Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sewing Procrastination or Mojo priming procedure

OK__ what I need to be doing is sewing pants which is code for fitting pants, which anyone who sews knows can be a trial and vexation. So, what to do? I got the mojo going with a trip to JoAnn's -- since I was passing by, where I unearthed this polyester clown vomit on the "get-it-out-of-here" table. It's soft and lightweight and so assertive that in the upcoming hot weather it will only need to be slipped over the head, no accessories permitted.

The pattern is a copy of an OOP Vogue Easy Options. I made this once and got complements on it but the fabric I used, a cotton / poly knit shrunk and the dress got shorter. In my mind, there was not enough dress for me to sit on in the end and it was uncomfortable unless I wore pants underneath it.  Pffft!
OOP Vogue 8971 sewing pattern. Easy dress
I remembered that it was cool in the heat but it also fell off my shoulders. I'd chosen the pattern by the bust size, it would have been better to choose according to my upper chest measurement. The pattern companies assume that a 40" bust belongs to a proportionally bigger woman with broad shoulders and (still) a B cup. I didn't know any of this then.

To revisit this pattern I used my Sure Fit dress kit. I put the pattern over my body blueprint sloper and re-drew this dress to fit. The shoulders were adjusted, unlike these girls, I was not born with shoulder pads. I moved the dress kit bust dart to the underarm as in the pattern and traced the dress from there to the hem following the pattern outline and lengthening it so my bare legs won't be exposed to subway seats. 

Vogue has a facing for the neckline of the dress. I cut a strip of fabric crosswise, 3 inches wide and 10% shorter than the neckline length. The strip is sewn together on the short ends folded in half lengthwise, right sides out, and attached to the neckline. Quick and dirty. If I'd thought about it, I'd have stabilized the shoulder seams with seams great.

Because of the print on the fabric, the back could not be laid on the fold and I had to ad a center seam. If I had it to do over, I'd have moved at least some of the back dart take-up to the center back seam. 

My photographer suggested the pose with my Mother's Day foxglove. I'd just finished sewing and ran out barefoot for the shot.  When I wore my dress the first time I was able to accessorize it after all:

My favorite brooch, hacked from a 99 cent store ring by my favorite tech guy. No other bauble could stand up to this print.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Drunken Lacy Baktus

Here's a scarf "inspired" by the Lacy Baktus pattern on Ravelry. I didn't intend it to be lopsided but here is how it ended.

Though no alcohol was involved, my Baktus is not symmetrical  as it should be.

At the 2012 New York Sheep & Wool Festival, while my friends were contemplating  a fancy spray bottle for their nuno felt work, I was pulling chunks of dyed fleece from a bargain barrel. Ahead of me at the barrel were two women planted together as a berm so no one else could get near. They wore that look the dog gets when you walk past him with the bone you just bought and gave to him, they tore through colorful fibery oddments pulling out what they wanted and tossing aside the "obvious" dregs. Hunched over so I practically couldn't see what was in the barrel until they decided to toss it, I was pleasantly surprised that just about every color they didn't want I appealed to me.
Funny, it still works as a scarf.
I've been spinning singles from this cache of dyed locks and roving. I didn't think there was enough overall to play and make something like a sweater with. It is soft like Merino. And there's a hat.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Amazing Project

In Regatta
So, I was minding my own business when I became obsessed with this yarn: "Amazing" from Lion Brand. Even after my first project with it, the very cool Lanesplitter skirt was a total DUD and impossible for me to wear. For a project like that, the suggested Kureyon yarn is really the best because it is far more sturdy. Amazing is soft and light.  Though I'm a "once bitten" sort of person, I could not stop thinking about this yarn. Go. Figure. 
When I found it on sale, and figured out what it would cost to scratch that itch, I decided it was worth $15.00 to stop thinking about it so much! I have since gone back to the trough and am working on the fifth shawl from this yarn. The first one I gave to my sister at Christmas but didn't get a snapshot of it. I couldn't even block it properly before I had to flee that state.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Is this thing still on?


