Totally and Completely Over It

I am totally and completely over two things. The first, Project Runway. The second, the new pattern sheets in Burda.

I read in the blogosphere about the Burda changes. I thought people were overreacting. I thought how can it be that bad? I’ve traced  La Mia Boutique, Patrones, Knip Mode and others. Well. You know what? It *is*that bad. I seriously struggled tracing out a jacket today. And, I’m pretty sure it’s still not right.

Here’s hoping I just get used to it.

Project Runway speaks for itself.

Totally and completely over it.

Alright. I hate to blog without a photo. Here’s the coat fabric I bought two weeks ago at Guss Woolens in Baltimore. It’s a gorgeous double side wool Italian tweed. How Italian? Oscar de le Renta baby! It was originally $33 a yard. I snagged the last 3.5 yards for less than $30 total. Yeah. That’s how I got my coat groove back.

For Sale: Non Sewing Impulse Buy

While in China, I made a total impulse buy. My cell phone was due for an upgrade and I fell in love with this cute compact style one. I thought it would work here in the US since my US cell phone worked in China. Wrong. It doesn’t. It’s on a different frequency. I’m listing the phone here on Evil Bay in case you might be interested.

It’s a GSM 900 frequency, you can check this list and see if it works in your country first. It appears to work everywhere else EXCEPT North America. Grrrrr. Please save yourself the effort of asking me why I would buy a phone in another country without knowing if it would here. I’ve asked myself that a dozen times already. I even thought about making it my travel phone.  But, that’s just silly. I’m more sad I won’t be able to use it. I’m totally a gadget person and this one was supercute. I held on to it for a while trying to see if there was a way to change the frequency. No such luck.

Today’s sewing project:

Cut out fabric and lining for a new coat dress. I have Tuesday off for Election Day and plan on sewing for a solid 12 hours :)


“You Must Really Like That Dress”

When in Montreal this spring, my aunt noted that I must really like this red and white tunic I made from the August 2008 issue of Burda. Yes, yes I do. I wear it on all vacations, every PR weekend I’ve ever attended and with regularity each summer. It’s one of the perils of making most of your own clothes. You have a smaller stable to wear and you wear the heck out o the things you like best.

After two years, I finally made another version for fall. This time from a black, brown and grey knit I picked up in Philadelphia with Trena and Karen last October. This time, I added the sleeve from the 9-2010-121 turtleneck I made last week and added four inches at the skirt hem so it was office appropriate. Hmmm. Still a hair short for work. But, whatev.

I made this on Friday evening in about two hours. It’s entirely constructed on my serger.

My favorite feature are the tucks along the front yoke. They are often lost in my busy prints. The gathers also make for quite the boobilicious dress. Trust. I’ve had many a man distracted when wearing.

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t like hemming knits, but I had the twin needle already set up for the leotard that I went ahead and did it anyway. I must say, Ann’s posts on knits from a few years ago really changed the way I worked with them.

Christina also got me to buy this roll of knit fusible interfacing (Portland or LA. I think Portland). I use it along the hems of my knits so they are nice and stable.

Clearly, I’ve gone knit crazy now that my serger is back. Last night I cut out two more knit tops and have two purchased tee shirts I plan on refashioning.

Camel Toe Wadder

I’ve been sewing for a good 15 years now. I’ve been kind of serious about it the last four. If there is something I have foolishly never paid attention to, it’s directional stretch. As long as my knit fabric stretched, I figured that’s good enough. Until now.

Ummm, apparently two-way stretch means it should stretch lengthwise *also*. Oh yes my friends. Camel Toe Leotard. I have so many descriptions for how this looked on me. But, this is sort of  family blog (in that my family reads it) so I’ll leave it alone. I bought two colorways of this knit material last weekend at JoAnn Fabrics and Fleece and it only had stretch going widthwise. The pattern is Kwik Sew 3671.

