Wednesday, October 8, 2014

September 2014 Wrap-up

This September I did not have much time in my sewing room. Work travel was very busy which also meant that my time at home was mostly spent with my family. After all, how can I resist a 3 1/2 month old princess Grandaughter :) 

I was able to complete 3 garments! 
2 were early in the month and one was at the very end.

The first 2 garments go together quite nicely, they are a self drafted knit skirt and The counterpoints Jacket.  Both are from my fall sewing plan but the fabric I used for the jacket is different than my first choice. I just did not have enough yardage for my first choice fabric so I decided to use this snake skin silver/black mini courdoroy print. It came out very nice except that it is slightly big across the back and I'm not sure that I really love the button placement.... Don't hate the button location but I don't really love it. I've worn this jacket several times already and it travels nicely and is perfect for work.

The skirt is a self drafted textured knit skirt. I made this with my version of a hi-lo hem and zig zagged in a bit of clear elastic into the front curve of the lower hem. It just draws it in a bit and makes it look very cool!

The fabric for the skirt.
This was the original fabric for this jacket. But I just did not have enough to make the layout look good with the print. 

My third September project was the simplicity 1801 Cynthia Rowley dress that I made in a knit.

October has started out with 2 fun projects! 
My husband and I are going to a Halloween dance party and the costumes will be judged! I am going as Maleficent and he is going as Prince Philip. 

This what I have done so far... Much work to be done before completion!!

Happy sewing :)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Simplicity 1801 Cynthia Rowley dress

 This dress had been sitting in my workroom partially finished since before my trip to San Francisco early in September. I was hoping to get it done for that trip. I had wanted a work dress that would work with brown shoes and accesories. 
This photo shows the colors the best! 

When traveling for work I find that it is easiest to either go with black shoes/accesories or Brown shoes/accesories as my base for outfits. This makes for easier packing and planning of outfits! On long trips I will often take both but really felt I was lacking a dress to go with brown. So with just a couple of days to go before my trip I perused my stash and came up with this knit. The colors work perfectly with the Pantone fall colors. It has the reds, the pops of the blue and orchid and of course with it being a print it is always more forgiving at hiding body imperfections. Originally I had thought of using my TNT knit wrap dress pattern but decided I needed to break out of my box.

This Cynthia Rowley pattern was also in my stash. Perfect! That means the dress was free.... Right!?!?!?

If memory serves me correctly I picked up this mid weight ITY knit of of JoAnns super sale racks. It has a nice weight to it without being to heavy. 

This pattern does call for woven materials but I wanted it in a knit, so a knit it was made out of. I made several changes. The biggest was to the neckline. I really love a V neck but I have to muslin them because many times I have to make adjustments so that it is work appropriate and I didn't want to have to wear camisole underneath. Due to the knit I was also able to leave out the zipper. The last change was to cut it 2 inches longer than the shorter dress length. Again, I find some of the dress lengths a little to short for work wear and travel. Nothing worse than having to always be tugging at a neckline and hem or worrying about an inappropriate flash. Nope... That certainly would not do!
When gathering longer areas together I back stitch my gathering stitches at both ends and then pull the threads from the middle. This helps me keep things more evenly gathered as well as there being NO chance that I will accidentally pull one of the stitches out! This dress had LOTS of gathering. At the front and back at the shoulder yokes, at the bodice to the waist and then the skirt to the waist. 

I actually really like this dress quite a lot. However, next time I make it, regardless of knit or woven, I really need to lengthen the front bodice and go down maybe half a size in the upper chest and shoulder area. I also need to stabilize the pockets so I don't get sag. I had some stabilizer tape out on my work table but when you leave a project in works for almost 3 weeks.... Well the brain doesn't always remember what it should.
Here are some rather dull looking selfies from the hotel room! But at least you get an idea of how it looks on me :)

Speaking of that front bodice length. I have noticed a trend over the past year that I feel like in many of my makes from the Big 4 that I need to lengthen the bodice..... I do flat pattern measurements for so many other parts, one would think that I would also measure that!!! No I will! 

Overall I am happy with this make and it is a great addition to my work wardrobe. I can wear it with flats or pair it up with leggings and boots. Very versatile. 

In other sewing news I finally had to purchase a new iron. My old one decided to just quit working and water was just leaking out and even after cleaning it several times it was still gunky and spitting. After having to re-wash several lengths of fabric after trying to iron them I had had enough! I bought this very beautiful and heavy Rowenta from Bed Bath and Beyond with a 20% coupon. Ohhhhh, she is nice!

On a non- sewing front update. I had a follow-up cardiologist appointment this Monday and I have been officially released! My atrial septal aneyeurism has not magically gone away and my mitral valve has not un-prolapsed BUT all of my symptoms are well under control and other than having to lose some weight I am in excellent health! Blood Pressure, Pulse, triglycerides, cholesterol are all in the excellent ranges. All I need to do is just keep following up with my regular general physician. Happy News!!

