Sunday, January 30, 2011

Better muslin pics

Wow, you guys are very sweet- thank you for all the kind comments, and on a muslin no less!

My mom had a go at the bodice and helped me tweak the paper pattern to remove the smidge of excess fabric in the upper bust. We took a slight dart shape out of the armscye tapering to nothing at center front. So I need to re-cut a bodice and stitch it up to try it out. Likely with the same skirt, since I'm NOT sewing those pleats more than I have to. ;) (Scary thought, how am I going to transfer those markings to while silk?? Oh man.)

Anyway, mom really likes this dress pattern as well, but she was concerned that the overblouse in the pattern would be too boxy. We looked at the other choices and decided to make an overblouse from Vogue Pattern 2979. Here's the short sleeved version:

Vogue 2979

In the pattern it's attached to the skirt, but we'll make one that is not attached.

Here are some more pictures with slightly better light. I had my mom take these, but I had a vintage, fully manual lens on my DSLR. So it was fun taking these. My poor mom.

Back view...




Front.... serious face because I'm worried she is changing the settings of the camera!


So, there we are.

I also finished up the flower girl "pomanders" aka "balls of flowers on ribbons that flower girls carry" made with silk hydrangea, styrofoam balls, greening pins, and ribbons. I figured these were easiest to make from fake flowers, as I doubt any wedding guests will notice or care that Kate & Ana are carrying silk flowers down the aisle. ;)

DIY flower girl pomanders

early morning wedding dress muslin

I woke up extra early again to sew up the Simplicity muslin I'd cut last night, and quickly ran face first into the most bewildering array of pleat markings I've ever seen on a pattern.

Have a look- but only if you're fortified with more than a small cup coffee!


I had to retreat and make a nice fried egg while my poor brain cells attempted to wrap themselves around all the pleats over more pleats under other pleats, fold on this line, stitch over here. Yikes!!

Well, I'm happy to say that after much seam ripping and puzzling over the directions and trying some more, I ended up with what I thought might be the right arrangement of pleats. I held my breath as I attached the bodice with pins, but everything lined up! hallelujah!

Here we are..... pardon the un-showered hair, the messy sofa, and general I-sewed-a-wedding-dress-before-9 AM-and-took-a-self-portrait-with-a-cell-phone look going on here.

Simplicity 5343 Muslin

Here's the pattern again.


This dress feels fantastic- the top fits amazingly well for the small amount of alterations I've made, I adore the full skirt, and I'm actually OK with it sitting at my natural waist. Wow... I feel like a real bride in this one. ;)

So there's a little bit of weird extra fabric or pulling above the bust. And again, I'm drawn to patterns with no side seams for pockets! However... I think I found it. This is it! Are you excited to see this made up in white silk taffeta? With a lovely short sleeved lace overjacket? :-D

Saturday, January 29, 2011

bodice alterations & a garment district celebrity

I was up early early this morning to make sure that I made it into the city to the garment district to purchase some navy blue silk for my sister's bridesmaid dress. First stop was Rosen & Chadick, where I got 4 yards of really nice dark navy silk taffetta. Lindsay had recommended them, and they had a wonderful selection of silks- and since it was so early I had the store to myself and plenty of assistance picking out a fabric. There was a beautiful deep navy silk faille, but it was over $100/yard. Sigh. Sorry, kid sister, not even my dress fabric is going to cost that much if I can help it! ;)

Next I headed over to Mood. It was 9:55, and they open up at 10 am, so the lobby downstairs had a bunch of design students and other early shoppers hanging out, waiting. At 9:59, in swept Swatch the doggie with his owner and everyone yelled "Swatch is here!!" As if there was any doubt that dog was a garment district celebrity!

Mood had some very nice lighter colored navy faille for $35/yard, but there was less than 2 yards on the bolt and no more in that color. So I decided to not pick up any more (my reasoning had been that if I bought some fabric at Mood that would work, I'd tuck away the Rosen & Chadick taffetta to use for a dress later... as if I have a pressing need in my life for lots of silk taffetta! (; ). Anyway, I ended up buying another 8 yards of muslin at Mood and chatting with the girl who cut it for me about the perils of making your own wedding dress: ENDLESS MUSLINS.

So on that thread, here are some shots from the bodice alterations of the Simplicity dress.

Tracing the outline onto swedish tracing paper

Transferring darts and grainline

Putting in the small shoulders dart and upper bodice length

And the front piece with the same alterations

I read through the directions for this dress last night, and I think I really like the option to have both silk taffetta and lace in the dress- the lace being in the form of the button-over "jacket". Very retro, but it could be cute. So I looked at laces while I was at Mood and snapped a few photos of them. The advantage of lace just on the over jacket piece is that you'd hardly need a yard, so it could be a really $$$$ one without making the whole dress far too expensive. Here's a cotton one that caught my eye there:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Vogue 1745 muslin

You know it's a bad sign when you can put a wedding dress muslin on without opening the zipper. Really, I'm not going for a skintight mermaid dress for my wedding dress but I'd like *some* shaping.

As a reminder, here's the pattern envelope. Tres chic, no?


Here's reality.



Well then. So the Butterick remains in the lead..... one problem with the Butterick, though, is that it has no side seams to put pockets into. Instead the back panel wraps around to the front, and there's a front panel that takes up just 1/3 of the front. So the seams are offset to the center by quite a bit, which hangs very nicely. However, my wedding dress requirements are really:

* cap sleeves
* side seam pockets
* floor length

I may be able to insert a side seam in the Butterick without affecting the gorgeous shape of the skirt too badly, so I'll likely draft that up this weekend.

