Tuesday, September 30, 2014

For the Love of a Tunic - A Sewing Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a haberdashery known by all in the land as Cold Water Creek.  Princess Pandora loved to peruse the apparel at Cold Water Creek.  It was a rare haberdashery where most of the garments fit Princess Pandora well, and the styles were timeless, so Princess Pandora didn't mind spending the Prince's gold for the lovely garments.

Then one day an Evil Sorcerer began casting spells on the Cold Water Creek haberdasheries.  First, he made the seamstresses hands less nimble so that the stitching was wonky.  Next, he made the cotton grow huge fibers so that the weavers could no longer weave it in to fine cloth.  Finally, he cast a spell of delirium on the fiber artists so that their prints were no longer timeless.

Alas, one day a purple grey mist fell over the land and when it cleared all of the Cold Water Creeks in the land had disappeared.  It was a sad day for Princess Pandora.

Shortly after the stores had closed she went to retrieve her favorite tunic from her wardrobe only to find that it was so thread bare from wear that it had rips that could not be repaired.

Princess Pandora was devastated and swore she would never be a slave to RTW fashion again.  She would learn to make her own garments.  Thus a new hobby and love of cloth was born, and Princess Pandora lived happily ever after!

This fairy tale is based on a true story.  The tunic in the story was made of a silk cotton voile.  It had a light tan background with a leaf like print in shades of rust, grey, and little pops of yellow.  There was a front placket with pearl snaps, the sleeves were gathered at very narrow cuffs that also used pearl snaps and could be turned up and held with D rings and a strap that was attached inside the sleeve.  It had a rounded hem and a smallish Mandarin style collar.

I am determined to remake this tunic.  I wish I had held on to it to make a pattern from, because it was perfectly proportioned for me.  Instead, I am going to use McCalls M6885 in view D with quite a few changes.

Photo from http://mccallpattern.mccall.com/

It will need to be shortened, I will lose the chest pockets, and I will change the collar and cuffs.  I will use d-rings instead of buttons to hold up the rolled cuffs.  Also, I think I am going to square up and shorten the placket.  This pattern was one of the last things that I sewed before the injury, and the placket just feels long on it even as a dress.  I sewed a lengthened view B in navy blue with small gray polka dots, and maybe I will get some photos of this up if I can get my camera man to take some pictures this week.

I intend to make the tunic in this great voile from Mood.  It has similar colors to the beloved tunic, and I like the print.

Photo from Moodfabrics.com

I think voile is a great fabric for Fall.  I know that a lot of people consider voile a Spring or Summer fabric, but I like that it is a great transition fabric.  You can layer it on chilly days, or wear it alone on warmer days and still get away with pairing it with cute boots.

Have any of you ever remade a beloved RTW item?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Fall Sewing List 2014

With my wrist and hand injury, since I can’t really sew (though I did finish off a t-shirt yesterday and am paying for it today) I am working on things like organizing my sewing area, making my Fall sewing list, and cooing over fabric that I want to buy but can’t justify at this time.

I am normally not one to deprive myself when I find a fabric that really grabs me.  But, there is a lot of potential change that is happening around here, and the thought of adding to my stash and having to drag it half way across the country is just not appealing at all.

There are a lot of great things that I want to sew for Fall 2014, and I have a lot of light sweater knits in the stash that are screaming at me right now to make something beautiful out of them.  Most of the things that are really inspiring me right now have nothing to do with sweater knits though.

A few weeks ago when the temperatures dropped in to the 40s at night, and before I went on the disabled sewers list, I sewed a red and white stripe sweater knit into a self drafted dolman style tunic.  It is really cute and is already getting a bit of rotation in the wardrobe.  It is great with jeans, which I wear a ton of this time of year.   It is just a really nice transitional piece that I have been .

So what am I looking forward to sewing this Fall?

First things first, I am looking forward to sewing my wrap dress for the Curvy Sewing Collective Wrap Dress Sewalong.  For the sewalong, I am sewing Butterick B5898 but I will be sewing it with either long sleeves or three quarter length sleeves (can't make up my mind).  This is going to be done in a great red and black ponte that I found at Hancock Fabric.

Green Style Creations has a great raglan t-shirt that I am looking forward to diving in to this Fall.  I see many great things in this pattern, including a spirited shirt for my favorite college football team.  I may split it down the middle and make a raglan cardigan out of it as well, but we will see if I manage to get to that.

Burda Style #7168 in view C is also on the list.  I have a piece of eggplant purple faux suede that is calling out to be made in to this casual jacket.  Paired with a fitted t-shirt, skinny jeans, and tall boots, this jacket will become a Fall Classic.

I also intend to make Burda Style Animal Print Dress #133b from the downloadable site.  Am I the only one that thinks things get confusing between the patterns in the magazine, the downloadables, and the paper patterns all from Burda Style?  I have a cream and black animal print ponte from Fabric Mart that I am going to use to make this.  I really like the shape of this dress, and think it will be very cute paired with tights and ankle boots.