Parting shots (not the best pics...) of Princess Victoria on her very first swing. And yes.... She is dressed as batman! Thanks to her grandpa :) 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Britex and San Francisco!

Earlier this month I spent 9 days in San Francisco for work. 

Whenever I am of to any area for more than 1 or 2 days I usually try to check out what fabric stores are in the area! I have found some great little stores and have gotten to visit some excellent big name fabric stores this way. 

There are several in San Francisco that were recommended to me. The biggest being Britex fabrics followed by Satin Moon and Fabrix. As well as Stone Mountain Daughter across the bay. Unfortunately my work schedule was packed tight! I only had 2 1/2 to 3 hours of time free during fabric shopping hours! Ugh, in 9 days that was it!! I decided to make the most of it and I choose to visit Britex.

My reasons for hitting Britex... Well it's Britex! And how could I not plus it was only a block and a half from my hotel. Took me an entire 4 minutes to walk there. Mind you those 4 minutes were full of glee and happy anticipation. Of course I was there early and had to wait for them to open. That was ok, I walked around the block and did a bit of window shopping in the surrounding high end shops.

Once in, I took the advice of some friendly Facebook RTW faster friends and took the elevator to the 4 th floor and slowly made my way down. I only made it through 3 floors! Before I was out of time and mentally on fabric overload ;) I really could have used more time just to browse and look at all the delicious fabrics. It certainly was a feast for the eyes and the feel of all those textiles under my finger tips, just lovely!

A couple highlights of the shop. (Besides the entire experience!)

- the wonderful selection of liberty fabrics. I have never had the pleasure of touching Liberty fabrics before. Ohhhhhhhhhh.... Now I get why they are so coveted and so expensive! 
- I had a nice conversation with the owner of the shop.  She took the shop over from her father and she was a nice lady and greeted every employee as she walked through. That was nice to see.
- I got to meet Emily, a contestant on Project Runway. She works at the shop and is a lovely person! 
- The selection of such high quality fabrics was just amazing! The wools, silks, cottons, oh my!

Emily was nice enough to take a selfie with me! I look like a goof ball... Oh well!

I asked her how the experience was and she said it was very stressful. Not allowed to call home unless it was a suoervised call and very short. Personally she missed her daughter very much! On the design front she said it was difficult because you were placed in an unfamiliar situation with none of your regular comforts. For example, no music was allowed and no ear buds so basically nothing to help with stress levels! I figure that when I saw here it was just past NYC fasion week and I so wanted to ask her how she did but I refrained! I'll just have to wait and watch the show :)

Now on to the fun fabrics! I planned ahead and packed an extra small duffel bag to put all my dirty clothes in just so that I would have room for my fabric purchases. Although, it turns out that they will ship everything home for you if you prefer. Seeing that I still had 5 days left of my trip I choose not to just so that I could have my delicious fabrics at the hotel to ponder and inspire me. 

These are my fabric purchases. 

Pink wool, oh I just love this! I got 3 yards plenty to make a skirt or jacket and have some left over!

The wool and the Liberty fabric I purchased. Ahhhhhh... This will be a button down shirt.
A close up of the Liberty

Here I a the wool and an italian silk. It is so beautiful! This will be another blouse.

These are from the remnant area and are 2 cotton/lycra pieces that have a great drape and nice weight. The large print one is also from Italy and I am thinking of a sleeveless summer dress and a button down with the yellow/purple/white pin stripe. See close up below.

I also picked up a couple of knit remnants. The solid brown is a rayon/Lycra mat jersey knit and is scrumptious. 
I also picked up some hair canvas. I have a hard time finding it locally. I got 2 yards of fusible and 2 yards of sew-in. I plan on making a coat sometime this winter and knew I would need it.
And these were my 'other' purchases from the notions/ribbons floor.
Form the notions floor I got feathers!!! Yes those are feathers you see :) they are for a collar of a cape I am making for Halloween. They are quite extravagant :) the rest is just a couple zips, 2 different doggie ribbons, some chain and in the plastic bag is 2 different lengths of horsehair braid in different widths. 

All on all my shopping experience in Britex was super positive and my fabric budget is now severely depleted! So worth it :)

The rest of my time in San Fransico was wholly and completly taken up by work except for one evening when 3 of us scooted away and enjoyed Fishermans wharf. 

Our view from dinner! The sun setting behind the Golden Gate Bridge! 

Me with wind blown hair... And Alcatraz in the back. Someday I'll get back to San Franscico and play the tourist.

It was a long work trip and I was VERY glad when it was done and I was back home :)

And a parting shot of Little Victoria.