July 30, 2010 · 9:51 pm
Another winner from Simplicity! I’m a sucker for a surplice top or dress so I couldn’t resist this pattern when it came out. It’s well drafted and very quick and easy to put together. Love, love, love the shaped raglan sleeves. I made a straight 8 and just shortened the skirt by 3/4″ to hit me right at the knee.
This fabric is a super-soft rayon/lycra from Bestonline Fabrics (link in the sidebar). It’s been in my “collection” since last summer.
Bryan says this dress is, um, flattering. Heck, you can see that it makes Ethel’s boobs look enormous! I suspect the print may have something to do with that.
July 30, 2010 · 10:08 am
I finished up the dress last night. Sometimes it’s fun to make something quick and easy! You can see now why I wanted a very simple black dress (please excuse those weird whitish spots in some of the photos, they are from the flash). Most of you don’t know that I’m a bit of a collector of Native American jewelry. I have several squash blossom necklaces, the two largest of which are shown here. As Tim Gunn would say, a squash blossom is a “whole lotta look” and (unless you actually live in the Southwest) needs a plain garment to avoid appearing costumey. This first necklace is by artist Effie Calavaza. Each blossom consists of a snake wrapped around two pieces of coral, the snake (or serpent) being her trademark. My ex gave this to me just before he left and it has been languishing in my safe for about 4 years. Time for it to see the light of day!
I do not remember who made this turquoise SB, I’ll have to pull out my book and look up the signature. I’ve had this for many years and the old memory isn’t so good anymore!
I made a straight size 8 and skipped all but my usual sway-back alteration. I did make a couple of style changes to the pattern. I added 2″ to the length (keep in mind that I’m 5’3″ and wanted it right at the knee) and opened up the neckline a bit. Instead of turning under and topstitching the neckline, I opted for a binding. I tried several belts with this dress but, in the end, a 3″ wide self-belt looked best.
I didn’t want any topstitching to show so all hems are blindstitched.
Verdict: a super quick and easy pattern that will be a very versatile addition to my wardrobe. I can see making this in a slightly shorter length to wear with flats as an alternative to shorts.
July 28, 2010 · 8:53 am
As I mentioned yesterday, I want to whip up a couple of quick, easy and cool summer dresses. These days, the very thought of putting on a pair of pants makes me wilt! The first one I’m going to make is McCall’s 6112, with sleeves:
The simplicity and ease of this dress really appeals to me. Plus, it will be a good backdrop for a nice piece of jewelry and/or a pair of special sandals. I really had my heart set on black (you’ll see why later) and was lucky to find a piece of beefy rayon/lycra in my stash. I believe this came from Ann at Gorgeous Fabrics.
When I get home tonight, I’ll wolf down a quick grilled cheese and get started!
July 27, 2010 · 8:48 am
I’m so happy that I finally finished this up last night! With all of the other things going on it felt as if I’d never have time to get it done.
I added a Swiss insertion at the side seam for fun.
My original plan had been to have a gathered sleeve but I didn’t like the way it looked during fitting so I opted for a tuck on each side of the opening instead.
I was going to start on the new HP Kaleidoscope blouse next but I think I’ll make a quick dress first. It’s unbearably hot right now and I’d like to have a cool dress or two to toss on.
Things have slowed down on the landscaping front. We are exhausted and just enjoying the fruits of our labor. When I came home last Friday, Bryan was waiting for me with a surprise: a double Christmas palm that had been on my wish list for this corner of the house! I’ve planted it with Coontie (Zamia pumila) which is a Florida native and related to the Cardboard Plant that I love so much. I was kind of limited here because of the meter but I think this is going to look really nice when the plants mature.
