Wednesday, September 26, 2012

...and the God(desses) said, "let there be Color!"

I've been getting a bit too gray.  With the encouragement of certain internet goddesses I finally finished the one little splurge (hate that word, but it works here) of color in my sewing wardrobe:

This is the sheath dress from 6/12 Burda style:

The pattern specifies stretch, so I went up a size when I decided to sew a cotton lace.  Rookie move. (what are you supposed to do... am I doing the maths wrong.  Surely if you are sewing a solid woven instead of a stretchy knit going up a size makes sense?) The bodice is way too big.  Slip sliding away...awawwyyy... I love this dress... the coral lace with the carefully considered lilac lining (matchy matchy made it look dated in a baaaaad way).  But the truth is I would have to nail the bodice straps to my shoulders to make it work. If I'm sitting down the bodice is basically half-way down my torso.  Not a great look.

I should have ignored Burda, and sewn my usual 38, and not worried about the stretch vs. non-stretch issue.

Ah well...

I sense a coral skirt in my future!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cutout Cutie

Have you been following the various Fashion Weeks?  Better bloggers than I have no doubt written full accounts from a sewists perspective, but this is one dress that really stood out to me:

Erdem, spring / summer 2013
I love the little bodice cut-out detail.  I think that this would actually look age-appropriate for my hurtling-towards-middle-age self, IF the cut-out was a smidge smaller. And love, love, love the colors, which were apparently inspired by a desire to appear "alien in your own world," which is an interesting concept to begin with.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Difference between Men and Women, part 1.

Los Angeles has been broiling hot; even though we are lucky to have an airy house on a hill it's still been stifling.

Last night I woke up at 2am, convinced that burglers were going to slip through our open garden doors and murder us in our beds.  I got up and slept fitfully on the couch for the rest of the night, calculating that this way I would hear them approaching and - oh - shout at them or something.

At 3am my boyfriend woke up convinced that burglers were going to slip through our open garden doors and murder us in our beds.  He got up, went to his gun safe, got out a massive Luger pistol, put it on his nightstand and fell happily back asleep.

And no, I didn't sign off on this action.  I'm pretty sure the only person who be injured in such a scenario is one of us.

But at least we all finally got some rest.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sewing Report Card, Burda round two.

My school report card always said the same thing, '....Tigerlounge has so much potential, if she would only concentrate and try harder."  I'm sure my sewing report card would say the same thing.

If only I'd concentrate and try harder, just think what I could do!

So,  taking the report card metaphor a little further I'm going to focus on:
a) taking the time to do a thorough job of tracing around my pattern pieces and making sure all the details are clearly and accurately marked.
b) taking the time to cut a uniform seam allowance, and not fudging, eye-balling or "oh whatever"ing the process.
Nearly all my sewing dissatisfaction stems from poor pattern marking that is worsened by having uneven random seam allowances.  So, let's see if I can get a better grade next semester!

I'm ploughing on with my wearable wardrobe.  I need knits, lots of lovely knits.
Here's the top version of the Burda dress:

As you can see  there are some issues with the sleeve dart.  I think the problem here is I had hardly any fabric left and the sleeves are probably somewhat off grain. When you flip the sleeve inside out there are no obvious bumps.  Still, I love the chic sweatshirt style of this top.  I'm going to get enough heathered grey to make a few more variations of this style.

Can you see the fantastic French dart detail?  It gives the top such a great shape, both fitted but not tight in any way.  I love it!

And the shoulder tab shirt from the same issue of BS (ha.  BS!). Again, a great and well draughted and well thought out pattern, slightly botched by "Oh Whateverniss."  Those of you sewing ladies will notice I did an absolute dog's dinner setting in the sleeves.  Luckily I'm probably not running into any of you tonight and my "civilian" friends won't notice or care.

Neither of these tops are going to set the world on fire, but I like em, and unlike the show-stopper cocktail dresses cluttering up my wardrobe I will probably wear these!

I'll be making more versions of this, and being more careful with the sewing.

Next up:  Gertie patterns!  I traced a whole bunch from the book, include the divine Wiggle Dress, and will be running them through the machine this weekend.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

A Tale of Two Realities

Reality one:  The body I had five years ago.  Somehow both curvy and skinny, nice round bits, no extra stomach.
Reality two: The body I have today.  Same body as five years ago, except it feels like someone - rather unkindly - wrapped everything between my chin and my knees in a layer of bubble wrap when I wasn't looking.

I'm not complaining (really).  The slow, incremental slide away from my more youthful form is simply a little depressing. I  hate how that bubble wrap has shifted things around.  Clothes don't fit the way they used to.  My stomach seems to lead the way. My elbows no longer fit neatly into the curve of my waist.  Bah!  Whatever.

I work from home, and I never feel good about how I look.  I generally wear jeans and a crappy tee, or else gym clothes.  Or on really bad days, my bathrobe.  My goal was a "sweatshirt" style dress that referenced a little bit of Alexander Wang sportswear chic, and was super comfortable for sitting and typing, but also doesn't make me feel ashamed of myself when I schlep off to Trader Joes or another mid-day errand.

The carefully sewn wardrobe of cocktail couture and highly-structured pieces in my closet is too constricting, and actually makes me look older (I have a theory; the older you get, the younger your clothes have to be.  I loved old-lady-chic when I was young and gamine.  Now it just makes me look old-lady.  Skirts need to be shorter, materials more modern).

So, following Sunni's lead I'm dedicating September to sewing comfortable, stylish clothes I'll actually wear on a regular basis.

First up:  Easy to wear dresses.

I can't even tell you how much I love this dress from September Burda.  Like Amanda I found that it is sized too generously.  The black version is a 38, which needed much taking in and tweaking to work, and the grey version is a 36, which worked almost off of the bat. (I am a Burda 38). So try sizing down.  The zipper is not needed for a jersey version, but if you make it in the suggested woven fabrics you will want one.

It has some great dart details - a nice curved French dart, and a really elegant one the shoulder. Should have gone in for some detail pics.

Finally; having a boyfriend who spent years in the rag trade is incredibly helpful.  Not only is he willing to sit on the floor with pins in his mouth adjusting hems, but he can identify a wonky dart and funny grain line too. Priceless!