Sunday, February 27, 2011

Spring Showers

J. Crew had a cute little rain jacket in their spring catalog this year. I certainly have a ton of raincoats (I did live in Seattle for many years (; ), but they're all of the patagonia/REI hiking type, and I feel kind of underdressed in them out here sometimes. Here's the J.Crew coat - it's a bit fancier than most raincoats.

I posted on artisan's square last month asking if anyone could remember seeing a BWOF pattern that was similar, and a few hours later I had my pattern! BWOF 01-2009-123.

Yesterday I decided to visit BJ in the garment district for some nice raincoating material, and I bought 3 yards of absolutely gorgeous eggplant colored waterproof cotton raincoating. It's a dream to sew, presses really nicely, and although it was crazy expensive ($20/yard) it's still half the price of buying the J. Crew coat, so I feel like I'm coming out ahead here. ;)

Here's the muslin I had sewn up earlier today:

raincoat muslin

I have the coat mostly finished except for the front bands, the hem, and the sleeves. I ended up leaving it unlined, since the fabric doesn't fray at all. I did insert a back stay, though. It's flannel with horsehair canvas fused to it.

in progress

Instead of upper & lower pockets my version has the lower pockets and then on-seam pockets for my hands directly behind them. At the moment I'm leaving off the waist drawstring, and I instead narrowed the back and side seams a smidge.

I went through my button collection and picked out a few botton options, then showed them to the sailor, who had been amusedly following the "let's make a raincoat" adventure all day. What, normal people don't just up & decide to knock off designer rainwear over a weekend? ;) Anyway, he liked a set of navy blue & gold anchor buttons that I had. Of course. I don't have quite enough of them, so I'll have to hit up Pacific Trim to get a few more.

Perhaps I'll actually finish this up before the torrential March downpours start up!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

so sweet

My dad finished up the cake topper he made for us! I bought a somewhat generic military groom cake topper off ebay, and he painted it for us to match my sailor's uniform exactly. How sweet is that? :-) He took a picture at the change of command ceremony this summer, then carefully copied all the ribbons and every last little detail. Wow.

cake topper

cake topper

Of course the bride's hair is much longer than mine and dress doesn't exactly match my dress, but we decided to just leave it as is, especially given the molded flowers on her skirt. It is, after all, a $10-from-ebay wedding cake topper, so we're happy just to get the uniform right. ;)

The restaurant where we're getting married is making a simple cake for us, so we'll be dropping this off for them to place on top a few days before the wedding. Until then, it will dancing away on a bookshelf waiting for the big day.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

project catchup

When my grandmother died 2 months ago, my grandpa said that he wouldn't live another 5 minutes. Well, he did make it a little longer, but just a few weeks. He passed away Friday, so I guess he's back with grandma again. Am I the only one who turns to a lot of fiction when they're really sad? I needed a good book to lose myself in last week, so I downloaded a new novel to my kindle, which I ended up really enjoying. I don't read too much fiction, but after loving the Harry Potter and Golden Compass books, I'm a bit of a sucker for anything involving magic and Oxford. A Discovery of Witches was pretty delightful- great book to lose myself in for a few days.

Since I haven't done too much sewing recently, I'll post two projects I (mostly) finished up a few weeks ago but was too busy to blog.

First, in need of Jonathan Embroidery buttonholes, my Built by Wendy jacket from Simplicity 4109. I also need to sort out how to get off the waxy mark for the stitching line on the front - the wax really settled into the wool, sadly.


I love this jacket, although the sleeves are a bit long for me. It's warmish without being too heavy, and a great length.

And here's another twist dress that I made up from New Look 6802.

My sailor ended up suggesting that I make this - I had a bunch of pieces of fabric out a few weeks ago and was trying to match them to patterns. He said that he liked this print, and that he really liked the twist front knit dresses, so I took his suggestion and made this one. The hem on this dress drove me bonkers, though - I couldn't chalk mark it as I usually do. I'll show you in a post soon the new vintage toy I ended up purchasing to deal with the hem.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

a hint of spring

The sun is out today! And it's warm! (-ish (; )

After a week of ice rain and frigid temperatures, any bit of warmth is a great thing in my book. I took full advantage of the sun and had an Upper West Side adventure this afternoon. I rode the subway up and stopped off at Zabars for a babka, and pistachio macarons, and a few cheeses. Mmmmmm. It was a total zoo, of course.

A sunny block near W80th:
upper west side

Then I walked a few blocks to Joe for a proper latte to sip on a long stroll down Central Park West. You know what really drives me bonkers about NYC? Very few places out here know how to make a latte correctly. Joe, thankfully, is one of the few that make a very nice one. I had a loooong walk with my coffee in the sunshine, and it brought me hope that spring might really be just around the corner.

pistachio macarons & babka

To celebrate the spring-like weather, I made a little shirt for Ana and a dress for Kate with some spring-ish fabrics. These are from the Delilah line by Tanya Whelan. The pattern for both is the Oliver + S Ice Cream dress, which is a very quick & easy pattern to whip up.

ice cream dress

Ice Cream top

I decided I'd go for Kate's favorite look, the intentional clash, with these, hence floral + plaid. Not too bad... they should be good for running around in the backyard once the snow is gone and it warms up!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

fashion model

A few weeks ago I posted a picture of the polka dotted Tulip Dress from the Sewn With Love book.

Kate modeled it for me last weekend when we were taking pictures of my dress muslin. I think she wanted to get in on the posing for the camera business, too. Hence the fashion accessory fan. ;)

tulip dress

tulip dress

She reports that she likes the tulle in the skirt so that it's "really twirly" and it's just the thing to wear to a birthday party.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

pattern alterations

If flat pattern alterations bore you, you might want to skip this post!

In the last post I mentioned that I'd like to make a lace jacket to wear over the simplicity dress, and we had picked Vogue 2979, which has a really retro Grace Kelly look to it. Today I was home sick, due to an upset stomach all night, so I felt kind of run down but able to sit at my dining room table with pattern paper and a ruler. I decided a good project was to make this lace top fit me.

Here's my first muslin on my dressform. The front closure in this muslin is a separating zip. The real thing will have a row of buttons, but I wasn't doing that for a muslin. You can see that it really doesn't fit, especially at the top where it "floats" above the shoulders. It's also too tight in the lower bodice (darn holiday cookie eating! trust me, it was worse on me, that's why you're seeing it on the dressform. (; )


I rather expected the neckline issue, I have very small, somewhat rounded shoulders. To fix the float and get the muslin to lay correctly, I made a series of alterations that I make to nearly every pattern. Here's a comparison of the pattern pieces I ended up with compared to the original.

pattern piece comparison

I'll walk through each adjustment - you should be able to see the cuts or redrawn lines below.

bodice front

* slashed and overlapped the pattern from the shoulder seam to above the bust point
* redrew the upper neck curve
* inserted a half inch of length in the armhole
* inserted an inch of length in the lower bodice
* added 1/4 inch to each side seam
* redrew the waist dart

bodice back

Same alterations to the back

Yes, this is a little tedious, but necessary. I was taught to make these alterations to the pattern pieces, rather than draping or pinning directly on a muslin & then tracing the muslin, so this is the method I'm most comfortable with. Any of those, however, will lead you to the proper fit.

One thing that this string of ENDLESS MUSLINS has led me to see is that I really do need to make the same alterations to each pattern. Previously, I would scattershoot apply these techniques, and not always make them all together. Having done these to several patterns, from different pattern companies, over and over, I'm seeing how they all work together and getting a better idea of my body shape. It's been very educational and well worth doing even if there wasn't a well fitting wedding dress at the end of all this.