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.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Shirts and Shirting and Burda 3018

I don't follow fashion very much since I lead a casual life these days but I still like clothes and still go shopping...both snoop shopping for ideas and also will buy if something catches my fancy at a reasonable price.  One trend that I have noticed recently is a change from almost all knit tops and cardigans to a much larger proportion of woven blouses and tunics in the RTW stores I visit.  So my fashion eye gets accustomed to that and now I'm evaluating my pattern collection and resource center looking for variations for woven blouses and tunics to add to my wardrobe in 2019.  

Fabric Mart gave me a huge boost this summer when they bought out NYC's Rosen and Chadick, a much revered family store that was in business in the garment district for almost 70 years and carried beautiful high end selections.  Well, once Fabric Mart got in truckloads of their fabrics, they were determined to move it out just as quickly.  The first sale was 70% off the Rosen and Chadick prices on the bolts...then it was $3.99 a yard for everything in the store...then the sale that got me was when they dropped the price to $1.99 a yard and turned that into $1.00 a yard of you finished the bolt.  Now, as you dear readers already know, I have enough fabric to open a store of my own so I hesitated for a few minutes hours when that last sale email arrived.  But that afternoon I sidled up to Mr. Lucky, asked if he wanted to find a golf course to play near Sinking Spring, PA and we all drove up the next morning in under two hours. 
Once I started shopping the retail store sale, my Virginia sewing friends and I were texting pictures and requests while they were at their monthly sewing guild gathering.  I pulled out bolts of these smooth, elegant shirting fabrics, sent the photo and wanted to know which ones they wanted.  The next text said ALL.  And so that's what I did...kept pulling one beautiful bolt after another of shirting fabrics that sold from $25-59 per yard and took the whole bolt.  

There were a few knits, some lovely stretch wovens

The Fabric Mart staff saw Lucky in the car and insisted that he come in to visit and approve my selections
and it all ended up in the back of the car for the drive back to Baltimore...I think 223 yards worth.

A few days later one of my sewing friends drove up so I could hand off the goods (sounds like a drug transaction, doesn't it, and in some ways it is, isn't it?!) and she challenged us to meet at the end of the month and show off what we had made.  Darn it, we were having so much fun laughing about our mutual love for fabric/bargains on that meet up day that I didn't take any pictures of their lovely creations.  I did sew pillowcases from one of the fabrics just so I could enjoy that cool, silky cotton in the summer heat.   And I finished this blouse in time using Burda 3018 that both Kenneth King and Sarah Veblen had helped me refine previously in the late spring. 

I took those stripes and played with them a little and I'm happy with how the shirt looks and, because of that special fabric, how it feels especially in the heat we are having.

There are a few more woven tops that I've been fitting this summer so I can expand the TNT pattern collection and maybe use more of these lovely shirtings while wovens are still in style.
Here's hoping you are enjoying finding new fabrics and new styles this season.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Pink...Vogue 1440, Simplicity 4074, Simplicity 2371 and Lace Overlay

Earlier this summer, before serious house hunting (no luck), gardening chores (lovely results) and some wonderful trips (details to follow) I was busy sewing up several new summer garments that all had one thing in common...PINK.  
First up was another tank top with lace overlay, this time using probably polyester guipure lace that I bought in Amsterdam at the Monday fabric market when Sigrid mentioned it on our get together two years ago.  I used the overlay pattern I've made three times before (original post Overlay), attached it to the shoulder princess knit tank, Fabric Mart fabric, of course, and then hand appliquéd additional lace motifs along the neckline and edge.  It's perfect for going to the theater and outdoor summer music.

Next up was my latest version, in spring/summer colors, of the Donna Karan Vogue 1440 pattern.  This time I lined the body of the jacket and again did self fringe but not the bound seams on the original.  I lengthened it one inch and also reduced the front width by an inch so that it looks more like the envelope picture and doesn't quite meet at center front.  I wore it to a sewing group spring tea and then to the Maryland Preakness party (yes, that was months ago, don't shame me.)  The fabric is a cotton blend boucle from Fabric Mart that I have owned for at least fifteen years and this is the perfect use for it. 
Silk organza selvedge to stabilize edges before adding the two layers of boucle selvedge

Ambiance lining for the main body but not the outside edge pieces
Fortunately I had lots of yardage so I could use the pretty selvedge for most of the jacket fringe and  improvise for the rest.
That project was a little time consuming so I needed a "palate cleanser."  I'm having a new alteration in my repertoire, adjusting for a rounded back.  

Whether it's so much computer, sewing, reading time or aging, I now need to revisit that part of my anatomy as I use TNT patterns.  
This is a simple but versatile knit pattern from  maybe ten years ago and I wanted to test my latest alteration.
It's Simplicity 4074, 13 years old and such a classic that there are 46 reviews on Patternreview.  4074 Simplicity

This is a burnout knit that was a little too sheer in the body so I underlined it in a thin breathable beige lining fabric.  It added a little additional body which was good in this thin knit and although I forgot to get a back picture, the new alteration worked well and this pattern is moving up again in the TNT rotation.  I think the faux wrap dress version would be a terrific travel dress.

Now it was time to play with fabric that I had been hoarding collecting fondling saving.  This is cotton lawn, Fabric Mart, from several years ago. It is so light and airy, perfect for our humid summers in Maryland and the lightweight feeling lets me wear sleeves without being terribly uncomfortable.

 I combined an oldie TNT pattern, 

with the sleeves from a new one
but I added a large facing at the bottom of the sleeve so the bow looks nicer fully lined

I'm happy with the result and see a few more of these in my future, too.  

I have always loved the color pink and while I was sewing these new additions I was constantly singing (to myself only, I promise) the song, Pink, from the show "War Paint" about the rivalry between two dynamic entrepreneurs, Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden.  Mr. Lucky and I got to see the show last fall and were blown away by the powerhouse team of Christine Ebersole and Patti LuPone.  

Here's hoping that you find colors to enjoy in your sewing space.