Thursday, April 30, 2015

Keeping up with the Lululemons!

Have you ever caught yourself in gym class admiring the toned lady on the mat next to you in her perfect little [Insert Overpriced Athletic Wear Here] outfit?  Well, I plead very guilty!



The Fehr Trade Steeplechase leggings made their debut at this weekend's New York Road Runners 4 mile race in Central Park.  Among the almost 10,000 runners, I didn't see a single person with pants like mine. Ahh...the RTW Fasting benefits of not allowing yourself to shop...

                                           Steeplechase Leggings
All it took to sew these up was one lovely Sunday afternoon at my friend Carol's using her serger. Since there are no inseams, the ENTIRE pants are constructed of four pieces.  I cut out a mirror image of these two oddly shaped pieces:

The peacock spandex is from Spandex Lab in the garment district.  Isn't it fun?

Now that I have one pair finished, I'm eager to try the other two garment district spandex stores (Spandex House, and Spandex World) for more fun prints!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Adventures with "Anna": Muslins

Our first wedding of the season is next month and I have a lot of sewing to do to make the deadline.  I am planning to make the By Hand London Anna Dress.

Since this is my first time making the Anna, I started with a muslin to check the fit.  According to my measurements, I am a size (34) in the bust, (28) in the waist, and (39) in the hips.  For muslin #1, I cut a straight size 6, which corresponds to a 34-27-37.

The front actually looks pretty good:

Muslin #1 Front

But, you can tell from the sides that this muslin will not be the last!  The pleats are cutting straight into the center of my chest and the side seams are not straight. Clearly, I cut a size too small.

I had read in Sarah Veblen's Perfect Fit to blend between the sizes if your measurements don't conform to the bust-hip-waist of a particular size. In my haste to blaze through muslin-making, I completely ignored Veblen's sage advice.  After showing muslin #1 to my instructor Sharon, she sent me back to the pattern paper to blend the sizes.  I was all over the charts with the results of the blended pattern paper, from a size 6 in the bust to size 10 to account for my (apparently large) rib cage.

Retaped pattern pieces with new stitching lines
Sharon encouraged me to mark my stitching lines on the new muslin and give myself a full 1 inch seam allowance for further adjustments, as opposed to the standard 5/8. She also stressed the importance of stay-stitching the neckline (even for a muslin!) and drawing in the center front line.

To fit muslin #2, we only pinned the shoulder seams, leaving open the sides and not sewing/pinning the front pleats or back darts. With muslin #2 on me, Sharon moved the front pleats to a more pleasing place and adjusted the shoulders so that the shoulder seam is in harmony with the curvature of my shoulder bone.  Then she created new side seams by pinning me in.  We made lots of notations on muslin #2, in preparation for muslin #3.  I learned from the fitting that my left shoulder is higher than my right.  Who knew?

Muslin #2

Below is muslin #3 (!!)  SO MUCH BETTER!

Muslin #3 Front

Muslin #3 Side

For the sake of comparison, check out the side seam lines on muslin #1 vs. muslin #3!

Phhew! I'm now ready to use muslin #4 to sew up a wearable muslin. Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

"Mommy & Me": Redux

Yes indeed those are matching "Mommy and Me" skirts!

During my November 2014 visit to see my sister in Raleigh, North Carolina, my mom and I checked out Mill Outlet Village. We picked up a bouclé on clearance for $7/yard, while waiting for the saleslady to measure out fabric for Maman's ambitious beach house slipcover project.

We were both set on making pencil skirts and I bet her I would have mine finished in time for the holidays in France.  Of course, she showed up with the finished skirt (and a coordinating bouclé jacket) and I had nothing to show for myself.

Next, I decided I would finish the skirt for our next Raleigh girls weekend in early March.  Ever confident that I would make the deadline, I asked her to bring her skirt for a "mommy and me" photo.  Instead of finishing the skirt, I found myself on the couch with a friend eating cookies and drinking wine the night before my flight...:)

Maman in Raleigh with her skirt:

We both used McCalls 3830 and I followed her lead on the initial construction. After cutting, I immediately zigzagged the edges to prevent unraveling and interfaced the waistband for stability.

She always sews her lining to the zipper by hand.  Contrarian daughter that I am, I wanted to install mine to the zipper by machine.  So, I made up my own rules of construction without consulting the internet (gasp!).  Instead of sewing the lining in full and then attaching it, I installed the two individual back lining pieces to the invisible zipper.  Next, I sewed up the sides of the boucle BEFORE sewing the lining side seams. Finally I attached the lining to the waistband with right sides together and edge stitched all the way through the boucle, lining, and seam allowances.  If you are a seasoned sewist, you should be shaking your head right now!

(Yes, we are even wearing the same belt!)

I had a feeling something was wrong, so I waited for Sharon to weigh in at our next lesson.  Let's just say that I now understand that I need to sew the bouclé and lining in full before attaching one to another.  For the record, I did reattach my lining to the zipper by hand.  Moms always do know best!

The skirt now looks near perfect inside and out!