Monday, November 14, 2016

Simplicity Pattern Review - 8229 & 8228 by Madalynne

Simplicity and Madalynne have paired up to release a couple of patterns. One of the last times I was at Pacific Fabrics here in Seattle I decided to pick them both up. It is wonderful that the big companies are starting to notice the comeback of sewers creating lingerie again. There are many independent designers who have released wonderful lingerie patterns but we all have to admit not everyone seems to be aware of this fact. These patterns I am sure will help increase the awareness that patterns are available and hopefully people will explore their options.  

The colours for this one were partially picked due to the Halloween season and the fact that I had unearthed a package of dyed lingerie fabric I had bought from Bravo Bella. The orange stretch lace is from Sew Sassy. After making a couple of bras from 8229 I am happy with the fit of bras. This bra has a wide bridge between the cups compared to many patterns so something to be very cautious of when creating this bra. It is perfect for me but know it would be too wide for many women. I made a 36B, sometimes I make a 34C but I know Madalynne patterns from previous experience fit a bit on the smaller side so went with the 36B. The 34 would of been more confining then I like but I also don't wear my bras as tight as often recommended.

Another modification I normally do is to sew the strap like the above picture. For some reason it seems to help make my straps stay in the appropriate place on my shoulders. When I don't sew them this way the straps slide off my shoulders continuously.

 Above is a picture of the bra I did in a neutral beige- stretch lace from Sew Sassy and Beige powernet, and sheer organza(lining) from Nancy's Sewing Basket. 

This is the bra from 8228 and panties from 8229. For some reason the panties aren't comfy at all though they fit in general. I know one issue is the cut of the leg, I would need to raise or lower the front. Everything else is just off a bit also, the crotch is a smidge wider then I find comfortable and the waist hits somewhere between my high and low waist and not in a flattering spot. I assume on most people they would sit on their high waist. Thus far I have never come across a pantie pattern that fits me just right, the only ones that fit and are comfy are patterns that I have created from my measurements.This is probably due to my stride and my unique proportions.

I decided to try the halter bra from the 8228. Here my main issue is that it is to short as you can see on the mannequin(picture below). The cups rise up and it creates way to much strain on my neck. This is a simple thing to remedy though by just adding some length to the neck strap. I need at least 2 1/2" for it to sit comfortably. I am sure once I do this it will fit quite well. It gives nice coverage in the cups and seems comfy otherwise. Eventually I am sure I will try the second bra on each pattern. I am going to compare the cut of the panties and see if there is any variance before trying the second pair of those..

Monday, November 7, 2016

Perfection of Style - Yves Saint Laurent

I have been to see The Perfection of Style - Yves Saint Laurent twice now since its opening at the Seattle Art Museum. Once just to check it out and see how it had been curated. I always find it very interesting to see how individual curators decide to display fashion exhibits. This exhibit is done exceptionally well it is a wonderful combination of decades through clothing, collection boards, fabrics, costume jewellery etc. The second was to attend a workshop on Fashion & Identity with the YSL exhibit being part of the discussions. Pictures following are some of the outfits that caught my eye often because of the structure, detailing and draping.

Detail of ivory evening dress which could easily double as a wedding dress 1971

More complete view of ivory evening dress
One of his simple but striking ensembles
rive gauche collection 1977

One of my favourite dresses due to it's simplicity

Side view of black silk crepe dress

One Sample of many collection boards on display

rive gauche collection 1991

Wedding gown 1970
Personally I think it would be an amazing jacket

My favourite decades from Yves Saint Laurent are the late 60's and the 70's. He did an amazing job of including many aspects of pop culture into his designs throughout his life but I feel he did it the best during these times in his collections. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

All About the Fabric

It is all about the fabric sometimes. I had a small piece of this fabric that kept making it back to the top of a pile. So I decided obviously it wanted to be made into something. But then it was so hard to decide which side I preferred. So thus I had to play with things a bit to make the top reversible. Not the easiest thing to do with a bra. But I managed tho the hooks and eyes are a little difficult to do up when the cups are gold.

 This is not normally a fabric I would own. But sometimes one doesn't know how something ends up in their fabric stash. It was just enough to make a Watson bra with matching panties.

Had to use black for the elastics etc but it gives a nice finish to the set. There is a good chance that I will never wear the set but I am quite happy with the finished project aesthetic wise. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

S.T.E.A.M Project -Glowing House

Have been doing a variety of projects with my daughter this summer. It has been a great way to be creative and for us to both learn something new. Picked this project as I have been playing around with e-textiles and have come across references to electric paint. So one day when we were at Ada's Technical Books and Cafe here in Seattle I gave in to the request of purchasing Voltage Village Glowing House Set by Bare Conductive.

