Thursday, August 30, 2012

Joann Memorial Weekend Sales

For those of you who didn't jump on one of the BMV online sales (like me - I don't like to pay for shipping if I don't have to), Joann's will be having some Labor Day weekend sales from Friday August 31 - Monday September 3:

$3.99 Vogue
$1.99 McCall's
50% Off Red Tag Fabric

There are also some good coupons floating about, including a 60% off regular priced fabric!  Might have to use that one something...

Newsflash: Fall/Winter New Look Patterns Announced!

The Simplicity website has posted the Fall/Winter Collection for New Look.  Overall it looks like there are some great basics - sheath dresses, pencil skirts, knit tops, and a few coats and jackets for fall.

I love the simple pleating at the neckline.

Nice basic sheath dress pattern (with optional peplums).
This could be a cute party dress.
Loving the knit shirts!
I also really like the detail on the knit shirts in this pattern.
A Project Runway jacket pattern.
And a Project Runway cape.
 So, overall I think this is a pretty decent collection.  However, I also know that I find I have to make the greatest adjustments with New Look patterns, so I don't know if it is worth buying any of the fitted patterns, especially when I am sure I could find something comprable somewhere in my (ever growing) Burda collection.  I might go for the knit tops though - fitting issues should be minimized there.  Maybe.  I hope.

So, what do you all think?  Do you love New Look patterns or do you tend to stick with other pattern companies?  Did I miss anything good in this release?  As always, feel free to discuss in the comments.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Newsflash: October Burda Early Preview Posted

The German website has posted the early preview of the October Burda.  So far, I think I am going to like October!  I mean, based on what I see in the preview, I am not such a fan of the fabric and style choices, but the patterns look interesting and I can't wait for the line drawings to come out.  Take a look:

I really like the details on this coat!

This could be great or it could be going to bathrobe territory.
Will have to look at the line drawing to be sure.

This shirt, I love it!

Ooooh, I like this dress too!

Are they giving us the cute shirt or the weird skirt?  Remains to be seen...

This jacket looks interesting, but I can't see anything because of the stupid glare!
Dang it Burda you tease!

Cute jacket, ok skirt?

Nice dress for Burda Plus - I love the collar.

I think they are trying to sell me on the cape, but I am looking at those pants!
So, what do you all think?  Are you as excited for the October issue as I am?

EDIT:  The Russian website has also posted a preview (with the same pictures) here.

Finished Object: Red Team Dance Costumes

Ok, so while I think my solo costumes are more to my personal taste, these team dance costumes are probably some of my proudest creations, just because of their complexity.  I mean, seriously guys - I tailored sequins.  Let me repeat: I TAILORED SEQUINS!  Not actually as complicated as I had feared, but not exactly the easiest fabric to work with either.  My sewing machine dealt with it pretty well (at least, until one of the plastic gears finally gave out and cracked - and, yes, I finally figured out how to open up the machine and check it out, and, yes, one of the plastic gears that turned the bobbin casing did break), but my serger could not deal with this stuff.  My new machine was a total beast and didn't bat an eye.  Regardless of how Lacey (my new machine) works from here on out, I will forever be grateful that these costumes got sewn before I left for nationals.

Actually, worse than sewing this fabric was cutting it - such a pain the butt!  There are sequins EVERYWHERE.  A month after I cut this stuff out, sequins are still floating about.  I mean, I will walk outside and see random sequins on the pavement that had been stuck to my shoe.  I find them in my washed laundry.  I find them in my hair.  I spent an hour picking them up while cleaning my sewing space.  I went back to my school apartment and they are all over the floor there.  Everywhere!  *Sigh*  But, well, I think it was worth it:

My red sequin dress!  Oh, and I made the sequined tux too.
The only thing I didn't make was the white shirt.

A close-up of the skirt fabric - large sequins on a stretch-mesh.
Fabric was chosen by the partner.  (Photo courtesy of my sister)

Close-up of the bodice - also made of entirely sequined fabric.
(Photo courtesy of my sister)

I used a tan mesh over a tan lining fabric to get the perfect skin tone.
(Photo courtesy of my sister)
This was by far the most complicated dress I have ever made - it took seven different fabrics to construct it.  I used a tan mesh over a tan lining for the skin-toned sections, a red mystique foil spandex for the main body and straps, liquid sequin fabric for the bodice, meshy-bangle sequins for the skirt, foil-dot illusion for the arm piece, and regular illusion mesh as underlay for the skirt (to ensure the main mesh would not be see-through at any point - this is to comply with the costuming rules).  For his tux I used the mystique spandex under the liquid sequins to make the jacket, and I used "jumbo spandex" to make the pants and boot covers.  I also added some of the bangle fabric to his jacket as a design feature on the back.  The large stones are crystal AB Korean knock-offs, and the glue on stones are size 30ss Czech Preciosa in crystal AB.  The stoning was finished literally the night before we skated, and the final hooks and snaps didn't get sewn on until the day we skated finals.  Yes, very last minute, but, then again, aren't all the best sewing projects finished at the last minute?

