Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Don't Do as I Do, Do as I Say . . .

And thereby hangs a tale.  A sad and sorry tale.  Even though it all began with such good intentions . . . . .

It started two weekends ago, a Saturday evening in fact.  Having cut out some skirts and tops, I thought that I would 'treat' my sewing machine and serger to a clean.  Yes, I know that some people would not call this a 'treat' but more a necessity, but I am trying.  I defuzzed my sewing machine and gave it a new needle and a touch of oil.  Perfect!

Next up the serger.  I cleaned and oiled all the 'insidy' bits, then following the guidelines in my instruction manual I took off the needle plate and cleaned underneath.  Feeling very pleased with myself I was just about to put the needle plate back in position when I noticed two needles jammed in the grooves of needle plate.  Horror of horrors, how can that have occurred?  I am sure that there are a number of you reading this, shaking your head saying 'oh no, she didn't did she?'  Yep, you bet I did!  This is how my needle plate looked before I attacked it with a screwdriver to get those nasty, offending needles out:

Nasty, nasty needles.  I was a little confused as to how they could have made the jump from my sewing to the needle plate, but I really didn't question it too much until after 'jemmying' one of the needles out I realised that there was no eye in the needle.  I could feel the panic slowly crawling up the back of my spine and I frantically searched online for photos of new needle plates.  Guess what they look like?  Yep, the picture above.  :: sigh ::  The needles are actually pretty important and used by the looper threads . . . . . . Guess how many sewing shops that stock Janome needle plates are open before Monday morning in the largest city in Alberta?  Less than one. . . . . .


So there is my tale.  DO NOT pry those needles out.  Seriously - who knew?  Of course, looking at it now, I cannot believe how stupid I was . . . . . certainly won't be doing that again :)

The good news is that I have a shiny new needle plate (with needles) and lots of (pent up) mojo to keep me rolling along!!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Loving a Plan!

First of all, big thanks for all the comments on my last post about fitting a shift dress.  I have made the suggested alterations - removed the excess fabric under the arms, 'nipped' in the waist at the side seams, taken 4" off the hem and 'sliced' up the front to remove excess fabric.  The fit is muuuuuch better (just need hubby to take some more pics to show you!), but I am not quite ready to commit this to my wool/silk fabric herringbone for the Oscar de la Renta dress.  I think that there are some more adjustments to be made, and then I have to get used to the actual fit.  It is a lot more snug than my usual clothes, and it takes some getting used to!  In the meantime . . . . I have been planning . . . . . !

I have planned a small 6 piece collection - 2 skirts, 2 tops and 2 jacket/cardigans.  Here are my fabrics and patterns:

This fabric is a lovely grey suiting with a faint chevron weave.  The aqua lining is from my Mum's collection and I think it will be a lovely finish to this skirt - one of those linings that makes you smile whenever you see it!

Next up is some red suiting with a touch of lycra.  I will use the Vogue jacket in this red, and some black crepe to make a shortened version of the 'v' necked cardigan from Simplicity.

My second skirt will be made from this herrigbone (rayon from - this time the skirt is a short (for me) 'A' line, with a white lining.

And finally, two Sorbettos - I know, how many is too many?  Who knows?  But I will be making one in a solid black poplin and the other in a solid lilac poplin (99cents/m from Fabric Mart) - both colors have a touch of lycra making these tops very comfy!

On the whole - pretty staid fabrics (for me) but they are much needed in my wardrobe of patterned fabrics!!

To finish, I wanted to share the alteration that I use on skirts with a drapey fabric - replacing the vent with a godet/fishtail.

This skirt had a slim vent at the bottom which I was not very keen to have in my skirt, so I extended the hem in a smooth upwards curve.  This length/width is arbitrary.  In this case I made use of the tissue paper on the pattern layout that was spare in between two pattern pieces (to avoid adding additional tissue paper).  Just make sure that the diagonal line from the centre back to the tip of the godet/fishtail (A) is the same as the length from the centre back where the godet/fishtail starts to the bottom of the hem (B).  If line 'A' is longer, then the godet/fishtail will hang lower than the rest of the hem - which may be something that you would like!

So there you have it - a cute little fashion detail that adds a bit of 'flip' to your hem!

And whilst I am sewing up these lovelies, I can plan what I am going to sew with this lovely little bundle that arrived from Vogue Fabrics . . . . . from the left is some wool crepe, patterned cotton jersey, and lastly a cute ruffle fabric:

How about you? How is your sewing shaping up?!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

New Skirts and Fitting Issues

I love skirts.  There.  I said it!  I could make skirts all day long and I have just completed another three - two have made it for this quick shoot.

The first up is a straight skirt that is slightly pegged at the hem (Simplicity 7623).  Rather than put a vent in the back, I extended the bottom hem and centre back seam (similar to a godet) which gives me the circumference I need for walking ease.  Oh, and it is flippy - and I love flippy hems!  The waistband is elasticated, the skirt is lined and has a lace trim to the hem.  The fabric is a super drapey crepe and is matt, no shine at all, and will see lots of wear!

Next up is a fitted tartan skirt made from a length of Royal Stewart (I think) wool/poly fabric that I have had for a gazillion years.  I put in an invisible zip - in red, call me a rebel - and the skirt is lined with a lace hem.  I sewed the lining down along the vent so that it does not show through.

I matched up the checks up horizontally, and should have paid a little more attention to the vertical as well.  Ho hum.  Next time!  I wore this to work last week and received lots of lovely compliments.  Very nice indeed!

And so on to fitting.  Following on from yesterdays post about a muslin that I had sewn up that I thought did not look flattering, I received an offer of posting the photos so that suggestions could be made by the lovely Carolyn to improve the fit.  Well, who am I to turn down that kind of offer?  So here we are.

The pattern has already been adjusted to account for an FBA as well as a sway back.  From the underarm to the hem, there is no shaping - just a straight seam.

This side view (above) shows that my body does not actually go 'in' much more than the outline of the muslin.

I also thought that I would show you how much fabric that there is to 'pinch'.  Er, not very much!!!  And when I sat down, I kind of filled out the rest of the fabric . . . . just keeping it real!!

And finally - this is how a finished version could look with a cute RTW cashmere cardigan, which frankly, isn't bad!  The length, I would probably shorten it somewhat and I did not put a zip in this version as I can just about slip it over my head.  'Real' versions would certainly have an invisible zip!

Well, I would appreciate any comments - I think that the front view bothers me most.  And thanks, in anticipation!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Oscar de la Ackerman?

Well, this is a little disappointing . . . I muslin-ed a semi-fitted shift dress that fit perfectly on top . . . . . . and then hung like a sack over the rest of me.  This was for the pattern that I was going to use for the PR RTW Knockoff (a fabulous Oscar de la Renta design).  I had visions of sewing dozens of gorgeous Carolyn type dresses - smart, professional, comfortable etc.,etc.,etc., and instead I just look like a cylinder on legs.  And it is not as though I can take in darts or use more shaping as I actually look like a cylinder on legs in reality.  Oh well, plan B.

Would you believe that the fabric in each of these fabrics is the same - just goes to show how some patterns mess around with your cameras!!

Anyhow, I love the fabric/lace combination soooo much that I am thinking of mixing my designers and making a Haider Ackerman duster:

I think!  With a black column underneath, I think it will look pretty swish.  But maybe I will change my mind in the time it takes me to prep the fabric and get it cut out!

Voting has now begun for the PR contest One Pattern Many Looks - so why don't you drop in and vote, there are some fabulous garments . . . and if you feel my offerings are worthy, a vote would be appreciated!!