oh yes, I am still chugging along with the summer sewing project (to sew my summer wardrobe). I have actually cheated a little bit but more on that in a future post.
for now, I’m proud to present *the linen bib shirt*. I drafted the pattern for this top myself…based mostly off an existing top in my closet. I’d love to say that was a seamless process but it wasn’t. there may have been even a small amount of swearing when my first pattern draft needed a good deal of tweaking. such is as it is. but, overall I am pleased with how the top turned out. I’m especially fond of how the linen fabric accentuates the gathering in the front.
it is made from a lovely charcoal linen I got at (gasp) Joann. I was surprised to find such a nice linen there but I guess that is a good reminder to stay open to surprises. the arm straps are thin double fold bias tape. I made the side seams french seams to both enclose the seams as well as use the side seams to give the stop a bit of weight and definition.
here is the back of the shirt, it has a bit of ‘bib’ as well. (sigh. nothing screams ‘get on top of that arm workout’ more than this shot. ugh.)
also, this top is going to join in the fun happening over at made by rae for her spring top sewalong. it’s an inspiring group of sewists making some amazing tops…definitely worth checking out. heck, there is even one more week left…enter something!
there has been some making and there has been some smocking. this first dress is made with the shards fabric from Cloud 9 fabrics…it’s a part of their affordable organic line. I have been so impressed with the beautiful fabric coming out of this small fabric company and all of it is organic.
the pattern for this dress is my own using an adaptation of the dress pattern in the Cal Patch book “Design Your Own Clothes”. I started with a muslin following her instructions. she uses a side zipper and my muslin came out too loose and maternity-looking. so, when I made the ‘real’ dress I adapted the back of the dress by using elastic thread to add smocking. it actually made construction easier and the fit better. yay!!
this is a close up of the smocked section. the elastic thread (in the bobbin only) makes smocking so easy and it looks so good and professional. as excited as I am about the smocking and my clever adaptations, I’ll admit I’m not wild about this dress. it just isn’t very exciting and the neckline came out a bit conservative.
so I moved onto a the next one! this dress is so simple to construct! to make the pattern I mixed things I learned from Cal Patch and a pattern in the Heather Ross book Weekend Sewing. the back and front pieces are the same pattern and then it’s just straps…that is it for cutting. the top of the dress is smocked, again with elastic thread in the bobbin. then topstitch the top, adding in the straps and then just hem! and done!
here is a close up of the smocking. yes, I voluntarily took a close up photo of my chest. the sewing has obviously gone to my head.
want to know one of the best things about this dress? the fabric is vintage and was in the collection I got from my grandma! isn’t that awesome! it’s got these fantastic peacocks dancing all over it. I can’t wait to wear it this summer and give it new life.
a while back Steffani Lincecum sent me her book “Patternmaking for a Perfect Fit: Using the Rub-Off Technique to Re-Create and Redesign your Favorite Fashions”. Steffani is a sewing instructor who has taught costume construction at the University of Wisconsin and has worked on shows like Will & Grace and 3rd Rock from the Sun in addition to crazy things like sewing wings for a trapeze artist in a Tom Petty video. she is the real deal. I was more than a little thrilled when she asked me to discuss her book on the blog.
the book covers two different methods for making patterns with the emphasis being on re-creating existing items. both methods are what is called ‘rub-off’ methods…one with paper and the other using fabric. the book takes you through both techniques and show you how to create patterns for skirts, dresses, blouses and handbags. every chapter relies on a ‘source garment’ meaning a single garment used to make an original pattern. it then outlines the best method to use; walks you through sewing the simple design and then provides more advanced options. for example, her skirt chapter starts with a basic pencil skirt then provides the information necessary to alter the pattern to a casual denim skirt; a wool tweed pencil skirt; a striped a-line skirt; a wrap skirt; a bias-cut cotton skirt; and even adding in pockets. so…essentially working from one simple skirt to any kind of skirt you could imagine.
she does the same thing for the chapters on dresses, blouses and handbags…it moves from basic to advanced. if there is one word for this book it is THOROUGH and I mean that in a good way. some patternmaking books skip over how to sew it all together once you have created a pattern and others don’t really provide what you need to make your own patterns. this book is doing everything from ‘cradle to grave’ as the expression goes. by that I mean it includes 1) a discussion on the basics of fabric construction and tips on tidy sewing (anyone who has suffered through my beginner sewing class knows how near and dear to my heart both of these things are!) 2) how to measure yourself properly and how to estimate the amount of fabric you will need 3) making a pattern and then altering the pattern and 4) sewing it all together for each and every alteration as well as the basic pattern. it takes you from from beginning to end. in all, I’m very excited about this book. I’m proud I own it and I’m excited to dive into it…probably in the new year.
it is a ‘diving in’ kind of book. when I open up this book I get the sense that I have to COMMIT to this book if I’m going to get anything out of it. I think there are a lot of books out there right now that are ‘project-based’. you can pick up those book and browse through them…get inspired and bang something out. they are fun and inspiring. if those books are twilight this book is anna karenina…and not because it’s stodgy or hard to read, it’s an easy read, Steffani has a very friendly and real voice…but it’s because it for real. for real, for real. it’s a college education in paperback form. there is a lot in this book and a lot to be gained from having the discipline to really work from this book. I’m genuinely hoping that I can set aside time in 2012 to work my way through this book and pick up every gem of wisdom that Steffani lays down. maybe I’ve been eating candy and it’s time for some broccoli?!