Monday, March 29, 2010

6-Piece Spring Sew Along Completed

2010 Spring Sewing 6 Pack

Not sure how well it all flows together as a traditional SWAP would, but I like the pieces and have worn all so far except for the top with the large collar and bow (that needs a warm day).

As always, off to contemplate the next project(s).

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

RTW Beaded Top

This top gave me the idea to bead a shirt - which is shown in the previous post.

Upon close inspection of this top, I noticed just how
-intricate the beading is
-the numerous types of beads used
-that several of these beads should be dry-clean only (the mother of pearl and metallic ones). I've washed this shirt numerous times - and am starting to get tiny rust stains on the top.
-just how GOOD the beading is - and I wonder if tiny hands of slave labor did the sewing
-that only the front has a facing - and it is tacked down with just a few stitches (shown in a photo)
-that the back neckline is finished with binding instead of a facing

Monday, March 22, 2010

Beaded Top

I used the same pattern [New Look 6808] to make an off-white knit top as in my last post. I used the 3/4 length sleeve, which has a slit cuff and a plain scoop neckline (I just left off the collar).

I added embellishment to the neckline with beads. I brought my top to a local bead shop and within 10 minutes, the very helpful gal had me all set up with a handful of beads. She was able to lead me away from beads which should never be washed (mother of pearl) or those that would rust or break easily. She knew her stock! And she was very encouraging and empowering.

I spent a few nights playing with bead layouts. Taking photos and studying the layouts through a lens helped identify layouts with issues. I'll have to remember that for future reference. I think it was taking a step back and looking at the layout as a whole was what brought to light ideas that looked good, or those which were too overdone.

I ended up beading the neckline twice. The first time I used poly thread that, upon first wash to wash out marker markings, the threads had stretched! So I resewed the whole top (and deleted a motif I didn't care for) using clear nylon thread. I made sure to knot almost every bead. After one wearing and another washing, one bead fell off (a large one) so I ran a second line of nylon thread through all the beads, knotting at each bead again. Loosing that one bead would have unraveled the whole shebang if I hadn't been so diligently knotting away!

So, pictures! Please do give me an honest assessment. Your comments will help me determine future plans. I would like to do more beading - but I need to figure out what thread to use - and I'd like to do more subtle beading, using the same color bead as the fabric.

Here is a photo of the first beading with the motif I left off during the second beading attempt. It was too crowded and not really necessary. You can also see that in my second beading (photos above) I corrected some of the wonkiness of the circle beads - which were very difficult to work with!

One last photo with he-who-loves-to-be-held (black dog, white knit top - not a good marriage, dear!)....which has a bit of a better image of the broomstick skirt (bought at Cracker Barrel a couple of weeks ago) which I matched the beads to. I wore the outfit with a dark jean jacket (RTW - I've yet to tackle form-fitted jackets and flat-felled seams) the other day and felt quite ready for spring. Someone explain to me why it is snowing as I type here in southern Virginia on March 22.

Friday, March 5, 2010

White Tie Top

New Look 6808, View E (the brown on the top, right) -

I love this linen-like fabric. It has a fine hand and feels lovely. I wanted to make something with this that would serve me well this spring and summer.

I made one muslin. Changes I made:
-Broad back adjustment, one inch on the pattern piece (two inches total)
-Petited the upper front bodice about 3/4 inch
-Changed the direction of the dart (I'm liking french darts)
-FBA 1 3/4 inch spread
-Changed the location of both front and back fish eye darts - I think I moved them outward an inch or two, front and back
-Shortened the back fish eye darts about 1.5 inches (to accommodate the broad back adjustment)

Mistakes I made:
- I followed instructions for applying the front and back facings rather than the collar (duh moment!). I debated leaving the shirt as it was and adding beading to the neckline - but decided I could do that in a different fabric because I really wanted the broad collar on this top. So last night I spent over an hour very carefully unpicking the tiny stitches.

Tweaks to the pattern:
- Today I placed the collar but I did not follow pattern instructions. They seemed bulky - and included adding the unpicked facings. I simply lined up the seam edges, sewed my 5/8 inch seam allowance and flipped the collar to the right side. This left raw edges under the collar - which I finished off with a hong-kong binding due to the unraveling tendency of the fabric. I think the hong-kong finishing, even though using a very fine silk, adds a bit too much bulk under the collar. But I don't think it would be noticeable to the average layperson when I wear it.

-I finished off the armholes with self-fabric bias strips. I could have turned under the armhole, but I needed the extra width on the sleeves to hide my bra straps - which sit wide on my shoulders.

The top is a bit loose, I oped to NOT insert a side zipper because there is a wee bit of stretch in the fabric. I also don't mind the wee bit extra width because this is designed to be worn in warm/hot weather and the extra ease will be welcome on hot days.

I think this is a versatile top which will get much use.

The only thing is difficult to find something to wear over a wide-collared top. My San Diego jacket does not look good with this. Perhaps a simple RTW cardigan will fit under the collar. I'll have to try that tomorrow.

I plan to make an the same top with the same scooped neckline, but without the wide collar and bow. I hope to embellish it with beads. I think I'll add a back zip for that top to make it a bit more fitted...unless I decide to use a knit, in which case I'll grade down the side seams and deepen the darts. I have several fabric choices on hand.

ETA: The markings were done with thread tracing - not an easy feat due to four fish eye darts and the bust darts. I was terrified to add chalk or marker to this fabric in fear that it would never wash out. I was pleasantly surprised with how well the thread tracing worked at the pinning and sewing stages - but the tracing stage was mind-boggling!

This makes garment number 4 in my 6-pack wee spring swap.