Sewing, Knitting, Dogs

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sew Dolly Clackett

 I finally sewed up the By Hand London Elisalex dress.  Obviously without the tulip skirt.  I spent 2 weekends of sewing time working on the fit of the bodice.  While the bodice fit straight out of the envelope - there were some problems.  The main one being that the princess seams did not go over my bust where they should.  They were off to the side by quite a bit and there was pulling across the center front. 

The first thing I did was an 'unauthorized' alteration.  I took the side front bodice piece and I drew a line from the pivot at the underarm to the waist and sliced that open, then I spread it about half an inch right across the fullest part of the bust.  I moved the center front off the center by 1/4 of an inch and reshaped the neckline.  Muslin #2 still had pulling across the front.  Next set of alterations was a proper full bust adjustment adding 3/8 of an inch. 

I ended up making one more set of alterations before cutting into my fabric - but at this point, I honestly don't remember what they were.  I know I slashed and overlapped the back bodice from the armhole to the neckline edge.  I did that in 3 different places and removed about an inch and half.  I did this because the back gaped around my shoulder blades.  Again - not sure if this was authorized - but it worked.  I could still raise my arms and the back didn't gape.

 After 2 weeks and 4 muslins, I finally traced and muslined the tulip skirt.  The back fit great - but the front wasn't fabulous.  Might be because on my body that tulip skirt isn't really exaggerated - I'm that shape. 

I used the skirt from McCalls 6503.  It's a full A-line with 2 pleats.  Rather than use the pleats from the McCalls skirt - I used the box pleats from Elisalex and the shape of the McCalls skirt.  Unfortunately, I didn't do a great job blending the two - need to smooth that out for the next version. 

The fabric is a cotton print that has been in the stash cupboard for a long time.  The background is light pink, there is some dark pink, green and white in the print.  I think the white cardigan is a little bit bright with the print. 

The bodice is fully lined.  This dress is comfortable and easy to wear.  I think for my next version I will lower the front neckline just a bit.  I do want to try this bodice with a pencil skirt. 

Hopefully - I can do a bit more sewing in a the upcoming weeks.  I need some cute, loose dresses for an upcoming vacation in Maui.  Hopefully I'll have some desire to sew after work in the next couple of days. 

Thanks to Dolly Clackett and Sarah at Rhinestones & Telephones for the inspiration and prodding to finally sew up Elisalex.   I can see many many skirts added to the comfortable and flattering bodice - Anna, Flora, circle - just to name a few. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Not Much Going On

I haven't been doing much sewing lately.  I had a bit fail back in January and I'm just not sure what I want to be sewing now. 

Carolyn posted last month or possibly back in January asking if you were the sewist you wanted to be.  I was loving sewing a quick knit dress during the weekend and sometimes two.  But this post triggered something and I've been stewing and mulling it over. 

I want to sew more tailored, fitted clothing.  Which is funny - because I tend to want to dress like  Dolly Clackett - which isn't a bad thing at all, it just isn't necessarily the image I want to project at my (been there almost a year - so can't keep calling it new) job. 

There are a few patterns I have been mulling over since reading Carolyn's post.  I want to try Emery.  I still want to make By Hand London's Elisalex and I just ordered flora.  I love the square neck and want to see how that pleated circle skirt is made.  I can see adding that skirt to lots of different bodices.  And Simplicity 2444 is that list of woven patterns I want to make up. 

The biggest problem is that I don't want to spend a bunch of time working out fitting issues.  With a wedding looming in my future, I'm spending some quality time working on my diet. 

So - in the meantime - I've been quilting.  And knitting.  And reading your blogs.  Hopefully I'll have some new sewing soon. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Old Pink Dress

I'm really trying to embrace these lessons from Ella.  This pink dress is one of my favorites.  The fabric is a wonderful jersey that I bought locally and then hoarded for years waiting for something good enough to use it.

This is how I wore it to work today.  Well with shoes - I wore grey flats at work, but I keep my flats at work and commute in trainers or danskos and since my danskos are red - well you got stocking feet pictures. 

