Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
As I mentioned before I enjoy making dresses for holiday parties. In the midst of all the visits, I had another holiday party. The Cotillion Holy Ball. I wrote about Cotillion last year. My youngest son enjoys attending the dances and this one, in Dec, is used to collect money for charity. Parents attend and dance the last dances with their children, mothers with sons, fathers with daughters. My husband and I were official chaperones for the event and our son was a March Leader for the first dance (He got his name in the paper). But the best part, from my point of view, is that chaperones have reserved seats in the balcony where they can watch the dancing. All other parents have to stand around the periphery of a very crowded dance floor for an hour. So I got to wear some killer heels. Right after my Thanksgiving guests’ cars backed out of the driveway, I flew to the closets where I have hidden my sewing stuff and pulled out some potential dress patterns. After much indecision, I picked McCalls 5746, a fitted sheath type dress with lots of darts. They all originate near the center front/back and radiate outward.
Sleeve Head Instructions
Source: Couture, The Art of Fine Sewing by Roberta Carr
1. Measure distance between gathering points. Mine was 7.25 inches.
2.Cut a rectangle of organza 2 times the length of the distance measured in step 1. and 5 inches wide. So mine was 14.5 by 5 inches.
3.Fold rectangle lengthwise so that one side is 3" and the other 2"
4.Gather folded rectangle along folded edge using two lines of gathering stitches>
5. Sew along gathered edge with straight stitch or serger to hold gathers in place.
6. Hand sew gathered edge of sleeve head, with 3 inch side to the sleeve, to armhole seam using catch stitch. This keeps the sleeve head from adding bulk to the sleeve seam.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
This time of year is very busy. I am hosting the family Thanksgiving dinner this year, so a lot of my spare time has been spent painting, removing wallpaper, recovering dining room chairs, etc. "Spiffing" up the house in preparation for the guests. Holiday parties are starting to appear on the calendar and I always want to make a new dress for these events. The first one is tomorrow night. The young engineer, that my husband mentors at work, is receiving an award. My husband and I have been invited to the award dinner. I thought that was very nice. I whipped up Vogue 1056 yesterday in a magenta wool knit that has been in my stash for at least 15 years. Despite being stored in a box with moth balls, it had some holes and fading . Cutting it out took the most time. In addintion to working around the fading and holes, there are some odd shaped pieces that have to be cut out of a single layer of fabric. But it is quick to sew , including the slip like lining , which is included in the pattern. I am not putting on makeup or proper undergarments today so a picture of me actually wearing it will come later.
Friday, October 24, 2008
They had me pose leaning casually on the balcony railing, both smiling at the camera and staring pensively off in the distance. All the time they were enthusing about the quality of the light coming through the 3 story glass wall opposite the balcony. I was just hoping it was flattering to middle aged features. Then they had me in the same pose holding a folder with the company logo. Like I’d just read something profound and was pondering the implications. Perhaps decreasing sales and possible workforce reductions? Which is actually happening here. No, No! Happy thoughts please, no furrowed brows. Then they did close-ups of my hands and the folder. Fortunately my nails were clean and all the same length. Those who know me know that I am very much an introvert. Doing this kind of thing takes an enormous amount of physical and mental effort in order to overcome my inherent reclusive tendencies. Sometimes I do things to that require me to get out of my comfort zone, but it has to happen impulsively like this did, or I over think it and retreat. All in all it was fun. And I hope they are kind when choosing pictures for the next company brochure.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Double cloth fabrics are particularly attractive when used for unlined garments. Two good articles about sewing double cloth are Sewing Double Cloth by Claire Shaeffer in the Feb/March 2008 Vogue Patterns magazine. Back issues can be purchased at the Vogue patterns website. Anna Mazar wrote an article on Reversible Techniques for Double Cloth that was in the March 2006 issue (123) of Threads Magazine. Ralph Rucci is a designer that uses this fabric in very unique garments, as Mem commented on the last post.
Double faced or two faced fabrics are reversible fabrics with two attractive sides that can look the same on both sides or have different colors or patterns. Unlike double cloth, they cannot be separated into two pieces of cloth. They also are well suited for reversible and unlined jackets and coats. But very different sewing techniques are used for the seaming and edge finishing of these two fabrics.
My purple fabric is double faced. I chose to use both sides of the fabric for the same jacket, but it will not be reversible. I also plan to line it because the fabric is wool and itchy. I did not line the pants and they are really uncomfortable to wear. I have to insert a lining before I can wear them for any length of time. I have always wanted to make an unlined/reversible jacket, using double faced fabric, from one of the Vogue patterns by the designer Adri. Like this one, Vogue 1055.Her jackets are unlined, with one piece collars. All the seams are finished by turning under the raw edges of the seam allowance and top stitching or with bias binding. So one side of the jacket would be all one color but the other would have the 2nd color showing as part of this seam finishes.
