30 January 2008

Ready, Set, SWAP - Part 4

In my last post, I mentioned that I wished I had made a small bust adjustment (SBA) on the jacket/top front, but that I thought it would be okay anyhow. Well, wouldn't you know it, it has been bothering me ever since I cut out that front, so I went back and did the SBA and recut the front piece in the fashion fabric and the lining. Thank goodness I had enough left over fabric to do this. I knew if I didn't fix the front, it would drive me nuts and I would never be truly happy with the garment. So, I have taken a few steps backward, but in the end, it will pay off.

Unfortunately I won't be able to do any more work on the jacket/top tonight. Things are crazy with work right now. Exams just finished up, so it's time to mark exams, calculate final marks for each student and enter final marks with comments into a computer program. Tonight is Grade 8 Parents' Night. This is an event in which the parents of local grade school students are welcome to come by my high school to look around and learn about the programs we offer - in my part of Canada, grade school is grades K - 8 and high school is grades 9 - 12, so this is a huge transition for students and parents. Friday is the start of a new semester and next week, I put on a chemistry magic show for 300 grade 8 students. So, busy, busy, busy - I hope to get back down to sewing soon.

28 January 2008

Ready, Set , SWAP - Part 3

I have been making some progress with the jacket/top that is the match to the skirt previously made. Here is what has been completed to date.


I debated back and forth on what sort of structure would be built into my jacket/top. I wanted to keep the unstructured feel, but I have learned in the past that the choice to only interface the areas suggested in the pattern can be a mistake. When looking through an old issues of Threads (July 1999, Number 83), there was an article that caught my eye, "Armani Jackets: The Inside Story." Marcy Tilton takes the reader thorough the process used to interface a softly tailored Armani jacket. After reading the article, I decided to adapt this approach to my garment. When completed, the following areas will be interfaced:

* Entire front and back - interfaced with Textured Weft (see photo to left).
* Lapel, button hole region and front facing - interfaced with straight cut hair canvas (in photo to left the hair canvas is pinned in, although it won't be sewn in until after creating the bound buttonholes).

The following interfacing will be added as I go along over the next few days:
* Front shoulder shield - bias cut hair canvas.
* Back shoulder - medium weight weft interfacing (purchased just recently from Fabric Mart).
* Sleeve header - at the sleeve cap (made of tie interfacing, purchased from Silhouette Patterns).
* Hems - interfaced with a medium weight weft interfacing.

* The darts were sewn as per the pattern, then slit down the middle and pressed open (photo to left). This reduces the bulk of the dart and allows it to lie flatter, creating a more pleasing looking line on the outside (photo to right).
* In retrospect I should have made a small bust adjustment (SBA) on this pattern, but all was not lost. Since my fabric is wool, which is so malleable, I was able to steam out much of the unnecessary bust shaping when pressing the front darts.

Bound Buttonholes
* I have started marking for the bound buttonholes and will tackle them tomorrow.

27 January 2008

Ready, Set, SWAP - Part 2

I started construction of the skirt by resizing all the pertinent pattern pieces , as discussed in my last post. I added 0.5" to the centre front piece along the fold line and 1" to the side seam of the back piece and the side front piece - this adds up to an addition of 5" to the hip circumference. You can see the adjustments in the photo to the left (and yes, those are my toes in the picture - I had to stand on my kitchen counter to get a shot of all the pieces together!) Notice that I did my fitting adjustments to the actual pattern. Many seamstresses will trace off vintage patterns and make adjustments to the tracings and sometimes I do as well. However, unless the pattern is extremely old and/or brittle or it is very rare and/or valuable, I just have at it and save myself some time.

