Wednesday, February 27, 2013

before and after

you guys are so smart. i didn't want to do it. but i didn't want to let you down either. so i bit the bullet and ripped the skirt off my dress and raised the waistline to help get rid of the dreaded bunchiness. i'll let the photos show you the results…


much better, right? i haven't fixed the skirt lining yet and i haven't sewn the center back seam of the skirt or finished the bottom of the zipper. i feel like waist on the left side of the dress (from my point of view when i'm wearing it) is a smidge lower than the right. i measured like crazy though. and i also tied a string around my natural waist to help measure. i raised the waist in the back a little more so that it would be even. i think i have a bit of a swayback issue. 

when i first heard about swayback alterations it sounded like the hunchback of notre dame… but i read more and found it's more common. the lower back curves inward more prominently. but now i'm also thinking my left shoulder might be slightly higher than my right. that would cause the issue i'm seeing with the waistband looking slightly uneven. i was tested for scoliosis when i was younger, and it came back negative. (they tested all of the kids in middle school) but now i sit in front of a computer all day at work with one hand on a mouse and it's wreaking havoc on my upper back. i've started getting massages. i've tried yoga. i've tried stretching breaks. it helps, but it's not a solution.

anyway, focusing on the positive… i'm pleased with the changes to the dress. before i was thinking "it's not that bad." i really just didn't want to do it over. but doing it over is helping me become more confident in my sewing skills. and now that i compare the "before" and "after" - it's a lot better. thank you for all the feedback on the last post. and thanks for the push ;)

Monday, February 25, 2013

almost a success, help help!

Ok so as far as completing my 2013 Sewlution that went into Karen's Jar is concerned, i'd say this is a success! i wrote that i wanted to do something fully-lined, which i've never done before. well i did it! a dress with a full lining! i wrapped my brain around it and inserted my invisible zip in between the lining and the main fabric and it looks pretty awesome. 

but i'm having issues with the fit. it's close, but not quite right. if i hold still and stand perfectly it looks pretty good, but when i relax and wait a few minutes, then the issues become apparent. not a success. so i took a bunch of bathroom mirror shots (sorry, but i promise if you help me get the fit right, i'll do a full-on outdoor photoshoot). what should i do? 

the fit around the bust and shoulders is good. and i haven't hemmed up the bottom yet so when i do that, it will help balance the proportions (i left it extra long for now - it goes a little past my knees) and i haven't sewn up the bottom of the skirt yet below the zipper. it's pretty snug around the waist. i wouldn't want it any tighter, but i can breath with it the way it is, plus i can't let it out there. i saw that it might be a little tight there, so i already sewed the seam allowance narrower around the waist. well except for the darts, i guess i could let those out at the bottom a little? but then right above the waist it's loose. 

so, do i pinch out the excess in the side seams? 
or do i just raise the waist up? 
or do i do a bit of both? 
or something else entirely?

here are the photos:

standing straight and it looks ok at first…
and then relax and it gets all bunchy
bunchy view from the front
do i raise the waist up?
do i just pinch out the sides?

excess fabric around the middle and lower back (back of skirt below zip hasn't been sewn up yet)
dress inside out, full lining from the front
dress inside out, full lining from the back
yeah yeah yeah, i should've done a muslin. maybe next time. but this fabric was super cheap (on sale 50% off. actually the lining cost more than the main fabric, ha ha ha). and confession, now i think i sewed the back left skirt panel on backwards!  see how the lining fabric doesn't come together in the back? well i can't tell the front from the back of this ivory lining fabric and i think i got it backwards on the left side. i had it marked, but then probably got confused because the "good side" faces in toward my body and the "wrong side" faces out toward the main dress fabric. but it's just the lining, so i'll either fix it or add a little extra panel if needed. but the main fabric for the skirt does comes together perfectly in the back.

focusing on the positive: i feel like i made a huge leap in understanding linings and now i want to fully line everything. it feels so much more polished. 

but how do i fix the bunchy areas? any ideas or tips? help help!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

project distraction

i knocked out the baby bib on saturday afternoon. this is my third time making this pattern, so now it's smooth sailing.