The last 12 months have been an experience analogous to being lured away by the offer of gainful employment only to realize the condition of enslavement. A job that Just. Would. Not. End; nor steer around every gaping pot hole, glitch or mishap. In that time, my “home entertainments” dwindled down to the level required to keep me off a line-up for manslaughter and I certainly had no time to blog about it. Even today I have to start figuring out our vegetable offering for Thanksgiving Day. I can’t wait to get back with my Brooklyn Family__ now that the waters have receded!
There have been bright spots, I got to go to New York State Sheep and Wool Festival this year. It was wonderful, visual overload. I went with one mission: to replace a wood crochet hook for my sister and get some wool fiber to dye and spin. But before that happened, I found myself in the fiber/ fabric closet looking at yarn goods I had completely forgotten while wandering in the desert of my late misfortune. With Yom Kippur approaching (no kidding, I thought of Yom Kippur!) I decided to atone for the unused yarn by actually knitting a sweater. This is it: 

The pattern is straight from “Knitting Without Tears” by Elizabeth Zimmerman, I clearly remember visiting the book at the Brown University bookstore when I was a student at RISD. I’d probably read most of it, agonizing before finally plunking down… wait for it… $3.95 for the paperback published by Charles Scribner’s Sons and it took me a long time to actually use her method unalloyed (my faith was small back then). I was captured by top down construction for a long time (still am), Barbara Walker’s “Knitting From the Top” was available in our public library at home.  

 I was able to observe with this project that one stumbling block to using up what’s already here is getting tangled in design decisions. I can be snared by a false sense that there is a perfect manifestation for the material and only that absolutely right design will do. I forget that once anyTHING is gone (yarn, buildings), I forget my sense of it’s former state, which for yarn is all about potential.  Perhaps a better way to think about some beautiful wool, what’s referred to as yarn porn, is to remember the dialogue can be expanded on. The quality that is so heart melting can be extracted, reproduced and refined in the next project. That’s what working in series is all about and the way a body of work develops.  Have to say though, I would have a hard time doing anything with this gorgeous stuff. Could it be it’s just for staring at?

 With this sweater, all I really wanted was to be able to wear it to Sheep & Wool.  My memory of past Sheep&Wools was my inspiration:

I didn’t want it to have a collar that would add extra bulk around the neck if it had to go under a jacket and I liked this style that’s mostly unbuttoned but not allowed to flap or fall off. Both yarns are my own hand spun, the yellow was an off white wool that I dyed for the project. There wasn't enough of either for a whole sweater from each, besides I get more fun by adding more color.  The buttons are from the stash vintage, found by my dear Madeline who has the patience to stop at garage sales sometimes and a last minute choice. The sleeves are long enough to not get wet when I wash my hands. 
Had a great time and found Faythe.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

What to do with border print.

An impulse buy, this border print fabric. When I put my hand on it I could see the midi length skirt with a waistband and small waistline gathers, part of a Talbot's ensemble offered up around the holidays sometime back in 1985. I thought then I'd no doubt do the same thing just because those kind of outfits are serviceable. Then I forgot about needing a holiday outfit and the fabric marinated for a year. I pulled it out this fall and was playing with it when this solution fell out and I went with it.
The fabric has lycra and stretches, it's velvet-like but the other side is a smooth knit.
This is the first thing I made with my new Sure Fit designs kit. The fit is great but I should have made the waist smaller because it stretches a tad too much.
I pieced the border to one side front. I like it.
From the back.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Sewing

Back before school started, we went shopping for clothes for the 7th grader. The feet are now man-sized and those skinny jeans purchased in December could not even be pulled up all the way. On the way out we spied a nice jacket, perfect for the soon to be cooler mornings. It had a superabundance of pockets, a zippered front. Nice; but $50. bucks___ and made of some pedestrian broadcloth. I piped up with the words that have undone dressmakers since the flood: 'I can make that!' (for you newbies).

