Monday, February 28, 2011

Stuff I should wear more often

Like so many others I want to mention the Christchurch earthquake. We live about 300km south of Christchurch, and I have visited it many, many times - the last being two weeks after the September earthquake. I have nothing to say that has not been said infinitely better by others, but want to add my most heartfelt "Thanks, World" to the hundreds and hundreds of rescue workers from all over the world helping in the grimmest of tasks. David and I both have relatives in Christchurch, all of whom are ok. Facebook finally gets useful!

It certainly put my pouty whining about waiting for patterns into proper perspective. (They have been given up for lost, and immediately resent.)

I've almost finished the new Alabama Corset - stitching on the binding, then stitching around the hem. A day or two and it'll be done. (Depending entirely on how much Mad Men I get to watch). I have finished the navy blue dress for Isabella from my last post. Turns out I had a pile of piping cord tucked in another box marked "notions". I would photograph it today, but it is YET ANOTHER grey and dreary day. So our cr*p summer limps to an end. It hasn't been particularly cold, but it sure does seem to have been grey and damp.

So anyway, I decided that I am sick of the way I dress. (Again. This happens about once a week.) This time triggered by a really well presented Mum at Kindy. It got me thinking that I could do better. So I went digging in my drawers and found these pants. (I made them in a stone colour as well.)

They're from a 2003 Burda magazine, #137 from 09/03, to be exact, and are now a smidge too small, (made in the days when I was prepared to be disciplined enough to keep my weight under the recommended BMI.) but still wearable, especially with this loose tunic style shirt, also a Burda mag pattern, but I can't be bothered hunting out the details right now. I will if anyone wants to know. If I were less vain I'd show you a proper shot of the front, showing the angled zip, or of the back, showing the angled CB seam, but I couldn't bring myself to publish those! Looking at these pics makes me realise that the details are really hard to make out. The pattern pieces are really interesting, so when I get a chance I'll scan the line drawing and pattern overview to show them better - I love this sort of project!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Procrastinating again....

The twins are tucked up having their nap, although judging by the occasional chirp audible on the baby monitor Isabella is spending more time chatting to Soggy Bunny than napping. (Soggy Bunny is a very cute stuffed bunny. He acquired the "Soggy" bit from me, after I surreptitiously popped him in the napisan to soak for the squillionth time, since Isabella likes to suck/chew his leg. Even she calls him that now.

So I have about an hour and a half to myself before waking them, giving them lunch and taking them to Kindy (which gives me another hour and a half!) So in time honoured fashion I'm procrastinating.

I could be working on this dress for Isabella, the pattern for which came from a magazine I bought last September. The dress has been cut and partially assembled for weeks (probably months) and came to a grinding halt because I couldn't be bothered to cut facings. It'll only take a couple of minutes to trace facing patterns from the dress pattern (the original is double layered so didn't need facings) and cut them out, but I can't be bothered. And it's been languishing in a pile on my desk ever since. Hence the dire need for it to see an IRON before I take it up again.

Or there's this dress, which is the first iteration of a design from the grey toile from my previous post. I haven't abandoned the idea of puffed sleeves on something else, but not with this fabric. It's lines came from a rough sketch in my sketchbook (well, everything in my sketchbook is rough!) I've tried the bodice on Isabella and I'm happy with the look and fit, but she wasn't in the mood for a photoshoot.
I love piped edges! This one came to a halt because I ran out of piping cord. The waistband will also be piped. (Although since the bottom edge of the waistband is at the waistline, it's probably more accurately a midriff band.) And it also needs a really good press before I start working on it again. I love this crossover back design. Isabella often wears the pink dress I made a while ago (another prototype of course!) and I find the cross over back just brilliant - easy to get on and off with two domes holding it closed, and the back flaps far enough over that it doesn't open where it shouldn't, and it gives her plenty of room to move (handy when you're climbing onto the slide at Kindy) It is so helpful to have her test wear my designs to see how they work in use on an active toddler! Nicholas is less useful as a fit model since he's so tiny that I have to custom make his clothes in "Nicholas Size" rather than according to any size chart!

Oh, and there's this.
And the terrible reason I'm not feverishly working on this one? I've borrowed Seasons 1-3 of Mad Men from my sister and will be watching while the twins are at Kindy this afternoon. Handwork goes very well with DVD watching.

And of course the lavender dress from my last post hasn't been touched since I hung it up after taking it off Isabella. All it needs is some embellishment. Haven't decided what image or technique to do, so it's hanging there, eyeing me forlornly, another in-progress project.

