motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (Default)
Innovative Pattern Cutting - coursework at University of the Arts London

Draping the Art and Craftsmanship of Fashion Design - a book by two Dutch experts. Lots of pdfs of it online,  it seems.

Studio Faro - has, or used to have pattern challenges. The Vivienne is my favorite.

metric pattern cutting for Women's Wear - used to make basic blocks.

motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (Default)

I "finished" this apron in January, but then had to go back and re-adjust the front so it didn't gap. I took in a 1" dart at the top of the sweetheart neckline and strap join.

The pattern is a mail-order pattern from... the 40s? There were several mail order services that provided patterns from the same company, possibly called Reader Mail. This particular one was from a magazine called Hoard's Dairyman and is 2299.

The fabric is from one old curtain (late 60s, early 70s) acquired from home over the holidays. I love the fabric. The trim is pretty darling, too. I now have all the curtains and am plotting what to do next. I'm thinking "quilt".

I lengthened this by 3" because I need more coverage. It's still too short. Have you ever gotten peanut butter on your knees?

I modified the shoulder straps to instead go around my neck. After having an apron with crossed straps, and straight straps, around the neck is most convenient for me. The shoulder straps needed an additional 4" (!) taken out of the back.

If I made this again, I would probably fully line it, ie make two aprons, sew them together like a pillow case, and turn right side out, instead of hand sewing all that binding around ALL THE EDGES.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (Default)
Can I write a end-of-year AND monthly summary in under a half an hour? I've already been online way too long this am.

Tried to get glasses. Made the mistake of going to Lenscrafters. I'm closer to figuring out what kind of glasses I really need, though.

Finished my Christmas letter on time. Finished all Christmas presents on time. It was so wonderful to make things for people this year.

Donated to MJFF - they are making great strides in finding a cure to Parkinson's.

Hamstring is continuing to heal.

Out of my control, but thoroughly enjoyed the two snow days we had. I made a conscious effort to enjoy them and did - not a usual thing for me. Work being closed for those days also helped to finish Xmas gifts.

Finished a pair of pants I may not be able to sit down in.

Got my pedal felts changed in prep for recording.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
I am still working on the muslin for a dress to play the harp in.  My excuse for not being done with that, and the final dress, and have already purchased shoes to go with it (and a whole other host of harp-related things), is how unbelievably hot it was this summer, but it's more a combination of that and minimal internal encouragement.  So much so that I've been repeating one of my favorite quotes while sewing this morning more than usual: "There are no experimental failures - there's only more data." -Bryce Lynch in Max Headroom. It has kept me sewing this morning. Seriously.

The muslin doesn't fit and look exactly like I want, but I'm unable to adjust it further because I have no seam allowance left, and I started with 1" SA!

I also read through my Deconstructed Dress post to see if I wanted to add any stabilizers.  The type of stabilizing on that dress won't work with a dress that's underlined.

Off to collect more data!
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
I've got the muslin for my harp dress more or less all pinned up.
So far:
- I've had to adjust the shoulders to be more square (no surprise)

- I put darts in the back V neck because my back is so flat.

- the skirt is hard to draft - is it a-line? is it straight? how are the darts folded?

- I don't think I have enough fabric in the skirt - it's maybe not as full as I'd like? I think I need another 10 inches in width all around, at least. It definitely doesn't look like the above picture. Right now it's 60" in circumference. I will have to muslin with the brocade, too. I may not have a choice in fabric design placement, ulp.

- the underarm gusset definitely needs to be two pieces as Gertie has you draft in her book "Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing".

- I was going to put a side zip in, but that would interfere with pockets and I don't want to try to do that with a gusset, either - too much bulk. But putting an invisible zip in the back in a v-neck is making me leery.

Also, this dress is really hot. Not as in "I look awesome" but as in the fabric is heavy. This could be a problem if I suddenly develop the ability to sweat. Right now, it's just uncomfortable.

But wow are kimono sleeves the most comfortable thing to play harp in ever. Even better than raglan sleeves.

ETA: Whoa. I just figured out the darts, and measured, and I need about 50" for the front and back panels, ie 100" (~2.75 yds) circumference. That's 40" more than what I have in the muslin.  I have 4 yards of the brocade, and it's only 30" wide. That means the skirt will be cut on the lengthwise grain. Unless I piece it. Which could present some interesting design opportunities.

But what to do with the muslin skirt? I could just put a normal waistline on it and gather it? Ho hum.

I also had a thought about what to line the muslin with. Since it's eyelet, I thought putting a dark fabric underneath could be interesting, but then I thought I'd want it to "pop" and wondered if I could find something fluorescent. THEN I thought: REFLECTIVE FABRIC. Now that would sparkle on stage.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
Since my camera is broken, I'm going to try to use my words to make pictures. ha.

