Monday, February 28, 2011

Me-Made March Inventory

Wow, how is tomorrow already March 1st?   This winter has gone so quickly!  I thought I could start off Me-Made March by taking inventory of every homemade garment I have, and seeing where there are gaps I need to fill.  Obviously one of those gaps in going to be tops!  I have only made one shirt so far, so it looks like I'm going to be skipping a few Casual Fridays this month.  I've always disliked Casual Friday, anyway.  I think jeans are kind of uncomfortable, and so I usually end up wearing leggings and a knit dress.  I've proposed Cocktail Dress Friday a few times, but no one seemed to be on board.

Here's what I'm working with.  I've got 15 dresses I would be okay wearing either for work or play.  Then I have one skirt I made ages ago, my new Sencha blouse, and another blouse I made a while ago out of two vintage silk scarves.  I am fine with having to repeat things. It's still cold here and I can change my look with different tights and cardigans.

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I also have another Sencha blouse cut out.  If I make different versions in different fabrics, it won't look like I'm wearing the same blouse all the time.  Especially since it's cold and I have to wear a cardigan anyway.

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The fabric is from a Ralph Lauren bedsheet.  It was part of my set from freshman year in college, but now I no longer have a need for an extra long twin sheet set.  Could I be obnoxious and call it a "reclaimed" bedsheet?  Hahaha.  That is another one of my huge Etsy pet peeves - sellers who list pieces of old sheets and call it reclaimed fabric.  It's not like you stripped 100 year old leather off a train car and used it to upholster a chair.  You went to Goodwill and bought a slept on (and probably sexed on) sheet and now you are selling pieces of it as vintage fabric.   How is that "reclaimed"? 

I have to cheat on Me-Made March a little bit while I'm in Mexico from the 10th - 17th.  Since my Vogue sundress was a disaster, that leaves me with only five homemade summer dresses.  I have my 60's bikini, but I'm scared about it's swimability, so I am also bringing two store bought bikinis.  I have no homemade caftans or coverups, so right now I have three store bought ones packed. 

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I bought this pattern from Connie the Pattern Peddler (who is quickly becoming my Etsy go-to seller for all my vintage fabric and pattern needs) and if I have time before next Thursday, I'd really like to make it to bring along.  I even have a very 1960's print bedsheet I could make it out of.  And no, it is not reclaimed - I bought it from the Salvation Army.

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I'm really looking forward to participating in Me-Made March!  I'm going to try my best to do daily updates.  I can't wait to see what everyone else is wearing!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Snowed-In Sewing

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I was mostly snowed in this weekend, which kind of sucks, but I was so productive.  I finished my Colette Patterns Sencha blouse, made a dress from a 1948 Simplicity pattern, and finished everything but the waistband on the secret custom skirt I'm making for another blogger.

First up, my Sencha blouse!  It's gorgeous, hey?  It's the softest, prettiest, most flattering top I've ever owned.  I'm still kind of in disbelief that it's something I made, and I can make MORE. 

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Please ignore the drag show's worth of makeup on my face - I am going to an Oscars party in an hour. Oh, and I forgot to get a picture of the back, but here are the buttons. They are vintage, from Etsy.

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I stole my outfit inspiration from Mad Men (of course).  Look, both Betty and Trudy wore a Sencha-esque blouse with white pants! 

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I also made a Simplicity dress that I have already made before, but this time I skipped the contrasting yoke and made it all solid pale pink.  I made the alterations to it that I wish I had done the first time, which were gathering the waistband of the bodice so it was blousy, and making it shorter.  The fabric is crepe from the 1930's and I still have about two yards of it left.  I'm thinking I'm going to use it to make some slips or maybe the Colette Patterns Nutmeg.

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I also have pretty much given up on my Vogue 5510 knockoff. I put on the zipper this morning, and it looks great from the back, but the front is still a disaster.

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I told my husband to cut my head off since I hadn't showered yet, and I think it took it a little too literally. So please, ignore my unshowered half-head.  Here's a closeup of the bodice front and the issues I'm having. So bunchy! Why is that? I don't even know what I can do to fix it.

