Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dress For Summer

I'm getting ready for DOL Ashland.  It starts with a road trip from my Central Coast of California home.  I pick up Lisa here in Santa Cruz,  head up Highway 101 to pick up Helen in Ukiah, over the mountains onto Highway 5 to pick up Annie and then on to Ashland.

The excitement starts building about a week before.  Deciding what to bring, what not to bring I should say.  Every retreat I vow to bring less.  And I'm getting better each time.  This time, with four of us in the car I'll have to tow the line.  Confession, I bought a roof rack for the car!  Just in case!

One of the fun preparations for these clothing design retreats is deciding what to wear.  It's fun to dress for women you know will appreciate it.

I've had time to do a bit of sewing these last two weeks.  Here's Marcy Tilton's new dress pattern I tried in a trio of knits I bought from her at another retreat.  These trios are such a great idea.  I just pick up the package from my stash and it's ready to go.

Sorry, these pics aren't better, I think I need to finally bite the bullet and actually get a camera instead of using my IPhone.

This is made from a white and brown stripped knit in front, one of the trio from Marcy.   The pockets are a burnout knit I got from a sewing pal and the sleeves are a sheer patterned knit that was in the trio.

I made a pair of leggings out of the sheer sleeve fabric and wore them with it.  I'm just not feelin' that great about totally bare legs these days, u-hum, if you know what I mean.  Leggings feel like a security blanket!

The back is from the last of the trio of knits.  It's a puckered lightweight knit, not the easiest fabric to work on.  I did a fairly good job of matching the stripes on the horizontal but the angular strips really suck.  But, hey, that's ok, they're in the back and I can't see them!  You can see a bit of the burnout used on the diagonal bottom piece.

I know I say this frequently but I'm really not a good technical sewist.  I'm not fishing for compliments here, I know my limits.  I'm getting better, slowly.  Stripes are something I haven't tackled a lot.  My strong point in sewing is diving into projects with abandon and not worrying about the perfection, just having fun.  And that's big, I think.  It's really why I sew; to be creative and have fun!

I do love this pattern.  It's like a puzzle but so easy to figure out.  It all went together well.  The final step is bringing the pocket bottoms and hem together to form the draping you see in the first photo.  I like it but you can leave it out.

I will be making this dress again, soon!  Very wearable and flattering.  I finished it last Sunday afternoon, wore it to a party where I got lots of compliments.

Here's my new pincushion that I am mad about.  My friend Suzanne made it for me after I coveted the one she made for herself.  What a sweetheart, eh?  I can't tell you how much I love this.  There's something about the colors and texture that brings joy to my heart every time I lay my eyes on it.  It's filled with crushed walnut shells that make for a very good feel when you push a pin into it.

It's going to Ashland!

That's all for now, I'll report on DOL upon my return.

ps, the epic fail is on it's way.  It's just more fun to show stuff I like!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Summer Sewing

I'm back in the sewing room after a few weeks of meandering through life's little diversions.  It feels good to make some useful garments and use pieces in my stash.

This first piece is made from one of Marcy Tilton's trios I picked up at a DOL retreat.  I love the way she puts three color coordinated knits together and makes it so easy.  I've used them in tunics and dresses with great success.

This trio is in one of my favorite!  Acid green to be specific.  A very fun tunic from a great designer, Katherine Tilton.  She's now designing for Butterick.  I've made this three times and wear them constantly.

This time I didn't sew a hem, just left the bottom raw.  Even the double thickness pocket is raw which gave it a great detail, showing both fabrics at the bottom.

I find that the neckband is the trickiest part of knit tops.  Every knit is so different.  The trick is to play with it and don't be too impatient.  I sometimes audition 4 or 5 ways to apply the neckband.  There are so many methods.  Maybe I'll do a blog tutorial on the different ones someday...when I get it together!

This neckband was applied after one shoulder seam was sewn but before the second shoulder seam was sewn.  Sometimes this looks good and other times that seam just bothers me.  In this stripe knit it was somewhat concealed so I went with it.

Here's another tunic from a Marcy fabric that I picked up while visiting her shop (open to the public by appointment.   Keep in mind it is not easy to get there but worth it!).  It's a hanky weight jersey sewn in a self drafted pattern from a friend's RTW garment.

This is the second one I've made.  The first one was so successful I plan to make many.

That's all for now.  But I have two other blogs coming up.  One on an epic fail and one on Marcy's new dress pattern that I love, love, love!


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Fun New Vest (yes, another vest)

Sorry it's been so long, sometimes getting into the sewing studio is just not in the cards.  Seems I've been doing some sewing lately but it's mostly hats for sale and working on future patterns.

One exciting thing I'm working on is a long range project.  I've decided to do a French jacket after the designer who's name shall not be spoken.  I was drawn into the idea by Patty Van Dorin in her Rambling Rose blog entitled French Punk.  She made the cutest patchwork French jacket that hooked me in one second.  You should follow her blog, it's terrific!

Making these jackets is a commitment because you have to fit the pattern, make a muslin, fit the muslin then make the jacket.  They say it's about 70+ hours.  Fine with me.  I'll just do it over several months.  I"m not really interested in doing a jacket like the originals, very formal and not suited to me or my lifestyle.  I am, however, very excited about building fabric from treasured scraps.  I've done the tissue fitting and will cut the muslin today.  I'll keep you posted.

I've also made a couple simple tunics from my existing pattern stock.  I'll take photos today and show you soon.  

Here you see a vest, like so many others, the pattern for which I got from a DOL sister.  It's a self drafted pattern so I'm sorry, it's not available, she isn't a pattern designer, per se.  This is my first attempt at the pattern.  Next time I'll make it a bit longer and give it more shaping at the waist.  I'll also work on matching the exposed seams at the side seams.  Love the exposed seams, I'd like to find some acid washed sweatshirt fabric to use next time.  Anyone have a source for that?

This version is made from a Marcy Tilton double sided heavy French terry, sort of a sweatshirt knit.  It's soft, very comfy and I wear it a lot over tunics.