Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tahoe Sewing Retreat

Home from the sewing frenzy and exhausted. But happy. Barbara and I were sewing demons once again this year at the 5 day retreat our sewing club holds at Lake Tahoe. Such a beautiful setting with fantastic weather and we huddled over our machines the entire time, from 7:30 am to 12:30 at night. 20 minutes for each meal, a little bit of conversation with others but absolutely possessed by the sewing mojo. Between us we created 25 garments. This year we were quite organized ahead of time by planning our projects and cutting them out before going. We found it often congested at the cutting table and hard to concentrate on the important cutting/altering step in the retreat environment. So having our projects prepared before hand really helped.

I found myself really stupid at times and needed Barbara's help figuring out pattern instructions occasionally. What's with that? I think I'm losing it. One project in particular, an Issey Miyake top and skirt that I have made before, was impossible for me to do without her help. Another time she had to help me rip out about 1/2 inch of stitches, black on black, that I couldn't see at all. I spent 45 minutes with no progress and was ready to quit. She worked at it for another 45 minutes while I held a magnifying glass over it and finally got those blasted few stitches out. Thank heavens she was there.

We're already looking forward to next year. I will gradually post about each project. I'm really happy with all of them which is quite surprising to me as about half I considered experiments or possible disasters for a variety of reasons.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Vogue 1113 Mizono Jacket

For years I've seen Mizono garments in a few boutiques I've windowed shopped in and now here one has appeared at Vogue. I'm thrilled. This is an unlined jacket, loose fitting with asymmetrical hemline, Kimono sleeves with uneven hemline, lapped fronts and neckline slits. There are also pull on pants included in the pattern but I only made the jacket so far.

I cut size 8 (although my measurements call for 16+) and I took in the underarm seam another 1/2 inch. So, it has a lot of ease. Compared to the pattern illustraton mine looks longer on me as I am 5'3" and didn't shorten it at all. You can see that it is quite short in the back.

I loved the unique shaping, easy construction, the neckline, the interesting sleeves, everything.
I used a wool tweed-like fabric that actually has little white colored squares on the surface of the black. A wonderful unique textile I bought recently from the Textile Studios final sale. Boo hoo, sad to see that resource go.

I made no alterations, not even the sleeve length. I worried about the sleeve length as I usually need to shorten sleeves about 2 inches. There is no place indicated to shorten the sleeves although you could do it half way up the sleeve and true the seam. But, after a quick tissue fitting, I decided that the shorter part of the sleeve would hit on the top of my arm and would be short enough. I did move the location of the button slightly to hit me at a more flattering spot.

I probably don't need another soon but I do highly recommend to those of you who, like me, enjoy the unusual. I may make it again someday in a summer weight, linen perhaps.

As you can see I'm very pleased with this new garment.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Which projects?

I need to get ready for the wonderful Tahoe retreat coming up a week from this Sunday. It is 5 days and nights of sewing non-stop organized by the club Haute Couture that I am in. No distractions except to eat which is all provided. No tv, no computer, nada. Well, there are interesting other ladies all passionate about sewing so there are conversations. Last year Barbara and I took our hiking shoes but never left the rooms even though Lake Tahoe was right outside our window. We were obsessed. I'm sure it will be the same this time.

So the problem..... I found that it was best last year if I had my fabric and patterns cut out ahead of time. The cutting situation there wasn't the best and when I did have to cut out it was hard to keep focused. It took me much longer to cut out a project than it would at home. 

I took about 20 projects and 7 or 8 were cut out ahead of time. I sewed 10 in the 5 days. I hope to do the same this year. I'm going crazy with trying to decide which patterns and fabric to start cutting. I have pulled out dozens of each to contemplate. But each time I pull something out it reminds me of another fabric I'm dying to get to. How shall I focus???? I thought about doing a coordinated wardrobe but that seems too hard to pull together right now. 

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sewing Workshop Valencia Jacket

This is the first garment I have sewn from my Portland spree. I wasn't sure what I would do with this linen eyelet when I found it but loved the color and figured something would work out. I knew I wanted a loose over garment so I wouldn't have to line the eyelet. This was my most recent Sewing Workshop pattern purchase so it was eager to be sewn up. Sewing Workshop describes this as a "loose fitting jacket with soft fold-back lapels, long sleeves with faced cuffs and angled narrow hems. Under sleeves end in "V" at waistline side seams. Wrong side of fabric shows on lapels." There are also straight leg, one seam pants included in the pattern. I just sewed the jacket.

Although my measurements are well into the Medium size, I cut the Small and am happy I did. I could have even gone down to the XS I think. The front is very loose as you can see. The back fits more closely so you need to watch out there if you go down in size.

This pattern has the usual excellent SW instructions. I think, with the good instructions, this could be an easy garment for a novice to sew except for the underarm "V". It is actually a half gusset that is part of the under sleeve piece. That one detail might throw the beginner off although it is not difficult. It just requires precision.

I like a soft jacket. I've made some very similar to this before like Vogue 7640, now OOP, and enjoyed wearing the style. This SW is almost the same except for the 2 piece sleeve with underarm gusset.

On the Portland trip I also bought another 30 or so yards of fabric. Egads! What was I thinking??? Well, at least I got one piece done.