Saturday, September 29, 2012

FO: Tropical Punch Hat

There is starting to be a nip in the air around here, so it must be time for knitting! I'm a total seasonal knitter. For some reason, I can't convince myself to pick up my needles (or hooks) at all during the summer months, but once fall rolls around I start looking for some wool.
Myra needed a new hat, and I had this crazy pink/purple/orange variegated wool left over from last year's mittens. She loves this yarn, and she was so excited to see me knitting it for her!
After I finished knitting it, she wasn't too impressed, as it is a little plain, if colorful. So I taught her how to make a pom pom for the top. I sewed it on, but she made it. She was so proud of her handiwork!
Don't you like my hat??
Ravelry notes are here, if you crave the details.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Vogue 1059: a very wearable muslin

As the next piece of my Fall Wardrobe, I plan to make the trouser jeans, using Vogue 1059.
Before I went to all of the trouble of makig rear welt pockets in denim, I wanted to make sure the pattern would be a good fit. I went back and forth - fit muslin vs. "wearable" muslin. I finally decided on a wearable muslin for a couple of reasons, the primary one being that I have had pants that did fine in the 5 minute try on for fit and then didn't wear well throughout the day, so I wanted to really see how this pattern held up over the long haul.
The fabric I used here is a polyester gabardine. It has a bit more drape than my denim, but otherwise is pretty similar in terms of stretch and weight.
In front, there is a tine bit of wrinkling in the upper hip area, but I think that is due to the pockets gaping a little. Crotch whiskers are almost nonexistant, so I'm pretty happy with the shape there. The only changes I made from the basic pattern were to lengthen the crotch seam 1/2 inch both in front and back and to scoop out the curves slightly, about 1/8 inch both front and back.
The side seams fall nice and straight, but you can see my pocket is gaping just a wee bit. The pockets on this pattern are a single piece for the facing and hip piece, so there is no way to extend the facing out to the center front as I typically do to ameliorate the gaposis there. I plan to redraft the pocket bag so that I can do that. It really gives a smoother line in front.
And the rear - y'all, I am so happy with the fit back here! You can't even tell my butt ain't as perky as it used to be! I'm thrilled with how well this fits at the waist as well. I often have to reshape the center back seam to take in the back waist gaposis, but that wasn't a problem in this pattern.
Inside, the facings and pocket bags are made of a polka dot print cotton. The pattern treats this as a true facing for the yoke rather than a waistband, so rather than topstitching it down, I catchstitched the facings to the pockets and seam allowances. It looks very nice in here.
So, other than redrafting the pockets, I am totally excited about sewing up this pattern! The fit is great and they are super comfortable. I'm glad I made these as a wearable muslin too, because I am going to wear the heck out of these!

For those who have been around a while, you may have noticed that my Liz blouse has survived its stint in the Magic Closet. I'm glad I didn't just toss it. With a bit of perspective, I like it pretty darn well.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Vogue 8601

