Saturday, April 19, 2014

Vogue 1292 View B, a Sandra Betzina Skirt

I bought this pattern when it first came out because I was fascinated by the origami flounce of View A. I'm still fascinated with it, but this time I made View B, the "other" skirt in the envelope, which you can see in the smaller picture below.

It seemed like it would work better with the fabric I wanted to use, a textured zig zag stripe that I bought at Santa Fe Fabrics last year (along with some black ponte and a couple of zippers).

It was just too busy for cutting out all those little geometric pieces (there are 12 of them!). It really needs a simple stripe, or even a solid.

I made full pattern pieces of the front and back panels. I didn't think such narrow pieces could be cut effectively on the fold, plus I wanted to be able to line up the stripes as well as I could. The pattern for the side panels is already a full piece, so why not print front and back the same way too?

I cut out the main fabric at Material Girls, where I had a huge cutting table and lots of space to work in. I'm so glad I did! The layout took some time to plan for the best effect, and that's easier to do when you have plenty of room. When I took the pieces home, I let them rest, flat, on my cutting table. While this isn't a particularly wiggly knit, I knew that having the pieces folded up in a tote bag didn't help. I did end up "trueing up" the edges after the fabric had relaxed for a few days.

The guide sheet recommends basting the pieces together first to test the fit because the construction is atypical. No changes needed for me, but if you are making this skirt according to the pattern, don't skip this step. The lining is sewn to the skirt at the waist and the hem so it would be hard to adjust later on. 

I was initially unsure how long too make the skirt. I realized when testing the fit that the 33" finished measurement of the pattern was going to be too much for me. I left the striped pieces alone, but made the lining pieces shorter. I came up with this solution because I had I smallish remnant I wanted to use for the lining and the amount was too small if I cut the lining per the pattern pieces. In addition, the lining doesn't exactly "go" with the stripe so I wanted a deeper hem to hide that. Here's a photo to explain what I mean.

The lining is a poly knit that I think came from Emma One Sock several years ago. I believe I originally made a t-shirt out of it. The price was right (free), and it has the slippery texture I wanted. As a bonus, it's a fun print, and I like having that little surprise for myself. I cut the lining on the lengthwise grain, again due to having short yardage to work with.

I like the hem technique although it took a while for me to wrap my head around how to adjust the length. But it worked out fine, with a finished length of 26". It's below the knee, so long enough to wear with boots, but not too long.

The skirt has an elastic waistband, and Sandra provides two options. I picked the simpler one, which is similar to the technique Loes Hinse uses. I always feel like I need three hands when I do this because the elastic is being stretched while being attached, but it does result in a nice waistband.

I hope to get a picture of this on me soon, but today was not the day, since it's a dreary and windy weekend again. That's been the pattern although it's nice during the week. I think I'm going to like this skirt. The pattern will be versatile too, since it's a basic shape that could be used with many knit fabrics. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

TSW Zen Shirt, Version 2 is Complete

This has been an a ongoing project for quite a while, but made in fits and starts. Unlike the previous version, I made this one according to the recommended techniques on the pattern's Guide Sheet with French seams, miters, top stitching, and so forth. Every once in a while it's nice to make a project this way to renew  fine sewing techniques. I especially like the hidden placket, which I will need to adapt to other patterns in the future.

It does look a bit plain on Miss Acme (and she's definitely looking worse for wear), but I assure you that it's a beautiful fine cotton in real life, with a hand that's crisp yet silky to the touch.  How I miss the day's when JoAnn's would buy such nice things from its jobbers! Here's a view of the back with its deep pleat:

Just for fun, I played around with various ways to style the most notable feature, the double collar.

Straight up

Both folded down

One up, one down

And most likely, open at the neck

If I make this again, I'm leaving off the button and loop detail at the neck. I want to like it, but it's a challenge to sew through all the layers involved, and not really that functional. Other than that, this shirt offers some nice details and as sewn, it will be a good base for accessories.

I'm not sure what's next. Spring has arrived, although it's still a bit chilly. I'm feeling the need to sew up spring-like fabrics such as linen. Perhaps a re-sort of the Sewing Cave is in order.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Simple Project, Simplicity 3569 (oop)

Time for a new, simple pattern--a knit friendly nightgown. 2 main pieces and 2 facing pieces.

The fabric is a cotton knit that came from Hancock's or JoAnn's, I'm not sure which one.  I just remember seeing it and thinking it would be perfect for something like this.

It was easy to make, too.  Although I included the facings due to the V-neck, I changed the instructions a bit and topstitched the edge down to eliminate the potential of the facings flopping around. I worked on this for a small amount of time after returning from the mini sewing tour, and it was ready to wear to bed that night.

I cut a 10 through the neck and shoulders and a 14 for the sides.  The shoulders and facings were sewn with a regular machine using 5/8" seams. I made narrow 1/4" side seams, using my serger.   The finished length was dowdy on me, so I cut 8" off the lower edge before hemming with a 1/2" machine stitched hem. Now it's a little above my knees.

