Monday, April 30, 2012

Wooly Nylon Disappears, Story at 11.

First of all, I hate that Arsenio and Aubrey didn't get to air themselves out last night on Celebrity Apprentice, but Dayana and Lisa sure did. I was just stunned with Dayana's dress - check out the twisty knotty thing it does at the shoulder. I studied it when she walked out but I can't find a picture of it on the internet. Alas, I have legs made for pants, so I need to stop buying all these dress patterns already!
So here's what happened with Vogue 1085, round 2. (You may recognize the fabric if you've been here awhile.) I wanted to center the blue stripe but didn't have enough fabric, and forget about matching seams and sleeves! I did the best I could with my remnant.
I cut the band shorter to raise the neckline, but I had to piece it to get just the blue border I wanted, and I forgot to add in the seam allowance - too short. It pulls the cowl up very weirdly.
See how it's all bunchy there?
I took the band out, added another piece to make it an inch longer, and resewed it in. Good enough! And no quarter this time...
This was just funny because I was snapping photos blindly and caught an admirer who's very proud of my work.
Did I mention that I watched Pretty in Pink while I was working on this? Now how long is that movie, about an hour and a half? That's how long I stood at the cutting table trying to match circles - I am not even kidding. Well, I did sit down to watch the finale at the prom. I just love that movie - Annie Potts is fantastic, and they play Cherish (by The Association, not Madonna), which is one of my all-time favorite songs, and Molly Ringwold makes her own prom dress, which looked awful and like it didn't fit, but maybe that was the style at the time. Just an awesome movie all around.

Oh, now I have a question for the wooly nylon experts. Why did it disappear in this seam? I did find out that it only works on twin-needle stitched seams, as my sleeves were just single needle and don't stretch a bit, but this is the hem of my shirt and after gently pulling it, something happened. Do you think it's the wrong tension? Did I wind it too tightly on the bobbin?
And finally, isn't this a creepy closet? I've made 2 shirts out of the same fabric, and 2 shirts from the same Jalie pattern. I forgot to put the original Vogue from the sewing class in there - that'd be even weirder-looking!
Oh, and tomorrow, I'll have a gigantic surprise for you. Yes, I found a serious ribbon at Joann's today and all I have left is hemming the cardigan, which will then be worn to work! Pictures tomorrow!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ribbons and Sleeves

I'm on call this weekend, so while the boys went fishing, I stayed home and sewed. We all had a productive weekend! (That would be a sheepshead.)

So this is what the ribbon looks like on the cardigan - I just pinned it on to get an idea. I also de-flared the sleeves and shortened the front, and I'm happy to report that the cardigan has been cleared of all ethics violations.
Um, I think the ribbon is cute, but not for work with khakis and tops. It says, "Let's go to the circus and have fun," and I need it to say, "I'm sorry you're sitting in my office with a problem." I plan to keep looking for a more serious ribbon with a stronger work ethic. But may I say how much I like the cardigan now, and I may have to try it again in a different fabric. Definitely a keeper.

So I set that aside and tried to finish my Silhouette Ann's Top that I started over Spring Break. I tapered the shoulder seams and tightened the French dart with excellent results, so I'm ready for a sleeve...or AM I? Please note the wrinkles on back of sleeve. (Don't be distracted by the neckline - it was reportedly weird-looking as a sleeveless shirt with a cowl neck, so I cut off the cowl and used it for sleeve muslins - clever!)
And how the front bodice pulls - this sucker feels TIGHT!

So I went to the books and the treadmill - yes, I walked for 30 minutes on the treadmill while reading The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting regarding sleeves and armholes. And this is what I found. I lowered the sleeve till the hem was straight and it was comfortable and saw that I had a full inch to raise the sleeve cap. I also checked the circumference and had 1" of ease, so I probably will add that, but first for the sleeve cap.

Here's where I added to the pattern. The length was fine, just needed some height according to the book.
Well, that made it a tiny bit better, but not much. It still feels tight and pulls on the shirt.

So I decided to get more education on that, but in the meantime I wanted a quick success to have something to show for my day of sewing, so I made another Vogue 1085 out of remnants from the Jalie sweetheart top. I finished at midnight, but have to fix the band which was too small for the neckline. I'll get pics of that later today.

Oh, and my education this morning was to watch Silhouette patterns sleeve webcast - I mean I took NOTES people - highly recommend! I'll try again on the sleeve, but first I've got to welcome the fishermen home. Have a great weekend!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Virtual Tour of Fabric Works

