Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Laurel, version two : the Pantone dress!

I am in love with this Colette Laurel pattern.

This time around, I was inspired by a J Crew shift and then this vintage shift:
photo courtesy Red Velvet Shoe Vintage
For this version, I decided to use a cotton sateen from Elliot Berman Textiles. While I love the sheen of the finish, I don't know that I'd describe it as a sateen. It's very lightweight, almost like a voile. It has a beautiful silky drape and the colors were exactly what I was looking for to enter this version into the Pantone Color Contest at Pattern Review.

While it's hard to capture the true colors with a camera, trust me, this print has the perfect  Nectarine, Poppy Red, Tender Shoots and African Violet. Just that combination sounds delicious, doesn't it? Now, the other thing that REALLY attracted me to this fabric is how I could bring it back to black, which I wear a lot of.
There is something bold about the black added to this palette of floral colors just anchors it all together.

This delicate fabric required a lining. I chose a red bemberg rayon ( love, love, love) which slinks and silks right along with the dress fabric.

I used french seams to finish the dress, and did hand sewn hems. I tried a new finish on the arms scythe, which I learned from a couture sewing book. I chose this method since I did not line my sleeves, which  left the raw edges of the seams exposed.

The sleeve seam is trimmed down to  a 1/4 inch, leaving the dress portion of the arm scythe as the full 5/8/" seam. (ha! do you use your jeans as a pincushion, too?)

The 5/8" dress fabric is then folded around the 1/4" trimmed sleeve fabric and hand sewn in place to cover the entire seam. it creates a nice delicate finish without having to fiddle with bias binding.

And finally, ( I know, Lori,  that this was not your favorite option according to your text last night!) I added a delicate beading trim to the neckline.I think it gives it  just a bit of sassiness without detracting from the print.

So, here's my dress!

 And I am in love with this online sewing community. After making my first Laurel, and having some concerns with it shifting toward my back, some of you gave some me  suggestions about how to resolve that.

It made sense to me that the shoulder seams should be shifted forward, so that's exactly what I did. By about a 1/2 inch.

It didn't make as much sense to me the physics behind raising the back neckline. But I trusted you all and I did just that. Raised the back neckline by almost 2 " and lowered the front neckline about an inch.
Doing both of these adjustments worked like magic on the fit.

And with the coat?

I could wear both of these pieces a hundred different ways.

Now, is this the most flattering style for me? Probably not, but I have to admit I am crazy about the ease of this dress for summer. I can't imagine it getting any breezier for work or weekends.

Please check out the gallery of participant entries at Pattern Review Pantone Color Contest and choose your favorite starting May 3rd!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Burda 7072. The Poppy Red Coat

I'm trying to think of the last time I had a red coat. Ah, yes....it wasn't that long ago.  A big marshmallowy  puffy down coat from Eddie Bauer. Which I wore just this past winter to Wine About Winter with Kate. It was the first time I had it on in a loooonnnnggg time. And I realized that no matter how warm the coat is, it was unflattering as anything. So that night, I  left Wine About Winter, went straight to Bon Ton and bought a black down coat which was much more flattering should you really have to wear a puffy down coat.

I love red coats. And the fact is, when I got the wool using Rhonda's gift card, I knew exactly that I wanted to make a red coat. Well, here it is, well past winter, and I finally made my red coat. Burda 7072.

I just love this coat!  And, as I said in my previous post, I enjoyed making every bit of it.
I made no modifications other than the bound buttonholes.

The pattern is really unusual in the way that it all pieces together. There is a side panel and under arm panel that are stitched together and then joined to the upper sleeves and sides. Interesting and somewhat challenging construction.  But I just love how pretty all those seams come together.

I made view B. The shorter version.  My coat is lined with lavender bemberg rayon.

My one frustration, if any,  is that the lining was drafted short for the coat. I originally wanted to make the longer sleeves, but I ended up having to shorten them because the lining was just not long enough as cut. The body of the coat lining is fine, but could have used an extra 1/2 inch or so in length.

Because this is a medium weight wool coat, I will get lots of use over three seasons. The length is perfect with jeans, a skirt or a dress. And the retro styling is fab. u. lous! SO cool!

