Sunday, June 7, 2015

Pink Leopard Anniversary Chica - Vogue 1289

On Friday, Prof. R. and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary!  Since we had reservations at our favorite steak place, The Strip House, where Prof. R. proposed to me, I knew I needed to make something special.  Here is what I wore, Vogue 1289:

I have to say that Vogue 1289, and I got off to a rocky start.  I cut a muslin with my usual measurement: size 10 on top grading to a size 12 on the bottom.  However, the fit in the bodice was pretty bad. The gathered right side hung like a weird sling while there was extreme gaping on the left below the armhole.  I ended up taking up about an inch just below the front right shoulder gathers and darted out about the same on the left side.  Also, I didn't like how wide the gathered section looked at the top, so I shaved off about a half an inch to make it look more like the size in the pattern photo.

The dress in action at Lincoln Center the following Monday!

I was sure happy I made a muslin to test the fit.  I actually ended up making two muslins to check that all of my adjustment would work.  However, what I regret not testing was the lining.  In this pattern, the lining pieces are completely different than the outer fabric pieces and are princess seamed.  I thought if I simply pinned out the excess along the edges to mirror the outer pieces, all would be golden.  However, this was not the case.  On the left side with the small spaghetti strap, the lining keep popping up whenever I tried it on.  After much trial and error, I realized that the lining was too large on the inside princess seam.  Once I took that in and created a small (visible :()  tuck the lining seemed to stay put.  I also sewed a stay tape on the inside of the left side hoping that this would help keep it snug against my body and not expose my bra.  It worked somewhat, but I think I may tack the two sides together on the inside, so I won't have to worry.  While we were at dinner, I did keep looking down and pulled on the dress whenever I felt it moving too far down.  Classy, huh?  I underlined the bodice lining pieces with stiff sew-in interfacing that I had in my stash, as opposed to hair canvas, as the pattern suggests.  This worked well to give the bodice shape.

The not so nice looking inside lining :(

On to the skirt.  Since the only seam on the skirt is in the back, where the zipper is, you can only adjust from there.  In order to get the fit just right, I had to baste in the zipper several times for the bust adjustments (before I attached the skirt) and again after I had attached the skirt.  I ended up using an inch seam allowance for the skirt.  At one point, I went back to the pattern to double check that I hadn't left off a pleat somewhere on the side back, but no, the sizing is just off.  Maybe I should've sewn a size smaller than my usual, all around.  However, the lining for the skirt fit just perfectly, without needing any adjustments, and was sewn with the usual 5/8" seam allowance.  Kinda strange...

The pink leopard fabric is from my stash and is some type of acetate, just a bit heavier than a lining fabric.  I purchased this at Fabrix in SF prior to moving to NYC.  It's one of those types of fabric that if you have the least little microscopic tear in a nail, the fabric will catch on it and create a pull.  I have a nail file in my sewing supply drawers for just this kind of fabric, and it was used quite a bit during construction.  The rhinestone strap comes from one of the trim shops in the garment district.  I just hand sewed it to the self fabric strap and presto, instant bling!

Close up of the rhinestone strap

Overall, I'm happy with how the dress turned out, despite the fight it was to make it.  Would I make it again?  Probably not.  I feel like my wardrobe doesn't really need another one of these dresses, and I have so many other dress patterns I'd like to sew.  But I do feel like I achieved an elegant look with a bit of fun, and that is what I was hoping to create.

So, I wore this out to dinner with the rhinestone and pearl earrings I wore when we got married along with a recently purchased rhinestone bracelet.  Look what I came back with wearing around my neck:

Prof. R.'s 5th anniversary gift to me are these lovely black pearls!  I was stunned, to say the least.  They're just beautiful.

Well, I'm off to sew outfits that coordinate with black pearls.  Hasta pronto!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

MMM Weeks Dos y Tres

I'm really liking MMM 15 and am surprised at how many MM items I actually have.  Here's a recap of weeks two and three:

Vogue 8952, worn on days 11 and 22.  This photo is actually from Day 22.  I spilled so much coffee on my t-shirt on day 11 that it was un-photographable!

