Couture Lunacy

Exploring Fashion One Thread At A Time


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Another Flower Top Finished and Sweater Update

I love it! From Vogue 8151

I love it! From Vogue 8151

My second flower top is finished! The only tiny quirk I don’t like is the hem. I was using a double needle that broke and I had to trim off part of it and start over. I think the double needle broke because I had a different kind of thread in one of the needles. Anyway, not having two spools of thread (and frankly just not wanting to be bothered) I did my own double hem stitch. It’s okay. Here’s the back

flowertop2back

This is a very flattering shirt. The curves are all where they should be and I was amazed that the dart was great in a knit. I am going to make more of these but for now I’m heading back to another pattern I also love that I adjusted to fit. I would have made these last two out of that pattern also but I mistakenly ordered less fabric than I needed. This pattern only uses 1.75 yards – but it uses it all. I have many t-shirt patterns and am going to get going on a couple more after the Holidays. I think I’ll be baking until then.

In the meantime, I have snuck up on completing my Boxy sweater. So far this is where I’m at

sweaterforme

There will be multi-colored ribbing on the sleeve cuffs and also on the bottom. I really love the way this has turned out. Since it’s the first sweater I’ve had any hopes of finishing without major mistakes (knock on wood) I am super thrilled with it.

That’s what I’ve been doing – plus a little planning for sewing after the Holidays – here’s a pattern high on my list

Vogue 1367

Vogue 1367

I have several fabrics for this shirt. I may need to invest in an edge-stitch foot before I start though.

So fun times – I was glad I could finish some things without tearing out my hair!

 

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Work Work Work – And Fun Fun Fun

What have I been doing? Surprise! I’ve been sewing. Since the failure of Vogue 8937 – which I will insist to my dying day was the result of lousy fabric, I have finished one awesome top and started another.

Here’s the pattern I used – 

Vogue 8151

Vogue 8151

This is a Sandra Betzina Today’s Fit pattern from Vogue. I had read many great reviews on this pattern and I did try it once before. I didn’t like it. It was all my fault. I hadn’t cut the right size, didn’t lengthen the shirt and just generally messed up. But now I LOVE THIS PATTERN.

This time I did cut the right size, after tracing my pattern. I then had a decision to make about darts. Darts in a knit? Well yes it does work. I did also lengthen the shirt by two inches to a length that’s much more comfortable for me. I also fiddled with the neck band and made it smaller to give it more snap. 

Here’s the first shirt all done –

flowertop

 

For some reason the photo looks straight up and down. It is not. It fits like a dream. I only had to do a tad bit of adjusting when sewing the final seams. I took out about 1.5 inches to get the fit I wanted.

I had so much success with that one – I started another one in a really neat fabric.

secondflower

With this one I attached the neck binding before folding it in half and did the fold after it was attached. A little stitching in the ditch and I have a very neat neck band. Here’s the back –

secondflower1

 

Is this not CUTE? 

Since I have sustained my sewing spirit with two successes, I am ready to go back to Vogue 8937 and try it again. The only decision is which awesome fabric to use (and no I will not choose a nasty fabric from the stash again.)

Further on the list is a great pair of pants that FIT – 

 


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Outside the Fatosphere – Wake Up Call #812

For once the plea for help and justice may have been heard. I have been reading that plus size clothing made the runway at NYFW this year. This is very positive news, but more would be welcome.

I make clothes for one basic reason. Because I can’t find anything in the marketplace, excluding jeans and some bras, that doesn’t look horrific on my plus-sized frame. Usually the plus-sized clothes I see are made of incredibly cheap material, in patterns no one would want to wear and cut on the idea that a big dump of square cloth will fit someone who obviously doesn’t care about herself at all because she’s fat. None of these clothes take anything near style into consideration. Nor the fact that I clean up well, as my Dad used to say.

Fat is a word that has no good connotations at all. It either means stuff you eat which clogs up your heart causing you to die young, or it means that you are the opposite of the worshipped body of the eons, the thins. But there is a whole population of non-svelte women dying to find a great place to buy clothing. And the marketplace is keeping them out. Why would this be? Isn’t there just one or two or maybe even three companies that would like to make a lot of money with a built in repeat business? All it would take is clothing with exquisite construction and fit and that added ingredient of style.

