Thursday, November 17, 2011

Here is what I am currently struggling with - sheer, silk organza (chiffon?) with slight texture to it.  I needed a long sleeved black blouse for a chorus performance.  With no luck finding one RTW, I decided to make one, and use this as a learning experience for sewing with such fine, slippery fabric.  I have actually avoided it as long as I've been sewing (30+ years, off and on).  Until now, that is. 

Sewing with this is painstaking.  I bought silk thread based on some googling which suggested that poly thread is too thick and heavy, so I am using that. I also read a tip that, to keep the seams from puckering, you sew a strip of tissue together with and under the fabric being sewn.  This makes a noticeable difference - without the tissue, the seam sort of puckers, but more sort of twists.  The tissue stops that, but it is extremely slow work - hard to place on the fabric, hard to keep all the layers straight, somewhat tedious to  remove... just a slow process.

Also, I am tinkering with fit, which I am usually too much in a rush to do.  After trying on the shell I saw that the buck was puffing out above the rear darts, so, I basted the back seam line (twice now) to get the right fit, and get it to lie flat.  I noticed that the shoulders are far too wide, so those are pinned back for trimming before the sleeves are attached. 

Where possible, I have used French seams in this garment.  Again, this is painstaking with this fabric and especially with the tissue, but I love the look and professional appearance... even if it's only on the inside.  Again, a technique that is new for me.  A good one to have learned, I think. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Here is a recent creation.  The valances are a simple design, obviously, but I was working without a pattern and these are lined, so I had to figure out some logistics on the pocket for the rod.  Also, finding a large-scale curve for the bottom was tricky.  I ended up using a large oval tray and my cutting mat to map the total length of the fabric portion that needed the curve, alternating the platter up and down. 

I found this fabric at FabricLand in New Providence, NJ, for $35/yard - a little dear for me.  But, I was struggling to find just the right fabric - a black-and-white base, with a retro feel, and with some color in it that would integrate into the dark orange and navy blue in the adjacent room.  I fell in love with this fabric, and it was as cheap as anything I was seeing at Mood, so I went for it. 

Later, when sewing, I noticed the maker and name of the print along the selvage of the fabric - Pom Pom Play, by Waverly.  I started thinking about making some matching napkins, and googled the fabric name, I found the same fabric available at for much less than I paid, only around $17/yard.  I plan to buy from this site in the future.  The only bad thing for the site is, I think you need to know what you want to buy from it, because they give you only a small image of part of the pattern, and I would not be comfortable dropping say $50 for total fabric needs without seeing a bigger image. 

The trim I found at M&J Trimming in the Garment District (6th Ave between 37th & 38th, they also have a great website if you are not local, or are just lazy,  It was not exactly what I was hoping to find, but I wanted orange, and I wanted retro.  I like how this trim works on the finished product.  Also, though, I sewed it directly on bottom edge, so if I find something else I like better, it would be pretty fast and easy to pull this off and put something else on. 

I am happy with how they turned out!  They are so cheery, and look nice on these enormous old windows.