MMM Day 15 - Vogue 2011 top and skirt

MMM Day 16 - Vogue 1322 cape

MMM Day 17 - Self-drafted skirt

MMM Day 18 - Vogue 1247 skirt and Vogue ? jacket

MMM Day 19 - Vogue 9679 suit

MMM DAY 20 - Skirt - Butterick 6102
Shirt -Vogue 1846 - OOP Byron Lars

MMM Day 21 - Top - Vogue 2064 - OOP DKNY Pattern

MMM Day 22 - Top - Vogue 8951

MMM Day 24 - Skirt - Vogue 8908

MMM Day 25 - Dress - McCall's 6556

MMM Day 26 - Skirt - Self-drafted black panel lace.

I think I may be a little sad when MMM is over, but I'm learning about the holes in my wardrobe and actually appreciating the items I've been wearing much more so than after I first made them.  I'm not sure why that is, but it's a good feeling.  

Are you participating in MMM?  How has the experience been for you so far?

Hasta pronto!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Me Made May- Something Old- Vogue 2011


I've been participating in MM15 but just posted my first pictures to the Flickr group.  Oh well, the month is only about half over.  Today's theme is, "Something Old," and I'm always one for a theme!

Here you have today's outfit, Vogue 2011, OOP (Out of Print) Calvin Klein:

Front View

Party in the back, view!

Although this is definitely Something Old, as it was made for our trip to Peru in 2008, I still really love it!  It travels so well!  The t-shirt is made from some comfy stretch knit that's super soft, while the skirt is made from a type of nylon material that doesn't wrinkle very much and dries super quickly.  That was especially useful when I had to wash it by hand in a hotel sink.  Both fabrics were purchased at Fabrix and the outfit was sewn when I was still living in SF.  

I can wear this entire outfit with sandals or flats (as you see here), but on trips I've changed into higher heeled shoes and statement jewelry for a dressier look.  Other times, I've worn the skirt with boots and tights, and the t-shirt has accompanied me many times under a heavy sweater or jacket in chilly temps.

This pattern is a classic with just a bit of edge.

Both t-shirts, view A and B are timeless as are the skirts.  Even though the view I made, view D, is asymmetrical, one could always straighten the hem to achieve something symmetrical.  View C, the long skirt on the right hand side is a wrap skirt with a buckle as opposed to a tie.  I think this would look cute as a summer skirt in linen.  I'm seriously contemplating this make for the coming warm weather.

Hasta pronto!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Me Made May - 2015 - Week Numero Uno


I'm participating in Me Made May for the first time, and here's a recap of week numero uno:

Business Chica

Brunch in the Village - Previously made but un-blogged lace panel skirt/Zara top

May 4th - Mod Squad

Cinco de Mayo - my birthday!  All-female mariachi lunch
Frieda Falda and un-blogged me made top

Cinco de Mayo - Birthday Dinner with Prof. R.
What She Wore to Goldfrapp
May 6th - Lunch with Prof. R
Un-blogged Vogue 1073

May 8th
Un-blogged self-drafted nautical dress

May 9th - Visit to Wolf Park, IN
Un-blogged top and pants
May 10th - Visit to a Video Store in IN!
Un-blogged dress

So far it looks like I'm able to maintain my pledge of wearing at least 3 me-made garments each week for the month of May.  Are you participating in Me Made May?

Hasta pronto!

Friday, May 1, 2015

I Did a Bad, Bad Thing...

I'm not a bad person, I just did a bad thing.  Can you tell Netflix's, "Bloodline" has been my recent binge watching sewing show?

Anyway, here's my confession:

I bought some fabric!

Ignore the wrinkles.  I put them through the washer and dryer so they'll all prepped and ready to go!  I promise you'll see wrinkle-free finished garments soon.

Why is this bad?  Because like many other sewing chicas, I'm supposed to be on a fabric diet.  Consuming the fabric in my personal larder (what some may call my own fabric store) is permitted - anything else, with the exception of a graduation dress I have to sew for one of my nieces, is prohibido!  My stash consists of 4 giant stuffed-to-the-brim-so-that-the-lids-won't-stay-on, plastic storage tubs stacked two and two.  On top of each of these are two extra large vacuum storage bags so full of fabric that they can't be vacuumed closed.  Under the bed there are two more storage bins.  One contains my UFO's, and the other contains interfacing and muslin.  I sort of think the last one doesn't count as excessive stored stash (say that 5 times fast) since it's good to have interfacing and muslin on hand.  But all the rest, for a 1 bedroom NYC apartment, is a bit excessive.

