Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring sewing, fabric finds and Vogue 1143

Based on my recent blogging output one might think I have not been getting anything done, or at least sewn to a blog-worthy state but that is not the case.  I have a number of projects that are in various stages of completion, plus lots of photos needing to be edited. 
My new favorite Vogue pattern is coming along very well. I just realized I have a new favorite Vogue pattern every 3 months or so.  Fickle!  
V1143 pattern envelope

This jacket is unusual for me but I am really liking the style.  Recall that I asked blog readers to choose a Vogue Designer pattern for me to sew and blog about.  The finalist was selected by Ruta, it is Vogue 1143 Guy Laroche Paris Original.  OK, I promise not to go around telling people "this outfit is a Paris Original"  but I do get a tiny thrill with thinking about these patterns. 

Grey Vogue suit jacket startedWhen I was a teen sewer and bought a Vogue designer pattern (which back then came with a fabric label to sew in your garment) I felt so grown up and sophisticated.  Note to readers - I did start sewing when I was around 7-8 so by 17 I had been sewing 10 years and buying Vogue designer patterns, not always successfully but my family was encouraging.  

Here is a sneak peek at the jacket.  I didn't mean to make two grey jackets in a row, but I chose this fabric which is a poly-rayon-spandex blend.  The jacket has some cool elements, the two piece sleeves, and the double peplum, however, to complete this look I must make pants.  EEK - fit phobia!  something about making pants for me is just less than fun but it is my resolution for the year.  And if I want to model this outfit, the pants must be done.  

And now for some random topics that have been rattling around in my head. Is anyone else having trouble commenting on Wordpress blogs?  I used to be able to, with my blogger ID, but now it keeps bouncing out or something, anyone know what is going on and how to comment?
Tracing paper

Is tracing paper a scarce commodity?  Seems to be.  I used to buy rolls at a big chain art supply store, went in today, they don't carry it anymore. I use it for pattern tissue, doing clothing tracings and just all kinds of things.  Also the big chain fabric store, they stopped carrying it. I love web shopping but I just annoys me to be unable to buy simple things at local stores.  Pictured at right, 18" wide. 

StoneMountainbizcardWhich brings me to local shopping.  I have fabric shopping envy when I read about all the fabric stores in New York or LA, but we do have a few gems here in N. Calif. My local fabric store is Stone Mountain and Daughter in Berkeley. They are celebrating their 31st anniversary and have tons of great stuff so last Friday I zipped in there and came out with a few gems.  On the back of their business card it says "Sew Berkeley, Sew Creative, Sew Hip"  and I agree. 

navy white knitaqua-navy knit print
Here are just 2 of the 6 different fabrics I bought.  Mostly knits! Shocking but I am slowly coming round to the beauty and ease of sewing knits.

Vintage sheath and blue fabric

Finally, I saw on Pattern Review they are doing the Vintage contest and that is just the kick I need to make a dress that has been in my queue for a while.  Here is a tiny peek.  The seaming on the bodice looks so modern to me, or perhaps timeless?  The mystery fabric is a thrift store find, and it is block fused, with blue tricot knit interfacing. I almost shrieked when I came across it.  But that's all for now on this one. 

Here is today's SunnyGal garden photo, a dianthus which survived the winter and is flowering again. This may be the best flower for a sewing blog, as I just read on Wikipedia "The color pink may be named after the flower, coming from the frilled edge of the flowers: the verb "pink" dates from the 14th century and means "to decorate with a perforated or punched pattern" (maybe from German "picken" = to peck). This verb sense is also used in the name of pinking shears."  
Happy spring sewing.

pink dianthus

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spread the Sunshine

A few days ago Carolyn of Handmade by Carolyn gave me the Sunshine Award 2012.  A big thank you to her for my first blog award. No matter the weather, reading her blog always brings a ray of sunshine. Her writing is very entertaining, her sewing is fantastically creative and her photography is gorgeous. This award comes with a list of questions, so here we go.

Favorite Color:  no equivocation here, it is any shade of aqua or turquoise.  To illustrate, my favorite outdoor photo that I have ever taken (by the way, original on Kodak film not digital).  Check out that turquoise water! Location is Kailua Beach, island of Oahu, Hawaii.
kailua screensaver
and that is my Dad in the beach chair on the left :)

Favorite Animal:  as my family knows I like most animals from afar.  I do like dogs a lot, individually, but strange dogs kind of scare me.  Fraidy-cat, I know.  Cats, not so much, they make me sneeze my head off.  Birds - like to watch them explore the garden.  Fish - amazing to view on a scuba dive. Squirrels, my nemesis in the garden.  

Favorite Number:  ???  hmmm.  for fun I will say 5/8  as in a seam allowance. (it's all about the sewing, right?)

Favorite Non-Alcoholic Drink:  now we come to one that is difficult to narrow down. At different moments in the day I can say Coffee, Pepsi (not Coke), milk, pineapple or orange or guava juice, Limonata soda.  The one I cannot live without? COFFEE !  I am known to bring my own when visiting friends for the weekend due to an unfortunate incident of a no coffee household . . . OK unfortunate only to me, my friends found my distress a bit funny. COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE

Facebook or Twitter:  I shall say neither.  Facebook - I do have a profile, used only for connecting to far-flung friends and family. Useful for photo sharing in this instance. But I find it a bit tedious. Twitter, come on, there are only so many hours in a day, just don't need another web based system to subtract some minutes from my life.  Too many great blogs I would prefer to read.

