Category Archives: fashion design

I model the outfit I made

IMG_1879I’m standing on the bulkhead across the street from my daughter’s house in Norfolk.

The pants are Simplicity pattern 8056. The fabric is linen polyester blend. It is so cool and comfortable. That’s my favorite tie dye shirt  with a beaded fringe.

I made a slope out of muslin to try the pants pattern first. When I looked at all the pieces I had to cut and all the steps to assemble it, I wondered if I could make the slope without cutting and sewing all the pieces, but then decided I had to do it as far as getting the waist band on, because it looked difficult and complicated.  The pockets are 4 pieces each and the zipper has a fly. I’m used to doing slipcover zippers which are more simple. When I looked at the directions, I read the text, I looked at the illustrations, and I said to myself, “what?” I had to  stop and do something else because I couldn’t figure it out. A couple days later, I tried to figure it out again and still didn’t get it, so I made a guess and that wasn’t right. At least then I could see how it was meant to go together, and I was glad I made the slope, because I needed the practice! A lot of times I sew something, I have to rip my stitches and try again, so, no big deal.

The slope did fit well. I took my measurements and compared them to the chart on the pattern. I guess I’m not a standard size. So, when I cut the muslin I cut the hips bigger and the waist smaller. There’s the first step and I was just trying to make my best guess. I really needed to make the muslin first so I could check the fit, and learn the steps to assemble the pants. It was difficult the second time too, but next time it will be easier. I want to make this in green, another blue and tan. Then I’ll be all set for summer. And in a few weeks when the lotuses bloom, I’m going out wearing this to paint, and I don’t care if I get paint on my new pants. I’ll make more. At least I’ll be comfortable and dressed better than before.

tie dye shirt with beaded fringe

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frontIMG_1877

back

I think I’m getting the hang of this tie dye thing. This is the ice dying again, my 9th tie dye and my favorite shirt so far. I enjoyed wearing the 1st one that I put beads on so I wanted to bead this one too. Last time, I cut my fringe 1/2″ and it took a looooong time to sew all the beads on. This time, I cut my fringe at 3/4″ and got the beads on in about 2 hours. The great thing about the beads is how they make the fringe swing when I walk. I imagine I’m reminding people of the ocean.  ( the motion  hahahahaha )

The 1st beaded shirt, I kept the length of the shirt size adult x large and cut my fringe 7″. The fringe was low on my hips and when I got out of my car I had to straighten it every time as it got a little tangled. This time, I cut 5″ off the length of the shirt and cut my fringe at 5″, so it should be a little higher on my hips and hopefully not get messed up when I sit down. That’s something to consider if you’re thinking of making a beaded fashion style.

About the beads, Imagine sewing a button on a shirt. There’s a job most people don’t have the patience to do. Now imagine sewing 63 more buttons on. YIKES! right?  I say to myself, “One at a time gets it done.” I take frequent breaks. It’s not boring when you know you’re making something beautiful for yourself and no one else has anything like it because they can’t sew a button on. And you can’t buy it in a store because it would cost a fortune with all the hand sewing of the beads.

It’s been raining for so many days. Good thing I have this tie dye and my sewing projects to keep me from going insane here at home. I need to make shorts to go with this shirt. I have a pattern for shorts that says “perfect fit”. I haven’t tried it yet, but that skirt pattern I bought saying perfect fit did fit just right. So, another day of rain here. They say this is the last rainy day and tomorrow the sun will come out. I’ll do a slope of the shorts pattern today. If it works, I might buy some linen tomorrow. Then I’ll look so cool at the next art opening.

the Mondrian top in colors I like

IMG_1872This is my second try on making the Mondrian top. I like this one more because these are colors I enjoy wearing. The first time I made the top I was only trying to copy the original, but I don’t enjoy wearing red, gray, white and black. The monotony of the colors in the stores is what I’m trying to escape.

Quilting Adventures has the most beautiful cotton prints but I’ll have to iron this every time I wash it. The fabric  stores don’t have as great a color selection in polyester. Maybe I could make a Mondrian sweat shirt though, because they do have nice bright colors in fleece. That’s a project for the future.

Another reason I like this version more is because it fits better. After I used the pattern 5 times, and made a few alterations to it, I got it to fit just right.