I took apart two different frogs - one that I ordered off the web and arrived from China (black), and one I took off a cheongsam dress (black and green).

The black one was made of single fold satin bias tape and copper wire that looked to be about 22-24 gauge, but was much stiffer than the silver wire I use to make jewelry.  The decorative part (flower) was bent into shape and the loop and ball part were completely separate and hand sewn onto the ends of the flower, kind of sandwiched in between the two sides of the bias. The loop and ball did not contain the wire.  It was a single length of bias tape, the wire in the fold and the turned-under edges stitched together.  The center folds/points of the flower were stitched together to draw them tightly together.

The black and green had similar construction, but used two lengths of satin bias tape - the green was single fold, and the black was simply a strip folded in half with raw edges.  They were also glued/starched to be even more stiff.  I don't know if the bias tapes were starched and dried, or starched and folded when wet.  The green tape only was used to make the ball and loop, and was an extension of the flower, so only one raw edge of the ball/loop was attached to the flower and sandwiched between the bias tape.

I'd be interested in making my own designs - it seems pretty easy.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
I like this jaquard fabric from BigZFabric on etsy - it seems like it would drape well as it's "lightweight". But I need to croquis it to see if it would work on me.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
EvaDress is having a contest to sew something from their 40s collection of patterns. And I need nicer clothes for performing on the harp!  What a fortuitous coincidence.

The contest runs from April 16 to June 1 and you can post your project on the facebook page that's linked above.

I chose the pattern D40-3863, view 1. This dress style works well for playing harp because it doesn't have an armscye right at the shoulder, so there's nothing to bind when I'm reaching my arms forward.  Straight skirts don't work for sitting behind the harp, and this one looks to be A-line, and the wrap will probably give me even more room.  The higher neckline of view 1 seems to work better on me. And the long sleeves are good for hiding chicken wings. =P  Although, it looks like the sleeves could easily be left off, if desired.

I want to get an asian jacquard in either a black and gold combination to match my harp, or some sort of emerald green. Or some combination of the two.  I think it will suit that dress well.  However, I have no idea if that's something that will look good on stage.  Do any of you know anything about dressing for the stage?  Patterned fabric, yea or nay?

Then I thought some sort of embroidery would look lovely, even though I swore after my western shirt I would never do embroidery again, especially on black fabric.

I've already gone shopping for the jacquard, but my usual fabric store changed their line of asian jacquards: they all have religious symbols integrated into the patterns.  Um, just chrysanthemums for me, thanks.

Since I haven't even found the fabric yet, I have a feeling that I will be behind on this project. On top of that, my lack of facebooking means I won't be able to easily post my results, and possibly won't enter.  But I can still use the timeline!

Then in the midst of this planning, McCall came out with their latest Archive Collection patterns...

Droooool.  This would be a perfect dress, too.  I don't know when/if I'd ever need something quite that fancy, though.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
A couple summers ago, I bought a cheongsam dress at a yard sale that was way too small. After trying unsuccessfully to design something else to make it into, I set it aside thinking I could make some kind of Asian inspired, hard-sided (as opposed to soft and slouchy) purse at some point.  I had no idea how to make a purse like that or what it might be inside it to make it sturdy.

eBay listing by mountains2dbeach
more views of the purse in the listing

I found this purse at the thrift store and started taking it apart. Or trying to take it apart. I started with the bottom of the purse since it was sewn together and got nowhere. I read up on how purses with clasps are made - they're glued into the clasp - and how to remove glue - rubbing alcohol was what I had on hand - and went to work.  The rubbing alcohol did the trick, but only because it dissolved the cardboard.  Yes, this entire purse was made with cardboard.  The lining is glued to cardboard, there is another piece of cardboard outside of that, then the outside fabric is stitched to cardboard and glued. The bottom piece is stitched to cardboard and glued.

I felt like I did when I found out shoes are made with a lot of cardboard. Horrified, because "everything's cheap these days!" and "shoddy construction, etc!" and excited because "hey, I have cardboard, I can totally make these myself!".
Read more... )
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
McCalls is finally hopping on the vintage bandwagon, which is great, because they have a long and consistent history of putting out lovely patterns since... the 20s? earlier? up through the 90s, when they did something weird to their sizing. Anyway, I use a lot of vintage McCalls patterns so I was excited by their announcement of their "Archive Collection".  The first two they've released are from 1933 and can be combined to make a suit, or an outfit.  I like that they are basic pieces you could totally use for everyday wear (but I do hope they release some of their fancier designs at some point!).