Well Becky told me they had a large selection of ribbon at Fabric Works, a small fabric store in Tillman's Corner right off I-10. I've never been there before - let's go see! You could definitely miss it; it's down from J&J Furniture.
Lots of cute cotton prints and seersucker out the wazoo.
Several small fabric stores in Mobile are geared to kids' clothing (Peanut Butter and Jelly Kids on Old Shell Road, Nostalgic Needleworks that moved I think, etc.). I asked if they had knits, and she said just "baby" knits, except for the 2 solid knits in the back - black and white. Alrighty then.
Here's a corner of trim and braid, etc.
Lots of zippers and thread, and a whole wall of notions. I think they have more notion stuff than Ely's.
And just like Becky said, tons of ribbon!
And still more ribbon!
There were 2 older ladies working there, and one helped me pick this out. I had another one in my hand holding it to the fabric, and she said, "That just looks lost." You gotta love an honest sales clerk. Although we'll see how this one definitely was the jazziest of the bunch. All the 2" ribbon was solid, so I had to go to 1.5" ribbon to get a design - wish me luck.
No, really wish me luck, because I didn't watch her cut it, but I heard her ask the other lady, "Now what is 2 1/4 yards? Is that [I didn't hear it] inches?" And the other lady said, "Yes ma'am, because 2 yards is 72 inches." They must be cutting old school - I thought yardsticks at fabric places had all the yardages marked on them.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Biblical Cereal and Fabric

Yeah, I have no idea what this is about. I was waiting on Lucas to get something at the store and did a double take when I saw this cereal. Never heard of the company before, and they seem to be taking themselves totally seriously. The scripture is about the ingredients. Dang it - I didn't think to read the back of the box! (I can see the commercial now: man yells to wife, "Hon, next time you're at the store, can you pick up some Ezekiel 4:9? We're almost out!")
And I went to Hancock to look for ribbon to complete the slinky cardigan, but the cute stuff wasn't wide enough. I'll check out Daphne Fabric and Lace next time I'm over there. Anybody know good purveyors of ribbon? Should I just try Hobby Lobby? Michael's? Not having girls, I've never bought ribbon. So my mom was coincidentally shopping there at the same time - gasp! How cool is that? (If we'd tried to set it up ahead of time I'd probably end up wandering around Joann's yelling "Mom?" See previous post if you don't get that.) Anyway, I hit the clearance table and got these for $3.99/yd - they're both charmeuse.
This is the shirt I have in mind for the green (Simplicity 3956).
And this one just grabbed me as a cute summery dress, but I don't have a pattern in mind. (Probably because I don't wear dresses, right?)
Okay, that's all for today. I have work to do!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Boardroom

(Yeah, if you don't watch Celebrity Apprentice, you just want to skip this entire thing.)
Mr. Trump: So Dr. Fun, your challenge was to create a cardigan for work. Who was your project manager?
Dr. Fun: I was the project manager, sir.
Mr. Trump: Really....I thought you would've picked Sandra Betzina, since this is in her wheelhouse. Interesting. Ivanka, tell us what the executives thought about Dr. Fun's cardigan.
Ivanka: Well, some thought her choice of fabric was questionable, though others thought it appropriate.
Mr. Trump: Dr. Fun, who chose the fabric?
 Dr. Fun: I did, Mr. Trump.
Mr. Trump: Did you consult with Sandra Betzina on that? I mean, she's written books about fabric. Dr. Fun: Well, Mr. Trump, she did recommend a different fabric, but I was in a time crunch and decided to proceed as planned.
Mr. Trump: Don, did the executives have any more comments on the cardigan?
 Don, Jr.: Some of them did think the sleeves should be straightened out and not flared as much.
 Mr. Trump: Dr. Fun, who recommended flaring the sleeves?
Dr. Fun: That would be Sandra Betzina, sir. I was going to go with the original sleeve, but she suggested lengthening it and flaring it.
Mr. Trump: Ah, so it was her idea. Did you think it was a good one?
Arsenio Hall:  Mr. Trump, can I just say something here?  Sandra Betzina is amazing, sir, and when she pitches an idea, it's hard not to get caught up in the excitement of it.
Mr. Trump:  You're right Arsenio, she's a great woman; but the fact is that Dr. Fun was the project manager.  Dr. Fun, you're fired.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cardigan....uh, not so much

Now this is just basted and pinned and the ties aren't finished so the wrong side shows. This reminds me of what the dental hygienist might put on at work (no offense, dental hygienists). This is a representative shirt/pant selection, but I actually went with a sleeveless shirt because the fabric is so thin and shows all lumps.
I chose the blue because I thought it would go with all my neutrals - brown, black, etc. Sandra wanted me to do a black and white stripe, but I didn't have time to look at that fabric.
I'm reminded of my mother's robe from the 70's-early 80's. I blame the fabric entirely - it's SLINKY.
Here's my current cardigan. Maybe it's more professional because the sleeves are straight? Do flared sleeves indicate party time? Or it's such a severe color maybe?
I can shorten and straighten the sleeves, shorten the length slightly, and I'm thinking about using a coordinating grosgrain ribbon (that's actually the other view), but I don't know if I'd wear this to work. The fabric is not professional (and I doubt it has any ethics).
Time to weigh in people. Brutal honesty. You can even mention how old I look without my makeup on, and how I didn't take the time to put on socks or tie my shoes. Or that my bathroom needs cleaning.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sewing Camp is O-vah!

