Saturday, June 30, 2012

Butterick 5638 onward and apparently upward

Ok, so after last weekend's marathon shirt sewing session, it's back to the Butterick 5638 dress chez Kyle.

Tonight I sewed the belt.  I decided to not do the front slit after all, and I don't have enough of the fabric left to do some kind of bias binding.  So I made facings.  And then this happened (hence the upward):

Butterick 5638 still in progress
So I have a lot of tacking to do!

Also I will have to wear a dark colored bra as the armholes are too low.  I'm standing at a model-esque jaunty angle.

Butterick 5638 still in progress
So here I've pinned the ruffle down in anticipation of tacking, and also taped some buttons on.
Butterick 5638 still in progress
Yay or Nay on the buttons?  Originally I was loving the buttons but now I'm loving the streamlined look sans buttons?

I believe I see the light at the end of the tunnel for this dress.  I might even finish it tmw!!!   Could it really be true?  I feel like this dress has been in progress for ages....

I believe this is the third rose of the season from my rose bush:
third rose of the year
And here are green-eyed susans from the farmer's market.
green eyed susans!
I bought cherries and blueberries there too.  So good.  Almost all gone.  No pic.

 I'm thinking of attending the ASE.  Definitely have my eye on a few classes there and attending even though I feel like I'm hemorrhaging cash.

Be well!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Simplicity 2892: it fits and she loves it!

Yesterday I wrote about violating my own sewing rules (no sewing apparel for others; not sewing on a deadline). I sewed S2892 for a friend, on a 24 hour deadline.  I finished it, she loved it, and it fits!  I was SO excited to see how well it fits her.   It fits her SO well.   It's perfect.  And she was SO appreciative of it too!

Here she is at work today (she wishes to remain anon, hence the headless shots):

Simplicity 2892 on my friend
She knows from reading my blog, I like the front, side and back shots!
Simplicity 2892 on my friend
Simplicity Simplicity 2892 on my friend
The back of her skirt has cute ruffle detailing, doesn't it???
I think the shirt looks even better than person than it does in the photos.
Also, an addendum to the story:  She said when she opened the box, she thought I gave her my shirt.  But I was wearing my shirt.  And then she thought I actually had 2 of these shirts all along and that I had been keeping one from her!  ha ha!

Also the armholes and hem overall looked fine.   I think I was too close to the project in such a short amount of time.

Her goodbye party was today and her last day at work is tmw morning.  I will miss her.

Be well!!!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Simplicity 2892 sewn for a friend

it was duct tape!
So last week I asked for guesses about the round blue gift for my dad.....It was a roll of duct tape! 

So I violated two of my sewing rules this weekend.
  1. Never sew apparel for anyone else
  2. Never sew on a deadline
Why violate these rules???  A coworker and friend of mine is leaving the area and she loves loves loves Simplicity 2892 view B that I made 3 summers ago.

Simplicity 2892, view B, without sleeves
July 2009, back when my hair was short and the bathroom light was yellow.

Everytime I wear it, she comments on it.  Gushes.  Professes her love for it.   So when I cleaned out my stash last month, I found enough of the very same fabric to make another shirt.  And when I heard she was leaving, I thought now is the time to make it.

So I wore it two weeks ago as a test, to see what she would say.
Would she still love it?
She saw it and said "I love that shirt.  Some day you will bequeath it to me."

I was going to start sewing it last weekend and never got around to it.

So this weekend is it.  She moves out of the area on Tuesday. And in less than an hour, I'm going to pick her up to go to a movie and have dinner.  So at 3:30 yesterday afternoon, I started sewing this shirt.

I thought it would take 2-3 hours.
It took almost 12.

I doubt it took me almost 12 hrs when I sewed it for myself.  I'm a different sewist now than I was then.  I actually iron fabric and the pattern first.  I finished the raw edges first.  I ironed seams.  I actually read the instructions for armhole binding.  I used my narrow hem foot to make a narrow hem.  But this isn't my best work.  If I had more time, I'd redo the hem and the armholes.  I would probably make different choices for the CB opening.

