Help Me Obi-Wan Kenobi

Monthly Stitch Miss Bossy Patterns BadgeI need your vote for The Monthly Stitch’s March Miss Bossy Patterns challenge.  We need to select a pattern from our ‘stash’ that has never been sewn (by us) and, yup you guessed it, finally sew it!!  But, as an added twist, we need to have you nice folks boss us around as to which pattern to sew.

Pick one.  PICK ONE!!

Pick one. PICK ONE!!

Welllll, I have to say, this was far more challenging than originally thought.  I had much difficulty reducing the enormous pile of patterns, even with the help of our gracious and talented Kitty.

Alas, after much debate, I wanted to make sure the vote was on a level playing field, so I selected 4 Dress patterns that have similar lines.  They all have some kind of gathered and/or drape neckline bodice, a fuller skirt of varying widths and a choice of sleeves.  Fabrics for each pattern correspond, so I selected 4 fabrics, also from my growing stash, and paired it with a pattern.  All of the fabrics have similarities, although they are different types.  They are in the same colour palette, are lightweight and drape very well.

Here are the Fabric Selections....Oh Sigh.....

Here are the Fabrics….Oh Sigh…..

So, tell me what you think.  Vote your heart out!  Thank you for your help Jedi Masters.

Fabrics Paired with Patterns

Here are the fabrics paired with patterns after His Royal Highness has moved.  Thoughts?

And, here are the pattern choices:

Simplicity 2145 Project Runway

Simplicity 2145 Project Runway

Simplicity 2281 Cynthia Rowley

Simplicity 2281 Cynthia Rowley

Vogue 7363

Vogue 7363

Vogue 7363

Vogue 7363

Vogue 2286 Tom and Linda Platt

Vogue 2286 Tom and Linda Platt

Vogue 2286

Vogue 2286 Tom and Linda Platt

Happy Valentine's Day Everybody!

Happy Valentine’s Day Everybody!

  • Vote Here:

Edit – February 28, 2014:  Poll is now closed.  Thank you ALL so much for voting!

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Happy Chinese New Year from the Jungle!

Kitty Collar and Tie and Gunmetal Dress

Jungle January, hosted, once again, by the vivacious and print loving lady, Anne, comes to a close today, on Chinese New Year!  Gong Xi Fa Cai (pronounced King Hey Fa Choy in cantonese or Gong See Fa Tsey in Mandarin) means “happiness and prosperity”.  And, Xtnnian hao (pronounced shin-nyen ha-ow in Mandarin or sen-nih ha-ow in Cantonese) means “Have a good New Year”.

It is auspicious on the New Year to wear red, hang red lanterns, give monetary gifts in red envelopes or write in red ink.  Red is representative of fire and is believed to symbolize luck and ward off evil.  Also, this is the time to set aside grudges against enemies and call off unpaid debt. Let bygones be bygones – if personal differences or financial obligations cannot be settled before the Chinese New Year, they shall be forgotten.

Lolita Patterns Gunmetal Knit Dress With Added CuffsI sewed Lolita Patterns Gunmetal dress in an abstract art leopard print for Jungle January.  I was lucky enough to win this pattern over on Melanie’s Blog when she was a tester for the Gunmetal dress.  The pattern is for knits and is a lined princess seamed dress with option to add a sheer overlay.  There were many pattern pieces and lettered notches, so when cutting the pieces, I used small stickers to label the various notches.

Labelling Pattern PiecesThe pattern uses a tiny cap sleeve with the option of adding an elastic hem.  I wanted long sleeves, so extended the sleeve to the desired length, using the same angle as the sleeve pattern piece.  Lengthening Gunmental Dress Sleeves

Originally, I wanted to add cuffs and a hem band in a beautiful teal fabric.  This fabric is a sueded microfibre knit and is also the devil.  Do NOT look directly at it!!!!

Teal Sueded Knit Microfibre

Uh oh…MY RETINAS!  THEY BURN!!  I tried everything with this fabric, using a large sized microtex needle, using tissue paper strips, using various stitch types (lightening bolt, triple stretch, zig-zag) and a walking foot but nothing worked.  It ultimately ended up damaging my new sewing machine.  Ya.  Luckily, I was able to take the case off the machine and pick out bits of thread and fabric and fixed it.

