Friday, September 30, 2011

Vogue 1220

Pattern Description:
Loose-fitting, mid-knee length dress has shawl pleated collar, partial waistline seam, pleats, side slant pockets, princess seams in bodice back, back darts, short sleeves turn back cuffs, stitched hem facing, right fly front button closure and tie belt.
Pattern Sizing:
8-22. I cut a 16 through the neck and shoulders gradually out to size 20 at the hips.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
I think it does. Do you?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
The instructions were pretty good but steps 12-14 totally confused me. I made it work but thank goodness I my belt covered it up.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I didn't have any dislikes with the style. I love the pockets and the shawl collar.
Fabric Used:
I think it's a stretch twill
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I'm not sure I needed to but I didn't want to use the design ease in lieu of an FBA so I made a 1" FBA. Doing so was quite tricky.
I cut the pattern apart at the underarm mark to add a sideseam and a dart. I divided the dart between the sideseam and the collar and making four pleats instead of three. Then added an extra pleat to the waist making three instead of two.

I also made a 3/4" wide back adjustment.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I'd love to sew this again in denim.

All-in-all this dress went together quite easily and any issues I had were operator error!
BTW the dress looks a little rumpled because these pictures were taken after a long day at work!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cheetah on the prowl

Finally. Pictures of Vogue 8685. I only had 1 yard of the ITY cheetah print and wanted to save it for just the right project. Was this the right project or what? The black is Ponte from JoAnns. I thought I might need a cheetah print purse to pull off this look but actually, I think this bag makes the outfit really pop.

Initally I underlined the bodice only, as I thought the weight of the skirt would necessitiate it. Wrong. The skirt needed it to. Having already attached the unlined skirt to the bodice, I laid the midriff, yoke and skirt pieced together and cut out a lining. Then I slip stitched the lining to the bodice/midriff seam. Next I stitched over the previous top stitching and voila`.

I didn't have enough of the nude colored lining; I had to settle for the off white. I like the lining because it gives the dress a more covered feel. In a dress as form-fitting as this one, it is easy to feel as if all of your imperfections will be seen. The husband absolutely loves this dress and I think with a black cardigan, this  could be a year-round dress.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A few bra photos

I'm sure you thought you were going to see me sans such luck. I didn't want anybody to go blind. Here's a few photos of my finished bra on a mannequin.

BTW these are the pictures of the bra I drafted!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bra success

My bra saga is over. Just as I thought, I was able to draft a pattern from the two patterns that didn't work. It fits perfectly. I also realized the instructions are missing some very important tips! I'm glad I made one so soon after the workshop because everything was still so fresh in my mind. I was able recall and record most of  what was left out of the instructions. I'm already working on a fourth bra! I don't necessarily need more clothes but you can never have too many bras.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My bra saga continues

Anne did indeed draft another bra pattern for me but I'm wondering if the redraft was some cruel joke or what. The redraft is not too small, but rather a single cup will fit on my head like a beanie. Now, I am beyond pissed off. I wasted more of my precious time and supplies. I am really wondering if she actually knows how to "custom-fit" a bra. Can I be the only one this has happened to or are my expectations too high or my fit too complicated? If I'd been fitting people for and sewing bras for 25 years, I'd hope there wouldn't be a challenge I couldn't conquer. I guess this time I made my seam allowances too narrow? WTF!!

When my neighbor dropped the pattern off she commented that her bra didn't fit as well as she expected and that she would work on tweaking the pattern. I'm sorry, for $175 I expected my bra to be a near perfect fit the first time around. It's not as if you can salvage or alter an ill-fitting bra. This experience has totally soured me on hands-on classes. There was a little too much emphasis on "it's in my book" ($30 extra) and too much time spent with students that did not have enough sewing experience to even be attempting to make something as complicated as a bra. I'd say that less than half of the class finished even though we ran over by an hour and a half.

One good thing has come from this experience. I now have a bra pattern that is too small and one that is too large. I'd say I'm knowledgeable enough to be able to draft a nearly perfect fitting bra pattern from the two.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lend me your ear. What do you think?