But here it is in its nascent  glory:

Simplicity 2892 view B without sleeves finished!
Simplicity 2892 view B without sleeves finished!
Yes, I made a tag, with care instructions. And also a care instruction for me and my ego:   "never ever tell me if you get rid of this shirt".

I guessed on her size as I wanted this to be a surprise.  On the left is the 6 and on the right is my 12 from 3 years ago
Simplicity 2892 view B without sleeves finished!

I actually made the CB slit thing with the button closure and elastic corded loop. I didn't do this on my version; I could get my noggin through the neckhole just fine. But I wasn't sure if it would be ok on the 6.
Simplicity 2892 view B without sleeves finished!
Simplicity 2892 view B without sleeves finished!
I had huge difficulties binding the armholes. I don't know what my problem is about them!!
Simplicity 2892 view B without sleeves finished!
Here are the pleats; they have to be ironed back in after every wash.
Simplicity 2892 view B without sleeves finished!
Here's the belt; mine then hers.  I did 5 rows of stitching on mine and 3 on hers.
Simplicity 2892 view B without sleeves finished!

I hope she likes it.
I hope it fits.
I'm going to wear my shirt today and then give her her shirt later on.  Let's see how she reacts....

(UPDATE on the shirt:  I wore my shirt, while hers was wrapped up in a box in the trunk. She said, "you wore the shirt in honor of me."  Saw the movie.  Went to dinner.  Gave her the box.  She had the best reaction ever of anyone I have ever sewn anything for.  And she says it fits perfectly and she's wearing it to work tmw, yea!  I'm so happy and relieved!!!)

In other news...
Farmer's market flowers for this week--my favorites!
Happy 48th anniversary mom and dad!
Happy 48th  Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Oh, so here's another violation:  As I was perusing the dumpster this week, eying up two frames, a public safety officer pulled over to say we are not allowed to take anything out of the trash. Why, asked my coworker who was with me? "Because it's university property," said the public safety officer. Judging by the contents of the frames, this was clearly something students were tossing. I have no idea if the officer was right, or once you dump something in the dumpster, now it's university property until it's property of the landfill (I mean, it's not like a university official is carefully scouring the contents of the dumpster--many times I see the garbage men hook the dumpster up to the back of the dump truck and compact everything inside...), or if they are afraid you're going to hurt yourself climbing in the dumpster (which is something I wouldn't do--this stuff was lying on top--the lamps and vase I scored were next to it; the mirror was sticking out of it). It makes me think a lot about trash, the environment, consumption, sustainability, etc etc etc. and on Friday night I saw The Clean Bin Project at the Princeton Public Library, about a couple who didn't buy anything except food for 1 year and tried to generate no garbage for that year.

Anyway, the officer drove off, my coworker was outraged and I was pensive.  

Be well!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

B5638 again, my cross stitch stash, and dumpster finds

Guess what this is!  It's for mah Dad.
10 points if you can guess what this's one of my gifts for Dad. (More on the joking side...) 

So, in my last post I showed you how deep that V was!  Too deep for me.  So I spent an hour tonight undoing what I had done. I had enough fabric to cut out that front inset again for a "do over".

So now it's like this:

B5638, last step reversed
Full on chest coverage.

I'm thinking of maybe leaving it that way? Or putting some buttons down the inset like it's a placket? I'm a bit scared to cut it again, and if I do, I will cut it more like a U and less like a V.   I don't have another chance to redo the inset after this; I'm out of this fabric.   But I do believe the desire to work on this dress has come back, and maybe tmw I can at least bind the armholes (with self-bias binding) before visiting my parents.

