31 January, 2010

That Akris sleeve

Turning back to the jackets and blouses from a little back, I muslined the sleeve over the course of a couple of mornings.

I started with a raglan sleeve from BWOF dress 2-2009-101. It's already a 3/4 sleeve, so I knew I wouldn't need to shorten it a lot.

I then grabbed whatever was to hand (foam wrapping, because I was too lazy to dig out some fabric, unbelievable I know), and re-drew the outer shape of the sleeve in an arc. I sewed them together - with great difficulty, the machine teeth slip on this stuff like teflon, so I won't be trying it as a sewing aid in future) , tried on, and shortened the hem to the elbow. I used pins to change the inner raglan curve from standard diagonal raglan to the scooped-out Akris shape; the moon-shaped cutouts will have to be added to the body sections, of course, and that's why I kept them. I made an executive decision that the back is similarly scooped out; it wouldn't make much design sense to have it a standard raglan sleeve. If any of you have actually seen the back of one of these jackets, do point it out, please.

The foam pieces you see above are after they've been cut up, and SA's removed.
So, the foam experiment being rather an abject failure (it was a great recycling idea ;) though), I went to my freebie hideous eyelet (why do they even make such stuff?) for the next stage, below. The foam pieces got duplicated with SA's, cut up and spread for four large pleats, attached to some sew-in interfacing, and the curves trued up.

Below, see how the front is still smaller than the back, and its outer curve parallels the back's? the inner curves are on top of each other.

BTW, straight grain is at right angles to the lower hems. It only makes sense.

Then it was just a matter of finding something a little more suitable for sewing up, adding a small cuff, and pinning the pleats up to the desired length.

I added three small pleats to the inside (aha!) - yes, if you look at the model photos, you see the inner curve also softly rumples.

The overall effect seems close to the model, although my muslin fabric is some sort of rayon woven (it's actually nice, very soft, probably bamboo, but it rumples something awful). One might wish to widen the sleeve a little. I think it would look great in a smooth wool crepe, interfaced of course to get those soft non-rumpling folds. Or a nice breathable poly crepe for a blouse, since poly will also resist crumpling.

Who gets to make the first version, ladies?

30 January, 2010

Red "Chanel" suit: skating season!

The little hobble skirt will be perfect for a death spiral.

But not for triple axels or pirouettes.

More later!

28 January, 2010

Red "Chanel" Suit: Baby It's Cold Out There!

My laptop's still in the hospital, but the patient's expected to live. Or so I'm told.

In the meantime, I've managed to put my "what to do next" pondering time to good use. When I say I'm a stingy cutter, I mean it! I bought 2.25 yds of this here red boucle, and I managed to turn the scrap left over from the jacket into a matching skirt. Tadah! Here's my fuzzy little butt-warming outfit, and not a second too soon, considering the howling you-don't-want-to-know-the-windchill gale out there tonight. A lovely Arctic blast.

We're entering prime Rideau Canal (=longest skating rink in the world, it's in the Guinness Book of World Records) skating season. We need it to be cold. We LOVE the cold!

We know how to dress for the cold. So, the front:

Both top and bottom are underlined with organza, painstakingly stitched to the ff, and all four pockets have double silk lining, so you can slip your fingers into them without catching on the fuzzy boucle. The jacket's weighed down with a hem chain. And that's not all: altogether too much hand sewing, I tell ya. But it had to be done.

I'll post a "live" photo on the GCGH blog, and probably - I hope - review it on PR. Or maybe not. I'd rather be sewing than computing whilst on my own time, seeing as I spend pretty much all my time in front of an ugly square screen at work, and not watching sitcoms either. Bear with me.

I had JUST enough trim to do all that you see - with a 1 cm scrap left, I kid you not. As I didn't want the skirt to turn into just a great big boring red bottom, I did this:

A nice exposed heavy gold zipper all the way down. Maybe it'll tweak someone's imagination. I hope.

Is this all? No indeed. One of the sites I love to stalk is Style.com. Today I found Thimister - I know, I've never heard of him before either. But take a look. Did you? So, never mind the shoot'em up bloodstained clothing theme, what I did like about the collection is the fab-fabulous colour combination of drab olive with red and white. Eminently doable! Here's the jacket with the very first thing I ever reviewed on PR - a New Look skirt, and being a total newb back then, I never bothered to post the skirt I made (in olive microfibre):

I like the skirt enough to wear it regularly, and now I can feel fashion forward in it. A hooray moment?

20 January, 2010

Variations on a theme

The uber-simplicity of Akris twangs my heart strings. Amazingly, even when not totally austere, Akris continues to worm its way into my consciousness. What's there not to adore about this jacket, for example:

I'm melting over those sculptural sleeves. They seem to be THE signature pointe of Akris' 2010 Resort collection. Repeated several times, in case you failed to spot it first time:

and not only in jackets, but in softer, blouse-like fabrics too:

I can just see myself waltzing into a meeting wearing a dusty-rusty suit like that top one. With a back peplum and skirt princess seams to match.

18 January, 2010

Thinking out of the envelope

Setting aside my not-totally-evil-mother / have-ripstop(and-polartec)-will-outfit-guys-with-ski-mitts persona {with warm-mitted applause to Kay and Dawn for their how-to's on the subject}; and ignoring my ghosts-of-sewing-past finally tackled alterations that no one wants to hear about (yawn!) - or the super-duper-practical heavy wool flannel one-day slacks that are going to take two days, but are nearly finished (and underlined with another ugly fabric freebie, a yellow cotton seersucker, tee hee!) - I'm cogitating on my next piece of show-offishness.

