Monday, March 14, 2016

Inspired by a Commuter

On my way to work, I saw a woman on the bus with a grey and black raglan animal print top and I just loved it.  I decided I would make one for me.  I purchased the grey and black animal print novelty fabric and the black ponte fabric at NY Elegant in NYC.

This self-drafted top was made about a month ago when the weather was much colder here in the Northeastern U.S.  Temperatures are milder now although there is still enough coolness in the air for me to wear it.




I ran into a little bit of trouble with the sleeves since I did not purchase enough fabric.  When I purchased the fabric, for whatever reason, I purchased enough for a set-in sleeve but I wanted to make a raglan sleeve and a raglan sleeve has extra length to accommodate the shoulder.  I completely forgot about this little fact when purchasing the fabric!

Pondering how to resolve this problem, I was thinking of making it a 3/4 sleeve or perhaps adding a band at the bottom of the sleeve.  I realized that the raw edge of the fabric was right in line with where I had planned to have the folded edge of the hem.  Looking at what a nice clean cut edge the ponte had, I decided to just leave the edge of the sleeve with a raw edge hem.  I have seen this treatment often in ready to wear so it will just have to work for me!


Once I realized what a clean raw edge the ponte provided, I decided to use this characteristic to bind the neckline.  I cut off the seam allowance along the neckline.  I then cut strips 1 1/4" wide and simply folded it so that the raw edge of the animal print fabric abutted the folded edge of the strip.  I made sure the strip was wider on the wrong side of the animal print fabric so that I could catch the strip while topstitching.  I positioned it by basting it in place and then I topstitched it.

Once I was done, I felt like the top still needed a little something.  It just seemed boring to me and a little frumpy on me.  I tried different necklaces but I was just not happy with the look.  Looking at the various strips of fabric on my cutting table, I decided to play around with the strips and realized I could place them strategically along the neckline.  Much like the sunburst design you see with pleats on many tops, I decided to do something similar with the strips.  Since the neckline binding on the fashion side of the fabric is 1/2" wide, I decided the strips would be 1/2" wide as well.

I positioned them in place with 1/2" Steam-a-Seam fusible tape.  I used a light setting on my iron and a pressing cloth on top so as to not damage the fabric or create shine on the black strips.  Once they were bonded in place, I topstitched them down.  I figured even though they were bonded in place, I wanted to make sure they stayed that way when laundered a few times.

I like the top much better now that it has these strips in place.  They look like piano keys to me.


For the hem of the body, I simply folded it and topstitched it in place.  Even though the animal print fabric is a knit, I still must use darts in order to get a good fit for my figure.  I used my usual technique for sewing darts on knits.  Happily, the darts get lost in this busy print.

Here is the back view:



Well, I want to move on to pants.  I have lots of fit issues with pants so I hope to tackle this next...or maybe the pants will tackle me.  Ha!  

Happy sewing!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

MPB Winter Frolic Day

Saturday, March 5, 2016 was MPB Winter Frolic Day where sewists, bloggers and like-minded folks got together to enjoy a fun day full of friendship, fashion and sewing-related pursuits.  The beginning of March oftentimes brings with it bad weather but luckily the day was cool, not terribly cold, and sunny.

We met at 11 am at the Museum at FIT where there is currently on view 3 exhibits: Denim: Fashion's Frontier; The Women of Harper's Bazaar; and Fairy Tale Fashion.  All 3 exhibits were wonderful but Fairy Tale Fashion was spectacular.  The garments in combination with the backdrops and music made you feel like you were stepping into a fairy tale.

The first garment you see as you enter the exhibit of Fairy Tale Fashion is a striking Red Riding Hood cape:

Storytailors by Joao Branco and Luis Sanchez, 2015


The Snow Queen section - based on a tale by Hans Christian Andersen:

Alexander McQueen, 2008

Alice in Wonderland section - I found this unusual garment quite amusing:

The Queen of Hearts by Hideki Seo, 2014


The motifs on this gorgeous dress seem to refer to the scene where Alice finds a gold key that opens the door to a beautiful garden.  The embroidery is exquisite:
Key to the Garden by Dolce and Gabbana, 2014

The fairies section - The print matching and placement is superb:
What Does a Fairy Look Like? by Prada, 2008

 In the Furrypelts section (based on a tale by the Brothers Grimm) - I just loved this dress with all those little stars:
Dress Like the Stars by Mary Liotta, 1930
Close-up of the stars made from tiny beads and sequins

I had some fun at The Women of Harper's Bazaar exhibit:




Here's Kyle from Vacuuming the Lawn modeling the beautiful backpack she just finished made out of neoprene:



You can find out more about these exhibits and upcoming exhibits by visiting the FIT website.

We then headed off to Panera Bread for lunch where we took over the 2nd floor

Peter Lappin of Male Pattern Boldness and myself

and where we had a pattern swap:



After lunch we broke into separate groups.  Kyle and I headed a group to Mood Fabrics where Kyle was on a mission to find the perfect denim (which she did):


Around 4 pm, we all met up at International Gourmet Kitchen, 505 8th Avenue, to rest our weary feet, chat and show off our purchases:




Many thanks to Peter for organizing this wonderful day!