Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Blouse Confection

Here's my latest creation made from Louise Cutting's My Hearts A'Flutter pattern.   The pattern for this is an overblouse with open vents at the sides and meant to be worn over the coordinating shell included in the patter.    For this top I was inspired by seeing so many sheer looks over black and other colored shells and color-blocked opaque linings.      In the upper left photo I put a beige silk jersey shell underneath and paired it with a silk jacquared skirt with abstract dots.   In the upper right there is nothing underneath it.      I took a photo of it over a black silk crepe top while I was fitting it, before it was finished.

 I decided to make my own interpretation using this cotton organdy embroidered with beige thread that has a bit of sheen.    I bought the fabric originally for a cardigan jacket, using the edges and doing another Loes Hinse Bergman Chanel interpretation,  but decided that this style was so much more interesting, a more casual chic look that goes with so many of my neutral pants, skirts and shells.    
Front side piece slightly off grain
Matching edging for back sleeve piece

I only had about a yard and a half of the fabric, and I got this top out of it with a small piece to spare.   This one is size XS since my first HAF overblouse was pretty roomy.   I closed up lower sides to achieve more of a blouse look.   I was very systematic in my assembly, waiting until I had the top front attached to the back before even cutting out the front lower panel,  and to properly match up the back sleeve piece with the front sleeve.    The heavy embroidery was challenging to sew over and I used a 3mm stitch length instead of the shorter ones. 

After a test of interfaced cotton batiste for the back facing,  I decided there was too much "show through" and used a beige silk organza that is barely visible through the organdy.   I'll get a photo of me wearing it when the weather improves, and I get over this cold virus I've been fighting.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Artist in Motion tunic using the wool/cashmere Escada

After thinking and measuring and planning and measuring some more,  I cut Louise Cutting's Artist in Motion Top pattern from the charcoal gray wool/cashmere layer of the oversized Escada coat.   

Here's the illustration of the tunic and here's what I ended up with. 
  The unaltered back length of the tunic is 24 5/8".  This one is 31" long.

I saved the Escada finished hems, mitered corners at the fronts, keyhole buttonholes and flat-felled seams and cut/sewed it as follows: 
  • I cut the front pieces with the fold on the already hemmed and mitered plackets and hem of the Escada, even saving the buttonholes and re-using the buttons that I sewed together like those to secure French cuffs;    
  • For the back and sleeves with their flat felled seams, I placed the pattern pieces to use those seams.    
  • So my tunic has a flat felled back seam and the finished Escada hem
  • The sleeves have flat felled seams down the center that line up with the shoulder seams that I also topstitched and treated as flat felled.  
  • I block fused the neckline facing and sewed it per the pattern instructions and did a little hand stitching.
  • I stitched the front plackets together for nine inches in the center, leaving the top opening the same and a 12 inch vent at the bottom.    I omitted the side vents.
More detail shots of the finished tunic on my Flickr photos.    

NEWS!  There is a new Flickr Group for Louise Cutting's patterns and garments sewn from them.  You are invited to join and visit that site to see everyone's garments, photos of us at events and to share and show us your own!

Today's Chinchilla Drama 

On another note, this morning the bad boy chinchilla attacked and bit old Woodley through the slat of the wooden ceiling separating them.     I came down do do a little pressing on my tunic and gave both of them a piece of raw almond (one of their favorite treats).    Snowball went chinchilla ape-shit, bit Woodley's foot, and there was blood all over the place.  I took Woodley out of his house that he ran into and got several paper towels - still bleeding.    Shouted for husband to get the band-aids.    I applied pressure and stopped the bleeding and put the band-aid on.   Remember these are little guys.    We then reversed them.    Snowball is now on the top and Woodley is on the bottom.    I even put a block of wood on the edge where he bit Woodley's foot while standing on that shelf.   I don't want Woodley to stick his nose up there and Snowball to bite him.   Tonight Woodley is fine and took the band-aid off himself.  If the Perp keeps it up he's going to be serving a long sentence in the chinchilla slammer - the small metal cage on top.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Restyling and Refashioning

I'm always evaluating my wardrobe and deciding what I wear and don't wear and why.  I only buy things that I love and what is interesting to wear with what I already own.    When I buy, it's only quality and I've always avoided anything that was trendy or dated.    I prefer garments that hang nicely from my body, nothing tight or garish.    

Here are a couple examples of what I've been doing, restyling things that are great quality but that I didn't wear for one reason or another.    First is a great Escada double layer coat/duster.    This is  wool/cashmere lightweight flannel and the topstitching and construction is TDF!  All seams are flat felled - no raw or serged edges.  It is only a size 36, which is size 4 US but is very loosely fitted - oversized.  There are many photos of it on my Flickr photos but here is what it looks like on me,  belted and showing the two layers.     There's nothing wrong with it - I just didn't wear it often.   The lapels are very much like Louise Cutting's Of the Moment jacket pattern that I also love.

I then took the coat apart - easy to do since it was only attached by the collar, at the tops of each lapel and at the sleeve hems.       I had several ideas since there was so much fabric - perhaps a short jacket and a wrap skirt a la Shirin Guild for the plaid.    I was inspired by a Brunello Cucinnelli jacket ($2,115) that I examined while snoop shopping at Neiman Marcus.    I also added pockets across the front of an A Subtle Twist jacket in a lightweight wool a couple of years ago.     So here's what I did -

For the solid gray layer, I just folded up the amount that I would like the pockets to be, saving all the stitching, pinned the coat to a 34" length.     I will press and topstitch the pockets in place at the fronts, add the contrast facing at the lapel and stitch the back closed.   For the plaid layer I'm still thinking - a wrap skirt like one of my Shapes or Shirin Guild skirts?     I'd still have the top portion for a restyled short jacket.     I'll post photos when I'm finished.

I also restyled this Anthropologie sweater jacket that I didn't wear because the wrap-over sash was too cumbersome and bulky.   This was an easy change.   I cut it off and used my blind-stitch to stitch in the ditch and catch stitch the edges plus some Steam-a-Seam.  I removed and left off the buttons, just kept the tiny hook/eye it originally had if I want to wear it closed.    I'm working on other projects as well that I haven't blogged about yet.  Still styling and keepin it simple as I always do.