Thursday, July 26, 2007

Nevermind the maneuvers, just go straight at them - Lord Nelson

I decided to move forward with the Simplicity 3775 using the Japonesque fabric. I think it will look very nice.

Thank you Geek, Adrienne, and Ann for your encouraging words. They were much appreciated.

I'm in the process of measuring and tracing the pattern, but it's going to take some time. We are rolling out a new system at work at the end of August, and I'm in the middle of developing training materials and helping out with training classes. I've only had to work a few extra hours, but the work is exhausting and there hasn't been much energy leftover by the time I get home. Just enough to eat a little something and lift a glass of wine ;)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Awww man!! That's my dress...

I'm feeling a little like the gal who's gone to a fancy party only to find that my "one of a kind" isn't.

I've been letting the idea of using Simplicity 3775 with my Japonesque fabric stew around for a while. In particular, View B with View C sleeves. I even worked up a picture of it like I did yesterday for Simplicity 6429.

Then I poked around on Pattern Review to see what kind of work has been done with that pattern and what do I find? Take a look at a review of Simplicity 3775 by mahalosu.

Not quite the same view - but the same pattern and same fabric. Heavy, heavy sigh.

(mahalosu's version looks great btw)

So what do I do now?

I'm thinking I'm going to make mine as planned and just not review it on PR. Of course, I'll put notes in about it here. Yeah, there's going to be a certain amount of "that's been done", but I don't think I'll actually be running into mahalosu in person any time soon :)

I've put a lot of thought already into my two planned dresses. I've stared for hours and hours at different patterns and both me and my fabric are growing happier and happier with the choices we've made. I really don't want to have to start looking again.

Did I mention I don't actually wear dresses very often? At least not anymore. Used to a lot more when I was younger. The last time I wore a dress (it was actually a dress suit) was to interview for the job I have now. That was in April of 2005. Since then? Nada.

So how crazy is all this anyway?!! Well, seems like everyone is making them and they're so darned cute!!! They kept calling and calling to me. So I figured it was time I give them a try again.

Any thoughts?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Proof of Concept

I've been trying to convince my new fabric that the dress patterns I have already really will work. They've had a hard time believing me though, so I thought I'd try out a proof of concept.

This is Simplicity 6429 done up in the purple paisley from Gorgeous Fabrics. I think I like how it looks.

In case your wondering, I used Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo XI to generate the picture. Here's how:
1. Took the line drawing from the Simplicity site and saved it locally.
2. Cut view C from the drawing and saved it as a separate image.
3. Cut view E from the drawing the layer it on top of View C.
4. Cleaned up the overlap lines a little.
5. Enlarged the combined drawing.
6. Saved a picture of the paisley fabric as a pattern (PSP has a patterns folder just for this).
7. Filled the dress with the paisley pattern. (You may have to enlarge the drawing or reduce the pattern image in order to get the pattern to scale.)
8. Filled in the solid portions with the fill tool. PSP has a nice feature that lets you pick a color from the image you are working on. So I tried a few different colors.

Seems like a lot of work. And I guess it is. But still less work than doing the whole thing up. Now if I can only get it to stretch and bulge in the same places I do!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter and Analysis Paralysis

There's not been much actual sewing going on this week. And there's not likely to be much this weekend either.

Harry Potter B7 is due to arrive any minute, and once that's here all else will be set aside until we know how it all turns out.

On the sewing front, I'm rather stuck in analysis paralysis at the moment.

My family camping/hiking shirt project is on a slow simmer. Only DH's pattern needs to be finished up. The rest are waiting for the PowerDry. For DH's, I just need to work up a muslin to be sure the pattern will work without any more changes. And I'm going to have some time to get that done. Ressy over at Fabrics and Notions let us know that the PowerDry is scheduled to be done at the mill by 9/14. But then it still has to be shipped to Ressy, cut, and shipped out to the coop members. So I'm thinking it will be sometime in October before I can finish out that project. Patience grasshopper.

Now I'm not one to normally have more than one project going at a time, but with that kind of time gap, I'm going to have to make a big exception.

Here's where the AP comes in. To fill the gap, I've been staring hard at two fabrics I got from Gorgeous Fabrics.

I don't keep a large stash, so these two have been berating me thoroughly for not having a firm plan in mind for them. I did have a plan when I ordered them, but once I had them in hand, they said they didn't really care for my plans and that I needed to make new ones.

Whatever I do, they will be completely put out with me if I put them on the shelf and leave them there. They are begging me to turn them into something wearable.

So I'm going to be spending some time trying to hear what these two are saying to me, and trolling through many, many patterns trying to make them happy.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Kwik Sew 3043 - View C

This weekend I finished up the "muslin" of a T-shirt pattern that I'm working up for DD and DS using Kwik Sew 3043. I finished DS's first (last weekend, actually). Not much to talk about there. I made a size small for him from some waddable white rib knit.

DD's came out quite nicely though, so I turned hers into a keeper. I experimented a bit with finishing the hems differently, and embellished the sleeve edges and neckband with some beads. The beads seem to have dressed a plain T up quite nicely. The "drag lines" in the front are there because she wouldn't stand up straight for the picture. Otherwise, it seems to fit well.

This was my first Kwik Sew pattern. It was a small surprise to pull thick paper out of the envelope instead of tissue! I liked the solidness of it though, and the color coordinated lines (I could see that causing a problem for some people though).

While the instructions were simple and straighforward, they did seem to take more sewing knowledge for granted than some of the other patterns I've used. On this particular pattern, markings were almost non-existent, although every edge was labeled.

This was also my first pattern working with a 1/4" seam allowance instead of a 5/8" or 3/8" SA. That was a little different. I'm not sure I like the lack of wiggle room. If this had been for anything but a simple garment, I would had to have added more SA for my own peace of mind.

