4.02.2019

NewLook 6292 #2 | Tunic Top + 'Life'

Little did I know that when I published the post about the magical day at Biltmore, that would be the last day that felt of any normality.  I have been oh-so-sick..... the sickest I can ever remember and even though it was a struggle to take these photos this morning, it felt good as I'm trying so hard to return to my 'life'.
Wanting a fresh new outfit to wear to the Biltmore on March 15, 2019, NewLook 6292 view D with view C long sleeves was cut out on March 11 and finished on March 14.
The pattern was mostly chosen because I'd recently made it, below, and knew it'd fit and more importantly be long enough in the back to cover the derriere well with the new pair of leggings/skinny pants I also made specifically for the special day.  I wanted to be comfortable with all the walking, stair climbing and getting around the Biltmore Estate without worrying about uncomfortable clothing concerns.
This outfit was a great success on all accounts.  Decided to keep the hi/low hem thing going on even though I continue to not necessarily like this 'look' on me.
I just really wanted the coverage in the back.   Today I am also wearing the new leggings/skinny pants made specifically to go with this outfit.
It was unseasonably cold this morning and I look cold here.  Fabric came from my favorite only-open-once-a-month-to-the-public-textile outlet center and is some sort of lightweight polyester quite similar to the feel of the green/brown tunic fabric above.
Here, as at the Biltmore, I am wearing it with the white Itch to Stitch Hepburn Turtleneck made last year.  It was a cold day at the Biltmore, and it's a cold day today.  Also.... for some reason.... this placket turned out lower than the green/brown version and needs something underneath for modesty purposes.
Wanting to show you, below, how proud I am of not only centering the medallion design well, but cut and sewed the placket perfectly centered.
A little tricky process, I took a few photos during construction with the iphone to share a little of what I did.  Here I am beginning to line things up.  The instructions have you trace the placket sew lines and cut lines on the interfaced placket piece.  Here I am trying to find my center using the cutting mat.
Next I pinned the center cut line.  This would be the most critical point to line up.
Once I thought that was looking well..... I kept checking the pin points on the front and shifting things around in the back..... I added the pins to mark my sewing lines.  If you look carefully you'll see they are all pointing 'up'.  That's because I sewed this in 2 parts..... beginning at the neckline and sewing to the bottom of the placket, lock and snip threads.  Then sew the other line beginning at the neckline and sewing to the bottom of the placket, lock and snip threads.  This will keep the fabric from distorting while sewing.
One last check of the pins before sewing.  You can see the middle pins, marking the cut line, goes perfectly through the center of the medallion.  The other pins, marking the sew lines are centered on the medallion well.
One last look.    Hopefully I'll be posting about the little crossbody bag I made soon, as well as the leggings/skinny pants.
For now I'm still trying to get well.  I've lost quite a bit of weight and the brain feels fuzzy.  Test results show I have the Flu Strain A and boy it has been a doozy.  The doctor also thinks I'm battling a couple of other virusy type of things as well.  A sweet friend suggested I put the c. 1965 lined jacket aside as it's been too much of a struggle to work on..... thank you Sarah Liz..... and try to work on easier projects.
  The skirt is done and fits p-e-r-f-e-c-t-l-y. 
I followed her advice and finished 2 home dec pillows one afternoon using leftover sweater fabric from the recent Ottobre cardi.....
 .....complete with invisible zippers.  Why have I not put invisible zippers in my home dec pillows before?!!!  Super easy!!
It was nice to complete those home dec pillows that also gave me a sense of accomplishment.  Now I'm ready to take another look at that jacket.
Happy Sewing All!  :)

3.16.2019

A Vanderbilt House Party 'The Gilded Age' exhibit | a magical day at Biltmore Estates

