Sunday, October 4, 2015

Vogue 8944

Do you read the McCall Pattern Company blog?  Last year they started doing videos of their new collections and posting them on their blog.  One of the women in the video was wearing this dress and I was instantly smitten.
One of their blog commenters pointed out that it was also in their Fashion Fusion magazine, Fall/Winter 2014, on page 18.  Fashion Fusion combines Joann Fabrics with McCall patterns.  I have to give credit to Joann's; their fashion fabric is getting better.  No, it's not like going to the NYC Garment District, or downtown LA, but they are getting some better fabrics.
It's a spongy knit with 25% crosswise stretch.

Here's the pattern envelope:
I went by the finished pattern measurements and started with a 10 grading to 12; by the end it is probably a 10 all over. (The dress is supposed to be "very loose fitting" so it starts with a lot more ease, plus I was using a knit not woven fabric. I usually start with a 12 or 14).

I was totally intrigued by that above-bust seam.  It basically is taking the place of a dart.   I wanted to match the fabric print at that seam, so that it would be as invisible as possible.

I traced the pattern onto swedish tracing paper first, so that I would have full pattern pieces.  Have you used swedish tracing paper before?  An advantage is that you can sew on it and use it as a muslin!  Of course it is not stretchy like my fashion fabric, but I wanted to get a rough idea of where that seam was going to fall.  I basted that seam, the shoulder seams, and one side seam, then put it on (where the neckline promptly ripped--again, not stretchy--I just taped it back together again later) and used binder clips to hold it shut.

This gave me the idea to take 1/2" out of the top, to raise that seam up a bit.  I didn't want the seam to fall across my bust. I then removed the basting stitches from the tracing paper.
When it came time to cut out the real fabric, I realized that the holes from the basting line gave me the perfect positioning of where I should place the pattern on the fabric.  I also had to tug on the fabric to grain it to get the lines in the fabric to be horizontal.
The above picture was taken afterward, on a scrap, as a not-so-dramatic reenactment.
If you stare at this picture long enough, you will see where the seam is.
Instead of lining it as recommended, I bound the armholes and neckline with Nike Dri-Fit.  I love love love the effect.  Since the fabric turns out to be a little scratchy inside, I wear it with a full slip, and use a belt to nip it in at the waist.  Next time I make this dress, I might try lining it completely in Nike Dri Fit.
The hem is very rounded and instructions for hems like this usually say something about basting that raw edge so you can gather it up to hem it.  A big tip (sorry, I don't remember where I learned this) is that if you crank up the DF on your serger to finish the raw edge, it will start to gather your fabric up (kind of like a fitted bed sheet corner) and naturally curl inward.  
It worked like a charm.    Well, my first attempt I only brought the DF to 1.3 which wasn't enough to get the curl, so I went around again, over the existing serged edge, with the DF up to 1.5 and then it worked like a charm.  (I will note that it worked quite well on my serger (BabyLock Enlighten), but when I visited Lynn last week to show her this tip, it did not work on her serger at all, even when the DF on her serger was all the way up at 2.  Probably the tensions would have to be adjusted too on her serger to get this to work.)

Then I press it with my Elna Press.
Then I set it up for blind hemming.
Then I blind hemmed it on my sewing machine with the stretch blind hemming stitch.    Usually I use a setting of -1 but I had to change it to -2 because this fabric is so thick and spongy.

Overall I love this dress!  I like black and white combinations; I love this fit and flare style.  It does not wrinkle. My boss said that it looks expensive.  High praise!
Flowers from the Princeton Farmers Market this week.

Be well!

Monday, September 28, 2015

American Sewing Expo 2015 recap

In the Haberman booth at the expo. I'm wearing a yet-to-be-blogged dress....

This was my sixth year attending the American Sewing Expo in Novi, MI so I feel like a conference veteran.  I could write a whole novel about this weekend, but I will try to spare you (and me) and just give the highlights.

The high level summary is that the very best part of the weekend was when Anne and I visited Lynn at You Sew Girl Headquarters and descended on her closet like locusts, the second best part was taking Jennifer Stern's professional jeans construction class so that I could re-learn how to make the fly front zipper, and the third best part is something I will share with you in a week or so; I won't reveal it just now....

