Friday, June 27, 2014

Rambo IV: A Celebration of Friendship

Could there be a movie tagline any more antithetical to the Rambo movies? Actually, I don't know the answer to that question, since I've not actually seen a single Rambo movie. However, I have it on good authority (i.e. Mr. Cation, who hasn't seen them either, but has heard more about them than I have) that there are a lot of explosions, chasing bad guys, and general mayhem in those movies, and unless Rambo is unexpectedly doing it to rescue his best friend, I think I'm safe in saying that My Little Pony this is not.

If you've been hanging around the sewing blogosphere, you may have seen all the fun, quirky garments being made of old Rambo III turbans; the Rambo project is the brainchild of SeamstressErin, whom I've had the pleasure of meeting only once in real life (this is mostly my fault, as I keep having other obligations during her meet-ups), despite us both living in (vaguely) the same area. Still, I would consider her a bloggy friend (isn't it funny how connected we can feel the people from the internet, just because we happen to sew?). So when she contacted me about this sewalong/blog tour (what is it exactly?), I was pretty excited to see what I could make out of such a historic piece of fabric.

Said piece of fabric was tricky, though, since it was roughly 26" wide and two-ish yards long, woven unevenly, and stretchy to boot. I have to admit I was stumped for a while, and thankful that I was the last on the tour, but as time went on I got more and more panicky -- all the other bloggers have been making such unique garments and raising the bar! But after more thinking about what I actually needed in my me-made wardrobe, I decided that I needed to make some kind of cardigan/jacket/outwear-y thing, even if it might not be super impressive-looking. It would be a challenge to squeeze it out of such an oddly-shaped piece of fabric, but I managed by making the whole thing quite short. The weird lapel shape was my attempt to make this piece more trendy, like a waterfall jacket but not. I don't know if it worked.

I originally wanted them to drape instead of flop open, but the bias tape made them a bit stiffer than I anticipated, plus there's not actually enough fabric to drape with, really. 

I just finished up the French Pattern Drafting course with Lynda Maynard at Canada College, so I took this opportunity to test out the sloper I made in class. I must say, it was the easiest thing ever to use -- I just drew a new hemline, modded the bodice for the front overlapping section, and boy were those sleeves easy to set in! It's amazing what you can do when you know a pattern fits you already.

I think I might like it better this way, with the overlap. 
I like that it has a vaguely Chanel-jacket feel, what with the boxiness and three-quarter sleeves. 

Since the turban fabric was so unravelly, but I also didn't have enough left to make bias tape, I opted to finish the edges of the jacket with a combination of coral seam binding on the inside and cream colored bias tape on the front edges. I really wanted to avoid buying any new fabric or notions for this project, so I made the cream satin bias tape from the scraps of Elaine's wedding dress. Hence the name of Rambo's imaginary fourth movie, A Celebration of Friendship. This cardigan is brought to you by a combination of internet friends and real life friends!

This is a better representation of the true color of the fabric. The setting sun made for some rather washed-out pictures above. Here's it's pretty obvious that the stripe irregularities made for non-symmetrical front pieces. Oh was a "design decision!"

The stripes being ever so slightly off on the sleeves would bother me more if I could see them when I'm wearing it.

Fabric: Mystery turban fabric, 26" x 70" and stretchy with weird snags and irregularities.
Notions: Polyester cream satin bias tape, 1/2" double fold, four yards of rayon seam binding
Hours: Probably about eight, with planning, modding my sloper, cutting, sewing, and finishing.
Will you make it again? Nope, because that's all the turbans I have!
Total cost: $0.30 for the thrifted seam binding
Final thoughts: I like that this is in fairly neutral colors, so it will go with a lot of things, and it's perfect for summer since it's lighter weight than a sweater-y cardigan. I go back and forth, though between liking the weird lapel thing I came up with, and thinking it looks ridiculous.

Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to sew from such unique fabric, Erin! I'm grateful to be included in this group of such amazing ladies!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Me Made May Wrap Up

I'm back from my East Coast travels! I spent the last week recovering and spending lots of quality cuddle time with Walnut and Mr. Cation (and my bed). Thanks to the constant demands of making sure no students wandered off, I managed to come back without having added to my stash at all. The downside of this, of course, is that I also didn't get to bring back any fabric souvenirs, and I didn't get a chance to meet up with any of the fabulous ladies out in NYC or Philly (I'm sure there are fabulous ladies in Washington DC, too, but I don't personally know any). I also managed to only scrape by with three more me-made days, thanks to the vagaries of the weather and the limitations of what I packed. I appreciated all of your helpful tips about layering, but in the end I decided not to stress about wearing me-made every day.

Days 26, 27, and 29: Refashioned Old Navy dress, new floral top, and coral stripe dress. Hello, growing baby bump!

Final count at the end of the month: 24 out of 31 days, and no repeats!

What I learned from MMM'14:
- Apparently I didn't really stretch myself during this challenge, because that's actually about the same percentage of days I wear me-made items during the rest of the year. Oops.
- Wearing me-made is really easy when one has a lot of knits. Stretchy fabrics are more comfortable and can accommodate my belly more easily than wovens.
- At the same time, I really miss my woven dresses :(
- Most of my favorite me-mades have been either self-drafted or made from free patterns. There's no need to buy a bunch of patterns to have a wearable wardrobe...and yet I keep acquiring more!
- Maybe I should delve into more serious underwear-making? That would give me an automatic easy me-made item every day, and I need some new pairs anyway...
- I wear A LOT of cardigans, and a fair number of leggings. It's time to work on filling those two gaps in my me-made wardrobe! I don't foresee learning how to knit anytime soon, though, and finding appropriate fabrics for cardigans and leggings is going to be a challenge if I'm stashbusting, too. I have a few sweater knits and cardigan patterns in my stash that I can use, but a serious lack of legging material and/or patterns.
- I need to make more skinny jeans/trousers too. I'm going to give myself a pass on this for now, though, since I don't know what shape I'm going to end up.
- I like belts. I don't think I'll take up belt-making though.

I never blogged that second to last tunic-y floral top (although I did post about my seam allowance cutting mishap and fix on Instagram), so I'll do a quick blurb about it now, if only just for my own records. It's the same pattern as the chemise from my hobbit costume, the vintage Simplicity 7842 peasant blouse. This time I used view 2, without any sleeve gathering or crazy ruffles, and it worked beautifully with my rayon jersey for a breezy, cool top.  Since it's so loose and swingy, I figured that it would be a versatile top -- I can theoretically wear it unbelted, belted at the empire waist during pregnancy, or at the natural waist post-pregnancy. I had originally made it long enough to be worn with leggings as a tunic top, but unfortunately it shrank in the wash and will have to just be a regular top. I usually don't pre-wash my knits since they rarely shrink, but the amount of rayon in this fabric made it the exception. Oops. And I passed my textiles class with flying colors, too!

I was trying to take better pictures of this top when I wore it yesterday, but that didn't really work out so well.
But hey, at least I blogged it before I forgot about the making of it!

Fabric: 1.5 yards of very soft, drapey, thin rayon jersey. I originally bought it at Fabrix two years ago with the intention of making it into a dolman sleeve top, but never got around to it.
Notions: A piece of 1/4" elastic salvaged from a RTW top that died, and a tiny scrap of fusible interfacing to fix my snipping error!
Hours: Less than seam finishing, no sleeve-setting, so fast! I did hem it, though, as lately I've been a little ashamed of the unhemmed edges on my earlier knit makes. Nothing fancy, just flipped it over and straight stitched (I know! Gasp! But I don't like how the zig-zag stitch looks and it's not like this hem needs to stretch!).
Will you make it again? Maybe? I can't really predict my need for peasant tunics in the future.
Total cost: $4.50
Final thoughts: If I pair it with flared jeans, it looks really hippie? That's probably the most I've thought about this otherwise unremarkable top. It's serviceable but not my favorite garment. But not everything I make can be (or needs to be) THE BEST THING EVER, so I'm totally fine with that!