Friday, August 5, 2011

Stashoholism Confessional: Knits Edition and The September Issue Movie Review 7-2011

Knits are my downfall, man. There are a bunch of knit dress patterns I want to try (not least one from a Knip Mode I bought in the Netherlands and painfully translated the instructions for). Do I have knits in stash? Of course I do. And yet, I have fallen. sucked me in with its discounts and free shipping.

The green stalks and the brown and aqua chain fabric are Stretch Jersey ITY Knits. All the other ITYs I have seen, purchased, and used have had a micro-rib type texture, like very miniature slinky. These are slick and a little shiny with an even more micro-ribbed texture, so small that it hardly exists, which I find a little odd. I am not sure if I had not yet experienced the full range of ITY (which stands for "interlock twist yarn, as I understand it, implying some sort of texture) or if they are mislabeled. The hand is a bit like a nylon knit, but they are 92% poly, 8% lycra. I was impressed by the high lycra content on the website. It is actually not that stretchy, but has excellent recovery. I'm not sure I would recommend this due to the shininess, which I think looks a little cheap, and how thin it is (both items will need a slip), but I will be perfectly content sewing up the fabrics.

B5454 Line DrawingThe chain link (impulse purchase in honor of Cidell, who loves this classic preppy stuff) will likely become another Butterick 5454 wrap dress, with a collar and cuffs to mimic the classic DVF style, although I am tempted to find an origami-type pattern that allows for play with directional "stripes." I guess I could cut the stripes diagonally for the bodice of the wrap dress, as the pattern is drafted. For the green stalks, I am not quite decided. Maybe the aforementioned Knip Mode.

The black and white is the Starlet Stretch Jersey. This I can unequivocally not recommend. Ugh. Very thin and sheer with an icky plasticky hand so reminiscent of the early polyesters that gave it a bad name. While I almost always avoid polyester wovens, I am all about poly knits in general (until my budget arrives at silk jersey for every project). It has good recovery and is colorfast, unlike the cottons (fade) and rayons (no recovery) I have experienced. It doesn't make me sweat more than other knits. Actually, I am somewhat cursed because the sweatiest fabric of all for me? Silk. Even in winter. Forget wearing it in summer.

I was really disappointed in this one because the point of the whole order was this print. I plan to make a purple skirt for my mom and wanted a black and white top to match. I'm just going to use it as a muslin to see if she likes the style I choose (not that I've chosen a style).

I took a chance on the Style Studio Stretch Rayon Jersey Knit. I have never found a rayon knit that wasn't poor quality. All the rayons I've tried have absolutely no recovery, crease permanently and become shiny along the creases, and pill instantly. I fell in love with this print and was excited to see that had made one of their videos of it. I hadn't looked at one before but assumed it would explore the qualities of the fabric. Well the video, which is no longer up, was totally useless! They just showed two lengths of folded fabric sitting on a table and talked about the prints. I was thinking they would hold up a single layer for the camera, give it a tug to show stretch and recovery, and give some idea of the thickness and the drape. I mean, the prints we can see in still shots!

Anyway, I made Burda 04-2009-110 recently in a lightweight rayon thinking it would be a good nightgown. But the rayon fabric just spread and spread and spread and at this point the neckline is down to my navel. I want to make the pattern as a real dress, and this print in all my favorite colors sucked me in. In person, the fabric is relatively beefy for a rayon knit and seems to have good recovery. It pre-washed well, without the shiny creasing. It's now $3.50/yd (bought too soon!). I can't guarantee how it will perform but I think it's worth a shot at that price.


I finally signed up for Netflix (streaming only). Why yes, I do live in 2004, why do you ask? Would you like to see my cell phone? It's the new flip phone style! I am so cool! Smart phone? Well, I don't know. It remembers all the phone numbers I tell it to. That seems pretty smart.

I have a medium-sized DVD collection (maybe 30?) and haven't rented a movie since I moved to DC 9 years ago, so it had gotten to the point where I finally tired of all my movies and I caved. My first order of business was to watch The September Issue, a documentary about Anna Wintour and the creating of the massive September issue of Vogue. One of the movies in my collection is The Devil Wears Prada. Love it! (And it's one of those rare cases where the movie is better than the book.)

