Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Quilting : Sewing :: Sewing : Quilting

My grand plan was to alternate sewing and quilting and I've been moderately successful in sticking to that "sew-quilt-sew-quilt" schedule. Although, I did sneak an extra "sew" session in when I sewed my last dress. (So, sue me!)


The "Tradewinds" quilt top* is finally finished. The "old OCD me" would have obsessed over the placement of the blocks. The "new me" just grabbed blocks from the pile and placed them randomly. Well, not entirely. I didn't want blocks containing the same strip sets to be adjacent so I had to do just a little planning. But that's all the thought I put into it. Getting the corners to come together precisely was a challenge. That isn't obsessive – it's good quilting. Hopefully, I'll get better with time. I want to finish this before the weather gets cold. I think it will be a perfect quilt for cocooning under when I fall asleep in front of the watch TV. I have to buy the backing and batting next, so this is a good place to stop quilting and start sewing.

*Free "Tradewinds" and more quilt patterns here.


My next sewing project uses one of the fabrics my daughter brought back from Morocco. The black and white is glossy, fairly stable but still silky enough to warrant careful laying out and cutting. Since the fabric has sentimental value and I want the blouse to turn out well. The solid black is a stretch twill. I also want the pants to turn out well because the next two blouses in my queue are meant to be worn with these pants. (Here comes the OCD again!) Just so I'm in the right frame of mind when I start this outfit, I'm going to take some time off and not sew anything. An organization I belong to is sponsoring a flea market and I'm in charge of the food table. It's going to be a busy week with little time for sewing anyway.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Finished: BPF SS-09-406

Pattern Description:
High waisted dress with epaulets, high collar, buttoned front bodice, and four panel skirt.

Pattern Sizing:
European plus size 46 - 54

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Considering the typical BWOF instructions, these instructions were easy to follow.

Pressing the collar seams open over a point presser is a step typically omitted from most instructions, especially BWOF instructions. This fabric was slightly heavier than standard blouse or dress weight fabrics and the collar seams really needed to be pressed open before turning. The edges are so much neater once the collar is turned right side out! That is a step I sometimes omit, but no more.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the high waist silhouette on this dress.

Fabric Used:
A linen-look purchased from Jo-Ann. I fell in love with the color. It was prone to ravel, but the raveling was easily tamed by serging.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
One of the design features on this dress is the high collar, achieved by an extremely high collar stand. I wasn't sure if the collar would be flattering. After making a muslin of just the bodice, I decided to change the collar by bringing down the collar stand by about 1/2 an inch. I also lengthened the bodice so that the seam would fall below my bustline.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
This could very easily be a TNT dress pattern. It's a basic style and I should be able to make design changes and customize it. I don't usually make patterns more than once, but this pattern deserves a second or third attempt.

When I first tried on this dress during the sewing process, I thought, "Oooo, I like this dress!" Then, I thought, "Carolyn would have a field day playing with this pattern!".

Friday, September 11, 2009

Next: BPF SS-09-406

My next dress is from Spring/Summer 2009 Burda Plus Fashion. I really wish Burda would be less artsy-fartsy with the photographs. I'm concerned about the collar and epaulets on this dress, but I can't really tell how they look on a human body - even the perfectly proportioned non-plus sized model body in the photograph. I have a thick neck and broad shoulders and I wouldn't want to call attention to those features with an unusual collar and epaulets. Maybe a muslin of the bodice would be in order. (Gee, ya think!)

While I work through the items currently in my queue, I'm going to seriously consider a mini wardrobe. I have to keep it small and simple – two bottoms and two tops that can be mixed and matched. I'd love to sew a few pieces and get several different outfits like I've seen in the magazines, but I just can't get the math to work out! It's going to take more than four pieces to do that. Since I'm challenged in color coordination, I'm depending on the coordinated selections offered in Vogue Fabrics swatch subscription. The next time I see suitable swatches, I'm snatching them up.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Finished: BWOF 05-2009-133

Pattern Description: BWOF describes this dress as a "shirtwaister". I always think of June Cleaver when I think of a shirtwaist dress. The dress has a high waist and gathering under the bust. The sleeves can be rolled-up; I just didn't roll them up for the picture.

Pattern Sizing: European plus size: 46 - 52

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Basically, yes. I did not include the collar.

Were the instructions easy to follow? This dress has inseam pockets. The instructions got a little fuzzy when the pockets were addressed, so I went my own way when I reached that point.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? This dress has a high waist. This silhouette is good for people like me, afflicted with what I call NDW - No Discernible Waist. As always, BWOF has really nice design details. The long front pleats are sewn from the inside and top-stitched on the outside. I'd like to pause here and disclose some very personal information: I'm in love with my edge-stitch foot. (If I could only find a man I could love as much as I love my edge-stitch foot!) It allowed me to sew a narrow, yet consistent distance from the pleat – about 1/8 inch – with hardly any thought. The back darts have the same treatment. A strip is sewn inside the dart to support the top-stitching. (Next time, I'll remember to cut the strip on the bias to reduce the fraying.)

Fabric Used: A medium weight twill purchased from Vogue Fabrics' swatch club. This fabric was a pleasure to sew. It was much more stable than the last project, which ended up in the trash with no regrets.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:The original pattern had a collar. I didn't have enough fabric to include the collar. I don't know how that happened. I always, always always buy more fabric than I need. But somehow I didn't have enough for the collar. It wasn't a problem, because I didn't like the collar anyway. It was no sacrifice to give it up. I lengthened the bodice so that the high waist would be lower than my low bust line.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I really like this dress and I recommend it. I think it would flatter most body types.

Conclusion: This dress needs jewelry! I now have a reason to buy a new necklace with substance!