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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

Check out the Enchanted by Sewing Podcast for September
to hear all about my shirt dressing sewing experiences
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
My Enchanted by Sewing Audio Podcast for September - all about working with this pattern http://www.enchantedbysewing.blogspot.com/2014/09/ench-by-sew-024-shirtdressing-and-fall.html

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

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Terminado - The Bramble Blouse - Another Semi-Fitted Sleeveless Summer Blouse

You don't hear the term brambles used to refer to berries much these days.
I think it dates more from times when lots of berries grew naturally
in woods and fields, and folks just went out to pick their own, come summer time.
Nowadays most of us find our berries in a box or frozen bag.
The birds and squirrels score most of the ones I have in my yard.
Oh well, they can't run to the grocery store like I can! I don't really mind.
And it saves me a bit o' trouble in those prickly bramble bushes.
Hey! Do you remember the podcast I did in July, where I talked about creating my sleeveless, pink and white seersucker blouse Amaryllis blouse from my much altered tried-and-true shirt pattern (it started out life as B5586)? Well I enjoyed wearing Amaryllis so much (that gal has been a real go-to summer wardrobe choice) that I made another blouse from my same much altered pattern.

And doesn't it look pretty durn cute with my sage'y green shorts from two summers ago? I think so! I've also been wearing it with my new Midnight Sky black denim skirt, but I don't have a really cute photo of that combination yet :-)

Oh yeah, I altered the pattern a little more!  I just can't get enough of altering now - no pattern is safe from my fideling fingers.   Blame my wonderful dress form buddy Conchita for that! Because this crisp bramble printed cotton doesn't hang off a woman's body in the same way as the loosey-goosey seersucker I used for Amaryllis, I made a few changes to my Bramble Blouse as I was creating her. . . 

i) I took the long front darts I'd created from the hem, up the princess line, to the bust apex, and extended them up above the bust apex
ii) I also took those darts in more - so my Bramble Blouse is all together narrower than Amaryllis.  
iii) In addition I added long darts along the back princess seam

My dress form Conchita was really useful
when it came to making the
Bramble Blouse more fitted
These alterations resulted in a semi-fitted blouse that's just a little more fitted. 
OK, I admit it. I used good old
safety pins to try out that extended dart.
Because just after I tried this out on
Conchita, I slipped it on
me and checked out that new dart in the bathroom mirror.

Amaryllis is somewhat fitted,
but less so than my Bramble Blouse
That works because she's made out of a non-crisp seersucker

~ ~ ~
Web Resources

Audio/Podcast Summer of the Blouse - Amaryllis http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/07/ench-by-sew-022-summer-of-blouse.html

Blog Posting about Amaryllis http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/07/amaryllis-my-new-semi-fitted-blouse.html

Wardrobe Builder - The Midnight Sky Black Denim Skirt http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/08/terminado-wardrobe-builder-midnight-sky.html

Creating Conchita, my Dress Form Friend  http://enchantedbysewing.blogspot.com/2013/09/ench-by-sew-12-dress-forms.html