Monday, December 30, 2019

Bucket List Fabrics and Top Nine 2019

2019 is rapidly closing so for my own record (because saving and searching on IG frustrates the heck out of me) are my top nine makes in 2019:

When Mr. Lucky and I thought we were moving two months ago, my heart skipped a beat with the excitement of a bright new big sewing space.  And then it almost stopped when I was faced with the prospect of packing, moving and unpacking all of my sewing supplies, particularly my fabric collection.  The sale didn't go through but on one of my almost daily long walks I contemplated that mountain of the house physically and in my mind mentally.  This "new" house was/is intended to be the next stop before we wind up in senior housing down the road.  We don't need another house but we're looking for one with a few more creature comforts...easier parking, central air everywhere, smaller yard...and more studio space so I can have twice monthly sewing/crafting/creativity salon time with girlfriends.  

So let's say that last move is ten, twelve, fifteen or more years away...if I continue to be so lucky.  What are the special fabrics I have that I would like to make sure I get to sew and wear during that time?  What are my bucket list fashion fabrics?  I gave myself an arbitrary number of 20...and an arbitrary time of five years.  What are twenty of my most precious (for whatever reason) fabrics that I want to sew and wear in the next five years?

If you don't stash or have a full resource center then that question may be a moot one.  If you are decades younger then it too won't resonate.  If you haven't been shopping at Fabric Mart for a quarter of a century then your pile stash collection is probably smaller.  But among my sewing pals it's a thoughtful concept nonetheless.

So here are my Bucket List fabrics from November musings.  Most of these are silks or woolens and I have ideas in my mind but am not committing to any particular projects yet.  Even as I culled these photos some are more precious to me than others for various reasons and you may feel the same about particular fabrics. Picture heavy, beware.  In no particular order:

Wool herringbone tweed from the Sewing Bee Expo in London, 2017
Fabric Mart tweed with color I love
Fabric Mart silk rayon velvet...used in a jacket earlier this month, hooray
Fabric Mart boucle with green and sand, my colors for sure
From forever ago at the PA Fabric Outlet in Baltimore, narrow woolen yardage that looks like Harris Tweed
From Michael's Fabrics in Baltimore my most expensive piece and probably a Linton boucle
Silk from Misan in London
From Fabric Mart a soft woolen jacquard
From Mood a two tone stretch woven
Fabric Mart, gold snakeskin print on denim
Sweater knit, Fabric Mart
Maybe the second oldest piece in this collection, a boucle from Louise Cutting
Silk, Fabric Mart
Silk, Fabric Mart
Silk, Fabric Mart
Liberty silk, Goldhawk Road shop, London
Silk, rayon burnout, Fabric Mart

Metallic thread boucle, Fabric Mart
Silk, Fabric Mart
Wool double knit, Misan, London
Watch this space to see what the remaining 19 become.  Do you have bucket list fabrics?  

PS 2019 is rapidly closing so for my own record (because saving and teaching on IG frustrates the heck out of me) are my top nine makes in 2019:

Vogue 1440, Sewing Workshop Frankie Shirt, Banded Front Cardigan Pamela's Patterns, Jalie Elenore jeans done as pool pants, Burda 7585 and Vogue 7155 mashup, Vogue 8813, Butterick 6244, Burda 3018, Self-drafted top

Friday, December 27, 2019

Holiday Wishes and Holiday Sewing

It's still the holiday season at our house so I like to think that this post isn't later than planned but is just part of the festivities in and out of my sewing room.  

Mr. Lucky and I have had an interesting last two months because of something that didn't happen, not something that did.  After many visits and long discussions, we made an offer on a house in late October.  I won't bore you with real estate blow by blow (this is a sewing blog after all) but after two weeks the sale did not go through...although we were already acting like it would, thinking about furniture, making dump trips from our back shed, tackling fabric stuff in the attic, and deciding what would go with us and what would go elsewhere.  We are fortunate that right now in our lives we could buy a "next house" and then put ours up for sale so at least we weren't caught in a no home dilemma when the seller reneged on the contract.  Long intro to say that I did do some holiday sewing but it fell into the quick and mostly easy fashion version.  Thank goodness for tried and true patterns that I know will work.  It wasn't very exciting but it did mean I had several new outfits for the round of festivities in the last six weeks.

