Thursday, May 29, 2014

One for the Road

Here's another item that I finished up in time to pack for our road trip next week.

This is Burdastyle 09-2011-128, a.k.a. the pleat-neck blouse.

So called because the darts have been rotated into two small pleats that spring forth from the front ends of the mandarin collar.

Close up of the pleats joining the back collar
Burda showed it in the Businesswear section of the magazine, looking very crisp and tailored in poplin. On a model with long, wavy golden hair that totally covers the critical construction details.

I've made this blouse twice before but that danged collar has kicked my butt every time. I'm pretty sure that this is the first time I got the little devil on right-side-up. The Burda instructions were, as usual, terse. I'd still be sitting in my sewing nook, crying into my beer, if it weren't for this super-helpful blog post by The Slapdash Sewist.

The fabric is a cotton that I got at Britex earlier this month. When I told Melody, my special fabric lady, that I was sewing for a car trip to Chicago she pulled out this bolt and said I had to make a blouse for the road.

Back view
 She said it would be a conversation-starter and she wanted me to send her a picture of me wearing it and waving my hat in front of a diner.

One that looks just like this!

My review is on PatternReview here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

It's a Wrap

As my next entry in the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge I decided to try sewing this wrap skirt:
Here's the envelope. I went for what they call "regular" length
According to the pattern envelope, it was published in 1974. Wow, that's 40 years ago. Seems like yesterday. In fact, as I was sewing I kept having the feeling that I'd sewn this exact pattern sometime before. Which could be true...

This shot shows the end of the waist band going through the seam and to the front to button.  I think it's the shadow from the curtain that's giving the op-art look to the fabric. Really it's your basic solid twill.
I like the way it wraps and closes with buttons rather than a tie. The pattern suggests you sew on 7 buttons at staggered distances, which might be a good idea. That way the whole thing would be adjustable in case of the sudden, unforseen giant lunch. I've just gone for two at this point.

Front view. There are patch pockets which are hard to see on this light color
I got the fabric at Britex while I was up in San Francisco for the Bay to Breakers. Melody was my fabulously helpful fabric lady. She advised me to choose a cotton-poly blend for wrinkle resistence. The fabric is fairly substantial. I'm hoping the weight, along with the length, will help avert any wind-related un-wrapping issues.

Back view, showing the wrap
The Man and I are heading off on a two week road trip in June, so I'm trying to finish up a few car-appropriate wardrobe items. I've discovered in my old age that skirts are way more comfortable than trousers if you're going to be sitting in a bucket seat for hours at a stretch. I always like a skirt with pockets for traveling, in case I need to jam my car keys or a $20 bill someplace quick. I thought this stone color would go with most of the tops I own, and I can wear a skirt this length with sandals or (should the need strike) heels.

I'm planning to bring another skirt, a couple dresses for casino wear, probably a pair of trousers, and a gazillion knit tops. I just finished a woven top from some fabric that Melody picked out for me - it's wilder than I would normally go for but Melody has never steered me wrong. She said it would be a good conversation-starter on our trip.

Including this skirt, I'm two for five on my Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge. I have a couple more items in the pipeline, but they'll probably have to wait until I've driven to Chicago and back.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Me Made May Week Four

So far so good. I had one day this week where I wore a non-me-made item, but otherwise I've been able to cobble together an outfit a day from my me-made closet without really breaking a sweat.

Monday, May 19
This is Gertie's portrait blouse with my Vogue 80's pants. Monday was a work day for me. I really am retired, but I've been working a couple of days a week on a project for my old employer. Monday we had a steering committee meeting so I tried for casual but somewhat pulled-together.  The pants were an item in a Vogue Career Wardrobe pattern so they should be meeting-appropriate, right?

Tuesday, May 20
Another work day. The top is a new pattern for me - Textile Studio's Santa Monica tee. I heard about this pattern from a sewing friend at work. Yes, I have discovered fairly recently that there are several sewing divas who share my building! I find excuses to drop by their floor as often as possible so I can check their outfits. Anyway, one of my new mentors highly recommended this pattern and I can see why. It's a raglan tee with some very nice shaping and a neckline that's high enough to be work appropriate. I'm wearing it with Simplicity 3688, a retro 1940's wide-legged trouser pattern. I like the pants a lot, I only wish they had pockets.

Wednesday, May 21
Wednesday was an at home day. I wore yet another of my Maria Denmark Kirsten tees along with my Burdastyle Straight Pants with Pockets in khaki green. 

Thursday, May 22
Another at home day, and a fairly warm one to boot. I wore my blue Burdastyle Straight Pants with Pockets along with a Sorbetto.

Friday, May 23
At least I put on shoes on Friday. These are my Burdastyle Pajama Style pants with another make of McCalls 8050, that OOP woven tee pattern from Week Two.

