed 1/2 inch strips onto the edges and then I sewed 3/8" seams- just enough to catch the fused portion in my seam. Then I serged right up to the edge of the seams.
I absolutely love the way it makes the garment feel. My upper body is not the greatest coat hanger. Clothes just fall right off my sloping forward shoulders and the reinforced seams are very nice to keep the garment from stretching out. Plus, it sure did make the sewing easier.
The fabric I used is a nylon mesh knit from Emma One Sock. It is so thin that if you aren't careful, it will get sucked right into to the throatplate. I must get myself one of those straight stitch throatplates, which has a much smaller hole for the needle, to use with filmy fabrics. You can also place a small piece of tissue beneatht the fabric as you start your seam. It tears away easily afterwards.

So ... I took adantage of a sale and I got a couple yards free. It was a good incentive because I was never sure if I'd like the mesh knit. I do! It is not as sheer as I thought (feared) it would be. It is very stretchy. It actually turned out a little baggy looking, so I sewed up the last piece into a sash. With the belt, it looks fine.

Heck, I am learning to always expect the unexpected. What a gift we have from Project Runway, ie "Make it work!". I find I need to make it work more often than I care to admit.

And the mesh knit is wonderfully cool for a hot summer day. The fabric doesn't fray, so you could experiment with ruffles or whatever, and leave them unhemmed. I likeeeee!

I am wearing the top with a skirt I sewed up early in the month. It is a rayon-linen blend and also very comfortable.
Happy Summer Sewing!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Coat muslin - style changes

I was just over at the Coat Sewalong Blog and I noticed I posted my muslin a full week after the deadline. Woops- I apologize Marji!

And I have considered those sleeves a bit more- they are currently jacket-like in circumference. I would definitely need to make them bigger if I intend to wear this over heavier winter clothes. On the other hand, it might be nice to have a coat for the milder days.

To be determined.

And in the meantime, there is a sale on at Vogue Patterns, so natch, I went over there looking for ideas. And I found one! I already own Vogue 7942 and I think I'll morph this lapel & collar and front closure onto the Bernina muslin. OK, I think I am in business!

Thanks you guys for the positive feedback on the chiffon top. I was not sure at all. But I will pursue the slip dress idea. Bernina My Label has one of those too.
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Coat for the Sew-Along

Sheesh, I apologize for the low quality photos lately. On my to-do list! I forgot all about Bernina My Label- that has a coat pattern in it. What if? ... what if it fits OK and I can use this for my coat? I sewed it up and it's not bad-
The collar is a little strange. And there is a collar stand that I did not sew on, so you can't judge by what you see here.
But it seems to fit pretty well and it feels comfortable. Here it is hanging in the window!
And the back (the shoulders really do feel good)
There was one weird thing on my first try- the slope of the shoulder seam on the front piece was crazy slanted. And it made the coat too tight around my armpit. So, I drew in a straigher line and adjusted the pattern, adding a little extra to accomdate the shoulder pad. The I sewed the 2nd muslin (the one you see above)

Hmmmm. I had been planning to sew Vogue 7979, but this is pretty darn similar. Last year, I sewed Vogue 7978 because I had that pattern fitted to me by Sarah Veblen.
Well, what do you think? Honestly, I would love to sew something more stylish, but getting a decent fit is the obstacle. I sorta need to go with what I have.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Chiffon Top Finished BWOF 07-2008-123

I am wearing black with this but I want to sew a dress in a coordinating color, like mauve or blue. This is really not a style I'll sew again, I don't like the kimono sleeves as a silhouette for my body type. BUT, it was fun to sew and I know I will throw it on one hot day and enjoy wearing it.

I had to chop off my head because I am not feeling pretty at all! I had a molar extracted on Friday, and now I am doing a little chewing on the side. Ah ha ha ha ha.
Well, that is what you have to do! There will be more dental work down the road. Not fun, but not nearly as bad as I was afraid of!!
Now, I just canNOT decide whether or not to participate in the Great Coat Sewalong. I sewed 2 coats for myself and one for Laura. I think maybe my coat quota is set for now. I am more interested in summer sewing... but I did print out the Three Quarter Length Coat from Bernina My Label ... so I'll wait and let my whim guide the way.
Happy Sewing All!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Breezy sewing

Sewing this chiffon feels like I am sewing wisps of clouds together. We had a break in the heat and I was able to open the windows and have fresh air instead of air conditioning. What a pleasure!

This still needs the bottom half of the back to be sewn on. I am sewing French seams, so each seam is its own little mini-project. This is my kind of sewing: very zen-like. Easy to get lost in.
I will, however, want to sew a nice easy cotton after this!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sewing New Patterns!

Here is my latest strategy in achieving a good fit in my sewing. Using the book by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto, Fit For Real People, I have learned that I need a list of alterations. Starting from top to bottom, I need to add a wedge at center back for a high rounded back, and I need to move the shoulder seams forward. Then, a corresponding shift of the sleeve cap seems to give good results.

