Tuesday, September 23, 2014

27 hours in NYC with ATP

me and Swatch!
Me, in Vogue 1351 with Swatch at Mood

I have the best blog commenters!  Thanks so much for all your suggestions about Simplicity 1314.   I responded to all of your comments.   I have stepped away from the dress for almost 48 hours now and I am feeling better about it already. Thanks to your suggestions I have some new things to try, and I will be trying them as early as tonight.  I need to pack first for the ASE.  My outfits are pretty much planned, but I need to figure out tights or no tights, which shoes, etc.  These are the big questions in life, right?

Antoinette is in town for a work gig, so we met up for 27 hours again.  Last time we met up in NYC, in May 2013, it was also for 27 hours, so there you go.

Random highlights:

binging at Kashi's
We went to Kashi's (Metro Textiles).   I may have bought too much, again.  Kashi's is a very dangerous place for me.  and he is a very convincing salesman.  He has my address on file, so it's easy to ship it.

ATP and Kashi
ATP and Kashi.
me and Kashi
Me and Kashi.  The fabric for my dress and the exterior fabric for my bag were purchased at Kashi's in June of 2013 during my visit with Maria (velosewer).  So it was a fabric homecoming, of sorts.

The general scene at Kashi's
The general scene at Kashi's.  ATP made her dress (a designer knockoff) and her bag.
How wide is this fabric?  60"!

Fun fact: ATP is 60" tall, so I can use her as a guide to how wide fabric is!
That picture was taken at Paron's  (pronounced Pare-own, ATP asked.)
I cannot believe that I totally forgot to look for the textured sweatshirt fabric while I was there.  How could I have forgotten?  I'm guessing Suzanne bought the last of it anyway after she made her Simplicity 1314 with cream textured sweatshirt knit, but I meant to look!!!

3 fabrics from Paron
Fabric I bought at Paron's and carried home with me.

We also hit up Pacific Trimming and True Mart and the City Quilter.   and Mood as evidenced by our visit with Swatch. Our feet were tired and aching yesterday for sure.

Today we went to the Japanese bookstore, Beacon's closet (a clothing resale shop) and of course Doughnut Plant.

I came home this afternoon and took a huge nap.

Now it's time for packing, yes? I am driving straight from the Detroit airport to Haberman Fabrics tmw.  The fabric closet just let out a moan.

Be well!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Simplicity 1314 still in progress.

Simplicity 1314 in progress
Your eyes want to focus on a X, not the diamond in the middle, right?
Simplicity 1314 in progress
So I had this fantasy that I would wear Simplicity 1314 to the Simplicity Fashion Show at the ASE later this week.

I'm going to release myself from this fantasy (and wear NL 6071 which I finished up last weekend but haven't blogged yet).

I quilted the bottom front panel this afternoon.   I sewed it back together.  I am having trouble with the pivot corners.  To get the pattern to match at the horizontal front panel seam line, it's thrown off the SA a little. It's not 5/8" on each side of that horizontal line.   Though to be fair, those diagonal lines have been there always, even in my muslin, which I wrote off as not knowing what I was doing with the pivot corners, I'd figure it out later and it would magically resolve itself, as if a fitting issue ever magically resolved itself, bwah ha ha ha ha.

Simplicity 1314 in progress
Later is now.  I looked again at Suzanne's corners on her cream dress--they are perfect, so it can be done.  So I finally sewed the paper pattern (just around that area, notches to dot to notches)  to figure out what I'm really supposed to do with those pivot corners.
Simplicity 1314 in progress
And that looks ok.  But that's with everything at 5/8".

Soooo....I'm very tempted to do this (extend the waistline seam all the way across...on the inside of course and actually straight and not wavy)
Simplicity 1314 in progress
because that would take care of the wrinkling.

Or something.

It's my own fault for being too ambitious, thinking I could cut it out and quilt the front and make the dress and serge the insides and bind the raw edges and hem it in a weekend.  and and and and and. Maybe instead of quilting the bottom panel I should have spent the time on the corners and the fitting issues so that I'd be further along and less frustrated.

simplicity 1314 in progress
Wrinkles wrinkles wrinkles.
Simplicity 1314
I think this is why I have shied away from making dresses in light colors in the past--because all the wrinkles are amplified. But the NL 6071 I finished up last weekend is turquoise too....so I know I can do it.

