Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Vampire Seamstress Returns (and some reviews)

I only get any sewing done when the sun (and son) is down.

Summer's officially here and it definitely feels like it. It's so bright and skin meltingly hot that doing anything, even moving, is difficult. These days, I limit my sewing when it gets dark and a little cooler. It's also a little more quiet with both boys (my little brother and my son) asleep and not curiously rifling through my scissors and pins (!!!) I'm so glad my dad gave me a nice lighting set up so I don't have any trouble seeing tiny details and mishandling sharp objects. Thanks, Dad!

The wedding gown is progressing slowly but surely. Cutting the silk and tulle was the hard part but sandwiching the fabric between pattern paper was the solution that worked perfectly. I pinned the heck out of each selvage on the bottom paper and pinned the pattern pieces (uncut) on top. I also used very fine glass-headed pins to minimize those scary looking puckers that look a bit like stocking runs. I still can't believe my pieces aren't distorted. I stay-stitched every single piece just in case.

I also got a lot of help from the classes I took at Craftsy.

Sewing With Silk with Linda Lee
Sewing with Silks with Linda Lee tackled things like types of thread, stitch width, the best way to cut fabric, stitch lengths and seam finishes for silk. If you've ever doubted yourself while working with slippery fabric (not just silk) this is the perfect class to guide you and hold your hand while you go through the process step by step. The instructor is so pleasant and has a soothing voice and demeanor. I can listen to her all day. There is a paper pattern that comes with the class and it's a lovely bonus.

Sew Retro: The Perfect Bombshell Dress with Gretchen Hirsch

Sew Retro: The Perfect Bombshell Dress with Gretchen Hirsch was the first Craftsy class I ever took and it was the start of my Craftsy online class addiction. Gertie's teaching style is so easy and friendly, it's like you're having a craft date with a close friend. She has so many sewing tips gained from her own experience in making dresses. I love the little tricks she has like reinforcing the vee of a sweetheart neckline and adding a waist-stay. Those techniques alone make the class worth taking.  There's a downloadable pattern included and it's definitely a dress I'd wear.

The Couture Dress with Susan Khalje

The Couture Dress with Susan Khalje is the ultimate class to take if you're serious about construction techniques. This class will teach you how to be meticulous with your garments. Shortcuts are all well and good but she taught me joy in your own handiwork and that silk organza is something that you should never do without.  This class comes with a paper pattern of a very wearable and customizable dress. 

I cannot recommend these classes enough! The information you will get from each class is invaluable.   I'm only naming the three classes I had to watch and re-watch to help me with the wedding dress that I'm working on, but I also signed up for other sewing classes that are just as informative as well as entertaining.  They have free classes so you can try those and see if you like it. 

So while the sun is out, I will stay away from the light and take my long skirts and long sleeved blouses and put them in storage. Later at dusk, the real work begins.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Just keep hemming, just keep hemming...

Hemming on the dining table.

The silk dress is going well and coming along quite nicely. I was mercifully given an extension bu my friend due to my current childcare situation. Connor's nanny left, quite suddenly, to get married. I am now taking of Connor FULL FULL time without any of the assistance I'm accustomed to, including bringing Connor to school and being his shadow aide. I work at night, after he falls asleep. I just finished hemming the lining and I have already drafted the outer shell and the overdress. It's getting there and I'm so glad.

In other news: TEA! 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Happy Late New Year!

It's January 13, 2013 and I'm pretty excited about everything that's going on in my life. For this entry: GOALS!

01) I am making a wedding dress for a good friend of mine, inspired by BHLDN's Lita Gown. This is the first time I've ever worked with silk charmeuse and it's really a learning experience. It's difficult, oh so DIFFICULT, but fun. The sweetheart bodice took me three tries. First, silk charmeuse with silk organza (too flimsy) Second, silk charmeuse with cotton twill (the twill shrank lengthwise when I pressed it. THE HORROR) Third time's the charm when I did silk charmeuse with cotton muslin (BINGO). I am almost DONE. This pile of beautiful silk and tulle has to be a dress by the end of this month.

02) I fell in love with a dress on Pinterest. A brief image search on Google informed me that the dress is from the Fall 2011 collection of Paul Smith. What gorgeous embroidery. I want to make it! (Or at least something like it) I'm already drawing up the plans for this dress. Construction will start as soon as I'm done with the wedding dress. (Is it sad that I already have the materials waiting in a project bag?)

03) How CUTE is this dress designed by Gertie of Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing? I recently bought the digital pattern and it's currently fourth on my to-do list. I would love to make this in a DEEP DEEP Purple or Black Silk Dupioni. 

04) Finish all my UFO's. I get anxiety attacks just thinking about those unfinished projects languishing in project bags in my sewing nook and my closet. 

05) I know it sounds cliche, but I would really like to use the New Year as an opportunity to better myself or, in this case, my fabric and notion stash. I have too much fabric, I have too many little oohsits and whatsits (zippers, rivets, spikes, hooks and eyes, pins, elastics, thread... you name it), too much yarn, too many patterns... just TOO MUCH. So I promised myself that I will be using up whatever's in my fabric closets and bins, my whatsits pile and my yarn box. I also think this exercise in using up stash will also improve my speed  and skill in making things. Oh, and watch more of this inspirational show:

05) THEN, after my fabric stash and everything else have been reduced to manageable levels, I am now going to implement a new policy of buying ONLY fabric with natural content (silk, wool, cotton, linen) Blends are fine as long as more than half of the fabric content is natural. It's not because I'm a granola eating hippie or some kind of deluded tree-hugger. I just LIKE natural fabrics more. They're easier to work with and they are more expensive, so I think twice before buying. Synthetics are SO cheap and we are so close to China, it's so easy to buy fifteen yards of gold lamé without batting an eyelash in this country.  What the heck am I going to do with fifteen yards of lamé? It seemed like a good idea at the time. (This is ALWAYS my excuse, this is WHY I have piles of yardage scattered and shoved in different places around the house) So yeah, that's absolutely ending now. My Hoarders marathon will help kick my butt into action as well.

06) Sew more historical costumes in the coming months! I'm addicted, but I must take care of all this unfinished business first. For peace of mind, doncha know.