Friday, September 20, 2013

Sunday Fun

I usually go to the bunkhouse on Sunday morning and listen to my favorite radio programs.  Foremost of which is Prairie Home Companion.  It's sort of my church.

Church used to be the flea market but when I turned 60 I just didn't need all that stuff anymore.  So now I make stuff on Sundays.

I was fishing around for something to make last Sunday.  I wasn't in the mood to create something 'big'.  I wasn't in the mood to make a basic wardrobe staple, which is usually my fall-back when I'm just not motivated.

I don't know why but I looked inside a cupboard I don't usually go to and bam, there it was.  A huge sack of garment labels I've been hoarding for years.  I take a LOT of labels out of clothes because I remake so many of them AND I rip them out of everything I wear because they're itchy.  I've always wanted to make something with them but never struck on the right idea.  Then, the right idea.

So I dumped out the bagful of labels and started sorting.  I wanted to use my favorites because who knows if I'll ever do something with the rest of them.  I had a blast.  So much fun looking at all of these labels.  Old ones, ones I've never seen before, don't know how they got in there.  But all of my favorite designers from Pringle through Dress To Kill!

You know you're doing the right thing when it all comes together easily.  And this project did.  It practically made itself.

I used a black dupioni for the base.  That's what I use on the collars I make.  Then I "shingled" the labels from bottom to top, making sure I didn't cover up any of the really cool ones.

I love it.  I might never wear it but who cares.  It will live in my studio and make me smile every time I lay my eyes on it.  Joe calls it a chicken.  He said, "There's chickens and then there's eggs.  You keep the chickens!"

I used a vintage button from my mom's collection.  I'm pretty sure it's jet.  

Everything we make should be this easy.  After I finished about two hours!...I started a simple black tunic...a wardrobe staple...I'm back in the saddle!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Speaking of Vests

Ok, in my last post I told you that I love vests and talked about ones I had made in the past.  That got me thinking.  So I went upstairs to the closet and pulled out all of the vests that were there.  That didn't include all the fleece models that are put away for the warmer months.

I started this blog to document the things I make so that I can share them with sewing pals and have a "file" to refer to myself.   I hauled them all over to the bunkhouse, that's the little cottage next door I use for my studio space, and photographed them.

Here they are, in no particular order.

This is one of the rare short ones.  I drafted this pattern from my longer version that I talked about in the last post.  The fabric is a Fabrix rainwear in a rusty bronze.  The diagonal zipper works well and the little pockets on either side of the front are fun, if not too functional.  I wear this over a slinky steel grey rayon tunic with a huge cowl collar and fun sewn on colored patches that my pal Janet made and gave to me.

This fabric is kind of wrinkly which I like.  It compliments the smoothness of the tunic.

I got the pattern for this vest from another sewing buddy, Lynn.  We drafted it from a RTW, took it right off her back!  I love this pattern and will make it again soon.  It's great open or closed.  I won't make it from a crinkly fabric again though, too much volume for me in the you-know-where region.

Here is one of the remade cashmeres I've kept.  Several sweaters combine to make a really comfy winter vest.

This is one of those garments I've remade a few times.  I wore it once, figured out what didn't work, then added something, then decide I didn't like everything I added and whacked off some of it.  That gave me some interesting layers.

Here's a fun summer cotton vest in a taupe/grey.  I'm wearing it today!  I wasn't happy with the plain jane look when I first made it so I asked Diane Ericson for suggestions.  She had me add the gathering at the hem and the slit up the back.  Voila, it worked.  The collar is from Marcy's shirt pattern V8709.  I think it might be out of print?  I couldn't find it on Vogue's website.

This is another combined cashmere vest that I kept.  This goes with 99.9% of every garment in my closet.

This one is out of a mystery fabric.  I can't remember where I got it but you can bet it was probably Marcy Tilton or Fabrix.  It feels almost like it has a bit of wool but I know it doesn't because I'm allergic to wool.  It's self pleated, more in some spots than others, which gave it an unusual drape.

When I was cutting out the pattern I added some inches here and there and then pleated them up.  Again, the collar is from V8709.  I use that a lot.

