Friday, October 19, 2012

Project Reveal Part V: Skirt and binding

This week has been filled with things other than sewing.  But, on Monday I did get some time to do a bit more to my coat.

I finished sewing the skirt of the coat and I attached it to the bodice.  I knew that I needed some kind of finish for the edge, but did not have enough fabric for a facing, so I had dyed some silk at the same time that matched the coat, so I cut this into bias.  I sewed bias all around the edge of the coat.  Here is a close-up for the binding.

Here is a photo of the front of the coat with the binding in place.  I was originally thinking of putting a sculptural collar of leaves around the front, but I think it would really detract from the pleating in the bodice.  So, I am holding the leaves in reserve for now to see if they will go someplace else.  The next piece I need to get done on the coat is to find some kind of button closure.

Here is a side view of the coat.  As you can see there are a couple of things going on.  The jacket needs some padding in the shoulders, not much, but just a bit for shaping.  The arm in the photo below looks a bit collapsed, but it looks much better on me.  My dressmaker form has narrow shoulders compared to me.  Finally, I need to put on a cuff.  I will use the silk to make a turned back cuff on the arms to hid a stitching line that was over dyed and turned a bit blue.  Plus, the cuff will add to the styling of the jacket.

I included one of my inspiration photos below.  I think my coat is reflecting the times without being a copy, and shows a cleaner more modern line.  We will see how it all goes in the judging.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Flower Sweater Finished

I finally finished my flower sweater that I designed and knitted for my daughter.  I had bought this yarn years ago and hadn't gotten around to using it.  I started the sweater at the end of last October or beginning of November.  I had grand visions of finishing it for Christmas.  Well, things didn't quite turn out that way.  I don't knit much during the day.  I knit an hour or two at night if I can, and then I knit when I can during the day sitting in line at the school, at piano lessons, at half time at soccer and basketball games, waiting at the doctor's or dentist's office.  So, things are not as fast as I would like sometimes, but I do get pieces finished.

Here is Linden playing on the swing in her sweater.

For this design, I wanted a fitted bodice with a fuller skirt.  I used a floral motif in the bodice in an orange with the red background of the sweater.  My daughter loves color, so I used lots of different colors for the flowers in the skirt.  I scattered them all around the bottom using intarsia.  I ran out of red, so the sleeves are purple, but put in a red stitch to tie in the sleeves.  You see this technique in many Scandinavian sweaters.  I finished the sweater with orange attached I-cord all around.  The sweater is knitted in cotton dk from Debbie Bliss.  I knitted the sweater on a size 7 needle.  It is a lovely yarn to knit with and the stitches come out nice and even.  

I love this little sweater.  I am tempted to knit a version for myself.  I think I would change the colors, and I would not put flowers in the skirt, maybe another design but much more subtle.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

Project Reveal Part IV: Sleeves

Besides making the muslin and getting it fitted, I have finished what I consider to be the most challenging part of the jacket: setting in the sleeves.  I never feel that my sleeves go in easily.  It almost always seems a real struggle.  This time, it wasn't too bad.  I used the sleeves from the original coat making some small modifications, but otherwise keeping them the same.  They are not perfect, but they are in.  I did add some flannel in the sleeve cap to help it keeps its shape.

I am now working on the skirt of the coat, which is a lot of fun, and much easier.  I am a bit worried, as the deadline is fast approaching and I still have to finish the coat, line both the coat and the skirt, dyeing the fabric for both, and making and embroidering the top.  Back to work...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Project Reveal III: Finally Sewing

I finally started sewing last week.  I had a bit more than a yard of silk/rayon velvet which I decided to use for my skirt.  I kept trying different designs but realized 1 1/8 yards is not really a lot to do things with, so I ended up with a mock wrap skirt.

Here are the gory details if you want to read, if not, see the photo and continue on! Originally it was to be a wrap skirt, then I realized I didn't have enough coverage when I walked so I decided to add a silk dupioni addition, which took me three hours and still looked horrific.  I then went out and rode my horse to clear my mind.  In that time I decided to make a mock wrap skirt.  So, I purchased a zipper, then sewed the inside wrap down, and unfortunately, I sewed it a bit crooked.  I sewed the other side down.  Then decided I had to fix the crooked seam.  If you have sewn velvet you know that if you take out  a seam you are left with a trail of bad decisions.  So, I covered it up with an added piece of velvet.  I finished the zipper, tried it on, asked my son's opinion, who immediately said, "Isn't this a sewing contest?"  Yes, I replied.  "Well, you aren't going to win.  That zipper thing on the front looks really bad."  Out of the mouth of babes....  I took off the added velvet piece in the front that was supposed to hide my crooked seam, and was left with a trail.  I straightened my original seam, then decided to toss it into the wash.  What have I got to lose?  You should know that I did wash and dry this fabric before I started cutting it.  Well, happily, the traces of the seam disappeared, but horrifyingly, the seams puckered.  So here I was at 9 pm panicking over the seams.  I tried steaming out the puckers, but they were stubborn.   Happily, the bottom seam looked much better.  I went to bed...

