Sunday, September 28, 2008

Thai Silks

I must report about the fun event I went to Wednesday. My friend Dorothy lives near Thai Silks and received a card from them about their open house last week. I haven't been to visit her for a while so we decided I should come then and we would go together to the open house. Thai Silks, which has the most incredible selection of silks, is in Los Altos, California, about 90 miles from me. I have been there several times but not for a year. The announcement for the open house event suggested that we wear or bring garments we have made from their fabric, and as an incentive 25% discount would apply to anything purchased plus goodie bags would be passed out (and refreshments).

I wore this Sewing Workshop Won Ton blouse pattern ( which I made about 5 years ago. I also rushed to sew up the skirt that I had purchased fabric for last time I was there a year ago. It has three layers of silk; chiffon, duppioni, and organza. I'm pleased with how it turned out, it spite of my rushing. I will review it soon. Dorothy brought her beautiful duppioni Issey Miyake dress (

One lady wore a lovely outfit, very Escandar inspired, using a silk/linen fabric I had not seen before. That led to great excitement on my part and an expensive purchase, even at 25% off! I'm really looking forward to sewing that up. This lady and I were both wearing the same Marcy Tilton pant pattern (

When we finally left after about 2 hours there we were each handed a goodie bag. The contents were different in each one. Dorothy's had a piece of china silk, thread, seam ripper, measuring tapes, and a few other small things. Mine had a 3 yard piece of silk charmeuse, a silk scarf, seam ripper and thread. Quite a nice surprise.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Kwik Sew 3099 Halloween Costumes

I chose the dinosaur costume for Owen's second Halloween. He will be 18 months old then. Since last year's pea pod costume was green I decided not to use green for the main body but to go with purple for the dinosaur with green trim. I'm quite pleased with the color combo. This pattern sizing skips from 12 months to 2 years so I attempted to size it in between the sizes. It still looks quite big for Owen. And since baby Oliver arrived on Sept. 9th, I felt he needed a matching costume. The Kwik Sew pattern has 6 months as the smallest size so I got out Simplicity 3937 which is a similar shaped bunting and adapted the XS size which says it is for 7 to 13 pounds. It looks really huge for Ollie who is 7 lbs. 9 oz. right now. Maybe he will grow tremendously in one month. Perhaps the costumes should be stuffed with bulky clothing underneath to make a nice, fat dinosaur.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Vogue 8417

I'm calling this my Rain Dress as I made it from ripshot nylon originally purchased (15 years ago?) to make a rain coat. This pattern intrigued me with all the unusual tucks, diagonal seams, twisted back straps, and tucked up skirt hem. The pattern envelope suggests using taffeta, duppioni, , shantung, poplin and broadcloth. I figured my ripshot had a similar crispness to it, was already in my stash and would make the dress less "dressy". I have no where to wear a ball gown so my idea was to make it casual enough for occasional wear. I found a crazy lining to use in my fabric box on the way to being discarded, an invisible zip in my stash (miraculously the right color) and even the appropriate thread. It was meant to be. Or so I thought.

Alterations. Egad. This dress has a lining that is a fully constructed dress with entirely different lines.... princess seams. So alterations for full bust and extra at the waist needed to be done very differently for the outer dress and inner dress. I spent around 4 hours figuring that out. Not quite correctly as it turned out later. Next cutting out: although I had the 4 yards called for, it was only 54 wide, not 60. Maybe 3 hours spent fiddling with the layout to get all the pieces on. This required shortening 8 pieces and turning one around on end. I prayed that the sheen wouldn't be noticeably different.

Next day constructed the underdress. Then started the outer dress. I've never seen such odd shaped pattern pieces. That all went together okay until I got to a point where I could try each dress on. Except for the bust area all the rest was too big. How did this happen? I'm guessing that it just runs big through the waist. It needs to be very fitted to look good. So I embarked on lots more alterations taking in the princess seams above and below the bust, side seams, etc. Finally arriving at the point to put the two dresses together I find they don't fit together at all. This was caused by all my alterations not that the original pattern was wrong. The armscyces didn't work together at all. More fiddling around and I got that worked out. 

Now I can put on the dress and decide it looks bad. Some of the tucks puff out, a tuck in front pulls too much toward the middle because of taking in the side seam and so on. I called my friend Barbara for help since I couldn't really see what was happening, especially in the back. Together we fixed things by tacking down the tucks, taking in one diagonal seam, making a few extra tucks where the fabric wanted to fold anyway. I considered removing the underdress altogether since it was partly at fault in making it hard to fit and look right. If I were to do this pattern again I would eliminate the lining and bind the edges. Finally we were happy with the look and I took it home to finish up.

My friend Dorothy happened to ask if ever used fusible thread which I haven't done but do have some in my stash. Since she reminded me about its existence I got it out and used it for the hem. This was a great idea. It made that long, long curved hem a snap. I put the fusible thread in the lower looper of my serger, whipped around that hem edge, trimming off another 2 inches in length. Then pressed the overlocked edge up and topstitched. So fast and easy.

Now that it is done I must find a place to wear it!!