Friday, July 6, 2018

Summertime party outfit!

Last weekend I traveled to New Jersey to celebrate my nephews engagement! It was so much fun to get together with most of the family and lots of friends to celebrate such a wonderful occasion and to have a wonderful and beautiful new addition to our family!

The party was held at my older brothers home in NJ and I knew it was going to be a great weekend! My daughter and I got in the day before and helped with some of the decorating. We all had a lot of fun making it very special for the happy couple.
The lovely couple and some decorations

I, of course, had to make a new outfit to celebrate!
My brain went round and round with a plethora of ideas. I ended up with 2 contenders. 1 was for a dress and the other for a pants outfit. I decided to go for the pants outfit. The fabric that I picked for the top was one that my daughter brought home for me from her trip to Poland this spring. Lucky for me I had a pair of 4-ply silk cropped pants in a perfect color to match already in the closet. YAY!!

my ensemble with the silk pants

I used one of my self drafted designs to sew up this blouse. It was a bit of a puzzle to come up with the best pattern layout due to having only one length of the panel to work with. The panel was 60 " wide and about a meter long with it basically being a floral design that went from white to full color saturation. I played around with the fabric in front of the mirror to see which portion was best near my face. This was the full saturation (which I already knew but having confirmation always helps!) I could also play with the design ease and how full and floaty versus fitted I wanted the top to be.

My mom and I

If I made the top more fitted I could  have fit all of the bodice pieces on the high saturation area. However, it was not really the look I was going for. Plus, I knew there was a high chance of it being hot out for the party. It was 95 all day! I played around with using 2 different fabrics and in the end I sort of used all the fabric on the panel in a sort of color blocked way.

It worked out perfect, I love the end result and it wore wonderfully even in the hot and humid weather!
3 Generations! Plus my older brother photo bombing us!!

So, if you are very observant you may have noticed that my pants have changed part way through the photos... Well, it was a party and as sometimes happens there was a party foul that required me to remove my silk pants and wash them out immediately with club soda! Luckily I had a new pair of summer linen pants in a bright green that also went well with the top. Not quite as fancy but in a pinch they worked. More on those in another post.


All the details! bottom left is a close up of the fabric. A very spongy woven and was quite nice to wear!

Construction of this top was quite simple. I sewed all the vertical seams first on the sewing machine and then serged each seam allowance separately so they could be pressed open. I stabilized the shoulder seams with a small piece of fusible stabilizer tape, used a facing for the neckline with several small catch stitches to hold the facing in place. The sleeve and body hem were done with a tiny rolled hem technique that I like.

We always have a good time together!!



Friday, June 29, 2018

In The Sketchbook- June 2018 Sketching pants

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.



oh dear...it seems that I missed posting my In The Sketchbook for the month of May! It was a very busy time and it just passed me by!

Lets just move onto June!

This month I have had pants on my mind. I finally seem to have a very good base pants pattern developed and I have been playing with different styles to build off of them. With that in mind, I spent several plane rides sketching out pants ideas and these were the best of them. I must admit that none of them are ground breaking ideas just more of testing silhouettes and some details that are good on me. I left out the ones that I would never wear, like paper bag waist or very high waisted with the intention to be seen. There are very few exceptions to where I will have the waist of my pants on public display. I am not a fan of the tucked in look for an everyday silhouette on me. The biggest exception is for work wear when I am wearing a suit then I may have a top or blouse tucked in if I have a jacket over it.

I digress! onto the sketches!
These nine looks/silhouettes are ones that I like. I either have something similar or want to try them out and see what I can come up with.

Wide/straight leg cropped- above ankle linen/cotton pants.

Pedal pushers or clam diggers with a split hem at the outer leg in linen/cotton or maybe a stretch woven.

These are quite boring but a necessity. Plain jane slacks in wool or wool blend and lined.

These are totally a throw back to the '80s! Full legged cuffed trousers!
they would need to be paired with a very modern and minimalist top to bring them into a more current trend.