Happily, the next morning, the puckers had miraculously disappeared!  Hurray.  So, now I have the velvet skirt sewn except for the lining.  (another long story for another post)  You can't tell from the photo, but the skirt hem is cut and sewn as a curve to match the curve designed into the coat.  The velvet is so dark you can't see the details, but the judging starts with the clothes and a portfolio, so that the judges can really look at the sewing.  Hopefully, lining will cover many of my sins!

Now that the skirt is out of the way, I can start sewing my coat, Yea!   Sewing the wool coat is a piece of cake compared to the velvet.  I love velvet, but hate sewing it.  No matter how hard you work, the stuff slips.  The best solution has been that spray glue for sewing seams that just lasts a bit.  It really works!  However, the chemicals in  it are mind altering.  I try  not to use it very much.  

Now for the trials and tribulations of the coat.  The coat took some real work to figure out how to cut it out, from all the pieces of the previous coat.  I was originally going to have a pretty long coat, but the pattern had other ideas.  So, it will be  a 3/4 length more or less.  Then, I didn't have enough fabric for the back pieces, so I had to take the back and cut it into four pieces instead of two.  I messed with the pattern so that the shoulder piece would not be cut, and that the bottom of the back would not be affected.  So, what happens is that the pieces come to a point at the very back, and then the back pieces line up with the bottom skirt pieces of the coat.  I really like how the pattern came out now.

As for the front, we took an existing piece and draped it so that it came just under the bust.  Kimberly from Les Fabriques helped me and was teaching me to drape.  (I need a lot more practice at draping, maybe a class would help!).  We ended up deciding to put in those pleats for the bustline.  I think it is a fun look.  It looks like a  lot of gaping at the front, but on my body, that big gape is not there.  I am still trying to get this dressmaker's form to fit me a bit better.  She is still too hippy, and lumpy in all the wrong places.  

Today, I am going to try and put on the sleeves.  I will leave the easy part, the skirt pieces for last.  I am still trying to figure out what to do about the collar.  You can see my inspiration photo below from Selvedge.  I want to use the poplar leaves that I cut out to make the collar, but I have no wool left for facing.   I may use silk bias for finishing all the seams, but we will see...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Project Reveal: Part II More dyeing

Yesterday, my husband took the kids for the day to his office.  I thought about cleaning the bathrooms, but of course what I did was work on my outfit for Project Reveal.  Originally, I had planned on a velvet skirt, the wool coat and some kind of green bodice.  But when I put all that green together I had visions of the Jolly Green Giant.  So.....with a friend, we walked around the fabric store looking at colors and fabrics and decided bright pink was the thing I needed for the bodice.  The pink silk they had was a dupioni and a bit bluer than I wanted, so I bought a beige silk broadcloth at a lower price and decided that once again dyeing was an option.

I found this wonderful tool that allows you to mix dyes on the computer before you try experimenting with them for real.  It is called Dye Mixer.  What an awesome tool!  I was able to hone in on the color that I wanted pretty quickly and play around with other colors for fun.  The color I ended up with was pretty darn close to what I developed on the computer.  For my wool coat I used 3 teaspoons of lemon yellow Procion Mx and 1/8 teaspoon of Turquoise.  You can see the resulting colors in my little scrap pile.  This scrap pile, by the way, is all that is left of the coat after I cut out the pattern pieces and cut out my other little pieces that I needed for my design.  Pretty small pile for a redesign....

For my bodice, I decided that fuchsia, lemon yellow and cobalt blue were the best combinations.  I ended up with a beautiful piece of cotton knit after I finished, but a washed out purplely silk.  So, I over dyed the silk again in just pure fuchsia, and you can see what I ended up with.   However, the cotton that I dyed to match it no longer matched, but luckily, I had a piece of cotton knit in my stash that just about matches.  The color of the silk is not as intense as the cotton, but that was how it worked out in the dye pot the first time.  You can see the silk broadcloth on top, the cotton knit, and then the green of the coat.  I think this color combination will work out much better than the green on green on green, which was getting a bit boring.

After I dyed these pieces, I had some leftover dye and went crazy dyeing fabric that I didn't like.  I ended up with a bunch of melon colored fabric for my daughter.  She loves orange right now, and the melon will look good with her fair complexion.  I also over dyed a shirt that had gotten bleach on it, and it came out pretty well, it is now wearable, and a jacket that I bought in a moment of weakness.  It is a cotton rayon knit that was beige.  I wanted the black one, but they were out of black so I bought beige in a tent under the sun.  It was a much different color on me in the house in front of my mirror.  A big yuk!  So into the dye pot it went to come out a nice kind of blue jean blue.  But now it needs some interest.  I am going to enlist  a friend, Nancy Bond, to help me get it looking a bit more interesting, more like some of her clothes with the stamped and painted designs.

Finally, for the rest of my day I cut out poplar leaves.

I have a nice pile now for making my collar.  I am not sure how I will get them onto the coat, but I will think on it.  

I don't have enough fabric left to face the jacket front at all, so I am not sure how I am going to close the jacket.  I have 2/3 yard of silk that I dyed in the same color as the coat.  It was originally going to be my corset, but now I have that fabric to use.  I am thinking of making it into bias and edging the coat with it.  Stay tuned.  I am going to finish cutting out all my pattern pieces today, and will get back with an update soon.  The finish date for Project Reveal is November 4, and the runway show is November 11.  Hopefully I can get it all done....