Saturday, December 21, 2013

News and how!

I have decided to take Would I Wear it in Paris over to Wordpress. I think it will work out better in the long run.  I have a new post today--pictures of the finally finished Cape Coat. Why not take a peek?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Update and Follow up and the Cape Coat

Let's start with the Cape Coat.  The bad news is, it's not entirely finished yet. The good news is that it is nonetheless wearable and has made its maiden voyage. The bad news is I don't have any pictures of it.

And while I hate to end a paragraph on a sour note, let's move on. In July I posted about a few current projects; a blue knit top and a black maxi skirt. I love them both.

 I wore that skirt all summer long. It is so comfortable. I have some cute red flats--which are in this picture--as well as some hot black sandals that go really well with it. And bonus, the red shoes have a blue sole the same color as the top.

 The skirt was very simple. It has an elastic waist, although it isn't too gathered and frumpy looking. The most complex thing about the skirt is that I added pockets to the side seams. Side seam pockets are very important for keys, and a little stash of ginger chews or something.
Now this blue knit shirt--I just don't know. The fabric is very thin and there are darts at the back which I hand sewed, as well as the bottom hem. Since then a new zig zag machine has joined the household so I could go back and resew some of it.

Also, the pattern is odd. It is a Burda pattern from the magazine, and I made a mock up, but the back kind of rides up in an annoying way. It's cold here in lovely downtown Vermont so I wear a white camisole underneath which helps.

The cowl worked out in a strange way but it works; it creates an interesting fold right over my, you know, boobs and creates a safe-for-work decolletage.

 Another big project I have been working on is this Craftsy Class.  Fast Track Fitting. It's pretty good. It comes with the fitting pattern included and a measuring chart. The fit model in the videos looks kind of stoned, but I'm sure she's just sweet.
The picture above of the altered pattern means I have big boobs. That's fine with me--it's much easier than it used to be to find fancy bras in an F cup. The picture below, as well as some I am NOT posting in an open blog, show that the side seams are too long.

This is all very technical but I love the technical side of sewing as much as I do the creative side.

So, until next time, my friends, I will blabber on about another cool project I have started. In the meantime there are some hints on my Pinterest board. And maybe I will even rant on about Pinterest at some point.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cape Coat, le sigh.

Yesterday was the last day of the cape-a-long and was my cape coat finished by then? No it was not!

I blame the weather. It has been too hot and muggy in my sewing room for me to be in there for long. The cape coat is pretty detailed to begin with and then I had to add even more details. Like some Turn of the Cloth fiddly stuff.

Turn of cloth is when the facing of a collar or cuff or, say, a cape on a cape coat, is smaller than the collar or cuff or cape itself.

And, of course, I had to draft both the collar and the cape part myself which means two or three mockups of those elements, lots of pinning and trying on and so on.

Then the pockets! The pattern I adapted came with a perfectly good pocket pattern, but I had to fiddle with it. The velvet is fairly thick so I wanted to use something lighter for the pocket bag. I decided on muslin.

But the muslin is white and I feared it would show. Even a tiny amount of it would really show up against the dark brown. So I cut the side edge of the pocket a couple of inches in so that the pocket has two pieces. Fiddly, but it worked out nicely.

I based my coat off a Burda pattern and we all know what that means, right? That's right, dear friends, NO SEAM ALLOWANCES. I kinda like this feature actually. Sick and wrong, I know, but there it is.

I lay the pattern pieces on the wrong side of the fabric, trace around them with chalk, and add the seam allowances using a 5/8" strip of heavy card. Then again with the lining.

Oh! AND! to deal with the lining and facings, I had to trace off the pattern pieces from the the regular pattern pieces. Burda, you know. There wasn't a line for the back facing so I had to make that up. My proudest moment? Notches. I remembered to mark notches.

So this is where I am. the lining is all sewed up. The body of the coat is all sewed up. The cape and the collar are basted on, though I need to rip and re-do a couple of things. The sleeves are together and the sleeve linings are basted on.

Once I get the lining of the body in, I think it will be just finishing stuff. I may not do a vintage pattern for September's challenge, but I will definitely keep my friends over at The Monthly Stitch up to date on the Cape Coat (from hell).

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


I think I have mentioned FABLE before?  It's related to SABLE and BABLE, and here at chez moi, we have all of it.

