Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Oops! Twice!

If you're working with a printed fabric, one of the first things to do before cutting out your pattern is to determine whether the fabric has a one way or two way design. I layed out the pieces so that the checkerboard stripes would line up at the side seams and did a pretty good job, or so I thought. Somehow, even after studying it closely, I failed to notice that my fabric has a one way design until AFTER I cut both front and back. Fortunately, the design is subtle. You would not notice the mistake unless you were looking for it. Can you see the problem in the top photo?

The second "oops" on this project was bound to catch up with me sooner or later. I ran my sewing machine at lightning speed around the bottom hem, sewing over all the straight pins, except one. I broke the needle and bent the pin in half. This left a nasty hole in the fabric. I should have known better. It's not as if this has never happened to me before.

I wasn't sure how to line up the checkerboard lines on the sleeves so I decided to cut them crosswise. I think the vertical stripes on the sleeves are a nice contrast to the horizontal stripes on the body.

Even with the goofs, I'm pleased with the final result. I like the brown. It's a much earthier shade,not as bright as in the photo.

So this is it - my last project until I get back from my trip. We are leaving tomorrow. If I get a chance to post on my blog while I'm away, I will.

Bon voyage to me.

Monday, June 16, 2008

New Project, New Look 6362

This pattern has been in the New Look catalogue for a long time. I made this top twice eons ago. Actually in 1995. I remember wearing one of the tops the very first time we were invited to dinner at my good friend J's house.

In those days, I always cut my patterns according to bust size which fluctuated between a size 14 and 16. I have since learned a thing or two about fitting and now I start with a size 12 and make increases when necessary. This is supposed to be loose fitting so I added 4 inches at the bust and hips. I should end up with a much better fit now than I did previously.

I am making View A, the red pullover one with the short sleeves. It has to be quick and easy right now as I have no time to fuss with zippers or buttons.

The pattern has been adjusted and I'm ready to go. I'm going to try and grab a couple of hours sewing time this afternoon and another couple this evening. I still have many things to do before we leave for our big trip - yikes - only two days away. I hope to post a picture of the finished product, if I can, tomorrow.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Had Enough Of These Tank Tops?

Saturday's shopping trip was a bust. I went to Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada which is about a 45 minute drive from where we live. What a nightmare. I couldn't find a thing. Hubby was fortunate and managed to find a couple of pairs of trousers, some shorts and a couple of shirts to take on our holiday trip. Hubby was NOT in a shopping mood and cut our trip short after only a couple of hours. He promised me he would bring me back Sunday to resume my shopping.

Sunday, today, was another weary day. I spent four exhausting hours in the mall but at least I managed to find a few items of clothing. Let me tell you, it wasn't easy. I spotted a few tops that I really liked, but when I tried them on, they weren't working for me. Much too low cut with too much exposed cleavage. Or the dart was too low. Or there was gaping at the armscye. Or too tight at the waist and hips. All the more inspiration for sewing my own.

Anyway, here's another one of the tank tops, the last for a while.

Before we leave on Wednesday, I'm sure I have time to sew one more top (no, not another tank top). I did most of the preparation this morning and will be at it early tomorrow morning.

I think I am finally starting to get a bit excited about our trip.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Red Linen

I got up around 5:00 this morning, then decided it was far too early for any sane person to be awake and went back to bed. After 2 minutes I realized I wouldn't be able to sleep so instead I went into my studio and starting cutting out another quick and easy top. I have the neck and armscye facings done. Now I just need to make the front bust darts, sew back and front together, add the facings and hem

Pictured above is the red floral cotton that I'm using for this project. It has a linen look to it. This is another fabric that has been in my stash for at least ten years.

I'm in for a day of heavy duty shopping for my big trip. If I'm not too exhausted, I will try and do a little more sewing this evening and maybe model the new top for you tomorrow.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Boot Tank Top

I finally made the tank top out of the "boot" cotton fabric. It is so cool, meaning it feels comfortable in this heat. I'm not sure about the other kind of "cool", but I like it, I gotta wear it and that's what counts.

I did intend to sew brown piping around the neckline and armscye but didn't do so because I didn't think the piping I bought was a good match with the fabric. And in all honesty, the second reason for not doing it was because I would have had to hand baste it in place and I just wanted to get the thing done quickly.

The black floral top I made a couple of days ago was on the snug side so I decided to increase the pattern by 2 inches at the bust and the hips using my favourite Nancy Zieman pivot and slide method. I love that woman!

The check background of this fabric looks really retro. I am thinking 30s or 40s. Of course, the construction boots detract from that look. It really should have flowers or birds or fruit or something like that.

Before I put this pattern away, I think I'll make another couple of these tops and then move on to something else.

A word about the background in the photo. That is the door to my studio, custom built by my very good friend, master carpenter and artist, the late Mike Drane. What you see are holes drilled in the door. I remember the winter's day he and I were freezing in his workshop, cutting out paper circles and laying them out in various configurations to see which way looked the best. This door was the last thing that Mike made for me.

I am grateful that my house is filled with Mike's handiwork to always remind me of him. Mike and I shared a love of music, especially opera, and had many wonderful discussions about music. He was twenty years older than me. I often asked him if he would adopt me. Although he's been gone two years now, I still find it hard to accept.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Black Floral Top

The new tank top is finished and here I am modelling it. This is not my first go at this pattern. What I want to know is why the fit is tighter on the new top than on the previous one. My guess is that this fabric has a much tighter weave and not as much stretch.

The beautiful cotton print has a bit of a sheen. It has been in my stash for over ten years. I have enough left over for another top or a skirt.

Today I'm going do start another one, this time, using the boot fabric. The neck and armscye will be trimmed with piping which I hope I can figure out without too much trouble.

The "chick pea inspector" came (see yesterday's post) and has taken the evidence back to the lab. I'm not sure what can be accomplished by doing that but he did say that someone from the company will call me and most likely they'll give me some gift certificates for all my trouble. If that happens, I will use the certificates to buy lentils. By the way, for my Canadian readers, the company in question is Unico and I do applaud them for responding to my complaint. They make some very good products which I will continue to buy.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A 1950s Skirt Pattern

My wonderful brother-in-law G, laboured for 4 hours yesterday trying to solve the mystery of hooking up our scanner to our multi-computer network. I never felt any urgency to have a working scanner but recently it has become important to have one. We are leaving for our trip in about 2 weeks and I suddenly find myself having to complete a very large, time sensitive project for my husband's business. For this I need a scanner.

I did my first test scan this morning. I needed a colourful image so I grabbed one of my vintage sewing patterns, pictured above. Then I thought, since I have "millions" of vintage patterns, why not start putting some of my favourites up on my blog. So now I have a second, very good reason to have a working scanner.

McCalls 3338 was copyrighted in 1955. The pattern is printed and uncut and in mint condition. The original price was 45 cents.

It's a very basic, simple pattern. Here's what I love about it:
-the cover art (they had great graphic illustrators in the 50s)
-the length of the skirt (suits me as I am no spring chicken and the less you see of my legs, the better)
-looks good with flats or heels (this boiler can only do flats these days)
-this can be a summer or winter skirt (cotton or wool)
-the waist and hip can be easily altered to fit (in case you don't have the 26-inch waist and the 35-inch hip that the pattern calls for)
-of all the skirt patterns, this is the one I would take with me to a desert island
-makes me think of Katharine Hepburn in "Desk Set" or "Summertime" (in this fantasy, you would need to have a 26-inch waist)

Stay tuned for more great pattern images in the future.