I chose to sew jacket design 4 from the previous post. I still like the others a lot, but plan to make them in different fabrics. Option 1 in a tan/black linen for summer and Option 2 in a two color grey wool.
The jacket I chose is proving to be rather labor intensive. I had to make two jacket fronts, one a no collar "v" neck, and the second with a collar and lapel. The lapel front is laid over the "v" neck and they are attached to each other at the princess seam and the shoulder seam.
This means there are up to 3 layers of fabric on the front shoulder area and at the princess seam. The Burda directions were difficult to understand, but once I realize that I had to make two separate fronts, and how they were attached to each other, it became much clearer. The instructions for applying the front zipper are different than any method I have ever used before or seen in a RTW garment. It says "make rectangular faced slots for the zip in the front facing edges." and then goes on to give step by step instructions to do so. Like you would make for an exposed zipper. But just in the inside. On the outside the zipper teeth are hidden under the fabric on either side of the center front seam. I would think a slot in the facing would leave the back of the zipper teeth exposed to catch on a blouse or against bare skin. I plan to try it first on a sample to see if there is an advantage or more professional look to this method. I will take pictures.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
BWOF Jacket May-2002 No. 104
Light color on top would make it look like a cropped jacket when worn with the matching pants. And I could accent the collar and waist line seam with hand stitching in the darker color.
BWOF Jacket Feb-2004 No 104
The princess seams on the bodice and the sleeve seams are sewn so that the seam allowance is to the outside. Then the seam allowance raw edge is turned under and top stitched, resulting in contrasting bands accenting the seams. Top stitching could be done with a decorative stitch or additional trim could be inserted under the turned edge for added interest. I am concerned about how flat the seam allowances on the princess seam will be when turned under and top stitched. Part of the seam is on the bias and part on the straight of grain. They are wrinkled on the jacket in the magazine, but the fabric appears to be a poly satin, which doesn’t press as nicely as wool.
BWOF Jacket June 2007 No. 107
The magazine jacket is in the same color scheme as my fabric. The contrasting bands are actual separate bands sewn onto the facing of the jacket edge. This makes for a lot of layers along the collar roll line. The photographed jacket is turned away from the camera, but from what I can see of the collar, it is not rolling smoothly. Hmmm
BWOF Jacket May 2006, No 107
The jacket styling makes it look like a jacket over a vest with zipper closure. If I used the darker color for the bottom band and vest front, it would look like short jacket worn over matching vest and pants. I could also add embroidery or stenciled designs to the fabric used for the band and fake vest front, to add more interest.
I am having a real hard time with this decision because each jacket has a technique or style I would like to try. I am going to sleep on it for a few nights. Feel free to tell me which one you like best.
I am taking off work tomorrow to spend the day at the Sewing Expo with some friends. I am looking forward to attending classes taught by favorite instructors, seeing the independent pattern designer fashion show during the lunch break, shopping at the vendor's booths, plus a stop at G Street Fabrics on the way home. It should be a lot of fun.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I have managed to finish up another version of the April 2005 BWOF jacket that I made this spring in a pastel striped fabric. This time in a cotton/rayon blend fabric, in autumny colors. I started the jacket while on our beach vacation in late July. My friend Ursula and I would get up early each day and spend a couple hours sewing until the rest of the beach house inhabitants started to stir. She was working on a quilt for her son’s newly redecorated room. We had a good time reminiscing about the fabrics she had chosen for the quilt. It is funny how we could date the colors and patterns, and relate them to activities going on in our lives at the time. She probably finished her quilt long ago. Anyway this multicolor jacket goes with quite a few other pieces I have in my wardrobe, in brown, tan, and turquoise.
I started another MSB jacket from issue 145, page 60, again drafted from the undarted sloper. This jacket has a lapel that extends into a band that curves around the bottom front and across the back. The jacket in the magazine is made of a white fabric and the photo is not clear. At first glance it looks very similar to McCalls 5477, but the McCalls pattern front is cut to shape. The design intrigued me because I wanted to see what a striped fabric would look like used on the front band. The inner edge of the band is gathered tightly at the curve and I knew that the weight of the fabric would affect how this looked. The jacket in the magazine appeared to be made of a very light weight fabric.
I approached the whole project as a wearable muslin because 1. First time drafting a jacket with collar from MSB, 2. Possible issues with fabric choice versus design. I chose a ho-hum striped fabric from my stash. Taupe with orange pin stripes, light weight wool. Fabric color really factors into my sewing enjoyment and motivation. This color depresses me. When I switched to orange thread for the garment sewing, it improved my mood somewhat. And the lining is orange and yellow jacquard rayon acetate from FFC. I enjoyed sewing that. I messed up when I drafted the collar. For some reason when I measured the back neck edge, a key measurement used to draft the collar, I wrote it down as 22 cms instead of 18 cms. The back collar neck edge was much too long. I discovered this after I had attached the collar to the lapel. I had to unsew it, recut it and resew those blasted lapel points.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
I liked the bead detail at the neck line of this jacket. It looked comfortable and cool with just enough coverage to look professional worn over a sleeveless top, on a hot humid summer day. I went with a shorter length, 18 "center back length, to get a 1/3 top to 2/3 bottom ratio in a outfit, where the jacket is 1/3. I was a little concerned about the cap sleeves on 50+ year old arms. I chose to ignore the voices in my head because the cap sleeves add a horizontal element at the top of my body, where I need it.
