Thursday, May 31, 2012

Me-Made-May Reflections

Today is the last day of May. Like others perhaps, I began the month with great enthusiasm for this challenge - to wear something I made every day. Early on, I was diligent. Then life intervened and I was a slacker, at least with respect to MMM.

Lessons learned:

  • I have lots of clothes, an embarrassment of riches.
  • I have many, many tops for summer time. 
  • Sewing bottom pieces will be my new focus, focused especially on orphan tops.
  • I tend to reach for the same pieces each day.
  • I should clean out my closet.
Here are my MMM faves:
Cutting Line Designs The Blouse Perfected  in cotton shirting

Cutting Line Design Pure and Simple Shell in cotton from Mozambique 

PJs - self-drafted top, monpei pants from Japanese Field Wear by Folkwear

TSW urban pants in rayon/linen blend, cotton sateen, and linen; TSW hudson pants in cotton, TSW plaza pants in tencel and 4-ply silk, Kwik Sew pants in cotton pique.
The following tops cover most of the rest of May:

CLD Hearts A Flutter in cotton denim

V1215 in light weight cotton pique

Folkwear middy blouse in light weight linen

Batik Butik 105 Spice and Style

TSW Quincy in linen

TSW Trio vest as a top in cotton sateen

CLD Pure and Simple Shell in linen

CLD Hearts A Flutter Shell, lower part in Japanese cotton; upper fabric unknown

TSW Mimosa Top in Japanese cotton

TSW Mimosa Top in Japanese cotton

Self-drafted top in cotton kimono pieces

TSW Mix It Top in cotton shirting

TSW Mix It Top in light weight cotton pique

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

One shirt; eight buttonholes

Hems finished before side seams
DGS3 will be 6 years old this week. Since I am still enjoying shirt-making, he too will receive a little shirt from me. Of course it will be accompanied by something to play with, since clothing-type-presents are not uniformly admired by my grandkids.

This shirt, like most of my projects, includes some lessons for me. Some lessons are completed; some are not.

Wrong side
Take the side seam and hem finish, for example. I like to make felled seams and felled hems (thanks, Pam!). Occasionally the hem at the side seam will wing out while I am felling the hem across the previously-felled side seam. I probably inadvertently stretch the bias.

So I tried felling the hem first. I like it. I'll do it again. Lesson learned.

And then there is the buttonhole issue. My Bernina 440 makes great buttonholes (now*), identical buttonholes, one right after another. Except for...

Collar stands and the collar points.

Right side
The optical sensor on the auto buttonhole foot (3A) does not work if it cannot sit flat on the surface. So my fairly effective work-around has been to use the old buttonhole foot (3) for those tricky spots. It requires more attention and coordination on my part and so they are not as predictable.

Today I spotted a little plastic device in my accessory drawer. After a search on the Internet I now know that it is called a buttonhole leveler. I cannot make it work properly. Bernina offers another accessory that that may actually work. I can purchase it.

left-to-right auto buttonhole foot (3A), manual foot (3), leveler

Good ol' Bernina - masters of the unbundled product, a la carte, not included with the purchase of the machine.

Almost finished shirt for DGS3

So today I used my work-around. Maybe I'll go ahead a buy that other accessory.


*When I first purchased this machine, my buttonholes were perfect about 50% of the time. The rest of the time, the auto-foot would get hung up after finishing about 3/4 of the buttonhole and refuse to move forward. This of course left a nest of threads on the back to pick out. I could not get it to fail for the dealer. Just like a kid at the doctor's office. Perfect. Finally it got bad enough that the technician watched it misbehave. Then he found a *burr* somewhere in the mechanism and fixed it. I continue a love/hate relationship with this machine.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Juried Quilt Art

Today I visited a quilt show displayed at the Town Hall in Summerville SC. It was small but impressive.
Personal Favorite
The above is by Peggy Hartwell, titled *The Home Coming.* It is my favorite.

