Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fabricista Challenge #2- It's All About the Fit!

9/19/14-Update.  I won this challenge!   Thank you all so much for your encouragement and support.  My competition had some really great garments, so I feel very fortunate to have eeked out a win.  
I'm so excited to try my prize- 3 Pamela's Patterns!
And when I told my husband that I'd won, he said- "I guess we'll have to upgrade our anniversary dinner to Burger King." LOL!

Our 2nd challenge for the Fabric Mart Fabricista Challenge was to make a well-fitting garment out of solid color fabric.  We could make anything that we wanted to and use any pattern this time round! 

My 28th wedding anniversary is coming up, so for this challenge I decided to make a special occasion dress.   My husband’s favorite color is purple, and our bridesmaids wore eggplant gowns, so I grabbed this eggplant satin as a nod to both of those things. 

The pattern, Vogue 1118, has an asymmetrical bodice and curved skirt seams, lining, side zipper and back vent.  This is a Tracy Reese design that is now out of print.  I often have contemplated making it, but I knew it was going to be a fitting nightmare, so I always put it back in the box.  This challenge was just what I needed to give me the kick in the pants to try it!

Of the 16 pieces in the pattern, I altered 14 of them!    It took me one entire evening just to do the alterations.  I kid you not.  I could have sewed up a few knit tops in the time it took just to alter this baby!

The full bust adjustment was particularly tricky since one side has a dart, and the other has pleats.   I had to reduce the neckline a bit because it was gaping in my muslin.

 To add length for my height, I increased the length mid-skirt across 6 pattern pieces, truing up the curves, piece by piece.

But that’s not all!   

This summer, I found out that I have scoliosis- which means that my spine curves to one side.   I don't usually look at my backside, so I had no idea that I had this condition, but it explains why I usually have one bra strap falling down, and why sometimes my hemlines are a little wonky.  I always just attributed that to cutting while drinking wine, but turns out, it was probably the scoliosis all along!

I knew that I would have extra fabric at the left waist, so I took a 1" wedge out above the waist on the left side, and then added it back in below the waist to the pattern.  This wasn't enough- as you can see from the photos below- I still had multiple folds across the left.  I had my daughter pin out the excess, and then I worked that into a seam. 

The shoulder area of the design is also asymmetrical, so it is hard to tell what asymmetry is me and what is the design!

Working with satin was quite maddening interesting.   If you rip out a stitch or have a lump or bump, it shows.  If you drop of water drips from the iron, it will show permanently, so always iron on the wrong side, unless you are using a dry iron.  (I learned this from doing prom dresses for my daughters).  I alternated the matte and shiny sides to accentuate the design lines of the dress.   

With all of the fitting and fabric challenges, this tested my abilities to the max.  Lest you think I did not sweat this one, this project took me 2-1/2 days between the alterations, cutting and sewing.  I didn't even take a break to go to the fabric store.  I sent my husband to pick up the invisible zipper, where he got in an argument with a staff member that told him there were no invsible zippers.  He found them on his own, and then showed the staff member.  LOL!!!

 I learned that I have a lot to learn!  My friend and I are going to make duct tape dummies which should help me figure out what alterations I need to do for the scoliosis adjustments.  My dress form is just too symmetrical!

 I’m going to love wearing this dress.  It’s fitted, but comfortable.  Classy, but unique.  Sexy, but age appropriate.  Perfect  to celebrate 28 years of marriage!  My husband's comment, "Aren't you going to be a little overdressed for McDonalds?"  Husbands....(shaking head).

Please head on over to the Fabric Mart Blog to vote!  And if you do vote for me, thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Happy Sewing!


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fabricista Challenge #1- The Scout Tee

I'm a contestant in the Fabric Mart Fabricista challenge.  Our first challenge is to use the Scout Tee pattern as a base, and put our own personal spin on the pattern.  This is the required pattern:
Now the contest entries are posted, so I can show you my finished top!
I used pieces from 3 different silk saris.  These were of various shapes and sizes, and I was just in love with the colors of the border print.  You can see the pieces in this post.   I am super happy with how it turned out. Here is the back view showing the border placement.

And a little closer view of the yoke:

 I think it looks good with casual shorts as well as dressy pants!

Here's a little closer view of the front.

 And a closer view of the front yoke.  I love those little elephants.

And the side view. Yes, I matched my stripes!

I will definitely have to fight to keep my daughters from stealing this one.  Two of them have already asked "Can I have it?" LOL

There are really some AMAZING entries.  Please head over to the Fabric Mart Blog and vote for your favorite!

Happy Sewing!


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Secondhand Sari Saga

I live in a university town, and there is a large international student population here.  When the students leave, they often can't take all of their possessions- it would be too expensive to ship.  So, they often gift them to locals.

One such gift was given to my daughter- a big bag of silk sari scraps.  The gifter had gotten them second hand- she is an Australian artist and uses textiles.  So the bag was full of various sizes and shapes.  My daughter thought that I could use them.

 I originally turned her down- told her they were too small for anything I'd want to make.  But, as adult children do, she left the bag at our house, for months.

I've been selected to be a contestant in the Fabric Mart Fabrics Fabricista Challenge.  For my first Fabricista challenge, contestants were given the Scout woven tee pattern from Grainline studios.  We were assigned the task of putting our own spin on it and make something that we would love to wear.   As a dress wearing gal, I rarely wear tee shirts, so this really was a challenge!

I remembered the sari bag, and decided to take a look inside.   If you are unfamiliar with saris, they are often about 5 yards long, and have a section that has an intricate design for the wearer to drape in the front.  They do occasionally show up at thrift shops, and an intact sari is a great value for nice fabric. 

This bag only contained partial saris, but some of the pieces were fairly long.  I picked out a few pieces that I thought looked good together.  The largest one was 22" wide, and 2-1/2 yards long.  The tape marks where there were some issues- stains, holes, etc.

I wanted to use the border at the bottom of the top.  You can see that the pattern front was too long for fabric width, so I decided to cut off the top few inches, and make a yoke. Same for the back. 
I used the quilted elephant print to make the yoke.
I had to change the direction of the grain to cut the front pieces, just to get it to fit.

I used the smaller turquoise piece for the sleeves.  And I worked around the stained areas on the big sari piece to make the bias neck binding.

Check back soon to see the final garment! 

Happy Sewing!

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