Sunday, October 25, 2009

The next dress ...

With little sewing time this week I have only managed only meagre item. This dress is Vogue 1100, a wardrobe pattern I am not sure why I bought. I rather like the dress, though, and I may try the jacket come autumn.

This is another quilting cotton. The print looks a little Japanese to me. Like the last dress I made, I've lined this in cotton poplin, an olive green this time. On a recent episode of Project Runway, one of the judges asked a contestant what point there was in lining a dress in a bright colour because 'no one sees it'. Well, I disagree. I see the inside of my dress and I like seeing the lovely green inside. Of course, I did not think to photograph it. I altered the construction method so that the lining could be completely bagged and there was no handsewing at all. This has to be the neatest dress inside that I have ever made.
I'm almost ready to start my Chanel jacket. I think I've made a decision ...
In the meantime, when I was looking at the Vogue website today I saw this pattern that has captured my attention. It's a squillion degrees today and it's only going to get hotter, so why am I thinking of winter sewing???


Monday, October 19, 2009

In the meantime I made this ...

I've been agonising over my Chanel jacket and still have not decided on the pattern, the lining or the trim. So I made this dress instead. It's Butterick 5277. I bought it for View C with the collar because it has a nice retro feel to it, but for a quick fix I made this version of View A.

It's a quilting cotton, lined with plain brown cotton poplin, because it's way too hot here for any other kind of lining plus I don't like the feel of silk on my skin. I muslined it first and used the tweaked muslin as the lining. It's a 10 going to a 12 at the hips as seems to be my standard for Butterick and Vogue. It fits really well but after wearing it all day today, I have to say that the sleeve caps make it a little restrictive, ie the whole dress lifts up when you raise your arms. Next time I would shorten them but about 1.5cm, maybe even 2cm and that will stop the problem. I'll compare them against a BWOF pattern of a similar style that doesn't cause the same problem. It's an easy sew and a good basic dress. I love the shape of the neckline, too.

I've been madly braiding all kinds of things for my Chanel jacket. This is a quick down and dirty from two strands each of 8ply knitting wool from my stash. The colours aren't right, but they're close enough to get an idea of how it would work as well as giving an indication as to the thickness of the braid. I like this look.
I then found some shiny cord at the local store and tried a few combinations. My braiding got worse and worse as I went on, so it's hard to tell.
In this sample I used a bright purple, a yellow (they had no lime green), a chocolate brown and a dark green that's a little too Christmasy, but it was enough to let me know to lose the brights and dim it down a little.

This sample has swapped the bright purple for a pale lavender, which I really like, but it's still not there.

Sorry about the blur - it's hard to tell, but this is pale lavender, pale mint green, bright green and chocolate brown. If I can find a more olive green, I think this might be a winning combination. Now I just need to decide between this satiny cord or a rough knitting yarn. Oh, and I need to pick a pattern.

Monday, October 12, 2009

This is how UFO's happen ...

I've become obsessed with my Chanel jacket. I was up until very late last night reading the Claire Shaeffer book about couture sewing and I've spent a large part of the morning staring at my fabric. You will notice from yesterdays post that I have one unfinished jacket already and if you look in the background of those pictures you will see my previous jacket, also unfinished. It just needs hemming, buttons and bloody good press. I will finish the silk tweed today ... I want to wear it on Wednesday.
But back to Chanel .. I am quite keen to use the selvege as a trim and have been trying to think of a way to cover the white chain stitch. I think if I make a braid and stitch it down, it should work. I think using a purchased trim on this fabric wouldn't look right. I think the ruggedness of the fabric demands a more rugged and less perfect trim, if that makes any sense. I dragged out a box of embroidery thread and started tossing colours around. This is what I have so far. Three colours that I love and are all in the wool fabric. The middle is a dirty pale green and the lavender is dirtier than it appears in this picture. I quite like these muted colours, the dirty versions of their bright brothers and sisters. I was thinking a three strand braid in either this combination ...

Or a three strand braid in this combination ...


