Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fairy Tales

Let me tell you an intriguing story.

Once upon a time there was a professional woman / mother / blogger / sewist / knitter. This woman loved all of her many pursuits purely, and with conviction.

One winter, she was called to interview for a new job - an interesting one. Given the parameters and conventions of her industry, she worked for many hours to prepare. She studied the role, queried the experts. She attended a panel interview. She answered scary questions. She completed an assignment.

She was not called to shortlist.

While that wasn't a thrilling outcome, soon the spring came along and, like buds on the trees, so did new opportunity arrive. In a creative twist, the woman was offered the chance to compete for a new position, having the same title, meeting with the very same panel, alors, even in the very same room. Naturally, there were key differences between the two experiences but, in the main, there was a sense of deja vu.

The woman was not exactly confident in the process or the outcome. But she tried again because her parents (and folklore) instilled in her the belief that first success is not a requirement. Also, she's nervy.

Delightfully, she was offered the second role, one which entails even more exciting features than she originally imagined, one which she accepted, not without consideration. And everyone is hopeful that she will excel and live happily ever after.

Spoiler Alert: The woman is me.

I tell this tale to alert you to my new circumstances, and to advise you that I really have no idea of how I'm going to be able to manage a (likely intense) new job, parenting a tween, being married to a guy who's frankly fed up with my obsessive crafting, obsessively crafting - and blogging.

There are few things I love more than writing, than communicating with a community of like-minded souls. But it is possible that I'm going to need to prioritize other things over this blog for the next while because there's a razor-fine edge between what makes you what you are and what keeps you from what you need to become.

All this is to say nothing. I am not making a dramatic exit from the blog world. This blog is as much a facet of me as any other part of my identity. Damn straight, I'm not going to chop it off. Alas, I may be brief, or even absent, for a while. (Then again, you know me, it'll probably be business as usual. You know how I love to fuck with expectation and get all creative at the strangest times.)

Please stick around as we have many exciting adventures ahead. And thank you so much for your patience. xo

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Silky Goodness

I'm going to call this one a qualified success:

The Good:
  • Silk is not that slippery. Really. Unless you're expecting cotton. I mean, rayon jersey and many synthetics have been more challenging.
  • The serger deals with it remarkably well.
  • It feels fantastic.
  • My workmanship, with the exception of one glaring error, and a bit of snap misalignment, is surprisingly strong. I figured out, by working it through, how to self-fabric interface the plackets and the neck facing and I think I did it neatly.
The Bad:
  • The silk drapes very differently than a) a synthetic or b) than I thought it would. It fits, but I do find it strangely snug in weird places during movement. Maybe my pattern edits worked on a stronger, synthetic fabric but, given the delicateness of the silk, I suspect more ease would make it drape more elegantly. I'm going to keep the second set of tucks on the back (a pattern adjustment I came up with) but narrow them on my next go. I will also add the under arm ease back in. I wonder if the other (black and white, slightly sturdier) silk will have more natural ease.
  • Errors are very difficult to fix on charmeuse. You have to weigh the benefits of trying again against the potential for destroying the fabric.
  • Invisible catch stitching is a bit challenging. And the silk doesn't hold the stitches as firmly as a synthetic.
  • The snaps are too heavy for such a delicate fabric and they drag it down.
  • The neck facing to neckline, which was difficult on both other Senchas, IMO, was really challenging in silk. I will definitely have to work on that technique because I stretched things slightly out of shape. And I still ended up having to topstitch in order to keep the facing in place.
The Ugly:
  • I did something wrong when I attached the placket interfacing to the facing, at the top where it meets the neck. As a result, I botched the back of the top - not so badly that you'd notice it if I had long hair. Or even that you'd notice it if I didn't point it out (it just looks off, but it's "evenly off"). I deliberately didn't photo it because, quite honestly, I intend to wear this blouse and I don't want to give that error any more credibility that it deserves. Other than this, I did very neat work and the garment feels like a dream.
The Verdict:

Don't be afraid of silk. Not charmeuse, anyway. If you can find some at a reasonable price - I'd say anything under $20.00 a yard, take the chance and use it on a Sencha. Not counting the pattern cost, this top cost me 25 bucks all in. At a store I might have spent 5 times that amount.