Saturday, May 24
Saturday was kind of a work day for Zoe and me. We volunteer with a pet-assisted therapy group called "Furry Friends." We visit The Driftwood nursing home a couple of Saturdays a month, where Zoe gets almost as much petting as she requires. Zoe recently passed her reading test, so we also do Tales to Tails one Saturday a month. We visit the public library, where kids practice their reading by reading aloud to her. Zoe's especially fond of books about dogs.

I'm wearing my baggy New Look khaki pants and the regulation Furry Friends tee shirt. I thought I might change into a me-made shirt once we got home, but I ended up putzing in the garden in this exact outfit.

Sunday, May 25
Sunday was a gardening day. The baggy New Look khaki pants from yesterday were too covered with dog hair to be fit even for toting potting soil, so I went for an ancient pair of me-made elastic-waist pants. Looking at the pictures, I see that I must get rid of them, even though they have swordfish on them. Surely I can do better, even for gardening. The tee is from one of my early Burdastyle magazines. I think this is the first Burdastyle pattern I ever traced and made up. Awww. Probably time to let this one go too.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Fehr Trade Spring Race Challenge

As you can see from my side bar, I signed up for the Fehr Trade Spring Race Challenge. The challenge, as Melissa says, is simple: sew up some exercise gear, and sign up to a race.

I'd already signed up for the Bay to Breakers in San Francisco on May 18, and I pledged to run it wearing a me-made running skirt and a me-made running bra.

I've already done a post on the making of my running garments. Here's the proof in the pudding.

The Bay to Breakers (a.k.a. "the world's longest conga line") has been a San Francisco tradition for 103 years. It's 7.46 miles, kind of an odd distance, but that happens to be how far it is from the Ferry Building on San Francisco Bay to Ocean Beach. You run through some very pretty neighborhoods and then through Golden Gate Park to the Pacific Ocean. There are usually between 40,000 and 80,000 runners.

Here's the crew snaking up the Hayes Street Hill on their way to Golden Gate Park
Many of the runners wear costumes.
Her stein is empty, but many are full. It's a  happy and well lubricated group of weekend warriors.

I like the lady body-builder's bra. She looks buff but still girly.

The Lucha Libre centipede
There's a special category, called "centipedes," for runners who dress in costume and run tied together. I've seen prisoners in striped suits connected with balls and chains, frauleins in dirndls and braids tied together with sausages, and lucha libre wrestlers running inside a wrestling ring.

Before shot
So, in comparison, my outfit is pretty tame. I'm wearing my me-made running skirt and, under my tee, my me-made running bra, which is a modified version of the Y back Fehr Trade XYT Running top. Both garments did the trick for this race. Comfy for the 7.46 miles and for the after-brunch and ride back home. Plus I think I looked a tad more stylish in the restaurant than some of the other runners.
Blueberry? At least he didn't need to worry about being elbowed by the other runners.
And here's the after shot, complete with medal and adoring fan.

Thanks to Melissa for coming up with this fun challenge, and for providing me with the pattern that has freed me forever from expensive and unlovely running bras!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Me Made May Week Three

So far so good!

Monday, May12
We've been having unseasonably hot weather here on the Central Coast, so I went for a skirt on Monday. I call this my Sister Skirt because I traced my sister's pattern and we both made the same skirt in different fabrics.  The top is - yes, you guessed it - a Maria Denmark Kirsten tee.

Tuesday, May 13
Tuesday was a work day, and a hot one to boot. I wore an Angela Wolf pinafore that I made way back when I was first picking up sewing again. Sadly, I don't see it on her web site anymore. It was a free pattern that came along with a great tutorial for beginning sewers. I sometimes wear it with a tee shirt underneath, but Tuesday was way too hot to contemplate layers.
Wednesday, May 14
Wednesday was another hot work day, so I went for a dress. Much breezier than pants. This is another oldie but goodie, a Vogue that I made probably 4 years ago. I'd kind of forgotten about this dress. The fit is pretty bad, but I'm tempted to haul out the pattern and give it another try. I like the pleats in front and it has great in-seam pockets on the sides.

Thursday, May 15
Thursday was yet another hot day, so a loose dress was on the agenda. This is a Burda pattern that I got years ago in Portland at Josephine's Dry Goods, which I recently heard is no more. Very sad, it was a great fabric store that I wished were hundreds of miles closer to me. This dress has a drop waist and pleats on the skirt, which makes it cool and breezy to wear on hot days. I've recently realized it also has a straight hem on the skirt, which means I could use it for a border print I got a while ago. I'll let you know how that works out.
Friday, May 16
Still warm out so I went for another skirt and tee combination. I made the skirt from instructions in an article in Threads Magazine many years ago. The tee is an Alabama Chanin pattern that I like a lot. The fit is nice and the neck is very modest, so it makes a nice blank canvas for embellishment (which I must try sometime) or for a wardrobe staple, if you leave it simple.
Friday, May 17
Saturday I went up to San Francisco to meet my sister for our traditional running of the Bay to Breakers. This meant a stop by Britex, where I got some fabric to sew a skirt and two tops for my road trip vacation in June. I'm wearing my Burdastyle pajama style pants (May 2012, #122) and my Archer shirt.