This fat-thin complex has been going on in America for as long as I’ve been alive. There has never been a time in the roughly 55 years that I can recall where buying clothing made me feel good. Except for when I worked out at Nautilus and got my fleshiness into shape. I was still large by model standards at a size 12, but I was a compact size 12 and I certainly looked good. This wasn’t sustainable because eventually we moved, there was no Nautilus near me and I quit pumping iron and kept cooking.

The problem that I now face – and why I sew – is not only the incredible cost of decent, long wearing clothes, but the sheer impossibility of finding them. I don’t require much, but I do want to look stylish. And I do want the clothes to be made well. Designer made well, as in when you put it on, you feel fantastic.

When we first came back to the US, I did some in-the-mall shopping. I had to go up to the second floor of Macy’s (where it’s hidden away) to find the plus-size department.  I shuddered. The clothes were shapeless, made from polyester in bright colors. I could see someone who was in her 80s or 90s wearing these. I could not see myself in them.

To give you a general idea – look at this picture

Photo credit blousehouse.com

Photo credit blousehouse.com

Goodness. Square, no shape, gathers everywhere and guaranteed to make you look like a circus tent. And to top it all off? These blouses probably cost a fortune. I don’t know. I wouldn’t go look at these. The fabric is horrible. The colors are garish and I can’t imagine that the construction is worthwhile.

Similar tacky-looking clothes are out there on offer anywhere you want to look. I call it the Walmartization of plus size clothing. We’re letting someone in China make clothes for women with curves and they look bad. Although I will agree that even thin people can have a rough time buying clothing that fits their budget AND them at the same time.

Some of the companies complain that it’s just too expensive to make plus-size clothing because their patterns can only be sized up a certain amount before they need to draft new patterns and plus-size women don’t buy that many clothes. Ha. If you take a look at the above picture, you will see why. Why would anyone consent to wear something like that? And something like that can be found in almost any place that sells plus-sized clothing. It doesn’t have to be this way. We only need a few enthusiastic people to change course –

And it’s not just in the RTW sector of fashion that thin prevails either. Take a look someday at sewing patterns available for plus size women. They’re not a pretty sight. We could use some decent, complimentary patterns too ………….

If there are any clothing companies out there that want to design fantastic, flattering clothes for a real women with curves to match, let me know. I have a lot of good ideas –


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The Thing I Do Best …………

I shop. I am very good at shopping. Particularly with the internet. I know there are lots of you who are too young to remember taking a bus downtown (that’s a place where they used to have stores and now they are bringing them back again because everyone’s sick of the mall) or going to the mall to find what you want. Or having to go to a store to get a music album you want. Can you imagine? How odd …….

I was doing my usual check of fabric at one of my favorite sites – http://www.marcytilton.com and I came across this fabric that I must have or I will die – seriously. She has it in black and navy. I sighed because I have no money until payday to be shooting toward some lovely fabric. I have tons of lovely fabric that caught my eye earlier this summer. I’m just praying the fabric lasts on her site until I can get some ………… if not – I might have to make it myself.

Here it is

NAVY BLUE SWEATER KNIT DETAIL

This is a merino wool sweater knit that is all puckered and has wonderful square areas and lots of poof. I hope you can see this on the photo. I immediately started to plan a fantastic loose top – and it could either be a great cardigan which I would wear over everything all the time or a nice boatneck loose tee. Either way – it’s fantastic.

I also checked out elliottbermantextiles.com because of their unusual collection of digital prints. There are two now that I would snap up in a minute. One of them is a pictorial skyline of New York with the multitude of people and skyscrapers. The other is a pictorial knit panel of Venice. Both of these fabrics lend themselves to a simple style – nothing complex because the fabric speaks for itself.

Years ago, as part of my extreme love of textiles and dyeing and marking up and just generally playing with fabric, I would make textured fabric to use in my wall art. When I saw the fabric on Marcy’s site and figured that it would be gone before I can afford it, I thought about how I would emulate this fabric on my own. A needle, some embroidery floss or other strong thread and I could pucker navy jersey to my heart’s delight. I hopefully won’t have to do that – but if I do – who knows? It could be cooler than the original inspiration ……….. you never know ……………..