FABLE is Fabric Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy. SABLE is Stash, or yarn, and BABLE is Books. I'm sure there are other acronyms that work and judging from the state of the mess here, I have probably reached it.

Can we talk about my FABLE for a minute? I like the high-end stuff apparently, no polyester, no acrylic, s'il vous plait. Worse, I like the high-end stuff to be, well, inexpensive. Luckily, I discovered Fabric Mart which has some good sales sometimes. I get stuff from Mood Fabrics now and again as well.

It's cashmere. It's not 100% cashmere, but it's something like  30%, and the rest is wool. It's navy, 50-some odd inches wide, and I have 3 yards of it. I considered making my Cape Coat from it but decided I wanted something simpler and more classic. I could go with an outer wear coat or a jacket. We'll see. Suggestions and ideas are welcomed.

Here is a close up picture for texture.

It's so hard to get a decent photograph of fabric! At least it's not red, I guess. Even Fabric Mart didn't have a great image--I just went on faith. I mean, cashmere!

The next thing I want to show you is this rose tulle stuff. I got at either Fabric Mart or Mood--FM I think. On sale of course, last year. It was all the rage for a while, but I really don't know what to do with it. I have used it as background for photos, but that is about it. If it were a brighter color, like purple, I might make something for one of my younger nieces, but it's black.

Again, 50-ish inches wide, 2 or so yards. I really like it, but have no ideas about what to do with it.

Lest you think I only buy fabric in black or navy, or to make clothing for myself, here are a couple of pieces I got to do home dec stuff with.  Prints!
 This is a cotton I purchased at a fabric store in Portsmouth, NH about a month ago to cover a feather duvet thing we have.

Okay, so it's not exactly a color, but it's not solid black either.

After the cape coat, this may be my next thing. The nights are already getting cool and that feather thing is very warm.

The last thing I have to show for today is this piece of linen I got at the same fabric store. I am going to make a couple of pillows for the library (remember our BABLE?) The writing is Italian and it looks like some kind of ledger or inventory, not literature. But it's really cool and the fabric has a nice hand.

Friends, that's all I will subject you to today. In parting, I just want to say, I do actually have colors in my life!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cape Coat Progess

The cape coat is making progress. It really is! I mean I haven't actually cut into the cloth, or even the interlining. In fact, I don't even have a complete pattern yet--but almost!

The fabric and buttons are all collected.  The velveteen is from Fabric Mart, but I dragged myself up to Joann's (which I really don't like) for the lining, and crazily enough found some great buttons for it, so I am thrilled.

 I am afraid the buttons are leaning towards steampunk which I really don't want, but the cape part is modest enough so hopefully it won't go too much in that direction.

I started with Burda 12/2012 #104, the long wool coat. It has the princess seams I want and a skirt attached to the bodice which I cut down for a shorter jacket. I drafted a shoulder cape for it and am working on a collar pattern piece.

Also it has pockets!

The muslin is a real mess right now, but it is doing it's job. By that, I mean it fits me the way I want it to and I was able to work out the cape bit and the collar bit on it.
The shoulder cape pattern

There are a few things about Burda patterns. One is that the coats I've made from them have two-piece sleeves which I love. I like the fit better and it gives a tailored garment a more classic look.

The other is; extracting the pattern! They come three ways; you can buy a paper pattern at a fabric store with seam allowances and everything, you can buy the magazine and trace a pattern from the tangled mess of the pattern page, or you can download a pattern from the website and fritter away your youth taping pages.

The one I am working with is downloaded and taped (and taped and taped). The trick is to first make certain you are printing only the pages you need. They sometimes have pattern pieces from other styles than the one you are making.

The other trick is to find the pages with, say, the sleeve piece and tape that together, then tape the pages with the bodice, and so on. Don't tape 40 pages together then start cutting out the pieces from there. That's just crazy-making.

That's all for now, dear friends. But before I go, here is a gratuitous cat butt picture.

Bats the cat.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cape-along-ing. Longing for a Cape?

Recently, I joined the Great Cape Along over at the Monthly Stitch. I'd been looking for something cool like that to do online, and I do love a cape.

Of course, I don't actually need one, having made one a couple of years ago from Burda Pattern 7619 in a beautiful blue plaid wool I scored from Mood Fabrics. A Carolina Herrara fabric and it's still there.