All in all, this is a nice pattern. I'm planning on using again many times; primarily for camping and hiking shirts. I'm waiting on some PowerDry I ordered so I can get those going.

In the meantime, I've started on DH's T-shirt version. I'm using Kwick Sew 3299 for that.

PS I got a little more help from DD with her T. I cut the traced pattern and fabric out. She helped with the sewing for just a little bit, then got tired and went on to other things. I'm content with that. I figure if I expose them just a little at a time to sewing, eventually they will pick quite a lot up.

Monday, July 09, 2007

This and That...

First, a few thank you's...

Thanks everyone for your kind remarks on my 1st (sewing) anniversary. I'm looking forward to many more years of sewing fun.

Geek, thanks for your comment on my wrap top. Maybe it will grow on me. I wasn't very pleased with my paisley top when I first finished it, and it's now one of my favorite tops to wear.

But for now, on to other things. I've moved on to the next big thing, which is working up patterns to use for family hiking and camping T-shirts. I'm going to use McCall's 4872, which I made back in April, for myself. I'll use Kwik Sew 3043 for the kids and Kwik Sew 3299 for DH.

I finished a muslin of KS 3043 for DS this past weekend. It went really quickly. I had him help too. He helped me iron the pattern out, tape the pattern and tracing fabric to the table, trace some of the pattern, and cut some of the traced pattern out. Then he ran off and played. He did pretty well considering the normal attention span of your average six year old.

Then I got started on a larger version for 11 year-old DD. I had her do more of the work - she's traced all the pattern lines for her size. I'll go back now and make sure all the marks and lettering are there. Then I'll help her cut it out.

The tricky part will be to see if I can get DH to chip in and help out on his shirt :-O

And why not? He makes me help pack and setup tents and whatnot when we go camping! ;)

I'm hoping to get some nice TNT's out of these patterns. I can see me churning out T's left, right, and center! I'm getting the patterns ready now because I've got some PowerDry on request over at the FabricsAndNotions fabric co-op. I'm crossing my fingers that the fabric arrives in time for me to whip out the T's for the beginning of the hiking season (which in FL starts back up in September or October).

If there's any lag time between getting the patterns ready and getting the fabric, I want to work on another knit pattern. I'm completely loving knits!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Simplicity 4076 - View A

Well, Simplicity 4076 - View A is as done as it's going to get for now.

The 4th muslin was not really a charm. Technically it's wearable. And even though it's still incrementally better than the previous 3 tries, I'm still not happy with it.

I'm not sure whether my problems stem from lack of knowledge, or whether this particular pattern just does not suit my body type. Whatever the case may be, I wore the finished product to a family get together on the 4th and I had to fiddle with the darned thing way too much. I may wear it every now and again to see if it grows on me.

Bottom line: I've been working on this pattern for quite some time now and as there are other things I want to try out. So while I really like how this has turned out for other folks, I think I'm calling this one done. Maybe I'll come back to it after some time has passed.

Here's what got modified for the last muslin:

- Started with a size 16

- For the back (on each side)

- Added 1/4" to the shoulder for broad shoulders

- Added 1/2" to the upper back for a wide back

- Added 3/8" to the waist

- Added 5/8" to the hem

- For the front (again on each side)

- Removed 7/8" from the bust

- Added 3/8" to the waist

- Added 5/8" to the hem

Note that I used the pivot and slide method for all alterations.

I sewed all hems with a decorative stitch (#21 on Brother CS6000i). The seams were all sewn with my serger. Oh, and I added a snap to the front to help keep it a little more under control.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

1st Year Retrospective

Now that a year of sewing has passed, a short retrospective seems in order.

The following are the sewing projects I completed (or dumped) in the previous year. One note about my sewing habits. I always make a muslin. That is, I always do a "practice" run of a new pattern with fabric that I like enough to wear, but is not expensive enough that I can't afford to wad it. Sometimes, I end up with a garment that I like the first time through and leave it at that.

And with that, here's the list:

Simplicity 8523 (View A) - Finished full muslin only. Didn't like it.
Simplicity 5562 (View C) - Made 3 while playing with alterations. Really like this pattern and still wear all 3.
Simplicity 7086 (View B) - Made 1 muslin. Like it and still wear it.
McCalls M5107 (View A) - Finished full muslin only. Didn't like it.
Simplicity 6519 (View A) - Finished full muslin. Like the pattern, but not skilled enough yet for this one.
Simplicity 6952 (View C) - Made 1 muslin. Like it and still wear it.
Snuglets - Made 8 of these altogether. Mostly for Christmas presents
Sleeping bag liners - No pattern used for these. Made one for each of our sleeping bags
McCall's M4234 (Pants View D and hat) - Made pants for DD and DS and hat for DS.
Vogue 8332 - Finished full muslin only - completely unwearable. This one whooped my hinny. I may try it again someday. But not before a LOT more practicing and learning.
McCall's M4872 (View B) - Made 1 muslin. Like it and still wear it.
Simplicity 4076 (View D) - Made 1 muslin and 1 "for real". Wear them both regularly.
Simplicity 4076 (View A) - Made 4 muslins. The last one might be wearable. The jury is still out.
Simplicity 3743 (View C) - Made 3 for DD. She likes them and is wearing them.

Not too shabby for my first year!

Friday, July 06, 2007

One Year???? NO WAY!!!!

It just occured to me that I missed my 1st year sewing anniversary.

Has is REALLY been a whole year already??? Sure enough, I bought my little Brother C6000i, my first few patterns, and an armful of fabric from WalMart on July 4th of last year.



How did the 4th get by me without me thinking about it?

It's been a really, really fun and interesting year. Here's to many many more.