Lots of Little Things

The last time I wrote, I promised I’d have photos of my latest project on me. Well, little did I know it would be a incredibly windy and biting 36 degrees (2.2 celsius) on Sunday when I wore the dress in Michigan. In case you’re wondering, that’s 35 degrees cooler than it was when I left Baltimore. It was just too cold to take pictures outside. I was hopeful that I’d get some pictures inside but, things were so rushed that it just didn’t happen. My occasional photographer didn’t seem all that interested in having a photo shoot for my sewing blog on the day he graduated from law school. The nerve.

I did get one photo in my dress. But….

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The lighting wasn’t good. My flash didn’t go off. I look sort of goofy. My waist (and fabric) were grabbed so tight that I look about three months pregnant in all the pictures!  The darts! They hurt my eyes. Blergh.

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I’ve not attended anyone’s graduation since my own. So, I was feeling super old school at this ceremony. I love this version (my third) of this Burda pattern.  I am obsessed with this seersucker. Karen gave me the remnants of her pieces of it. At this point this seersucker is… five years old? I’ve used it for several projects in the past. If I could get more, I’d buy a bolt and make a whole summer wardrobe just from this seersucker.

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Because it was so fricking cold, I did get to wear this awesome vintage leather coat that was gifted to me by a co-worker. Listen, people. There is something to be said for being known for loving vintage fashion.

This colleague kept telling me she was moving and cleaning out her closets and had some coats to give me and I kept rolling my eyes. I have been the sorry recipent of terrible 80s patterns and ratchet clothing from other people. She dropped them off in a garment bag and it sat in my office for weeks before I took them home or even bothered looking. I finally opened the bag and this and another GORGEOUS  black wool  with a fur collar coat were inside. I rocked the hell outta this jacket over the weekend. This makes me want to save ALL THE VINTAGE in the world. Like, all of it. I want to own it ALL, wear it ALL and be fabulous in ALL OF IT. ME ME ME.

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It only took my third trip to Michigan to have time to sightsee. I’m always here for a few days and running in and out of town on other people’s schedules. But, this time, I finally got to go to Detroit! I’ve always wanted to see Detroit since it’s compared so much to Baltimore as a urban city with a blue collar background (and massive population declines). We were super short on time but I made sure we went to the Motown Museum.

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Oh. Em. Gee. We couldn’t take photos inside.  Let me tell you. I grew up listening to the sounds of Motown and was completely stoked to walk the same halls and be in the recording studio where the likes of Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, and the Temptations walked and sang.  Especially exciting was their exhibit on girl groups. People, I need you all to be prepared for my style the next few months to be heavily influenced by the 1960 girl groups of Detroit and the Motown sound. I am not playing. Talk about serious black glamour. I’m going to be doing plenty of sheath dresses and empire waists.

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Finally, before I headed out of town, I did get to go to the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo with Robin, which was in Baltimore. I’ve never been to an expo before and my MAIN motivation for going was to check out the Babylock serger with Jet Air Threading and a Juki semi-professional straight stitch only machine. My modern Kenmore’s tension is so wonky that I sewed the above dress on my green vintage Kenmore. I’m in the market for a new machine in a few months.

Well, Brother, Pfaff and Babylock (all sponsors) were there. But, Juki (also a sponsor) wasn’t! I did test out the Babylock Imagine serger and purchased a pre-owned version. I’m picking it up tomorrow (Thursday)!

The fashion piece of the Expo wasn’t nearly where I’d like it to be. I heard Vogue Fabrics attended expos in the past. I like quilting quite a bit and enjoyed that aspect of the show. But, all the bitching and moaning from the vendors about the lack of attendees annoyed me. I mean seriously. I heard at least three stalls complaining about it to either me or to other vendors. I thought it was kind of tacky and a downer on something I’d been looking forward to for months. They thought parking was the reason people didn’t come. They thought crime was the reason people weren’t there. They thought no one likes coming in to a city. Whatever. I’ve never set foot in Chantilly, Va. But, I came downtown to see this. Make of it what you will.

Whew. So, yeah. Lots of little things going on. Just thought I’d get a lot of it said :)

Mojo Regained

Folks, I’m happy to report that my mojo is back. As you may have gathered from my posts, I’ve been super busy and have had a distinct lack on interest in sewing. Well, that finally broke this weekend. I wanted to whip up something to take to Michigan in a few weeks. I got an idea in my head about a late 60s style look for the weekend.

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This dress is from the September 2007 Burda Magazine. I’ve sewn it twice before.  I’ll post photos on my persons in a few weeks after I get to wear it. My main motivation for using the bamboo denim was to have something to wear this Vogue jacket with. If you recall, I never knew what to wear this jacket.  I also figured with spring  just reaching Ann Arbor in May, I’d want some extra coverage!

I also managed to serge a whole in the back of the skirt. I’m tentatively planning on adding a bow or something to the hole. I’ve also started a knit maxi dress that I’m pretty excited about. I’m taking that to Michigan with me too if I can get it sewn up on time.

I know dressform photos are rather dull. But, it’s been raining and going to keep raining the next few days. Plus, I really like to wear and take photos of new clothes the day of. So, please, continue to be bored :)




Sherlock Holmes: Boarding School Edition

This is the second time I’ve made the BWOF Sherlock Holmes Dress, 9-2007-117. The first time was last October at Trena’s. This dress has been waiting for hemming several weeks. But, it’s been warm warm warm and I wasn’t feeling an all-wool dress. Until today when it dropped to 60 and I needed a dress to wear to tonight’s Aida production at the Lyric.

This is the 2008 version. I wear the other one just about once a week in the fall. This one is made from the leftover grey wool from the original dress and some fabric from the Carol Collection. With the plaid skirt and leather boots, I’m feeling a little naughty British school girl– and I like it.

