Monday, November 23, 2015

Dignified Lady Sewing (more Japanese Sewing Books)

or Garments of a Dignified Lady

I am entirely unsure how I stumbled on this title, as I had to order it over Amazon. But I am very glad that I did, and am going to be all over it like cat hair*

This is my next project for me.

isbn 9784579115020

or just go to amazon


Monday, November 16, 2015

Connect the dots to coat

It is not giving too much away to say that I've been pattern testing. And that involves PDF patterns.

Sometimes there are a lot of size lines all right next to each other, and it's hard for old eyeballs like mine to see which one I'm cutting on.

So I mark them and cut

And then they get too close together

So I spend a little extra time with a colored pencil to make a mark along the line I'm looking for, each time I can identify that line.

and then I just....

And then I will cut out the piece with my paper scissors NOT my fabric scissors.
Cause kids, I am using the used fax paper from work for these things.

I trust you all now know the name of the coat. Oh, did I say coat?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Book Reports; Books catalogued under 'dressmaking'

Almost done with the dresses....six more to go

The Seattle Public Library allows me to put a hold on lots and lots and lots of books at one time, and sometimes I forget if I have read it or not.
This time, I took photos of the stack to remind myself if I had read it or not.

My pal D (librarian to the stars!) could not stop laughing at me while I did this, pulling them one at a time and taking photos of this massive stack (the entire stack is not shown, just the ones I wanted to pay attention to).

Yes, you can laugh in my library branch.

I want to like this. I keep trying. The term "bodymap" can be replaced by "sloper".
It's a friendly introduction to the process.

It just doesn't click for me. 

Points for using gingham for the photos, and using a real sized human.

A fine bibliography I keep checking out assuming it is something else. Someday I am going to need this, and it will have been deaccessioned. Ew.

All I know is that it is catalogued under dressmaking. Illustrates just what it shows on the cover (plackets and welts) and uses contrasting colored fabric to make it all pretty dang clear. The pocket section is pretty nice.
The fly was confusing. As ever.

If you like a faux engraved style of illustration, this is for you. Merchant and Mills is a pattern and notions company.
This book is another 'THIS is how you should sew' manual, plus two of their patterns (the blockier ones) and a lot of Advice Writ In Stone.
There's a blog post or two about that theme, just no time right now.

Covered this already, and yes, there are 800 illustrations.

Not so different from the Helen Armstrong book, but covers the basics. Pretty easy to pick up a used copy for easy reference, and it's structured like a textbook.

I would not say sensational, but it's worth a peek. It's got a couple sweet ideas.

I should mention the Time/Life sewing series has some damn fine tips in it as well. The Leather book is really well done.

As "this is how to sew" books go, it's aim is to get the reluctant teen sewist going right away. Surprisingly well assembled introduction to sewing for young fashion conscious folk. It's about building a wardrobe, but there's some 'be your own person' stuff that I like.

It's good enough. Nothing new. 

Marcy and Lynn, rather average results. You'd think "Hey, it's a Tilton! Gonna be cool!", you'd be wrong.

I do love this mission statement

Basic book about altering the basic sewing block to fit women. Trouble is, it assumes you know what the specific problem is and how much to alter the pattern; it does not show how you determine the problem to begin with. "Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting" by Sarah Veblen solves this problem nicely.

Dover Books reprint of a sewing manual, with some good deets and deconstruction of authentic victorian items. It's going on the 'more later' list. If the library gets rid of it, I'll buy one, but for now they can store it for me.

More techniques for beginners.

There is nothing, NOTHING wrong with books for beginners. I enjoy reading them, I still learn lots and lots. 
I just read them a whole lot faster....

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Side Kick Sprout Patterns

So I ordered this.

And about a week later, this came.

The layout is exactly as it was shown on the webpage. Dayum! I could like this 21st century!

All the pieces are labeled, and the legend in the center advises cutting them out with the labels, and pinning the labels to the pieces as you continue. You will be happy you did that.

There are no notches to line up the pieces, but they are so square you don't really need that.

What I do need is an interior zipper pocket. This is more of a tote than a functioning handbag, and I have made this fella before in a workshop I ran. And I likes me some pockets!

So I added the zipper in the interior piece first.

There was some sewing. I followed the other directions. Imagine that. This is a very straightforward build, and the ecocanvas I used (imagine Sunbrella fabric that is softer and can take a print like a photograph....) doesn't need interfacing except at the snap. It does unravel like a demon if you work it too much.
Then I remembered I needed a place to hold my coffee upright inside the bag. Made one out of the endless brown nylon taffeta supply.

You know, when you have about ten yards of a tool fabric, like white cotton or sew in interfacing or the blanket stuff from a moving van. It goes in everything somehow. 

