sewliloquies

Sewliloquies is a sewing pun on the literary term soliloquy meaning reflective monologue.

Feels a Bit Snug

First and foremost, WordPress is driving me crazy. It takes me like 6 clicks just to get to this Add New Post screen. That’s too many. It’s too much work.

Second, I am working on too much at once. Trying to sew with a cranky baby is nigh impossible. She was napping for a little bit, so over the past several days I managed to get the shirt dress cut out, darts sewn, and major seams (French, thankyouverymuch) complete. In order to finish this project, I need to get the collars and sleeves on, hem and buttons. And the whole thing feels a bit snug… it was ok at the first fitting, but now it feels snug. That makes me a bit cranky.

Sneak Peek

Here’s a sneak peek of the project I plan to conquer after the shirt dress.

Shirt Dress Progress

With the princess seam dress project behind me, I’m moving onto the shirt dress. I have a pattern… Marfy 9876.

And I also like this Simplicity pattern from the 1960s, but I’d have to track it down and buy it online.

But that is all the shirt dress progress I have made. DH and DD have both been sick as dogs all weekend. I’ve made it so far as to pin the Marfy pattern onto my dress form and see if I can make a go of it.

I’m also considering designing a swimsuit for DD. She is toddler size now and I cannot find any bathing suit patterns! The swinwear fabric I scoped out at Joann’s is also three shades of atrocious. This project TBD. Either way, she’ll need a bathing suit for the summer beach excursions. I fully intend to go to 1st beach this summer! (Hear that, DH… yes, we are going to Newport).

Kick Pleats With a Cherry On Top

I finished the dress. Woot.

The kick pleats were torn apart and re-pressed, re-sewn not once, not twice, but THREE times. They finally laid flat, so I said don’t lets do it over again.

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I also sewed the hem with the machine blind hem stitch. (There is supposedly a blind hem foot too, but I didn’t look to see if I had one). The verdict: LOVED. IT. I may never sew a hem by hand again.

Finally, I designed and created my own embroidery accessory for the dress. The cherries were designed in Adobe Illustrator, brought into the “stitcherizer” software, saved as the .pes format my machine uses, moved the file over, and stitched away. I’m not totally liking the stem/leaf part, and there is quite the learning curve with stitcherizing, but I think this certainly opens up my creativity!

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I attached said cherries to a hair accessory: one of those snap barettes. The package made me laugh. So much for translation services.

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Kick Pleats What Kicked My Butt

After spending the entire weekend sewing – thank you DH! – I nearly have a princess seam dress. This was an assignment for the Dressmaking and Design course I’m taking, and I had to adjust the pattern to fit. After making a muslin and tweaking the pattern at the neckline, I scrounged for some fabric in my fabric bin. I discovered I have a good deal of velvet. (Also, several yards of denim! and some brocades). DH decided on the red velvet, and we purchased red lining for it.

The princess seams are not fun, but totally doable. The kick pleats what kicked my butt. I wanted a double pleat kick pleat, so I did some research to try to figure out how to do them. Then, during the process of sewing, I did them backwards (I wanted an inverted pleat). Sigh. So I messed up what coulda shoulda woulda been a very neat dress. What I learned: KEEP YOUR DESIGN SKETCHBOOK NEXT TO YOUR SEWING TABLE! If I had only referred to my sketch during the sewing process, the whole fiasco could have been avoided. The lining was also a challenge, and I think had I not been obsessing about how to line the kick pleats (the answer is to stop the lining at the edge of the kick pleat), I would not have reversed the pleats. I was over thinking it. Yup.

Last step is to let the dress (and myself) rest overnight. Then I’ll do the hems. I also plan to embroider a hair clip to go with it.

  

Getting Pretty Serious

I am doing what’s called “getting pretty serious” about sewing. While I have been slacking a bit in the garment making area, I have been working on expanding my skills.

First, I am taking a Dressmaking and Design course through Penn Foster. While I would prefer a local, hands on classroom approach, it is hard to do so with baby and while working full time. This was the best choice for me right now. I will always consider more education in the future, especially workshops or other hands on sewing experience. This course is actually serving me quite well. I have learned a considerable amount in the first two thirds of lessons that I have completed. There are also activities that get me in front of a sewing machine, with the next assignment to include pattern adjustment of a princess seam sheath dress which I plan to make out of leather (or faux leather at the very least).

Second, I have had the wonderful opportunity to do some alterations. While I have done alterations sporadically in the past, I am glad to be able to use my skills to benefit others. Thank you dear alterations clients!

