Sunday, July 20, 2008

Next: BWOF 03/07 #128

This may be the most ill-conceived, confused sewing project I've ever done. I'm not sure I'm making this dress for the right reasons. I like the pattern but, I'm not in love with the fabric I'm using -- an eggshell colored linen blend from I love working with linen and linen blends so it is not the fabric, but the color I don't like. I don't usually buy fabric without seeing and touching it first. But, I took a chance and bought this fabric sight unseen. When I ordered it, my intention was to make a blouse. When it arrived, I realized it's a more appropriate weight for a dress. If I use fabric I'm unsure about on a pattern I am sure about, the pattern may trump the fabric and I may end up liking the finished garment. (See what I mean about confused?) Since I don't really like the fabric, I won't be really upset if this dress doesn't work out. I'm treating it like a test garment. I made the pattern changes I should have made in BWOF 05/05 #133. (By the way, I ended up giving that dress to my sister) Even if this dress is failure, at least I'll have it traced for the next time when I have fabric a really like.

Working on this dress is truly "sewing therapy". I'm dealing with the stress and emotions of sending my only child going off to college. I'm dealing with the the aftermath of the break in. If I were a painter, my canvases would be a little scary about now. It's a good thing my creative outlet is sewing and the worst thing I can create is a non-flattering, poorly fitting dress.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Sewing Affair - A Novel

If my sewing life were a novel, Burda World of Fashion would be my dependable and familiar husband and Patrones would be the irresistibly sexy man with whom I'm tempted to have an affair. In novels, wives are often attracted to someone exciting and different. Reliable and familiar isn't enough anymore. You begin to wonder if there is something better out there. That's the way I felt about Patrones.

In my novel, Karen represents the friend who covers for me during my fling. She let me borrow an issue and even provided a "meeting place" for my tryst with Patrones. She invited me over to look through issues she'd borrowed from Cidell and to trace anything that caught my eye. As I looked through the issues, I was very much attracted to Patrones designs. I felt the same excitement I felt when I first started sewing BWOF. They are as fashion forward as BWOF. Like BWOF, the issues have a mixture of trendy and classic designs.

But, like a fictional lover, Patrones is high-maintenance. I don't speak Spanish and no English version is available, but that only made the prospect more desirable. I've been sewing long enough to put together many of the designs without needing directions in English. Pursuing the unknown would be dangerously exciting. In addition to the excitement of sewing without directions, Patrones' pattern sheets are smaller and more manageable than BWOF's. Fictional lovers always have some tempting characteristics to pull the victim away from the predictable relationship.

In novels, unfaithful wives rationalize their affairs, often by involving "the children", just as I did while considering cheating on BWOF. The issues I saw did not include the Plus size designs that I would need, but I saw many items my daughter would like. While she may not actually be the reason for the affair, she would certainly benefit. If she were more cooperative about my sewing for her, she could have quite a wardrobe.

I haven't actually crossed the line and made anything from Patrones yet. Yes, Patrones is tempting and exciting. When If I sew a Patrones pattern, I'm sure the encounter will be very satisfying. But I'm not ready to totally divorce BWOF. I recognize a good thing when I see it.


Thank you to everyone for the prayers and compassion expressed after the break-in. I never really knew what "unsettled" meant until this experience. I was uncomfortable staying at home and uncomfortable when I left. I checked locks every time I passed through the kitchen or living room. I'm finally getting back to my old self again. While there are many low-life jerks in the world, there are more kind and generous people who offered "cyber-hugs" and good wishes.

Thanks again.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Temporary Trials and Tribulations

A few days ago, my house was broken into and several items were stolen. Knowing some thief has been in my home is very unsettling to me. I haven't felt truly comfortable in my own home since it happened. However, even in the midst of this temporary tribulation, God is good. No one was home at the time of the burglary so no one was hurt. My home wasn't ransacked (in fact, my usual state of disorganized disarray may have confused the thief - LOL). Everything stolen can be replaced. The thief was caught and arrested the same day. My DD's bicycle has already been recovered. One of the items stolen and not recovered was my digital camera. So I won't be able to post pictures for a while. I know that eventually I'll feel safe again. I'm counting my blessings and counting on my sewing to relax me and help me regain my sense of security.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Finished: BWOF 05/05 #133