So, it took 2 tries, and it was difficult, because I’m not very experienced at piecing, but I finally made a Mondrian top that will be fun for me to wear. And I hear the style is making a comeback.

tie dye t shirt with beaded fringe

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That was FUN!

My first 2 attempts to tie dye didn’t work out as well as I hoped, so I watched a few U Tube videos and got some good tips. This is the ice dying method. You scrunch up your shirt and put rubber bands all over it, then put it on top of a rack so the dye can drain. That way the shirt isn’t sitting in dye getting too dark and mucking up your colors. Instead of mixing the powdered dye with water and squirting it on with the squeeze bottles in the kit, you cover your t shirt with ice cubes and drop the powdered dye on top of the ice. When the ice melts the dye soaks into the shirt and gives this water color look.

The instructions on the kit say to wait 6 to 8 hours before untying the shirt and rinsing it, but the U Tube videos say to wait 24 hours, so I waited until the next day to rinse the shirt.

Also, the videos recommended you use soda ash to set the dye better and make the colors come out brighter. I got a pack of the soda ash and followed the instructions. I think it  did help keep my colors from washing out in the rinse part of the process.

I thought this one came out ok. I wanted to put a fringe on it because the shirt is long on me, but I wasn’t really sure how to add the beads and had to try a couple times sewing them on. Finally I got the hang of sewing the beads on, but it took a long time.

My wardrobe wouldn’t be complete without some tie dye. I need to do more.

 

top with neck facing trim

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I saw this top on TV and thought it was so cute I stopped the show to look at it. I liked the 2 rows of contrasting trim around the contrasting yolk. It looked like the neck facing was on the front instead of inside the top! I was so happy I figured out a way to make it!

I have a Simplicity pattern 8061 that looks like the style I saw on TV, and easy to sew. I made it out of muslin first to check the fit and was glad I did the muslin because the top fit ok except it was too high on the neck in front, like it was practically choking me. Then I tried again with some polyester fabric and cut the neck edge down about 3/4 ” from the original pattern. It was more comfortable to wear, but still could go lower. The pattern also has a low scooped neckline, a V neck and a square neck, but I wanted the higher round one. A lot of times the piece I sew doesn’t come out looking just like the picture on the pattern.

After I changed the neckline on the front pattern piece, I also had to draw  new facing pieces to fit my alterations. Then, do the bias trim on the facing top and bottom, sew the front of the facing to the wrong side of the top. When you flip it, it looks like a pieced yolk with trim, but it’s really only a facing.

I’m going to do it again with the facing on the front in contrasting colors, and alter the pattern one more time. This time, I want to lower the neck edge a little more and lower the armholes about 1″ too. Then it will be perfect for me.

Then I want to do the Mondrian top again in my favorite colors with this pattern.

Mondrian top

img_1860Dang, mine doesn’t look as chic as the original by YSL. I’m wearing it. no one else in town has it and there will be a show of YSL styles at the VMFA in May.

I don’t have much experience with piecing, and was wondering how to do this. Our fellow blogger Linda, of Nice Dress, Thanks, I made it, gave me a good tip, and I looked it up. It seems there’s more than one version of this design from the 60s, and more than one way to make it. Any way, it looked like it would be difficult, and it was. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong, but I finished it.

Maybe I shouldn’t have used cotton, because it wrinkles too easily. I don’t know what fabric YSL used.img_1855First, I made it out of lining, because patterns don’t always fit as well as I hope they will. When I tried this on, it was a little too snug to reach my arms forward. I drew charcoal lines on this, where I thought the black stripes should go. It’s just a rough marking, because I was wearing it and drawing on myself. I was glad I took the time to make it out of lining first, because it would be disappointing if I did all the work of piecing it then it was too small. Then I took this one apart and decided where to mark my paper pattern for the color blocking.

I saw some Mondrian dresses online made like a straight shift with no darts. I considered that style, but decided to use and A- line dress pattern, so it would fit me better. And I need sleeves because in the summer I get an uneven tan on my arms, from painting outdoors wearing T shirts every day. I saw the old Vogue pattern had the vertical line in the center of the dress, but I wanted mine off center like the original, so I didn’t want the Vogue pattern even if I could buy it, which might be hard to find.

