Project ‘Project Runway’

I know every one is probably tired of Project Runway by now.  It’s overloaded with product placement, drama, some silly challenges, but truth is I never get tired of it.  I wish I could see more of the designer’s creative processes and techniques, but that stuff just does not make for good TV.  No matter how unbearable it gets I will still tune in just to see the creative things people can dream up in just a few hours.

So that I can let it live on while it’s in the off season, I’ve taken on a project inspired by the show: Revisiting past challenges and attempting to recreate or re-image my favorites (or not so favorite) using a half-scale model.  I’m so product oriented I don’t take enough time to practice draping, pattern-making, and just plain ole’ playing with fabrics and design.

I am no match compared to those skillful designers and because of that I don’t even know how far I can take this project, but I hope to learn a little more about clothing construction in the process.  Everything is always a learning process.

Instagram is my new best friend since I can keep it short and sweet and that is where I shared my first go at this.  Now I understand a lot more about hiding darts in seams.  Is it wrong that I want this in my size?

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Project ‘Project Runway’

Egg-Shaped Dress

My last project completed in 2014 was an egg-shaped dress (BurdaStyle 10/2014 #127B).

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Most of the time, I am drawn to the oddest (but still kind of practical) garment the magazine has to offer, but this shape isn’t as unusual as I originally thought. It’s actually a nod to style from the 1960s, it appeared in several styles in 2006/2007 and again on the runway in 2013/2014.

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Balenciaga Coat (Photo credit: Pinterest via Balenciaga.com)

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Jil Sander Dress (Photo credit: farfetch.com)

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ASOS Dress (Photo credit: asosrp2010.cloudapp.net)

It’s definitely one of those shapes that few people wear really well, but that never stops me from attempting the impossible.

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The original pattern has only a slight egg shape and made in a wonderfully bright striped jacquard.  The fabric selection is probably the real reason I love the dress so much.  That and I needed a shape to hide those few pounds I knew I was going to gain during the cookie holiday season.  No need to walk around holding my breath and sucking in my belly!

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I was unable to find any fabric like it that wasn’t heavy upholstery fabric, so I settled on a lightweight jacquard that still kept the horizontal striped layout. The pattern did not call for lining so I took some time (okay, quite a bit of time) to Hong Kong finish all the seams, make my own piping, install my first exposed zip.

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Of course there was the usual full bust adjustment, but I made no other alterations.  There is enough fullness to add another me into this dress.  I wanted to pair it with a black mock turtleneck as similarly styled in the magazine and a simple wedge shoe or a tall boot, but I don’t own either.

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I will probably never sew this pattern again, but it was fun to make and a very easy, cozy dress to wear.  Best of all, I got to try techniques I haven’t done before.

-Nizzy

Egg-Shaped Dress

Finally Sold on Dresses…and Capes

It took a while, but I finally came around.  I’m officially sold on wearing dresses.  I’m not planning on replacing my whole wardrobe with them, but let’s say I now appreciate the femininity and ease that a dress offers.

When you are short on time and can’t decide on separates, a dress is simple solution.

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Unfortunately, I did not get to make all of those lovely dresses for the summer as I had planned, but I managed to squeeze out this just before “Fall” showed up.

Now that I”m all for wearing dresses, am I brave enough to bear them in the winter?

Now, for capes (Simplicity 5794), this one I made was purely for costuming purposes, but I’m kind of diggin’ the effortlessness a cape/cloak presents: Just throw it on! No fiddling with buttons, belts, or buckles..just one hook on the neck to encase your body in warmth.

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I added some trim to this basic cape to give it a little somethin’ somethin’.

I might consider making a fashion cape for this season.  If I do, I better get on it now, because it’s already cold.

-Nizzy

Finally Sold on Dresses…and Capes

Fashion Draping Class

You don’t know how much I looked forward to my Wednesday Draping class.  At the tail end of class, my place of work got a little crazy: lots of happenings, rumors flying about, untruths, finger-pointing, lots of confused, angry people walking about. To be able to throw myself into this project was a blessing. Home life and work life can’t be crazy at the same time or you will lose your mind! So I threw all my crazy energy into my final project. This was something that needed more than just two weeks for construction, but I made it work enough to have something to present in class.

