29 August 2012

Go Big or Go Home.

My law school's annual retreat was last weekend at a resort in Newport Beach, CA, so I decided to make a dress to wear to Saturday night dinner. I selected a vivid knit fabric from my escapade into Michael Levine's Loft and decided to make Very Easy Vogue 8508.


OK, it's pretty much a potato sack. I have body issues, you know? The fabric drapes nicely, and I knew it would be comfortable, and I wasn't up for dealing with putting a lot (or even a little) work into something and having it be too small. Well, it wasn't too small.

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Plus the neckline was awful--I could not get the facings to stay inside the dress. I wore something else.

So today I decided to try to fix it. I find it much easier to work on a garment after I have screwed it up and there is nothing to lose. I cut off the raglan sleeves, took in the side seams a total of 4 inches, switched over to view B with the stand-up collar--I just made it work! It fits and looks much better now. See?

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Damn. It looks just the same in the picture! (The tiara (from Oona Balloona's birthday prom) is so you will forget I'm having a bad hair day.)

Oh, well. Nice print, don't you think?

13 August 2012

Don't know quite what to make of this.

HT: Sally Pinniped

If You've Ever Wondered Where Hell is ...

It's in Glendale, California.
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And once you are there, abandon all hope of getting out.
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11 August 2012

OK, That's Better.

Three Olympic events and a good night's sleep later, the damage is undone. Fresh start in the morning today and now the V 8575 dress is finished.

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And on the model.

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I wore it riding my bicycle to new student orientation last night over cycling pants which I pretended were leggings (different shoes, of course). It was well over 90∘F. The Dry Flex knit seems to have done its job keeping me cool and dry while not looking too rumpled after the ride. It goes right into the rotation. All is forgiven.

09 August 2012

When I Mess It Up I Don't Mess Around!

Vogue 8575. I've made 3 versions already; this would be dammit, will be the 4th.


Here's what I'm supposed to have:

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Here's what I've got, on its way to being a cycling dress of Dry Flex knit from FabricMart:

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Even the non-sewing-inclined will immediately notice that one wing seems to be (is) inside out. But look more closely and see that one tie is attached to the inside of the dress (whichever that turns out to be) and one to the outside.

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But wait--there's more!

Both wings of the dress are put together sideways! the seams between the kimono sleeves and the front and back bodice are supposed to be the shoulder seams between the front and the back of the sleeves!

Now, this is unfortunate. Especially because I did an unusually good job of matching up those pesky princess and shoulder seams. For me, anyway. And, of course, everything is serged.

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06 August 2012

Prom Night Out!

I was where it's at at Promaballoona last night!

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And so were Nhi, Sandra Mc, Amity and Jill, all in beautifully made dresses! You can also see the back of Angela of Bonne Chance in this pic.

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And another KC!

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The Prom was lovely. Oona is such a sweetheart, the SewLA Shop is a great space, and seamsters are the best people! Lots of pix here and here,here and on SewLA's Facebook page.

I didn't really get moving on my dress for Oona Balloona's Prom until afternoon. I couldn't decide what to make, and I can't see the Olympics from my sewing room, you know how it goes. I still should have had plenty of time. I've made the dress, Butterick 5489, before.

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What could possibly go wrong? OK, the striped fabric, a $2.50/pound knit from Michael Levine Loft, was a little slippery. Like, no matter where I put it, as soon as I let go it slithered to the floor. And OK, I wanted to make it a foot longer this time. So I accurately measured out an extension to lengthen the dress and carefully applied it to the front and half the back. Oops.

But things got really educational when I set to making the buttonholes at each side of the front waist to thread the ties through. I've always considered my machine's ability to make buttonholes to be a kind of magic, so when I blithely ran this creation under the buttonhole foot and it came out innocent of any stitching, I did not know what to do. I tried a few "magic" words. I brushed my teeth. I changed my needle. Nothing. At last, desperate, I read the directions and learned about gimp. Gimp? Gimp! And that my machine has special settings just for buttonholes in stretch knit. Who knew?