Although the pattern did not call for a lining, I decided to add one anyhow. Thank you to all those commenters that left their opinion on which lining to use. The majority of you chose the same lining I was leaning toward, so apparently it was meant to be! I cut out all the main body pieces of the skirt on the cross grain of the lining fabric to take advantage of the border print. This layout has the added bonus of requiring no hemming (thank you Ann Rowley, your tip on this thread at SG is great and I will be using this time saving idea often from now on). The skirt body and the lining were constructed separately and then treated as one when sewn to the waistband. I prefer this for a skirt that does not have a slit, as it allows the lining to hang free and move independently of the skirt (I find it more comfortable to wear this way). The lining was hand sewn around the invisible zipper tape to clean finish this area (see photo to the left).

The skirt is designed with two inseam pockets in the front. However, unlike regular inseam pockets that are on the sides of the garment, these pockets are in a vertical front section (almost like kangaroo pockets). The two pockets come together in the middle front and are stitched together for stability and to minimize show-through to the front. When worn, it is not immediately obvious that the pockets exist (top photo on left), until they are opened up (bottom photo on left). The pockets function as more of an interesting design feature then being practical due to their small size, but they will hold my school keys when the need arises.

Lastly, I debated back and forth on whether to interface the hem or not. Normally, I like an interfaced hem - it just looks crisper. However, since this skirt is meant to be soft and fairly unstructured, I decided to forgo the interfacing. I just turned up a 4" hem and finished the raw edge with coordinating seam binding. The excess fabric was removed with copious amounts of steam and the hem was handstitched into place.

As you can see in the photo to the right, all the raw edges of the wool were finished with pinking shears. I had thought about serging the edges, but I didn't want any seam show-through to the right side of the garment. Anyhow, this is a 60s garment, so I stuck with 60s finishing techniques and the lining covers up the inner seams.

All I have left to do is sew on two hooks and loops on the waistband above the zipper in back and my first SWAP piece is done. I really, really like this skirt and I will certainly make it again. When I tried it on for my husband, even he commented on how much he liked it too. As soon as I finish the coordintaing jacket/top, I will post final pictures of both garments.

23 January 2008

Ready, Set, SWAP!

I have decided to start sewing on my Timmel SWAP 2008 with a jacket (which will be worn as a button front top) and skirt combo. The pattern is vintage, Butterick 4105. Although there is no date on it, it is obviously an offering from the 1960s. The description on the pattern envelope reads:

Semi-fitted jacket has three-quarter sleeves and rolled collar. Slightly A-line skirt has pockets and front seams.

The two garments will be made from a beautiful green and cream herringbone wool, purchased from Fabric Mart. The fabric is of medium weight and it should complement the style lines of the pattern nicely. The pattern calls for the jacket/top to be fully lined (using the provided lining pattern pieces - I love when the pattern provides separate lining pieces), while the skirt is not. I do, however, plan on lining the skirt, just to finish it off nicely inside and for ease of wearing. The linings I'm debating about using are shown below. All of them are silk charmeuse. I'm sure many of you recognize the Anna Sui silks from Fabric Mart. The others are from a local chain store. Right now I'm leaning toward the first one. Any opinions?

The jacket/top has several darts for shaping - shoulder, side to bust, waist to bust and elbow. This many darts is always welcome as it provides many fitting opportunities, although I tend to find that vintage patterns tend to fit me well in the shoulder through waist areas. So, I'm not envisioning many tweaks, especially since this jacket/top is not supposed to be close fitting.

The skirt on the other hand requires some work. Flat pattern measuring provides a waist and hip measurements of 24.5" and 36", which translate into an ease of 0.5" and 3" in those respective regions. My measurements are not quite the same. I will have to add 2" to the waist and 5" to the hip to ensure the skirt fits and to maintain the original design ease. Expanding the waist is not a problem as there is just a waistband to lengthen (see pattern piece #14 to the right) and the body of the skirt gathers onto this waistband. The hip, however, will require more work. The main body of the skirt is four pieces. Pattern piece #11 is the pocket, which can be left as is. Piece #13 is the back, which is cut twice to accommodate a back zipper. Piece #10 is the side front, which is cut twice and piece #12 is the front piece, which is cut once on the fold. Pieces #10, #12 and #13 will all require adjustment and I plan on distributing the 5" expansion fairly evenly throughout these pieces.