Cup holder sewn

Cup holder pinned into seam

Turning the whole thing from the inside out

That awkward midway bit. Kinda like childbirth.

oh yes, I did go there

All Pulled Through, will need to get the insides shoved in

There's lot of tacking stuff down at this point, but the part that I had the most trouble with this time was the grommets. They just would not snap. The sample snapped just fine (so fine it would not come apart, my first clue something was ....fiddly).

I broke a couple. I had to use the clamps to wedge them shut, sorta smooshing them together slowly, tightening one clamp at a time.

Now I'm stuck on a point that I had forgotten about from previous experiences with this pattern.

I think that webbing straps look overwhelmed by the bag and the grommets. I want something plushier. And now I have backed myself into a fabric corner because I DON"T have about three or four inches by 36 or so to make a matching strap.

I only have leftovers because I changed up the interior lining pockets in favor of the interior zipped one.
And they ain't big enough to make a shoulder strap.

I have more of this print, from another order. I won't need a whole yard of the other stuff (which is not the same fabric, just the same print), and I'm going to carve off enough to make a different strap.

I saw this ad for the Celine bag today, and I love the shape/contrast of the strap. So I'm going to piece one from my other yardage, scaled to overfit the 1" grommets.
Well, I'm going to after I deliver the choir dresses. 

(the ship hat and the armed leg for Parlor Tricks ate up last week)
(yeah, they will get a post sometime)
The printing time varies, the closer to the holidays the nuttier it gets, but one thing Spoonflower does incredibly well is customer service and support. Their shipping info is accurate, they always give you tracking numbers, and they really do back up their products. I have had problems with ongrain printing and they have always reprinted for me, often overnighting the new print.

It's not perfect, it's not cheap, but for you and me, folks who just want to make something completely their own, it's damn fine.

Monday, November 2, 2015

MOHAI: Museum of History and Industry: Behind the Seams The 19th Century In Color

A shame this is such an ugly town. Yes, that is a float plane landing just to the left of our destination

(this is a link to a very long and throughly Seattle history of a very West coast sort of place)

MOHAI, in addition to being the dumpster  recipient of Seattle's historical artifacts, has long had a tradition of hosting some of the weirder touring exhibits.

It was my great good fortune see "Clutch It! The Purse and the Person" (a truly stunning exhibit of handbags) as well as the end of the tour of  Theatre de la Mode there.

photo: Maryhill Museum
1946 French fashion, on 700mm tall models

(fortunately it's still in WA state, at the Maryhill Museum of Art. Along with the effects of Marie of Roumania and Loie Fuller)

Last year I had more good fortune in seeing a few 'fashion lectures' about the history of importing/developing fashion in Seattle, presented by Clara Berg, who I believe was a new hire to conserve the textiles and clothing in the collection.

This year, these lectures include viewing more of the clothes, with an emphasis on their era and construction details, reasonably upclose and personal.

From the website:

Inspired by the garment viewings of past fashion lectures at MOHAI, Behind the Seams programs are a peek into MOHAI's collection and your chance to see treasures that are usually kept in storage! View garments in detail, from the silhouette to the underpinnings, and hear the stories that make them special. For the inaugural Behind the Seams, we'll be illuminating the 19th century by showcasing colorful garments from the 1850s-1890s. From vibrant silks to captivating cotton prints, discover an era that was much more vivid than black and white photos would have you believe! 

 This time I parked myself in the front row at the corner of the table.
Click on the photos to enlarge them

1860's: One hooped skirt, two bodices. Silk with self trim. And loads and loads of that trim.

1870s: the 'natural silouette' (no hoops, little bustle). 

The jacket does not go with the dress, and the plaids are not matched. One of the fun things about these presentations is that Ms Berg is very happy to hear what people have to add or observe about the clothes, because it's an old collection with little history on it. 

Consensus was: the jacket was made to use up the fabric, and at this point, it was just enough to use all the fabric, not try to get it to line up. And it's better matched in the front than the back.

Cotton lining, with a pinked cotton hem facing.

1890s skirt and jacket, woven silk, with a front wrap panel.

The brown panel is velvet, and would be glimpsed when the wrap opened midstride

Deep black cotton hem facing

The wrap opens on the left


House coat printed cotton silk. 1890s.

Those nonmatching prints are the smoother silk lining; its a rough cotton/silk exterior

It's a stunning print

And the peacock eye weave dress. It's a bodice and a skirt that are attached in places

Nearly 12 inches wide hem edging  of pleated and tied self trim

A metallic ring and (barely seen) acorn dangling off the back.

Oh sadly we have to go home

But a quick stop at the Virginia V steamboat, where the engine crew are old family friends.....the green wedge in the distance is at the foot of the hill I live on.

Yes, it's just hell being here....