I knew I had a piece of a fairly sturdy denim-like dobby weave in a inky navy that had been aging in the larder since the days of Natural Fiber Fabric Club. I showed it to him. "That's nice." he said. I sketched all the pockets it could have. Pockets on the shoulders? "OK!", he said. One shoulder or both shoulders? "Both". I was off. I knew not to show him the Lutterloh schematic I was using for a kid's jacket, those drawings are from the 1980's and would have probably been scorned by 12 year olds of the time.

Sewing was very straightforward. I didn't need to make any adjustments to the pattern except for the desired length, the child is basically a pole with shoulders. I may have made the sleeves a mite longer to anticipate growth. There was however, putting in six pockets, two bound buttonhole pockets, two chest pockets with flaps and two shoulder pockets with flaps. There was the trip to find a separating zipper and the specific care to be sure the flap opened up on the … which is it? right or left side?… the other side anyway.

All the while the weather did get cooler and I wanted needed to get on to a similar duty jacket for myself. I'd looked at the one I'd had, a copy of a barn jacket in a mustardy color with plum velveteen collar, and sent it off to Goodwill. I may have had it 20 years. While I sewed on those pockets, and tried to work out some topstitching scheme, I wanted to figure out what to wear that wasn't a heavy sweater or overcoat.

I finished the little jacket in time for Maker Faire, a bright, crisp morning. We were all excited to go, but when the moment came, the 7th grader refused to put the jacket on. Not only was it unsatisfactory to wear to Maker Faire, it didn't pass muster for 7th grade either. I was---- what's the word? oh yeah--  crushed.

After awhile, my head cleared and I just decided this was the inevitable moment. While he appears oblivious to "fashion" and we have been spared any yearning for expensive sneakers and label heavy vines, he does not care to be seen about in something his Mama made. The Dad was privy to the reason for the rejection however. Apparently, the color was "too dark", and the jacket had a quality… too… neat? Whatever, it seemed like something a g--l might wear. Kiss o' death. And why weren't these opinions expressed early when the Mama asked for them? He said he didn't want to break my heart.        awwwwww. 
Well, that's about right for a 7th grader as far as judging foreseeable outcomes goes, no?

So it's months later and we're actually in the store on the Black Friday after a movie. It was calm in the store we were at and we were on a mission for necessary unmentionables, which can't be put off. While waiting on line I sent the child over to check out a 50% off rack for anything he might fancy. He came back with another little jacket, pocketed to a fare-thee-well, zipper down the front, of possibly less substantial fabric than the first one, now marked down to $25. Let me say__ had it been marked at that price from the beginning I'd have bought it, because it wasn't worth a cent more than that, even allowing for a reasonable markup.  I looked at it in his hand while the boy read my mind out loud. I told him to get it if he wanted it, whereupon he put it back, came home and put on the jacket I made for him.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Summer Dress-a-thon Continues

1. Housedressy

This is a test of a shoulder princess line draft from my sloper. I'm hoping to squeeze a denim, sleeveless, shirtdress out of it, if I have enough fabric. It's constructed entirely on the machine, the seam allowances and hem are pinked and stitched down. Sewn on placket for the buttonholes, narrow collar band. It is comfy, fulfilling it's housedress mandate admirably.

This pattern and the cherry sprigged cotton pique have been languishing in the larder at least a decade. Long enough for me to learn how to adapt a commercial pattern to fit me; with 'fitting me' being a moving target, steadily creeping toward the baroque. At first this was put aside so I could find the perfect, red and cream colored print to make the facing, collar, sleeve bands and tie belt contrast with the dress fabric. Every spring I remembered I wanted to make it, even after I found a contrast print I liked. But as time marched on, the idea of a retro tribute soured. What would be cute on a younger person, made me half afraid someone might ask me to bring them clean towels when I had a chance and I'd end up in jail. I decided a little red rick-rack was as far as I ought to go.
I like it, still accessory challenged, witness my shame at having only that black web belt with the army-navy store buckle to model it in. The cotton pique is soft but kind of thick and heavy. I'm doubtful this will be so comfortable in a heat wave. No additional expenditures were made. Even the buttons were in the stash, a gift from my friend Madeline who does not fear the flea market.