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The Power of the Hem

February 23, 2015

What a difference 6″ makes! Here’s my Laura now:

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Here’s the original side pose:

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Much better right?

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I cut off 6″ before church this morning. I left it neat and unfinished. I am so much happier with this cardigan now. It flatters my curves with this length. I am going to keep that in mind for future jackets and cardigans. As for the skirt, I am passing it along to the charity shop. The fabric was poly/cheap and fine for a wearable muslin. No loss there.

Revisiting StyleArc’s Laura Cardigan

February 14, 2015

With my recent obsession with navy and the desire to have more winter wear, I pulled out my Laura cardigan again when I found an unexpected few hours of free time.

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Instead of a fluid lightweight sweater knit, I chose an medium weight Interlock jersey. I also went with the longer length that the pattern was originally designed for. I have to say, this awkward pose and outfit tells you something. While I loved my first make to pieces (literally), this one is less satisfying.

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The collar/hood had more body than before. It was a quick make. I didn’t bother to hem the bottom or the neckline as this fabric doesn’t seem inclined to run. Overall, it is a nice, warm winter basic.

On a side note, this is a maxi skirt I also whipped up from a poly print crepe. It is the woven maxi pattern included in S1616.

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As before, I hemmed it so I wouldn’t trip on it. Alas, there was no muslin, so I didn’t notice that the way the yoke lays over my curves, the skirt ended up shorter in the back and with the shorter hem all around, it is clearly a misstep.

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In defense of this overall look, a) I was struggling to figure out a warm outfit for this maxi and b) I didn’t realize how frumpy the overall look was until I saw the pictures. I doubt I’ll make this maxi skirt again (or ever wear it again). I am tempted to whack off several inches from the navy cardigan or find another pretty knit and make the shorter Laura in hopes of falling in love it the way I did with the original. Oh well, at least I did get a wardrobe basic in navy out of an unexpected sewing session.

 

I won!

January 24, 2015

Karen @ Didyoumakethat held a giveaway recently. Yesterday, a package arrived from the UK bearing a sewing book and knit inspired tea towel (not the fabric):

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And, of course, the cats decided that the pink tissue paper was their gift!

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Now, I have to ask: Am I crazy to think these hot pink/red buttons go with this teal quilter’s cotton?

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I’ve been wanting to make a “shirtwaist dress”. I’ve been seeking inspiration for the next silhouette project piece in a style I’ve never really worn. This style of dress is hard to find in RTW because of my pear shape. Here’s the pattern I’m thinking of using:

M6696 View D in Lace

I love that this pattern has the multi-cup pieces, pockets, cute sleeve cuffs, and a clear waistband, so it should be easier to fit to my curves. Maybe with contrast collars, cuffs, and waistband in solid black?

V8972 aka Princess Dress update

January 11, 2015

This pattern really requires precision. While princess seams to the shoulder seam make shoulder adjustments easier, it leaves a 4 square on top of the shoulder. If you are short like me, everyone can see if it doesn’t match up.

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Lots of curved seams with tricky match points like the waist yoke seams (CB back here across the invisible zip)

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and the side seams at the top and bottom of the yoke:

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I used a navy stretch cotton poplin with a blackberry Bemburg rayon lining and a navy invisible zipper. I used a simple diamond fancy stitch for the top stitching on the seams.

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Alas, between the stretch, the unevenness of the seams with clips and pinking, and no stabilizer, the stitching does not lay flat nor does the fabric. I noticed it, but when I started seam ripping, I realized it marked up the fabric too much to hide. At that point, I had to decide to wad it (as I had no more to recut skirt panels) or forge ahead. I chose to finish and hope for the best. At this even ironing isn’t going to get the lumps to lay flat. Le sigh…

Pro Tip: I did ask the Huskevarna ladies about it. They basically said, even with stabilizer trying to use a decorative stitch is not appropriate as the top stitch is a functional stitch that holds seam allowances in place. She suggested the reinforced top stitch as a better choice than a simple straight stitch, but never use embroidery stitches on princess seams. She suggested I play with embroidery around hems and in panels, but never in place of functional stitches or over uneven areas as the tension won’t stay even over lumps, bumps, or curves.

As for the pattern’s directions, I found the directions on how to go about lining this dress very confusing. I understand the theory of lining so that the neckline and armholes are finished without top stitching, but executing it with Vogue’s directions was more than I could muster. Therefore I did it in two steps.

