What to do…

Lack of knowledge, expertise and planning are my nemeses, and cause endless delays, doubt and paralysis in my sewing room.

Case in point: this lace tunic.

I made the sleeves first, and bound the seam allowances in bias silk (the same fabric of the tunic lining, which will hang separately from the lace itself, attached only at the neckline and armscyes). But after doing my invisible bust darts yesterday, I’m at a crossroads of decision. Here’s the left bust dart: Did you find it?

And the right bust dart:

…slightly more obvious.

They’re only ‘mezzo couture’, but the ‘invisibleness’ of them is making me rethink the rest of the seams on this garment. I have enough scraps left of the lace that it would be feasible to make every seam invisible: shoulders seams, side seams and the sleeve under seams. If I really wanted to go crazy, I suppose I could attempt to make the armscye seams invisible, too.

So instead of the shoulder seams above, I’d have invisible seams. In retrospect, why didn’t I cut it out without shoulder seams? The seams are bugging me now, but do I want to give myself the extra work? Would it make me like the finished garment more? Would I be happy to wear it if I don’t make the seams invisible, knowing that I could have should have maybe wished I had?

Or is this trying to make ‘mezzo couture’ into ‘alta moda’ and should I even bother with the attempt?

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Lace

I’m working on a tunic top with bell sleeves made from this beautiful three-dimensional cotton guipure lace. This is a bust dart, which I’m trying to make ‘invisible’.

Mending

I have been sewing.

Honest.

Three pairs of Jalie 2908 jeans and two pairs of slim BurdaStyle trousers, just in the last 10 days. Of course there’s no photos, mostly because it’s winter and I have no decent place indoors for photography.

I confess to also making a few garments recently that didn’t work out as planned, and they took the wind out of my sails for a bit. The first was a waterfall cardigan for DD3 which just did not work. I was not happy with it, and neither was she. Fortunately, there is a lot of fabric in a waterfall style, so no waste! It will be remade into something else sooner or later.

The second was a deep red silk velvet dress for DD2 which I was hoping would be a success. DD2 is a difficult client, sometimes, and although she loved the dress, she has yet to wear it, and didn’t want to wear it for the function it was made for.

And the last ‘failed’ project was an olive silk velvet dress that I wanted for myself – actually wanted for Christmas, but it wasn’t finished in time – for a wedding in February. The design was inspired by a green velvet D&G dress I saw in September 2018 Vogue, and I have not seen a photo of it anywhere else. But I am not a tall pencil, and I seem to have become more ‘mature’ in figure recently, so it wasn’t the most flattering of dresses. I did wear it, however, but it’s not a finished project, as I want to change a few things.

And now I’m facing a pile of mending, the largest of which is this inner thigh section of a favourite pair of Roots sweatpants for DD3.

Hundreds of tiny running stitches

And this is just one leg. What you see above is about 30 minutes of work. The patch was put in about a year ago, when I had no idea what I was doing. But I have a better idea now, after taking a visible mending class in February.  In order to do this patch ‘properly’ I should cut away the worn fabric and patch from the outside. But this would not look good on these sweatpants, and I don’t think it would be aesthetically pleasing given the location if the patch. DD3 wants it to be as discreet as possible, and I agree. So I will leave it as is, reinforce all around it to about 5 cm beyond the current patch, and see if it holds up for another year or so.  Here’s the rest of the required mend.

Big mend
Monster mend

Winter Coat: Burda 1/2016 #123

So, one of my goals for 2018 was to make jackets and coats: I had declared it “The Year of the Coat”.   I managed to make one.
Green CoatI finally got around to the project at the end of April. I pulled two pieces of fabric out of stash:  a lovely green/brown ‘bubble’ wool from EmmaOneSock in 2013and a piece of velvet linen, purchased randomly from Scalamandre’s Third Floor around the same time. I had this from BurdaStyle’s January 2016 in mind for both: Burda 1-2016-123It’s a ‘tall’ pattern, but I wanted something long and dramatic.  So I left the length, and adjusted the waist length by 2 inches (5cm). Here’s the back: green coat back
I did not like the tie collar (and the linen would not have worked for it, imho), so I frankenpatterned Vogue 2590 (an OOP Montana military-style coat). collar collageI love the high collar, and I must say, working with a Vogue pattern vs. a Burda magazine pattern in the same project was a sober reminder (and an elated reminder) of why I love Vogue patterns so much: there were more markings on the collar pieces than the entire front coat pattern piece from Burda.  A clearly marked pattern makes construction so precise, and easy construct with (relative) perfection. Well, I am happy with it, anyways!

