Monday, March 25, 2013

TSW eSkirt and Lisette Attache Peplum Blouse

This is another set for my gray/black/white coordinate group.   The fabric is a black with grey/white dots cotton poplin fabric designed by Liesl Gibson, who also produces the Lisette pattern line for Simplicity Patterns. 

Lisette dotted poplin
Gray tweed knit (#5028) and double sided linen plaid both from Apple Annie's fabrics
Gray stretch lace from Fabric Mart Fabrics 
I wanted to try the latest Lisette pattern, the Attache (Simplicity #1666) as a peplum top to wear with the e Skirt.   I just love the eSkirt and all the variations you can come up with.    The shape is flattering and so current. 

As for the Simplicity pattern - Well I haven't sewn a Simplicity pattern in I can't tell you how long.   It had the old facings with bulky shoulder seams that I modified with Louise Cutting's technique for eliminating the seams on neckline facings (copied her My Hearts a'Flutter shell neckline facing) and used Linda Lee's technique for the narrow hems of the Pearl and Opal jackets on the circular hemline of the peplum top.

The style, lines and fit of the top are chic and flattering.  It requires an 18" zipper in the back or you couldn't put it on.   This is a shirt weight cotton poplin and has a crisp hand - like good poplin.    I'm sure if you used a knit or crepe fabric like Liesl used for her Attache dress, it would behave differently.

Here's the eSkirt again worn with the stretch lace Giorgio's Top.  In this photo, I pleated up one side of the top and secured the pleats with a pin to create an asymmetrical look.    I like it.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring Coordinates - Tops, Pants, Skirts and a Jacket

The forsythia bushes are blooming along the front hill.   I haven't sewn any yellow but I have sewn several spring coordinates in grays that work very well with yellow and white and black - popular spring colors.    I like gray because it's elegant and sophisticated.    I've mixed different patterns and textures to keep these pieces modern and interesting. The beautiful double sided linen plaid with a great selvedge and the tweedy knit are from Apple Annie Fabrics - love her customer service and how she puts together coordinating color groups on her site.   I also have some yellow pieces in the works.

I sewed two pair of pants from Cutting Line Designs patterns I've sewn before - a pair of Discover Something Novel pants for this group in a blue-gray and white seersucker from Ralph Lauren and a pair of chambray blue Easy Ageless and Cool pants that go with another blue/white group - more on that later.

Here are two of Giorgio's Top by Silhouette Patterns.   This pattern has 4 main pieces and 8 seams.  I cut a size 2 B cup based on my measurements and it fits great without being snug anywhere.   I hate tight or snug fitting garments.    The top just skims the body and hangs nicely over the hips.    I used a lightweight, very stretchy woven pinstripe - probably Italian based on where I bought it in MD, to check the fit.   It has a ton of stretch along the pinstripes and doesn't press or hold a hem well so I just serge finished the edges.    Here's a close-up of the fabric and the finish.   My second Giorgio's top is in a blue-gray stretch lace.    I cut along the edges of the motifs on the hem and used the same neck binding technique from The Sewing Workshop's e-Dress/Skirt pattern.   I can wear the pinstripe top by itself or under the stretch lace one or wear the lace one over various camisoles as shown in the photos of it with coordinates here and on Flickr.

I used the stretch lace on the bottom of a charcoal gray rayon knit skirt to coordinate with the tops and other things.   I've got several more versions of the eSkirt in these colors planned,  so this is just the first one.  

I made another Pearl jacket from the new Pearl and Opal Jacket pattern by The Sewing Workshop since I liked the first one I made from the microfiber so well.   This one is in an interesting gauzy double sided linen plaid.   It has a wonderful sheerness and coordinates with many things.    I even matched the plaids pretty well, esp in the back.  I styled these together and with some other garments and those photos are on Flickr.    I'm working on a few more pieces and doing other interesting and productive things so I am just getting around to posting about these garments.   

I got to preview the Western North Carolina Orchid Show at the NC Arboretum yesterday afternoon since we are members.   I went in when it opened at 4 PM so I could get shots without crowds of people all around.   I took lots of great photos that I put on Flickr in their own set.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Neutral Coordinates for Spring

Well it's already 65 and sunny outside.    Our house is a passive solar design and faces east.   It's wonderful when the sun shines through the windows and skylights.   I was too ill and the weather was too yucky for a photo of me wearing the My Hearts A'Flutter blouse after I made it,  so I got my stylist to take some photos this morning.   Don't you love the lines on this one.   I'm still wearing, the designers are showing, and the stores are still selling straight leg pants like these.  These are Kalso Earth ruched suede gladiator sandals that I have in the taupe and black.   Love the comfort and style of these.

I also did some great snoop shopping at Neiman Marcus Last Call after doing the Expo on Thursday.  They had just gotten a shipment of uber expensive designer pieces with great lines and details.   And one of the associates was a fellow sewer who was arranging the new pieces while we discussed the details and I tried them on.    I didn't see anything I felt like trying on so no photos - but I did buy two vests with unique details that I can really work into my spring coordinates.      Here is one of them.

