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I’m Not Invisible Anymore!

23 Jun

This is a self-serving and gratuitous post to get my picture on the wonderful Not Dead Yet Style blog.  Thanks so much to Patti for making we women of a certain age visible again!

Now run along and check out my picture. : )

Vogue 8120 and 8634 – The Six-Pack Continues

16 Nov

One thing I’ve noticed about my sewing skills lately is that I’m finally to the point of being able to look at a mistake without having a complete nervous breakdown.  Now, that’s progress!  I ALMOST see a mistake as a challenge to be overcome.  It definitely means less wadders.

I’ve just completed Vogue 8120, and yes, I made a few mistakes (shhhhhhh).  I made the white view (3/4 sleeves), but with buttons.  Here is the completed top, worn with my Vogue 8435 skirt:

I used a pattern that went from size 6 to 12, which I really hate because my hips require a size 14.  I wish they would just put all the sizes in one envelope.  I would even be willing to pay more for a pattern with all the sizes.

I decided to use the size 6 through the neck and shoulders, but I still had to do a narrow shoulder adjustment.  This was complicated by the fact that the top has armscye princess seams, and I wasn’t sure how to do a narrow shoulder adjustment with these seams.  That, and having to grade up to a size 14 at the hips led me to do the unthinkable…I made a muslin.

I’m glad I made the muslin, because the adjustments were pretty easy, once I could see what I was dealing with.  I’ll never say “I never make muslins” again, but I WILL still say that I hate making them.

This fabric is either a viyella (cotton/wool) or more likely a wool challis.  I decided to use french seams, and I even did them on the armscye:

I love this blouse, and will probably make it up again in white cotton.  It would be the perfect white blouse.

I had been looking for a cowl neck that wouldn’t fall off my shoulders, and many people recommended Vogue 8634:

I made the middle view with 3/4 sleeves:

I liked this top so much, I made it in a sweater knit, as well, which I will show you on another post.

Both of these tops go with the Vogue skirt I made for the six-pack.  So, I have three pieces done and three to go.

Some of you asked me to post a picture of my jacket with me wearing it, so here it is:

I included a side view so you could see that it is not a swing coat, like the envelope would have you believe.  It’s okay with me, because I love the way this coat turned out, but if you have your heart set on a swing coat, this is not it.

I am on my way to New York City tomorrow to go fabric shopping for the Koos Coat that is a part of my six-pack.  I’ll have lots of NYC pictures to share when I get back.

Stitcher’s Guild Winter Six-Pack with New Colors

3 Nov

I just had validation that the new color palette is going to work.  It took me a minute to decide what my Winter Six-Pack would consist of.  Amazing!  That little task alone paid for the color analysis.  Usually, I would be wringing my hands and testing my less-than-artistic brain for hours trying to figure that out.

The funny thing is that I had just purchased two pieces of fabric to test my newfound color skills.  Those two pieces, plus some oddballs I’d had in my stash for years, will make up my Winter Six-Pack.  Here are the fabrics:

The top piece is a brown wool gabardine I might use for pants.  The second piece is a viyella print (believe it or not) that I found at a local fabric store.  The third piece is wool jersey for the skirt and cardi.  The last piece is a rayon knit I’ve had in my stash for a few years.  The fabric that isn’t here is the jacket fabric.  I’m making the new Koos jacket and am still working on the fabric for that piece:

This is the plan:

1 jacket (in multiple shades of brown)

1 skirt (in a rust wool jersey)

1 cardi/vest-type thing to go with the skirt (the same wool jersey as the skirt)

1 woven top (the multi color viyella)

1 knit top (in a rust, orange, and brown knit)

1 pants (brown wool)

The first piece is actually finished.  It’s this out of print Vogue Woman pattern:

Vogue 8435

I hesitated to pay the price for this pattern, but it’s a real sleeper.  I saw it on a fellow sewist at sewing camp and had to have it.  This is now a TNT pattern for me, so I’m thrilled I bought it after all.  Here is my version:

The pattern calls for a stable knit, so I made mine out of a wool jersey.  I have a bit more of this fabric left, and want to make something to go with this skirt.  I could use some help with the selection of the coordinate.  Here are some options:

Marcy Tilton for Vogue 8779:

I think the long skirt with the short swing jacket will look a little vintage.  That might work.  On the other hand, are the proportions right for that look?  And, if I make this jacket, I have to deal with putting a separating zipper in a knit.  I’ve never done that and this fabric is a nightmare to rip out!  Ask me how I know.

