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.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Romance of Vintage Threads - Lace Dress Inspiration

Do you love pinterest like I do? I have numerous boards related to sewing, fashion and history out there. I pinned this vintage lace dress on my Sewing Inspiration pinterest board

When I saw this vintage dress on another pinners board, I was hooked. I immediately posted it to Facebook and started imagining where i might wear it, once I make it:-)

- To a wedding - I'd feel like the mother of the bride in this beautiful frock

- To dine at San Francisco's Cliff House on my next significant wedding anniversary. We've got one divisible by 10 in 2018. I think I could get this gorgeous girl done by then!

- Out dancing with my husband. OK, so we don't actually know how to dance like that. Don't you think such a romantic garment ought to be enough of an inspiration that we'll learn, just to honor it?

- Theater, ballet and opera. Those are obvious right?

When I get a dress done along these lines, I'm going to find places to wear it. I know I"m going to love it.

Sewing Resources 

I'm thinking of trying out Butterick 6095. It's a top pattern, and that's what I'll make first. I'll be playing around with fit on this top. I want it really, really fitted. I'm not wild about the peplum on this top. Since it's not part of the dress I'm working towards, I"m going to eliminate it. Maybe I'll extend the hem and change to fish eye darts. Once I move onto the dress I'll work out where the hem is shortened.

I'd probably make the first test version of the bodice in a simple woven and just wear it for a while, to see what I think of the fit. I'll stick with the sleeveless version and not fuss with sleeves, since I don't want them in the lace dress and I'm not super interested in them.

After I'm happy with fit, I'll move onto a bodice/top in double edged lace. That will give me a chance to get comfortable with my lace sewing and styling techniques. I want to make sure that the scallop edge embellishes the armhole just so.... Black lace maybe? It will be fun to pick out a fabric that goes with jeans as well as a simple skirt.

I'll also need to make some decisions about what sort of lining is going to backup the lace. Do I want to just wear a camisole and slip underneath  or do I line or underline the garment? It's a possibility but I'm more likely to build the lining in - silk or Bemberg rayon? I'll probably use the rayon for the first pass on the bodice/top.

Once I get the lace bodice perfected I can move onto the skirt. I think I'll drape a skirt that's mostly straight, or even somewhat pegged, on the bottom and cut the original fabric wider on the top (like a reverse triangle - with one point cut off) so I have the fabric for the big pleats. I'll be playing around on my dress form to get that skirt shaped right. I might even start by draping a dolls dress to get the shape right.

The belt will be fun. I keep my eyes peeled for just the right glitzy slider piece. I might try covering elastic with lining-backed lace.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Princess Seamed Tee Shirt (Pattern Work)

Last week I wrote about the pattern work I'm doing with the cowl neck knit/tee shirt pattern for the remainder of my black and white polka dot knit. At the same time, I'm working on altering this pattern for a princess-seamed tee shirt. I have two pieces of fabric I'll be using for this tee. One is a heathery gray, somewhat heavy cotton knit. The other is a print of roses in a kind of heavy velourish sort of fabric. The rose print was a freebie, so I'm less clear on it's history.

I'm hoping both tees will work well in our temperate fall and winter climate, in the San Francisco Bay Area - if we ever get any cooler weather that is! Right now the weather gods seem to think it's still summer - actually a warmer summer than we usually get. 

So far I've traced and dated the master pattern (view C) on drafting paper, leaving in more than enough seam allowances for altering. I'll probably use some commercial tee shirts for muslin/patter testing. I hope that, even though this is a knit, I can still get some idea with the help of my dress form Conchita, as to where shoulder and side seams need to go.

I believe that Marcy Tilton Thomas' sister Katherine Tilton, designed this pattern. Here's a newsletter where Marcy talks a little about the pattern http://www.marcytilton.com/index.php?cid=1050

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Reworking a Retro-Style Polka Dot Tee

 Way back when (OK it was a little over two months ago) . . .  I made the fitted, cowl neck tee shirt above. I journaled about my attitudes toward polka dots, as well as my attitudes about retro style inspired by I Love Lucy.

I'm a firm believer in not picking fault with my own sewing projects. So, at the time, I focused on what went right with my polka dot tee. I'll fess up now, however, that I wasn't perfectly happy with the project. Though I took it out of the drawer several times, finding both fabric and cowl neck appealing, I actually wore it only occasionally. And I'm glad to say that, because I had plenty of leftover fabric, I've got a chance to rework the tee. I started doing that this last week.