There's a blouse and jacket 6995.


The line drawing isn't too impressive, but again, these are good basic pieces.

The skirt 6993 is a little more interesting. What looks like a standard pleated skirt:

Has great waist details!

And then there's a sweet little skirt with a belt. This could be great for showing off a vintage buckle.


These older skirts are so flattering - they always seem to just hang better, and I hope McCall's has managed to keep that feature and they continue to release some great vintage designs from their vast catalog.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
Remember that floral skirt I was making where I very carefully planned out exactly where the flowers would go across the front and back?

Well, I put an invisible zipper in it, and it was maybe a little too tight. And as I mentioned before, that combination proved fatal and resulted in me standing in my bathroom, slightly weepy, wielding a pair of scissors and cutting myself out of my skirt. Man, once an invisible zipper gets stuck, there is no unsticking it.

In order to make the skirt less tight, I had to remove and make a new bottom border, and cut gores from the minimal scraps of remaining fabric (thankfully I kept them). So minimal that I paid no attention whatsoever to the grainlines.  Ok, I did, but just to say, "Wow, I really hope cutting this that skewed doesn't make it drape badly."

Here it is, on a windy and "I don't feel like getting out my tripod" day.  The photos are a little over-exposed, but you can sort of see the gores compare to my original mockup.1


I constructed the gores the same way I originally constructed the skirt - I cut both fashion fabric and lining (I think it's a white rayon "Hang Loose" or something equally cleverly named) and serged them together, so it's really underlined, not lined.  That worked okay for this skirt, however, it was a little wrinkly after washing, and I probably wouldn't do it this way again. I'd probably line the skirt then sandwich both the lining and fashion fabric in the bottom border so they hang somewhat separately. Ha, I almost said "hang loose".

Back with a METAL zipper, thank you

To figure out where to start the gores, I ripped the seams up to where it released the tension across my hips, about 3" below the waistband. Then I just eyed how wide I wanted the gores at the bottom - about 5".  So I added 20" total to the bottom circumference. Luckily, I had bought enough of the black sateen to cut another bottom border.


So the finished object doesn't quite match up with the original design, however, it's now much easier to ride my bike in this skirt now, and that's really what's important, right?

1. And, holy cats, can I ever remember to iron and use a lint roller before taking pictures?
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
A sewing table I got in Jan of 2013(?) and started sanding right before I remembered to take "before" shots.  I haven't refinished anything this big before and I probably won't again.  Also, Old Stinky, the sewing machine I was going to put in it, didn't fit, so I wasn't concerned about using this as a learning project. It's a good sewing desk, though, to simply use with a stand-alone machine, with plenty of storage.

Read more... )
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
The length of the shoulder seam is also a factor in the shirt rising when I raise my arms.  I'm now not confident the armscye shape with change that.

Also, I had to clip the bodice armhole to get the sleeve to go in, else I would have had to ease it like crazy.  And "not easing" was the whole point of this exercise.  I even walked the seams first, and everything fit on the paper pattern pieces!

The one-size-smaller 38 certainly hangs better on me.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
So, now we know why Ichabod will be staying in period clothing and where he gets them.  So clever and not just a little hilarious.

And now...
I'm currently working on finishing up the seventh item1 in my "sew one piece of clothing a week" collection... from October.  Things keep getting slipped into the queue as they have a higher priority.  Like resewing the buttons on my pants again because I'm either losing weight or they are stretching.

And putting gussets in the underarm seam of the sixth item - a basic short-sleeved button-up blouse1 - after completely finishing it, because it was one of those situations where the entire shirt comes up when you lift your arms.  Which is really the point of this post.

After reading Kathleen Fasanella's post about how sleeve cap ease is bogus and what a sleeve cap should look like to follow the actual shape of a person, I wanted to try drafting something like that on the next shirt I made to avoid the shirt-rising problem.

The seventh item is indeed a basic long-sleeved button-up blouse from the same pattern as the short-sleeved.  I took the gusset from the short-sleeved and marked the points where it starts and stops on the arm scye. It makes the bottom of the arm scye over 2" (5cm) higher! And it's not exactly parallel to the floor. It slopes slightly down toward the front.  Not quite as much as some of the pictures in the tailoring forums:armhole-cutter-and-tailor-5-5xBut like this:armhole

I can understand shaping the armhole opening, but the sleeve is beyond my understanding at this point.  Measuring my arm around the deltoids and comparing it to the pattern measurement makes me think I need to add about two inches more in width? Which sort of could correspond to this picture?


And then there are these which are lesser priority, but frustrating me to think about.