After much more angst on my part than it was worth, the jacket is done.
And yeah, I'm pretty sure it is my new favorite thing ever. The wool for this jacket came from the Pendleton Mills Outlet store, and it is so lovely and soft. (Thanks, Mom!!)
The pattern is Vogue 8601, alas now OOP, although it only just came off the "clearance" section of the website, so there are probably a few copies left in the drawers at your local fabric store. I'm wearing it with my New Look 6816 silk pants and Gertie's Portrait Blouse.
The pattern itself is quite good. Drafted well and the fit is typical for Vogue. In fact, I could have saved myself a lot of trouble at the fit stage if I had just made my "usual" Vogue alterations instead of trying something new that didn't work at all. The pattern includes a lining, which I think is excellent, and the instructions were very good, although I did deviate from them somewhat.
Of course, no tailoring instructions are included in the pattern. I used my favorite tailoring book, following the instructions for the fusible method of tailoring mostly (although I hand taped the roll line - much prettier on the outside). Sherry's RTW SAL was also very helpful. Here you can see that I block fused the bodice pieces and added hair canvas shoulder support.
I didn't have any fusible hair canvas, so I used this tip of Sigrid's and stitched my sew in hair canvas to some lightweight fusible interfacing. My machine doesn't do the serpentine stitch, so I settled for a wide, long zigzag. It seems to work fine.
In back, I added a muslin stay. You can also see the undercollar tailoring, which is an on grain strip that stabilizes the stand portion of the collar as well as adding structure to the roll line there.
I'm fairly pleased with the outcome as this was my first attempt at RTW style fusible tailoring. It was definitely faster than doing all of the shaping by hand (it took about half the time that my hand tailored coat took), and it still has a nice tailored look and feel. The only things I am not thrilled with are more about my inexperience with this method.
The back (I LOVE the tails!) doesn't have the structure that I would like. You can see how the side back collapses under the arm. That ease is necessary to a comfortable fit, but the wool I used was so lightweight it doesn't hold up. I should have block fused the back as well as the front. On the other hand, the tails have a beautiful drape and flow since I left them unfused.
All in all, I am thrilled with how it came out. I can see why so many sewists get "addicted" to sewing jackets. Although I am generally a quick and dirty project oriented seamstress, I love this jacket so much, I'm already planning the next. After a few tops and some pants...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Vogue 8601 - progress

Hey, sorry for disappearing off the face of the earth there! My mojo kind of tanked last week and I really didn't do anything, not even blog surfing. I have been following along with the Mini Wardrobe SAL at PR, and after seeing a few fabulous jackets on the thread there, I was ready to jump back into making mine.
I always start a lined jacket with the lining. It sort of acts as a final muslin of sorts, making sure that the fit is where I want it, before I start working on the much more time and labor intensive shell.
I'm happy, so we're moving forward. You may notice that I have elected to line the peplum part of the jacket with fashion fabric rather than lining. Since the hemline in front is cut away, I feared that the lining would show, and while I LOVE my lining fabric, I didn't always want it on display. If my fabric were thicker, I think this wouldn't have worked well, but this is quite a lightweight wool.
Speaking of the lining fabric, isn't it adorable??? Shoes are my other (non-textile) obsession, so I had to have this fabric. It's poly charmeuse, but the print was so cute, I didn't care. I think it's absolutely divine with this wool. The pale pink is a perfect match.
The sleeve is shaped with darts, but in the lining, I just made tucks. They're a bit easier to sew, and the released section gives the lining a bit of ease for movement. I generally convert darts to tucks in a lined garment for this very reason.
Since the lining made me happy, I went ahead and started on the shell. After the mojo crash last week, I knew I wouldn't have the stamina for hand tailoring, so I'm trying the fusible approach. So far, it is looking pretty good and it certainly is easier and faster. I feel like a bit of a cheater though. I guess we'll see how the jacket comes out in the end.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Look 6807

Have you seen Sunni's recent post about her Everyday Wardrobe game plan? She's starting with a NWG (Never Worn Garment) and making a few things to make it a wardrobe player. I think this is a great concept and I actually have my own NWG that has needed a top for some time. It is this skirt, and while I know it is a little wild, it is really comfortable and I love it for summer. I even had a length of rayon jersey that I bought with this skirt in mind.
So I whipped out New Look 6807 and made a basic raglan sleeved peasant style top.
I've made this pattern before here, but this time I made a few minor modifications. This first top pulls up a little over the bust with wear, so I gave myself just a smidge more room in the bust by just adding to the side seam of the front and easing it in to the back.
In the last version, I put a circular cutout in the back, which had a center back seam. For this one, I wanted a very basic garment, so I omitted the keyhole and cut the back on the fold. The original gathering was in two pieces on either side of the back seam, so I consolidated the gathers at center back.
As with the last version, I bound the neckline with my coverstitch machine and elasticated the sleeves. I gathered the front and back with clear elastic prior to attaching the binding. The neckline on the last version is  fine, but I preferred a higher one for this, so I just gathered the front and back a bit more. It wasn't much, but it makes this top a little less fussy to wear.
I think it works with my skirt, but will also be great with jeans. I think it will dress up well with a nicer skirt and a belt or blazer. Now I just need to consider accessories. I think I need some new shoes...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Burdastyle 05/2011-142