First Place
This one came in first. It's very interesting, though it doesn't make my heart sing. It is by Stefanie Neuner, titled *Venus di milo revisited.*

Also placed
I like this one a lot. It reminds me of the one I made that hangs above my fireplace. But I like the colors here better. This one does make my heart sing. It is by Betsy Giuntoli, titled *Circles of my Mind.* I wish I had captured a detailed show of this. Now I cannot remember if it was hand appliqued or not.

It makes me think about art some. Perhaps it need not entertain. Perhaps it is sufficient if it makes someone think. Maybe that someone need not be me.

All of the pieces in this sweet show made me ponder. This is a good show.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Travel Wardrobe

Recently I've enjoyed reading several blogs on the subject of travel wardrobes. This has made me more deliberate in planning my upcoming trip to the NE to visit DS and family.

So here is what I have. Once I start packing my smallish suitcase, it may be pruned some, especially since I hope to bring my Singer featherweight :))

Unusual for us when we visit the kids and the grandkids, we may do something a bit more dressy on this trip - a trip to the Boston Symphony. My go-to dressy ensemble includes the High Five Jacket from Shapes in a sheer black fabric with some shiny texture, plus the CLD Hearts A Flutter Shell and TSW plaza pants, both in black 4-ply silk.

I'm still thinking about this one. I may remove the Hearts A Flutter over-blouse shown on the right below and replace it with this super comfy kimono made from Folkwear's Japanese Field Clothing kimono pattern. It would double nicely as a robe.

Here are the basics: CLD The Blouse Perfected, TSW plaza pants in tencil, TSW cropped urban pants in a linen/rayon blend, TSW mimosa top in a Japanese cotton, CLD P&S shell in African cotton, TSW Mix It top in white cotton pique, and CLD Hearts A Flutter over-blouse in an indigo cotton.

Also included will be some workout clothes (not shown - aren't you glad?) and the PJs below. I just finished the PJs. The top is a simple rectangle with openings for my head and arms, and two strategically placed pockets. The pants are the mompei pants from Folkwear's Japanese Field Clothing. Both are in a cotton knit.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Blouse Completed

Hooray! I finished my version of CLD's The Blouse Perfected (TBP). For me, it is The Blouse Completed - you know, better done than perfect. But surprisingly after all my goofs, I really love it!

After my foul on the collar band, as well as uninspired use of the stripes, were corrected, I went on to even  more spectacular goofs. These are only spectacular to a sewist. The kind that ruin a zen moment in sewing.

First, compliments to Louise Cutting. This may be my favorite all-time pattern of hers. The instructions alone are worth the price of this pattern. Clear diagrams. Succinct language. Great sequencing. And, as I've come to expect, the best techniques for achieving a high-end ready-to-wear look and feel.

I was looking forward to her instructions on sleeve plackets. I have done these before, once, on my V8746 shirt. I had to do one of them twice, so I guess you could say I've made them 3 times before. But I knew CLD version of sleeve plackets would be divine to follow. And they were.

Plackets not so perfect

I confused my thread tracing for the sleeve pleats with the thread tracing for one of the plackets. And so one ended up in the wrong place. After the ceremonial teeth gnashing, hair pulling, and chocolate eating, I hatched a plan. Note that if you are perfectionist I recommend you stop reading.

I took the two sleeves to my cutting table and placed one over the other, right sides together, lining up the plackets, not the raw edges. And I started whacking off fabric until they were the same shape again. This changed the sleeve head a bit and that worried me. It also forced me down to 1 pleat, not three.

But I actually like the resulting sleeve even better. 
Sometimes sewing is magic this way.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Blouse Perfected - In Progress

Back yoke - added that 60's loop thing
Inside back yoke - added a Prairie point
My version of CLD's The Blouse Perfected (TBP) is now moving in a direction that seems right. I'm using a cotton stripe purchased at Louise's booth at Expo in Atlanta.

My first day on this was a bit frustrating. I had not really thought about the stripe much. It is of course both a challenge and a great design opportunity. Stripes present so many possibilities.