The September Issue is sort of an answer to TDWP. It shows Ms. Wintour being tough and critical, sure, but in the context of being an editor who has to be the one to make the final decision. It also shows how she has to manage up to her publisher and to her advertisers and that she is making the business work. The "fashion is stupid" role that Andi plays when she first starts at the magazine is played in The September Issue by Ms. Wintour's siblings, who consider her work silly and useless. I can't say that she was totally humanized, and I'm sure she is not pleasant to work for, but it was a fascinating look into a world in which I will never directly live, but that influences me every day as I get dressed. Aside from which, she must have a sense of humor somewhere--she employs Andre Leon Talley! Although I'm sure ALT would object to the notion of himself as an "employee," I assume money is involved somehow.

Last night I started watching Valentino, The Last Emperor. Loving it so far! (I am incapable of watching a movie at one sitting now, as I am so long out of practice.)

Any movie recs for me, fashion or non-fashion? I have a weakness for rom coms, as long as they are not too terrible.
How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days: terrible.
The Proposal: not too terrible.


Robin said...

Thanks for the info on the knits! I hate rayon knits or "slinky" with a bleeding passion for all the reasons you described. I used it once successfully for a pattern where I wanted it to grow lengthwise b/c the person I was sewing it for had a long torso and I wanted to get out of making a pattern adjustment as it fit everywhere else.

Rom coms that are available on Netflix streaming-Dear John. Sapola but I loved it. If you like thrillers, I also liked Body Heat - this is one that I was not allowed to watch when it came out in 1981 (go figure, I was nine years old, but boy did I want to see it when it came out on cable) and never saw it later. It was a good one. I also liked the Damages TV series. Glenn Close is really good in that show.

Peter said...

Oh, I must add those to my library reserve list! If you're living in 2004, I'm living in 1984. My phone has a DIAL.

Anonymous said...

Hahahaha! Yes. I do like the preppy prints. Which is odd as that I am not a preppy person per se.

I have many many many movie recommendations for you. I'll patiently wait for you to start Mad Men and be a good friend when you vent on the way the women are treated :)


Anonymous said...

ITY stands for Improved Textured Yarn.
Interlock is a type of knit, not a yarn twist.


Megan said...

It's not a rom com, but Bright Star, about Fannie Brawne and John Keats, is wonderful and tragically sad. But watching Fannie hand-sew her beautiful dresses is well worth the tears.

But if you want adorable sweetness: Lars and the Real Girl.

Anonymous said...

Coco Before Chanel is good and very pretty!

I do love the prints on those knits, but you've hit the nail on the head as to the crapshoot nature of online fabric buying. At least you're a good shopper and got a deal.

Amanda S. said...

Downton Abby is a really great mini series from the BBC, if you are into English stuff. It aired on PBS so is very clean. My girlfriend just sew the whole thing through Netflix streaming, so I know it's available.

Anonymous said...

BBC shows that I would recommend: Father Ted (comedy), Inspector Lewis (mystery) and the Vicar of Dibley (comedy). A romantic comedy movie; I liked P.S. I Love You. Or anything with Gerard Butler. ;-) I think he was also in a movie version of Phantom of the Opera which I haven't seen.

And Amen! to the part about not having a smart phone--my phone will be smart enough as soon as it can make a phone call from even the most remote location on the planet with perfect clarity; that's the only feature I really want. :-)

I like the looks of your fabrics, but it's a bummer that some of them aren't what you really wanted. That's always been my fear about ordering it online. As for rayons, get the knits with the lycra content--I've had excellent luck with those. Just put them in a sweater bag to prevent pilling. :-)

Samina said...

I'm bummed that the B&W jersey turned out to be a bust. That's the one that first caught my eye when I got your blog post.

Katharine said...

You take on knits was fascinating. After reading it I'm thinking of giving a poly knit a try because I have exactly the same problems you cited with cotton and rayon knits.

Sounds like you're not cursed if silks are out of your budget and they don't work for you?

My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I'm going to load that on my computer for the birth (estimated due date next week).

Adelaide B said...

Turns out one of my other blogs is a list of things on Netflix streaming that are worth watching. (I don't update as often as I should. Imagine that.) We may not have the same taste, but you might find something you like. I need to add The September Issue to it, It's a very good documentary.

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

I think you need to up the "quality" of rayon knits you are buying. Sawyer Brook and EOS both purchase their rayon knits from Elliot Berman and these are some of the most awesome rayon knits EVAH! They have the recovery you want, come in amazing colors and print and wash beautifully. This is the knit that I'm using predominantly for my cardigans now.

Or you can join us on PR Day on August 27th and take a trip to Elliot Berman and touch them in person for yourself! I will be snatching up whatever I can find then.

