Archive for March, 2011


At last a finished product I can wear

March 17, 2011

So after the last two SWAP items, I was starting to worry that I was going to be unhappy with everything I sewed for this SWAP but I finished the skirt and ‘m pretty happy with the way it turned out.

The skirt is McCalls 5429 view B.

I love working with denim. It doesn’t slip and side out of my hands or off the sewing table and it holds its shape pretty well.

The new technique I incorporated into this skirt was the flat-felled seam.

I poked around online to make sure I knew what I was supposed to be doing and then I made sure I had plenty of water in my iron. I had side seams and eight inserts to stitch in place so this skirt gave me lots of practice with the technique.

Since I wanted to make sure that the seams fell on the outside of the inserts, I checked the raw edges carefully.

I then trimmed down to the seam the edge that will be on the inside.

Then I folded the longer side in half enclosing the trimmed edge inside it.I pressed the seam in place.

It took a lot of steam.

Then I stitched each flat felled seam down with double seams of topstitching in gold. There were 16 seams in  the end.

I’m quite proud of the way they look on the inside.

And here’s the outside of the skirt.

I’ve already worn it a few times and I love the way it swishes


SWAP 2011: wadder count 2

March 14, 2011

Okay, this one isn’t quite as bad as Butterick 5354 was. I’ve actually worn it a couple of  times, although I think I should avoid the empire waist until I tone up a little around the middle or my board might get a nervous because there’s a hint of maternity about the top.

This pattern was McCalls 5662

I tried view C last summer and was less than impressed with the way it turned out. I wound up modifying it and eventually put it in a drawer and haven’t worn it since. I did like View E better so I thought I’d try it this time around.

In an attempt to avoid past mistakes, I bought a heavier, more structural (more expensive) stretch cotton) to start with. And it’s not that bad. The main issue I have with it could simply be that I don’t own a cover stitch machine and I’m not sure how I feel about the zig zag topstitching I had to do. I don’t think the tension was quite right because the top stitching stretched the neckline out a bit. I wish I’d taken the time to draft an interfaced facing instead – not that I do well with interfacing stretch fabric.

This is the outcome:

It’s not terrible, but I’m not entirely pleased either. And you can see where the hemming won’t stay turned to  the inside and instead flips out to reveal the serged edges.

If  I have time, I might just replace it with something made from one of the fabric pieces I bought a few days ago.

The flame coloured silky polyester looks really nice against the denim I have set aside for the SWAP skirt.


SWAP update: wadder

March 10, 2011

My serger and I are simply not getting along. I’m less than impressed with the outcome of the first SWAP item I’ve sewn. Luckily, I have only two stretch items planned.

I started with the sleeveless version of Butterick 5354.

I think my first problem is that the stretch jersey I ordered turned out to be a lot flimsier than I think the pattern is comfortable with. The pleating turned out to be fairly simple even though I’ve never done a pleated neckline before – it’s my new skill/feature for this SWAP item. Once the pleating was done, I figured I was pretty much home free. All I had to do was stitch it all together with the facing.

Well, the facing seems to be the problem. It won’t lay flat. I’ve tacked it in place and it still keeps rising up over the top of the neckline, like this:

If I have time before the end of April, I think I will try another version with some more structured stretch cotton because I’m just not happy with the results of this one.


Belated Oscars comments

March 7, 2011

I’ve never done the Oscars analysis thing on this blog before and I’m a little late getting to it this year, but nevertheless, here are my opinions on what the ladies were wearing this year.

My favourites:

Natalie Portman. 

I love this dress. I love the colour, I love the way it drapes. I think it looks comfortable without looking like a muu muu, and I think she looks radiant in it. Remind me to add “wear more deep purple silk” to my list of things to do this year.

Mila Kunis

Okay, not everyone did, but I love the lace work on this dress. I do have the distinct impression it’s held to her breasts with double sided tape, but it wouldn’t be the first time that was a red carpet accessory (JLo anyone?). The muted lilac colour looks lovely on her and, while the skirt is a little sheer for me, it really made her stand out. I think she did the lace right. 

Jennifer Hudson.

I don’t wear orange, but she can. This dress was flattering,  flowed beautifully and was absolutely striking as she swept across the stage to present.

Now for the ones that made me say “errr…no”

Scarlett Johanson.

Okay, the dress isn’t that bad, but I don’t really like the lace work on it. I think it looks like Victorian influenced lingerie… and if you’re going to design something that could be described that way, I’d suggest working with the corset thing rather than the Gibson girl-esque neckline.

I also didn’t like her hair. It sort of looks to me like she forgot about it. I think even a simple chignon would have improved the overall look. I don’t generally notice hair and am far from a hair expert, so the fact that I noticed it means she probably could have made a better choice.

Cate Blanchett

*sigh * She’s usually so well dressed. From the close fitting metallic dress to the flowing grecian gown she wore when she was pregnant a few years ago, I always look forward to seeing what she’s wearing. This year was really surprising because I found this dress to be downright ugly. The boxy shaped pseudo sleeves, the baby yellow and pink lumpy bumps all over that bore an unfortunate resemblance to undiagnosed growths, and that weird oval shape framing the torso that looked like the mirrored glass had fallen out combined to form a dress I just couldn’t wrap my head around. I also disliked the softly pleated skirt. I know those pleated skirts are back  in but I just don’t like them.

And then I learned that the dress was made by Givenchy! So glad Audrey Hepburn never had to wear it.

And that’s my pretty unqualifed opinion of it all. I’m sure I missed some dresses. I went to bed after Costume Design was announced. Congratulations Colleen Atwood! You continue to inspire.