Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I Won't SWAP. Don't Ask Me.

A SWAP is too much for me. I have nothing but respect (and envy) for those who can complete SWAPs. However, I really like the idea of sewing several coordinating pieces so, I’m going to set a more realistic goal and sew a Wardrobe Collection rather than a SWAP. (See Carolyn's version) This idea is not new and the hard work has already been done for me. I subscribe to Vogue Fabrics Coordinated Swatch Club, wherein fabrics are arranged in coordinating groups. BWOF shows garments that can be mixed and matched. Consider the following pieces (plus size collection) from the 02/2006 issue of BWOF:

The stylists at BWOF selected fabrics that allow the pieces to be mixed and matched. If I don’t want to use my brain at all, I can copy their fabric selections, i.e. solid blouse with print skirt, matching jacket and pants. Or, I can go out on a limb and try my own combinations. I won’t have to go out too far on that limb because Vogue Swatches are already coordinated. All I have to do is sew.

Hey! I just invented The Lazy Busy Person’s SWAP!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Snow Ball Gown - Pt. 4 - Final Chapter

Look closely at the photo of DD's gown. The major sewing is done, but one thing is missing.

My Daughter!

Getting her to try on anything I make for her is nearly impossible. Now I remember why I started this dress two months in advance. I want to know if this gown will need boning. I want to know if she still wants the sew-on jewels on the back straps. They need to be sewn on by hand -- individually! It may take us a month to find the right bra. I wish we could get her shoes this weekend; then I could hem the dress. But I know she will never agree to that!!! Why do things early when you can wait until the last minute!!! I want to finish this dress so I can get back to sewing for myself! Waaaaaaa!

Whew! Now that I got that off my chest, I feel better. Believe it or not, I really enjoy sewing for my daughter. And I don't expect her to wait around the house 24/7 until I finish the dress. She's 18 yrs old, after all. I'm lucky she lets me sew for her at all. She's a wonderful young lady and she was very pleased when she first saw the dress coming together.

But, I am eager to get back to sewing for myself.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Senior Snowball Gown - Pt. 3

I'm making steady progress on the Snow Ball Gown. Monday night, I inserted the invisible zipper into the side of the dress. I usually get a funky bubble at the bottom of invisible zippers. Lots of basting seems to have solved that problem. First I basted to mark the seam lines on the front and back. Then I basted and stitched the zipper to the back. Since the seam line was clearly visible, it was easy to place the coils on the seam line. Next, I closed the zipper and positioned it on the front seam line. When I was sure of a placement that eliminated the funky bubble, I pinned and basted the other zipper tape onto the front so the zipper wouldn't shift during sewing. The funky bubble is virtually gone! (Yellow arrow below indicates the bottom of the zipper.) I've changed my mind about basting. It really does make a difference.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A New Challenge

A small seed of an idea has taken root in my mind. It was planted by Cidell and Toy. Cidell talked about sewing a tailored jacket in her interview with Toy. That started me thinking about making a lined jacket, something I've never done. Well, if I'm to be honest, I did make a lined jacket about 15 years ago, but the results were horrendous and I have mercifully repressed the memory. I'm a better sewer now, and I'd like to try again. I've got plenty of books. I already have Tailoring from the Singer Sewing Reference Library; Easy Guide to Sewing Jackets by Cecelia Podolak; Jackets, Coats and Suits from Threads' series; even the chapter on Speed Tailoring from The Best of Sewing With Nancy (although "speed tailoring" sounds oxymoronic to me.) In addition, I've ordered Jackets for Real People. But, something is holding me back and keeping me from putting all other projects aside and jumping head first into this endeavor. I'm allowing my work mindset to infect my hobby mindset. At work, I have to be focused on results and that attitude is leaking into my sewing life. The destination has become more important than the journey. I'm thinking about the many items I should be making while spending time on a tailored jacket that might not even be wearable. That way of thinking completely defeats the purpose of a hobby. Changing that way of thinking is my first challenge. The second challenge is actually making the jacket. I would learn a lot by making a tailored jacket. I would be really pleased if the jacket turned out to be wearable.

I have a plan. I'm going to train for this challenge! [Mentally insert the theme music from "Rocky" here.] While I'm working on current projects, I'm going to be searching for inexpensive fabric suitable for a tailored jacket. I'm going to find a pattern; maybe investigate Vogue's Claire Shaeffer patterns. I'm going to read my books on tailoring. I may not get to this project for months so I may end up sewing a wool jacket in the middle of July; but I'm going the distance and I'm going to make that tailored jacket!

