Sunday, October 30, 2016

ASG Chicago Chapter 27th Annual Fashion Show and Luncheon

Sew Surprising was the name for this years annual fashion show and luncheon which was so surprising since we hardly had any communication about the event at all! It was like Sew Surprising was kept a as a great big secret.
My very good friend Wendy and I at the luncheon.

This is only my second year being a member so I only have last year to compare to and let me tell you there was a big difference in the level of communication. Unfortunately it had a direct impact on both the attendance of the event and the number of fashion show entries. It was a bit disappointing to see. Less than 100 people in attendance and a grand total of 38 garments... come on, this is Chicagoland.

Any way...Those of us that were there made the most of it and enjoyed ourselves!

I had 3 garments entered in this years show. 2 of which have already been blogged about.
First up was my Yellow jacket and Floral skirt (blogged about here) that I made for Princess Victoria's 2nd birthday and baptism.

The 2nd was my Sneaker corner dress adapted from vogue 1404. (blogged about here) I made this from fabric purchased at the July ASG National Conference in Indianapolis.

The last outfit was part of the Sew Chicago Neighborhood Group Challenge which was to make a button down shirt with collar, cuffs, button closure and one embellishment. In my case the embellishment was contrasting fabric. If you hop over to the Sew Chicago blog you can see the other participants entries.

For my entry I used Simplicity 3684 as my starting point. The fabric is from Emmaonesock. 'Sit, Stay' poly crepe woven, still available here and the black contrasting rayon was from my fabric collection. I made several changes to the pattern after making a muslin the biggest was changing the sleeve to 2 piece sleeve. I will do a full blog post on this soon. I also used my A-line skirt pattern to create a new skirt. This one is a double layer of an over-dyed black rayon woven done with a rolled hem, lapped zipper and waistband.

I also had a garment entered in the fabric challenge. Each year there is a fabric challenge and this year it was a polyester print. I had some challenges with this fabric. One we only had a small piece and it had the tendency to run and to fray :( Due to those challenges I decided to use a pattern where I could ruche the fabric which helped to hide the flaws.
I actually had a lot of fun doing this challenge! It pushed me outside my box and let me experiment to come up with something fun and unique. You can read all about my challenge garment and see pictures of it and it's sister shirt here.

Hopefully next year has a better turnout!

Friday, October 28, 2016

In The Sketchbook- October 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.

I worked on adding in details to my sketching this month. I took my base pencil skirt pattern and modified it for a knit pencil skirt. This got me thinking of all the ideas that I could make off of that plain knit pencil skirt.

I started by pulling fabrics from my collection. I often times let my fabrics speak to me and tell me what they want to be! This worked like a charm and I came up with 4 great designs. In these sketches you will also see a side view. This is new for me, I really wanted to capture the idea from my imagination and sketching a side view really helped that in several of these. I also find that jotting down notes also help to jog the memory on what idea

Idea #1: Knit pencil skirt with contrasting side panels. Fairly simple design and a take off of the color blocking that is very popular right now. The 2 fabrics I choose are a floral scuba knit for the main front and back and then a deep maroon rayon ponte for the side panels. I could also go with black bit I like the maroon better. Both of these fabrics have been in my collection for a while. The ponte was from an online source and I think the floral scuba is from JoAnn's from when scuba first came out and I just wanted to try it out.

Idea # 2: Knit pencil skirt with a single side front panel with an integrated pocket. The integrated pocket panel would be done with just folds in the fabric to prevent having any lumpiness from seaming. The side and side front seams above the pocket would need to be stabilized a bit to prevent any stretching out from carrying an I-phone in that pocket.
The fabric for this is a lovely scuba knit from Mood fabrics.

Idea # 3: This knit pencil skirt has an overlapping front panel ending in points and has a V like cutout at center front hemline. From the side view you can see that the hemline at the points dip down lower than the straight back. The front pieces are also asymmetrical with the right overlap going deeper than the left underlap. I will need to make sure that I have this asymmetry different enough so that it looks deliberate and not like a mistake in garment construction!
I have 2 different fabric choices pulled for this skirt. The black and white plaid is more of ponte like fabric. The plaid is actually woven in not printed on. This was from my collection and maybe from The second fabric is from Emmaonesock and is a rayon poly mix very similar to a scuba knit.

Idea #4: This knit skirt has no side view sketch since nothing special to show from the side. It has a single back piece and the front is split with a diagonal seam that finishes at the hemline with a split. I also really like the idea of using top stitching to highlight the lines of the seams. This fabric is a delicious double knit from Smugglers Fabrics. One side is a silvery grey and the other is black. I think I would use the silvery grey facing out and topstitch with black thread. I will have to do a bunch of topstitch testing to come up with a good combination that wont make the fabric ripple.

Don't forget to hop on over to see what amazing designs Wendy Grossman of Couture Counsellor has come up with this month!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Tale of Two shirts- Cynthia Guffey T2025

First off... a quick apology for the lengthy time between posts. I was sick again, in the hospital again and it just sucked all the energy from me, again.

I have been sewing, just not quite at the pace that I would like. I don't have as many pictures as I would like. Mostly due to the energy thing. However, if I wait until I'm all better we may never see another blog post! SO without further ado

You saw a peek at these two shirts in my last blog post In the Sketchbook- September 2016.
My green floral silk top with ribbon V neckline and vintage green buttons.