In my defense, most of the fabric in my stash came with me from San Francisco where it never really gets warmer than 75 degrees F.  June can be one of the coolest months, and you almost always need to wear a jacket.  The fabrics in my stash reflect this, my former environment.  They're lovely wools, tweeds, thick stretch wovens and some great heavy cotton knits.  Back in San Francisco, I never had much cause to sew light cotton anything.  Now that I'm here in NYC, clothing from light fabrics is a necessity during the late spring and summer months.

When I saw these I grew excited by their colors and textures.  Don't they scream light summer tunics, floaty dresses, cute little short skirt outfits, etc.?

Here's the back story:  I was on a business trip last week, when off to the side of the road, I saw a giant Joann's sign.  Since I needed some thread, I thought I'd just pull over, pick up the thread; and be done with it.  Thread in hand, I wouldn't have to make a special trip to the garment district when I got back to NYC, thus enabling me to start my next project without pause.

Once in the store, I remembered I needed a zipper for the second project in my queue, so I grabbed that.  I then headed to the cash registers, but at the last minute decided to take a quick "peak" at the fabrics.  What harm could there be in just "seeing" what stock they had?   Well, I'm never one to resist fabric on sale, and they had it - lots of it.

Again, sorry for the wrinkles!

The rose print in this bundle is one of the new Gertie fabrics, and I'm thinking of pulling a 50's style shirtwaist out of it (creative, I know).  The woman at Joann's who cut my fabric was amazed that the Gertie fabric is a Dotted Swiss.  I was amazed that she even knew what Dotted Swiss is.  A lot of folks who work in fabric stores these days don't know very much about fabric.

Now that I've confessed my bad, here's my good.  I signed up for Me Made May '15!  I have pledged to wear at least 3 MMM items per week for the month of May.  This could be a bit of a test for someone like me who mainly works from home.  Maybe I need to sew some more PJs:)  But, here's my day one of Me Made May '15:

Sorry for the grainy photo!

This is Business Chica, Tracy Reese Vogue 1092, and I wore it to a work function today.  Several ladies complemented me on my suit, and when I said those 3 little words, "I made this," they oohed and awed.  I just love it when that happens.  Well, Me Made May '15 is off to a good start!

Hasta pronto!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Sometimes you just have to say, WTF! - (this is G-rated, I promise)

Last Wednesday after work and before dance class, I was supposed to be resting since my flight home from my business trip the night before got in so late.  I wasn't supposed to be starting a new sewing project.  But, sometimes you just have to say, WTF.

Last week, if I was supposed to be working on any sewing projects, I should have been finishing some winter-themed projects in the hopes that I could wear them a couple of times before it gets blazing hot here in NYC.  But, sometimes you just have to say, WTF.

In my stash, I had a nice home dec, black and white polka dot fabric that I purchased from Ikea a couple of years ago.  Originally it was supposed to be a dress, then I changed my mind and thought it should be a spring coat.  Then I flopped back to thinking it should be a dress again.  But, sometimes you just have to say, WTF.

Sometimes you just have to go with you sewing mood, even if it means forgoing sleep, and changing you mind about what a cut of fabric was originally intended to be.  In short, you just have to say, WTF.

Last week, I did it.  I just said, WTF: What the Falda!  And here is my new falda:

I used Butterick 6102, a "fast and easy" pattern; and it was just that.  This came together in about one night, after cutting.  Also, I cut my usual size 12, and it fit perfectly.

I didn't worry about matching, but it just worked! I also didn't press my pleats all the way down.  I wanted the skirt to have a more of a full look.

If you're making view A or B, one note about construction, it's important to mark and pin the pleats.  Because the pleats will be sewn (they are not tucks) there is a little bit of precision required here.  It's simple; but I found that with a little bit of marking, I didn't make a mistake up-front and have to rip out later.

Markings on the right side

Markings on the wrong side
I just pinned the stitch line, but you could also draw in the stitch line before pinning and finally sewing.
When I was looking in my closet to find something to wear with this new falda, I came across so many options!  This skirt is like a neutral and can be worn so many ways.  Even though there are more, here are 5:

I love my new falda!  Now it's on to finishing some wintery projects so I can begin some spring/summer sewing.