With my new tee, I'm working to improve the following:
a) The original tee shirt is just too short. It's OK tucked into my black trousers but it doesn't look quite right over a pair of jeans.
FIX- I added two inches to the length. The pattern showed lengthen or shorten at the hem.
b) There's something not quite right about the shaping on the side seams. It had a very slight drag. OK, I always noticed it because I sewed it. It wasn't that noticeable.
FIX- I'm so pleased I had written notes on the first version of the pattern I traced and used. Apparently I had reshaped the front using a Burda pattern, but I didn't reshape the back in a similar way. I don't know why I did that, but at least I know what happened! The adjustment was more sharply inset than the actual side seam I expect to use. This time I added extra at the side seam, even though I think I don't need it. I'd rather mark in the size I think I want, possibly reshape it a little more - both front and back!- and cut off the extra.
c) I didn't really like the look of the white fold over elastic I used. This time around I've bought black fold over elastic :-)
d) The cowl neck is self-lined. It didn't extend high enough, so that the spot where the lining hit showed when wearing it. 
FIX- I fixed this on the original garment by adding a strip of selvage. That worked fine, but since I'm remaking it I'm  extending the pattern for future versions.

So far . . .  I've traced a new master pattern, made the alterations and cut out most of the front out of an inexpensive commercial tee (as a muslin). I say 'cut out most' because the commercial tee isn't as long as I need it to be for the actual garment , but it will work for testing the pattern.
McCalls 6078
My version is style 'A'

1. Retro Inspiration: Sewing with Polka Dots

2. Retro Polka Dots, Why I Don't Love Lucy


Monday, September 29, 2014

Ench By Sew-024: Shirtdressing and Fall Fun

The latest Enchanted by Sewing Podcast has been published!
Listening Option I) You can listen to the show right on the web by clicking on this link
~ OR ~
Listening Option II)  Click on this link to iTunes  to download this and other Enchanted by Sewing shows to your mobile device (iPhone, Android, etc.) free from iTunes 
Please note that the Fantasy Fall Sewing Questionnaire from the show, is at the end. Please post any and all answers below, or email your thoughts to EnchantedBySewing@gmail.com

I've recently started a Shirtdress Sewing Board on Pinterest :-) http://www.pinterest.com/lrshimer/shirtdressing-sewing/

Here are the two dresses I created in September, and talked about in the show
Hey I just realized I'm holding the tapestry cap I focused on
in last month's podcast!

This is the happiest I've ever been with the job I did on a sewing project
Check out the beautiful Fran Leibowitz photo of Amy Adams that inspired me to finally get cracking on my own shirtdress http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/08/inspired-by-amy-adams-creating-perfect.html

Della Street often advised Perry Mason in his work, by asking leading questions.
She also wore a lot of shirt dresses!

You often see only the bodice of Miss Streets shirt dresses,
But I can see just enough of the skirt fabric here to see that it's the same as the bodice.
I bet the costume designer altered the same pattern repeatedly for the actress :-)
Della Street, Perry Mason's "confidential secretary" often wore shirtdresses. They gave her a professional and ladylike image.

Look to television shows from the late 50's and early 60's for examples of retro shirtwaists that still look up to date. Below is an example in what appears to be white satin (!) alo from Perry Mason. I love those wide, rounded shawl-collar lapels too. Shawl collars were again popular in the 1980's.
One of Perry Mason's clients wears a shirtdress
in white satin
Love that sheen, and such an unexpected fabric choice!

It's a very full skirted shirtdress
And the bodice has a lot of fabric too - very blousey

I love the wide shawl collar too

OK, the pattern I used is not a current pattern (though I found it for sale in a couple of places on the web). It is however a classic shirtwaist style and you can find many similar dress patterns currently in print. I don't think there's every been a big four pattern company season, when there wasn't at least one shirtdress in every catalog.
I made the version shown here in the front row in blue.

I journaled about the shirtwaist (Peaches and Cream) I created, in my blog, Me Encanta Coser, over the course of September and early on 

Fantasy Fall Sewing Questionnaire
Please post any and all answers below :-)

1)  Roughly where do you live in the world – you don’t need to get too specific.  
2)  What’s the climate like where you live in the fall?  
3) Is there a big change between what you wear/sew in fall versus summer?