Now, I really need to get down to some sewing. I'll report back soon!

21 January 2008

SWAP Questions & Quandries

My last post brought up a few questions. Some posters are concerned that my proposed plan didn't meet the SWAP rules. The rules state:
"This year is back to one type of SWAP. This consists of 11 garments, 4 bottoms (skirts and/or pants), 6 tops (2 should be more like blouses than just tees), and 1 jacket that will work with all the tops and bottoms. This gives you a total of 48 possible combinations. However, you can substitute a dress or dresses for two of the tops if you wish. Therefore, your SWAP can be 1 jacket, 4 bottoms, 4 tops, 2 dresses or it can be 1 jacket, 4 bottoms, 5 tops and 1 dress. The jacket must work with all combinations. In the case of a jumper, this would count as a "bottom" item, in that it must work with all the tops and it must also be able to be worn with the jacket. A vest is counted as a jacket since it is usually worn over a top. If it can be worn solo, count it as a top."

* My jacket is a coat, which can be worn over all the other garments.
* My bottoms are all skirts, which is acceptable according to the rules.
* My tops are not all traditional T-shirts or blouses. I have chosen instead to use unstructured jackets for 3 of my tops. Each of these jackets will button all the way up the front and will be worn solo, without anything (other than undergarments) underneath. The jackets will function exactly as a regular top would. Each jacket/top will mix and match with all the bottoms.
* My last 2 tops are dresses, which is an acceptable substitution.

Another concern was with my wardrobe pattern. The rules state:
"You must make three uniquely different garments from that pattern; making one type of garment three times will not qualify. These patterns are available from all the major pattern companies and they usually include a jacket, dress and/or skirt, pants, blouse or top. For our purposes, any pattern with at least three different garments that work together will be counted as a "wardrobe" pattern."

My wardrobe pattern is Vogue 5521, which contains a jacket, a slim pencil skirt, a full gathered skirt and a blouse. I have chosen to use the jacket (as a top), the slim skirt and the full skirt, which are three completely different garments.

Just to be certain that I had interpreted all the rules correctly (y'all had me a little worried!), I emailed Julie (of Timmel Fabrics, the SWAP sponsor) with the above concerns. She confirmed that the three jackets being used as tops is okay since they can be worn solo and they interchangeably mix with all the bottoms. Also, she confirmed that the three wardrobe garments are indeed unique. Hopefully that clarifies everything.

I was also asked if I plan on using vintage techniques when construction all the garments. The short answer: yep! I love, love, love traditional techniques - I'm one of the weirdos that loves hand sewing. I really like to put a ton of effort into the hidden parts - the underlining, lining, stabilizing, hand hemming, etc. I find the more work that goes into the structure and foundation of the garment, the better the outer appearance.

As a final note, I am a happy girl today. When I came home from work today, I found some "presents" on my doorstep. I had become a BMV member a couple of weeks ago and ordered a bunch of patterns. They have arrived and are now calling my name. I have tried to explain to them that I am too busy SWAPping to use them yet and that I will get to them eventually. Hopefully this placated them. I also received my copy of Decorative Dressmaking. I had been hunting for a copy ever since Carolyn posted about this book five months ago. When ever I found a copy, it was crazy expensive or I got outbid on eBay. Finally, I have my own copy - mine, mine, mine! I cannot wait to sit down with this new book and absorb.

20 January 2008

SWAP 2008

This year, the Timmel SWAP 2008, has had me betwixted and bewildered. Here it is, 20 days since the start date of the competition and only now have I finally settled on a plan of action. I have yet to put needle to fabric. Up 'til now, I just could not get my SWAPping mojo working - every time I thought I had an idea, it fell through. Either the fabrics didn't complement each other or my wardrobe pattern wasn't working. I think however, I have finally figured it all out.

