Sunday, April 18, 2010

Finished Dress

OK, that lining method worked!  After sewing the dress to the lining (at the neckline and armscyes) it is easily turned right side out by pulling through the shoulder.  Here it is with unfinished side and back seams:

To prepare for the insertion of zipper, leave 1.5 inches of the neckline unsewn at the center back.
Click on the picture below to see it larger. 
Then insert the invisible zipper.  Now is not the best time to insert an invisible zip if it's your first time.  Too confusing!!  Those back pieces get all twisted around and I briefly thought I sewed it all wrong.  Fortunately it was just twisted funny.

Then I sewed the side seams, and the hems.  The final finishing at the neckline was sewn by hand. I think all that sequin sewing improved my hand sewing.  This fabric was just so very nice to work with, too.  All in all, very satisfying project.

The finished dress:

So yummy! 
And that concludes almost a month of sewing for others.
I look forward to seeing the dresses on the girls. And I am thinking some dresses for me are in order.
*happy sewing*

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Prom Dress Progress, Pronto Please.

So I am using DD Laura's former bedroom for my cutting table these days.  It's a little bit pink.  Anyhooooo, my niece's prom dress is coming along nicely.  The lining is stretch silk charmeuse (the one closer to the wall) and the dress fabric is a mystery fabric that came in a bundle from Michael's.  It is a wonderful fabric with stretch that would have been pants for me if there had been enough.  It will be the perfect rockabilly dress for Maggie.
When we had the fitting session last week, I learned that this wasn't quite the Audrey Hepburn classic I had in mind- oh no!  She wants it very tight and sassy.  OK!  Frankly, that is an easier sew.

The very first thing I did was check shoulder seams.  They needed to come foward a full inch!  The fit was really pretty good, and I just pinned out all wearing ease. Because the pattern had a sleeve and the dress design is sleeveless, it needed an extra dart in the armscye, which I rotated to the side dart.  The waist was level (good!) and it needed to come down 5/8".

I pinned out the side seams and removed big vertical slices at the darts closest to center back.  I added a dart to the shouder seam and marked a slight swayback type adjustment just below the shoulder blades.  Transferring the fitting adjustments back to the pattern took a few hours.

Then I cut the dress and located a good tutorial for the lining.  I have a book by Connie Long about linings that is very good.  I noticed the link to Amazon says it's $134!  That has got to be a typo.  My copy was $19.95.  Next I will sew the neckline and armscyes, then pull through the shoulder.  I hope it works!  I want to sew sheath dresses for summer for myself.
I ordered this wonderful madras patchwork from Gorgeous Fabrics.  It is very sunshine-y! 

And good news for the USPS-  I set up a click & ship account and filled in the shipping label before mailing the sequin dress today.  No cussing, either!
*happy sewing*

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gina models the sequin dress

Love the shoes Gina!

Sequin dress modelled by Mary Ellen

My co-workers are good sports. We've been together for a long time! Mary Ellen and I have worked together since the early 90's.

I'll be shipping this dress to Laura in South Korea. Laura is a lot taller than Mary Ellen, so it will be a mini-dress on Laura.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

More Thoughts on Sewing for Others

Pardon me if I use my blog like a private journal.  I am learning why I sew for others and I am coming up with rules on when I will sew for others in the future.  (Spoiler alert: this is all about control)
Lois K- thank you for sharing your story in the comments to my last post!

Number One Thing is "what's in it for me?"

Today I am finishing the sequin dress for Laura.  The minute I saw the fabric, I thought "I WANT TO SEW THIS FABRIC!  But Lordie, I would NEVER wear it.  So, Laura's enthusiasm and the bargain price was all I needed to take on this project.  (by the way, the final step is hand-sewing sequins to cover over the seams. It's mindless sewing you can do while watching oodles of TV.  Just quadruple the amount of time you think it will take.  But that is a lesson I seem to find in many, many projects! :)

Looking back over other things I've sewn for other people ... what was in it for me?  Well, I felt very happy to be sewing a present instead of shopping in a crowded mall.  Once I sewed because I was otherwise helpless to relieve someone's suffering; I sewed a charmeuse silk sleepshirt for Laura as she recovered from a tonsillectomy.  I wouldn't wish a tonsillectomy on my worst enemy.

Applying these reflections to the project on deck?
What's in it for me?  This project was to be all about  fitting.  I am very enthusiastic about learning how to fit any body.  My subject is petite, short-waisted and FBA city.  I know how hard it is to find clothes that fit for most of us.  For these particular proportions, nothing will work except separates and stretch fabrics.
I really wanted a chance to test my fitting skills and construct a flattering woven dress.

