Monday, April 15, 2013

Thanks, Denise!

I've known my best friend Denise since kindergarden.  She decorates cakes, makes ceramics, caters and organizes events, and she is an excellent seamstress.  We learned to sew together in Home Ec in junior high school; back when there were such things as Home Ec and junior high school.  I remember looking a suit she made and being instantly inspired to improve my own sewing skills.  She seldom makes garments anymore, though.  Instead, she makes fantastic, custom designed, one-of-a kind aprons.  She made an apron for my daughter and finally, she made one for me.

Her husband has barely forgiven me for encouraging her to buy an embroidery machine, but the barbecue apron below monogrammed with W. L. J. was made for him.  She knows how much I love to sew, so my apron has a sewing theme.  And the buttons are little thimbles!   Not only did her suit inspire me to be a better sewer, but her apron might inspire me to be a better cook!

She sells her creations at various venues, but I'm trying to convince her to set up an Etsy shop.  I think she'd do very well. 

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

 And now, a retraction/correction.

In a past post, I complained about Burda's fashion photography. It's true, sometimes the fashion photos don't tell you much about the garments.  But there is an alternative.  Both the website and the magazine include garment photographs in addition to fashion photographs and line drawings.  I wouldn't want my complaining to scare a potential sewer away from trying BurdaSyle Magazine patterns.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wedding Dress Adventure: Chapter One

I realize what I'm in for.
A few weeks ago, I announced my daughter wanted me to make her wedding dress.  At the end of that post, I wrote:

"So, if anyone has any advice, tips, sources and resources, stimulants, sedatives or liquor, please share!"

At that time I was sort of kidding.  Now I'm serious. I will definitely need stimulants, sedatives or liquor.

The wedding gown selection offered by the Big Four is poor – very poor.   But Neue Mode had a large selection of formal gowns and wedding gowns and Lindsey chose two patterns she wants merged into her gown.  Both designs are simple and I felt reasonably confident about the process.  After all, I have a 50% off coupon I intend to use on a whole bolt of muslin.  But, I have absolutely no experience with Neue Mode pattens and I panicked when the patterns I ordered arrived without instructions.  I was afraid Neue Mode was like Marfy and I'd have to make a wedding gown with no instructions.  I raced to the website and found out I could download and print the instructions.  First crisis averted.

Lindsey came home last weekend for my birthday, so we went to Fabric Row, not to buy anything, but to make some fabric decisions. One of the things that frightened me about sewing a wedding gown was sewing lace.  Guess what?  She wants a satin gown with a lace overlay.  I admit, I loved the embroidered lace with beads and sequins, but the price made my eyes pop out.  Oh well, I only have one daughter and she gets married only once.  We spent a lovely day looking at fabric and making plans.  After we got home, I went online and found out the store in which we found the biggest selection of beautiful laces was destroyed by fire about 30 minutes after we left.

So, the Wedding Dress Adventure began momentously.  I have major design changes using a pattern company I have never, ever used before.  Ever.   The store that had the lace I loved burned and will probably not reopen.  It's a good thing I have a whole year for this project.  Looks like I'm going to need it.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Finished: BSM 01-13-133B

When I was a child, shopping for a new Easter dress was an exciting event. My next door neighbor and I would show each other our new outfits. We couldn't wait to wear them to Sunday School and to see what the other girls were wearing.    When my daughter was a child, I shopped for fabric for her Easter dresses many weeks in advance.   It didn't matter that I made all of her dresses; making her Easter dress was special.

Burda Style Magazine 01-13-133
So perhaps it was a nostalgic longing that made me wake up last week and tell myself, "I'm gonna make me an Easter Dress!"  I didn't have time to shop for fabric, but I had a piece of tomato red crepe in the sewing room closet.  I searched through my Burda Index and found a suitable dress in the January 2013 issue.

The dress looks better in real life than it does in the photo below.  I used crepe which dressed up the design a little.  I like that the dress is fully lined with self fabric.  It made the crepe more substantial and the dress has an expensive feel.  I didn't have enough of the crepe on hand, so I had to make a trip to JoAnn's and try to match the color.  I didn't find a perfect match, but it was for the lining and no one sees it.

As usual, the slit in the front exposed way too much skin, so I raised it an inch and put a hook and eye in the middle of the slit to close it up a little.  If I make this dress again, I would also add some interfacing to the slit to give it a little more stability.  Another issue was the loose fit.  My top half is two sizes larger than my bottom half so the bottom half, beginning at the waist, has a very loose fit.  If I make this dress again, I'll blend down a size on the waist and skirt when tracing.

The dress fits more loosely than I expected. Making a muslin would have fixed that. In spite of the issues, I was happy with the results, primarily because I loved the fabric.  I had a new Easter dress and I felt like a little girl again.

And while we're on the subject … can I really tell how a dress is supposed to fit when the fashion photo looks like this?  Come on, Burda.  A little help please?