I know there will be many more items that will be on my Fall 2014 sewing list, but these are the ones that I will be sewing as soon as my wrist heals.  

So, I gotta know is there something that you are looking most forward to sewing this Fall?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Funday and being on the Disabled Sewer List

Hello Ladies!  It is Friday Funday again!!!  

But before we get to the merriment, I am sad to say that I am on the disabled sewer list.  I have managed to injure my right hand and wrist, with no idea what I did.  I just woke up one morning and my wrist was in terrible condition.  Couldn't move it, wiggling my fingers caused excruciating pain.  So for now I am stuck with an ugly black brace on my wrist that pushes my hand back in to a neutral position.  No sewing for 3 weeks, no cutting out fabric or patterns for 3 weeks, no crochet for 3 weeks.  I am gonna be honest with you ladies.  It sucks!  Typing isn't exactly a breeze either.  I digress.

On to the good stuff.  This week for our Friday Funday pattern giveaway, we have this beautiful vintage Vogue Pattern:

It is described as a dress, but it is really a two piece set.  I LOVE the tie waist and the neckline.

Pattern is described as:

Vintage Vogue 5358 two piece dress. Easy fitting overblouse joins shaped hip band which has optional bow trimming. Deep, scooped back neckline or high neckline finished with collar knotted at center back. Flared skirt has released pleats at sides.

Size 18  Bust 38  Waist 30  Hip 40

Envelope has wear at all four corners and has tears at each of the top corners.

Pattern is uncut and factory folded.

To enter this week, please leave a comment below about how you like to use vintage patterns.  Make sure that if your profile doesn't link back to an email address that you leave your email so that I contact you if you are the winner.

Good Luck Ladies!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

And the winner's are...

Since we only had seven entries, there was no need for a random number generator for this giveaway.  I just had my kiddo draw numbers and place them on patterns.

Butterick 5769 goes to GarmA...please contact me with your address.

Butterick 8654 goes to TanyaMaile


McCalls 8229 goes to Nita.

Emails have been sent to Nita and TanyaMaile, but GarmA, I don't have any way to contact you.

Congratulations ladies!!!!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Funday Vintage Pattern Giveaway!!!

Friends, every Friday I will be giving away some great vintage patterns from my stash.  They won't always be plus size patterns, but they will always be vintage!

Today we have the following patterns up for grabs:

These patterns are all factory folded, but may have some damage to their envelopes (such as torn corners or tears at the envelope seam.

This giveaway is open to anyone all over the world.  There will be 3 winners each receiving 1 of the patterns above.  To enter, just leave a comment below letting me know which of these patterns is your favorite and why.  Contest is open until Monday, September 22nd.  Good luck!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Knit Wrap Sketch

Here is the sketch or line drawing for the knit wrap.  I sketched it sitting in the car rider line, so I really didn't have a straight edge or a right angle, and I may have colored it in with crayons.  It isn't the most professional looking line drawing, but it gets the idea down which is all that I am looking for at the moment.

I made some changes from my original sketch.  Since the Maggie of London ponte that I am using is a 58 inch knit, I decided go with 58 inches instead of 60 inches for the long edge of the wrap.  It works out nicely so as to only use 1 yard of the 3 yards that I have of this ponte.  What ever will I make with those other 2 yards???  I also had thought I would use mitered corners at the neck line, but have since decided to used the lapped corners like the inspiration wrap has.  I also cut 2 inch strips of the leather which will result in a 1.5 inch border after rolling .25 inches at each side of the leather under.

The ponte is cut out, and the leather is cut out.  I don't have a finished product yet to show you though.  As I went to sew the pieces, I realized that there were no leather needles in the stash.  So at some point today, I must head out to get needles.  I think it will be a quick sew, assuming Ne Ne is in a good mood.

It will probably be the weekend before I get the finished product posted, but please check back tomorrow as I will be posting my first giveaway, and if you are a vintage plus size sewist this is a giveaway that you don't want to miss.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Deconstruction of a Skirt

In my last post, I was discussing my current sewing inspiration and a little about how I intend to get to the finished product.  If you missed it, just click here and have a read.

I made mention that I will be using a thrifted leather skirt for the black leather trim on the inspiration piece.  In order to keep this sewing hobby from breaking the bank, I scour the local thrift shops for pieces that can be refashioned or upcycled.  I am a real sucker for leather and suede skirts.  Did you know that the back side of leather is suede and vice versa.  Granted, most suede doesn't have very pretty leather on the back side.  It is usually blemished or it has a weird grain, but occasionally I get lucky and find a real gem that is gorgeous on either side.  I rarely pay more than $2 for any garment I buy at my favorite local thrift store.  If it is more than $2 I try to wait til it goes on 1/2 price color of the week.  I should also mention that I have found some amazing crafting buys at my local thrifts and I will do more postings on some of those finds at a later date.

Back to the leather at hand!  Here are front and back pictures of my skirt before deconstruction:

She really feels like butter!  The fact that she is is a patchwork skirt doesn't bother me, because they are decent size patches, and they are well constructed so I won't even separate them when I need pieces, I will just cut them as is.

