I love to use Pinterest as my virtual bulletin board. As you might guess many of my pins are sewing related. Click here to see what fun stuff I've found and pinned to different sewing boards.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Woodland Fairy Queen's Bifurcated Dress Form - Even Titania...

While hiking Windy Hill this past weekend, I was amazed to see that the Woodland Fairy Queen had gone off leaving her bifurcated dress form behind.

It seems, even Titania wears trousers these days.

(co-published in Postcard From California, and  Me Encanta Coser/Encanted By Sewing)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

FLARED Skirt - Parlez Vous French Pattern Drafting? Moulage Class Pay Off




  
The second of three skirt drafts, I leaned about in the French Pattern Drafting/Moulage class I took from Lynda Maynard.

To create a flared skirt from a sloper. This example shows a back sloper. The changes are the same for both front and back.


* A - In the beginning, it's like what we did drafting the straight skirt * 

 First, trace a new copy of each sloper piece, back and front,  on your pattern paper of choice.


Second, Cut away above* the Waist Balance Line
*Leave some seam allowance above that waist balance line. You may want to face the skirt waist or you may want to add a waistband. Better to leave a little extra for now....


Third, Extend down 26"** from the Waist Balance Line at Center Front 
** 26" was suggested by Lynda, maybe a longer or shorter length works for you. Play around with your muslin version. I measured a knee length skirt I made last summer, and this length was about right for me. 

* B - Now... the pattern changes from what we did for the straight skirt *


Fourth,  
i. Cut down one of the dart legs (red dots)
ii. Cut UP from the hemline to just below where you cut the dart leg, leaving a hinge point there






 

                                                                          
FifthMove the cut dart leg over beneath or on top of the other dart leg. This opens up an area in the skirt. You may choose to leave a bit of the dart in place, if you want less of a flare. Tape your dart legs together.






 Sixth, i. Cut a piece of tissue that would fill in behind the newly opened part of the skirt pattern with paper. This is the insertion. Then add another 1/4" to the insertion.
ii. Create an extension that is the same size as the original insertion.  Tape your insertion and extension onto the back of your pattern.
Seventh - Make a nice new pattern piece with no tape. You may want to go ahead and add seam allowances to the new pattern. Since I draft my patterns from my sloper, it doesn't have seam allowances already. A 1" seam allowance is great, the first time you draft a pattern. It gives you a lot of wiggle room. 

Don't forget to date your new pattern pieces. You'll be glad you did.














Sunday, April 12, 2015

Damson Plumm Private Eye - Nibbled That Tee


Damson Plumm Private Eye is, as you might imagine, inspired by bounty hunter Stephanie Plum
Remember when I blogged about Lynda Maynard's French Pattern Drafting class starting to pay off? Yes, I am indeed mighty happy with this plum purple tee shirt I created from a pattern I drafted myself. It was based on nibbling away at  the moulage fitting pattern that came out of Lynda's class. I also really like the royal plum-purple rib knit that I used to make the tee. Can you believe I found this material in my fabric inventory? ( Fabric inventory sounds so much better than fabric stash.)

What did I learn while creating this tee? 1) Don't fit the front and back first and then add the sleeve. I thought this top fit so perfectly, after mocking up just the front and back, that I sewed over the basting stitches in the side seams and then went on to
a) Redraft the sleeve pattern- making it much narrower
b) Cut out the reduced size sleeve
c) Sew those nice narrow sleeves in.

Uh oh....Taking in those side seams would have been fine, if I'd wanted a sleeveless tee, but I didn't.

Hardy har har - you should have seen my arms looking like sausages, unable to move. And we all know how fun it is to pick stitches out of knit fabric!
2) So, good thing, I had already learned to  ... cut super wide seam allowances when I'm playing with new patterns I draft myself. Thank goodness I had made my seam allowances 1 and 1/4 inches wide. I wouldn't have had enough fabric to rework the underarm seams on my sleeves otherwise- because of course I'd redrafted the sleeve to be so much narrower, after I'd fitted the front and back together, taking in the side seam allowances by quite a lot (smaller than the original moulage indicated).
3) Even though I wasn't in the mood, I measured all the changes I made on this tee and prepped a complete new pattern, all ready to try out on another tee project. Because another thing I've learned is that I don't remember what changes I made, and I can't always find the last garment I made from a pattern when I go to use it.
~ ~ ~
Damson Plum is, as you might imagine, inspired by bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. Stephanie is younger than me, even funnier than me and has a grandmother who drives a hard-working gal crazy, but I still identify with her.

