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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sewing Bee Round #3

I have to admit, I groaned a little when I read what the challenge for round #3 was. I think the Pattern Review Winter Street Dress is very cute, but just not my style. I guess that was my personal part of the challenge--to make it into some I would wear.
Another challenge was that I had just purged the knits from my stash and shared with a co-worker who is learning to sew on knits.
I had a couple of pieces, but not 2 I would pair for this pattern (because we had to use 2 knits for this challenge, and only 2.)
I pulled out a wool double knit I got in trade for some pattern work--it had quite a few moth holes, but enough large areas without damage that I could cut out the dress.
Though I was trying very hard to only use fabric from my stash, I knew I needed something different for this challenge.
I found a paisley print in grays, reds, white, black and silver which looked great with the charcoal grey I already had.

I'll post more details about my thought process and construction, but for now, I'll let the photos do the talking:
First, here's the pattern we were required to use:

Although the pattern is drawn as though the sleeve is cut on the bodice, it is a set-in sleeve, and the tucks at the waist are box-pleat style. Also, the flounce on the sleeve is shirred where it is sewn to the sleeve.

Sketch 1--peplum, v-neck
Many thanks to Carol Kimball's excellent fashion sketching class, I was able to try out some different ideas before I even cut into the fabric:
Sketch 2--skirt made from
weaving wide bands of fabric
Sketch 3--Cowl neck

Final Sketch--faux jumper with 'under dress'

and now for the final product:

Wayne said I looked British in this outfit, which take as a compliment. I've entered this is in the challenge and now must wait until after the holiday to find out if I've made it to the final round.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week and those in US have a great holiday!


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Sewing Bee Round #2

So, I made it to round 2 and there was a communal groan when the second challenge was announced: Make a new garment out of men's shirts. We could pick 1 - 5 woven men's shirts, any size. I hit Goodwill on Monday after dropping off my big machine for service and found these:

I got the shirts washed and dismantled by Tuesday night, then started construction on Wednesday. Thursday we had our first hard freeze and of course, this is when my heater stops working. So, I spent my lunch break on Friday moving the machines and supplies to the house so I could finish the dress.
At one point I was top stitching something and Wayne came over and stood there for a bit. Then he said, "So this is what it looks like when you sew." I realized that any time he comes to my studio, I stop what I'm doing and pick it back up after he leaves. So even though we've been together for 20 years, and I've always sewn, he's never actually seen me 'in the act'.
This morning, I was (trying) doing some hand-stitching while chatting with him and realized I cannot do both things at once. I take for granted how focused I get/need to be when I'm working. I also realize that this is one of the reasons I find it so meditative.
I finished the dress earlier today, but when I went to take pictures, my camera wasn't cooperating. Every picture is blown out. So maybe they'll be a new camera in my future.
Update: Wayne reset my camera and is working! (so glad because I love this one and I know how to use it. ;) )

I borrowed Wayne's camera and got the photos taken and the review done and entered in the contest.
I love this dress. Too bad I didn't make it my size. (Maybe if I lose some weight, which I want to do anyway.)

New Look 6208

 My shop is still cold, and I've got knitting to do, so I'm on the couch for now. The girls are very happy.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Round 1 of the Sewing Bee

I just submitted my entry for the first round on the Pattern Review Sewing Bee.
You can see my entry here:


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Back in the Studio Again

I've been doing a much better job getting to the studio (even though I have a sweater pattern to write, patent papers to review and a couple websites to get together). The new machine has helped, as has recently watching a few episodes of "The Great British Sewing Bee".
The yellow girls hangin' on the porch.

My husband walked into my studio the other day and said "this place is a wreck!" (He seldom enters my studio due to my successfully instilling in him both a great respect for my workspace and a healthy fear of my wrath should he damage anything.) Of course my response was "I've been cleaning and organizing. You should have seen it before I left for conference."
I like how my dear friend Rae Cumbie puts it: "This is a working studio and I am VERY creative."
Truthfully, it has gotten past my personal comfort level of chaos, but I prefer to work through the piles of projects to clean up rather than put everything away, then turn around and pull it out again.

One project I'd been meaning to do is a pattern that was included in the goody bag for the Pattern Review weekend in Austin earlier this year: Have It All Wallet. Whenever I get a new machine I like to do a project to get a sense of what it can do, so I did this project on Melly.
I'm still not used to the default far-left needle position, but I understand the reasoning (you get better control by having the fabric entirely on both feed dogs and under the presser foot.)

Melly with our first completed project together.

Yesterday was the first day of the Pattern Review Surprise Sewing Bee, so I also did that project on Melly. I did cheat a little by using my Bernina 350PE(Madeline) for the zipper and hem, but only because I don't have an invisible zipper or edge stitch foot for Melly.
I also did some machine embroidery (on Mathilde, Bernina 830) which is outside Melly's skill set.
I'll post a link to the review and photos as soon as I'm done.

And in spite of spending more time in the sewing studio, I am making progress on the pattern for the Gabrielle Cardigan. This is my first original design and first attempt at writing a knitting pattern, so I am going very slowly. Thankfully I already have a very experienced knitter who has agreed to review the pattern, and quite a few folks willing to be test knitters.

One of the piles I mentioned earlier is fabric and partially done knitting bags for a couple of my mom's sewing buddies. Her instructor sent me a huge number of vintage sewing magazines, books and patterns, and a fellow student sent me back issues of Threads Magazine.
The fabric is cotton and laminated cotton that I purchased at France Duval-Stella in Paris when shopping with my friend, Ségolène. This is her favorite fabric shop in Paris, and one I would have never found on my own.
The two bags are based on ones I picked up at Papa Pique et Maman Coud in Lyon. The round one is my own design--a holder for a ball of yarn.

And finally, I've been planning my next DeskAway. I'll be on my own for most of the trip, and I'll only be going to London and Paris. I loved the apartment in Knightsbridge, but would like to check out a different neighborhood, so this time I'm staying here: WEST END STUDIO LONDON COVENT GARDEN
I'll be staying in the same apartment in Paris: AMAZING TERRACE EIFFEL TOWER VIEW
This time I'll be staying there for a little over 2 weeks since I've invited my mom to spend a week with me. Since she took her first transatlantic flight earlier this year, I decided it is time to share my favorite city with her.

Back to my studio...