I have a hankering for a portrait-collar jacket. There's a tonne - that's a metric tonne to you southerners, an even 1000 kilograms, which is 10% heavier than the 2000-lb American ton (which, I might add, no one else in the world uses, so the numerical difference in practically identical nomenclature leads to no end of confusion - kindly go metric, already!) - of gorgeous silks making the studio floors sag, awaiting conversion into show-offy tops with matching scarves etcetera. I must be responsible (she whispers), I must prevent the house from collapsing. I find the closed-up necklines of most jackets are not very conducive to showing off silk chemises.

So I'm considering making a jacket based on this:

It's 2008-12-110 from the Bambi issue. Huh?! I can just see you scratching your heads. BUT - here's the tech drawing:

It wouldn't be all that hard to convert this to a cute little double-breasted jacket. I could even leave the empire waistband and put the two buttons right on it. Or I could get rid of the waistband and just make the under-bust dart go all the way down to the bottom. Or leave as is. Maybe add a couple of welt pockets. Maybe have a half-belt in the back (the back also has waist darts and the empire waist).

Grey. Nice, neutral grey. A Super 180 birdseye is one option; two different thread-dyed silk-wool and silk-cotton blends are the others.

Decisions, decisions.... Do you, gentle reader, have a favourite portrait-collar jacket?

16 January, 2010


I fried my wonderful little laptop this morning (please don't ask - please!). That really hurts. I hope it can be repaired, because there are some very-very-very-close-to-my-heart photos in it, and not of sewing, either. I'm not the weepy kind, but just thinking of them going poof forever makes me tear up - that's how important they are. Yeah, only to me. Only, only to me. Stupid me. Sob.

On to sewing - no photos, I'd have to borrow hubby's icky laptop to read the camera's memory, this old clunker I'm on doesn't have a chip reader... but the paisley dress & red jacket are done and Have Been Worn! The jacket needs to be jazzed up with some gold baubles a la watch-chains. Like this one:

Or maybe these:

Life goes on. After little disasters as well as the big ones.

13 January, 2010

Psssst! The February Burda preview is up!

In German, here.

My likes? Just at a first quickie glance, skirt 124 in Let's Rock and the classic fitted blazer 115 in Country Star. The blazer's very similar to one in the January 2010 issue, but with larger collar/lapels. I like the January version too (um, probably better).

I see lots of other things I like, nice raglan-sleeve tees, a gorgeous sheath dress with tons of skin in the back, etc etc, but right now, gotta run!

09 January, 2010

Trim me up, Scotty!

Cap'n, I'm givin' ya all she's got:

For the rest, Scotty will transport you at warp speed to GoChanelOrGoHome. Make it so!

07 January, 2010

How to ridicule Burda....

in one easy lesson. Cross stitch for the career woman is bad enough, but: cross stitch with a drill??!! Could this be, I fear, BWOF's take on cracking the glass ceiling?

And another "get in touch with your inner guy" concept: a rough plank here, a rough plank there... you too can jigsaw this idea in no time flat. But - sit on it once, and you'll be begging your other (perhaps even better) half to get very close & personal with the splinters in your tender nethers....

This one, actually, is cute, I admire its unintentional pun: rock=skirt. How Ferry Cherrman!!! Until you, wearing your perfect new pencil-rock #114, sit on it, and snag your hose on the gazillions of brass nails just waiting to grab your thighs! Who'll be spitting nails then? Who, I ask, dreamt this up?!

Next! who amongst you has the ... (time? inclination?) to sew together dozens of ugly critters (what are they, mice? EEEK!! or rats...??? EWWWW!!!!), just for the dubious pleasure of sitting on a lumpy mound of self-sharpening teeth. Tiptoeing through a minefield of mousetraps each time you wish to try the seating arrangement?!

Doilies on chairs?! with red pompoms? and, judging by the background, cross-stitched white chairs to match?!!! Puh-leeze. A little static electricity, and that doily will stand up right with you, and make you, not the chair, the butt of everyone's amusement.

The piece de resistance: silk brocade book covers. How the Dickens will I ever find my ratty old David Copperfield?! He was right there in front of me, before his spine got all spiffied up!

An appeal to BWOF: there are so many craft-oriented mags out there, honestly you don't need to tip your hat to them. Us BWOF fans really love you - yeah, we really do - I really DO - for your garment patterns. So ease up, and save 6 pages of paper, ink, and person-time, per issue, and - PLEASE!!!! - release the crafty folk to the crafty mags.

04 January, 2010

Pepper Paisley coat dress: almost, almost there

I coulda, shoulda had it finished already, but after spending 7.5 hrs driving home from NYC on Friday in slightly abysmal conditions (saw two cars spun off the road, but hey, have 4x4 will stick to road), a weekend of mostly goofing off was too delicious.

Did I line it? No! I'm one of the rare dinosaurs who wear full slips.

So, yet to come, stretch lace seam binding on the facing, and buttonholes. I tried to make my Kenmore buttonholer gadget (came with my Ultra Stitch 12) work yesterday and totally failed. Cri de coeur: would anyone out there have instructions for the beast?