Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July MAGAM project ocmpleted - with changes

I finished my July MAGAM pants! However, I didn't use the black microfibre as I had planned. I had a good look at the material and thought that perhaps the microfibre could be a bit too thick for the type of breezy summer pants that I had intended. So I just used this green Linen blend material that I have had in my stash for ages to make a pair of wide cargo type pants. I have used this material recently for this same pattern, but in a shorts version.

I used size Small (as I found the size Medium too loose when I made the shorts version) and incorporated both the front pockets and the right mid-thigh pocket. I like lots of pockets for my clothing! I cut the length of the pants between view B and E because I wanted it to be trouser length. I inserted elastics for the waistband. It's a bit wider than any of my existing self-made pants but I figured that it`s nice and breezy for the summer. As long as I wear a more fitted top on top, the wide legs shouldn`t make me look too stumpy. Here is how it looks with the top tucked in (I never tuck in my tops):


And here is how I would wear it:

Notice the pockets almost overlapping on the right leg:

I think it looks okay. It is a basic wardrobe element, after all.  I think I will be wearing these pants often this summer! I also did a review for this pattern on PatternReview.com.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

July MAGAM plan - Microfibre Cargo pants

At last! I have decided what to make for my July Make A Garment A Month project. I sifted through my  pattern stash, my fabric stash, my wardrobe, my sewing magazines, etc, for days and couldn't figure out what to make. Finally, a couple of days ago, the weather was alternating between raining and sunny every hour. My trusty RTW microfibre cargo pants (bought in the UK in the late 1990s and still going strong) saved the day. It was cool to wear in the sun and when it was wet, it dried quickly.

Thus the decision to make another pair in this Black Microfibre fabric that has been in my stash for years (bought in the UK in the late 1990s as well), using Butterick 5044. I think I'll make view B. I'm short so it will be ankle length on me instead of calf length I hope. One can always use another pair of 3 season weather-versatile pants!

 Okay! Off to the sewing machine!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Accidental CopyCat - Sex And The City Carrie Dress?

I'm still nowhere near figuring out what to make for my July MAGAM project. However, something funny happened yesterday. Apparently I did an Accidental CopyCat fashion of a Sex And the City dress!

I don't watch TV much. I'm not really familiar with the popular TV shows. And even when I watch TV, I mostly watch odd ball stuff on PBS, CBC and TVO. I was showing a friend my DIY wedding dress photos and she said, 'Oh you made the Carrie Dress!' I said, 'Sorry?' She said, 'Yeah you made that dress Carrie wore with Aidan in front of the water fountain!' I said, 'huh?' She said, 'Carrie from Sex And The City!'

I guess I still looked puzzled so she pulled out her phone and searched for the pictures on the web. And here they are:

(Source)
(Source)

I guess I did a Copycat Wedding Dress without knowing it! Apparently I made the exact same Badgley Mischka wedding dress that Carrie was wearing in the show. Although because of her figure, I think the dress looked a bit different on her. The front swoop on her is lower than on mine (probably because I'm more full busted and barrel chested). But it just shows how good the pattern Vogue 2237 is - because it suits a short and wide torso like mine, and as well as a very trim figure like Sarah Jessica Parker!

Disclaimer: I'm not getting any commission from Vogue Patterns. But if you are looking for a wedding dress  sewing pattern, have a look at Vogue 2237! I just check the Vogue pattern web site and they are still selling it in their current collection.

Okay! Back to searching for inspiration for my July MAGAM project......

Monday, June 30, 2014

No ideas for July MAGAM Project - A Rant

Once in a while I get into these periods of a sewist's block - similar to a writer's block. I can't decide what to sew next because nothing seems really 'inspirational' right now. After all the work of making that wedding dress, all the excitement and inspiration seem to have dried up. To be frank, I HAVE MADE EVERY GARMENT I NEED ALREADY. I have made more than I really need. There are dresses/jackets/pants/hats/skirts/shorts, etc that have been sitting in my closet that had been worn only a couple times. Those items are very low in terms of their Cost per Wear which I'm not happy about. There are special occasion dresses that had only been worn once!

As for my kids, they have lots of gently used hand-me-down clothes. It would be wasteful for me to make more clothes for them since they outgrow their clothes so quickly. Besides, my daughter is super picky and only wears a fraction of the clothes I made her.

My hubby also has a lot of clothes. In fact, he just dumped a whole pile of clothes from his closet to my Refashioning pile because he didn't need them. My mom did exactly the same thing last month.

However, I really NEED to make new things. It gives me joy, put a little excitement in my life, gives me something to look forward to, nourishes my soul, works my brain, etc. So I tried to find ideas from the articles in my Threads magazines. In the latest issue, a few articles caught my eye: Bra Making (haven't tried that yet), dying fabric with ice (that's interested - something new to learn), using salvage as trims (I did that when I made bags but haven't tried that on garments yet). Bra making is definitely a skill I want to acquire but I already have enough RTW bras right no. And bra making supplies seem to be expensive. So I guess I'll have to look in my scraps stash to see if I have enough interesting selvages to embellish a self-made garment. Otherwise I will buy some fabric dyes for experiments.

