Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Gearing up for something new

Hi all!

I have been neglecting this blog lately, because I've been hard at work on a new project.  For years, I have been sewing portable art kits for kids that I call Coloring Wallets.  After getting fresh inspiration from the fabrics I found in Japan, I decided that the time is right to find out what it takes to turn this into a business.

However, I don't know anything about running a business!  My degrees are in English, Theater, and Education!  So since our return to Portland, I have been taking a series of business classes focused on the apparel and accessories industry, and gradually I am gathering some of the skills I need to feel comfortable investing in my coloring wallets as a real business venture.

My long-term plan is to create a model where I design the art kits and find the fun fabrics I want to feature, but my job is running the business, not doing the actual sewing.  But until that happens, which could be years away, I will probably have less time to sew for myself (or at least less time to blog about it!)

In the meantime, if anyone reading this has any advice for me about starting your own business, I would love to hear it!  If the advice has anything to do with the fashion/textile industry, or the Portland, Oregon area specifically, even better!

So be on the lookout for information about my new venture, which will be called Chiku Chiku.  It's a Japanese phrase about sewing, referring to the sound a needle makes when it makes tiny stitches.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Bicycle Print Natalie Top

I took a risk and ordered some of the "peach skin" fabric from Girl Charlee the last time they had a big sale, not really knowing what it was other than that it was 100% polyester, and this description from the website:  "Peach skin fabric has a soft brushed finish, does not wrinkle, and is perfect for dresses, top, and more!"

I loved the bicycle print, and I had been wanting to try a dressier top from a silky fabric.  The Natalie Top pattern from Liola Patterns looked like a perfect addition to my wardrobe, and I can't wait to sew it up again!

The fabric does have a nice drape and a cool finish, but it's honestly not my favorite.  It doesn't breathe very well (it is polyester, after all) and it's sometimes a little too clingy--like it feels like it's sticking to me.  But it doesn't wrinkle easily, which is nice, and it was easier to sew than I had feared it might be.

I had a little bit of trouble getting the pleat in front to lay down exactly right, but I love having the open neckline with the pleat rather than a button placket--I get so nervous doing buttons, which was one of the reasons this was the blouse pattern I chose. 

I can handle two little buttons that don't need to line up, however--I think the sleeve tabs are such a nice detail on this top!  And a fun way to incorporate a little more of a contrast fabric.  I used a scrap of painted silk that I had been holding on to from my husband's grandmother's stash, and I love how it plays off of the navy of the top.

I made the sleeves a smidge too tight, something I will correct
when I make this top again.
I added some length in the form of a curved hem on this pattern. I didn't think about it until I was ready to hem it, but that meant that for the hem to lay flat, I needed to do a bias hem facing rather than just the typical folded under hem.  

Luckily I had just enough of the scrap of silk to piece together a strip to go around the hemline.  It was touch-and-go, but I squeezed it out!

I'm planning to make another one of these tops out of some lovely silk that I picked up last week when I visited the Pendleton Woolen Mill store.  I can't believe I used to drive by that place every day on my way home from work and never went in there!  I also got some amazing wool to make a few pillow covers for our living room--they are going to be so luxurious!