Sunday, January 31, 2010

This weekend

I've had a fairly productive weekend, sewing wise. First up is another shirt for Grant's SWAP. It's a long sleeved, collared versiono of his TNT BWOF shirt. There are no buttons as yet as my stash yielded nothing that worked with the style or colour. It will be the first time in a long while that I've actually had to buy buttons. The second picture is a closeup of the cuff placket with a little machine embroidery detail. Once the buttonholes are done there will be more embroidery on the front button placket.

I made myself a skirt from this Style pattern I bought at the op shop for 20c.
It's dated 1991 but to my mind is pretty timeless. The jacket has no shoulder pads and is quite fitted. The highwaisted skirt style is very similar to another Vogue pattern I bought last year. I've never used Style before and I know nothing about them, but this pattern fits like a glove straight from the pack.
My photography is a little crappy so you can't see the kick pleat, but it's there. I like this skirt so much that I have even cut out another one already this afternoon. It is a very flattering style for me. I will probably wear it to work tomorrow with my black and red linen blouse.
Technically, this isn't part of my SWAP. As I seem to have way more than the required 11 garments, I have decided to just keep sewing and pick the 11 that work together best at the end. To that end, I have cut out another three tops, one dress and one skirt this afternoon. I did plan to cut a jacket as well, but the fabric wasn't dry, so I drank some champagne instead.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What would you use this sewing notion for?

I went downstairs to my sewing room to press my black skirt. I couldn't find my pressing cloth in its usual place, so I started opening all the drawers in my sewing desk to see if I had inadvertently put it away. This is the drawer that holds shoulder pads and large chunky zips, so I don't open it very often.
This is a brown tree snake, commonly known as a night tiger. They won't kill you, but their venom packs a punch, so children, the elderly or people with weak hearts will get pretty sick. The picture doesn't do him justice as they are the most lovely shimmery bronze with a salmon coloured, very glossy belly. Whilst I have no fear of snakes and will happily pick them up and move them, finding this one in my sewing desk made me jump. I have loads of these all over the house, but I have never found one in a cupboard before. As I haven't opened this drawer for ages, I don't know if he is a new resident or if he comes here often. I shut the drawer and left him in peace.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I fixed it ...

I fixed the neckline on my Enid Gilchrist dress. Although it still stands away from the dress form, on me it sits flat. I've but a button on the back and pressed it since I took these pictures and all in all I'm pretty happy with it. I don't LOVE the dress the same was as I love the fabric, but it fits and is a nice addition to my summer wardrobe. I'm going to wear it to work today.

Next up I got to work in the black skirt that is so desperately needed in my wardrobe. It's Vogue 8426 View C. I've made View A before but I decided to make the long version with the kick pleats because I like the look of longer skirts with boots in winter. This is a serious step outside my comfort zone. I have never in 47 years worn skirts longer than my knees and although I can still wear short skirts, something has clicked over in my brain and made me realise how close 50 is. It's time to start covering up.

This hasn't been pressed or hemmed yet as I left it to drop overnight. The fabric nearly drove me to distraction. I have no idea what it is. I bought about 4m of it at the op shop for $4. It's polyester something and has a crepey weave. It's heavy and doesn't crush easily but when you apply a clapper to a crease, it holds perfectly, making it the ideal fabric for this skirt. The fabric was very hard to cut and I'm sure has blunted my scissors, plus it slipped all over the place. It's even hard to get a pin through it. It's ravelly like a crepe, so I overlocked all the raw edges before sewing and it behaved perfectly. It's the sort of fabric that if I saw a RTW skirt in it I'd buy it, but if I saw a roll of it in a fabric store I'd run like hell. Overall, I'm thrilled with the skirt, the fabric has the perfect weight and movement and the fit is great (size 10 straight out of the pack) but I'm glad the sewing is over. Yesterday it was 41 degrees celsius and trying this on when I was sticky and hot was very unpleasant. You can see Molly in the background laying on the floor. My sewing room is the coolest place in the house. I need to make a straight black skirt, too, but for my SWAP, I think this is perfect and will go really well with the knit tops I have planned.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Frustrating sewing days ...

I had a frustrating weekend of sewing compounded by the fact that it was so hot I couldn't think. My house is normally very cool in summer, but this weekend was hotter than normal. My sewing room is under the house so it's the coolest place to be. Kbenco has a similarly styled Queenslander to mine. These houses are raised so that the cool breezes flow under and keep the temperature down, but when it gets this hot nothing helps. Last night I finished work at 8pm and it was 33 degrees celsius by the thermometer in my car.