It sewed up in less than two hours Sunday morning. I didn’t realize my mistake until I tried to put the leotard on and I struggled to get it over my shoulder. It was clear it needed about two more inches in length. I quickly compared it to my other leotards and realized that my leotard has no lengthwise stretch. Doh!

The pattern, is wonderful. It’s exactly what I wanted, higher in the back, flattering neckline, longer leg openings. And fantastically drafted.

click to enlarge

I’m especially proud I used my elasticator foot on my serger to apply the leg and neckline elastic.

It gives such a nice polished finish inside. That little knob controls the tension on the elastic.

Then, you can top stitch along the outside with a twin needle. Totally looks ready to wear. And alleviates the current trauma of not owning a cover stitch machine.

Here’s another ballet skirt. Definitely my favorite. I like the see through quality of this one. This material is also from JoAnn.

I have a couple more knits I’ve worked on the last week to show you. I thought I had sworn off knits for a bit. But, they are good for quickly bulking up your wardrobe after a closet purge.

Where Art Thou Vogue 2586 Donna Karan Coat?

The one problem with my reliance on Burda magazine patterns is I often pass on the Big 4. One such pattern that I looked at several times was Vogue 2586.By the time I got around to actually going to the store to buy it a year ago, it was discontinued. I figured I would find another pattern I liked. Not so much. It’s perfect for my body type. Slim in the waist, flared at bottom. Funnel neck for interest.

Vogue 2586 Donna Karan, originally uploaded by mlweaving.

Now, I am in possession of a gorgeous black and purple, Italian, double sided wool. And, I want this pattern. I’m looking high and low. Ebay, Etsy, vintage pattern websites. Nothing. To be fair, I have just 3.5 yards of my magical coating. It may not be enough for this pattern.

So, do I put off my coat dreams until this pattern turns up? I don’t like any of the current offering from the envelope companies and my initial look through my magazine archives produced nil.

And, I am asking (nay, begging). If you have this pattern in a 12-14-16 incarnation and can part with it, I’d like to buy it. Perhaps we can work something out?

Pattern Review: Burda Magazine, 9-2010-121 Turtleneck

I don’t think this counts as a review. Burda 9-2010-121 was so simple I didn’t even look at the directions. The pattern is three pieces. I did make a swayback adjustment so that necessitated a center back seam. I made a 40. I should have made a 38.

My first version is black and I made that Sunday night in maybe two hours from trace to sew. For the second go round, it literally took me less than an hour to make. In fact, I made it before going to work on Monday morning. I widened the bicep by about an inch and lengthened the sleeve another inch. I really wanted that exaggerated cuff. This rayon knit is from PR Weekend in Montreal. I *almost* gave it to Trena because I couldn’t quite picture me in it and she likes this kind of avocado green. It’s ok, I have other stuff for her :)

To secure the turtleneck, I stitched in the ditch along the two side and back neck seam. I didn’t finish hemming the top. You know I don’t usually bother hemming knits. I might on this one. Depends on if I can find my twin needle anytime soon.

There’s not much more to say. Easy peasy. Simple basic. I’m sure I’ll be making lots of these for years to come.

Liz in Butterick 6410

Remember I traded dresses with my friend Liz? She wore Butterick 6410 Saturday night to the Walter’s Art Museum gala. I love Liz. I told her once I was dating someone with a 26 year old daughter and she belts out, “SHE’S MY AGE!!!”. It was hillarious. I guess you had to be there.

Sigh. She looked amazing. It really suits her more than me. I love this color combination. It’s so nice to see other people in your work. Especially if you weren’t stressed about sewing it for them.

I did her hair and she also borrowed the jewelry (which I got a PR Weekend Philly with Lindsay T.). When I first did her hair, she said it was a little ‘Dynasty’. I told her I hadn’t done someone’s hair since the 80s so that sounded about right :)

The Jalie 2105 Leotard (and another skirt)

I’m taking ballet twice a week now to meet my en pointe goal. And, I love it. My Thursday night class is full of women my age. Awesome. None of us can do splits and we all grunt through the stretches. Saturday class is me and a 16 year old. A very flexible 16 year old. A very flexible 16 year old with some long legs. We’ll be dancing the recital together in December. It’s quite remarkable how her knees make absolutely no popping noises in plies. It’s a funny thing. I have the mental discipline in my 30s for ballet but not the physical. She has the physical ability, but not the mental discipline. It’s really a balancing act, isn’t it?

