23 July 2014

Textile Studio Pattern #1213 - Mandarin Shirt Jacket

This simple shirt is done in a twill textured linen blend fabric, with Mother of Pearl square buttons; I added pockets as well.  Splitting my time between gardening, quilting, knitting and other crafty pursuits, sewing clothes sometimes gets put on the backburner.  Whenever I come back around to sewing garments like this one, I remember how much I enjoy sewing.   In fact, this shirt took only a couple of days to sew up; so quick and easy.  It's always been my goal to make an artsy, wearable wardrobe.  I'm especially a fan of artists/designers Diane Ericson and Marcy Tilton and I have purchased numerous patterns of theirs.  Having studied postings on their blogs, I think they'd look at this shirt and see a blank canvas.  I lean heavily toward plain and simple, but I'd like to step outside that box one day and aspire toward a more creative approach, using fabric dyes, painting and embellishment.  Ah well, add that to my list of too many things to do, not enough time.

18 July 2014

Chloe's Summer Dress

Butterick #3888; See & Sew
Back detail
My granddaughter said, "Grandma, I love long dresses."  So I rummaged through my big box of children's patterns and showed her a few.  "This one," she said decidedly.  I'm thinking it was the back detail that captured her fancy.  To make a long dress, I had to add to the length of the dress, plus I added a ruffle, 1-1/2 time longer than the width of the skirt around the bottom to make a lightly gathered ruffle that would reach to the floor.  The bodice is lined and I used some of that fabric to make a covered back button.  All done and in the mail it will go to Idaho.

02 July 2014

Hawaiian print dress in the making...

McCall's 5799
Here's my Hawaiian print dress in the making.  The fabric was an online purchase from the Hawaiian Fabric Mart in Honolulu, Hawaii, http://home.fabricmarts.com/.  The cost of fabric per yard is very reasonable but then, of course, there is shipping/handling to consider if you are a Mainland shopper like me.  Fabric Mart offers 100% cotton as well as poly/cotton blends.  Their variety of Hawaiian prints is staggering.  Most are large prints, as you can see in this photo.  The particular aqua print that I chose has a border print which runs along the selvedge on each side of the fabric.  The fabric is moderately lightweight; therefore, I am glad the dress pattern I selected calls for lining.  My greatest challenges in making this dress? 

1. How to lay out this beautiful but busy print for best effect; 2. The invisible zipper (self confidence issues); 3. Dress lining, not difficult but more work.  These challenges proved to be a non-issue as I went along; however, application was critical for a good finished dress.

McCall's 6123 - tah dah!

01 July 2014

Summer 2014 - McCall's 6123 & 5799

McCalls 6123
McCall's 5799

It feels great to be sewing clothes again!  Here's a black and white top, as well as a Hawaiian print dress that I just completed.  I've had these McCall's patterns for so long, they are probably out of print by now.  Laying out the Hawaiian print to determine the flow of the design on the dress,was well worth the time and effort.  The dress is lined and simply perfect for wear at a summertime gathering.  The black and white print fabrics on this sleeveless top are a good mix; a great top for casual wear.  Each of these sewed up very quickly; you're looking at about a week's worth of work completed.

14 January 2013

There be dragons!

My vest
Kathy's vest
I thought I had already posted this vest...then it was there and then it was gone; me own mystery!  This may be a duplicate posting but, ah well!  I wanted to be sure and include this in my sewing journal, so here it is again, Kwik Sew #3705.  Love this vest for style and fit.  I had made the very same vest for my BFF Kathy, using a tweedy wool that she picked when we visited the garment district in Los Angeles some years ago.  Kat's vest is simply dreamy; she wears it to this day!  But why mine, the red dragons?  Can't really say why I bought this brocade piece to begin with, it's been around that long.  Fabric stash frenzy!  Maybe should have been a purse? or slippers maybe?  A bit bold; however, toned down with crushed black velvet contrasting detail and black satin, the finished piece is actually pleasing to the eye and very wearable.  I especially love that all the fabric for this red dragon vest came from my stash.  tah dah! all done!