On the commute to work - I starting thinking about what I could have added to this outfit:

Scarf:  pink floral; grey floral; two - tone grey pashmina.  Meh, I wanted to wear a pretty necklace. 

Different Cardi - I let grey pass briefly through my mind, but I've always paired this with the pale pink.  I thought about white - but discarded that as being too bright for the predominately muted dress.  I thought about red, to pull it from the dress, but again - no.  Then I thought what about my black polka dot cardigan?

When I got home tonight, after hitting the grocery store on the way home and then helping JB get dinner started - I asked him to grab his camera and we headed upstairs so I had quicker access to the closet.  I swapped the grey belt out for a white belt and tossed the black polka dot cardigan on. 

What do you think?  Would you pair these together?  Is it a bit of mutton dressed like lamb?  I know I should have pulled the cardigan together and belted on the outside. 

At some point during my workday - It came to me - Ella would have grabbed my grey jacket, rolled up the sleeves and buttoned it.  (Hey I was tired!  It was after 7!!)

I don't know if there is enough of the same colors in the scarf as the dress.  But it does add a 3rd element.  I still have that white belt on under the open jacket.  (I look a bit shell shocked - don't I?)

Oh - and if you haven't seen it - go check out this post from Jenny.  There is something raw and honest, vulnerable and touching about this post.  I've been rolling it over in my head since I read it. 

I think the best thing to come from the Style Session with Ella is that I'm rethinking the way I view myself.  The way I think about my shape and how I talk to myself.  As much as we all love compliments - I honestly wasn't fishing for them with the last post - but rather, trying to open the dialog about society and how women (giant generalization) think about their bodies.  Sadly - most of us are our own worst enemies, we need to remember to talk to ourselves as nice as we would talk to our daughters or best friends.  I really appreciate everyone taking the time to comment. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Lessons from Start Close In

Saturday morning I had a virtual styling session with Ella of Start Close In.  I have been looking forward to this since Lynne first posted about her experience with Ella.  You can read about it here.   

One of the things I hoped to come away with was just looking more intentional - more put together with my clothes.  And to feel good.  See - again - I've gained some weight - thanks menopause! 

Ella and I discussed what the difference is between Joan from Mad Men with her little belly being drop dead sexy and if I tried to wear something similar - I would just feel exposed and like my clothes are too tight.  So - what's the difference?  Is it attitude?  Feeling comfortable in your own skin?  what?

The other thing I've known and apply to my sewing - is the rule of threes.  So, normally I would wear this denim pencil skirt with an untucked tee for running errands on the weekend.  Today, I tucked in my tee, added a belted cardigan and the shawl that I recently knit. 

I will tell you - in this second photo - what I notice first is the belly.  While the open, unbuttoned cardigan is comfortable - my mind says it's open because it's too tight.  What do you all think?  Do you like the trend to leave a cardigan unbuttoned?

The skirt is Simplicity 2154 in denim.  This is how I do jeans Friday's at work. 

So - talk to me please.  How do you feel about fitted clothing if your shape isn't model perfect? 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Playing with Print

 I wore this dress to work today and realized I had never shared it on the blog. 

It's another version of the Butterick 5454 wrap dress.  I cut this dress with the grain going all over the place.  I placed the fronts along the cross-grain so that the border was on the running along that diagonal edge.  Then I cut the skirt so the border was at the bottom.  The sleeves were cut with the border along the hem edge as well. 

Rather than put the pleats that the pattern calls for - I gathered the fronts into the shoulder seam and also gathered the skirt onto the bodice. 

Because of the way the pattern feel on the fabric there is a small edge of the border on the back right above the waist seam. 

After all of that - I cut a piece of the border print and appliqued it to the front overlap portion of the skirt.  I made sure to match the print up and miter the corner. 

It's an interesting dress - but it's not my favorite. 

I love the print, I love the colors in it.  It's comfortable but . .  .

there is something about it that I can't explain.  I think I've only worn it twice since I made it back in October. 

What is it that makes a garment something you reach for again and again?

Monday, February 03, 2014

Bandwagon Fan?