Sunday, May 18
Sunday we ran the race, which took pretty much all day. So my outfit was my self-drafted running skirt (if you can call an A-line skirt with an elastic waist "drafting") and my running bra hacked from the Fehr Trade XYT Running Top. My running shirt is from a prior race and the jacket is RTW. So far these are the only two non-me made wardrobe items I've worn this month (excepting socks and underwear). I knew that athletic gear would likely be my biggest challenge. Time to look into wicking fabric to make up a few tees!

On to week four...

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sewing to Run

I've wanted to try running in a running skirt for ever so long. I imagined a running skirt as being cool and breezy, with no constraint or chaffing from those darn shorts with their integrated underwear. My preference would be to make one, but what to do for a pattern?

Couldn't find one. So I did a little reconnaissance shopping. I researched running skirts at Lulu Lemon and Nike. Holy cow, those things are pricey! Most of them seem to have shorts included under the skirt. Then why not just wear shorts? I was paralyzed by indecision.

Running skirt version 1.0
Finally, I decided I was over-thinking it. I grabbed an old Oregon Shakespeare Festival tee shirt from my drawer and hacked off the sleeves to get a basic A-line skirt shape. I kept as much length as possible, mainly because I wanted to keep the logo on the upper right. I buzzed the sides together, added elastic at the waist and used one of the sleeves to make a pocket big enough to hold even my enormous car key.

I took it out for a test run and darn if it didn't work pretty well. I'm not one of those long-striding cheetah-type runners. Slow and steady wins the race as far as I'm concerned. It turns out that a longer skirt didn't feel constricting to me at all.

So I hauled out the wicking fabric I'd gotten at Britex many months ago and traced version 1.0 to make a pattern for version 2.0.
Running skirt 2.0 with Fehr Trade hack 1.0, modeled by the fetching Mini-Me
The top in the photo above is my first try at hacking Fehr Trade's XYT Running Top to make a running bra. Totally functional, but not quite right.  Notice the tucks under the bust? I didn't realize that the shirt pattern piece was (doh!) going to be bigger on the bottom edge than the bra pattern piece.

Fehr Trade running bra hack version 2.0
For my next version I used the bra pattern piece as the base and extended the straps on the front to meet the Y back at the shoulder seams. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, and everything matched up great.
Rear view
As you can see from my side-bar, I'm doing the Spring Race Challenge put on by Fehr Trade. I'm going to be running in the Bay to Breakers in San Francisco this weekend.
This is the outfit I plan to wear, only I'll be adding a long-sleeve shirt, a hat and running shoes. And a head. I'll let you know how it works out!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Me Made May Week 1

My first time participating in Me Made May! As a reminder, I've pledged to wear all me made for the month of May. Here's week 1:

May 1

A Maria Denmark Kirsten Tee with a pair of trousers; my new favorite BurdaStyle 10-2013-127A. I wore this to work on what turned out to be a pretty darn hot day.
May 2

Remembering how hot I was the day before, I wore an Alabama Chanin skirt along with, yes, another Kirsten Tee. Turned out it was another warm day, so I was glad I skipped the trousers. We're pretty much big babies about the weather on the Central Coast. If it's above 80, we whine about how hot it is and if it's below 50 we think we're going to freeze to death. No work today. I walked the dog and lounged around, drinking cooling beverages, and then went out for Mexican food for dinner.

May 3

Cooler today. This is a Renfrew tee topping my first pair of Burdastyle 10-2013-127A. I might need to make yet another pair of these pants in denim. I wear them a lot. Today I was heading up to help my sister pack up 25 years worth of household stuff. She's selling the home she raised her three boys in. We had to stop and reminisce about every second thing we touched, so it all took quite a while.
May 4
Which brings us to today! This is BurdaStyle Magazine 02-2013-12, the raglan tee with gathered sleeves. Another pattern I've already made multiple times and am probably still not done with. I paired it with Burdastyle 05-2012-122 (pyjama style pants). I did some more dog walking and then spent a very pleasant Sunday afternoon shopping for this and that with my friend Jessica.

So, four days down and I've managed to keep my pledge. Even the photography hasn't been too much of a chore, thanks to The Man. Of course, it's early days yet. We'll see where I am next Sunday...