I have some pretty flowers blooming too! Here’s the “Drunken Sailor” (quisqualis indica) in the courtyard:
and the beautiful Siam tulips (curcuma) behind the waterfall out back:
Parting shot: Someone’s very mad at her mother! Jess’ girlfriend, Dr. Kelly, gives her long-haired cats a lion cut every summer so I let her shave Ricki too. Ricki is not happy about it (but how cute are her little Ugg boots?)! We’ll just call it payback for what she’s done to my couches…
July 20, 2010 · 9:11 pm
Yeah, I thought I’d be done by now too… All I have left are the sleeves and the hem, only a couple of hours’ worth of work. I’ve just been busy doing other things around the house – both mine and Bryan’s. Football season is just around the corner and I won’t have my honey around as much to help me (but more sewing time, yay!) so we’ve been putting the finishing touches on the landscaping. One more palm tree and a few dozen bags of mulch and I’m done! I also finally finished laying the wood floors at Bryan’s house last Saturday which is a huge load off my mind.
Please don’t mind the wrinkles – we must embrace them if we are going to wear linen! I have to say that I’ve really enjoyed making this shirt. Sometimes it’s fun to just lose yourself in a more time-consuming project.
July 14, 2010 · 2:59 pm
The bib has been completed except for the buttons (I’m kind of making this all up as I go!). I love necklines with ties so I decided to use a double-fold binding from self-fabric.
I’ve sewn entredeux to the outer edge in the same manner as before. I used a very narrow entredeux to make it easier to sew into a curved seam. I apologize for the fuzzy photo, operator error, I suspect.
There will be more sewing later today but I promised my neighbor I’d make her some curtains so I’m off to do the measuring. I know what you’re thinking (noooo, don’t do it!) but her husband is constantly helping me with things around the house so I am more than happy to be able to reciprocate in some small way.
July 14, 2010 · 10:21 am
Last night I began putting together the strips of fabric and lace for the bib. I use my own version of heirloom sewing techniques that work well for heavier fabrics. I have found that traditional rolling-and-whipping techniques are great for heirloom fabrics like batiste but don’t always work with fashion fabrics.
First, I stitch the beading to the fabric strip right at the edge of the embroidery. I’m using a zipper foot on my Consew which allows me to see exactly where I need to sew.
Next, I would ordinarily do a rolled hem to finish off the seam allowances but my linen is quite crisp and loosely woven and didn’t take well to this technique. Instead, I used the narrowest 3-thread overedge possible, running the needle right along my previous stitching. On a home overlock you can achieve this by setting the machine up for rolled hem but leaving the tensions set for a balanced stitch. Continue sewing the pieces together until you achieve the desired size. Press well, making sure there are no pleats between the strips.
To keep the seams flat and meld everything together, I like to do a small zigzag between the holes in the beading/entredeux and the main fabric. Use a very fine thread that won’t “fill up” the holes (here I am using Madeira Tanne) and you won’t even be able to see it when you are finished.
And so I am finished with the most labor-intensive part of this garment! The rest will be pretty quick and easy, I think.
July 12, 2010 · 10:10 pm
I finished cutting out the shirt tonight (except for the sleeves because I’m not sure what I want to do with them yet).
My first order of business is creating the bib using strips of linen and Swiss embroideries. This will definitely be the fun part! Here is my inspiration:
Apparently, this is a dress. A very short dress possibly designed by Kelly “I’m not wearing pants” Bensimon. Nevertheless, it’s very, very pretty, isn’t it? The moment I saw this I immediately thought of the Deneuve Tuxedo Shirt and those yards and yards of embroideries in my stash!
I don’t know about you, but I really dislike pulling threads. I never get one to go all the way across! But, I was a Good Sewer and pulled threads to square up the fabric and then every 1.5″ across the piece.
Now I am armed and ready with my perfectly on-grain fabric strips. Tomorrow morning I will dust off my old Bernette overlock and set it up for a 2-thread rolled hem so that I’ll be ready to start assembly tomorrow night.
I’m off to bed now. I broke my Little Piggy Who Had Roastbeef yesterday and then tonight I accidentally kicked a 5 lb. dumbell with the same foot (OUCH). I am definitely ready for elevation and ice! It’s a good thing I use my left foot for sewing. And equally good, I suppose, that I’m not this clumsy with my sewing machine.