Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Recommend me some blogs!

I subscribe to or follow a ton of blogs, but I'm always looking for more.  Google Reader's recommendations are never quite what I am looking for.  They tend to recommend a lot of "personal style" blogs with a ton of followers, which aren't too interesting to me, and even if I say "no thanks", it's there again the next time I look.  Of course I like to see what others are wearing, and I do subscribe to several personal style ands street style blogs, but I prefer to see what other are creating. What are your favorite knitting and sewing blogs?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dye Success

I tried on the sweater, and the difference in color was really obvious.  So, in the dye bath it goes!  I used RIT Lemon Yellow.

The color difference in the yarn is less noticeable.  There's nothing I can do about the texture, though.  I washed and dried it and it seems to have improved a little.

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I still need a white sweater!

I broke the cardinal rule of knitting

I ran out of yarn, so I bought more and didn't worry about the dye lot.  I thought "How different can it be? It's white".  I bought the first two skeins at about two years ago to make a cardigan that never happened.  After I made my first sweater, I wanted to start on another while the pattern was still fresh in my mind.  The yarn is a cotton/angora blend from a large national company, so I figured I could pick up another skein and there wouldn't be any variation.

Well:

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Not only is the color a little yellower, the texture is different. Dare I say cheaper? The part made with the older yarn is so thick, soft, and smooth. The bottom where I used the new skein is spongy, stretchy, and thinner.

The color difference is worse in artificial light.  It looks dirty.

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I played around with some dye last night and dyed a piece of the old yarn and a piece of the new yarn yellow.  Both pieces came out the same color. So that is always an option, even though it won't help the texture difference.  But, I'm pretty scared to put a whole sweater in a pot of dye!

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So, when they tell you to make sure all your yarn is from the same dye lot, they're not just doing that to get you to buy more yarn!   

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New York, New York!

Frontier had a $40 fare sale from Milwaukee to New York, so of course I jumped on the chance!  I've been to New York several times before, but not since I started sewing.  Obviously, my first stop was the Garment District.

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Which of course meant a trip to Mood! I didn't take any pictures inside because I didn't want to look like a tourist, but it is exactly how it looks on Project Runway. Huge, overwhelming, and loaded with bolt after bolt of insanely gorgeous fabric. There was so much to look at, I couldn't even focus! I headed towards the silk prints first, since none of my local stores even have a bolt of 100% silk, let alone an entire section. I went with two yards of this beautiful crinkle chiffon with a tropical bird print. I think it would make a lovely blouse or caftan, but I also recently purchased Colette Patterns' Chantilly dress, which calls for a sheer fabric.

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I'm glad I had saved some inspiration photos on my phone, because it helped me focus. I adore this Christian Dior dress worn by Cameron Diaz, so I got some black and white polka dot cotton sateen.

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I plan on using this pattern with a slight modification to the neckline and a fuller skirt.

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I seriously could have spent ALL day going in fabric stores. Along 39th st, literally every store is a fabric or trimming store. It's amazing. I had to keep it in check because I only brought a carry-on bag, and I also planned on buying a ton of clothes! I would love to make a return trip for the sole purpose of buying fabric.

We also headed to the Brooklyn Flea, which I have seen many other bloggers post about and have always wanted to go. In the summer, it's outside, but for the winter, they move it inside to an old bank. It was really beautiful. It didn't end up being the treasure trove I had hoped for (I didn't see any patterns or fabric, and the vintage clothing was pricey), but I'm still glad I went. I bought one dress from the 40's, and then ate my way through the Flea. I had a delcious pork sandwich, an Earl Gray donut, and homemade raspberry rose saltwater taffy.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Zooey Jacket

Hi Everyone!

Last week, I decided to give it a try and make my version of the jacket I loved so much on Zooey Deschanel.  I dug out some doilies from the wedding box in the basement, and the three yards of navy rayon crepe I was mistakenly sent when I ordered black.  I knew that would come in handy some day.  I don't have many jacket patterns, but this one minus the collar seemed good.

