Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Burda Magazine 08/2007-112B leopard coat

This morning I made the belt, stitched the belt loops and came upstairs to force Mitch to admire show Mitch my new creation, and he noted that it had just started to snow - perfect for pictures!!
And he was right. Not to mention he gave up his own man-cave time to take my blog pictures. He's the best, y'all.
But you want to hear about the coat, don't you? I apologize if I gush a bit, but I am very pleased with it. There may be an excessive number of pictures. You've been warned.
So, the coat began with this amazing fabric. It is a stretch poplin from Mood, which is still available as I type this. You can get yours here. I ordered it knowing that I wanted a leopard print coat, which it obviously became, but if you aren't really coat inclined, this fabric would also make great pants, a skirt or a lighter jacket. It has a nice amount of stretch and is fairly hefty in weight.

The pattern that I used is from the 08/2007 issue of Burda magazine. I made the shorter length. I chose this pattern for it's uncomplicated lines, as I really wanted my fabric to be the star. Despite it's simplicity, this is really a well thought out pattern. Some details...
The collar construction was really interesting, and built a ton of shaping into what would otherwise have been a big old sack. It's a bit difficult to see from this photo, but the undercollar is in two pieces, with a separate stand that adds shape to the back neckline. The collar back also extends into a dart that shapes the front of the coat and the lapel. The construction was a little tricky, and the Burda instructions were not particularly helpful. If you make this coat, the thing to remember is that the lapel to collar seam has to be sewn first, then the back neckline seam, which extends down into the dart in one pass. It was really fun to sew, once I figured it out. If you want to see details of the tailoring, click here.
The pattern called for a self fabric tie belt, but I decided I wanted a wide buckled belt. I went with a 2 inch wide buckle, as that was as wide as I could find, and I do like it. The belt was simple to make, as the buckle has no tongue, which meant no eyelets to set and made the buckle assembly easier. It works with this thick fabric.
Thread loops hold the belt in place. I used this method, so the only handwork was actually attaching them.
One of the things I really like about this style is the lack of visible closures. This snap is actually covered by the belt, so it looks like the belt is the only thing holding it closed. No buttons or zippers to distract from my fabulous fabric.
As far as fit goes, I did make a few alterations, primarily in the shoulders and back. The back was drafted with a totally straight seam, which on me, meant tons of extra fabric pooling at the waist, while it was still a bit snug in the back and backside. I basically just drew a curved back seam, shaping it in at the waist and giving myself more ease in the mid-back and down from my hips.
You can see on the dress form that it is fairly sleek in back, although I did leave more ease in the waist. The belt pulls that in, while the coat stays comfortable. I also narrowed the shoulders a little. The style is meant to have a slightly dropped shoulder, but that isn't what I was looking for. I added a small pad as well to firm up the shoulder line.
You wanna see the lining?
Teal!! Isn't it gorgeous!?! It's a stretch satin from Fashion Fabrics Club and it is really luscious. It's soft and silky, but also a little beefy - really perfect for a coat lining. The pattern actually only called for a half lining to the waist, but I went ahead and drafted a lining to the hem. If you're going to make a coat, you really ought to line the thing for real, right?
Coat linings are generally left free at the hem, and tacked in place at the side seams. I used a technique from Connie Long's Easy Guide to Sewing Linings that uses narrow ribbon, or in this case, twill tape in place of hand sewn French tacks. You simply stitch in the tape as you hem the lining, then tack it (I did this part by hand) into the coat hem.
I made a coat! And I love it!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Tailoring by machine

Hey all! Sorry I just dropped off the earth for a week there! It wasn't intentional, but I've been working on my coat, and making good progress, then the household was hit with the crud that's been going around, so the weekend was sort of shot. The coat should be done in a day or two, but before the big reveal, I wanted to talk a little about the tailoring I did on this one.
For this coat, I decided to try the machine method of tailoring. I've use the fusible method and the handsewn method, so this is my first attempt at tailoring by machine. I used my usual favorite tailoring resource, Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket. I have an older edition than the one in the link, but the material is the same. I really love this book, and if you are even remotely interested in tailored garments, you really should have it in your personal library.
Anyway, here is my undercollar. All of the padstitching is done via curved lines of machine stitching. This particular pattern had a separate partial collar band which really helped shape the collar as well. I padstitched it separately and then sewed the two together.
Here you can see the major down side to machine tailoring - all of the stitching is visible from the right side of the undercollar. I did increase the contrast on this photo to make it really stand out, but IRL it does show. Since this fabric is a thin, smooth poplin, hand padstitches would have shown as well, so I decided that it wasn't a dealbreaker for me, particularly as I don't wear my collar up.
For the chestpiece, I sort of did my own thing. My outer fabric is a stretch poplin, and I really wanted to preserve the stretchiness in the body of the coat, so instead of tailoring with rigid canvas, I decided instead to underline the entire coat with a beefy wool jersey (for warmth, too) and use fusible tricot in the upper half of the coat, above the waist. I also taped the roll line. I really think that of all of the many things we do when we tailor a coat or jacket, taping the roll line makes the biggest difference, particularly when you consider how easy it is to do.
Again, this was done using the machine method, so the lines of stitching show, but are hidden under the lapel when the coat is worn.
Here's a little preview of how it all came together. The structure of the collar is really nice and crisp, and the body of the coat feels nice and substantial thanks to the wool jersey underlining. I can't wait to get it all finished and show it to you!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Want to find your sewing buddies??