My first step in deconstruction was to remove the waistband.  Sorry, I forgot to take a picture at that step.  Deconstruction of garments is something I think everyone who is learning to sew should delve into.  You learn so much about how garments come together when you are taking them apart, and often that experience will help you to understand pattern instructions a little better.

My next step after removing the waistband was to liberate the lining.  I will be holding on to the lining, because it is a decent lining piece, and a thrifty gal always holds on to the bits from a deconstruction.  

Removing the lining...see the suede on the back of the leather?

From the lining I moved on to removing the very heavy duty zipper.  Then I split the seam that ran from the skirt vent to the zipper insertion point.  Now here is what I am left with:

For $1.98 and 30 minutes of my time (I deconstructed while watching It's Sew Easy on PBS) I now have a 56x36 inch piece of leather, an 8 inch heavy duty zipper, and a lining piece the same size as the leather.  I should note that though the waistband is pictured it will be getting pitched.  It was made out of pleather, and that my friends is not a good thing.

Tomorrow I will post sketches and dimensions, and depending on if I have the time to get it done, maybe the final product.  Until then...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Latest Sewing Inspiration

Do you follow Carolyn over at Diary of a Sewing Fanatic?  Right now she is sewing a tri-colored ponte dress inspired by one she saw on the St. John website.  I am going to be honest with you here in that I have never heard of St. John before.  Where have I been?  I guess I have been drooling over Marina Rinaldi dresses for too long.

When I saw the dress that inspired Carolyn I had to go check out the rest of the collection from St. John.  I was especially smitten with St. John's Leather Channel collection.  So without further ado, here is the piece that has inspired me (click on the picture to head over to Nordstroms, with whom I have no affiliation, and have a better look):

Photo from www.nordstrom.com

I have a cobalt ponte in my stash that is screaming to be made in to this "Leather Border Milano Knit Wrap".  I thrifted a beautiful long black leather skirt a few weeks back for $1.98, but in a size 10 there was no way I was going to be wearing the skirt.  It's butter soft leather is destined to trim quite a few projects this Fall, starting with this beauty.

This will be a self drafted pattern as it is basically a big rectangle, with a smaller rectangle cut out for the neck opening.  I will post details once I get her made.  I suspect it will be a quick project and I am really excited to get my Necchi machine out for sewing the leather, because she doesn't get nearly enough love.

BTW - I call my Necchi machine Ne Ne.  She is a hard worker that is her best when her back is up against the wall, but she can be a real biotch when she wants.  She's got attitude, and if she doesn't like what I am sewing she will let me know by throwing a fit.  She love, Love, LOVES leather though!

More details to come!!  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Fabric for the CSC Wrap Dress Sewalong

I am just so excited about this Sewalong I can't stand it.  If you haven't already heard, the Curvy Sewing Collective is hosting it's first Sewalong and the best part is you can make any wrap dress that your heart desires.

As I contemplated this Sewalong, I wanted to make sure that I wasn't just sewing to be a part of the Sewalong.  I wanted to make sure that I am going to be sewing something that I am going to use.  I thought about what needs I am going to be having in the next few months, and how I can make this dress fill those needs.

There is an outdoor wedding in late October which will be pretty chilly here in Indy.  And then of course all the holidays will be upon us, and I know that I will need a go to dress for those events as well.  With all those events in mind, I went looking for fabric.  I am not great at searching for fabric online.  I am a very tactile person and I need to actually feel the fabric.  So I headed out to my local Hancock fabric.  After perusing a multitude of fabrics, I found the perfect ponte for this dress.

Such Luxury!

With a beautiful back like that I may make sure it peaks out on occasion!

It drapes beautifully and is sooooo soft!

Luckily it is also available online here.  The photo online doesn't do it justice nor do my photos.  It is a rich Christmas red scroll on a black background, and the fabric has great texture.  The back of the fabric is solid red but you can still see that there is scroll work on the front.  I love it.  It is a perfect weight and I won't have to add the lining.

So I am wondering, have any of you picked out your fabric for the Sewalong yet?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wrap Dress Sewalong

I guess really soon is a relative term.  Four months is...well...a little too long.  I have been sewing away, and reading tons over at the Curvy Sewing Collective.  The gals over there are doing a great job getting this project off the ground, and I hope that as I get better organized I might be able to make some contributions to the site as well.

With that said, I look forward to the first sewalong that the CSC is hosting.  Jenny from Cashmerette is hosting a Wrap Dress Sewalong.  Just click on the button below for all the details.

Jenny has chosen to sew the Christine Jonson pattern that is her TNT wrap dress.  Since this pattern doesn't go up to my size, I have chosen to sew the Butterick B5898 pattern that goes all the way up to a size 6X, which is much more accommodating for us gals with serious hips and a little extra junk in the trunk!

I think I have chosen the fabric I will use, but I will wait to share that.  More later...