Join me in my adventures as I write romance novels and sew vintage and contemporary fashion.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Simplicity 3717 - A Sudden Hankering for an Overskirt

What do you think of the dress with the overskirt?  

To be honest, there was a point in time when I would have laughed at the thought of donning such a garment. Now I’m trying to figure out a place where I can wear it. The options seem  limited, but I’m sure I can come up with something,  because I totally plan to make this dress. 

I’m thinking taffeta in a jewel tone. I have a decent amount of experience sewing taffeta, having made three Victorian dresses out of the stuff. I want the overskirt to poof and taffeta has great poofability.

Other fabric choices mentioned on the back of the pattern are cotton, linen, rayon, silks, satin, broadcloth.  I can see cotton for a day dress, especially if the overskirt is starched, but I wouldn’t wear this dress during the day—not when it cries out for taffeta, low lights, diamond earrings and the maitre d showing me and Don Draper to our table…

Okay, back to reality. No Don. No diamonds. But I like this dress, I will make this dress, and I will find—or manufacture—an occasion upon which to wear it. If nothing else, I’m going out to dinner with my husband. I wonder if I can get him into a dark suit with a skinny tie?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Attacking the Stash--Unfinished Object #2--Challis Dress

A couple of years ago I realized that I had no summer dresses and I like
summer dresses. As you can see from the background of my photos, I live really rural. Living really rural means that most of the time you can wear whatever you want and, unless the UPS man indulges in some stealthy driving, no one is the wiser. I finally decided that just because no one sees me, it doesn't mean I should live my life in my most disreputable clothing. And thus began the summer dress collection, which I wear instead of saving "for good".

This challis dress, made from Vogue 8727, was one of the first I planned to make, but for some reason, after I cut it out, I kept pushing it aside to make other dresses. I think it might have been because it's fully lined and that meant hemming two full circle skirts.

 I did eventually hem two full circle skirts. I did the outer skirt by hand and the lining by machine. The outer hem came out so much better, but it took an entire football game.
There's a lapped zipper in the back.

The front has a large curved waistband with a gathered upper bodice. (I'm sure there's a name for the large curved waistband, but I'm not familiar with it.)

The dress is super comfortable and I know I'm going to get a lot of wear out of it, both at home and on my travels.

There's a whole lotta skirt going on.

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Near Miss

So far I'm holding fast to my no buying fabric vow. It's been almost a week and payday has come and gone and no new fabric. I'm so proud. There was one close call, though.

While digging around in my stash, I came across a gorgeous blue linen I bought last spring to make a anorak style jacket. (On a side note, the first thing I did after purchasing the linen was to throw it in the washer, give it a good soaking in warm water, then toss it in the dryer. The second thing I did was read the care label. Dry Clean Only. It came out of the dryer practically the same as when it went in. It was soft to begin with, so nothing lost there and now I know I can accidentally wash this fabric.)

I wanted to line the jacket in white and green stripes, which I thought would look very sporty. I found exactly what I wanted online and figured that lining was a legal purchase, since I already owned the main fabric. However...I hate paying shipping, which I would have to do if I didn't purchase a certain dollar amount on this site. Therefore, it only made sense to buy more fabric in order to save money...the exact thinking that makes the stash grow.

I'm not certain what exactly brought me to my senses, other than the knowledge that I was blatantly breaking the vow I'd made to myself less than a week ago and justifying it by refusing to pay $8 shipping. I steeled myself and slowly backed away from the lining fabric. There will be other perfect linings...and besides that, this jacket pattern doesn't have a lining. In the long run I'm probably saving myself some heartache by not lining it.

But green and white stripes would be so cool.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Attacking the Stash--Unfinished Object #1--Wool Jacket

Last winter I bought some blue tweed(ish) wool melton to make a man's vest and when
it arrived I realized that no man needed a vest made of fabric that was so clearly meant for me.

I used McCall's 6441, a Palmer and Pletsch pattern because (a) I loved the lines and (b) I could squeeze the jacket out of it. Fortunately I'd bought extra "vest" fabric.

I didn't do anything fancy, except to put in a back stay made of cotton batiste, since wool tends to give.

I used hair canvas interfacing, which gave the front nice body.

Someone tried to add a little extra hair when I wasn't looking.

I'm always concerned about zipper installation--perhaps because of my early sewing days when zippers went in and came out at least once before they stayed in the garment. This time I saved myself some heartache and actually basted the zipper in by hand before doing anything else.

The zipper tape is then turned to the inside sandwiched between the jacket front and the facing and stitched with a zipper foot. It worked beautifully.

Here you can see a glimpse of the charmeuse lining--a remnant from my son's Dicken's frock coat lining.

I put in 1/2 inch shoulder pads and finished the jacket in all of a day and a half. It kind of makes me wonder why I didn't just muscle through a year ago when I first cut it out, but upon reflection, it might have been the 80 degree days.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Little Unfinished Business

I am determined to make a dent in my pattern and fabric stashes this year. When I moved to my "new" house a few decades ago, I brought with me seventeen boxes of fabric. (You don't want to know how many patterns I have. Truly.) It's very hard to stash that much fabric in a small house, so I loved having more room for it. However....I didn't do a lot with the fabric in those seventeen boxes. I bought new fabric for new patterns.

Finally a few years ago, I donated all of the quilting fabric to charity. I don't quilt, but quilting fabric made cute kids clothes and when I found the stuff on sale, I stocked up. My kids were in high school when I finally donated, and no longer fancied clothing sporting cowboys and hearts and the like. That left me with three boxes of usable apparel fabric and one box of scraps from clothing I'd made for the kids, just in case one of them took up quilting in the future.

Now my stash is under control, right? Nope. The stash is once again growing,. And growing. I've cut back on pattern and fabric purchases, but I'm still losing ground, so in the name of reducing stash stress, which in turn will allow me to indulge in more patterns and fabric without guilt, I'm making an effort to sew what I have first. And I have a lot.

My first projects were two UFOs (unfinished objects)--a melton wool jacket and a challis summer
dress. I cut the jacket out last winter, then spring sprung and I lost interest. I cut the dress out two years ago, but kept pushing it back to the end of the production line. Both are now completed (hurrah!). I'll post a few details in a day or two, but right now I have a novella calling to me, and since writing is helping to pay for my fabric habit, I'd best get to it.