Whenever you sew, you either succeed in producing a wearable garment, or you don't. Shouldn't you make that potential success as glorious as it can be? You'll quickly forget the anxiety of sewing with top notch fabric. And every time you wear it you'll remember how much you love what you sew.

Monday, June 27, 2011


I'm not going to try to pull the wool over your eyes (ha!): I made the most colossally stupid mistake this weekend. I mistook cm for inches. I know, I know, how on earth I could have imagined that the sweater front from ribbing to underarm should have been 30.5 INCHES is beyond me. My brain is addled by stitches, peeps.

At any rate, I basically knitted the front of my sweater twice before I realized I'd have to rip back 25 cm. Lord, that's a lot of knitting. Like, um, 10 hours - not including time to fix mistakes along the way.

And then there's the matter that my lifelines only go back about 20 rows. So I had to try to figure out how to insert one, 25 cm back, in lacework. What a freakin' nightmare.

It took me an hour to figure out that the lifelines (I did 2) had failed. At which point I was ready to throw myself off a bridge. For real.

So, I tried the only thing left in my arsenal. I went to my LYS (local yarn store) where I was thrilled to find my creative knitting expert of yore (the one who assisted me in getting the goods required for my last sweater. You remember, the one that worked).

She told me that a lifeline after the fact, in lacework, is more or less useless, whereupon she proceeded to rip mine out, just like that. I actually yelped from horror.

Don't worry, all was well as she proceeded to fix it in a veritable jiffy, without a cursory glance at the pattern. It was practically as soul-stirring as the scene in Apollo 13 where they figure out how to get the astronauts home.

Apparently, it was easy, but don't take it from me. My eyes had officially glazed over.

Here's today's lesson: Just cuz you think something is disastrous and irreparable doesn't mean there isn't someone who can fix it in 5 minutes flat.

If you're willing to leave your comfort zone for adventure, be willing to leave it for assistance. Share your problems to find solutions. And to take the edge off.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sewing with Silk

As you know, I've just embarked on a new sewing experience - the Sencha blouse, made in silk. I'm sewing with charmeuse, that woven drapey silk with beautiful hand, quite a bit of bias stretch and matte on one side / satin on the other. Apparently, it's not the easiest thing to work with.

It's my first time sewing with this fabric (actually, I haven't started the sewing part yet) but, already, I have some thoughts and feelings to share:
  • Sometimes, when everyone warns that a fabric is an absolute bitch, you might find it's not quite as horrible as you'd imagine. It's called "experiential tempering" peeps, and in this circumstance, I'm all for it. It's the pleasant metaphoric flip side of the movie everyone raves about that turns out to be totally overrated by the time you get to see it.
  • Having said this, I don't want to mislead you; it's a slippery mofo, so proceed with caution. Rotary cutting on a mat, with weights to stabilize the fabric, is the way to go. Pins and scissors can be tricky.
  • While I was freaked to try this, Claire Schaeffer, in her awesome tome the Fabric Sewing Guide, advises that one should steam press the silk before cutting (if one intends to dry clean it going forward), to shrink and prepare it. Believe it or not, it works. I first steamed (on the wrong side), then pressed (I didn't even use a pressing cloth for some of it), and the fabric shrank considerably, but didn't mar in any way. I even got some water drops on the silk. My usually flawless iron somehow managed to leak on the most delicate of fabrics?!, but somehow the water didn't stain. Phew. I do intend to use a pressing cloth as I sew. BTW, Scott and I once spent 4 hours going through this sewing guide when totally inebriated and he found it fascinating. A guy who doesn't even sew. If you sew, you are crazy not to own this book.
  • I suggest that the matte side of the fabric is better for those large of chest. It's less reflective.
  • The way I learned the awful truth that FabricLand at Yonge and Bloor (the only central TO location) is closing, is that I had to go there today to purchase sharps. 60s are the best gauge for delicate silk. Special sharp pins are also wise. In truth, it's not rocket science. Just buy the correct materials and you will vastly improve your likelihood of success. I mean, you really don't want unnecessary holes in your charmeuse.
  • I still don't know, exactly, how the placket and neck facing, self-fabric interfacing is going to work. I've thought it out in depth but you never know how it goes till it's gone. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
  • I'm making view 1 this time (formerly I have made view 3, with the keyhole). I figure, working with such a tricky fabric, it would be best to make the construction as simple as possible. I only hope it looks good.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Pool of the Week

I didn't realize that Aukland was so perfectly tropical?! (And, have you ever noticed that the word Aukland looks really weird when you spell it out?)

