Friday, November 25, 2016

In The Sketchbook- November 2016

Welcome to In the Sketchbook, a monthly look at fashion design sketches that we are working on for ourselves. Sketching garments on a personal croquis is a great way for the individual couture enthusiast to move beyond the use of commercial patterns and into a world of personalized design! It can be intimidating at first, but with a little bit of practice it becomes something you look forward to. Join us for a look of what we have going on In the Sketchbook! Brought to you by Wendy Grossman of Couture Counsellor and Steph King from Siouxzeegirl Designs.

This month my sketches were directed at the preparation for a draping workshop that I took with Sarah Veblen. In the preparation directions she asked us to bring both pictures of garments that interest us as well as sketches that we have done of garment designs.

I was inspired by this to move into sketches of garments that I think would benefit from either being fully or partially draped on my dressform.
Some of these were  directly inspired by garment pictures and some were inspired by my fabric collection and dreamt up in my head!

I have been wanting to make a shawl collar light coat/jacket for a while. Something that will show off both sides of the fabric, the collar and the cuffs can show odd the reverse side. I really like this shape with the fitting darts at the bottom to draw the fabric in and waist fitting darts so it doesn't look too big all over. I really like the silhouette, especially how the big collar balances out the fullness at the hips.

This is a very simple summer top that I imagined constructed on the bias. This is a silhouette that I have never worn because the ready to wear types have never fit me correctly. I'm hoping that I can overcome those issues if  I custom design this for me! I will need to try this out in a muslin first and then decide.

I have a wedding to attend next year and was playing with different ideas. These 2 sketches are different fabric and different construction techniques for the same basic shape. The one on the left is all done out of a sheer fabric with lots of gathering and ruching and would require an understructure. The one on the right is the same shape but the main part of the dress would be pieced and from a more structured woven. The skirt part would then be sheer and of several layers. Many possibilities with this idea!

This outfit was inspired from the jacket in the center top photo. I believe it is a Chanel garment. Initially I was intrigued about how it was constructed and this led me to try sketching it out. You can see my front and back sketches on either side of the photo. I liked the idea of using curved lines in the upper yoke (where I believe the overlap is attached and then left to hang free) I then used these same curved lines in the back yoke of the jacket. I also played around with an interestingly seamed sheath dress. 

This final set of sketches pairs a pencil skirt with a curved yoke and princess seams with the above jacket. I love playing with ideas and seeing how I can change things up and play with mini-wardrobe or collection ideas.

Don't forget to hop on over to see what amazing designs Wendy Grossman of Couture Counsellor has come up with this month! We would love to see what you are working on, leave a comment with a link to your designs.

Friday, November 4, 2016

My almost perfected button down shirt: Simplicity 3684

I am happy to report that I got my shirt done in time for the Chicago ASG chapter annual meeting and fashion show! I was sewing my buttons on at 10pm the night before!

Me at home taking completed outfit pics! please excuse the ponytail and no makeup!!

You can read about my muslin and pattern changes to get this shirt done in this previous blog post-

The criteria for this shirt was that it needed to be a button down front closure, have a collar and cuffs and one sort of embellishment. Embellishment was considered decorative topsticthing, use of multiple fabrics, beading, etc.. I choose the use of multiple fabrics.
Completed blouse on the dressform.

The fabric is from Emmaonesock. 'Sit, Stay' poly crepe woven, still available here and the black contrasting rayon was from my fabric collection. The dog fabric was a slippery sucker to work with and like to fray with a lot of handling. However, it was also the nicest polyester fabric that I have ever used! It cut quite nicely in a double layer and it even pressed well. I am very happy with how the shirt turned out. I purchased the fabric mainly out of curiosity because the description said it was a new technology polyester and because I liked the print. Would I purchase this type of fabric again? maybe, if there was a print that I really loved, I may. I do really prefer natural fabrics and currently have a quite a collection to work through!

I used the black rayon on the front button bands which I sewed to right side of the garment. As well as on the collar and collar stand. The under collar and collar stand were done in the dog print. The black rayon was also used on the both sides of the cuffs and for the simple cuff placket.
The buttons are vintage half round plastic buttons from my button collection.
Detail pictures of the neckline, parallel bust darts that blend right in on this print, seam finishing and collar.
Construction methods: 
To mark the darts I used a combination of tailors tacks and  Pilot Frixion pen. 
All non-enclosed seams were sewn on the regular sewing machine and then serge finished.
All top stitching was done in black thread at a stitch length of 2.0
The collar stand and the cuffs were inserted using the Islander burrito method. 
The hem was finished with a double turned and topstitched hem.
The sleeve hem has 3 small pleats going into the cuff, which are very hard to see on this print! I like the softness of using 3 small pleats versus one or two bigger pleats.