And, I could not use my overlocker to sew it as it was already damaged by the tissue knit fabric that I used for the lining.  The overlocker pulled it into the feed dogs and seems to have misaligned everything.  I don’t know how people sew with tissue thin knits, either on an overlocker or sewing machine, they seem very temperamental to me.  And, is tissue-knit just another word for ‘only lasts through one wash?’  The fabric feels lovely but stretches out of shape almost immediately, especially the 4-way stretch knit,  and just cannot withstand any kind of stitch ripping whatsoever and often gets pulled into the feed dogs.  I would only use it again for a very simple, non-fitted pattern.

Anyhoo, despite this, I did add cuffs to the sleeves using a zebra print stretch knit that’s been in my stash for a while that I obtained from a sewing meet-up.

Creating a Sleeve Cuff

How to Sew a Sleeve Cuff: 1. Measure how long you want the cuff and double this. Next measure the desired width and cut out the rectangle. Sew the rectangle together along the length. 2. Fold the rectangle in half, right side out. Line up the cuff seam with the sleeve seam. 3. Match raw edges of cuff and sleeve and sew with right sides together. I opted to make the cuff tighter than the sleeve, so first gathered in the sleeve to fit the cuff. 4. Pull out cuff from sleeve and press.

Gunmetal Dress InsideI lined the dress in a 4-way stretch tissue knit, added black lace seam binding to the hem and sewed the seams with a lightening bolt stitch.

Lolita Patterns Gunmetal Knit DressFor the bodice, I did not make ruffles, but rather used 3 strips of black sheer organza ruffled ribbon for the middle and then added 2 rows of a teal lace to either side.  Lolita Patterns Gunmetal Knit Dress and Ruffled Bodice

I found the neckline very low on this dress, too low for my comfort level to wear.  I’m not sure if the 4-way stretch leopard print and grey lining fabric stretched during sewing or if it is because I am short-waisted.  So, I added black fold-over elastic binding around the neckline and stretched it while sewing.  This helped to tighten up and lift the neckline somewhat.  I love the ruched side panels on the bodice!

And, Kitty, for his part in Jungle January, opted to sew himself a zebra print collar and tie.  This project, along with the dress cuffs are my contributions to Stashbusting 2014, January’s Challenge, where we had to use stash fabric that was less than a yard in size.  January Stashbusting Challenge

stashbusting 2014

Kitty Prepping Collar and Tie

Kitty Prepping His Collar and Tie Pattern

Colourful button added to the back of the collar.

Kitty Sends Up the Cat Signal

Kitty Sends Up the Cat Signal

Do you want to sew a collar and tie for your cat?  Ya, you do!!  Here is the link for the free pattern and instructions.  Make sure you measure your cat’s neck before you cut the pattern as you may have to add length.

Measure Kitty Neck Adjust Pattern

Measure Kitty’s neck and adjust pattern, if necessary.

Kitty Cat Zebra Print Collar and Tie

SO Handsome!!

Look At Mah Collah and Tie!

Look At Mah Collah and TieLOOK AT IT!!!

LOOK AT IT

Zebras are ungulate mammals that are members of the horse family, Equidae, and are closely related to the domestic horse.

Zebras Horses

And, being the ever relevant cat that he is, Kitty opted to fashion his collar and tie out of zebra print since 2014 is Year of the Horse in the Chinese Zodiac.

Were you born in the years: 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942 or 1930?  Then, you, my good friend are a Horse in the Chinese zodiac.  Those born in horse years are merry, skillful with money, witty, talented and good with their hands. Rembrandt, Harrison Ford, Aretha Franklin, Chopin, Sandra Day O’Connor, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and Jerry Seinfeld were born in the year of the horse.

Happy-Chinese-New-Year-of-the-Horse-2014

Strengths:  Cheerful and perceptive.  Very social, with high energy.

Weaknesses:  Can be impatient and quick-tempered and independent to the point of excluding others.

Zodiac sign compatibility—Best matches: tiger, sheep, dog; Avoid: rat, ox, rabbit

According to Paul Ng, an astrologist and feng shui expert, horse people are entering a year of conflict in 2014.  They are to pay extra attention to their health this year.  Do not make any rash decision when it comes to personal finance and avoid gambling.  Spend modestly and increase savings.

What animal are you?chinese zodiacKitty is the sign of the Dog.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?    Jungle January? ROAWWRR!!

Jungle January? ROAWWRR!!