As always, Desire to Inspire gives the goods:

A reader actually took this (and other photos) on a real estate stalk. You should really view the entire post because it's garden porn par excellence.

Especially from this vantage point, in Toronto, where the summer's been hovering on the wrong side of hit and miss, photos like these sustain and torment me.

I call that chaise on the left.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Coming Along...

For those of you who may be interested to know about how the Jan's going, here's a little preview:

I can't talk too much about it. Firstly, I'm sure you'll all just tune out. But I'm also trying to find my groove with it - something that it slowly starting to occur.

All I can say is that I remain in awe of its beautiful design.

Keep giving me your good knitting vibes pls! xo

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Swift Thrift

I'm calling this my "Fly the Friendly Skies" scarf. I found it at a delightful new vintage shop - what's with me these days, I cannot remember the name of anything?! - but it's on the north side of College St. between Euclid and Manning. It was 5 bucks! (It's totally poly, but still the drape is lovely and the design is so me.) I also bought a terrific, granny-chic porcelain cake stand (I've been looking for the right cake stand forevah!). It was $25.00.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

Remember how I said I should make a couple more Senchas and a pair of my TNT pants, though not in denim (BTW, I actually rotate 3 of those TNTs in denim, not 2 - as I originally stated in that post. I forgot about one pair, proving the point that I need to make something that maintains the line but doesn't look more or less the same as the others).

Well, a couple of days ago I found this silk in the garment district:

$15.00 a yard - very reasonable for silk of its quality, IMO

It will do the Sencha justice though, having never sewn with silk, I'm understandably apprehensive. (Note: for those of you asking about my pin tuck adjustment to remove fullness from the waist area of the Sencha, here's the post outlining my process.)

Just thought of a potential challenge (inasmuch as I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel on this project, simply to gussy up the fabric choices): In the past I have used fusible interfacing to stabilize the button facing. Can't do that here. I guess I'm going to have to underline the facing for more stability. Anyone have any idea of what fabric to use - fashion fabric, organza? (or how to do sew it up with a finished edge)? I'm heading over to Tasia's underlining post, but I don't know if I can use it to help me with this little piece of a larger garment.

I also bought a beautiful silk in taupe (matte one side, satin on the other) but I can't find the photo I just took of it?! Oh well, you'll have to enjoy this one twice as much!

I've had the proposed pants fabric in my stash since I purchased it from my fab RTW designer and store-owner acquaintance (it was overage). It's got the tiniest bit of stretch and it drapes beautifully:

So, there you go. I'm about to take the beautiful/fancy-fabric plunge with tested designs. OMG, why don't you do this too?! Let's do fancy fabric sewing together! Choose a pattern you love and make it again in the nicest fabric you can afford / bring yourself to cut up. Let me know if you're game and then I want to hear all about it!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lost and Found

Leave it to me to turn one of the busiest weekends in the summer into an estate sale extravaganza. Sadly, an elderly woman up the street recently died. I discovered, while walking up the block to go to the butcher, that her daughter is selling many of her vintage treasures on this, perhaps the most beautiful day of the year so far.

Is this coffee set not the most beautiful thing EVER??:

Here's a shot of the full set of 6 - doesn't show it to its best advantage, but it captures the whole haul...

I've never owned a coffee set till now because, I've never before found one that thrills... This is in mint condition and I got it for (don't gasp) $3.00. Yes, three dollars. I seriously considered offering the seller much more money for it, but she seemed very grief-stricken and old-school Italian. I didn't want to somehow offend her...

