Saturday, August 28, 2010

Summer Shirtdress

I needed a break from hand sewing on my jacket. As I was browsing through the August issues of the foreign sewing magazines that I subscribe to, this dress caught my eye. I thought the cross hatched tucks on the skirt was interesting and the rest of the dress was a style that works well on my body type.

The pattern is from the August 2010 issue of a Russian sewing magazine Шитье и крой which translates to Sewing and Cut.

The translated description of the magazine from the distributor's website: “Not simply a sewing magazine with patterns, it helps readers create their own fashionable look and accessories. Featuring the latest fashion from the catwalks of the world, it is possible to wear the same fashions as actresses using our convenient patterns and clear instructions. This magazine also presents the work of Russian fashion designers. Each issue contains 70 original patterns for woman. Target audience – women of 16-35 years. ”

Well I am definitely not in the magazine's age demographic, but I thought with the addition of about 10 inches to the length of the skirt, it was wearable by someone my age.

I recently figured out how to translate scans of the foreign language picture captions and sewing instructions into English. Even those written in Russian Cyrillic characters. First step is to use free online OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software to extract text from an image scan (JPG, GIF, TIFF BMP or PDF) of the sections of text on the magazine pages. Then copy/past the text into free translation software which recognizes Cyrillic characters. Pretty slick. When school starts for my sons this fall, I plan to use the OCR to convert the 15 or so printed forms I have to fill out for each son, into electronic word documents that can be updated every year. Also the blasted information forms that my dentist insists be filled out every year from scratch for every member of the family. But I am getting off track.

The pattern instructions suggest gabardine as the fabric. I used a cross woven linen look fabric for the dress and Bemberg rayon for the lining. I omitted the side seam pocket. I used an invisible zipper in the side seam. The dress pattern is printed in one size - 48, which corresponded with my measurements. The only pattern modifications I did were those I do for any commercial pattern; increasing the back length and adding back shoulder seam darts for shaping. I love this color blue accented either red or saddle brown. And it will be a good dress to wear this fall.

Here is a picture of me and Miss Ashley in front of the fall blooming clematis that is taking over my deck. It smells wonderful. We are using the wireless remote for the new camera to take pictures of ourselves. Miss Ashley didn't much like the camera staring at her from the other side of the deck, making funny clicking noises.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

On the Fringe of Fashion

This jacket was supposed to be a wearable muslin to test Vogue pattern 7860 for a possible Chanel type jacket. I rejected the pattern for the Chanel jacket soon after cutting it out because of the bust darts in the front. The darts starts out at the armhole like a princess seam, but taper to nothing at the pocket level. They work great for bust shaping. But the Chanel type jacket requires the lining to be quilted to the fashion fabric and I didn’t know how to do that with a dart like this one. Quilt first and then make the dart or make the dart and quilt shaped pieces together.

I went ahead and finished the jacket because I still liked the style and the fabric I was using. A nubby, multi colored woven cotton , purchased back in 2007 from I bought the fabric because I was inspired to create a look with fabrics similar to those used for the jackets and dresses in the Burda WOF March 2005 magazine feature “Enjoy the Mix”…of elegant boucle and casual denim.

Is fringe on jackets still in style? I saw a boucle jacket with fringe at a White House/Black Market store just last week, and another fringe trimmed jacket in a catalog this week, but it is not quite the fad it was about 6 years ago. I don’t care. I like it.

This jacket was a lot of work; creating the fringe, basting it in place, attaching and top stitching the contrast bands, and making the welt pockets. The work went on and on. But I am pleased with the result. It is my happy jacket; brightly colored and trimmed with fuzzy fringe.

Thanks to everyone that suggested fabric and trim stores in Toronto. I have saved the info for my next trip there. All I saw on my recent trip was the inside of the office where the project team was working and my hotel room. Sigh, no play time. There is a daily 2 hour direct flight from Richmond to Toronto, and I am thinking about an extended weekend getaway trip for my husband and myself. I will have to keep my eyes open for discounted fares.

Work continues on my Chanel jacket. The lining is quilted to the fashion fabric. The lining seams have been hand stitched closed. The next step is to attach the sleeves to the bodice.