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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Although I do still have some makes to blog, after spending the afternoon today in the Los Angeles Fashion District buying loads of fabric, I just had to share immediately! Apologies for the lousy lighting and iPhone picture, but it’s the only camera I have down here. You’ll have to wait for true color representation until these fabrics reappear as garments…

I started at Michael Levine Loft, which is the super discount, by-the-pound, random-piles-of-fabric room at the biggest downtown fabric store. It’s like my Crazy Fabric Store in Solvang on steroids. Boxes and boxes and piles and piles of fabric… I ended up with about four and a half pounds of fabric – a grand total of $12 for almost 10 yards, not bad! Across the top, there are two lightweight sweater knits for winter cowl tops, a nice cotton jersey for a long sleeve t-shirt, a weird stretch woven that has a brown and black textured weave for a pencil skirt, and almost 5 yards of green polka-dot poly chiffon – I know, it’ll be a bear to work with, but it’ll make such a fun summer dress, and since it weighs almost nothing I got the whole piece.

With the time remaining on my parking meter I ran across the street to the main Michael Levine store, where I got the two pieces on the bottom left for more than twice as much as all the Loft fabric… but they’re really nice. The stripe (it’s actually white and navy) is a viscose/spandex and has a wonderful weight and drape, and the rust solid is a ponte knit (it’s a color I’ve been on the hunt for for months). Both will become winter dresses I think.

Finally, I drove up a few blocks to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, where there is a secret gem of a fabric source in their Scholarship Store. Companies and others donate clothes and fabric to the store, where it’s sold at a discount to fund student scholarships. And though there was just a short wall of bolts, there was some really nice stuff. From the bottom right, there’s a orange-red cotton/spandex jersey, a brown polka-dot cotton jersey (both for cozy winter tees), and a wonderful turquoise jersey that feels just like a knit used to make super expensive RTW athletic wear (think lululemon) – all for a dollar a yard! Also at FIDM I found my favorite piece of the day, the gray geometric. It feels like a silk charmeuse, but it didn’t wrinkle in the couple hours it was crumpled in the bag, so it may be poly – I’ll have to burn it to be sure. But whatever it is, I love the print and it’ll make a gorgeous blouse.

After all that I was starving, so I headed over to Baco Mercat, a new restaurant downtown where a colleague of mine tends bar, where I had a fabulous meal and an amazing cocktail. And downtown is already (very creatively) decorated for the holidays:

So that was my downtown LA day! Los Angeles gets a bad rep sometimes, but it’s actually pretty cool (aside from the driving and parking, of course – I used like $8 in change for meters today). It would have been more fun running around in all that fabric with some cohorts, though. Thanks to Cindy at Cation Designs for clueing me in to these fab resources, although she couldn’t join me today. Any other LA sewists out there? Perhaps a post-holiday LA meetup is in order? Though I don’t know that my stash can take it… less buying more sewing from now on!

I’ll start by saying thanks for your crossed fingers and wishes that I’d get my cast off last week… but unfortunately I was sentenced to three more weeks. Sad. So you’ll have to put up with a few more classy clashy casty photos… Luckily I’m pretty good at cast sewing now and it’s not really a problem. What is keeping me from sewing currently is being away for work for two weeks (I did not haul my sewing machine and all its accoutrements along with me, it seemed rather impractical), but on the plus side I’m in LA so I hope to sneak in a trip to the garment district for some fabric shopping! I also managed to make four things before I left, so I’ve got plenty to share.

I’ll start with New Look 6097, since I wore it today.

I liked this pattern from the moment I saw it – I mean, it’s a faux wrap top with a pencil skirt, in knit, with POCKETS! It took me a while to pick it up, but I knew I wanted to make it for what passes for fall around here. Now here’s the thing – I haven’t made a ton of New Look patterns, but I assumed they were about the same as the rest of the big 5 sizing-wise, so I made my usual SBA by shortening the length of the neckline edges. Which I have done on every wrap, faux wrap, and deep v-neck I’ve ever made. But this time I should have just left it alone. After finishing the neck edge in my usual way (zigzagging clear elastic to the edge on the wrong side, folding over and twin needle stitching on top) and sewing up the bodice sides, I realised that the neckline was too high and tight! D’oh! You can see it’s pulling the sleeve seams up on to the top of my shoulder. I think if I’d made no pattern adjustment it would have been perfect! That’s what I get for thinking I’m so clever with the fitting tricks. Oh well, it’s still wearable, and it certainly won’t be gaping at all under any circumstances…

I did frankensize this pattern quite a bit also. I cut my usual 10 on top, kinda graded out to a 12 in the bottom of the bodice, but then I got lost in all my clever grading and I think the front and back may have ended up different… and I went with a 14 in the skirt since it’s a pencil shape. Luckily it all worked out. Next time I use New Look I’m just not going to think so hard about it!

I didn’t make the belt, partly out of laziness and partly because I didn’t think I needed the extra bulk around the midsection. I know belts are supposed to help define one’s waist, but I feel like this one would have eliminated the scant waist definition I got from making the waist elastic as tight as I could. I tried it with some purchased belts and wasn’t crazy about them either – I just may not be a belt person.

In the end, I do like this pattern as much as I thought I would. I’d like to make it again, sans SBA, and at some point I might actually use the skirt portion to make a knit skirt by just adding a waistband – those pockets are pretty cool. I can see that they might not work in a lighter weight fabric, but in this thicker poly-lycra knit they lay flat and seem sturdy.

The fabric is one of the pieces I bought at Fabrix in San Francisco in August. I have no idea why it looks blurry in the picture, but for some reason it’s clearer in the back view.

My full pattern review is here.

So all in all, a solid work dress for not much effort. Save all the unnecessary adjustments, that is. Every time I feel like I’ve got this sewing thing figured out…