Independence Day projects

Must be something in the American air… To celebrate American independence and industry… I was inspired to make:

20130708-233738.jpg
Adapted manufactured pattern… A feat of sewing for an amateur like me… I’ve impressed myself with the level of care and detail that went into this… The real story of patience and willpower is on the inside… Seams had been sewn only to be ripped apart to adjust the fit, seams that did not exist on the pattern were added on… and without a serger I had to finish all the raw edges by hand.. I really tried to avoid hand sewing but alas.. It was inevitable… I wanted it to withstand wash and wear.

20130708-233748.jpg
Birthday gift #wouch

20130708-233807.jpg
Deconstructed shopping bag turned origami gift-wrap

20130708-233814.jpg
Clearly I have a thing for black and white

Sewing Syllabus

Practice, patience, and a whole lot of pins…

From easy wovens to slippery satins and silks to stretchy knits… I’ve learned that I must take the time to tackle each of these fabric types in sequence before advancing to the next. With each project I’ve challenged myself by using fabrics of increasing difficulty.
I’ve sewn a considerable amount with canvas and linen fabrics and by now I have the confidence to tackle something less easy to handle…

Slippery fabrics like satins and silk are known to be more than a challenge for even seasoned sewists… They need a lot of pinning down and prep work before heading to the machine- this I learned when I actually spent 3 hours+ pinning and shaping a basic peplum top with princess seams. Not to mention, I also chose a fabric with noticeable stripes which required additional time to arrange and cut each pattern piece in the right direction so that the stripes lined up.

What I’m currently working on:

20130708-232528.jpg
It’s not quite satin or silk but equally slippery (100% poly). Got the fabric off the remnant rack with 75% markdown which came out to less than $3 for 3 yards… Jackpot!!! Because it was so inexpensive I won’t feel as guilty if when I screw up!

Serge it

This Thursday I took an Intro class where I finally laid my eager hands on a SERGER. It was the last frontier for me as far learning how to sew; I envision myself now capable of making just about anything— something as seemingly simple as a T-shirt requires serging to be properly constructed and achieve that store-bought quality.
Knit fabrics, I am will be ready for you when time comes because alas, the greatest impedance to any venture is always cost. I’ve been told a serger with all the necessary functions (e.g coverstitch – needed for hemming knit garments primarily) will cost ~$800+?

Here is what I made in that class– a PILLOW!! All serged up and stuffed like a goose.

20130413-211652.jpg

Blocking out

The next logical step on my quest to master garment construction is to learn how to create my own patterns… So I started reading…and the books are trying to explain to me what the difference between a block and a pattern is but I could not understand this difference because it just never occurred to me that I would need to have some basic templates (what blocks are essentially) on hand to manipulate and create various patterns for a particular design.

So a block begets a pattern…

Well the most fun part of this is discovering that i can create basic blocks (e.g. bodice) directly on the dress form — which is currently my half scale form, it’s small but practical as it allows me to use fabric scraps for experimentation.

I have this feeling I’m probably going about this the wrong way but it doesn’t bother me! Learning something on your own means you don’t have to follow the rules!!

20130222-173942.jpg

Taking the plunge (into buying patterns)

The thought of buying patterns for sewing never really appealed to me– it’s hard to envision something beautiful and wearable based on the typically uninspiring images on the packaging. Moreover, most patterns worth using have daunting instructions–as if written in another language! But suddenly I feel less threatened now that I’ve made a couple items using patterns –without much pain and frustration. And– for $5 a piece— I’ll take the risk! Here are some patterns I’ve ordered from Vogue Patterns. I realize I got really lucky and came across a huge sale– I’ll take it as a positive sign for things to come.
DKNY- Cape Coat

20130219-175136.jpg

20130219-175155.jpg

20130219-175202.jpg
Draped Cardigan

20130219-180408.jpg

Cape Coat

20130219-175531.jpg

All roads lead to sewn

For the past few months I’ve been taking sewing classes- in hopes of regaining and reviving that part of me that I thought I had all but let go of. I always knew the cutthroat world of fashion wasn’t for me– one reason I never pursued it–however i still appreciate garment construction and the math and science/ technicality of it– when pieces of the puzzle come together et voila! Something as seemingly simple as these skirts required time, technique, and careful consideration of fabrics and finishes–how easily many take this for granted!! When you are able to make what others just buy— that’s an achievement!!!

20130219-171927.jpg

20130219-180819.jpg