Saturday, June 26, 2010

New Toy

This week was the Cincinnati sewing expo and even though you would think there would be nothing I could possible need (especially if you looked at my sewing room) there were a couple things I need as I do those style show garments.

Two of the skirts will have ruffles at the hemline, another will have ruched vertical strips, and yet another will have a pleated "ruffle" at the hemline.  That's lots of gathering ... not my favorite activity.

So taking advantage of an expo special at my favorite sewing store (Kramer's/Montgomery) I got the ruffler attachment for my Janome 6600P.

So far I've had fun playing with fabric strips and now will not dread those miles and miles (I know it will feel that way) of ruffles.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What a week! Style show planning

Sorry no pictures -- yet --

I just returned home from a SEAM Team work week at the TCC home office in the Chicago area.  We were working on planning for a style show at this year's American Sewing Expo in Novi, Michigan.

We have been bumped up from a half hour show to an hour!  There are seven volunteer models who have promised to keep their measurements stable and we have around 90 garments/items (some are purses)  planned with 6 of us doing the sewing.

We have measurement charts for all and skimmers (fitting garments) have been proven out.  This week we planned the garments, printed many of the patterns, and did our fabric shopping.  First we decided a focus for every round (there are 12), then assigned models to the rounds, chose garments, and finally paired fabric with the patterns.  Not only do the fabrics need to complement the models' complexions (most are Autumns) but they need to also complement the other garments in the round.  Somehow we think we have a good working plan.

I came home with patterns to tape,  bags of gorgeous fabrics, and a mission of 18 garments for my share.  Add to that some personal garments to wear for the 3 days of working in our booth in the vendors mall.  Why does September 20 (my deadline for ALL garment construction) sound so far and yet so soon?

That's roughly a finished garment every three days if you figure in everything else that comes with summer --esp  mowing and weeding -- plus regular work on editing & QC projects, TCC user group meetings, ASG meetings, and two sewing expos coming to Cincinnati where I can take classes.  YIKES!

.... more to come ... I'll try to post my progress and give you a sneak peek with a behind-the-scenes look at organized chaos   .....

... now to have my morning coffee and it's off to my TCC users' group meeting to show them all my swatches!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bling! Bling!

Summer sewing is so much more fun than winter sewing!

The latest project started with an inspiration from a Butterick pattern (5499) -- the turquoise tunic with V hemline.  But I know I'd need a lot of alterations -- the necklines are always too big/low for me and the hips are always too tight.

So I decided to use my TCC software and started with the darted tunic that is drafted with an FBA.  Using the tools, I changed the neckline to my comfort zone and created a V'd hemline.

Then I went "shopping" in my fabric stash.  I found a piece of batik print fabric that I bought for my daughter about 20 years ago (remember Piece Goods fabric shops?) It was meant to be a pair of shorts and a top but she didn't like it -- so it got stuffed into the stash.  Happily it survived the prewashing and moved on to the next step -- cutting.

The batik motif is a triangle and it clearly has a large plaid in the background.  Here's a pic of it hung over the shower curtain rod.  So I knew that 1) I wanted as few match points as possible -- eg no sleeves and 2) it was a directional print because the triangles would point either up or down.  I chose to have them point down because as a "A" or pear-shaped body I want the eye to be fooled into thinking broader at the shoulders and narrower at the hips. (Ok, so the eye still knows I am a pear ...)   I also wanted to mirror the V neckline and V hem and not oppose it.  As it turned out -- there was not enough fabric to cut sleeves if I had wanted them.  I had to creatively cut the facings on the crosswise grain and even had to seam the CB of the back facing.

Some other decisions I made -- I faced the hemline since I sure didn't want to try to miter that CF & CB point and I also wanted to give a bit of weight & stability to the bottom  hemline by having a nice, straight seam.  I cut all-in-one facings for the neck and armhole to make for a smoother fit inside the garment.  If any of you have seen Louise Cutting's videos or guest appearances on America Sews with Sue Hausmann -- she says to press those seams open first and then together when you turn the facing.  DO IT!  She is so right -- it takes a little more time in construction but you'll be happier with the finished edge.

Almost finished -- it was too plain so I topstitched the facings with a teal thread to pick up the color in that stripe.  Using all purpose thread, I topstitched with the triple stretch stitch on my Janome 6600 using the dual feed (walking) foot so that my layers wouldn't shift. I had created a 3" hem facing so topstitched at 2.5" and the neckline was topstitched at 1".  I marked my stitching line with a soap sliver that I had commandeered from the shower and stowed in my sewing room for just this purpose. Done! Bonus:  the tunic smelled Irish Spring fresh.  I did rinse and dry the garment to get the soap out before I pressed again since I wasn't sure what the heat would do and didn't want any "oh no" surprises.

So why is the post entitled "Bling!  Bling!" you ask?  I happened to do some snoop shopping at a local Stein Mart (don't you just love their boutique items?) and saw some gorgeous tunics in a variety of fabrics/colors/prints ... with one commonality ... beads & sequins to jazz it up.  I decided that was what I needed, too, so a stop on the way home at JoAnn's yielded some seed beads in an iridescent magenta but no sequins.  Right next door is Michael's and I found a pack of sequins that was multicolored with several of what I needed -- tuquoise, teal, gold, pink, magenta, and purple.  (Iridescent turquoise would have been perfect but alas, not to be found).  Off to home to spice things up!

Then more decisions -- what to use, where -- and I decided to do the center dots in the triangle motif and to let the fabric choose the sequin to use, coordinating with that part of the print.  As I began to work the neckline, I was inspired to bling a V section to mirror the neckline.  Then I decided to embellish the hemline within the topstitched area but to put a bead/sequin pair at each corner of each triangle plus the center dot to have a higher concentration of sparkle at the hemline.

I can't believe how long it took to get all those stitched on -- but what better way to spend an evening?  And I love the look.  Hope to get some good pics in better lighting then that will really show off the sequins.

 Next is to  cut & sew a pair of capris out of some bright turquoise twill to make this outfit "pop!"