But onto the sewing. I worked on another Enid Gilchrist dress. I drafted this pattern up a while ago and checked it against my TNT sheath but did not bother to make a muslin. I'm familiar enough with EG sizing to know what fits. The body of the dress fitted reasonably well, pretty much as I'd expected given these vintage patterns. I just needed to tweak it to fit my shape and it was fine. The one thing I didn't check was the shoulders. Dresses of this era were worn wider on the shoulders than I find comfortable. In fact, I find them downright restricting. I had to shave about 3cm off the armscye to get it anywhere near comfortable. The collar thing didn't work at all, so I took it off and recut the neckline to a lower shape. I basted the collar on and found it damn near choked me, so I took it off and cut it in half. It still nearly choked me.
You might also be able to tell from the first shot that the collar is standing up away from the body. So I took it off again and walked away for the rest of the day. I've been pondering this since Sunday and have now decided to completely redraft the collar bit into a shape that actually works for my body. I will do that when I get home from work tonight.
This fabric is the abstract puffs woven from Gorgeous Fabrics and it is one of the most wonderful fabrics I have ever worn. It has an almost sateen finish and just the right amount of stretch for a fitted dress. I cut the black collar bit in a crepe back satin I had left over from another project which goes better in real life than in this picture. I've lined this in black silk because I still have about five miles of it. Hopefully I will have pictures of the finished dress in a day or two.
For those who are interested in these things, here is the page from the Enid Gilchrist book showing the design I drafted from. Take a look at the interesting darts on the front piece. Sadly, these design elements are completely lost in my busy fabric, but they actually are in the right place for me which doesn't happen very often.

Monday, January 11, 2010

SWAP sewing

I got moving with some SWAP sewing this weekend. First up was my sheath dress. This is a quick and easy sew for me. It's rayon boucle from Gorgeous Fabrics and is fully lined with a black poly/silk lining that I have a whole roll of so I use a lot. I'm actually wearing this today and I think I should have stabilised the neck a little, but I'll see how it wears. The fabric is so nice on the body. There's a jacket and skirt to come from the same fabric, but it's not part of my SWAP so they can wait till winter. Then I made this black linen blouse. I think the pattern is KS3668. I've made this a few times now. The great thing about this top is that the fabric cost me 50c at the op shop, the binding cost 20c and the buttons were in my stash and probably originally came from the op shop too. Even the thread was stash. I had a 1000m reel of black that I bought years ago. Apart from my time, this top has cost less than $1. But I still hate linen.Then I started on some more bloke sewing. Of course, Vera doesn't quite fill out this shirt in the same way that Grant does. This will be the matched print entry for his SWAP. Below you can see how I managed to keep the pattern even and correct across the front. I cut the yoke on the diagonal. The lines meet the back of the shirt in the same place on each side, though it's hard to tell from this picture.

The sleeve pattern is matched to the body at the front notch. The pattern also matches underneath each sleeve in a perfect chevron that DH says is his favourite bit and he intends to walk around with his arms in the air to show it off. I forgot to photograph that, but perhaps he will model the shirt in this pose for the official end of SWAP pics??I matched the front yoke patterns with the lines nearest the collar because I thought the eye would go there naturally.I'm really happy with this shirt and DH loves it. He admitted he didn't like the fabric when I showed it to him, but understood the SWAP concept and was happy to wear it because it matched everything. Last night he told me it's have new favourite shirt and he can't wait for winter so he can wear it. This from a man who would rather be naked!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pause for thought ...

Whilst I haven't actually gotten around to sewing anything in 2010, I have been working. I spent the best part of two days cutting out fabrics, linings and interfacings. These boxes contain the remaining nine garments from Grant's SWAP and the first three of my SWAP, as well as two ring in garments which I managed to squeeze out and I thought I might as well cut whilst the fabric was on the table. I must have bought the magic 3 yards of black and white tweed from Gorgeous Fabrics because I managed to get a sheath dress, a jacket and a pencil skirt from this one length and I actually have enough left to make a handbag. I purchased all of the thread and notions yesterday. As my overlocker is currently threaded in black, I will start with the sheath dress. I've been reading everybody's 2009 wrap ups with great interest and I've found it rather inspiring. I wasn't going to do it, but I did. Here is my break down. What I'd like to know is why I never have anything to wear?

Me - 63 garments
Dresses 22
Knit tops 12
Blouses 14
Skirts 6
Jackets 4
Pants 2
Jeans 2
Shorts 1

Grant's - 15 garments
Pants 5
Shorts 3
Shirts 5
Sweatshirt 1
Trackpants 1

Bathrobes 2
Vest 1
Bags 7