Monday, October 22, 2007

Oct Update

Rules for the Timmel Fabrics 2008 SWAP have been announced and the twist is to make at least three of the required 11 garments from one ‘wardrobe” type pattern. For example a top, pants and jacket that is included in one pattern. Going through my pattern stash, I found that there are actually a lot of patterns like that. Some are labeled “wardrobe” patterns; others are not but have a skirt, pants and tops. I usually buy a pattern for one garment, typically a unique jacket, and use tried and true patterns for skirts and pants. But I definitely have a lot of the patterns. I have been stashing fabrics in various weights and textures of grey, cream and accent colors of blue, pink and green/yellow (see picture of blue fabrics) for my 2008 SWAP. I think I will hold off on choosing the wardrobe pattern until closer to the Jan. start date. New styles and patterns will come out between now and then. Grey is an “in” color now, but I have always liked it as a basic wardrobe color. However, I am feeling ambivalent about the SWAP, even with all the enthusiastic postings at The problem is I normally sew work clothes and I was all excited about sewing some dresses to wear to work. Then rather suddenly, my office was moved from a satellite office building to the manufacturing plant. The parking at the plant is a good 10 minute walk from the building in a “wind tunnel” paved with aggregate concrete. A long walk hauling a laptop bag. A horrible surface for heels. And I will probably need a lined water resistant coat for bad weather. Umbrellas are tough to manage in the wind tunnel. No more mad dashes from car to building. And the product made in the plant has an odor. Not unpleasant, but noticeable (think baking with chocolate) that is absorbed by clothing and hair. To attend meetings within the plant will often require donning safety shoes, safety glasses and earplugs. Want to take a nice dress and make it look ridiculous? Don aforementioned items. I will have to focus on nice tops, pants and the occasional jackets. No dresses.
For fall, now until January, I am trying to do SWAP type sewing around a purple/green/grey color scheme. When purple was announced as a fall color, I went though my huge stash. I have lots of purple fabrics, both violet (red) and blue based. I found several nice wool boucles. There were a lot of muted dusty purples fabrics too, which look boring and sad. Back in storage they went. I have a plaid swing style jacket that is just about finished. Unfortunately my husband's cousins are stopping by for a few nights and I have to clean up the sewing room/dinning room. Mid week overnight guests are a logistical nightmare for someone who works full time, has teenagers with after school activities (irregular meal times) and a husband who has to go out of town on business. We will get through it.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Is it Oct. Already?

I was working diligently on the Vogue vintage dress on Sunday, the last day of September, and the last day to post a review for the Vintage Sewing Contest. I tried on the dress and realized I still had a lot of work to do. I had neglected to realign the bodice darts to the skirt darts when I did my alterations. The belt needed to be finished, the invisible zipper inserted, etc. It was a beautiful day and I was inside, stressing out. I decided it was more important to enjoy the day and relax than try and meet the contest deadline. So I made my lunch, took it out on the deck, listened to the birds, admired the few flowers that are making it through the drought, and watched my oldest son shoot hoops. I made the right decision.

This dress was more work than I expected. There are 10 darts in the upper collar and 10 in the under collar, as well as four in each pocket. I love the shape the darts create and the way the collar drapes. I also chose to make the 6 bound button holes on the bodice as per the instructions. It reinforced how much work bound button holes require, and the difficulty my middle aged eyes have discerning dark thread on dark fabric. The dress requires a self fabric belt with covered buckle. I had hoped to find a "cover your own belt & buckle kit" (1" width) at the Sewing Expo or G Street Fabrics. G Street had the kits for 2 inch width. So I had to come up with my own kit. I bought a 1" gold belt buckle. I used Pellon Peltex double sided fusible for the inside of the belt. Peltex is a 1/16 thick, non woven material commonly used to stiffen purses, fabric post cards and bowls. It is strong and flexible. It is available by the yard at fabric stores. Below is a brief description and pictures showing the technique for covering a belt with fabric with no sewing needed.
Step 1

Cut Peltex the length needed for the belt. Be sure to include enough length to attach the buckle and for any overlap. The fabric should be slightly longer in order to turn under the raw edges at the ends. For the width of the fabric I used 2 x the Peltex width plus 2x the seam allowance/overlap. My sample is made with a 6 inches long, 1 inch wide piece of Peltex 72 and a 6 inch long, 2.75 in. wide piece of fabric. I used 3/8 '' overlaps.

Step 2

Place Peltex on wrong side of fabric. Wrap fabric over one long edge to back of Peltex the amount of the overlap. Use tip of hot iron to tack in place.

Step 3

Turn belt over so front is facing you. Align a piece of Steam A Seam2 (SAS) 1/4 " width to remaining raw edge. Remove paper backing from SAS.

Step 4

Turn belt over so back is facing you. Pull fabric firmly around Peltex. Turn under raw edge so no SAS is visible. Make sure turned under edge overlaps the raw edge tacked down in step 1. Use hot iron to melt SAS along seam/overlap and to the Peltex in all other areas.
Note: I put the overlap seam near a long edge of the belt because I later added grommets in the center of the belt for the prong of the belt buckle, and didn't want any extra bulk a center overlap would have created. I may also hand stitch the seam just to make it sure it is secure. Not shown: I cut the Peltex in a point for the end of the belt and sewed the fabric in the same shape at the end only. But you could use the SAS to fuse the fabric around the pointed end of the Peltex too.