I have been wanting to add some suits to my working wardrobe and creating a SWAP that revolved around interchangeable suiting pieces seemed like a workable idea for SWAP. I wanted each suit to stand on its own, as well as having the flexibility of treating each garment like a coordinating separate. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to use Jacqueline Kennedy (JK) as my inspiration for this wardrobe. Her style is the quintessence of elegance, sophistication and good taste. When I think of classic, timeless clothing, JK always comes to mind. So, I have working for over month trying to get all the pieces to come together on a storyboard. The fabrics had to work together interchangeably and the style and lines of each garment had to complement all the other garments. Last, but certainly not least, the wardrobe had to take inspiration from JK, but work on my body (which is nothing like JK's).

Please note that all garment inspiration photos were taken from the book, Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years. If you like JK and/or 1960s fashion, this book is phenomenal. I first learned of its existence from Carolyn and boy, am I glad I did! Although the book is a bit pricey, it is well worth it in my opinion. The garment photos are exquisite and the accompanying historical info (date and location where garment was worn, designer and fabric) is interesting and useful for the seamstress looking to knock off JK's wardrobe. I have other books on JK, but this one is by far my favourite. The book is broken into several chapters, the most interesting of which are the ones focusing on her influence on 60s fashion. My favourite chapters are "Campaign", "Inauguration", "White House Style" and "Travel". Each of these chapters features several outfits worn by JK during the whirlwind of supporting her husband in his bid for the presidency and the ensuing time in the White House. It is amazing how fresh and timeless most of her choices still appear today. That is the mark of true style.

My storyboard includes a fabric swatch (accompanied by fabric type and vendor), the pattern and the JK inspiration garment(s).

I think I will be sticking with this plan, but if any amazing fabric or pattern jumps into my lap, I may pull a switcheroo - I guess we'll just have to see how it goes! I'm not exactly sure which piece I'll start with first. I am leaning toward the coat, but I want to do the sable collar, like in the original. However, I'm having a heck of a time tracking down good looking faux fur (I don't want real fur - it gives me the heebie-jeebies). If any one has any good sources for faux fur, do tell please.

14 January 2008

Butterick 4347

Pattern: Butterick 4347 - view C

Size: B4347 comes in sizes XSM to XLG - I choose SM.

Fabric: Teal Matte Jersey Knit from Fabricland & Leopard Print Cotton Ribknit from Lucy's Fabrics.

Project Photo
Comments: The teal top is item number twelve in my fall/winter wardrobe. The leopard print top is an item in my brown/black/cream wardrobe.

Let me begin by saying that this pattern is probably going to become one of my favourites and at this point I have only made view C. I love view C so much that I want to make all the views! With the two tops that I made, I learned quickly that view C looks better in a drapey knit. The neckline on the teal version drapes in such an elegant manner - this fabric is a matte jersey and it hangs well. It is comfortable and flattering and it looks good on its own or under a jacket.

I cut out a size SM and it fits great through the hip. However, the shoulder and waist is a bit large, so next time I will be using the XSM for the shoulder to waist region and a SM for the hip. I think this will give the top a sleeker look.

Although I really like the teal top, I am not quite as enamored with the leopard print version - the fabric is a cotton ribknit and it is a bit stiff, so it doesn't hang as well. I still like the top, but it is not quite as flattering when worn. The overlapping neckline is also a bit bulky in a heavier knit, so from now on I will be sticking to drapey and/or lighter knits for this particular pattern.

The skirt I'm wearing is from the black/brown/cream SWAP. It is Kwik Sew 2771 and I can't recommend this pattern highly enough. The long vertical lines in this skirt are slimming and with all the seams, adjusting this one to fit is so easy. I have made this skirt several times and I really love it. It looks fabulous in both the long and short version. This is my go-to skirt when I need something quick, but flattering.

Conclusion: B4347 is a great pattern. I will certainly be making more of view C, as well as the other views.