I spent the last two days in hands-on classes at the American Sewing Expo. The first was a Designer Jeans class with Angela Wolf while the second was a bra-making class with Anne St Clair. This post is about the bra-making class. The class cost $98 and the supply kit was $75. I was required to send in my ribcage measurement, full and upper bust measurements as well as requiring an in-person fitting the day before complete with bras to try on in the size she chose. Sewing machines were provided. There were about 40 students w/varying degrees of sewing experience and three instructors. I think each student was given a bra pattern based on the shape of their breast.  We were each given a "custom-fitted" bra pattern. The emphasis is on "custom-fitted."
Initially we were guided through the beginning stages of bra construction from layout, cutting, and width of seam allowances to actual sewing. We were expected to wait for the go ahead to the next step. At times there was quite a bit of waiting and later I abandoned "getting the okay" and followed the pattern instructions. When I finally tried my bra on to adjust the straps, they don't have "hardware" because it's "custom-fitted," to my dismay, it didn't fit. It was too small! The bra cups were about one size too small! WTF??? My $200 "custom-fit" bra was too small. I didn't measure myself, or "custom-fit" my own bra. Anne did. Her response was that it fit better than the one I had worn in and that my seams were not 1/4" but 3/8" instead. Oh I see, it's my fault the bra doesn't fit! I've been sewing for about 44 years and I know the difference between 1/4 and 3/8. If each seam has to be an exact 1/4 with no variation, none of the bras should fit anyone sewing them! The center front of mine was about two fingers away from my body. "Custom-fit" my ass. In her defense, she did offer to redraft my pattern. I think it's the least she could do.
It was my intention to make another bra as soon as I got home while the construction was still fresh in my mind. Couldn't do that. I had a bra that made me look like I had two pairs of breasts and wouldn't be wearing under any circumstances. Janet Grimsbey her assistant said she too thought I needed a larger cut size. Ann suggested I wear my ill-fitting bra on weekends or donate it to a women's shelter! Other than being steaming mad at Anne's accusing the poor fit to my seam allowances, I was also out of the supplies for one bra. She just didn't get it. I didn't think what I was asking for was unreasonable. I spent my entire day working on a "custom-fitted" bra that didn't fit and I'd used part of my supplies in doing so. After a rather heated exchange Anne begrudgely gave me another bra kit but while trying to find one she stomped and threw things around in a very child-like manner. I was disappointed to say the least. The situation should have been handled totally differently with her taking the blame for the faulty pattern drafting and offering replacement supplies.
I still don't have my redrafted pattern but a neighbor that was in the class offered to pick it up and deliver it to me later today. I hope it works this time. I did learn how to construct a bra so the class was not a total failure but it might be if the replacement pattern doesn't fit either. My advice to anyone that take a bra making class from Anne, or anyone else for that matter, make sure that you sew your bra to the "try-on" stage before leaving the class. Otherwise, you make be stuck with a bra that doesn't fit and that you don't know how to adjust.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Dior Dress

This is my latest version, version #4, of Vogue 1179. I call it the Dior Dress because when I look at the fabric I see D's, I's and O's. I order the fabric from a couple of months ago. The only changes I made were to shorten it one inch. Because I cut the fabric on the crosswise grain, it hung a little longer than I liked so I removed the hem and shortened it one ince. I did keep the same 4" hem as directed by the instructions. My husband likes it but wondered why I was still sewing summer garments. I told him it was a transition piece! I was too lazy to get dress to take photos but they are forthcoming!

I've nearly finished with Vogue 1220. Hopefully I'll review it before the week is out.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Thursday Thoughts 9/15/2011

I know it's really Friday morning but this is my blog and I can do what I want! LOL
  • I've been 54 for 30 days.
  • I've been on a sewing terror this week!
  • I finished Vogue 8685.
  • Started and finished another version of Vogue 1179.
  • Made alterations to Vogue 1260.
  • Cut V1260 out in a Mocha-colored stretch Twill
  • I seem to be stuck on Vogue patterns.
  • I stayed in my sewing room so long on Tuesday I felt like I was working in a sweat shop!
  • My back is still hurting.
  • Bowling season has started.
  • Yes, I'm bowling--two leagues.
  • Yes, it's hurting my knee.
  • No, I don't think I can make it through the entire season.
  • Yes, I hope I can have the knee replacement at the beginning of 2012.
  • Movies and books about climbing Mt. Everest fascinate me.
  • I just finished reading the Help.
  • Loved it! (singing)
  • Right now I'm laying in bed with my laptop on my lap watching Soul Men with Samuel Jackson and the late Bernie Mac.
  • It's hee-larious!
  • Might be funnier if they weren't bleeping out all the curse words!
  • Guess I don't need to be hearing that kind of language anyway.
So what's going on in your neck of the woods?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I should be finished but...

