Thursday, 29 July 2010

So where is that Simplicity dress I said I was making?

Before I set off for my New York trip I mentioned that I was feverishly working to finish Simplicity 2403 and I’m sure that you are all wondering – did she ever finish it? And, if so, where is it?

I am pleased to report that, yes, I did finish it and, to prove it, here is a picture of me hanging around the streets of New York wearing it.

The pattern is this one -

As with all the Project Runway patterns there are a whole lot of style variations to choose from. My version has the stand collar and the waistband has tie ends (I used a piece of black cotton that I had in my stash for this).

Here is a closer picture of the bodice –

The pattern doesn’t call for a lining but I added a lightweight one to the skirt part only, just to add a bit of extra body to the cotton fabric and to make sure it wouldn’t be see through or cling to my legs! Here’s a picture of inside the dress.

I pretty much followed the pattern instructions except that I used an invisible zipper instead of a regular one and instead of using purchased bias binding for the armholes I made my own from the dress fabric remnants. Oh, and I omitted the slit that is supposed to go on the left hand side of the skirt – I just didn’t feel it would look right and the skirt definitely doesn’t need it for walking in.

This dress isn’t difficult to make but there is a LOT to do. The front has princess seams; the back has a yoke with a gathered bodice; there are front bands with buttons and buttonholes; a stand collar; the waistband needs attaching to the bodice with its facing; the skirt has inset pockets and pleats at the front and darts at the back; the skirt (and the lining) has to be attached to the waistband, a side zipper has to be inserted, the armholes need binding, the waistband ties have to be made and attached and, finally, you can hem the skirt.

Phew! Was it worth it? Mmm, I think so.

In fact, I have already embarked on a second, but quite different looking, version and I’m hoping to finish that very soon ……..

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Fabric buying in New York - part two!

In my last post I promised that full disclosure of all my fabric buying in the New York garment district would be forthcoming. I have already confessed to my purchases in Metro Textiles …….. but I also visited Mood, Elliott Berman, New York Elegant Fabrics and, oh yes, Paron. And fabric was purchased in each of them!

In Elliott Berman’s I clearly had summer on my mind (and no wonder – the daytime temperature was mostly well into the nineties the whole time I was in New York!). These were my choices

On the left is a sheer cotton print (made for the NY designer Milly) and the one on the right is a cotton pique. I really enjoyed my visit to Elliott Berman’s, they stock some beautiful fabrics and their sales person, Eugenia (it was nice to meet a Eugenia!), was extremely helpful and knowledgeable. Thank you Lindsay T for the excellent recommendation.

Over at Mood I continued the summer theme with these two fabrics.

The one at the top is linen and the one at the bottom is a silk charmeuse. Now I really should mention here that I already have in my stash some fabric that has exactly the same print as this silk charmeuse – but it is a cotton/silk twill that I purchased online, last May, from Emma One Sock, and it is designed by Oscar de la Renta. So, I am going to have some fun making a garment or outfit that combines the same print in the two textures – oh, Oscar, when the time comes, I hope I don’t let you down!

Also at Mood I purchased about 4 yards of a lovely plain black cotton knit that was a nice dress weight and draped well – a good stash standby. At Paron I bought three yards of a beautiful crepe back satin, also in black, just right for that LBD I’m always thinking I should make. This was priced at $30 per yard but they discounted it to $25 so I don’t feel quite so bad about my extravagance. Lastly, at New York Elegant Fabrics, I found some cotton lawn in a pretty aqua colour that co-ordinated perfectly with the stretch cotton that I had already bought in Metro Textiles.

So, there you have it. That fabric haul is certainly going to keep me busy for a while! I doubt whether all the summery prints will get made up before the fall arrives but, hey, think how nice they’re going to look in my stash in the dark winter months.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Fabric fun in New York City ....

Hi everyone, I’m back home in London and what a fabulous time I had in New York City!!

The highlight of my trip was a lunchtime meet up with Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) and Elizabeth (Sew A Beginner). Of course that meant fabric shopping so our chosen venue was Metro Textiles where we bumped into a familiar face – Opal, from Opals Passions. Isn’t the sewing blogosphere great ? – it was like meeting up with old friends! I had The Best Time - talking fabrics, getting sewing tips and swapping stories.

Here’s a picture of my three lovely friends (from left to right Elizabeth, Carolyn and Opal)

Thank you ladies for giving me such a wonderful welcome to your home town!

And here’s a picture of me, Carolyn and Opal with the very charming Kashi from Metro Textiles.

So, did I buy anything? Well of course I did – between the compelling chat – I managed to grab myself a few gorgeous pieces at some very good prices.

From left to right: a luxurious printed silk charmeuse, a cotton in a big print in fabulous colours, a stretch cotton sateen in black and white with aqua accents.

Now is probably the time to confess that these weren’t my only fabric purchases whilst in New York – later in the week I revisited the garment district and picked up a few more yards here and there. But I’m going to save those for another blog post. Right now I’m jet lagged and in unpacking chaos but, although I was sad to leave NY, it’s exciting to be back home with my sewing machine and with lots of new fabrics and ideas to inspire me.

So, more soon ……

Friday, 2 July 2010

Enough already with the Burda skirt ......

I have already made two versions of the a-line skirt, pattern 104, in the February issue of Burda Style magazine (featured in this post) but I couldn’t resist making one more.

I purchased some lovely cotton sateen from Gorgeous Fabrics and felt it would be perfect for this easy to wear and easy to make style. I really love a black and white skirt, especially for summer. You can always pair it with either black or white but I think it also looks great with a pop of just about any bright colour. As my DH hasn’t been around enough to grab a picture of me wearing the skirt (and do you really need to see me in the third version of this skirt?!), I’m showing you a photo of it alongside the top and accessories I am going to wear it with today.

Much as I love the pattern, I think that this has to be the last time I make it – well for this year at least!

So here’s what I’m working on at the moment.

It’s a kind of shirtwaist style and I’m making it in this art deco style cotton print (purchased from the UK based supplier Chrysalis Fabrics) with a plain black waistband and bow.

Cool to wear but not totally casual is my aim.

As soon as it’s completed it’s going straight into my suitcase. Yes, I said suitcase because, HURRAH, on Sunday my DH and I are off to that great centre of fabulousness - New York City - for two whole weeks! I can hardly wait to step foot on those sparkling, but hot, streets of Manhattan. I think I might find myself in the garment district once or twice …… or more. Yes, I know my stash is stuffed but who can resist the lure of the New York garment district?

While I’m away I shall try to get to a computer to read your blogs and see what you’re all doing so that I don’t miss you too much, although I shall probably be taking a vacation from blogging myself. However, I do hope to have some nice things to show you on my return …….

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