Monday, September 21, 2009

Moving On!

Okay. I gave in to my fears. I am not ready to make a lined a jacket. I couldn't even push myself to seriously start on it. It has to be made by Christmas Eve. Meanwhile, I'm ready to start the other pieces of the outfit, Burda 8269 and Kwik Sew 3573.

I decided to work on the skirt first. The musline for the skirt was actually cut before I started the jacket.
At first, I just pinned the muslin together. Then, I invested in some basting tape. Faster than a needle and thread, but it's not perfect.

I did not go to kindergarten. I say this because I missed out on that whole round shape/round hole, square shape/square hole exercise. I learned not to be ashamed of this deficiency a long time ago. It has not stopped me from putting together furniture and attempting to sew. This skirt has 10 pieces and I admit struggling with putting the pieces together.

This is my first real fitting challenge. Here's what I have going on: small waist, full hips, a high hip, full thighs, and a full butt. When cutting the pattern, I tried to taper from the waist to the hips, but my angles were too pronounced. How do you get from a 20 to a 24 without a severe angle? I guess I'll figure it out soon enough. Amazingly, I didn't get super-frustrated. I know the skill comes with time. Fit is one of the reasons I picked up sewing, so I may as well take my time on this part and learn it right. I'm so hoping Santa drops a dress form down my nonexistent chimney this Christmas to speed the process.

Anyhoo. here's me trying to adjust the muslin. The lines are my actual curves. I didn't know what to do with those lines after I drew them, but I thought they'd be helpful someday.

I've Been Banned

I am not allowing myself to purchase another scrap of fabric or thread! I don't know what happened to me this weekend, but I veered away from my budget. Between Vogue Fabrics and Jo-ann, I now have fabric for three dresses and two tops. I also picked up the lining for the jacket I've given up on until maybe Thanksgiving, but more about that later.
I am the most excited about the chocolate paisley from Jo-Ann. I see that as another Kwik Sew 3221. The knits are either Butterick 4914 or McCall 5974. The black I'm saving for when my skills are legitimate -- there is a Vogue 2900 in my future. Maybe not near future, but future.

That leaves the chocolate brown which I think will be smoking as Kwik Sew 3573. That goes with the intimidating Simplicity 4509 jacket and a Burda 8269 skirt. I'm determined to wear that outfit for Christmas Eve service and be proud of the work.

I've started on the skirt. (You can see the pattern underneath the fabric.) Wait until you see that post! Fitting me is a trip. I really want a dress form. Maybe for Christmas. In the meantime, I've got to figure out how to translate my curves onto a piece of tissue paper.

Here's the Christmas fabric combo. I know it's not holiday, but they're the colors I love. The charmeuse and denim have a pink tone to them. I can't wait to wear them. Well, I guess I can since I've been holding on to that denim and boucle for four or five years! Hopefully I won't be waiting after December 23rd!

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Sewing Space

My sewing space is a combined office and sewing room. It's a bit cozy now because I moved into a smaller place last year. What I love is that I can sew while facing a window. My space consists of two glass desks. Not entirely practical, but it works.

I mainly use the desk on the left to make pattern adjustments. I'm learning to cut patterns on it because cutting on the floor is killing my bad knees. It also holds the work in progress while I sew.

The desk on the right is where I sew. It's also where I keep my books and my "To Sew" patterns.

This is Virginia. (I have a habit of naming appliances. My KitchenAid stand mixer is Old Faithful.)

On to the fabric stash and notions. I have five matching storage bins. I'll get more soon. Underneath the left desk are patterns in one bin, fabric for desses in the bottom bin and top/jacket fabric in the top bin.

I got scissor-happy one Saturday a couple of months ago and cut three summer projects. I keep the cut stuff on top of the patterns. Muslin and pattern paper hang out on the floor.

Under the right desk, I have a bin for pants fabric and one for skirt fabric. I'm a big fan of Art Bin Super Satchels. I would like to add one more, the deep model, to the mix. Actually, I think I need two of those. Okay, three.