It is a project recommended for 12 and up. My daughter has just turned 10, she loved the colouring of house parts and the building of the actual paper house. Not so keen on the waiting for electric paint to dry between steps. The instructions were fine if you have some knowledge of circuits. Could of done with a few more details of how things worked as she was confused a bit during assembly, she definitely could not of done this project by herself. But with a little patience and perseverance on my part we got both houses built.

I was very pleased with how the electric paint worked and will definitely be experimenting further. A very nice way to experiment with small circuit/electrical projects without learning the art of GOOD soldering. Soldering is something I should practice a bit more - which is on my roster for this fall.

Here is a picture of our finished project. It comes with a variety of bushes and trees to cut out. So you can play around a bit with landscaping your homes.

Lights on in the front hall. Works quite nicely and the necessary batteries are included in the kit which is a nice bonus in my opinion. So often we go to start a project and then realize we don't have the appropriate battery in the house. A modification I would make if doing another one would be to use heavier paper for the roof or do the circuits on a piece which lined the roof. It would be cooler if you couldn't see the outlines of paint and lights on the actual roof.

It was a fun project and took about 3 hours in total if you include drying time for paint. Was a bit of an investment as they retail for approx. $40. I have some paint left which I could use for another small project but other then that everything was used in the kit. Of course my daughter thinks we should add more houses so we could have a whole village. I am trying to think of a similar build I could do to use in a variety of lego buildings. Cause you know lego buildings really need a little lego electrician to come wire them up to make them just that much cooler. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Beginning Robotics

Haven't been doing much sewing lately. Instead I am taking a variety of online courses, one of them being a Beginning Robotics course. Have been learning a variety of terms and the many advancements of robotics in the last few years. One of the things that was quite interesting is looking at a timeline of robotics and the variety of opinions on when and what can be termed as robotic.

The movie Metropolis(1927) is actually an important part of the timeline. When watching this movie and thinking of the date it was released you can only be surprised. Personally I always knew of Metropolis as an early example of science fiction but never really thought of it as having any significance on robotics. It was another case of how so many things can overlap.

Otherwise in the course I have been doing a variety of computer simulation as what is involved in the anatomy and programming of robots. So me being Me I had to actually build something. What I decided to build as a start with my daughter was the Kingii Dragon which is a robot pet. 
She had a tendency to wander off and leave me to it at times but it was a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. 
It uses sensors to either follow you or retreat from you. Its frill also unfurls and shakes. I only had one technical difficulty when I put the wrong length of rod in one area and then had some problems getting it back out (here the wonders of Pam came into use - which I am sure is not a recommended tool in the building of robotics). All in all it was well worth building and it is even cooler cause now I have two pet dragons. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Sewing Lessons

My daughter wasn't sure about actually sitting down at the machine and sewing. She didn't trust the needle and speed. So I decided the best way to get her accustomed to controlling the speed was to start with following lines on paper without the needle threaded. This is probably one of the best ways to get accustomed to using the foot pedal and understanding a bit about the feed dogs.

She was surprised initially by the fact the paper would move without her forcing it. Now as to following the lines that was another matter. At first she just let the machine do all the work but then realized she needed to do a bit of guiding.

Then it became a challenge to keep the speed consistent. If you have never used a foot pedal of any sort this can be a little tricky at first. I personally like sewing in my bare feet so thus this is what she was trying. Which meant she wasn't getting a consistent pressure at first. But eventually she started getting the feel of it. Next time I will get her to try it with some shoes on and see if there is a difference. 

After a few sheets she was feeling much more confident that the machine doesn't bite. I know part of her fear is the fact that I have had a few sewing mishaps over the years that she is aware of. I strongly recommend not sewing when you are tired even if you are on a deadline for an order. And definitely pay complete attention when using the rotary cuter when slicing a felted wool sweater for stuffing. 

Or you can end up with a finger like this for a while. This happened when she was 7 and I am sure she will remember it always and it will probably take a lot of coaxing for her to ever use a rotary cuter.

Tho she also remembers this... 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Vintage Fashion Postcards

At a recent visit to Archie McPhee's - a place I would strongly recommend if you are ever in the Seattle area - I picked up some postcards. Vintage fashion advertisements always catch my eye. These cards are ads for Berkshire Hosiery, Lilion, and Label 4 Jrs.

So of course I had to do a google search on each, which of course led me down the rabbit hole aka slippery slope. Berkshire hosiery is an American company which is still going, not a lot about the history of the company on their site. They are based in North Carolina and it sounds like they make a great effort to keep their product Made in USA. It was not a company I was familiar with before picking up this card, but I think I may have to try a pair of their opaque tights. It did bring on a discussion about Leggs stockings with my daughter. Remember their egg packaging. 
I distinctly remember asking neighbours to save these for me when I was a child. I found so many uses for them.