This dress is such a disappointment. I hate when this happens! I spend time making a dress and I can't wear it. I won't be able to wear this dress unless I loose a few pounds and inches. I should have made a muslin first. This might be just the thing to get me back on my elliptical machine! And we won't even discuss my truck driver's tan lines! The fabric I used was sheer - maybe not too sheer for some, but too sheer for me. So I underlined it with plain old cotton broadcloth. Underlining made the fabric more opaque and easier to work with. It would have slipped and slid all over the place and I would have been even more disappointed and upset. The photograph below shows two upper side fronts. The one on the left is not underlined; the one on the right is underlined with orange broadcloth. If you look carefully (click to enlarge) at the piece that is not underlined, you can see the lines of the cutting mat show through. The underlining also brightens up the fabric. I used my walking foot to underline each and every piece except the facings. I used the same process on my daughter's prom dresses, so I was only mildly annoyed about the extra work.

Pattern Description:
Sleeveless, high waisted dress

Pattern Sizing:
European 44 - 52

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
For the most part, the directions were very easy to follow. I had to go to another source when it came to doing the neckline and armhole facing. I used the directions found in Claire Shaeffer's High Fashion Sewing Secrets. Shaeffer's directions include illustrations, which make the procedure (which is somewhat awkward) much easier to understand.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I chose this particular dress because it was compatible with fabric I had. The fabric spoke to me and said "summer dress". I don't particularly like things that zip on the side. If I made this again, I would move the zipper to the back.

Fabric Used:
I don't actually know what the fabric is! It's lightweight, moderately sheer and a plain, weave. Not quite as sheer as organza. Originally, I bought the fabric to make a blouse that coordinated with wool I bought for pants. But the fabric is sheer and summery and I didn't want to wear it with wool pants.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
I shortened the dress to the length of 05/2005-134 (in the same issue). If I make this dress again, I would lengthen the neckline/armhole facing unit so that it would be less likely to roll up and out of the dress. The procedure for this change is also in Shaeffer's book. Since I underlined it, I was able to tack the facing to the underlining.

This dress ended up being too tight in the bust area. I need help zipping it up and once it's zipped, it's hard for me to move my arms. I should have lengthened the top - the empire seam is not below my gravity-challenged bust. I'm really disappointed in the results. All of the problems could have been solved by making a muslin (a lesson I learned long ago, but it seems it hasn't stuck yet). I like that I solved the opacity problem with underlining. I like that I found easier directions for the all-in-one neckline/armhole-facing. Even my invisible zipper looked good! The only problem is I can't wear the dress!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Ottobre Design: 2/2007 #2 T-shirt #15 Capris

I bought two Ottobre Woman magazines last winter and I finally made something from one of them. (2/2007). I considered a subscription, but I thought I'd try-out a pattern before I spent money on a subscription. I used the same sizes I use for BWOF, but without my usual changes. For me, the fit is very similar to the fit I get in BWOF. Tracing was more challenging because the lines for all the sizes are the same - no dotted lines to help differentiate sizes. The directions are just as sparse as BWOF's, but apparently Ottobre hired better translators because the directions are easier to understand.

The T Shirt
The t-shirt was typical. I used ribbing for the neck band. I felt the band was too long for the neckline, so I shortened it by about 3/4 inch. I've always stretched the band to fit the neckline. Before my adjustment the band fit the neckline in a 1:1 ratio. If I make this t-shirt again, I'll lengthen the body and adjust for the way the fron hikes up. I'd also have to add a little to the bust area.

The Capris
I wanted to see how an unaltered Ottobre pattern fit my body so I didn't make my usual changes to the capris. Usually I raise the waist. I'm reasonably satisfied with the way the pants fit. Ottobre used an unusual method for the fly front. In Ottobre's directions, the zipper shield was sewn to the zipper first, before sewing the zipper in the pants. I couldn't figure it out, so I ripped it out and used a method with which I'm more familiar. I used denim for these capris, but I didn't have a denim needle. The last denim I used was really heavy and it was difficult to sew through several layers, like the belt loops with my old Elna Diva (RIP).

We interrupt this post for a word from our sponsor …

My Bernina 430 proved to be quite a workhorse while sewing this project! It sewed through four to six layers of denim, using a regular size 80 needle, with no trouble! I held my breath when I got to the thick areas and the Bernina went through all layers like buttah! I love this machine!

And now, back to our post.

I wasn't impressed enough with Ottobre to order a subscription. This outfit will be good for knocking around the house. The fit is good - Ottobre patterns will require the same changes I make to BWOFs. However, the designs are a little too ordinary. Ottobre lacks the design details I love in BWOF. I will check the website periodically and consider buying single issues from SewZanne if there are enough potential projects in the issue.