I had to cut myself out of my black and white skirt. Have you ever been able to un-jam an invisible zipper? And it really isn't as full as I originally wanted, so I want to add gores and a new zipper. Which means taking off the bottom black band and making a new one of those.  And I could probably line it this time instead of underlining it. Basically, I would like to make an entirely new skirt. Urg.

The black dress I made from a pattern I thought fit me is exceptionally tight because the waist is too high and I should have lined it, not interlined it.  The corduroy and rayon lining really need to move independently.  Which means, basically, making a whole new dress.  And taking the collar off because it looks a little too... churchy?  Wednesday Addams?

1 From fabric bought for me while visiting home. :)
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
Dark corduroy really doesn't photograph well, does it.

These are the finished corduroy pants.  I did some piecing of various parts, most notably in the back pocket (click to see bigger).  The front welt is a single piece and works much better this way.  I think next time I may raise the waist on these 1/2" - they don't quite look in proportion to me.

And wow, the camera really shows the wrinkly-ness of freshly laundered corduroy. I hope these aren't pants I have to iron.

Also, I forgot how stretchy corduroy is and these pants tend to expand over the day.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
I think I'll make another pair of Ruby pants, and use the remaining to make a skirt, specifically this one:

Simplicity 1690

View 3 (the red one), but make the tab welt things into actual pockets, since I need pockets in everything. And I already have buttons for it.  Also, the waistband is faced with grosgrain ribbon, which I haven't done before and I'm interested to see how that will work.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
If only I had bought 2.5 yds instead of 2.25 of the amazingly cheap 100% wool herringbone!  I could have made both the Ruby and Nichola pants as originally planned.  However, it's the type of fabric I originally wanted to make the EvaDress trousers from, and so I'm leaning towards making Ruby pants again, and plus I really really like the Ruby pants, but then I don't want to have 139,728 pairs of pants with buttons down the sides.  Urgh.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
Ruby shorts from Burda patterns
After going on vacation this summer and realizing I had basically one pair of shorts that worked, I put "shorts" in my list of things to sew.  These are made from old grey with white pinstripe wool pants that simply would not fit me no matter what I did. The pattern is #6005 from Burda called Ruby.  They are underlined with the original silk lining, in which I found the remnants of a cocoon which may be the source for whatever ate all my other wool pants1.

I used vintage shell buttons, and a couple buttons from some Land's End article of clothing I must have had at some point. I cannot imagine what that might have been.

The instructions were as bad as everyone says - I think the translator got confused between "right and wrong" and "right and left" when referring to the sides as well as "beginning" and "front". They came together just fine, though.  Except for the front welt pocket.  No matter which instructions I use, I can never get them perfectly rectangular or smooth.  Plus, it being so close to the waistband pulled it a bit out of shape.

Next up, since I had a couple shirts have minor failures and with that subtraction from my wardrobe finding I had nothing to wear, I'm going ahead and making two more ... pairs of pants, of course. I'm going to try making the pants from the Ruby shorts because other people have successfully made these into pants and I love buttons2.

1 My other wool pants don't fit me, either, which is probably why they were undisturbed enough to get consumed.
2 Apparently.  I looked at my ravelry page the other day and it's heavy on the designs featuring buttons. One might say lavish.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
I only had enough fabric to cut out the skirt, and of course I forgot to take a picture of the layout.  I think I got it lined up correctly for the most part. It was hard to get my croquis blown up enough without the details of the fabric getting blurry so I could see where the flowers started and ended.  I picked up some lining at the fabric store last night and grabbed some generic black and grey lining remnants for my stash, because I always seem to need lining.  I tell you, having an organized stash is da bomb, as the kids these days don't say EVER.

And I cut out the pockets. :)

My lasts are still drying.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
I'm going to draft the rest of this skirt pattern tonight. With my amazing willpower I will get up out of my seat and clean off the plaster of Paris from my sewing table and get cracking. WITH POCKETS.


I always regret not having POCKETS in my skirts or any garment, really, and always forget to put POCKETS in, so emphasis on POCKETS. POCKETSPOCKETSPOCKETS! I'm forgetting it even as I'm typing it! Geez.


The fabric is 100% cotton decorator fabric that gorthx gifted me a while ago. It was waiting for a decoupage project, because I thought I only had .5 yds, but it turns out it's 1.75 (yay organized stash!). And it fits in really well with my black and white themed collection. Thanks, gorthx! I hope I can piece it as drawn with the yardage I have. The back has slight variations I can't decide on.

The top will come later - a simple boat-neck sleeveless dealy I think I can draft from... something vintage.

Also, I'm debating on sewing this as part of the Fall For Cotton Sew-Along.

My custom lasts are drying in their negative molds. I'm highly suspicious they will not come out well in the toes.



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