The coat does not have buttons. I debated doing the hand worked buttonhole exercise, but opted for the large snaps Burda suggested. I like them! And, no, I did not bother to try to choose a fabric that would match the coat so they could be covered. I just put them on. Finis!

Some details of the interior finishing:lining

There are in-seam pockets. green coat pockets
Here’s the side view.
green coat side

A loooong belt tie. green coat tie
A tall, statuesque drink of water I am not, which is perhaps accentuated by the tie belt. But I love the length and drama of wearing such a coat.

Vogue 8896

Note:  I began this post in July.  I cannot believe that an entire year has gone by already.

It’s been a crazy last few months, and although I have completed a couple of commissions, whipped up some new pairs of  slim Burda 01/2016 #135 pants, altered and mended clothing and made a winter coat, it’s only this weekend that I have finally managed to get some pictures of a recent make!  Woo hoo!  This coming Tuesday is DH’s birthday, and it’s also July, which means Summerlicious in TO.

Birthday + Summerlicious = reason for a new dress.V8896 The fabric is a rayon-lycra knit from my local Fabricland, purchased last summer (or the summer before…..???) because it was a) on sale; and b) looked so cheery.  Actually, it probably reminded me of some project I’d seen in Burda Magazine that I really liked, so I purchased it.  Unfortunately for me, I never make a note of pattern + fabric combinations that randomly pop into mind, especially at that critical moment when they are actually in mind, so I cannot remember what made me think this would be a great maxi dress. In the interest of time (no time to trace a pattern!), I opened my binder of Vogue dress pattern envelopes, pulled out Vogue 8896, measured the flat pattern, laid out the fabric, and cut.. I made some changes to the shoulders – adding width in the back to match the front shoulders so I could sew channels and run ties to create the gathers instead of just gathering the front into the width of the back shoulders. V8896 shouldersI used my favourite neckline edging (a long strip of fabric, cut across the grain, 5cm wide and a few cms shorter than the actual to-be-finished armscye or neck opening) and finished the armscyes using the same technique before stitching the shoulder seams so it would be a neat finish for the ties.V8896 waist

The skirt was quite heavy, and in the interest of keeping it in place at my waistline without having to constantly adjust it, I stitched the seam 2cm wide instead of 1.5cm and ran 1.5cm wide elastic through then entire length, from left front to right front ties.

And then wore it out to dinner!

Vogue 8896 frontI do have more projects to show you.  I have been under a self-imposed deadline to get some things done, photographed and blogged before December 24, when my sewing area will be co-opted into Christmas Dinner With The Family space.

Updated December 30th: And here we are…. at the end of the year… The good news: I took photos of my one finished coat project for 2018. Fingers crossed for posting!

Iris van Herpen @ROMToronto

#irisvanherpen #transformingfashion #royalontariomuseum #designimpossible #RoyalOntarioMuseum

Yesterday was the end of a long weekend here, and what better way to spend it than in jaw-dropping admiration of Iris van Herpen’s work at the Royal Ontario Museum?  The exhibit was split over two galleries – one in conjunction with Philip Beesley, a Canadian architect who has collaborated with Iris.  His work is another post altogether.

#irisvanherpen #transformingfashion #royalontariomuseum #designimpossible #RoyalOntarioMuseum

It was fascinating to see her creations up close.  There were even portions of the gallery that held samples which we were actually allowed to touch.

#irisvanherpen #transformingfashion #royalontariomuseum #designimpossible #RoyalOntarioMuseum

This is a piece of the material used in one of her more recent collections.

#irisvanherpen #transformingfashion #royalontariomuseum #designimpossible #RoyalOntarioMuseum
It’s a metallic fabric.  I was expecting something much sharper, stiffer and harsher than it actually was. #irisvanherpen #transformingfashion #royalontariomuseum #designimpossible #RoyalOntarioMuseum

One could wear this fabric quite comfortably, although I’m not sure about sitting in the garment. I’m not sure if the oxidation was done prior to construction, but look at that perfect matching down the invisible zipper at the CB!  Ms. van Herpen worked with Alexander McQueen for a while, and her first collections were done entirely by hand.

#irisvanherpen #transformingfashion #royalontariomuseum #designimpossible #RoyalOntarioMuseum

It was an extraordinary way to spend an afternoon, and if you are in the Toronto area in the next few weeks, I would strongly encourage you to see this exhibit. I think the Refinery Smoke dresses were my favourite.