So there it is. My Poppy Red coat is being entered in the Pattern Review Pantone Spring Color Contest, along with a Laurel shift dress.
I'll be sharing more photos of my coat worn with that wonderful dress in the next day or so! 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Red is for Rhonda

My best friend’s name is Rhonda. She loves me even though she pretty much knows every bit of me…she has seen me embarrass myself, she has hugged me through the ugly cry, and she knows my secrets. She has prayed with me and for me, she encourages me, and she is an incredible listener. Rhonda is the absolute opposite of me in so many ways, which makes me admire and desire her thoughtful, gracious and sensible ways. She knows me. Which is why, I’m sure, as a Christmas gift, she gave me a gift card for fabric. When I saw the poppy red wool, there was no question in my mind that it would become a coat…a coat in Rhonda’s favorite color. I think of her every time I work on it, and I will remember her every time I wear it.  Three yards of poppy red wool, an idea for a retro style coat, the discovery of Burda 7072 and a Pantone Color Contest on Pattern Review and the lightbulb went on.

So my adventure is underway and even though I’ve been inching along on this coat, I have really enjoyed sewing it every step of the way.
I’ve enjoyed constructing the confluence of seams that make up the underarm and side panels …. marking, pinning, pressing.

I’ve enjoyed doing the buttonholes…I decided on three bound buttonholes, which, when completed, came together pretty flawlessly.

I've enjoyed shaping that collar, trimming the seams, basting it in place, and appreciating how this simple coat needed the perfect simple collar.
I have even enjoyed lining my coat, and making the magic of a bagged lining happen.
(The lining is African Violet….another Pantone Spring 2013 color choice)
The buttons are covered…like plump little poppy red tomatoes.
The companion to this coat will be a shift dress… a riotous mix of Poppy Red, African Violet, Tender Shoots and Dusk Blue and Nectarine…how much fun will that be?
Oh, the interfacing? I had to really work the interfacing, since I had so little left from my last Fashion Sewing Supply order. Actually, this little pile is all that’s left now. Time to call Pam…she really does have the best interfacing.
So even though the temperatures are climbing into the sixties, I am still excited about sewing my coat. And maybe even wearing it on some chilly mornings and evenings. After all, it’s still Spring in these parts.

follow me on INSTAGRAM!  ltbrundage

Monday, April 22, 2013

how to relax on a weekend.

With a big family and work and running another business, we find that our weekends can be pretty packed, leaving little room to just hang out or hang at home and play house.

We declared that this past weekend we were making no plans…it was going to be a fly by the seat of our pants weekend.

Friday night, we went to our favorite movie house…The Amherst Screening Room. We love to get there early to grab one of the comfy sofas or sets of wingback chairs to watch. It’s five bucks to see an old movie ( think Hitchcock films, sixties thrillers or big classics) on a big screen. It’s such a relaxed atmosphere, but the people there really do behave well and have an appreciation for the venue. (think…mostly older people!) And you can get a cocktail with your popcorn. 
Talk about some adorable sixties fashion and decor...
Saturday, we browsed a local estate sale and a few thrift shops, and found some goodies for our own home. So that means, if something comes in, something has to go out. We switched out our porch furniture, a set of living room chairs and our dining room table. And spent less than $75. Now that’s the way I like to shop! And the kids get to have the stuff we’re changing out. Win, Win!

Of course, that means I add a few more projects to my house list…I’m going to slipcover those chairs and do a makeover on the dining room table. I 'll share my projects as we go.

We did a lot of planning and sketching of a bedroom makeover and JR’s final push to finish the kitchen.

I painted three pieces…two to sell and one to keep for the bedroom.

And did some sewing. Yes, I volunteered to alter a prom dress. What was I thinking????

Here's what I was thinking....I was willing to do this gratis for a young lady who can't afford all of the over-the-top prom stuff. So, some other parents pitched in for the evening events, and I am re-styling a hand me down dress. It's alot of sparkle and bling and girly, but it's exactly what she wants and I have never seen someone so excited to put on a dress...she actually twirled in delight! We're giving her an opportunity to make a memory with her friends. And that's worth every pin prick over other priorities.

So, while I didn’t do much relaxing this weekend, it was good to just hang out at home to nest and fluff and play.

1, 2, 3….breathe.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

are you torn between to lovers?

I always wonder about this virtual sewing club of ours and how, no doubt, we have so many more things in common than just sewing.

Do you like collecting vintage sewing supplies? Do you thrift for clothes as well?  Collect other vintage goodies? Knit? Read? Camp? Biking? Gardening? What  passions do you have other than fabric, needle and thread? What is the other lover in your life that temptingly teases you away from your sewing machine?

I am a little obsessed with anything old, building a collection, and hunting down treasures. I figured I’d share a few of my sewing related stuff that I've gathered over the past several months.