For the Lilion postcard I didn't really find anything at all beyond a couple of other images/pc's being sold on ebay. I will have to dig a bit deeper and see if I can unearth anything else about the company at a future date.

The Label 4 Jrs was mostly other images also. But when researching them I also started looking up info about Antron a nylon fabric created by Dupont. This brought on more research as where I grew up many people worked at the local Dupont plant. Often I forget how fabrics such as Antron are trademarked. During the late 50's,60's and into the 70's nylon fabrics were considered wonder fabrics and often used in clothing. I also associate these nylon fabrics as hot, smelly and uncomfortable, definitely not something to wear on a humid day. This also was a time when every piece of clothing no longer needed to be ironed - Yeaahh. Many of the fabrics during this time period were also wonderfully vibrant and of a more simple structure. Now most bathing suits are blends with such fabrics as lycra/spandex but suits including Antron will definitely dry quicker. Today Antron is more commonly associated with carpets and its water repellent nature then its use in garments.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Oddmall Emporium

Oddmall Emporium of the Weird in Everett, Washington. This past weekend we decided to check this event out, I had come across it when researching shows in the area. It is definitely a show I would normally be applying to be a vendor at. About 95% of the vendors were the creators of the work they had available for sale. Looks like this year is a big year for them as they are adding shows to their roster.


 Oddmall was introduced to the Seattle area in 2013 with the assistance of Andy Hopp who started Oddmall in Akron Ohio in 2009. The basis behind the show is to provide a venue for local makers, artists, musicians and performers to show their stuff off to the public. It is a family friendly event and there is something for everyone. We got to see the Seattle band Geppetto's Retribution on Sunday afternoon just after we arrived. We did this during a little break between checking out the vendors.

Of course we had to purchase a few things ;0)
Munchkin got herself a hand drawn map created by Forgotten Times something she has wanted since seeing them at Mythic Worlds a few months ago. She also got a Chooseomatic book called Time Travel Dinosaur by Matt Youngmark which she is enjoying immensely.

I picked out a book from Broken Eye Books called by Faerie light which is an anthology of alternative fairy tales. The cool little moustached guy is a sticker from Normiehead, I have a thing for stickers and my filing cabinet is well decorated. Last but not least I bought a light from Spark Plug Industries. It just kinda called my name tho it was a bit of a decision between this and another one with a spider for the on/off switch. This one won, it suits the living room and what's even better is the french doors have close to a matching doorknob.

All in all a nice way to spend a Sunday.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Measure of A Man

This is a book that is coming up on the Colette Patterns Book Club roster. 
I lucked out at the local library, got it within a week of requesting it. Wasn't sure if I was going to like the book as the reviews stressed that it was about his strained relationship with his father. It definitely is, but JJ Lee is a very talented writer and did a marvelous job of combining the history of suits, along with the story of a father, a son and a suit as stated in the title. Tailoring and the fact that it is quickly becoming a lost art is something I have been researching quite a bit lately. I enjoyed the book so much that I may have to actually buy a copy for myself. There are lots of snippits of info that I am sure I would use as reference.
Apparently there was also a documentary made about the tailoring shop he apprenticed at in Vancouver, but no luck so far in finding a copy to view :0(

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

MMMay 16 Personal end results

One of the things I challenged myself to accomplish over May during the MMMay 16 was to tackle the basement storage. This is a picture of the room that then leads to furnace room. As you can see it's kinda full and well you could get to the furnace room as long as you watched where you were going.


After digging through every bin I managed to eliminate 7 of them. My daughter acquired some new to her tops (she is very pleased with my talent for thrift store shopping - her words). I also gave numerous bags of clothing to the Goodwill. Decided I should pass on some of my previous finds as it looks like my production of recreated clothing has drastically reduced since moving to Seattle. (That's what happens when you have limbo status in a country) 

Another wonderful thing was I found the bin that had my denim :0). Of course it was in one of the last ones I went through. But it is now all washed and sitting with the three options of patterns(all independent designers). Next step is self measuring to see which pattern to attempt first and how much modification I am sure all will need. 

My daughter's introduction to sewing with a machine is moving along slowly. She has practised threading the machine, filling and loading a bobbin, how to do basic cleaning and how to change a needle. But no actual sewing as of yet. She keeps saying she's going to sew her fingers instead of the fabric. Not an irrational or rational fear, but something which I will have to work on overcoming. Definitely need to set the machine at it's slowest speed for her. I will probably have to show her the difference in speeds the machine is capable of. She is accustomed to me using my machines at the highest speed they are capable of - which is probably why I am guilty of burning out a couple of motors :0).

