Monday, February 21, 2011

Back to the Future - Dress for JK

One of the many things I like about writing a sewing blog is sharing my work with friends and family.  Last week my trip to Seattle was great, long overdue to spend some time with my friend JK.  It is fun to show my non-sewing friends the big web world of sewing, and some of the fantastic creations I have seen on other blogs.  After an hour of that I had a good idea of what she might like to have in her closet,  many thanks to Allison C who sews and models a variety of beautiful dresses to choose from. 

So this week I made this dress for JK.   It is Vogue 1159, and the pattern came out last year so I am a little late on the bandwagon but that gave me the chance to see all the other smashing versions.

Purple drape dress front
The dress doesn't really want to hang on the dress form as it does on the body, but it certainly has the wow factor, very curve hugging.   

Here is the pattern photo - what an odd fabric for Vogue to choose, you can't really see the drape because of the print.  As shown the front makes a bit of a cap sleeve - but in reality that does not happen, it hangs on the shoulder as a sleeveless dress would.

Vogue 1159 ptrn photoV 1159 tech drawing

Before I started this dress, I had read many comments about the pattern and the fact that it has more than a few quirks in the construction (not to mention maybe some errors on the pattern markings).
Here is a photo of the pattern piece.  I pinned it up to my wall after I did all my tailor's tacks and notches, because I like to see the arrows, etc. on a pattern piece that has a lot of pleats and tucks.   This is the entire dress, minus 2 more pieces which extend the skirt.  But in essence, just one crazy Mobius strip of a pattern piece (OK, not really for you mathematicians among us)  which is pleated, twisted, and attached partly to itself.    Yes, finally, for this one I looked at the instructions.  And looked.  And turned them every which way.   Finally the light bulb went on - so to speak - when I realized that the instructions were calling this piece "Dress Front and Back"  I kept seeing that phrase and thinking where is the back?  since there is another piece that is the bodice back.    But they refer to this whole piece as "Dress Front and Back" , when in actuality it is more "Dress upper front and skirt front and back".
Purple dress pattern piece

Perhaps I was overthinking it a bit, but once I got oriented with this it went together very quickly.  Here is a look at the center front which is hidden by the drape. You can see how one side crosses over the other, and attaches, creating a diagonal side seam.

  Purple drape dress close frontPurple drape dress front2

I hope JK loves wearing this dress - great excuse for new shoes!  This may have changed my mind about knits.  And it certainly was a change from my last project,  the Vintage Treasure Dress.  Despite my years of sewing - confession time - I almost never make anything with knits.  I have drawers filled with sweaters, which I buy,  and cute T-shirts are available in every possible color - so knits?  Rarely.  I really like tailoring so I do a lot of that.  But I do have have 3 new Jalie top patterns, inspired by Eugenia and others,  so I think this spring I will keep the ball point needles handy and try a few knits.  

Potato bush Feb 2011

Something blooming around the Sunnygal garden, right on time to go with the purple knit jersey dress, a purple potato vine that lives on the pool deck,  and needs to be trained a little bit better.  Like a lot of plants, the bloom is just for a few weeks, but also just what we need in rainy February.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Vintage Treasure Dress finds a new home

Thank you to everyone who commented on my original post which told of my discovery at an estate sale of a completely cut out but never sewn up dress from 1953.  My last post talked about sewing up the dress, and the connection we all have with sewers of past generations.
I am really touched by the reaction to this story.   Thank you to Lindsay T who read these posts and linked to both of them on the Great VIntage Sewalong.  I am now inspired to try a few more of these vintage patterns, so more to come over the spring and summer.  
Vintage dress front full1

But the biggest question was what would happen to this dress?  I did mention that it is not my size and I felt it should go to someone who wore the size that the original sewer intended.  So I listed it in my Etsy shop and I am happy to report that it was purchased almost immediately by Stefanie in Virginia who told me she is thrilled to find exactly what she was looking for, in time for a special occasion she has in February.  (will say no more about that, surprises involved).  So the dress is going to get out and mingle!    What a great ending. 

Surprise # 2 from my last post was the number of comments on the method I mentioned of enclosing the edge of the facing with the fusible interfacing.  Just like me, many other sewers (including Tanit-isis, check out her cute blouse) had an " ah ha ! " moment on this one.  Why I never did this before is beyond me, but so many simple things are that way.  In any case - I am poring over my old issues of Threads magazine for more "oh so simple but so clever" tips to save time and effort.  

As for other sewing, I am quite busy for January - so lots of projects on list, however 
I am zipping up to Seattle for a quick visit with one of my friends.  Any fabric shopping tips for that city?

SF Britex signOn Saturday I met a friend from Italy in downtown San Francisco for lunch.  He works in high tech so he comes to the SF bay area annually,  giving us a chance to catch up, and for me an opportunity to speak Italian, something I have studied for years.   On a related sewing note - does anyone know of sewing blogs written in Italian?  I have seen many in French, Spanish, Portuguese  (thank you,  Tany), but never found one in Italian.  That strikes me as odd, since Italy is such a style and fashion center.    I had so much fun at lunch that I never made it to Britex, which is a great fabric store that I recommend if you are in San Francisco.  It has everything, lots of very expensive stuff, but if you can't find something they will have it.

Last night I made a skirt for  Lia who is my friend and hairdresser.  She got some great new leather boots in brown and mentioned she would love to wear them with a brown plaid wool skirt.  So here is my effort.  
Ruffle skirt for Lia1
This is very similar to a skirt I made for an 12 year old back in December.  I think my next version will be in denim,  for . . . me!   Lia definitely likes the ruffles and flourishes, the first dress I made for her is shown here,  Tulle Time part Deux.

Ruffle skirt for lia buttons
Ruffle skirt for Liaback

I tried some sweater refashioning.  I had this cashmere sweater which was a turtleneck, and I always felt it was too tight in the neck, and kind of itchy.  (not the greatest quality)
so I bought some matching silk charmeuse and turned it into a cardigan.  The turtleneck becomes a collar perfectly so now I want to try more sweater surgery.   I think I could do better on my next attempt. 

Cashmere swtr refashion

Today the sun is shining and it is time to get my pruning shears out, lots to do in the garden.
Happy Sewing,  Beth