Saturday, February 27, 2010

Not Sewing for Others

This project reinforced what I already knew: I should never sew for other people - even people I love dearly. I'm just too darn selfish. A few years ago, my nephew, who is a barber and a big fan of the Oakland Raiders and the Los Angeles Lakers asked me to make a barber smock that reflected his fanaticism. I made a smock using Oakland Raiders fabric and he loved it. He wanted an LA Lakers smock, so I gave him vendor web sites, told him to order the fabric and have it shipped to me. He said he would, but of course, he never did. So his mom, my SIL stepped in (two and a half years later) and ordered LA Lakers fabric and planned to surprise him with the brand new barber smock.

One evening, when I was working on the smock, SIL happened to call. I told her I was working on the smock that very moment and I had to order additional fabric because I underestimated the amount needed. I also ordered a 26 inch purple separating zipper because Jo-Ann only had neutral colors and their longest zipper was 22 inches. At no time did I ask her to pay for the cost overruns. As a matter of fact, she wasn't even paying me to make the smock in the first place. Yet, she questioned whether it was really necessary for me to spend money on an extra yard of fabric and a separating zipper. In addition to telling me how to spend my own money, SIL gave me a deadline. She wanted the smock before "March Madness". What the professional Los Angeles Lakers had to do with the March Madness college tournament was beyond me, but I kept my mouth shut.

These trivial little demands might not have bothered most people, but they bothered me. Sewing is the only activity in my life in which I have complete autonomy. I have treasured that autonomy and I won't give it up willingly. I love the attitude expressed by Elaine, "The Selfish Seamstress". Her blog's tag line is "Because I only want to sew stuff if it's for me." I really wish I'd thought of that first because it describes me so perfectly. The Selfish Seamstress actually has sewn for other people, but has dubbed those projects "S.W.A.G." (Sewing with a Grudge) - another sentiment I totally embrace. Yes, I'm acting like a selfish control freak, but what better time and place to indulge my inner selfish control freak than when I'm alone in my sewing room?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Finished: Blouse BPF SS-07-416A & Pants BPF FW-06-409

Long Blouse: Burda Plus Fashion Spring-Summer 07 416A

Burda has shown quite a few "long blouses" in their plus size offerings. I looked at the sites of RTW manufacturers I like (Anne Klein, Jones New York and even Eileen Fisher), to see if any long blouses or tunics were shown. I didn't see any and that should have given me a clue. But Burda has always been touted as being "fashion forward" so I went ahead and made the blouse as designed. After I finished the blouse, I wasn't really sure if I liked the length. I've shortened other Burda longer blouses and I wasn't satisfied with the results so I was apprehensive about moving too far away from the designer's original concept.

The fashion photograph showed the blouse worn open over a cami or tank top with the sleeves rolled up. I made my blouse to be worn in the winter and it isn't likely that I'd roll up the sleeves, so I omitted the button tabs that would have held the rolled up sleeves in place.

I wanted to go in a new direction with this outfit. I realized I was in a deep fashion rut and I wanted to try something different. I chose this pattern because it was unlike anything I've worn.

I bought the fabric on a recent trip to New York's garment district. I'm not sure about the fiber content of the fabric. It pressed very nicely, so I think it's a heavy cotton. I didn't notice any identifying information when I bought it, but I planned to have it dry cleaned just in case.

I enjoyed working on this blouse. The fabric was easy to work with and the pattern had enough design details to keep me interested. But, because of the length, I haven't decided if I like it yet.

Pants: Burda Plus Fashion Fall/Winter 06 - 409

Except for the faux welt pockets and flaps on the back, I could have made these pants in my sleep. In my deep fashion rut, I've made pants like this a gazillion times.

The fabric is a light weight wool. I thought about lining these pants, but I forgot about the lining when I started sewing. This gives me a chance to make a chance to make a pair of pant liners to wear when needed.

I've started extending the hip pocket piece into the fly seam allowance on all the pants I make. There is always a line marked on the pattern piece that says center front, but for some reason I end up with the extension flapping free rather than being caught up in the fly construction.

Since I wasn't entirely happy with the way the long blouse looked by itself, I've considered wearing this outfit with the blouse worn as an over blouse, as it was originally shown in the magazine. The three pieces add more visual interest and serve as a small step out of my fashion rut.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


You would think being snowed-in for 48 hours would make it easy to get lots of sewing done. But it hasn't worked out that way. Just knowing I can't get out makes me restless - even though I have no place to go! I can only sew in short spurts before I start pacing from window to window to survey the carnage. It's hard to enjoy sewing knowing this …

… is waiting for me. After a hearty breakfast, I'm out to tackle the shoveling. I'm breaking the job into two segments, front and back, which might take most of the day. I don't plan to get to any sewing today, so this …

… will have to wait.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

If You Make Navy Blue Pants …

Lori, of Girls in the Garden, made a very insightful comment on one of my recent blog posts.

Lori said...

Your pants look nice and the welt pocket is fantastic. I like the blouse, sorry you are not happy with it. Your story of wanting navy pants sounds a bit like the book "if you give a mouse a cookie"

Naturally, I loved the compliments on the welt pockets, especially from someone I respect and admire. But she was so right about giving the mouse a cookie I had to laugh!

I made navy blue pants. Then, I needed a blouse to go with the navy blue pants. The blouse I made (BPF SS-2009- 408A) didn't work out. So, I selected another pattern (BWOF 06-07-129).I really liked the fabric, so I ordered more. I didn't like sewing it the first time because it was 100% polyester and really hard to press. The second time was even less fun.
Yes, I could have tried to fix the problem, but I HATE alterations. It was easier to make a whole new blouse.

Fabric choice affected the final look of the blouse more than the pattern design. The print fabric obscures the blouse's design details. A side by side comparison of the two blouses revealed they are almost indistinguishable. I mean, really! I could barely tell the two blouses apart and I made them!

But, I got what a wanted in the first place – navy blue pants. The two nearly identical blouses were a bonus.