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Patternmaking and Draping once intimidated me, but turns out it’s not as bad as I was thinking. I think I jumped in with the hardest thing I could think of at the time: hand pleating.  I think it’s a pretty decent start with something I haven’t tried before now.  I spent lots of late nights hand basting pleat lines and doing damage control for a couple of pattern mistakes.

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Overall the class was great. I learned a lot and met some great people who I will miss seeing weekly.  Next is to figure out how to apply all my knowledge to some new projects.

-Nizzy

Fashion Draping Class

Patternmaking Success

To finally get out of my ‘store bought pattern’ comfort zone I took a pattern-making class.  After lots of fittings, lots of muslin samples, and lots of dart manipulations I had only the final week of class to sew up my project.

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The jacket was originally a shirt before I made the fabric selection of denim.  I had to change my design when I realized there was no way to get in it.  I transferred the bust and waist darts  to the neck line and stitched  them down for detail. The petal sleeve was also drafted.

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The skirt was inspired by my Fashion Studies Foundation class mood board and illustration of origami and a four gored skirt with a back inset detail.

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There were a couple of inside finishing details that I slipped up on, but I think I did an okay job for a first time pattern-maker.  Now, on to draping class!

Patternmaking Success

Thursday’s Three Things: Scatterbrain Edition

  • I’m having a moment of crafting ADD.   I’ve got planned projects, future projects, projects in my head, projects on paper, stashed projects, unfinished projects, test projects, class projects…*scream*  I feel overwhelmed and  that means nothing gets done this month.   Lately, Pinterest has been adding to the ADD thing.  I don’t pin like a mad woman, but I do view what’s trending from time to time. Last month, I saw a photo on Pinterest (don’t all craft stories start this way?) that inspired me to sew a color a colorful printed skirt (McCalls 5???) and crop top  based on See and Sew 5939.  I tried to plan out what I thought it would look like.   
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Illustration and Inspiration

I love prints, but don’t wear them as much and I have a few in the stash that still catch my eye.  The fit on the crop top was going well until I added the sleeve so I just gave up on it.    However, I’ve completed the skirt! 

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Belt details
  • I even adding a lining.  I missed the bus on actually wearing this outside during the few unseasonably warm days we had this month and it’s not going to happen now unless I get a pair of thick tights AND leg warmers.  Oooo, leg warmers: that’s a project on my to-do list, of course.

 

  • Usually when I feel this way, I’m feeling it in all areas of my life including fitness.   My “run for 20 minutes program” was successful, but now it’s time to find new challenge for the colder weather.  What’s next?  Arms? Legs? Cardio?  I need to set some new goals ASAP.

 

  • I’m starting books, putting them on hold, and then starting something new.   I had the simplest reading goal that I’m not going to make.

I’m all over the place!  Excuse me while I take a deep breath and try to clear my mind for a minute.

-Nizzy

Thursday’s Three Things: Scatterbrain Edition

Slow(est) Work

I think there comes a time in a person’s life where they begin to question their reason for doing something, e.g. a career, following a movement, purpose of life.   Sewing and I have had this relationship for a long time.   I know where I want to go with it, but trying to work out the time for it all is a challenge.  It’s slow work!  For me, it’s a frustratingly long process for every stage in the project: the deciding, the cutting, the fitting, the washing and ironing, and the actual construction.  I regularly visit other sewing blogs and it seems they are cranking out these projects like a factory.  I just want to get something done and I want it done NOW.  Yes, friends, I am a product of my generation! 

Instant gratification.

I want it now.

Entitlement.

I need it now. 

I gotta have it. 

Umm, why is this taking so long? 

This isn’t done already? 

*Groan* 

*sigh*

*whine*

*pout*

Drive-thru sewing. 

Well, I had to (have to) take a step back from that, ignore the blogs, re-learn, and constantly remind myself that in my world sewing (and everything else in life) takes time.  I also have responsibilities and other interests that bring me pleasure, Really, what’s my hurry anyway?  It’s not a competition. 