4) Which is your favorite fall celebration ? Do you have Halloween or Thanksgiving where you live?  
5)  Do you have special or different foods that says fall to you?  

6). What is your favorite fall fabric – whether or not you’d sew it up in your climate/region?  If different What is your favorite fall fabric that DOES work well where you live?  
7) What is your favorite fall color – this year?  
8)    Do you have  a specially favorite fall fabric pattern (like a printed design or a pattern woven into fabric)?  

9)  Do you have a fave classic fall garment you’d like to sew or have sewn? Is it for yourself or for someone else?   
10)    Do you hope to sew one or more practical garments for fall, and if so what?  
11)      If different than the previous garment -  Do you hope to sew one or more special  garments for fall? What?
12)  If you could wave a magic wand, and create anygarment that feels like fall what would it be?  
13)  Would that magic wand garment garment play a regular part in your wardrobe, or would you just like to have it and wear it on special occasion(s)?  

Did I miss any links mentioned in the show? If so, please post those links below and share them with everybody
Email- EnchantedBySewing@gmail.com

~ ~ ~

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Terminado - Completing Peaches and Rosalinda

That's my daughter in Rosalinda (NL6223) on the Left, and me in Peaches and Cream (M3623) on the Right.

I altered the patterns, sewed and finished both dresses in time for the significant family event I mentioned in my last posting ("Can't Say it Sew It"). Auntie Seamh Rippah was a regular, though uninvited, visitor in my sewing zone.

Part of me just knew it was incredibly important to, rather quickly, create these two dresses. Another part of me questioned what on earth I was doing creating not one but two projects when life was throwing a lot of emotional hoo-hah my way. 

Was I happy with the results? Yes
Did having a new dress, as well as quickly creating a new dress for my daughter, help me during a challenging event? Yes
Did spending time during other sewing projects altering the M3623 shirtdress pattern and focusing on fit pay off? Yes

Being able to create something tangible when life was full of emotional hoo-hah is another thing that keeps me . . .
Enchanted by Sewing
~ ~ ~
Web Resources
Can't Say it Sew It - Creating something tangible helps me deal with life challenges http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/09/cant-say-it-sew-it.html

Pattern Work - Progress Peaches and Cream Shirt Dress http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/09/shirt-dressing-peaches-and-cream.html

Avoiding Auntie Seama Rippah http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2012/11/avoiding-auntie-seama-rippah-for.html

Monday, September 22, 2014

Can't say it? Sew it.

We have a significant family event coming up, and life is somewhat busier than normal.

If I wasn't in the middle of it myself, I would have thought it wasn't the best time to double my time on sewing projects. Except that working on scheduling in time to fit and sew two dresses is helping me deal with my sadness over this time.

Here's what I'm sewing.
1)  For me - my Peaches and Cream shirtdress
2)  For my daughter - a sleeveless fitted bodice with a full skirt in a dainty cream and pink flowered cotton print

These projects just seem to be the right thing for me to do, despite the challenge of fitting the time in on them. The act of creating two beautiful well fitting garments that will make us feel good to wear to the service is really helpful. Maybe it feels like creating art, maybe its something else. I only know its helping me through a challenging time.
My motivation to work on these projects has a deep emotional pull on me. It's something I can't really put into words, but I can put it into these garments.

For me - I altered this pattern to fit
I'm working on the version like the blue one on the bottom right
My Peaches and Cream fabric
I think it's a rayon-linen mix
Here's' Rosalinda's dress
I'm making the sleeveless version
But with a lower scoop neck
Rosalinda's dress fabric

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Shirt Dressing - Peaches and Cream (Progress, Pattern Work)

UPDATE - For the finished version, click on this link. I'm so pleased with this dress!
The peaches I've been enjoying this summer inspired me to name
my first version of the shirt dress pattern I began altering back in late July.
I interspersed work on my Midnight Skies black denim skirt and Bramble Blouse, with altering the McCalls  3623* shirt dress pattern to fit my figure. I plan to talk about what was involved in altering this pattern, in my September Enchanted by Sewing podcast.

M3623 in muslin (before I added the sleeves)
It took a bit of work to get there, but I'm quite happy with 
 the fit on me now.