I did the piecing before cutting the pattern.img_1857

When I got to this point, I knew I made a mistake. The lines match up at the side seams laying flat like this, but after I sew the darts, it will shorten the front red block and the black lines on the back would not match the lines on the front at the side seams. I had already put a lot of time into it and didn’t want to give up, so I had to take the black line off the back pieces and move it up about 1 1/2″ . So that might be the reason for making the dress as a straight shift, to eliminate that problem. I got it to work so my black lines meet at the side seams ok, though. It was just another sewing problem to figure out, and that kind of thing happens if you experiment. There’s a way to fix every mistake.

I wore it with jeans today, but it would hang better over a skirt. So a skirt is my next project. It will be a simple straight skirt.

yellow bathrobe / spotted pajamas

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America wants me to paint, but I have to sew first because I really need some new clothes and I can’t find what I want in the stores.

A friend that I worked with at a sewing job years ago asked me why I go to the trouble of sewing when I can buy it for less on sale. She enjoys shopping more than I do to start with, but she did admit she never sees bathrobes in yellow. I wanted yellow not white. White is so generic and it doesn’t pick up my energy like yellow does on a dreary morning. And the pajamas in the stores are made of thin cheap fabric that shrinks in the dryer and wears out fast. If you go into a store and scan the room, you pick up black, white, gray, bright red and dark blue, but there’s no wide variety spectrum of colors available. It’s almost like our overlords want us to dress in a sort of uniform. What has happened to individualism? There’s no room for it. When will the garment industry pick up in the USA? This makes no sense to me. We can do better. Forget about all of us looking alike, and no class distinctions based on clothing.  Social engineering doesn’t work. When I wear my new fringed jacket, I can tell people are looking at it and judging me to be either rich or an artist. It makes me feel more respected. New clothes, nice colors, and fabrics, it all adds up to a better self esteem and energy. I’m just lucky I was pushed into sewing when I was young. Sewing is like drawing, you can learn at any age and make progress if you practice. Good teachers help.

I’m enjoying the pajama fabric. It’s so soft. From Joanne Fabrics. There’s a thin cloth backing on it which will make it hold up better in the wash too. And they fit just right because I put it on for a fitting and marked the waist before I put the elastic in.

Next project : steal the Mondrian dress. I think I can do it.

fringed jacket

img_1848Darling, will this make me look fat?

hahahahah I don’t care. I’m wearing it anyway.

The story of the jacket.

Long ago my Mom showed me this pattern and asked me if I wanted her to make it for me. I said, “OhHellYeah!!” because I’ve always loved fringe. The pattern said the jacket comes out looking elegant in black white and gray, and it looks striking in red white and  blue. I asked for the red white and blue one. I wore it all the time. Then when I couldn’t wash it again, because the fringe was not good anymore, I asked her if she still had the pattern. She didn’t.  I kept the jacket in the closet for years, sometimes I thought  about trying to copy it. I knew it would be difficult and time consuming so I put it off. Finally I got around to it. It took weeks. But I can’t find something I like when I shop for a jacket, so I had to do it. I tried to make a pattern by pinning the old jacket to aimg_1847 big sheet of packing material I had and tracing around it. The back front and sleeves of the jacket are all one piece. I cut a pattern out of denim and made a few corrections, trying to improve my rough first pattern. The denim felt too stiff and wouldn’t drape as nicely as my old jacket, which had a shell made of dress lining fabric. So the third time I cut the shape, I used the blue dress lining fabric and it seemed ok. Making that fringe took f-o-r-e-v-e-r- I had to cut 3 yards of the fabric into 1″ bias strips and join them up into one long piece. I had to draw chalk lines on the shell 1/2″ apart on an angle like the original. Then I had to sew each strip on until I had the whole shell covered. I worked on it a few days all day and a few days part of the day. Some days I had to let it go and do something else. But then I still had to go back and cut each strip the whole length to make a fringe. I had to do a lot of hand sewing because I wanted to cover my cut edges on the seams and I don’t have a serger. So, omg, what a big job that was.

Isn’t that a beautiful dress by YSL? I want it! And I think I might be able to STEAL IT!!! hahaha I really do want to get out of the house and paint in plein air, but not today. I’m going to  look at the pattern books and try to find a pattern that I can adapt to make the YSL. I would rather have it as a top than a dress. I could cut it off at the bottom of the black line. If I can’t find a pattern to use to fake the YSL, then I might not do it.