Wednesday, March 27, 2013

little red corvette

Rather than work on any of my planned spring/summer wardrobe projects, I settled in for a little instant gratification project this weekend.

Burda 8155 is the kind of skirt you can wear pretty much anywhere at any time. (Really more like a sensible Toyota -- but people don't write songs about Corollas, do they?) And it is super quick: I cut into the fabric Saturday afternoon, and stitched the whole thing together Sunday evening.

I used a red wool gabardine for the skirt (squeezed from the leftovers from a failed pair of pants) and some silkyish rayon for the lining. I'm glad I added a lining -- it really contributes a lot in the way of comfort, plus it's quite cheerful! I also added a vent, because it seemed like a better idea than the suggested back slit. I didn't love either of the Burda waistband options, either. The taller curved option looks pretty & interesting, but I know from experience that those kinds of things always crumple and collapse on me no matter how much interfacing I use. The other option was a rectangular waistband piece, which I don't find terribly comfortable. Instead, I drafted a curved waistband à la this Colette tutorial. 

I did make one glaring mistake.... Somehow, I managed to accidentally cut the front skirt piece into two pieces and the back skirt piece on the fold. I was so pleased that I'd remembered to add a little extension for a vent on the back pattern piece that I didn't notice I was actually holding the front! Since I only had a smallish piece of the fabric I couldn't re-cut another front, so I had to roll with it. At least I noticed before I stitched the darts, so I was able to adjust them appropriately. The fit is a little weird, but not awful.
I'm only sharing the 2nd photo because: wtf where is my leg??
All in all, I'm very pleased with my new red skirt! I wore it to work today with a striped sweater (a warm & cozy wool/cashmere blend found on Sunday afternoon at Beacon's Closet for only $11!) but I can't wait until the weather is warm enough to pair it with a boatload of tiny pocket tanks!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

let's do it

Planning a spring sewing schedule while snow is literally still falling takes a fair amount of optimism, but here we are. 

I'm not the most organized person, so I really have only one aim: to participate in Me-Made-May this year. It's kind of  a sneaky goal, because it sounds small (only one thing!) but actually requires me to plan rather a lot more than I usually do. I've been sewing   s l o w l y  for more than a year or so, but the number of finished garments that I really love to wear is quite small. I think this partially because it took awhile for my skills to catch up with the mental images of what I wanted to sew, but also because I kept making the mistake of using fabrics that were only okay or even blah. So without further ado, here is a handful of the projects I plan to tackle over the coming weeks months.

First up, I desperately need an Alma blouse in my closet. (Okay, I probably need about five of them but let's start with the one.) I have a few cotton lawns and rayon blouse-weights that I plan to use eventually, but I think my first make will be View B in the adorable Fox Portrait print with a chocolate brown collar. Yes, it's technically a quilting cotton, but it has quite a nice hand to it and I think it will work quite well for Alma. 

In an entirely different direction: Clothhabit's Rosy Ladyshorts! I've sewn simple undies before, though I foresee a slight learning curve with these beauties because the construction is less familiar to me. The fabric is a gorgeous rose-embroidered stretch lace I picked up at Mood the day Lauren came to town! Yes, I'll probably count them for MMM -- no, I won't be modeling them! (And neither will you see me in my recently constructed Amersons.)

Ideally there will be a matching Rosy-lady bra in my future, because I want to be one of those women who have beautiful matching lingerie... despite all evidence to the contrary. 
Next: a silk-cotton twill I've been holding on to for at least a year. I first spotted this fabric on Parks & Recreation, in the form of a dress worn by Ann Perkins. (Can we pause a minute to admire Rashida Jones in basically everything she wears, ever?) When it appeared on fabricmart, I scooped up a few yards... and it's been hanging out in my closet untouched ever since. Apparently I have no imagination, because I can really only envision it as a dress very similar to Ann's. I'm not sure if I have both of those McCalls patterns or just the top one, but either way it's exactly the kind of simple dress that I wear all the time. (Simplicity 2215 is another possibility.)
Another girly print, this time a rayon challis! I'm completely not sure if Simplicity 1777 is right for me, but it does seem totally right for this fabric! Forties styles usually work for me, and I love the v-neck version of this retro pattern. All that gathering around the front inset has me a little worried though, so I'm definitely testing it out in a shittier fabric first. It might be too much fabric around the midsection.

If it ends up looking horribly wrong, then I'll make a Cambie dress instead -- I'll be making a Cambie anyway eventually, so why not make the sweetest rosiest floraliest Cambie ever?
I've never worked with lace before, so this project might be a considerable challenge. Rumor has it that the soon-to-be-released Colette pattern just might be a simple shift dress -- at least, I really hope so, because then I know exactly what I'll making with this geometric black cotton lace. I'm not sure how I'll handle the underlaying fabric. On the one hand, I love the way black lace looks over this creamy satin... but it's sort of earmarked for another project, and a bright color under black is equally fun and arguably more summery. I do love some moody black-over-putty though, so we'll see.
Finally on a possibly deluded note, I'm also considering a wedding dress. I'm getting married at some point this summer, and while big poufy-princess-cupcake-down-the-aisle isn't my thing, I do love getting dressed up & fancy! What I really want is a slightly casual shape in a nice silk fabric.

The satin-faced buttercream rayon would do very nicely, but I also have a few yards of an ivory sandwashed silk. I think something interesting like Rachel Comey's V1209 or Colette Oolong would shine in a plain-yet-luxurious fabric (actually if I could just steal recreate the exact Colette sample, I totally would) while the simpler Simplicity 1873 or V1288 would be best with some lace for textural contrast. I like the idea of a removable lace layer, so that the dress itself could be worn more frequently...  but that probably requires more skill and patience than I possess.

V8827 is admittedly a bit of a dark horse, but sallieoh's dress/robe version is so stunning that it tempts me mightily. Furthermore, I'm not even set on shades of white, so really anything goes. (V8827 would look waaaay too much like a bathrobe/dressing gown in white silk!) The black lace shift dress I'm planning could also do double duty as a wedding dress if I end up not tackling a second dress.

So that's the tentative plan*, which I now realize looks a little saccharine. But right now my closet is a vast sea of extreme   y a w n .  Somehow, I've worn all of my favorites to their faded threadbare deaths, and I'm left with a lot of boring clothes. At some point, I'll need to sew some basics (and basic need not be boring, right?) but for now I need to fill up on fun!

*I'm sure this plan will also lead to some abject failure too, if we're being honest -- but what the hell, that's what plans are.