Thursday, December 23, 2010

According to Karl Largerfeld (as quoted in October BurdaStyle which has ONLY JUST arrived here), you are either born with style or you are not. I can almost imagine him sighing whistfully as he added, "it's unfair."

I think style is on a cline. Some people have oodles of it and are way down one end, some have next to none and are down the other. All the rest (of which I include myself) are somewhere in the middle - good days, bad days, successes and failures some great looks, some not so great.

Although I admire stylish people tremendously I do not feel great envy that I am not in their camp. I am much more interested in following ideas though, and as I have said before, I have a soft spot for ugliness and frumpiness that will never see me looking sharp and chic. That's the way I like it. I would never in a million years pay a consultant to tell me how to dress.

All of this is a long winded way of saying that I was drawn to this fabric, a silk crepe, because of its ugliness. The colours I knew would suit me, but this fabric had an unpleasant nannerish quality that repelled a lot of people (hence on the sale rack) but suckered me in.

While I was flicking through some summer back issues of Burda I kept coming back to this dress, although I had a lot of doubts about the pattern, my instinct was to give it a shot.

Burda 06-2010-106

Because silk crepe is very slippery I had to take a lot of care on what would otherwise be a very straightforward pattern. I stabilised the neckline with bias strips of interfacing cut from the pattern measurements to hold the neckline and stop any gaping, and I interfaced where the zipper was going in to firm it up. I also did some hand basting, which is the most effective way I know to tame slithery fabric. I didn't even toy with the idea of french seams, because I didn't make a muslin and so wanted to be able to alter the seams quickly and easily.....there, I've relieved you of the torture of impeccable finish but an overlocker (serger) is plenty good enough for me.

Front view

Back view

The one regret I have is that I didn't hand baste the sleeves. Because they were set in the round I was lulled into a false sense of security that there was not too much easing required but they are not sitting flat which means there was far more curve in them than I thought. Never mind - who's looking at my shoulders with a neckline that low?

This pattern was designed to be an apres beach cover up and its relaxed style meant I felt no guilt at all at using a rolled hem finish on the sleeves and hem. (rolled hem: right needle 4, top looper 4, bottom looper 6.75, width medium, rolled hem setting length 1.25) Yes very low end ready to wear but once I'd decided to neaten the edges on the overlocker I was well on the way of that slippery slope called nice'n'easy construction.

So that's my very last sewing achievement for this year. I am off to Nelson for Christmas to bully my sister into letting me help her sew a dress. She wants to sew it herself blog friends, and she doesn't want to do a FBA but insists on making everything 2 sizes too big instead. I cannot allow that to happen, especially if beautiful fabric is going to be harmed in its making.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The "shapris" pant

Capris can be modern and sharp or they can be terribly aging. I saw a young girl in a beige pair yesterday that would be too old for an 80 year old.

In the shops here I saw a really nice pair of light denim capris that the stylist had rolled up to the knee. I thought that was a fresh way to wear them, 17 or 70 and have knicknamed them the "shapris" - the short capris.

I used Ottobre magazine, 02-2007-14 , but hemmed them without adding the cuff so I could roll them up. I also used the pattern for the bird styling, but because it is only for one pocket I decided to make a little story and add something else to the other pocket.

I followed their instructions and traced the pattern onto soluable stabiler which I pinned to the fabric and top stitched over. This is what it looked like before I ran it under the tap. That stuff is amazing - with a bit of water it breaks down and washes away.

I showed them to my husband and said, "can you make a story out of these 2 pictures?"

"hmm, is it a ball and a bird - a Christmas direction?"
can you give me hint?"
"let me spell it out to you - c - a -g -e + c - a - n- a- r- y"
"Oh I see now."

I'm not sure he did. Doesn't matter. I'm pretty sure the pockets will be mostly covered by light tunic tops anyway.

I wasn't able to get the back crotch right - the length is good, but there's both a smidgin of "pouf" and "wedgie" which I could not remove by scooping out the curve more, taking in the back or side seams, so I throw up my hands and say, "good enough".
I'm going to get out my favourite best fitting Burda pants and draft the back off them next time.

Burda are famous for their fit and I've totally worked out how they fit me now, but I do have a little more work on my hands sorting out the Otttobre - the amount of wearable ease added to base measurements seems greater if this pattern is anything to go by.

At any rate, with the heat and high humidity we've been experiencing recently (temperatures in the mid to high 20's (high 70's) and humidity in the 90% range) a smart short that is not too short is just the ticket. I can see me running these to the ground over the next couple of months, that is if pre-school holidays and an adventurous toddler at home doesn't beat me to it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Summer time, and the sewing is easy.

Wow this summer sewing business is so easy. I feel like I just look at my sewing machine and a garment is completed. Good thing too it means I can get quite a bit accomplished between tanties (life with a 3 year old, said between rolling eyes and gritted teeth).

So here we have another Ottobre tee (02-2010-09), this time in a plain fabric and smaller in strategic places. Much happier with this version, less happier with the linen skirt (02-2010-15). If there was any wisdom to adding large pockets to my generous thighs it'd be the same variety as adding breast pockets to my fulsome bust.

However, the thing I love about linen is no matter when you've ironed it, it always looks creased. This basically gives me permission to never iron it, but pretend that I have: "goodness look at those creases in my skirt, that's linen for you, you'd think this skirt had never been ironed in its life." Pa ha ha

The pockets are just enormous. I'm thinking I'd have no trouble packing a picnic lunch in these:

The back view - there was supposed to be a back vent, but I sewed it into a concealed pleat. Think about it for a moment, you bend over to pick up a child, there's a gust of wind, and you are not wearing your "what happens if I get hit by a bus" underpants. I think you'll agree that making these into slits would be a bad idea:

I have been having strong urges to make another coat so like the dieter who chooses the low fat version I'm going to make a summer jacket instead.

That'll keep me out of trouble for a while.

PS - getting back copies to Ottobre is too too easy - just go to their website, scroll through the editions at the bottom of the page and order one. Yes, it really is that simple.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's as easy as 1-2-3 with an Ottobre tee

December 1 rolled around and I did not start sewing a coat. I'm cured!

I did however, like the idea of sewing the ruffle crazy tee in a plain colour so that the ruffles just add texture. I went out and bought some fabric, and while I was laundering it ready for sewing I decided to have a go at another Ottobre tee, using up this knit that had been loitering in my ahem *stash* - you know I hate having stash but these days my purchasing has been outdoing my speed in making things up and unfortunately there has been some accumulation.

It's hard to see from the photo, but the fabric is a pale blue grey with white polka dots. Cute!

One day I'm going to surprise you all by doing hair and make up. Next time I hope to surprise you with a bottom to match the top. Baby styling steps people, baby styling steps.

I used the famous Ottobre 02-2007-04 tee, this was best pattern on Pattern Review some years back. I sewed a 40 back, neck shoulders grading out to a 42 at the side, and a FBA which I pivoted out into the gathers at the front and side of the tee. This means my tee has more front gathers than most, but they are such a charming feature I consider it a bonus. Although technically a little tight through the bust I am much happier with the fit overall with this tee.

Now I am sure you have noticed I've been playing around with my blog template again. It features coffee beans, who could resist?