So I still don't know what I'm making for the July Make A Garment A Month project. The theme for July is 'Sew your Wish'. Unfortunately I think I fulfilled that already in my June Wedding dress garment!  There are lots of special occasion dresses that I 'wish' I can sew, but I have nowhere to wear them (no special occasions coming up!). Wouldn't that be a waste if I can't wear them? Since it has to be a garment, I can't just make a funky bag for a friend and submit that as a MAGAM entry. I'm really out of ideas for my July MAGAM project! Any ideas?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pantone Autumn 2014 Colours

Summer has just arrived in the Northern Hemisphere but Pantone has already published their Fashion Colour Report for Fall 2014:

Source: Pantone.com


I like some of the stronger, jewel tone colours - Royal Blue, Aurora Red, Sangria, Bright Colbalt and Cypress - which usually work better for my colouring. The other colours don't work so well on me. I think I already have fabrics in Sangria, Bright Colbalt and Cypress in my stash. I don't think I want to think about sewing Autumn/Winter clothes just yet. It's hot and I don't want to be handling wool fabrics right now.

What do you think of the Pantone Fall Colours? Do the colour reports really influence your fabric choices when you are sewing?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Finally, the DIY Wedding Dress photoshoot....

I got the photos for the DIY Wedding Dress photoshoot! It was a very sunny day and the entire shoot took about 30 minutes. The bottom of dress and train got really dirty because I was dragging it in the parking lot, on the sidewalk, on the road, on the grass, up the stairs, etc. Good thing it didn't wrinkle much because of my fashion fabric and lining choices. At the end of the shoot, I ended up tearing a big hole in my DIY veil with my newly thrifted heels!  :-(

Ultimately it was a fun experience. It was just so satisfying to be able to wear all my DIY stuff for the photoshoot: the veil, the jewelry, the dress. My friends did a great job with the photos. I think we have to 'create' some celebrations for ourselves from time to time for fun, right? So here is one of my favourite photo:


Now that I have 'checked off' another sewing milestone (i.e. making a wedding dress), what other sewing projects should I  I strive for? I have already made shirts/blouses, pants, shorts, jeans, underpants, dresses, jackets, cardigans, skirts, swimwear, coats, maternity wear, pyjamas, baby/kids clothes, menswear (coats, shorts, pants, pyjamas), bags/purses, hair accessories, jewelry, curtains, cushions, table covers, headboards, soft toys. Any suggestions on what I should try next?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Denim Jeans Refashioning Blitz - Part 2

Now that the wedding dress is one, I can continue to do my Denim Jeans Refashioning Blitz! In Part 1, I made 5 cute cross-body bags for my friends' daughters for their school field trip. This time, I'm making some tote bags for my son's teachers. I often see teachers lugging different bags to and from the school so I thought perhaps a large tote bag would be useful for them. I used up more of my mountain of to-be-refashioned denim/jeans that were given to me, as well as stuff from my fabric scrap boxes. The lining was the left over material from my bedsheet muslins for my wedding dresses.  Here are the final products:

I hope the teachers can get lots of use from them!

Friday, June 13, 2014

June MAGAM project Done - My DIY Wedding Dress is Done!

I finally finished my DIY wedding dress! Yoohoo! Good thing I chose a sewing pattern (Vogue 2237) that was rated as 'Average'. If I had tried to make anything that says 'Advanced', I would still be tearing out my hair! LOL! Here are the pics of the final product:


It's not the most elaborate wedding dress but I like simple styles. The fit at the back is a bit tight but the front looked okay. If I was actually using this dress for my wedding (as opposed to just a photo shoot), I would definitely add straps as this dress tends to slide down a little bit, revealing the top of my strapless bra. Perhaps I'll just use a safety pin and pin the dress to the bra! Also, the length is a wee bit short in the front. It's great for walking but for a photo shoot, an inch longer would have been nicer.  I guess I can always wear a lower heel too.

Vogue 2237 is a great pattern. It's not difficult to sew but has a nice style. It's a Badgley Mischka pattern that was published in 2001. For some reason, I haven't seen many stylish and simple evening wear sewing patterns like this recently.





The pattern calls for 'Crepe and Faille' fabrics which would make the dress more drapey (you can see the drape of the dress on the pattern envelope). I chose a heavy dull satin which doesn't drape as well but gives me a nice slight A-line shape below the hips, which I think balances out my broad upper body. I used a 100% cotton broadcloth for the lining which made cutting and sewing much easier than the 'China Silk' that the pattern calls for.


