What I’ve done without a sewing machine!

No news on the machine. We have to go there on Saturday to check on its progress. If they have to order a part from the company it will take another week or two. If its an easy fix, we can get it when we go. We could call but I want to physically visit my first sewing studio in Rio. They apparently offer sewing classes and sell a certain number of notions, though my husband didn’t know too much about it other than he saw zippers and buttons. Maybe I can get an invisible zipper foot for my non-couture projects.

In the mean time I’ve been busy! First, I hunted down the Brazilian version of Burda Mag, called Manequim.

There are many pretty patterns, which is great, but they are mostly one size per pattern. There are a few multisized patterns, but not many. Of course the grading technique I learned works off of multisized patterns. Mmmm, a new challenge! Here is the dress I want to do first (left).

They used a silk chiffon for the dramatic outer dress, and from the looks of the layout, there is a nice fitted bodice and skirt lining included. Of course, the directions are in Portuguese so I need to slog through the translation process and find a store that sells large format tracing paper before I can start that project. I will also need to grade this pattern up one size in the bust and two sizes in the hips, and then make the muslin. I’m not 100% on my size here.

Next, I signed up for Gertie’s Starlet Jacket course over on Craftsy.com. She includes a skirt pattern as seen on the lavender version behind her, but I really like the circle skirt of her yellow version, pattern not included. Of course I didn’t want to draft a circle skirt pattern (been there, done that, got nightmares) so I started contemplating my options.

I hit upon two ideas: 1) my grandmother, a child of the depression, had a pattern (50s I think) that she was super happy with because she could make a fitted suit top with short sleeves and pencil skirt with less than 3 yards of fabric.  I have no idea where that pattern is now. If it didn’t self-destruct from overuse, it is probably at my aunt’s house somewhere. Anyway, I saw enough pictures of it, that I am going to attempt a copy of the skirt. Not really exaggerating here. She loved it and it fit like a charm so she copied it with minor variations over and over again during her working career. I’m going to call it a Pencil Pop Skirt. Sounds fun to me! 2) I was reading Gertie’s archived blog posts and loved her silk taffeta full gathered skirt here.

As I was calculating the pattern drafts for both skirts with a 38″ waist I got to thinking. If done right, I might be able to swing both skirts out of one pattern as long as the base measurements are done in such a way to work with the Pencil Pop Skirt first. Here is my first draft.

If you’re wondering this is the same fabric I used on my husband’s shirt muslin and this was only folded up for a day after drafting before I took pictures. This fabric is an insta-wrinkle. Bleh. At least as a pattern it doesn’t matter because I’ll iron it before laying out. I am going to make samples of both in the same fabric and then the final version of whichever one I pick is going to be done up in a medium weight black linen with embroidered white polka dots. I’ve had this fabric for ages, love it, but haven’t really found the right project before Gertie’s jacket. I think it will be a great weight for the jacket with enough fun so that it doesn’t look like a Wall Street Corporate Power Suit. (pictures of fabric coming soon)

On another note, while digging around in my stash for a fabric for Gertie’s class, I came across an OOP Sandra Betzina pattern with fully lined palazzo pants. Again something I’ve stashed for a long time, never used, but I still love it!

I think this pair of pants really lends itself to couture techniques with the lining and various waistline elements, and with the right fabric they could be great with Gertie’s jacket. I can also see them in a tropical print fabric, maybe a cotton gauze or silk chiffon since its fully lined. Very tropical couture resort wear in my mind, which of course goes with the Manequim dress. They will have to wait until I find the fabrics but there is supposed to be a fabric show at Riocenter sometime in the next two months so we’ll see what I find. Maybe I’ll do a mini-wardrobe of couture resort wear since I’m still waiting on my Vogue pattern, not surprising really since it has to get to my US PO first.