relocation

Shannon (my mother) and I have decided to end the dual-blogging setup and return to our individual blogs. We created this one with one idea in mind, but it shaped up a bit differently, and it makes more sense now to disperse.

She can be found at Five Gallon Bucket, and I’m now at Today is the Day. All our sewing and quilting archives have been transferred over.

See you there!

~Alice

Alma Blouse

Well, I’m back! What with school and all, I’ve hardly had time to sew, and it doesn’t help that both of my sewing machines are broken! I did make a Secret Santa present using the sewing machines in the costume shop, but other than that I haven’t been able to sew since I don’t know when. Now we’re in the middle of winter break, though, and I’ve been out in the country using my mom’s fancy Juki to make her an Alma blouse!

Alma and car

When Mother first bought this lawn, she described a fitted, vaguely medieval, possibly button-back blouse with 3/4-length sleeves. We decided that the Alma blouse had the right fit, and the sleeves were easily modified. It is also such a nice, versatile, modifiable pattern, and falls within both of our sizing ranges. I can’t wait to sew myself a version in white geometric-patterned cotton with a forest green yoke, or a little floaty summer blouse in lawn or voile with cap sleeves…

I cut a size 16, going by Mother’s upper bust measurement, and did a full bust adjustment. At first I added a total of three inches to the bust, but after the first muslin, I had to reduce the bust by an inch (interestingly, this happened with the last FBA I did as well–I’m really not sure why). I also did a forward shoulder adjustment of probably 1 1/4″.

Alma and car

I had a lot of trouble fitting the sleeves, and as you can see, they’re still not quite right. I narrowed the shoulders by about 5/8″, and put that fabric into the sleeve cap instead. I also did a full arm adjustment, and cut the sleeves on the bias. They fit a lot better in the lawn than they did in the poly-cotton sheet I was using for the muslin, and Mother can move her arms pretty freely, but I’m still not entirely satisfied. Sleeves are hard!

sleeve detail

In addition to changing the sleeve length, I gave the sleeves a little notch that matched the neckline. I trimmed both sleeves and the neckline with some homemade burgundy bias tape.

blouse and earring

Alma neckline

I attempted to do a swayback adjustment because of the wrinkles in back. I don’t think I did it right, but there are fewer wrinkles than there were…

Alma back

Alma zip

I used a regular zipper instead of an invisible one, for no particular reason. It is still pretty discreet. The belt shown here is the leftover burgundy bias tape.

Alma and car

I also made the skirt that Mother is wearing, which was last year’s Christmas present. It is something like a quarter circle, made out of something woven but stretchy from Fabric Depot. It matches the blouse perfectly!

I’m going home tomorrow with a borrowed sewing machine, to sew like mad until I leave for Ireland in a week! I’m hoping to make a shirtdress, two circle skirts, and to finish the Macaron I was sewing when my machine broke. And if I can accomplish all that, there’s a million other things I’d like to sew…but I’m trying to keep my to-do list short!

Cozy Corduroy Anna

At last, I have photos of a finished object! Expect more coming soon! After a summer of sewing, I have quite the backlog in my closet, and mean to get them photographed ASAP, before I forget all the construction details.

This is, obviously, the Anna dress by By Hand London. Mother bought the pattern and had it shipped to me, which was quite exciting, since I rarely get the chance to make a pattern while the blogging world is so abuzz with it. I’m not much of a maxi girl (too short), but the short version is such a simple, versatile sort of dress!

anna

anna back

I made it up in this cozy, soft corduroy from Fabricmart, with a fair bit of stretch (yikes, stretch!). The print is lovely, and reminds me a porcelain teacup, but I knew it had to be paired with very simple lines. The Anna dress is very simple, and a nice slim silhouette to boot. I’m very pleased with the overall look (and it goes smashingly with my blue beret, which I practically live in these days).

For sizing, I was a bit worried, as the smallest size is still a couple inches too big for my upper bust. I cut a size US 2 at the back, grading out to a size 4 at the waist. For the front, I cut a size 2 at the neck and shoulders, a size 6 at the bust, and a 4 at the waist, and took out half an inch horizontally a couple of inches above the bust. I cut a size 4 skirt.