TNT number 1 must be these Jalie #3461 Elenore Pull on Jeans. Jalie Elenore Jeans I streamline them even more by eliminating the faux front pockets and zipper since I haven't tucked a top into my jeans since the 80's.  These are two versions from Fabric Mart stretch poly charmeuse. They aren't warm but I loved the colors and a mild so far two months meant they served their purpose and can now retire.  Hmmm, maybe I'll just pack them away with the autumn and Christmas decorations.
Jalie Elenore Pull on Jeans
Jalie Elenore Pull On jeans
Another quick and easy pattern is Pamela's Patterns Magic Pencil Skirt. Pencil Skirt When we were six month snowbirds in Florida six plus years back I made these by the dozen.  This version is Fabric Mart stretch lace with sequins where I used the finished edge for my hem. 
 I think the magic happened that night when I wore it dancing for several hours which was fabulous after that terrible Grade 3 sprained ankle in late summer and physical therapy all fall.  And the other magic was getting an unsolicited compliment which you know sewists love to hear.

We usually dance to this marvelous Maryland band, Mood Swings, in outdoor venues on concrete but the Dec. Holly Ball has become a new tradition and the dance floor is a dream.    
Mood Swings sets the holiday mood

I have several tank patterns that are my go to answer for adding a new color or in this case texture to an outfit.  This is a Vogue 8699 shoulder princess seam tank that I made in a stretchy I think nylon/poly textured piece from Fabric Mart with a thin black knit lining.  I used the selvedge as piping along the neckline and I'm happy with how it took the Banded Front Cardigan Banded Front Cardigan also from Pamela's Patterns from nice to nicer.  
Vogue 8699,  Princess shoulder seams front and and back

Selvedge as front binding

Hmmm, animal print with animal print but my demure version
The last project for winter parties was inspired by a treasured piece of fabric.  As part of that anticipated house move I started tackling the enormous amount of fabric I have in my resource center.  I've spent many hours since that failed sale back in the resource center labeling and organizing the fabrics that I love and want to use and sending the other pieces on to their next homes.  More about that in an upcoming post or two.  
I reached deep into a closet for this paisley silk rayon velvet from Fabric Mart which must be at least ten years old and is part of a collection of silk velvets that I have been avoiding.  I've always heard how hard it is to sew, how much basting is needed, how maybe I should use spray adhesive.  I watched videos from Linda Lee and Kenneth King  on Bluprint (formerly Craftsy.)  I read a fabulous tutorial on the Emmaonesock site by the oh so talented Kathryn Brenne  Silk velvet Tutorial by Kathryn Brenne  I read and fretted and worried and finally sat down with a scrap of fabric.  I attached the HP plate (straight stitch plate) to my Janome 9400, new to me last Christmas, and then the narrow HP2 foot which is basically a narrow straight stitch walking foot.  When I started the sew I was shocked.  My machine treated that silk rayon velvet just like any other woven fabric.  Minimal slippage or bunching.  Hooray, this jacket project was going to be  a lot easier than I had ever anticipated.

I wanted a loose, flowing type of jacket for casual holiday parties.  I had worn a Fit for Art jacket recently and got several compliments so decided to duplicate the swing panel version with this fabric.  Tabula Rasa Swing Variations by Fit for Art  
Ok, sewing machine ready.  Pattern tested and ready.  Big velvet decision:  which way to place the nap?  Most of the time the nap on velvet is placed so that when wearing it you brush downward for a smooth feel.  But when I draped the fabric over my dress form, I liked the side where the nap headed up because the colors were deeper and richer.
In this photo I selected the right side, not the left.  The left was brighter and more detailed but I wanted this jacket for night time wear so went with the right side.  You might decide differently and isn't that the fun part of sewing your own clothes!
For the lining I used washed silk charmeuse from Fabric Mart.  I loved Kathryn Brenne's silk jacket which she underlined in silk organza and then lined but I was doing this too last minute to even consider that option.  