MMMay 16 challenge of wearing something Made By Me every day was achieved. There was only a couple of days over the month that I had to change what I first put on to something else to achieve it. Being conscious of only wearing Made By Me clothing for a month helped me realize what types of clothing I don't make as readily. The main area being activewear so I will have to remedy that and try out a few yoga pant styles in the near future. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Tardis Sets

This first set was made from some patterns I created for myself. A pair of boyshorts which are close to perfection, just need to change the cut on the front of the leg a smidge. I made it a bit too straight, it needs a slight curve to sit just perfectly. The simple bralette is Perfection, sits just right and is so comfy.The addition here of some thin elastic sewn between layers around the bottom helps keep the bralette in place and yet you hardly notice it when wearing it. So often things just need that slight little tweak to make them so much better ;0). There is definitely some more of these in my near future. Am also thinking I will do some more modifications and create the perfect summer top which I can wear on those humid days where layers of clothing are not your friend. AKA "I don't wanna wear a bra today"- said with a slight whine.

Then I decided to cut out my other standbys, the Sarah longline from OhhhLuLu, and the panties from Cloth Habit. The main difference is I decided to use FOE on the legs which I am really liking. Don't know why but for some reason I haven't been using FOE on my panties that often. My daughter suggested the addition of pink to give it a bit more pop. 

The fabric is from Spoonflower ;0), so love the options of their prints. This is a modern jersey, a print called Police Box Blue Plaid designed by lilbabythangs. If you haven't guessed I like Dr Who. Spoonflower is great to let my secret inner geek out(actually it isn't really a secret). 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Some Fashion Documentaries

The Next Black

The Next Black is a documentary that I stumbled across the other day. Was going through the various documentaries available on Hulu and this one was recommended for me. So well I watched it. It discusses various ways that technology is changing the world of fashion. Wearable Tech is touched upon along with the possibilities of using fermentation to create cloth. Fermentation is so popular in the food industry presently that it is no surprise that it has also entered into fashion. ETextiles and fabric innovations are something I have been researching off and on for a while now so I enjoyed it.

Beyond Biba

Beyond Biba A Portrait of Barbara Hulanicki is well worth the watch. Biba was a fashion house from London that had a brief and influential life during the late 60's, early 70's. London had a drastic effect on pop culture history during this time and Biba was part of it all.
Whenever I see imagery connected with the department store I always think I wish this still existed. It was such a perfect example of complete packaging and marketing and it all had an Art Deco edge. Sadly because of an economic turn in England and corporate differences the department store was short lived. Barbara Hulanicki and her partner Fitz actually just chose to walk away from the business and the Biba department store did not survive long without them.

Both of these films are worth watching, each is about an hour long. The only thing I warn is they may take you "down the rabbit hole" to learn more. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

MMMay16 Challenge


It's the first day of May and a big month for a large part of the sewing community. The start of the MeMadeMay Challenge. 
I realize that I haven't participated since 2012 which actually kinda surprised me, or I should say I haven't participated formally. This is something I have strongly believed in for quite a large chunk of my life.

So this year my challenge to myself is to wear something made by me every day of the month. This will not be very hard to accomplish so I am adding a few of my own twists. The first being to introduce my daughter to the art of sewing and have her start making some of her own clothing. This will be instead of her hoarding scraps of fabric(she definitely takes after me here) or picking out lengths of fabric at stores going "Mom can you make me ......." The start of this process was picking out a pattern, having her trace her size and then proceed to cut out her project.
So her first project and hopefully not her last is to make herself a pair of capris out of this colourful knit. It has pockets but she insists she only needs one, and "you know that will be easier then putting in two, right" ;0
My next challenge is to make myself the perfect pair of jeans that actually fit well. Something I have been meaning to do for a while. And the last and probably the hardest is to get all the bins of fabric sorted(have been hiding them in the basement - outta sight, out of mind lol).  

Friday, April 29, 2016

Spoonflower and Sarah Longline

 Finally seem to of found a pantie pattern that fits well. It doesn't even make much difference which fabric I use. Yeah!!! It is actually the pantie pattern that comes with the Watson Bra from Cloth Habit. The rise on them is actually the perfect dimensions aka they sit in the right places.

This is once again the Sarah Longline which is one of my standby for a comfy bra with a bit of style. It's perfect for playing with different fabrics, be it prints, textures or types. This one along with the panties is made from another Spoonflower Fabric I ordered. It is a modern jersey called 'Dancing in the Smokey Moonlight' by stichyritchie.

Have really been enjoying the fabrics I got from Spoonflower. I would recommend the modern jersey and the skies the limit when it comes to fabric designs. The black stretch lace I used is from a piece I picked up at the fabric consignment store in Pike Market called Our Fabric Stash. It is always an adventure when stepping foot through their door as who knows what treasures you may find. My daughter loves to dig through the baskets of decorating fabric swatches.
The light grey edging is fold over elastic from Sew Sassy Fabrics, the ruffle elastic on the panties is from Fabricland. The bra strapping is from BraMaker's Supply in Hamilton.