Saturday, December 31, 2011

My 2011 Sewing Retrospective: Curl up with a beverage.

Once again, I'm squeaking out this post just under the wire....and I squeaked out sewing one more garment, this StyleArc Demi Drape Top that I finished tonight (I'll write a separate blog post about it and the StyleArc experience later...)

StyleArc Demi Draped Top DONE!
 StyleArc Demi Drape Top.  (Yes, Elle, StyleArc includes fabric swatches in with their patterns!  But that will be a separate post.)

Welcome to my 2011 sewing retrospective!  This is a long post, so get your favorite beverage and settle in.  At least there aren't any commercials.

In 2011, I sewed 22 garments (9 dresses, 3 skirts, 4 tops, 1 jumper, 1 vest, 1 nightgown, 1 flannel night shirt, and 2 leggings) plus 1 bag, 3 finger puppets and 10 pairs of underwear.  Eclectic, huh?  I didn't sew as much as I wanted to because cooking good-for-me food got in the way; thankfully cooking is faster for me now that it doesn't take me an eon to chop veggies anymore.

2011 Hits:

New Look 6071 is my absolute favorite. Finished at the end of October, I've been wearing this dress during this relatively mild fall and winter with a brown cami, brown cardi, brown stockings and brown mary janes (too bad I don't have any pix of me dressed like that!). It is comfy, classy, and I feel stylish.
New Look 6071 view A done!
I think the cross-over front is just awesome.
New Look 6071 view A done!
Simplicity 2406 is a close second. The obi sash is amazing and I love the pockets!
Simplicity 2406 Cynthia Rowley rolled sleeves
New Look 6000 (sounds like a pattern...from the future!) was a very retro 60's style dress. I struggled with the zipper on this one, but moved it to the side for great results. 
New Look 6000 view C done
Also loved this retro 60's pencil skirt, Simplicity 2154.  Loved it so much, I made it in brown, too.
Simplicity 2154 view D done
Butterick 5559, sewn while catsitting Buddy, is another favorite. 
Butterick 5559
He helped a LOT.
Butterick 5559
I'm also fond of this Burda 7379 with a crazy ruffle.   Because who doesn't love a crazy ruffle, am I right??
LOVE this ruffle
Burda 7379 done?
And of course I love new underwear made with Antoinette's make-yer-own-undies tutorial

Here's my favorite pair of the year:
I'm bananas for this underwear! 

I'm bananas for this underwear!  

I made three fingerpuppets after being inspired by an ad in an Austin newspaper. The pig is my favorite.
hello pig!
Here's my "inspiration" ad:
finger puppet pig in action
 Dr. Jeff LaMour, do you have any idea what you inspired?
Meet bunny

2011 Misses 

I didn't like this Vogue 1236 when it was done, mostly my fault. The neckline was too low so I sewed the straps with a larger SA, which brought the bottom of the dress up too high. And it's too small in my hips. Plus I used different fabric for the facings and I feel like they are on display.
I wore it once and never wore it again:
Vogue 1236
Other people love the Jalie tulip top; I sewed it probably a size or two too big.  I never wore it out of the house.  Its major problems disappear, as long as I keep my arms out to the side like this:
Jalie 2806
I don't know, I spent hours on Simplicity 50's retro jumper and feel like a kindergarten teacher. I wish I had cut it from uncut corduroy which would have made it look like velveteen, probably, and give it less of a teacher vibe.  Worn only once.
Simplicity 3673 view A/B done
I really don't like this Burda 7696. The V is too low, and I shouldn't have cut the bottom of the dress so large. This is my "reworked" version and it still needs more work.  I think I wore it twice, then started taking it apart.
Burda 7696 done
I gave my half-done "muslin" of this dress which was too big for me to a coworker who finished it--it looks great on her.
Marsha in the Burda dress
I think if I had made this Simplicity dress in a smaller size or a darker color I would have liked it more. The cowl is heavy due to its size (and my double knit fabric choice) and too large.
Simplicity 2054 View A done
However the green muslin of this dress, with the articulated sleeve, is a favorite nightgown of mine.
Simplicity 2054 muslin view C done
Obviously, I don't wear it with a belt to sleep!

