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Monday, May 26, 2014

Flirty Simplicity 1587

   With no time to spare...... I was able to sew up Simplicity 1587 for Sunday's wedding celebration.  I love this cool, comfortable cotton swiss dot dress.  It is so cute. Check it out: 
Flirty Simplicity 1587



   Fabric:  100% Cotton swiss dot .  I didn't underline or line....instead I opted to wear a skirt slip underneath the dress, to save time.


  Total cost to make: $30.  Time frame: I sewed up two bodice muslins; which took a couple of days, but once I decided on the correct size I sewed the dress up in my spare time within 4 days. 


  Technique:  Sewed using french seams.  Sewed stay tape to each zipper seam and the base of the front yoke for extra stability. Purchased lavender bias tape for bound seams along zipper and for hemming the skirt and sleeves. Yes, I love bias tape for small hems, cause it is so neat and pretty.   Check it out: 

bias tape for hem and bound zipper seam



bias tape for sleeve hem

     Sewing Issues:  The main sewing issue that I encountered with this pattern had to do with sewing the front skirt to the front yoke.  I think if I was sewing the standard way with right sides together I wouldn't have had any issues; however, I wanted the dress in french seams, so I had a hard time lining up the dots, and the gathers look weird in that spot.  oh well, that was my bad.  Also, the loop pattern piece, was very difficult to turn right side out, even with a loop turner. A small complaint that I have about the instructions have to do with the seams of the front pleating in the neckline.  After completing the dress I realized that no where did Simplicity mention finishing those seams......so I used my  over lock function on my machine.  I did hang my dress over night and the front skirt dropped longer then the back.  So, I did end up having to cut the front skirt about a 1/2" shorter to try to even it out.  I think it is still a little off, but my photographer said it wasn't noticeable.  However, after looking at the photos I think it is. Eventually when I get a dress form, I will be better equipped to deal with hems, but for now, I do the best I can. 


    Alterations:  Instead of the 1 1/4" hem for sleeve, I went with a small 5/8" hem.  Lengthened the torso 1" .  Went up two sizes for sleeve, cause there is not a lot of ease.  Also, the pattern calls for a 16" invisible zipper; however, Hancock fabrics only had a 14".....so I purchased it and hoped for the best.  It worked out beautifully. 
bias tape on back facing
  
  Bow:  Originally I wasn't sure about adding the bow to the neckline. However, after laying some  buttons on top of the knot, I realized there was a lot going on with the print, and opted for the bow.  So glad I did...I love the bow. 
bow detail




  Thoughts:   I love this flirty dress.  There are some great details, like the sleeves.  I totally can see me sewing one up in a solid color fabric and adding the two buttons. Oh, next time I wear this dress I will make sure to button the back; which I forgot to do cause I was in a rush to get out the door! (Yeah, that is what is flapping at the back neckline) 

sleeve detail


  Next up: A black cotton twill front slit skirt with exposed zipper.  Fabric and underlining is cut, just need to get to hand basting them together. 

  Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Muslin test for Simplicity 1587 & Frying Pan Tower

   Glenn and I are invited to attend a wedding celebration on the 25th.  Of course I need to sew up a new dress for the event.......but I wasn't sure which pattern to sew up, and what fabric to use.  The event will be outdoors in a courtyard and it has been difficult to tell what the weather will do here.  Recently we went from summer weather, to rain, to a cold front which went to just above freezing at night.  So, I decided on this fabric from Hancock Fabrics: a cotton swiss dot print.  Worse case scenario I can always were a light sweater over it if the weather turns cool again.

Beautiful Swiss Dot cotton 

  Now for the pattern.  I love this Simplicity (reproduction) vintage pattern 1587.  Check it out:





    Usually I give myself two weeks to sew up a new dress but I had a wonderful surprise visit from my parents, (photos down below) which leaves me with less then a week.  Already I have sewed up my first bodice test muslin, and since I was in between sizes I went with the smaller size thinking I could add a FBA.   After a long debate in my mind, I don't think I can add a FBA, cause it may warp the pattern, so looks like I am heading back to Hancock to purchase another pattern; which I hope they have, and cut out the larger size.  I hope this isn't the beginning of more issues to come. 


