Monday, August 25, 2014

Seeing red.... Red jeans that is!

Early this year I was at my local shop and saw this beautiful bolt of Red Denim. A nice high quality thicker weight denim that just jumped out at me and screamed make me into jeans!!! How could I resist?? 

All the trends of colored jeans and even print jeans are so much fun! I put this project off for a bit when I got this fabric because this was not a summer weight denim. Definitely a pair of jeans for cooler weather! This fabric has no give, none at all but with a great fit you really don't need stretch added.

Due tot he red color, I washed and dried this length of denim 3 times before even cutting out along with a color catcher just so I could get a feeling for the bleed of the red dye. This is a pair of jeans that will surely need to be washed on cold and with like colors or just by themselves. I'm okay with this and I figured it would be the case when I purchased the denim. Red is such a finicky bitchy color. 

I used my TNT pattern Silhouettes Lana Jeans and just used a smaller seam allowance since no stretch in the fabric. 

The most exciting thing about these jeans???? Other than that hot red color.... I was FINALLY able to insert that zipper fly without looking at any instructions!!! Whew! I thought that would never happen. It only took me doing 6 zip fly fronts to be able to do it properly and with no extra guidance.WOOHOOO!!!!! Go me!!! I was seriously happy about this!

Another neat thing on these jeans is the back pockets, I used an Anita Goodesign embroidered quilt design on the back pockets and it worked out even better than I expected :) it adds a great designer touch to my jeans. The front pockets were made from a paisley print poly silky from JoAnn's leftover from a project a couple years ago. 

Of course I have NO pictures of me in them. My house has been like  the plague house for the past week and a half. My hubby has the nastiest virus that just won't quit and August dog days are in full swing! It is so humid and gross outside. The windows in the house have actually been fogged up in the morning due to this disgustingly hot and humid weather. 

So, as soon as the hubby is better or I can get another photographer and the weather cools. Down just a little I will get some pics. Hmmmm, maybe I should ask for a camera remote for X-Mas...

I LOOOOVE my new red jeans :)

I suppose this means fall sewing has moved into my workroom! AND I actually have a fall sewing plan in place!! Maybe I'll share this plan or maybe I'll keep you in suspense and not put any undue pressure in my self ;) 

Now for an UGLY... BAD....

The other day I was fiddling on my work table and this lovely spider decided to scare the hell out of me!  My heart literally took off running. I reached for the closest weapon which just happened to be the hammer I was using to pound all my jeans seams flat before topstitching... And WHACK! One big rdead, squashed spider. Thank god it didn't jump at me. My hubby would have found me dead on the he floor. I have a little... Correction BIG, fear of spiders.


Now... After sharing the bad and ugly..

Here is some BEAUTFUL and SWEET!!

Princess Victoria is now 2 months old! 
And last week she had her first trip to the beach and Atlantic Ocean. 


And one last fun one to share!
One of my dogs, Blue, is IN LOVE with little V!!
She gets so excited and when you ask her "where's the baby?" She looks for her, gives her a kiss and then actually smiles at you! She does this every single time!!! So amazing and adorable. Of course Little V is just as enchanted with Blue. :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Charles James: Beyond Fasion at the MET

This past Thursday I had an entire afternoon in NYC to myself. What a treat :) 

The dilemma on what to do..... Head over to the fashion district and hit the fabric shops, spending oodles of fabric to add to an already overly large stash?... OR head in the other direction and go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the Charles James exhibit, wander around in awe gazing lovingly on his beautiful creations and hopefully become inspired to use some of my overly large stash in some creations? 

Ohhhhh... The decision was difficult. I mean really, Mood, Parons, Spandex house, M&J trims and more OR some of the most beautiful creations ever made in the US by one of the best designers.

I ultimately decided to head to the MET. The fabric stores aren't going anywhere and there was nothing I was dying to purchase but the Charles James MET exhibition is only showing for a couple more weeks! I just HAD to go.

I made the RIGHT decision! Oh the joys of having all afternoon in the MET by myself was just a delectable experience. The Charles James exhibit was split into 2 parts within the museum. The first part was in a special exhibit area near the main entrance and the second half was across the museum on the lower level in the newly renovated Costume Institute area. This made for an interesting experience for me.... As I was heading from one area to the other I became hopelessly lost, mostly impart to my paying no attention whatsoever to where I was going and just checking out areas and pieces of art that grabbed my attention. :) so fun to lose myself in that massive museum! 

Anyway, I thrououghly enjoyed the Charles James exhibit, a special exhibit on modern jewelry and the roof top garden installation where I enjoyed a nice cold beer and an amazing view of the city. 

I then decided to visit the Charles James exhibit one more time! I mean why not!!! 

At the end of my day I, of course, visited the museum shop and picked up the Charles James Exhibit catalogue. I love these catalogues and have several from other exhibits as well. 

I have heard of Charles James before and seen photos of his work but never anything to in-depth. The most outstanding thing to me about his work is the use of interesting seams. The seaming details in almost every garment are truly exquisite. Also his use of draping and folds to create interest and details is pretty ingenious. I can only imagine the amount of time each of these garments took to complete! 

The catalogue is a beautiful documentation of his work with just hundreds of pictures of the garments along with detailed close ups of the beautiful seaming details that he used.

Here are some pictures of the exhibit! It was truly beautiful. 


