Friday, June 15, 2007

Butterick Retro Patterns

The reprinted Vogue vintage patterns are oh, so tempting, but at $18 - $25 each, it's a little steep for a pattern, I think. Imagine my delight when I found in the Butterick catalogue some lovely reprinted vintage patterns for only $5.99 each! Bargain!

Here is my first attempt at a full skirted dress and using bias tape. I love learning about new notions and then going to the store and finding a section I've walked by dozens of time open up to me in a new way, and such is the case for bias tape! as the pattern boasts, it was easy and I guess relatively fast. It's only three pieces, so the cutting and attaching the bias tape and snaps took the longest.

The most painful thing about making this dress was doing the snaps and buttons. I hate hate sewing. I hate it so much. I really need to learn to embrace it, but it's so hard when everything I hand sew is a complete mess! Luckily you can't see any of that in the final product, so it can remain my dirty little secret. Well, not really if I post about it publicly.

Here's a close up of the buttons. The middle is held together with snaps, so the red buttons are pure decorative. I thought of leaving them off, but I knew it would look so much better if they were on, so I did it and I'm glad. You can also see how pretty the fabric is, nice and close. The pattern in called 'Emilie' from Alexander Henry Fabrics' 'Vienna' group.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Stuck in a pumpkin rut

Everyone who saw the pumpkin hat agreed that it was adorable and awesome. So of course, once I'm onto something tried and true, why mess with it, right? Well, before I realised it, I'd gone and made no less than FIVE pumpkin hats for babies. And their mothers and grandmothers were all so happy because it IS such a gosh darn cute hat. But alas, with so many babies being born in the last year, some of the parents were going to overlap. My friend Nicole gave birth in February and our friend and her best friend Rachel gave birth mid May. So since I knew Rachel had already seen the pumpkin hat that I made for Nicole's baby, I had to come up with something else. I had gotten to the point that when my knitting mentor asked me what I was working on, I was a little ashamed to say "Another pumpkin hat..." but all recipient mothers, be sure, it was only because I love them so!

So I tossed some ideas around and thought of going with a different fruit. I went up to San Francisco with a full ball of Blue Sky cotton in tomato colour in tow, determined to return to LA with something new! I went to Imaginknit in SF which is probably the most fruitful yarn store I've ever been to. I just love it! With the aloof and arrogant SF attitude on hand, the clerk was still helpful, all the while making me feel like my projects were stupid. Oh well. I got the yarn for the illusion scarf I have to finish by November and also I saw a tomato hat sitting in the window! I'd been scared to try any such yarn switching in my knitting (is this intarsia, of fake intarsia?), but after Desiree showed Emily, and Emily showed me that it was pretty easy, I thought I could do it. So, only by examining the one in the store, I created my own tomato hat! The switching yarns wasn't hard at all, and the result as you go is very rewarding. It looks so purrrdy. Not much else to say about it, other than that it looks delicious! I got a text message from Rachel saying that James loves his hat! The onset of the tomato rut has begun as I have already made two and am negotiating a third...

So many things, I almost forgot some!

On the same day as finishing the green dress, Go-Go dress and knitting a pair of fuzzy dice, I also made a purse for my sister's birthday! As I was going to see her at the end of March, she told me I didn't have to mail her gift in time for her birthday on March 13. Of course, this gives me license to wait for the last minute and add it to all my other self imposed deadlines!

I think I forgot to take pictures of the fuzzy dice, but I will ask my sister to take some as they were a gift for her fiancé, Sam's 30th birthday. They aren't very digital camera savvy, so perhaps I'll get some pictures before he turns 60.

With this bag, using the "Smile Around The World" print which resembles the "It's A Small World" ride at Disneyland which my sister loves, I made my first use of store bought handles. I was delighted and shocked to see that Joann had them in stock. I'm sure it was a random occurrence and I wont count on there to be any there next time I decide to make a purse. It was fun to make little loops to attach the handles.

I told my sister that the Indian looking at the top was us.

I also finally made use of the magnetic clasps which I searched for for months and obtained months ago. They were a little out of alignment, but with stuff in the bag, you can't really tell.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Not writing, but still working!

I haven't posted in a while, but that's because I've been slipping in projects amidst a lot of other business. When I'm not busy, I like to nap and such things, so quite frankly, I'm amazed I've done anything over the last three months!

Being as anal as I am, I wasn't satisfied with my green dress and its loose fit in the bustal area, so I undid a heap of work, went to my friend's house and got her to pin it to fit it to me better. She did this and I stayed up until 3:30am sewing, the night before I was leaving for almost four weeks, but I got it done. I wont bother posting a picture because it looks the same, but it FEELS so much better!

Also in that sewing class I was taking which started me on the green dress, I made a Go-Go dress out of some rad fabric from my work. I'd being drooling over it for ages and had been sitting on it for quite some time. I had to do something with it, and it was soon revealed that it would be a Go-Go dress. My taste has been shifting more into 60s stuff, so there could be more like this, and it'll be easier not trying to do full skirts! My main reason for choosing this pattern was because it had sleeves. I really wanted to tackle sleeves. I was all panicked and it came down to the last class and I was all ready for sleeves and I rushed to the teacher's desk and said "What do I do?!?!?!" and she said "Like everything else, what do we do?" Luckily, I just heard her going over this with the new students. Though I understood the concept, the reminder was useful, "Face to face, edge to edge, seam to seam?" "Yes," she said "now do it!" So I did it, and just as simply as that, the sleeve fit right into the sleeve hole! There was a little extra, but I used it to make cute puffs at the top. I have rad, white Go-Go boots to go with this dress, but you can't seen it in this picture. I'm sure there will be another great Go-Go dress soon and pictures with visible boots.

Me and my friend Emma. I'd been to a Go-Go class before I caught up with her.

It's a little tight under the bust, but I learned a lot of lessons with this piece as I altered a pattern. I'm going to have to get use to this as I make fitted dresses to accommodate my wee bust and wide hips! Unfortunately I took in a bit too much, but it was a learning experience. The tragedy of this dress is that before I actually wore it out for the first time, I went to iron it as it was all crumpled from being in my suitcase (I took it to Australia) and I accidentally left the iron on the zipper too long and melted it a bit, separating a couple of inches from the fabric. I'm so upset because this is no reflection on my sewing skills, but my ironing!

Moving on from that, after I came back from Las Vegas, Australia, and Salt Lake City where I went for work, I got cracking on a shirt. I was keen to try a collar, but I am not quite sure this pattern was quite the challenge I was looking for. It's still totally cute though and I learned some new things, like creating bunch under the bust in lieu of darts, and I must say, it worked nicely! I really appreciated the power of basting there! I also did my first serious button holes.

There's a little tie in the front but you can't really see it and I can't be bothered taking more pictures. Anyway, it looks good! (click to enlarge)

People like to go for more matching threads, but I like contrast, so I went for this wild green thread and a red button as there is red in the print. I did the button with the machine for the first time! Much better than by hand once you line it all up! I was too scared to use the foot though, and manually turned the wheel for the needle.