Saturday, May 26, 2012

Poly Folly

The title says it all.  I decided to try and make something out of polyester.  Not just any old polyester.  The ickiest, most slippery, hottest polyester known to man.

Ok, I'm exaggerating a little.  But you won't see me sewing with polyester (by choice) anytime again soon.  I bought Vogue 1247 the other day during a sale at Hancock.  And then I decided to check out the bargain table for some sort of fabric to make it up with.  The print on this particular fabric clouded my judgement.  I figured I'd never actually made something out of polyester before, so why not try it out.

It feels pretty icky on. And it's hot.  And it makes a funky swish-y sound when I move.  But I really like the style of this Vogue pattern.  I've seen many awesome versions out there, but Carolyn's version made me want to buy the pattern.  I made a size 12 straight up.  I love the pleats at the neckline and the horizontal dart.  The neckline was pretty deep, so I closed the bottom of the vee about an inch higher.  One thing I really love about Vogue patterns is that they always seem to teach me a different way of doing something.  I like the way the neckline is bound (or is it faced?).  

Can you see how well all my seams meet up there on the center front?

  Good.  I'm glad you can't tell.  The print masks the horrific sewing job.  The hem is unbelievable.  This fabric is definitely suited more for a lining rather than a top.  It was slippery enough to merit some sort of stabilizer, but I just forged on.  I was determined to finish something.  The print placement is all willy nilly because that's how I cut it out.  It slipped and slid all over the place.  Like I said, I should have stabilized the fabric somehow.

I'm decently pleased with the finished the product, though I wouldn't let a fellow sewist inspect it too closely.  I think I'd like to make a high-waist yellow skirt to tuck it in to.  That would hide the wonky hem.  All in all, I recommend the pattern.  I'd like to try this again in a lightweight linen or lawn.  But for now, I'll wear my poly folly--- as long as I can stand the heat.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Life Imitating Art

 ...or vice versa?

This post is to distract you from the fact that I have not been sewing.  Life is busy right now. Super duper busy.  As it is for everyone, I'm sure.  Work is jam-packed with all the craziness that happens at the end of the school year.  It's fun, but I'm looking forward to the beginning of summer sew-cation- er, I mean vacation.

   My outfit today was inspired by a drawing of moi a student left on my whiteboard the other day.  I took a photo because I though the likeness was pretty spot on. I should start posting some of the drawings kids do of me.  The other day I received a portrait where I looked like I had a beard.  I was looking closely in the mirror later on...

The top is old me made.  A quick and dirty version of the Burda long sleeve tee pattern I so love to use.  I've been doing a pretty crappy job of documenting Me Made May though I have been wearing me made every day.  The skirt was purchased.  In fact, it's the first big ticket item I've purchased in a while.  I did a mental dance over whether or not I should buy it, but eventually I caved.  I, of course, instantly thought I could make that when I saw it.  But the chances of finding electric blue rayon for cheap and having time to sew an eight gore maxi are pretty slim these days.  I bought a size too big- that was all they had left at the store- and altered it to fit with four darts at the outermost gore seams, front and back.  So there was a little bit of sewing involved.  Anyway, I'm rambling...

And now, to distract you even more, I'm posting a few photos of some spectacular sculptures I put on display at my school the other day.  I had to share.  They are just too awesome.  These are all done by fifth grade students.  First, I taught a lesson on figure drawing.  We spent a couple of days sketching classmates as they posed; stick figures, gesture drawings (we called them tornado figures) and contour line drawings.  Then we moved on to clay figures.  They constructed the figure using several clay techniques we'd learned in the past.  The figures had to be reclining.  They are hilarious.  Some of them have so much personality.


Playin' it cool. 

"Heeeyyyy!" (said like the Fonz)


 Those are some crazy detailed Converse high tops.

"May I borrow ye paper when yer through thar, matey!"

"Tee hee!"

Not entirely sure how the snowman came about. But I love his earmuffs.

And one more thing education related since this seems to be the theme of this post...  

I have been completely engrossed, fascinated and inspired while reading Seth Godin's manifesto Stop Stealing Dreams.  If you are at all interested in public school reform, I highly recommend checking it out.

Wishing everyone a fabulous week with lots of time to sew!

Sunday, May 6, 2012


I have been completely stymied by this dress.   Here it sits, almost done but not quite.

It's a McCall's pattern from 1986.  Doesn't look very 80's does it?  I found it at the thrift store.  I've always admired circle skirts on other folks.  I thought I'd test out if I liked one on me.  It is a full circle.

