12:00 AM

Silk Crepe de Chine Soft Pleated Maxi Dress, a tale of last minute struggles



So before I get into this garment, I need you to know I spent 10 (yes 10) days home with this fabric.  I took a mental staycation from work and just did a bunch of nothing with kid time sprinkled here and there.  I woke up Superbowl Sunday morning to a phone call.  It was my best friend that asked what I was doing for the day to which I responded "I need to sew something, anything today".  She responded, "what did you end up doing with the green silk"?  Yup.... I forgot this dress was due this week.

The fabric used 4.5 yards of  kelly green silk crepe de shine from fabricmart which I snagged during the sale a couple weeks back.  It is no longer available, but check out these alternatives (HERE), (HERE), & (HERE). My plans were to make some sort of maxi with pleats, so I had a good starting point.  This dress will be one of many garments I am making for my upcoming birthday trip to Guadeloupe.  I didn't have much time to play around, so I flipped through my pinterest for some bodice ideas.

I came across a simple yet effective top with spaghetti straps and thought.... hmmmm I can do that!  I draped the bodice on my dress form, cut my fabric and began to assemble to pieces.





Somewhere between all this and the final construction, it all fell apart.  Too many adjustments were needed, my patience was short, and I didn't have time to go back to the drawing board, so I trashed it.  Fail #1

While I pondered what bodice I would make with the remaining yard of fabric, I began to work on the skirt.  I cut 2 panels that were 45" (the fabric width) x 50".  

There a several techniques that you can find on pleating.  You can make a pleat board, or something as simple as measurement marking.  Because I was working with silk, I had to get creative.  The difficulty involved was keeping silk stable. 

I laid out my measuring mat on my cutting table which is the ONLY surface that could accommodate 50 inches of fabric in length.  Next I had to determine the method of pleating I would use keeping in mind, I could not put anything on this fabric (i.e. starch,).  I used my drafting ruler to measure out my pleats.  While this method would have proved to be beneficial for sturdier woven knits, I quickly realized this was not going to work.  So in the spirit of time, I decided to freehand pleat from top to bottom.  I used my pattern weights (thank God) to hold the pleats in place until I was ready to press each one down.  


After these 7 pleats, I knew it would be a long day..... 


This is one panel completed.  I measured 15 inches exactly #winning.  Looks like I heading in the right direction right?  I put masking tape along the ends of the top and the bottom to keep the pleats in place.  A little tip I learned (HERE).


In the end, I had 30 inches for my 29 inch waist.  With freehand pleats, this worked out better than I could have imagined as I did not have to cut off any extra fabric or re-adjust any of the pleats #wonthedoit. 

Now back to the bodice.....  

I scrambled through my patterns which I recently reduced from over 200 down to less than 20 and found V1524.


Using silk for this pattern bodice is NOT recommended for this pattern, so I knew there was a potential for fit challenges.  I omitted the stand up collar, self lined the bodice with silk, and added Pellon fusible knit interfacing & underlining to the pattern pieces that served as the lining.  This was my first time using this type of interfacing, and I happen to have JUST enough for this project in my stash.  This interfacing was very soft and a great option for this type of fabric as it does not take away from the natural drape. 




I constructed the bodice, attached it to the skirt, added an elastic band to the seam to also serve as a facing for the back, and hemmed the skirt.  

The last thing I did was adding the hardware.  In this case, it was the invisible zipper on the skirt, the one inch metal release buckle I ordered months ago for this pattern found (HERE), and the metal zipper used for the upper back.  I shortened a zipper I already had for the upper back which was the first time I actually took to the time to do so.  I pulled out my tools searching for the right pliers to removed and replace the stopper.   I found out I had a leak under my basement sink while looking for tools and got rusted tool water ALL over my bodice top while discovering the tool kit I was pulling out was full of water.... WHY LAWD?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?  Fail #2.  I quickly removed the bodice from the skirt, hand rinsed the bodice and threw it in the dryer on delicate.  At this time, I just sat down in time to watch the halftime show.  By the end of the halftime show, the bodice was dry.  I reattached, finished the zipper, and had hand sewn the metal buckle on.  Finish at last and I was beat!


Moral of the story... plan better!










I hope you enjoyed my last minute struggle, until next time, Happy Sewing!
Jenese 
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2:00 AM

Needles and Fashion Coat Challenge 2017 - Over-sized Wool Full Length Coat.