And then there are these:

I got a full set of 6 but I just photographed these 4...

I'd love to know what these shot glasses are called (or anything about them). The metalized rims have been well-worn (to show the most beautiful patina). They'd be perfect with an ice cube and some Aperol, for example (something I intend to try in 10 minutes...). These were $4.00.

I told the seller we would be sure to toast her mother with these gorgeous glasses, whereupon (sadly) she started to cry. So, here's to a woman who had beautiful taste in china and glassware - one whom, I'm sure, enjoyed many beautiful events with these items and her family and friends. And here's to the joy they'll bring with every use.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Bespoken For

As you can see, there's a lot of aspiration going on in the sewga room:

This weekend is Scott's birthday (let me tell you his number is high!). And let's not forget Father's Day. Amongst other gifts and activities, I decided to draft a bespoke T shirt pattern for him, based on an existing T shirt - a really grimy, seen-better-days-so-throw-it-out T shirt - he really likes.

I followed a method I found online, but stupidly didn't bookmark the site, and now I can't figure out where it is. It involves pinning the existing T to a flat surface and tracing out. Sounds simple but you have to use pin marks to delineate the seams on the parts of the shirt you cant actually draw because those seams are enclosed within the shirt (i.e. shoulders and neck line - remember T shirt necklines and sleeve openings are ribbed).

Then you have to take that 1 piece sloper and cut out the individual pieces (front, back, sleeves) and add seam allowances. Then you have to draft your ribbing separately. To make 1 inch ribbing for the neckline, I cut 2.5 inches (enough for fold over and seam allowances) and made the piece 2/3 the length of the open neckline. I followed the same ratio with the sleeve ribbing.

The prep has taken a few hours, but the sewing will begin apace. Wish me luck. I have enough fabric for 2 Ts...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Eleven Going on Fifteen

My daughter, after her latest hair appointment.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fave Pieces

I've been noticing recently that I wear my own homemade garments regularly (score!) but not all of them (no surprise).

The pieces that get the most wear (once or more than once a week) are:
  • 2 pairs of denim trousers
  • my burgundy Sencha (the smaller of the 2)
  • my navy rayon 3/4 sleeve T shirt
  • my crazy pattern rayon jersey T shirt
  • my DKNY cowl sack dress
  • my handknit sweater (what kind of summer is this?!)
Natch, this is a summer mix. In winter I have worn other items more frequently...

Why? Well, they fit the best, IMO, they drape and wear well, they're practical (and easily restylable depending on what I wear them with) and I've managed to block out their imperfections (so, when I wear them, I'm not simply thinking about how badly they were made).

Intriguingly, no handmade skirts figure into the high rotation schedule - although I do wear a couple of them on a semi regular basis i.e. once every couple of weeks. Those would be the skirt I made for my sister (which didn't work for her) and my crazy patterned pencil skirt.

Peeps, I think it's time to add a skirt to the mix. A kind of sassy one. And another pair of those TNT trousers (but not in denim). And then another Sencha.

I've also realized recently (since the poly jersey dress) that the better the fabric, the more desirable the finished object. That means, even if I need to take a risk on ruining beautiful, expensive fabric, I'm going to have to do it. The pay-off makes it worth the risk.

What homemade items do you wear most and why? Do share!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Forest and The Trees

Occasionally I'm blown away by the generosity of people - namely those as invested in social media as we all are.

I have been tremendously supported over the last week by numerous blog and Ravelry friends, amongst them:

Ms. Modiste
Miss Sophie

You have all helped me to get from ground-zero to a finished row 8 and I can't tell you how much I want to give you all hugs and share some aperol and prosecco. (Hell, let's make it champagne.)

I finally understood what I was doing wrong after a whack of emails with Gail - who, BTW, is making the same Jan sweater right now and it's amazing. It finally occurred to me - after little clues were making themselves known - that the interweb would probably have a video to explain what I was trying to do. I mean, just cuz it's new to me, doesn't mean it isn't a popular stitch loop.

And, voila, here's what I found...