Despite the slow work of sewing, I managed to finish a couple of projects: a skirt (will be posted later) and two craft baskets to organize my out of control pattern collection.  I’m working on a third that you can see in the background.

 

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Colorful fabric from the stash is put to use in Kwik Sew #107.   I’ll be making them until each of those patterns has a basket home.

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Of course, I could buy boxes or baskets and it would certainly speed up the organization process, but what would be the fun in that? 

-Nizzy

Slow(est) Work

T-shirt Revamp

So if I get nothing else done I can say I completed my Craft Stash Challenge for this month.

Some years ago I went nuts over t-shirts and purchased a heap of them with the idea to cut and redesign.  Before I even got started I lost interest in it.    Then I bought black tees in every size to make silk screened tees with the LOST logo.  I read up on how to do it and decided that I wasn’t ready to invest in the time and materials at that moment.  No matter because after seeing that finale I would be using that shirt to clean the toilet.

So they have sat, waiting for action or donation and I thought why not wing it and transform it into something different.  No measuring, just cut, pin fit, and sew.  I mean, it’s only a t-shirt.

This was not my first choice for color combo, but I had to work with what I had.   I was not to buy another shirt to add to the collection! These colors together totally remind me of the neon colored surf wear that was popular in the 80s and 90s:  Rude Dog, T and C.  I didn’t live anywhere near a beach, but I remember seeing some of that gear.

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Overall, I wish I did something to stabilize the neckline to avoid stretching it out.  NOW, What am I going to do with the rest of those unsexy tees?

– Nizzy

T-shirt Revamp

Have Dress, No Shoes

No, I didn’t actually go out without shoes on this day, but I wasn’t crazy about them with this dress so I left them out of the picture.  If there is one thing that sewing apparel makes you want to do is shop.  I’m not talking about shopping for fabric and patterns because that’s a given.  I’m talking about shopping for SHOES!  I thought I had enough pairs of shoes that I don’t really wear, but I see the “need” to get a few more to go with the new clothing I make.  Just where we store these new shoes is something that will have to be worked out.   A walk-in shoe room is not an option unless it comes with a brand new house that’s mortgage free.

Anyway, the dress of the month is Butterick 5601 View A.  I made this is a floral print stretch cotton in which the stretch was in the wrong direction.  Here’s to cheap fabric!  It had a little weight and a slight stiffness to it that sewing and smooshing out the darts wasn’t completely successful.  I did the best I could so that it was presentable enough.  I needed to minimize the handling and sewing of this white fabric.   Other adjustments I made were the FBA, lengthened the skirt, and added a little to the waist.

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And the back?  Oh, that back gave me sooo many problems.   I removed fabric, repositioned the button and the pieces themselves so that I eliminated as much of the gap as possible before I lost my sanity.

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Next stop, shoe store!

– Nizzy

Have Dress, No Shoes

Scrap Happy!

I mostly think of shopping for myself when looking for new for sewing patterns.  Many of the items I sew are garments and fitting myself is hard enough.  Once I can master pattern alterations and fit for myself I think fitting others might become a piece of cake.  For the moment I’m perfectly fine with sewing small accessories for friends.

I don’t always feel like carrying a bag, especially since I tend to stuff it full with everything I own.  It get’s heavy!  Gum?  Got it.  Hand Sanitizer?  Yep.  Camera?  All the time.  Floss? Of course.  Q-tips? Maybe.  I’m known to tear a handbag to shreds.  Why do I need to carry all that stuff?

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When I don’t want to carry my life with me, one of these wrist wallets (Kwik Sew 112) will be perfect!

Now, where I carry everything, I have a friend who is the opposite.  No bag, no purse, no wallet, just keys, phone and card in the pocket.  How does she live without lip gloss or lotion at the tip of her fingers?  Her cards and ID are bent out of shape from sitting in her pocket and that is just unacceptable!  I knocked out one of these out (#4)  so that her cards (and mine with #6) could be protected without her getting a girly girl purse or a manly wallet.  Hopefully, I can convince her to carry it.

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The best part was sewing these out using the scraps of fabric I already owned.  No washing or fitting.  Just cut and sew.  I went crazy and made 4 more.

-Nizzy

Scrap Happy!