Monday, November 1, 2010

Renewing My Pledge

My 2 month pledge to stop buying new / only buy thrift, sew from scratch or refashion my wardrobe is up, but I had so much fun I've decided to do it again, this time for 6 months.

Here's my pledge:

I, Leslie, pledge that I shall abstain from the purchase of new, manufactured items of clothing with the exception of shoes, underwear and select items for my belly dance costume, for the period of 6 months. I pledge that I shall sew from scratch or refashion, renovate or recycle pre-loved items for myself with my own hands in fabric, yarn or other medium for the term of my contract. I pledge that I will share the love and post a photo of my refashioned, renovated, recycled, crafted or created item of clothing on the Wardrobe Refashion blog, so that others may share the joy that thy thriftiness brings! Signed Moi

Friday, October 29, 2010

Lady On Hold

This is as far as I got on my Lady Grey coat. In the photo, I'm wearing my fitted muslin. All in all, the fit was pretty darn great, much better than anything I've made from the big 4 pattern companies.

Like most of the garments I make, it needed a little more length in the bodice. Also the collar gaped, so I pinched out the excess. Finally, I had to shave just a smidge off the hips at the side seam.

The Lady Grey might possibly have the best fitting shoulders I've ever encountered in 40 years of sewing. I have to say that I am quite impressed with the drafting of this pattern.

Here's a view of the back.

Right after I did my fitting, I put the Lady aside to sew some items I needed for my NY / NJ vacation. As I mentioned in a previous post, I sewed three pairs of pants in three days, and completed a carpet bag that had sat half done for several years. (To be fair, one of the pairs of pants was also a UFO). I still need to get good photos, but I'll share the pants with you soon.

Not only am I pretty far behind the others in the sew-along, I've now realized that what I need much more than a fitted coat is a more casual jacket that I can wear over layers and sweaters, something that's nicer than a fleece, but that I can still wear to walk the dog.

So I've decided to put the Lady Grey aside for a little while and work on this coat –Burda 7423. I'm going to use the green, tan and burgundy wool check shown. It's been in my stash for a couple of years. Originally lighter in both color and weight, I threw this piece of fabric in a dark red dye bath which caused it to both shrink and felt. I think it's a great weight now for a casual coat.

As for the Lady, I'm not going to abandon her all together. While I never did find the perfect lining to go with my houndstooth check, I am kind of liking the look of the jacket in the upholstery fabric I've used for my muslin. I am visualizing it with black velvet contrast collar and lapel facing. Can't you just see it with long black gloves?

I have enough fabric left over to re-cut the pieces where I made alterations, so I might just sew this up and call it good. Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I was gone, but I'm back

I just returned home from a week with family in New Jersey and New York City. I took my just completed carpet bag on the plane as my carry-on. I love this bag! It's stylish, roomy, sturdy and it fit perfectly under the seat of what seemed like the smallest jet ever made. I wish I'd had this bag back in the 80s, when I did a lot of traveling for business.

It was great to be back on the east coast. I've realized I am a big city gal. Even though it's been almost 25 years since I lived in NYC, I felt completely at home, as if I'd never left. In between all the dinners and other family events I managed to squeeze in lots of sewing related activities. After taking my hubby to see the brownstone where I used to live, we visited my alma mater, FIT. While we were there we stopped in the museum. I am still frothing at the mouth over the Japan Fashion Now exhibit. I must get a copy of the book.

I also did some fabric shopping, not in the garment district, but in the town where I was born, Belleville, NJ! At Fabric Warehouse, which is an actual warehouse in a dingy industrial section of town, I found some great deals. The fabrics are sold already cut and folded, ranging from 2 to 3 1/2 yards. Most were priced between $3 to $6 per yard. One of my purchases was a "splurge" at $10 a yard. It's the second one from the right in the photo below, the luscious purple velvet knit. The chain fabric store where I live now has an almost identical fabric this season selling for $30 a yard. My average price per yard for this haul was $4.80. I love a good bargain!