I'm also thinking of making a muslin of this beauty. Not an empire waist, but I keep pulling it out of the patterns box. It's a totally different look from the 1960s slim dresses that I keep trying, however it's not too far out. I'll make it up and we'll see.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

snowy day cozy quilt

This one has been in progress for over a year and I finally finished it up so that I'd have a warm lap quilt for our sofa. Would you believe I only had one quilt I'd made in our home until I finished this one?


pinwheel quilt

pinwheel quilt

it goes very nicely with hot chocolate and snow falling outside.

Details- just a very simple pinwheel pattern out of kona premium muslin scraps & anna maria horner prints. Batting is a cotton batting from JoAnns, back is some more muslin with a fold-up binding. Quilted with very unintentionally wobbly straight lines with my brand new walking foot.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

this is a newsflash - Couture Sewing Techniques, Revised and Updated!

I just stumbled over this in my amazon recommendations.... Claire Shaeffer's book is being updated! I love my older version, so this is going straight onto my birthday wish list. ;) Comes out in May. I imagine I'll be done with the wedding dress by then, so in the mean time I'm leaning heavily on the original. It will be interesting to see what gets updated in the new version, though.

Couture Sewing Techniques, Revised and Updated by Claire Shaeffer

muslins and pinwheels

One of my little projects I wanted work on this year was a Photo Project 365- take a picture every day. I've wanted to one for a while, and I figured that the year I got married would be a good one to do it. Well, of course, on Jan 4 I ended up catching a horrible stomach flu (like norovirus or something else super evil) and couldn't even get out of bed for a few days. Don't you love how life corrects your plans sometimes? ;) Ah well, I'm picking up where I left off with it anyway. My parents came down to visit today and brought their sheltie, who found the pinwheel quilt top I've been working on. I think the colors very nicely complement his coat, don't you?

pinwheels and sheltie

My mom also fit the muslin of butterick 3478 and said that it's her favorite so far. So I have some muslin tweaks to transfer to the pattern, and then there will likely be another muslin, with some drafted cap sleeves. I really like the look of these lacey cap sleeves:

The major changes my mom took in the muslin were to increase the inner neckline dart I'd pinched out so that the shoulders came in even further, and then pinned the side seams out a small amount. We both agreed that the skirt hung pretty nicely, and we'd wait to see how the shoulder change affected everything before making any new changes. I'm so thankful that I have her to come and pinfit things on me- I don't know how I'd get through sewing this dress without the assistance!

Have a wonderful weekend :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

butterick 3478 muslin

This is what I learned making this dress:

1. Bite the bullet and make the paper pattern alterations you think you'll need to make (extra inch at high chest, tiny dart to pull in shoulder line)

altered pattern pieces

2. Don't pose in a white dress muslin right in front of the TV lest your dress turn neon blue!

butterick 3478 muslin

3. Just because a B34 in a vintage 1960s Simplicity was a bit tight in the chest, a B36 in a vintage 1970s Butterick may not be exactly the right size in the bust

butterick 3478 muslin

The back doesn't look too bad, though!

butterick 3478 muslin

This pattern is Butterick 3478- I don't like the poufy sleeves on the pattern, but the curved empire seam looked very interesting.

butterick 3478

Here are some more views....

butterick 3478 muslin

This is the "did I actually press the shutter button? Is it going off?" face ;)

butterick 3478 muslin

This view gives me hope that the excessive ease in the bodice could be taken out by pinching a dart out at the side seam - it doesn't look too bad here.

butterick 3478 muslin

I do like the curved empire seam and the full skirt, but today I got a new pattern in the mail that I've been stalking for a while, waiting for my size to appear. It finally did, and I grabbed it! This is either going to be epic-ly AWESOME or look like a sack of potatoes! It takes 9 yards of fabric. Gulp.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

some more of my coat

Cindy had a post up the other day with a wonderful quote:
"A winter coat is a lot of work!"- unknown sewing blogger (from here)

Well, um, I agree. Here's my coat at the moment, from Simplicity 4109. Since it's unlined, I'm doing a hong kong finish with a twist. The pattern calls for topstitching all the seamlines, so after I fold the binding fabric from the hong kong finish under, I pin and then topstitch the seam when I would usually sew down the binding fabric just to the seam allowance. So that makes it a smidge easier.

simplicity 4109

simplicity 4109

I hope everyone had a wonderful new year! We had my parents over for a late lunch. I enlisted my dad to fix a broken dresser here, which was an opportunity for the sailor and him to break out the cordless drill and all kinds of other tools and whatnot. Then my mom and I took her dog down to the dog park:


You can see that our snow is slooooowly melting away! Now there's a small river in every crosswalk. Good thing I have some waterproof boots, you really need them right now.

On the wedding planning front, an Indian friend of mine brought some gorgeous white and silver bangle bracelets home from Kerala for me. In India women wear bangle bracelets when they get married, as its supposed to bring good luck, so all my friends at work (most of whom are Indian, from Hydrabad or Kerala) have been telling me all year that I really need to wear a few for my wedding. My friend decided to bring some back with her, and I'm very excited to wear them- they're really gorgeous and it will be sweet to wear something that my friend brought all the way across the world for me!

Would you believe that I still haven't picked out a dress pattern? My mom and I had a long discussion of the relative merits of various patterns I've been looking at, but I'm still undecided. At least there are still a few months to go.