It has a beautiful navy blue satin lining (from either Mood or Fabric Mart) and some silver buttons that I may have lucked out on at Joann's, but probably came from a yarn store somewhere.

But, it occurs to me that I probably need a Sherlock cape coat. You know, the type that is a coat with a little shoulder cape.

Papercut patterns down under in New Zealand has something really cute and I have some cotton velveteen that I think will suit perfectly. It's supposed to be a chocolate brown, but is more of a mauve-y dark taupe. I made up a mood board over at Pinterest.

I really like the old Vogue pattern--so witchy!  I found the image just the other day. I found the image of the green plaid one a few years ago--it looks like it is made from the Vogue pattern doesn't it? I love these little instances of coming-together!

Right now my plan is to add a shoulder cape to a double-breasted jacket pattern I already have, dye (urp!) the cotton velveteen, find some lining and go from there. But, if I can get my hands on that Vogue cape pattern, plans will change!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Blog roll, please!

This is just a short, image-free post because I have added a blogroll of the sewing and style blogs I follow. I think I put a knitting blog in the mix as well.

It really bugs me when bloggers don't put up a blog roll of some sort. I won't follow a blog that doesn't try to promote others this way. I am Judgey McJudgepants about it.

I look for a few things in a blog; decent frequency, a style that I can get behind, authenticity, and lots of pics (which this post is definitely lacking). If it is a sewing blog, then some good information about the topic. Oh, and a world view that includes...the world. That goes beyond the blogger somehow.

So on the right hand side is a list of blogs I enjoy and admire for a variety of reasons. If you have any favorites, let's hear about 'em!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A few current Projects

I always have at least one sewing project going, oftentimes several. More if you don't count the ones that don't count anyway like the green Art Deco frumpola thing I started last summer. Or the corduroy corset I started, oh, three-ish years ago (no pics at the moment.)

   Last fall I bought a piece of very drapey blue knit from Mood Fabrics--I think. Could've been Fabric Mart. The color is great but it was thinner than I anticipated.

The variegated side is the right side but the white really washes away the blue which is a gorgeous cerulean color. And the edges roll up in an almost unmanageable way.

But I am clever! I get ideas! There is a madness to my method! (Of this I was informed last night.) And my mad, clever idea was spray starch. I love spray starch, so I dug it out of its cobwebby corner of the laundry and used it to flatten the raw edges of the fabric. It worked like a mad dream.

I found a pattern in one of my Burda magazines (I should organize those onto Pinterest somehow) with a draped cowl neckline. This fabric is just screaming to be made into something with a cowl neck.

Burda 10/2012 118B
We were in Boston in September and I picked up the October Burda at this kiosk in Harvard Square. It's in French. I do okay with my French and I do okay with figuring out how a 5-pattern-piece garment goes together, but I did not manage to figure out that there are supposed to be little tiny zippers in the sleeves until just now when I went searching for this image. Oh, well, the fabric is too light for that anyway.

It's almost finished, it just needs the sleeves attached and the hem (l'ourlet in French) stitched up.

But I put it aside along with the corset and green thing (and a few others that don't really count) because it has really been too hot to contemplate long sleeves.

I dug out a piece of black cotton jersey, medium-to-heavy weight, that I bought to make some t-shirts with. Of course, I already have about four black t-shirts, so I decided on something more fashionable: A maxi-dress.

The one pictured on the bottom of the envelope has a kind of cross-over halter top. I never wore halter tops until a couple of years ago when I discovered multi-way bras. Now I want some halter tops.

Unfortunately, I only have a yard and a half of this stuff. It's wide, but not that wide. Fortunately, I have a plan B.

Vogue 8379
I love a wrap dress, and I NEED a nice, plain, comfortable wrap dress. But a mere yard and a half won't cut it for this one either. 

Renfrew for T-shirts
Plan C is more t-shirts. I haven't tried this pattern out yet and I also have a Hot Patterns t-shirt pattern that I think would be a good one. But I really don't want to clutter up the dresser with more black shirts.

So I'm going onto Plan D; a maxi skirt. I am just going to use the skirt portion of the Simplicity maxi-dress pattern, add a waistband, maybe stick some elastic in there, maybe a nice high slit. We'll see. It's on the cutting table and I'm excited.