Be well!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Simplicity 1314, now in progress

Simplicity 1314 in progress
It's the first day of my vacation week, which means I binged on sewing today.

I worked on S1314.  I made a muslin a few days ago from black ponte in a 14, but it was too large overall.  So today I cut the real deal out of a 12 in turquoise (after all that voting and indecision, I think I'm going to make both versions--one in all turquoise and one in black with the gray topstitching, even though Lynn left a comment that it reminds her of a potholder.  That one I'm definitely calling my "potholder dress".  :) .

Here's where I'm at.  This one is a 12, with an 8 at the shoulder all pieces cut out single layer.   Most seams are just basted, and I have a few fitting issues to work out.  I really want to wear this to the ASE, so I probably need another 5 to 7 hours tmw to work on it and finish it off.  I'm on a little trip Monday and most of Tuesday, but I'll have some time on Tuesday night for last minute finishing touches if I need it.

Simplicity 1314 in progress

Here's the back

Simplicity 1314 in progress

I wrote out my list of issues to fix--it looks better on Izzy than it does on me; now I need to figure out the order.

I'm thinking I might quilt the lower front panel too.

I wound up quilting the upper front panel with a layer of flannel.  The batting was shifty and I don't have time for shifty.
Simplicity 1314 in progress
I used my chakoner to mark the lines.  I drew that CF line when I was done because I thought the diagonal lines looked askew and didn't cross through CF but it's actually ok.

Simplicity 1314 in progress
Not askew
Here's when only one direction was quilted
Simplicity 1314 in progress
And then both directions:
Simplicity 1314 in progress
I'm not a quilter so I have no idea how this was officially supposed to be done but it's good enough for my untrained eye.
Simplicity 1314 front upper panel up close

Ha, I can see the CF chakoner line I drew--it will disappear, eventually....

My sewjo is on fire--so many things I want to make or tell you about or show you that I recently made.  I have the next 6 blog posts written in my head, which is totally unusual for me.  Normally I post as I sew things.

It's been a while since I've shown you some flowers; here were last week's PFM flowers:
Princeton Farmers Market flowers, 9/13
The brown things in the center are millet; they smell like maple syrup--mmmm!

Be well!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

McCalls 6559 polka dotted fun

McCall's 6559 done
McCalls 6559
  McCall's 6559 done
Welcome to McCall's 6559.

I first saw this dress on Elizabeth's blog last September and LOVED it.  It fits her so well and is just two pattern pieces and no darts.  I ordered it immediately and it sat in my stash til my August vacation week.  I started it towards the end of my August vacation week and finished it over Labor Day weekend.  I have worn it many times already and love it!
McCall's 6559 done
The fabric is a great story.  Last December I had my great fabric stash reorg, which meant some fabrics were reassigned to the donate pile.  I put a plea on my blog asking if anyone wanted to trade fabric with me, and listed my desired fabrics.  The only taker I had was Andrea from Needle Nose Apparel.  She makes pajamas for greyhounds and could use my rib knit.   Among the fabrics, trims and a pattern she sent me was 1 meter of this black with white polka dot ITY knit.   I was on the hunt for very small polka dots or pin dotted knit fabric since I used up all the ITY dot fabric I bought with Vanessa in Atlanta in 2012.   1 meter is ~39 inches so that meant the dress is a little shorter than my usual dress length.  She also sent me 2 continuous panels of a black ITY knit that has white and gold dots at the bottom of the panel.
McCall's 6559 done
I have no other ITY knit in stash and wasn't willing to hack up the other piece she sent me for a muslin, so I used some other stash knit fabric.  I started with a 16 (a size larger than my usual size) based on the finished pattern measurements, but wound up sewing with 1" side seams in this stretchy ITY knit.
McCall's 6559 done
Because ITY knit is SO drapey, I'm not doing anything about the swayback issues--I wear the dress with a belt and call it a day.  In my more stable knit muslin, the swayback pooling is pretty bad and I would have to address it if I ever make this in a more stable knit.  (I'm actually pretty tempted to finish off the muslin and wear it for real.)

