Monday, October 28, 2013

Review: Colette Zinnia

I'll admit, I was kind of "meh" about the latest offering from Colette Patterns. A gathered, button-front skirt? An awkward-looking pleated skirt? For $16? Meh.

But of course, the more I thought about it, the more the button-front skirt appealed to me. I have several pins on Pinterest of similar skirts. In fact, earlier this year I wanted to make a similar skirt. So, why all the hating on a pattern that was almost exactly what I wanted just a few months ago? I'm not sure, really.

Well, anyway, two weeks ago, I got a wild notion of making this skirt (Version 1). I stopped by Made Sewing Studio to pick up the pattern. Then I took a trip to The Quilting Loft for the chambray. The chambray is lovely. It's from Robert Kaufman, part of the Interweave Chambray collection that popped up around August. I got it in Mustard (width = 44"). It's the perfect shade of mustard for my skin tone. I already had the buttons in my stash.

I was so very excited about this skirt. Very, very excited.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The highs and lows of coat making.

So, Burda 7347 is a bust. If I have learned one lesson from this experience, it's this: MAKE A MUSLIN. Some people possess an innate sewing ability to nail their size from a new pattern with little or no pattern adjustments. I do not possess this talent. Had I made a muslin, I would have known how to deal with certain issues (listed below) before cutting into my fabric and top-stitching (per instructions).

My issues:

1. The finished measurements for the bust and the waist are the same. This means this coat is a glorified rectangle. I am already broad-shouldered and rectangular in shape. I used tan twill, so while trying this on in the mirror I actually thought I looked like a cardboard box. I did break out the french curve to add some shaping to the side seams to no avail.

2. Top-stitching. It's my own fault. I should whipped up a muslin which would have been easy to adjust but I top-stitched all the seams so I couldn't go back and unpick it all. Not going to happen.

3. I was overwhelmed by the thought of tailoring. I kept reading all these blogs and coat-sewalongs...I felt that in order for my coat to look decent, I would have to dedicate hours of tailoring time. I had no desire to do this, but I felt that it was almost a requirement (why? I have no idea).

In light of those issues, I should be deterred from coat-making for a little while, right? Nope. It only strengthened my resolve. I will make a coat this year, damn it. So, here goes attempt #2.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Lining indecision

So, I'm chugging along with my Burda 7347 trench coat. Things are going quite well despite a hiccup here and there. The issues I have encountered have been due to Burda's sometimes vague instructions. But I knew this going in, so I can't really complain about it. Burda pattern instructions assume you already know how to sew fairly well, so they skip out on things that you should already have in your knowledge base (stay-stitching, notching curves, etc).

Today, I plan on tackling the collar, front facings and possibly the sleeves if I don't burn out later this afternoon. Sunday (tomorrow is Ikea day), I will start work on the lining. This is where indecision has placed itself firmly in my sewing room. I purchased my lining (a SUEDEsays polyester charmeuse) from Walmart for $5 a yard. I love it. I'm on a tight budget for the next couple of months, so anytime I come across a deal I jump on it.

Now, I want to add some kind of detail to the lining/facing. Perhaps piping. Perhaps grosgrain ribbon. Not sure. I've seen piping in a number of coats and jackets. It's cute. I have a Target Merona trench coat that has burgundy grosgrain ribbon around the lining/facing. Side note: My Target trench coat is what inspired me to sew my own. Even with it's poor construction and shoddy topstitching, it was originally $50+ (I got it on clearance for around $20). Surely, I could make something better than that. Anyway, I made up two samples to help me decide whether piping or ribbon will adore the interior of my coat:

Ribbon (left)/Piping (right)

Still not sure. I'm leaning towards piping but I think the ribbon is something you don't see as often. Hmm. And yes, I went traditional with the color of my coat fabric. It's a poly/cotton twill from Joann (I had a coupon). I like my choice so far.

So, what do you think: ribbon or piping?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fall sewing ideas. Not plans. Just ideas.

Tomorrow (technically today as it is 12:08 am), my sewing machine will finally arrive along with the rest of our stuff. The past week has been full of naps on the air mattress and sharing dinner on TV trays with folding chairs. All of our stuff was packed away in a Relocube that was supposed to be delivered on Friday. However, because of the parking policies at our current apartment, we had to reschedule for Monday.  To say this annoyed me would be the understatement of the year. I want my sewing machine. I am going bat-shit insane without it.

Sewing is my escape and help calms me during times of stress. Also, I am in dire need of a fall wardrobe. I never bothered with one when I lived in Texas. Austin is hot for about 8 -9 months out of the year and lukewarm to cool for the remaining 3 months (with the occasional frosty day). There really is no need for coats (or anything involving corduroy) there. Honestly, you could get away with just wearing a hoodie. You basically need just enough warmth to walk from your house (apartment, place of business, store, etc) to your car.

Seattle is a bit different because it actually rains here. The temperatures are much more suited for a fall wardrobe. I can wear corduroy here and not melt. This makes me giddy with all the sewing possibilities.

First off, I have trench coat plans.

Burda 7347 (out-of-print) is my pattern of choice. It was a tough call between it and the Sewaholic Robson Coat. I felt that the Burda pattern would require less work in terms of fit than the Robson Coat. Also, I'd much rather have a coat with a lining than deal with miles and miles of bias tape. Have I mentioned that I'm not a fan of bias tape? Yeah, not a fan. And I have no desire to draft a lining for a coat. Just no.

McCall's came out with a few new patterns. Most of them were quite blah but two did peak my interest.

McCall's 6844/McCall's 6833

I love the idea of a peplum cardigan (McCall's 6844) and view D of McCall's 6833 is very cute. I especially love the collar.

Next on my list are several ponte knit dresses: a wrap dress using Butterick/See & Sew 5546, and one using the collar from McCall's 6796 (to mimic this Modcloth dress).

Finally, I need a couple of skirts in my life. I think the Colette Zinnia is cute but I'm on the fence about it. I know how to add a button placket to a gathered skirt (and I even have an A-line gathered skirt pattern to use--Kwik Sew 3521), so why bother wasting $16 on it?

New Look 6843 is a cute skirt pattern with multiple options. It would be easy to use to make a plaid skirt with a wider waistband. I also have some lightweight wool in my stash that would work as well.

As far as shirts and blouses go, I have no trouble finding them on clearance at Target and Old Navy. Making my own t-shirts has never been a goal of mine. I may attempt a blouse or two, maybe.

That's it for now, I suppose. After I get my sewing room organized, I will start work on the trench coat. I've been dying to get started on it. I already have my fabric washed and ready to go. The pattern is all cut too. And I read the instructions like 5 times on the drive from Austin to Seattle.

That's dedication with just a sprinkling of insanity. Just a sprinkle.

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