The Pink Kimono

Can you believe I was STILL waiting for my June 2009 BWOF when Trena sent me a photo of her muslin of 6-2009-110??  Seriously. Sometimes I think the women at the post office are thumbing through that and my US Weekly before they deliver it to my house.

For this project, I used a light pink suiting from the Carol Collection. It’s darker than it appears in the photo, but is overexposed in today’s SUNSHINE. YES!! My friends, there is no rain today and we finally have SUNSHINE in Baltimore!  But, I digress. To break up all the pink, I made the bands in navy blue. This way, it would coordinate with the navy plaid silk tie fabric I was making the #151 obi from.

The dress is unlined so I serged the inside seams. Because the fabric is see through — and opaque with two layers, I left out the pockets. Also, on me, the pockets didn’t seem to hit at the right spot. I had no interest in lining this dress. None.

I should also mention that I struggled with the facing. It was several inches too small. So, I cut it out a second time and added several inches.

There are four snaps at the top. These came to me courtesy of Ann of Gorgeous Fabrics. I made a plea on PatternReview on where to find HUGE snaps and she answered!  I also needed two more snaps lower on the dress or you could see my vajajay when I walked and sat. For those, I used used light plastic pink ones from NYC. The plastic ones are about a quarter each, hard to open and close and feel like they might break. Ann’s are strong yet lightweight and retail for $3 a pop.

I did start to cover the snaps, but realized it was a big hassle and it didn’t bother me for them to not be covered with lining fabric.

In the photo below, you can see what I mean when I say the obi is too big. The dark solid navy are the side pieces, and clearly start in the middle of my back. I’m not motivated enough to alter it — yet. But, when I make another, I could easily take three to six inches out of the obi. I, um, also forgot to leave a slit for the belt to slip through in the back.

The other thing to be aware of is that the armsyce is super low to accommodate the kimono style. It will also cause some natural blousing of the upper bodice (see above. that’s why my skirt looks crooked) over the belt.  Because of this the, belt rides low, and this hikes the skirt up higher than you might think. Even though I added the correct length to the dress, it’s still a wee bit shorter than I’m comfortable with for work.  So, you want to make it longer initially for safety.

When I tried it on yesterday, it felt a little like a robe. But, I think that’s the nature of a kimono-style garment in the west. I QUITE like it and feel very chic and extremely retro. It’s not as baggy as the #107 dress. I’m working on a new Japan related project in the office, so I should fit right in during the next few weeks!

Just Skirting Around

“Every now and then your wardrobe needs an injection of something, new, trendy and fun.  That was the thought when we spied the pencil skirts shown in the large graphic prints and florals in the June 2009 issue of Lucky Magazine.  These skirts provide a great way to update a classic…so with that photo spread and a little conversation…we were ready to create our own versions.  Following are our individual interpretations of an updated yet classic pencil skirt.”

Inspiration:  A feature in Lucky Magazine highlighting the pencil skirt done in large scale prints/graphic prints.

The ChallengeCreate a pencil skirt that works on our own body and use a bold print.

Participants are Carolyn, Diary of a Sewing Fanatic;  Me, LindsayT, Lindsay T Sews (Again); and Marji Fiber Arts Afloat. (Marji proposed the challenge after reading Carolyn’s post of May 9 and asked a few fellow sewists she emails and talks to regularly if they wanted to participate.)

For me, the challenge is in just making a skirt. I never really made them and seemed to skip to far more complicated garments years ago. So I am generally uncomfortable with my skirt fitting and construction issues (discussed below) for skirts.

The skirt:


Pattern used: ‘vintage’ BWOF from June 2002, #104 (6-2002-104)

Fabric / Fabric source:
White waffle weave pique from the Carol Collection with graphic red and black flowers. It’s bold and graphic, but not necessarily a LARGE scale print.

Construction details:

I have loved this skirt since it first ran seven years ago. I’ve said before that I don’t make a lot of skirts. Mainly because I don’t have tops to go with them and the vicious cycle of no separates continues. I also don’t make a lot of skirts ‘cuz I think a lot of what I see is b-o-r-i-n-g. So, when I make a skirt, I do it for the details.

