Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Failure and Victory

I can not believe it's been two weeks since I hopped a plane and headed to Toronto!  Never enough time in the day, eh?  (see?  I speak Canadian now!)  I had such a fantastic time there that taking so long to write about it is just a big, fat FAIL! 

Pure laziness, I assure you, and nothing to do with the trip itself.  Like Gillian (who I met - yay!!), I'm having a bit of low blogging mojo.  I'm finding that I either have time, energy and motivation to make stuff, or write about making stuff - not both.  So I'm choosing to make stuff!

Anyway, back to the trip - or actually just a part of it in this post.

Andrea is a fabulous hostess; not only did she make me feel right at home and like one of the family rather than a guest, she also organized several events for me with other bloggers.  A good portion of our time was spent hanging out on the couch, drinking coffee (or wine, depending on the hour), talking away and knitting.  Like this:


Just lovely!  Something I don't get to do often in "real" life.

The first of the outings that Andrea organized was a visit to Kristiann of Victory Patterns.  I was so excited about this - I've been a big fan of Kristiann's work from the beginning, even if my own lack of fitting knowledge has kept me from being 100% successful with the patterns.  I own ALL the patterns except for the Ava dress (which I didn't buy because I already had the very similar Colette Macaron pattern); I purchased them all immediately upon release and am slowly working my way through them.

Andrea already knew Kristiann, having taken some classes from her.  I got to meet Sara on my first evening in Toronto, after having corresponded with her for several months, and she joined us for the visit to the Victory Patterns studio. 

I really expected nothing more than to have a quick meeting and say, "I'm a big fan!"  But Kristiann was so generous with her time - I think the four of us spent a good three hours together!  Kristiann is just a lovely person - so friendly and enthusiastic.  She took us on a tour of the building where she has her studio; many other artists also rent space there, including some clothing designers and production seamstresses.  It was so interesting to talk to her about her process in designing and releasing a pattern.  I especially loved seeing the original version of the Nicola dress - the gorgeous border-print one from the pattern envelope!

I made my Nicola expressly for this meeting, and Andrea decided to whip up a Roxanne blouse to wear.  Here we are, all four of us, in a cute little coffee shop in Kensington Market:

L - R:  Sara, Andrea, Kristiann & me;  photo courtesy of Andrea

Kristiann is wearing the Madeleine skirt!  And Sara is wearing her gorgeous Kara cardigan.

One of the things Andrea and I tend to do when we're together is try on each other's makes.  We have similar taste in patterns and we're about the same size, so it's great to be able to try on a pattern you're thinking about making!  I've been wanting to make the Roxanne blouse since just about forever, and when Andrea visited me in December, I found a beautiful piece of silk on the sale rack at my local fabric shop that I  knew would be just perfect.  It was on my list for spring, but after trying on Andrea's beautiful blue silk Roxanne, I had to bump it up in the queue.

So last week I traced the pattern and did a tissue fitting, then got going.  Because my fabric is very busy, I made the tie-neck version, but I'll definitely be making another one with that amazing folded collar.

This version is so quick to make.  I realized on Friday that I didn't have any silk thread in the right color, so on Saturday morning I headed over to JoAnn's to pick some up.  I didn't start sewing until after lunch, and I was done by 4:00!

front

back

pleat detail

tie detail

My big concern with this pattern was the back and sleeve fitting.  I had Andrea measure me, and my back fell into a size 12, while my bust puts me in a size 2!  I settled on a size 4.  When I did my tissue fitting, the back and armhole felt OK as drafted, so the only changes I made were to take a 3/8" forward shoulder adjustment and to remove 1" from the length at the lengthen/shorten line.

Once the top was finished though, I wished I'd done a broad back adjustment and scooped out the armhole a bit.  It's a teeny bit tight, but not so bad that I won't wear it.  For future versions, I'll make those adjustments.

Here's how it looks on, front and back:



One of the things I love about this design is how the back swishes out when you walk.  It's a blouse with a train!  I tried to get a pic of the swishiness in action, but wasn't too successful!


And I tried to get a good shot of the high/low hem, but once again I'm pressed for time.  So this silly one will have to do!