Most recently, this adorable little Betsy Ross sewing machine:

It comes with its own cover case in faux red snakeskin!  I won this at an auction on Friday night, where there  were also several other sewing machines in the collection. I was happy to get this little guy. Some of the others were too far out of my league, including TWO Vintage Singer Featherweights in near about perfect condition...like new, in cases and with the books. They sold for $375 and $355.   The other gem was a very, very cool early Singer industrial machine. It sold for $25! 

Betsy joins  this child’s sewing machine that I got several months ago:

Now I have to find a third to make it an official  collection! Can you just imagine the little girls that were so happy to have their own machines? Can you imagine the tiny patchwork masterpieces and designer doll clothes made from scraps? I know I would have loved something like this when I was a little person. But then, I learned at the age of 11 on my mother's Bernina. Doesn't get much better than that!

Whenever I’m out and about, I cannot resist a tomato pincushion.

I have a garden variety of them in all shapes and sizes. 

And vintage  needle folders. Aren't the  graphics just beautiful?

A while back, I found this Singer hemming do-hicky. I’m not exactly sure how it works, but it gets filled with chalk and then you do something with it to mark a hemline. I wonder if it's a very functional piece?

And patterns and buttons? Oh, the patterns and buttons...

So, I just wonder, sewing buddies, what else are you crazy about? Do you love vintage sewing supplies? Do you collect anything in particular? What are the other pastimes and interests  that make your heart go 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Laurel, the first

This is my first Laurel. She's pretty sassy malassy, if you ask me.
It's a little strange to think of writing a post about  a dress that  didn't require a lot of fiddling and fussing.
That's right, pretty much, straight out of the package, two muslins later, no FBA. Which is pretty much unheard of for me.

You know the story. I was inspired by this Kate Spade shift with the double ruffle sleeves:

And I had some fabric in my stash...a silky polyester something or other that was black and white.  I was at Joann's yesterday for a serger class and I saw some zebra print sateen. Dang! But, I probably won't make one in zebra. My version will have to do.

I think it's an adorable dress. And I don't have to hold my stomach in.

See those sleeves? I did that on my serger!

The first time around, I cut a size 18 just to see.
Then I cut a size 16, grading down to a 14 through the hips and skirt.

It does tend to shift back on my shoulders. I don't' know why, do any of you?

Because of the width of the neckline, it really didn't need a zipper. I am thinking that my next one, I'll raise up that neckline in the back.

It's a cute dress. I will wear it this summer with flats and during the fall/winter with some tights. I would have shown you a few different outfit options, but honestly, I have sworn off tights until October! I think if would look really cute with boots, too.

My next version is going to be from that Pantone loaded print ( blogged about here), along with a poppy red coat to wear as a companion piece for the Pattern Review Contest.

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Laurel, my love

Last week, I got Colette's Laurel in the mail. It was a good mail day. I got some other stuff, too, that I will share in another post.

I know, I know. There are a dozen different patterns out there for a basic shift/sheath and yes, last summer I even made a few using a pattern that I now call my own TNT after all the fussing and fitting I did.

But I couldn’t resist. And am I glad I didn’t. I could wear these dresses any day of the week to work or for weekends.

Can I just say that this pattern fit me about perfectly? My first muslin was a size 18. Just to see what would happen. So often, I have to cut a 16-18 for the shoulders and chest area and do a FBA, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was just big overall. Second muslin was a 16. And I’m pretty comfortable with the fit, without any modifications to the bust or sleeve, which I normally must do.

Well, you know I had to do some sketching and stash digging to see what I could come up with for this dress. There are about a thousand different options, and a thousand  more depending on your creativity.

For a bell sleeved version like this Kate Spade dress,

I am using this fabric....okay, it's not zebra, but it hints of zebra.

And would you just look at those bell sleeves again? Double ruffles!!!! I am dying of the cuteness!

And, I found a really pretty floral linen and thought it might be interesting to trim it out somehow in a black sheer. I’ve got to think through this one.

Another version is inspired by this J Crew shift:

It will be made from a multi print (a gorgeous, amazing satin finish cotton from Elliot Bermann Textiles).

It’s loaded with those Pantone Colors for 2013, and since I entered the Pantone Color Contest at Pattern Review, I think a Laurel version made with this fabric will be an entry in the contest… IF I can pull it off in time, and IF I can think of a companion piece.

Any ideas for a companion piece, my friends??