Well, the beginning of the weekend feels a little sad, because it's the end of sewing camp with Sandra and the ladies, but I FINISHED my shirt!
I'll do a review of it - love it - but I just wanted to get the pictures up today. I was successful with wooly nylon in the bobbin and twin stitching - woohoo! (Not successful would be using old Steam a Seam to hold the seam allowances before stitching - I found out that it dries out in our climate if you don't keep it in a ziplock bag, and since it doesn't melt with the iron, it doesn't stretch with the wooly nylon - lesson learned.)
Here's a terrible shot of the back - I'll get a better one for the review when I can get a reliable cameraman. Did I mention I love this shirt?
And after 3 hours of sleeplessness this morning, I decided (WISELY) to start the cardigan with Sandra's help. Two comments from reviewers at PR were that it was too short and that the tie was too high under the bust. I showed Sandra the pattern and my fabric, and asked her for her advice. She immediately said, "Let's make it 4 inches longer and flare it out," and she had me cut it so the tie is lower under the bust. Here are the awesome pattern alterations she did, but you'll have to wait for the final product since I had to pick the kids up from school. (Props to Mimi for picking them up yesterday!)
I will just say that I think this version with her pattern changes will rock the current bevy of cardigans (though MN Barb's version rocked as an original). And also, can I say how surreal it was that I was sewing and talking yesterday and noticed that it was 3:15 PM, then the next time I looked up it was 6:30 PM?! That's just how fun this is - the sewing machine seems to create a time warp. (Robbie, I'm so sorry I didn't get a picture of your finished muslin! Sue and the ladies said they'd post our final pictures if we email them - they took some pics before I left too.)

Decisions, Decisions

People, it is almost 4 AM and I've been awake since 1:15! I woke up thinking about whether I should make another top or start the cardigan. I don't have a single picture for you yet, but the first day with Sandra was FANTASTIC (Becky, we missed you!) and I almost finished my knit top. All I have left is hemming, but this is my first time using wooly nylon, so we'll how that goes. The top is gorgeous and I used the print from Chicago, so I still have the green bamboo knit to make a second top, or I could start the cardigan with the blue slinky knit. After checking some reviews of the cardigan on PR, I think that's what I'd better to do, since there was some confusion (consternation, actually) on the back neck facing and the ties.

And if you can't sleep either, check out this blog from a friend of mine who's doing the class too. (Prepare to feel inferior...and hungry.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Working on that shirt...

So I'm totally obsessed with Celebrity Apprentice now, are you? American Idol has taken a back seat, and even Fashion Star didn't hold my attention last night. (Well, honestly, Dean agreed to suffer through it but the cable messed up and the only channel we could get was Fox News, so I only saw 5 minutes of it.) I just totally love Ivanka, and Lisa Lampinelli is hilarious. Penn Gillette is absolutely a stand-up guy who refuses to bow to peer pressure and is always diplomatic, totally professional. He is my new idol...and Ellen DeGeneres.

Okay, well on to sewing. Remember we started with this last week:

The front armholes were gaping. So I took Gwen's advice and watched Silhouette's webcast on fitting knit tops and French darts. Awesome - she recommended changing the angle of the shoulder seam, so I pulled it up by about 1/3" and voila:

The wrinkly, gappy thing that was worse on the right arm is gone! Magically delicious! Here's what that looks like on the pattern.

Next was the plethora of fabric pooling at my back.

I assumed swayback, but then I read somebody's blog on this issue, and just knocked off 2 inches of length. This would've been at the lengthen/shorten line on the pattern, but I had added 2 inches to the bottom (blush, so dumb) so I just took that off and did a small 1/2" swayback adjustment. Now on the muslin, I just sewed that right in to see what would happen - uh, yuck, but I get the point.

And finally, the French darts seemed to be too shallow and didn't end anywhere near my bust point.

I made them a little deeper and extended them closer to my "apex." Well, just take my word that the drag lines are much better, but I think I'll back the point down a bit. I don't think French darts are supposed to end in plain site at the front of your bosom. The webcast pointed out that they're invisible because they're off to the side doing their work.

Okay, now I might work on this some more, but Betzina's class starts tomorrow and I've got to get myself together. That brought to mind the scene in Airplane where they're taking turns slapping the screaming woman while shouting, "Pull...yourself...together!" I actually dreamed last night that I was headed to the class and had forgotten something, so I was going to be late. (But at least I wasn't naked.)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Quick Skirt

So I had a yard and a half of this awesome blue cotton fabric that Robbie gave me, and I wanted to make a skirt I could throw over a bathing suit or something casual. Butterick 4399 is the fastest skirt pattern I have, but I only had a long pink zipper. I got a crazy idea to do an exposed zipper, and suddenly I'm the next Fashion Star, rockin' and color-blockin'! Here's the outside.

Okay, I'll let you see the crappy inside. I googled for some techniques, but this is the best I could do.

Here' how it looks - I think I need a darker top, but I'm at the beach, so this'll have to do.

Well THEN, I have 15 inches of hot pink zipper left, and I go nuts. I thought about faux pockets on the hips, then decided to highlight this seam leading to the "front slit'" as the pattern envelope labels it, but I prefer to call it a vent. (And pardon the wrinkles - this is after sitting in a barber shop [oh yes, I did wear it in public!] for 30 minutes and then sitting through Wrath of the Titans for 2 hours.)

So whatcha think? Would Jessica Simpson want one, or is the Saks dude going to tell me I am NOT his next Fashion Star?