It is no secret... coats, gloves, and the whole concept of laying is just-not-my THING.  Even though, I am originally from NY and now live in MD, somewhere along the way (living in FL) I began to deny winter until it was over.  In many ways, even today, the season I have the least amount of shoes, clothes, and outerwear is Winter.  Who likes winter anyway????

As a means to ramp up group activity and actually make an attempt to own a "functional" piece of outerwear, I began looking for inspiration for wool coats.  I found a great deal of short coats, but came across very few full length coats (light bulb moment).  I wanted something that would be stylish as well as functional for the cold temps.

The fabric I used for this coat is from Fabric Mart's Melton Wool coating collection (HERE).  The colors I used are no longer available, and I am sure its because the of the awesome 60% off sale that was going on, but there are some great selections that are still left.

In my continued attempt disconnect from the pattern world by improving my draping and pattern making skills, I decided to drape this coat from scratch.


I began with the front.  Knowing I wanted this coat to be over-sized to accommodate several layers of clothing, I went with a wide sleeve casing.  Because of the size of adjustable dress form, I had to manipulate the placement of the fabric in order to get size desired.  Once I completed the front, I duplicated the sleeve casing on the back and pinned the sides for fitting.  


I didn't cut a large enough piece for the back, so I made notes of how much fabric to add when cutting out the final fabric.  



Once this was completed, I trued up my pattern pieces and cleaned up the lines.  It was then I noticed that I did not have enough fabric to create this coat with the wool facing I wanted.  So I put everything aside and ordered more fabric.  Prior to this development, I had 4 yards of the orange Melton wool.  I decided to order an additional 3 yards of the black Melton wool in order to create a color block.  I decided to go in this direction because well... when have I even stuck to a plan?  


I started off with this....


and ended up with this!



I created notches and duplicated the diagonal separation from the back piece as well.  


Now.... Both front pieces are self lined with contrasting black wool, while the back and sleeves were lined with a double knit that had a lightweight sweater feel to it.  I also faced this lining with the orange wool and added my label :). 






Because I self drafted this coat, I constructed it in the most backwards way possible without ruining the garment as I finagled my way through the entire process.  I marked and adjusted my back pieces to account for a kick pleat and constructed the sleeves last.  








 Overall, I am extremely pleased with this coat.  It is super functional and the perfect length for my high heels.  I will definitely be wearing this often ( I wore this to work after taking the pics minus the boots).   The only thing I would change is the shoulder width.  I cut it a tad bit too thin, but got away with it because the coat is over-sized.  All I need know is a nice black wool scarf which I will be making from the remnants of this project
.  

Pants: 7 for All Mankind Coated Jeans
Shirt: Generation Love half leather/ half Jersey Shirt
Shoes: YSL boots
Gloves: Isotoner Smart Touch 

Until next time, happy sewing!
Jenese
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7:08 AM

Holiday Onesies


One of my favorite pass times is lounging around at home watching movies with my not-so little ones. We snuggle up on one couch, each with our own blanket and invade each others personal space lol.  I planned on making onesies for the family around this time of year because I enjoy them more than any adult probably should.  

This was a quick and easy project.  The fabrics used are 100% Polyester and can be found (HERE) and (HERE).  Fabric Mart has a HUGE selection of fleeces available, check them all out (HERE).  

Fleece literally feels like snuggly happiness.  Other than the shedding produced by cutting out the pattern, you don't have much else to worry about as it relates to the wear and tear of the fabric.  My daughter still has a fleece dora blanket from when she was 3 (she is now 12) and it still looks and feels brand new. 

I used a YT video for a quick pattern that can be found (HERE).  Honestly, there are tons.  I just picked the first one that had an image that worked for me, watched it once while on the way home, and did the rest on my own.  There are tutorials that are much more detailed and even includes hoods and characters, but I wanted to keep this first try simple and fast.  While I left the arms loose to keep irritation down, I put elastic in the legs to prevent them for walking on the suits. 


So what about me right? I mean, this was MY idea and I am the one that enjoys them so much!  I ran out of fabric, but am already set to order more so I can be part of cool kids squad lol.






Apparently they liked them and unlike I stated when I started, it wasn't too warm for them to sleep in them (which they did).

Now I just need to make one for myself....

Until Next time...