Not that this will interest anyone other than me, but I was short on stitches because I didn't realize that YO (yarn over) isn't the stitch you knit into, but the act of looping the wool in front of the stitch. So YO, K2Tog doesn't mean: loop your yarn, knit into a stitch and then knit 2 stitches together.

It means: loop your yarn and then knit 2 stitches together.

Massive difference peeps.

OMG - I was starting to lose my mind over this.

Now I just have to determine whether I need to redo row 4 because I def didn't do this for that row. Mind you, I have nice little holes evenly interspersed and the right number of stitches coming out of that row, and I SO don't want to rip this back again...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Have You Seen This?

Cross-marketing is alive and well, my friends.

Robin just turned me onto this site. Lisette is a blog and a pattern store and it's (rather intelligently) teamed up with Jo-Ann (a big-box sewing store in the US) to sell the very fabrics in which its season's patterns are modeled. Talk about taking the guess-work out of things.

Of course, seasoned sewists may want to do their own thing, but for a new stitcher - one of those modern-generation crafters who's just trying to get into the swing of things - the patterns are adorable (and simple), the styling retro-relevant, and it's one-stop shopping.

As a test-subject on behalf of y'all, I just spent a reasonable 12 bucks on a pattern - plus an absurd $8.00 in shipping (they are ripping off the international crowd) - to purchase this:

I bought it for dress C - which I'll make with snaps, thank you very much. No doubt, it will be an FBA-experience, but I do think it's adorable.

Has anyone else checked out this site? What do you think of the concept?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Updated: Shout Out to the (Knitting) Experts: Should It Look Like This??

OMG. The big fucking problem with not having the faintest idea of what one is doing, is that one has no idea when it's fucking up big time.

The provisos here are that I haven't blocked this, so the ribbing stitches look v. uneven. And I've got a (same yarn) lifeline in the body of the pattern - about 4 rows up (not improving the texture).

OK, here are the questions:
  • If the rib was done in US 2 needles then how is it wider-seeming (i.e. looser) than the Knit/Purl lace work (done with US 3 needles!) that starts above it? (Note: It's only just getting going so you can't really tell it's going to be lacey...) Is this normal? It seems like the body should be looser than the rib.
  • When you yarn over you add a stitch, right? So when you YO followed by a K2Tog, you're effectively stabilizing the stitch number - do I understand this correctly?
  • The pattern says K6, * YO, K2Tog, K5, repeat from * to end. I did this and finished up (for 125 stitches) at the 4th of 5 knit stitches at the end of the row. Should it have ended on the 5th stitch?? I counted numerous times and even drew it out, stitch for stitch, but if YO and K2Tog cancel each other out in terms of stitch number, that's the way it goes.
  • The YO extra stitch is very loose. I'm still purling into it (it's a purl row after the lacework row). That's the way it goes, right?
BTW, I couldn't figure out what was going on with those little holes (see yesterday's post) that I thought were dropped stitches. I'm starting to think they could be sloppy iterations of the additional M1 stitches I did (though I was very careful to check that they were all tight) because I couldn't have ended on the right number of stitches if one or more of them were dropped. Also, I studied the "holes" in great detail and I couldn't figure out where to fix them. They were open, but they weren't "broken links". If that's wrong, then fuck it cuz I feel compelled to move forward. I'm starting to get very frustrated. Sometimes, I believe, you have to "craft from where you're at". It's the way you get from nothing to something, even if the something is far from perfect. And you learn along the way, she says.

I know that taking up a craft and following up a first sweater with a sophomore effort of vintage lace work is a bit of a stretch (pun intended), and it's a bit rough right now.

Any feedback y'all may be able to give would be SO appreciated. Thanks, xo

Update: Apparently, row 8 may actually have an errata in it. I'm communicating on the details with the pattern publisher and will advise as soon as I have firm feedback.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Questions for Everyone...