 I was worried about the fit in case I lose or gain weight between now and the photo shoot. So I decided to use a trick I employed when I was designing costumes for a local theatre group. I sewed the lining as an underlining for the front, serged the edges and then sewed the back the same way. The last seams I joined were the side seams. This gave me the flexibility to increase/decrease the side seam allowance to fit my body. I tacked the dress hem to the lining hem by hand.

For the foundation I used the same 'heavy dull satin' and lined it with the same cotton broadcloth. I boned the dress in the foundation as per the sewing instructions. The dress is quite heavy because of the heavy fabrics I used - no wonder it's sliding down!

All in all, I'm satisfied with this dress and this pattern. I would highly recommend it if you already have this in your stash. This dress has a stylish shape and I think one doesn't need to have fancy lace or beading to make this 'regal' looking.

Here are some more photos with the veil, bouquet and some jewelry. It was the same veil from years ago - I made that veil then too! And the same bouquet I used then which my mother-in-law made for me (fake flowers are awesome that way). I also made the jewelry. I think with all the accessories, the dress
looks more 'bridal' now, don't you think? Can't wait for the photo shoot!

You can see my review of this pattern on PatternReview.com.




Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June MAGAM Plan - The Wedding Dress!

Okay! I finally found some reasonable bridal fabrics! I drove about 30 km to the next town and found lots more choices for bridal fabrics. The chain fabric store there is a lot bigger and has 10 times the selection of any apparel fabrics than my local store. The prices were better too! And there were lots of older ladies shopping there. The salesperson told me that the store was always busy with lots of shoppers at all hours, and even the local schools have reintroduced sewing in their basic curriculum. Well, I guess I'll have to find time to drive to that store more often from now on (if I can only find a couple of hours of free time for myself.....).

So what did I buy? A heavy polyester white dull satin (it actually says 'Heavy Dull Satin' on the tag). I think foroutdoor photography this might be better than a shiny satin. Also I'm hoping that this will be easier to sew than a very slippery satin. For the lining, the pattern calls for a China Silk. But since I'm using a much heavy fabric as the fashion fabric, I thought I should use something with more body for the lining to match the dull satin. The salesperson recommended this 100% cotton fine broadcloth. I thought it would be easier to sew and cut the broadcloth too.

So this is my June entry for the Make A Garment A Month post - my DIY wedding dress using the Vogue 2237 pattern and this 'Heavy Dull Polyester Satin'. Wish me luck!



Friday, June 6, 2014

Denim Jeans Refashioning Blitz!

I have been accumulating a big bag of jeans/denim that others have given me. Lately some elderly relatives moved from a big house to a small condo and I got a big pile of old jeans from them. What to do with a mountain of old, ribbed jeans? Make bags of course. I used scraps from my fabric scraps stash (I did buy the black shoulder straps from my local fabric store) and created these 5 cute cross-body purses for my friends' daughters - just in time for their school trip next week. The zippers were all thrifted - I bought a big bag of zippers at my local thrift store for $2.99.

I just cut all the jeans at the side seams and then cut standard sized stripes from them all and then sewed them together to create these little bags. I tried to make them look as unique as possible using my fabric/ribbon scraps. 


I hope the girls will get plenty of use from these bags! What a satisfying thing to see the 'To-be-refashioned stash' and the 'scraps stash' being used finally!

Me Made May - final days

I forgot to post the pictures for the final few days of Me Made May! So here they are:

May 27:
Top - Me Made cotton voile peasant top
Bottom - Me made black linen blend shorts

May 28:
Dress - Me Made denim dress

May 29:
Bottom - Me Made stretch denim jeggings
Bracelet - Me Made pearl, glass and metal bracelet

May 30:
Top - Me Made cotton button down shirt
Bottom - Me Made stretch cotton slim pants

May 31:
Bottom - Me Made white stretch cotton shorts

That's all! Thanks Zoe for organizing this. I look forward to the next Me Made or Self Stitch challenge!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bridal fabric shopping - a rant

So I went to a couple of local fabric stores to see what kind of bridal fabrics they have. Well, not much! I'm indeed surprised. I thought that they would have lots of those. However, all I found was some itchy polyester lace, heavy crepe back satin and some cheapy polyester satin. They don't even have something simple like white dupioni silk! Does it mean I have to travel an hour to the city centre just to get some bridal fabric? What's going on with the fabric stores in my area? To be honest I have met less than 5 people in my area who sew, and most of them were quilters. Where are all the garment sewists? I guess I should not be surprised at the lack of selection for apparel fabrics in my neighbourhood.

My dear friend (around my age) who lives in a suburb of Montreal has 2 fabulous fabric warehouses in her neighbourhood. When I visit her, we always go to the fabric store because I just can't believe the selection, the quality and the prices of apparel fabrics they offer there. Does it mean there are more home sewists who sew garments in her city than mine?

Anyways, I am not going to visit my friend soon and I really need to finish this wedding dress for the photo shoot. I guess I'll just base my fabric choice on how photogenic it is than my personal comfort. Sigh.....