7 January 2008

My New Love

I have discovered a new love - I am smitten with Fashionista Fabrics. Just after Christmas, Melody (the proprietress of FF) put on a big sale. I had been eyeing her fabrics for quite some time and this sale put me over the edge. Between everything being 40% off and free shipping to Canada for any order over $200, I could resist no longer.

The turn around time on this order was astounding. I placed my order on Saturday, December 29th, for which a confirmation email was sent immediately. I received a personal email from Melody on Monday, December 31st telling me that the order had been shipped. The package was here today, Monday, January 7th. Keep in mind that when I order from the US, the package must cross the border and go through customs. Normally, I expect a package from the US to take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks to reach me. This package took just 7 days, during a week that contained a holiday - that's pretty darn good!!

Inside the box, the fabrics were wrapped in individual plastic bags and a lovely handwritten note was included. From start to finish, Fashionista Fabrics' customer service is exceptional.

So, without further ado, here's a peak at my new lovelies:

Copper Missoni Style Knit, Chocolate/Lime Rayon Floral

Chunky Handwoven, Tahari Wool Herringbone

Brown Tweed, Art Deco Influenced Silk Print

Greek Key Wool, Tahari Winter White Herringbone

5 January 2008

The Taming of the Sheep (or Camel or Goat or...)

I am often asked how I prepare my wool for sewing. Many people will tell you to dry clean, London shrink (roll your damp fabric in between two sheets and allow it to dry naturally over time) or steam press (press the entire piece with a ton of steam) the length of wool before using it. Any of these methods will work wonderfully. However, I really don't like dry cleaning - the smell is yucky and I'd rather spend the money on more fabric. Although less toxic and less expensive, London shrinking and steam pressing a whole length of fabric is my version of torture - I just don't have the patience for them. So, I opt for another method - the quick and lazy method. I use this technique on every single piece of wool or wool blend fabric that comes into my home. I have used this method successfully with every weight and weave of wool - crepe, gabardine, jersey knit, boucle, gauze, tweed, melton, etc.

1. Fill washer with cold water and add a dollop of Eucalan and agitate briefly.
2. Add the length of wool and fully submerse.
3. Allow wool to soak for 20 minutes.
4. Spin out water.
5. Hang wool to dry over shower rod or place in dryer on gentle cycle.

The choice of hanging on a rod or placing the wool in the dryer depends on the type of wool. If I am concerned that the wool may undergo the process of fulling, I hang the piece to dry - for instance this can be a problem with crepe. If the wool is a tight weave, like gabardine, then fulling is usually not a problem and into the dryer it goes.

Sometimes, I do want the fabric to thicken up a bit and undergo some degree of fulling. Then, the wool is washed in hot water, on the regular cycle in my machine, with laundry detergent added. The rinse cycle is cold water. The washed piece then goes into a hot dryer. Depending on what I want the final product to look and feel like, I may repeat this process several times. When I do this, I typically start out by laundering a 6" x 6" swatch, to see how much it shrinks and what happens to the texture, just to be sure that I like it before proceeding with the whole length of fabric.

After the initial pre-treatment of the fabric, the wool is ready to sew. Once I have created the garment, I always treat it more gently than what the fabric endured during pre-treatment - this ensures that no further shrinkage will occur. All wool garments are soaked in cold water with Eucalan, spun out and hung to dry. When slightly damp, I touch up any wrinkles with a warm, dry iron.

Now, of course I have to put in a disclaimer. If you have any concerns about a method for prepping wool, test the method on a swatch first. This way, if something does go wrong, you haven't ruined the whole length of fabric.

ETA: Lisette asked, "I really like your method for preshrinking...but I am concerned about lined garments. Do you also put these in the washer?"

I always wash and dry all my linings (Bemberg rayon, silk charmeuse, china silk) and underlinings (silk organza, cotton batiste, cotton broadcloth) if they have the possibility of shrinking. I preshrink all my interfacings (I use both sew in and fusible) by soaking in water and hanging to dry. This allows finished garments to be soaked briefly in cold water with Eucalan, spun out and hung up (or laid flat if I'm worried about distortion) to dry.

