Friday, October 27, 2017

In The Sketchbook- October 2017

Welcome to In the Sketchbook, a monthly look at fashion design sketches that we are working on for ourselves. Sketching garments on a personal croquis is a great way for the individual couture enthusiast to move beyond the use of commercial patterns and into a world of personalized design! It can be intimidating at first, but with a little bit of practice it becomes something you look forward to. Join us for a look of what we have going on In the Sketchbook! Brought to you by Wendy Grossman of Couture Counsellor and Steph King from Siouxzeegirl Designs.


Fall has officially arrived to Chicago-land! We had a crazy warm spell the first half of October and now the chill from northerly winds has set in.

It seems my co-host, Wendy, and I are taking turns this fall with having some time off from blogging. I was gone for a little over 2 weeks at the end of September and beginning of October and now it is her turn to have a crazy travel schedule. Sometimes life just gets in the way of the things we want to do.

I have been using my sketching to help with my designing and creation of outfits.
It really has been helping me to ground myself and settle on designs I want to make and explore further. Rather than having a zillion ideas floating in my head at once it allows me to focus better. This could also be a side effect of the daily meditation and mindfulness practice that I have incorporated into my life. More on that another time.

With the fall weather, I always seem to gravitate towards warmer and softer colors than what I sew with the rest of the year. My eyes starts being drawn to the yellows, golds, mustards, soft grays and muted colors.

First up is an outfit that I sketched through several iterations and along with that is the final creation. This idea was born out of my ASG Neighborhood challenge for the annual Chicago Chapter fashion show. Our challenge was to create a garment using bias. The wool plaid skirt is on the bias as well as bias welt pockets on the skirt and vest and some other details on the blouse. Using Tracing paper for the overlay of the vest onto the skirt and blouse I was able to play with length, proportion and style.



Next up is mostly a works in progress. I made a shorter gray knit skirt with a pocket made from a fold in the fabric and then my brain started going and I pulled these fabrics that are pinned to my dress form and just started sketching.
Again, the use of tracing paper allows for me to draw different elements and play with what I want to further develop.




Lastly, I have been doing some quick sketches. These are done is mini-notebook that I can pull out whenever inspiration strikes! Admittedly, I seemed to have been fresh out of inspiration for awhile! But, now it is returning! WHEW!! Things can get pretty boring with no inspiration.

These sketches are often not pretty, but the do let me capture an idea so that I can come back to it later. These were done on an airplane while taxiing on the tarmac.


Thank you for stopping by! 


Happy Sketching!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Sewing for Happiness- Self drafted Skirt and Top!

Sewing for happiness!

I hosted a party the first weekend of August,  a housewarming party for myself. My divorce is final and I am all moved into my own apartment in the city. Radio silence is over and I am coming to terms with my new life!
All smiles in my new outfit and in my new home!

Prior to this I had done a little bit of sewing here and there but nothing very inspired, it felt like something that I was doing because it felt safe and comforting and I needed that. I ended up spending a lot of time setting up my sewing space and feeling out my new space. You know what it's like! A new place and everything just has to find its right home. I never imagined how sweet it would feel to have my own place and to decorate how I wanted and not have to think about anyone else! It may sound a bit bit selfish... I needed some selfish time, I needed to find me and it felt liberating, freeing and just down right good!


Anyhow... as the the craziness, of any major life change causes, started to wind down I wanted to host a party and invite my friends to come and share in my happiness and to be a part of my new beginning. As I started to plan my party, I was suddenly very inspired to sew myself a new outfit. This outfit is one from my 2nd half of 2017 sewing plans! Woohoo!! I am so very good at putting together sewing plans but not always the best at following through with those plans!
This was a sketch that was included in the 'In the Sketchbook' series.
The original intent was to use the green as the under skirt.
 However, as I was constructing the skirt I changed my mind.
I am much happier with the light pink fabric as the second fabric.

Pink is a happy color for me and I really wanted to make a pink outfit that picks up the pink accents in my new place AND i wanted to just share my happiness through my clothes!

This is the same skirt pattern that I used for the yellow and black print skirt in 2016.
A great master pattern that I developed with guidance from Sarah Veblen.
The skirt is my own self drafted flippy A-line skirt. This is my third iteration of this skirt and I really like how this fits. This time I made it as a double layer skirt with the over layer being 2 inches shorter than the under layer. The light pink shirting under layer is a shirting remnant from Fabrics and Fabrics in NYC. The dark pink overlay is a beautiful linen remnant from my fabric collection. I used a lapped zipper application from Janet Pray method and it came out beautifully. I made one big oops on this skirt... I have 2 copies of the pattern, one for stretch wovens and one for non-stretch wovens and I accidentally used the wrong one which resulted in it being too small! UGH... I had to pick out the seams on both skirts and re sew them with a smaller seam allowance. I'm worried that this may have affected the integrity if the linen and am concerned I may have weakened the fabric at the seams. I guess only time will tel!  
Top left, right and bottom right: Lapped zipper application
Bottom left hand stitched hems on both layers. 


