Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fabric surprises

I ordered some (okay, quite a bit of) fabric online and it arrived yesterday. As often happens with online orders, some of it isn't exactly what I expected. (Some of it's exactly what I wanted, but that's not the topic of the day.) I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but some main pieces aren't as good a match for the garments/patterns I had in mind as I'd hoped, and now I'm pondering what to do with it.

I'd hoped to whip up a skirt or two, at least, and possibly even a pair of pants, for upcoming mainland travel, but the "designer" twills that arrived are... really nice. Luscious, and light, with a nice drape now that they've been through the wash: out of the box one of 'em could only be described as "creepy" to the touch, but it's mellowed out now. The problem is, they're too nice for what I thought I'd make. They cry out for a something tailored and with a sort of minimalist fussiness to show them off, and whatever I make from them will need to be LINED. I did also purchase some lining fabric, but with something else in mind, so it's not the right color. Hmmmm.....

Somehow I managed to order a dark orange ("paprika") stretch twill...

...without realizing it's a polyester/lycra blend, not the cotton/lycra I was expecting. Totally my error: I checked the listing page, and yup, it's poly. If your first reaction is to cringe -- as mine was -- I have to say that this is a very nice poly indeed. This fabric is gorgeous! Anyway, there's a skirt in this book:

that would suit the fabric very well (view G, if you're curious, which just looks like a dark blob in a jpeg). I like the cover skirt, too. That's a Joel Dewberry home dec fabric in the background, BTW, which I will probably also make a skirt from, if it doesn't end up as a hobo bag or pillow cover. If I were a size 2 I'd make jeans from it, but I'm not, and I won't. I can dream, though.

The thing about these Japanese patterns, which I drool over, is that I'm a size larger (at least) than their idea of a large, and at this precise moment I am not convinced I really want to tackle sizing it up. Maybe. I'm going to think about it some more.

Other options include view C (on the left) or B (on the right) of Vogue 7910:

I have made muslins of both of these, and like them a lot. The angle-pocket and side-inset details are very nice, and these fit quite well right out of the envelope (!) without a lot of fussing, which is a huge plus. Except I'd like them even more if they were streamlined (they're quite full at the hem), which will involve fussing. I might tackle one tomorrow.

In the meantime, I'm deep into my first attempt at altering a pants pattern to fit, and it's driving me nuts. More on that later...

Monday, November 2, 2009

... and a pillow for my desk chair

to go with the curtains:

I whipped up a pillow for my desk chair yesterday afternoon, to go with my new home office curtains. My chair is really a dining chair, and I sit on the front half of it while working, so a big fat pillow to fill up the space behind me is welcome. The white Guest of Honor fabric is from the stash, and I consider the border fabric stash also, as it's from the piece left over after making the top borders for the curtains. It's the same on both sides, except that the big white blossoms are positioned slightly differently.

I used a 20" square pillow form, and the "Sunset Button Pillows" pattern from Amy Butler's Softwares. I even read and (mostly) followed the directions! I had to size down (Amy's pillows are huge: 27"), and I skipped the buttons, but did the rest according to plan.

I love how the flanges turned out, and the whole thing was super quick and easy to do. Except for sewing the seam through both sides between the flange and pillow body (so the flanges become flanges, not just a bigger pillow cover) ... in spite of pinning, it was tricky to get the seams lined up just right. I was in my usual slapdash mood and, after considering briefly the pros and cons of doing a super-careful, precise job, did a quickie, imprecise one instead. Unless you look closely, which no one but me will ever do, you can't tell that my "stitch in the ditch" wanders on and off the ditch more than it stays in it.

The only drawback to this pattern is that the pillow cover is entirely sewn on, no zipper or other closure, so it's not removable for washing. I have zippers in the stash, and could have added one. But I didn't want to bother, so I'll just have to be careful not to spill coffee on this one.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Guest of Honor Curtains...

... for my home office! Ignore, please the messy desk. Things got moved aside, and then I was so eager to snap pics as soon as the rods and curtains were up that I haven't even unplugged the power drill yet. My office is the dining alcove: the plants are orchids on top of some storage cabinets that function as a room divider so the space feels less like an alcove and more like a separate room. Here's the view from the kitchen:

It took me a long time to make these. I got the fabric all measured and cut some not too long after we moved in early this summer, and then was distracted by life and other projects. I kept thinking I ought to sew these up, but after getting our bedroom curtains done (shown here, two of the five total made, Amy B fabric, not blogged yet):

I just couldn't face another curtains project right away. Which turned out to be about two months.

But the sun has been inching ever southward as we've inched into autumn, and glare on my computer screen has (as I suspected) become a problem. I didn't want to change my office layout (for feng shui reasons, as well as it's a very small space and options are limited), so curtains are the solution.

These are made from Anna Maria Horner's "Guest of Honor" fabric from her Garden Party line, with borders in two colorways in "Dance Floor" from the same collection. Many thanks to Kerith at Material Girl Shoppe for the fabric, good price, and great service. I look forward to shopping with you again.

I did not make these curtains "by the book" at all. For one thing, they are quilting fabric, which is not very wide, nor does it have the heft and drape a good curtain should have. Well, too bad. I love, love, love everything about this print. So yes, while the curtains do cover the windows when drawn shut, they are not as wide as they should be according to curtain-making guidelines. Sad truth is that 1.5-2X window width for fabric means double the yardage (i.e., cost) plus at least twice the cutting headaches plus finicky print matching on the seams. It just wasn't going to happen.

So, these are just one fabric width wide each. There is barely 1/8" turn-back at the sides, as I didn't want to sacrifice even fractions of an inch in width. Lining is a cheap cotton-poly blend in pale blue. I experimented with using a "clip strip" at the top back, so the curtain ring clips would be hidden rather than grasp the top edge of the curtain, but after doing one curtain I decided I didn't have the energy or patience to go that route. So, visible clips it is, even though I don't like them. They sure are easy, and that's worth a lot to me.

Here are some close-ups of the borders. The top is interfaced (on the lining) for 3", to avoid drooping between the curtain ring clips. So nice to work with coordinating prints, as the color match is perfect. I love how the red border at the bottom picks up the colors of the blossom centers:

Next up, I have some of this fabric with white blooms, and I'm going to use that to make a big pillow for my desk chair. I might even have enough left of the blue "Dance Floor" to trim the pillow with it.

Only problem is that these dress up my office so nicely that my husband has decided that his office needs curtains, too (we both work at home, so we have two full-time home offices). He's right, too. Compared to my office, his now looks bland and blank and white, and in need of some nice fabric embellishment in the window area. I don't think he has anything as boldly floral as this in mind, so first challenge is to get some idea of what kind of fabric he'll be happy with. I really hope we don't have to settle for something traditionally gag-inducing like boring stripes or plaid. We're just not the traditional type, either of us.