 


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A Top that LOOKS Simple Can Drive You Nuts …………..

sim

I really like this top. It’s a Katherine Tilton pattern for Butterick and it’s 5891. The only problem for me is that the pattern is too small. Hmph.

I spent a good bit of time yesterday cutting out the pattern pieces and measuring things up. Things being in particular TWO things that the shirt has to close around, if you get my drift. I humphed and mumphed and scratched my head. This top has 15 pieces. There are directions on the pattern pieces that if you alter it, move all the markings. Well shoot – first I have to figure out how to alter it. I mean I really do. Some of these pieces are parallelograms and just imagine slashing and cutting a parallelogram and adding inches to it. I quiver in dread. I am stymied by lack of pattern enlarging experience. I keep looking at it and deciding to slash it here and there and finally I folded it all up and put it back in the bag.

My concentration level is sadly diminished these days. So I marveled around at it and finally decided the top is too simple looking to be that much trouble. Which means I’ve ditched plans to make it for now. I need to wait until my brain is sharp again – hoping that won’t be next spring ……….

So now what to make? Of course I’ve found a great pattern that lives in Australia at Style Arc but I won’t be able to get that for a while. So I can either figure out how to take all of these different pattern pieces and increase this top by 4″ or I can find another pattern in the stash …………

Here’s the Style Arc pattern I crave

LIZZIE-WRAP

It’s called the Lizzie Wrap. This too will look simple but I think the construction on this will truly BE simple. I have a great teal jacquard, a black raised design jacquard and a cool multi-colored on brown jacquard. It will need lining so I’d have to decide on a color and get that too. That’s the bad thing about sewing ………. you always need one more thing …………


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Pattern Drafted and Ready To Go!

I wish I had a picture – promise they’ll come tomorrow. I drafted a hybrid between the bibbed oversized shirt and the empire waisted jacket. The top will have an empire waist with gathers around the “skirt” of the top. I am so EXCITED! It wasn’t as hard as I’d thought it would be – but look I’m saying that BEFORE I start sewing it – so who knows what will happen.

I plan on doing big gathered pockets on the front, of course, and instead of sleeves with cuffs I’m doing sleeves with a binding around the gathered edge. I’m also going to bind the neckline and do a normal placket for the buttons and buttonholes.

I want to make this out of this fabric

Oscar Cotton Twill Emma One Sock Dot Com

Oscar Cotton Twill
Emma One Sock Dot Com

eventually, but I’m going to start with a stretch cotton stripe in aqua and white that I got from Gorgeous Fabrics. It is the most luscious oxford cloth type fabric and I can’t wait to get it all cut out and onto the machine. Again my finishing techniques are going to be thought long and hard. I always want the inside to look as good as the outside. I may try to do a gathered french seam or else just serge off the seam with the gathers once I get to that point. Sigh. I’m not sure about that step.

In order to match everything I’m going to pin the fabric together before I cut so that nothing shifts around. I really want to match the shoulders and sides – not that RTW does that any more! Odd looking stuff they have now ………..

So tomorrow the cut out …………….


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I’m in a butchering mood today ………..

Swirling around in my head – and I do mean swirling – are two things I want to copy. I will need to make the patterns myself – or adapt them from patterns I already have.

inspireThese are both from Gudruns Joden and way out of my budget. Here’s the other one.

jacket1

 

Either of these look simple enough. Eeeeeek. Well maybe not ………..

Anyway today I am getting out the muslin and seeing what I can come up with. I have wonderful fabric that would make the top pattern beautifully – as well as the second. Once I do these, I can make them out of any cloth I want. As I keep saying – eeeeeek.

I’ve also considered using this pattern

McCall's 6605

McCall’s 6605

And adding the sleeves with a bias finish instead of cuffs. This would also be the direction I’m going with this. I want a nice, loose tunic to wear over a tee sort of like a smock. We’ll just see what I come up with! And maybe I’ll accidentally find the navy thread ………….