Cuff details: button and placket, three small pleats circled in red. can you see them??? and the inside of the cuff placket.
In the title I have 'my almost perfected' shirt. This means that there are some changes that I want to make to the pattern. For the next version i have added one inch overall to the length of the shirt. I feel it is just a tad short. I have reduced the circumference of the cuff by 3/8 of an inch and made corresponding changes to the sleeve. I also have changed the neckline to an open soft V. This was a neckline that was developed in a Sarah Veblen day long workshop on developing necklines that I took in July. The collar will also be changed to a simpler and softer rolled collar that I will design once the body of the shirt is completed.
Neckline that I have based the new shirt neckline after.

The Skirt is my own drafted design. I used the same base pattern pieces as I did for the floral skirt I wore for Princess V's birthday and baptism, blogged about here. Only this time I choose to cut it as a double layer with the top layer being 2 inches shorter than the under layer. I also finished the hem on the serger using a rolled hem. this gave a very nice, simple and floaty hem that this skirt calls for. Since it is a double layer I did not use a lining. I inserted the lapped zipper to the upper layer and then hand sewed the under layer inside to the zipper tape. All seams were done on the sewing machine and finished on the serger. I attached the waistband using the burrito method which mostly worked out quite well. At the very top of the lapped zipper and into the waistband I could have been over an 1/8 of an inch or less and it would have been straighter. I decided not to unpick it because I just didn't have the energy too! Sometimes you have just accept imperfection! 
Skirt details: lapped zipper with slightly wonky waistband finish, inside of lapped zipper with under layer slipped stitched to the zipper tape, seam finishes and finally, the rolled hems.

Walking the runway in this outfit was so much fun! From a distance you cant see that the print is dogs, it just looks like some random geometric print. I love a print like that! Something to surprise people with when you get up close. It is always interesting to see how much people actually pay attention to what they are seeing. I was in one small group setting where someone commented on how cool the dogs were and the other person remarked that she hadn't even noticed that they were there! Just goes to show that sometimes we have so much going on in our heads that we don't even see what is right in front of us. Makes me wonder how many things in life that I haven't seen!

Runway pictures, courtesy of my daughter, Melissa!
Please enjoy these silly outtakes! I couldn't help but to include them. I was trying to show movement and boy did I get some funny shots! I'm not sure about everyone else that uses a remote for taking self pictures. I always have to take a second set and remind myself to smile! and for some reason I have I always have several where I am looking at the remote. Chin up! and smile!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Little Red Riding Hood Halloween

Princess Victoria is finally old enough to really enjoy her real first Halloween! My daughter and son-in-law left the particulars of the costume up to me!
Taking a break on the swings at Groupon!

A couple years ago I thrifted a deep red rayon velvet dress from an antique /vintage shop. My original intent was to make Christmas stockings with them but there was not enough fabric for 5 stockings plus we decided that the Christmas stocking we currently have are perfectly fine and lovely.

I had just put the dress in the thrift shop box when we started talking Halloween and Little Red Riding Hood just popped in my head! I wanted to make this an easy costume for her to wear and easy to be put on and off. The velvet dress had just enough fabric to make the hooded cape from McCall's 7237. I made the smallest size and it turned out perfect length for my tiny granddaughter. I eliminated all facings and serged all the seams and just turned and topstitched the hems.

The cape confused her at first, she kept trying to find armholes to put her little arms through! She quickly got used to it and then was distracted by candy...

The tulle skirt was made by cutting strips of glittered tulle and tying it to elastic. This little pull on tulle skirt was great for this costume and will also be good for dress-up playtime.

On Friday Groupon, where my daughter works, was having trick or treating for all the kids. We signed up and I brought her Trick or Treating and bonus was she got to spend the afternoon with mommy and grandma!

Riding the elevator and ready to fill her basket!
Such excitement on her little face as she ran down the hallway between the 2 sections of Groupon. She kept her hood up the entire time and was such a ham. Waving and blowing kisses at each of the candy stations. :)

It was really such a joy to sew up a Halloween costume for Princess Victoria!
I hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!