Thursday, December 30, 2010

Just for Fun

Something tickled my funny bone today.  I was perusing through the January 2011 edition of Martha Stewart magazine this morning and came across this picture:
Can you imagine if this was our whole sewing repertoire?  How would I ever make it with just 12 pins???

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mahalo and a Surf Bag

Mahalo for all the birthday wishes!  I had a fun day off from all household duties.  My DH was amazing!

Also, school is not in session for us this week, nor was it last week, so I am taking some time to organize my sewing room, patterns, and fabric.  Isn't it exciting to think about all the new fabric creations we can make in the coming year?  Especially if we received anything sewing related for Christmas, or our birthday perhaps...maybe someone took advantage of the sales....

While I contemplate what my sewing and personal goals for the upcoming year should be and work on getting the sewing room organized, I thought I would show you this surfer bag.  I was commissioned to make it for Christmas for a teenage girl.  Once again it's my own design.  The outside of the bag is 100% linen with a 100% cotton lining, and it is fully reversible .  I love how bright it is.  It is an adult size version of the bag I made here.

PS:  I like the suggestion a couple of you made about wearing the Burda jacket with a pair of skinny jeans.  While organizing I was reminded I have a cut of denim with teal shadowing.  I could totally see it made into another pair of skinny jeans (Vogue 1204).  Stay tuned...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Let the Celebration Continue!

I do hope you all had a wonderful time on Christmas.  I sure did and my house still looked like a hurricane blew through this morning!  We had quite the storm last night, so I guess it was fitting.  Ah, but today is special.  No housework for me.  It's my birthday!  My DH always pitches in to give me the day after December 25th off, and I have a birthday outfit to share with you.

I can now reveal the light-weight jacket made with the iridescent fabric that has both turquoise and burgundy threads running through it, because I also dug through my special fabrics, the ones you look at and admire but are a little too nervous to cut into, and made a fabulous skirt to coordinate. I am showing you a close-up of the skirt fabric.  It is a beautiful, nubby, mid-weight, silk with metallic threads running vertically and rainbow colors running horizontally.  I've admired this acquisition for many years.  It was high time to do something with it!  Here is the completed outfit; jacket, skirt, and refashioned t-shirt.

The jacket is tricky.  I also like it styled this way:
Even though the jacket is a little difficult to style.  I just love it...the color, the lapels, the cute sleeves, and single button closure.  (Maybe there is a part of me still stuck in the 80's.)  It is Burda 7794.  I took my time on this and made a size 10 with no alterations.  I used Shannon's recently posted tip of the day for finishing the facing edges with interfacing.  I used french seams, and got the width right this time! And I used jewel like deep peacock and gold buttons.  Here is a close-up of the sleeve and inside of the front of the jacket. 

For the skirt, I used New Look 6854, first blogged about here.  Since the fabric is so special, I also decided to line it with nude-colored Bemberg rayon.  I have to laugh.  My lining is getting better around the vent, but I still have some work to do.  I inserted a regular zipper and hand-basted the hem.  The peacock-colored tank started as a $6.00 t-shirt made out of a matte jersey.  I trimmed off the sleeves and v-neck ribbing and simply folded the edges and top-stitched with my coverstitch machine.  It is a perfect color match to the buttons in the jacket, and you will also see this color in the skirt fabric.  This skirt will also go with a number of jewel colored tops and cardi's.  I really love it. 

Here is the lining in the skirt:
Thank you for your thoughts on the previously posted dress.  I wore it most of the day yesterday and am happy with how it feels.  And thank you for making this past year extra special.  I have really enjoyed getting to know so many of you through exchanging comments and reading your blogs.  Only one thing left to do... Blow out the candle!  Oh, and have a little chocolate pie!  Have a lovely week everyone!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Mele Kalikimaka and a New Dress

...and as the card says, "May your holidays be happy and bright."  There is a lot of excitement here in our home.  We've made cookies with friends this week,  we've placed the 23rd ornament on our Jesse Tree, (we'll put the 24th on tonight), and we've enjoyed watching holiday movies together.  My boys are so excited for tomorrow!  Having children in the house sure adds to the excitement.

I've had the knit dress from Simplicity 2443 finished for a couple of days now while I worked on a coordinating jacket.  I probably should have made the jacket that comes with this dress, but I was worried it would go out of style too fast or I would grow tired of it, since it is so distinctive.   Ah, but once again I was foiled by making a style blunder.  The jacket I made and this dress don't work together all that well.  But it's okay, because I love both pieces and if you've been reading my blog for a while you know I will just make another piece to go with the jacket!  So for today I would like to show you the knit dress.  I was attracted to the fact that it is a simple knit dress, but it has interesting style lines with the front and back band at the top. 
I eliminated the zipper on the side seam.  My fabric is a stretchy matte jersey, but I am not sure of the content.  I had the most difficult time setting in the curved areas on the front and back bodice.  Even though there are no puckers, those tight curves are a bit wrinkled.  I may just need to clip or press more, but it doesn't bother me too much.   In my opinion, this dress is super casual.  I can just slip it over my head and go.  There are on seam pockets.  I cut a size 12 and the only alteration I made was to trim the bottom of the back bodice about 1" so that it didn't sit lower than the front.  I don't have plans to make this again simply because it is just too finicky setting in those tight curves.  But overall, I am pretty happy to have tried this pattern, and this dress will be worn.   Just look how much room I have for maneuvering!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Don't be a Grinch!