In between fighting with my jacket muslins, I needed a little mental break, and the big boy child needs some pants, so I sewed him a pair.
I know, they look a little like pajamas. He never wears wovens.
The pattern I used was #142 from the 05/2011 issue of Burdastyle magazine. It is designed for woven fabrics with a jersey waistband, but I used an interlock from the stash for the pant and jersey for the waistband. I also replaced the drawstring with elastic.
I chose this pattern for the cute pockets. In front, there are hip pockets that I topstitched in place with my coverstitch machine. I was sort of copying the look of these pants by Mini-Boden. I matched the topstitching thread to the color of the waistband.
The back has patch pockets, which I attached with the coverstitch, and reinforced the corners with bar tacks in a darker shade of grey.
He wore them to school and all afternoon playing and reports that he likes them and they are comfortable. High praise from Logan, so I immediately made another pair. This time I let him choose the fabric, and he surprised me by choosing a woven herringbone suiting in a nice dark grey.
Since these are a bit dressier than the knit pair, I left off all of the topstitching and omitted the back pockets, but i kept the front hip pockets. A boy needs pockets.
Instead of a contrasting jersey waistband, I made this one of self fabric. I did have to ease the pants into the waistband just a little, since the original was drafted for a stretch fabric, but it worked out and Logan is really pleased with his new church pants.
Purple smile courtesy of bribery with popsicle.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Vogue 8601 muslin

I've really been dragging my feet with regards to this jacket. I'm really excited about having the jacket in my wardrobe, but getting to the sewing process has been really frustrating. For some reason, I have had a really hard time getting the fit right on this jacket. After 4 (I think) muslins, I think I might be close.
Here's my fashion-y hand on hip pose, where you can see what I like about this jacket. For this muslin, I actually totally trashed all of the changes I had previously made to the bodice fronts (which included a large FBA, shortening the bodice both above and below the bust as well as letting out the lower princess seam a little) and started back with the unaltered pattern. I added 1/2 inch to the side front panel at the level of the bust and below, blending into the original seamline at the upper princess seam notch (which is right at the top of the bust). I made no alterations to the front.
What I got was the picture on the left. Boxy, frumpy and just bad. After all the work I had put in, I almost tossed in the towel at this point. It looks dreadful! But I was thinking about Phyllis's post about proportion, and I wondered if it wasn't my short waist, fighting with the waistline of the jacket (and losing!). I took a 3/8 inch tuck all around the jacket at the waistline, and ended up with the shot you see on the right. And despite the slouchy, unflattering pose, I like it!
It made a big difference in back as well. I had already shortened the back about an inch, so I was surprised that I needed to lose even more length back there. I am seriously short waisted!
The sleeve still need a lot of help, and maybe the shoulder as well. Do you think that shoulder seam needs to come forward a little? The sleeve is definitely rotated forward. There was just too much ease in the back half of the sleeve to ease it in. I'll remove some of that ease in the back and try again with the shoulder point in the correct place.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing: The Portrait Blouse

