Just a fun article in the NY times about Polyvore, an on-line site that lets users become fashion editors/stylists and fashion consumers. It definitely takes shopping to a new level, as there is more interactivity involved. Users can put together "sets" --- collages of clothing, accessories, inspiration photos, etc. What a great way to inspire people to make purchases --- who needs another stimulus package! The sets get published on the site, including all of the "how to buy" information. I haven't tried to put together a set yet, but it could be fun!
I've managed to make some progress with the Pattern Magic Volume 2 Quick Turn Dress. I'm at the point where I need to add seam allowances and make up a muslin of the bodice, so we'll see how it turns out.
After making a full-size front bodice pattern, I drafted the asymmetric neckline. It was helpful to draw guidelines (shown in the book) to make sure the correct width and depth were achieved. My guidelines are shown in purple pen below.
From there, I added the placement of the slit for the "quick turn" piece --- the fabric that wraps and runs through the slit. The recommended location is based on distances from CF, so again I drew guidelines to get the placement correct.
The front bodice is then separated into upper and lower pieces. The lower piece begins at the left side dart point and ends 10 cm to the right of CF at the waist. The upper piece is the remaining bodice. I made sure to mark the grainline and CF on both pieces before separating them. I was trying to figure out why they need to be separated. The best reason I can come up with is that the upper piece has to be further manipulated, thereby changing the grainline, so perhaps these pieces are separated to maintain the grainline of the lower piece.
As you can see in the photo above, I incorporated the left side seam dart into the seam line of the lower piece so I won't have to sew a separate dart. This is similar to how a princess seam works. I'm not sure if this is "legal", but I'm trying it anyway --- seems logical!
The upper piece has three lines drawn that will be slashed and spread to increase the height of the bodice. This height will create soft gathering at the neckline once the quick turn piece is placed in the slit.
I placed the upper bodice on a piece of pattern paper and measured 17 cm from a point. The upper piece will be spread open or increased by 17 cm. To slash and spread, I cut each line, making sure to not cut all the way through at the ends of each line. This creates an accordian-like effect when you cut all three lines. Pivot points are needed to help lay each piece flat, so cut "to but not all the way through" the mid-points of the cut pieces. I only made one pivot point on each cut piece, but judging from the struggles I had to make them behave, it seems reasonable to cut additional pivot points. I spread the bodice until the height was increased by 17 cm and taped. I redrew the left shoulder line and, during the slash and spread process, closed the right side seam dart and transferred it to the spread that was being created.
The Pattern Magic books by Tomoko Nakamichi are available online at Yesasia (thank you for the reference, JoanneM!) I purchased mine at a Kinokuniya bookstore, which carries Japanese language books. I know there are stores here in California and one in New York, but am not sure of other locations. I just checked Kinokuniya's online service, but they don't seem to carry the books.
Claudine has a wonderful post about her very cute bow dress, which she made from the Pattern Magic book. After reading her post, I am hopeful that my dress will turn out okay!
I purchased these books a while ago, seduced by page after page of incredible patterns.
I've had my eye on this one called "Quick Turn", the black dress pattern on the left.
I am without a sewing project at the moment, so I decided to get started on this pattern-drafting project! I'm still a student when it comes to pattern-drafting, but I really enjoy the process --- so here we go!
The instructions begin with a sloper or a moulage. I am using the moulage I drafted in my French Pattern Drafting class.
Here are the steps for the back: 1. Trace out the moulage without adding any seam allowances. 2. Transfer half of the shoulder dart to the armhole. In my case, I transferred a 0.25-inch dart. 3. Transfer the other half of the shoulder dart to the neckline. Draw a new dart point 1.5 cm shorter than than original dart point. 4. To lower and widen the neckline, measure down 2.5 cm at CB; measure in 6.5 cm from the shoulder/armscye edge; and draw a new neckline from CB to the point at 6.5 cm. 5. To extend the shoulder, measure out 7 cm from the shoulder/armscye edge and measure down 1.5 cm from that point. Draw an extended shoulder line. 6. At the armscye/side seam edge, lower by 2 cm and extend out by 1 cm. Redraw the armscye and the side seam.