Now, I don't wash my tailored garments (the ones with lining and interfacings) too often. For the most part, a tailored wool jacket will only see water every six months to a year, unless I have spilled something on it, for two reasons. First, I have a fair number of clothes, so I don't wear any one piece over and over in any given month. Second, most of my wool garments just need to be freshened up with a short trip through the dryer. I put the garment in the dryer with a damp face towel for 15 minutes - the damp towel provides a bit of steam to freshen the garment and loosen any wearing wrinkles. I am not worried about sweat because I keep my room cool at school in the winter and I usually wear a jacket over a blouse or T-shirt and skirts are worn over slips and hosiery.

As for my non-tailored stuff, it gets laundered all the time. I have a Silhouette Quilted Jacket made of wool boucle that is soaked in cold water with Eucalan and laid flat to dry on a biweekly bias. I have been treating this garment like this for over two years now and it looks just as good as when I made it.

Once again, if you have any concerns about doing this yourself, err on the side of caution. You don't want to ruin a garment you have put a lot of work into - maybe you could first try this method on a garment that you are thinking of purging from your closet or you could create a mock up with pretreated swatches - take a piece of wool, fuse some interfacing to it and sew on some lining. I tend to be fairly ruthless with my stuff - if I have to baby it, I will grow weary of the babying PDQ and get rid of the garment anyhow.

3 January 2008

The Galanos Dress - Part One

I am still mulling over my options for SWAP 2008 and I think I'm closing in on a plan. Even though I'm not ready to start SWAP sewing yet, I am in the mood to sew. So, to get me in a 60s kind of mood, I have settled on my first major project for the year:

The pattern is Vogue 1854, a beautiful dress by James Galanos. There is no date on the envelope, but the lines of the dress say mid-60s (1966?) to me. Although I knew the name Galanos, I didn't know much about this designer, so I did a little surfing. For anyone interested, I found an interesting article online. My favourite quote from this article is

"When I started making clothes in the 1940's, elegance and formality were the rule. Now it seems vulgarity is rampant. It's encouraged by some TV shows and interviews. I don't really like it. The clothes themselves look unfinished, "The only thing that seems new is accessories. Most of the clothes are sleeveless and strapless. People themselves look messy. I hate the hair, it doesn't look groomed. It looks unwashed. I guess the fashion is to look blown and windswept. But it seems to me the hairdressers are doing a bad job of styling."

"Everybody seems to be wearing pants all the time. And everyone wants to bare the midriff. I really don't understand the mentality. It's certainly being casual. But it has nothing to do with class. Some of the clothes look beautiful, but I don't think the designers, as a whole, have made their mark.

Ya gotta love this guy - dang, but I'd like to spend an afternoon with this gentleman!! Also, anyone in the Philadelphia area, there is an exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art featuring the work of James Galanos, Gustave Tassel and Ralph Rucci (my all-time favourite designer).

The fabric that I'm using can be seen under the pattern, a warm brown wool tweed. When I first got this fabric, I was certain it was a knit due to the sponginess of it, but it has no stretch. It washed up beautifully, with very little fraying and so far it has been a dream to work with.

At this point, I have cut out the fabric and the underlining. I am in the process of transferring all the pattern markings to the underlining and pinning the fashion fabric and underlining pieces together. I figure it will take me about six hours total to complete this phase of the sewing process.

The pattern is very interesting. Although this dress appears symmetrical at first glance, it is not. Here is the description from the envelope: Semi-fitted A-line dress with jewel neckline has left shoulder and side back concealed button closing. Right side front and and left side back pleats. Full length sleeves with slits. Right side pocket.