Here is another option.  It’s the new Katherine Tilton vest, Vogue 8777:

I love the back detail of this vest, but will the proportions be right with the long skirt? Will the whole profile be “long and skinny”?

Would love any feedback on the cardi/vest piece, or any other suggestions you might have.

In The World Of Color, I’m An Autumn…Really

1 Nov

Back in the 80’s when Color Me Beautiful was all the rage, I was thrilled to discover I was a “summer”.  Finally, I would know for certain what colors to wear.  No more wasted money, no more new clothes finding their way to the Goodwill.

You see, I have a color problem.  I’m not exactly color blind, but I just don’t see color the way others do.  I’ve figured this out over the years as friends would tell me I looked great in something horrid that I found in the back of the closet, and I would look, aghast, in the mirror, thinking they were crazy. How many people have told me that I am a “warm tone” person, when I know in my heart of hearts that I am cool?

So, I bought Color Me Beautiful and went through it intensely, pen and paper in hand.  One part of the book struck me the most, and to this day it’s the only part I remember:  If you have a gray ring around the iris of your eye, you are most definitely a “summer”.  That would mean that I look best in cool tones.  Yay…I knew it!  For years I dutifully carried around that little folded-up color chart in my wallet, waiting for a shopping opportunity.

I have struggled with color ever since.  Why doesn’t anything look good on me?  Oh, every once in awhile I get lucky and try something on in a store that looks “wow”.  It would usually be outside my color zone and I would just shrug my shoulders and carry on.  But, when you sew, the color problem is intensified.  You realize that you can’t try the clothes on in the store under that glorious store light that makes everyone look wonderful in their worst colors.  When you sew, you have to take a leap of faith that the final garment will not only look good in the fabric, but that the whole thing will look good on you.

One disaster after the other, and too many wadders later, I started losing faith in my color scheme.  I thought I looked good in red, but not anymore.  What about pink?  That used to be my best color, but it looks awful on me now.  And camel?  Is that in the “summer” color zone?  I became so confused that I started wearing only two colors:  brown and navy.  They were safe.

I recently went to a sewing camp, and after I got to know these ladies well (as you tend to do after five, eight hour days of sewing), they sweetly and subtly let me know that I was wearing the wrong colors.  Most of these ladies had little color palettes that were made just for them.  They could take these palettes to the store when fabric shopping, and be assured of selecting the right colors.

I HAD to have one of those little palettes, so a fellow camper and I made an appointment to have the color specialist, Ethel Harms, work her magic on us.  And she did.  Here is my color palette:

Yes, I’m a medium autumn, with warm undertones.  So to anyone in my life who has told me I’m an autumn, and to whom I have argued that I am NOT an autumn, but a summer…I apologize.  I’m just not very good with color.

After my appointment with Ethel, but before I actually got the palette, I went fabric shopping and picked out something I thought would fall into my color palette.  This is what I bought:

I don’t know if you can see from the picture how well it fits with my color palette, but it does.  And the print looks fabulous next to my skin.  This is a print I would never in a million years have chosen before.

If you are a sewist, and are color insecure, I highly recommend having a color analysis done.  It will not only save you wadders, but you’ll end up looking fabulous!

Oh…and that gray ring around my iris?  It’s actually green. 🙂

Sew Expo, Puyallup 2

16 Mar

A few days to recuperate from surgery, and I can finally post #2 of Sew Expo.

I took two of Katherine Tilton’s classes, The Arty T and Using Raw Edges.  I’m going to start with the raw edges class.

I remember the first time I sewed Vogue 8497, I didn’t realize it had raw edges.  I finished it and hated it!  I just couldn’t wrap my mind, or my style, around raw edges!  I guess when things are really different, it takes me awhile to get accustomed to it, not that I would ever say I’m rigid – I actually consider myself quite flexible (a wonderful teacher-trait) :=). But I guess I’ve been pretty traditional when it comes to style, and now that I’m retired and can wear anything I want, I’d like to break out of my mold a bit.  Nothing too radical, mind you, but a few raw edges here and there will NOT kill me.

