Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bombshell, part II

The bombshell has been one of the most unexpected and pleasing successes of my sewing career. I used all of Gertie's Sew Retro Bombshell tricks for the bodice, and they really, really worked.

The bodice has amazing structure and stability, it looks like a million bucks, and hopefully will wow the crowds in Las Vegas tonight. Alas you will have to take my word for it, unless I can figure how to email pictures to blogger I won't be able to upload off of my iPad till next week. Stay tuned, but if you were on the fence about buying Gertie's course I say buy buy buy. Even if you don't particularly like the style of the dress you'll love her techniques.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bombshell Dress

I don't know what to do about the coat for now - raglan sleeves are a "no."  So instead I am proceeding with a very useful garment for a WY winter; a strapless bombshell cocktail dress.  The pattern is from Burda WOF from March of 2010.  Interesting fact:  I originally traced this pattern to sew up for my rehearsal dinner.  Those of you who know me know how that one turned out!

 The front of the muslin looks good I think!  Interesting Fact #2; at least two people have said they love this dress sewn up in this fabric, which was a thrift store find / gift from a very dear friend.  What do you think?
 The back is the usual hot mess.  I've taken a wedge out of the skirt center back and bodice center back waist seam.  I've also lengthened the darts, which seems to help with my figure.  We'll see if that worked as an improvement.
 I'm using Gertie's Bombshell Techniques.  Here's the muslin interlining threadtraced to the bodice.
 And the Bodice!  Interesting fact #3: this fabric was purchased by the afore-mentioned ex-fiancee.  What do you think?  Crazy busy, or 'got some potential?'
Stay Tuned.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Simplicity 2508 Muslin

 I cut out and sewed a muslin for my supposedly Mod Coat, but I am a tad underwhelmed.  The best view seems to be the back view, so I shall open with that.  Pluses:  I like the tab (half-belt) placement, though high, it feels authentic to the style.  The overall size and fit feels OK, though not perfect.  what is that wrinkle on the right hand sleeve, near the armpit?  How would I fix it?  I like the stand-up collar (which I starched to give the muslin the same effect as several layers of heavy wool and interfacing).

On the Meh; do raglan shoulders even suit me at all?  After I finished cutting and sewing the coat I realized I had essentially replicated my United Airlines coat, which had monster raglan sleeves.  Despite being horribly ugly, it was incredibly warm.  If I was less vain I'd still be wearing it now.
 Side View is OK, I would prefer the coat to follow my sway back a little more closely though.  The front is the proverbial Hot Mess.  The strange wrinkles on the side front / front seam are due to the ease being incorrectly marked on the pattern.  Instead of having you ease over the bust, they have you ease over the waist, which makes no sense at all.  If I sew this I'll follow common sense and shimmy the ease to a more appropriate area.  The odd hem is (I think) due to the muslin.  I originally made curtains out of this muslin, and it was either horribly off-grain, or cursed, because despite careful measurement no two curtains came out the same length.
 Back close-up.  honestly, I'm on the fence.  Is this worth spending a huge amount of time and expensive materials on, or should I look for a second choice in patterns - perhaps one with a set-in sleeve?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Winter Coat; Day One

The top two pictures are view from the Jackson Lake Lodge.  The Lodge is a classic old American Touring Hotel, and straddles the line between The Shining chic, and badly-dressed-retirees depressing.  I kind of love it, though I wish the guests would refrain from putting there flip-flopped feet up on the coffee tables and picking their toes.

The colors are sublime, more so than from any other location in the Grand Tetons, slightly muted and gentler, I'm not sure why, but perhaps it has something to do with the mist coming off of the lake.  The day I was there, the Lodge was hosting a huge astronomy convention, and the place was teeming with high-brain-wattage folks from around the world.  I am utterly deeply jealous of people with that level of brainpower.  It seems like the kind of club I'd like to join.  But I'm pretty sure they wouldn't take me...

After I was finished ogling the mountains, headed back to Jackson's trusty Stitch 'n' Time and found that they stock hair canvas... and some great sew in interfacing for my coat... no lambswool interlining, but I would have been stunned if they had that.  I bought some cotton flannel instead, in colors that mimic the Teton view, and decided to go with that.

Let the coat begin!

And the actual coating fabric, from Mood LA...

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Consumerism in Crafting...?

The arrival of the big 4 is one of my favorite times of year.  By big 4 I mean the September Fashion Mags; Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Elle and (if I'm lucky) UK Vogue too.  

My strategy is to sit down with them one at a time, and methodically leaf through every page from front to back.  I make notes of the articles worth reading and (now that I've outgrown the magazine hoarding tendencies of my youth) the inspiration images that will get torn out and referenced over the coming Fall / Winter Sewing Season.  

One thing I've noticed is how these mags now feel like a study in contrasts to me.  While the fashion pages inspire me to think of what, and how, I want to sew; the front-end, which the luxury accessory ads, feels vaguely stomach-turning.  

I don't know who these ads, with there $X,000.00 purses are aimed at.  Not anyone I know for sure.  At one point in my life I did day-dream about Prada handbags and Marc Jacobs shoes.  Now they seem to broadcast something vaguely unpleasant, perhaps, "I have a taste for the obvious," or, "I have no core sense of myself beyond the 'me' that other people see."

My question is, does sewing your own clothes absolve you from having to consider yourself a "consumerist?"  I certainly consume as I sew.  I have stacks of fabric, some quite high-end and "luxe." Hundreds of patterns too. I absolutely have more clothes than I could ever need, and certainly more than 90% of the world's population could even hope to own.  I don't really "need" the things I make, and the manufacturing of fabric I sew them from is hugely damaging to the environment.

Is my seemingly innocent hobby as much of character flaw and a distraction from the important things in life as obsessing over handbags

Anyway... I'm sure I'll keep sewing...

This is the dress shape I'm fixated on for fall, a boatneck, 3/4 length sleeve, either slightly A-line mini or hitting above the knee:
And a lighter weight coat from BWOF 2/05 that would be fantastic for "Winter" in LA, a city I shall no doubt be visiting on a regular basis for the foreseeable future: