Sunday, March 30, 2008

Work in Progress: Burda 02-2008-112

Last weekend we went to a tennis tourney. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and am now rocking what have come to call the "farmer's tan deluxe" from so many hours under the Palm Springs sun. However, since that took up the entire weekend, it left me feeling like I needed some major "me" time. What else could I do but devote as much of this weekend to sewing as I could? I sewed up a muslin of McCall's 5592, the latest answer to the high-waisted trend. Overall they were okay, but I think there are better pants out there for me. For now, skirts and dresses seem much more appealing, especially with summer upon us here in the Valley of the Sun.

On the docket is a modified a-line dress from February's Burda, #112.

What drew me to this pattern was the interesting details, not so visible in the fashion photo. From the technical drawing, you can see the topstitching and the lines of the dress. I felt it would be flattering, springy and fun. Plus, who doesn't want a new dress?

I chose a 2 yd stretch twill from the remnant bin (home dec for sure) at Joann's that I picked up a year ago for maybe $5. Awesome fabric to work with ladies...Much better than most of the fashion fabric to be had at Joann's, can I say?

It's not quite finished yet, as I need some second opinions on the fit. Since I have a sway back and, um, shall we say "junk" in the trunk, there were some alterations necessary to the back. The pattern does not include any shaping darts at all. All the shape comes from the seams, and I definitely needed something extra in the back. However, my basted fisheye darts have drag lines, which say my alteration was not that successful. Any words of wisdom? I took in a total of 3" in the back and it's now super comfy but knowing the drag lines are there stresses me out.

Any words of wisdom? Anyone? Anyone? Beuhler?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fabric Mart redux...

True, first impression wasn't so great, but upon closer inspection in the light of day I've had to revise my opinion. There is no hope for the sparkly camo, but still. The wool pieces, with one exception, acutally tropical weight. There is a gabardine in a shade of smoky blue that could easily become a suit or at the very least a drapey pair of trousers/slacks. And the pea green wool is destined to become something for my friend Trina, who is blessed with the olive skin that can actually work this fabric. Maybe not near the face but bottoms will work just fine. And the fabric I actually selected is quite lovely.

Did I mention the 4 pounds of buttons? That's a whole lotta buttons, friends. There were some great finds in the button bag! 11 Nautical blue 1.25" coat buttons that are awesome; I can't wait to use those on a white poplin or twill jacket with (maybe) navy piping. A large number of black, gray, and olive fabric covered shank buttons are in there, too. So far, I've dug through to find 3 7/8" brass buttons bearing the Brooks Brothers double B's; they seem to belong on a three buttoned blazer. However, if I chance to meet a person whose initials are BB, I just may be compelled to give them away. I'm going to have to take one evening and just have a major sorting session.

Overall, I did a cost average of the fabric purchase and it came to roughly $2/yd for 32 yards of fabric. The buttons are an incredible bargain; there must be close to a thousand in that bag.
Good deal, right? Now, to find a place to store everything...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Fabric Mart wool cart comes to Phoenix

Yes, I finally broke down and purchased. It was the promise of 3 yards for $5 that drew me; I picked an Anna Sui silk chiffon. And 4 pounds of buttons for $5. I suppose this makes me a sucker for anything priced at 5 bucks. Then there was the wool bundle: 12 yds for $28. Oh, I did qualify for the 10 yd mystery bundle, too. First time buyer, you understand. Did I mention the 3 yds of black wool stretch? And there was the Cophenhagen blue linen blend.

The verdict? Eh...First glance left me decidedly unimpressed. The wool bundle had some interesting pieces, but the colors weren't fabulous. The mystery bundle wasn't such a hit, either; nondescript wovens and a sweatshirt fabric in olive & pink sparkle camouflage. I ask you, what am I going to do with sparkly camo? And one of the pieces from the wool bundle was definitely a shade of green that is wearable on a select few. I mean, who really wants to wear a green that lives somewhere between an army olive and puree of pea? If you can, please, let me know and I'll send it off to you. I wouldn't even want to give this away since it would kind of like giving away the lemon starburst, you know? Who likes the lemon starburst?? Exactly my point...

I don't know. I may just end up sending the wool back. Did I mention it was about 80 degrees today? What was I thinking? Why did no one stage some sort of woolen intervention? Sometimes I need someone to just take hold of my shoulders and look me in the eyes and say, "No, Rosanne. No. You have to accept that you live in the desert. Put down the wool and back away slowly. That's not tropical weight and you know it."

Does Fabric Mart take returns based on buyer's remorse/idiocy/obstinate refusal to just give in to the heat? My single concession was the linen/viscose blend in Copenhagen blue.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Cosmopolitan dress: the One Hour Muslin

Progress has been made and already I'm feeling better about this blue jersey! True, it does smell suspiciously like a rubber band, but the color is amazing: cobalt blue that just makes my skin glow. Too bad it's a muslin, right? Unfortunately, it won't be wearable, but hey, sometimes we must sacrifice for our art.

Last weekend, I successfully traced off sizes 8 and 10, not being sure which would work but wanting to leave myself some room for error. I had an odd yard left from the McCall's pattern so I had to be fairly careful with layout and such. My measurements match the 8 bodice for Hotpatterns, so I cut out the 8 bodice and waist bands on a single later, making a full bodice front and back, eliminating the folds and the center back seam. I feel this jersey - purchased at Hancock's by the way for $3.95/yd - has enough stretch that it's okay to just pull the dress over my head. I recycled the skirt pieces by simply laying out the new pattern pieces over the material. However, the Cosmo has a definite A-line skirt where the McCall's pattern was rectangular (literally), so I sort of lost some of the lines just below mid-thigh. But I figured, this was a muslin, and my main point was to see if this pattern was going to work for me. At this stage, I didn't bother with the ties since these weren't going to effect fit very much.

Construction consisted of really quickly basting up the darts, then shoulders and waistbands to front and back. The skirt front and back were basted and then the side seams. What do you think?
Overall, I think it looks pretty darned good for all of 20 minutes of sewing :) Such rapid construction is not without its hazards however. Note the bodice close up below:
That's right, I managed to twist the front and back before sewing the side seams together. Awesome, I know. Sometimes I amaze even myself with my attention to detail. I wonder if I could use the 10 bodice, however and ease it into the 8 waistband to get more of a blousy effect. On Cidell and Christina and the original, the bodice was a little less fitted. Also, I wonder if I could have lengthened the bodice so that my waist is at the right point. As it is now, the seam of the skirt feels like its about 1/2" above my waistline, which means the actual waist-point of the dress is about 1.5" too high. Does this mean I am long waisted??? I'll try to modify the pattern and see where I end up. Am I not right about this color? Is it not amazing? It photographed really well and true. Even if I do stink of rubber...

For the next version:
  • Bodice: this will be a 10, measuring first to be certain my waist line is in the right place, which will likely mean adding 1.25" in length to begin with and then take up from there
  • Waistband: I'm going to keep the 8 since it fit nicely without being snug
  • Skirt: straight 8, but lengthened to the narrowest point of my knee when hemmed
  • Sleeves: short ones since the weather seems to be holding steady around 75 degrees
For the muslin:
I just might end up making a shirt out of it in the end. The bodice fits well enough; I suppose I can consider it an empire waist. Recycling the skirt would give me enough to bind the neckline and I still have the sleeves from the McCall dress to use as well. We'll see how it goes...

I'm going to stop by Hancock's soon to see if they have any more of this fabric since I love the color. It reminds me of the Mediterranean Sea in July. It needs to be part of my summer wardrobe.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

When life gives you lemons, and other reasons the net makes your life better...

In keeping with my general down-on-the-desert disposition, I often find myself surprised when I find myself in situations that just wouldn't be possible elsewhere. A beautiful sunset on the commute home from work, being within driving distance to Oak Creek and Grand Canyon, the generous amount of skin that is constantly on display here which turns out to be a highly compelling reason to work out. Oh yes people, cleavage is definitely in. I'll never forget my first impression of Arizona State University; I believe I called it the "ass parade." But I digress...

