Monday, September 21, 2009

Silk tweed ...

Today I put this dress together. After the muslins I made last weekend I was fairly certain it would fit well and it does. I've ordered some shoes to go with this, so when they arrive and the jacket is finished I might just let you see them all together. My cheap camera really doesn't do this fabric justice; it is the perfect balance of caramel and cream, with a hint of pink and a hint of green. After trying this on in yesterdays heat, I am fairly certain I will find the weight of this silk tweed way too hot to wear in summer, so I'm going to have to sneak in a wear or three during spring. I'm glad I lined it in cotton! I'm disappointed that it look so ... blah ... on Vera because it is really lovely. When I first saw this fabric I instantly saw brown patent crocodile accessories and I have ordered the shoes, but I am on the hunt for a bag. Any suggestions for jewellery?? I started on the jacket yesterday. Here is is with the sleeves attached to the front and back, but without the side seams sewn or the collar on. Still looks a bit nothing.

Here's a back view of the jacket so far. The pleat hangs beautifully in this fabric. The pattern shows a bow at the top of the pleat, which I would normally consider a bit naff, but I think it will finish this perfectly. In fact, I was thinking of placing a smaller on at the top of the kick pleat at the back of the dress, but I will see once the jacket is finished.The jacket pattern is unlined, but I am lining it because the fabric needs the support. I usually choose loud, unmatched linings, but as this jacket will mostly be worn with the dress, I decided to use a more subtle lining. I've chosen a lovely gold satin, which I forgot to photograph, but will show you next time ...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What I've been up to ...

I've been trying in vain to find time to post, but it hasn't happened, so tonight you get it all in one big one.

First up is Vogue 8593, the sort of copy of a Michelle Obama dress. The photo is not very good and certainly doesn't do the dress justice. It's made from red rayon doubleknit that was a dream to work with. It's a shame it's now way too hot to wear this dress because I really want to wear it.
I bought a new sewing machine. I decided I needed a second machine so that when I'm topstitching in a different colour, I don't have to keep threading and unthreading. Also, I like the idea of a spare machine in case my main stops working.

I found this on Ebay. It's a Husqvarna 6690, which I've just learned was the first embroidery machine to sew letters. It's from a deceased estate and was obviously very well loved and used. It came with four separate cartridges with loads more embroidery stitches than I will ever use. Sadly, there is no manual so I have yet to figure out how to use it for anything other than plain old sewing. If anyone has one of these, perhaps you can give me a few pointers.
The other great thing was that this machine came in its own Horn cabinet. I've seen these before but never used one. The drawers on the right are packed full of accessories, many more feet than I have for my current machine. There is also a very heavy and probably expensive pair of pinking shears, which was a delightful find as I was just about to buy a pair. There is also a drawer full of silk thread in many colours!

Oh, and the machine came with a hand quilted cover. This makes me feel connected to the lady who once owned this machine and clearly loved it.

Next up is Vogue 8146. I'm fairly close in size and proportion to Vogue patterns and I can usually make them with only a few alteretions to the pattern. When I traced the pattern for the dress, I used the finished measurements on the tissue and cut size 8 shoulders, 10 bust, 8 waist tapering out to somewhere closer to size 12 (I'm upping my training to five days a week!) than 10 for the hips. The first muslin was close to a perfect fit. I added about 1/2cm at the waist and the lowered the centre dart by about 2.5cm and the bust dart by 1cm. The second muslin fitted everywhere except the bust dart was still too high. Three muslins later, the bust dart was lowered a whole 2.5cm and fit perfectly. I persisted with this because I figured that this is a great TNT sheath pattern to have. I cut a straight size 8 for the jacket as it's loose fitting and should pose no problems.

Here are the skirt and jacket pieces cut and ready to go. It's a gorgeous silk tweed boucle from Gorgeous Fabrics that I've been eyeing for some time. It was hard to cut and the edges are very easy to unravel, so I overlocked every piece this afternoon. I'm sorry that the picture doesn't show how really lovely this fabric is.

I've decided to line it, although the pattern does not call for it. The loose boucle is likely to lose shape after a day of warm weather wearing. I didn't want to line it with rayon or silk because it will be too hot, so I've chosen a very delicate cotton batiste I had in my fabric collection.I pulled out some other fabric for this pattern. I figure that using this basic sheath I can experiment with necklines and make a whole range of great new summer dresses. I was in the mood to trace and experiment this afternoon but I realised, to my horror, that I am out of pattern trace AND tracing paper. It will have to wait until next weekend when my supplies are replenished. Until then I'll just have to sew.