What Should I Make Next?

I have three options competing for my sewing attention. I would like to sew stretch jeans. I bought the Jalie pattern everyone is raving about on pattern review. But - there is ALWAYS a but - I hardly ever wear jeans anymore. I have a few pairs of jeans which fit me well, so I don't *need* to sew jeans. I have no idea why I want to sew them, but the pattern is calling to me. Another project on my mind is a DVF inspired wrap dress in the Jones NY stretch silk that I recently picked up in Boston. I love wrap dresses, but I am not sure about the amount of fullness in this pattern, so I am a little stalled. I am thinking I should draft my own from the BURDA pattern I used for the suit dress, since I got it to fit so well. Why reinvent the wheel, right? Another option is one of the patterns included with this year's MARFY catalog. I have some raw silk which I purchased from Cynthia Guffey a few years ago, and it would be perfect for tubino 2255. I have had fantastic luck with MARFY in the past, but I have gained weight since then...

I could use a little encouragement to motivate me. Which would you like to see? Jalie Jeans? Vogue Wrap Dress in stretch silk? or MARFY Dress in raw silk?

The Suit Dress Is Finished

Finally, I have finished this dress. If you guys are like me, you are sick of looking at this dress. Really, I lost interest in it last month and it was a chore to finish. There were some unexpected challenges with this project and I am not as happy with the results as I had hoped. Still, I consider it wearable, and I may even sew the pattern again, but not in the near future. I am happy to cross this off my list and move on to the next challenge.

The Suit Dress Snag

click for a larger image in a new window
click for a larger image in a new window

I finished all the seam allowances yesterday. I used the pink rayon seam binding shown above. It is called Hug Snug. I broke in my handy seam binder foot for the job. This little contraption folds the binding around the seam allowance edge and holds all three layers in place to be stitched with a straight stitch. I bought the foot for my Husqvarna Viking D1 but I never used it. Now I have a Pfaff Creative Vision. I had invested a small fortune in machine feet for the D1 and I was really bummed that they do not fit on the Pfaff. Not willing to part with my accessory feet without a fight, I bought a replacement ankle for the D1 and tried it on my Pfaff. It fit. Schweet! Then I tried snapping on a foot and taking a few stitches. I checked that the needle alignment was compatible and that the feed dogs were also aligned. Everything looked great, so I broke out the bias binder foot and gave it a try. I have to say it was not as easy as it looks at first, but I got the hang of it after a few runs.

I removed the temporary zipper and closed up the center back seam. I inserted an invisible zipper in the left side seam after fusing interfacing along the left side seam allowances. I attached the collar and tried the dress on. Here is how it looks with the collar.

click for a larger image in a new window

I know I said I was going to line the dress if it turned out I need to wear something underneath it, but I am just dreading that whole process and not loving the dress enough to want to put that much effort into it. So, I cut the one piece facing. I stay stitched the neck and armsyce seam allowances a mere needle's with away from the seamline. Then I finished the edges with Hug Snug. I attached the facing at the neck edge, clipped, understitched, and pressed the seam. It was looking great. Then I clipped the armsyce seam allowances and pressed under to the stay stitching on both the facing and the dress. I basted the pressed edges, clipped them together with binder clips, and edge stitched the facing to the dress along the left armsyce - the side with the zipper. I was a bit annoyed that the dress armsyce length was longer than the facing. I stay stitched it and I didn't think it would stretch after the stay stitching. Maybe I didn't turn the facing under enough? I didn't really think much about it beyond my initial annoyance that I expected it to be perfect and it wasn't. By the time I pressed it, I was quite pleased with how nice and flat it came out and how even the edge stitching came out.

At this point, I was ready for a break. I was thinking, I'll finish it up tomorrow. Smiling to myself about being almost finished and ready to start another project, soon, I picked up the shaped wooden coat hanger I have been using to hang the dress on and got ready to set it aside until tomorrow. Well, the smile didn't last too long, as I noticed the dress seemed to hang funny on the hanger. I fiddled with it and tried to make it look pretty, of course dropping it off the hanger more than once while I was at it. I began to realize that the facing was "not right". I think it is rotated slightly in the armsyce. I need to take it apart and redo it. AAAaaaarrrrrrrghhh! I am too tired and discouraged to fix it today. I'll take it apart next time I sew. Sorry, I was in too crabby a mood to take and post pictures of it. I'll do that when I m not disgusted with myself....