Jenese 

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5:19 AM

Tomboy Chic V1411 Wool Sweat Pants and Painted Leather




Now that the weather is finally starting to cool, my need to get glammed up is diminishing.  At the same time, I realized I didn't have too many options in my wardrobe for the days I just want to put on some sneakers and still maintain my own personal style.  I mean, my gym clothes are pretty dope, but they are just that, gym clothes.  Somehow, I missed having more than a couple options for my"kick back" days.  

The fabric I used is a heather gray 100% wool chunky sweater knit from Fabric Mart Fabrics.  The fabric is no longer available, but is very similar to this choice (HERE).  The only difference is the fabric in the link is a lighter knit in wright.  

The pattern I used for the sweat pants is oddly V1411.  I have made these pants in every variation OTHER than what it was designed for.  Both previous pairs I made were with Goat and Lamb skin leather.  I cut my normal size before thoroughly pressing the fabric to loosen the weave.

This time I chose to double the pattern pieces on the middle front piece and create a 1/4 quilted top stitch design for a total of 4 pattern pieces in stead of 2.



To attach the two pieces per leg, I attached the middle front pattern pieces to the upper front pieces right sides together.


Once the pieces were attached, I completed the top stitch design before adding the bottom side pieces.  I then drafted my own tight fitting cuff for the bottom of the pants and added elastic to the waistband


Finally, this jacket!  I have been experimenting with different textures and designs that will change a normal garment into something truly different and unique.  This is one of the outerwear jackets I was working on over the past week.   A great deal of painting and repainting went into it. Because............. it would be too much like right for me to leave a brand new jacket in its original state right? RIGHT!!!  I look forward to showing you the next set of ideas I have been working on.

Over all, I love this look.  The chunky sweater knit is super warm so I know it will last me from now through the winter.  The fabric does tend to roll a lot, but no more than your typical jersey/ITY knits.  The construction involved a great deal of pressing.  










Until next time, happy sewing!

Jenese 
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9:39 AM

NYFW: My favorites and reviews of Spring 2017 RTW part 2

As the shows continue to roll in, I have a new set of favorites for 2017's Spring RTW.



Altuzarra

He had me at snake skin.... Joseph Altuzarra wanted to create something joyous, flirty, and fun given the harsh political climate we are facing.  The python prints used in this collection were inspired by the "Wild at Heart" film in which Nicolas Cage wore a python jacket.  From there were inspirations of Cherries, and lemons.   Here are my fav's.

This jacket is absolutely EVERYTHING!  Its python printed denim with sequin lemons.  I will definitely be on the look out for this jacket.







Diane von Furstenberg

DVF recently created and filled the role of chief creating officer.  It was filled by Jonathan Saunders let me give you a quick bio...  JS formally designed prints for Alexander McQueen and also consulted for Chloe and Pucci (off of this was in the early 2000's).  He showed at LFW for several years and even NFW, but returned to showing in London shortly after.  Before coming to DVF, he was the creative director at Pollini for whom designs for retail chains such as Target and Topshop.  He was succeeded by Nicholas Kirkwood.  So basically... JS kicked in the door waving the 44 (Biggie reference) and changed up the entire look of DVF.  I am not really sure how I feel about it.  I have never had this short of a fav list from this fashion house.  Diane.... What's up boo?

I was drawn to this jacket and pants.  Sure they are beautiful, but they looked mighty familiar....


From a 2014 post using Marc Jacobs fabric from mood.  It had squares on one side, and circles on the other.  IJS.........

This sweater is everything though. This was also the second pair of pants I saw in the collection that had a REALLY large cuff on them.



Jeremy Scott

I mean, we ALL know Jeremy Scott is a bit "different" and has been
been accused of creating outlandish clothing that no one would wear since the late 90's.  This collection did not steer in any alternate directions.  If anything, he is consistent. I found myself staring at certain pieces and even reviewing the line a couple time with fresh eyes to get no only some inspiration, but some understanding as well.  I mean, JS has been around for a LONG time.  There is obviously a market for this type of clothes and I am obviously missing something.


This skirt's image was either printed on pleated fabric or printed with very precise gaps.  Beautiful!!



Muva would definitely wear this jumpsuit.  I don't know where, but......




Carolina Herrera
HOLY DENIM!!! Anyone that knows me, know I LIVE for anything denim.  CH needs no introduction, she never fails.  The entire line from beginning to end were gorgeous, even the skirt she wore!



The placement of the tie is very elegant, and this skirt is stunning!



I'm literally looking for fabric to duplicate this jumpsuit.










I will be back tomorrow, there's so much more to share and more shows coming up!
Muah
- J




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