Sunday, April 28, 2013

Vogue 8088, Not My Usual Style

Most of you reading this little blog are already entrenched in the sewing/blogging world.  But I have a few personal friends who don't spend months, weeksdays hours combing blogworld and Pinterest for exciting creations, inspiration and sewing gossip.  This post starts out with an entreaty to them to enjoy The Great British Sewing Bee on youtube.  I won't give away any secrets except to say I LOVED watching the four hour long episodes.
Episode One
Episode Two
Episode Three
Great British Sewing Bee Finale 
Yes, it has some of the contrived drama of all reality shows but I so enjoyed seeing amateur sewers get public appreciation and respect.  Many other bloggers have had wiser things to say about these shows and the contestants and judges.  I simply enjoyed sitting with a glass of wine after a day of errands, yardwork, chores and dog care while indulging in a combination of my two of my favorite things....sewing and visiting England again, even if only vicariously.
I've been an Anglophile since I was a wee child.  The first storybook I recall was a Little Owl Book "Candles for the Queen."  My very first visit to Great Britain took place in 1972 when I was backpacking through Europe with Frommer's $5 A Day Guide leading me.  It's been a love affair ever since and this show just let me indulge on a more personal level.  I as impressed by the courage it took to sign up to sew in front of cameras and judges in a limited time.  Heck, I hate showing all of you readers the rear end of a pair of pants I've sewn.  This wasn't for a Project Runway of Fashion Star chance at money and fame, just an opportunity to show honed sewing skills.  I was touched by the contestants, their families and was happy to the point of tears at the final result.  But they were all winners to give it a go and I look forward to the next series.

But enough about watching sewing, how about getting some done here on the other side of the pond.   I am finally posting a picture of this latest creation from my sewing room.  It was too cold over the last week to go outside and pose with a thin silk organza jacket.  But the weekend was warmer and I've gotten a snapshot of the final result.

Vogue 8088
The fabric is an embroidered and painted silk organza from Fabric Mart.  The pattern is one of Marcy Tilton's, what I would consider an artsy style, quite different from my usual classic tailoring or sportswear  outdoorsy look.  When I attended the Artistry in Fashion show at Canada College in California last year, I felt a little underdressed compared to the more creative types all around me.  So here's the most out-of-the fashion-box style that I like on me.  
I cut a size Small and then took 1/2" off the shoulders to narrow them further.  I am rather satisfied with the result except that I might narrow the pattern back so that it doesn't swing out so dramatically.  I feel a little like a superhero ready to leap in the air with a mini cape waving behind.

sort of caped crusader

  Marcy's directions for finishing the seams are as lovely as those in a Sewing Workshop pattern.  French side seams and a two inch band with mitered corners are sophisticated touches.  I used a Linda Lee technique of a cardboard template (just a cut up am marked file folder.)  In this case the template is 2" wide with a one inch mark down the center.  I pressed the jacket edges with the template, then turned them again along the first fold and used a narrow zig zag to stitch down the outer edges.

Make the first fold with a cardstock template for accuracy.
Double folded edge and mitered corner
The square corner collar neck area is also finished cleanly on the inside which also reinforces that weak square corner area and is the final detail to make this one layer jacket as nice inside as outside.
Inside square collar and shoulder seam, trimmed and hand stitched
Outside collar and shoulder
As always, I am late to discover this pattern.  I just saw last week that the creative and generous (remember my giveaway win this winter?) JillyB has sewn several of these while I was playing with my one simple one.  Jillybejoyful jackets 
I too would like to make some other versions but next I'm moving on to something new.  Yup, I'm continuing this short journey out of my fashion comfort zone.  There's a new mock up pattern in my sewing room and later this week I'll get some fitting help from some of my sewing pals.  How about you, are you in or out of your comfort zone this week?

Friday, April 19, 2013

McCalls 6444

McCalls 6444
I am taking a break from a new sewing project to post this picture of McCalls 6444, a very simple waterfall jacket that I stitched up last week.  This is such an easy pattern and I didn't even bother to finish the edges, just left them raw.  
I am auditioning this outfit for a May visit with my 8th grade classmates, an annual event that I cherish.  I wore it to lunch with some friends this week and got several compliments.  I do like the color on me, the style is casual but accessorized nicely (thank you Chico's) but I think the proportion might be a little too long, even with my height.  I'm wearing it with straight leg jeans but I think I might need skinny leg jeans to pull off the full oversized flowing fabric look and maybe a belt under the jacket to suggest that I still have a waist.  

Right now sewing has taken a back seat to heavy duty work in the yard and flowerbeds. But I made sure to take some spring pictures since I am awestruck by how beautiful spring is.  We haven't been here in the Mid Atlantic for early April in at least seven or eight years.  On one hand I am exhausted by the amount of perennial dividing and transplanting we are doing in our many flowerbeds.  But on the other hand it is a joy to see each day unfold with new buds and sprouts then blossoms and leaves appearing.   Yesterday afternoon we took the dogs and visited the gorgeous Sherwood Gardens in Baltimore, a springtime treasure.  Sherwood Gardens 80000 tulip neighborhood display  Here's what their flower beds look like at the start of their most glorious season.

