Ta da!

The lace tunic is finished.

The lace is quite substantial and the tunic has some weight to it. The silk charmeuse lining is wondrously comfortable, and makes this such a pleasure to wear.

The centre back pleat was a bit of a pain to manipulate so that it lays flat but adding a small flower appliqué helped tack it all down into place. There is a facing which I interfaced with silk organza, under stitched, and then ‘topstitched’ invisibly 5mm away from the neckline in order to keep it in place. I also discreetly secured the edges of the facing through all layers so that it wold behave as one layer.

My solution for the side seams was to use a true Hong Kong finish, using the silk underlining, and then stitching an appliqué on the interior of the hem to hide the bottom 4 cm of seam allowance.

Another close up of the hem and side seam finishing.

I’m pleased with how this turned out.

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A happy compromise

I have come to terms with my desire for couture construction, having a garment to wear within a reasonable amount of time (since I cannot commit full days to totally do a garment with hand sewing) and finishing that I will be happy to on and wear.

Exhibit A: the sleeve seams. I undid the bias binding on the sleeve seams, trimmed the bias silk down to 2.5 cm in width, and bound each allowance edge separately.

And because I disliked the way the seam allowances are visible at the hem of the bell sleeves, I chose to appliqué one of the larger flower motifs on the inside of the sleeve to cover the bottom part of the seam.

In the photo, the bottom sleeve is inside out; the top left sleeve is right side out, but you can see the wrong side peaking out with no seam allowance showing – just another flower. Yay!

I am much happier with this, and am contentedly constructing the rest of the garment along the same idea. Hopefully I’ll have a finished garment to show you by the end of the week.

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?

2017, 2018 and other tidbits

2017 makes 2
Vogue 1491, DD3’s middle school frankpattern formal, Burda 04/2010 #112

I’ve been enjoying all the year-end reviews that have popped up in my reader over the last 6 weeks or so.  It’s crazy how 6 weeks seems like it’s a lifetime ago, and obsolete.  One reason I really hate social media these days.

I haven’t blogged very much this past year for a variety of reasons, and it seemed to be a reflection on what I’ve actually done creatively in my sewing life.  But after reading Naomi’s wrap-up post I thought I would set up a similar Excel workbook to track my makes. And my fabric inventory.

Lo, and behold! I actually sewed 62 garments during 2017!  I was so surprised! Only about half got photographed or blogged, some were thrifted, and only a handful haven’t been worn yet, as I decided in December to sew up a collection of short-sleeved summer tops.

2017 screen shot

I must say, compiling this list was encouraging.  I sewed a lot last year!  It makes me feel  I can move on to 2018 with a right good will to getting some of the larger projects going that I have been purposely avoiding out of fear for the last couple of years (fear of fitting, fear of less-than-perfect execution, fear of garment-lifestyle clashes).

And speaking of 2018, there has been a lot of kerfluffle in the sewing universe about the 2018 Burda Challenge.  I’m sure Burda appreciates all the variations on this challenge every single year, although each iteration to date hasn’t gotten a lot of social media attention.  When I participated back in 2013, only a few bloggers were interested, but this year, I guess the right person with enough clout in the sewing blogosphere decided to get on board, so everyone’s talking about it.  I think credit should be given where credit is due, however, and so here’s to ReadyThreadSew and Pattern Review with the idea of a year-long challenge from waaaaay back when.  I always find it amusing when the masses jump on a bandwagon that’s been around for a while simply because they hear a louder or more popular voice talking about it.  No rant intended!  It’s just my observations from the sidelines. 😉  Ideas need persistent, loud, popular voices in order to take root and get people on board.  But that smacks of politik, and I am not going down that rabbit hole.

Anyways, I’m looking forward to actually getting photographs of all my 2018 makes – both successes and failures – and sharing them with you this year.  I’ve tried IG for the last year, and it is sooooo not my thing.  I’m a sideline girl, and although I occasionally like to scroll through my feed and see what you all are up to, posting prolifically is not my style.  Of course, this article went a long way to explaining why, never mind that I like my neurons and my privacy.