Notice that there is only one pocket and the pleats are on the right side front and left side back. The only pattern pieces that are cut twice are the sleeves. All the other pattern pieces are unique. As with all the vintage patterns I have ever worked with, the instructions for this dress are exceptional. Take a look:

Before I finish up today's post, I wanted to answer a question from yesterday.
* Michelle writes, "You have commented on several mail order/web sources for fabric (2 of which I have recently used). You have yet to mention Fashion Fabrics Club. What has been your experience with them? I'm on their email list and am tempted, but before I plunge I would like someone's experience."

Michelle, believe it or not, I have never ordered from FFC. I have been tempted in the past, I have loaded a shopping cart with fabric, but I have never pushed the submit button. Sorry, that I couldn't be more help. Maybe some of my readers could leave their experiences with FFC in the comments section for Michelle.

Finally, this is what the dog has done all day - sleep, sleep and more sleep. It is just too darn cold around here (-7 C with a windchill of -15 C) to go out for a walk, so Simon is cooped up inside. I sure hope this cold spell breaks soon because both he and I are going stir crazy.

2 January 2008

The Princess & the T

First, a question asked a few posts ago:
* miss twist asks, "Shannon--which pattern(s) did you use for your husband's clothes?"

For the short sleeve T-shirts, I used KS2936 and for the sleep pants and long sleeve T-shirts, I used NL6321. I have used this Kwik Sew pattern so many times, I think I'm down to about $0.35 per usage!

Second, many of you have been asking for photos of me wearing my clothes. I hope to have more shots of me in the future, so stayed tuned. I have also been asked for pictures of Simon, so let's start with one of those. I took this shot the other day. Apparently, the holidays don't just take it out of the humans - even a hound can get "dog-tired".

Now, on to something I have meaning to show you for a while now.
Over the last few months, I have completed the first phase (plus another bottom) of a black/brown and cream SWAP. All the pieces are fairly simple, wardrobe-builders. I have posted about some of the garments already. I will post about of all of the garments over the next little while, but today I want to focus on my favourite tank top. I absolutely love the Loes Hinse Princess Tank. It is comfortable and flattering and best of all, now that I have it altered perfectly, I can whip out a new tank top in 45 minutes (from cutting out the fabric to sewing the hem). I have made this top at least twelve times, all in knit fabric. I hope to try my hand at a woven version in the near future. My only problem with this top was getting it to fit properly at the beginning. In Loes Hinse patterns, I usually use XXS for the shoulders and waist, expanding out to XS for the hips. I found, however that this top was far too large on me when using my regular size. I had to fold out a 1/2" on the side panel and place both the front and back piece 3/8" over the fabric fold, for a total removal of 2 1/2". I imagine this top would be fabulous for large busted women as well due to the adjustment possibilities provided by the princess lines.

Pictured are the black, brown and cream versions that I made for this wardrobe.

1 January 2008

SWAP Circles

Today is the official start date for the 2008 Timmel SWAP. Each year there is a twist, to keep things interesting. For instance, last year, one garment had to be reversible; this year, three unique garments must be made using a wardrobe pattern.

I have been thinking about this SWAP for literally months now, but I can't seem to come up with a solid plan. You might say, I have been going around in circles, hence the title of this post. Usually, I have a theme that inspires me and this year I am leaning toward doing a Jackie Kennedy inspired SWAP, using vintage patterns. I love her style and I have hundreds of vintage patterns, so it makes sense. However, putting it all together is eluding me at this point. I have a ton of coordinating fabrics, but ensuring that everything works together seems to be my biggest stumbling block right now. I really want to do an outerwear coat, 2 dresses, 3 suits (skirt and jacket), a blouse and a skirt. I want to start wearing more suits to work, so fitting the suits into my SWAP plan is ideal.

The colours I am contemplating are autumnal: dark forest green, burnt orange, cream, dark brown and mustard. The colours are dictated by this piece of fabric (from Sawyer Brook). This picture does not do the fabric justice - it is amazingly rich and the depth of colour is outstanding.

When I finally have this all sorted out, I'll post my storyboard.