Now seriously pressed for time I raced ahead with the dress. I was determined to use my FabricMart mystery bundle giraffe print somehow so I made the ties and neck and arm binding with it. It's a look, OK? But I still had to deal with the hemline, which I had to hack off at knee length to match the unfortunately brief half of the back. It was nearly 9 p.m. and Heidi, Nina and Michael were getting impatient. So I made it work by doing a "Renfrew" at the hem with a wide doubled band of giraffe. Perfection. Or, at least, no worse than my original prom dress. I left the gimp threads hanging on the dress so I could brag about them.

04 August 2012

So, Promaballoona and Stuff


I live in Los Angeles. So I'm one of the Lucky Ones who can toddle off to Promaballoona in analog time and space tomorrow at SewLA. Which, by the way, is a great shop, and even better in its new location where instead of zero parking spaces it has at least 2! I was there just the other day and bought myself a copy of Sewaholic's Renfrew pattern, which I made up today into a wholly satisfactory tee.

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But what I should have been making was a dress for Promaballoona if, in fact (or in digital reality), I'm going. I'm awfully awesomely old for a prom but I suppose I could chaperone. Well, except for the being responsible and staying sober part.

Here is a photo of me last time I went to a prom, in 1968.

218481 rubber orange field marker game cone 28 inches

I kid you not. It was a yellow A-line dress with a neon orange net overlay. Or a sheer neon orange dress over a yellow petticoat. My date, my steady but very frustrated boyfriend at the time, wore a magenta tux. On which I pinned an orange boutonniere. Did I mention it was 1968?

So, now, 44 years later, whatever shall I wear? At first I thought I'd let Fate or, more accurately, FabricMart decide. I fell so hard for FM's 35% off sale (ending tomorrow 8/5) that I qualified for a free mystery bundle. You know how FabricMart tries to divine your style from what you order and match it with your mystery bundle, right? Right? Not.* Here's what I ordered:

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And here is what was in my mystery bundle:

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But totally prom material, am I right?

On the other hand, I did spend Tuesday of this past week shopping with my giveaway winner Amity and fellow seamster Nhi.

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Where I scored $25.00 worth of god-knows-what at $2.50/pound at Michael Levine's Loft.IMG 0593

Surely some of this stuff is crying to be made into a prom dress, right?

Maybe, maybe not. Stay tuned.

*Okay, the orange and yellow seem to have some kinship with the sky blue. But the orange and yellow are supplex for somewhat-high-viz cycling wear, for which the shiny sky blue is not suited.

01 August 2012


I hardly ever finish anything. Mostly because, although I am working on it, my image of my body is so poor and delusional that trying things on traumatizes me and causes me to fling whatever UFO it is into some dark corner and vow never to wear clothing or leave the house again.

However, I did make another iteration of the Shams Not-A-Tablecloth Skirt, correcting all the mistakes I made in the first one and making shiny new ones. Look at this lovely corner (and there are four more just like it)!
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See the tidy folded hem which is not at all just a bunch of shaggy serging! (Oops, no pic.) And the nicely turned elastic waistband!
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Well, sort of nicely turned. If I'd cut a waistband more than twice the width of the elastic that would have worked better. But OK.

And I learned something! In her tutorial, Shams says to make the hole for the waist (the Not-A-Tablecloth Skirt is basically a square circle skirt) big enough for the wearer's waist or hips. My hips are, um, generous. Making the waist large enough to get around my hips creates a lot of bulk that has to be gathered into the elastic at the waist. What I should have done is make the waist big enough to get around my shoulders and chest where, in my neighborhood, there is a lot less real estate.

I made this just in time to see Vogue Patterns come out with its version of the dress Shams originally copied to draft this skirt:


Mine doesn't look anything like this one--does anyone's? Mine looks more like this photo:

that is, bulky and shapeless. Success!

Anyway, here's my skirt:
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It's made of a middle-weight cotton I bought to make duvet covers for every bed in the house, so I bought a lot of it. A. Lot. Then, of course, decided not to bother with the duvet covers. Since then I've made it into two pairs of pajamas and this skirt. On the whole, not a bad decision.

UPDATE: My commenters are very kind, and I must definitely stop complaining (and get sewing!), but I'll just point out that Vogue doesn't think this style looks good on anybody:


Way to sell a perfectly good pattern, Vogue!