Still waiting for the Hotpatterns. I'd have to check with Keely for the exact details, but it's been WAY OVER the 28 days it should have taken since she placed the order, and her emailed query was answered vaguely - not addressing her specifically worded questions. Delays are frustrating, but they happen. What is irritating me is that the response from Hotpatterns came across as giving her the runaround. I imagine that as a small company they're pretty busy, but I do feel that if a customer asks you a direct question as to the status of their order you should either give them the answer or say that you don't know for whatever reason.

And since I'm really trying to avoid doing anything productive, here's a question for you - if you see a tutorial on the web somewhere in which a strip of fabric very clearly cut along the grain is described as being bias, how much would it bother you, and would you comment a tactful correction? I saw this a few days ago, and it really really bothers me! The tutorial is written by a homesewer, for other homesewers, probably with little experience. I didn't comment because I don't want to look like a snobbish know it all belittling her efforts with a trifling correction. (Although since the strip in question was binding a neckline it would have worked a lot better had it actually been cut on the bias, so maybe not so trifling?)

Friday, February 11, 2011

The fit model

I think I've mentioned before that Isabella is a very willing and cooperative fit model. However, she is 2 3/4 years old. Enthusiasm is fantastic, willingness to take direction is brilliant. Ability to hold a pose for longer than a millisecond is non-existent! Add her small twin to the mix, wanting to get his hands on the camera, and you get photoshoots like this - dodgy focus, less-than-ideal poses, but at least it's quick!

The bottom 2 photos are next to useless for evaluation purposes, but I did have a better look when I tried it on her. Even over a dress and t shirt it does meet easily (it's cut from a bodice block, not an overgarment block) and the sleeve works just fine. So this design gets to go another round. I wonder what the final design will look like? Thank you Beangirl for suggesting a jacket - I'm now imagining a cropped, puffy sleeved jacket similar to this one I made before. I love drafting - endless possibilities!

And really all of this is just to distract me from waiting. I piggybacked on Keely's Hotpattern order and all I can think about is the 3 Graces top (the cowl necked cross over one of course) which is very very slowly winging it's way to me now. (Well, actually it's winging it's way to Keely, but I'll get it right away! 28 days from her order was Last Sunday. Sigh....) I feel like I'm cheating on my 80 hour top - I'm working on that but thinking about the new pattern.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stuff in progress

Yet another motivation to blog - friends who give me a hard time about not doing so! Why they complain I can't understand - I brought my top to our fortnightly craft night last night, so they could have taken a close up look if they'd wanted to!

This one is progressing considerably slower than the red and cream one because I keep having to do other stuff. A couple of shirts for a friend of David (broad of shoulder and chest, slender of waist and neck, poor guy can't buy a shirt to fit, so was very pleased with a couple of custom made shirts). I may have shot myself in the foot with them though - David now knows I can knock out a shirt in a day or two (when fit has already been worked out). Oops.

I also made another bubble dress for a market next week. Kahlia is having a stall and offered to sell my designs on my behalf. She is so much better at marketing me than I am, and shortly starting her own website to sell the reusable lunchbags and other things that she makes, along with other products for kids. Since I'm not doing anything else with my designs at the moment it seems like a perfect fit to me!
And I figured it was about time I got back into some pattern work, so here is my work in progress (so, J, K and M, you can stop giving me a hard time about not updating my blog - this is what I'm up to!)
I got Helen Joseph-Armstong's pattern drafting book out of the library last week (I'll do a post on the bodice block when I've toiled it - it looks odd to me!) and the drop shoulder idea took hold. Above is my first go at it. The sharpie line is where I think I'll add a princess line. I've no idea what the neckline or skirt of this dress will look like yet, (I think it'll be a dress) but I wanted to try the gathered sleeve before I commit to further work on it. I got this far before I took the twins to kindy, so I have yet to try it on my house model.

And there's also this dress, another prototype of course! This one is intended to be for Isabella.
I loved the pleat/belt combo from a dress I saw somewhere, and it's an easy feature to do, but unfortunately it doesn't give enough fullness to the skirt. Again I have yet to check on the house model, but I think the skirt will look a bit skimpy. I haven't decided how to deal with this yet for the next version, but this one may just get shortened to tunic length. Since I'm not sure, I haven't added any embellishment to the dress. It's just hanging around, waiting.

So there you are - several projects in various stages of completion. I'm capable of intense focus and prolonged dedication to a project or idea, and also of having the attention span of a gnat.