Monday, May 31, 2010

The skinny on McCall's 5752, view B

McCall's 5752
Oh, McCall's 5752. I've wanted to make this dress ever since seeing The Slapdash Seamstress's (Trena's) version of it last year.

I intended to do view A (with the drape (aka the fake ties)) and wound up doing view B.

Sewabeginner wanted to know what the cons of using binder clips are (which I use while fitting a garment). Using pins is unstable for me--they sometimes fall out, or they poke my skin while I try to gingerly put the garment on. I've tried pinning a garment while wearing it, but it seems easier to pin it while not wearing it and then put it on. Binder clips are strong and sturdy and they won't fall off while I try a garment on and they aren't going to pierce my eyeball either. However, they do weigh the garment down. It's just something I came up with one day and I use that method a lot. Here's when I looked like a dinosaur (good times):
Jalie 2921 in progress: dinosaur!
She also wanted to know if the fabric was from SPR weekend and the answer is yes for the turquoise (it was 2.25 yards from London Textiles, and it had a stain on it that I worked around since it didn't come out in the wash), but the brown was stash fabric.

Jodie (hello and welcome!) commented on tissue fitting with knits, and how it's generally not going to be accurate for a few reasons. I too was thinking about how tissue doesn't stretch while I was tissue fitting, but it was in the directions and I was being a patient learner and following the pattern directions which said that "tissue fitting is a no guess method!" (exclamation theirs).

I also wasn't paying attention to quite how much the tissue was puffing out, as I thought, oh, all of that will go away with the gathering (er, not the case!)

attempt at tissue fitting
Ok, so I didn't take a picture of me wearing the tissue, but this is what it looked like after...

What I learned is that I've been getting away without doing a small bust adjustment on many patterns, but this one and others I've tried in the past where there was a crossover leading to something resembling an empire waist never went well--and it's all because I need to start making the small bust adjustment (SBA). While this pattern had lines and instructions for an FBA, it does not take us smaller busted women into account at all. I wound up using Amanda S's method for tightening up the gap (which involved taking out a chunk of fabric at the center back collar seam, hiking everything up--similar to the Jalie scarf shirt alteration) but after seeking advice from Antoinette she lead me to Trena's SBA posting which is just wonderful as it mentions all sorts of patterns where SBAs are needed, not just darted ones. I will be using Trena's advice in the near future! And as it turns out, Trena used the same SBA adjustment Amanda S did for this dress. Here's what it looks like:

what I cut out of the center back collar for a SBA (a la Amanda S)

After sewing up part of the bodice...

hrm. I binder clipped everything together and it was just too big (tissue fitting FAIL), and I felt the top would benefit from being cut smaller--so I ripped apart the bodice and then cut the 12 for the top. Then I graded the midriff from a 12 to a 14.

painfully too big

I used the swayback lines on the midriff piece and it seems to have worked out fine. It also seems like a, dare I say, easy adjustment to make in the future??

Like many others before me pointed out, this pattern calls for 3 layers of fabric at your precious waist--the rouched layer, the "stay" and also a lining. I omitted the lining layer. While many sewists enjoy making the inside of their garments as pretty as the outside, I salute you as I am generally not one of those people.

So I made the midriff and found that the brown outer layer was not very tight in the back, and also the waist was a bit unidentified. So I shaped this area a bit more:
How I stretched the midriff band further
and a bit more again:
removing another 3/8 or so from the side of the band, on the bottom
til the top of the midriff and bottom of the midriff were getting closer to the in the same plane. I also stretched the back brown band to be further out from the stay, so that it stretches more while wearing and isn't as droopy.
back band

and here's the front:
front band

I wound up sewing the "skirt" down to what I think is a 12.

Also I didn't think the drape would look good after all so I ditched it (and thus view B became view A).

I then twin stretch needled the hem 1.25 inches and armhole with a minimal hem.

I wrote last night that the dress was 99.7% complete because I had to deal with the turquoise basting stitches that were down the middle front of the brown midriff. Finally this morning I switched the thread over to brown and then stitched it down the front, and removed the turquoise basting stitches.

I'm still wondering if this dress would look better in turquoise overall? But I've always liked the color combo of turquoise and brown!