I did lose some of the burn out effect by using the lining on this particular fabric but this time of year I am always cold so I did enjoy that charmeuse lining the evening of the party.  It also made it slide nicely over my bottom layer.  Some of those other burn outs in my resource center will be just single layers worn over a tank top. 
For my final decision I did turn the jacket band with the more contrasting velvet design.  And wow, silk velvet around your neck feels wonderful.
Final evaluation:  I liked it, it was cozy and fun but I'm still looking for something kimono like with flow but not baggy and shapeless.  

Off to eat, drink and enjoy another holiday gathering.  
Here's hoping that your holidays have been merry and bright.  Next post I'll let you peer into that "resource center." 

Friday, August 23, 2019

Vacation Sewing and Packing

Back in the spring Mr. Lucky proposed that we take a Rick Steves tour company trip to Switzerland since my cousin had spoken so highly of her recent experience.  If he's willing to select and research it, then I'm good to go along.  In previous posts you've seen that we usually take outdoorsy, hiking/walking trips with maybe some city days before and after.  But this was going to be 12 days touring six cities in the three language (and food) regions so it's considered active but definitely more of a tour than we normally do.  I decided that meant that I needed to make some new garments for a somewhat coordinated but still small enough travel wardrobe.  I could pack the usual rtw travel blouses and pants that everyone else has, Travelsmith, Eddie Bauer, the standards, but I have enough of an ego that if I say sewing is my hobby then I should be wearing something to prove it.  
Let's start with the obvious basic black garments.and work from there.  
Black pants
I have black knit Style Arc Barb pants that can work as hiking pants or as evening with a tunic city pants. 
Barb pants by Style Arc get hydration in Zurich before a day up on Mount Pilatus
Add a second pair of black stretch denim jeans and there's a great base. 

Black skirt  White denim jacket
I already own a terrific rtw swirly mid-calf skirt in black slinky and this would be an opportunity to wear it for touring.  Imitating a great snoop shopping and sewing friend, @shoppingsleuth, (please, go to IG and follow her ideas) I decided that a cropped, deconstructed white denim jacket would be perfect for the skirt and that I could also wear the jacket with a black tank and those pants.  Now, I already have a rtw white denim jacket but I didn't want to cut it up in case I didn't like the look.  Enter my new shopping addiction...Poshmark.  For $12 I got the same brand jacket in a white stretch denim.  I cut off the collar, turned and edged it with narrow ribbon and cut the sleeves off to elbow length.  Eventually I want to embellish it around the neckline but I think it worked well just as it is.
Refashioned jacket with cut off sleeves and collar removed
Thanks, Michele, for a great idea

Dark wash denim jeans
No, I have not gotten on the make your own jeans bandwagon although I do love my pull on Jalie Elenore jeans pattern.  So I was packing dark denim rtw again and made a number of coordinating tops to wear in warm temps (Zurich hit 102F the week before we arrived!) or cool.  

White stretch jeans
Ok, this was totally unnecessary but I just love white jeans in the summer and all that dark is practical but sooooo dark.  I got a decent amount of wear out of this last minute decision and it kept my bottoms in rotation enough that I didn't have to do laundry in the two weeks.

So what did I actually sew, what else did I pack and how did they work in a small rolling suitcase?  Here they are:
Three very lightweight over blouse toppers with either a rtw or Margarita tank top underneath.  I only wore two of them when it was quite warm at the start of our trip and one of the hotels wasn't air-conditioned.  They roll up to the size of a cell phone so easy to stuff into a suitcase although probably not necessary.

This topper is my most pinned item since I first made them nine years ago..Chicos poncho knock off  This one works wonderfully with jeans since it has navy and black in that burnout polyester from Fabric Mart.

Again, an easy topper with a twist so I can cover my upper arms but wear a sleeveless tank.  Both sides of the fabric is glittery navy that I think came from JoAnns and the other a tissue knit from Fabric Mart.  I thought I did a post about making one but can't find it at the moment. Tell me if you'd like directions.  

