Friday, October 21, 2011

Another Weird Skirt & and a Great, Basic Top

While I was visiting Fredericksburg, TX  this past July, I learned about a great fabric store in nearby Kerrville.  Having never been to Kerrville, despite living in San Antonio  for 4 years, I decided to make the side trip.  The store, Creations, is a wonderful source of mostly quilting fabrics, but, also of garment fabric, patterns, books, and inspiration.  Plus, they have a shop-cat that fetches faxes.  He, alone, is worth the trip.

I found some wonderful rayon challis in a print to make of a pattern I had bought at Expo last year, and a coordinating solid for a top.  The wonderfully helpful staff talked me into buying a pattern for the top.  I can't remember the last time I paid full-price for a pattern!!   I drove away cursing myself for paying $15.00 for a pattern that makes a cap-sleeved top in 3 lengths, and nothing more.  It turned out to be totally worth the price.  Designed by the folks at The Batik Butik, the Kintamani Top & Tunic, is simple, elegant, versatile.  Designed to make the most of the very type fabric I had purchased, I shall, nonetheless, make this again of silk charmeuse, handkerchief linen, silk muslin, bamboo jersey, Japanese lawn, etc. & etc.  {yes, I know  -- that's redundant  --  you get my point}. Besides being a great, basic design, the pattern instructions feature some wonderful construction techniques, that will show up in many more of my garments - regardless the pattern's origins.  For instance:  for the neck facings, one is instructed to sew only one of the shoulder seams in the facing, (both shoulder seams have all ready been sewn in the garment), attach the facing from open seam around to open seam, and then sew the seam.  For a perfectly flat, round  neck edge, the traditional 5/8in seam might not turn out to be 5/8 in. Doing it this way insures a facing that lies flat, regardless the drape or 'give' of the fabric.  It sounded weird, but worked perfectly.  One caveat:  is is sized for extreme comfort  --  read:  BIG.  Next time, I shall cut at least one size smaller than the size chart advises.  That said:  it is comfortable!!!

The skirt is weird in both its design and construction.  But, you know, I like weird.
From L.J.Designs, the Chardonnay Skirt attracted me at first sight.  It drapes, it glides, it swishes, and it has a deep front flounce.  Turns out  --  the flounce hides the zipper.  Weirdest zipper insertion ever!!!
The skirt is constructed of one piece of fabric.  That's right:  one. So, when the info on the back of the envelope gives yardage requirements for 54in and 60in wide fabric  --  there's a very good reason.  The single piece cut on the fold means that while the center back is on the straight grain, the front flounce cum zipper is on the bias.  Now:  this gets interesting!!!
Careful marking of darts and zip line is a must!!!  You will want tracing paper for this.
When I got to the point of inserting the zipper, I read the instructions through several times, not quite comprehending.  When am I supposed to cut the fabric for the zipper to open???  Eventually, I decided to just do it, carefully, step-by-step, and hope it worked out.  Of course, it did.  One doesn't ever cut the fabric, because each half of the zipper is sewn to the center front, allowing the fabric to the side of the zipper to cascade into the flounce.

Below the zipper, the fabric is left open in a de facto slit.   Greater modesty can be had by using a zipper longer  than the 18in one called for.  However, on me (I am 5ft, 7in tall), the opening began only a little above the knee, and the skirt is full enough to not ride up when I sit.  again:  worked perfectly.
My new ensemble is comfortable, colorful, and eclectic enough to be interesting without getting myself talked about too much.
I hope.
Well  --  maybe.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Of Cats & Sewing

Fergus is mad with me for rejecting his offer of help in cutting out a shirt for Emma Rose. 
He has turned his back on me.

I suppose I can cut it out later.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I love getting packagesl!!

Look what came in the mail for me!

This is all from Nancy's Notions.  The fabric is a wonderfully soft, drape-y, bamboo jersey. I have sewn with this before.  I love wearing it  -- it hugs, without clinging - it glides over one's curves.

The book is the real excitement:  (I nearly always get excited over new books - College Biology was a rare exception)  It shows how to adapt a basic crew-necked, faced T-shirt into 14 different T's!! 

I can't wait to get started!  Which one shall I make first???

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Skyline Redux

Sometimes I am not quite as finished sewing a garment as I think I am.
Such was the case with the skyline skirt.

The first wearing of it illustrated 2 significant flaws:   1) tiny bits of the lace edged lining showed in 2 spots.  Had the showing been even all around, I should have called it a design element, and pretended it was intentional.  Such was not the case.  I had a spot of lace an inch deep X 4 inches wide showing in the right side, and another spot 1/4inch deep X 2 inches wide in the front.  Also: 2)  Despite what I thought were careful measurements, the waist was a little loose.

Fixing both were relatively easy, if atypical.  Typically, if a hem is too long, one turns it up and re-sews.  This may, or may not involve letting out the stitching of the original hem. This method does not work when the hem's edge is the scallop of a lace.  Another option would have been to remove the original stitching that affixed the lace to the lining fabric, move it up an inch, and re-stitch.  This method, however would have involved an act that is as anathema to me as playing with snakes, that is:  ripping out stitches.  I rarely do this, as I don't do it well.
Since this overall look of the pink silk-and-lace lining is decidedly feminine, I chose to add 2 rows of small horizontal pleats just above the top edge of the lace, neatly taking up and inch-and-a half of length. 
Pretty, non???

As for the waist - that, too, was simple.  I shored up my resistance and ripped out the tiniest possible number of stitches - sometimes there is simply no good alternative - on the ribbon band at one side seam (which is where the elastic ends were affixed), and removed 4 inches of elastic, and re-stitched the end.

All better now!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

How Does This Happen to Me?

See the small spool of thread in the picture???   That is what I went to the store to buy.
See everything else in the picture?   That is what I brought home from the store. 

S * I * G * H

However, I should like to point out that the serger cone was 50% off, and matched the stitching thread perfectly (which I didn't expect), and, as for the fabric  .  .  .  Snakeskin print rayon challis, 64in wide for $3..00/yd.  How could I possibly have left that behind??

Skirt, or pants - what do you think??  I have 3.125 yds., and I'd love to hear specific pattern ideas!!