The top is a self drafted top with a back invisible zipper. The fabric was a remnant left from my Corner dress that I made last year. I like it that I was able to get an entire new outfit from remnants!
I drafted this from my master princess line button up bodice. I went with a wide U neckline and a partial collar. Some books call this a portrait neckline, although that may be a full collar and I have a split collar.  For the bodice hem I made a shaped hem, longer in the back, higher on the sides and then back down in the front. Back is lower than the front.

The sleeves have a detail that I have had on my mind for quite a while. I wanted to use a turn back wing detail with a facing in the dark pink linen. To get this detail to show as I wanted I used a trick from Sarah Veblen and first played with this in paper! I realized that when I kept the seam straight and just folded back the corners the fold back part, or the wing, was too small. I wanted something slightly more pronounced. I started by drawing on the pattern the size of the wing that I wanted. I then taped some paper onto the edge of the pattern and folded this back over the drawing and then traced it, unfolded the paper and cut along those lines. Once I got the wing size and shape to where I wanted it I then added seam allowances. With the facing made and the wing turned back I then went to my button collection and found light pink fabric buttons, in the perfect shade!, to sew to the seam line between the wings. This carried over the 2 shades of pink to the sleeve detail.


Left: Sleeve detail, top Right: double collar
Bottom Right: serge finished seam allowances.

Once the bodice and sleeves were done I put the garment on my Dottie and went to work drafting a collar.  The collar was drafted from muslin and basted onto the bodice to determine the size and shape. I first drafted the bottom collar. Once I had that I went on to the top collar. I actually cut a single layer for each out of scraps of the fashion fabric to get a good look. I left this overnight, made some final tweaks, developed patterns for both sets of collars and voila!!

Everything went together like a dream except for the back collar at the top of the invisible zipper. Just too many layers! 6 layers of fabric, 3 layers of interfacing and the zipper. Long story short... I ended up flattening it with a hammer 😳. Still a bit bulky but of course always more noticeable to the maker than anyone else!
I really like the hem shape of the top! it is very pleasing to my eye!

I think the final outfit was quite close to the original design except for the change of the under layer of the skirt fabric. 

Happy Sewing!!
So very happy to have the support of my girls!!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Some days you just need to sew!

With my blogging hiatus and my back up of posts things may be a little all over the place! kind of like life can be...

I moved back in May and have a place of my own and a wonderful new place to sew... Yes, I will do a proper introduction of my sewing space soon! Once, I was all settled in, I just felt like I just needed to sew. You know that feeling, the act of preparing fabric, planning the details, cutting it out and construction. By the time construction starts the process is almost completed! It just feels good to have your hands on something and before you know it... a new dress or two!



I went to a good old standby for this project, I didn't want to really think about too much. I pulled out a couple of knits and decided I could use a couple more wrap dresses. They are so dang versatile! They are great to wear while traveling, they take up such a small amount of space in the suitcase and you still look put together and smartly dressed.

2 new Appletons and one new topper, Marcy Tilton Vogue 8975. I almost never just sew up a pattern from the envelope. I almost always go back to my master pattern and re-draft for the design therefore insuring a great fit for my body. This was a total exception! It is such a weird pattern and there was not an easy way to look at it and ascertain how the puzzle of pattern pieces fit together. So I took my measurements and went for the corresponding pattern size and hoped for the best! One of these crazy toppers are enough for my wardrobe.



See what I mean...
that line drawing doesn't make any sense and the construction order is crazy.
Part of the side panels is attached to the sleeve and things just are weird...
Somehow it all works out!
One Appleton was done for summer, with short sleeves and a slimmer silhouette. The knit is also a lighter weight so feels great to wear in the heat. The accompanying topper makes it equally as comfortable in the summer indoor air conditioning. The Fabric for both the dress and the topper came from Fabrications in western Michigan. A lovely shop run by an even lovelier couple!
Bad hotel room selfies in the mirror!
This one shows the colors much better!

The second Appleton is the first of my fall sewing and has several modifications to it
1- I added a center back seam and took out a closed wedge. I did this because this is a beefier knit and I did not want the fabric to blouse out or bunch up. I wanted a smooth line from nape of my neck to the base of my spine.
2- I added width to the skirt to make it more full. This gives it a bit of a fit and flare look.
3- Addition of in-seam pockets. I love having pockets and miss them when I don't. So, I finally got my butt in order and added a set of pockets.
4- I added a ruffle or more accurately 'easy pleated trim' This was inspired from a Mary Ray day long seminar I took back in January. The technique she used was on a woven and I think cut on the bias. For mine I just cut 1 1/4 inch wide strips on the grain. I did a practice run to make sure I liked the technique and to see if I could easily do it. Heck yeah! It's the easiest thing to do. I just laid the dress down and sewed while I used my fingers to tuck the fabric at fairly even intervals under the presser foot. I did this all around the front edge. I started on the underlap side just about an inch below where it wraps over (to keep from having to much fabric bunched up under the overlap) and I sewed around the band and down the center front to the hem. Pleated and attached all in one go!

This fabric was a gift to me from a special sewing friend! I'm so glad she likes what I made!!
Applied 'easy pleated trim' It really just makes the garment pop!
Added in-seam pockets.
No pictures of me in this one yet.
 I love that the print is random enough that you can't tell there is a center back seam unless you really stare at it!

Sewing up those 2 garments really got my sewjo back into high gear!!

 Happy Sewing!!
Princess V and Me!