Unless of course it's all in fun!  This evening I worked on the final two pair of long pj pants for DS#2.  He picked out the fabric, both the Christmas print and the mini-dots.  One day, while browsing through Old Navy, I spied this Grinch t-shirt.  It works great with both pairs.  I can't help but smile when I see them on him!
Once again the pants pattern is Kwik Sew 3402 in a size medium.  I always put a little ribbon tab inside the waistband to mark the back.  It really annoys my boys if they can't figure out which is the front and which is the back.  This takes care of the problem.  I finish the waistband by zigzagging the elastic to the top edge, then folding down, and topstitching with my coverstitch machine or a twin needle, which I used this time.


Weekend Recap and Monday Mojo

Thank you all for your thoughts on my latest Burda ensemble.  I wore the outfit on Sunday and it was perfectly comfortable.  It's one thing to finish an outfit and stand-up straight for pictures, trying to get the most flattering pose, it's another to actually wear the creation and see how it works walking, sitting, riding in the car, etc.  I am glad I left the extra bit of room in the pants through the hips, otherwise I am sure I would have worried about too much pulling on the seams, especially since the fabric is at least ten years old!

Saturday night my DH and I went to see "An Old Fashioned Christmas" by Na Leo Lani O Maui which is Maui's own community choir directed by Gale Wisehart and Uluwehi Guerrero.  What a beautiful show; rich in local history, Hawaiian culture, and traditional Christmas music.  It was held at the historic Iao Theater in Wailuku. (Ioa is pronounced "ee" as in tree "ow" as in cow) This is Hawaii's oldest theater, built in 1928, in Spanish Mission style.  It went through an expensive renovation around 1995 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places the same year.  Thought you might like to see a quick snapshot of the venue when we left that night.  No snow here!  However, we are socked in with off and on rain, and may miss seeing the phenomenal lunar eclipse tonight.  You all will have to take pictures for me! 
In other news, I am working on some last minute Christmas sewing.  I have also cut out a knit dress which will have a matching lightweight jacket, but I haven't decided on the jacket pattern yet.  I really love the colors in these fabric.  The burgundy/turquoise iridescent has been in my stash for ages.  It is a cotton lycra blend.  The matte jersey is a heathered steely jade color with a slight sheen.  When I bought it about a year ago it was advertised as rayon lycra jersey, but it doesn't have the soft flannel like feel.  It feels more like a matte jersey and washes up like polyester.  I didn't send it back, because I do love the color and texture and figured I would be inspired to use it somewhere, and now I am.  Here are the fabrics together.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Burda 8218 + Burda 7746 + Burda 7499 = Vest Ensemble Success!

Well, this outfit has been one of my biggest challenges so far, and I am happy to have completed the look.  Here is a reminder of what inspired me to create this ensemble.  I've already blogged about the construction details of the vest here.  Although I am showing the vest with a sleeveless blouse, I am thrilled to be able to pair it with long sleeve tops too.   I will share with you my thoughts on the Burda 7746 pants and Burda 8218 blouse.  I have made significant design changes to the blouse.  Here is the completed ensemble:
I am thinking I should have made the blouse about an inch longer than the vest, since you see hints of it below the edge of the vest.  I wonder what you all think about this?

The Pants

Burda 7746 is rated easy, and if you have experience with pants, I would agree.  The fabric is mid-weight rayon, with a flowing drape, that is at least 10 years old.  I did make one design change.  The pattern uses a rectangle for the waistband, and I wanted mine to curve around my waist, so I used the waistband from Vogue 1204, which is one piece and curved.  I also added one inch total to the waist at the side seams, tapering back into the original side seam about 5 inches down, and took up a 3/8" seam from the waist through the hips to give me a little extra room.  This caused a tiny bit of wrinkling around the center back seam, but I can still take that area in just a smidge if I want to.  However, my inclination is to leave it alone since I will only be wearing untucked blouses or knit tops with these.  I originally hemmed these at a 7/8 length with a cuff, but agreed with so many fashion experts out there regarding this particular length, that it is unflattering.  It shortens the look of your leg.  I am much happier with keeping my legs looking long.  These pants are going to be a versatile addition to my wardrobe for sure!  Here are some close-ups.

The Blouse:

Burda 8218 is also rated easy.  I'm not sure I would call this easy with trying to fit the under-collar to the front and back, but the drafting was good, because it did come together nicely.  You must also hand-stitch the facing of the collar to the neck back and shoulder seam allowances.   I liked the idea of having a shawl collar with my vest and this is why I chose this pattern.  The blouse is semi-fitted.  I am okay with this, because I intend to wear it with the vest.  However, if I wear it separately the looser fit also keeps it cool.  My fabric is pima-cotton broadcloth, which I found out tends to wrinkle quite a bit, but feels cool next to the skin.