This long striped vest (or sleeveless jacket) is by Piazza Sempione.   It is stretch cotton, unlined with every seam or hem trimmed with a fine cotton Hong Kong finish.     It's from the Spring 2012 line and the style (not the same stripe) is shown with a long blouse and skirt in this runway photo from NY Magazine.    I knew I had these 4-ply silk pants in a warm sienna brown that would coordinate and lots of white linen and a couple white dresses it will look great over.   I love easy neutrals for spring/summer.   Doesn't the long blouse look like the Artist in Motion top?
Piazza Sempione Spring 2012
NY Magazine Fashion

Friday, March 8, 2013

Atlanta Sewing Expo and 3 jackets in 3 Days

We drove to Duluth GA for the first day of the Atlanta Sewing Expo yesterday.   I like to see friends there and both my favorite pattern designers, Louise Cutting AND Linda Lee were there with booths and trunk shows and FABRIC you can't find anywhere else.   It was so nice to see and speak to women I'd met in the years before, Carole M,  Martha Myers and Vivian who was wearing her Artist in Motion vest.   I met many other stylish women at their booths, and can't remember all their names.    It's refreshing to interact with genuine and dignified women as opposed to the bizarre and snooty behavior I've experienced from some who live in and around Asheville.  

I was sick off and on most of February after some IGNORANT woman coughed in my face when we went shopping one day in early February.    I don't like being on immune suppressants and avoid crowds,  high times for restaurants and especially sick people.   But when you walk to the restroom in a department store and some idiot walks out spewing infected sputum in a ten foot radius, all over your face - Well, what can I say?   And just like clock-work I got the crud and suffered.    I always feel better by sewing and creating when I'm able.

I was looking forward to the Sewing Expo but wasn't sure how well I would be.  By the time I decided it was OK to go, all the hotels were booked up.     It's only a 3 hour drive from Asheville, just down I26 and then I 85 so my husband and I decided to do a day trip.    We had snow and freezing temperatures the day and night before so we had to be sure the driveway and private road was passable before leaving.     I had been feeling depressed from being sick and said to myself that I was GOING TO SEW something beautiful to wear to the Expo.    Then I sewed not one,  but 3 jackets last weekend and Monday.   The hardest part was chosing the fabric.   

The Sewing Workshop Pearl Jacket

The first was this Pearl jacket from The Sewing Workshop Pearl and Opal jacket pattern.   I am on auto-ship and  liked the lines of these jacket.     I saw two Donna Karan signature jackets at Neiman Marcus Last Call in drapey silks yesterday that were sisters to this Pearl jacket that I made out of a microfiber raincoat fabric.    I used the same fabric for a TSW Carnellian coat that I lengthened and used for a raincoat.    I hadn't worn it in years and it was too oversized, so I just cut it up for this new pattern and used the fabric remnant I had saved for the rest.   I cut it out and sewed it up in an afternoon.   It was so easy to sew and looks fabulous over other pieces I already have.    Microfiber isn't the easiest to press and that was the most time consuming.   I didn't use the same grain on some pieces because I was recycling the fabric but it doesn't show.   My intent was to have a layering, windbreaker type jacket and this fits the bill.    It is also posted on the Sewing Workshop's gallery for this pattern.    

Note that these jackets are more fitted than older TSW patterns.  TSW is now publishing finished measurements on their patterns  -  THANK YOU!  So I cut both these jackets in size Medium vs the small I usually make in their patterns.    More details on the Flickr Set - link above.

The Sewing Workshop Opal Jacket

The next was the Opal jacket .  It is a semi-fitted, curvy jacket with seams and shaping in the back.   I used an Italian paisley stretch denim/twill fabric from Emmaonesock.  I bought this, and another piece of the same fabric in different colors a few years ago.    I didn't want a garment that screamed PAISLEY! so I needed to be careful of my choice of pattern and lines.   This pattern and fabric were made for each other.  The pattern instructions include great finishing techniques and all are easy to achieve.    I stabilized the front darts with cotton twill tape because of the stretch factor and used the tape as a design element.    I used petersham ribbon as my button/snap stabilizer vs the self fabric placket in the pattern.    This jacket has 3 large snaps instead of buttons and like the way it looks both open or closed.    I wore it while shopping in the Neiman Marcus across from the Gwinnet Center in Duluth yesterday and got lots of complements.      No photos of me wearing it but here it is on the manniquin.         

My Swing Set Jacket

Then last, but not least, I sewed my version of the My Swing Set jacket in the latest pattern by Louise Cutting.  After measuring and deciding how I wanted this jacket out of this fabric to fit,  I cut the XS in the top and sleeve and graded to the S at the sides.   I also had to shorten the XS sleeve length.    

This chunky knit Eileen Fisher fabric in a gray/purple that worked out so well.    Depending on the light it looks more gray or purple.  It's a very drapey, chunky knit with a lot of rayon in it.    I bought the rust/black Babette SF cardigan jacket pictured above this winter.  I like the cut-on front placket and the stand-up collar.   To get the same look from the MSS jacket pattern I eliminated the horizontal seam in the front and just folded back the front pattern pieces at where I wanted my fold line to  I interfaced a 2" strip down the front and used the selvedge at the edge.   I then used a partial front neckline facing and sewed the rest of the jacket and stand-up collar per the instructions.    I interfaced the front fold-over placket and collar/facing sections with a designer light-weight interfacing that gave the knit just the body and stability needed for the stand-up collar and front placket.    It worked out perfectly and is soft and cozy to wear.   I love the big snaps.   These are plastic, not metal so they are very light and don't drag the fabric down.

I wore this to the Expo yesterday over the gray Textile Studio gray stretch wool Soho pants and Monaco T top.    I don't look so great,  but that's the real me after dealing with a month of illness.   And you can see the snow on the ground and deck rail.   We always seem to get plenty of snow in March!