Couture Lunacy

Exploring Fashion One Thread At A Time


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Style Arc’s May Top

MAY-KNIT-TOP

 

Finally! I went to the sewing room and just said – get over it and make something! And today I have cut this top out of a wonderful printed crinkled knit – in all sorts of bright colors (pictures later).

This top, like all of the Style Arc patterns, is very simple. The only thing I’m the teensiest bit worried about is the under-bust seam which is just a slash/gather/sew proposition. I’m supposed to begin the seam at zero and go to 1/4 inch. I hope I can start at zero! I don’t want any little pointed seams here at all. I think I can handle this.

There are only four pattern pieces. Chloe at Style Arc drafts these patterns (and the fit is fantastic!) on large pieces of blueprint type paper. There’s no cut on fold stuff going on with these patterns. I already have 6 more in my shopping cart. I will weed them out and get the two or three I absolutely must have next time I have any appreciable cash.

The nasty sewing block from hell has been broken – photos as soon as I finish!


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Revamp of Vogue 1247 Complete

I loved the look of the top on the Vogue 1247 pattern by Rachel Comey. The shirt has such a casual yet stylish feel about it. The only difficulty is that the pattern only goes up to size 18. This is common in patterns from some designers. It’s very frustrating because there are those of us who can wear that style that are not small. I decided not to let the size bother me and bought it anyway – on sale, of course.

Here’s the technical drawing of the shirt and its components

V1247

If you look closely, you’ll see the bottom half of the front has four triangular pieces. The top portion has two pieces joined at center front. There are pleats from the shoulder and the line under the v-neck is really  two darts, one on each side.

Being somewhat mathematically challenged, I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what the garment would measure in a size 18 when finished. Unlike most normal patterns, Vogue did not put this table in this pattern. Instead they marked the width of the finished garment on the pattern piece. Which was way odd because they had one width on the back and one on the front and there’s no way you could add them together and get a top out of it – it would be around 100″ around. So I measured each piece.

I figured the shirt would end up being 52.5″ when complete in a size 18. This is okay in a knit, but this will be out of a woven and that’s way too small. It also allows for around 12″ of ease in the design. So I commenced to adding 12″ to the pattern for ease to fit me.

You’d think that I would know there are two pieces to the front. Duh. Well I didn’t pay attention and I added 12 inches to one side. The next morning it dawned on me that if I did add that much to each side, I would effectively add 24 inches to the shirt. No way I need the shirt to be 76″ around!

Back to the slicing board, I cut out two of the 4″ pieces I had added to my pattern material. I then left only one 4″ piece which will add 8″ to the finished garment, making it 60″ around and giving me 10″ of ease in the garment.

I then had to add to the other pieces the same amount so they would fit when sewed and also add to the back pattern piece. I will make a muslin of this and see if everything fits. For those of you who have read this far and don’t sew – a muslin is just a trial garment which you do to fit yourself. You don’t have to finish it once you get it to the point where you like how it will fit. For this, I highly recommend a dress form because taking it on and off gets boring and you still can’t really see it. You need to look at it as others will look at it and this is best done on a dress form.

I may have to add more to the back piece. I’m not sure yet and I don’t want the back to be super baggy but I want the pieces to fit together. Since I did the enlargement of the whole front of the pattern, I don’t need to do an FBAfull bust adjustment – on the pattern.

Yesterday my latest and last big fabric purchase arrived. I have been maniacally buying fabric. I am now not allowed to go to the fabric website where I always shop. I must contain myself as I have plans in the fall I want to keep and I will need all the money I can get.

I was knocked flat by the absolute perfection of my order. Some of the fabrics looked not at all like I expected. Particularly the french cotton dots which I purchased in red/white and black/white. These will be the shirt that I made in the dark teal gauze. The dots were much smaller than I thought and I love it all the more for that.

I had been hankering after this Burning Torch embroidered cotton for months. Knowing that it wouldn’t be there forever, I finally got it. It is not inexpensive and I needed at least 3 yards. Here’s the fabric – which is even better in real life.

embcotton_BUgolden

Also in the box were these two faux leather fabrics. These are so malleable and fine. The copper I had planned for a bag but I may make a vest instead or a jacket.

The white gold is destined to be a jacket.

I also received these fabrics

The navy print lacy fabric is fantastic with a tiny floral and a nice sheer but not too sheer look. I purchased 4 yards of this because of the width but also because I am unsure which shirt pattern I’m going to use with this.

After my fabric arrived yesterday I spent a great deal of time jumping up and down screaming whoopee! I love the fabric from Emma One Sock. I’ve never been disappointed in anything I’ve ordered. That I cannot say about every online purchase of fabric I’ve made. Although I am certainly not made of money, I do follow the concept that in fabric, you get what you pay for. There is nothing worse than doing an excellent job on a garment using cheap fabric. It will look cheap no matter how great you sew. If you like disposable clothes then it’s not an issue. I want stuff to last. I had my fill of disposable clothes buying RTW.

