New Patterns at Indygo Junction

For some reason, I am often attracted to Indygo Junction patterns, despite the fact that my aesthetic is not country shabby chic. I think it’s because the lines of each design are always coherent and obvious, and there’s always a less-decorated version on the pattern envelope. Many of their pieces have a nod to retro while still being practical and modern; they manage to be cute without being cutesy. I own a couple of their jacket patterns but haven’t made either up yet.
Several of the new patterns on their site caught my attention. The appliqued ‘plaid’ version of the Best Bias Skirt is intriguing, and I like the side slits:

The Inside Out Jacket, if made in only one or two fabrics, would be a cute light jacket - what about in denim?

I want to like the Modern House Coat, but something about the proportions seems off. Maybe if the waist was lowered from empire to the natural waist?

And Indygo Junction always has cute kids patterns (Angelic Tunic & Topper, Girly Gored Skirt, Jack and Jill Jammies) and aprons; I like the Lucy and June apron:

And the Afternoon Tea Apron, which would make a great ‘dress’ historical reproduction apron, particularly for Edwardian and late Victorian, in a white fabric:

Maker Faire

Sunday we went to the Maker Faire. I always feel bad that I don't enjoy Maker Faire more. I sew, I do crafty and DIY stuff - I'm just their audience. But there's so much *stuff* there, so many people and options I feel like I'm always running around, just getting the surface level of things and not learning anything substantive.

Decades of Style were there, and I would have bought one or two of their newish patterns, but the area where their table was was just insanely crowded with people. It's neat to see their sample garments; their envelope illustrations are so vintage-y that it's sometimes hard to imagine them made up for the modern wardrobe. I was struck particularly by the Lily Jacket, which was lovely with a cool back seaming detail, made in a rayon-y drapey fabric, and would be really nice as a topper over a summer dress.

Looking for May flowers

A couple weeks ago I ordered a passel more of Knipmodes from Naaipatronen (she'd gotten in a few more April 2008s, and shipping is cheaper if you buy several, you my rationalizations?) and Friday I came home from a meeting in the cold and rain to find a box waiting for me. Oh happy day. Besides just drooling and paging through them, I've also traced a couple patterns that I want to try first. I made a quick muslin of just the waist/hip area of a simple skirt to test the sizing, since I've only made tops so far, and the fit was spot on. So spot on that I'm kinda waiting for the other shoe to drop. (Oh wait, everything's in Dutch, surely that's enough travail?)

I've also been working on a couple other projects. I finished a OOP Butterick skirt (a-line with a side drape) out of crinkle cotton, and the main construction is done on a green oxford version of the new Simplicity cup-size top. Both are wearable and will be nice for summer, but there are little problems with both. I may rip out the facing of the skirt and make a new one from the aforementioned KM pattern, because it gapes a bit in the back and will probably drive me nuts eventually. The pattern has you cut the waistband facing on the bias, which upon reflection makes no sense to me. You want your waistband to be stable, not stretch out during the course of the day.

I have no pictures of anything I've been working on, so as consolation I give you this blog by a tailor, with fabulous pictures of the innards of tailored jackets: Made by Hand.

Spring Cleaning

Through a combination of selling fabric on Pattern Review and cutting out new projects, I’m now into negative numbers in my stash parity, which I’m very pleased with. Some of the sold fabrics were poor choices for me, and I hope I’m learning my lesson that a bargain I don’t sew is no bargain at all. You heard it here first: as god as my witness, I will never buy busy, multicolored prints or colors that don’t suit me again. I don’t tend to sew them, and if I do I don’t wear them, so I might as well avoid the whole thing.

I’ve sewn a couple of KnipMode knit tops now, and the fit is darn near perfect without tweaking. I’m amazed; off the peg they fit better than anything I’ve ever sewn, including the quite-good Ottobre tees. (Maybe there’s some secret Dutch heritage in my family?) It’s worth the extra $ and the effort of ‘translating’ the Dutch (if you can call what I do that), if I keep on getting such a good fit so easily. Cross your fingers that the bottoms and woven tops are as good a fit.

(no subject)

That’s what a college physics professor of mine used to call exams. Funny man. The point is well-taken, though - often when you’re limited in some aspects of your project, that’s when the most creative, interesting solutions appear. One of those opportunities showed up for me recently. I bought several pairs of pants at the after-Christmas sales, giddy at the fact I could find some RTW pants that mostly fit. The hem lengths were perfect when bought. I expected some shrinkage, maybe to the point that I would have to limit them to wearing with flat shoes; annoying but nothing new. But after a few more washes and dryings, they shrank to the point that I looked like I was wearing high-waters. So I gave in and unpicked the hems. Fortunately there was a fairly deep hem turn-up, so I could get just enough length. Since I’d worn and washed/dried them a few times, the hem creases were pretty well set. I went at them with iron and spritz bottle and managed to get them halfway decent looking. The bottoms of the hems had also faded a bit from wearing. I didn’t want to add ribbon or trim, given the style. The two cotton/spandex pair weren’t too bad, so I just disguised it a bit with the location of my topstitched hem. But the denim pair was quite faded and obvious.
I considered dyeing or adding trim, but neither really appealed. After pondering it for a while, I had a brainstorm: permanent markers. I tested on an inconspicuous area first, and ended up using blue and black ultra-fine Sharpies to color in the faded area on the dark indigo denim. If you stare at it close-up, it’s visible, but from from a distance it blends in nicely. I figure if someone’s looking at my hem that closely, I’m in the perfect position to kick them in the head. ;) I’m waiting to see if they launder OK. I doubt it’s something they’d do at Chanel, but it works fine by me.

Argh! Photos!

Does anyone else hate taking pictures of their finished projects? I always appreciate it when other people’s blogs and reviews have a great photo, as there are a lot of things that are hard to show without a photo. So I try to return the favor, but at least half of the time I’m unsatisfied with the result.
I don’t think my problem is technical; I just find it hard to get the right light, a non-distracting background, and then get a timed photo where I don’t look like a complete dork, that shows the detail of the project. I’m not expecting my photos to look like a magazine spread, I just don’t want really bad photos out there for the whole internet to see.
I’m really wishing for a dressmaker’s dummy right now, mainly so I could see if I could use it to get better photos. Hanger and flat photos are usually worse than nothing, at least on things that fit my (decidedly not flat) figure.

Springtime, and a young woman’s fancy turns toward sewing

It’s still raining most days around here, but it’s getting warmer and lighter and generally creeping slowly toward spring. I’ve decided to finish up or put away my winter projects and make a new start for spring. I suppose I’m also officially giving up on SWAP for this year. With NaNo in November, the holidays, and then getting sick so much in January and February, I really didn’t get much sewing done this winter. Oh well, it’s my hobby, not another reason to wallow in guilt.
I’ve worked out appropriate RTW for the wedding I’m attending in early April, so I don’t need to try to make a dress. There are a few things I’d like to make for other events on the trip, though. Here’s my March pre-trip to-do list:
- Shorten straps on dress for wedding
- Teal linen pencil skirt
- Rose knit top
- Let down hems on all my new-ish pants that have shrunk in the wash (argh!)
- Black/white brocade shawl collar jacket (probably a stretch to finish)
That should definitely keep me busy for the next few weeks. I’ve also been wanting to move my blog to a new host, so maybe I’ll get around to that too.