Conclusions (If you've made it this far):
  • I'm still addicted to twin needle stitching.
  • Why don't all patterns have adjustments like the SBA and swayback on them? Is there a pattern brand out there that includes adjustments on all their patterns?
  • After sewing for 11 hours, I had all sorts of creative ideas last night. Woo!

Next up: Vogue 8379 (which is coincidentally featured in Trena's SBA posting) and then probably New Look 6748 in, well, turquoise with a brown placket. I think. I still am stalled on a NL cardigan from last weekend; I might give that a go tonight. Or not.

McCall's 5752

Sunday, May 30, 2010

McCall's 5752: 11 hours in, and 99.7% done

No energy to write, just pix!
Will write more tmw, hopefully. And thanks for your comments, I'll respond to them tmw hopefully too!

McCall's 5752

McCall's 5752

McCall's 5752

McCall's 5752

Saturday, May 29, 2010

7 hours into McCalls 5725....

Here's where it currently stands, folks, after 7 hours of working on it (it's mostly binder clipped together and I *think* the weight of the clips is dragging the dress down):
McCalls 5725 in progress

I think I prefer it without the "drape". Here's a mockup of the drape.
McCalls 5725 in progress

Here's the back:
McCalls 5725 in progress

I had to laugh at myself, I was very excited that the pattern had the swayback adjustment on it, and I used it to remove horizontal lines at the lower back. But then of course the rouching detail is like an overly exaggerated swayback detail which intentionally creates horizontal lines.

So I really think that without the binder clips, and with the seam allowances, the brown band will become shorter and more flattering.

What I've learned so far:
  • I seem to be getting slower at sewing, not faster. I mean, 7 hours?? so far???
  • SPR reviewers are the best! They totally helped me out of a wonky back neck issue and droopy neckline issue
  • It was my first time tissue fitting for real and it didn't really help since I didn't really know what I was looking for? If that makes any sense at all
  • Sometimes ripping the dress apart and cutting the smaller size and sewing it back together is the best option.

Good night!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

A pretty lofty claim

Princeton Reunion weekend 2010
Just to give you a flavor of the class jackets at Princeton reunion weekend. This fabric has tiger faces and stripes all over it! Each class has their own jacket made with a particular fabric just for that class year. I wish I took more pix...

My friend Sally visited me at work today. I think she was surprised at how ransacked my desk looked. "But your house looks so nice and neat on your blog" she said....

Here are some peonies, all on ONE stem, from a coworker of mine:
peonies--all on ONE stem!

This weekend I'm going to take a stab at McCall's 5752, the Palmer/Pletsch Classic Fit: The Perfect Knit Dress.

That's a pretty lofty claim, but so many folks have made this pattern on SPR and it's gotten great reviews.

I'm thinking of view A in turquoise, but with a brown midriff and brown drape. I'm thinking that would make it look like a contrast belt.

We'll see if I'm brave enough or if I just wind up making it in all turquoise.

It has the swayback adjustment printed right on the pattern, so I'm pretty excited about that. My first real swayback dress adjustment. Woot! But if the one hour dress took 3.5 hours, how long will this one take??

in the window of Paper Source:  a dog/tiger
Last night some coworkers and I saw the SATC2 movie. I heard it got bad reviews. Maybe that set my expectations low, so I was pleasantly surprised? I mean, it's just a fun movie to watch when you just want some laughs and want to revisit something that was part of your life 10 years ago. It is a 2.5 hour movie though, so my back wasn't so happy afterward with the fast walk to the car in the cold and rain after not moving for that long. Before the movie, we saw that dog/tiger above in the window of Paper Source.

Monday will be 3 weeks since I've seen Len. Just have to get through 10 days to make it a month. I'm feeling really hopeful that I will make it this time. Ever since Sewing Pattern Review weekend, there's been a shift in my energy and mood, and my back pain is generally pretty light with one or two small flares a week.

Hope I didn't just jinx myself!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mourning Lucy's Fabrics

Thanks everyone for your kind comments about my McCall's 6069 dress! I'm trying to decide if I will actually wear it to work on Thursday or not...

I'm so sad to see that Lucy's Fabrics is closing out the fabrics part of her business.