i was going to make my own bias tape, but i looked in my stash and ta-da i already had some extra wide double fold in black. so that saved some time. (anyone else hate the seam in those packs? i strategically cut my pieces so that i wouldn't have to use the part with the seam.) nothing crazy exciting to report. i used some interfacing between the 2 layers of fabric to give it more stability. and i think it turned out pretty cute, so i'm happy.



i don't have any small children nearby to test the fit, but i noticed this bear looked about the right size…

bear model

bear model workin the back
so that was my little break from my current project which is dragggggging out. i'm getting to the point where i really want to start something new and abandon the dress out of boredom. but i need to power through. it's ok if i love or hate the end result, but i don't want to leave a bunch of unfinished projects. no project left behind! =)

how often do you abandon a project midway? do you do little projects in the middle of a big project? or multiple projects all at the same time? or do you stick to one project at a time?

Friday, February 15, 2013

i break my own rules

ok i cheated. and i don't feel too guilty. i'm under a self-imposed one sewing project at a time rule at the moment. and along with that i've decided to not buy any new fabric, patterns, notions until said project is completed (unless the purchase is needed in order to finish said project.) welllll… as you can see from the photo above… i caved.

a coworker was going to sell her stash on craigslist, so she let me rifle through it before she posted it. so i picked out these 7 pieces (some are as large as 2 yards). i just couldn't pass up the opportunity. and it's kinda like i'm doing her a favor, right??? ha ha. so they came home with me and joined my fabric shelf.

and i'm also patting myself on the back for not taking everything she had. hey i have some self restraint!

but new fabrics distract me from my current project. i start dreaming up ideas… cobalt blue shorts, silky black top… pink with black polka dotted baby bib with black bias tape for my other coworker who is expecting a baby girl… 

so i have to interrupt my current project (the fully lined dress) to make this adorable baby bib. she's due in a week and a half. i'll be using my favorite baby bip/apron pattern that i've made twice already. there's a link to it under the menu at the top of my blog under "free patterns, tips and tutorials i like"

so i hope to knock that out sometime this weekend and then i'll be back to my regularly scheduled programming. hope you all had a wonderful valentine's day if you celebrate it!

one last thing: in my effort to buy more handmade gifts and support smaller businesses, i got this super cute card for my husband on etsy made by Wishbone Letterpress. it says "you're my favorite person ever" on it. and the paper is so thick and heavenly. next time you're looking for a card or gift, consider supporting your fellow crafters on sites like etsy or fair trade sites like ten thousand villages.  anyone have any links to other websites that have great handmade gifts? 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

speaking of books… and an update

thank you for all of your comments and insights on my last post. it's given me a lot to think about and i'll be posting a follow up in a little while.

speaking of books… i Bought my first sewing book! yes, you heard that right! i've been checking out sewing and serging books from my library like crazy, but i don't actually own any. until now. yay! there is a newish book store that accepts trade-ins and has a pretty good selection (called Mr.K's if anyone reading this lives nearby, in front of the tanger outlets). i looked through all the sewing books and exclaimed in the aisle to myself "ohhh claire shaeffer!" "sewing secrets!" "i want to know!" "only $8!" "it's mine!" yes, even the terrible cover design (sorry) and dated photos didn't deter me.

but check out the insides! there are some pretty nice diagrams. i am all about diagrams because that's how i learn. this book has some good ones. (and i'm picky)

so i'm excited about trying out some of these "secrets." if you happen across a copy of this book, i'd say pick it up! esp. if it's only $8 ;)

here' are some photo updates on how my dress is progressing:

i only got one of the side seams sewn up so far, and the back is still open awaiting the zip (invisible). but i'll need to attach the skirt first. i hope i can get it lined up correctly. and here it is draped on my cheap-o dress form (which i stilllll have not reposted on craigslist. wow, that was last july. procrastinate much? he he. the dress form is too large)

well it looks like it fits from this photo, but the back is gaping open. it's much better on me. thank goodness.

