Sunday, October 30, 2011

You've got mail!

I received the following in my inbox yesterday:

Hello, We have received new release date information related to the order you placed on August 16 2011 (Order# [redacted]). The item(s) listed below will actually ship sooner than we originally expected based on the new release date: 

Sarai Mitnick "The Colette Sewing Handbook: Inspired Styles and Classic Techniques for the New Seamstress" 
Previous estimated arrival date: November 22 2011 - November 29 2011 
New estimated arrival date: November 03 2011 - November 08 2011

Yes!! Do you think the publisher expedited the release date because the pre-orders and reception have been overwhelmingly positive? I sure would like to think so! I can't wait to receive it some time next week!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I am sorry for the lack of posts and projects. The rut is multi-fold.

1) I wanted to sew a simple skirt quickly and chose a Cynthia Rowley pattern S2305, view C:

Looks simple enough. I cut out a size 12 because I have a square-ish body type, even though I usually do a size 10 for dresses. I am pretty straight up and down with nary a waist. The first mistake was that I did not measure the waistband against my waist. Bad bad bad idea. The second mistake was...I didn't know how to sew an invisible zipper and thought that the regular zipper foot would work. Nope! I ended up basting and hand sewing the zipper plus lace binding, which was pretty time consuming. I also didn't know how to finish up the gap between the bottom seams and the zipper, so I just sewed the bottom seams as close to the zipper as possible.

After I attached the waist band, I decided to put it on and try it out for size. This is when I realized that either I am way bigger than a size 12, or Cynthia Rowley's pattern is ridiculously small. I had to pull the skirt up to my ribcage, while sucking in my gut to zip up the skirt. The skirt is ruffled below the waist band, so it puffed up like a blow fish. I was horrified. I have always reveled in the fact that I never had to alter patterns on my past projects. And now, even though I increased a size in pattern, I still was too big for the skirt.

I measured my waist, and winced. I have gained at least 4 inches in 3 years. My job is sedentary and I do not exercise regularly. The skirt made me realize how much my body has changed since my mid-twenties. I am unable to get away with eating potato chips late at night anymore. Nor zero exercise. My metabolism has  slowed down to the point that I cannot lose weight by simply eating less junk food, or drink more water. Re-examining my health routine is tough, as was measuring my waist, but I am kind of glad I did it. Now it's the accepting and improving part that I need to work on. So, I guess in a way, I have to thank this petulant skirt project for bringing into light the reality that, no matter how content I am in life, there is always something that I have to struggle for. Until I figure out an exercise routine that works for me and start being more fit, I will try to sew up some harmless project around the apartment.

2. The second reason for my sewing rut, simply put, is because of my concentrated effort in looking for a new job. I had an interview with an international architecture firm last week (on Friday). I had been ridiculously nervous the entire week leading up to the interview. I prepped pretty diligently for it, reading through the Company website, thinking up of possible interview questions and writing down the answers, copying down the vision & values of the Company...all while visibly shaking with anxiety. The interview itself was less nerve-wrecking. I think I did ok? I am terrible at gauging such things. The Company will be notifying candidates for a second-round interview this week so fingers crossed.

That's the update for now. Oh, I just remembered, Sarai of Colette is coming out with a book! I am super excited because I have always liked their clear and detailed instructions. I pre-ordered the book today with a release date of mid-November. Can't wait!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

mccall's 6069

this was a project i planned for myself back in april. i just finished this dress in time for my birthday dinner last night (ooops!). it's a knit dress so plenty of stretch for good food!



fabric: $6.00 ($3.00/yd x 2 yds)
thread: $2.00 (gutermann polyester which i found to be better than coats & clark)
elastic: $2.00 (3/8")
total: $10.00

i love this dress! it's incredibly comfortable. it was my first time sewing knits, and due to the fabric's thickness, i was able to do so without much difficulty. i used muslin underlining instead of interfacing and left off the pockets. i didn't do any seam finishes because i was in a rush to get it done before dinner time haha. i'll probably just do some overcast stitches since knits don't unravel. all in all, a very comfortable summer dress!

p.s. reviewed here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

suggestions please

looking through my (very) small stash of self-made clothing, i realized that i'm lacking anything fitted. i really need suggestions on what to make next that's:

1. fitted
2. easy
3. preferably does not require knits or silks... (they're intimidating ; ;)
4. a top or a dress
5. from simplicity, mccalls, butterick, vogue, or burda (retail patterns not those sold online).

i'm considering the following, in order of arbitrarily assigned difficulty:

this is rated "average" and my skill level is "very easy." 