"Hmmm, what should I sew next?"

57 comments:

  1. WHOA! I love your Roxanne! It's so dramatic and gorgeous! I've been on the fence about this pattern for a long time- I love it on everyone who's made it, but I'm not sure about it on me. I think yours has nudged it into the "must make" category for me! I really, really like the fabric you chose, and I also love Andrea's solid version. You two are too inspiring!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Are you kidding? You would look fabulous in this! you MUST make one!

      Delete
    2. I'm chipping in too, to urge you to make one Sonja - you'd look FAB in it! Your version is so classy and elegant Gail - absolutely gorgeous. x

      Delete
  2. Oooh, your Roxanne is gorgeous Gail.

    I know the feeling of having to choose between making and blogging about making - I've been in the doing rather than the writing about camp recently too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sam! I hope soon we'll get to see the things you've been making!

      Delete
  3. I love it! Although I must admit that seeing it on the hanger at first, I was intrigued but not convinced of it's greatness. But seeing it on you....it looks really fabulous! I'm sold! The fabric is lovely too, especially with those jeans and shoes. I love the train.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Debbie! Hangers never do a garment justice - I guess because we're 3-dimensional!

      Delete
    2. I completely agree, Debbie! Definitely "eh" on the hanger, but breathtaking on, especially from the back!

      Delete
    3. Thanks, Alicia! All the party's in the back, LOL!

      Delete
  4. That blouse is terrific! I love the silhouette and the swish (yes, I can see it in my mind's eye).
    -- stashdragon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Gretchen! It's so lovely the way the back just floats away when one walks. I admit to spending a bunch of time swishing about when I tried on Andrea's top!

      Delete
  5. i am exactly the same--can't seem to keep ye olde blog up to speed with my sewing! once i pass about two weeks after completing something i just don't feel inclined to write about it anymore. oh well... i guess that's what IG is for! BUT this blouse is fabulous! i guess i didn't realize there was a tie front version. i like the collar, but i would be concerned about bulk. the back pleats and sweep of the hem is just gorgeous! great... another pattern i need to make!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, I was concerned about the bulk too. But when I saw Andrea's version with the collar, I saw that with such a lightweight fabric, it does work. I'll definitely be doing that version in the future - I have 2 stash fabrics in mind for it and just have to see if I have enough yardage to do it.

      Yeah, you need to make this ;-)

      Delete
  6. I love it, it looks fab! And again, the perfect shoes! Oh, you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lisa! When I saw this fabric, I immediately thought it would be great with these shoes I've had for years but don't wear often because they don't go with much! (Frye Agnes Woven) I'm glad the idea finally became a reality!

      Delete
  7. I LOVE this one! I must make it soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sarah! You must! I think it would be pretty easy to maternity-ize too!

      Delete
  8. I hear you. I appear to be blogging in lieu of making stuff. Hmmm... But seriously, that Roxanne top is FANTASTIC. I've been hearing about it but you know how I can't remember the names of any patterns. So thanks for that link!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, it's easy: just buy ALL the Victory Patterns, LOL! You've probably seen Andrea's by now, but if not, check it out - the collar is so cool!

      Delete
  9. LOVELY! This is so flattering on you, and I love the fabric. Glad to hear the quiet blog is due to an active sewing machine. Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lisa! Fishman's for the win - I got this for $5/yard! I do love their sale rack!

      Delete
    2. Yay! I'll have to go take a look! And thanks for the head's up about Vogue - I've been avoiding them. Did the customer service improve as much as the shop?

      Delete
    3. Well, there's only one lady there I avoid, and she's still there. But they've hired a couple new people it seems, who are quite nice. So I'd say yes :-)

      Delete
  10. It is so pretty Gail! That fabric is so perfect for this top and the colours are absolutely "you". Here's my voice of reason: you must make another one, stat! Seriously, makes me want to pick up some printed silk for a second version as well... but I'm on a diet :) It was great to have you here. Come back soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! And thanks again for your wonderful hospitality :-) I want to make a solid-colored one, but not sure what color. And it doesn't matter because it will be a while before I'm allowed to buy any fabric, LOL!