But I was brain-dead evidently when I cut it out. I followed the grain lines on the pattern tissue which would be great for anything but a stripe. So after completing the cool lined yoke and making a mess of the collar band, I realized I would not be happy with either even if I managed to resurrect the collar stand. I also realized that the fabric is sheer enough so that the self-lining on the yoke shows through.

So I recut each. I followed Ann Rowley's suggestion on Artisan's Square and cut the yoke so that the stripes (and the grain) run parallel to the front seam. This means the back yoke is chevroned. I used a solid white cotton batiste as the yoke lining.

I recut the collar band in the same way by adding a seam allowance to the fold line for the original band tissue. So it also produces a different chevron. I used the same cotton batiste the line the collar band. I had already decided to omit the collar since it already feels like summer here.

Now I'm auditioning buttons. I think I need to go to Gail K and buy some. I love the buffalo nickles but don't have enough of them. I doubt Gail K will have that. I wonder if there is an online source.

Suggestions welcome!

MMM'12 Day 3

Today's MMM outfit is another favorite from last summer. The top is a crisp cotton from Discover Sewing in Sandy Springs sewn up using TSW Mix It top. I've made that top at least 3 times. It is comfortable and I love the mandarin collar. The pants are version 2 of TSW Urban pants, this time out of linen.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

MMM'12 Day 2

Bad shot - lost my head.

  • Pants: CLD one-seams, tapered leg, too short so modified to include elastic in the side and some sashiko around the bottom.
  • Top: 2011 made-up top using three 14x36 inch rectangles of kimono cotton from June Colburn; my go-to top for last summer
Now back to CLD TBP - can this shirt be saved??? I have a few ideas.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Silhouette Study

Struggling with my weight as I do, I am ever concerned about the combination of silhouette and comfort. I gravitate naturally to the latter.

Pants are my favorite bottom piece. I have a few skirts but I am never as comfortable in a skirt (or a dress) as in pants. Yet, I am curious about the silhouette I create.

CLD One-seams straight leg

CLD One-seams tapered leg

Here are four silhouettes I'm considering before making any more pants.

On the left, I'm wearing Cutting Line Designs one-seams in the straight leg version. I made these out of a linen-cotton blend that I think must have some rayon too. It is a drapey fabric which is good for this pair of pants. The CLD OS straight leg has a lot of ease - these are really too full for my comfort.

On the right, I'm wearing CLD one-seams in the tapered leg version. These are made out of 100% linen so not much drape. Still the silhouette is better than the straight-leg version, I think. This may be the best possible in a pull-on elastic waist pants. Favors the comfort factor heavily.

TSW Mimosa pants tapered leg

TSW Mimosa Pants straight leg
Next up is my TNT fitted pants pattern - a much tweaked version of the Sewing Workshop Mimosa pants. The pants on the left have a much more tapered leg than the ones on the right. I always feel better in the ones on the left than I do in the ones on the right.

I always feel a bit sloppy in the ones on the right. Now I see why.

Part of it is the fabric. The black ones on the left are made of a cotton-lycra, almost a canvas. The brown ones on the right are made of cotton sateen with the sateen side as the wrong side.

The straight leg style translates into a too-wide-pants, with my dimensions. And of course even a small amount of lycra translates into a closer, slimmer fit.

So the next step is to make a muslin of TSW mimosa pants with a tapered leg and see if I can get it to fit nicely even without lycra. This is a good opportunity to try out the contour waistband we've been discussing in my ASG NG.

MMM'12 Begins!

Me-May-Made 2012 is here! And I've decided to participate. Here is the pledge:

I, Martha, here at Now Sewing, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '12. I endeavor to wear something I have sewn each day for the duration of May 2012. 

Thinking about participating? Then click on over to So Zo... What do you know and join this fun group.

Here is my MMM'12 outfit for May 1. The top is a wearable (after a few iterations) muslin of CLD Pure and Simple shell in 7 ounce denim. The pants are TSW urban pants in a linen and cotton blend, made probably two years ago. It's now for wearing around the house only. (note to self)