At the beginning of this week, I began work on my first version of this dress. I like thinking of my first version of patterns I alter as a test garment. Test in the sense that I'll be observing what I like about the garment, and also what aspects I want to change. 

I'm making my test dress from a peach'y-pink linen type fabric. My dress's name came about from this color, and because I've been enjoying a lot of peaches this summer, though I admit that I haven't had any with cream. Non fat milk is more my style :-)  

I say 'linen type' because I don't know what the fabric content is. I got it free from a donation table at school over a year ago. I know that it's all natural fibers, because I did a burn test (in my kitchen sink). If it were all or part polyester,  the fabric would have melted. It burned, however, quite merrily. In fact you could make excellent fire starters from it! It could be 100% linen, but I'm suspicious that it's a linen-rayon mix, because I've bought and sewn those in the past, and the look and feel of the fabric reminds me of those. 

This weekend I've been working on the part of this project I like the least :-) Those including cutting and interfacing the front facings and collar, then attaching them to the front and topstitching with a decorative blanket stitch. I left the back off until I'd gotten those pieces applied and the embellishment done. I don't much like these structuring and finishing projects because they always take a lot longer than I expect! Also they don't seem to make the garment look much more like a real dress. In addition, it's the point in a project where I run into aspects of sewing that I don't know how to do as well as I'd like to. I try to make this an opportunity to learn more, but that's never easy.

This test dress helps me to realize that I want to read up and practice skills involving collar points. Once I added the front facings, and trimmed around the points on the seam lines, I thought my collar points would be nice and crisp, but even though I used a point turner, I'm not totally happy with the pointy-ness of those points! So that's one for the sewing book to work on before the next version of this dress. Are they OK for this go-round? Yes. I'll still wear and enjoy this dress. And I don't plan to point out to anyone who compliments me that the collar points could be sharper!

Here's the stage I'm at now. Not too exciting!
I haven't added the sleeves yet, and I'm halfway through the french seam that attaches the back to the back of the yoke.
The collar is attached on one side and needs to be pinned  down on the inside,
to make a clean finish.
What's left?
- Finish fixing the back pleat, boy am I ever having a hard time getting it to be centered and lay right! I've taken it out 3 times already (I thought I had it right and made the first seam in the french seam process, then realized it's not centered - grr!) Auntie Seama Rippah has been busy.

- Go back and finish that french seam on the back. That involves being busy with iron and steam as well as sewing.

- Add the sleeves using french seams as well

- Sew the side seams. I think I'll use a pink-and-sew seam finish there because I need to do a lot of clipping on the underarm part to get a nice curved line (I tested that on the muslin) and it seems like french seams would be too thick to get that.

- Pin and hand sew the inside bottom collar seam, so it covers various seams nicely

- Buttons and buttonholes! Draw my buttonholes on a piece of stabilizer and pin it down to make sure they end up in the right places. That method works well for me. I do much better at getting the buttonholes to line up straight.

Do a couple of sample buttonholes to test my skills and make sure I've got the size right for the buttons I plan to use - recycled mother-of-pearl. The pattern says use 11 buttons, but I'm suspicious I'll use less. I'm safe though, I have enough.

Cut buttonholes and sew on buttons

- Check to see if I need to make thread belt loops to be sure the belt placing is consistent. Does the dress fit and hang differently if I move the belt around? I'll use some safety pins to test out where I want the lower part of the waistline and belt.

- Pin and press hem. Check for levelness in the mirror carefully with the wide black elastic belt I'll be using with the dress. 

- Sew the hem. Hand or machine? Probably machine, since the thread more or less matches the dress and there's decorative stitching on it already. I might baste down the hem first and double check the whole level hem thing before I do the official stitching.

Planning and executing my Peaches and Cream shirtdress from scratch, based on carefully thought through pattern alterations is the kind of project that keeps me,
Enchanted by Sewing!

* Though out of print, M3623 is available from several vendors on the web. Shirt dresses are such a classic, modern pattern style, they always seem to be available from the big four pattern companies
~ ~ ~
Web Resources

M3623 Shirt dress Pattern Alteration, Inspired by Amy Adams http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/08/inspired-by-amy-adams-creating-perfect.html

Avoiding Auntie Seama Rippah http://www.meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2012/11/avoiding-auntie-seama-rippah-for.html

What's a blanket stitch? http://handembroidery.ning.com/page/blanket-stitch