Saturday, May 29, 2010

back in the saddle again, New Look 6559

After (what seemed like) an awfully long dry spell, I managed to sew a cardigan today. This is special because I made adjustments to the pattern, and my adjustments worked! Usually, when I sew a commercial pattern, I just use a TNT block and morph the design details to it.

But I mulled it over and came up with an idea of what should work.  I would like to think I do know how I am shaped and how patterns are drafted and how to meet somewhere in the middle.

I can't be that hard, can it?

I read Imogen Lamport's blog regularly (it's on my blogroll over to the right) and I've even had a professional consultation with her.  I learned that my body proportions are long in the upper torso, and my shoulders are narrow.  I did refer to my TNT bodice block to make sure the pattern looked about right.  But this time, I really did just alter the pattern- here is how I did it:
Since this was a cardigan to wear over a black tank dress (I sewed that last weekend) I wanted to use "loud" fabric.  That's another thing I learned from Imogen.  Wearing something busy around my shoulders and upper torso helps balance me out visually.  I do feel good wearing things she suggested, so it's good.  A garment can be busy by virtue of the fabric selection, or, design details.  To follow through on this idea, a military jacket would be good for my shape; epaulets, buttons, plackets and top-stitching are all good for me.

I didn't want the boring back side of this fabric to show at all, so I lined the entire bodice.  That makes it warmer for my ice cold office, too.

One more thing about proportions- since my waist sits quite low for my height, a short jacket gives some balance.  And the black dress is a good quiet background for the jacket.

In the past,  I would have used these fabrics opposite - I would have made the print dress and a black cardigan.  But I can wholeheartedly say that I enjoy wearing clothes more now that I have developed some insight into proportions.  This jacket had a lot of criteria to meet - and it succeeds! 

I especially like that I completed it within one afternoon.  I needed some instant gratification!
*Happy Sewing!*

Thursday, May 27, 2010

simple dresses with cute cover-ups

My summer sewing is about to begin and I am going for simple dresses with cover-ups.  I already sewed (and wore) a great little black tank dress with a J.Jill knt cardigan that I tied at the waist a la this New Look pattern below.
So, more to come!  And I am tired of my overly simple TNT patterns.  I will try, once again, to make a commercial pattern fit me.  WIsh me luck!
And the cutting table is finished, here is a shot with the plywood top to be covered in batting and fabric.  I wound up not liking the system as a sewing table- could not get used to sitting up high like that.  So I just pushed it against the wall.  It holds a TON of stuff.
More later, happy sewing!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

those industrial sewing machines!

I spent a little time this morning looking at Rifkin Contract Sewing's website.  I liked seeing the photos of people actually using the different industrial sewing machines, special feet, etc.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

the view from the sofa

The Philly Get Together is happening this weekend and I am sorry I had to miss it.

But, I have also played with my new toys from the IKEA As-Is Section. 
This is going to be a great sewing station!

Anybody out there sewing?  I am on my way to read your blog!  I need a fix :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wacky Wednesday Sale today!

Sewing Island Update:

IKEA had a 50% off sale in the As-Is section today! I scooped up some kitchen cabinets - woo hoo!

If you need to outfit a room, download their planner. It is a really nice tool to try out different configurations, and it gives you a shopping list, complete with prices.

Here are some ideas to fit my little sewing nook:

This is the one I got- what a bargain! The cabinets are fully assembled and IKEA delivers now.  Awesome.  Next I need to find the right countertop.

Progress on fun stuff!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

madras dress!

What a nice Mother's Day I had!  I hope you did, too.
It was pretty chilly, so I started the day with leggings and a jean jacket:

Howie cooked a wonderful batch of chili which we ate with frankfurters and his yummy potato salad.  My mom, my siblings and their spouses and kids came over.  We all got loud and silly, as per usual.

Here comes Monday.  Here comes cutover to the upgrade of our ERP system at work! 
Big, big project at work is coming to fruition this Friday. 

I painted my toenails blue while I talked to Laura on skype this morning.
I *heart* Laura!

More dresses!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Sewing Island

Yeah, aqua seas, sandy beaches and a gentle breeze would be nice ...

but how about this?!

Like a kitchen has an island, how about a sewing room with an island!