Hasta Pronto!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Winter Dressing in Spring


Today the spring weather was wintry - low 40's to be exact.  On such a chilly day, I chose to wear my rendition of Vogue 8825, version A, the tunic version.

I'm not sure what this fabric is as it has been sitting in my stash for years.  It's a slubby, textured stretch fabric; and judging by the way it itches, I think it's wool or at least partly wool.  I'm sorry that I did not see the advice of the chicas who have sewn this before me until after the fact, because I have very similar critiques in my version.  Firstly, the sleeves are way too long/too blousy at the ends.  You can see in the picture how they billow out just above the cuffs.  There's supposed to be some extra fabric here, but on my frame, it just looks like the sleeves are way too long.  To remedy it on this version, I could simply remove the cuffs and replace them higher up on the sleeve.  However, I'm not sure if I'm really going to keep this, so I may not even bother.

Because I hate it when sashes shift around, I created some belt loops and inserted these at the waist.  Now the sash stays put when I sit, walk or move around.

I think you can really see how ill fitting the sleeves look from the back.

What doesn't stay put is the top.  It's hard to see in the photos, but this is a surplice neckline.  In the pictures you can't see my light grey silk thermal top underneath (yes, it was cold enough, but I also needed something between my skin and the itchy fabric).  However, after usual daily activities like riding on the subway, climbing stairs and walking, the neckline gaped.  Luckily on this April day, I had on my overcoat, so passersby didn't see my flannels.  If I were to make this again, I'd have to make some kind of adjustment in the bodice to prevent this.  I do hate pinning these things closed.  The pin always seems to show on the front, no matter how carefully I pin.  Then, I forget that I've pinned it and end up ripping the garment when I pull it over my head to take it off.

Do you have any ideas about how to alter a surplice or mock wrap top pattern to prevent gapage?

Hasta pronto!
I went to the gym one day this week and it's already going to my head.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Chick(a)


I hope you all had a lovely Easter.  I had a great time with some of my peeps (couldn't resist that one).  On Easter here in NYC, traffic is blocked off to cars on 5th Ave. in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral, and New Yorkers head out and parade their Easter/Spring finery.

My Easter concoction was one that has been germinating in my mind for some time, and I finally completed it - even if I had to stay up until the wee hours Saturday night.

Easter on 5th Ave.

The pattern for the dress is from Patrones "Fiesta," No. 297.  Patrones is a Spanish sewing pattern magazine, and a very dear friend brought me an issue a few years ago.  The dress was fairly easy to sew up but was a little time consuming because of its many details like pin tucks on the bodice and skirt as well as cuffed sleeves and a collar.  The fit was pretty amazing right from the pattern.  I made a muslin when I started the project a couple of years ago, and was amazed that I didn't have any issues with the fit around the armholes.  It seems with the big four pattern companies, that area is almost always problematic for me.  The fabric is a pink rose brocade that was purchased several years ago at New York Elegant Fabrics.  If you've never been, I highly suggest it when you're in NYC.  It's very well organized, they have incredible stock, and almost each roll of fabric comes with little swatches that you can just pull off and take with you.  The staff there is also really helpful, and unlike many other places in the garment district, they know their stock.

The hat was made from Doublette crepe paper using this tutorial.  It's basically a giant flower that I pinned into my bun.

Me with the Rockettes!  I always wanted to be a Rockette.  I would even have settled just to play one on TV.

An Easter Mimosa
Close-up of the dress's bodice with my bee pin.  On the right side of the pic, you can see that I finished the inside of the collar with pink bias binding.
Close-up of the flower. The crepe paper was too fragile to pin my bee pin into, so the bee was close to my bonnet.

This was probably one of the most elaborate things I've made, but I just love it.  During construction, I was a little worried that my dress might turn out to be a bit too "little bo peep" (ay, can you imagine me herding sheep), but in the end I think it looks elegante.

Now it's on to finishing some winter sewing that has been languishing on the table before I head into spring sewing.  

Did you sew something special for Easter?  Are you still sewing winter or have you transitioned into spring?

Happy spring and hasta pronto!

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