Saturday, August 18, 2012

Alma Fail

Riding high from my previous Alma blouse (which I still love and have worn way too many times in the last week), I thought I'd try the long-sleeved version.  I've had this particular piece of fabric, two yards of Anna Sui silk from Vogue, for a while now and I was waiting for the right pattern.  I thought this was It.  Since my muslin went so well, I just plugged right along, completely finishing it before trying it on.  Zipper, hem, the whole shebang.

Yikes.

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Why does it look so...bad? I can't even pinpoint what's wrong, it's just...ugly. And limp. And it makes my gut look bigger than my boobs.

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It has to be the fabric, because I seriously feel SO cute in my navy Alma blouse. I don't even want to wear this one out of the house. I unhemmed it (it was pulling like crazy because I think I made too wide of a hem) and removed the collar. I couldn't even take a picture of the sad little collar for you guys. Interfacing is necessary with silk. Lesson learned, yo. I re-made the collar, but the I decided at the last minute to leave it off. I think that was the wrong choice. What is UP with the neckline? It's so crooked. And it poufs out on the left side.

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I have also never in my sewing life had to do a swayback adjustment, but it sure looks like I need to here. My other Alma lays nice and smooth.

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The saddest part is that my sleeves turned out really sweet. Look how sweet:

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Except that when I raise my arms to show you both, my stomach shows. WHY is it so short? My other one is not too short!  WTF.

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I don't know what the hell happened. I am so tired of looking at this blouse I don't even want to try to fix it. I might have to set it aside for a while and assess whether or not it's worth salvaging. It's so depressing when a project fails, isn't it? So that no one else is depressed, I'll leave you with a picture of a silly little project I made.

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Felt taco cat toys make everything better.

Friday, August 17, 2012

I've suddenly become someone who wears pants.  I'm not sure when this shift happened, probably around the time I bought a pair of pink jeans. I wanted to wear them every day!  Then I got some dark jeans, then black ones, then green ones.  I've pretty much been eschewing dresses in favor of pants all summer long.  Which means, I need to sew tops!  I made this one right before the heat wave struck, and I never got around to photographing or blogging about it.  So I thought I'd do a quick post to share it with you.

I used Colette Patterns Sencha again, but this time I added two inches to the hem of the blouse. The last one I made came right to the top of my jeans, and I'm always yanking it down when I wear it.  I really love the fabric.  It's a light, drapey rayon from Vogue Fabrics.  Best part, it was in the remnants bin so it cost me less than $5.  Holla! 

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I really love this pattern.  The shape is super flattering, I love the keyhole neckline, and the button-back is such a sweet touch.  It reminds me of a 40's blouse, but with updated proportions.  Does anyone else have trouble with the sleeves, though?  I can never get them to turn out right.  See how it's kind of pointy on the left side there?  That always happens and I can never make it not stick out.

I had a disastrous second attempt at a Sewaholic Alma blouse the other night, so hopefully I can fix it enough so that it's wearable.  It's too tight and bunching horribly all over, and I can't figure out why.  I made the long-sleeved version this time, but that's the only difference.  The body should be exactly the same. Right now, I took the collar off and unhemmed it, and I'll see if there's anything I can do to fix the bunching.  If not, I guess I'm keeping the sleeves and re-cutting the body.  We'll see.  I'm going to work on it tonight.

I've got one more finished blouse to share with you, and then I should be all caught up!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sewaholic Alma Blouse

Do you believe in fate?  I've had a saved search for this blouse on eBay (Anthropologie's Adelie Blouse) for ages, and one hasn't turned up in my size or for a price I'm willing to pay.  Obviously the penguins are pretty cute, but I'm mostly in love with the shape of the blouse.  It looks like it would be super flattering, and it's exactly the kind of floaty, feminine blouse that I bitched about not existing the other day.  I love the collar, the perfect sleeves, the way it nips in at the waist and flares out.  Dreamy.