13 January 2013

Toddler pa'u hula skirts

Pa'u hula skirt
Here are two toddler-size Hawaiian pa'u (pronounced pah - oo) hula skirts which I made today for the girlies.  The larger skirt is for Chloe Kealohilani and the l'il skirt is for Natalie Makanaaloha, my two youngest granddaughters.  Chloe will wear her skirt to pre-school, as part of a cultural exchange day, to represent the Hawaiian part of her heritage.  Natalie's skirt is just for fun, because she likes to be just like big sis. 

05 January 2013

Oh Henry!

Oh Henry!
And while I sew, Henry is ever on the lookout.  Henry is just a small patootie, but he feels that it's his charge to be on guard while Ray's at work.  He has a little bed near where I sit and sew, and he sometimes naps there, lulled by the sound of the sewing machine.

Artsy wearables; do you think?

Here are patterns that have been sitting in my stash, ones that I purchased with "artsy" in mind.  I haven't tried these yet for the following reasons.  The Park Bench pattern (left) would initially require a good amount of size adjustment and fitting.  The Kimura vest (right) is so sweet but there's a button that joins the two back pieces. Would there be a sore spot if I were sitting in a chair and leaning back?  I'm sure that I can easily overcome these negatives; still, I'll have to give it some thought before giving these a try.

What a girl wants; what a girl needs

What a girl wants
What a girl needs
I'm not a girl anymore, but more like an old gal on the downhill slide (no negativity intented).  Luckily, the downhill slide may encompass 20 or 30 more years of good solid living.  I've not turned into an old hag by any means, but our lifestyle has changed.  Thinking about what I want to accomplish in the sewing room this year, I need to evaluate what for me is a serious situation.  "Time management, baby!"  What do I really need, what do I want to accomplish, do I have time to do it all?
Example:  In Picture A above, there's a frilly-at-the-shoulder top (Vogue 1275).  I want to give those ruffles a try.  Would I wear this?  Probably not.  Will I sew it up anyway?  Probably so. 

I have a bunch of other patterns in my stash that fit this category:  So much fun to sew, some of them stylish, even elegant, but why?  what for?  This Calico Quilter grandma (me) primarily stays at home in the kitchen, in the garden, and at the sewing machine.  Oh, sometimes we do it up (BFF hubby and me), and we do go out from time to time.  We're considered a stylish couple, but we're turning out to be simple folk as we move along. 

See Picture B above?  I need work frocks (no joke)...to wear in the garden, in the kitchen, for just hanging out in.  Dare I make a pair of overalls?  I have a pattern for that, too. 

As some suffer from writer's block, I'm having quite a time choosing what to sew next.  Fun and fancy or practical?    What's a girl to do?

04 January 2013

Chris' Black 'n White Series

Here's a series of black and white print tops I've made over the past several months, with the exception of the zebra print below which I made a while ago.  The jacket, Kwik Sew 3693, is my most recent project.  There are so many assymetrical designs out there, but I especially like this pattern because of the somewhat modified fullness of the jacket which provides for a sleeker fit on my 5'3" frame.  The other tops, from left to right, Vogue 8791, McCalls 6564, and Vogue 1049.

The Vogue 8791 top was made using a linen fabric from JoAnn Fabrics; the McCall's 6564, a Palmer Pletsch pattern, was made from a soft rayon fabric which I purchased online from FabricMart; and the Vogue 1049, a Today's Fit pattern by Sandra Betzina, was made using a polyester/lycra fabric.  Why so many black 'n white tops in a row?  For one reason, there was black thread on my sewing machine and the serger as well, lazy me; another reason, it's part of working my way through a fabric stash that's been piling up (why do I keep ordering more?); and then...it's about... hair color. Oh my : (   For reasons of convenience, exhaustion and sanity, I gave up coloring my hair some time ago.  The end result has been a silvery/white head of hair, just like my mom's used to be.  With that, I've had to rethink my whole color palette, my whole persona in fact.  I'm still working on that; not so bad.  Ray (my BFF hubby) tells me, "You look great, mama!...for your age" (ah, Men; you gotta love 'em).  So there you go; black and white series near completion.  Time to move along.