I haven't decided where I'm putting it yet, but here is my new full length mirror, courtesy of the Princeton University dumpster--Tuesday visit.  (I decided last weekend that I wanted a full length mirror for my sewing room.  A trip to the dumpster on Monday revealed only a broken full length mirror, but on Tuesday there were two intact ones and I took this one as it was the "grander" of the two....)

my new floor length mirror
I'm in full-on cleaning and reorganizing mode since Easter Sunday. Today I rediscovered my cross-stitch stash. It makes me wonder if there's some parallel universe for cross-stitching, with some kind of review website, with yearly meetups shopping for kits and the best threads while lamenting about the difficulty of French knots for beginners...

This is my kit stash (Antoinette, check out that hedgehog!)  4 of these are from England and one is from a friend (the "of course I care" subversive cross stitch kit).
cross stitch kit stash
And this is my aida cloth stash, old kits I (mostly) completed and my "cash box" (the citrus box).
plain aida cloth and "cash box"
So I really laugh at myself. With all my cleaning and reorganizing, I usually stop buying stuff for a while. But there were those 47 yards in NYC, and then on Friday I went to Target during lunch to buy new lawn chairs when I saw the "cash box" in the $1 bin. Usually I pretend that the $1 bin is NOT there. But the "cash box" caught my eye. And I bought it, thinking, 3 years from now when I'm in my next full scale cleaning mood I'll wonder why I bought this thing.

But then today its purpose announced itself.

It is the perfect size for DMC thread!
"cash box" has my thread

Recently some bloggers have been writing about their oldest UFO.  Well, my oldest cross stitching UFO is this lovely dishcloth:
Rag Shop strawberry hand towel
I remember working on this cloth during a college trip to Canada so we're looking at more than 15 years old, as I had started it way before then.  It's a kit from Rag Shop, RIP.

Here's the Farmer's Mkt flowers this week.  The vase is another PU dumpster find.  Not that I need another vase, but I *love* the shape.

Princeton Farmer's Market flowers
What is this shape officially called? I can't recall. It's like the shape of cooling towers at nuclear power plants...

The flower farmer knows that I like black eyed susans (green eyed variety). This was his first one this season. Maybe next week there will be a whole bunch!
first black eyed susan!
Be well!!  (and be sure to guess what that object is in the first photo).

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dress form in its final padded state; B5638 in progress

Thanks everyone for sharing in my excitement about my new dressform padded out in the Fabulous Fit fitting system, as blogged here.
I spent about 2 hours today padding out the form again and creating the sway back curve, so I think I've finally worn myself out on the excitement of it all.

It really makes you take a long, hard look at yourself....

my dressform final padding
my dressform final padding
my dressform final padding
Here's what I did:
  • Bought the FF system again, as I wasn't sure what pieces I would need, and figured I could replace pieces as needed.  (The FF website has an a la carte option so you can buy individual pieces instead of buying the whole system again.)
  • I wound up using a thigh pad for the upper back to create the swayback curve. Looking at these pix, maybe that bit in the upper back is too much???   I had tried the side back pad which was definitely too thick.
  • I didn't use the upper hip pads at all this time as the form was getting a bit bootylicious.
  • I used an old mattress pad cover (i.e. essentially batting) I found in a closet cleanout last weekend, and cut squares to create the extra padding for the hip area, and also a bit for the derriere. That way I had more control over the size of the pads, since the filler pads were just too much.
So here's my best-fitting-on-me dress, again, S2473, with my repadded out dressform:
final padding of dressform wearing S2473
Yes, it's looking like the upper back curve is a bit too big... I mean, I don't have a hump padding of dressform wearing S2473
final padding of dressform wearing S2473
In other news, the Princeton students moved out this week and I scored two matching floor lamps with little side lamps, left at the dumpster I walk by practically every day. Finally, the illumination my sewing room needs!!!
my new lighting!
B5638 marches slowly onward:
B5638 in progress
The V is too deep for my taste; I'm thinking I might redo that front inset panel again (and also find a decent tutorial on how to make a v that is not Becky-homecky)
B5638 in progress
B5638 in progress
B5638 in progress
Be well!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

My brand new Roxy dressform, padded in the Fabulous Fit Fitting system

Roxy dressform foyer
In the window of the Roxy foyer.  The model is wearing 2exist boxer/briefs.