On a happier note, Faye has nominated me for this award! I have never earned any distinction of any kind for anything sewing related. This is a lovely surprise! Thank you, Faye. You made my day! The requirements for accepting this award are as follows:

1. Place the logo within your blog or post.
2. Pass the award on to 12 bloggers.
3. Link the nominees within the post.
4. Let the nominees know they have received the award by commenting on their blogs.
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received the award.

So here are my nominees:
1.A Little Sewing On The Side
2.Two On Two Off
3.Sew Passionista
4.The Sewing Lawyer
5.Ten Thousand Hours Of Sewing
6.Ruthie K Sews
7.A Tailor Made It
8.Adventures In The Art Of Sewing
9.La Sewista
11.Carolyn's Sewing Room
12.Diary Of A Sewing Fanatic

THREADS Magazine

I began sewing in 1993 and discovered THREADS magazine a few years after in a bookstore/cafe.  I used to love when I found a new issue on the magazine rack, and soon I was a loyal subscriber.  I have every issue I ever bought including two duplicates.  I keep them all in a cabinet/window seat that I made for my sewing room.  Maybe I should say they belong in the cabinet, but often, issues can be found on my night table, by the bathtub, or on the living room hassock.  My THREADS back issues have made friends with my MARFY catalogues and old BURDA magazines, and they can be seen hanging out together all over my house.  A couple of years ago, THREADS changed their format, and I was very disappointed.  While I enjoy reading most things sewing related, THREADS Magazine was always a special treat because it featured advanced techniques and fabulous photos of details I might aspire to be capable of duplicating one day.  I found it a source of inspiration month after month.  I enjoyed the photographs and letters sent in by folks like me who love to challenge themselves with couture quality garment sewing.  I drooled over the back covers with their beautiful detailed photographs of museum quality embroidery and beading.  But then Threads changed and began to include more articles about sewing basics and every day notions.  There was a big article on pins, and I remember being a little sad, thinking there must not be enough people like me to support the magazine, and they had to expand into a different market.  I began to read letters from readers who absolutely loved the new style, and those who, like me, were very disappointed.  Some cancelled their subscriptions.  I held out for a few issues, remembering the new Coke fiasco and hoping Threads would also revert back to the old successful formula. But then I cancelled as well.
When I heard that THREADS was selling an archive DVD including every issue from 1985-2009, I was undecided about buying it.  Mostly when I am on line, I read blogs and snoop shop, looking for pictures, pictures, pictures.  I can't get enough pictures of clothes, accessories, shoes - anything fashion!  I dismissed the idea and went on happily with my life.  Then I read a thread on artisan square about the archive and it was so highly recommended, I began to reconsider - especially after reading that THREADS had a rough patch and had gotten better.  I thought maybe I jumped ship too quickly by cancelling my subscription and I started to wonder what I had missed.  I went ahead and ordered the archive DVD despite some customer reservations which were expressed regarding missing articles and the way TAUNTON PRESS handled the situation.
I picked up the MAY 2010 issue while I was in Boston shopping at Winmill Fabrics, but I was not encouraged, and I was beginning to think I should not have ordered the archive DVD.  Recently, it was delivered and I discovered that even without launching the application on my Mac, all of the content is searchable using spotlight (command spacebar).  Color me happy!  I remembered an article written by Pam Ptak about S-shaped darts, but I couldn't remember what the picture on the cover was or even the title of the article.  I typed in S-shaped darts and BINGO! up pops a link to a pdf of the entire issue featuring that article! SCHWEEEEET!  I have not yet read through any of the recent issues which I missed.  After looking through the April/May 2010 issue, I must say I was somewhat disappointed.  What is your opinion?  Are the glory days of THREADS all passed?

Suit Dress Update

click for a larger image in a new window
click for a larger image in a new window

I tweaked the shoulder slope and restitched the darts. Now the suit dress looks a little better. I am going to leave the sleeves off, but I have decided that I do want the collar, so I have to move the zipper. The zipper in the center back was basted in just for fitting purposes. I do not want to have a zipper in the center back of the collar. Now that I have the side seams as I want them, I will pull that zipper out and stitch the center back seam. I will put an invisible zipper in the left side seam. The seam is curved and the fabric has a slight stretch to it, so I need to stabilize the seam allowances before I sew in the zipper.

I also have to adjust my facing pattern since I have altered the shoulder seam. This pattern did not come with lining or facing pieces. I drafted my own. It is really easy to do. Since BURDA patterns have no seam allowances, it was especially easy. Basically, all I have to do to make lining and facing pieces is duplicate the front and back pieces, draw a line where I want the facing and lining to meet, and cut the pieces apart.

click for a larger image in a new window

In this picture, I have drafted just a facing. I taped the pattern pieces together at the shoulder, then covered them with architectural tracing paper. I outlined the pattern pieces at the armsyce and neckline and drafted a lower edge to make a one piece facing. The facing will be cut out with the center back on the straight grain fold.