This was intended to be wearable, but really it is just a muslin.  I don't usually make muslins.  Unless I intend them to be wearable.  I did a few alterations.  Same old square shoulder, lower back neckline that I always do.  The bodice fits well.  Darts are in the right place.  I like the subtle sweetheart neckline.

I used up some leftover lace trim at the armhole and piping at the neckline.  The fabric is also thrifted.  It looks like linen but it's not.  I think it may actually be drapery fabric.  There's no lining or underlining so my catch stitch on the facings looks horrendous.  I hate armhole facings by the way.

The problem is that I'm just meh about the whole thing.  The fabric, the trim, the silhouette.  It's been sitting on my dress form waiting on a hem and buttonholes for two weeks.  I can't bring myself to finish it.  And I can't seem to start anything else until it's finished.  

Do I finish it?  Put it away and come back to it later?  I can't picture myself wearing it, but you never know.  I wanted to make a real deal version out of some seersucker I've had in my stash for a while.  But I'm not sure how I feel about doing that either.

I've found that I don't like to move on to something else until I finish what I've been working on.   This is a recent development.  I seem to be getting more compulsive with age.  I don't have any ufo's lying around.  I have some failed sewing experiments around but nothing I just didn't finish.   I know there is one project I cut out and never sewed up.  I guess that counts as a ufo.  What about you?  Do you have several projects going on at once or are you monogamous with your projects?

So I'm rationalizing giving up on it.  Someone tell me it's okay.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


 I had to redeem myself after the Tigra mishap.  So I made one more version of Simplicity 2601.  I love this little blouse pattern.  The shape is so nice.  Makes me feel like I have a little waist- even on days when I know I don't ;)

I did several alterations on this version based on my other two versions.  I did a square shoulder adjustment and lowered the back neckline 1/2".  I took in the midfriff 1/2" on each side, tapering the bodice and peplum sections to match.  I added an extra button, although on this particular version I forgot to extend the underlap.  Oh well.  And I slashed and spread the cap sleeve about an inch to accommodate my, erm, bulging biceps.

This blouse was a laborious bit of sewing.  Yes, it's Liberty tana lawn (ooh la la!).  I wish I could afford to buy yardage but sadly, I can't.  I'm on a strict fabric diet at the moment.  This was all salvaged from a dress I found at a thrift store.  Not just any thrift store, but the "by-the-pound" thrift store.  That's where thrift store clothing goes to die.  When stuff doesn't sell or doesn't even make it in to the regular thrift store, it gets sent to the "by-the-pound" store.  Everything is thrown in huge bins and yes, it's sold by the pound. A dollar a pound.  It's actually a little gross.  Makes you feel like you need to take a shower after you've been sorting through some of the bins.  I don't go there very often, but I was glad when I spotted a dress made from Liberty.  I'm guessing it didn't even cost me a full dollar.  It has to be old because I haven't seen this colorway in the Wiltshire print before.   It's mainly orange on a blue background.

As a result of it being salvaged from an existing garment, there are a few weird seams throughout.  But I'm not fussed about it.  Since the fabric is so fancy-schmancy, I made sure the insides are just as nice as the outsides.  French seams where possible and all the other raw edges are bound, including the sleeve seams which I hardly ever worry about.   The buttons are faux mother of pearl.  I may switch them out for nicer ones someday.  Or not.

Please excuse all the wrinkles in these photos.  I finished it last night at about ten and then wore it to work today straight away. 
I skipped the interfacing.  I figured the heavier weight polka dot shirting I used for the under collar and midriff facing would stiffen those pieces up a bit.  But my collar flips up a bit at the edges- methinks because there is no interfacing there.  What is the true purpose of interfacing anyway?  Can anyone enlighten me?  I tend to skip it wherever possible, but maybe I shouldn't.  I avoid the white, cardboard-y stuff and stick with fusible tricot when I do use it.  Any good resources for buying good quality interfacing?

As for other matters of business...

Yep, I'm joining the fun.  May is an extremely busy month for me at work.  I'm frantically trying to finish up lessons, plan art shows, do end-of-year assessments, etc.  I know I'm not upping the ante this time around, but I'll be happy if I make it through the month wearing one me-made a day.  My challenge is going to be in photographing, specificaly posing.  No repeat poses this month.  I can only stare at the ground one time.  We'll see how silly this gets :)

One more thing: Hooray for PicMonkey!