Imagine these two units set up back-to-back as one sewing island:

I would make mine taller and I'd cover the whole top with a self-healing cutting mat.  I am not sure I'd really need the airlift for the machine.  I imagine I'd prefer 48" or even 60"  deep so I could do all my cutting on this table.  Bonus, more storage cubbies on all 4 sides!

I am hooked on Knock-Off Wood where folks make all kinds of great projects.  This is pretty advanced though.  Yesterday I saw several kitchen cabinets at IKEA in the "As-Is" section ... and ... you know, it could be done!!

Oh here is another gadget I want - a Kreg Jig.
OK, off to the sewing room.
Hope you are humming along in your world and thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wrapping up the Car Saga

The Scion was deemed a total loss by the insurance company so I went out and bought a new Subaru Impreza.  I almost bought a 2008 Forester.  I like the body style before they got bigger in 2009 and 2010.  But Howie helped me work through the decision process.  I realized that owning a Forester wouldn't bring back the good ole days of driving around with teenagers in the back seat and Weezer blaring.
No, one must embrace the life one leads NOW.  All I need is a little room in the back for impulse IKEA purchases.  No more camping trips.  Life goes on!

Cell phone pics aren't the best.
I hope to be wearing that madras dress next time I am posting here.  It will be lined Kathy!! LOL
*Happy Sewing!*

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Madras Patchwork Dress

I am sewing patchwork madras dress.  Isn't this such cheerful fabric?  I fell in love with Ann's skirt and promptly bought some for myself.  Thank you Ann for posting about sewing with this unusual fabric.  I am not sure I'd have taken the plunge without a few tips on sewing with it.

I was honestly surprised at how fast Maggie's prom dress went together and decided I need a closet full of dresses.

I heard from Laura and the sequin dress is just a little too big.  (I know she didn't want to tell me, but I dragged it out of her).  I think I'll go to Korea so I can alter it for her :)

I used Wild Ginger Pattern Master Boutique to get myself a pattern for a dress with a midriff section.  I sewed a mock-up and from the waist down, it fit perfectly (yay!).  The top half was good enough to show me that I would really like this style on me.  But the shoulders didn't fit and I simply swapped out my TNT bodice block to make a frankenpattern.  Fast and easy.
I still haven't sewn a fitting sloper from PMB; I like to just get a mock-up going and make manual adjustments.  I figure, you need to sew a mock-up every time you try a new style anyway, so ... let's just cut to the chase, kwim?

oh oh oh - I got a GREAT book on pattern making and it didn't cost eleventy gazillion dollars!
Professional Pattern Making for Designers of Women's Wear by Jack Handford.

I found it used for $32 (via Amazon) and it is exactly what I was looking for.  I already have good blocks and I want to make design changes using paper and pencil.  Ha ha, in the end that is really the fastest and easiest way, now that I have some idea of what I am doing.  I still love Bernina My Label and I have gotten several great garments out of Wild Ginger PMB, but now I can explore more using pencil, paper and a ruler.

THANK YOU for your comments about the car.  Yes, NancyK's husband is right about the unibody.  DH had told me that, too.  And several of you told me to get it towed to a reputable auto body shop: done.  It's all going to work out.   Luckily for me, I am not much of a car person.  It's not like they wrecked my Bernina
*happy sewing*

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Can or should this car be saved?

My car was struck by a Land Rover while it was parked on the side of the road.  The driver flipped her car but fortunately she suffered only minor injuries.   I imagine that airbag did its job well and I am glad she is OK.

Now for the annoying part - waiting to see what her insurance company decides.  The car is 6 months old with low mileage so they will want to fix it.  But won't that take forever?  And will I want to keep a car that was hit so hard?  The parking brake was on, the car was pushed up over a curb, and came to a stop maybe 60 feet away. 

They said they will look at it and tell me in a few days what they are going to do.
Do you guys have any advice?  Won't my car be worth less now that it's had this type of repair?  I really don't think I'll want to keep it, although I have not made up my mind.

DH and I thought about car shopping today, but then I decided it would be more relaxing to sew something for myself.  I will put off car shopping as long as I can.  But I think I need to figure out how to deal with the insurance company asap.  Thoughts?  Thank you.