Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Vogue patterns: V8663

For my birthday, my awesome brother signed me up to get Vogue Patterns magazine.  It's mostly just a giant ad for Vogue patterns (hence the name), but it's working; despite previously eschewing store-bought patterns, I walked into the fabric store "just wanting to look" at the instructions for a couple of dresses featured in the magazine and walked out with ten (TEN!) patterns.  I might have bought more, but 10 was the maximum number allowable at Joann's for Vogue patterns at the bargain-basement price of $3.99 (sale ended yesterday, apparently).

Many, many patterns in Vogue are for knit fabric, but the instructions don't discuss sewing with a serger and I'm not sure I altogether like some of the instructions for constructing clothing with a conventional machine.  Seriously, if the pattern requires 2-way stretch fabric, then the garment shouldn't need a zipper.  Or bias tape around necklines.  Bottom line: I have to get better at sewing with my serger.  I have a tiny fraction of the experience working with a serger as compared to sewing with a conventional machine, but all it takes is practice, right?  Out of my huge stack of new patterns, I chose V8663 to start.  I browsed the sale fabric rack looking for 2-way stretch and found something that wasn't too atrocious-looking or expensive.

Pattern alterations
Knowing I was going to construct the garment with my serger, and I don't use the cutter (too scary!), I sized down two sizes to take seam allowance into consideration (size 6 in bust, grading up to 10 in waist), but I still had to take in the side seams about 3/4 inch on each side, as well as adjust the waist upward, despite shortening the bodice at the designated location.  I omitted the zipper, cutting the back bodice and skirt pieces on the fold where the pattern designated "center back".  I only tacked down the pleats at the top edge of the neckline (with my conventional machine)--the instructions were completely hazy on this point.  The pleats are a little wonky, but the print is crazy enough to hide the flaws!

I was planning on making the version with sleeves, but went with self-binding (1.5 inch width, folded in half) at the neckline and armholes.  It turned out fine, a huge improvement over the standard bias tape that was suggested, but it could be better (more practice needed!)  The pattern didn't call for it, but I made a self-belt to break up that belly area.  Finally, the hem is unfinished.  I don't love it, but I also don't know if I want to tackle it!

Photo-bombed by my 7 year old!
Overall, I liked the pattern a lot--if I had more experience with slinky knits, it would have been super to quick to sew up. The slightly crazy fabric was my savior, though--it hides several mistakes :)  The neckline and silhouette are flattering, and it's super comfortable!  Win!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back from Zurich, with fabric

I'm now almost fully recovered from our trip to Zurich, Switzerland with my 2 and 7 year old.  We were accompanying my husband on a business trip, so I spent the two week vacation going on road trips with the kids around Switzerland and surrounding countries, visiting any location that displayed animals (as per the interests of my sons).  It was tiring, to say the least!

The one thing I wanted to get while out of the country was fabric, so a quick Google search landed me at SewChic with listings for several stores in the area.  I didn't make it to Luzern, but took the short 15 minute walk from our apartment with the kids to the Bernina store.  By the time we got there, the little one wanted his boots off (then on...then off...) and the older one couldn't have been more unhappy to be stuck in a tiny fabric store instead of at the zoo, so I made a quick selection and paid for my purchase:
In my haste, I didn't look at the designer or other important information on the bolt, so I know almost nothing about this fabric other than that it's cotton, very thin, with a permanent wrinkle to it.  Coming from the US, I'm accustomed to a certain price range for fabrics, but at the equivalent of $29/meter, I was pretty floored.  And it was the cheapest price tag I looked at.  But it was my souvenir of the trip (well, along with a ceramic fondue pot...:), so no regrets!  I only bought a meter, so it's going to be a top, and likely sleeveless because I'm not sure I have enough yardage for even cap sleeves.  We'll see!

On our last full day in Zurich, after a shopping excursion on the famed Bahnhofstrasse, our walk home took us past what looked to be another fabric store.  It also had gorgeous gowns in the window, so it was unclear to me if you could buy the fabric by the yard or just order something custom made.  When I walked in with my 7 year old, someone was instantaneously by our side insisting "Do not touch anything!".  Perhaps they were only warning my child, but I truly felt that it might be directed at both of us. Since it would be flat-out impossible for me to buy apparel fabric without touching it, I browsed for a few more obligatory seconds and then left.  Plus, the one price tag I saw was $250 CHF/meter (about $250 USD), so it was an order of magnitude out of my price range!

While I was away, I had my sewing machine serviced, so both the machine and I are ready to start sewing again.  Now I just have to figure out on which project to start...