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27 December 2011

The archives: while at university

When I first went to University I didn't have a stash. In fact I didn't even have a sewing machine, since until then I had always used my mother's Singer. I can't really remember when I bought my little Singer, but I had it already before my senior year in college. It served me very, very well for  the next 10 years and moved with me throughout the US and Europe.

I didn't sew regularly at all in those years, but miraculously, everything I sewed I actually did finish.

Evidence 1: a party dress of simple princess seams in red Bengaline.


I sewed this dress during a couple of days when we were snowed in after a storm. No classes and nowhere to go? Sewing was my coping mechanism... I couldn't quite sew the invisible zipper at the seam so it gapes visibly, but aside from that, the dress is quite ok.

Evidence 2: a velvet bolero, to go with the party dress.


with sleeves
Well, I didn't really sew this myself. I got the velvet jacket from my aunt because it didn't fit her anymore. It was perfectly new and it fit me like a glove at the shoulders. But my aunt is 15cm shorter than I and so the waist was all wrong for me. Solution? Hack it off at the middle and convert it into a bolero. Voila!

Evidence 3: Missoni top

This beautiful knit I bought at G-street Fabrics, the second summer I spent in Washington DC. I loved the Missoni-like zig zag pattern and the browns and blues colors. Plus it is a bit shiny, what more could I ask for!

I copied another knit top I had that fit well. I had already cut all the pieces when I realized that the fabric was a bit too loosely knit and would hang too limply. I then interfaced each piece to give the fabric more body. That worked well, except that the fabric became a lot less stretchy and the top didn't fit anymore!

I added the two central strips to make it wider and disaster averted. I was so proud of how well I managed to match all the stripes!

The buttons are mother of pearl and they match beautifully in color and shine, but they are a bit too heavy. I keep thinking that I will change them, but never do...

I still wear it, and I get lots of compliments when I do.

Evidence 4: ballroom dancing dress


I made this dress my second year in grad school. I had joined the ballroom dancing club and I needed a dress for the weekend trips to the dance hall. The dress of course needed to have a wide skirt and be comfortable enough for some serious physical activity without straps falling or worse. The pattern was McCalls I think, I wonder where it is?

25 December 2011

Bubble gum pink skirt, Vogue 2982 Anne Klein

My name is Lucia. I am a fabricholic. I buy and buy fabrics but I never finish anything. Here is to changing that!

Skirt is from Vogue 2982 by Anne Klein, poncho is Burda 09-2005-125

A wool skirt, in bubble gum pink! To go with the Cotton Candy Poncho. The wool is ancient, it actually belonged to my mom so it must have been sitting patiently waiting its turn for at least 22 years.

Lessons learned:
Tapered skirts do suit me, while straight skirts do not. As a pear I always avoided pencil skirts but secretly wished I could wear them because they look so sexy and refined. So it is great news to discover that pegged skirts are definitely ok.

Some creases cannot be ironed out. The fold in the middle of this wool just won't come out even after steam shrinking for 40min and repeated pressing. I guess 22+ years in a stash simply couldn't go unpunished...

Check for transparency, even in wools. The facing and the seam allowances all can be seen through in this skirt! I should have checked. I remember a great article in Threads about how to use flesh colored underlining to eliminate the see-through problem.

Look for pattern reviews from other people who might have tried the same pattern before you. While making this skirt I noticed that some pattern notches didn't match and worse yet, that the lining was too short and the instructions on how to attach it, too weird. After some thought I realized the instructions were wrong and the lining needed to be attached to the inside facing instead of to the skirt top edge. Indeed when I looked up reviews for this pattern most of them mentioned this mistake. Checking the reviews at the outset would have saved me some time, although I did like figuring out the solution myself!

Skirt from Vogue 2982 by Anne Klein

All in all, I am really happy with my skirt. It fits well, it goes great with my new poncho as I intended and I love its happy color. I can't wait to wear it!