I'll definitely make this again, and I've already selected a couple other stash knits to use. This nightgown is so comfortable, but a step up from sleeping in a T-shirt.

TSW Zen Shirt, Version Two

Even with last weekend's shopping trip, I got some sewing in. I made an easy nightgown that I'll post soon. It was a really fast sew, so I also got started on the TSW Zen Shirt (the shirt on the left, below) that I had cut out a while back.

I've made this shirt before, but I used more basic techniques since that version was basically a prototype. Somehow, I never posted the finished version of this shirt, so here it is:

It looks fine and I've worn it plenty of times, but I decided to use dressmaker techniques this time around and take some some time with the garment instead of whipping through construction. 

I'm using a really lovely shirting that I found in the JoAnn's clearance area some years back. White threads in the warp and blue in the weft, and it has a silky feel although it's cotton.  I had originally planned to make this garment with the print collars I ended up using on the fuchsia Liberty Shirt, so this project was on the back burner for a while. As of now, I'm planning to make the entire garment from the blue shirting. Kind of plain, but every wardrobe needs its share of quiet clothes too.

The guide sheet calls for French seams throughout. That takes a little more time, but I was able to attach the sleeves and sew the first pass of both side seams in a few hours last Sunday. This Saturday, I got quite a bit more done--sides, sleeves, hems, and placket are sewn. The next step is making buttonholes, which have to be done before attaching the collars.  Perhaps I'll have time for more work on the new shirt before the weekend's over, but it's ok if I don't. This is a no rush garment!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mini Sewing Tour

Back in the day, the Albuquerque ASG chapter put together sewing tours of the area by bus. There was usually a fee that included bus rental, lunch, and treats. We mostly went to sewing stores in the Albuquerque and Santa Fe area, although the agenda could include cultural offerings such as the Santa Fe Opera (including the costume and prop shops) and the International Museum of Folk Art. Typically, lunch was included, and a good time was had by all.

We recently tried unsuccessfully to organize another "official" trip that fell through.  So some of us decided to organize a mini tour by car. We had two stops--Bernie's Fabrics in Belen and Silverado in town, then we ended up with lunch at the Grove in EDO (East of Downtown, hilarious that Albuquerque is now experimenting with Manhattan naming conventions!).

Bernie's was our first stop after meeting at our organizer's home. This is a new-to-me store located south of Albuquerque in the town of Belen in Valencia County. It was chock full of fabric--mostly quilting cottons, but a handful of other things.

It was a bit of a treasure hunt and you had to dig a bit, but I found some nice pieces--a vintage looking Western print, a pretty batik, and a tone on tone seersucker. 

Our next stop was a visit to Silverado, which is a manufacturer of soft furnishings (pillows, bed ensembles, and tabletop items) located in a former Datsun dealership. We have visited Silverado many times over the years as the business has morphed from women's boutique clothing to its current speciality, but at least it's still around. The owner, Silvia, told us that she currently has two main markets--the lodging industry and home decor catalogs. As you might guess, Silverado's look is Western-oriented, but with a luxury twist. 

They have been using home dec fabrics for years, even when making women's clothes, and Silvia opened up the warehouse to sell us some of her fabrics from past collections. I bought one piece there, which I bought for a future jacket.

Now I need to get sewing with all this new fabric! The weather is getting warmer and that means new things to wear.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

No Sewing This Weekend, But a Haul

This weekend was the Material Girls meetup, but it was sort of a bust due to the switch to Daylight Savings Time. We get together at Ann Silva's Bernina, but the person who works at the store and lets us in didn't appear. I had brought some giveaways and so did a couple of other ladies, so we did a swap meet from our vehicles.

That ended up well! I got an almost full bolt of rayon challis (yes, it's bright but it's pretty and has a great hand),

a yard or so of Guatemalan ikat,

some wooly plaid mystery fabric (cat blankets if nothing else),

and a couple of pieces of Space Alien cotton from Roswell, NM.

I also picked up a couple of patterns--a vintage Calvin Klein Vogue and a Butterick Connie Crawford T-shirt.

We adjourned after it became clear that no one would be letting us in, and I headed over to TJ Maxx. I discovered that they are remodeling--the new fixtures are quite nice, I must say. Several items jumped into my cart and came home with me.  Some shoes

There were also a couple of tops and some lingerie, none of which have been tried on yet. The temporary dressing room was small and I didn't feel like waiting in line. Once I'm tried them on, I'll decide if I want to keep them or take them back. So, no pictures of any of that.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

TSW Liberty Shirt with Zen Collars

I finished up the shirt today! There were a few issues along the way but the end result was worth it.

A close up of the Zen double collars. Each has one side of the print and the other of the faux linen. I went simple with the buttons, which I was fortunate enough to find in a perfect match.

Sleeve are faced with more of the cotton accent fabric.

This version is the third one from this pattern. None of them use the original collar, for some reason. I think I'm going to give this pattern a rest for now, although a sleeveless version might happen this summer.