Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Travel Togs for Portugal: A Line Skirt and Waterfall Cardi

Thank you all for the lovely comments on my photos from Portugal!  It really is a wonderful place to visit.  I highly recommend it.

Since making my biking/travel wardrobe for The Netherlands, I've pretty much been set on travel clothes.  For that trip, I made 6 tops out of solid-colored wicking fabric and added 3 print skirts to my already broad repertoire.  Throw in a dress or two and you've got two weeks worth of outfits that you might not even get sick of.  However, for Portugal the weather was likely to be a little cooler than my sleeveless tops and summer skirts would work for, and plus I always need an excuse to do some sewing!

I made four new items and in writing about them I realized that all of them are TNTs, or at least based on a TNT.  Am I getting boring?  I hope not.  I think it's that with 275 pattern reviews (plus all the patterns sewn before I discovered PR and those I haven't gotten around to reviewing), I've got a lot of bases covered.  I'm also getting better at adapting patterns I already know that go together nicely and fit well rather than having to start over each time.


Bronze Skirt Front

The skirts I made for The Netherlands are mostly cotton, which sometimes doesn't interact well with tights, so I wanted a more tights-oriented skirt.  I turned to--what else--TNT A line skirt Simplicity 2211.  This is a recent addition to my lexicon, as I only made it for the first time over the summer.  I've now made it 4 times, and this certainly isn't the last.

I used a bronze silk dupioni I bought in NYC several years ago.  It was intended for another project but I kept using bits of it here and there and finally there wasn't enough for the original plan.  Also, I am (as ever) working on Too Good to Use.  Sometimes having a plan for something makes it TGTU.  If I really cared about the planned project, it would have been made sometime in the last four years.  It wasn't.  Better to make it into something I will wear than continue to "save" the fabric indefinitely.

The challenge with this was choosing the right side and then keeping all the piece straight.  I tore little pieces of tissue paper, marked them with CF, SF, SB, and CB and then pinned them on the wrong side of the respective pieces.

Faux Hong Kong Finish
To add body to the dupioni, I underlined in silk organza using the faux Hong Kong finish technique, as described here.  You cut the underlining 1.5 inches wider than the fashion fabric, line up the cut vertical edges and sew right sides together (so the underlining is kind of bulging over the fashion fabric), then turn it right-side out, letting the underlining roll over to cover the seam allowances.  It creates such a high-end looking finish!

Hand Hem

To complete the high-end look, I put in a hand hem.  I don't usually do hems by hand.  The machine blind stitch is truly nicer than anything I've ever achieved by hand.  But here I was able to sew the hem allowance only to the underlining, for a completely invisible hem.

Stitching Waist Binding

The waist is bound with a straight-grain strip of fabric.  I sewed it first to the wrong side, stitching a ribbon in place as I sewed on the binding to ensure the waist would remain stable.  Then I folded it over to the right side and topstitched, using my walking foot to ensure even feed.  I left a tab overlapping the zipper opening, and sewed in a snap for closing.  I find snaps more secure than hooks-and-eyes.

Bronze Skirt Side

This still isn't a great skirt for sitting in; the dupioni wrinkles like crazy despite the underlining.  So I think I only wore it twice, on the days we didn't take any train rides.  It is gorgeous, though, and I felt very luxe in this 100% silk outfit.  The blouse is McCall 5708 made out of Vera Wang silk from that Fabric.com $1.99/yd blowout a couple years ago.  The photos were taken near the Oceanario (aquarium) in Lisbon.

All photos for S2211 are here.


Blue Wool Cardi Front

I made use of my waterfall cardigan t-shirt variation pattern right away for this gorgeous wool sweaterknit I bought in New York last Fall.  It was $10/yd and I only bought one yard, thinking I'd make a pullover sweater (aka long-sleeve t-shirt).  To get the waterfall cardigan out of it, I had to cut the sleeves on the crossgrain.  Before doing so I tested the fabric and it appeared to have stretch.

Well, clearly my stretch test was not sufficiently rigorous because I could barely pull the sweater on, the sleeves were so tight.  Dang it!  Stupid, stupid mistake.  I contemplated it and then found scraps large enough to add gussets under each arm.  I carefully cut away the serged seams as narrowly as possible, and then added diamond-shaped patches (you can see them in the photo if you look carefully).

Underarm Gusset

I should have made the gussets extend longer on the arms, all the way to the elbow, but the sweater is wearable now.  It is surprisingly warm, even with the lacy pattern.  I am wearing it here with Butterick 5382 in the fabric gifted to me by Marji.

Blue Wool Cardi Side

Please excuse my appearance.  It looks like I forgot to put on lipstick that day.  Also, I look a little bit like I'm upset but I was actually having a lot of fun!  These photos were taken in the Castelo in Guimaraes.  It's an 11th century (? as I recall) ruin that has been rebuilt enough to be safe to scramble around in.  It is free to enter and you can climb up and down the walls and staircases.

While we were there some students were having some sort of initiation ceremony, it looked like.  Students in Portugal wear capes or robes, so three girls flowed by in their long robes, climbed a staircase, and called something out from the top of the walls.  The initiates down below, wearing street clothes and straw hats, had to shout something in response, dance a jig, do pushups, and generally carry on.  It was so fun--I felt like I was at Hogwarts!

All photos for the waterfall cardi are here.


All is well with me through Hurricane Sandy.  We got a lot of rain and wind, but I have power and my roof didn't leak.  Those of you still dealing with it, take care and my fingers are crossed you get off as easy as I did.


liza jane said...

That bronze colored silk is gorgeous. That is a skirt that could go with many different things. Very pretty!

Adelaide B said...

That skirt really is very lovely, even on the inside! Glad the sweater worked out, and glad you have not suffered more from the storm. Take care!

Karin said...

The bronz skirt is Lush! So pretty. Shame about the wrinkles. The waterfall cardi looks good, but I never wear stuff if it isn't comfortable no matter how cute it is.

Ripple Dandelion said...

I can't get over 275 pattern reviews! What an amazing contribution to the sewing knowledge ether. Kudos and many thanks.

Loved seeing your two new pieces--both are so pretty. The interior of the skirt is wonderfully clean and luxurious-looking.

Nancy K said...

I recognize that ruin. A very nice wardrobe for traveling.

T. Sedai said...

I love your silk outfit - the skirt looks great and the blouse is such a pretty color! I also love your blue sweater - I am glad you were able to save it and make it wearable.

Sue said...

Love both pieces - particularly the skirt. It is a shame about the wrinkling. Glad to hear the storm did not affect you too badly.

Venus de Hilo said...

"I kept using bits of it here and there and finally there wasn't enough for the original plan"

hehe, happens to me all the frickin' time! Congrats on putting what was left to such good use.

Sara said...

I just saw a cool article on Fast Co. Design that made me think of you. Google for "Kickstarting: Finally, Stylish Cycling Fashions for Ladies" and "Iva Jean" - there are some garments with really interesting structural details... including a pencil skirt (that's right, a PENCIL skirt!), a rain cape, a shirt with extra shoulder pleat for movement, and a reversible vest with reflective material on one side. I thought you'd be inspired...