Sunday, July 17, 2011

Val-d'Or Blouse

(You can see my muslin for this project here.)

I'm still enjoying life here at the cottage in Val-d'Or. We've had such wonderful weather this week. I spend my days mostly sewing, reading, cooking, swimming in the lake, riding my bicycle to town and canoeing. What more could a girl ask for?

I fell in love with this silk from the first moment I saw it in the store. Its quality and colour combination... It ended up being a perfect match for Vogue 1152. However, sewing with silk proved to be more challenging than expected. It's just so delicate. For example, I had to unpick my side zipper after making a mistake, which left holes in my fabric. I thankfully managed to hide the damage inside the seam allowance, but made a mental note to avoid unpicking silk in the future. The fact that my stitch length was pretty short also probably didn't help...

It's funny how a tiny change -- such as elevating the front bands by two inches for the SBA -- disrupted a fine balance in the garment. As much as the bust of my muslin was too big, I think the mock-up looked better than the final garment. The bust should still be altered, but I need to find a way to do it without moving the two bands. The final proportions were a little offThe garment is absolutely wearable, of course, and I love the fabric. But it made me realise how tricky it is to design something that looks commercial/professional, and not home-made. The designer, Rebecca Taylor, and her patternist must have made so many finicky adjustments to perfect this pattern.

In spite of its low-cut neckline, I whole-heartedly recommend Vogue 1152. It is sooo flattering -- especially if you have a pear figure.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Vogue 1152 -- in progress

We are spending the next few weeks enjoying life at a cottage in Northern Québec. I look forward to showing you more of the gorgeous setting here, but in the meantime, here is my muslin for Vogue 1152.

The fit of this pattern is extremely forgiving and there are only minor adjustments to be made.
1) Shorten the length to make a blouse rather than a skirt
2) Raise the bust by 2 inches and do small bust adjustment

Other than that, it's looking good!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Linen Pants for Mr AS&AS

It was during our trip to India last year that Mr AS&AS encountered the joy of linen pants in humid weather. After wearing his first pair to pieces, it was time to make him a new one.

Since I had kept his pant pattern from last winter, I could whip these out in an afternoon. I used a piece of linen I had picked up for £4 /yard in Leeds Market. I'm really satisfied with the quality of the fabric (for once!).
He insisted that I not bother with pockets, but still mentioned that a small pouch in the front could be useful for cards and keys. I really wasn't sure how to do that. It seemed to me that adding a small pocket to the front of the pants would make it look too feminine. A trip to H&M menswear allowed me to figure it out. It appears the secret lies in tucking one end of the pocket in the side seam for a more masculine look.

The making of Vogue 9850

(You can see the finished skirt here!)

This seemingly simple project taught me several things. First, darts don't work in heavy-weight fabrics. I did read the back of the pattern, which recommended a light- to medium-weight fabric, yes. But it's all Genny's fault! I went fabric shopping with her a few weeks ago, and we had so much fun that I ended up buying the wrong thing!

Bellow, my catastrophic first version. Press the darts all you want, they won't look better.
Take my word people: you will burn your fabric if you press too insistently. This is what happened and the discoloration looked pretty bad in real life.

After internally weeping for a few minutes, I decided to "Make it work" and altered the pattern to do away with the darts. (Happily, I had bought enough fabric to cut a second skirt. I usually get frustrated when a pattern instructs me to buy more fabric than I actually need, but in this case it was a good thing.) So I carefully measured the darts on the original pattern and transfered them on the sides, as you can see.
Another thing I learned with this project is how to make bound pockets. I've mentioned before that front bound pockets would be a good solution to side pockets for curvier hips. I thought this would be a good opportunity to learn this new technique. I decided to really take my time figuring out how to make them. I referred to this tutorial, as well as to Tasia's on bound buttons holes, which were both helpful. I did four trials before the Moment of Truth came. Luckily, things went smoothly. :-)
And finally, another problem I had was that the sides of the skirt would stick out too much. This would normally not happen with a fabric with more drape, but again, the pattern was not intended for a heavy-weight fabric. It was easy to correct: I simply took in a bit of the sides at the bottom.

Vogue 9850 -- The Ottawa Skirt

Mission accomplished! A new denim skirt for summer. (You can read more about the making of the skirt here!)

Speaking of summer, I'm so happy I'm not spending the summer England. When people say "There is no summer in England" they are not joking. When I first heard that, I thought: "Yeah right, they are just exaggerating." Until I experienced the month of June in Britain. No sun, no warmth. Just rain, wind and humidity. Summer where you can't wear shorts and sandals is just not summer to me!
And the final touch.

Sweater: H&M from my sister's closet. Not sure which season.
Shoes: H&M Spring 2011
Bag: From Indonesia bought 10 years ago

Next post: the making of the skirt!

Monday, July 04, 2011

The good and the bad

The bad: I learned my favourite fabric store in Toronto is closing (the Fabricland at Yonge & Bloor).

The good: Everything was going at 50% off until July 31st -- and the patterns 66% off!

I can't believe what I found. I could splurge on a few patterns I had my eye on for a while at a pretty decent price.

Karen's jacket is totally the inspiration for Simplicity 2443. I look forward to re-reading her posts before making it to learn from her experience.

This last one is the one I am most excited about. I've been dreaming about it ever since I saw this post. This is a really good design for pear-figures.
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