But what else happened?

  • I wrote my 100th pattern review this fall and my third pattern review star followed shortly after.
  • The New Look 6000 dress was featured on patternreview's blog and twitter feed.   Thanks Deepika and the Pattern Review crew!   I featured the dress on my holiday card with Suede.
My holiday card this year, with Suede! (Project Runway Season 5 alum)
  • Butterick featured the 5559 dress on their Facebook page in Nov.
  Thanks for the love, Butterick!
  • I went to NYC's garment district for the first time ever back in June, with Antoinette.  Meg featured our trip on her super useful blog, Shop the Garment District.  I also had my "sewing-rite-of-passage" photo taken with Kashi of Metro Textiles.   At my house, Antoinette pulled my hand-me-down serger out of the closet and showed me how to use it (though I still haven't serged "for real" yet)
A sewing blogger rite of passage--a photo with Kashi at Metro Textiles
Antoinette with Kashi at Metro Textiles
  Inside Metro Textiles 9/17/11
  • I attended 3 sewing conferences:  PR weekend Chicago in May, which kickstarted my sewing again and inspired me to take my sewing up to the next level.  Thanks Tina!
Before lunch on Saturday
Old and new friends!
  • American Sewing Expo in Sept which is where I met Suede.  The Simplicity folks gave me a copy of their Fabric Guide to say thanks for my support of Simplicity and New Look.  I also took a serger class. And a zipper flower class, can't forget about that.
  Lynnelle from You Sew Girl and me
Meetup with Elle!
  • Went to PR weekend Austin in Nov where Leslie outdid herself.  I now have a custom-fitted pants pattern but still need to sew it up.  I also was introduced to TexStyles which I wish was in NJ.
Sunday morning
  • I bought a sewing gauge and use it all the time!  It is SO handy.  It enables me to do things like this:
Simplicity 2054 View A done
  • I finally started ironing my seams during the sewing process as per Ann on Gorgeous Things.  It really does make a difference.
  • After being chastised by Benson of TexStyles, I now clip all my threads as I sew.
  • I installed my first ever invisible zip this August, then installed 4 more.

Vogues 1247 done!!!
Inaugural zip; they got better after this one
  • I sewed my first ever welt pockets in June, then didn't sew them again.

Pocket sample 3   just testing

  • I tried two new-to-me sewing pattern brands, Kwik Sew and StyleArc.

KS 3740 done  
KwikSew 3740. I will make this again soon!  Maybe even as-soon-as-tmw soon!

What about 2012 (and beyond)?
I want to learn how to blind hem on my machine; I want to make a real pair of pants; I want to get my serger in working order and use it.   I will attend PR weekend in May in NYC.  I want to buy a real dressform.

To all my blog and pattern review readers:   A huge thank you for all of your comments and suggestions this year, and all your support about my various health issues (which are all manageable lately, may that trend continue, knock on wood!)

Wishing you a healthy and happy new year full of sewing and all of your favorite things!!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

StyleArc Demi Drape Top muslin

Another 4 day weekend, yea!
Today I started working on a muslin for the StyleArc Demi Drape Top.

StyleArc Demi Drape Top
Cool design, right?
StyleArc Demi Drape Top muslin
I think the big thing I learned is....
You will want to use very drapey knit fabric, similar to the swatches included in the packet...
StyleArc Demi Drape Top muslin
Otherwise this above occurs....
I plan to sew the real-deal tmw, and a pair of underwear.
It's going to be a wild, wild New Year's Eve...

Be well and good night!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas wishes

Merry Christmas everyone!

I wish you good sewing and celebrity sightings:
My holiday card this year, with Suede! (Project Runway Season 5 alum)
My holiday card this year.  Me with Suede from Project Runway season 5 at the American Sewing Expo, Sept 2011.  I'm wearing New Look 6000 and those adorable Mary Janes from Sears (still on their web site.  Type cupid shoes in their search box).