Lately I have been cutting my knits single layer, which means tracing the pattern onto Swedish tracing paper.  I do this for more accurate cutting.  Since I bought this pattern twice, I just put each piece together at the fold line, like so:
the front...two pattern pieces aligned at the pattern fold line, to cut this as single layer

I didn't want such a low neckline so I redrew the neckline to be higher.
McCalls 6559 with higher neckline drawn in
McCall's 6559 done
Instead of folding over and stitching down the raw edge as per the instructions, I used the black portion of the other piece of ITY Andrea sent me as neckline and armhole binding.   I used Sarah Veblin's neckband tutorial on the Threads website how to figure out how long to cut the binding.  Mine actually isn't a band but rather binding--I sewed WS to WS then turned the binding over the raw edge and topstitched down.  The raw edge of the binding that is exposed inside was serged before I attached the binding, so it looks fairly clean inside.
McCall's 6559 done
I considered using black FOE for the binding but it was very shiny compared to the matte finish of the ITY.

Because ITY is so stretchy, I cut probably around 2" off the folded binding to get the binding to lie flat. The first time I only cut it an inch shorter and it was way too big so the binding was floppy.   I bound the armholes first with a wider binding, then decided I liked the narrower binding for the neckline.
McCall's 6559 done
For the hem, I followed Maria Denmark's advice about using Emma Seabrooke's SewKeysE knit stay tape with a stretch twin needle for the hem.  I also took Emma's hands-on class at the ASE last year.  The stay tape prevents tunneling that twin needles make on knits like this.  However, it is not a stretchy hem.  Overall I find stretch twin needles to work really well on more stable knits like double knits and interlocks, hardly any tunneling at all, but I get tunneling on ITY knit, unless I use the knit stay tape, but then it's not really stretchy.  I had to cut this 1" stay tape in half because I was doing a minimal hem.
McCall's 6559 done
I stitched up my label by hand.
McCall's 6559 done
I must give a huge shoutout to my Elna Press--it is a miracle worker--a side seam was somewhat wrinkly--pressed it using the lowest cotton setting (right on the line between wool and cotton) and it was totally flat.  I love you Elna Press, I love you.

I feel I am getting better at making the inside look pretty decent.
McCall's 6559 done
Overall I love it and want to make more ITY dresses.

McCall's 6559 done
Sitting down
McCall's 6559 done
And here is is with a cardi for seasonal transition.
McCall's 6559 done
Be well!

Monday, September 15, 2014

A follow-up vote: Turquoise vs black with gray thread?

chalk lines...
After chalking with the chakoner, but before topstitching.

I binged on sewing this weekend.  Finished New Look 6071 in turquoise, sewed on a bow to that yellow and white UW, and found a way to save a dress that I thought might be a goner.  I'm several projects behind in posting.

Thanks everyone for your votes on my last post for Simplicity 1314!
Majority vote went to 1/2" squares (on the blog and in person).
Votes were more interesting about the color.  On the blog, it was almost 2:1 turquoise favorited to black, but in person, black was the clear winner.

The fabric is RPL double knit with 100% polyester batting.

Based on your prudent suggestions, I made some more samples (flannel vs batting) and washed them.
I prefer the batting to the flannel.  The flannel is really flat.

all black
For those who said it's hard to see the black, you're right.  All that work and it's hard to see.  Maybe it will look better in sunlight but I finished these after dark.  Daylight will come soon enough but I had to tell you now-now-now.

all turquoise
It is easier to see the turquoise.  If I used this shade of turquoise, I would not have enough for sleeves, or at least  I don't think so.  I have 3 other turquoises in stash and I think I only have enough to make the dress with sleeves if I used the lightest turquoise I have.
black with gray thread
But then how about this?  Black with gray thread??????

turquoise vs black/gray
Here's the group portrait of what's in the middle layer:
all together now
I like how the batting really makes the texture pop.  The flannel samples are very flat.