We have the great good fortune to live about an hour's drive from Asheville, North Carolina, where the magnificent Biltmore Estate is located.  Completed in 1895, George Vanderbilt's French Chateau spans @178,000 square feet and is furnished with the most opulent tapestries, furniture and artifacts he collected from all over the world.  But what I was interested in this day was to experience the embedded exhibit of garments recreated from the original garment, if available, and/or using historical photographs, paintings and sometimes newspaper clippings to glean information of the Vanderbilts, their family, guests' and servants' clothing.   'A Vanderbilt House Party The Gilded Age runs through May 2019' is worth the time and effort to visit.  I'll include links at the bottom of this post for those interested in learning more about the history of this grand home as well as how to purchase tickets.  Btw, this is not a sponsored post. :)
Edith Vanderbilt's Engagement Gown
George Vanderbilt's wife
Having honeymooned at the Biltmore Estate 12 years ago, how could one not fall in love with the history, architecture and stories this grand home holds.  When my husband asked what I wanted for my/our honeymoon 'momento', there was no hesitation to pick out 2 books detailing the construction and history of the house and family.  And I read and devoured them both!  There's not been an opportunity to return and time sort of moved on.
Winter Garden Ceiling
Until this current exhibit captured my attention.  A few weeks ago, at the Tuesday morning Ladies Bible Study I attend, the subject of Biltmore came up as some of the ladies had just been with their families.  This jarred my interest to the front of my mind (and mouth!) and before I knew what I was doing..... found myself asking one of my friends, who I knew used to sew her clothes, if she'd like to see this exhibit with me.  Out of the blue I hit her up with this.  Oh I felt so badly afterward because I kind of put her on the spot and she sort of "ummmed' about needing to check her schedule, that she was really busy right now, and not sure...... and...... you get the picture.
Edith and George
So imagine my complete surprise when earlier this week my friend texted that she had free Guest Passes that expired on Friday, she'd cleared her schedule and was I free to go.   Yes!!  Yes I was!!!  Oh great joy was had!!!
Meanwhile another NewLook 6292 tunic top had just been cut out and it was decided then and there, that this event was so very special, it deserved a new complete outfit to wear for that day.  And if that wasn't enough.... when the top and leggings/skinny pants were complete, I realized all my handbags are huge and I really needed a Crossbody type of bag because there's a LOT of walking at the Biltmore.  So..... I made a new Crossbody Bag.  Perfectly perfect.  Little did I know my outfit and bag would match Biltmore's Guide Book.   Anyway, I'll write a post of all these details at a later date as this one is all about the Biltmore. 
So the special day dawned gray and rainy.  Not a drizzly sort of rain..... but a downpour from the time we got in the car until we arrived.  It continued raining there and there's a lot of outdoor walking and standing in shuttle lines to get to the house.  Little did we know we'd picked one of the busiest days to visit with Biltmore expecting over 10,000 visitors in the home this day.  So there was much more organization and security all set up in tents outside, which was fine and no problem but all this to say..... we got drenched.  Not wanting to cart an umbrella all over, I wore my hooded black rtw raincoat, which was perfect, but did not want to take any personal photos.
Let's talk a little about the Exhibit.  Biltmore did a fabulous job of not only recreating the garments, but embedding them throughout the house on mannequins posed in realistic ways.
George & Edith Vanderbilt at the christening of their daughter Cornelia
They even customized the self-guided audio tour to include tidbits about the 'people' we were seeing..... almost as if we were a part of the gathering too.
Not much was spoken about the garments............
Isn't she adorable
....nor was it easy to see fine details in the subdued lighting..........
...but that became almost secondary as one was swept up in the moment, feeling the home brought to 'life' by this lovely Exhibit.
Edith Vanderbilt
We spent 4 hours in the home.
Mesmerized.....
..... transported back to another time.....
..... and way of life.
The rain ended and skies were blue when we completed the tour.
Bowling Alley - don't the red socks look fun!
We both very much enjoyed the self-guided audio tour.  One can take all the time one wants.  We'd put the earbuds in to listen to the commentary, then remove one so we could discuss each exhibit.
Swimming attire in the large indoor swimming pool
 that would've been filled with heated c-c-c-c-old mountain water
We both weren't too sure about this one, below.  A woman 'working out' in the Gymnasium?  But the short video at the end of the Exhibit assures one all is authentic and explains a little more how the garments were pulled together.
Gymnasium - Workout wear
We finished in the Banquet Hall and seems I took the most photographs here.
Banquet Hall
Loved this butterfly dress
So glad Biltmore allows photography now.  They only ask to not use the flash.
Banquet Hall

Banquet Hall set for dinner
See the mannequin in the balcony by the Pipe Organ?  She is representing a woman who is singing for the Vanderbilts and their guests during their dinner.
Massive Pipe Organ fills the balcony of the Banquet Hall

Gathering in the Banquet Hall

Grand Table in the Banquet Hall was set with the more
glorious fresh flower arrangements
Hard to see but the engraving in the Banquet Hall reads:  DA PACEM DOMINE IN DIEBUS NOSTRIS....
'Give peace in our time, O Lord'
that translates to:
Give peace in our time, O Lord.

I hope you might have enjoyed this blog post as it's a little different than what I usually share.  And if you are ever in the Western North Carolina area, whether this exhibit is still in place or not, the Biltmore Estate is a 'must see'.

Links to explore more about the Biltmore:
Behind the Scenes of the clothing Exhibit
Biltmore History from the Biltmore website
Biltmore History from Wikipedia
Biltmore Estate main website
How to purchase tickets..... be sure to include the audio tour in your visit

Next post will be outfit details.
Happy Sewing All!  :)

3.12.2019

Sweater Knit Swing Cardi | Ottobre 02/2015 #13

Fabric purchased Friday afternoon.  Cardi began and completed Sunday afternoon.   Cardi worn Sunday night.  One of the fastest things I've ever made. 
Ottobre 02/2015 #13 Knit Cardigan has recently been made 3 times, with 3 different fabrics and now this unique sweater knit makes a 4th.  So to say I was familiar with the pattern would be an understatement.  No closures, no interfacing, front is simply turned back after being caught in the neckline seam that finishes it all off nicely, all pretty much sewn on the serger.  A nice quick 'n easy make.  Hmmmm, not sure why I traced a size 36 when I'm a size 38 in Ottobre, but that's okay as it fits me well.  It's always good to doublecheck sizing as I'm a size 36 in Burda, a 38 in Ottobre and a size 12 in the big 4. 
A friend and I made the trip to Williamston, SC Friday to All About Fabrics, for the open-only-once-a-month-to-the-public textile outlet mill where I always come home with lots of treasures.  There was no disappointment this time either!  Such FUN!  The minute I saw this chunky sweater knit fabric, I knew it had to be another Ottobre cardi.  Fabric cost @$7.50 a yard.
Guess one could say this is a t-n-t for me now.  Tried-n-True Pattern.  A couple of hours from cut to final seam and it was being worn.  And it's wonderful to (finally!) feel like there is a small arsenal of t-n-t patterns in my 'collection'.   This pattern has a nice 'swing' to it that is fun to wear, with a gentle taper from front to back with the back covering the backside well that also makes it a great layering piece when wearing leggings.  Wearing old Ottobre pants today with the Itch to Stitch Hepburn Turtleneck from last year.
Don't know why I've been struggling with my camera recently.  As I'm trying to show you the lovely back of my cardi, the silly camera focused on our distant mountain.  *sigh*
It's a little milder today and no rain.  Hope that means it'll soon be time to enjoy more walks in the woods.
Happy Sewing All!  :)