Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Fog, The Fog!

Ah, the joys of being caught in the Brain Fog. Sigh. At least I knew better than to cut into fabric!

However, I still tried to make sourdough bread. You know what happens when you put the dough in a slightly warm (but turned off) oven to rise for a few hours, then forget it for about 20?

Surprisingly, not as catastrophic as I had imagined! Sure, the silicon bread pan spread out a little, and the loaf had collapsed some from what would have been the peak rise (although, again, not as much as I would have thought), and it sure looks funny:

(upside down)

(upside down)

A little tart. A little chewy. Very holey. But it worked!!!!

Good news is, yesterday morning was better (we won't talk about the evening), and I figured out that with the new only-full-circle version of the skirt flare, there was plenty of the dark brown fabric. Both skirt and tunic top (minus facings) have been cut out!!!

This is the original pattern, to be cut twice on the fold - so the pattern is showing one quarter of the flare. See how it goes more than 90 degrees? That means the flare will be more than 360 degrees (a full circle skirt) - I wasn't going to be dancing that hard!

I don't know if you'll be able to see this - this was my redesign. At first all I did was find the perpedicular in order to trim it down to a full circle, and add a side seam allowance. But as I said in an earlier post, it struck me later that the top openning has to have the same length that it did before, since it's not gathered onto the skirt yoke. There's a second curve drawn both below the top and bottom of my original draft, around 1 1/4" down - the cut edge of the top now measures 9 3/4" again.

Same piece, now cut out along the redrafted lines. I held a piece up in front of me, forcing the top seam straight, and I think the amount of flare will be just fine!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Let it Stew...

Something I've learned (not yet the hard way!) recently is that I need to draw out my alterations or design ideas, then go away and do something else for a day or two. I never used to be the person who could sleep on a problem, but lately I'll be puttering away and WHAM - that won't work because of ... (maybe it just doesn't work for me during school projects?).

From whence has this come, you ask?

You probably already saw the trend - the lack of dark brown rayon. It's not a crisis situation yet, at least visually there looks to be enough 'area', just not in the shapes those pattern pieces are in. My first attack on it last night was to see that the skirt flare was more than a full circle (piece is cut on the fold twice, and goes through about 120 degree arc rather than the 90 degrees for each quarter circle). I certainly don't need it that full! So I traced off the pattern for the short skirt, and figured out where the 90 degree line would be. Went and did other things.

Wait. The top of it isn't gathered. Which means that sweep I just 'cut off' included some of the distance I need to attach it to the yoke.

Gave myself a few more minutes to mull it over, and figured out I just need to drop the top curve down the piece until it's length matches the original length, then lengthen the bottom arc the same amount so the skirt stays the same length. I don't know what this will do for compact layout on the fabric, but I still have the option of piecing it.

Onto ironing the fabric!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Plan (or a bit thereof)

I started the SWAP with a storyboard. I love the idea of a plan for the Plan. I love the little pictures. I loved the idea of being able to mentally tick off each one.

The storyboard lasted about a week.

I only had two jacket patterns (not being much of a jacket wearer), neither of which went really well with the one-side-suedey, one-side-satiny poly fabric (is there a name for it??) in a very light beige. My mom offered to let me use her McCall's 4599 (a curved front, asian style jacket) that I liked.

A day or two later I remembered a tunic pattern that I had that I liked (but didn't know what to make it out of - must be way out of print by now):

And I remembered the dark brown rayon in the stash... (planning on the sleeveless version, but with the little v notch like the upper left view).

Then my choice of raw materials forced another change (well, it forced quite a few before this, but you didn't know about those ideas...). I got a large oatmeal-coloured linen dress from Value Village for the fabric (love linen, love off-white with shots of light brown in it), part of which debuted as the halter top in the previous post. I had intended to make the skirt from the same pattern out of it (even if it turned out much shorter), but I only had the back of the skirt panels from the dress left over. OK, enter Simplicity 4753:

which was already in the Plan, but for a different fabric combo (hopefully still will be). Wouldn't it work out great to have the linen as the flared bottom, and the dark brown rayon from the tunic as the yoke?

Maybe, but there isn't enough linen for the flare. So the linen is going to be the yoke, and the dark brown the flare. I did sketch it out on my croquis, and it may end up working out better this way! Depending on where the yoke ends, wearing the skirt with the tunic may show up as all dark brown (maybe some peaks of oatmeal if there are side vents), and yet with the halter top, the yoke should visually merge in with the 'skirt' at the bottom of the halter.