Katherine’s idea of raw edges can be pretty radical.  She will just throw odds and sods of fabric on garment edges, and it turns out wonderful.  That would never work for me.  But I will say, she did inspire me.  Here are some examples from her website:

There are raw edges at the bottom of this Vogue 8691 T-shirt.  It’s hard to tell, but I think the vertical piece on the front has exposed edges, as well.

I’m not sure what the above pattern is, but this cardi has more raw edges than you can believe.  Isn’t it cute?  This is one of those garments where she just puts pieces of fabric in different places…and viola!  Looks easy, huh?

I love this cardi!  Check out the raw edges on the bottom and the top (and probably the sleeves).  Katherine will sometimes use the role of the fabric as a natural finish on a neckline.  Also, she will use a double fabric treatment for style and warmth.

Katherine and Marcy both use tule or netting for edges, so I bought some at their expo shop.  I washed it today, along with some other fabric that will go with it.  We’ll see what I come up with.

In the Arty T class, Katherine showed us that you COULD combine fabric that you really wouldn’t think would go together, to make beautiful garments.  What I took away from that class is that fabrics will work together if they have at least one color in there that sort of matches.  Mixing patterns on fabrics adds interest and distinctiveness to a homemade garment.

The last class I took at Sew Expo was a class on using my Babylock Serger.  I have an Imagine, which doesn’t have a coverhem.  In this class, we used an Evolution, which does have a coverhem.  Boy, is that baby easy to use.  I love my Imagine, but I am now officially coveting the Evolution.  NO, I WILL NOT BUY IT!

Speaking of buying things, after much deliberation and research, I purchased this Naomoto HYS-58 gravity feed steam iron:

I’m very excited about this purchase, which I thought I would never say about an iron, lol.  I now must locate an IV stand to hold the water container, then I’m set.  Press on!

Reporting on Sew Expo, Puyallup

8 Mar

Sew Expo – exciting, creative, inspiring, and exhausting!  It will take me a few days to recover. Fortunately, my foot held out well, and I was able to navigate the fairgrounds without issue.

I took some wonderful classes, and was fortunate that not one of them was a dud.  When I was teaching, I would take lots of workshops to either brush up on my teaching skills, or to learn new ones.  I would consider a workshop successful if I took just one thing away from it that I could use immediately in my teaching.  So, I’d like to go through each workshop and highlight the one lesson that I will probably use right away.

1.  Cutting Through the Red Tape, Louise Cutting:  This class was on measuring the body and a little bit about making alterations.  I took several things away from this excellent class, but the most important one for me was the sloping shoulder measurement.  There are two body points you need here: one is the shoulder point, which is made by raising your arm parallel to the floor and then finding that little indent where the shoulder meets the arm; the other is the point on the spine right at the waistline.  Measure between these two points and compare this measurement with the pattern. Lower or raise the slope of shoulder seam accordingly.

Another little tidbit I learned from this class is to measure the width of the shoulder from the base of the neck to the little shoulder indent.  I had been measuring across the back from shoulder point to shoulder point.  Maybe that’s why my shoulder seams never come out just right!

2.  Linda Lee’s class on design for young and old – can’t remember the exact title:  I learned a great tweak for the Hudson pants, and if you are a Sewing Workshop fan, you will want to take note.  The Hudson’s can be made into harem-style pants by simply adding a band to the bottom.  Here is Erin from The Sewing Workshop in a pair she made:

You could make the band any width you want, and if you want the pants a little “blousier”, you could just lengthen them and then put the band on.  Cool!

3.  The Arty Cardi by Marcy Tilton:  Marcy, I love you, pure and simple!  Now I know how to make my favorite t-shirt, which is Vogue 8582, into a cardi (actually, you can make any t-shirt into a cardi with these instructions).

First, you make fresh pattern pieces, then you deepen the armhole by adding 1/2 to 3/4 inches at the shoulder seam.  Add 1/2″ or more (per your preference) at the side seams. For a plain front opening, you add 2 3/4″ to the center front (make sure you mark the center front on the pattern).  Draw another line 5/8″ from the center front – that is the fold line.  Interface, making sure the interfacing goes through the fold line.  Press the fold and make the top buttonhole BEFORE sewing on the neck-band (I thought this was the coolest tip). Voila!

I think that’s enough for today.  My next post will be about Katherine Tiltons Arty T class and the Babylock Serger class.  I’ll also include pics of my Marcy Tilton fabric purchases and my plans for them.

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