Here in the blogosphere, I think we've gone a long way toward ensuring that none of us sews in isolation. We have this amazing community of sewist/seamstress/sewcialist (s) that share and communicate with each other about projects, fabric, notions, sales, all the stuff! We even occasionally get a chance to meet up with each other in real life, which I think we all agree is about the most fun ever!
Well, in a brilliant move to help us find each other, Vicki at Another Sewing Scientist has compiled a map where we can all plot our approximate locations, so that we can find those who are nearby, and when visiting other places, link up with the local sewing crew.
So, since this is much more fun when we all play along, please head over to Vicki's post and get all the details about how to pin yourself.

As for my own sewing room, work on my coat is moving forward. I've decided to try the machine method of tailoring for this one, which I haven't done before.
Here is the undercollar, all stitched and ready for steaming into shape. So far, I like this method. It's definitely faster than by hand, and seems a little sturdier than the fusible method that I used on my equestrian jacket. While I'm fully tailoring the undercollar, I'm not going to do a complete chestpiece, as I am underlining the coat with a fairly beefy wool jersey, which will provide warmth as well as structure. I will tape the roll line, which is something I like to do by hand. That may be the only handwork this coat sees! Hopefully, I can get going on this, as I really still want to make a polka dot frock for Scruffy Badger's Polka Dot Frock Fest. I had a hard time finding a fabric that I really liked, and I'm still not sure that the one I've chosen is perfect. I'm waffling, so I guess it's a good thing I still have a coat to finish, so I can think over my fabric choice.

ETA: I took a picture.
These are the two fabrics under consideration for my Polka Dot Frock. I really like the dainty dots on the right, but the fabric is an ITY, and I fear those lovely crisp pleats would be an utter fail in an ITY. The larger, ring-type dots (Are they even polks dots??) are fun, and the fabric is a more suitable stretch moleskin, but I'm afraid they would look odd broken up in the pleat area. What do you think?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

McCalls 6069 Valentine dress

Several days ago, I realized that Valentine's Day was coming, and a new dress might be a good idea. I knew I didn't have time for a full out fitted woven dress, so I flipped through my knit dress patterns and came across McCalls 6069, which I bought after admiring Elizabeth's.
I've had this border print ITY in my stash for a year, just looking for the right pattern. I think this was right on. Can you believe I found this at Walmart!?! Hello, $3 dress.
Here it is on Sandra Dee. I'll admit, when I finished it and put it on the dressform, I totally thought it was frump city. It doesn't even look good on her! But I think it was saved with accessories. The bling-y necklace broke up all that black in front and the belt gave me a waist.
Better, right? Mitch really liked it, so I think it's a winner. I did make quite a few alterations to the pattern to get here though...
Starting with the back. I have had a few too many cowl mishaps lately to take a risk with one as deep as this one looks, so instead of the cowl back neckline, I actually used the square neck front pattern piece and redrafted the armscye to make it a back. The skirt front/back piece is the same, so I knew it would fit together just fine.
I also did my usual knit top cheater FBA by grading out the side bodice piece under the arm. I probably could have given myself a wee bit more room, as evidenced by the little wrinkle in this shot, but the dress is comfortable and doesn't pull across the front, so I think it's good enough.
My biggest beef with this dress is the neckline. Facings on a knit dress are just a recipe for failure IMHO. As you can see, mine rolls out a bit. I considered using a band, but that would have meant dealing with 4 corners, which I wasn't into. I think that lining the bodice with tricot would have been a good alternate option though.
I did try to eliminate some of the roll out by deepening and squaring off the facings, making sure that they caught in the armscye well. I think this did help in the corners, but there isn't anything holding CF down, so that is where it is rolling out.
So, while it isn't perfect, it was perfect for its intended purpose! It wowed my Valentine on our date, and I could eat as much of the amazing meal we had as I wanted. Elastic waist? Yes, please!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Burda Magazine 04/2011-118 tunic top