The fabric is a tightly woven, light weight, shirting material, probably a blend, from a Fabric Mart Fabrics free bundle. The changes made to the basic sloper to draft the pattern include scoop out the neckline. Adding V shaped yokes in both front and back, with bust dart/shaping incorporated into the front yoke seam. Drawing slash lines from the yoke bottom edge to the neck line, and opening the top at the neck line to add extra fabric which will become tucks between the beads. Caps sleeves were drafted using the partial armhole dimensions, so that the sleeve front edge matches the yoke seam at the armhole.
I lined the jacket. This made it easier to finish the sleeve and armholes. The sleeves are lined to the edge and then inserted into the top of the armhole openings. The body lining hangs freely. It is not attached at the hem. This allowed me to easily sew the lining to the sleeve hole opening by machine, cleanly finishing the bottom armhole. For the beading at the neckline, I had hoped to use the eyelet button hole stitch on my machine to make small finished holes through which I could thread the cord for the beads. I thought this would make it easy of switch out the beads for different looks. Here is a sample of gold beads with black cording.
But no matter what I did with stabilizer, stitch width, etc., the eyelet stitch would not end where it started, on either my Designer 1 or my trusty Viking 1100 backup machine. So I went to Plan B, which was to use a large sharp needle and lots of tugging to thread the hemp cord through the pleats of the fabric. I bought both the bone beads and the cord at Walmart. They are permanent.
Here are other examples of bead/pleats embellishment on RTW garments. One is a print tank top by D Collection with beads of alternating colors. The latest issue of SewStylish magazine had an article on Snoop Shopping and had a blouse with pleated bands with beads. I think the bead/pleats could also be used for re-purposing or altering RTW clothing that is too big at neckline edges, sleeve edges, waists on dresses; anywhere you want to take in fabric.
I am so encouraged by my pattern drafting success that I have decided to try drafting a pants pattern using the MRS Stylebook instructions. Last night I took my own hip, waist, crotch depth measurements with the help of a mirror. I made some interesting observations. 1. My waist is rising. I had noticed the length of my tops from front neck to waist has gotten shorter in recent years, but assumed it was because of back curvature. My fat reserves are at my waist and are in a tube shape. If I lost them my waist/natural indentation would be lower. Back near the top of my hip. (Chanting to self. "Sew for the body you have now, not the one you wish you had!") 2. My front waist to crotch measurement is the same as my back waist to crotch. That doesn’t surprise me, as I have no butt. So it will be interesting to see what my crotch curve looks like.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
On Sunday while DH was on his weekly visit with his mom, taking care of her finances, prescriptions, and shopping needs, etc. I headed out to run errands. We have two Hancock Fabric stores in this town. One is being remodeled, and a big mess according to a friend. After debating about it for three weeks, I had decided to return to the store and if it was still available, allow myself to buy an oriental print, silk burnout fabric I had seen and absolutely loved. Loved except for the price of $32.00/yard. Some stores carry quality silk worth that price, Hancock's does not. I was hoping it would still be available and on sale. There was no sale sign posted over the silk, but when the bolt was scanned, the price per yard that came back from the corporate computer was discounted to $13.32. Still no bargain, but a price I could work with. Many other fabrics were on sale at 50%. Simplicity patterns were $1.00. Long story short, I did some serious stash augmentation. For each piece of fabric I bought, I had a specific pattern or garment in mind. Then on the way home I stopped at Walmart to see if I could find more of a specific denim I had purchased at another Wal-Mart in another state. It was a medium weight, gray cotton denim with lycra. Last winter I tried to find a nice pair of gray RTW jeans, but had no luck. Though I don’t usually sew jeans, when I saw this denim it was the right weight and color and price. I couldn’t pass it up. This store had the same fabric, again a small amount of yardage left on the bolt. Between the two pieces I now have enough to make a pair of jeans. Sometimes Walmart has some really weird fabric on their sale table. There was this dark red, sueded fabric with a black knit backing. It was soft, but not stretchy. On a whim, I asked the clerk if I could have a little of her bottled water. I put a couple drops in the palm of my hand and dropped it on the fabric. The water rolled right off the fabric and onto the table, every drop, none soaked in. My current raincoat is 15 years old and desperately needs to be replaced. The stores are full of cute trench style coats, but most aren’t waterproof, or even water-resistant. It has to be raining for me to wear a trench coat. I am not enough of a fashionista to wear one just for the style. I bought 5 yard of this 60" wide stuff, at $1.00/yd, to make a raincoat.