Do you know that phrase "be careful what you wish for?" I'm sure you do and I feel that sentiment lately, as I always wish for summer to last all year. However - my sewing mojo has completely disappeared and I attribute that to the lack of autumnal weather. Looking back on the past few years I always seem to have some post in October mentioning how we haven't started wearing jackets or boots but this year our forecast has been extra balmy. Feels a bit Los Angeleno, eek! 80's˚F most every day and I am actually getting a bit tired of it. even though taking an after dinner walk wearing shorts and a t-shirt is very pleasant.
Oh well, check back in January when I am complaining about our admittedly not polar winter. Note for travelers - so many microclimates here in the SF Bay area so check before packing your suitcase, you could find yourself shivering as you admire the Golden Gate if you don't bring a bit of everything.
Anyway - that is a long way round to say that I feel like I have quite a few fall or winter coats and jackets, so even though I love to sew them I just can't get motivated. Recently I bought some silks so I think this fall will be a festival of shirts and blouses.
Apropos of nothing: I am mildly obsessed with this Marfy dress pattern that I happened to see on their website. Talk about out of season! now that fall is approaching (sort of, see paragraph above). Anyway I am a sucker for a white dress and I can see that exactly as they have pictured, with the ribbon trim. Maybe I will order the PDF and put it away for spring. I had such good luck with my previous Marfy pattern - something about their proportions is very very good. Italiani e la moda, sanno quello che fanno. (they know what they are doing :) By the way they have some links on their website to sewing videos, I watched this one all the way though. While I do these pockets all the time I was kind of mesmerized by the person doing it - with no markings or tailors tacks. And as in the couture houses I have seen on various documentaries, the person sewing is wearing what looks like a white lab coat. I like that touch - maybe I will get one to up my sewing game.
Searching for something new: Not sure I am planning to enter but I saw an upcoming contest on Pattern Review titled "New to me pattern company" and thought that was a fun idea. So I have been looking....and looking, with nothing jumping out at me that I want to try. I was looking for an interesting jacket pattern, and I have already sewn Burda, Pauline Alice, StyleArc, Marfy, all the big US ones, even once made a Grainline pattern. So a new to me pattern company with an interesting jacket - so far nothing found. I saw a shawl collar jacket pattern from Waffle patterns but it didn't really thrill me or seem much different to what I already have. Any ideas? I might have to try a blouse or shirt.
So far all pattern releases have saved me from opening my wallet - nothing I am craving that is any different from patterns I already have - yay! for both $$ and space saving. I am kind of amazed by how many independent pattern designers jump in with a new pattern that is indistinguishable from the many that are already out there. However talking with friends who are learning I see that the instructions/sew-alongs etc are helpful. If I produced a pattern (which I am NOT) it would be like Marfy - here are the pattern pieces and sew it up! Mainly because I would be terrible at writing the instructions :)
Flat Pattern Measureing: Do you do it? I read a lot of posts where someone has sewed something by choosing a size but didn't look at the finished measurements or measure the pattern. My advice - do it. See below, the finished garment measurements are printed on the pattern but if they weren't you can use the measure tape, be sure to omit the seam allowance if it is on the pattern and then add front and back to get circumference. I saw a lot of questions on some knit patterns recently about finished garment measurements and negative ease. If you are really questioning, mark out that number with pins on your chosen piece of fabric and then wrap it around, hips, bust, whatever area you are concerned. If you like how that fabric feels at that circumference then great but if not alter, or find a different fabric. I think doing a bit of testing your uncut fabric, draping it over your arms, or wrapping around can tell you a lot about how it will look as a finished garment and save some time and/or money by helping select the right fabric.
Burda Plus envelope patterns: There are a lot of hidden gems among the Burda Plus patterns, and particularly in the envelope patterns. (actually I also think there are some good ones in the Simplicity plus patterns too). For many reasons a lot of Big 4 or indie patterns don't include all sizes and I think with a bit of searching you can find a lot of silhouettes in Burda that can be varied to emulate some of those patterns. I can't speak for all figure types but Burda plus patterns seem to have the proportions more right than others, in that the shoulders do not get so wide along with a larger bust. Anyway - just a little love from me for these patterns - I have used them for various people with good success. Also I love a multi-size pattern, so easy to grade between sizes for top half/bottom half, sleeves etc. I am now in the process of sewing this pattern for someone and it is really nice. I did adjust the neckline slightly for more coverage but will show all the pattern alteration details in a post when it is finished. I also bought the Burda 6713 blouse pattern, which also shows it as a dress. I like that Burda finds ways to create interesting details with creative necklines and dart shaping.
Investment in Sewing Tools: I saw a great post by Karen of Did you make that? the other day, about which sewing tools turned out to be very good investments for her. I agree wholeheartedly about the wooden clapper, and I have waxed lyrical about the benefits of high quality interfacing many times. (My fave is from Fashion Sewing Supply, all the different types they sell, and I just noticed a sale on now ,15% off, I will be stocking up on the ProSheer Elegance and ProTricot deluxe).
She also mentioned buying and loving the very expensive invisible zipper foot, which seems like just the thing for a lot of people. In the comments quite a few mentioned that zipper foot plus the walking foot. I wonder if that is a Bernina thing? A machine I have never tried. As I have mentioned probably ad nauseam the machine I use for anything fussy is my Slant needle Singer 401 with the sliding zipper foot, here is a link and post with details on using that foot. I have so many interesting feet for my vintage machines, they are incredibly well made. However the only ones I use are the zipper foot, the buttonholer and once in a while the ruffling foot or the pleater. I have never quite mastered the narrow hemming foot. To tell the truth I forget about them and just plow ahead with the standard one - so far so good.
Why reading blogs is good for me: I have very fixed ideas about what looks good, what is the right fit, colors I love or hate, styles that are gorgeous or ridiculous and thankfully everyone else in the sewing blogosphere does not have the same point of view. Wouldn't that be a boring world if everyone had the same taste?
What I am trying to say is there is a lot of stitching available to view that are things I would never choose and that is a good thing. I see colors that I don't like but realize that someone else has picked a perfect shade for their own look. I see patterns that appear crazy or shapeless or difficult to wear and come across a blog post where someone has paired that pattern with a fantastic fabric and created something beautiful and unique. I see techniques that I can't be bothered learning but find amazing and so creative. Sewing blogs (and the related websites, instagram, etc) have really helped me view fashion and sewing in a different way, all to the good.
I probably won't be dyeing any fabric, or adding grommets, felting, embellishing or otherwise manipulating fabric but I have a growing admiration for everyone who does those things. Thinking about when I learned to sew and remembering that my only audience was my family and school friends gives me a greater appreciation for every new sewer that picks out a pattern, gives it a try and posts their creation - often baring their soul regarding fit, body issues and their feelings about clothing and appearance along with their sewing triumphs and failures. I wonder if I would have been quite so willing to share my early attempts.
As for recent attempts, I am trying another pants pattern (pants are my achilles heel, my white whale, my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow) In other words, I am never satisfied at fitting myself with pants. Anyway, giving it another try with this Vogue pattern, which has back princess seams. There are a lot of good versions to see so a girl can dream, right? I will report, if not model.
Happy almost Halloween sewing and have a great weekend,
another garden photo remaining from my vacation, in a somewhat autumnal color scheme. I see these Birds of Paradise growing around here in my neighborhood, even though they are a tropical plant. Just have to find the right spot where they never freeze. One of these years I will give it a try.