Today I will be back in the sewing room working on the muslin for the shirt. As fast as I can because I can’t wait to get to the main event!


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Wear What You Sew

tee

 

One rule I make for myself when I sew garments is that I must wear everything I sew. This does mean that, on occasion, I have projects I do not finish. I don’t have many. The last one was this dress made from a Marcy Tilton pattern

V8813

 

I like Marcy’s patterns. They are sometimes complex to put together. Like this one was, I found it easier to just put it together in my own order. The cut out was the hardest part as some pieces needed to be cut and flipped and others cocked oddly from usual pattern layouts.

I can’t find a picture of the dress I made. It must be on the other log-in I have. At any rate, let me describe this for you. I used a green/brown tie dye look jersey with a crepe feel to it. For the bottom and side panels I used one of those fabrics with ruffles stitched every inch or so over mesh. It was in a lovely brown/grey/blue and coordinated well with the main fabric. The only problem was the give in the fabrics.

I made this dress in the largest size and then found that the fabric stretched out so much my hands couldn’t reach the pockets. I worked and worked at this dress. While I was trimming the seams to finish them – the unthinkable happened. I cut a 3″ hole in the back of the dress. After all that work. I covered it with a 3″ piece of fabric sewn over the back at the top of the skirt. Okay, but not great.

Then I put the dress on. I could only think of a frump. She did advertise this as a French House Dress but it  just looked like a house dress on me. I put it away. I’m not sure if I trashed it yet or not because I love the ruffled fabric and can probably use that as a sleeve or trim for something. Probably I have enough for an overlay on a tee-shirt. At any rate, this was definitely a wadder.

Given the difficulty of the layout, the sewing instructions and the general appearance of the dress bagging, I don’t think I’ll ever do this again. If I do, it will be out of fabric with less stretch and more oomph. It can be done out of a woven, but I would need to do a FBA on this with using a woven. We’ll see. Right now I have many more choices so this will wait until I need another challenge.

Sewing beautiful clothing to me means simple clothing. Clothing with good lines that skim the body and don’t WEAR the body. I don’t want my clothes to be the first thing people see. Instead of “Look at that top” I want them to think “Wow she looks good.” I don’t want my clothes to announce my presence in the room.

Since I was 17 and blue jeans became the norm – yes blue jeans were not everyday wear until 1969 – I have been most comfortable in jeans. I do dress up occasionally if I need to for work or a special event. Then I will still wear pants, but usually black pants.  When I did antique and quilt shows I would dress artsy. I am a great fan of Flax clothing. These are remarkably simple pieces that coordinate beautifully and have that air of an artist at a gallery.

A simple jacket is absolutely a requirement in my closet. Actually more than one! This is my newest pattern just received from Style Arc in Australia

abby

 

This has very simple lines but will be flexible enough to wear with jeans or dress pants. I also purchased her Diana top

diana

 

to wear under the Abby cardigan. This top is simple. I do find keeping the V-neck in a shirt difficult when sewing, but a little interfacing at the V makes this a lot easier. Chloe also suggests using swimsuit elastic around the neckline to prevent stretching and this is a great idea. I have clear elastic I used in sleeves and on the shoulders to prevent those areas from “growing” so this will work well around the neckline.

Both of these patterns have infinite possibilities. They can be dressy, casual or really dressy. And Style Arc patterns are one piece – in Diana there is simply the front and the back in full size pieces. There’s no need to cut on a fold so you can place a print where you want it to be without difficulty. The instructions assume that you know how to sew. It is not that a beginner can’t do these patterns at all. These two in particular are great for beginners. It is just that you must be willing to look things up if you get lost or don’t understand a construction step. And Chloe is awesome about emailing you back if you need a bit of help. She also has sewing tutorials on the website.

Fashion week just happened in Paris. I do get quite a lot of inspiration from couture clothing. This year for me it is about color and texture. I am looking forward to incorporating some of these concepts into the patterns I make for myself. It’s scary but it’s fun. Now if I could just get the hang of the surface design thing. I’m thinking silkscreen would be best but I don’t want to use someone else’s designs. So I’m back to the drawing board! I love unique ……………..

 


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Sewing Blind ………

I am so amazed at pattern instructions that skip something! McCalls seems to be pretty good at skipping instructions or giving wrong information as in the Hoodie that called for a 24″ zipper and REALLY needed a 28″. Honestly – I had the DAMNED cutest houndstooth zipper in black and white I

Illustration: Magnus Överengen

Illustration: Magnus Överengen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

wanted to use …………. and instead I have to use black snap tape – anyway – on to another pattern whose instructions are loopy – another McCalls.