A couple of things on the craft front:
  • The Jan Sweater is proving to be much more finicky than the Kimono Wrap. Not that I'd have needed a PhD in knitting to figure that one out. As you may know, if you read my tweets, I've ripped out the ribbing twice: once due to stupid misreading and the next time due to a lost stitch that I couldn't retrieve given a) the thinness of the needles and yarn and b) the lack of a lifeline. There are 8 hours I'm not getting back. (Yes, I know it's a wonderful learning opp.) I've got to the point where I'm about to start the lacework of the body but somehow it seems like I've dropped a couple of bars (not stitches) on the row that holds the increased stitches. I don't know if I messed up the increases (I have the right number of stitches so I don't know how) or what exactly is going on. If anyone has any ideas, pls. advise. I hope it will be as "easy" as re-knitting the couple of impacted stitches in the column with a crochet hook but who can say and I'm too tired to tackle it tonight.
  • I bought some great new rayon jersey on sale for 6 bucks/metre - 2 kinds (tangerine, natch, and wacky pattern with pinks and other colours) - with which to make wrap-standard Vogue 8379:
I'm still going through the numerous reviews on Pattern Review, but haven't seen a lot about whether this fits small through the bust. I'm trying to decide whether to go with the smaller or larger size (I'm likely a 12 but the boobs may make that tight through the chest). With a regular knit shirt, the stretch would compensate, but given that this will open at the v-neck, I want to be certain I've got the right size without going too large everywhere else. I'd prefer not to do an FBA, natch. Given the darts and the strange shape of bodice, I don't want to have to deal with shifting darts etc. if I can avoid it.

My rayon jersey has a bit more stretch than is required according to the envelope: 4 inches stretches to between 5.5" - 6" rather than to the recommended 5.25". I could also affix a discreet snap, if necessary. Any thoughts from those who have made it?

Also, I've read that the ties are too short and the waist is very short on this pattern. Can anyone short-waisted share feelings about whether they feel the waist still needs shortening or, egad, lengthening?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Wherein I Discuss the Merits of Wealth (With Pretty Photos)

For those of you who've been reading this blog for years (yes, it has been that long), you may recall posts of the Parkdale-Toronto Horticultural Society walking tours I've attended on a few occasions. This unbelievable voyeur-fest, status-anxiety provoking charming annual event is a fantastic opportunity to observe rich people in their natural habitats well-loved gardens in some delightful Toronto west-end neighbourhoods. In truth, most owners are not available during the tour, which is staffed by hort society volunteers. Most owners are off at their zillion dollar waterfront cottages on Lake Rosseau. Cuz that's how wealthy Torontonians roll.

In truth, I've never understood how people can invest so much time and money on urban (albeit bordering on suburban) gardening only to ditch it all on the couple of days of the week (over the couple of months of the year) they can actually enjoy it with martinis. Mind you, undoubtedly most of these gardeners benefit from the assistance of professionals. Both here and up north.

As we wandered (skip down if this chatter bores you, there are some good photos ahead), Nicole and I discussed the utter embarrassment of luxury amidst which we walked. In our downtown 'hoods, any one of the insanely beautiful birches grafted with cherry or unusual willows (which generally only grow in zone 7) would have caused stop-in-your-tracks transfixion. In Baby Point (peeps, it's pronounced Bobby Point), we were practically dismissive by the end of it.

I don't know what my point is. Is it fortunate to live amongst ugly urban grit because one's tiny garden will then function that much more relevantly as a fantastic oasis? Have my brain cells been realigned by the drugginess of the old-boy, high-WASP experience?

You be the judge:

Yes, that is bamboo...

This willow almost died last year due to hot, dry summer. Massive pruning and this year's deluge of rain brought it back.

I know, this garden is just ridiculous. I counted and you could seat 30 people without even making a dent on the space. Oh, and it's on a ravine.

Scott loathes that visor I'm wearing. He says I remind him of a retiree. Might I remind you I'm on a horticultural tour on my 41st birthday?? Besides, I feel I look "tennis".

The Italianate aspects of this place were a bit mind-blowing.

Nicole looking all cute and summery... Thanks for spending such a great day with me N!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Dinner At My House

Man, what a great party I had yesterday, an advance celebration of my birthday today - which has been so fantastic. It was me, Scottie, Hilary (my oldest friend, since age 11), Steen, Nicole, Jennifer and Duff.