(i love this simplicity dress sfm but i am so intimidated by all the darts and pleats and shirring oh my!)


completed - Sorbetto from Colette Patterns

finished sorbetto this weekend. was totally procrastinating by playing ffxiv most of time. this is the second time i've done colette patterns. the first was the mini bloomers that i kinda messed up because i didn't think transferring marks was all that important (yeah, lol). this time, i faithfully followed the instructions and i must say that they were very clear and the shirt was very well constructed.

the less than satisfactory - i didn't anticipate the shirt to be so fitted - at least through the armholes. i cut a size 4, and had to lengthen it by 2 inches. the pattern itself was too short for me even though i do not have a long torso. the only complaints against the pattern were the tightness of the armholes and the length.

construction wise, i used french seams on the shoulders and side seams. omg i love love love french seams! i used to be so intimidated by it but once i got used to sewing the wrong sides together first, it was so easy! (a big thank you to A Fashionable Stitch's seam finishing tutorials!) i HAND-STITCHED the bias tape together, which was the most time-consuming part of this shirt. (i used colette pattern's bias tape tutorial).

i'm wearing the shirt at work today!

close-up of the bindings:

and some love for french seams:

funny story about the fabric, which was on clearance @ hancock, 100% egyptian cotton. i hesitated on purchasing the fabric because it looked kind dowdy (it looks less dowdy on me, right??). i knew i wanted to make a top out of it, but wasn't sure how it would turn out. i asked the cutter lady if it looked like curtains. she responded enthusiastically, "yes it does!" my next question was " think if i made a shirt out of it, that it would look like curtains?" she immediately backtracked and said "no no i don't think it would look like curtains!" hahaha! anything to make a sale!

so let's see:

pattern: free
fabric: 1$/yd (i only used a yard!)
thread: 100% polyester from stash. i still have lots of coats & clark threads left. bleh. $2.00
grand total: $3.00


~another project finished before my vacation 2 weeks ago after the jump~

Monday, June 13, 2011

tucks are awesome - m8581

didn't do anything omgsuperfun this weekend even though the weather was incredible. summer arts festival kick started in the old market. only drove by it and entire streets were blocked off, signalling parking frenzies for months to come.

finished my nautical striped dress (m8581) on saturday. it is SO LOUD. and the dress alone looks like a bedsheet upcycle. i wore it with neutral colored cardigan and flats to run errands. felt less self-conscious about the bedsheet aspect of it.

here's a pic of the pattern. how much do you love the hair! hahahaha:

here's a pic of the dress in its unabashed state:

the tucks definitely prevent the dress from looking like just another shapeless dress. the belt helps too!

it's a mishmash of 70s (looking) fabric + 80s boxy-ness. the front and back look exactly the same, so i often have no idea if i'm wearing it correctly. also, posing is hard. how do i get my arms to look less....flabby without actually working out?

here's a breakdown of the cost of this project:

pattern: $0.10
fabric: $3.00 ($1/yd x 3 yds)
thread: $2.00
grand total: $5.10

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

finishing seams - wut?

v1236 marked a milestone in my sewing adventures. there were a lot of firsts: first dress; first times using chambray; and first time finishing seams.

i borrowed my friend's dressmaker's technique bible and thumbed through their seam section. while the descriptions were detailed enough, and often accompanied by pictures, i still wasn't sure what was the best way to finish side seams. i attempted to use bias tape but thought it was too thick. i fumbled around with french seams, and ended up with more fraying. i looked around in my notions box, and had an idea with lace trimmings. i'm sure this is nothing new, but the it was definitely a light bulb moment for me. i decided to enclose the seams with lace.

here's how i did, in pictures:

1.after sewing down the sides, trim seams to 1/2 width of lace trimming. align one side of the lace to the seams and pin.

2. use a zig zag stitch to secure lace to fabric. set foot guide at edge of the lace.

3. trim any frays and fold lace over. pin the other side.

4. zig zag close to the lace edge and seam line and voila!

the other side

yay my first finished seams! if anyone could tell me what the actual technical term for this kind of seam finishing, that would be fantastic! i think i might have to try other kinds of finishing on my next dress, for sure!