Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Still wearing the pants.

If you thought the bargains I got at Nick's looked too good to be true, they were. The shipment was meant for the more up market Global Fabrics across town, and there they have been rehoused, with a new and improved price tag.

In the meantime, I've made up the first of the fabrics - this pretty green cotton drill in the same pattern as the previous post (BWOF 05-2009-101) - here I am chanelling my inner air hostess. I'm fond of good flare, me I am.

You know how Gok says the average British woman spends 2000 pounds a year on clothes? I don't know if that's true because a google search told me that is was closer to 800 pounds. And US women spend on average $1800 (US).

In the interests of research I'm going to start totalling how much it costs me to sew a garment.

Air hostess trousers in Nick's special green: fabric 1.8@ $4 a metre = 7.20 + interfacing 2.0 + zipper 50c on special + thread 2.0 + tracing paper - half a packet $3.50

I'm not counting Burda into the cost - that's just for entertainment, making something out of it is a bonus.

= 12.30 NZ dollars. That's what, about 7-8 US dollars.

PS fly on correct side this time.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I really do wear the BWOF 05-2009-101 pants.

The pockets are quite high up - that's because these pants reach to your natural waist - a woman's best friend when it comes to combatting the 'muffin tin' effect.

I once said to my husband, "it's not so much that I wear the pants in this relationship, it's that you wear the skirt." Anyway, he took one look at these pants, and so, "no, you definitely wear the pants." Yes I sewed the front fly man style on the right instead of left.

Now I blame BWOF for this. When they say left, they don't mean left as you are looking at it sewing, they want you to imagine you are the fabric, and if you were the fabric what would be your left fabric self.

Hence the fly sewn man-style. No-one's going to notice and I'm sure not going to bother re-setting it because it's a fancy hidden facings / fly shield number. Fly shields are a nice detail but so unnecessary in womanswear don't you think? It's not like we drop our drawers to use a communal public toilet and need the extra coverage.

You may also have noticed the cotton batiste lining to protect the inevitable thigh chaffing courtesy of lurex threads. I have Kbenco to thank for that handy piece of advice. Funnily enough she then left me another message directing me to a thread where people were discussing the merits of using batiste as lining.

Naturally, the ones who had never done it before were the most sure it shouldn't be done. Well in the privacy of my own blog I get to say that they were wrong - it makes a lovely soft cushion from nasty pointy threads and is impreccably behaved falling nicely without skewing or bulking seams. Any bulk you see in these seams is one hundred percent natural. So there!

I made a couple of changes from the pattern - I eliminated the button and ran the zipper full length. I also added a double belt tab for centre back - a feature I copied from a pair of RTW jeans I had.

Finally, bless me father for I have sinned. I've stashed up big time. When Jenni-from-across-the-road rang to tell me that Nick's fabrics had a shipment of Karen Walker fabrics in for $4 a metre I knew this was the moment to break all the rules. For 60 bucks (about $40 US) I bought this selection of cotton drill, corduroy, silk cupron, silk satin with lycra, cotton lawn and denim. Peacock colours - aren't they stunning?

Trousers - BWOF 05-2009-101
Fabric: cotton lurex from Smart Dress Fabrics, Mt Albert.

Friday, October 16, 2009

the 49th instruction:

Post editing note: here it is finished, and worn with protective long sleeved rayon tunic...

You remember me quipping that an easy pattern did not need 48 fully illustrated instructions: actually I'm going to add another - wear this garment with a full slip, and here's the illustration:

Yep, you are one gust of wind away from a Marilyn moment with this full skirt and unsecured cross over. This dress sure wouldn't pass any "modesty meter" tests. Anyway, privacy of my back yard and the internet, no-one's going to mind but I can tell you I'm going shopping before this baby goes public.

It's actually not finished: I've got to hand sew the hems on both sleeve and hem, but I thought I'd save that treat for America's Next Top Model tonight - then my evening has not been completely wasted on vacuous television.

This dress goes live at our Playcentre fundraiser movie night on Monday. With a week to go and only half the tickets sold it looked like our fundraiser was about to become a fundloser but a last minute shove from the organiser got everyone to sell off their tickets and we sold out.

I am of course, already thinking about my next sewing project, and I've got to a bit of a dead end. I bought this fabric in anticipation of making some pants for summer. It's cotton, but with some lurex in with the weft threads. I wrapped it round my arm and wore it round the house and within 5 minutes I had my answer: it's not comfortable enough to be worn at close quarters. Trousers are out. I toyed with the idea of lining them but then who wants to wear lined pants through a hot sticky summer?

