Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How Far is Too Far?

Back in the olden days, when cigarette advertising was everywhere, Camel had a popular slogan.  I thought about this slogan while I planned my most recent fabric shopping excursion.  Just how far would I go to shop for fabric?

Fabric Mart's brick and mortar store is in Sinking Spring, PA.   According to Mapquest, this is 64.88 miles from my door.   Sixty-five miles is a little far to drive to a fabric store.  I needed additional enticement.  I found just the lure I needed when I looked more closely at the map and realized Sinking Spring is right next to Reading, PA, the home of the original outlet mall.  Discounted fabric!  Outlet shopping!  Suddenly 65 miles seemed a lot closer!   Fabric Mart is not open on weekends, so I was forced to ditch work for this outing.  My rationale (as if I needed one to ditch work) was I'd be getting some Christmas shopping done early at the outlet center.  While the plan was in the back of my mind for weeks, the actual execution came about suddenly.  The workload of my second job decreased unexpectedly and I was able to adjust my schedule and travel to Reading.

The Fabric Mart brick and mortar store is not big and glamorous like the chain stores, yet it's not dark and cramped like some of the stores on Philadelphia's Fabric Row.  Many of the Fabric Mart's online offerings are on the sales floor.  The organized shopper can peruse the web site, jot down numbers and take the list of numbers to the store.   Additionally, I was invited to look in the back room where the online orders are filled.  Most of these fabrics were not displayed on the sales floor.  

I found a few basics to take home with me.  I bought two pieces of worsted wool gabardine  and coordinating shirt fabrics.

Navy Blue wool – Blue & white stripe

Charcoal Gray wool – burgundy, pink & gray stripe
So, how far is too far?  If Fabric Mart were closer and open on weekends,  I'd be there once or twice a month.  While 65 miles is too far for me to drive for casual fabric shopping, Fabric Mart is a good option for the times I want to buy several pieces of fabric in one trip.  

Monday, October 18, 2010

Finished: Burda Plus Hybrid Blouse

First, I need to rant just a little.

These blouses are from Burda Plus Fashion Spring/Summer 2010.  It's evident that these three blouses are basically the same and, except for design details, would use the same pattern pieces.  The bib insert on 423 and 425 has pin tucks.  One would expect those tucks to be indicated on the pattern pieces.  One would think the bib insert pattern piece in 423 and 425 would have to be wider to allow for the fabric taken up by the tucks.  Apparently, Burda doesn't think so.  Burda has you tuck a rectangle they call a "dickey front" and the cut the pattern piece from that.  Sounds reasonable, but a few years ago I made a BWOF dress with pin tucks on the cuff and a similar technique was used.  I assumed (and I know what happens when we "assume")  the extra length would be drafted into the pattern piece.  But it wasn't.  Another part of the problem was Burda's use of the term "dickey front".  I defined a dickey as a false shirtfront, not whatever Burda had in mind.  This made understanding the directions a bit of a challenge.  I was really glad I opted out of the pintucked front.

Okay, rant is finished.

My blouse is a hybrid of the available designs.  I used the collar, cuffs and shirttail hem from 425, the non-tucked bib (without the pleated trim) from 424 and the topstitched front placket from 423.  I used a wonderful silk fabric.  It is so light and comfortable, it feels like I'm not wearing anything!  The construction was straightforward.  The cuff should have been tapered to a point.  Burda gives dimensions for a rectangle.  The last time I tried tapering a cuff, I got the proportions wrong and it looked a little strange, so I kept the rectangular shape.  For some reason, the buttonholes were horizontal.  I'm a "follow the rules" type, so I made the horizontal buttonholes.  It feels weird buttoning horizontal buttonholes when I'm used to vertical buttonholes.   If I ever see horizontal buttonholes again, I'm going to get really wild and adventurous and (gasp!) change them to vertical buttonholes.

This is just the type of blouse I like wearing to work and I would like to make this blouse again in a different fabric.  It would be nice to find a nice brightly colored silk.  I might even try the pintucks on the bib.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Finished: BS 04-10-140 and BS 02-10-136

The Shirt:  I like this shirt, but not necessarily with this skirt.    I think it's great as a knock-around shirt worn with jeans.  But, it might be too slouchy to work with the a skirt, even one as casual as this one.  Luckily, I have a RTW tee shirt that is more fitted and that I can wear with the skirt.  The shirt was very easy to sew; even with the eighteen buttons. It can be sewn in an evening.  The sleeves are a little long and are probably intended to be worn pushed up.  I do intend to make this shirt again.

The Skirt:  Those familiar with BurdaStyle know how much the designers love plunging necklines.  Knowing how low the necklines tend to be, imagine what those freaks folks at Burda do with a walking pleat/slit in the front and back of a skirt.   I solved the problem by sewing the inside of the front and back pleats closed for about three inches.  I can still walk comfortably, but I'm not "showing off the good china" as Peach on Project Runway so cleverly put it.  Once again, I chose a print fabric that obscured the design details of the garment.  I really like the cargo pocket, but I can't see it in the finished skirt.  I guess I'll just have to make the skirt again using a solid khaki.