   On a happier note:  Check out the photos of my Dad and me.  A little back story: my Mom suggested that my Dad and I go hiking on the Blue Ridge parkway for some bonding time.  There were some restrictions, we couldn't go to far cause of time restraints, and my Mom suggested an easy hiking trail, and I didn't have time to get a map.  Well, the long and short of it, after taking my Dad on an easy trail, he kept asking me where we were going and was there a view.  Of course my answers were I have no idea. As luck would have it a fellow hiker came by and he suggested we drive 20 minutes to Pisgah Inn where we would be able to buy a map.  Once we reached the Pisgah Inn, the guy gave us a crappy little black and white drawing of something that resembled a map which featured Frying Pan Mountain Lookout tower.  Yeah, I heard of the tower, but even with the map, we, I mean me, the leader, lead us down a road to a sewage treatment facility. Oh crap. My Dad did question our destination a few times by saying stuff like: shouldn't we be going up and not down?  shouldn't we be on a gravel road not a paved road?  My response was, "Where is your sense of adventure?"  (And you know the steep climb back was grueling but I was not about to complain and I had to fake my optimism.) After giving up being the leader, yeah, I know when it is time to turn the reigns over to a competent person, we followed my Dad's advice and drove further along the Blue Ridge until we found the gate that said," Frying Pan Mountain Look out Tower......which was also visible from the road and sitting high up on the mountain.  Once we proceeded on the gravel road there was a split, Oh my!, and my Dad asks me; which way should we go?  I said,  I don't know, but left looks like the right way to go.  After hiking a 1/2" mile, we hear gun shots.......my Dad stops in his tracks and says that is a semi automatic. Living in the country, I am so use to hearing gun shots that it doesn't freak me out and I simply state that there is private property surrounding the area....so it is probably someone shooting a gun.  Besides, after about 6 miles of hiking already I was determined to make it to that Tower, even if I had to go past someone carrying a semi. Eventually, we see the tower above us, and we were home free.  My Dad did question the "No trespassing sign", but I didn't think twice about it....who was going to come out there and ticket us? Check out the tower.  
Look above my finger that is the tower

        Side story: Once we reached the tower I heard vehicles.  I figured it was forest rangers (maybe they were going to get us for trespassing)  until I saw about 6 guys get out of some ATVs and take photos.   Yeah, these beautiful men, and I say this seriously, were out taking photos of the view.  Yeah, they were too beautiful to hike up to the tower and hired vehicles to get them there.  Once we came down the tower we heard them crying about how cold it was up there and that the tower was moving.  Although, one guy took a photo of my Dad and me and I find that so sweet to think there is a photo flying around on the internet of us two together....surviving the tower.

Charlie on the tower

   
     I am holding on for dear life:

50 mile in hour wind hair do
       Some things you should know if you decide to hike to Frying Pan Mountain tower.  The gravel road which leads to the tower is located off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Pisgah Inn and it is visible from the road. (No need to wonder aimlessly through other areas of the Parkway, especially near a sewage treatment facility)  Wear pants, cause it is a lot cooler / colder at the top of the tower.  The tower is 70 feet tall and is on top of 
5, 340 feet mountain. The tower is made to move with the wind, so you will be moving with the tower too.  Although it feels like you and the tower will fly away........it is safe.  I can say this now cause I made it down safe and sound.  Have a sense of humor, cause no one can tell you where it is and the map may not get you there either!


Where is the View?



   



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

To get out of a funk....sew up a new dress

      A couple of weeks ago I fell into a funk, and I really needed a distraction.  So, I tell my girlfriend, we need to go out and have some serious girl talk over bad food and wine. I  knew just the place.......downtown's  Asheville Pizza and Brewing.   To make it challenging, I decided to design and sew up a new dress in one week.  In addition, I had to use fabric from my stash...yeah, the husband has me on fabric lock down. (bummer). Of course, my friend would have to take photos of me wearing the dress so I could post them on this blog.............And that is exactly what I did.