Those knits can be used if you stabilize the seams that will prevent most of the growth factor. I used one of those for my V1179 and by adding the stay tape to the neckline and shoulder seams I experienced very little growth. Thanks for the link to the cheaper than Fabric Mart trendy knits!

Lindsay T said...

I just bought a rayon knit print from Mood that feels like tissue-weight cashmere. I'm eager to see how it sews up.

BTW, Mood has significantly expanded the amount of knits it offers. Tons of cotton and silk prints and solids on the first floor, then beautiful wool knits in all kinds of weights on the second floor.

Debi said...

Adding these movies to my list too!!! Hey, I just got a that makes me 1980...

Janice said...

I started watching all the old movies from the 50s on Netflix, like How to Marry a Millionaire. I also watch trashy TV while I sew (Teen Mom, Ru Paul's Drag Race) also on Netflix.

Beth (SunnyGal Studio) said...

I really enjoyed the Valentino movie - talk about lifestyles of the rich and famous, wow. also interesting to see the couture workrooms.

Nancy K said...

I agree with Carolyn, you need to up the quality of rayon knits you sew with. I've never been disappointed with the rayon and rayon lycra knits from EOS.
I think that Saving Grace is on streaming and it's funny and enjoyable. Not the tv show, it's a British comedy.

Sew-4-Fun said...

Knit fabrics are my downfall too. Btw there are great, good and horrid viscose knits. The best quality IMHO come from the mill in France. Second best from Italy. Actually second best use to be the mill in Asia until it closed. :( German ones aren't good (poor quality lycra) and don't get me started on the ones from the US. The difference is the way the viscose is made and the quality of the lycra. Great viscose knits feel like cotton and this is one fabric where you get what you paid for. Great viscose knits cost! I never buy cheap viscose knits. It's just not worth it. Spend the money ($20-$35) or don't buy it at all is my motto. :)

Mrs. Micawber said...

Oh gosh, so many thoughts on this post I know I'll forget some of them. I totally share the frustration with's videos. What's the point? The last rayon knit I bought from them was so sheer it was laughable. Luckily I had enough to make an underlayer.

If you live in 2004, I think I must live in 1994. No cell phone except a prepaid for trips. And I LIKE it that way.

Downton Abbey is worth watching if only for the costuming, which is beautiful and impeccable. I would recommend Down With Love but I think you've already seen that. If you like period pieces (especially British ones) try to get hold of Enchanted April - awesome. From my own small movie collection I would recommend Bend it like Beckham, Emma (the Gwyneth Paltrow version), French Kiss, Hitch, Intolerable Cruelty, I.Q., Much Ado About Nothing (Kenneth Branagh), Music and Lyrics, Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth, NOT Keira Knightley), Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion (not rom com but wickedly funny), Sense and Sensibility (Emma Thompson), Spanglish, 10 Things I Hate About You, Two Weeks' Notice, What About Bob? (also not rom com but a comedy classic), While You Were Sleeping, You've Got Mail. (We seem to have a lot of Meg Ryan and Sandra Bullock.) I have a weakness for Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants which I don't own but check out from the library occasionally. Also love TDWP.

Our movie collection is also not super up-to-date, but we buy what we like regardless of age.

Mrs. Micawber said...

P.S. Another great British costume drama is the House of Elliott series. Wonderful clothing.

Faye Lewis said...

Knits are my weakness too. Yours are beautiful.

marjoriekh said...

I just tried to post a comment with a whole bunch of links in it, but Blogger was having none of it, so I'll try to comment link-less:

I am thrilled with the quality of the rayon/lycra knits by an anonymous SF California designer, being sold by both Marcy Tilton and EOS for around $15. You can see the first one I bought made up in a dress for my daughter by clicking on my name above (see my penultimate pattern review). I have since bought 3 more prints for me, all fantastic quality, I think. (Though they're printed in Germany, so not sure what Sew 4 Fun would think of them.) Soft, cottony, opaque-though-lightweight, dreamy drape, beautiful stretch recovery, easy to cut and sew, no pilling so far.

Since I bought them, I've discovered an etsy vendor who is selling some of the same prints for $6-$8 yd. Can't be sure it's the same stuff (she does buy her fabrics in SF), but if you're interested you could ask her. The vendor is Bamblue Fabrics. Click on the 'Prints' category on the shopfront. The prints that look the same are the Floral Bouquet (the same one my daughter's dress is made of), the Peacock Colors Gravel, the Peacock Feathers, and the Mosaic Floral. (She also has your Style Studio print above, but for more than you paid for it.)

