Monday, June 6, 2016

Many things started and yet not completed

So many partially finished projects these days. Sewing for other people, making some samples for teaching, being distracted by new patterns has lead to a sewing room that looks like a hurricane went through. I am by no means a neat sewer - when I am alone in there everything goes on the floor, pattern pieces, trimmings, thread etc.

Having a dedicated space means I can be as messy as I like but I know it is time to neaten up when I can't find some simple tool. Then I buckle down and get organized, put away all the pattern pieces, pick up the pins, the thread and it does feel so much better. Until the next time. When I cook it is the same  - when the meal is prepared their remains a gigantic pile of dishes to wash and stuff to put away. I think it has to do with flow - and how you work best. How do ultra-neat people do it? I should know from close observation as there are some of those in my family. How about you? are you a constant tidy-er or do you let it pile up and then neaten in one swoop?

What is on my sewing table? It is starting to seem like a never-ending project but I do see the finish line in the distance. I have been making a jacket and dress for my friend Heather using a boucle wool that she bought at Mood last year. I made a couple of muslins for fitting the jacket, and then also for the dress, and then with scheduling time for her to come by for a fitting it does feel like I have been sewing this for months. Here's a picture that I shared on IG this weekend.  That is the sleeve and jacket front, and then the skirt portion of the dress. I was seriously stressing when I originally saw this fabric. And wailed out loud "but it has stripes!" Not that I am against stripes but it does add to the pressure! Even through they are subtle that is all I can see when I look at it. However I am very relieved to say that both pieces are sewn and/or basted together and the stripes are looking good. Whew ! This is actually a very fragile fabric. I guess that is often the case with a boucle, the weave is very loose and some of the fibers are not continuous crosswise. I noticed when handling the jacket that it was becoming a bit fuzzy.

stripe matching

This is the Burda pattern that I am using for the jacket, the version on the left with no collar. It has nice slanted darts coming off princess seams which adds good shaping for a full bust.

Burda 6782 jacket pattern env

A little inside view of the sleeve. I think I took this photo to show how I use different colors of thread. I run a thread trace on the jacket body and on the sleeve on the stitch line, and then do a fitting, mark the actual stitch line with a different color of thread ( and seriously try to remember which thread indicates which!) And now I will say - Sleeves are DIFFICULT! OK, there, I said it. They are a b****!  It is not that tough to get the jacket or dress body to fit someone, but then you have changed the shoulder line or the princess seams or the back or whatever, and all those things conspire to mess up the original sleeve. I feel your pain!

basting sleeve

So don't think I just cut out the sleeve and zippity zip, sew in the sleeve. It is a lot of adjusting, pinning, basting, swearing, trying on and hopefully getting to a nice fit in the end. Now you can see why I was wailing about the stripes :)

I know what else I forgot to mention, I completely fused every piece of this, jacket and dress with interfacing to give it some more strength and structure. The interfacing was a mid-weight weft fusible and then I used silk organza for all the edges - neckline etc.

The dress is all fitted and basted together - so next I will stitch it up for real and then add the lining. Then another fitting for hem lengths and any other small adjustments. Told ya, the never ending project.

Seeking some quick gratification I spend a few hours this weekend on this dress for myself. Which just appeared in the magazine and I pictured it in denim. This one also needed quite a bit of fit adjustment. I started with a Burda 38 and did a lot of adjustment. When I get it finished I will do a full post. And of course it is in denim. Really a faux denim, using the remainder of the fabric from this project.  Man, those are some seriously dorky pics in that post. Oh well....

Burda 105 dress image

Burda denim dress

By the way - this pattern is sewing up like a dream and despite the many pieces is quite easy.

Do you use the same few fabrics over and over? I just had a post on the Craftsy blog with some ideas on extending your fabric repertoire. Check it out, here's the link. Also I noticed that my favorite local independent fabric store Stone Mountain Fabrics had expanded their website so they are selling a great selection of fabrics and patterns on line. And notions - they have a great offering. I see some labels which I am sure I will get next time I'm there!

Craftsy fabric choice post

Also today I have a post on how to make a nightgown using an existing dress pattern. I surprised myself with how much I like it.

nightgown craftsy post image

I finished the post on how to make the shirt placket for Craftsy so I will link to that when it runs which I believe is in about two weeks.

Summer is really here as we had a few days over 100˚F this week. My tomatoes are growing like wild as they just love the heat. And those summer cotton dresses finally get some wearing :)

Happy summer sewing,

A sunflower which all by itself in the front yard and is now about 6 feet tall. I think it is a happy accident that a bird dropped? and once I realized what it was I left it there. I always see a few around town - growing in the median of roads or other funny spots.

first sunflower


  1. Your comments about your dedicated sewing space really spoke to me. When I cook, I clean as I go as much as possible, but when I sew I just make one monstrous mess of my sewing area. Since I'm a lot more productive in the kitchen than with my sewing, I realize I probably should adopt the practice of cleaning as I go when I sew as well. Why I approach them differently is beyond me. Perhaps my sewing area isn't as well organized as it should be & that's why I'm so much messier there. Thank you for mentioning this; it has really given me some food for thought.