Here's a photo of the original moulage in plastic over the altered pattern.
The only darts that remain are the one at the neckline, but it is so small that it can probably be eased in, and the waist dart, which was not manipulated at all. The dart that was moved to the armhole has been eased in to the extended shoulder.
Here are the steps for the front:
1. Trace out the moulage without adding any seam allowances. 2. Draw a new dart line from the apex to the side seam, 3 cm below the armscye/side seam edge. Draw a new dart line from the apex to the neckline. Draw a new dart line from the apex to the armhole. These lines are shown in red below.
3. The waist dart and the shoulder dart need to be closed and transferred to the three new darts. Transfer 1 cm to the neckline dart. Transfer 3 cm to the armhole dart. Transfer the remaining to the side seam dart.
The only dart that remains is the side seam dart. The neckline dart and armhole dart will be eased in in subsequent steps.
Here's the original moulage in plastic over the paper pattern.
The next steps are to extend the shoulder line and redraw the armscye, and then make a full-size pattern for the front (one that includes both the left and right sides).
If you are a fan of Coco Chanel, there's a new movie coming out on September 25 called "Coco Before Chanel", starring Audrey Tautou in the lead role. The film is in French with English subtitles. Judging by the trailer, there will be plenty of amazing fashion to covet!
The yarn is Berroco Comfort, an easy to knit nylon/acrylic blend. The body is knit in stockinette stitch and the hem, cuffs and collar are knit in a 2x2 rib stitch. I added a collar stand in garter as well. The center front seams are finished with crab stitch crochet to add a nice edge for the zipper.
The contrast zipper really makes the cardi fun. Here's a quick tutorial on adding zippers to knit garments. The publishers also added the really cute hot dog zipper pull from scarymerry's etsy shop --- there are plenty of other cute items at scarymerry's, so check it out!
Her designs are so modern and flattering. I think many of her gowns --- from the early 1900s --- can be worn today and appear fresh and new. She is known for creating draped, bias-cut gowns, at a time when women were still wearing corsets. Freedom!
If you are interested in her work, this book titled "Madeleine Vionnet" by Betty Kirke and Issey Miyake is worth a look. I love this book --- it has Vionnet's life story interspersed with photos of her gorgeous bias-cut gowns, sketches and even patterns for those who are brave enough to try and recreate some of her work.
New Mexico is truly the "land of enchantment". We recently returned from a five-day vacation in Santa Fe and loved every minute of it.
There were amazing sunrises and sunsets...
Georgia O'Keeffe country (around Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch), where the artist drew much of her inspiration...
Train ride aboard the Cumbres and Toltec historic narrow gauge steam train that wound through the mountains along the northern New Mexico - Colorado border. We saw gorgeous scenery that included pine, aspen and carpets of wildflowers, including corn husk lilies, indian paintbrush, wild roses and sunflowers. Toward the end of the ride, the scenery changed to sage brush and lava rocks --- we even saw a lone antelope among the brush!
Saying goodbye to the historic steam engine after it broke down at the mid-point of the ride (they hooked up a diesel engine to take us the rest of the way --- stuff happens!)...
La Traviata at the Santa Fe Opera was a wonderful experience. The venue is absolutely incredible. The opera house is several miles outside of Santa Fe and is set on a hill. The open-air design means beautiful views of the sunset behind the stage before the performance begins. One interesting tidbit --- there was a water trough next to the orchestra, which we were told was there to counteract the dry air for the musicians. The performance itself was excellent. I wore my Mu'u Mu'u dress, which was just right --- there was a mix of formal and informal style.