To create the bodice design I cut a large section of the liquid sequins, pinned it to the dress while I was wearing it, topstitched it down, and trimmed off the excess.  Not the neatest finish, but the crazy sequin material and rhinestone decorations hide a lot of the stitching.  I did sew side-seams on the skirt, but in hindsight it would have been better to overlap the sequin material at the hips and tacked the front and back skirt to each other, rather than sewing the seam.  Ah, well.  There are a lot of up-close messiness that simply disappears at a distance (one of the ultimately good and challenging things about costumes - you have to think about scale and perspective).  And, oddly, one would think that the sequin fabric would be rather itchy, but this costume is actually really comfortable.  I mean, I do have to pet down the skirt when I stand up, but other than that this costume really is pretty easy to wear.  I knew that we would be skating in a really large event, and I want a very "Look At ME" type costume.  Subtlety, maturity, and sophistication were not part of it.  This was about all-out gaudiness.  I think I got what I wanted, crazy as it made me to achieve it.  And, well, in the end, it was worth it:

So, those were my costumes for this year.  Took me much longer to create them all than I had anticipated, and it was a lot more time and effort than I usually put into my costumes.  But, in the end, I am pleased with the results and I really like what I have created.  Much as I have missed sewing clothes for myself, I am always proudest of my skating creations, and this year was no exception.  I was totally exhausted when they were done, and I really don't want to sew skating costumes again for a while, but I am pleased with the results and I looking forward to wearing my creations again in the coming year.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Finished Object: 2012 Blue Team Dance Costumes

Ok, so I haven't really skating team dance too much in the past, and certainly not since I have started sewing.  So while I am used to making costumes for myself, this was the first time I had the chance to sew skating costumes for a guy.  For these costumes I made my dress and his jacket, but not his pants or shirt.  I wanted to use a color, but I also wanted to keep a sophisticated and mature overall look.

Team Dance costumes!

I used teal and black velvet.

Here is the back of my dress.

A not-so great look at the diagonal design on the back of the jacket.

I used iron-on appliques to create the design on the dress and jacket.
(Photo courtesy of my sister)

I think I used about 20 appliques in all. (Photo courtesy of my sister)
I used teal and black stretch velvet for the dress and jacket, and silk chiffon for the arm piece.  The appliques were ironed on the skirt and sewn onto the bodice (so they would be more secure since there would be more stress on them when the dress is getting put on and taken off).  I also sewed on several stones and sequins on each of the flower appliques to make sure they would stay on the dress.  The remainder of the stones and sequins were glues onto the appliques and onto the dress and jacket.  I used crystal AB and jet AB stones, as well as iridescent coated sequins.  On the dress I used Blue Zircone AB stones for a little bit of added sparkle.

These costumes took a LONG time to make, not because they were excessively complicated, but just because the beading and sewing-on of appliques took forever.  I think I achieved the overall look I was going for (subtle, mature, sophistication), but, ultimately, I decided that it just wasn't bold enough for nationals.  Well, that and I lost a little bit of weight between the sewing of this dress and the wearing of it, and I wanted something with a slightly better fit.  We did use these costumes for one of our events at nationals (these seemed more appropriate for a blues/waltz/foxtrot combo), but I ended up sewing two entirely new costumes (a dress and a tuxedo) for our other national event.  Nobody was privy to the design until we showed up to skate, so the code name in my head was the "secret project of awesome."  They were possibly the most complicated skating costumes I have ever made, killed my sewing machine, and caused more headaches than I care to recount.  But, well, they were awesome.  I will show you tomorrow - stay tuned!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Finished Object: 2012 Solo Dance Dress

This is possibly my favorite costume I made this year - maybe my favorite costume I have made for myself ever.  The color is a burgundy-red, with holographic foil finish.  This fabric always runs the risk of looking cheap or tacky, but I think I managed to make it look shiny, pretty, and expensive.  The overall look is exactly what I wanted, and I couldn't be more pleased with the finished dress.

My solo dance dress!

I used a lace overlay on the mystique foil fabric.

I also really like the back and the flowy arm piece.