I made more #oonapants, y'all. They are so crazy comfortable. That means I need more tunics though.
Right?!?! I'm pretty sure I wore this outfit in 1989. I'm totally breaking my rule about wearing a trend the second time around, but I don't care.
The top is from the 04/2011 issue of Burda magazine. This is top #118, but lengthened to about halfway to the dress length. It is a really simple top - only 4 pattern pieces, and it went together really easily, at least it would have, if I had chosen an easier fabric...
The fabric is a poly/lycra single jersey from Fabric.com. They called it "Roma" jersey, whatever that means. It was literally the only piece of solid black jersey in my stash, which is sort of ridiculous. It's pretty thin and crazy curly, so it was a serious pain to sew. Such a pain in fact, that I couldn't bring myself to hem the bottom.
You can see the design features a little better here. The top has batwing sleeves, cut on to a yoke both front and back. The seam hits just above the bust. The neckline is a bateau style and finished with a simple turn and stitch hem. The sleeves are drafted VERY long, but I had to shorten them 7 inches because of fabric limitations. In this pic, I have them slightly scrunched up. They are bracelet length when pulled down. They are also VERY slim. If my fabric had any less stretch (this stuff could be swimwear lycra,  it's so stretchy), the sleeves would be too tight.
The other major alteration I made was to the length. I cut it between the dress and top length, as I wanted sort of a minidress/long tunic look. Initially, I put in the pockets, but they were an utter disaster in this thin knit. I looked like I had saddlebags hanging from my hips. I serged them off, and the silhouette is much better, but  now I have no pockets. Boo.
I wore my top today in full out 80s style, with my newest pair of leggings. These are the same pattern as the previous pair, this time in a cotton-lycra jersey from Nature's Fabrics. I wore it with wedge heel booties from Target, a vintage jean jacket and purple glitter sunnies from Target.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Butterick 4910 nightgowns

Now that Myra has been wearing her nightgown in place of PJs for a few weeks, it is clear that she is fully converted. She's been asking for more gowns, but the pattern I used before takes a lot of yardage, and my stash was in shorter "PJ" lengths.
So I decided to use Butterick 4910, which I have used before for this costume, this top and this dress. Since the gingerbread dress actually still fits her, I just used those pattern pieces and added length to make it floor length.
I made up all of the girly flannel I had in my stash - pink polka dots for one and a ballet themed print for the other. Both pieces were purchased at Joann.
I added a faux button placket to the polka dot one, just by appliqueing a strip of lace at center front and stitching on some coordinating buttons.
To the ballet themed gown, I just tacked a pink bow at center front. It's easier to tell the back from the front this way.
After I finished cutting out the ballet gown, there was a big chunk of flannel left that wasn't really big enough to save, but it was just enough for a matching gown for Myra's favorite baby doll. I used the pattern I drafted here.
Now my little sleeping beauty has plenty of gowns fit for a princess.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Vogue 8831 tunic

After making my leggings, I realized that most of my tops are intended to be worn with jeans, and as such, aren't long enough to really feel comfortable when worn with leggings. For some reason, I don't feel that exposed in skinny jeans, but leggings means tunic length tops in my world.
Enter Vogue 8831. This pattern includes several versions of a princess seamed, raglan top, with straight and hi-lo hemline options and an attached cowl neckline. Since it is winter, and I wanted to cover my butt, I chose view C, which has full length sleeves and is tunic length.
You can see the seamlines a little better here. I love a princess seamed top, and this pattern includes cup sizes, so I didn't have to do an FBA. Love that! The only alterations I made were to shorten the front 1/2 inch above the bust, which raised the neckline slightly. I also graded the raglan seams in back out one size as a sort of cheater broad back adjustment.
As a result, the fit through the back is really nice. You can also see how long it is in back here. Great backside coverage!
In front, despite raising the neckline, it is still VERY low. My bra is clearly visible even without bending over. I put on a black lace cami, and I actually like the look of it, but I won't wear this alone.The sleeves and shoulders fit well though. If I make this again, I'll definitely raise the neckline.
The fabric I used is a soft and drapey rayon jersey from my stash. I love the way it feels and hangs, but it is just a wee bit clingy. No elastic waist pants with this, or my muffin top is clearly visible. Fortunately, I put a yoga waistband on my leggings, so they'll be perfect.
Since the wind chill put the temp around 11 this morning, I decided to forgo the leggings, and went with my warmer Vogue 8330 skinny jeans. I LOVE the way the gold print on the jeans looks with this color top! I finished the look with a RTW trench, reminding me that I need to get working on my coat! Outerwear is really about the only clothing of which I still have a lot of RTW pieces. My shoes are by Madden Girl and I love them so.

Monday, February 4, 2013

And now for something completely different...

Y'all may have noticed that I do not do home dec sewing, and I seldom sew for anyone other than my family, but sometimes a good enough cause comes along and I am convinced.
Also, this was really easy. Myra's preschool recently acquired a puppet theatre. It is really lovely and nicely made, but came without a curtain or curtain rod. I took a few measurements on Thursday (the last day of their school week) and whipped this up over the weekend with the help of Mitch, who cut down and sanded the dowel we used for a curtain rod.
I decided to make it out of two different fabrics, so that it would be easy for the kids to tell the "front" from the "back". It's fully reversible though, one side of a blue poly woven shot with silver lurex threads, and the other side is black poly satin. They can choose which side they like best for the front.
Both fabrics were very lightweight, so they drape nicely and push to the side easily for performances, but they needed a bit of weight, so I borrowed a trick from the House of Chanel and added a chain weight, which I sandwiched between the two fabrics so that it wouldn't be visible. It does hold the curtain in place nicely, without adversely affecting the drape.
Well, it was a big hit with Myra! I hope the other kids like it as well.