Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Leopard print in action and new projects

I wore my new silk blouse to the city today and received two unsolicited compliments - one from my client and the other from my daughter. I am wearing it with my Vogue 8426 skirt made in March 2009 and an Anthea Crawford pure wool jacket I bought at St Vincent de Paul for $25.

I am pleased to report that my health is much improved and I managed a little more sewing over the Easter/Anzac Day break. I'm sewing another blouse in silk chiffon using the body of Simplicity 2732 and the sleeves from McCalls 5433. So far so good, pleasure to sew and surprisingly cooperative fabric.

I also helped DD2 sew a mini skirt. It is a copy of one she wanted from American Apparel that I refused to pay the $64 asking price. She proved remarkably resourceful, using my pattern drafting book to draft a simple but very accurate pattern and did all the sewing herself - very neat for a new sewer. Her sewing has increased her 'cool girl' status at school. She wore it to a party with flat tan biker boots (mine), one of my black t-shirts worn baggyish and long silver necklaces (pinched too) - very Alexa Chung. Her friends are placing orders for their own skirts. More recently DD2 been seen flicking through my Burda magazines.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Autumn safari and why is G##d a baritone?

Lots of things have been getting in the way of sewing lately - Passover celebrations (not to mention the fitting issues a week of Matzo ball soup and flourless chocolate cakes can cause!), illness and a major job interview.

Husbie and DD2 went off to Melbourne last weekend to visit DD1 and I aspired to a lovely weekend of sewing and solitude. Came home from Sewing Guild meeting on Saturday afternoon all fired to put together my silk blouse after a silk sewing and fit workshop with Angie Zimmerman. Managed to keep it together until 9pm when I came down with the worse dose of influenza ever. One week later I'm still coughing and feeling less than average.

Easter weekend in Australia combines with Anzac Day, an extra long weekend. Great time for sewing I say to myself. Also a great time for going to movies, walking along the beach or slumping lazily in front of TV watching Charlton Heston do what Charlton did best and drinking brandy (for medicinal purposes). Why does G##d have such a deep voice?

I have managed to finish two items and am close to finishing a matching skirt which I'm calling my "Autumn safari" - it has that out of Africa feel to it and the palette is definitely Autumnal.

I am delighted with my blouse in leopard print habitai silk bought in Hong Kong. I used McCalls 5433. I thoroughly recommend this pattern, especially if you are new to full bust adjustments. I cut a 14 with an FBA an a slight additional adjustments to the back and sleeves. The result is a TNT pattern than I will definitely use again. I cut the blouse to the longer length so I could wear it as a tunic or tucked into skirt. The inside of the blouse is very good too. I used French seams, cut a bias binding from the fabric for sleeves and on the hem used a double rolled hem - a new technique taught by Angie. Rather than struggle with a rolled hem foot, turn up a single layer, stitch, trim close to the stitching line then turn up again and stitch again just below the first stitching line. Only one row of stitching is visible from the outside of the garment and it is very effective on a silk garment.

I am also pleased with my other blouse, really just a test garment made in a cheap piece of polyester bought from the charity store. I used Simplicity 2732 one of those fabulous patterns that already do the FBA for you! I made several changes to this pattern. One choice was not to include the darts which run from the hem to the bust line and at the back. I think they look really busy, especially on the busy print I used. Next time I make the blouse I will include one dart on each side to give it more shape. I also shortened the sleeves, due to lack of fabric. Overall I'm happy with the look and fit of this blouse. I'll wear it, but would like to make another in a better fabric.

I've also been working on another test garment using Simplicity 3924 (OOP). This pattern is from skinnier days and my adjustment wasn't generous enough at the waistline. It looks fine but 1) I can't tuck anything into it and 2) it is an instrument of torture. The plan, cut another blouse and leave the skirt until the ravishes of Pesach have passed over me.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Winner and Wear a White Shirt Day

It appears that some of my followers do indeed appreciate vintage wear more than I do. Carolyn is the lucky recipient of the pattern drawn randomly from my gardening hat!

I have completed my McCalls 6035 white linen blouse and am very happy with results. This pattern adjusts the shape of the princess seam to offer a variety of cup sizes. I used a 14 D which fitted straight out of the pack. The only adjustment I made was to reduce the gathering of the sleeve by a total of 14 cms! These sleeves are huge - straight out of the Seinfeld Puffy Blouse episode.

I will definitely make this blouse again, but am likely to substitute the sleeves for another style.

My blouse is ready in time for Wear your white shirt day on 19th May, a special day to raise funds and awareness for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. So my aussie sewing friends, I hope that you are busily making white shirts. Although if you do purchase the recommended Witchery blouse, it's all for a good cause.

Next up? I'm keen to start on a tailored jacket, but may just continue to make blouses as I am very short on work blouses now that I'm visiting the office on a daily basis.