La Cantatrice Chauve

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Wow, finally. It has been a while.

But, things are afoot! I have not been lazy. Except about updating here.

Here is a picture of the bag that I made, with the pattern made from a paper bag. Cat with demon eyes is shown only for scale, naturally. Note the pheasant in pattern. I love it. More fabric should feature birds; I would buy it all.
I have also made another bag, which has yet to be photographed. That one was from a fabulous pattern which I got for free, since I am providing a pattern review for the sew mama sew website.
Anyways. Besides that. I have made some great progress with one of my outfits for the fashion show. Yay! It's a deep red and gold v-neck dress, with an empire waist and a modified flare skirt. I think it will turn out nicely. I was concerned at first that the fabric would look too formal, since it is the daytime dress, but I think it will be great, actually. I still need to decide some of the details of the sleeves, and the ultimate length of the skirt.
Funny discussion between my sewing teacher and myself the other day. Imagine Mrs. C speaking with an Italian accent:
Mrs. C: How short will you make it?
Me: I don't know. It seems from the New York Times fashion magazine that the short flare skirt is in. So maybe I will make it short.
Mrs. C: That sounds good. Can you wear a mini-skirt?
Me: Well, I have some ugly veins in the back of my legs, but I think it'll be okay.
Mrs. C: Your husband won't mind?
Ha! I love it when "Can you wear a mini-skirt" means not, "Are you comfortable wearing a mini-skirt?" or "Do you have nice enough legs to wear a mini-skirt?", but rather, "Will your husband allow you to wear a mini-skirt?" Hee.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Coat? Dress? Coatdress?

So. Katryn has decided that instead of a skirt, she wants a dress. I am interested in working on something from her, because she has a really different body type from me, and I think it will be a great challenge to design something for someone else. But, it will also be hard. She likes this coat. She likes this coat as a dress. I am not sure if I can see it. The thing is, it will have to be in a relatively stiff fabric. She wants to wear it for an event in May, so it can't be wool. Most stiffer fabrics that are not wool are upholstery fabrics. Katryn picked out a bunch of toiles and big florals as potential patterns, and to me those are way too couch-like. Although I am tempted to go with this monkey one.

I haven't decided yet if I'm going to do it.... I will need to start out by draping a mannequin with a similar design, and then fit the muslin on Katryn. At that point maybe we will get an idea of how flattering the design will even be. Maybe that will also help us in envisioning which patterns will work best. If we can tweak the design so that it has a placket, and no buttons, and if we can find a good pattern, I think it could be neat.

Or, she may just end up looking like a flasher.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Take the A Train

The A-Line skirt is done! Here it is.

I think it ended up looking nice. I learned a lot in making this:

1. Zippers! Baste them! Always!

2. Selecting fabric. I really am not thrilled with this fabric, which was a freebie from my sewing teacher. I spent so long working on this skirt, and I don't even really like the fabric. That was dumb.

3. Details, assembling, etc. There are a lot more components than I ever realized. So many hidden elements (lining, contour wasteband, hidden second flare, doubled hemstich, etc.) that seem like "extras" but really add to the quality of the skirt. This, my teacher tells me, is the difference between "sewing" and "couture". Hm, whod'a thunk it?

So, on to bigger and better things! I also finished my sewing-class bag this weekend. I was on a bit of a binge after finishing the skirt on Friday. The bag turned out really well, and I think it was really good to do a fun and easy project. I have learned more patience, too- I took the time to make a great lining, and added to the design with some nice trim. I designed the bag using as a template the ratty paper Williams Sonoma shopping bag that I have been dragging to class every week- and I learned how EASY it is to make a pattern off of an existing object! I love it! It's cheating but no one will ever know! So that brings me to my new project list...

1. Another skirt! I bought some pink paisley fabric this weekend, and some dark patterned purple that goes along with it. Ever since seeing a great paisley on the sewmamasew website I have wanted to do something in paisley. So I am copying an existing skirt that I own, and making it in paisley. Everything's better in paisley!

2. Skirt for Katryn... not sure if this will happen. She is kind of "meh" on it now, and honestly, why would I go to the effort unless she really wants it? So, we'll see. I think I can get her excited if I take her to a fabric store and let her find a great fabric.

3. Designs for the fashion show! Our class fashion show is coming up in June. So, I really need to get started thinking about what to design and sew for that show. I will be doing two outfits- one daywear and one evening. On one hand, I feel like I should design sensible clothes that I will get a lot of use out of. On the other hand, why am I learning to sew if not to make crazy stuff that I could never, ever buy? So, we'll see. I think of another idea every other day, so I should really start doing some sketches.

And, to wrap up! Here is a photo of my draping class, with the blazers that we draped last night. We're too talented for our own good!

Friday, February 02, 2007

First post!

It's Groundhog day!

Ongoing sewing projects include:

A-Line Skirt
I draped an A-line skirt and made the pattern. Then I decided on a flare for the bottom, which made it a little longer than I would usually like, but it's mainly a practice piece, anyways. Right now I am wrestling with the zipper, which I have already ripped out twice. Hopefully I'll be able to finish this tomorrow, and post pictures soon!

Sewing Bag
I have a ratty Williams Sonoma paper bag that I've been using to bring my draping/sewing materials to class. I bought some cute upholstery fabric a few weeks ago, and I want to use that to make a fabric version.

In the works...
Katryn wants a princess-line skirt with inserts, so that's going to be next on the list, after the A-line skirt is done. Hopefully that will be an easy one, since I will have mastered the zipper by then (ha!). I am just hoping that she does not want a lining... but I guess I'll figure it out either way.

I draped a sort of mod-style dress in class a couple of weeks ago. It was originally supposed to be a jacket but my teacher thinks it would be a good dress. I am not super-excited about it, but that could just be because I'm not yet sure I want to tackle a dress. I guess I'll keep that in the queue and see if I drape anything more inspiring in the meanwhile.