Thursday, December 27, 2007

Am I Shrinking?

I hope everyone is having a pleasant holiday season. For me Christmas is over, the visitors have come and gone, and I am heartily sick of Christmas cookies. I got my sewing machine and serger back from the shop, where they went for minor repairs and a long overdue tuning. They were gone for a little over a week, but I was so busy getting ready for the holidays, I didn’t miss them much. They positively hum now. I am working on the Vogue 2987, Anne Klein jacket. In November, I was following along with Ann’s blog her “adventures” as she worked on this jacket. But she left for a overseas trip before finishing, so I had to go forth on my own. Based on Ann’s experience, I decided to pin fit the pattern on my dress form. I found that the pattern pieces fit together well, but that there was a lot of ease in this pattern. It is described as semi fitted which by Vogue Patterns definition is 4 3/8 - 5 3/4" for lined jackets. I prefer fitted lined jackets to have no more than 4 inches of ease in the bust and 2 inches in the hips based on the fit of favorite ready to wear (RTW) jackets. I typically make a size 16 in Vogue patterns, and taper out to an 18 at the hips. When I pin fit the pattern on my dress form, I was shocked to see the size 12 had the best fit in the bust area, and the 14 in the hips. Because I am using garment weight suede which is thicker than most fabrics, I cut out a size 14 on top and 16 on the bottom. The following picture shows the final fitting on the dress form. I used binder clips, since pins could not be used. I need to take 1” seam allowances on the side seams and there will still be plenty of room for the lining and wearing ease. Just to make sure I hadn’t stretched the suede while sewing, I measured the flat pattern and compared the measurements to those printed on the pattern pieces at the bust point and waist. The printed measurements are the finished garment widths. Size 14 finished garment bust was printed as 42”, flat pattern measurement was 43.75 inches. No wonder the size 14 was still too big for me. My bust is 38”, a size 14 would have been almost 6 inches of ease. Long story short; I am making this jacket two sizes smaller than I normally do in Vogue Patterns. Before I cut out the sleeves I need to shorten the length, not something I normally do but they are really long, and reduce the sleeve cape ease to zero to accommodate the suede. I also need to do some top stitching on the back and front seams before sewing the jacket pieces together . I can’t decide to do matching topstitching (green) or contrasting (gold). I am going to use snaps in an old gold finish rather than buttons.

As of today, I am planning on participating in the Timmel 2008 SWAP, but I am not in the throes of cutting and sewing preparation like many of the other participants. I have a couple of garments I made several years ago that will work as the presewn garments. I am going to take my 2007 SWAP on the road again when I visit the Charlottesville, VA ASG group in a couple weeks to help present a program on Wardrobe Planning. It should be fun, and there are some independent fabric stores in Charlottesville.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Pinks, Purples, Postcards, and Posies

I had a busy weekend which started shortly after work on Friday with the Holly Ball for my son’s Junior Cotillion. Cotillion, for those who may not be familiar. is a program designed to give young people instruction and practice in the courtesies that make life more pleasant for them and those around them; to give them thorough training in standard ballroom dance; and to provide opportunities to practice and enjoy these skills at memorable parties, balls, dinners and events, complete with decorations, refreshments, favors and prizes. Can you tell that description came from a publicity brochure? Cotillion has nothing to do with coming out in society or debutants, though I suppose it is good training if your social circle participates in such things. We tell my son it is preparation for the day he is invited to dinner at the White House. Which I just realized is what my mother told me when she corrected my manners. Oh no, another example of me turning into my mother!

Since the Holy Ball is a special event, we started off the evening with dinner at The Jefferson Hotel, a historic, 5 star establishment located in downtown Richmond. The holiday decorations were beautiful, the service and food were wonderful, and the boys, my 12 year old and 4 friends, comported themselves well. The ball includes fund raising for the Christmas Mother Fund and an opportunity for parents to dance with their children, boys with their mother, girls with their father. My son was asked to greet folks at the door with the contribution box, and later to present the contributions to the Christmas Mother, a person who represents the fund, which provides needy children and families with toys, clothing, food and other assistance during the holidays. It was a job well suited to his personality. He loved greeting his friends and their parents, and cajoling donations. He stood on the stage during the presentation with a big grin on his face the whole time. I wish I could say I was as successful in my dancing, but I never had training in ballroom dancing. My dancing was terrible, but we had a good time. The Governor of Virginia was there dancing with his daughter, and it was nice to see him just being a dad.

My weekend sewing was to make a bunch of fabric post cards that needed to be in the mail on Monday. The theme of my post card was “Stop and smell the flowers” because lately I wish the pace of my life was more relaxed, and in warmer months I do relax by futzing in my flower garden. The design for the postcard is an image I found on the Internet and the fabrics, with the exception of the white, were scraps from an Amish style wedding ring quilt I made about 10 years ago. I enjoyed working with the purple and pink fabrics used for the flowers. The flowers remind me of the dark purple ‘Thomas Edison” and pink, name unknown, dahlias I grow in my garden. While I don’t dislike making fabric post cards, I find I regret the time it takes away from my garment sewing. So I probably won’t participate in any more fabric post card exchanges.

The 2008 Timmel Fabric SWAP will start next month, and I am still ambivalent about it, for various reasons. I have several piles of coordinating fabrics I love, but I haven’t seen any fabric on the Timmel site that I want to purchase in order to qualify for the SWAP contest. I am not excited about making basic skirts and tops. They are actually cheaper for me to buy than to make. I may go with the SWAP option which includes 4 bottoms, 6 jackets and a coat. I enjoy making jackets, and I need a real winter coat, but they are quite a bit of work. Another option is to do an extension to my summer SWAP, which would give me lots of new clothes to wear in the spring. I have a month to work it out.