      The fashion fabric: a cotton voile I purchased a year ago.  Once the fabric arrived,  I  couldn't envision myself wearing the bright floral print.  ( Like I told my Mom, I must have been really happy when I decided to buy it! ) Anyway, with the warm weather here finally, I decided to commit to sewing a dress using the bright floral and no matter how tacky I would look, I would wear it out....besides where we were going, I doubt anyone would recognize me.  HA!  Check out the dress: 



A little windy, trying to keep that dress down

     The design process:  I knew I wanted a simple easy to wear play dress, and I wanted to break up all the fabric floral pattern.   Also, I really needed to use a sloper, cause seriously I have no idea how to design a dress from scratch.  I ended up using Vogue's peplum bodice since I had already adjusted the bodice pattern, and altered the neckline.  I think a princess seam bodice would have been just as lovely. I decided to pleat the skirt to break up the floral print, and once I decided on the length......I just had to get to ironing and pleating. Oh, I did sew the inside of each pleat to help keep the pleats from coming unfolded. 

Again with the wind!


       Underlining and lining:  sewed up the bodice fashion fabric and followed suit for the bodice lining fabric. I used my standard pencil skirt pattern for the lining of the pleated skirt fashion fabric; which I basted together along the waist. I felt if I pleated the lining too........my hips would end up being 4 times the size they already are, and what woman wants that!  Also, I did a narrow hem for the skirt lining, and I did a bias tape, under stitch hem for the pleated skirt. Please note: I hemmed the skirt first before tackling the pleats.  I underlined the sleeve; which is to say, after cutting the floral fabric and lawn fabric I hand stitched /basted them together.  Once that was done, then I treated the two pieces of fabric like one piece of fabric.  

Lining and bias tape hem 


     Sewing process: Sewed using French Seams and bias tape for Hong Kong seams. Sewed Stay Tape along the neckline and zipper seam on both the fashion fabric and lining fabric.   Hemmed the skirt and then pleated. Sewed the lining of the skirt and attached at the waist.  Sewed the fashion fabric bodice to the skirt.  Attached a 20" invisible zipper.  Then I machine sewed the bodice lining to the fashion fabric bodice.  I used Christine Hayes method for the Emery Dress  What a great help!  Then I did a catch stitch at the waist attaching the bodice lining to the skirt. 


     
Drinking Sangria........it was really good!




    Thanks Dana for the great photos!

    

    
      


Friday, April 18, 2014

Stuck in muslin hell, but did finish a cute Hello Kitty zipper clutch

    So far I have sewn one skirt draft 4 times to get the correct fit............and I still have one more attempt in my future.  Who knew taking a regular skirt pattern sitting on the natural waist and changing the facing to a high waist pattern would be so troublesome?   Maybe it is my lack of experience, blah, blah.....regardless I am determined to have a usable high waist pattern when this is over....cause you know I want to make 3 of them...seriously.  Check out the pattern that is giving me headaches, Simplicity 5259/ View F:


Evil skirt 


       To take my mind off of the skirt and to remind myself I can sew, I decided to sew up something quick & easy for a Mother's Day present.  So, I went to my book: 100 pretty projects   and found a cute zipper clutch I know my sister will love.  


  Fabric:  Hello Kitty cotton for outside, and a black and white gingham for the inside and outside bow.   Also, there is a stiff interfacing in between the fabric and lining. Check it out:

Quick and cute!
Check out the inside:

Inside is looking good!

 
    Now that I completed this clutch; which took no time at all............it is back to the grind. Hopefully I will have a new high waist skirt by next week.