It gives me pause, however, that Bamblue also has a print it calls 'Black Dahlia,' which is described as a poly knit, that is also the same print as one of the California designer rayon/lycras being sold by EOS. So it's possible Bamblue has test prints on inferior fabrics? Anyway, I thought you might find it worth a look.

Not trying to feed your habit; I just don't want you to give up on rayon/lycras!

Anonymous said...

Long time reader finally prompted to come out of hiding and leave a comment because your guidelines for a good rom com (How To Lose a Guy in Ten Days - terrible; Proposal - not terrible) are exactly the same ones I use. Too funny! Based on that, a few movies I think you'll enjoy are (but I only know offhand if a few are on watch instantly):

Stranger than Fiction (it has Will Ferrell in it, but it is not a Will Ferrell movie - at all. It is a romantic dramedy that is very different and well done)

Dear Frankie, Love Sex and Other Drugs, Life as We Know It, Heartbreaker (a silly but fun French rom com that's on Instant), Sliding Doors, Coupling (hilarious British TV series on Instant), and I second all those above who suggested Saving Grace (love that movie) and Downton Abbey and Mad Men - excellent shows, as is Veronica Mars (the show description doesn't do it justice but it is a fantastic show - especially the 1st season). And, for a documentary on Instant recommendation, I loved A Man Named Pearl if you haven't seen that one yet.


Mary said...

Downton Abbey and Mad Men. I wouldn't be surprised if you want to watch them more than once. .

Anonymous said...

I just made a dress from that ity, and I know what you mean... it's mislabeled I think. Not ity. However, other than being a little easy to pick with rough skin, it made a very nice dress. It's lightweight enough that is doesn't show any signs of drooping, and the shininess isn't so obvious. Some of the ITYs in that group are different - they are like traditional ity. And the starlet knits aren't all the same either - I got one that's icky like you said, but several that are really nice. I wish they wouldn't mix fabrics in the same category!

Inkstain said...

Did you see I gave you a shout-out on my blog for your fabulously useful video review of the silky blouse!
Many, many thanks,

Audrey said...

The knits I purchased recently from were crappy. EOS and SB always have excellent fabrics. Netflix. Love it, I have my own membership and queue. Don't know if you mind subtitled films, but if not there is a whole world of foreign rom coms. I especially love the Hindi ones. They always end happy. Boy and girl finally get together despite religion, family, etc. Some are even set in the USA. There is always a wonderful dance number or two or three. My go to for feel good movies.

Karen L said...

Re movies: Here's another vote for Two Weeks Notice and What About Bob. Also, I highly recommend Paper Moon (which is on instant streaming right now), but it's not a rom-com. Ryan and Tatum O'Neal are excellent in it.

Anonymous said...

That chain link is killing me. Thankfully for my own stash (did I buy the same blue snake print twice, I don't know...), they were out of it by the time I read this post.

I'll like 8th the Downton Abbey--it's excellent.
I'll second Stranger than Fiction too--it's really sweet, has a cool premise, very funny, and has a terrific cast.

Vicar of Dibley is fantabulous. So funny. I love Dawn French.

I also really like Date Night. Again, sweet but really funny too.

Dorothy said...

This one isn't sewing related exactly but the clothes are gorgeous and the romance is very sweetly done - The Young Victoria.

I seriously want the off the shoulder white lace embellished nightdress Victoria wears about 2/3 of the way through the movie.

McVal said...

LOL! I have one of those new fangled flip phones too! It's pretty smart...
I love how you can find such fabulous deals on fabrics. I've got to beat you out at before you snatch up all the cheap stuff!

vespabelle said...

You must watch Bill Cunningham New York. It is MAH-vehlous!

Dana said...

Hope that rayon knit works out for you 'cause it is gorgeous!

I'm with you on the movie-watching. I find myself sticking to shows I've already seen so I don't have to pay close attention - because my attention is focused on sewing while I "watch" :)

Aquarijenn said...

We recently got rid of our land line and went 100% mobile. I also replaced my flip phone for a "smarter" phone...LOL.

I'm envious of your knit collection. So many cute things!

As for movies, I also enjoyed The Issue and the Valentino movie. There is a documentary - Yves St. Laurent: His Life and Times - that is kind of slow going, but the scenes showing the design process and sewing rooms were fascinating! Everything is done by hand and beautiful. It used to be on instant, but not now. I've just started watching Mad Men and The Tudors...great costumes! A few of my favorite costume dramas/romances are The Young Victoria (Emily Blunt), The Duchess (Keira Knightley), and the Elizabeth movies with Cate Blanchett.