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I spent WAY too many hours last Saturday searching for a similar blouse pattern. You know what? It doesn't exist. Blouse patterns today are HIDEOUS. My choices were either designed for knits (not my thing), or oversized tunics, peasant blouses, or your standard collared shirt. I tried Vogue, McCalls, Butterick, New Look, Simplicity, and then I looked on Etsy and eBay for vintage patterns. I searched all over for "peplum blouse pattern" and came up cold.

Then I checked Googled Reader. Tasia of Sewaholic Patterns was releasing a new pattern, and it was a blouse! And it was PERFECT.

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View B is basically like she read my mind.  I ordered it immediately, and started working on it the day it came.  This version here is my wearable muslin, and the fabric is a densely woven rayon I picked up at a rummage sale.  I've got a couple fabrics in mind for the "real" thing, but never having made a Sewaholic pattern before, I wanted to do a muslin first. Sewaholic Patterns are sized for women who are pear-shaped, which I am not, so I was a little concerned about fit.  I had nothing to worry about, because I made my standard size 8 and it fits perfectly.  It was super easy to put together and the instructions were clear and concise.  I spent about three hours constructing it last night, plus another hour Wednesday prepping the pattern pieces and cutting them out.

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I am a cocky sewer, and I didn't bother to try it on until AFTER I had done the zipper. Luckily, it fit. Whew. I even sewed my zipper on correctly this time! I did a lapped zipper application again since I did not have any invisible zippers on hand. 

 It looks boxy on the hanger, but it is totally not once it is on my body. I really like how it turned out. The only change I would make is that next time I'm not going to interface the collar.  It made it difficult to turn inside out and press, and it was pretty bulky after I did the facings.  Other than that, this pattern gets an A+ from me.  I can't wait to make the other two versions!

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Back at it

Hi everyone!  I know it's been about a month and a half since I last posted, so I hope you didn't forget about me.  We are having a crazy hot summer and it's just too hot to want to be in my house, let alone sew.  It was almost 90 degrees in my sewing room, and the one time I did try, I was dripping sweat in less than 2 minutes.  Not very fun.  So last Monday, the husband and I broke down and had central air installed.  I wish we would have done that two months ago!  Now the house is habitable and I have been making up for lost time.

The dress code at work is casual, and in the summer we can basically wear whatever we want.  Shorts, tank tops, sleeveless dresses, sandals, and jeans are all fine.  I have a couple pairs of jeans that I really like, but I hardly ever wear them because I have no tops.  Why is it so hard to find pretty tops?!  I just want a few floaty, feminine blouses, but everything in stores are aggressive geometric prints on stretch polyester or your average boring button down.  I can't even find patterns for blouses!  (More on that later)

A few weeks ago I went to a Farmers' Market, and there was a lady selling vintage patterns and one-yard cuts of vintage fabric for $4.  I bought two pieces.  A yard isn't very much, but I knew with some strategic placement I could squeeze a tank top out of it.

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It's wrinkly because I had been wearing it all day and took it off for pictures

I didn't use a pattern for this.  I basically just cut the shape of a bodice, put it on my dress form, and then pinched where I wanted darts.  The waistband it just a 3" wide strip, and the peplum is a rectangle with a couple pleats at the waist for shaping.  Since the fabric is delicate and sheer, I fully lined it and I interfaced the heck out of the waistband.  I used a vintage metal zipper with a lapped zipper application, which I accidentally did backwards!  Dang!  The flap should face towards the back of the blouse, but instead it faces towards the front.  It's not terrible-looking though so I will leave it.  I also did the unthinkable which was machine hemming it.  It was getting really late and I wanted to finish it so I could wear it the next day.  It looks fine!  I think my machine has finally stopped eating things.

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Blue zipper!

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Unrelated to the blouse, but look how cute these needles my friend Marylee found for me are. Kittens! How could you not want to hand sew with these?

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I have SO much more to tell you! I made an entire 'nother blouse AND a dress while the air conditioning guy was here last Monday, plus another blouse, and then I started another last night. I'm ready for my comeback!