Here’s the pattern – you’ve all seen it –

Gorgeous Silk Blouse  McCall 6605 Version B

Gorgeous Silk Blouse
McCall 6605 Version B

This is cute. So far my replica in silk is working out just as cute – however there is a nasty instruction problemo. They have you put on the collar/tie before you have sewn the shoulders together – now isn’t that kinda hard? I mean how am I supposed to do that??????????? Luckily I am not a new sewer because if I were I would be pulling my hair out and cussing McCalls up one side and down another. But this is sloppy – first the wrong notions info on the pattern for the zipper for this hoodie

mccalls6614A

And then the poor instructions on the shirt. It has me wanting to apply for a job at McCalls. As an editor/proofreader/whatever. Really folks you CAN do better.

So my day in the sewing room ended up with me having to cut out a new collar/tie as the one in the pattern for some reason isn’t long enough – I stitched it onto the neck at the back and I’m going to hand sew it over the seam and then stitch down the tie part. Much simpler than what they say to do.

I am noshing at the reins on this silk shirt – I want to cut something out to serge but I know if I put this away it will be forever until I take it out again. I have the two side seams, buttonholes, buttons and the hem on the bottom and sleeves to do and it will be finished. Hopefully tomorrow and I can go on to something new – and exciting.

Speaking of exciting – I purchased this book

fashion illustration

and it’s 608 pages of fantastic tips and drawing exercises for fashion illustration for designers – hence the weird title – and I am sketching like mad while listening to DH snore. I am enjoying this!

I finally received my 20 yards of pattern material – which is sewable – so my new patterns from this book will be reality too

shapeshape

I think there’s something organic about the Japanese styles. They aren’t contrived or over the top like runway clothing. The outfits in the book are wearable. Between this and Drape Drape 3 and my fledgling designs on my own – I should be set for sewing patterns for quite a while. Now for more fabric …………….


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Project Runway – Yes, I Do Watch This

Heidi Klum

Heidi Klum (Photo credit: fervent-adepte-de-la-mode)

Given all the SH*T that’s happened over the last week here in America – the bombings in Boston, the explosion in West, TX and the manhunt, I thought I’d change the tone a bit. Write some FLUFF – give us a break from Sturm and Drang. Make us feel better, if we can. So let’s leave fear and loathing on the table and talk about Project Runway. Well we’ll leave fear anyway. Loathing I am not so sure. . . .

I was really looking forward to Thursday’s episode. I knew Michelle would create a fantabulous bunch of clothes. I thought Stanley would too and I was sort of surprised that the judges didn’t like them. Daniel was a shoo in I thought. I thought that FINALLY they would bounce Patricia. Oh woe is me – they did not.

I honestly DO NOT UNDERSTAND the fascination with Patricia. The Big Bird Blue Mop was disgusting. Who would wear that? The collection she showed does not coordinate. It does not look like it belongs together. I would not wear horse hair. I would not wear a ruffled shift with huge sequins that must weigh a ton.

Here we have Stanley hand beading his designs. We have Michelle creating a whole story out of the theme of being isolated – and then we have this stuff from Patricia. And they let Daniel go because all of his clothes were black? WHA? Are they nuts?

If Patricia wins this challenge, which I fear she might since she’s stayed on through bad design after bad design – I will never watch the show again. I will not buy L’Oreal products nor read Marie Claire. I will shun Heidi Klum at her next party and I will never Tweet Nina Garcia again. I will be pissed.

There should be an outcry of disgust that someone with so little fashion sense is on this program. How in God’s name did she ever get in? If I send a video of me making ugly pieces of fabric and then making potato sacks out of them – will I get in? What do you think?

I say probably not. I say something is fishy here. I haven’t even seen Patricia WEAR anything I would put on my body. I just don’t get it.

On the other hand – look at the simplicity and meticulous construction of Michelle and Stanley’s designs. They are interesting, wearable, classical and yet forward-looking. They have style. Daniel’s designs were well thought out and were beautiful. I agree that solid black in all of his three designs was a mistake – but not as bad a mistake as that blue mop thing. I am so sorry he’s out. He is such a wonderful designer and his ability to create wearable clothing is immense. This old-fashioned thing I don’t get – ah maybe because I am old. I don’t wear frumpy clothes – and I think Patricia’s things are either frumpy or weird. No cohesion – no sense of style. She took white leather and painted it to make it look like a gingham shirt? Who wears gingham shirts? Did you see the leather shorts? The crotch was bagging. The legs were smaller than the hips. They looked odd on a dress form. Can you imagine wearing leather bagging at your crotch and the legs on the shorts cutting into your legs? What are the judges thinking?

Sigh. I was glad to see Layana and the rest of the sewing helpers. I don’t think Layana can drag Patricia through Fashion Week. But I am afraid the FIX is in and she will win because the judges are so determined she shall win. And as I said – that will be it for Project Runway – do not give the win to someone who is not a fashion designer. Please.

Deutsch: Die Beetrose "Heidi-Klum-Rose&qu...

Deutsch: Die Beetrose “Heidi-Klum-Rose” (Tantau 2006) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)