Fun, chill out jeans with a flair and a color blocked hem.

Slightly cropped lantern hem pants out of a fabric with some body. a crisp cotton, taffeta or
 silk duipioni.
Not sure how I would like them but eager to find out!

Good ole Bermuda shorts! I only have 2 pairs of shorts that I wear at home or camping. I don't really have anything for normal hot summer day wear in the shorts category and these could fill that void.

These were inspired from old fashioned divided skirts that woman wore to ride horses way back in the day. When pants were down right scandalous! I like this idea as an alternate to a dress for a dressier occasion.

These are actually inspired from a ready to wear pair of pants that I own! they are great to wear in the summer made of dry -quick sporty fabric and have roll up convertible tabs. Great for the summer and taking the Princess around to the beach or park fountains. very comfortable with a knit waistband and drawstring closure.
What fun things have you been sketching?

Make sure to stop by Wendy Grossman of Couture Counsellor to see what lovely sketches and ideas she is working on. Please feel free to share your sketches and ideas with us.

Happy Sketching!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Sometimes you just need instant gratification!

There really is nothing closer to instant gratification in garment sewing than sewing up some summer tees!


I love the ease and the fit of Jen Stern The Tee pattern. Yes, it has a couple more pieces than a traditional Tee shirt but the fit is amazing and it is super easy to sew assembly line style plus I can sew it all on my serger.
I have a previous blog post about all the different necklines in this post from 2016.



I made several variations by modifying the neckline. Some of these variations are in the Beyond the Boatneck workbook from Jen Stern and some are of my own making.

One change in construction that I now do on all of my tees from this pattern is to make the center upper front piece with a facing. I find that this gives a nicer edge and the quality of the tee holds up better in the long run. Jen does give directions for a full facing but I just like to do the very front piece and then treat is as a single piece in the rest of the construction. This means that the back neckline is a simple turn and coverstitch  or topstictch and the front has the facing.

These first 2 Tee's, the multi-color butterfly featherweight cotton and the red cotton jersey one from the last post both have the original neckline.
This has the original boatneck neckline. You can see below how the CF piece is faced and then treated as one piece.





This purple bamboo knit has a soft V neck that is very flattering and comfortable in the hot summer weather and is a perfect companion to the summery A-line stretch cotton skirt I made earlier this spring.

 Here is another variation in the multi-color butterfly featherweight cotton. This time I completely eliminated the center front piece to make a tank top! I did re-shape the side front pieces to be a more flattering fit on me. I curved them in a little bit and widened them at the top so they easily cover my bra straps.

The tank top version of the Tee. I still used a partial facing technique, this time just on the side front pieces. You can see this in the photo below.


This last Tee did take a little longer to make just because it is a lovely silk knit with a stretch lace overlay that is part of a work wardrobe collection I am in the middle of making.
The neck line on this is a drape neck that I drafted myself and have used in the past. I used only the lace for the draped neck part and self faced it to give it some weight to correctly drape. The sleeves are modified into a wing sleeve and that is single layer lace with raw edges. The lace and the silk knit were treated as one for the side fronts and upper back and at the upper front and back seams. For the lower body the lace and silk knit is kept separate so that they can swish independently.
silk knit tee with gold stretch lace overlay

Close up of the details. top photo shows the faced lace draped neck portion, bottom left shows the un-hemmed sleeve shape and the bottom right shows how both layers treated as one for the beck neckline.
The photo below shows how I kept the body portion of the lace and silk knit separate.


One of the reasons that I really love this pattern is that I was able to modify it so that the lower front is a little bit on the swingy side while keeping the shoulder and bust area fitted nicely.. This really means that I can grab this shirt and always feel comfortable even on days that my pancreas is misbehaving and causing me to have a bloated abdomen. On the bad days it can increase my measurement by almost 2 inches!

Do you have a favorite or TNT tee shirt pattern?

Happy Sewing!!

The princess turned 4 this weekend! We celebrated with a beach party :)
I cant believe my grand-baby is getting so big!