On this one, it was the side button placket. First, it provides visual interest and second, it prevents me from having to work with a slit which I still have not mastered.  It also appears that I need to learn the ‘my skirt hikes up in the back’ adjustment due to my swayback and my Jamaican caboose. A syndrome I see all over the streets of Baltimore.

I will be looking for some different buttons though. These blend in a bit too much. If I were making this same skirt again, I would have worked the buttonholes in a different  color than  white.

Because the skirt is white, I chose to underline with white cotton batiste and line it with a tan Bemberg Rayon — rendering it Princess Diana proof. And, I’ve finally got a handle on the blind hem function of my Kenmore!

Here’s the back (All my RTW tops look like this H&M one with pooling at my waist). My version has a CB seam so I could take a horizontal tuck for my swayback.

Skirts also sit higher on my front than on my back (another swayback issue) — which causes some not pretty pulling across the front.

** In the photo above, there are two less buttons. I took photos Monday morning,  wore the skirt to work and decided to add two more buttons after I got home. I wore the skirt to work on Monday and have compliments from the first three women I saw. A success I say! But, I really need to master some basic skills for skirts. I never like making them because of lining and fit. I want to be like my girl Trena with her 50+.

** Pay no attention to the junkyard grass in the background. I was going to mow this weekend, but cut my hand slicing that  baguette I just *had* to have on Sunday and I was too cheap to submit to the THIRTY DOLLAR extortion the kid across the street  wanted to mow my 20 sq ft of grass. That, and I hate yardwork.

Well, Hello Sailor!

Well, I didn’t want to wait another week or more until I get it back. And, I’m sure I’ve built this dress up so much it won’t live up to expectations, lol.  So, let’s just pull off the band aid? I know this is a simple garment and I wouldn’t think twice about having whipped it up from a straight pattern. But, I am so proud that I took this class and finally ‘get it’.   I’m really looking forward to making garments with more design elements and feeling confident enough to copy RTW.

So, without further ado, here’s the dress on a school dressform (I don’t have one). It’s a size 8 dressform but is lacking my curves. But, it was due and I just took pics at school. I probably should have used a 10. This was the first time I understood why someone makes a small bust adjustment! I also took advantage of the huge bay windows on campus so I could get enough light to get the camera to focus.

All outer fabric is from the Carol Collection (yay!).

Original Garment

Front w. belt

Front w.out belt

Back. There is a problem in my draft in that the bottom of the skirt swing out. Like slightly too much fullness. You can also kind of tell from here how curved my back is compared to the dressform.

Close up of belt and ruffle. Ruffle is 3 inches wide, graduating to 6 inches wide. So much starch there is a new hole in the ozone layer.

French dart at side seam. Excellent info from Els at The Sewing Divas

Lining. Poly silky from Joann’s. $4 a yard on the red tag table. I, love, love, love this lining. Summerset used it for an awesome vintage dress (check the link). We are both polka dot and red fiends.

The best zipper finish I’ve ever had

Silk organza underlining.  This, the twill tape and poly horsehair great recommendations from Ann.

Twill tape along ruffle insertion to keep the ruffle line straight.

Polyester horsehair braid along the hem to prevent wonkiness

I’m going to enter this in to the ‘My Pattern’ contest. I know at the end of the day that this is a simple garment, but I am so proud of myself I’m bursting at the seams. You know I’ve been dying to do something with red, white and blue for a over a year now. Maybe I’ll build a summer wardrobe around these colors? When I took my project in, I talked to my instructor about my sloper fit issues. When I get back from Portland, I’m bringing in all my muslins and we’re going to work on a new draft! It’s gonna be a great summer!

I won’t be blogging while I’m gone, but I’ll be tweeting. My updates are protected, but you can find me as BaltoCidell on Twitter.

Don’t make this skirt

** Blogger and I are fighting today. First time I posted the photos were ginormous. Now, they are small on screen but will open up big. We regret the trouble.

Ugh. Alright. Here’s the thing. I tried making this skirt about seven years ago when it first came out. The pleat was wonky and I pitched the whole project.