I was asked to travel to San Jose for a work event.  This is pretty huge because generally, EAs with my company do not travel.  The partner I work for - specifically asked that I travel and attend the event to help.  It actually turned out to be a good thing that I was there because the local EA called out sick.  Anyway - for the social in the evening, Seahawks clothing - or at the very least - colors were required.

Well, anyone who knows me, knows that JB is an EAGLES fan.  There is one Seahawks hat in our house and that's it.  I wasn't going to buy a jersey or shirt that I wouldn't wear.

What I thought I'd do is swing into JoAnn's and get some Seahawks logo'd cotton and make an infinity scarf.  When I got to JoAnn's on the Saturday before I left - they didn't have any Seahawks logo'd fabric. 

What I did find was a deep blue and green striped fabric with a tiny glittery silver stripe between the colors.  So I bought 2.5 yards.  I took it home, washed it, ironed it, played with the layout - cut out another Ottobre Sheath Dress and sewed that baby up in time to leave for the airport at 6p on Sunday!

The sleeves are elbow length with no bands and the neckband was cut with the striped going vertical rather than horizontal.  After I was done I thought - I should have cut it on the bias, oh well.  I put fusible interfacing in the hem of the dress and sleeves.  Otherwise - nothing remarkable about construction.

This dress has seen lots of wear already in it's short lifespan.  It made an appearance in San Jose with grey boots and a silver cardigan - but it was hot and the cardi got ditched early.  Then on casual Friday - I wore it as pictured.  And of course it made an appearance at the Superbowl watching yesterday.  Most of the women there wanted their own Seahawks dress.  But it will remain one of a kind. 

***  While this dress might not be my best look - horizontal stripes, close fitting, clingy knit.  I will say - it's comfortable and forgiving.  I feel very girly and curvaceous and not necessarily as aware of the shortcoming of my shape when I wear one of the 4 dressed made from this pattern that are in heavy rotation in my closet.  So - I think I will continue making this pattern and learn to accessorize to my advantage. 

you can just see the silver sparkle and neckband stripe
going the opposite direction.
***  While JB is getting better at taking photos - he takes more than one, he makes me laugh, we move around the house (remember when he took one shot?).  Now I need to start asking him if my clothes are hung up on anything apparently. 

***  I am really ready for a haircut!  My roots are very obvious.  And long - man, my hair is getting long! 

So - what do you wear that makes you feel comfortable and fabulous?  Is it your 'best' look?  What about the garment makes you feel that way?  Is it a color, style or shape?

So - to answer my heading question - nope, not a bandwagon fan, just a *team player*.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I Knit a Hug

An incredibly lovely lady that I work with was diagnosed with breast cancer and very quickly whisked into surgery.  Just before Thanksgiving she had a double mastectomy.  I just finished and sent off the shawl - so I'm quite tardy in knitting her hug - but I did and mailed it.

I bought the yarn in early December and then trolled Ravelry and thought about what I wanted to make.  In my mind I saw a pale pink half circle shawl.  While I nailed the pale pink by using Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Petal Pink - I did not get the shape I was going for - but I love the shape I ended up with. 

It was after reading Karen's post on her Pop Spots Shawl that I found the lace pattern I ultimately used.  Karen had 'pinned' the June Bunnies shawl pattern and I particularly liked the designers version where she staged the width of the lace.  Because I'm a fan of things being odd - believing odd numbers are more pleasing to the eye - I made sure that whenever I started the lace - there were an odd number of repeats between each stitch marker.  I worked 3 lace sections before finishing. (Mostly because 5 would have made it a blanket!)

close up of lace - clashing with the pattern on my dress
I thought I spent more time working on this than I did.  This was a quick knit once I got it started and sorted out. 

I really enjoyed knitting this - all the while I was thinking positive, healthy thoughts.  I am a process knitter.  Most people don't understand that.  I sew to fill my closet, to have unique and comfortable clothes to wear - I knit to keep my hands busy.  I do not take commission work - because that stressed me and makes me 'resent' the knitting.  The flip side of that is - I chose what to knit and when.  My hands are busy and only once have I wanted to keep the finished product when it was never intended to be mine. 
I hope the recipient feels all the love knit into this hug as she wraps it around herself.