The thoughts, sewing projects, and fabric oglings of a dedicated sewist.

Progress with the Work In (Vogue 8787)

So a few weeks ago I posted an SOS about my Vogue 8787 muslin. As you'll remember, the upper back was a mess:

I received a lot of advice, both on my blog and on BurdaStyle.  I tried some of the advice and increased the back dart, made a square shoulder alteration, and shifted the back shoulder seams over.  It was better, but still not quite right:

I am a lot happier with the dress after hacking off (not literally, of course) the sleeves:

If I don't look happier it's because I'm wondering what the hell is up with my hair.

I felt like I could do better so I did a little research in the books I have on fitting, Real Fit for Real People and Fast Fit.  My problems pretty exactly fit the definition (vertical wrinkles, back armhole seam goes out into arm) for a Narrow Back Alteration (let's just call that an NBA for short).  I found this highly confusing - I mean, how can you have broad shoulders and a narrow back? 

This alteration involves cutting an L-shaped line into the back pattern, overlapping the cut edges by 1/2 inch, then truing the side seam.  I love to look at pattern alterations so I'll assume you do, too:

The NBA in all it's glory.

I also made a square shoulders alteration to the pattern piece as this is something I almost always need to do.  Initially I decreased the back dart size (according to instructions) but then brought it back to it's original size after my first fitting.  And here are the results:

I am MUCH happier with this!

I hope to finish this dress in the next few days if I can carve out the time.  Here's a peek at the front of the bodice - I decided to have fun with stripes again:

So what are you working on??

Pattern Pyramid Winner!

I ran the random number generator yesterday morning to find the winner of my hosting of the Pattern Pyramid and Trumbelina was the lucky winner!  So this particular pattern pyramid and my fabric addition will head back to Canada.

And to clarify - I thought (as did Debbie before me) that this was the Pattern Pyramid started by Karen at DidYouMakeThat? but it actually orginated with A Charm of Magpies in Wellington, New Zealand.  So in the family tree of pattern pyramids, this is a completely different branch!  So thanks to the Charming New Zealander for getting this Pattern Pyramid started.

Couldn't resist playing with some of the crowns at the Coronation cafe.

Spring Cleaning


It does not feel like Spring here in the Midwest - today's high was 36 degrees F, and while that's warmer than it has been lately, it still felt like winter when I was walking around today.  This picture was taken only last week:

Belly wrote that note to the leprechauns, trying to lure them into her trap. 
It says, "Leprechauns, plees hibernate in this snokav. I woot hrt you."

But I've come to understand "Spring" more as a state of mind than an actual season since we tend to go straight from winter to summer around here.

And I feel like Spring, even if the weather won't oblige.  I've got that quickening of energy, that renewed sense of purpose and productivity that I usually associate with the end of winter and beginning of, well, whatever it is that comes next. 

So I've been cleaning up my Pinterest boards and getting excited about fabrics and dresses and skirts for the warmer weather.  I don't actually spend much time looking around on Pinterest, but I have found it to be a great way to share ideas with clients.  When someone is planning a dress or skirt, we can both put up pictures of possible styles and fabrics all in one place - much easier than scheduling a bunch of meetings or sending a gazillion emails back and forth.

And then, of course, I've got plans for my own spring/summer wardrobe.  I love love love the Elisalex dress pattern over By Hand London.  It's rather expensive (especially when you add on shipping) but I just can't get it out of my head, so I'm either going to give in and buy it or knuckle down and draft something similar to it.

Image of Elisalex DressBy Hand London - Elisalex Dress pattern.  The full tulip skirt won't suit all body types but I love the silhouette

The pattern calls for a stiffer fabric to make the most of the tulip skirt.  I have some beautiful stretch taffeta in peacock, but that's a little fancier than what I'm imagining.  I visited one of my favorite Etsy shops, FabricsAndTrimmings, and fell in love with these cotton sateens:

Orchid and Chartreuse Floral Print Cotton Stretch Sateen Fabric--One  Yard
Orchid and Chartreuse Floral Print Cotton Stretch Sateen Fabric
Chocolate Brown Mod Geometric Print Stretch Cotton Sateen Fabric--One Yard
Chocolate Brown Mod Geometric Print Stretch Cotton Sateen

What do you think??  And has spring fever hit you yet?

Garnet Hill Knock-off

Remember a few weeks ago when I tackled a Garnet Hill knock-off only to be distracted into making a couple of different tops?  Well, I finally came back to the original project this week.  This is the dress I wanted to copy:

Pinned Image
Garnet Hill Athena Knit Dress

(And, by the way, I see that the dress is now on sale in the larger sizes, should be you want to just buy one, but what's the fun in that?!)

It took another three tries to get that drapey thing under the midriff band, but I think I finally got it right:

Yes, I really am trying to pose like the Garnet Hill model without going out in the cold!

 I think I want to play around a bit more with the proportions - I think the bodice needs to come down another 1/2" to 1" and the midriff band could be a big less wide - but overall, I think it's quite close!

