Saturday, June 29, 2013

Oh, Mother, Where Art Thou?

Not all of our sewing project can be successes.
Many years ago I was making a Vogue pattern that had a button placket down the front, just like this one. It was dark purple, just like this one. I couldn't do it, just like this one. Only many years ago I could go to my sainted mother for her sewing expertise. Sadly, I had to plow through this one on my own. And it shows:
By the time I realized I was not going to have perfection on my placket, I decided to just plow ahead and make it fun. Had I made that decision earlier on, I would have exposed all my orange seams to the outside instead of hidden in the inside...spilt milk:
Oh, well. I actually love it and it will be a fun knock-around dress for lounging and the beach. It just isn't perfect. Thanks, Mom. I know you were watching the whole thing and wishing you could come to the rescue.
For the gory details, read my complete Pattern Review.
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Pantone Can Keep Their Emerald

I love the silk Archer I made for July but there was something so off about the color. I know something is not my color when I have nothing in my closet that goes with it. I even took it with me on a trip to  High Fashion to find fabric for a pair of pants. Everything was either "yuck" or "meh..."
What to do?
Teal to the rescue! There is something SO satisfying about dunking a piece of silk into a boiling pot of acid dye. Having sandwashed this crepe de chine previously I had no fear about the dyeing process. My thoughts were "what's the worst that can happen? I'm not wearing it the way it is..."
And now I LOVE it and it will see lots of wear. I found that I couldn't focus on my next Archer with that emerald green nagging at me. What a difference a dye makes!
Got something in your closet that you like everything about except the color? Check out the assortment of dyes made by Jacquard. It's fun, fast and virtually fool-proof.

Friday, June 7, 2013

50 Shades of Green

This post is about Dominance and Submission. But wait, before you dash off to your adult toy closet for instruments of pain, let me clarify that I am in the role of the Dom and my Sub is a length of green silk crepe de chine. No whips and chains needed, my washing machine and steam iron were the flogging tools.
Some years ago a friend gave me about 3 yards of patterned silk crepe de chine in an emerald color. Not being a huge fan of jewel tones it sat on the shelf.
Earlier this week I heard whispers of "Archer" coming from my stash closet. It was that green silk saying "I have potential...get creative." Well, don't dare this girl  to get creative and not expect action. Game on! (wink@Julie) I'd been wanting to make View B of the Archer and thought stonewashed silk would be the perfect fabric for this view with the little flounce in the back:
Not having any stones, I threw that silk into the washer set on hot along with a couple pair of bluejeans for some agitation. Then into a hot dryer. I then repeated the hot water wash process but with a cold water rinse and adding about a teaspoon of hair conditioner to the final rinse. Then I dried on a medium setting. Voila! It was faded to a lovely sprucey-teal green and the fibers had compressed to a heavier weight with great drape. It is soft and without that shiny crepe de chine finish, which I'm not crazy about, and it smells great! Although it is no longer emerald, in this pic it does show the pretty pattern:

Now, back to Archer View B. There has been much discussion among some of us participating in the 12 Months of Grainline Studios Archer Shirt Sew-along , as to how View B is going to translate on our backsides. So, I volunteered to pioneer the road here, knowing that there was a definite potential of becoming known as Ol' Ruffle Butt.
However, I had a sneaking suspicion that I was going to love this style shirt and I do! Having said that, I think the success of View B is completely dependent on your fabric. Absolutely use a fabric that is drapey and presses well like a silk or rayon woven. I think with the crispness and body of a cotton you would indeed have a ruffle butt.
The pattern suggests gathering the back flounce but I decided to use my ruffler attachment to make pleats. The first thing I did was to cut a muslin of the flounce piece so I could test out which setting I needed on my attachment:

The perfect setting ended up being my ruffler set at every 6th stitch and then decreasing the length of the ruffle marked area on the pattern by approximately 1" at each end. Perfect fit:

Once the flounce is attached I pressed the heck out of it to really flatten it out. I pressed the seam upwards and then trimmed a little off before topstitching it:

I used the cap sleeve idea from V8886 that I recently made and previously posted here.  Basically, all you do is copy the sleeve cap and make a straight line the length of your armscye seam, which on this shirt is 1/2" Here is a picture of the pattern piece I made over the back side of the Archer sleeve:

I cut 4 sleeves from my silk and used 2 of them for the lining. Stitch wrong sides together at the hem, press and turn and then treat as one sleeve. For the remaining 4-5 inches at the underarm I used bias cut fabric strips to bind. Here is a little closer up on the finished sleeves. I think it's a cute look for summer:

And now for the buttonholes! My thinking on this shirt was that since it is so GREEN, and I didn't use contrast fabric anywhere, I felt like the color needed to be broken up. I found some adorable mother-of-pearl buttons in my button jar and thought they would be perfect since the iridescence picks up the green. Then I sort of went crazy with them and came up with this:
Cute, right? That was 11:00 last night. This morning all I could think about was spacing and  marking 11 buttonholes! Oh, that my Bernina had the ninja buttonhole feature that the newer models have...but sadly, I have to mark, measure and stitch the old fashioned way. Googling around I found a brilliant tip on Sew Chic's blog. She made her buttonhole markings on 1/4" quilters tape and taped it down the bottonhole placket as a guide. Not having any quilters tape I  thought my trusty blue painters tape would work just as well. So...I made some practice buttonholes to get the proper size and then decided where I wanted my beginning and ending buttons to be and started the spacing process on tape affixed to my cutting ruler like so: (Warning! This is very have to be able to count to 10)
And then with the tape transfered directly to the button band:
By the way, my perfect collar points and rounded pocket corners were made using Claire's fabulous EZ Pocketmaker found on her ETSY Shop.
Bottom line...I love View B of the Archer. I have another gorgeous piece of silk in my stash that I've been saving for just the right project. I see August's Archer in my future!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

60's Vibe

Do any of you remember the cute clothes Mary Tyler Moore wore on the old Dick Van Dyke show? That's what Vogue 8886 reminds me of...I love the cap sleeves and collar!

This beautiful brocade is a mystery fabric I found at an estate sale a few years ago. It washes and dries beautifully and based on a burn test I'm guessing it is some blend of cotton and Rayon.

This was a simple pattern to put together and I think the most time consuming part was the roll in the collar. The zip I used was too short to allow this close fitting top to go my dress form and this garment really needed to be steam-set around a pair of shoulders. So, I padded a hanger with a thick towel and then tucked a tightly rolled kitchen towel up into the collar and shaped it. I then went over it several times with my steamer and let it dry completely.

If you have never used a professional steamer it will change your life! I was lucky enough to inherit one from my sister when they paired down two households into one and she had an extra Jiffy steamer. I lovingly call him "Swamp Thang" and he is awesome:

I really like this outfit and aside from a few fitting adjustments described on my Pattern Review, it was easy and fun. Thanks for stopping by!