Sunday, June 24, 2012

All American Dart Test

Well, my suspicions about the bust dart's affect on the bodice stripes were right.  I created a test-fabric using muslin and fabric scraps from a dress I made years ago.  After much thought and review of the inspiration garment, I decided to make each stripe 3-inches wide.  I cut each stripe 3 1/2 inches to allow for 1/4 inch seaming, with the exception of the first stripe at the top, which has a 5/8 inch allowance.

The Shrinkage

Anyone who's a fan of the Seinfeld TV series will recognize this post title and what it referenced.  And while my issue is not exactly the same as George Costanza's, I am a little miffed at how much shrinkage I'm dealing with.

Last night, I made final adjustments to my All American Girl pattern pieces based on my muslin fitting, which included:

...adding a bust dart at the armhole to remove a large gap...

...removing excess fabric for a better fit in the waist...

...and at the lower back seam.

Also, the pattern originally called for a 7-inch zipper.  This would be fine if the dress were still loose fitting, but I will now need a longer zipper given the the adjustments I am making.  In fact, I had to be cut out of the muslin once the adjustments were noted.  I think my best choice would be an invisible zipper because I plan to construct the dress with one thread color (trying to keep it easy-breezy), but I don't want the zipper threads to be obvious with the alternating stripes.

Here is my dress front pattern piece with all of the added adjustments from the muslin fitting.  Similar adjustments were made to the back pattern piece, too.

...with tapered hemline, which will need a little lengthening.
After making these fitting tweaks, I was so anxious to cut into the fashion fabric.  Instead, I contained my enthusiam and serged the cut ends of each length of fabric, laudered them, and pressed them out this morning.  I then measured each piece to see if I had any shrinkage - and how much.

Wow!!  I was amazed at how much I lost on each piece.
This piece was 1/2 yard...
...and I lost 1-inch on it.

The red fabric, which was 1 1/2 yards, lost 1-inch as well.

The white fabric - which also was 1 1/2 yards - lost 2 inches.
The shrinkage on my white fabric seems like a lot, and I'm hoping this is all it will do.  I'd hate to have additional loss after the dress has been constructed.

I have one other concern, and that's how the stripes will look once the bust dart is sewn.  I have a few ideas in mind, but I need to make some tests.  Anyway, I'll keep you updated on my progess.  Thanks for taking the time to read, and please leave comments.  I love hearing what your thoughts are on my projects.

Be blessed!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

All American Chemise

Some of the sources from which I derive sewing inspiration include fashion magazines, sewing pattern catalogs, blogs of other sewing enthusiasts that I follow, as well as celebrities and characters who I think possess interesting senses of style.  One of my favorites is Fran Fine.  You know...The Nanny.

I was not an avid viewer of this program when it aired in prime-time on CBS.  In fact, the one episode I remember watching was in May 1998 while I was in the hospital recovering from childbirth.  It was the season finale in which Fran fell overboard during her honeymoon cruise with "Mr. Sheffield".  In spite of my being on morphine and in too much pain to actually laugh, I did find it was funny, but for some reason I just did not continue watching program.

Fast forward 14 years later, I recently began watching The Nanny reruns on TV Land, became hooked on the program and set my DVR to record each episode.  In addition to its laugh-out-loud humor, one of the show's appeals for me was Fran's brash, whimsical and extremely colorful sense of style.  There were so many outfits she wore during the run of the show that caught my eye and got me thinking about how to integrate some of the design details into my sewing.  Because I found it increasingly difficult to remember all the designs, I began snapping pictures of "my favorites" - mind you, strictly as an effort to remember them for personal sewing inspiration. 

One such outfit is pictured below, which I have dubbed "All American Girl".  (Please forgive the picture quality.  This episode aired on an analog TV set so there's a degree of graininess that's unavoidable.)  While watching, my thought was how cute and interesting this dress would be in observance of our various patriotic holidays.

The Nanny:  The Heather Biblow Story

The Nanny:  The Heather Biblow Story

The Nanny:  The Heather Biblow Story

What better time to make my version than the upcoming 4th of July holiday?  So, I scanned through my patterns and found one...

...that, with slight design modifications, could easily be used to replicate "All American Girl".

Design changes include changing the extended shoulders
and shortening the hem...but not as short as Fran's, of course.

I cut out the pattern pieces last week, making the necessary figure adjustments and design changes, and constructed a muslin test of the dress to note of any fitting adjustments.

I used pieces from another pattern to shape the armhole opening.

I lowered the front neckline 1.5 inches.

Here are the dress front and back I drafted.

I added reminder notes and design cutting lines to the front pattern
to remind me of what to cut and how.

The next task was to find fabric that could be used to replicate this design, but would still be comfortable to wear - especially on a hot July day.  I went back and forth about which fabric to use and where to purchase it.  I did find this print design on which I thought could work for the stars and field of blue...

Timeless Treasures Patriotic Textured Stars Blue

...but I was so on-the-fence about whether I wanted to purchase the fabric online without having the benefit of feeling its texture first.  Yesterday, while making a run to JoAnn Fabrics to get more 4mm pearls for Corin's bridal veil, I stopped by the quilting area to see what type of patriotic-themed fabrics they had and bought the cotton fabrics pictured below.

While the star-fabric is not an exact match in color or scale, I thought I could make it work.  But, of course - in typical indecisive-Aisha fashion - I rethought that plan and am now considering using some type of applique technique to make the large white stars/field of blue fabric.  There are 7 red stripes and 6 white stripes in an actual U.S. flag, and I would like to maintain this design integrity by distributing the 13 stripes around the circumference of the dress, but we will see how this works out.  For all intents and purposes, this too may change, and I may just go basic color-block.  Anyway, I'll keep you posted.