The other fabrics from left to right are: a black and white stripe T-shirt knit, a black stretch sateen with a beautiful hand that will become either pants or a jacket, a leopard print knit I'll make into the longer sleeved version of Vogue 2980, a shiny black and cream stripe for a jacket, yellow cotton knit, blue and tan textured suit weight fabric, and my favorite on the far right, a black, green and purple wool plaid which I will probably make into the new Marcy Tilton jacket pattern, Vogue 8693.

Last but not least, I got to "visit" with the treadle sewing machine that currently lives in my in-laws' attic. It's a New Home machine manufactured in 1892. She's really a beauty. The machine could use a little spit and shine. The cabinet is exquisite. If I can find a way to get it home, it's mine. Considering there's the width of a continent and an international border in the way, this could be a challenge. But for now, I have visiting rights, and unless another family member lays claim, it will, someday, somehow, be mine.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lady In Waiting

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I've been sewing like a madwoman. But not the Lady Grey.

As you can see here, I have gotten the muslin sewn and pin fitted, but that's where I stopped. The weather changed and I realized all my pants were either linen or cropped, so I made three new pairs of pants in three days. More on those later.

I also needed a bag to carry some things to a special event, so I finished my Favorite Things Carpet Bag, which had been sitting as a UFO for 4 years!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lady Grey Muslin Traced, Pinned, Cut

Yesterday I traced, pinned and cut the muslin for the Lady Grey coat. I had a class this evening or I would have started basting it together. I have another event tomorrow night, so it looks like it will be the weekend before I do much more. Here it is on my cutting table.

I wanted to cut my muslin from something with a similar weight to my coat fabric. I had an unused red faille shower curtain that I thought might work, but it turned out to be too small. (It's now tagged to become a raincoat for Moby, my very large white Standard Poodle. He looks great in red!)

I decided to use the floral tapestry home dec fabric that I blogged about here. Part of me thought it would make a really cute coat, but another part of me thought I would look like I was wearing someone's grandmother's sofa. It was that image that helped me decide to sacrifice it for the muslin. (What you are seeing in the photo are the strange colors of the reverse side. The background is black on the right side.)

I'm thinking of using what's left of the tapestry after cutting my muslin to make this Cynthia Rowley purse, Simplicity 2350. But that's a project for another day.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pattern Shopping Procrastination

Today I am focusing on my Lady Grey muslin. I have a lot of catching up to do. I should have been working on this over the weekend, but I was having too much fun shopping garage sales and thrift stores where I picked up a bunch of patterns.

Here are my two favorite patterns from my weekend shopping spree. I think they both might have to get sewn up this season and not just put into my stash for later. The Burda coat doesn't have a lining, but I think it would benefit from one. It shouldn't be too difficult to draft one, since it's not a fitted silhouette. The New Look T-shirt has a lot of fans over at I could see myself making this in several different colors.

Below are just a few of the other treasures I found and listed at my new eCrater store.
Simplicity 7637, size 4-6-8 bustier and skirt from Jessica McClintock. Totally glam.

Vogue 7183, Today's Fit Jacket by Sandra Betzina. From 1999, I think this is one of the earliest Today's Fit patterns from Vogue. If it was my size I would have kept this one for myself.

Butterick 4660, knit tops from 2005. So cute!

Burda 5205, double breasted blouse from the 80s. Check out the beautiful pleated neckline detail.

I even found another copy of New Look 6595, which is a personal favorite in my stash of coat patterns. I blogged about my plans for it here.

These are just a sampling of the fabulous patterns I will be adding to my store over the next week or so. Look for some fun and funky vintage mens and kids patterns too. But for now I have to get back to cutting and fitting my Lady Grey muslin. Stay tuned for a progress report.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Last of the Summer Sewing

While I desperately need to be working on my Fall sewing (and my Lady Grey muslin), I'm trying not to increase the size of my UFO pile. So I just had to finish this T-shirt before starting any new projects. It's Vogue 2980, the Sandra Betzina bolero T-shirt, which is now out of print.

I'm pretty new to sewing with knits and I'm happy with how it turned out. Even if I won't get to wear it much until the spring, I'm inspired to make more knit tops.