So you see, I am not particularly altruisitic.  I don't sew for others if there is nothing in it for me.

Then there is the whole control issue; I love to be in control.  Sewing is the perfect hobby if you love to control things.  I haven't been able to get measurements or fittings scheduled on my terms so that lack of control is, well, it's freaking me out!  I am sure that non control-freaks don't suffer from this type of anxiety.  Oh well!

To be fair, most people don't know what is involved in a sewing a fine garment.  They would generally be shocked at how time consuming it is, and how much sacrifice is involved when a person has a fulltime job, commitments with family and friends, not to mention personal sewing projects that are being delayed.  Heck I spent yesterday doing our taxes.  Life doesn't leave a lot of leeway, does it?

There is something else I think most people don't realize about sewing.  It's not all fun and games.  We hit snags, we make mistakes that must be picked apart and re-done.  Worst of all is when we hit the wall.  Almost every project has a moment when I feel like I AM TIRED OF THIS! I JUST WANT IT TO BE DONE!  That's how it is for me.  It is a lot easier to endure that feeling when I am sewing something for myself.  Obviously, the rewards of sewing are tremendous or I would not be so passionate about sewing.

Before the end of April, I will be working with a very reliable "customer".  She doesn't mind multiple fittings, she is quick to decide on fabric, style, and techniques.  She is patient with my little tantrums.  She wears it even if it's not perfect.  We know who "she" is .....  (me!)

Is it like this for you?
Do tell!

edited to add:  I forgot to add a label to this post, so I edited and re-published it.
I don't use google reader very often, so please tell me - did I just cause you to get a duplicate post from me?  If so, I apologize and I'll stop doing that.  I imagine it would be annoying.
I am happy that you read and comment on my blog.  Thank you!

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Quick Muslin - Will it become a dress?

Who knows? 
Here is something I DO know: teenagers (and young people in general) can't be managed. 
Maybe I should call this post:
How To Sew for Other People and Enjoy It

  • Set deadlines

    • Muslin fitting must be complete no later than Thursday, April 15 in order for dress to be sewn by Prom date April 24

  • Adhere to deadline

    • ok, I am a softie and I have a Plan B.  If the fitting doesn't happen, I will figure out a way to sew a knit version of this dress without the benefit of a fitting.  Knits stretch.

  • If deadlines are missed, don't worry about it

    • See Plan B

  • Make it fun - use a new tool or a new technique and good fabric!
OK, so here's what I have done so far:
I printed out screenshots of the measurement chart from Wild Ginger Pattern Master Boutique pattern making software, including screens that illustrate how to take each measurement. These images are on my Flickr page if you are interested. I tossed this in my purse and took measurements when I saw the subject.

Entered measurements and printed the pattern:
Trimmed right and bottom edges with rotary cutter:
Taped rows together:

Then taped the columns together and cut:

Then sewed:

For Maggie, my drama-geek niece

I just hope she comes out of her shell.

I love the look on my mother's face.

Monday, April 5, 2010

slowly I progress ...

First of all, thank you all so much for your very kind comments and happy birthday wishes.  I appreciate each and every comment and keeping this blog is a true pleasure for me.  I have been so busy I can barely find the time, and I miss it!  I will be sewing more and blogging more regularly soon.
I did have a very nice birthday - it's the simple things that matter.  My daughter called me and a few hours later, my mother called.  My dear husband cooked my favorite beef with sour cream gravy (with pickles in it- yum!)  And my best-est cubicle neighbor got me this mug!  Isn't that the most thoughtful thing?  I love my co-workers, I really do! 
Meanwhile, I have nearly finished all the sequin sewing.  It is pantomime sewing!  Seriously, the thread is a very fine, clear monofilament and the sequins are small and clear, so ... sometimes I can't even see what I am doing.  I enjoy the challenge. 
Also, I tweaked my pants pattern to fit a little better and sewed another version in chino-type fabric.  Very simple and preppy; good for spring.

My sister told me something funny.  Several months ago she updated some feng shui elements in her house.  And here I am now working on a renovation of her rental apartment with her.  We are having fun making over the space into a sweet little apartment.
So, when she activated the corner to "bring helping people" into her life, I think it worked.  I think that's why I am painting primer these days.  But all the hard part is finished and it's looking really cute.  (We ripped out the whole kitchen, refinished the floors and put in a new IKEA kitchen.  Nice paint colors have been selected, I have sewn some window treatments and that's it!!)
So, let's wrap that up, finish the sequin dress and sew something fun for Robin.  Yes.
*Happy Creative Days*