Damson Plumm Private Eye is inspired by bounty hunter Stephanie Plum.
Way back when, I created a Damson Plumm Private Eye label for my home made plum jam (using my home grown damson plums). And now, thanks to my new pattern drafting skills, I've drafted the pattern for, and sewn, my own Damson Plum Private Eye tee shirt. I'm sure it's the plum-purple that Damson always wears, that helps her crack those tough cases.



Saturday, April 11, 2015

STRAIGHT SKIRT: Parlez Vous French Pattern Drafting - Moulage Class Pay Off

The first of three skirt drafts, I leaned about in the French Pattern Drafting/Moulage class I took from Lynda Maynard.

To create a straight skirt from a sloper. This example shows a back sloper. The changes are the same for both front and back.


First, trace a new copy of each sloper piece, back and front,  on your pattern paper of choice.


Second, Cut away above* the Waist Balance Line
*Leave some seam allowance above that waist balance line. You may want to face the skirt waist or you may want to add a waistband. Better to leave a little extra for now....


Third, Extend down 26"** from the Waist Balance Line at Center Front 
** 26" was suggested by Lynda, maybe a longer or shorter length works for you. Play around with your muslin version. I measured a knee length skirt I made last summer, and this length was about right for me.
Fourth, Extend out 3/4 of an inch from the side seam at the hem
And Finally grade back up from the extended hem to the full hem balance line. If you (instead) draw the side seam straight, the skirt will read as a pegged skirt and not a straight skirt line.











Sunday, April 5, 2015

Pattern Work:Parlez Vous Tee Shirt? French Pattern Drafting Class Begins to Pay Off

Moulage Pattern - a fitted tee, Sloper - looser fit
I have  created a moulage, sloper and sloper sleeve patterns in Lynda Maynards "The Art of French Pattern Drafting" class at CaƱada College.
Now all my time and effort look like they are beginning to pay off. Using my moulage pattern, I've begun work on a  pattern for a fitted tee shirt. This tee will be no-dart. We've learned to do that by the 'nibble-away' process. Here is an example of a classmates moulage back being nibbled away. Had she used her sloper pattern the tee shirt would have included more wearing ease, and been a little bit looser. 

The red nibble-away lines show where the fish eye and shoulder dart take-up is being removed from the far edge. In the case of the fish eye dart, you can see that the take-up is removed from the side seam. This creates a pattern that reflects the shape of the curves that a dart, necessary in wovens but not in a knit fabric.

I'm looking forward to showing off my first tee test garment, hoping to have the basic construction (without neckline band) done in time for class this coming week. Yes, I already have plans for several more!


                                                                          

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Romancing the Dress - Periwinkle Blue Anjelica Cotton Knit Cutie

Laurel in Anjelica at San Francisco Legion of Honor
Did You Make That? 

Yep!

I 'm pretty pleased with this new periwinkle blue cotton knit dress I sewed, using one of the many  patterns included in my recently purchased  Famous Frocks: The Little Black Dress: Patterns for 20 Garments Inspired by Fashion Icons. I'm pretty cautious about buying books with included patterns (what if I only like one?) , but I find the entire book very inspirational, and I'm envisioning sewing several of the other dresses.

This romantically styled frock is the "Anjelica Jolie" dress. I used the darts and no-sleeve styling from the top variation, and the straight of grain and cotton knit from the dress version. I tried wearing a narrow belt at the true waist, but it looked awful on me - it just didn't suit my H-shaped figure. Also I think, maybe, it's too blousy at the top to suit a woman with more bust if it's belted too low. Emphasizing the bosom with a wide belt worn just below the bust line looks better. Sometimes I just have to try every belt and waistline in my wardrobe to get it right. This is the belt I created for my peaches and cream shirtwaist dress. It's 3 inch wide black elastic with a simple slider no-tongue belt buckle.