I'd like to thank all of my followers and especially those that leave comments. I appreciate you and don't think I thank you all often enough.
I'm still working on Vogue 8685. I should be finished but now that the side seams are sewn, I've decided it probably needs a lining. Gosh I can be so flighty sometimes. I decided to underline the bodice (ITY knit) because the it is lighter weight than the skirt (ponte).

After I tried it on I decide that I probably should line the skirt too. On the one hand I might not to have a control garment if I lined it but on the other hand it might be quite warm in warmer weather. Hmmm. What do you think?

Like the previous version I omitted the zipper as it's easy to get on and off without one. It's coming out just as envisioned and if I must say so myself I do look HOT in it. How do I know? The husband was giving me goo-goo eyes when I tried it on. He wasn't feeling it at all when I had it pinned to my dressform. He doesn't quite have the vision he thinks he does.

When paired with these shoes...WOW! My husband says these are stripper shoes but agreed that they look great with the dress. Hey strippers need love too! I'm flattered that he thinks I look good enough to be a stripper. LOL. I just have to make sure to stay off my feet the day before I wear them so that they don't bother my knee. Gotta go now and figure out how to go about inserting the lining.

Y'all come back now...ya hear!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

What I'm working on

I'm working on another version of Vogue 8685. I only had about one yard of this animal print fabric and was waiting for the right project. I have shoes that match! This is what I have so far. Stay tuned for the finale.

Monday, September 5, 2011

McCalls 6243 - Updated w/photos

My current project is this relatively easy sheath dress. The zippers and the interesting angled seems are the thing that make this dress special. If I were able to sew right out of the envelope I imagine I could finish it in two hours of less. Of course I haven't sewn anything right out of the envelope in years and even then I probably shouldn't have. Little did I know that my breast and butt would wind up going south and the hips would go east and west. We won't even talk about the abdomen--but I digress.

The first thing I had to do was trim the pattern pieces, pin them all together and hold up to myself so that I can determine what changes need to be made.

That was a little more difficult with this pattern because the front pieces are cut on a single fold of fabric, while the back is could on a double fold. To make things easy on myself I just decided to make a 1" FBA. Because the front pieces are different on each side, I had to mark and alter each side separately.

See what I mean by should have been "relatively easy?" Altering this pattern wasn't so difficult but I used nearly and entire roll of tape in the process.

After all of the front pieces had been hacked, taped, rearranged etc. this is what the altered pieces looked like.

I knew the side seam bust dart would prove nearly impossible to sew without being pointed at the tip, so I decided to go with a multiple dart look. On the right side I divided the single dart into three smaller darts.

On the left side I sewed two darts and rotated the third one into the upper bodice seam.

I absolutely did not like the zipper insertion but couldn't figure out any other way to insert it and have the end look nice. It doesn't show because the zipper pull covers it up nicely...but it looks like crap!

The back needed a little more shaping so I added waist darts.

The fabric is Ponte knit so I opted not to include the back zipper. The two zippers that I did use cost more than the garment fabric! I also didn't like the idea of just turning under the neckline and armholes so I chose instead to sew small separate bands. After sewing the bands on I realized they are quite tight. Not so tight that I want to take it apart, but tight enough that I'll make the notation on the back of the pattern envelope in case I sew it again. I did sew the hem by machine as instructed by the directions but I don't like the look of it and plan to remove the machine stitching and finish the hem by hand. In the next couple of days or so I will post picture of me in wearing it. It wasn't until I uploaded the pics from my camera did I notice the stains on the front. I hope they come out in the wash.

Update w/photos
Frankly, I'm not happy with any of these photos but after having my last knee injection today I did not fill like re-shooting them. You get the idea about the fit though. I'm not feeling these shoes with this dress but again I wasn't willing to try another pair right now.

And last but not least, my favorite shot...what in the heck was I doing?

Y'all come back now, ya hear?