This shirt has history!  I first posted about this shirt back in June 2016 in this post. You can see pictures off all the pattern changes and how they compare to the original pattern. Since that post I have been in the hospital 2 more times, each for a week and each time losing more weight. I first made my first muslin of this shirt almost exactly one year ago. Crazy to think that the very first muslin I made of this shirt was done almost exactly one year ago!

This shirt has some very lovely details and I really wanted to re-create this shirt on me! The actual original pattern was drafted quite well and went together easily. Well, as easily as any Cynthia Guffey pattern. Her patterns are not for beginners, these are geared to advanced sewists who are looking for more advanced details and construction techniques. The problem with this shirt on me is that is was not drafted for my body shape. Basically Sarah and I redrafted this pattern on me to fit me. I think that every single seam  line has at some point been altered for a better fit on my body.

The real kicker here is that I'm still not happy with it. It needs a slight bit of tweaking at the back armhole and across the back. In the green floral it just pulls ever so slightly. However, it is quite evident on the orange silk twill shirt. I can feel the tightness and you can see the pull wrinkles after being worn all day. The issue is much more more pronounced on the orange version which leads me to believe that it is directly related to the the sleeve. On the orange version I have 3 layers of sleeve with  one of them being a stay of silk organza with no give.  The green floral only has 2 layers ( the outer sleeve and the facing) and it only has a slight pull and much more give.  A definite question to ask during a mentor session with Sarah Veblen.
You can see the in the top Green/floral version that the pull lines are only when I bring my arms all the way forward. In the bottom photos of the orange version you can see the bad pull lines from the bottom back armhole. Not pretty!

 It also need to be lengthened just a tad, maybe about an inch. If i were to stand and put my arms up say to reach an upper cabinet or to put a bag in an overhead bin on the airplane you would be able to see my tummy and I do not like that. So for these two shirts it is just something that I am aware of and I can always wear a bodysuit underneath and not worry about any indecent exposure! I really wanted to make a version out of a piece of liberty of London fabric that I have been saving but. However, i need to add just a tad more room to the CB in the mid-upper back for this next version along with a little more length.
Just a tad more length needed!sorry for the baggy jeans...

I also changed the neckline. Many of Cynthia Guffey's patterns have quite a modest jewel neckline that does not look good on more nor am I comfortable in. I have re-designed the neckline into 2 different versions. The orange version is very similar to the original design only the 'U' neckline was deepened by almost 2 inches. keeping the relative same shape allowed me to use the same type of collar design that Cynthia drafted for this pattern. The green floral shirt I changed to a soft V neckline. This is one of my favorite types of necklines, very flattering on my body.

Even though this shirt has taken quite a while to get done, and sometimes caused me to lose patience, I am glad that I stuck with it! It was a good learning experience.

For the green floral V neckline I choose to use a gathered ribbon for the neckline treatment. This broke up the floral expanse and gives the eye a place to rest. I am in the middle of constructing a ling green wool pencil skirt to pair with this top. It also goes quite well with a casual pair of jeans. My husband likes this shirt but thinks my floral fabric choice is a little old fashioned. pfft. I disagree.
I always like to give my necklines the bend over test! Especially if they are a garment that I am considering to wear for work!

The orange shirt was born out of the idea that I needed to make a garment for the Chicago Chapter fashion show and Luncheon fabric challenge entry. We had a small amount of the challenge fabric and I happened to have the pattern sitting out waiting to be made up again with the neckline changes.
The 8 garment entries for the ASG Chicago chapter annual luncheon and fashion show.

This was the perfect opportunity to practice the pattern again while combining several fabrics for the challenge. I started by sketching several ideas and this was the final outcome. I must say that inserting flat piping between to ruched layers was so very much not fun. I used quite a few creative words and gained valuable one on one time with my seam ripper. sigh. I decided that each piped seam only got 2 chances. After that I just made up my mind to be good with it and allow it to not be perfect. I even hand-basted those suckers and it still was off...
Final details of the orange shirt. The challenge fabric was the print and I used orange silk twill for the main pieces and blue silk for the flat piping. The buttons are vintage plastic from my button collection. I also finished the facings with a hong-kong finish using the challenge print fabric.

Anyway, I realized that I now had this nice top but literally nothing to wear with it. I mean nothing. My fabric collection had this lovely deep maroon rayon ponte that went with my color scheme perfectly. I used my straight skirt master pattern, for wovens, and went about creating a master pencil skirt for knits. At the center front and center back I placed the fold off the edge at half an inch. effectively reducing the circumference by 2 inches which was perfect for a knit. I also pegged the side seam in an inch at the hem.I basted the side seams and tried on for fit. I may have taken in the side seams about an additional 1/4 inch for a total of 3 inch reduction in circumference, This worked great for a stable knit pencil skirt. I serged all the seams and topstitched all my seams in orange to coordinate with the top.

The green shirt with the wool fabric currently being turned into a skirt.
The orange shirt with the new maroon ponte pencil skirt. pay no mind to the awkward pose and face!!

Happy Sewing!!
I leave you with the Princess blowing her nose (actually pretending too) then wading up the tissue and pulling out another. Wash, rinse and repeat until the entire box was empty!