The weather sucked, but the camaraderie more than made up for it:

Me and Hilly (this pose is a hallmark of our friendship)

My Japanese maple - just cuz.

Don't you love it when your prosecco matches your gerberas??

Steen taking a photo of me, while I took a photo of him.

Y'all know I have worked hard to make my dining room look like a sexy steak house.

At my request, Scott made a very casual meal of hamburgers, hot dogs, tomatoes and feta, green salad with jalapenos and we got some of my fave cupcakes (24 of them for 8 people?!). The flavours ranged from red velvet (a perennial fave) to pistachio and ginger orange. There was even a butter cream peanut butter chocolate.

The wine flowed freely, the conversation was lively and authentic. There's nothing like time spent with old friends. Especially when you're the star of the show :-)

BTW, today I went on the most amazing horticultural tour of back yards in chichi fancy-land. I took tons of photos which I will share in my next post...

And thanks so much to all of my wonderful blog and Twitter friends for well-wishes on my bday. I love to hear from you all!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

You Can't Get if You Don't Ask

I think I might want this house. (And as it is my birthday tomorrow, feel free to gift it to me.) IMO, the bones are awesome, but many of the interiors need some refinement. Nonetheless, let's appreciate a couple of shots:

I do love me a good industrial facade.

Isn't the living room a lovely combo of good design and sexy with (a chaser of "people could actually lounge on that couch")? Alas, much of the rest of the house seems uninhabitable in its current layout. Still, it's got some serious potential.

A friend of mine recently told me that those ghost chairs look good until, on your way to the kitchen to get another bottle of wine, you happen upon someone's derriere smooshed against the clear back. Apparently, not attractive, for the most part. But let's imagine, for purposes of my imaginary dinner party, that all the bums are very toned and covered by well-fitting, high-waisted pants.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Back In The Saddle

I wish I could tell you that, after the denim debacle, I bounced right back and decided to make something and it was super easy and my final product was flawless.

The truth is that I decided I should bounce back and I have been wanting to make Vogue 1250 (everyone's fave new Donna Karan pattern) and I had some poly jersey in my stash so, over the past few days, I gave it a go:

The photos look skewed to me - maybe that's just where I'm at. I've had ear pain and a headache for days so my opinion is likely unreliable.

I also notice that the dress looks baggy on the mannequin. My, ahem, padding is slightly more evenly distributed (maybe even ample) so, on me, it looks more va va voom.

About the Fabric

I bought this a fabric a long time ago and gifted some of it to my friend Nicole. She made a fantastic version of Vogue 1179 with it, also a Donna Karan pattern. The op art swirlies are lots of fun and it's a beautiful, stand out blue. But I'm just not a fan poly jersey. It's got lovely drape and it's indestructible but, man, it feels like crap.

About the Pattern
  • I made one adjustment in shortening the waist by 1.25 inches. Y'all know I can't make a Vogue pattern (or any, for that matter) without doing that. BTW, if you shorten the waist and you are not short, you should lengthen the skirt. It's not super long. On me, a .5 inch hem was fine, but I wouldn't have wanted to go any shorter.
  • It fits large for a close-fitting dress. Mind you, my fabric could be contributing to that. I would say that, if you're on the cusp between sizes, make the smaller one. Or consider using larger seam allowances.
  • Alas, it's like my serger was on drugs when I made this thing. It did a terrible job on the fabric. I almost wonder if something is up with it. So the inside is regrettably hideous, something that makes me dislike it on principle. (It also looks like gerbils twin stitched the hem. Seriously. Bad. Work.)
  • I also found the shoulders to be a total pain in the ass to put together - and I've used the method prescribed before. There was something off about either it, or me. Let's just say I'm grateful that the fabric obscures the workmanship.
On the plus side, it's entirely wearable - and seasonal - which is more than I can say for my last sewing project.

On balance, I didn't find this dress as easy to construct as most other people have found it (I could be off my game these days) and I don't love the end result as much. After Vogue 1179 (the sexiest sac ever), this one seems a bit derivative. Mind you, I'll wear it and enjoy it.

Whatcha think?