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Vogue 9305 Asymmetrical Tunics

It's April and we're expecting snow tonight.  Have we switched hemispheres?  Nevertheless, I am sewing with visions of warm sunny days.  And for those warm sunny days to come, I imagine sitting in the shade with a light breeze flowing through the air, enjoying a light beverage with friends.  Just close your eyes and you can imagine too.  What would you be wearing?  Well,  I love a dramatic asymmetrical tunic made of the softest linen.  As luck would have it, I found just the fabric in the "As Is" section in Fabric Mart's sales category.  With just some irregular dye marks on the selvage, it was marked down, but still completely usable.  It started out as a solid color, but I did an ombre dip dye process to get this look- more on that later!

For my pattern, I chose Vogue 9305, a tunic with a shaped hemline, and two styles of pants (I didn't make the pants).   This pattern must be the biggest bang for your time possible.  The tunic went together so quickly- that little flounce on the front hem is deceptively simple- you would think that there was some very tricky construction, but it's just a short seam sewing the lower side section to the upper section, and then the rest is narrow hemming. Sometimes, fabrics are difficult to narrow hem on a curve, but this linen behaved beautifully.  It really was a joy to work with.  

I lowered the neckline by 2 inches, using a french curve to make sure that it had a nice rounded shape.  That allowed me to slip the tunic over my head and not worry about fiddling with a button closure in the back.  I also lengthened the tunic 1-1/2" for my 5'9" height, but I'm not sure that was necessary- it's very long as is!   I particularly like how the side piece falls when sitting.

So, a little about my ombre dyeing process.  I had never done this before, and was really just flying by the seat of my pants.  What I did was I sewed the garment first.  Here is what it originally looked like:

I liked it, but in the photos, it reminded me a bit of a hospital dressing gown, and I said "No, no, no,no, no!"  So, I mixed up just about a tablespoon of liquid navy dye and 1/3 cup of salt in some hot water in a 5 gallon bucket.  I sectioned the tunic into 4 sections using rubber bands.  I first wet the fabric with hot water, so that it would dye more evenly.  Then, I dipped the first section into the dye, and cut the rubber band off for it's section, swirling the section around in the dye for about 3 minutes.  Then I did the next section for about 2 minutes, and then the third section for about 1 minute.   Just to clarify- the previous sections stayed in the dye while I did the new sections, so total time for the first section would be about 6 minutes, the second section about 3 minutes.   Usually they recommend that you dye things for up to 30 minutes, but I really wanted just a very faint color here, and that's why I shortened the time.  The last section is very light- here's a close-up so that you can see it.  I did not dye the top section, but covered it with a plastic bag, so that if anything splashed up on it, it would be protected.

Then I rinsed, and washed the whole garment, hoping for the best.  So the texture you see here is of washed linen, with no pressing.  Slightly crumpled- but that's fine for me- I think it makes it look more interesting.  Here's the back and side views.

I also made two out of ponte knit.

I'm very happy with all of these versions, and am sure that I will be making more!

Happy Sewing!

Serger time-out and thrift store haul

This is my Spring Break, and I had hoped to do a lot of sewing, but the sewing gods had other plans for me.  My beautiful Babylock Serger, which I've had for 20 years, with absolutely not a hiccup, finally needs new blades.  One of my sewing students let a pin sneak through, and I got a nick in the blade.   I've ordered a replacement, and hope that it will arrive soon.  And rather than sew without my baby, I decided to do some much needed organizing.  I mean- I really, really, really needed to do this.  I am not an organized person, and I would rather do just about anything else.  Usually I wait until I just can't find something before I organize.  I'd rather live with chaos than wait to start a new project!

Part of that organizing meant boxing up all of the scraps from prior projects and taking them to the IDEA store- this is a reuse/recycle thrift store that is absolutely my candy store.  All the proceeds from this store benefit the local school foundation, which gives grants to teachers for special projects that they wouldn't be able to do otherwise.  I was surprised at how many scraps I accumulated in the last year- three full boxes!!! It seems that I almost always have at least 1/2 yard of so extra at the end of a project that I think I'll use somewhere else but never do.  So, I hope that someone more creative than me can see some potential in these scraps and make them into something beautiful. Here's one of their displays, all organized by color.  They sell fabric for $4/pound.

So, the trouble with going to the IDEA store to drop off things is that you really would be foolish not to take a minute to look around.  And once you are there for a minute, you are really there for an hour or two.  There are so many nooks and crannies to check-out.  I've found designer patterns, silk fabrics, Marimekko fabrics... as well as top quality sewing notions from the old days like sleeve boards, good tracing paper, etc. The patterns are a mix of vintage and contemporary.

So, my most exciting find was this 4 yard piece of wool coating.  Isn't it gorgeous!  I paid $19 for it.  It's probably worth $50 a yard, so what a steal.  And I can definitely see this blue as the jumping off point for a winter capsule!

Black and White Topper Butterick 6466

I wanted to make something to wear over my black and white mini-wardrobe, and had purchased this interesting cotton jacquard when Fabric Mart had it for it's Deal of the Day at $2.99/yd last month.  The photo above is with the Closet Case Ebony t-shirt.  This fabric has an interesting texture in addition to the print. Here's a close-up:

It was BOLD with a capital B, and I wasn't quite how to use it.  My original need was for a jacket, but I thought that with that large of a print, it would be better as something longer, like a dress. So, it was between either a dress or a jacket, and I waffled one way and then the other for about a week, and then it hit me- how about a longer jacket that kind of looks like a dress?