Close-up of the lace and beading.  (Photo courtesy of my sister)

More lace and beads (Photo courtesy of my sister)
This dress took a long time to sew.  I used a non-stretch lace over the stretch metallic fabric, so I had to piece it on sort of like a jigsaw puzzel to allow the under fabric to stretch when I put the dress on.  It wasn't complicated, but it did take a long time to sew on all of the lace pieces.  I used mystique spandex as the main fabric, with a tan stretch lining, red and gold metallic lace overlay, and illusion mesh for the arm piece.  For the beading, I used aurum and siam AB Czech Preciosa glue-on rhinestones, with larger crystal AB sew-on stones (I used cheap Chinese and Korean knock-off stones because I was looking for quantity over quality here.  Up close there is most definitely a difference in quality between these and the more expensive Swarovski stones, and the coating is not as robust on the cheap stones, but at 200 feet you really can't tell the difference at all.  For several hundred dollars in savings, I was willing to use the lesser quality stones).

I am pleased with the fit, color, and design of the dress.  I wanted something sparkly and showy, but still elegant and classy.  I love the beading and overall look of this dress.  It is possibly my favorite dance dress ever, and I am planning to save it and use it at nationals again in the future.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Finished Object: 2012 Figure Skating Dress

Ok, I figure it is about time to post my finished skating costumes from this year - I started working on these at the end of March, and finished everything at the end of July.  I won't be posting a lot of the outfits I sewed, since a majority of them were for other people, but I can at least show off the costumes I made for me!  Since these outfits took about four months of sewing time, I figured I would milk them for as many posts as I could, so expect to see a lot of skating costumes over the next few days.

I thought I would start off with my figure dress for this year.  I wanted to go for a really classic look - the skating equivalent of a LBD - but I used a textured stretch velvet to hopefully keep it from being too boring.  While the execution is not 100% where I wanted it to be, and it took me several tries to get s dress I was happy with, I eventually ended up with a great dress.  It is super comfortable and easy to wear, and I really love it.

My figure dress at nationals.

I wore it for two of my events.

Here is a picture of the back.

A close-up detail of the beading.  (Photo courtesy of my sister)
I wish the texture of the fabric was easier to photograph - it is a nice textured velvet that has a silvery sheen and creates a wavy diamond pattern.  I have had it in my stash for a few years, and it finally felt like the right time to use it.  I used the velvet for the main body and the skirt, a thin lycra for lining, and illusion mesh for the neck and sleeves.  I used plain Swarovski sew-on rivoli crystals on the neckline, and glue-on Czech Preciosa stones in plain crystal (30ss and 20ss sizes) to create the bands.  I used Preciosa hematite stones to fill in the spaces between the large stones.

So, that's my figure dress!  I wanted something simple, elegant, and classic.  It ended up looking pretty much the way I wanted, and I really enjoyed wearing it.  Overall I am very pleased with this dress, and I hope to wear it a lot in the coming year.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fun in Nebraska: The National Museum of Roller Skating

Although I was super busy at nationals this year, I was able to get in a quick visit to the National Museum of Roller Skating.  It is actually (as far as I am aware) the only museum in the world that is dedicated to roller skating, and it is located in the back of the building that houses the offices of USA Roller Sports (USARS).

In the heart of Lincoln, NE...

Picture heavy post - take a peak inside the museum after the break!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Newsflash - New Butterick Patterns Announced!

Butterick has finally joined the party and announced their new fall patterns.  While there are a lot of baggy shirts and giant cover-ups, there are also some great retro and retro-inspired patterns.  Overall I think this is a great set of patterns, so let's take a peak.

Firstly, there were a lot of basic (dare I say, boring?) patterns chasing the trends:

Neon lace! (B5812)

Peplums! (B5811)

Color blocking! (B5825 - only in sizes 18W and up)
However, the I thought Butterick rather made up for their boring trendy patterns with some lovely retro and retro-inspired choices:

B5813 - a Retro patterns, also has a poofy 50's skirt option.  Love this one!

B5814 - A "Patterns by Gertie" pattern.  Cute!

B5824 - Another Gertie pattern!  LOVE this coat.  Another must-buy for me!
There were also a few other patterns of interest:

B5818 - Pants!  There are 5 options for style, so I think it might be worth buying this pattern.

B5823 - A nice classic coat, with collar and pocket options.
Oh, and because we all know I have a thing for costume patterns:


B5832 - The bodice detail is lovely!

So, I am pretty sure I am going to go for the retro, Gertie, and costume patterns, probably also those pants and maybe that second coat pattern.  So, what do you all think?  Anything you are dying to make up?  Did I miss anything good?  Why does it seem like fall pattern releases are always the best?  Discuss!