I still have not decided if I am going to make a lining for this dress. It will depend on how low the neckline is once the collar is attached. If I have to wear a blouse or something underneath, I will want a lining to keep the gabardine from sticking to the blouse fabric. If the collar is modest enough, I may see if I have enough fabric to make a shrug to wear over it. I always need sleeves. I am always cold.

A Day Trip To Boston For Fabric Shopping

From left to right: Debra, Betsy, Denise, and Prabhat

Saturday, I met up with a few local women who love to sew. We planned a day trip to Winmil Fabrics in Boston. It was a beautiful day in the city. Here we are on our way to lunch with our packages.

I bought a few yards of stretch silk from JONES NEW YORK. It has moderate stretch and good recovery. I think it would make a great sleeveless wrap dress, worn under a little shrug with stappy heels. I ordered a pattern from Pamelas Patterns for the shrug, and I have a Vogue pattern for the wrap dress. I am thinking of using a chocolate brown bamboo knit that I picked up last year at the Worcester Sewing and Quilting Expo from Emma Seabrook's booth for the shrug.

I have very little experience sewing knits, and I have a million questions: Should I use a serger for these pieces? What size seam allowance should I use? Should I use a stabilizer in the shoulder seams? Along the neck and wrap edges? Interfacing - yes or no and where? What about a muslin? Do I need one, or can all adjustments be made during a final fitting? How should I finish the hem?

My Sewing Room

I cannot remember where I sewed the garment that started it all - an A-line dress to wear when I was pregnant with my daughter. It must have been on my dining room table. I can barely remember that first sewing machine. As the years have gone by, I have lived in many places and set up many sewing spaces. Since that first project, I have always set aside some square footage of my home for sewing. Over the years, I have had a sewing machine in my bedroom, in the living room, in the dining room, in the basement, in a spare bedroom, and now in a room designed (by me) especially for sewing, although technically, this is my living room. All of the funiture in the room is solely used for my sewing. I love this room. It is a little haven in the world that I do not have to share with another living soul. Don't get me wrong, I love when I have company in there, but it is still all mine! Every single other place in my life, I either have to share with somebody, or it does not belong to me, but here, I can leave my scissors lying around, or drape clothes over the chair, or leave a pile of magazines on the floor for a month, without feeling guilty because my things are in someone else's way. I don't exactly trash the place, but these pictures were taken when I first finished the room, and it has not been that tidy since! There have been a few changes since these were taken. The furniture was rearranged slightly to make room for a big, flat screen TV/monitor that my husband bought for me to use at work, before checking to see if it was allowed. Apparently, it is too much of a luxury item for me to have a huge monitor, even though the design work I do with graphics has a dynamic range which is so wide, it requires constant zooming in and out. Okay, I'll stop my rant right there...

On any given Saturday, you can usually find me in my sewing room watching Lifetime movies, or sewing DVDs, or Project Runway DVDs - you get the idea - stuff my husband isn't interested in watching, although, he does like to watch current episodes of Project Runway with me. I usually have something going on the stove or in the oven on Saturdays, and I love that I can sew, cook, and do laundry all at the same time. On week nights if I don't work crazy late, I sometimes have the energy after dinner to be in there sewing. My husband has a hobby room as well, which is equipped as an electronics lab with various meters and tools. He loves that space, as I love my sewing room. We put in long hours where we work, and it is so nice to have these rooms where we can work on projects and leave them for any length of time without having to put all of our tools away in between creative sessions.

Remember Casual Corner?

Today, I am wearing three pieces that have been in my closet for ten years. The short jacket with black color blocking at the waist is one of my favorite jackets. It is light and comfortable, and the style suits me well - pun intended? The silk blouse fits me perfectly, and who could not use a long, black matte jersey skirt? I miss Casual Corner and their collectible pieces. I shop at Ann Taylor (mostly) these days, but the prices are getting out of control. I can't make a purchase without a coupon anymore...

Where do you like to shop for clothes?

The Fitting Struggle Continues...

I had a duh moment and realized I needed to release the fish eye darts. This helped the dress hang much better. I took in the side seams a quarter inch which eliminated 1 inch of the 2 inches of ease through the waist and hip. I think I like the fit more, now, but the darts ... ugh! I am fairly confident I can fix this if I restitch them, curving more and ending tangent to the fold. But now, I am thinking this is just not the right color for me...