Here's a crazy one.  I drafted this from a Rundholz vest that yet another sewing pal, Lisa, lent me.  This was just a stupid idea from the start.  There are zillions of pattern pieces all going in different directions.

I soon veered away from the actual pattern and just started nipping and tucking until the darned thing made sense.  I probably took away more fabric than I kept.

Terry, a DOL friend, sold me the fabric at last year's DOL SB, it's a heavy grey ponte.  It was perfect for this garment, she saved me.

You can't see them but the buttonholes are sewn at a diagonal, nice effect.

I call this my tortoise alter ego a big turtle shell.

This one I'm not quite sure about.  I don't wear it often.  I made it to use up some zippers from my stash and to make something that isn't grey or black.  But....I don't wear it 'cuz it's too bright!  Another rainwear kind of fabric from Fabrix.

 Here is a drapy shorty made from a slight boucle knit from Joannes in Santa Fe.  It started as a Marcy jacket pattern V8559...I think.  I really need to keep better records.  Hopefully this blog will help.

I added a panel in back because it was too short for me.  Worked great.

This one is another rainwear fabric from Fabrix.  I wanted a cargo pocket directly on the side of the garment.

Several years ago I saw a woman walk through a hotel lobby in Tokyo who was wearing pants with cargo pockets plastered to the sides, down low.  I loved that look and have been thinking of it ever since.

These pockets are a bit on the gargantuan side but I love this vest and wear it a lot.  My standby pattern but I raised the front hem a bit and used the Marcy collar.

Now for the boo-boo.  This mistake taught me never to cut out patterns late at night.  The lighting in my studio is not the best and I cut part of this on one side of the fabric and part on the other!  You can clearly see it in this photo but thankfully in real life it's not so noticeable.  And, hey, I might have done it on purpose, right?  Who should know!

So there you are.  Now you can see how important vests are in my life.  And these are only the ones I could lay my hands on at the moment.  I have tons of RTW vests in every weight and fabric.  Almost all with pockets so I don't have to wear a purse.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Another Vest

I'm obsessed with vests.  They're my go-to sewing/design project when I want to make something I KNOW I'll wear.

I've made them out of fleece; big drapy ones that I wear in the winter.  I used to embellish them but now like them a bit more austere. You can see a few by clicking on the Vest page.

About four years ago at Design Outside The Lines I fell madly in love with a black vest Marcy Tilton bought in Paris.  I keep hoping she'll do a Vogue pattern from it.

Since then, I've played around with drafting vest pattern.  My standby is 3/4 length, has a zipper and four pattern pieces; front and back top and bottom.  I change it up by adding drape to the bottom and then pleating or darting above the hem to make it even; gather the hem in the back to make it pouf; change the collar, you name it.

I love working with rainwear.  I have a big pile of pieces in my stash that I have mostly gathered at Fabrix in San Francisco.  They are so cheap there it's a no brainer.  Last week I picked up two more pieces...for $2.39 a yard I always get three yards.

Here is a vest I gleaned from Marcy's summer dress pattern here.  I tried on a lightweight black version she had redrafted from this pattern at DOL Sisters this year and loved it.  I saw that others have made it into a vest as well in Marcy's summer dress design competition, see them here.

I tried it in a taupe Babette rainwear that I got from Marcy.

I love all the details in this pattern.  Especially the collar.  It stands up perfectly and it's not too high.  I'll use this collar in other garments.

The vest seemed really big, even after my pal Jenny Freedman helped me tissue fit it.  I had to take inches out.

The only other thing is that since this pattern has a lot of fullness it will be better made in a not-so-stiff fabric.  I keep looking for these fabrics that are like rainwear but lighter weight and probably not actually water resistant.  That would be fine, I'm just looking for that particular crisp, techno feel and look.

Here is Marcy's tutorial on the changes she made to turn the dress pattern into a vest.  It was in her March blog.  I used them all and they worked well.

I'll keep making vests, they work so well in my Central California Coast climate...not to mention I'm 64 and need sub-zero weather to even THINK about wearing a coat.