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It's time for me to get ready for the party, so I'll leave you with one more sneak peak at my secret skirt!

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Colette Patterns Sencha Blouse

I decided to hang up my Vogue 5510 knockoff for now, and shift my focus to the upcoming Me Made March.  I am seriously lacking in shirts; I own maybe two that I like and actually wear.  Since there are 4-5 Casual Fridays in a month, I tend to repeat the same shirts or just screw it and wear a dress.  I have jeans that I like, I just can't ever find tops to go with them!  I tried shopping this past Fall for pretty, feminine blouses in non-geometric prints and I came home empty handed.  All the stores I tried only had knitwear or your basic collared button-down, which honestly, I find hopelessly boring.

My friend told me about Colette Patterns; her and Sarai had worked together a few years ago.  I checked out their website and loved everything, but was a little hesitant to spend $16 on a pattern.  Not that it's that expensive, but when most of my patterns are thrift store and rummage sale finds for about a quarter each, $16 sounds pricey.  But I've heard really good things about the detailed instructions, and my fellow bloggers seem to love them, so I went for it and ordered the Sencha blouse.

It arrived a couple days ago, and the packaging is utterly delightful.  The booklet is sewn together (adorable touch!) and comes with incredibly detailed instructions. 

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I started with Version 1, which is the basic blouse.  I used some soft chambray I picked up at a church rummage sale.  There was enough yardage, but it had a small square cut out.  I had to disregard the suggested layout and just place my pieces where they fit.  Luckily the fabric didn't have a nap or a print or it never would have fit.

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After I cut out all my pieces, I did my usual lowering of the neckline.  Gotta show some collarbone!  I cut away at the bodice front first, and then laid the scrap on top of my facing pieces and cut away there, too.

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Since my fabric is really soft and a little stretchier than most cottons I work with, I reached for the heavyweight interfacing.

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For shaping on the blouse front, there are two deep tucks on either side. The tucks were super easy, I just marked the circles with a pin, and then made a little dot with my orange tailor's pencil.

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Match up the dots and sew between them, and you're done! It was easier to do than darts. Here's the inside after I pressed them towards the center.

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And the outside. I can already tell it's going be really flattering.  Anything that is fitted at the waist and then gently skims the stomach area always works really well for me.  I have an aversion to anything that clings to my stomach.

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After I sewed the backs to the fronts and the shoulder seams, and sewed the side seams, I moved to the sleeves.  The directions said to fold the sleeve over 1/4th inch and edgestitch.  I followed the directions to a T this time, but in the future I could skip this and hit up my stash of vintage seam tapes and bias tape to finish the edge.  Either would look really nice, I think.

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The final thing I did last night was finishing the sleeves. I gently pressed them in place and secured them with a couple pins, and then catchstitched the sleeve edge to the blouse. I don't mean to boast, but I am getting really good at that. I challenge you to find a stitch!

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All I have left to do is the buttons and hem.  This top was so easy that I bet I could knock out one of each version in no time!

I also started another project last night which I can't talk about yet because I'm making it for someone and I want the finished product to be a surprise.  It's for a pretty well-known blogger, so there's definitely a lot of pressure to make it perfect.  I don't want to give too much away, but it's going to be made out of the prettiest, softest peachy silk from the 1930's.  Even the scraps are gorgeous!

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No sewing tonight as the husband and I are going to see Pete Yorn.  A sexy man with a guitar and 16 oz PBRs?  Yes please!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fit Issues

Happy Wednesday, Everyone.  It's been pretty quiet here the last few days because I've been slaving over my Vogue 5510 knockoff.  On Monday night, I finished everything but the zipper.  Last night, I pinned the zipper in place, went to try it on....

And, it's huge.  Like shapeless, frumpy, waist all in the wrong place huge.  I have no idea what went wrong, the muslin fit perfect.  I laid the muslin on top of my dress and it's somehow two inches larger.  The only change I made to the back bodice piece was adding a few inches of length, I didn't change anything about the width!