My rule has kinda sorta been not to buy any more fabric if it wouldn't fit in the appropriate bin. Unless I sew soon, I can't do any more fabric shopping :-( I got caught up Sunday at Hancock. The $1 off value fabrics was a great deal. I picked up some fall plaids and a couple of things for next summer. The chocolate brown I got for pants was $2 a yard. I went into the store to return stuff and get the last Vogue patterns on my wish list. $60 later, I had fabric for five projects and three patterns. And how could I leave without thread? I always get the thread when I buy the fabric.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Procrastination or Fear? Simplicity 4509

I have done absolutely nothing with the jacket since the last post. I didn’t even finish cutting out the last pieces! I had big plans for the three-day weekend, but no sewing has taken place. I think I’m afraid I’ll mess this up. Jackets for Real People has hindered me instead of helping. All of my bravado seeped away as I read each page. Maybe I should try pants next.

Look at this fabric! It’s 4 or 5 years old. I bought it specifically for this pattern and there is no room for error. Oh, the pressure!

I’ve been telling myself that it’s okay if I don’t finish by the end of the month. In the back of my head, I’m justifying this by thinking that I really need a dress form.

Adding to the distractions is my new camera. I have a food blog too and I’ve been testing the camera out on a cake and some scones. I also had the inspiration to work on my business plan, which has been a work in progress for about five years. (Anything to keep from starting this jacket.) I am going to try and toughen up and attempt pattern fitting today. Guess I should start by finishing the cutting.

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can …

Friday, September 4, 2009

On Your Mark! Get Set! Sew! Simplicity 4509

I started cutting Simplicity 4509 last night. I think I may have already messed up. I’m tying to get from the smallest size in the envelope, 18 to the largest size, 24, for my hips. I’m using Jackets For Real People for the first time and I’m thinking perhaps I just should have cut a 24 all the way around and worked from there. I have one one sheet of tissue to cut before I’m done. I’m cutting Views A, B and C.

My goal is to make View B with the belt and sleeve length from View C. I picked the pattern and the BouclĂ© fabric about five years ago. I think I’m ready to do something with them now. LOL. According to the book, this is one of the more difficulty jackets I could’ve picked to sew! Shoulder princess seams and set-in sleeves.

Other than the new Pfaff sewing machine I’ve been dreaming about, what would really help me out is a dress form. I have my eye on the Dritz My Double Deluxe. Unfortunately, I’ll still need to account for the fullness of some body parts, so I want the Fabulous Fitting System. Hey, I always swing for the fences. Since we’re in a recession, I have to pace myself. The sewing machine will be my Christmas gift to me and the form will come in time.

Perhaps my camera will arrive today so I can start capturing my progress with photos.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I Did It! -- McCall’s 5893

Look!! I’m so proud! While this 1-Hour dress took me several days, it is worth the effort. Since it seems that fall has set in here in Chicago, I may not get to wear it for quite a while. No worries. I’ll be waiting for it next year!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had some difficulty along the way. What took me so long to make it were my inability to quickly select a stretch stitch I liked and not being able to sew a straight line afterward. Then I hemmed the bodice when I wasn’t supposed to and had to rip all those stitches out. (I knew I needed to finish a raw edge. I just didn’t check to make sure I was working with the right raw edge.)

I was afraid of using the stretch straight stitch. Thought I’d screw up the part about stretching the fabric as you sew. I’m getting better on the straight line part. Practice makes perfect. Maybe I should start putting stitching lines on the fabric.

I had to laugh at myself after sewing the seam that makes the elastic casing. I had to use the dreaded straight stretch stitch. I sewed the entire seam and realized I had to rip it out because it was crooked. (Do you know how long that takes?) I sat there thinking, “I wish there was some tool that would help me sew straight. Looked around and ran across the top stitching guide I’d purchased years ago! It helped a lot. I also need to remember to go slowly.

Because I didn’t sew the pockets (didn’t want to take the chance of adding anything to the hips), I have this long strip of fabric left over. It is the perfect size for a head wrap. That’s a nice bonus.

Well, on to the next project. I created that grand “to-so” list only to realize that the contests on Pattern Review determined what I’d sew! The next contest is the jacket one and it starts today. Here we go again ...