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Senior Snowball Gown - Pt. 2

The muslin for DD's gown is finished. Actually, it was finished a few days ago, but she didn't have time to try it on. I thought I might have to trace and cut size 8, but I think the 10 is good. I wanted to photograph the back because I wanted to show how it was gaping and ask for help in solving the problem. But DD would not allow that because her bra strap showed, and she didn't want to be seen in her underwear online. (I think that degree modesty in an 18 year old is cute! Paradoxically, she has a "naked baby picture" as the wallpaper on her cell phone.) There is a little bubble of extra fabric under her right arm that I was able to pin out. I'll try a bit of clear elastic at the back. Susan Khalje suggests using elastic to keep the neckline close to the body; I hope it will work the same magic on the back. The back is really pretty, too. I ordered some "montees" to sew onto the back straps. Summerset educated me about montees and recommended Fire Mountain Gems. Getting their catalog has sparked my interest in making jewelry. I wish I had time to pursue that. I shocked and frightened DD by telling her I would make her jewelry, too! Poor child has no sense of humor.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Senior Snowball Gown - Pt. 1

DD's Senior Snowball is exactly two months away and I'm starting the gown tonight! I've never believed in waiting until the last minute. I want to finish this dress and get back to sewing for myself. [naughty, selfish mommy!] I want to allow time to handle any issues that may come up. And, it looks like there my be some issues coming up. While tracing piece #7, I noticed an error that didn't give me a whole lot of confidence in the pattern. My plan is to do a little every evening. I can make progress without trying to sew when I'm distracted and tired. I have to do this at a time when work is a major PITA and I've been bringing bad moods home with me. [never a good idea] I should be able to get in some quality sewing time in spite of my mood.

I did learn a few things from the last gown, which was also a Simplicity. DD's measurements matched those give for size 12, so that's what I traced and cut. The muslin seemed a little big on her, but I didn't trust my eyes and made the top in a size 12 anyway. Needless to say, the top was too big and I had to make a second top. [luckily, I bought extra fabric] So this time I traced a size 10 first. When the time comes for the Senior Prom, I'm going to try to steer DD away from Simplicity.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Finished: BWOF 08/2007 #126 & #127

It seems as though I've been working on this outfit forever. This is the first project I began after school started and I went back to work. It hasn't been easy to switch from a "lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer" mindset to a "desperate to relax" mindset. During the summer, I could sew for hours at a time. Now, I'm lucky if I can sew for 30 uninterrupted minutes. And the interruptions are not always external. It's been harder for me to leave work at work and concentrate on sewing. I can't relax enough to do something that is certain to relax me. Sometimes, the only way for me to turn off work is to zone out in front of the TV. (Sad)

The pants are made of heavy weight denim. I will never sew with heavy weight denim again. I used a denim needle and my machine could handle the denim, but it just wasn't as much fun to fondle the denim while sewing. Since the denim was so thick, I used broadcloth for the front pockets. I couldn't imagine sewing through all the layers of heavy weight denim when sewing the hip pockets. One fun aspect about sewing the pants was that I found a good button! I didn't want to try to install a snap in the heavy denim and I found the perfect button. It's metal and goes very well with denim. I usually increase the crotch depth on pants. I forgot to make that adjustment on these pants. I believe I forgot because I was not concentrating fully due to the pressure of going back to work.

The blouse is made from a cotton/lycra stretch woven I bought from Vogue Fabrics by Mail. Now that fabric was really fun to fondle! I loved the way it recovered after stretching! The blouse had quite a bit of top stitching. I'm happy I had an edge stitch foot to help. The sleeve cuffs and the front band had a "frill" inserted. That's the kind of design detail I seldom see on Big 4 patterns (especially the plus size patterns) and one of the reasons I enjoy sewing BWOF patterns so much.

I'm finished sewing for myself for a while. I need to get stared on DD's formal dress so she will have it by mid-December. At the rate I've been going, I'll need every day between now and mid-December to get it finished.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Another Day, Another Formal

My DD, the socialite, has another formal affair on her calendar. In December, she has The Snow Ball, a formal for seniors at her school (as if Senior Prom wasn't enough). Her Highness has chosen this design (Simplicity 3735: view A with the double straps) for her dressmaker (me) to make. Once again, she has chosen a simple design. I hope this trend continues through Senior Prom. She selected a bordeaux colored satin from JoAnn. (yes, JoAnn) The bodice will be plain satin and the skirt will have little flecks of glitter. We discussed some sort of jewels on the straps. Again, I'm considering underling the entire dress in addition to lining it, as I did for her Junior Prom dress. I think it gives the dress a little more substance and luxury. So, by royal decree, sewing for myself stops once I finish my current project. Actually, I'm really looking forward to making this dress. I haven't had an emotional connection with any of my sewing projects in a while. This is the type of project I need.