Same issue in 2008. But, the wool was from the Carol Collection and I was not going to let it go to waste! I had to decrease the pleat in the skirt by half to get it to lay right and not splay open. I must have cut it off grain because the left side (your right) keeps bulging out and then charmingly dipping in. Or maybe decreasing the pleat screwed it up. I don’t know but I spent hours yesterday futzing with it before giving up and wearing it to work today AS IS.

Maybe next winter I’ll take out all the stitching on the sides, reinforce it with interfacing and put it back together. This skirt shouldn’t take more than two hours to make. I spent about five on it piddling around. I could REALLY like this skirt if that side wasn’t acting a fool.

Also, trust me, it only works on my body with a cropped sweater. Hence the American Eagle henley (I think I’m too old to shop in there now). Can you believe this shirt is an XL? Crikey.

The one thing I like, I did a great swayback adjustment using the BWOF method. Just slice through the tip of the dart and overlap how much you need. I have to say I like how perky my, er, assests are in this.

Thank you ALL for the help on the knitting. I started a simple scarf with just a lot of purling and some stripes. I decided my knitting should be limited to socks and scarves. Those are manageable projects, right? It’s slow going and I need to order circular needles. My wrist is killing me.

You guys rock! Thank you for the generous comments on the white tuxedo blouse. I am very pleased with it. It’s one separate I’m glad to add and I’m sure I’ll be making one of these on a regular basis.

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!

Christmas in August

Yesterday was a triple treat for me. I saw Trena, met up with college roommate, and experienced complete and total fabric nirvana.

While I was gone, Chelle from Necessary Chocolate emailed me to say that her mom, now a dedicated quilter, was looking to de-stash her amazing garment fabric collection. Carol lived just over an hour from me in the DC exurb of Leesburg. Chelle thought Trena and I could benefit from a visit (today’s Trena’s birthday too!).

I checked in with Trena and we decided to roadtrip Saturday morning since I was going to be in the area for the football game that afternoon.

Oh Chelle, you are my Fabric Gaurdian Angel and your mother is my Sewing Fairy Godmother. Folks, never have I aspired to a ‘sewing room’ until I saw Carol’s amazing creative space! But, I was so so gobsmacked over the sheer volume and beauty of the fabrics, that I didn’t get a good picture of the sewing room. Honestly, I got weak in the knees.

There was so much fabric that Carol kept pulling out that we could not resist that the haul spilled out of the trunk in to the back seat.

Why, why, why would someone voluntarily turn over amazing quality fabric to other women? Well, she said she hadn’t made clothes for herself in over 10 years and didn’t want to see the fabric wasted. Chelle told me that she makes more kids clothes (really adorable stuff, check her blog if you don’t believe me) and the fabrics from Pendleton, Chanel, Jones New York, Britex, New York’s Garment District, and G Street just didn’t fit her aesthetic.

I am not kidding you when I say I have no need to buy suiting for the next five years minimum. And not just any old fabric. Beautiful wools in every color and texture. Fabric that I would NEVER be able to afford in the quantities I now have. And fabric that if I bought, I would be too scared to sew with because it was my ‘good fabric’.

I am truly and completely overwhelmed by the kindness of Chelle and Carol. I actually have to rework the sewing room to fit it all in. In the meantime, I’ve got it spread out in the guestroom so I can just survey the awesomeness of it all.

Back in DC, Trena and I brought all the fabric up (four flights of stairs thank you very much) to her place and spread it out to see if there was anything the other wanted (we didn’t want to throw down in front of Carol).

I’m laying in the line of demarcation. Trust me, I resisted the urge to roll on the fabric like it was money and I just hit the jackpot in Vegas. Amazing, right?

Shannone, NO!!! I just caught up on Project Runway and the BEST model ever is gone. Sigh.

Oh well. She still inspired me. I did get my hair colored while I was gone. Not a color that occurs in nature. But, colored. I generally hate the hold the camera out and take a picture photo because they make my forehead bigger than it is and give me a birds beak for a nose. But, you can see my hair in this one.

Can you believe there were over 49,000 people at the Maryland game? Who knew. I saw the cop yesterday before I left and he suggested that while my tunic was cute, I was going to see football, not golf, and should be a little more cas. Fine. I changed into a tee and jeans.

And, college roommate (who I hadn’t seen in seven years) looks just the same and has the prettiest children to boot.