  2. Nice...and I love your sunflower. And decision to let it grow where it was happy!

  3. Looking forward to seeing the Burda dress. It reminds me a bit of the top-stitched A-line dresses of the early to mid 70s.

  4. I noticed your markings to move the sleeve seam in on the jacket and was wondering if you could do a post about how you determine sleeve seam placement. Fitting books tell you to use the shoulder joint at the top of the sleeve but no one tells you how far in to place the seams going to the underarm. I have forward & sloping shoulders and my sleeves always look like they're hanging off the edges of my blouses like a rag doll.

  5. I have emerged at 70 (almost) as a clean as I go person....don't know why, but here I am.:) I NEVER cut a pattern, I always trace then neatly refold the original....tidy up before a new project is started, same in the kitchen. In my preretirement days (when I worked) I had an assistant who, for entertainment, would watch me bounce from one thing to another, and finish maybe less than half. My students loved me, probably because I was so very much like them and always thought outside the box, I love your blog.....and there's nothing wrong with "creative" clutter...amazing what can be found when reorganizing:)

  6. We were separated at birth! Or something like that ;)

    Much to the chagrin of my extremely neat daughter, I make a mess when I do things. Whatever I do, there will be some insane disaster after. My sewing room is at the too-messy-to-be-used phase. I think tomorrow I'll clean it up!

    Good to know about the Burda dress! I think I'll be ready to get traced off later this week.

    The jacket is looking fantastic. I love to look at and wear boucle more than I love to sew it.

  7. Your sewing room sounds just like mine. Kitchen too! My sewing room is a dedicated room but, it's the end of a large loft space open to the dining room and living room below. Therein lies the problem, or one of them. The half wall has bookcases in front and I use the top for fabric and patterns. I do put things away periodically, but it just seems to keep piling up. Paper from pattern tracing and alterations end up on the floor. It looks like a cyclone hit it on a regular basis. I do not love this at all, but I don't seem to be able to keep it clean and neat.
    I love the jacket. You've done such a beautiful job matching the stripes. Can't wait to see it finished. Interesting dart shaping. It seems easier to fit than a Dior dart. Sleeves really are a bitch sometimes, aren't they? I am finally learning how to fit them but I find the thought of matching across a sleeve daunting.

  8. The boucle dres and jacket are going to be lovely and you have matched the "stripes" splendidly. I'm a tidy up as I go sewer and consequently rather slow to finish things. I'm much the same in the kitchen and I guess at 75 it's too late to change. I love sunflowers, I wish a bird would drop one in my garden.

  9. I am really looking forward to see your friend's jacket and dress completed - they look lovely (and challenging!). I also really like the denim dress you are making. I fall somewhat in-between clean and messy. I seem to always have several projects going at once. I try to tidy them into separate locations in my sewing room, but they all eventually merge into one enormous pile if I am not watching carefully! Recently, I have lost my sewing 'mojo' and maybe a really good cleaning would get me back in the sewing groove. Thanks for your blogs - I love them!

  10. Hahaha. You're definitely working those "dorky" pics (btw do you still have/wear those culottes?) Can't wait to see your Burdastyle dress as I was going to buy this issue for that dress - I let my long standing subscription lapse this year after what I felt was a very lack lustre 2015. Nice to see Burda moving out of the rectangle, shapeless sack territory that they have been inhabiting all too frequently lately imho.

  11. I'm loving the look of that blue denim dress! such interesting cutting lines. It's going to look really fab on you :)

  12. I have to have a clean room to start a project, but then the mess grows until my project is finished. Now that my 7-month-old puppy is into finding new toys, I do have to be a little bit tidier than before; she's a German Shepherd, so jumping up to sneak things off my sewing table is easy for her! I'm the same way in the kitchen - if I have time in between cooking tasks, I will wash some of the dirty dishes, but I never seem to have time! It drives my husband crazy, because he definitely "cleans as he goes," and he can't stand to walk past a single dirty dish in the sink. Obviously he does most of the dish washing here, and when he starts to complain, I threaten to quit cooking. It all works out in the end!

    I enjoyed your Craftsy post on fabrics, and look forward to reading more!

    Finally, I love spontaneous flowers! A great friend of mine has 3 sunflowers growing near her bird feeder. I was so jealous, I bought a pack of sunflower seeds for my husband to plant! :-)