      Delete
  11. I'm just back from Toronto too! Did you get a chance to visit all the fabric shops in Queen Street West - they're amazing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did! Andrea very kindly took me on the rounds! Yes, really amazing - quite different from what we have here in Chicago too!

      Delete
  12. I know the low blogging mojo, I especially have it when writing about a difficult project. I really like the color and style of your blouse. I hope you will wear it despite the too narrow back because it looks absolutely gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ela! I will definitely wear it. Just need to go someplace fancy, and do something other than housework, LOL!

      Delete
  13. Soooo pretty!

    Definitely choose to make stuff over writing about making stuff. Always! :)

    And I'm so jealous you all got to hang out!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I don't know how you do it - you manage to make a TON of stuff AND write about it - and you have a job and kids! My guess is that you're foregoing sleep ;-)

      Well, if you ever make it down to Chicago (or me up to Minneapolis) we will have to hang out!

      Delete
  14. It's just stunning!! The design lines look fantastic with the large-scale print. I'm curious, how did you figure out what your back vs. bust sizes were?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Morgan! I think so too!

      The envelope back for this pattern gives both the bust and shoulder measurements, for both body and finished garment. (Obviously, waist and hips are irrelevant here!) How cool is that!?

      Delete
  15. Your blouse is gorgeous! I love how floaty it is, and the high-low hem.

    It can be hard to balance blogging and making, especially when time is tight! For me making almost always wins as well, but I've realized I like having a record somewhere of what I've made, and my blog is as good a place as any.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Andrea! You know, I have the feeling that even if my days were 48 hours long, I STILL wouldn't have time to do all the things I want and need to do!

      Delete
  16. How fun to slumber party with fellow, devoted crafter's! That top is lovely. I love it in you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was totally a slumber party! Thanks, Stef!

      Delete
  17. It's so lovely! I knew you'd beat me to it and you did! How on earth did you get your fabric to play nice enough to finish with such speed? I am having all sorts of problems with my chiffon. Chiffon does not like to be creased or pressed into submission in any way, which does not make for crisp seams or neat bias binding/neck ties. Grr. But I will get there now I've finished Miss M's Peppa Pig outfit. Gail, it's so pretty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jillian!

      Cutting was definitely the most demanding part of making this top. (Well, that and the hem - I stink at curved hems.) I decided to live on the edge and cut this one on the fold too, since this design is so forgiving. My habotai does press, so that was in my favor. I've never worked with chiffon, and now you have me scared!

      I hope you finish yours soon - I can't wait to see it! This style is going to look fantastic on you!

      Delete
  18. Love! I've never heard of the Roxanne before, but I just adore how this flows and drapes. I really must get on my Spring sewing, the print you chose for this is just perfect for this time of year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Anna! You might like a few of the other Victory Patterns too - some of them have a bit of a vintage feel (I'm thinking of the Chloe dress especially for you - so 60s!)

      Delete
  19. Love this blog post ... I almost felt like I was there luxuriating in all that excellent company!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Can't believe you made the blouse so quickly....just sewing the bias would take me that long ;) it's a really lovely fabric.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Silvia! This version is very simple. But Andrea said that even the version with the collar was pretty quick to sew!

      Delete
  21. Really lovely. How wonderful to meet the designer too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Yes, it was very cool!

      Delete
  22. This is a gorgeous top - definitely an example of how seeing a pattern on a real person can make you want it! Sounds like such a fun trip you had too. Thank you for my fabric Gail, it arrived a few days ago & I absolutely love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kathryn - glad you liked it!

      Delete
  23. Great blouse. I love the colors and how it swirls! I don't see a way to contact you via email so I have to ask here - would you consider adding the gadget that allows someone to subscribe via email subscription? It makes it so easy when new posts come right to one's inbox. Thanks. Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Nancy! Thanks for that input too - I will look into adding that in the near future!

      Delete
  24. Pretty pretty pretty! Love the fabric and how the blouse swings and swirls. That was a super fast make :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Yes, this is a very quick and easy make! Highly recommended!

      Delete
  25. That is a really, really beautiful top. Sounds like it was a fabulous trip, I'm jealous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jill! We did have a ton of fun!

      Delete