  • Flew to Detroit from the Trenton-Mercer Airport, a small regional airport I had never flown from before.  Yelp reviews revealed that this is a place you either love or hate and I am firmly on the side of deep love.  
  • Drove to Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak.   
  • Met up with Anne of Sewing to Soothe My Soul and had dinner

  • Had breakfast and lunch with Kristine of Just Keep Sewing and Anne
  • chatted with Kathy from McCalls, Deborah from Simplicity, and Rhonda from Schmetz needles.
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  • Simplicity Fashion Show--that's the Mimi G coat--in denim!  
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  • Jennifer Stern's Jean Construction class, where you make a sample with front pockets and a fly front zipper--Jennifer is a fabulous instructor:  enthusiastic, upbeat, entertaining, wants everyone to leave happy and to not feel stressed during the class.  Yes, I took her class in 2012 but I have not put a fly front zipper in since 2013 and wanted a refresher.  She also streamlined her fly-front zipper instructions.    Thank you Jennifer for a great class!!
  • Dinner with Lynn and Anne

  • shopping at the Soutache (ribbon and buttons--love her button display!!) and Haberman's booths
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  • Simplicity Fashion Show again--this model looks great in everything!  This is a denim shirt dress.
  • Picked up my free pattern for wearing a garment made from a Simplicity or New Look pattern--thanks Simplicity!!!
  • Completed the scavenger hunt and got a pack of 3 Schmetz needles and a Grabbit magnet--thank you Schmetz!  I was going to buy another Grabbit and now I don't have to!!
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  • The big visit to You Sew Girl HQ
  • Anne and I raided her closet like a swarm of locusts and we tried on almost everything! Lynn has the neatest closet I've ever seen (in both senses of the word: interesting and tidy). Lynn also remembers pattern numbers quite easily so she rattled them off for us. Now I have several more patterns I'm interested in!  (I'm trying on one of her denim jackets above)
  • Her linoleum floor was excited to see us!  It's the floor from her pix!
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  • Lynn explaining the cataloging system for her amazing fabric stash; I don't know why she's embarrassed!  You can see some of the Rubbermaid bins in this photo which hold her fabric stash. 
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    A card for each piece of fabric, with a swatch, then bound by a ring by type
    The mirror where she takes her selfies!
    Her sewing machine
    Selfies in her sewing room
  • Impromptu teaching 
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  • I showed Lynn and Anne how  to box out a bag, how to install zipper pockets in bags (I use this tutorial with one tweak), and also how to install piping  (I use this tutorial) and have it overlap on a side seam. 
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    Posing with this cute bag Anne gave both of us.  It looks like a sewing machine from all sides!  Thanks Anne!
  • Passion for Fashion show

  • Anne and Lynn did the scavenger hunt
  • shopping at Vogue Fabrics and Soutache (again)

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    Tried on this coat at the McCalls booth
    It has a very high twirl factor.
  • How to Read the Wrinkles (Jennifer's jean fitting class)
  • Then the third best thing of the weekend happened (to be blogged later)
  • Flew home

As a conference veteran I now know:
  • Foregoing the 3" heels and wearing cushy flats not only makes my feet happy (the expo floor is concrete) but also frees up space in my luggage!
  • Taking the day off from work after returning home is a great thing I can do for myself.
So thank you Lynn for letting us visit your house and thank you Anne for driving me all over yonder.  It was a great trip!

Be well!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Foxy: Mollie Makes Issue 32 Felty Fox Brooches

Two foxes.
Over my week off at the end of August/early September, I took a crafternoon to stitch up the felty fox brooches that came with Mollie Makes Issue 32. (I buy the old issues off eBay).
The kit came with felt, thread, a really terrible needle (I used one from my stash instead) and two pins.  The templates were in the magazine itself.

First I cut out the pieces.  I was wondering how to get the points on the white felt to be super pointy and exact and then it came to me :  thread snips!  They are absolutely perfect for that kind of job.  Highly recommend!
The pin is sewn on the back of one piece of pink felt first. Then the pink felt is hand stitched across the top.  In the pic above, the white felt is just inserted.

Now the pink felt is sewn to the white felt.
Nose is satin-stitched on.
One eye is stitched on...
Now both eyes are stitched!  It was hard to get them to look somewhat evenly positioned.
Now on to the orange fox.  This time I sewed a tiny magnet (scavenged from a magnet I didn't want) inside the back of the fox.  It is not visible from the outside, but it is strong, and happily clinging to my refrigerator!.
Satin stitched the nose on.
Two foxes!!  I actually bought the kit again so that I can make these again and have one set at work and one set at home.  (I didn't trust finding orange and pink felt in such bright happy colors locally.) But I have yet to stitch up the ones for work.
Mollie Makes had a great response to my tweet about having dinner a bit later to stitch the orange fox too!
I actually made another kit the day after, which you can see in the upper left corner of the pic above.  I'll write about it in another post. But this is what my sewing table looked like after two days of craftiness.  A bit different than my usual sewing table.   (And yes, I will do a virtual tour of my sewing room sometime this fall!)

Have you done any hand stitching like this?  I have not done anything like that in a long time, and certainly never hand stitched it like that.  It was fun!

Be well!