I am in love with waterfall jackets of all lengths and collar widths.  I made a sheer one from my very favorite Butterick 6244 and a border polyester fabric from Fabric Mart with a serger rolled edge.  Turquoise knit Margarita Tank top by LJ Designs, my go to tank.  
Butterick 6244

Then a knit version in a somewhat heavy ITY that needed a full facing.  The colors are perfect for denim and black but when wearing it, the extra weight of the large facing pulled it forward and I wasn't always happy with that.  I'll keep it for travel but not for regular at home wearing.
Butterick 6244

Butterick 6244
I'm grinning like a fool because we were ecstatic to reach the Lugano hotel where we got a whole pot of delicious coffee at breakfast.  Americans like us looove their morning coffee and a small cup isn't enough.  This was heaven.
There were some oldies that came along on the trip:
Vogue 8691 from three years ago
Yes, I found fabric stores and haberdashery departments just like a homing pigeon.
Vogue 8813 is a Marcy Tilton dress with great pockets and was perfect for market day and winery tour in Lausanne.
Vogue 8813
A Simplicity 3678 dress that I cut down into a tunic and thought I might discard at the end of the trip but it got several compliments so it came home with me:
Simplicity 3678
And last sewing picure,  a McCalls 6444 jacket, another oldie but goodie, in lightweight nubby cotton with lots of fringing.  Jeans and travel friendly.
McCalls 6444

Oh, that bandage you've noticed....thank you for not saying anything.  I was so cocky and full of myself as our trip started out.  The first three days we were on our own in Zurich.  Day one we arrived, dropped our luggage and used the Rick Steves guide book for a marvelous walking tour of the city.  Cure for jet lag...walk  8 miles in the sun.  Day two we headed on the train for a whole day excursion to beautiful Mount Pilatus.  Trains, gondolas, cog wheel train, boat ride, hiking...another almost 8 mile day.  
Ah, day three, head out to take scheduled e-bike tour of Zurich.  Electric bikes are the ones with heavy electric batteries that give you power assist.  Mr. Lucky and I were there early, the woman trying to help me said all the bikes are the same, I didn't want to be a pushy American but saw that there were smaller ones more my size but I went along with her (listen to your instincts, ladies) and yes, the bike took me down with its weight and size and I have a badly sprained ankle.  I still did the whole trip and it could have been soooo much worse.  I'll see the ankle dr. when he's back from his vacation on Monday but I can still sew so all is not lost. And sewing wise, here are my souvenirs:

Sewing friends, feel free to move voyouers, keep looking for a few of our many pictures.  

The Rick Steves tour was a master work of planning for organized time and free time.  He's a real believer in getting to know local people, stay at family owned hotels and dine at local restaurants and that made this quite special.  We had a walk with a local city guide in each town, a wonderful full time guide/manager, Fabian, who set up our visits to behind the scenes tours of a monastery, an exclusive chocolatier, an Alp cheese farm, mountain WWII fortress, local village music, a risotto cooking class, winery tour, Roman ruins and travel by coach, by train, by boat, by tram and gondolas.  We were initially concerned that it wouldn't be active enough for us but we averaged five miles a limping along but I didn't miss any activity except maybe the optional tandem para-gliding.  We'll definitely take another trip with such a terrific organization some time in the future.  Now, back to my sewing room and all the fun projects I have in store for the rest of 2019.
Mr. Lucky and the fire gear inside one of the WWII mountain fortresses which held 200 men
In Engleberg there was a local band concert and a music group which did Swiss yodeling songs that were beautiful.
Bellinzona has three castles, built to guard this narrow pass
Daily cheese-making after the forty cows have grazed on the high hills
The hills were alive with Alp horn music, some it more melodious than others.
On Lake Geneva the steamer passes the Castle of Chillon
We learned that a famous Bollywood film had been filmed in and on top of the gorgeous Mount Titlis
Mr. Lucky, now retired ski patroller, gets a great look at the Alps.