But I think this is my favourite combination; a four strand braid using all these colours ...Even though we don't have a decent fabric store for about 750km, we do have a very well stocked yarn store in Mullumbimby (The Silver Thread, unchanged for decades - if you're in the Northern Rivers area, take a look). I know I will be able to find these colours in a knitting cotton because the smoothness of that is what I am seeing in my mind. I'll test it and see how it looks.

I was originally planning buttons and starting to dread the search for something appropriate, but then I hit on the idea of hook and eye closure at the front as I have seen some others do. If I use the fringe of the selvege down the front, it will cover the hooks so you shouldn't see them when it is closed. Any thoughts or suggestions????

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Jackets ...

The silk tweed jacket just goes on and on ... I've spent the entire afternoon putting these bound buttonholes in. This fabric is so unravelly (is that a word?) that it was near impossible to get these even. They're in, but they're not my best work. I had planned to finish the lining and put the collar on today, but after this mammoth effort, I'm beat. If I were to make this again in a boucle, I would use leather for the buttonholes. I had considered a triangle of leather at the top of the pleat on the back, but I forgot about it until after I had sewn the buttonholes - it would have worked well. Here's how it looks from the front so far and the next one is the back. For a jacket with a big fold and lots of fabric, it actually is quite fitted when worn. Hopefully I'll finish it tomorrow.


Next up is my Chanel Sew a long jacket. I'm considering this rough green wool.

It has flecks of yellow and blue and is quite a rough weave. It puts me in mind of army blankets, although the colour is much brighter. I am taken with the idea of such a coarse fabric sewn using couture techniques. I'll start hunting around for trim, but if anyone has a suggestion, I'd really like to hear it. I thought of using the selvege in some way, but it has a white chain stitch along it and it stands out a little too strongly. I have a green satin for lining, but I may change that if I find something more interesting. I've narrowed my pattern selection to these two. The Vogue on the right fits, but I will need to muslin the Simplicity on the left.

As always, I have so many plans and so little time ...

Friday, October 9, 2009

In case you wondered where I've been ...

I was in Thailand, wearing all five pieces from the August Wardrobe in a Week competition. I added a chocolate brown silk jersey top I bought at the op shop for $3 and an orange a-line inverted pleat skirt I made from a scrap leftover from something else I made years ago. I slipped in three cardigans, one orange and one brown short sleeve cropped cardis that are perfect for slipping over things when the airconditioning is too cold, one long sleeved brown one for the plane because I am always cold on planes and a bikini, also orange and brown.

These small capsules are perfect for travel and I highly recommend this kind of wardrobe planning to anyone who has a trip coming up. It would be simple to extend this collection for a cooler climate and the wardrobe I sewed this past winter already works in the same way if I take a winter holiday.

As luck would have it, a few days before I was to leave I forgot to take shoes to work. I train every morning at 6am and usually shove my work clothes and shoes in a bag, but this day I just plain forget to add footwear, so I was left with nothing to put on my feet. So I bought some shoes. These wedges co-ordinate with everything I packed and were very comfortable. As it is currently wet season in Thailand, these shoes kept me out of any puddles I encountered and were comfortable to walk in all day. I took a pair of gold and brown heels and some brown flat sandals for the beach.

Before we left, DH decided he wanted a suave pool shirt, something reminiscent of the 60's. He quoted the pool scene from The Graduate as his inspiration. I knew what to do. The pattern is BWOF 04-2008-132. The fabric is ecru linen that I bought a while ago to make DH a shirt, but never got around to.

The trim is a strip of black bias tape and a length of ribbon with a fine black stripe, about four fine caramel coloured stripes and a few white stripes. This is the the first hidden placket I've sewn and I was surprised at how easy it was. Obvously, this looks better on a bloke than on Vera. It goes perfectly with some little swim trunks he bought himself and a cute little pork pie hat.

A parting shot ... these are the shoes I bought to go with the silk tweed dress and jacket. I just might have to go downstairs and finsih the jacket now!