Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Learning (My!) Curves

Mercy.  My journey into creating some really nice fitting/looking garments seems to be at a crawl.  My last project, despite all my measuring AND a muslin: too big.  Don't ask how.  Because I'm not sure.

I refuse to declare it a wadder as the material is too nice (a cashmere wool I scored in Mongolia).  It can be fixed.  I know it can.  It will just take TIME.

Prettier in good light :)
To the present project--a jacket to wear for Easter in Mongolia where it might be 40 degrees.  Maybe.

This cashmere wool in this lovely color

In this pattern
would be

I knew that a month ago, but I didn't know until Saturday that I would be in Mongolia  for Easter.  So, again, TIME is a factor.  ...along with FIT.

Sigh.  I have been avoiding the FBA for years.  Time; i.e., age,  has not made things easier in the FIT department--like starting with a 10 in the shoulders & neck and ending with a 14 in the waste--yikes!  So, a crash course was in order.
Much muslin, tissue paper, chalk, and rulers later I ended up with a working pattern.  With the help of several good books and letting things percolate in between adjustments... I won.  This is what I ended up with--the scary thing is I know the why and what for of every slice and dice.

All that slicing and dicing resulted in a fitting muslin with what I hope is perfect ease:

Yes, I know that I should be using a fabric similar to the wool.  I don't have any, so muslin it is.  I figure on adding some extra when I cut to allow for the wool--though it's a really a thin wool so shouldn't be a prob.  Stay tuned for progress reports.

Things I've learned so far:

How to do a FBA.  Finally.  Pretty amazing actually.  

How to tweak things successfully for my No-Longer Misses figure.  (WHAT happened to the Women's size in the pattern companies??  Where did they go!!!?? )

That I could safely preshrink wool (to help with the interfacing process) by throwing it in the dryer on Permanent Press with a damp towel

That I will be looking into some other pattern companies that I hear from other bloggers are much more in tune with real bodies.

That I would much rather pin the pattern on me and then make a muslin if needed rather than automatically tracing the pattern.  I just find that accuracy gets compromised by tracing.  Plus it's a pain.

These 2 patterns are not what I should have chosen for TNTs.  

I end with a Munchkin shot that makes me smile

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Straight of Grain

This will bore the socks off some and maybe inspire some others.  I am going to muse.  (that is a verb, right?)

yes...and as Fancy Nancy would say,
"When in doubt, always overdress"
Taking over the Colorado nest again and re-establishing my sewing space has been delightful--and therapeutic!  No real surprises there.  What has surprised me is my rekindled obsession interest in garment sewing for myself.  As with any obsession interest, I have taken it to the Lord lest it be some frivolous waste of precious time at best or an idol at worst.  I have experienced only encouragement and new doors opened from Him.  AND...doors of serving others through sewing have been opening up lately, too!  More on that later.

Besides the sheer joy of the process of creating (hopefully) flattering, well made garments from patterns and fabrics, there is a practical side of this thing:  I'm not thrilled with what is in the stores for my age.  Surely it's possible to be current and comfortable without being swathed in clingy-or-shapeless, poorly made garments made mostly of polyester.  --and no, I don't shop at Wal-Mart.

I do not want to duplicate what is in Target, Penney's or Express--where I do shop for everyday stuff.  (Express actually has great jeans and pants--their stuff is well made with great inside detailing--and it lasts.) I am so enjoying the lovely dresses out there--but I do not want my 55-year-old knees and thighs exposed!  Nor do I want to look like the Queen Mum.

So, this renewed passion has led me down some interesting roads.  Sort of like "If You Give a Moose a Muffin" story that Nikki reminded me of the other day.

I have been so encouraged--and entertained!--by the whole world of sewing blogs and podcasts.
A few of my favorite blogs:

Two sewing podcasts I've found:
  • Sew Forth Now and 
  • Green Stitch (from which I learned about a great opportunity to help make birthing mats for a medical mission in Uganda--more later).
The above have led me to
looking into some online courses on the Craftsy website  I'm seriously thinking about a coutre dress class with no deadline :)

a Threads magazine subscription

Joining the American Sewing Guild's local group--I'm pretty much the youngest member, though not the only Christian!--and what a hoot!  I learn and laugh lots.  At yesterday's meeting I learned about a Somalian Women's Center begging for sewing teachers and unused supplies/fabric.  I'm very interested.

some new books to learn to fit my ahem, mature body, new techniques, and general tips:

AND...I've even done some sewing, too!

My 1st ever self-pic using the timer and my cute little tripod!

This is a Plan D vest--but I really like it!  It's a kimono print on a Georgette-type fabric from a Denver Fabric table.  I didn't have enough for the sleeves I'd planned and didn't like it sleeveless, so added self-lined cap sleeves.  Perfect.  A pleasure to wear.
This is a tunic-length vest from a light cotton.  In natural light the lace motif is much more subtle.  The double front lapel was a bit of a puzzle and I ended up adding interfacing to the bottom layer for the button holes, etc.  Jury's still out on this one.

A birthday dress for Natalie in this Hobby Lobby cotton with a chocolate brown under skirt.  Really pretty on her with her coloring.
A Woody vest for the little man.  All that's lacking is the star.  Must get one :)
So, my goal for this year is to get about half a dozen tried and true patterns going (TNTs in the biz ;)

and to make my world better one stitch at a time
(hmm....I suppose mending/repairing would fall in there, too...)

Monday, March 5, 2012

California Dreamin'

Randy and I just met up in Los Angeles for a 10-day trip of the California coast to see family and end up in one of our very favorite cities, San Francisco, before each flying off in totally opposite directions.

We thoroughly enjoyed the whole trip complete with family visits and plenty of romantic beach walks and lots of seafood dinners.

I hope you enjoy the pics!

 Oooh!  Oooh!  Britex Fabrics in San Fransisco!!!  Four floors of fabric heaven!  We hit every one of them, too :)

Good to return to our roots.