Glad to be taking a break from our yardwork
Some modest tulips on display in our own garden
Lots of weeding to locate these Siberian iris around last summer's new fencing
In addition to heavy lifting in the garden, I've been doing heavy lifting in my reading for the last week.  I've enjoyed the first of Ken Follett's new trilogy:

It's an epic historical novel of five families from Europe and the US and how the characters are caught up in the events of the time.  This first book covers the period before, during and immediately after World War I.  A large book in size and scope but very readable.  It was disheartening, however, to understand that the very same political battles are being fought today, almost one hundred years later.  I do recommend it and will tackle the second one later this year.
Now it's time to tackle that new sewing project, a Marcy Tilton jacket, something that's a departure from my usual fashion style.  Let's give it a shot and see what we think.....

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sewing, Moving, Reading

My sewing mojo is back.  And we are back in Baltimore.  But now I have to make the time to sew up the projects and ideas spinning in my head.  And I also want to sit down and luxuriate in a binge of international sewing television by watching the Youtube versions of "The Great British Sewing Bee."  That could get me started on a rant about cable television....the one where I say hey, I'm glad to pay for what I DO watch and get rid of the several hundred channels that I DON"T watch if you would only give me that choice!!!  Off that soapbox and onward to a quick update on the last month of life, some sewing, more moving, lots of reading, plenty of gardening and a beautiful springtime.
I'll start with the latest sewing project which was to stitch up three pairs of Style Arc Elle pants that I had cut out in early winter....two black knit ones and one dark olive green pair.  I'll just show you one and you can imagine the others.  
Elle pants, one of three pairs in April
What a fabric roundabout trip for this fabric.  It's a sport knit with tennis rackets woven into it for some tone on tone texture.  I bought it at Walmart the second year that we were in our Florida condo, nine years ago.  I originally made a pair of Burda bootcut pants that were comfy and attractive for sportswear.  Now the styles have changed, our living situation has changed and now here's more of that fabric in narrow legged sport pants.  No more of this fabric left so I guess no more moves, right?

That's all the sewing news at present so you can stop reading and move onto another sewing blog, won't hurt my feelings.  For those of you curious about our recent move north, here are more details

When you last saw us, Mr. Lucky and I had sold our condo to a delightful couple and had to find temporary housing for a few more weeks of Florida sunshine.  We started out at the very pet-friendly Red Roof Inn which has re-done its rooms and is an inexpensive way to travel the US with pets in tow.   
Red Roof Inn pet friendly-room

But even this nice room can get cramped after five days so one of our kind, generous dogpark friends invited us to stay at her home for the next five days.  We had a wonderful visit, caught up with several other local friends who we wanted to spend time with before heading north and eventually bid a sad farewell to our morning group of humans and animals.
Some of our morning compatriots, two-legged and four....
We're going to miss them....
We sold our condo furnished but did bring home our personal items, some replacement kitchenwares (I wanted the new food processor from FL to replace the inherited one in Baltimore) and all of my sewing books, patterns, fabric, notions, and machines.  We used a wonderful company, ABF, with "relocubes."  We did our own packing and then the company brings a forklift and moves the cubes onto a truck that headed north.  A few days after we arrived in Baltimore we called them to deliver them to our driveway.  
Two "relocubes"

The first one was stuffed to the ceiling with boxes but the second one had our bikes and unpacked items lashed amongst the packages.

Yes, that's a padded dressform on top of plastic boxes of fabric and patterns in cube #2

We put all the boxes from the two cubes into our basement and now we face the slow and tedious task of emptying them.  No major hurry so I am giving myself until Christmas to work through the perhaps 60 boxes.  I'll be deciding which of my machines and supplies to keep and then hold a sewing sell-off of the rest.  The hardest part is combining clothing from the two places.  I have lost about ten pounds this year so that's making it slightly easier to send too big clothing to charity.  We've already donated two cardboard wardrobes and about 20 empty boxes on freecycle so we are making progress although it's not easy to see when there's so much "stuff" downstairs.  

Since we were living as nomads for a few weeks, I did get a lot of reading done and thought I'd share my most recent finds.  

Loved, loved, loved this one.  I've not generally been a historical novel person but in the past year that's a genre I have enjoyed tremendously.  This one is a beautifully written story that gave me insights into some famous personages, Anne Morrow Lindbergh and her husband, Charles.  I enjoy reading others' reviews more than writing one so here's what many Amazon readers have to say about it  Amazon reviews

My Baltimore book group had selected this title for the April discussion so I checked it out of the Collier County library while we still in Florida and read it on the week long trip north.  Again, I absolutely loved it.  I found it funny, touching and wise and enjoyed it so much that I read it twice in preparation for our get together.  The story of a mild mannered, retired British man who walks for hundreds of miles to see a former colleague who is in hospice did not sound promising.  But I was so moved by this book and the beautiful writing.  Once again, here are the reviews, if you are interested:  Amazon reader reviews

Last one was just fun and enjoyable and reminder of the great bonds between humans and their dogs.  

Now it's time to get out into the yard and do some more weeding, perennial dividing, planting and mulching.  It's been terrific to be here in April when we can really make headway in our many flowerbeds. But wow, we are feeling it every evening when we gingerly lower ourselves onto the sofa to relax, watch tv....and fall asleep shortly thereafter.  So my sewing projects are currently only in my head....but are becoming closer to reality with each passing day.  Hope your sewing projects are more "real" and fulfilling for you.