So now what do you think?????  Still all turquoise (and sleeveless) or black with gray thread?  Oh, I could make this in all navy or all gray too....with sleeves.

Be well!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Simplicity 1314: What would you do??? Vote now!

This is the closest I will ever get to making my own "textile"...

I want to make this dress in time for the ASE...Simplicity 1314
For that "contrast" center front panel, instead of leather or faux leather I wanted to use a quilted fabric.  I got the idea from Suzanne, who used quilted sweatshirt fabric for the center panel of one of her two dresses.

But I don't have time to go find/buy quilted fabric and matching fabric for the non-center front panel.
And using stash fabric is a GREAT thing.
So I whipped up those samples above.

Question 1:  What do you think is better?The 1" or the 1/2" scale (I think 1/2")

Question 2:  Should I make it in turquoise or in black?  
(the whole dress would be made out of the same fabric, it's just that I would quilt the center front panel as in the first pic above. Should the whole dress be black, or should the whole dress be turquoise?)

Vote now!!!
(p.s. I loved your comments from my last post--I swear I will reply to them in the next 24 hours. Or maybe even right now!). Update: I replied to all your comments in the last post--thank you for them.

Be well!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

me and Swatch at Mood
Me and Swatch at Mood, during Pattern Review weekend 2012 in NYC.  I'm wearing NL 6071, my favorite knit dress of all time.

So today I am doing something I've never done before, which is to participate in a blog tour.   This one is called the Around the World Blog Hop.  I was invited by Kathy of Running with Rocket.  I first met Kathy online when she started frequently commenting on my blog.   She flies airplanes and sews amazing bags (check out her amazing VW bag), and shares her garden too.  She is one of my sewing cheerleaders, meaning she has commented on almost every post I have ever written, since she discovered my blog.  Thanks Kathy for cheering me on!

Here's a bit about myself and the answers to the 4 questions of this hop...

About myself.
I have a predominantly male first name, Kyle.  I get junk mail addressed to Mr. Kyle, I am questioned about my identity on a periodic basis ("You can't be Kyle" is the general sentiment) and often people decide my name is better off as Kylie.  But it's Kyle.  Really.  I'm not making it up.

I am a life-long Jersey Girl (except for college at Bryn Mawr, where I graduated with a BA in chemistry).  I worked for 8 years at Rutgers University for the RCSB Protein Data Bank, and when I left I was the Lead Biochemical Information Specialist.  I have been working at Princeton University for almost 8 years in the Office of Research and Project Administration, and am currently an ERA Manager (Electronic Research Administration, not Equal Rights Amendment, though that would be pretty cool too).  I  manage parts of a few software applications (COS Pivot for finding grant opportunities, Coeus for tracking grant proposals, and PeopleSoft Grants for tracking grant awards).  By "manage", I mean I test software improvements and upgrades, train users on how to use the software, write end-user documentation and run the help desk for my areas of responsibility.  It is challenging work and never, ever boring.

I also love taking group fitness classes at the Princeton Fitness and Wellness Center.

I practice Mindfulness Meditation, with a weekly group in Princeton and on my own.

And I love to sew, when it's not frustrating the hell out of me.

I am primarily a garment seamster, though sometimes I sew bags and the occasional zipper pouch or winter hat.
Vogue 1351 DONE!
My favorite woven dress, Vogue 1351, sewn summer 2013
New Look  view E: cat bag done!
New Look bag from summer 2013
McCall's 6256 view C done!
Zipper pouch from 2013

What am I currently working on?

I'm going to the American Sewing Expo (my 5th year in a row) and want to wear something new when I visit the Simplicity booth.  Somehow I fell out of making Simplicity / New Look garments (except my favorite skirt), but I want to get back into sewing them more--the New Looks generally fit me well and the Cynthia Rowley patterns are adorbs.  So today I started working on New Look 6071.  I've made this one once before in brown double knit and it became my favorite knit dress of all time (see first photo in this post!).  5 hours in, and here's where it currently stands on Izzy:

New Look 6071 in progress
I probably have 4 more hours to go but so far so good!