Some of his muslin work

Butterfly Ball Gown 1955

Clover Leaf Ballgown 1953. The back is so beautiful with the back lapels and the placement of the black silk lace. Leaving the erogenous zone open.

Tree Ball Gown 1955 named after Marietta Tree, the client whom this was designed for.

La Sirene Evening Dress 1951-52  made from a luscious ivory silk crepe. 

Ribbon dressing gown 1938- 40 made all from silk satin ribbons!

Ribbon ball gown1946 the skirt is made of a variety of different ribbons. So beautiful!

An Evening dress from 1945, peach silk Charmeuse
Interesting pleating detail across the front pelvis..... Hmmm. Interesting detail...

A selection of coats and wool garments
Cossack coat 1952, Dark brown wool Melton
Suit 1948, gray wool flannel
Coat ensemble early 1950's purple-brown brushed wool

Throughout the exhibits there were Charles James quotes on both the mirrored walls and the glass enclosures. I was very happy to see many of these also printed in the catalogue!

Some other areas of the museum. The view from the rooftop garden, the horses and knights in the hall of armor. A necklace from the modern jewelry exhibit and the temple of Dendur. 

And of course... A selfie out front with the Charles James exhibit banner and my bag of goodies. :)

I'm still daydreaming of all those delicious details from the exhibit!
Happy Sewing!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tracy Reese Dress Vogue 1343, a TNT dress and another crazy month!

This July was just crazy, crazy, crazy busy for me! 

- started off with a fun filled 4 th of July long weekend
- a brand spanking new grand daughter that seems to not want to get out of my arms!! ;) as if I would even think of putting her down!!!
- my sister visiting for a long weekend from mississippi. That include trips to Arlington horse track and to the Chicago Art institute 
- another weekend filled with a great wedding and wine tasting & lunch with friends. 
- I was also AWAY from home for work for 14 of the 31 days! Ugh

Now with all of that said let's get to the important parts.... The Sewing! After all this is a sewing blog.

I did get a little bit of time in the sewing room. I have to it is my sanctuary, my place to go and just be. 

I finished a dress, the Tracy Reese Vogue 1343 dress. This dress is actually a wearable muslin. The construction was suitably difficult to not be able to make a partial fitting muslin. I read all of the reviews that I could find and compared flat measurements to my own measurements and made some adjustments before I even cut my fabric. 

The biggest complaint from other reviewers was that the cowl neckline was way, way to deep. Like indecent type of deep! And that the neckline was just a bit too low to start off with. 
I made 2 changes to correct for these. 1- I shortened the length of the neckline at the front shoulder yoke by cutting horizontally from the neckline to but not through the armhole and overlapped the tissue at the neck line by 1/2 inch. This effectively raised the neckline at center by an inch. 2- to reduce the depth and drape of the cowl I did a similar adjustment by cutting perpendicular down center front from the top of the cowl to but not throughout the waist and overlapped these pieces by 1 1/2 inches reducing the overall fullness and depth of the cowl by 3". This does not mean that the cowl lays three inches higher than where it did originally... I didn't actually measure that change but it does pull it up some and still leaves a nice drape in front. 

The sizing in this dress is a bit crazy so pay attention to the flat measurements! My pattern was multi sized from 16-22. I cut a 16 for the top and graded to a 22 for the bottom. That's how HUGE the top is drafted!!

I will make 3 more changes when I make this again, and I will make this again even though the silhouette is one that I don't normally wear. 
1. Cut a larger armhole
2. Lengthen the bodice by an inch
3. Lengthen the skirt at the waist by an inch


The armhole was just a tad snug so I recut it on the fly before adding the bias finishing. The length above the waist felt a little short. Since there is a light elastic in there I would like it to fall at my natural waist. The overall length felt a bit short for me. Mostly because I haven't really worn any dresses that hit above the knee in years! Now that I have no more leg brace I dint have to worry about covering down to my mid-calves but I could have used just a tad more length for my comfort :)

The fabric I used was a cheap 'silky' from JoAnns that I got on half price at the red tag section. So I maybe paid 8$. The fabric was horrible to work with mostly because the quality was poor and it frayed like no ones business and was difficult to handle well. I mean really, just check out the AWFULL back button placket. It does not even come close to matching and I did it twice! The fabric could just not handle me pulling out the stitches of the bias finishing one more time, just was being destroyed. I even used a ton of spray starch to try and tame it!! However, it did work perfectly for a wearable muslin and I have worn it twice so far. Once for a work event with a brown belt and brown shoes and once to a wedding with a gold belt and gold shoes. I have some very nice rayon cuts in my stash that I will make this out of again.


The second dress I made TNT knit dress pattern Simplicity 1653. This time I used the big fluttery sleevs and also added width to the bottom of the skirt to make it a bit fuller. This is primarily a work dress and I love it! It is a striped ponte knit. I cut the front and back pieces on the bias and matched the stripes at center front and back in a chevron. I cut the front so that the chevron pointed up and the back so that it pointed down RS way at the side seams the stripes flowed across at a downward angle on the skirt. This way I didn't have to try and match a chevron at the side. The upper sides did not matter since the top fronts were cut on the cross grain,  same as the sleeves. I a very happy with the outcome of this dress! And because it is a knit it travels well in my suitcase for work.

I have 2 more July makes that will be in the monthly wrap-up post :)

Happy sewing!!