That said, this year I have resolved:

  • to actually blog and share my makes this year, and not get dopamined-up and depressed on my IG feed.  There is a small part of me that screams, “But you’ll be missing out on so much!”, and I’ve decided to ignore it and stay true to my watching-from-the sidelines self.  Sharing all my makes is also not really in my comfort zone (I often feel I have nothing interesting to say, or any pretty pictures to share), but I have also resolved this year to…
  • take baby steps.  Baby steps in healthy activity, in French, in social settings; permission to be creative, including TAST (an embroidery and stitching challenge); and..
  • sewing up some of my prolific stash, including ticking off the
  • 2018 Burda Challenge box and a
  • Year of the Jacket personal challenge with each make.  I have so many beautiful coatings in my stash, and I really want to attempt a French jacket, so I have set this as a many-birds-with-one-stone step.

And here’s a teaser, although I probably won’t blog any of these, as they were last year’s makes.

2017 makes
Collection of lace and silk tops from BurdaStyle & Vogue; brown skirt Burda 02/2006 #114; blue linen trousers Burda 12/2011 #133; and a stack of tops from Simplicity 4076 and BurdaStyle

 

Tough Love Collection layered dress: Burda 2/2014 #123

Burda 2-2014-123 layered dressI often ask DD1 if she needs anything on a seasonal basis, and if so, what she would like to have in her closet.  Well, this little number from Burda’s February 2014 Tough Love collection caught her eye, and after looking at laces around town, we gave up on it because we just couldn’t find the perfect mix of mesh-lace-knits or what have you (Burda suggested two layers of mesh, but I  – being mom – suggested something more modest.)

Then, around Hallowe’en time, I wandered into my local Fabricland, and there was a remnant of this lovely spider web lace draped on a mannequin over fluorescent orange satin, and I grabbed it for $5, brought it home and had her look at it.  She loved it, and I made up the mesh overdress with the side ties pronto.  (As an aside, there was a bolt of this lace the first time we were looking for fabrics and she didn’t like it; I thought it was perfect because she hates flowery lace and this is so unusual.   But she’d forgotten she’d seen and dismissed it by the time the remnant came home….. 😀 ) Burda 2-2014-123 necklineI bound the neckline and the sleeve edges with bias silk chiffon.  The side ties are bias tubes, inserted through channels created by sewing narrow strips of fabric along either side of the side seams.  They can then be pulled to create ruching as the wearer desires.Burda 2-2014-123 tiesI left the hem edges raw, and the seams were double stitched and serged, pressed to one side and topstitched down in order to give some strength to this very holey lace.  The shoulders have channels with ribbons tacked down to create ruching, too.Burda 2-2014-123 detailsThen the overdress sat waiting for the perfect underdress fabric, which I eventually found on EOS. It’s a rayon-lycra doubleknit in two shades of grey.  I wanted this to be reversible, and decided to do a flat-fell seam with raw edges.  I don’t own a coverstitch machine, and this would have been the perfect project for it.Burda 2-2014-123 rawThe sleeve edges and hem were simply turned up and stitched with a stretch stitch, and the neckline was faced with a narrow strip of self-fabric cut on the cross grain, turned to the inside, and topstitched.  After pulling it on and off the mannequin and DD1 for fitting, I’m starting to see little fuzzy bits of yellowy-beige fibres  (which must be the lycra) along the unfinished edges. Here’s the dark side.Burda 2-2014-123 reversibleIt’s a perfectly respectable T-shirt dress on its own, although DD1 says it feels like a nightgown when she wears it without the overdress.  *whatever*  Here’s a couple of pics to show the light and dark side of the force underdress.

.Burda 2-2014-123     Burda 2-2014-123 dark
I personally prefer the dark side.  Here’s the back.Burda 2-2014-123

LBD: Burda 9/2014 #130

LBD Burda 09-2014-130DD1 is attending a 16th birthday party for one of her friends, and the dress code was “all in black”.  Perfect excuse for making a new dress, right?  Never mind that she’s never owned a little black dress.  Burda 09-2014-130