So I think it was for my birthday 2 years ago, mom gave me $$ to buy a dressform.
I started my diligent research about 2 months later.
I hit up dressform websites and read pattern review of dressforms.
I measured myself, I compared to measurement charts.

And I hit a wall.
I'm a pear shape.  Smaller on top than I am on bottom.
Adjustable forms would manage that, but the reviews were mostly bad.  They're cheap, flimsy, fall apart (or over) easily, hard to turn the dials, can't pin into them, etc etc etc.

Professional dressforms are standard sizes throughout.  Get one that matches my measurements on top, and it will be too small on the bottom.  Buy one that matches my measurements on the bottom, it will be too big on top.

I had read about Fabulous Fit but had not gone further with it.  Their dressforms were $700-ish (now they have some in the $300 range too) but they had a fitting system that would let you pad out the form to look like you.  Gain weight? Pad it out more.  Lose weight?  Remove some pads.  Weight stays the same but moves around?  Move the pads around.

So that's where my research ended.   In the meantime, mom bought a mannequin for me from a consignment shop for $20.  I named her Emma. I can actually pin into her!  She's smaller than me but incredibly helpful for many things. But she ends under her waistline, nary any hips, thighs, or derriere to speak of.  Her back is flat as a board. 

Fast forward to PR weekend in NYC, and Jill Ralston gave a demo of what her company sells--the Fabulous Fit Fitting System.  This was one of the most interesting parts of the weekend for me.  I was super interested in the system.  You can buy the system off amazon for $69 and use it with a dressform (any dressform--I had not realized it can be any dressform) that is smaller than you are--you pad it out to look like you.  She demoed it for us and it was amazing.  She made a dressform look like a real person.

I bought the system and tried it with Emma.  It didn't work because of Emma's aforementioned non-existent hips, thighs and derriere.

I had asked, in the course of the research, where Clever Girl bought her dressform.  Antoinette is an incredibly petite woman, and was having trouble finding a form.  She found her size 2 form from Roxy Display NJ.  This made my eyebrows shoot up.  NJ? 

Roxy happens to be located in East Brunswick, NJ.  Like, 15-20 min from my home.

So after FF didn't work with Emma, I went back to the Roxy site.  Their professional dressforms are $250.  And they are open on Saturdays.  I mean, really, could the stars and the moon have aligned any better?  A dressform company practically in my backyard?  With the backing of trusted sewing friend?  For $250?  And open on Saturdays?

I planned to go there last Saturday but they were closed for the holiday weekend.  Today was the day.

It's in an industrial park off the turnpike (exit 9, if you are in with that Jersey joke) and  easy to find.

Roxy sign
Picture taken from the front door of the showroom.  I meant to take the pic again from the road but forgot.

Their showroom is a  hoot.  They sell some dressforms but tons of mannequins, in all shapes, sizes, colors (want an entirely red mannequin?  how about a blue one?  a silver one?), forms (hands only.  head only.  upper torso only.  with/without heads, arms, legs?)  flying like superman?  Positions (sitting?  standing,  arms straight out?  How about on all fours?)    Men?  Women?  Children?  Pets?  it goes on and on).

It was less creepy once the clerk turned the lights on.   I had predetermined that I would get the size 6.  My bust is a 10 on the Roxy chart (remember, I usually sew 12 or 14 at the bust grading to 14 or 16 at the hip), but with FF I needed to go smaller, so I went two sizes smaller based on how much FF padded out Emma (Jill had recommended going one size smaller but after seeing how much it padded out Emma, I went two sizes smaller).

In person, a 6 is incredibly tiny.  But I remembered I was padding her out and ordered the 6.