I wish you many beautiful blooms:
12/21/11 Christmas cactus
My coworker gave me this Christmas cactus last year.  She repotted it in April when it was dying due to my ignorance.  Now I know, even though it's a cactus it likes a LOT of water.   Last year the blooms were bright pink.  This year they are orange.  My coworker said it "turned Princeton".  Why are they orange now?  pH of soil?  (I thought that was only hydrangeas).  Did she replace the cactus entirely??

I wish you good eats:
chicken noodle soup
Warm chicken noodle soup--made with flat leaf parsley I bought at the farmer's mkt this summer.  Amazingly, the parsley was still growing outside (barely!)

chicken rotini after sauce
Chicken rotini
minestrone soup from Cook This Not That
Or minestrone if you're vegan

I wish you yummy snacks :
Christmas cookies
Nestle Toll House Cookies with walnuts from scratch

I wish you easy hair and fun holiday jewelry:
straight hair and more layers--small
I got it straightened again! And don't you love the moose pendant?

And of course, most of all, I wish you good health!
Merry Christmas one and all!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

As a sewist, you need to read this

It's a hoot.
I saw it on Lisa's blog yesterday.
Here's the site:  Handmade Ryan Gosling
But this one's my favorite. So far.

(I don't even know who Ryan Gosling is.  But the site is hysterical)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kwik Sew 3740 done

KS 3740 done
Hey triangle hair!

Oh hello 4 day weekend, how I love thee!
I finished up Kwik Sew 3740 today. This was my first KS pattern. I was inspired by the many versions of this shirt Leslie wore at PR weekend Austin.

My impressions:
  • the pattern is printed on real paper
  • the SAs are 1/4 inch as the directions are very pro-serger
  • I didn't see a diagram as to how to position the pattern on the fabric.
  • Although the envelope said it takes 1 5/8 I think it's more like 2 yards (the undercollar was not cut on the fold but rather at a jaunty angle, and it has a CF and CB seam--but since it's the undercollar you can't see it).
So, when I last discussed the shirt, I was annoyed that the SA of the cowl was visible.
Kwik Sew 3740 visible edge
So, Marie commented that she had read on someone's blog that they sewed the SA of half the collar then flipped it to the other side....this way the SA stays hidden. Great idea! I ripped out the stitching for the lower part of the front cowl, then made a snip and flipped the SA to the other side:
KS 3740 in progress
The SA is now hidden in the front, but the cowl doesn't scoop as nicely, especially when worn.(oh, and why not flip the SA to the other side all the way around the neckline?  Because depending on how the cowl is draped, the SA would then show on the outside of the back collar/shoulder).
Anyhoo, here's what it looks like when the collar is flipped up, looking under the hood.  On the right side you can also see my CF undercollar seam (if you have enough fabric, you won't have a CF undercollar seam):
KS 3740 done
The undercollar is much smaller than the upper collar, so that it pulls the upper collar under and thus hides the outer seam; isn't that cool?
KS 3740 done
There is some swayback pooling:
KS 3740 done
Oh, and of course I twin needle stitched the hems. The sleeve hem is a tight one because the sleeve is so narrow at the edge; I couldn't get the sleeve around my sewing machine.

Overall, I generally love the draping cowl, and I love how it doesn't droop into a v shape. I love that it's not too low cut.  But I have to work with fitting and size.  Speaking of which, this made me laugh; surely you jest Kwik Sew!  I cut a medium but then wound up sewing almost an extra-small in the shoulders, medium sleeves and almost small in the torso.

KS 3740
KS 3740 done
I will make this shirt again, especially without sleeves for summer.

I'm getting the urge to buy a dressform again but as usual I'm larger on the bottom than on the top. Back to investigate dressforms again? Also thinking of buying a lounge chair for my sewing room. Hrm.

And in case you didn't see, PR Weekend 2012 (May 18-20) is in NYC! Mark yer calenders! and yes, I'm going!
Be well and good night (ab muscle is feeling much better, phew!)!