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I was pretty unhappy to have to rip out my waistline stay. It looked so nice.

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I ripped the waistline seam all the way out to the sides, and cut off the offending two extra inches of fabric.

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I re-pulled my gathers to fit the smaller bodice, and stitched everything up.  Now, it fits perfectly in the waist, but I'm still having issues with the bust.  The right side is fine, and the left side is gaping all over the place.  The armhole is also considerably lower and half my bra hangs out.

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I'm going to try one more time to fix it before this dress ends up being a really pretty dress...for someone else.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The ugliest romper in existence

Hahaha, I can't believe I'm posting these.  Don't say I never did anything for you! 

**Disclaimer - this will never be worn in public, EVER, and was only completed for purposes related to this blog. 

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In real sewing news, I got a really good start on my knockoff Vogue 5510. I'm having reservations about the fabric, though. I had something really specific in mind, and Ebay and Etsy turned up nothing. This is quilting cotton from Joann's and it's only sort of what I envisioned, but I liked it well enough in the store. But when the lady at the cutting table asked what I was making, I lied and said "pillows". For some reason, I can never admit to anyone that I buy quilting cotton to make sundresses.

Here's what I've got so far.

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On to the skirt!

Vogue 5510

It has been a great weekend for sewing!  Not only did I finish my 60's bikini, I started on a muslin for a dress I'm super excited about.  I saw Vogue 5510 on a blog recently, and I think it is pretty much the best dress I have ever seen in my life.  I would literally weep with joy if I saw something similar in a vintage store.

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Ebay, Etsy, and Google searches turned up nothing on this pattern.  I set an eBay saved search, but it's been a few weeks and no listings and I was getting impatient.  I searched through pages and pages of patterns looking for something similar, and then I got the idea to search for "cross back dress".  One pattern came up.  This one:

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Holy crap, the bodice is basically perfect!  All I would need to do is swap out the totally 90's skirt for a full one and it would be just like the gorgeous Vogue.  It was only $5, so I ordered it.  It arrived today, and I couldn't wait to get started. 

Since I'm pretty much making a Frankenpattern and I had no idea if it would even turn out, I made a muslin.  I reached for the rest of the hideous bears/frogs/turtles eating watermelon and started to cut.  I found the waistline marking on the pattern, and cut an inch below.

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I did the same for the back. Look how tiny the pieces are!

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The bodice front was easy, just two darts on either side.

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The neckline was a little higher than I like.  I trimmed a bit away, and then placed the scrap on top of the facing piece, and trimmed that away too.

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The dress had armhole stays, and you measured the stay from a guideline on the pattern. I used some pink single-fold bias tape. I have a ton of the stuff and I never use it.

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I sewed together my facings, sewed it to the bodice, and then turned it right side out.

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Then it was time to move to the back. It has a dart, which I bet I could omit. The dart is probably just to give shaping around the butt-al region, but since I'm ditching the skirt, they're probably not necessary.

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The next step was to baste the straps to the outside of the back bodice, and then sew the backs to the fronts.

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And here's the finished back of the muslin. It looks almost exactly how I wanted!

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Changes I am going to make are:
  • Lengthening the back bodice piece by a few inches.  The armholes were a little low, and once I sew the skirt on, the bodice back would only be about an inch long.  Plus, as is stands, it would be impossible to wear a bra with.  I need to at least be able to wear a strapless with it.
  • Sewing the straps to the bodice front.  The directions say to affix three snaps, but it's not necessary.  I pinned it and I could easily get it over my head with the straps attached.  I think snaps would look messy and be a pain in the ass.
So I think this project is a go!  I just need to find the perfect floral fabric.

Oh, and a funny story.  My husband doesn't know what a muslin is, so he thought this was an actual dress I was making.  I explained that it was just a test to make sure everything fit and worked out.  He thought it was a shame to throw it in the garbage after working on it for hours and said I should just finish it.  Then I had a better idea - I could sew it to the muslin I made for my bloomers and make the ugliest romper in existence! 

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Have a great Sunday!