There are more adjustments as you move on down the bod, but for now I am sewing tops that will have a forgiving fit. This way I can practice these first couple of adjustments and get wearable garments. My current project is this tunic from the July issue of Burda World of Fashion. I've got some gorgeous silk chiffon from EmmaOneSock just waiting to be sewn. I traced and altered the pattern yesterday and cut it out. There was a minor glitch in that my fabric is only 45 inches wide and that's not enough for the back piece (because the sleeves are attached). So- I added seam allowance where the fold was supposed to be and I will sew a center back seam. Also, it didn't seem I had enough fabric, but by laying it out and cutting just one piece at a time, I was able to squeeze it all in.

Working with slippery silk can be a bear, and I have little tricks to help me. I lay out the fabric on a cutting mat and square it up to ensure a straight grain. The pattern pieces are held down with weights and I use a rotary cutter with a fresh new blade. Before I got into rotary cutters, I laid the fabric out on my padded pressing table and pinned the tissue pattern pieces. That works well, too. I just find the rotary cutter to be a lot faster.
The important thing is to handle it as little as possible. Sew it up before it as a chance to object!

And, so, The Bike!! What a joy it is to get exercise outdoors on a new toy! I get most of my exercise in a gym .. BO-RING!
And here is DH who totally transformed this from a sad rusted throw-away to a nice functioning bike for me. I read a question elsewhere to the effect of "why do some people post pictures on their blogs and give out so much personal information? For me, it is because I have friends and family who enjoy checking in and seeing what we are doing. (we are bike riding!)
I am not sure if I will sew the chiffon tunic today. I don't have the right needles for my industrial sewing machine (they don't use that ones you can buy for a home machine). I will have to find a source and order some. The good news is that industrial parts are cheaper and last way longer than the home sewing machines and parts. But - the home machines are quieter, prettier and portable. So the trade-offs are fair.
I suspect I will prefer sewing this tunic on my Pfaff 1475. I have fallen madly in ,ove with that 15-year-old used machine I got a while back.
HAPPY SEWING, friends!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

What I sewed last night and What I Wore Today

OK, I am really trying to do 2 things- update my style and sew clothes that fit. As we all know, from watching TV shows like What Not To Wear, there will be tears. Just kidding. Or maybe not. I am just like most of my bloggin friends - I am getting older and the body does what it will.

OK enuf rambling- I sewed the Christine Jonson Princess Seam top. I cut between a Med and a Large and that worked perfectly. I added a half inch for a rounded upper back and I moved the shoulder seams a half inch forward. I moved the sleeve cap a little forward, too. That's it.
I figured the stretch fabric ought to forgive any other fitting issues.

How often can you sew a top (first time using that pattern, too!) and wear it the next day? Um, like never!! SO I am very pleased. I will sew this again with more adjustment to the neckline... and I will write a review on where I get so much valuable info. Must make time to give back, too!

Since I am looking for feedback on updating my style and fitting adjustments, give me your thoughts- don't hold back if it is not positive. I want the unadorned truth and I am not scheduled to go on What Not To Wear any time soon.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Summer Sewing ... carrying on

I sewed a quick skirt to wear on July 4th. I used the remainder of the rayon /linen Zegna. It is interesting fabric. I can easily picture it made up as a mens' suit. It is beefy and a little scratchy. I wasn't sure if that would bother me. But it breathes! And it barely wrinkles at all. So this fabric is now a big favorite for me. Unfortunately, I bought this quite a while back and Michael doesn't have any more.

I used New Look 6463, with modifications. I didn't want any bulk from a drawstring, so I added a center back seam and darts (I just cut it a little big, then did pin-fitting right on the garment- I have made this skirt before so I knew it would fit OK).

For the waistband, I used tips picked up from Carolyn (sewingfanaticdiary) and others on Stitchers Guild sewing discussion forum. I sewed a very narrow twill tape to prevent a droopy wasitband and then I just finished it off with bias tape. Quick (at 11pm!) sewing for wearing the next day.

Over the weekend, I left my camera in Baltimore, so I missed all kinds of fun shots. Gah! My brother came up from North Carolina so the family time was extra special. We don't manage to get together as often as I'd like.

And then there was The Bike. Wow. My husband found an old (vintage!) 3-speed Schwinn bicycle on the side of the road- up for free. He put new tires, a new seat and it is so great. We biked on Saturday and Sunday and I have a new love.

Sewing? I finished the LR draperies made from the incredible silk. It was a bear to sew- mostly the amount of fabric is super annoying to handle. But the speed of the Juki was a true pleasure. That's a lotta loooong seams, so fast sewing is a plus.

And the photos are now posted- the June Capsule Contest is ready for voting. The sewing and fashion skills are truly impressive. This was a fun sew-along.