#irisvanherpen #transformingfashion #royalontariomuseum #designimpossible #RoyalOntarioMuseum

DD3’s favourite was the dress made of leather and small chains with a plastic water ‘splash’ worn around the neck.  She said it embodied everything she felt as a swimmer diving into the water.

#irisvanherpen #transformingfashion #royalontariomuseum #designimpossible #RoyalOntarioMuseum

Here is a close up of the dress.

#irisvanherpen #transformingfashion #royalontariomuseum #designimpossible #RoyalOntarioMuseum

This lovely little black and copper number was my favourite.  I could seriously see myself wearing this one.
#irisvanherpen #transformingfashion #royalontariomuseum #designimpossible #RoyalOntarioMuseum

If I remember correctly, the fabric is a heavy wool with the leather hand-sewn onto the garment. If you click on each picture, you will connect through to my Flickr album where there are several other photos of her garments.  Some of her pieces were incredibly macabre (not my cup of tea), but I could not help but admire her creativity.  There were also several videos of her working on some of the dresses (pieces of wearable art, imho!), and I was struck by her patience – the losing of herself in the creative process.  I must say, I don’t have that ability to get ‘lost’ while sewing… my mind is always going somewhere else or thinking about so many things!  Can you imagine making something like this:
#irisvanherpen #transformingfashion #royalontariomuseum #designimpossible #RoyalOntarioMuseum

Each strip of plastic is sewn on individually.  By hand.  Incredible!

Crosshatch Denim Collection

It’s not very often I find fabric in my local Fabricland that I totally fall in love with, but this was one. It’s a brown-white crosshatch cotton-poly-elastene lightweight denim that I circled around for weeks until it went on clearance, and then I bought the entire bolt for $5/metre. I can’t remember exactly how many metres I purchased, but I knew it would give me several pieces, none of which I planned to wear together, but would provide a nice collection for other pieces.

The first piece in this collection was a skirt, Burda 02-2006-114sewn last summer. I’ve made four of these, in lime green, black, khaki, and now, brown. I don’t have pictures of the black one, but it’s made from the same beautiful cotton denim as these jeans. I don’t have any photos of my wearing it, so this will just have to suffice. I’ve worn it a lot over the last couple of summers.

Image result for Burda 04/2010 #143Then I wanted some capris, and decided to try Burda 04/2010 #143. These were an experiment in Burda’s plus sizing/drafting, and I’m surprised at how much I like to wear them. They have more wearing ease than a typical stretch denim pant pattern, as they’re drafted for non-stretch fabrics.  I made a curved waistband, not the elastic one as in the pattern.

I love the little tab details on these. The front tab is like a little built-in belt, and the hemline tabs are fun. These have been in constant rotation through my wardrobe since last summer.

Burda 4-2010-143 front tab

I did make up a jacket in this fabric, but didn’t like it much, so I gave it away.  It was my mistake in shortening the back waist and grading it into the side front that caused the fail (I did do a pattern fitting session on my dress form… in my defense…   It was the execution that was subpar…) and in the end I just didn’t like the fabric enough in a casual safari-style jacket.

WheBurda 5-2010-112n I purchased this massive length of goods, I initially thought of doing a safari style set of garments.  This dress is probably the only things that would actually qualify as having typical safari elements: big patch pockets, lacing, buttoned tabs, etc.  The pattern is Burda 5/2010 #112.  I only have a German copy of the magazine, so it was a bit fun translating a word here or there in order to get the gist of Burda’s construction suggestions.  Between reading the instructions aloud (my ear can hear hints of English sometimes) and studying the magazine photo, I managed to put it together without pulling my hair out.

safari dress

I underlined the back of the dress with a cotton batiste.

Burda 5/2010 #112 front detail

The front interior is a bit messier than I like with all the pockets (total of four) and the laced opening.  See?  Mess on the inside.

Burda 5/2010 #112 insides

This is a construction pic, and, no, you’re not looking at it upside down. I’m in the process of doing the welt pockets with the flaps in this photo.

B 5-2010-112 front pockets

And a back view.

Burda 5-2010-112 back

It’s dartless, and I wanted to keep it that way… loose fitting and cool in the summer. And one last view from the side. The sleeves are long, and after playing around with rolling them or just gathering them up into the tabs, I decided I liked the ‘careless casual’ vibe proffered by the latter.  Hmmm…. maybe it could use some shaping in the back.  We’ll see…

Burda 5-2010-112 front