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Since my fabric didn't have a wrong side, I marked it with chalk. I've made too many mistakes in the past because of this, and I didn't want to have to rip out stupid mistakes.

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Putting the bodice of the jacket together was pretty quick. I eliminated the darts at the waist because I wanted it to be boxy, so all I had to do were the ones at the bust and shoulders. I used some stiff interfacing on the bodice front.

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Next up was winging the doily lace collar. I cut out the center and laid it on my jacket. Having a dress form really came in handy for this project.

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I pinned the doily in place and trimmed off the excess.

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I basted it in place, sewed on my facing, and turned the doily collar to the outside.

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I even made doily covered buttons! I painted the silver buttons with tan nail polish first.

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And, here's an unflattering photo of me wearing it (seriously, I need to get better at this "posing for photos" thing) with my Jason Wu for Target dress. First in line, baby! I saw a picture of Michelle Obama wearing the same dress today and I got ridiculously giddy.

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It's not my best effort. I wish the sleeves were more fitted, and it was less cropped, but it's pretty good for winging it. I have more crepe and more doilies if I should choose to remake it with a different pattern.

Monday, February 6, 2012

I think I just figured out...

What to do with the 23 doilies left over from my wedding. Now I just have to find a navy jacket or a pattern for one.

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I wish I could raid your closet, Zooey.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pattern Grab Bag

Last weekend, I picked up this pattern grab bag at the American Council of the Blind thrift store, for $4.  The bag was sealed, so I could only see the pattern on top, but for $4 I thought I'd take my chances.

They're all pretty 80's-tastic sportswear.

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But some could be cute with better fabric and styling? This V-backed top could be kind of sexy, and the square-neck one could look cool with a skirt. Everyone needs a basic tank top, too. Think I'll be staying far, far away from View B, though.

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This dress is pretty basic, and it looks like it would be quick and easy to make. I could knock out a few of these for casual summer days. The best part - no zipper. The back buttons!

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This is the pattern that was on top, which convinced me that there might be some hidden gems in the grab bag. I would wear all of these blouses. My work's dress code is casual, so I could wear these all summer long with skinny jeans and flats.

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This one is pretty hilariously 80's, but I'm drawn to the off the shoulder sweatshirt. I haven't worked much with knits, and it would be a good opportunity to practice with my serger.

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There's a couple other good ones, too, that with better fabric could have potential. Not bad for $4!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Butterick Retro 4792

I know, it's February, but I couldn't resist sewing a summer dress.  I recently bought this out-of-print Butterick on Etsy after seeing a few other bloggers make it.  I don't really have an occasion or fabric in mind, but it's never a bad idea to make a muslin to see if the dress is going to fit or if it's even going to work on your body.  There's no sadder sewing moment than putting on your finished dress and seeing that it looks horrible on you.  That's happened to me a couple times and one is still in the "fix" pile and the other has been completely abandoned.

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My biggest concern about the dress was the lack of darts on the bodice.  There's no shaping at all, really.  There's a front center seam, and you artfully scrunch up the neckline along the halter strap.  I was right - when I put it on, there were huge gaps under my armpits.  I love the neckline and the low back though, so I was determined to make it work.  I put it on my dress form (! Best Christmas present!) and pinched the fabric so that it was fitted and pinned it.  Then I made sure they were even, and sewed my new darts.

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HUGE improvement. It's fitted through the bust now and not gaping at the pits. I marked where I placed the darts on my pattern piece for when I make it again in the future.

Since the bodice was completely done and I had more of the fabric, I just threw on a quick circle skirt and a zipper. I probably do not need one more floral sundress, but oh well. I like the print and it seemed like such a shame to do all that work and have nothing to show for it.

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When I make it again in "real" fabric, I will probably eliminate the front center seam since I don't really understand it's purpose. Especially if I use a print, because the seam would break up the pattern too much. I think this one is a success, though, and I can't wait to start looking for the perfect fabric!