Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My First Dress in How Long? (Pattern Review)

I'm so excited to be posting my first garment! And yes, it's a dress. Just how long has it been since I sewed a dress for myself? Well, I think it was my wedding dress. I'll think on it some more, but I don't remember making any dresses between then and now. Hmm.

This is Vogue 8028. I first saw it in the April/May issue of Vogue Sewing Patterns. Erica over at Erica B's - D.I.Y. Style mentioned it on her blog, even though she actually ended up using a Simplicity shirtwaist pattern.

So here's a brief pattern review:

Pattern Description: Shirtdress in 2 lengths; collar, sleeve, skirt variations, side seam pockets, front & back skirt pleats. Some views shown with purchased belts. Instructions for a sash included.

Sizes: 8-24 Misses (3 size groupings)

How were the instructions? Pretty good instructions. I had some trouble when I attached the collar. I thought the instructions were unclear, but not having attached a collar with a stand for a while, maybe I'm just out of practise. Other than that no problems. I was disappointed that a Vogue pattern didn't have you use a waistline stay, didn't include any type of belt loop, and didn't suggest a hook & eye at the waist closing.

Fabric: Stash fabric! A lightweight woven rayon I picked up about 5 years ago from Londa's Sewing. I actually thought the fabric design was too loud for me (hence using it for the muslin), but I really like it.

Changes? I always have to narrow the shoulders about an inch; shorten the skirt about 1-1/2 inches. This is a wearable muslin for some other fabric and I think I need to move the shoulder seam forward. I'm going to ask a friend tonight at dinner what she thinks. Also, I didn't include the side pockets. Pockets are just invitations for me to put stuff there and I don't need anything else hanging around that area of my body!

Would you make it again? Would you recommend it? Yes, to both questions. I already have some blue cotton/cashmere fabric from Christine Jonson that has been aging in the stash that I will be using to make another shirtwaist dress. And I definitely recommend the pattern for its clean, no fuss lines.

BTW, I really need to find someone to take my pictures. Ooh, the look on my face. Truly I was concentrating, that's all!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sewing Mojo…Lost & Found

Several years ago I went through an emotional crisis that nearly took my life. I didn't just wake up one day and my life fell apart. Rather, gradually over several years my life collapsed from the inside. (Similar to the termites we had our house treated for recently. You don't see the damage until there is a lot of it.) Sewing was a victim of my crisis. No longer did it bring me joy. It was work, but nothing worked out right. Zippers were crooked, seams uneven, sleeves sewn in backward, buttonholes looked homemade. Sewing became a chore and gradually I stopped. I did, however, continue to buy fabric and patterns for a couple of years (and I have a nice stash of both now). But eventually I even stopped buying those things. Then I let my swatch subscriptions lapse, I quit visiting online fabric & sewing sites, I even let all my sewing magazine subscriptions lapse, except Threads, but even they just piled up, unread.

Several months into therapy I started not sleeping. To fill the nights I started knitting again after years (like 20) of not knitting. I discovered several podcasts I really liked and I would listen to them as I knitted the middle of the night away. Knitting was soothing to my soul. The rhythm calmed my brain. The repetition of the pattern met my need for order in my life. When I couldn't figure out life, I could sit down and knit a complicated pattern and feel a sense of accomplishment. Unlike life, if I made a mistake in my knitting I could rip it out and reknit it. I could fix the mistakes in knitting!

In addition, the yarn was soft as it flowed through my fingers. There was something about just touching and feeling the yarn that reminded me of something. Something buried deep inside me, something I couldn't quite reach. Knitting gradually reawakened my love of sewing. I didn't realize what had taken place until recently. But just feeling the yarn in my hands reminded my subconscious of how much I loved handling fabric. When I visited my LYS—oh my! all the colors, the textures, the possibilities! For some reason I found yarn much less intimidating than the fabric in my stash. Knitting projects seemed much less intimidating than sewing projects. And after a year or so and multiple successful knitting projects, the yearning to take a piece of fabric in my hands and create a garment surfaced.

So here I am again. Brimming with ideas to sew, shopping my stash like crazy with a new dilemma. How to find time to knit and sew since I am sleeping all night again!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

AQS Show in Paducah

Back in April I attended (for the first time) the American Quilter's Society show in Paducah, KY. First, I want to say I am not a quilter. But I have a BFF, Londa, who can do things to sweatshirt—well, let me just say "couture", and I was privileged to work in Londa's booth for 3 days of the show.

(I have one experience with quilt making. When my oldest daughter was pregnant with my first grandchild, my beloved MIL suggested making a quilt. My MIL wasn't an avid quilter, but she knew her away around the quilt shop. I loved to sew! I loved my daughter! I loved the grandbaby on the way! I knew I would love making the quilt! I bought the fabric. My MIL pieced the blocks and then came the endless hours of hand quilting. Let me sum it up simply—not my cup of tea! Endless tiny stitches going on forever in the same direction. Finger tips so sore I could barely hold my morning cup of java. I did not, do not, nor will I ever love, or even like, quilting. I told my other children to treat their sister very nice so she would share the quilt with them because that would be the only quilt I ever made!)

So I find it ironic that my friend asked me to help her out at a quilt show. But I had a wonderful time. And the sweatshirt jackets are so beautiful they take your breath away. This wasn't the first time I have helped Londa at a show. And I have actually "created" one jacket of my own with another under construction. I took some fabric remnants with me to Paducah for inspiration and, sure enough, Londa helped me pick the right sweatshirt color, assorted embellishments, awesome buttons and all the other stuff I needed. But the absolute best part was spending time with my BFF, talking, sharing, and just plain hanging out. Thank you , Londa!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Genesis (Not The Band)

This is my first foray into blogging. With the help of my 28-year old son I'm up and running. In trying to come up with a clever title I suggested "Genesis", you know, the beginning. My son (who is very well educated and well read) immediately said to me, "Why are you writing about a band? I thought you wanted to blog about sewing."

My husband wants to know why I'm going to blog about Star Trek? I don't even like Star Trek!

So you won't find info about Genesis the band here, nor is this another Trekkie blog. I love to sew garments and I want to create a written history of my journey. That is what you will find here.

Since I failed Diary 101 as a teenager, please don't expect daily blog entries. My expectation is to post approximately 1x week or when I finish a garment.