Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Kimono Tee Time (Part I)

Once I latch on to something, it's can be hard for me to try something new. I'm like that with many things - food, TV shows, music, etc. For sewing, after I've found a pattern that I like and that fits well, I tend not to stray. Especially if I've spent some time making adjustments.

That said, I'm trying to expand my horizons. It all started with this awesome fabric that I picked up from Mood online:

It was screaming to be made into something other than a Renfrew, my go-to top pattern. Something boxier that would highlight the fabric more instead of a body-hugging style.

Enter the Kirsten Kimono Tee from MariaDenmark. This is a free pattern available when you sign up for the MariaDenmark newsletter. I was actually eying up another top pattern on the site but was really drawn to this. If you asked me a year ago if I would ever make a top this style, I would have said "no". (Why? I don't know. That's just how I am.) And, I would have missed out on this:

Pattern: MariaDenmark Kirsten Kimono Tee

Fabric: The description on the Mood website is Navy/Black Misc Novelty Knit, and it's a polyester rayon blend.

Size and Modifications: I cut out a straight BL (for this pattern, that corresponds to body measurements 38.5" bust, 32" waist and 42" hip). I wanted something slightly boxy and originally tried to grade the pattern between sizes. (The only measurement above that matches me is the hip.) However, after multiple attempts to grade between a small and large and add seam allowances, I gave up.  This was totally no fault of the pattern, I just spaced out multiple times during the process. Funny thing is that I'm completely happy with the fit of the current size and could have saved myself a headache in the first place.

Once I assembled and finally cut the correct size pattern out, the shirt went together quickly. You sew the side seams, attach a neck band, hem the cuffs and bottom and boom you're done! It's simple, yet elegant.

The black mesh of the fabric is see-through and I do have a tank top underneath because this is not that type of blog!  :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Purple Explosion

I've been on a top-making binge lately.  Between last Wednesday and today, I've made three tops and am half-way through a fourth.

The one I'm most excited about is my second Avocado Hoodie made from the awesome heathered purple fleece I picked up from my recent trip to the Textile Discount Outlet (Blogged here. I called it maroon in that post, but after playing with it for a while, have decided it's more purple.)

Avocado Hoodie

Pattern: Avocado Hoodie by Disparate Disciplines. I made option B, non-overlapping hood with back pockets.

Fabric: Super soft, super awesome purple fleece from the Textile Discount Outlet. I could not stop petting this in the store. I also used purple jersey left over from this dress for the pocket lining picked up in the Vogue Fabrics remnant room.

Avocado Hoodie

Size and Modifications: Even though I said I would modify the size a bit after my last hoodie, I lied.  I used the same sizing as before - size 6 on top and size 8 at hips. Since this fabric is much thinner and more drapey than my first, it fits looser.

Avocado Hoodie

I also did elect to interface the pocket tabs with some lightweight fusible interfacing and tacked down the tabs just a bit in the corners. This helped them not gape open as much as my first hoodie. (That one isn't bad, these just lie flatter.)

Close-up of my lining:

Underneath , I had on my latest Renfrew.  This is the millionth time I've made this pattern, and there's no end in sight. This shirt was made from purple burn out jersey picked up from, you guessed it, the Vogue remnant room. Seriously, most of my Renfrew fabric comes from here.

As you can probably tell, I've been on a major purple/maroon/burgundy/wine colored fabric binge lately. But hey, if the color works, why not stick with it?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Completed Silk Saltspring!

Well, the monkey is finally off my back (or baboon off my ass, if you remember my earlier post). I finished my silk Saltspring!

This one nearly did me in! After my first attempt (see link above) I spent a lot of quality time, just me and my seam ripper, completely taking the skirt and lining apart. I spent hours more trying to figure out exactly the best way to re-cut the skirt to avoid unfortunate pattern placement and also work with the fabric that I had.

Pattern: Saltspring from Sewaholic

Fabric: Thakoon paisley silk crepe de chine from Mood Fabrics and black Ambiance Rayon Bemberg lining from Vogue Fabrics.

Construction Techniques and Modifications: I cut a 4 at top graded to 8 at the waist. I swapped the ties for thicker straps and added a skirt lining. I used French seams for the outer fabric and lining, and used strips of the lining selvage to stabilize my zipper edges.  For the zipper, I used the Sewaholic tutorial for covering the zipper end (I love this little detail):

For the skirt, my goal was to create a wall of design noise instead of having a focal point with a perfectly centered pattern (if that makes sense).  To do that, I cut the fabric on the bias(ish), taking care to make sure the pattern motifs were away from the danger zones (In addition to the unfortunate back pattern placement, my first version had one area that looked very much like a diagram of a uterus centered directly front and center. I've managed to avoid that this time around.)  I also didn't worry about pattern matching on the skirt.

One source of inspiration was this dress below. I also saw on other Thakoon outfits using the same fabric that weren't always centered or cut on grain. (Some were, some weren't.) Every time, it just magically worked and I am in awe of his pattern placement genius.

Inspiration for re-cut skirt. Source: http://www.lyst.com/clothing/thakoon-paisley-tank-dress-multicolor-1/

Is it perfect? I don't think anything ever is. And, I've been staring at this for so long it's hard to be impartial. But am I happy? Yes. I'm sure this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I do like the crazy bold pattern.

This project has taught me not to be afraid of working with expensive, special fabric. Fabric that I put up on a pedestal. The worst thing is that I might mess up. Well, I did that. I spent a lot of time trying to correct it, and in the end I created a dress that I would wear.  Boom. Done. Next project.

I have a ton of scraps of this print left! Not enough for a whole new dress, but enough for a lot of small projects. I wouldn't be surprised if I can manage a scarf, top and a whole lot of fancy bias tape out of this.

Now, I can get to all of the other projects I have lined up. I've been very good, forcing myself to not start them until I completed this (the Avocado Hoodie doesn't count because Saltspring and I really needed some time apart.)