I'm also working on this pair of UW:

Who doesn't need yellow and white UW?
It just needs a bow front and center and it'll be done!  I started sewing my own UW using ATP's "sew your own undies" tutorial and have not looked back.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Wow, that sounds like a lofty question.  The best I can come up with is that since the end of 2012 I hand stitch my own tags or embroider my name directly into the garments I make.  It's like a painter signing her work.  Later I included the date too.
Here's an example.  I haven't blogged the above yet; just finished it Labor Day weekend.  Will most likely blog it next weekend.

J Stern Design jeans DONE!
Here's the first time I embroidered my name--on my very first pair of jeans, November 2012.
and here's what I embroidered into my favorite woven dress of all time:
V1351 done
Why do I create what I do?
I think creating is in my blood.  My maternal grandmother Eileen was a HUGE crafter.  She was a Boy Scouts Den Mother and came up with all the crafts the boys made--she received the Silver Fawn from the BSA.  When I was little she gave me all her craft supplies, and I think that got me into it.  Gluing popsicle sticks, glitter, beads, tassels, doll heads, all sorts of supplies.  She also did some hand sewing, making little pins and the like.

When I was ~12 my mom showed me how to use her Singer sewing machine.   She hated sewing but she knew how to use the machine.  I sewed on it every single summer from ~12 until 18, when I got my Baby Lock, which I then sewed on til 2012 (half my life with that machine!) and got my Brother Project Runway machine.  I also have a secondhand serger given to me by a former coworker.  

In my teens I was an avid cross-stitcher, and in 2002 I got a certificate of floral design.

I crafted and sewed on and off til 2006, when I really got back into sewing.  Project Runway became popular then, and it totally hooked me.

I sewed things without much regard to, um, quality, finishing or fit til 2011, when I attended my second Pattern Review weekend in Chicago.  My first PR weekend, I was a babe in the woods and just taking it all in.  But the second year, I was totally blown away by the amazing things people sewed.  I vowed then to up my game and became more particular about my sewing, more discriminating.  It has not been easy.  Sewing and fitting can be soooo frustrating!!!   I just want to sew, not press, not master my serger, not learn to fit myself, just sew, but the reality is that sewing is pressing, fitting and learning the machines.   Last year I thought about giving up sewing entirely, I was that frustrated with fitting.  But creating is in my blood....and I love sewing dresses that fit better than what I can buy in the store, when I can get the dress to fit!

How does my creative process work?
Ha ha ha, it goes something like this:
  • See garment on someone's blog/Pattern Review gallery.  Covet pattern/garment intensely.
  • Buy pattern immediately online or with next pattern sale.
  • Pattern sits in my pattern stash for months/years
  • Finally I make a muslin
  • I sew the real deal, maybe learning a new technique or two along the way.
  • Then I get frustrated with fitting--why is it not turning out like the muslin?  Or get frustrated with machinery--Why is my serger misbehaving?  Why why why?  
  • Spend way longer than I probably should futzing over various large and minor details.
  • Contemplate why I'm such a slow seamster.
  • I get over myself.
  • Photo shoot + blog it.
  • On to the next.

I hope you've enjoyed this little tour, and me giving away more personal information about myself than I ever given in the history of my blog.  :)

Next up on the blog tour
I'm passing the baton to two of my sweet sewing blog friends to keep the tour going, so look for them next Monday:

Vanessa of Sew Filled to the Brim.  I don't remember how I first met Vanessa online, but we've been reading each other's blogs for a long time.  She is currently participating in the Goodbye Valentino RTW clothing fast and is on a fitting journey of her own--making a shirt sloper.  She is also currently making her first pair of jeans!  We were able to meet in person in 2012 in Atlanta, which was pretty awesome.

Lynn of You Sew Girl!  I met Lynn in real life before I ever read her blog--she was manning the PR booth at the ASE in 2010 when I stopped by.  She recognized me from my blog or my PR reviews.  I've been reading her blog since then.  Lynn's idea of a sewing palate cleanser is to sew a pair of jeans (mine is to sew a pair of UW).  She sews amazing jackets too.  Lynn should write a blog called You Throw Girl! because she throws pottery when she's not sewing.

Be well!