Well, that's all for now, dear readers. (I should say 'dear reader' because I am sure the only one is the friend who asked me to send her the link to my blog).

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Style and wardrobe rubric

I have decided that as I try and mange my wardrobe (see previous post's book recommendations) I am going to apply this simple rubric (that's a schmancy bit of jargon of the edumacation trade); Would I wear it in Paris? I did not make this up, I found it in my wanderings of the web and style blogs. But I don't remember where exactly.

Simple though this little test is, it has already proved problematic.  I don't really know what to do with this.

The fabric is so beautiful. It's this fine cotton voile with an interesting Art Deco print, and the lining is a soft, drapey ecru batiste. I just love the fabric, but...what was I thinking to make a shirt dress?  I was thinking that I was about 20 pounds thinner, I guess. As it is, I'm neither curvy enough nor thin enough for it, and it is both overly sweet and frumpy on me.

It is a McCall's pattern 4769 and I added a neat waist detail kind of on the fly because I think I am too good to read pattern directions these days. (I mean, I learned to sew when I was 9 and now I am 46 so that means---yikes! Never mind.)

It's sort of like a sans-a-belt that pants in the '70's had, except less '70's-ish. I dunno, maybe I will try it on again before I deem it a wadder.

Now, I live in a Very Cold Place which has reached about 80 degrees today. But in 6 short months, it could be well below zero, which means that my simple rubric gains an added layer of troublesomeness. I will have to ask myself, Would I wear this in Paris or outside in the snow? But that's 6 months from now, also known as Never.

Till next time, mes amis:

A little past the Beginning

This spring and summer has seen some cool changes for me. I went back to school with a serious intent twenty-some-odd years after receiving my BA. It is a Continuing Ed course at my local university and should end with me receiving certification to Teach English as a Foreign Language. ESL as it is commonly known. It's incredibly interesting and exciting. I have it in my head that we will live in Paris or Sicily and I will be just like Romy Schneider in "What's New Pussy Cat?" teaching English in Paris and being all stylish!

Well, not JUST like that. Her methods are a bit outdated and, unlike the clothes, they will hopefully not make a comeback.
Less earth shattering, but still interesting is a little book I read back in March or April or sometime called "Lessons from Madame Chic" by Jennifer Scott. I checked it out of my local library and I still owe a few bucks in overdue fines on it. (Honestly, my overdue fines keep that place afloat.) That book inspired me to spend a ton of money on some nice makeup, purge my closet of cami's and t-shirts with little tiny holes in them, and to stand up straight. So I think it was worth the read.
And of course, there have been some health changes around here. And by around here, I mean in my own body. I don't push this stuff on my sweetie pie, the Oaf. But I began to explore an anti-inflammatory diet--juicing, smoothie-ing, and bringing in a LOT more salads and veggies into my every day diet. It seems to be working. A lot of my aches and pains have diminished to almost nothing--not least a certain creaky knee. I mean, the knee is still there thankfully, but it seems to have a better attitude about stairs and long walks than before.
If you find that idea interesting, a couple of good books are Eat to Live and Crazy Sexy Kitchen.
Well, Friends, that's all for now. I wanted to touch on clothing and wardrobe, but in light of teaching and diet it seems so, well, shallow somehow. Next time.

My Little Addiction

Well, one of them anyway. I have lots of little, even tiny, addictions. Many come and go like the New England weather, some slowly build over the months and years. None are dangerous. Really. And altogether, I get to say that I don't have an Addictive Personality. (Really!)

This brings you to one of my boards

Mostly I use it to look at, and re-pin, nice images. I stay away from memes, thinsperation nonsense, and Disney princess stuff. But I do use it for some handy and organizational purposes. I have "Patterns I own" board where I pin the sewing patterns I, well, own.

Also, I just made a "FABLE" board. FABLE= Fabric Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy. I am not actually there yet, but I'm on my way. There are also SABLE and BABLE, but those are other blog posts. 

I will sometimes put comments to note what fabric I have used with one of my patterns or try to plan a sewing project. It would be handier to use this way if you could move and re-order the images on a board--maybe someday. There are other sites more useful for this and one day I may migrate some of my stuff. but for now, Pinterest. Ugh.