The photo below is totally illustrative of my body type. Big sway back, protruding seat and muscular front thigh.

The reviews for the Jalie leotard on PR are all for small children. Everyone thought the legs were too high cut for a small child. I made up the pattern using wicking material from Montreal. I think the legs as drafted are too high for a ‘ballet cut’ leotard. That being said, the pattern does not profess to be a ballet leotard. My RTW leotards have a lower leg and more rear coverage. In truth, overall a high cut leg is more flattering on me, it just doesn’t feel ‘ballet’. It feels more ‘dance’.

This pattern also has raglan sleeves. I have since discovered I prefer sleevelees. I’m also not a huge fan of the neckline and it’s interesting that the back is much lower than the front. (Ugh. Back fat.)  I *have* to wear a sports bra or two when I work out, so I think I want a a higher back or a t-strap back to my leotard and lower in the front. I don’t want this to sound like a negative review as it’s not. It’s just not what I need for a leotard pattern. That being said, the instructions are excellent and it’s perfectly drafted.

I'm jumping and look so much like my mother I was startled

I have two Kwik Sew patterns that I hope to make up next weekend in some cotton interlock from Joann Fabric. A new leotard runs about $21 through my dance studio. Making my own is about $15. No great savings. But, they are fast and I can get them in colors I really like this way :)

The skirt is Jalie also and from silky something from Joanns. I wanted something a little more see-through. The skirt is around $8 to make. I still like the skirt pattern with a self drafted belt.

Interfacing the Pyramid Bag

I’m making glacial progress on the Hot Patterns Classix Nouveau Pyramid Bag. Mostly because I’m making style decisions as I go along and I’m in no rush to complete it.

I’ve got everything cut out and decided to interace the leather after reading this post by Els of the Sewing Divas and this post on interafacing by Kathleen Fansanella.

I ordered the knit tricot from Fashion Sewing Supply in black and fused the interfacing to the cut out skins. I don’t know that it changed the structure so much as this stage. But, it’s nice to have the reinforcement.

I’ve also sewn the straps / handles. But, I’m pretty sure I’m going to add piping along the inside.

I’ve used these hair thingies from the beauty supply to hold together the pieces on the pattern.

I’m also sewing the leather with my walking foot on my vintage Morse. Not that I need to power of the Morse. I just love sewing on it so a straight stitch only project is great for the Morse.

Still need to get several components including a pocket zipper, purse feet and a brass seperating zipper. I may run up to New York this November and save my supply list for then.

A Minor Miracle

My serger is back in business! I placed an order for knives from two different places. The first set came last week and they weren’t cutting ($56). The second set from Euro-Pro ($76) came today and they are cutting!

I’ve already contacted Euro-Pro to exchange the crappy blades from 2007 (brilliant idea Michael!) and will get store credit (less 25 percent) from the other store. So, when all is said and done, I’ll have four sets of knives on hand. Apparently, they stopped making sergers back in 2005. But, the serger has a 15 year warranty and they said they will 1.) stock parts for at least the next 10 years 2.) My blades are kind of standard so they should not be too hard to replace.

Even better, they also emailed me a PDF on how to use my extra feet (elasticator, piping foot, beading foot, blind hem foot and ruffler). I lost the directions ages ago.

So, today, I LOVE MY SERGER!!

You would not believe how stressed out I was getting at having to buy a new one. I was literally sad about my serger. I talked to any and everyone about it. It was foremost on my mind for days!

I have two more ballet skirts I whipped up to show and incremental progress on my Hot Patterns Pyramid bag. More to come my friends!