That 70s Dress: Diane Von Furstenberg

Designer Diane von Furstenberg at Home

Diane Von Furstenberg looking like art. source: Corbis

The September Monthly Stitch vintage-challenge-badgechallenge was to sew something from Vintage Patterns.  I chose the iconic 70s dress maven Diane Von Furstenberg’s knit dress pattern from Vogue (V1547).  There was also a challenge called Fall For CottonFallForCotton200where you were to sew a vintage inspired pattern using only cotton fabrics.  So, I chose only cotton knits for both of the dresses. Diane Von Furstenberg Knit DressesIn the 1970s, Diane Von Furstenberg launched her signature versatile, easy-breezy wrap dress, that came to symbolize freedom and strength for a newly empowered generation of women.  It symbolized the New Woman, the then-revolutionary concept of competing in a man’s world while looking feminine.

Diane Von Fustenberg and Andy Warhol.  source:  Harper's Bazaar

Diane Von Fustenberg and Andy Warhol. source: Harper’s Bazaar

By 1976 she had sold over a million of her signature knit wrap dresses and landed on the cover of The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek, the latter dubbing her “the most marketable woman since Coco Chanel” (http://www.dvf.com/timeline-70s.html).

Von Furstenberg has been the president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America since 2006 and the year before was honored with their lifetime achievement award.  A 1970s DVF knit wrap dress is represented in New York’s Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

My mother, in the 1970s, used a DVF wrap dress Vogue pattern 1549, with collar and cuffs, to sew a dress for herself in a geometric black and white printed knit.

DVF 70s collared and cuffed knit wrap dress

My mum’s DVF knit wrap dress she sewed in the 1970s

Her version is almost identical to one DVF wore on the cover of Vogue Patterns magazine from 1976.

DFV on Vogue Patterns Magazine

DVF on the cover of Vogue Patterns, 1976

V1547 – Version B

For my short-sleeved belted version of the dress, I used ‘Germania’ by Jay McCarrol for FreeSpirit, Westminster Fibers brown geometric polka dot fabric.  It is a cotton knit that I purchased in the quilting section of a home decor fabric store.  And, after sewing the dress, I do wonder if this fabric is more suitable to quilts, blankets, etc. because I had a horrific time while sewing it.

DFV brown polka dot knit dress front and backTrying to unpick a stitch resulted in an almost immediate hole or would leave an obvious white spot from the needle holes since the back of the fabric is white and it also kept stretching completely out of shape.DVF brown polka dot knit dress Go Kitty (2)I could not get the overlocker to sew it properly, it kept jamming the machine, so I used a sewing machine.  But, using the triple stretch stitch or the knit stitch, the sleeve bands stretched 2 inches while I was sewing them on.  So, they do not lie flat and are not tight enough. When I tried a regular straight stitch, it would not hold together and slid back and forth on the thread as if gathering and then would break almost immediately.

Hello Kitty!

Hello Kitty!

I decided to wash the dress and put it in a hot dryer (even though I had already pre-shrunk) to see if it would help tighten up the fabric.  No, it did not.  But, what it did do was wrinkle like the dickens.  So, I had to iron every inch of my easy, breezy, simple knit dress.  Does this sound almost like blasphemy?  So, all in all, it did not turn out the way I had hoped, but it still works for a very casual, almost sweatshirt-like dress.  If anybody has any ideas about using this kind of fabric for fitted garments, or if indeed, it is not meant to be used for this purpose, please do share.

Reasons to Love the 70s.  Can You Think Of Any More?

Reasons to Love the 70s. Can You Think Of Any More?

V1547 – Version A

DVF blue knit dress front and backFor the long-sleeved version with the scarf tie, I used a four-way stretch cotton knit jersey.  I was nervous that it would be too stretchy and have even worse problems than the brown fabric, but it actually sewed up just fine and drapes really well.  It feels fabulous on, the fabric is very thin and silky with a heavy drape and ‘swishes’ nicely when I walk.

Oooooh, Swishy!

Oooooh, Swishy!

I am going to make a buckled belt for it out of the same fabric to offer up an alternative silhouette.  DVF blue knit dress front with scarf tie vintageThe scarf tie is perfect in this fabric, with such a heavy drape, it stays around the neck and being a thin fabric, folds easily and neatly into place.  DVF blue knit dress scarf tie (2)DVF knit wrap dress side with scarf tieAlthough you won’t be able to tell, I’m wearing Oscar de la Renta perfume, a classic fragrance that debuted in 1977.

DVF blue knit dress cat bombed polaroidWho Loves Kitty? DVF brown polka dot knit dress Who Loves Kitty (2)