Whenever I get a new sewing book, I always flip through it before I really read it, just to get a feel for it. When I did my flip through of Gretchen's new book, Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, I gasped when I came to the Portrait Blouse. I knew I had to sew it immediately.
It takes very little fabric, and since I only had a small amount of this houndstooth charmeuse (What was I thinking when I only got 1 1/2 yards?!), I thought it would be perfect for this top.
The structure of the blouse is very simple, with just 2 main pattern pieces (front and back) plus facings for the neckline. The blouse is shaped with horizontal bust darts and vertical tucks which release below the bust. I've seen this shaping in a few 50s patterns I have, and I really think it is lovely. I didn't have to make many changes for fit, although I did do a 5/8 inch FBA and lengthened the top 3 1/2 inches (it's pretty short as drafted). In retrospect (after wearing it all day), I should have done a small petite adjustment above the bust, but I'll take care of that on the next version.
Since the blouse is quite fitted in the waist, there is a side zipper as a closure. The book calls for a lapped zip (hand-picked or machine topstitched), which is certainly more vintage accurate, but being the lazy seamstress that I am, I used an invisible zip. I installed it upside down, as per the instructions. Since the zipper opens at the bottom, this blouse is really easy to get in and out of.
The back is also shaped with release tucks, which gives it a good amount of ease in the shoulders, while keeping it trim at the waist. It isn't as sleek in back as darts would be, but it isn't unattractively blousy, and I think it gives it a nice, vintage-y look, particularly when tucked in.
The blouse went together quite beautifully. The only trouble I had was with the neckline, and I'm pretty sure this was my fault. The charmeuse was quite shifty, and I think my facing stretched out a little when I was stitching the interfacing (a la the Sunny Gal method for finishing a facing). I don't know if you can tell from the picture, and it isn't obvious in real life, but there is a slight ripple beneath the neckline that is caused by the slightly too long lower edge of the facing.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the blouse and with the book. I can't wait to try out some of the more complicated patterns.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Monthly Roundup: August 2012

August was a pretty good sewing month, although my mojo has taken a nose dive over the last few days. We've been kind of crazy around here getting ready for school to start. I'm not sure what impact that will have on my sewing. We'll just have to see...

So this month, I sewed...
1) Stretch & Sew 1260 swimsuit for Myra (a wadder)
2) RTW copy tee for Breanna's dress
3) Vogue 8759 shirt for Mitch (another wadder)
4) Ottobre 03/2011-26 dress for Myra
5) Vogue 1027 dress for me
6) Burdastyle 7936 blouse for me
7) Ottobre 03/2009-36 swimsuit for Myra
8) Vogue 8759 shirt for Mitch
9) Ottobre 06/2011-21 jumper for Myra
10) Ottobre 04/2004-35 tee for Myra
11) Ottobre 02/2005-12 dress for Myra
12) Potholders for a church activity

It definitely wasn't my most productive month, with only 11 garments (2 of them wadders - ugh!) and 3 potholders sewn. I also replaced a couple of zippers and made 2 muslins of Vogue 8601 for my Fall Wardrobe. I sewed up 19 1/4 yards of fabric.

As I mentioned, I haven't been able to really motivate myself to sew for the last several days. I even replaced zippers, which I HATE doing to avoid doing real sewing. I was starting to get really discouraged, when this arrived in the mail.

A new sewing book is always a great mojo jump start for me, and this one is so lovely. Many of the techniques in the book are familiar, particularly as I had the opportunity to take classes with Gretchen at Sewing Summit last year, but it is nice to have all of the material in one place. The book itself is really beautiful, with vintage inspired artwork and photos. And the patterns!! I want to sew them all!!
In fact, the Portrait Blouse is already traced, altered and cut. I chose a houndstooth charmeuse that I've had in stash a while. It will coordinate nicely with my Fall Wardrobe plans, and it is a perfect jump start to my mojo. The other patterns in the book are gorgeous as well, and I can see myself making most of them.

After the Portrait Blouse is finished, I'm going to finalize the fitting changes to my Vogue 8601 blazer and hopefully start cutting wool. I'm just going to lightly tailor this jacket, so it won't be quite as time consuming as my Simplicity 2256 coat jacket. Still, there's no getting around the fact that padstitching isn't fast.I think that may be what is killing my mojo at the moment. I just need to power through it though. I really need that jacket in my closet!! Once the jacket is done, the rest of the wardrobe should move pretty quickly. I'm really looking forward to those pants!