What else is nice about living here? Copious amounts of citrus! And those who know me can attest to love of lemons. My friend Trina happens to have a lemon tree that was so weighed down with lemons, I just had to insist she give me some. I must preface this by also saying these are the the BIGGEST lemons I have ever seen - two to three times bigger than you would see in a your typical grocery store. These bad boys are super juicy, too. With one lemon, I made two glasses of lemonade and enough marinade for a 1 pound flank steak. I filled a shopping bag and plan on further relieving her tree of it's burden in the very near future.

As for other news, I have to send a great big "thank you" to Christina! Look what came in the mail with a sweet little message to have fun! HotPatterns Deco Vibe Cosmopolitan Dress!!!
I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I had tried making McCall's 5648 and how disappointed I was that it looked nothing like what I was hoping. Note the sack I am wearing below:
Hearing my woeful cry for help, both Christina and Cidell offered to loan me their Cosmo patterns. How awesome is that?! The web vastly increases one's circle of friends, that's for certain. Thank you both for being so sweet :)

In keeping with my lemonade theme, I'm going to salvage this muslin to make the Cosmo. The bodice will have to be recut, but the skirt and sleeves are salvageable. More on that later and a review of the tie blouse from Burda's January issue. I'm off for an evening bike ride and lemonade refreshment...

Saturday, March 8, 2008

To know me is to love me...

What Rosanne Means

You are wild, crazy, and a huge rebel. You're always up to something.

You have a ton of energy, and most people can't handle you. You're very intense.

You definitely are a handful, and you're likely to get in trouble. But your kind of trouble is a lot of fun.

You are well rounded, with a complete perspective on life.

You are solid and dependable. You are loyal, and people can count on you.

At times, you can be a bit too serious. You tend to put too much pressure on yourself.

You are the total package - suave, sexy, smart, and strong.

You have the whole world under your spell, and you can influence almost everyone you know.

You don't always resist your urges to crush the weak. Just remember, they don't have as much going for them as you do.

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.

You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.

You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are very intuitive and wise. You understand the world better than most people.

You also have a very active imagination. You often get carried away with your thoughts.

You are prone to a little paranoia and jealousy. You sometimes go overboard in interpreting signals.

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.

You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together.

At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Spring has Sprung...

One thing about living in Phoenix is that Winter is decidedly short. What is it now, barely March 2nd? We've already been to 85 degrees twice in the past week. Sucks for me as I'm a cold weather girl, through and through. Those who know me will confirm that I do, in fact, melt(down) at temperatures higher than 95 degrees. If you don't believe me, consider the fact I decided to make a fur coat...

Speaking of which, the Forever Fur isn't quite completed yet. If you'll recall, I had some fit issues and lining issues, both of which were identified but have not been completed to date. The right front needed to be adjusted, which required releasing the side seam to the arm hole and then taking new measurements for darts, etc. I've released the seam, but then the flu hit me like a ton of bricks and, by the time I'd recovered, I started a new job. So, the fur is languishing in my closet as temperatures rise. Did I mention that it was 85 degrees yesterday? Dude. I so wanted to turn on the A/C.

I have done some sewing in the last few weeks, however. My sewing class is going slowly - we are on week 7 and still haven't finished our skirts. This does not bode well for prospects of other, more complicated garments. But that's okay. I have a skirt sloper that fits and fits well. I *will* complete the posts on creating this garment and even transferring fit changes to the pattern. Some day...

Two weeks ago, I finished the tie-neck blouse #119 from February's Burda. I've created the review but have yet to post it since I don't have a photo just yet. Soon, I promise.

Also, I have purchased copious amounts of fabric. However, in keeping with my resistance to warm weather, most of it is wool and/or bulky. You know, the first generation of this blog was titled "Defying Nature: Humans weren''t meant to live in the desert." I'm not really a fan of the heat, have I said this before?

Hopefully, I'll have some pics up soon. More later, the hubster is saying that I need some sun...