sadly this will be a "no sewing weekend," as i'm going out of town tomorrow. actually out of state. hopefully i'll get back at it soon. hope you get some enjoyable sewing done over the weekend! or maybe you'll find time for some reading  =)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

thoughts on a book

have you read this book yet? Overdressed by Elizabeth L. Cline. i've seen a lot of sewing bloggers have read it. actually that's how i found out about it and decided to read it. thank you to my local library. in my opinion it's not a book you'd need to buy. unless you buy it and pass it on to others to read. anyway, i'm a slow reader. i used to read more, but it's a time commitment. and during those hours i'm reading i could be sewing! but i do want to squeeze in some more reading time. hey, i do manage to read all of your blogs somehow ;) which i enjoy, by the way :) i don't always comment, but i am reading. (and argh, i have the most annoying time with disqus, it takes forever to load, if at all, and then it says that i'm not remembering my password correctly, grrr. and don't get me started on recaptchas…)

where in the world was i? oh yeah, so reading takes away from my sewing time. (my full time job also cuts into my valuable sewing time. by a lot.) so last week i was out of town for a few days, away from my sewing machine, so i had time to finish the book.

first off, i think it was a worthwhile read. so if you haven't read it and you have the time, do. i have many thoughts on this book and i'm trying to decide what to share, and how to not get too long winded. i do think this book could be improved. it's not a masterpiece by any means. there are parts where it gets a bit bogged down by numbers and stats and then it switches back to a narrative. it could flow better. i also would have liked the book to include more info at the end about solutions to the problems that are brought up. but is there really any way to completely solve this issue of fast fashion?

she brings up forever 21 a lot. i've been there twice. never bought anything. it felt cheap and "junior" to me and the checkout line was ridiculously long. the forever 21 in my city was opened in my city a year or two ago, after the saks 5th avenue closed. also i had only been in that saks once and didn't buy anything either because it was above my paycheck. isn't that a huge shift? -the place where saks was, becoming a forever 21. and we don't have an h&m. that gets mentioned a lot as well. there are actually very few stores i shop at now. and a while back i made myself change my view of shopping, so that i wouldn't just buy something if it was "a good deal" or if it "looked alright." my qualification to buy something is only if i try it on and can say that "i love love love it." so you can see that i haven't bought much recently, because that's pretty strict. and it also has to be something i can afford. i still have clothes in my closet that i bought earlier, that i bought before the "love love love" qualification, and i'm trying to slowly weed those out. hopefully replace most with handmades. 

i've also become more comfortable spending a little more since i'm buying less. but i'm still not spending a ton. my paycheck just doesn't afford me the luxury of buying high fashion. i'm also much more critical of cheap clothes. and while i liked jcpenney's refreshed marketing campaign (and i did buy one top from them last year. i love love loved the bold watercolor print of the fabric.) their most recent campaign has me wondering. they compare two garments side by side, one by a competitor and one by jcpenney and it says something about "same style," "same details," "same stitching," "lower price." lower price how? how did they reduce the costs? what was sacrificed? something had to give. it's just too bad that most people won't consider this. they'll just think, "oh wow, a magical great deal!" now if someone knows that jcpenney is only reducing their profits, please let me know. i haven't done the research. but i'll probably look into it soon. 

anyway the author does include a chapter on sewing. yay sewing! bring on the me-mades! but then there's still the question of where do i buy my fabric? i'd like to buy fabrics that are made ethically and more eco-friendly. any suggestions readers?

and then there's this huge disparity between me sewing for fun and workers who sewing in a factory and barely scrape by. think about it too much and you'll feel sick.

and the other nagging thought is that people who work in the factories that produce the cheap garments or the fabric, who are making minimum wage or below, still need those jobs. if there were better jobs available, they would be doing those jobs. if i don't buy their clothes or their fabric, they will still keep making it because others will be buying it. and ok, if everyone stops buying their clothes or their fabric, then yay, we've closed a factory that underpays their workers. but what about those workers? that means those workers are out of a job. how do we help them create better jobs?

now that's the tough part. and there are a lot of unemployed people out there. i don't have the answers. but it is better to try be informed than to be oblivious.

i apologize if i rambled on for too long, but then again you probably didn't read this far down if it didn't interest you.  next post will be more light hearted  

UPDATE: Check out Colette's new blog post on the book and interview with the author here.