I always enjoyed shopping the Lucy's Fabrics site and recently discovered all the notions associated with sewing with knits on her site, like twin needles and interfacings just for knits. I'm sad so see that part of her business come to an end! Sob!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

McCall's 6069 DONE : Only 2.5 hours longer than claimed

So, my McCall's 6069 "one hour dress (sewing time only)" clocked in at 3.5 hours (sewing time only).

To recap, I used the front of A for the front, the front of C for the back, didn't add the pockets and left it sleeveless.

So last night it looked like this:
McCall's 6069 front in progress

and now it looks like this:

McCall's 6069 DONE front

I made the sash to go with it, but I don't really like it. I think it would look better with a belt, but shockingly all of my belts are too big for my waist.

McCall's 6069 DONE back

McCall's 6069 DONE side

The dress length was perfect before hemming, so I did a minimal hem. Next time (if there is a next time for this dress) I will cut it at least an inch or 1.5 inches longer so I can do a nice normal sized hem. I was proud of myself that when I did my twin needle stitching, I stitched on the right side of the garment. Also, I didn't have two spools of forest green thread, so I took an empty spool and wound up a lot of the forest green thread onto it and used that for my second spool. It totally worked!

This is what happens when the front of A meets the front of C; they don't really match up.
When front A meets front C
So I just trimmed away that excess.

The facing for the back is flopping around but really, as long as I remember to tuck it in, it's ok.

Somehow I took an really long nap this afternoon. I cut out my next project, a New Look cardigan, and started sewing it. I already ran into a speed bump with the collar, sigh.

Good night!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

McCall's one hour dress, now in its second hour

McCall's 6069 has the lofty "1 hour dress (sewing time only)" claim.

I cut it out Tuesday night and threaded the machine then.

At 7pm tonight, I started sewing. Here's where I was at, circa 9pm:

McCall's 6069 front in progress
McCall's 6069 in progress side
McCall's 6069 in progress back

I still need to tighten and finish off the elastic, hem the armholes and the bottom of the dress, figure out what to do about the back facing, and what to do for a belt/sash.

This may very well be what I wear to the SATC2 premier. I was going to make a Carrie style skirt, but feel I'm running out of time as the premier is this Thursday, not next Thurs....

I used the front of view A for the front, and the front of view C (yes, the front) for the back, as the real back is just too low for my taste. I ran into some trouble at step 26. I really don't know what to say about that step, it's where the facing wraps around and is sewn to the front, creating a nice finish, but I couldn't get it to line up properly for a while. I also did not put pockets in this dress. or sleeves. And yet I'm on hour 2.

Well, it's not a race!

Do you notice anything new in the pix, besides the dress????

Also tmw I want to sew New Look 6922, the long sleeved cardigan, I was going to rip apart a disaster cardigan and use the fabric for the 6922 cardigan but I seem to have misplaced the disaster cardigan. How can that be???

Also I'm on the lookout for a good swayback tutorial, if you know of one please send it my way!

Good night!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Vacation all I ever wanted

hello plants!
My new zinnias with my old rabbits...

Time is speeeeeding on by this week during my vacation. I hate that! It feels like it should only be Tuesday, but here it is Thursday night. The good news is next weekend is a 3 day weekend, phew!

I haven't sewn since making the cardigan on Tuesday (Gelbean, to answer your question, the fabric is rib knit from JoAnn's). I really want to make the "one hour" dress, to see if it really is one hour. It's already cut out, so I just have to come up with an hour. And there's another, more simple (or so I think) cardigan I want to make, in brown.

So what have I been doing?? Um, I bought some fabric at Jo-Ann's yesterday afternoon, using a 20% off my entire order coupon (regular and sale merch). It was one of those, 'you haven't been here in so long' coupons. And Mallory, my fabric cutter, was super nice and we wound up talking about piping and twin needles. She said she's having trouble with a top, and I asked her if she uses SPR, and she said yes, it's very helpful!!
5/19/10 at Joann's

I went to the gym and to acupuncture (um, no pix of either of those activities).

I got the frame for the Hawaiian monk seal--isn't he so happy and peaceful???
Hawaiian Monk Seal, sleeping and happy

I redid my "bird seed" wall art. It was kind of folding in the middle--I should have used heavier cardboard. So I framed the fabric. I'm still not happy with it.

Bird Seed redux

So that was all yesterday.

