Two Photos

I’m not usually one for taking photos from plane windows (because I prefer an aisle seat to a window seat) but today because I had a window seat I got two images worth sharing.

Leaving San Francisco – I couldn’t resist trying to capture the deep blue of the clear sky with the fog over the bay.
  Arriving in Toronto I was amazed by the extent of the ice along the shore of Lake Ontario (and the frost on the window itself)!

San Francisco 9

San Francisco fog in the morning

The packing is done – I must have packed more lightly than I thought when I came because I managed to get everything into the two bags, including the fabric I bought! Tomorrow morning I fly to Toronto for a few days before heading home.

I finished the blue pants this morning – cut out, sewn, and wearable without further adjustment. That was my goal! However, the twill is unforgiving – very stiff with no forgiveness, hence the “wrinkles”. My next project will be to try the jeans in a fabric with a bit of stretch – I’m guessing the fit will be a bit more smooth because the fabric will be just that bit more flexible. What I like is it looks like I have a bit of bum in them.

I didn’t work on anything else after this pair of pants was done. Instead, I tidied and packed up, then eavesdropped on the assistance Sandra offered everyone else. Lots of great sewing “tips” – about how to cut out silk using paper beneath with the pattern on top (not precut, so you’re cutting through a paper/silk/paperture sandwich – that way the silk doesn’t slither around and you get an accurate cutting.

The day ended early – everyone tired but satisfied with their sewing projects. During the day, Dan, Sandra’s husband and helpers slowly broke down the room, taking away the garment samples, sewing patterns, fabric and notions, sewing machines back to wherever everything lives. It will all be back out again in a month or so for the next group of sewers.

Mid-afternoon, Sheila and I took our last walk to Union Square. I wanted to capture a photo of an interesting jacket I’d seen in Gumps my second day in SF.

I thought the fabric interesting – it’s organza, machine over-stitched to look like knitting! Apparently the jacket is also available in the Gumps catalog – when I get home I’ll look to see if it’s available in my size.

The snap dragons in Union Square were lovely this afternoon

It’s going to be a while before we see flowers in bloom in Halifax!

Our last walk back to the hotel I took the opportunity to capture a few more interesting sights. A window of antique Jewellery

a chocolatier

Pink – a men’s clothing store with lots of pink clothing

I’m ready to be heading home.

San Francisco 8

Hard at work today – with just a day and a half to go everybody pushed hard to get as much done as possible. 

Last evening I revised the pattern I’d used for the pink jeans incorporating the various adjustments I’d made. After an early breakfast I headed to the sewing room on the 10th floor to get going on a second pair – this time light blue twill jeans. I cut out the fabric and interfacing, pressed interfacing to the matching fabric pieces (waistbands, fly front, pocket facings). Next step – serge edges of pockets, waistband facing, etc. With the prep work done I started assembling the jeans – sewed front pockets on, then did the fly front opening. I stitched in the dart down the back of each leg and added the back pocket. Before I knew it, it was time for lunch.

During the morning Sandra made sure people were comfortable with what they were working on, helping out where help was needed. Just before lunch she took a few of us on a walk, pointing out some of her favorite shopping places. 

After a quick lunch I resumed sewing. As I did the first inseam I discovered I’d cut the fronts on the hem line and not the cutting line! When I finished the second inseam, the two side seams and the crotch seam, I trimmed the back of the leg and created a false hem using scraps of silk organza. Last, I added the waistband.

All that’s left to do is stitch the inner waistband and then I’ll model the pants. The length turns out to be just right!

My goal was to see if the pattern was close enough that I’d be able to cut out the jeans, sew them up, and wear them without further adjusting. It looks as if I accomplished what I set out to do.

Sheila finished her third garment – she was pleased with it.

Barb was still trying on sample garments although by this evening she was too tired to take off her clothes and she just held up the top Sandra finished yesterday.

I’ll finish the second pairs of jeans tomorrow morning. I still have a cut out muslin to work on – I’ll probably have to finish it at home.

San Francisco 7

Day 3 – we’re now past the half way mark. Sandra arrived this morning with a load of garments based in her pattern line for Vogue Patterns. Several garments from the same pattern but in very different fabrics which makes them look very different! One short coat was made from a Vietnamese bedspread:

I tried it on later – too big for me but done in a smaller size using some kind of upholstery fabric with faux suede, for example, it would work well. It would also be a vehicle for lots of interior pockets so I wouldn’t have to carry a purse.

I managed to finish the pink twill jeans I was working on – not without a good bit of taking out! The fit is interesting – they fit reasonably well, the back yoke and pocket placement gives my bum a bit of shape. 