My Passion:  like many reading this right now - sewing.  Although I can say that at various times it has been something else.  languages, golf, baking, scuba, gardening, skiing . . .  take a look in my garage, where lots of equipment and tools sit neglected as the fabric and new patterns pile up.  My mom recently came across this photo of me,she thinks around age 3.  So I didn't have the kiddie sewing machine, but maybe I was prepping my fabric?
Me at 3 years old, ironing
Getting or Giving presents:  I do like to give presents.  Does anyone else get secretly annoyed if the recipient is not as excited as you think they should be?  Which I admit I should not be, but I can't help it.  Luckily that does not happen often.  The thrill of giving just the right thing or something surprising is very fun.  Receiving - same in reverse, a great feeling to get something unexpected that is just what you never knew you wanted.

Favorite Pattern:  An oldie but a goodie.  Something I made years ago.  Perhaps the #1 favorite dress I have made based on number of wearings and feeling fantastic in it. I wrote a post on this dress last year, it is Vogue 2470 Donna Karan pattern. Interesting that I still find the DK patterns so clever and wearable. I made in coral color wool crepe. Might have to pull that pattern out and remake.

Red DK dress back viewRed DK dress frontV2470 DK pattern red dr

Favorite Day of the Week:  Hmm. I will say Friday.  Who doesn't love that get out of school or work, the weekend is ahead of us, feeling?

Favorite Flower:  Another one that is difficult to narrow down.  Top favs are orchids, roses, sunflowers, dahlia, daffodils.  And the winner is,  Dahlia.  Something about the colors and they are so darn symmetrical. I love symmetry. Plus they bloom in the height of summer, my favorite time of year. Here is one of my dahlias in a luscious pink.
pink dahlia 0811
Favorite Celebrity Role Model:  Yes, I will say it.  Angelina Jolie. Sure she has some quirks, to say the least. Definitely a celebrity but she seems sincere about her concern for people around the world and from what I read she and her partner put their considerable money where it can potentially do good. 

And now I will pass on the Sunshine Award 2012 to these blogs that I enjoy very much. Plus it is very nice to consider these sewers are my friends around the world that I have never met ! Although Jean is actually local to me and a fabric enabler - time for another shopping trip, Jean?

Zanda of Mana Radosa Puse/My Creative Side  great dress styles and wow, her technique is amazing, also I begged her to write in English if possible because so I could selfishly get more details on her creations, and she did - so thanks Zanda.
Jean of J.Kaori Designs  OK, not fair.  Unbelievably sewer and practically professional knitter too.  Too much talent for one not so tall person.
Lisa of One Seam at a Time  love her dress choices and that she says she is a beginner sewer. Not any more.  great colorful knit top inspirations.
and a new one I just found at Pattern Review
Get My Stitch On, sewing in far-off (to me) and apparently sunny India.  Lots of cute dresses. Being wild for dresses I am always on the lookout for sewing bloggers who make the new dress patterns and then tell all.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Minky is Maddening and other updates

Spring starts tomorrow - yeah!  Can I pull out my shorts and summer dresses? Not yet. But I can think about spring/summer sewing.  Who am I kidding?  That is all I think about, sewing-wise.  Fall and winter are just about tolerable, made a little bit fun and interesting by my love of tailoring and wool fabrics.  Mix in a dollop of holiday sewing and I can make it until spring.  

I just noticed I have not posted for a month, what have I been up to, sewing-wise?  Lots of sewing, playing catch up on my blog reading, a little fabric shopping, even some closet cleaning.  Carolyn of Handmade by Carolyn was very kind to pass on a blog award to me, The Sunshine Award 2012, which is very nice and like a sunny day, made me very happy.  I will do a post with my answers to the questions very soon. 

As for the title of this post, Minky is Maddening, you bet it is.  I mean it's lovely for blankets, baby quilts and other cuddly items, but drives you crazy when sewing.  Lots of fluff everywhere.  About a year ago in a fabric shop in Honolulu (of all places - not the first you think of to buy warm and cozy fabrics) I was shopping and my mother was along for the excursion when she happened to notice the minky. She said "what is this?  I would love something in this" and so later I ordered some double faced aqua blue minky and gave it to her as a gift "to be sewn later."  Do any other sewers do that?  The old "here's the fabric, I will sew it for you sometime" trick?  Careful what you pledge, at least in my family, as I set myself up for the follow up question "when are you going to sew up that fabric you gave me?"
Bathrobe zipperIn any case - Mom just had successful knee surgery in early March which is partly why I have been busy (happily so) and I decided to make her minky bathrobe so she could wear it instead of stare at a big pile of fabric :)

I ordered a long separating zipper from ZipperStop and made a pattern from one of her existing robes. Not really fun to put in that zipper, the minky is very wriggly and I had to rip out and re-stitch a lot of sections to get it at least tolerably even.

Bathrobe insideBathrobe full lengthHere is a peek at the inside and a full length view.   

For my mother the most important feature in any robe are the pockets - which I almost forgot.  Not the most beautiful sewing on the inside, but I made some bias binding from lining fabric I had and covered all the open seams.  I used the selvedge of the fabric in the center front so the zipper edge did not need finishing and was very pleased with myself to think of that before I cut out! 
So now mom has a very warm and slightly heavy (minky is kind of weighty to wear, we now realize) bathrobe that can be used as a snuggie style blanket when lounging in front of the TV.  And one more piece of fabric no longer in the queue.

Here is today's SunnyGal garden photo, some pink camellias. They live in a shady spot under the other huge red camellia that gets all the attention, time for pink's moment to shine.

pink camellia mar12