We also participated in a cooking class at the Santa Fe School of Cooking. If you haven't been there, I highly recommend it. Last year, we took a hands-on salsa class. This year, we took a demonstration class focusing on traditional foods. We learned how to make red and green chile sauces; cheese and chicken enchiladas (stacked like a casserole, not rolled); posole; pinto beans; and a pecan bread pudding. The food was delicious! I'm ready to make my own chile sauces!
Food in Santa Fe is really good. Our faves are Maria's (the hot sopapillas with honey are to die for) and the Shed (red chile sauce is the best) for New Mexican; Santa Fe Baking Company for breakfast (check the specials board); Chocolate Maven for baked goods to go (the fruit empanadas are a must-try); and Milagro 139 for Spanish (just opened a couple of months ago --- the mole sauce was amazing and the desserts are excellent, but the most popular item was the tableside guacamole).
Art defines Santa Fe and a stroll up Canyon Road (evening is better; we did it in the middle of the day and it was hot) is a must-do. The road is lined with galleries and studios, all housed in historic adobe homes (apparently this is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Santa Fe).
The New Mexico Museum of Art is a great place to see local art as well as special exhibitions. We saw an exhibit on American Impressionists when we visited. I wore my Sleeveless Top on this visit.
This painting, "Spring Night, Harlem River" by Ernest Lawson, was my favorite from the American Impressionism exhibit. The colors of the actual painting were stunning.
I've been teaching Gen how to knit and she just finished her second project --- a gorgeous and lush wine red chenille scarf!
She used Plymouth's Sin City yarn, which has gold flecks that add to the richness of the chenille. The stitch is a simple 2x2 rib, 40 stitches across.
She did an amazing job while overcoming a few challenges. This was her first project using the purl stitch, which is a tough stitch to learn. The chenille yarn she chose (which happens to be one of the few yarn types that I've consciously stayed away from and therefore have never worked with) was difficult to knit --- it was slippery so maintaining tension was an issue, and it kept twisting upon itself. There were also frustrating times --- dropped stitches, twisted stitches and ripping rows --- all of which are aspects of the learning process.
Now on to the next project --- a one-button cardi!
I purchased a really cute fabric last year, which became the Ruffle Hem Dress. It's a Japanese cotton print that has a lovely embossed texture to it. The red version became the dress and the black version became the Stand Collar Jacket. There was an orange version as well, but unfortunately I didn't pick it up. I went back to the store a few weeks ago to see if they had any more quantities of these prints, but no luck.
Fortunately, I had enough yardage of the red to make this sleeveless top from the March 2006 issue of Burda. I've had my eye on this top for a while, so I'm really happy that I was finally able to make it.
I used this project as a practice opportunity for making french seams. I think I'm getting better at making them. I love how the wrong side looks just as clean and neat as the correct side!
The only pattern alteration I made was to decrease the armhole by 0.5 inches. I used a fusible interfacing for the front facings, collar and collar stand, and topstitched along each seam line and along the fronts/collar. Instead of buttons, I used snaps and sewed buttons to the front as a decorative feature. Unfortunately the photo doesn't highlight the beauty of the buttons --- I bought them in Florence, Italy a few years ago and kept them in my stash.
I made bias strips using some scrap red cotton fabric to bind the front facings and armholes. Because of the cutaway style of the armholes, using bias creates an attractive and neat edge.
Overall, this was a simple top to sew, and as is usual for Burda, the pattern was well-drafted. I'm thinking of making another version with a mandarin/stand collar instead!
I am a science/medical communicator who loves fashion and making beautiful clothes. I love tailoring jackets and coats; learning new sewing techniques; and wrestling with the mysteries of achieving a perfect fit. I live with a very supportive husband who has acquired an alarmingly large volume of knowledge about sewing, and a confident cat named Simon who insists on luxuriating on freshly washed and pre-shrunk yardage. I also design patterns for hand-knitters -- to see some of my work, check out www.jeankaori.com/blog. Thanks for visiting!