Third, I have taken the plunge and purchased a very entry level embroidery machine. Embroidery machines can cost thousands. I did not spend nearly that much, so I’m hoping the little guy I got will serve me well. My husband was adorable because he asked if it was something we could use for awhile. Well, it has a 20 year warranty, so… yeah? It uses the PES format of embroidery designs, and it has a USB connection so I can shop to my heart’s delight then transfer designs right over to the machine from my computer. Gotta love technology!

On a final note, I enjoyed Madonna’s multiple costume changes because she is keeping fashion designers and seamstresses busy!

“I’m a material girl… want to see my fabric collection?”  ~Author Unknown

Alternative Zipper Stops

While moving the hem up on a pair of pants, I encountered a challenge. These track pants have a side zipper at the bottom. I could (and probably should) move the entire zipper up the seam, or I can cut off the zipper at the new hem edge. I did not want to have to reset the entire zipper, so I chose to cut it off. However, that meant I was without a zipper bottom stop. I attempted to salvage the existing zipper stops, but the metal became weak and broke. I didn’t have a ready supply of replacement zipper stops, so I began to look for something else to use. I found these in my jewelry supply stash: crimp bead covers. These easily fit over the zipper teeth and I simply clamped them around and flat against the zipper teeth with my flat nosed pliers. In my opinion, I think it looks much cleaner than standard replacement zipper stops!

 

Perfect Vintage-Inspired Shirt Dress

A few years ago, I wanted to make a shirt dress. My inspiration came from a few places: one was a dress worn by the character Sofie on Carnivale, and another was a runway dress from the Ralph Lauren Spring 2010 collection. My perfect vintage-inspired shirt dress falls somewhere between these two.

My niece, blogging down a Retro Rabbit Hole, has recently gotten back into sewing garments. Which is great, because that means I don’t have to talk to myself about sewing anymore! (Don’t worry, the Sewliloquies moniker isn’t going away). Her recent sewing adventures have inspired me to become reacquainted with my shirt dress. I even have the fabric for it. I bought this great light blue fabric with a teensy floral print all over it, just for the occasion. I’m undecided about the lace sleeves seen on the Sofie dress; I’ve done lace sleeves before on my Victorian garb, and I love the pleating, but I’m not sure I want my shirt dress that girly. What I do love are the little red buttons on the Ralph Lauren inspiration dress. And the piped pockets. I’m digging the piped pockets.

 

A Woman Who Sews

What am I? There are all these words to describe people who sew. Tailor, dressmaker, sewist. What is it I do, exactly?

I looked at the definition of these words before adding a few adjectives to my blog recently. A few people out there have talked about this already, but I wanted to add my 2¢. (Incidentally, I recently learned that it costs 2¢ to make a penny. Talk about inflation.)

Here are a few of those articles/blogs:

Seamstress: a woman who sews, especially as a job. This term defines only a woman who sews; the male counterpart is “seamster”. The word seems antiquated, but I actually like it! The word has been in use since the 16th century.

Dressmaker: a person who makes women’s clothes. In use since the 19th century.

Tailor: a person whose occupation is making or altering outer garments. However, this term used to define only a man who made or altered garments with the female version being “tailoress”. Tailoress sounds odd. I guess that’s why it was changed. In use since the 13th century.

Clothier: one that makes or sells clothing or cloth. Nope, that’s not me. Yet. This word has been used since the 14th century.

Couturier: an establishment engaged in couture, or one who designs for or owns such an establishment. First used in the late 19th century. Sounds complicated. And French.

Sewer: one that sews. In use since the 14th century. The problem with this word is that is has too many denotations, with the most popular referring to the place where sewage exists. Sounds gross. I know a lot of people use this one, though.

Sewist: one who sews. This one has recently crept into greater use in the blogosphere. Perhaps it is meant to be gender neutral? hipsterish? I’m not sure. It’s not even a real word. I personally don’t like it. The first documented use of the word was in the 1960s.

I chose seamstress or dressmaker to describe myself. I particularly like seamstress, even though it does sound outdated. I have a romantic vision of myself as a Victorian seamstress with lovely dresses in the shop window in London. Here is seamstress translated into many different languages.  Maybe I’ll go with syerske.

Antique Singer Sewing Machine

Antique Singer Sewing Machine

Buttonhole Scissors

On a trip to my local Half Price Books, I scored a copy of Nancy Zieman’s Nancy’s Favorite 101 Notions book for $9. While I was perusing it (in between getting ready to go back to work tomorrow and taking care of baby) I saw something unusual. There is a handy little cutting device called buttonhole scissors. Buttonhole scissors!

There is a little screw on these things that you can use to adjust the buttonhole size you want to cut out. Apparently you put the scissors over the edge and they cut out just the buttonhole area. I so want a pair!