12 May 2011

Dotty Dress - Grandma's Homesewn

Here's a simple sundress for Chloe, which I sewed using Kwik Sew #3864.  Love the cotton fabric, love the facing and button contrast; all from my fabric stash.  I used Size 1T to match Chloe's measurements, but sized the dress length to a Size 3T; Chloe is petite for her age, but tall.  I'll send this Dotty Dress by mail today.

11 May 2011

Polka Dot Shorts

Here are the matching shorts to Chloe's plumeria/polka dot top.  Fast, fun and easy to sew.

09 May 2011

Chloe's Summer Wardrobe...in the making

Chloe is my 2-1/2 year old granddaughter, one of two grandchildren, with one on the way, all girls.  Chloe has fitting problems because she's at a size 1T in body measurements, but 3T in height.  Good that grandma sews!  After getting used to sewing teeny tiny versus Size Women's Large (these arthritic fingers don't help), I am delighted to be sewing for my little girlies.  The pink top was meant to be a dress (Chloe loves dresses) but the body of the dress got caught in the serger at the hem so not it's a top.  The knit set with tiny citrus fruits and flowers is adorable.  Both were made with Kiwk Sew children's patterns.  These outfits are first attempts, based on Chloe's measurements which her mama sent to me from Boise, ID.  Once I know they fit well, I'll be making bunches of summer outfits for this little girlie.

04 May 2011

Age Appropriate Wardrobe

I love fashion trends and I love to sew but, these days comfort is a must.  I want a wardrobe that suits my aging body, retired lifestyle and hair color (yes hair color...I've gone au natural and it's now a soft snowy white).  Since I stopped coloring my hair which was a sacred ritual of mine for many years, my whole color palette has changed.  It's been a challenge to re-think what colors flatter, what colors drain and those which make me look like a flaming peacock.  I don't want to give in to leisure,cruise-style colors or matching cropped pant outfits.  You are what you wear after all and I want my wardrobe to be current, sophisticated but casual, comfortable but not frumpy, easy to wear, easy to maintain and stylish.  Not too big of a wish list, right?  I am no longer girlish, but I love girlish things.  I don't wear sleek tailored suits, stylish dresses or high heels that flatter, but I love the look.  Alas, today I lean toward comfortable shoes and accommodating waistbands.  I wish there was a fashion/beauty magazine that specifically feature fashion styles, health/beauty tips, and articles specifically designed for women like me (the 50+, 60+ crowd).  With all of this wishful thinking, I have an idea...I am going to take a young, fashionable look and create a comparative style...an age-appropriate re-make!  It might be a dress, jacket or total outfit.  Accessories and shoes will be an important part of the makeover, of course.  In the end, I hope to have a closet-full of delicious outfits that make sense for my particular life and style.  I plan to document my progress and see where we land...that's what I'm up to.  I'll be working on this project and posting my progress soon.

29 April 2011

Indygo Junction Top - Pattern IJ-867

Here's Indygo Junction Pattern #IJ-867.  I used a stretch cotton print which I purchased on sale from Gorgeous Fabrics...very mod, very nice to work with!  I love the feel of good quality fabric (it's addictive).  The pattern was an easy one to sew; I put this top together in one afternoon.  I did have to round off the front and back hem at each side to create a nicer finish (got rid of those pointy sides which I didn't care for).  The collar did not call for interfacing, and I was concerned that it might flop...but it didn't.   The wide neck opening with its soft stand-up collar gave me some concern, but the overall effect is flattering.  I'll wear this crop top with a nice pair of fitted pants.  CHRIS' CRITIQUE:  Looking at the photo of this completed garment, next time when cutting out a print fabric such as this, I will pay attention when laying out my pattern pieces on the fabric, to make sure the design of the print is placed to its best advantage, in order to give symmetry and balance to the sewn garment as a whole.  Lesson learned!