I ended up sewing the side seams at 1 inch, to accommodate for the stretch. I also hemmed the sleeves shorter than the pattern called for, though I don’t know by how much. I’m pretty pleased with the sizing for the bust down, but it gapes something awful at the neck with regular movement, and the neckline is so wide as to be almost off-the-shoulders. I will definitely do some more alterations before I make my next one. I did make a muslin, but the neckline didn’t seem problematic.

anna inside front

My corduroy raveled dreadfully, and the only appropriate seam finish I could think of was french seams, so I french seamed it! They’re pretty bulky and don’t lay flat very well, but it’s not an issue while I’m wearing the dress. I bias bound the waistline seam and the back seam along the zipper with homemade bias tape from the teal sheet I used to make my shorts.

bias binding

anna inside back

From the inside it looks like the waistline seam doesn’t match up. It does, though, I promise!

handpicked zip

See? I didn’t have an invisible zip, so I just used a regular, hand-picked one. I like it.

anna bodice

At first I truly intended to match the stripes in this print, but somehow it didn’t happen. It mostly happened on the bodice, and I managed to get the front stripes lined up, but that’s about it. Luckily, the print is so busy, no one will notice.

Overall, I really like this dress! The stretch makes it so comfortable, and the corduroy’s really cozy. The fit issues are frustrating, but I’ll fix them for my next one, and they won’t stop me from wearing this one. I like the silhouette and the pleats-instead-of-darts (I used them on a couple of shirts I made this summer and I really like the look) and the boat neck! My current favorite t-shirt has a similar neckline.

I’m thinking of another Anna in lawn, perhaps with a slightly wider skirt for dancing. But in the meantime, my next project is a corduroy red-and-pink Macaron!

macaron fabrics

Anna Dress Sewalong!

I just got the Anna dress pattern in the mail a couple of days ago, in time to join the sewalong! I’ve never done a sewalong, probably because I never buy new patterns, but I’ve NO idea how to do an FBA on this kind of bodice, so I’ll definitely need some guidance. I’m really excited to start, especially since I feel like I haven’t done any sewing in ages.

In other news, these last few days have been cool enough to break out knee socks and my fuzzy blue beret! It’s back to the high 70s today, but I’ve really enjoyed having a little taste of fall dressing.

some recent quilting

This is Shannon, the elder in this blog collaboration. I haven’t blogged here (or anywhere) in so long, that in the meantime, flickr has totally changed! I am finding the new interface frustrating but I will prevail, and so here is a post. This process has taken enough energy that I am almost as pleased as if I spent hours in the studio. Here goes!

I took out a loan this summer to buy a new machine. I love my 1926 Singer 99 but I could not get it or any of my other machines to properly free motion quilt. After deliberating for months, literally, I made the decision to buy a Juki TL 2010q! (I did cry a tear or two when I boxed up the Singer.)
we are still in the courtship phase but so far I have been pretty much over the moon about my new helpmeet.
I did the right thing and made a sewing machine cover.
sewing machine cover!
This was a block, or a slab, that I made during a practice session, and didn’t seem to correspond with any other ideas, so it went into this piece. I don’t totally love it or anything, but it is serving a necessary function.

detail of some of the not-great free motion quilting I did here:

sewing machine cover detail
so, you see.

Happier with this practice piece, in which I quilted around an existing lotus pattern on a scrap of weathered linen:
free motion lotus

It seems to be all about the repetition, and I have been sitting down to draw on a regular basis (although not as much as I could be.)

One thing I am finding is that I do not yet have a signature style when it comes to piecing. Of course I don’t; I haven’t produced that much work within this discipline! But still, with my free time is so fractured, it would be nice to find my voice, somehow, miraculously and quickly. I didn’t come to this with that expectation, though, so I’m not disappointed!
The closest I have gotten so far to my vision of my quilting style is with the half square triangle psychedelic quilt top.
psychedelic half square triangle top
I am not sure how to quilt it so for now it reamins a top.

My studio is a shambles right now, but I had a sweet moment of organization and display earlier in the summer. a corner:
summer studio

Next post will feature a scrappy trip around the world, modified, and in baby quilt form…
stay tuned!

Little Brown Bat!

Browsing EvaDress today, I found this gem:

bat costume

Yes, that’s a bat costume from 1887. Yes, I bought it. No, I’ve never sewn a corset.

It takes about 20 yards of fabric (and you have to make a corset, AND a hoopskirt) so there’s no way this will be done by this Halloween (I’ll have to save up for a year for the fabric, not to mention learning the necessary skills), but I’ll definitely be wearing it next Halloween, and to any fancy dress balls I may attend in the future!

I could make this in black to be really traditional, but my favorite bat is the little brown bat, so I’m going to make it in brown, maybe with some fun variations in texture/shade.

I haven’t really done any historical sewing, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have picked the 1880s as the place to start, but this is just too good to pass up! Look at the bats on her shoes!