She chose this style from Burda September 2014.  It’s basically a strapless, boned bodice with a short-ish (21″) gathered dirndl skirt and a lace upper bodice.  We went with black silk  shantung and spider-web lace from stash.  Burda 09-2014-130 bodiceI muslined the bodice, and then used the adjusted muslin as the pattern and underlining for the silk. The cotton lining contains the spiral steel bones, which I fell-stitched to the bodice proper.  LBD interior details I added a petersham waist stay, and an additional small stay across the top of the bodice behind the invisible zipper to facilitate zipping-up ease and prevent zipping up skin. Burda 09-2014-130 laceThe lace is bound in chiffon bias strips.  I shortened the front upper lace bodice by about 2 inches.  Burda 09-2014-130 shoulderThe left shoulder is fastened with a loop and button.The skirt is basically a rectangle gathered into the bodice.  I lined it with bemberg, and finished the hem with purple lace.  Mostly because I didn’t have any black lace.Burda 09-2014-130 hem laceThis was a 2-day project – crunch time, in terms of sewing hours.  And there was a lot of hand sewing, mostly due to my personal choice of construction.Burda 09-2014-130 frontI’m pleased with the fit.  DD1 is dancing 20+ hours per week and is extremely fit these days, but I deliberately cut the bodice with about 1.5 inches (4cm) ease spread out over all 6 seams so she can wear this for a few years.  Burda 09-2014-130 side

Burda Challenges

Burda 03-2013-113 frontWhen Miss V brought me her collection of fabrics, she was not crazy about this black polyester crepe with the tiny pink roses.  But a dress needed to be made up from it, since it was a special gift from a shop owner “back home”.  I originally thought, since she had no intention of wearing the garment, of making up Vogue 1351 by DKNY.  I’ve been  wanting to make the dress for myself, but that would have required an FBA to the lining and I was too lazy over the summer to try, and Miss V doesn’t require any FBA.  Perfect opportunity to make the dress, thought I.

But as I was working on the various pieces of Miss V’s wardrobe, fabric spread out everywhere, DD3 saw the black with pink and immediately latched onto it.  She loved it.  So, with permission, I changed direction and made up this number that caught my eye back in Burda’s March 2013 issue (model #113).Burda 03-2013-113DD3 thought it would be perfect, so I started sewing.  The dress is completely unlined.  I wasn’t motivated to put in a lot of work for this garment. What can I say?  Some fabrics kill all motivation for excellence just by existing.  All the seams are straight-stitched with a serged finish, and I actually did a rolled hem with my overlocker.  It’s about as RTW a garment as I’ve ever made.Burda 03-2013-113 necklineI shorted the bodice – “petited” it, if you will – by folding out 2cm of length at the high bust and waist levels.  And I raised the CF slit by about 3 inches because it was ridiculously low – like let’s-show-everything low.  The bodice front is almost cut on the true bias – not quite –  which is great for skimming over the body, and wasn’t too much of a pain to sew in this poly crepe.  The CF gathers pull the CF into an inverted V, which poufs a bit over the lower abdomen, as seen above.  But in this dark fabric, it’s not noticeable while being worn. Burda 03-2013-113The skirt is cut almost like a full circle skirt. Took me a bit of looking at the pattern pieces to figure that out because of the odd way Burda suggests cutting them: on the folded bias.  When tracing the pieces the grain lines run parallel to the side seams, which is confusing until you see the layout diagram.  *lightbulb*piecesThe skirt has been shortened by about 4 inches to keep it looking youthful and modern on DD3. She wore it yesterday and loved it.  It’s a pretty pattern, and I hope to give it another incarnation soon.

The other Burda piece in Miss V’s wardrobe was this lace shirt from the same issuBurda 03-2013-116 fronte Burda 03-2013-116 back(March 2013 # 116). It’s a plain basic boxy shapeless shirt, but the poly lace I found is heavy enough that it drapes nicely.  And just so you know, the front is on the left, back is on the right in the photos above.  Yup.  Lots of shape and definition here!  The purpose of this garment:  a covering in cooler (freezing) air-conditioned buildings.  Apparently if you’ve got A/C, then you crank it up so it feels like an Arctic experience!Burda 03-2013-116 bound seamsAll the seams are bound in poly satin. The lace was lovely and soft to work with, but that poly stretch satin fabric was a a PITA for making bias strips.  I don’t think I’ve sewn so much polyester anything in years as I’ve done for these two projects.  If I don’t sew any again for another decade, I’ll not miss it.  BTW, the March 2013 issue of Burda is winning the Burda Challenge so far this year.  It’s amazing how one or two issues will be full of gems that get made and others languish for years untouched.

Still sewing like a fiend!  I’ve got some Kmher batik and a sari to turn into garments before the end of the week before Miss V leaves!