The big task for today was buying plants and planting them. I went to a trio of garden centers all near one another, and bought all my plants at one of them. I didn't get to plant last year and wound up going a bit overboard this year. Right now they don't look like much, but in 2 months time these impatiens should all be big, healthy and covering their spaces.
5/20/10: the beginning

I honestly don't remember what the flowers below are called (though the yellow ones are snapdragons..the others are ???)
5/20/10: the beginning

I've also been reading Staying Well with Guided Imagery. It basically takes the 5 pages of imagery in Healing Back Pain Naturally and expands it to an entire book, focusing serious illness (but also includes general well being, imagery for my back pain, etc). So far, so good! And I am a bad library patron; it's two weeks overdue (I had already maxed out the renewals). I promise to return it on Monday!! Never again will I have 10 books checked out of the library at a time. Max 4. well, maybe 5.

Good night!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Simplicity 2552 view A Done

I'm kind of excited that the Rutgers ballroom dance team is on Dancing With the Stars tonight. I took lessons with the ballroom club a few years back and used to go to monthly social workshops lead by their head coach. So I think it will be cool to see the coach on tv!

When I told folks at SPR weekend that I have this week off from work, a few asked if I would spend every day sewing. Truthfully, sewing hadn't even crossed my mind as a planned activity for this week. I was feeling worn out from work and thought I would try to do as little as possible this week.

But after this weekend, the sewing bug hit again. Really, how could it not?? Last night I cut out Simplicity 2552 view A, the Cardigan. Today, I spent ~6 hours sewing it. It's black knit because I wanted something to wear when I'm wearing sleeveless shirts in the office and the air conditioning gets too cold. I plan on making something similar in brown.

I swear, it looks cuter in person.
Simplicity 2552 view A front

Simplicity 2552 view A side

Simplicity 2552 view A back

Simplicity 2552 view A close up

Simplicity 2552 view A the button

It has pleats at the collar, one on each side.

The pattern envelope I had went up to a 12, so I made the 12 since a reviewer on SPR said that the cardigan ran small. She was right. If I had the 14 I would have made the 14, but that must be the next pattern envelope. It meant that I couldn't really close it down the front--and neither is the model on the pattern envelope, even though she has buttons down the front of her cardigan! I used a snap and sewed a button to the very top.

It took a long time to get the front placket the way I wanted it--like an hour. But after that it went pretty smoothly. I feared that sleeve shoulder dart because of a bad experience in the past, but this one was easy peasy.

Again, I think it looks a lot better in person. I bet it would be even cuter in green.

So much to sew, so little time...

Hey, does anyone know of a good tutorial for swayback??? I need to learn how to do that before I make my next semi-fitted dress. Thanks!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fabric fatigue: Sewing Pattern Review weekend wrapup

Yes there is such a thing as fabric fatigue! And I met Jay McCarroll!
but let's go in chronological order, shall we??

Here are the conference freebies. I love goody bags and this one did not disappoint since I have been thinking about getting some fun labels and the bag included an explosion of samples! (That feisty one at the bottom? I'm definitely using that in a bag sometime soon!) and a pattern for a Hawaii storybook for kids. Did someone say Hawaii? Love it! After going to work conferences, it was great to have a fun conference goody bag.

Pattern Review giveaways

Also, our badges had our user ID on them which made me think about changing mine to something fun.
My SPR user name, in bold

I could listen to Kenneth King talk all day long! He's a master sewist, clear instructor, superb raconteur. He's a hoot! He showed us several pieces he's done, which were amazing. He started off by saying, "If there are any animal activists in the room, just shut up." Laughter. His work is spectacular. His best story? the one about one of his colleagues saying he's "worse than a home sewer."
Kenneth King shows off his work

And I learned new techniques about finishing off trim, how to use the packing/sacking needle and that beading is pretty simple.

Elizabeth asked if I wanted a picture for my blog--of course! I like how my hand looks like it's covered in dough; that's actually my sample piece.
Elizabeth took this picture of me at the embellishment workshop

And here's what my sample looked like:
my sample from the Kenneth King workshop

The afternoon was at the art museum for a private tour of several vintage pieces.
Here's the curator with an unlined Chanel coat. Doesn't she look like Emily from The Devil Wears Prada?? And those green volumes in the background? They are bound Vogues!
the unlined Chanel coat

There are several famous sewing bloggers in this one shot, how many can you count?
Several famous bloggers in one shot

So you see the cape/shawl here? (I think this is Oscar de la Renta, 1983)
so you see this cape...
It's actually a circle with a slit. How easy is that?
it's just a circle!