Here's the dressform section of the Roxy showroom.  I had always wondered how the full size dressforms are suspended and now I know, it's like this:
Roxy dressform showroom

Here is just one row of several rows of mannequins.  Love how they're all wearing their conference lanyards:

Roxy dressform showroom
Here are some busts:
Roxy dressform showroom
Roxy dressform showroom  
I really wish I took pix of the all-silver mannequins.

My new dressform fit easily in my little car after folding down the seats.  I was freaking out a little on the way home because the box said "half size 6" and I was afraid that maybe that meant "half size 6 dressform" instead of "half body size 6".  But it was really a half body size 6.  Phew!

the boxes my dressform came in

Here are the boxes, after I opened them.

So then I brought the pieces upstairs to my sewing room.
time to put her together!
I struggled with the written directions when it came to the part about the spring. But thankfully their website had a youtube video and then it was all clear!!  So it was about 20 min start to finish, but would have been faster if I had just used the video and not the written instructions.

So here she is in her naked, just-born nascent glory:
Roxy dressform size 6
Roxy dressform size 6
Roxy dressform size 6
The white bits on the floor are from the styrofoam the base was embedded in.

Then I started padding her out with FF.

I was glad I had the brochure handed out at PR weekend as the FF box did not include instructions.  The brochure has all the details on padding, and measuring.  Thankfully I had been measured at PR Day Austin's pants fitting workshop (as a bonus we had ALL of our measurements taken, phew!)

The pads are labelled  (i.e. shoulder, stomach, upper hip, bust, side back, etc etc etc) and there are filler pads too for areas that need extra padding.  First you start to put the FF bodysuit on the form, like just below the shoulders, then put the shoulder pads in.  Then roll it down under the bust, and put the bust pads in, etc etc etc.  Then when you're done, you put the princess seam body suit over that and it smooths it out.

So here's where it was at before I put the princess seam bodysuit on it....

Roxy dressform padded in Fabulous Fit fitting system
At that point, I had the extra filler padding in the hips. But it doesn't need quite that much padding. It needs more than the hip padding but less than the hip + filler padding. So for that area, I will probably use tissues or something for the little bit more padding.

Here's the side view:
Roxy dressform padded in Fabulous Fit fitting system
I love how it has the little belly like my little belly.  But it doesn't have a sway back.  I need to get more padding to pad out the upper back to create the swayback curve.  I will probably buy another stomach pad and some thigh pads a la cart from the FF site and use them pad out the upper back to make the sway back curve.
Roxy dressform padded in Fabulous Fit fitting system
Again needs slightly less padding in the hips.

Here's what it looks like without the filler pads in the hips, but with the princess seam body suit.  Hrm, her hips don't look symmetrical here, but I'll have to move them anyway when I go back to make the swayback....
Roxy dressform with Fabulous Fit Fitting System
And here she is in one of my favorite and best-fitting-on-me dresses, Simplicity 2473:
One of my favorite dresses: S2473
One of my favorite dresses: S2473
One of my favorite dresses: S2473
And in another favorite dress, NL 6071:
One of my favorite dresses:  NL6071
One of my favorite dresses:  NL6071
One of my favorite dresses:  NL6071
It is a kick to see the form actually fill out the dress!
And here she is with Emma
My yet-to-be-named dressform, and Emma my mannequin
I will let you know how she works out (and what her name is, once it comes to me! I was originally going to name her Emme so my form and mannequin would be Emme and Emma, but now I'm not sure she looks like an Emme to me.)

My cleaning mood continues. I found this in my bedroom closet.  I bought it at TJ Maxx 2 years ago for $5.   I think it looks pretty cool in my sewing room now.
new wall hanging in my sewing room
My second rose of the year from my "garden":
 second rose of the year
Flowers from the Princeton Farmer's Market.
My favorite flower farmer has returned for another year!
first Princeton Farmer's Market flowers of the year!
Be well!