I am pretty proud of the matching of the plaid. There is an odd bit just below the waist that looks not ideal but nothing I have to look at :) It’s remarkable how different a dress looks if you just change up the fabric.

I also added almost two inches below the bust for my low bust adjustment. I know skinny belts are in this year, but a friend brought this back from Italy for me last year and I still love it. This version is also fully lined. The original design calls for just lining the skirt.

And finally, here it is without the belt. I have forgotten in the last few years that red is my favorite color. And, I’m currently in love with big, bold plaids.

I got the sewing machine! The cop and I drove up Friday night. It’s awesome. I’ll show some photos soon. I decided this week to move my sewing room from the smallest bedroom to the basement. I’ll make the small bedroom a den with the tv and computer. It’s going to take a lot of work but will be totally worth having the space. In the meantime, my creative space is in flux.

And, I wore the bubble dress to work on Friday and have never gotten so many compliments on a dress at work in my life. I’m absolutely going to be making it up again! Thank you for all your comments on it too. It’s such a fun and easy dress, I hope I get to see your versions soon.

This is my last post for the next two weeks. I leave for Egypt on Wednesday and won’t have regular computer access. So, I will chat with you all when I get back! Happy Sewing!

Incremental Sewing

In Wednesday’s post I noted that I was going to sew an hour every night. If not sew, I was going to spend at least an hour each day doing something on my project.

So, Wednesday I cut out the bodice. Thursday I cut out the lower bodice and matched my plaids. And on Friday, I constructed the basic shell of the dress.

I still have to cut out and construct lining, but it is very nice to get a general sense of how it’s going to look. Oh wait. I have to go out and buy lining, then cut and construct it.

The wool is not terribly stable. So, I’ve used fusible stay tape along the waistline and center back (thanks Nancy K.). I probably would have done well to block fuse the dress but it was all cut and partly sewn when I thought I should stabilise. But, with lining, I think that will cut down on wear and tear and possible bagging.

Last night’s dinner: Zucchini ‘Pasta’.I think I can honestly say this was my first time ever eating zucchini. It was oddly good! It wasn’t as good as lovely starchy white pasta, but it was still good.

Construction stuff, 10-2007-105 BWOF

As I mentioned, I spent the weekend sewing at Trena‘s in DC. Great fun. But, I think she was glad to see me go since we stayed up until midnight and I woke up at 7:00 a.m. and can’t sit still when I am up that early. I’m such a bad houseguest. It’s my stupid internal clock! I can’t turn it off!

At any rate, I made great headway on 10-2007-105. I’ll work on it this afternoon (I need to find a copy of my bookclub book, ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ and clean since I’m hosting this Friday night). In the meantime, I thought I could show you two pretty important construction notes that BWOF doesn’t tell you.

The first deals with a curved neckline. I think on principle, you should always stabilize a curved neckline with fusible tape. I placed mine along the seamline at the neckline. The neck will get a lot of pull and it’s on the bias so it can easily stretch out. Also, if you understictch your lining to prevent it from rolling out you are really gonna put strain on this curve and it will gape and that is just not pretty.

Second, use something to stabilize the pocket openings. This could easily get all stretched out and gross without some stabilizing. Wanna know a secret? I didn’t learn that until last year. Yeah, that’s right. I’ve had gaping pockets until this year. I always thought it was my hips making that happen. Oy. Now, I’m using some fancy mail order stuff. But, in the past I just cut interfacing on the bias and used that too.

Third, my wool is super ravelly. I’m not sure of the full content as I bought it from the the G Street $2.97 table a few months a go. So for this and for September’s #117 I serged each piece individually vs. serging my seams together. I think for wool it makes the pressing easier, reduces bulk and looks more tailored. Yes, it takes an extra 30 minutes, but I love the result.

Finally, there is more than one way to skin a cat. BWOF instuctions call for sewing up the sideseams of the dress and then attaching the pockets. I found that a little hard to understitch the top and bottom of the pocket bag (don’t want that rolling out) with the seam already closed.

So on my second go round, I attached the pocket bag to the opening first, understiched the bag, stitched the pocket bags closed and then closed up the seam. Both will work, it’s just a matter of preference.

I’ve again got to go to my low rent version of Summerset‘s Parting Shot. Yesterday while Trena and I played ANTM, I paid tribute in one pose to the fabulous Erica B. (I was totally backlit so it’s kind of dark).

And here is an actual pose vs. my model walk. I wanted to post this photo because I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post that I had to grade up almost two sizes in the thigh (about two inches). I wanted to show that this dress really can work for a pear shaped figure. It’s just a matter of having it fit correctly. I was literally busting seams on my usual 38!

Ok. I promise no more pictures of me today. It’s just that I really, really like this dress.

It’s 89 degrees in October

Yet, I made a lined, all wool dress and stood in the middle of Washington DC pretending to be on America’s Next Top Model to have my photo taken by Trena.

I am 100 percent in love with my version of BWOF 09-2007-117 . Well, I will be once I cut off the stupid white tab I used against the grey collar.

BWOF should come with the disclaimer, ‘Girlfriend. Trust.’ There is a slit in the back hem for walking ease. There is no extra fabric on the pattern peice for it. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how it was all going to work out. Yet, it just does.

I really love my fabrics for this dress. The first is a white with grey, pink, yellow and blue plaid. The bottom is solid grey.

So, yes. Love it. Successful sewing weekend overall. I just have to sew the lining to the zipper and hem the October #105 dress from BWOF.

As for this dress, here’s hoping for a cold front. Because I was a sweaty beast by the time we came in from our little photo shoot.

There’s also a review over at PatternReview.com