I felt very Cinderlla-ish wearing this dress to the San Francisco Legion of Honor museum this last week, especially since I was going to see a fashion exhibit, High Style, The Broklyn Museum Costume Collection. I got a nice compliment from the young woman who rented the audio head set. She liked it that I had dressed up for the exhibit. I enjoyed that being dressed up feeling, and I was really comfortable too. I'm thinking this light frock will be nice for travel, what do you think?

Yes, this book is inspiring me to make more. I've already begun making a muslin for the princess-seamed Princess Diana sheath dress and I have my eyes on the Grace Kelly dress, based on one she wore, and I loved, in the classic Alfred Hitchcock movie, Rear Window. Do you remember the scene towards the end, where Lisa (Grace) hides her Vogue magazine inside a very studious looking hardback book to fake Jimmy Stewart into thinking she's getting serious about important issues?

If I sew each of these, that's three patterns. I interested in trying the variations on them as well - some of which aren't typical of what you'd find in a pattern envelope. I'm going to try the top variation for this Anjelica pattern (in a woven) as well. I'm attracted to a couple of the other patterns, particularly the Coco Channel jersey dress, in the sleeveless variation. My guess is that I'll be sewing at least half the patterns in the book, if not more.

One thing I found great about using patterns from this book,versus buying an individual pattern, is that there  is an extensive part of the book that covers sewing techniques. These are different than just following directions from a pattern instruction sheet, because they help me to better develop my overall sewing skills, and I'm not blindly following steps that I might not understand. Once I've used two or three of these patterns, the cost of the book compares favorably with the purchase of the same number of pattern (even with pattern discounts), and the educational sewing skill-building advantage makes it worth more to me, than buying those individual patterns.


                               

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Cinderella's Blue Sky Sewing

If I were Cinderella....
I'd be sewing this
I'm still spending  my allotted sewing time on my French Pattern Drafting Class tasks, but I got a little distracted going to see the new Disney Cinderella (twice now, and I'm tempted to go again soon).
This Luggage Tag prints up great
on postcard stock
I'll use it for my next
dress pattern tracing

Of course my favorite scene is the one when Ella sits down to stitch, converting her mother's old dress into her own ball gown. It inspired me to do a little blue sky sewing/virtual stitch up of my own, creating my own vision of Ella and her dress. I'm sharing the results here. You can print the luggage tag version (it works great on postcard stock) to use for your own labeling purposes. I'm planning to use it to tag the next dress pattern I trace. 

Blue Sky day dream sewing is pretty satisfying. Don't you wonder if I'll ever actually make a dress along these lines? 

Oh yes, in addition to the sewing scene, I love the Cinderella music (which comes mostly during the credits). Lily James sings the classic, "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes..." with very resonating soprano sound. She has a gorgeous lyrical voice. And, Helena Bonham Careter is a scream in "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo". Oh look, we can buy the Cinderella: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack !

  Not only did I love the costumes, the great British actors, and the highly fairy-taleish scene in this movie, I also thought the theme was fantastic - "Be kind and have courage". Doesn't that just say it all?

Good job to the Disney story tellers on reworking the Charles Perrault fairytale for this generation. Have you read his book The Glass Slipper? I bet your pubic library has it. Mine does. I always liked the way the animated movie focused on having faith and believing in your dreams - that Cinderella was very much of her times, a late 1950's girl. She believed in her fate coming along, sweeping her up, and carrying her along to a better life. Today's Cinders is more in charge of her own future- a good modern redo. She choses to stay in the house and deal with her stinky mother-in-law. And she's realistic about her other career options in her fairy tale world - non existent! Both ladies mirror fantasy romance novel heroines from the two different eras nicely. 

I can imagine people looking back on both young women in a distant future. I wonder how Ella will be reinvented then. Don't you?