The design of the blouse has been altered in that I cut in the sleeves like the vest.  To do this I laid the vest pattern piece over the blouse pattern piece and cut the armholes following the vest lines.  I did the same thing with the bottom points on the front of the blouse.  The armholes are finished with self-fabric bias strips.  Here are some pictures of the blouse:

I just couldn't tear myself away from this project to start a dress for tomorrow night, so I think I will go with one of my other creations for date night on Saturday.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Burda 7746 - Progress

Thank you so much for your thoughts on the vest!  I am really excited about how this outfit is coming along.  Here are some progress photos of the Burda 7746 trousers.  Though the plaid matching isn't absolutely perfect, it is so close I am very happy with how it is turning out.  This pattern is straightforward with no tricky parts.  If you know how to insert a center front fly, you won't have any trouble putting these together.  Here is the technical drawing.
 Front Fly:

Back View:
Side Seam:
Remarkably, the only alteration I've had to make is to add 1" to the waist.  I added this at the side seams.  All I have left to do is: 1) attach the waistband and 2) hem them (with a cuff).  For those of you interested in my "How I ended up in Maui" story, I thought you might get a chuckle out of seeing me as an island girl the first time around.  Funny, it's a picture, not at the beach, but up in the rain forest somewhere on the Big Island. 
Big Island Circa 1977.  Crazy huh?


Monday, December 13, 2010

The Vest - Burda 7499

For a pattern that looks simple, this took me some time.  It is Burda 7499, view A, size 10.  Perhaps it's because I am feeling a bit of the holiday hustle and bustle, and I am having a difficult time staying focused when I do sit down to sew.  None-the-less the vest is finished and I am happy with it.  It is difficult to see on the hangar, but the cut-in shoulders are a nice design detail.  You will notice it better when I show the completed ensemble.  
It is fully lined with black Bemberg rayon.  Lining the vest meant that there was some hand-sewing and under-stitching to do.  The pattern instructions left out the step to understitch, but I tried to do it along all the edges so the lining would not roll to the outside.  Burda also instructs you to leave the shoulder seams open for turning, but I opted to leave the side seams open.  I have found that when I leave shoulder seams open for turning I have a challenging time getting a smooth edge when I sew it together.  Leaving the side seams open gave me a clean finish but also left more hand-stitching to close the openings in the lining.  Here is the vest inside out.
I added a triangle of fabric to the front pattern piece so that I could have a button closure.  The button is genuine horn.  Here is a close-up of the pattern alteration and button:
Do you see the gray plaid fabric?  I decided to complicate matters by making my pants out of that instead of the darker gray fabric I showed earlier.  I think I will be happier with it since it is lighter and it is made of rayon.  I plan to cut them out tonight. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Birthday Bag

Today the boys and I had the joy and privilege of celebrating a birthday at the beach.  The special young lady is one of the boy's playmates from the neighborhood.  I designed and made this bag just for her and it's reversible.   Oh, I love the chance to sew for girls!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Vest Project - Fabric and Patterns

I've narrowed down the material and patterns to recreate the vest look.  Here are my fabrics:
The black, for the vest, is the same rayon gabardine I used for the skirt here.  I'll use Burda 7499, view A,  slightly altered to accommodate a button closure instead of a tie, for the vest.  The gray fabric is a suit quality polyester with no stretch and I will be using Burda 7746 to make the slacks.  The blouse will be made with the white fabric which is a pima cotton broadcloth, with no stretch, and I will use Burda 8218, view A.  I have started on the vest.  However, I may need to put the project aside temporarily to make a holiday dress for next weekend.  I still haven't made a final decision about material and pattern for that yet.

How about a blast from the past - baby style.  I made this little 3-6 mos. set for a baby girl who was born to parents who are avid hunters and operate a sporting goods store.  It was made a couple of years ago.  The gray and coral print is a mid-weight cotton lycra, and the jacket is made with gray velour.  I just love the color combination in this.  The set was made using the Kwik Sew patterns featured here.
On a final note.  Wendy H. asked whether I have always lived in Hawaii, and if not what brought me here?   I actually lived in Hawaii as a young child in the late 70's for close to two years.  I never once thought that I would live here again in my adult life.  The brief answer is that my DH and I both discovered, after spending some time here on vacation and work travel, that there were job opportunities in Maui.  So without much prior planning we decided to move here five years ago.  Talk about flying by the seat of our pants.  If someone had told me ahead of time how difficult the transition would be, on so many levels, I'm sure I would have balked at the move.  My DH is Mr. Adventure, which makes life pretty exciting, but also a little bumpy at times.  Honestly, every bump gives me a reason to grow if I will let it.  I've grown to feel a love for the island, people and culture.  At times, I still feel out of place here, but that feeling comes less frequently these days.  For now, my home is Maui and I am blessed.
More Christmas colors Maui Style!