I used the bodice and midriff band from Cake's Tiramisu pattern, the skirt from Sew U Home Stretch, and did some playing around with rectangles of fabric until I got the draped piece the way I wanted.  Is there such a thing as floor draping (as opposed to draping on a dress form)?  If not, well then I just invented it.  Now I just need a name for it because "floor draping" doesn't sound very professional.  Zero-Gravity Draping?  Flat Draping?

The fabric was part of my birthday haul from and it is lovely.  I have enough for something else . . . another 2580/0172 combo?

I got motivated when I realized that Pattern Review was having a competition to replicate a RTW item, so I finished it just in time to enter it in the contest.  If you are a member, you should go vote for someone - there are some impressive garments in the competition!

Pattern Pyramid Giveaway!

Back in February, Debbie at Sew I Think I Can Sew ran a Pattern Pyramid Giveaway and I was the lucky winner!  So the pattern pyramid exchange started by Karen at Did You Make That? made it's way back to the States from Canada and into my hands.  I now get to run my own giveaway and I'm excited to keep this going!

Here's what arrived from Debbie:

A lovely package of patterns all wrapped up in some crepe-y aubergine fabric, topped with a fancy closure, just for lovely me.  And here are the patterns:

I think I'm going to keep the Style Sew Simple 2373, mainly because I like the collars.  I'm adding these items to the parcel before sending it on:

The pattern is one that I picked up in a thrift store a while back but I've since decided I have other patterns like it closer to my actual size.  I picked up the fabric in a different resale shope, and it's about 2.5 yards of vintage cotton (44" wide).  I already washed it but it's not really me so it deserves a new home.  I hope it will make someone a lovely summer dress or top!

Here are the rules for entry in the giveaway:

You must have an active blog.
You must leave a comment and include your email.
I will randomly select the lucky winner.
I will then post off the patterns and fabric.
The winner gets the fabric and can also pick one pattern to keep for themselves, then host their own giveaway. They will randomly select a winner, post the remaining patterns to that Person, and the fun continues!

Anyone, anywhere can enter the giveaway by posting a comment below by midnight Central Standard Time on Wednesday, March 13, 2013.

Let the good times keep rolling!

Birthday Present, Part 3

I love my dad.  Let me tell you about him.

My dad is English, born just outside of London in 1934.  After his mandatory stint in the army, he immigrated to Canada at the age of 20 with plans to become a farmer.  After some years as a farmhand, he realized that one didn't become a farmer by being a really good farmhand, so he became a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman instead.  He described this decision as coming out of discouragment, that if he couldn't have a good life by being a good person (working hard, providing something necessary and good) then he would get a good life by being a bad person (making a lot of money selling people things they didn't really need).  To round off this new persona, he decided he needed a religion - and the faker the better - so he became a Catholic.  In becoming a Catholic, he learned something about what it really means to have a good life and be a good person, so he decided to become a priest in order to teach people what he had learned.

Dad is top left
After about thirteen years in the Church, Vatican II took place.  Frustrated that the changes hadn't gone far enough, my dad left the church, meeting my mother in the process.  My mom was a Catholic nun who also left the church after Vatican II.  I was born in the first year of their marriage, and my brother was born eighteen months later.  Dad became a computer programmer in the early days of computer programming, and worked for the same company for thirty-two years.  I don't know if he always liked his job, but he loved the creativity and challenge of programming.

Because my mother had MS, my father played a larger role in my development than he might have otherwise.  He taught me how to throw a punch, bat a softball, enjoy reading, discuss books, be humble, overcome sorrow, and work hard.  He helped develop the voice in my head that tells me when I can do better and when I've done my best.  I get my giddy enthusiasm for learning from him.  He's also always said, "Go 100% in one direction until you find out it's not the right direction, then turn around and go 100% in a different direction."

My dad and I travelled through Scotland after I graduated from college.  We hiked up Half Dome in Yosemite when I was 30 and he was 66.  He babysat my oldest daughter two days a week for the first 3 years of her life.  He makes me laugh every time we talk.

My dad isn't big on gifts.  I don't think I've received a birthday or Christmas gift from him in over 25 years.  I never cared, as he's always given me an abundance of love and support and good conversation.  Out of the blue this year, he called me up and told me he wanted to get me a buttonhole foot for my old Pfaff (he knew I'd been searching for one).  I thanked him and told him that we'd just have to wait for one to come up on Ebay.  An hour later he called me back and said, "I've decided that I want to get you a new machine instead, one of those high quality sergers."  So now I own one of these:

This is an amazing gift.  I had dreamed about this machine, but didn't think I'd be able to afford one for at least another 10 years.  Now it's sitting on my sewing table, helping me with my projects, inspiring me with what it can do.  And my dad gave it to me.  He saw how much sewing means to me and wanted to support it, wanted to help me grow, wanted to put something out of reach into my hands.  Thank you, Dad.