Dress: Butterick 5030
Fabric: Vintage viscose (rayon) from Salvage

Monday, October 12, 2009

Kreativ Blogger - it could be you!

Thanks to Sue who nominated me for the Kreativ blogger award. I saw it was going around, but you never know you luck. (Could be your lucky day blog friends too, stay tuned).

One part is to share 7 things about yourself that blog readers wouldn't know.

1) I have a degree in Classics. The old fashioned kind, Greek and Latin. People always used to ask me, "how are you going to get a job with that? Well, the longest I've ever been unemployed is 6 weeks, ever. It's about education and opportunity and maximizing both.

2) I was raised as one of nine children.

3) I have a volunteer flower arranging job which I do every second Tuesday.

4) My last job was teaching adult literacy. That's when I learned that you teach a person first, and a curriculum second.

5) I meet 2 friends for dinner every Thursday. We have been doing it for years, despite serious illness and major life changes.

6) I am "housekeeping challenged."

7) My husband does not read my blog, and if he must read one, he'll read my sister's in preference. "Yours is just about sewing." JUST ABOUT SEWING. Like that's a bad thing???

He is a very good husband in other respects though so I'm not complaining.

Right now one of the things about being raised as one of nine children is that everything has to be fair and equitable, so I can't just choose 7 people, that would mean leaving worthy people out. So instead I invite anyone who is reading this who would like this to be their lucky day, I nominate you!

I bought back some treasures from my Nelson holiday. My sister gave me "the twins" for my son but he's not allowed to put a sucky licky toothy paw on them, they sit guard in my sewing room. Some toys are just too good to be trashed so early in their lives.

And I got this gorgeous vintage silk. It's so beautiful the only way I'll be brave enough to use it is if I make a muslin of a muslin and then another muslin just to be triple sure.

I am currently working on Butterick 5030 with some other vintage fabric. It's so long that I've sewn anything other than BWOF that I've forgotten quite how easy a pattern already traced and pictorial instructions are.

In fact, I'm looking at all 48 fully illustrated instructions and thinking, "what? do you think I'm a moron?"

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The shirt's baaaaaack

Yeah yeah, I made it again. Virgos out there will totally get this: I just wanted to make the whole thing properly - like with darts that started, ended, and pointed where they should; with fabric that I didn't get dirt cheap from a fire sale or an op shop; with a shirt band that didn't resemble a pair of chooks with beaks. That's not too much to ask is it?

I thought this dress would look better on me in a softer cotton, with a bit more drape, and I wanted to experiment with the shirring, placing it lower on the waist so I had less of the "barrel" look so amusingly described here.

I read a review where someone said they whipped this dress up. How do you whip up flat felled arm seams, shirt stand with collar, 13 buttons, 21 rows of shirring and double welt pockets? How ? HOW?

double welt pockets: (blue mark is my wash out pen, haven't washed it out yet)

2 of 13 buttons

back shirring (just completed, using zigzag method, gives better control)

shirt stand on collar (no beak! I followed instructions and hand sewed it)

flat felled arm seams (so when you roll up your sleeve you've got a pretty seam on show .. that's the theory anyway, and it definitely was not the practice on my last version)

I have had a busy fortnight, that encompassed a holiday in Nelson and another weekend girls away trip to Wellington for Wearable Arts.

I'm still reading my wardrobe planning book. It's got a whole chapter called, "so you sew?" And it has really good advice on wardrobe planning for seamstresses. Two bits stick in my mind: when you go fabric shopping your eye is drawn to patterns, so sewers often buy lots of patterns that languish in stash because they haven't actually got any use for them. They strongly recommend doing a wardrobe inventory first, and basing your sewing plans on things you need. That way you won't fall into the 'eye catching fabric' trap. Second piece of advice: make sure that everything you sew contributes fully to your wardrobe by ensuring that it will go with at least 3 existing pieces.

You know what? After all that advice I just don't feel like sewing anything. Usually I just start with curiousity. Hmm, that's an interesting fabric, what can I do with that? Hmm, that's an unusual pattern, I wonder what that detail would look like made up? And then curiousity spurs me on to explore it. This planning business just kills creativity.

Time to throw out the rule book, me thinks.

Shirt dress: Burda 07-2009-104
Fabric: Japanese cotton sateen: imported by Global Fabrics
Wardrobe Planning book: Looking Good, Nancy Nix-Rice