Sunday, June 1, 2014

Half New Year - A non-sewing post

In December, as I was scheduling one of the biggest work months of my career for January, I knew that I was going to postpone my New Year's resolutions and forgo that feeling of dewy newness and possibility that comes with a new year. And while my heart yearned to participate in Colette's Wardrobe Architect series, I just knew I had to wait. To use an analogy: I was an airplane, barreling down the runway, full concentration, using all my resources to get off the ground; knowing once I was aloft, I could ease up my attention and look around a little. So I looked forward to February.
Then on January 31st, on my way to celebrate finishing up a week of public workshops on the US 101 project, I got the worst news I could imagine. I'm not going to go into details here, but it blindsided me. Which is what tragedy does.
February, March, April, May - they're all a blur of intense work meetings, deadlines, presentations interspersed with trips to Portland to pack and sell a house and have wonderful wonderful times with my family. I am truly blessed to have such a strong and loving family.
Some good things have come from this - I am going to say that I have grown up a lot in the last 5 months. Particularly in my work. Having my heart torn open has made me vulnerable and it has reminded me of our collective humanity. My work is mired in conflict. It is the nature of what I do: I work with entities that each want a different outcome and we have to come up with some solution. My favorite phrase I heard, very early in my career is this, "The sign of a good compromise is when everyone is unhappy". Keeping this in mind is important, particularly for someone with an underlying pathological need to not let people down. But I had become self-righteous and quick to anger. I had been fighting individuals instead of remembering they were representing an organization with a set of rules and policies. So the sadness in my life brought me back from that, helped me remember that all people are fallible, vulnerable, and just always trying their best to live in this complicated world.
What does this all have to do with anything?
Well, today is June 1st. And for the first time in months, I'm not going anywhere - except on a 2 day work trip mid-June. And I'm single again - which might sound sad but the word I feel is "unfettered". I also have not worked the last two weekends, so I've actually had time to slow down, look around, and think about what I want.
And here is what I want:

  1. To stay focused on all our humanity
  2. To not waste time
  3. To be active again - I've gotten lazy and my cycling and running have been inconsistent in the last few weeks
  4. To feed myself well - none of my creativity with sewing carries over into the kitchen and this is unfortunate
  5. To make some hard choices about how I want to proceed - and then to act on them

I have been doing a little sewing. I will write about that eventually.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Year's Eve Macaron

NYE Macaron: 2 years of planning, 2 days of making!

I'm completely in love with this dress. It is almost exactly how I imagined it!

I've had this dress planned in my head for ever. I started by tracing the pattern in a size 10 last November. Then some time in the spring I muslined the shit out of it. I made 2 muslins and one wearable muslin. The reason for this is that I have come to realize every Colette pattern is too big across the back for me. I have a narrow back in general and somehow the Colette patterns are impossible with out lots of adjustments. So here are the details:

  • Cut a size 10 - sort of. when I compare my traced pattern to the actual size 10 it doesn't quite match - it's actually a little smaller.
  • Increased the waste darts on the front bodice by 1/4 inch (accounting for reducing the size by 1/2)
  • Because shoulders were too big, I took the neck of the top front bodice in by 1/4 inch (angling along the fold from the lowest point of the upper bodice)
  • Took in the front midriff by 1/4 inch angling on the fold to make it match the smaller bodice. (Doing this required me to redraw the angle of the midriff, which I never got really perfect.
  • On the back I just took the whole thing in 1/4 inch along the fold but angling the back midriff back out to the waist size (and lengthening it like the front). 
  • I lengthened both the front and back midriff pieces because I thought the waist was too high
  • Made a narrow shoulder adjustment from the Colette book, but here's another version. (Fun to try something new!)
  • Then I took the seam between the top back and the lower back bodice and brought it in by about 1 and 1/2 inches, but mostly off the lower bodice (thus undoing the lengthening I did earlier? sort off but off the back bodice really).
Probably none of what I've written makes sense. Maybe my photos help? Hopefully.
All the bodice pieces

Midriff angle and lengthen
Narrow shoulder adjustment

The NYE version of this dress is made in silk dupioni that came from Bolt in Portland ages ago (probably 4 years ago). The upper bodice is some kind of fun netting that I picked up a few years ago at the Cotton Ball in Morro Bay. I think the wearable muslin the fabric is from the Cotton Ball too.

Here's pics of the wearable muslin:

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Speakeasy Anna + Vogue 8640 Jacket

Speakeasy Anna

I made this dress for the annual speakeasy party. I love it. It's not too fancy really, in fact I felt completely underdressed at the event, so I can wear it to work. I thought it had a sort of art deco print that would work for the era but I just looked like I was wearing a sundress next to everyone else in their velvet and gloves and shit.
That's ok too.

The best part about it is the french seams! What a brilliant idea! It made the whole project take a little longer but it was worth it.

Two things I did to spice it up were: a high-low hem (which I promptly removed the next day) and a V-back.

Other changes from my prior Anna:

  • Took the neck in 1 inch by angling the front bodice on the fold such that the bottom of the bodice was on the fold and the top overlapped 1/2 inch
  • Took the back seam in 1 inch
  • Used bias binding instead of the facing on the neck, also used bias binding on the hem

Vogue 8640

The other best part about it is this jacket!

I made the jacket in November but it didn't seem worth writing about on its own. The pattern is Vogue 8640 and I've been coveting it since I saw Gertie's version here.
This jacket is made from corduroy that my dad found in the storage above the garage of my childhood home. It's been hanging out up there since probably the early 1980s. I just barely had enough for the jacket and I had to shorten the sleeves by about 3.5 inches to fit it all. And because there is nap it was all supposed to go the same direction. After laying it all out in multiple ways, I got it to fit. Only to discover that I cut the sleeves the wrong direction on the nap. I had to decide if I wanted the whole thing running south to north or if I wanted to sleeves to not match the rest of the jacket. I went with the latter, and honestly you can hardly tell.
I love this jacket I wear it a lot with other dresses. It would look ok with the right pants too (one with a higher waste) but I don't have those yet. It's lined with the same fabric as the dress for nice matchy-ness.
I envision making this jacket a million more times, it's so easy and cute.