Thursday, October 29, 2015

And what do I do with this fabric??? I know, make a pantsuit!

One of the things I really enjoy about my ASG neighborhood group is the camaraderie and the fact that we both challenge and support each other!

For the annual Chicago Chapter fashion show y group decided to do a group challenge using a Spoonflower designer fabric. The print chosen was Entangled by Heather of Hang Tight Studio. 

My first process in this project was to order several auric samples from Spoonflower. If you have not used Spoonflower I encourage you to check it out! There are thousands of designs and you can even upload your own design. This print on demand service allows you to order as little, I believe a fat quarter, up to as much as you would like. There are quite a few fabric types, 19 in total,  that you can have your chosen design printed on. I choose to have samples printed on 3 fabric types; organic Cotton Sateen, Linen-Cotton canvas and organic Cotton Knit. The samples come in a large 8x8 swatch. Large enough to launder and really get a look and feel of the print/fabric combos. 

The challenge we set dictated that 60-70% of the outfit had to use the Entangled print. The print comes in 6 colors, grey, navy, dawn, green, light pink and blue. I choose the grey.
I had several ideas floating in my head... A wrap dress from the jersey, a tench coat from the canvas or a pantsuit from the cotton sateen. Obviously the pantsuit won out! It just fit more into what I had been sewing this spring and fall. Gave me an excuse to use my new jacket pattern, my perfected pants pattern and to play with changing up the designs on both of those. I also felt the cotton knit would not work for a dress and that the canvas was too stiff, would have needed too much prep of wash and dries to get it broken in enough.

Once I got the fabric, 5 yards in total, I decided that it would need to be underlined with an imperial batiste. This would help keep it from wrinkling too much as well as give it just a touch more beefiness. After consulting with Sarah Veblen the decision was also made to add some color to it. I really did not like the thought of head to toe print fabric. Besides, I LOVE color! So I added teal color to break up all that grey. Let me tell you I pondered and thought and daydreamed and pondered some more on how to make this happen and happen successfully. This was a long term project! I ordered my swatches in mid-June and finished my sewing in late September! 

There was a lot of work! The pants and jacket were both fully underlined. Meaning I had to cut double the number of pieces and then hand baste all those buggered pieces together. I did the pants first, they were easier of the pieces. No paint, only underlining and then hand sewing several swarski crystals to the open vent. The vent gave me a slight bit of trouble and was a bit fiddly because of the double layer of fabric. I did my test run in muslin and it came out perfect. In retrospect I should have eliminated the underlining in that area. Lesson learned for next time! 

Next up was the jacket, with the pants out of the way, I at least felt like I had something accomplished! For the jacket I cut out the fashion fabric and then added the paint. I used a silky shimmer acrylic paint for fabric and with a very small brush I very carefully filled in the white ovals. I wanted a graduated look so I carefully marked all the pieces so that the top quarter has all the ovals filled in and then the second quarter has them going from fully filled to nothing. As you can imagine just lining up all the pieces took some time. I had to paint on 13 separate pieces of fabric and very, very carefully! I had NO fabric leftover to spare if I mucked it up!! The painting was done while I was on a trip to my parents for 10 days. 
After the paining I hand basted all the imperial batiste underlining to all 13 pieces... Good thing I don't mind hand work! With that complete I decided to construct my 3 piece sleeves first. Since my sleeve pattern is adjusted to fit me exactly I could complete the sleeves and totally finish the hem and working 3 button vents while they were flat. As you can see in the picture below I used a teal China silk for a Hong Kong finish.
To keep a sleek look I decided to use covered buttons. This was my first time ever using covered buttons. I bought a kit at my local shop and sort of followed the directions. To make them feel more substantial and avoid shine through I first glued a piece of batting to each button. I also put a bit of glue inside each piece before attaching the backing. They came out lovely!!! I even made a couple extra for my button stash in case I ever lose one from my garment.

With that done the rest, well almost the rest was easy peasy! 
The main construction and the hong Kong binding all went together nicely, of course I took my time, no rushing on this kind of project! 
The hardest part was the collar. I drafted 2 different collar shapes for this jacket. Both are shawl collars. The one I didn't use had points to the side versus this more traditional style. 
This one just looked problem was that I was really stuck on which fabric to use and what kind of treatment. I really, really wanted a textured collar. So I took a couple hours and played with 2 different fabrics and several texture techniques. In the end I opted to use the teal tissue taffeta and I sewed multiple lines of stitching in a longer stitch and shirred it. While pulling up the threads I also used this to help shape the collar. The back is more loosely gathered and the points near the jacket are more tightly gathered. Once I had this done I sewed it to the muslin piece and trimmed it to the correct size. Then I applied some of the shimmer paint along the shirring. I think this treatment turns out lovely and the silk collar feels cool against the back of my neck. 
The tissue taffeta is a fun fabric and the iridescent properties of it really change depending on the lighting.

The hem and the inside facings were all done by hand... More handwork. I think it just looks better that way! I also added a handy inside pocket for tissues or a piece of candy. I like to add my inside pockets near the lower edge so that if I have anything in it it does no look lumpy on my chest.
Can you see the pocket? It blends right in!