I've got the yoke and facings cut out for the skirt, I haven't checked though that I have enough dark brown for both the flare and the tunic - wish me luck!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

SWAP Top 1 & Top 2

In order to feel like I was making some progress, I made a T-shirt in between frustrations with the previously mentioned pants. Jalie 2005 is my standby - I think it was the first pattern I made more than once, and this has got to be at least the 10th time I've made it. Who doesn't have a need for at least half a dozen well fitting knit tops? In fact, this one was a redo of a long sleeved knit top I had made from a Butterick pattern that I didn't end up liking nearly as well - so it got ripped apart and used again for the tried-and-true (TNT) style. Because I eeked it out of the other top, it ended up being quite a bit shorter than my usual, and had to be short sleeved, but because it's a kinda-lacey light weight white fabric, short sleeved worked better anyway. Doesn't photograph very well though!

Once I finished the pants, I could really sink my teeth into something new. Simplicity 4998 has a top, skirt, dress, and pants (I had originally thought that one view was a jumpsuit, but the top and pants are separate - I might morph them together someday just to see!). I started by tissue fitting the pattern (pinning the pattern on me and playing around with the seam allowances, etc) - which turns out to have been highly inaccurate. Maybe my tank top shifted the centre front and back lines on me... but let's just say it's a good thing I added 1" side seams anyway, I was down to 1/4" in one place by the end!

My review on Pattern Review is here.

If I were to make this again, I'd cut out a size 10 for the top of the halter, not the 12, and ditch the ties (although I might want those for the jumpsuit - I'm a little cautious about having nothing breaking up a top-to-bottom single piece outfit). I'd also adjust it vertically for my high waist - I'm not sure whether simply playing with the side seams until they fit was the best way to go. I'm also not sure if the two layer (linen and broadcloth) is going to be too stiff or warm for what I wanted.

It did do one thing though - I'm excited about sewing again! Is there a sweet spot between disdain and obsession? I'm having trouble sleeping... (ha! that doesn't take much!)

SWAP intro

A few years ago, back on the now defunct Sewing World message board, a conversation about having our own "one pattern, many looks" challenge turned into a discussion of the Australian Stitches magazine article on "Sewing with a Plan" - 11 pieces (bottoms, tops, and jacket) all work together in a self-contained wardrobe to produce many, many outfits. (There are rules as to how many bottoms and tops, and there is a maximum number of outfits, but all of the numbers have slipped my mind at the moment!). This got much excited attention, and Julie at Timmel Fabrics started running a contest. A year. Or more often. The latest version just finished last month (you should be able to find links to the finished wardrobes on her website - they are fabulous!).

Well, I've been having trouble getting back to the sewing machine. It's one of those things that the longer you stay away, the more work it seems to be to get back, and so you don't, ya know? The pile of fabric in the closet was mocking me... And so, when I heard that Pattern Review was holding a new SWAP contest from May 1 - July 31st, I closed my eyes and signed up. OK, I took a deep breath and signed up - it's hard to click on the right buttons with your eyes closed.

Not being one to do anything the easy way, I'm trying to make everything from my stash (no need to add to the pile, thank you very much!), including patterns. Except some of what I want to do has no pattern - 'sok, I'll figure out out how to draft it (first one is easy - turning Jalie 2005 plain T-shirt into a empire waist with a cross-over V-neck). I picked the dress version of the rules, which is 3 dresses, 4 tops, 3 bottoms, and a jacket. A few times a week I change my mind about which fabrics and which patterns are included in that ;). I fell a little behind from the beginning, because I had a pair of pants already cut out and mostly fitted that I really needed to finish up (part of the avoiding the sewing machine barrier!), which I finally did last week.

Next post: progess!

And it begins!

I'm excited and scared at the same time! For someone who takes 3 years to fill up a journal, and upwards of a couple of weeks to answer email, a blog is a pretty big step. But I'm so inspired by those who do blog, and love the idea of having project notes available all in one place, so I remember what I did to pattern X the last time I used it...

My intent is to have this mainly be a repository of the joys and frustrations and finished objects of the knit and sewn persuasion. I reserve the right to change my mind though! And part of this first post will already be a diversion:

Meet mini-me (aka mini-Tumblina - one of my more frequent nom-de-plumes ;))

Inspired most recently by tumblyday's Travels with Swatchy, I too have a (one only!) representative to go where I cannot. My friends are off on a retreat next weekend (cottage and lobster and dancing are highlighted!), which is too far, too long, and way too intense for this body, but MT can arrive in fine style and won't fall asleep before the party begins!

I had originally intended a simple, quick to whip up doll, but not having made a doll since I was about 12, I started looking for free patterns. The first one to catch my eye was a scan of a 1940's transfer pattern - doll, pajama pattern, top, jumper, nurse's uniform, shoes and underwear (link here). She ended up being a little more work than I had planned on, and isn't wearing the most coordinated of outfits (shows me for getting rid of my scraps!), but I love how she turned out. I've been promised many pictures from the retreat!!