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Monday, August 8, 2011

Planning Makes Perfect

I’m usually an obsessive planner.  I’m a list maker; I make master to-do lists and sub-lists filled with my most important to-do tasks.  I pretty much love everything about the planning process – but I especially love the feeling of accomplishment when I can cross off one thing after another.  Occasionally, however, I get so gung-ho about a project that planning goes out the window…and of course that’s when issues inevitably ensue. 

Fresh off the success of my faux-wrap maxi dress, I decided to whip up a strapless maxi from the deep purple jersey in my fabric stash.  By all accounts – in my mind – it was easy, effortless and I’d be done in a day with a new successful finished product to show off.  I laid my fabric on my floor and began to cut until I realized I didn’t even have enough of the fabric for a full skirt, let alone a dress.   So, that bright idea will have to be laid aside for now. 

With my instant dress dreams thwarted, I turned my attention to planning my next project.  I picked up a few new fabulous fabrics from mood.  This heavy silk leopard print and white sheer cotton were unplanned impulse purchases, but I loved them both too much to pass them up.  I'm envisioning the leopard print silk as a new pair of shorts.  I've been dreaming of leopard print shorts for awhile and I love how this fabric is slightly more subtle - almost like a water color painting.  As for the sheer cotton I have no idea what I'm going to do with it yet, but I'm sure I'll come up with a good idea for it sooner or later.

My current project involves this beautiful red and white silk print and this white stretch cotton.  I'm almost done, but you'll have to wait and see!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Silky Summer Days

I've finished my v-neck maxi dress and I'm super happy with the results.  The fabric is an extremely light-weight sheer silk, which made it a bit difficult for me to work with.  I had to hand baste every single section before machine stitching to make sure my seams didn't slip - a time consuming process but totally worth it.

The dress is a faux-wrap with a zipper in the back.  The zipper was the biggest pain to insert because of the light-weight fabric and it took a few attempts before I eventually worked it out.  It's not perfect, but I'm still learning.

The alterations I made were a huge improvement.  I took the bodice in an inch on each side seam, changed the angle of the bodice to lower the v-neck line and reduced the size of the straps.  Now I'm off to plan my next creation!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Moving Forward

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of grief at life lost, celebration of new life, and a whole lot of living in between.  No matter how much we wish we could drag our feet at times, life keeps on charging forward.  So in the midst of a whirlwind what else can one do but create, create, create.

Thank you all so much for your lovely suggestions and helping me decide on my next creation.  I've decided to go with a deep-v maxi dress with a wrap bodice using the blue and white silk print.  The fabric is so beautiful I was nervous to cut into it until I had the perfect plan and I think this is it. 

I used Butterick pattern B5486 as a template because it had the wrap bodice I wanted.  Before cutting into my real fabric, I completed a toile to check the fit and look of the dress.  Thankfully I did a test run here because after trying on the toile I needed to make a ton of adjustments.

The dress is a faux-wrap with a zipper up the back.  I didn't insert a zipper in my mock-up and instead just basted the opening together and I could still slip the dress on.  Right there I knew I needed to take the bodice in a good two inches around my waist.  The neckline needed to be lowered about two inches; you can't tell on my flat-chested form, but the current neckline is practically a turtleneck.  And finally, the straps are way too wide.  After all the alterations, I can't wait to show you all the final result!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What Should I Make Next?

This is the first time I've hit a bit of a sewing roadblock.  I've finished my shorts, but I don't have anything lined up that I've been planning to make.  I need some help.  I've got a ton of gorgeous fabrics stashed away and more patterns than I could use in an entire year, but no one project that I'm dying to make - or maybe too many that I would like to make.  

Out of my fabric stash, I want to work with one of three fabrics next.  The first is a gorgeous light weight silk pattern.  

 The other two fabrics are both stretch knits.  The first of the stretch knits is a light salmon color and the second is a deep purple.  Out of the three, which do I work with first?  And, what do I make?  My general thoughts are:  a maxi dress with a v-neck line, a strapless maxi dress, a strapless dress like the one I made here, a long skirt, or a romper.  I've scoped out a few examples of what I envision for the final product. 

Diane Von Furstenberg Maxi Wrap Dress
 This dress is very bohemian, I love it.  Plus, I have a pattern  that I think would definitely work.  

Strapless Long Dress by Parker

This dress would be a bit more free form - no pattern - but easily doable.  I wouldn't do the shirring all the way to the natural waist, I'd want to make it more of an empire waist line.  Although, I do have a dress like this already in my closet. 

Romper Pattern by Burda Style

I have a pattern for this and could do either a full pant, or make it into a romper with shorts instead.  

Strapless Maxi Dress by Splendid

This dress would work with the stretch knits, but not the silk.  It would be a bit of a challenge to do the top - also no pattern - but I'm up for it.  It's super cute.  

Torn by Ronny Kobo Maxi Dress

I have a pattern that fits this dress perfectly, so it would be nice to not have to completely alter a pattern for once and the look and fit of the dress is beautiful.

Too many choices!  Any thoughts on what I should make next?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fitting Shorts is Hard

Shorts are not easy, but I really really wanted them so after a few tweaks here and there I finished my tweed-looking linen shorts.  I used a salmon colored silk for the pocket lining and left the lining visible, which I like but I think I would make the pockets a bit smaller next time.  

American Apparel bodysuit, Rag & Bone blazer, shorts Made by Me, Christian Louboutin wedges

Patterns for shorts - not to mention the standard sizing for shorts and pants - are generally not built to fit most women's bodies.  Not sure why, seems counter-intuitive to me.  If I had a little less curve going on things would work out fine and dandy, but c'est la vie.  Curves present a bit of a challenge.  In my test run, I made a muslin of the shorts that pulled a bit in the front.  The pulling action is frequently the bane of my existence and I generally buy a size up in pants or shorts when shopping and then bring them to a tailor to take in at the waist.  Since I'm the tailor here, I tweaked the pattern a bit to get rid of the pull, but now I seem to have a bit of a puff.  

The silk pockets had a tendency to creep up and create even more puff in front so I created a chain with my thread to keep the pockets in place.

The chain tacks each pocket down to the inside hem and it works like a charm.  Less bunchy pockets = less poof.  

  Posing for pictures is rough work.