Sunday, September 6, 2015

I Am Leaving Blogger

This might be a temporary decision. This might be a bad decision. I am not sure about too many things when it comes to blogging. I have been feeling some growing pains for a long time. But for the most part, I believe that change can only lead to new things right?

For months now, I have grown tired of "keeping up with the blogging Jones'," feeling less of the need to advertise my posts to other communities. It all began to make less sense to me...blogging for the sake of blogging with nothing to say? This is a great time for wanna-be writers like myself. It has been years...I know. But before sewing, creating recipes, my children, and even Chinese medicine, I took to ink and paper. I used to think that ink was in my veins, and maybe it still is, because with every accomplishment, moment of anguish, and mindless idea, I always think about writing it down somewhere. And now I can...and it does not matter if I ever get published, or if anyone ever reads what I have to say. I have the control to fill the blankety-blanks of my life.

Come visit me sometime...I will still be sewing, learning new tricks, and exploring my neck of California. A lot won't change...but a lot will be new. I promise.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Late Summer Cotton Lace Dress - Vogue 9062

This is another piece from my last fabric stash swap! (Thanks Ali!) The fabric was a bit unruly to sew due to the loose weave. But it was surprisingly comfortable when I tried it on before I inserted the lining. The fabric is more crochet than delicate lace, and the extra layer of weight made it more of a Spring or late Summer piece. The lining was made by combining silk organza and ivory cotton. See below for more assembly photos.

Keeping the back pattern aligned was challenging. It DID stretch along the back seam. Luckily, I did not need to install a zipper. I had to rip out the back and reposition the pattern again before sewing. It was so frustrating.

I really like my little faux crystal button.
This is one of those patterns with adjustable cup sizes. If you remember, my Frida Kahlo tribute linen dress had the same option, and the cup size ran pretty big for me. I cut it down to a B cup, but made the dart for a size 18 instead of a 16. I thought this was a good compromise since I don't really wear supportive or push-up bras. I also shortened the sleeve by half the length, and omitted the ruffle. This pattern did not really was a Very Easy Vogue pattern. I am considering using this pattern for the guipure lace top. All I need to do is shorten the tunic version. But before I do, I have an eyelet cotton top I want to make first. I swear it will be my final muslin before the guipure. Besides, I can't wear guipure right is too darn hot and humid around here.

I shortened the sleeve by half, and omitted the ruffle.
Here are some photos of how I made the lining. I wanted as much lace to show on the skin without it being too sheer on the main parts of my body. Adding a solid white lining would have hidden the lace, turning a once delicate pattern into an even stark white. This is why wearing beige or ivory underneath white is more natural looking.

I cut the lining very short to show more lace at the hem, and made an organza silk upper bodice and neckline. Using ivory cotton for the body of the dress, provided the right modesty coverage while the organza made the main lining look like it was floating magically on the body.

Dress lining.
You can barely see the silk organza. I also used a very light grey
bias binding for the neckline. I really like the subtle contrast.
To make the lining, I coped the front and back of the dress pattern.
Next, I cut the top of the bodice off and added seam allowances to cut areas.

This is what the first version of the lining looked like. I ended up not using the base organza bottom hem. I also replaced this first version, made of synthetic organza with the proper silk kind. 

Given the limited pattern pieces, there really wasn't much sewing. Most of my time was spent designing and stitching the lining. I certainly feel a lot more confident about making linings for lace now. Happy sewing!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Simplicity 1364 Jiffy Vintage Blouse & Guipure Lace Dreams

Simplicity Jiffy Vintage Pattern 1364 
The next couple of projects are mainly pattern and fabric testing before I cut into my recently acquired Guipure lace AKA Venice lace. This Simplicity 1364 vintage-inspired blouse is the first of two patterns I hope to eventually use. After altering the tissue pattern, I cut straight into a Kaufman retro-inspired print I purchased several years back at Stonemountain & Daughter. This print also has quite a bit of stretch; a slightly forgiving option in case some areas are tight. As you can see, it turned out to be a wearable muslin using a woven. I am not so sure if this will work with the Guipure lace without some additional altering at the armscye.

I mostly associate lace with wedding wear, but I feel that there are really many possibilities. There was leather and lace in the 90s, lace and linen has always been a classic Spring pair, and now even with torn up boyfriend jeans.

A window shopping trip this past Spring was the inspiration for my sudden "party dress" themes. I found one RTW rack at a local shop filled with white Guipure lace blouse variations. They were simple lace pieces, no lining, zippers, or buttons. The blouse was meant to be worn over our underpinnings of choice...a clever idea for the consumer, and loads of production savings for the manufacturer.
My future polyester guipure lace blouse fabric, one in white, and other in ivory.
My pattern plans for my Guipure lace blouse is a boat neckline with trumpet sleeves. My sister Judy had an emerald green chiffon dress with exaggerated trumpet sleeves that I have always adored. She wore that dress on the airplane when she immigrated from Hong Kong. I had just turned four years old at the time, and my travel dress was a pink chiffon trimmed with none other than Guipure lace. How did I remember that?

After combing through the Simplicity pattern book last week, I could not find pattern that met my style needs. I suspect trumpet sleeves are not really in fashion. Simplicity 1364 has the boat neck, and the general body cut, but the sleeves are fitted. I could live without the trumpet sleeve, but a couple of inches of ease is necessary for fabric bulk. I am not sure about the zipper insert for Guipure lace. It might end up being more work than originally anticipated.
The back has a 15 inch zipper.
I started with view A and ended up with C. BTW, I think B and C are the same.
Link to the pattern HERE.
Simplicity 1364 was cumbersome. It might have been my fault since I decided to sew Hong Kong seams on the inside. I also used an interfacing meant for men's shirt collars for the facing, which ended up being very stiff and slightly bulky. Although I love the print, I found that the stretch in the fabric slightly distorted my zipper placement. The added Spandex also made the fabric thicker, and too warm for the Summer. The fitted sleeves were tight, and my arm felt claustrophobic, which is why I sans the sleeves entirely.'s a muslin anyway! But who wouldn't want their projects to turn out the first time?
After setting the first sleeve, I felt it was tight, and the pattern a bit busy.
My unused sleeves. :-(
If I attempt this blouse a second time, I would need to adjust the armhole out. Since I have already cut the pattern down in size, adjusting up at the arms is going to be more work than I would like. Simplicity patterns are going on sale again next week, so I'm picking up another one of these patterns, and starting all over. It is really a lot easier to start fresh than try to work around an already cut pattern. For $1.99, there's nothing to lose right? Right.

Here are samples of Guipure blouses that I like. Stay tuned for more testing news...and happy sewing!

A wide short sleeve is a good option as well. But the lace
used in this cut is not really Guipure, but a whispier ribbed version.
(I just made up the word "whispier." It is not a typo.
Although I have my heart set on a boat neckline, this blouse
is pretty much right on the mark. I think I could live with a basic round neck too. 
Stay tuned...a version of this dress is debuting on my next blog post!