Thursday, April 10, 2014

New Springtime outfit, Meringue skirt and Taffy blouse

     The little bit of warm weather we had here in Asheville, pushed me to finish up a Meringue skirt, that had been sitting in my sewing drawer for almost a year.  Yeah, I had decided to do a variation on the meringue skirt by adding pockets and putting in a back zipper.  After cutting out my fashion fabric and lining fabric, I realized I forgot to add seam allowances to the back zipper....oopsey.  So, I put it in my desk drawer thinking it would magically fix itself, or I would magically loose an inch in my waist and hips........neither happened.  This year,  I decided it was time to remedy the situation, especially since I already had the matching top sewn, and I wanted to wear this cute outfit.  Fortunately I had extra fabric on hand and instead of creating my skirt variation; which I lost all enthusiasm for.....I cut the pattern as is.  Now that my outfit is sewn I am happy with the results.  Check out the outfit.
end of the day, a little wrinkled


    Fashion fabric for Taffy Blouse: a sweet cotton lawn from fashion fabrics club.  Created gray bias tape from Kona Cotton.  Sewed using french seams and I used my roll hemmer foot for the hem.....I love the soft wavy effect. Fashion fabric for Meringue Skirt: a nice cotton twill from Hancock fabrics and the lining I used a black cotton sateen.  Again, I made the bias tape for the edge facing and Hong Kong seams from a cute cotton print. Check out the inside of the skirt:


cotton sateen is so nice for lining

   Adjustment notes:  I lengthened the skirt an 1 so it would be work appropriate, and added a black cotton sateen lining. For the top I lowered the bust dart an 1", added length to sleeves, and a smidge more to the hips. 


    The is the 2nd time I have sewn a Meringue Skirt and Taffy blouse..........I love these patterns!  Who knows I may sew a third set? 


already thinking of sewing up a matching jacket for this outfit


   














Thursday, April 3, 2014

Simplicity 1693/ maybe thick cotton lace & lining wasn't the best choice for this pattern

      Since I am still on a sewing learning curve, I choose to give myself a break and not freak out about my fabric choice for Simplicity 1693.  I sewed up View A.  Check out the pattern:
View A

      Fashion fabric:  a "suede says" cotton /nylon lace (that I think is too thick for this pattern) and bemberg black for lining.  Basted lining to fashion fabric.  Sewed in french seams, Hong Kong Seams, and did a bias tape hem under stitching.  (I did this because I forgot to add length to the hem.....darn).  Oh, I should mention the photos are subpar, but I will work on better photos for future projects.  Check out the blouse: 
Colors are a little off

Colors are correct but photo is weird


      Things I really like about this pattern:  the scoop neckline, the bell shape sleeves with elastic, and elastic in the waist. I love the button and knotted loop for button hole; which I used black silk thread. This pattern is super easy to sew up, and I tried to focus on fit.  I created a muslin and did my typical changes:  FBA, lengthened torso 1"  (I was suppose to add an 1" to the hem, but forgot to adjust my pattern before cutting out the fashion fabric. oh well) upper arm adjustment. I did add a little bit to the hips. 

Bemberg lining with Hong Kong seam in back



    Also, as mentioned before I forgot to add more length to the hem, and the bottom came up short.  So I came up with a creative way to make a narrow hem.....cause seriously the lace fabric with lining was too thick for a  tradition narrow hem.  Using 1/2" pre-folded bias tape I sewed right sides together and stitched 1/4". Then I under stitched the bias tape to fashion fabric.  Next I folded bias tape and stitched again.  Done! Look how pretty the hem looks inside and out: 
check out that pretty neat hem




   Check out the button & button hole loop in the back:

  Contemplating my next sewing project.   Taking an existing blouse pattern and changing it up to look like an ad blouse for Bottega Veneta.  I will be changing the arm scythe to make large squarish sleeves.  Wish me luck.




















Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Pilgrimage" oil &charcoal on canvas

   This painting has been sitting in my studio for almost a year.   The initial dark oil sketch of the face came together pretty quickly; however, it was all the medium tones and build up of oil layers ...not to mention corrections that took a while. (Oh, and my neck would be sore the next day from poising in the mirror. Ah the suffering one does for the love of painting!) For me the hardest part is trying to create an expression and not have the face look like a photograph.  I tend to get hung up on small details, and it is hard to go against one's nature.  All and all I like the direction that this series, 'Sacred Places' is taking me.
Check out the painting:

"Pilgrimage" oil & charcoal on linen 3'x 4'



    Please note: I used a low resolution image for my blog.