 

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First, I stitched up the lining as I did the fashion fabric omitting the top stitching. Then, I stitched the lining to the dress at the neckline. I used pinking shears to neaten the raw edges/grade. Then, its a quick clip, flip, and press. That left the neckline smooth.

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To finish the armholes, I basted the raw edges wrong sides together, and used navy bias binding to finish it. It also required pinking, grading, and lots of curve clipping before pressing. Then I just hand stitched it to the lining, so it doesn’t show on the fashion fabric.

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Now I’m finishing it according to the pattern for tacking the lining around the zipper with yoke seams aligned, hemming, and the back slit, which looks strange in the directions.

One of the producers of all the hair on my dress, Finn, wanted to get involved in this project.

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I adopted two brothers. I can’t believe how much crazy two adolescent kittens can bring into one family!

I heart Maxi skirts!

January 6, 2015

One of my co-workers inspired this skirt.

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She often wears maxis at work and I love it! I used a Navy knit from Jo-Anns. I think it was listed as “ponte roma.” It is softer than traditional “ponte”, but still has a thicker “bottom weight” feel that lighter jersey. It is a cotton/poly/spandex blend.

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Of course, I tried to make it “winter” with this cute sweater. It was an experiment that I like from the front.

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Less so from the back because of the sweater’s hemline. The skirt also seems a bit “high-water” because I always feel that RTW maxis either drag on the ground or I trip/step on them as I walk around.

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See? Cute, swishy, comfy, and I didn’t step on it or trip, even when walking up and down stairs. I used Simplicity 1616, but I had to go down two sizes in the waist so it would fit. Love all that positive ease in knit patterns! I’ve cut this again in the coral knit. I’m also loving the woven skirt in this pattern (its the reason I bought the pattern in the first place) so I cut one of those in a loud crepe print. I’ll let you know how that goes!

Happy New Year with Marsala

January 1, 2015

marsala_fashion

I know it sounds like I’m drinking wine, but in reality I am talking about the name for this year’s color of the year from Pantone Marsala, which they describe as “a naturally robust and earthy wine red”.

img_pantone_color_of_the_year_2015_press_releaseThank God they picked a color I like! I plan to buy some nail polish and some fabric in this color.

Its been flattering multiple hair and skin tones on the red carpet. Are you thinking about using Marsala this year? I am, but no fabric purchases have been made yet. Let me know if you see some!

New Year, New Projects, and New Colors!

December 27, 2014

Over the past 3 years I have learned a lot. Most importantly, I have learned that just knowing how to sew is not enough to achieve the look I want.

Fashion Trends + Amazing Fit + Smart Choices = Fabulous

With the Silhouette Project, I have been playing with a ton of shapes, colors, and most importantly fit. Now, I want to start bringing things together. Sadly, I wasn’t completely happy with my CAT wardrobe because I was rushing for the pattern review competition which led to poor fit, fabric snafus and rushed finishing. This time I want to do it correctly so that all the pieces are keepers! I’ve been toying with this for the past two months. color palette inspirationLately, I’ve been having a love affair with Navy. I’ve been wearing navy pieces lately, and I have received many compliments even from my high school students! Working with navy, I found these inspiration ideas with gold/yellow and coral/salmon. During the various holiday sales, I not only picked up great quality fabrics, I scored a few key accessories in these colors. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Here’s my perfect princess dress (almost done!) with my coral fabric: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Left with lace is the cotton stretch poplin I purchased for the Lace Waist Dress, which was a bust, so I’m still pondering a pattern. Top is a silk/rayon jersey that I’m thinking would make my Simplicity 2766 blouse. Right is a 3 yd. mystery fiber jersey that came in my fabricmart bundle (happy surprise!). I’m torn between making either a Style Arc Laura Cardigan or a maxi skirt with it. I know a cardigan would layer with the sheath dress perfectly, but look at this maxi: coral-maxi-skirt-skirt-black-floral-print-top-black-heels Anyway, this post is getting long, but I wanted to share my progress and ask coral maxi or coral Laura cardigan?

No make-up middle of the night photo shoot for color check. =) This is when mom has time to herself!

No make-up middle of the night photo shoot for color check. =) This is when mom has time to herself!

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