Survived the freeze…

Yes, yes, I know… world’s smallest violin. But this is not normal for this time of year in Florida. We get winter temps below freezing, but it hasn’t been winter here in a month.  We broke our  record low by more than 7 degrees on the Ides of March (25 degrees, and we’ve been below freezing three nights in a row).  This might not mean much to many of you, but we’ve got crops in the ground and the citrus are in full bloom.  So, if you like your veggies and orange juice, and it’s not coming from California or Mexico, it’s coming from here.

But we did okay! I covered my plants (though not the trees, too big).  Some cold damage, but we came out okay.  Here are some (iPhone) pictures.     More sewing later.

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Empress of India Nasturtium

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Mexican Midget Tomato

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Pentas (Egyptian Starflower)

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Cucumbers are up!

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Meyer Lemon

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Kaffir Lime

Retro & Floral with Vogue 2778; Wearability of the Donna Karan Shirt (Vogue 1440)

IMG_1194Every once in a while, I see a fabric I have to have, and snatch it up. Wait, that’s all the time.  But sometimes, I see something and know exactly what I want to make and even make it up fairly soon after it arrives.  This is true of this floral pique cotton I recently purchased from Marcy Tilton.  When it arrived, I almost changed my mind – it would make a great bath robe too! But I saw a pencil skirt, and it leaped into the front of the project queue.

IMG_0684I’ve made Vogue 2778 before – it’s a 1991 Ann Klein pencil skirt.  I didn’t blog the first time(s) I made it (I made one in the 90s too), but liked the overall fit and feel of this skirt, so I reached for it again.  From my previous experience, I knew I wanted to lengthen it, so I added three inches.  I considered going for midi-length, but didn’t.

IMG_1226There isn’t much to say about construction – it’s a pretty basic skirt.  I switched to the invisible zipper, which I feel I have mastered.  I cut a size 12, but sewed half inch seams to give a bit more ease (I’m not quite a 12, especially in the waist, but definitely not a 14).  The fabric has a fair amount of stretch and is fairly substantial, so I probably didn’t need the ease.  Still, the pattern called for underlining (and this needed underlining, because I wasn’t confident about the recovery on the fabric – didn’t want saggy butt after a wearing or two). I didn’t have anything on hand with stretch, but I did have an amazing, easy to sew silk CDC from Gorgeous fabrics (more ivory than white).IMG_1234

If I make the skirt again, I’m going to change how the facings are done.  Here, it’s about a two inch facing, but needs to be slightly longer to hold the high waist comfortably in place.  It’s also underlined, not interfaced.  I didn’t do that though – I was concerned about bulk, so I used the CDC interfaced with the pro weft medium interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply.  No bulk, but the waist crumpled a bit after a full day at the office (and four of my nine hours today was standing).

IMG_1229I paired it with the Donna Karan top I finished last week – Vogue 1440.  Not the best choice, but I was running out the door this morning and the other tops needed pressing.

As for wearability, Vogue 1440 is SOOO comfortable.  It was 88 degrees

Whoops, the shirt might suffer a wardrobe malfunction if you don't stand still!
Whoops, the shirt might suffer a wardrobe malfunction if you don’t stand still!

today and I was super comfy all day, indoors and outdoors. It doesn’t really look great tucked in with the high waist skirt, though.  And, it has a slight modesty issue with the button placement – at least if you are like me, doing presentations all day and don’t want to worry about flashing folks.  I’m a small b cup, and the top button hits right at the bra band.  I’m going to need to adjust this on the next version and add a modesty snap to this version.

Early morning photos, with no help on pictures with the phone – well, my little boy tried to help as you can see in the last one.

Hey, my photographer is only 3.5!
Hey, my photographer is only 3.5!

Something for Spring… Vogue 8944

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Update January 7, 2015:  I just saw this exact same dress somewhere from Calvin Klein, on sale.  Well, not exact.  The style, colors, etc were the same, but the fabric was poly rayon.

I needed something for Spring … a pick-me-up for this very late, and very cool, spring.  So I did Vogue 8944, and in the same (unoriginal) color scheme as on the Vogue website.

Pattern Description: From Vogue’s website – Loose-fitting, lined dress has yoke front, back zipper and narrow hem. Topstitching.

Fabric Used: For the dress, three different linens. I originally chose a different color scheme, but matching the weights of the linens was critical, so the lovely plum linen will be a different project.  The black and white are both from Gorgeous Fabrics.  The “fine weave” black linen is sumptuous, as Ann describes, and I will be ordering more for some pants.  The blue is hyacinth blue from Marcy Tilton. I lined the dress in cotton batiste.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

How were the instructions? The instructions were fine, though I did not always follow them (see below).Image

Things I changed and learned: This was a pretty easy dress.  When I work with something easy, I try to perfect the basics as much as possible.  Here, I wanted to use an invisible zipper, and I’m finally getting them in correctly on the first try.  But that meant that I constructed the front, then the back, with zipper CB, before basting the dress together at the sides. The instructions have you construct the top, then bottom, attach at the waist, then insert the zipper using the slot method. I also wanted to take out some of the ease in the bodice for a more fitted silhouette.  Changing the sewing order and basting the sides allowed me to do that better, and gave me practice matching seams with the color block (basting made that easier).  I also sewed the hem differently (using Claire Schaeffer’s instructions for a machine narrow hem).  Finally, the instructions have you top and edge stitching.  I just edge stitched.

The two areas that I still need to work on: the facing and ease stitching. Getting the facing just right – I simply cannot get it as nice as I want given the instructions (it’s the shoulder seams!) I think one of the shoulders is slightly wider as a result.  I have a few tiny puckers at the waist from improper easing.

Likes/Dislikes: Clean lines, fun, stylish. I wish it was warm enough to wear it.  Only dislike was how loose fitting the bodice was on me.  Of course, I almost always have to take in the bodice and lengthen it. My overall thought is I like it, but I need to continue improving my skills on the basics.  Oh, and pressing with linen?  I think I added a few permanent wrinkles…