Monday, September 28, 2015

Harem Pants

I've made another garment as a Britex blogger. You can see the post on their blog here.

When Britex asked me to choose one of their polyester fabrics, I was drawn to their Japanese-Influenced Polyester Crepe. The pic on the website doesn't show its true glory, so here it's draped over a chair:

I love the texture of a pebbled crepe and this fabric came through the washer and dryer like a champ.

But how to use it?

I wanted to sew it into harem pants, but I could also see this as a stunning kimono jacket. The fabric resists wrinkles and would be great for travel.

I decided to use Sandra Betzina's harem pant pattern, Vogue 1355. This harem pant is unusual in that it is close-fitting through the crotch. The fullness is located on the inside leg, not at the outer hip.

It is designed for a knit fabric, not a woven, but this fabric has such a wonderful drape that I forged ahead.

I made a few changes. The pattern uses 2 pattern pieces: one for the leg (this is a no-side-seam pant) and one for the yoke. I omitted the yoke and extended the rise of the pant.

The ankle of the pant is quite narrow. I realized it would be too narrow in a woven fabric to get my foot through the opening. I was considering shortening the pant slightly to remedy the problem but, in the end, I really liked it finished with a slit at the inside ankle.

The best thing about these pants, besides the fun print, is that they were a quick sew! Just one pattern piece (after my alterations) meant that I was quickly done.

Thanks to Britex for the fabric!

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Flock of Skirts

One of my favorite chilly-weather outfits is a skirt over leggings, especially with boots. I'm so glad that fall is back!

I actually made these skirts over a long while and I finally took photos. Because I was feeling Very Lazy, I wanted to quickly take pics of all three skirts, with the same top, leggings, boots and jewelry. This detail factors into the section where I discuss sartorial choices—and show myself in an unflattering light. :)

I present the skirts in the order that I made them.


Guy Laroche Rayon Skirt

I actually started this skirt probably 6 or 7 months ago but it was being difficult, so it was sent to timeout. The pattern calls for a lot of fabric, for two reasons. First, the skirt has a (shaped) circle flounce, and second, the entire skirt is self lined. I was dubious about self lining the large flounce, but I did it anyway. I think, with this beefy rayon challis from Emma One Sock, that it wasn't really necessary and, in fact, caused problems. I did not line the yoke. I didn't have enough fabric and it really doesn't need it.

I did not want a zipper, so I eliminated it when increasing the waist at the paper pattern stage.

After the skirt spent several months in timeout, I decided to finish it. It's fine, but if I were to make it again, I would not self line it if the fabric had a nice drape as a single thickness. Of course, it would then require a loooong hem.

Vogue 1450

Animal Print Skirt with Binding

One day I was riding home from work on the subway, and I was mesmerized, staring at a stranger wearing a skirt—it ultimately inspired this skirt. Hers had a very different feel: It was longer, solid colored (khaki? I forget) with black binding, the slit was on both sides, and it looked more like a suit skirt.

I love me some binding.

I didn't use a pattern—it's basically a rectangle. On my skirt, the binding starts at the top of the slit, heads down and goes all the way around the hem, coming up again at the slit, and ending at the waist. The slit is designed to land towards the front of the leg—it's not positioned directly over the side seam. The fabric, a lovely stretch woven, comes from Hart's Fabric and has been in my stash for awhile. I only had a yard of it, and I wanted to make a skirt from it, so I'm glad I finally got around to it. For the binding I used a black wool jersey.

Of all three skirts, I will probably wear this one the most. A short skirt over leggings is one of my favorite grab-it-and-go looks.

Swishy Rayon Skirt

This skirt, #2913 from Silhouette Patterns, is based on a popular Nic & Zoe skirt. I've had this pattern for probably 2 years, and have finally gotten around to it. It is an 8-gore skirt and each gore is pieced, though all of that piecing is rather hidden in this busy polka dot fabric. Somewhere I have a tencel denim that I want to use to make this skirt (tercel denim has wonderful drape), but it's hiding. Instead I used a wonderfully drapy rayon faille, perfect for a swishy gored skirt.

Once again, I eliminated the zipper. If you have a big difference between your waist and hip measurements, you won't want to do that, but since my waist and hips are almost the same, I can make an elastic waist skirt that has almost no bulk at all. "Lucky" me. ;)

I shortened the skirt by about 3". I didn't want it to hit below the knee, which can look frumpy fast.

I will definitely make this skirt again in a fabric where I can topstitch the seams to show them off better. Gored skirts are wonderful to wear! I would never have bought a pattern for a simple 8-gore skirt, but the piecing on this one elevates it and I highly recommend it!

Sartorial Choices

When I was in a rush to take all of these skirt photos with the same outfit, I first threw on a black turtleneck, which is quite form fitting. Over that, I threw on one of my loose black sweaters with holes and an asymmetric hem. I thought it was fine. It looked fine in the mirror.

I went out, three times, carrying my tripod to the alley around the corner, to take these pics.

I uploaded the pics to my camera all at once.

It was Not Good.



I was still feeling lazy, so I quickly changed to one of my favorite jackets and went out three more times.

Still maybe not perfect, but So Much Better. It was as much effort as I wanted to spend on these pics, especially on a morning before work.

I decided to share the before-and-after looks, so you can see the difference.

Frumptastic (on the left)—the worst of the worst.

Reminder to self: you look best in tops that skim the form. And, if you must wear those sweaters, knowing that they aren't your best look, maybe stick to sleek pants. ;)

Artistry in Fashion!

One of my favorite days of the year, Artistry in Fashion, is tomorrow! If you are in the area of Redwood City, CA, please come! The guest speaker is Linda Lee of Sewing Workshop, and Margy is coming up for the event. If you see us, say hi!

Besides AIF this weekend, I'm also going on a staircase walk, and meeting up with some friends to have dinner at mem's house. So not much sewing this weekend, though I did recently finish another Britex garment, which I plan to wear to AIF.

I hope you have a good one!

The sun, trying to peek through at 7am when I took these pics

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Giveaway Winner!

And the winner is......

Kathleen O'Brien!

Congratulations, Kathleen! Please send me an email and I'll see that you receive your gift certificate to Smuggler's Daughter!

And thanks, again, for your wonderful comments on the giveaway post! I truly appreciate it!

I visited Seattle this past week. The trip was for work, but I managed to meet up with Claire Extraordinaire at District Fabrics, followed by a sushi dinner, and gelato. It was fun catching up! I'm now back home, but am feeling low energy and am having trouble settling on a project.

I'm not sure one can even call it dithering if I'm mostly reading. ;)