Be blessed!


Ready for the Big Day

After approximately 50 hours of handwork and over 1500 4mm pearl beads, Corin's bridal veil is finally ready for her big day this Saturday, June 23rd.  I was really excited about this project, and even though I made my own bridal veil when I got married almost 21 years, I still wanted to research techniques before tackling hers.  In the process, I learned some things that I'd like to pass along.

Pictured below is the type of veil I purchased.  I thought this would be a good option since it was already gathered and the length was exactly what Corin wanted.  This veil also comes with a plastic comb which could be easily detached from the veil because its teeth slide through loops on the veil - a seemingly convenient option for reception-wear.

I liked the idea that the veil's hem was already sewn - again, a time-saver (so I thought).

What I didn't notice on the veil I purchased is the hem was not stabilized, so the stitching created a "bow" effect in the veil near the hem.

I very much wanted to complete this project as quickly as possible, so I experimented with different techniques to attach the pearl along the veil's hem, including using glue.  Now, I used glue to attach iridescent sequins to the poufs in my veil, as well as sequins and pearl trim to the leaves of the headpiece, so I know white glue dries clear and would be invisible on the netting.  However, I did not like how the pearls looked on Corin's veil.  So, I decided to stitch the pearl on by hand.  (So much for this being a quick project.)

Because the veil's hem bowed under, I noticed a "wave" to the veil's hem once the pearl were added.  This effect bugged me, but when I consulted with Corin, she said she liked it because it looked like the pearls were flowing with the veil.

While working on the top tier, I tried several different beading "patterns" to manage the "wave".  By the time I made it to the bottom tier, I finally settled on one that I think did a pretty good job of keeping the beads in place.  I'm considering posting a tutorial to demonstrate the beading pattern.  I think it's pretty neat, and is extremely secure because thread passes through each bead at least three times.  Those pearl are going nowhere!!

The veil loops which accommodate the comb became distorted when pulled, so I just clipped clipped them off.  This meant that once the beading was complete, I'd have to attach the comb - again by hand.

First, I attached the comb to the veil with invisible thread - just to keep it from shifting positions.

Next, I threaded a large-eye needle with 1/8-inch-wide double-faced satin ribbon... attach the comb to the veil.  There were some tough spots where the needle didn't want to go through, so I used my needle-nose jewelry pliers to pull the needle when needed.

I slid the ribbon between the comb's teeth on the visible side of the comb.

And, here's the comb completely attached to the veil.  This side of the comb will be covered by the veil...

...and this side will be against Corin's hair.

The veil will have a slight "pouf" as she wears it.

Now, I remember what a challenge it was for me to hang my veil, so I wanted to include a hanging loop.  I used my loop turner to slide under the ribbon "stitches" at the comb's center...

...and pull through a length of satin ribbon...

...and closed it with a simple knot.

I used my loop turner again, this time to slip the knot under the ribbon stitches, but it slid straight through to the other side of the stitches.

So, I used my awl instead to push the knot under the stitches.

I then secured the knot under the ribbon with a few stitches and invisible thread.

Here is the completed veil...

...hanging by its attached ribbon loop.

I really enjoyed making this veil for Corin because it gave me an opportunity to try some new hand-work techniques.  My big "take-away" from this project - a pre-gathered veil is fine, but if you plan to add beading or embellishment to the actual veil, then make certain the hem is stabilized.  I think it would create a much smoother effect.

Thank you for taking time to read my post and please leave comments below to let me know what you think.

Be blessed!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Online Fabric Shopping

I have a project in mind for the upcoming holiday which will require patriotic-themed fabric.  Specifically, I'm looking for fabric with large white stars on a blue background, so I've checked out some online fabric sites and found items that may work.  However, part of my fabric selection process includes feeling it and seeing how it drapes before deciding to purchase/use it.

I'm not a fabric novice.  You may recall from an earlier post that I worked in a fabric store for 3 years, so I'm experienced with how fabrics "feel", but touching and handling them is still a part of my process.  The problem with this is the number of actual fabric stores in my area is dwindling.  I have JoAnn and Haberman Fabrics.  That's it!!  And while both stores/chains do a good job of providing choices, I still like the idea of checking out other sources, especially if I'm having trouble finding something specific.

Side note - Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, MI is a sewing fan's dream store.  The decor is warm and inviting, the fabric choices are wide and varied, and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable.  If live in or are visiting the Metro Detroit area, make certain you check them out.

Now - back to my dilemma - I found fabric on that I'm considering purchasing, but I really want to find out from those of you who have taken the online-fabric plunge how that works out for you.

Be blessed!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Beaded Bridal Veil

In my professional life, I work as a Trainer for a large telecommunications provider, which affords me the opportunity of meeting wonderful people in my new hire classes.  Corin, a participant in a recent class, asked if I could make the bridal veil for her upcoming nuptials.  As you may recall from earlier posts, I love special-occasion sewing, so of course I said yes.  Her desired style is a two-tier, fingertip length white veil attached to a comb.  I tried, but couldn't talk her into anything more elaborate than the comb, however, she did want the veil edges trimmed in pearl.

Initially, I was going to use small pre-strung pearl trim I found at JoAnn, but they didn't look sophisticated enough for me, so I went with individual 4mm white craft pearls instead.  I so liked the idea of making this project quick and played around with gluing the pearls, but I hated the appearance - it literally looked tacky and just wasn't special enough.

So, I am attaching the pearls to the bridal veil by hand.  Yes, it is more time intensive, but the effect is worth it.  I showed Corin how it was progressing, and she seemed very pleased and excited.  I so look forward to delivering the completed project to her.

I'll publish updates on how the veil is progressing, and hope to include photos of her wearing it.

Be blessed!