It was really a lot of fun to model this outfit on the runway!
I did also make a tank to wear underneath. That fabric was a polyester silky and after sewing with the silks and lovely organic cotton sateen it just felt not quite as nice. 

Here is a shot of my sewing friends with their creations as well. Photo courtesy of Wendy Grossman.
I would have preferred different shoes but had a real hard time finding grey in the right tone to match... I'll have to keep my eye out for a pair of teal flats! 

This project was one heck of a labor of love! Luckily I think the print is close enough to a stripe that I can wear it for work, spice things up a bit!

I'd like to say that after this project I moved onto something a bit easier.... But no, not me! I needed a fancy dress for 2 weddings and so I aLao entered that into the fashion show. I figured if I really had a committed deadline that I would make sure to get it done :)

Stay tuned for next post of my pink wool dress and jacket.

Happy sewing!
And of course, a picture of my beautiful grand baby!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

My first fashion show! Creating Memories

Yesterday I participated in my first fashion show! No, it wasn't in Braynt park in NYC but it was just as much fun in my mind:)

It was actually at a banquet hall in the Chicago Suburbs... Far from the center of New York City, LOL!!

This was the 26th Annual Fashion Show and Luncheon for the Chicago Chapter of the American Sewing Guild called Creating Memories.

My daughter and her best friend came along to cheer me on :)

I had 2 submissions. One was part of our neighborhood group submission and one was a solo submission. It was great, great fun and very warm, supportive and welcoming. 

So,thanks to my daughter and her friend for these lovely pics!

First up is a picture of some of our members from the Sew Chicago group.
Top L: Wendy Grossman,group leader. Top R & Bottom L: Liz Houlihan. Bottom R: Carolyn Angelopoulos. Awesome to have participation with friends!

For our group challenge we choose to do a Spoonflower fabric challenge. We all used a fabric design from the same designer called 'entangled'. The challenge was the at least 70% of the garment had to use the challenge fabric. This was a super fun challenge!
L-R, Linda Anders, Liz Houlihan, me (Steph King) and Susan Gerbosi

We were one of 4 neighborhood groups to participate in the group challenge. Originally we had six entries. However, unforeseen complications along with late nights and lots of cussing, dropped us down to 4. I think we rocked the challenge! 

Here are some more pictures of me walking the runway in my outfits. The runway was set up in a cross configuration with tables all around so everyone had good views. We had to walk onto the stage, to the end and then across both cross pieces all while smiling, walking slowly and deliberately and showing the details of the garment. There was great commentary for all 60+ submissions. The commentary came from a combination of information from the submission form as well as from Wendy Grossman. It was neat to walk the runway while hearing details about your garment and yourself. There was also a professional photographer so he had you stop just at the end of the runway so he could take your photo.

Here is my Spoonflower group challenge. 

Here I am in my pink wool dress and jacket. 

I promise to have full blog reviews of both these outfits soon! They have both been done for a while but I wanted to wait until after the fashion show. 

The other fun part of the entire afternoon were the raffles. I spent 25$ for raffle tickets. 5$ for a quilt with proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity and 20$ for the regular raffles. I think this was a good investment since I won a 100$ gift card to a local shop and a basket of knitting supplies, including yarn, needles, books, etc..  Hmmmm, maybe know I really need to learn to knit! 

I look forward to participating in this fun fashion show again next fall! 

Friday, October 9, 2015

DIY special gift wrapping for a bridal shower!

A non-sewing DIY!! I don't usually write about DIY. Probably because I don't usually do too much DIY! 
The last big DIY projects was all for my daughters wedding over 2 years ago. We did a lot of DIY for that weekend party! 

Recently, I had a little DIY inspiration and fun. It just was a feel good afternoon!
A couple of weeks ago I had a bridal shower to attend. The soon to be bride is one of my daughters best friends. In fact, my daughter is her matron of honor for the wedding ceremony. 

I wanted to have special gift wrapping. The bride was registered at bed, bath and beyond and as I feared 90% of the gifts at the shower were wrapped in BB&B free gift wrapping. There is nothing wrong with that, it does the job.However, I feel that it is totally impersonal, it feels rather lackadaisical and boring. 

The brides colors are burgundy, navy and cream and try as I did, I could not find any paper to do justice to the beautiful bride! So... I went all DIY!!! And made my own gift wrap.

I started with plain brown textured craft paper, a craft paper bag, a can of spray paint and paper flowers. Along with some craft glue and a couple other pretty paper crafts I found myself having a super fun time creating a masterpiece. 

The paper flowers were all white and off white. So I cot off a big piece of craft paper, laid the paper flowers on it and hit it with the spray paint. Luckily for me the weather was nice and I could do this out on my potting bench in the backyard. 

I used craft glue and glued the paper goodies to the top to enhance the pretty paper, I also added the navy bows and ribbon to add in that color as well.

The second portion of the project was the gift bag. I used the spray paint to also spray the paper filler for the bag. 

I think this project turned out quite beautiful!!

The bride really enjoyed the wrapping and you could see the joy in her eyes! It is nice to be able to make someone feel special with just a little extra work. Truth be told, this was not an inexpensive project because I had to purchase everything except the craft glue! Of course I had run out of my stash of craft bags and brown paper several months ago and I only had the wrong color spray paints! Oh well, it was very worth it!!

The beautiful bride to be!