I applied the adjustments I made – a 1/4″ drop in the waist at the sides, a 1/4″ increase in the side seam from above the knee to the hem, the added 1/4″ in the side seam at the waist to a new pattern. The biggest adjustment – a substantial dart from just below the bum to the knee that Paul suggested yesterday to get out some of that unwanted fabric beneath the bum. I’ve cut the pattern out ready to have another go – a light blue twill, this time.

The pink pair could use a good pressing but I find the professional irons here difficult to use so I’m not getting a crisp, flat seam. I’ll do that when I get home.

Went out for a bit of dinner with Sheila – on the way home we walked passed a Clivia (a plant in the Amyrillus family) in bloom. My friend Marlene has one in her greenhouse but has a difficult time getting it to flower.

So tomorrow, I’ll have one day to cut out and assemble the second pair of pants. Friday, our last day will be filled with clearing up tasks.

San Francisco 6

Busy day! Sandra brought in lots of garments, various renditions of some of her patterns for us to see how we might improvise with fabrics and details:

Paul Gallo, a talented pattern maker and fabric draper arrived mid-morning to help with fit.

He showed us a couple of different ways of getting rid of the excess fabric under the bum:

He showed us how to fit and shape a sleeve:

He measured several women and draped and fitted them for custom dress and blouse patterns.

He helped me with the fit of my pants by removing the excess under the bum with a large ‘fish’ dart which he suggested I turn into a princess seam. I drafted the changes to the back of the pants and quickly assembled a muslin to which he suggested further refinements. I redrafted the back pattern and cut a second muslin which I will stitch up tomorrow morning.

This evening I figured out a way to make the pink jeans work. I now have the fronts done and the backs with a dart down the middle of the back (I fit the dart into a faux seam because I had no pink fabric to redo the back from two pieces). I’ll put front and backs together tomorrow as well – at least that’s my intention!

By evening we were all weary – sewing is strenuous!

San Francisco 5

A fascinating day. Because all of us (we are 9 women) are interested in perfecting a pair of pants, it began with Sandra showing us an array of pants – from very loose culottes to very fitted knit pants as well as jeans… pointing out how these various garments would look good on a range of shapes, and explaining which fabrics would work and what not to bother trying.

Next we were each measured. Sandra has a collection with each of the pants patterns in every possible size. So after being measured the fun began.

Sandra demonstrated how to use our measurements to mark changes on the garment pattern, showing how to change size for different parts of the pants.

I wanted to start with a pair of jeans. Sandra suggested I try a size ‘B’ – which she said wouldn’t fit across the front, but would give us a sense of the back fit. Turns out I have a ‘calf’ problem – my calves are just large enough to prevent the pant leg from falling easily along my lower leg – so when adjusting the pattern, she recommended I add a 1/2″ to each side of the back pieces from knee to hem. Next she wanted me to try a size ‘E’ (I have a large waist) for the front fit – well ‘E’ fell off my hips, even ‘D’ was large, so we settled on ‘C’.

Next I set to work tracing the pants pattern making the adjustments, cutting out the pattern, then cutting the pink twill (pre-washed) fabric I had brought with me.

I have much of the prep work done now, and will begin sewing the pants tomorrow.

It was like that with everyone – each gal choosing a style of pants to work on, then trying on several pairs in different sizes – you can imagine the laughter as we unrobed over and over again and paraded in pants either too large or too small in order to determine the adjustments needed to establish a personalized fit.

Our work room was one busy place:

Tomorrow should see several pairs of pants completed.

San Francisco 4

It was a late start this morning due to car trouble but once underway we crossed the Bay Bridge to Berkley to visit a couple of well stocked fabric shops.

At the first stop I bought two yards of this black and white fabric – to make something like this top which will look great with black pants as a summer outfit. 

This dress also offered some interesting possibilities – I picked up a yard of dark blue and white Indian ikat fabric for the front and back panels with a matching white linen for the yoke and sides. I am thinking of a tunic length (with sleeves) which will be another useful summer outfit with white pants, rather than a dress.

At our second stop I found a gorgeous Donna Karan subtle wool plaid in red, purple and black, which I did finally walk away from – it was not a bad price, but I’d have needed at least 3 yards for matching the plaid plus another yard of a complementary purple wool for contrast, not to mention a lining fabric and buttons – the cost of which would have pushed me well over my duty-free limit! So, regretfully, I left it behind. 

We’re setting up this evening, then start in earnest tomorrow morning.