On display was the Valentino red dress from his 45th and final collection. I don't think it's THE dress that was in the Valentino DVD but it was pretty cool to see a Valentino in person. (If you haven't seen Valentino: the Last Emperor, go rent it at your library NOW! You'll get to see his sewists at work!)
Valentino red...

The afternoon concluded with a visit to the Rocky statue.
me and the Rocky statue
And I ran up a few steps; I wish I ran up the whole thing
I wish I went the whole way

Dinner was at Pietro's. We had "show and tell" after dinner where we each talked about the things we made and were wearing or holding (i.e. bags). That was awesome to hear live pattern reviews! And to actually hear the voices of so many bloggers...

The next morning was our day o'shopping. Honestly, I don't remember the last time (if ever) I shopped from 9:30am-6:30pm so it wore me out. Elaine was my shopping buddy for the day which was awesome since we were interested in similar things. Our mode of transport? A big yellow school bus!

First we went to fabric row on 4th St. I bought $26 in trims, frogs, etc at PA fabric outlet
$26 in trims, frogs, etc
Then we went to some other stores, but it was a lot of home dec so we wound up having an early Philly cheesesteak lunch and then hitting up some consignment shops and a thrift store that had a blue Brother sewing machine from some other decade for $75.

The afternoon was then a visit to London Textiles where the remnants were thrown into big cardboard boxes like laundry. Imagine 45 women pawing through all those boxes. It was kind of insane. And then we went to Jomar, home of the cheap fabric.

I bought 7 yards of fabric total, 3 yards of brown knit, 2 yards of turquoise knit, and 2 yards of unidentifiable gray, for a total of $16. (Jomar was pretty cool with its $1 and $2 yards of fabric). By the end of the day I was suffering from fabric fatigue or fabric blindness. SO MUCH FABRIC!! Some of my fellow sewists bought huge quantities, and someone even bought an entire bolt.

Sunday morning was room service for breakfast
good morning room service!

The ducks are still in action, though I wasn't quacked at
Ride the Ducks still exists!

I checked out of the hotel and went to the Art Star Craft Bazaar.
Art Star Craft Bazaar
And met Jay McCarroll (Project Runway season 1 winner). Thank you Christine for telling me about the event! She texted to say I should tell him she sews because of him. He said it still amazes him that he's an inspiration to others, and encouraged her to continue sewing.

I know cropping exists to remove background people like the guy in the green shirt scratching his chest, but I think it's funny so I'll leave it in there
with Jay McCarroll

I also went to the bubbledog booth, and met the guy who made the cat wallets I bought for Christmas presents 2 years ago. I should have asked if I could take a picture. His booth was very well done.

I took this picture for Miss Smith since she makes robots. His monsters looked like robots to me. His slogan is "monsters, art and things to love"
Monsters, art, and other things to love

I hit Ikea for a quick trip (it was near Jomar so I knew from the previous day how to get there, very close to the hotel). For a Sunday afternoon it was downright empty and might be my go-to Ikea instead of the one in Elizabeth.

Then there was the mad dash to get to the Ardmore Farmer's Market before it closed at 4pm. I got there at 3:35 and got almost the last pound of their chocolate chip cookies. YUM! The same woman who served me in college is still there and has been there every time I randomly visit there every other year or so...
Cookies at the Ultimate Bake Shoppe Ardmore farmer's market

And then it was on to the King of Prussia mall to have dinner at Ruby's with my friend Debbie which was fun and therapy all wrapped up into one.


For the last 16 months I have avoided potholes and manhole covers like the plague because of my back. Let's just say this past weekend has made up for all of that as several rides were bumpy, bumpy, bumpy (hello cobblestone!). A year ago I wouldn't have been able to bend into a box of fabric to dig through it, and I was able to do that this weekend. My back pain is actually worse today than it was all weekend long, but it still isn't bad at all! It's definitely getting better overall.

It was a great weekend, I was so happy to meet so many of my fellow sewists and blogging royalty, I learned that more people read my blog than I ever knew. Thank you for all your support!