Sunday, February 17, 2008

Designer Knock Off

There is a RTW/Designer Knock Off contest in progress A couple weeks ago I spent some time on various websites selling designer clothes, looking for inspiration for a contest entry. At one site I was drawn to jackets by a company/designer called Akris. I had never heard of them before so I did some more web searching and learned they are a small Swiss design house. This is my knock off of a $1200 Akris jacket that was featured on the Bergdorf Goodman web site. I like the simplicity of the jacket, with it's hidden closure, and interesting tubular collar. I found a princess seamed, hidden closure jacket pattern with a narrow stand up collar, in the April 2004 issue of Burda World of Fashion. I shortened the jacket to upper hip length and shortened the sleeves to just below elbow length. The collar neck edge was 18 inches long.
To duplicate the designer collar, I basically made a length of large diameter piping the same length as my collar pattern. The 5/8 inch diameter cord was made by rolling up a 18 inch by 4 inch piece of fusible fleece jelly roll style. Fusible fleece is about 1/8th inch thick, made of polyester, and pretty dense. One side is coated with a fusible adhesive. I use it a lot to make my own shoulder pads. I rolled the fusible surface to the inside, but actually whip stitcheded the edge of the fleece to the roll to maintain the shape. A strip of bias cut fashion fabric 19.25 by 4 inches (which included seam allowances) was used to cover the cording. The ends were finished before the cording was inserted. I treated the collar like piping and inserted it on the jacket collar edge using a piping foot. The fabric is a woven wool with black grey and cream threads from Fabric Mart. The lining is a red and black silk twill print from the same source.

I think my jacket looks remarkably like the designer jacket. What you cannot see are the alterations I did to fit the back of the jacket to my rounded shoulders, and prominent shoulder blades. The last couple of jackets I have made had large circular wrinkles that started on the back where my shoulder blades stick out and came down under my arms and ended at my bust. Adding .75 inches of length to the upper center back seam and putting in small darts from shoulder seam to shoulder blade makes the back fit like a glove and eliminated all the wrinkles. Guess I will have to do this to all my jackets in the future. Getting old is not for sissies!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Birthdays, ballgames, and books

This past weekend was supposed to be a work weekend, but the software upgrades planned for all day Sat. went surprising well and we were finished up by noon. So on the way home I stopped at Hancock Fabrics and JoAnne’s to see if the new Vogue patterns were in. Hancock’s had them and they were 75% off! I was able to get most of the ones I wanted. Then when I arrived home the mail contained lots of sewing related reading material. The latest issue of Burda World of Fashion, Pattern Magic Vol. 1 & 2 Japanese fashion sewing books by Nakamichi Tomoko, and Fashion, A History from the 18th to the 20th Century, Vol. 1&2. Pattern Magic was purchased from after I saw a review of it on And the Fashion, A History …was on sale at the Metropolitan Museum of Art web site. So far I have only been able to look at them briefly. I loved the Pattern Magic books and wanted to start playing right away. The Fashion books are huge, with loads of beautiful clear, detailed photos of real clothes from that time period. I can't wait to spend more time looking at them.

This rest of the weekend was busy with preparations and cooking for birthday celebrations and Super Bowl festivities. We celebrated second son’s 13th birthday on Sunday, as his Dad will be away on business on the actual day of his birthday. The hat is a family tradition and everyone has to wear it on their birthday, no exceptions. When asked what he wanted for his special birthday meal, he replied, as his Dad had earlier predicted, "McDonalds cheeseburgers and ice cream cake". Well, he got mom’s best attempt at McDonalds cheeseburgers and fries, and homemade ice cream cake. This is the first time I have assembled an ice cream cake. The layering went well. Homemade vanilla cake layered with Death by Chocolate ice cream, covered in homemade chocolate frosting. Dad, you would have loved it. It tasted great, but looked like a mess. I had a hard time making the frosting stick to the ice cream layers. Next time the ice cream will be totally encased in cake, because the frosting sticks to the cake. His birthday present was a new cell phone with a QWERTY keyboard for text messaging, and a camera. I spent the first hour of the Super Bowl on the phone with Virgin Mobile support switching the number from the old phone to the new phone. The 3 other times I have attempted to use their on line switching, it didn’t work either. The ID number of the new phone is never recognized by their system. I suspect some company the Far East assembles the phones and batteries and sends a data file of the ID numbers to a database. The data never gets loaded or the query from the online system isn’t accessing the data in the database. Grr!
I had a sewing disaster last week, but I was able to salvage it. I really liked this pattern from a 1997 Burda Tops issue. I made it out of a white and gray floral stretch lace. However the dolman sleeves style was not flattering for old sloped shoulder me and the lace was too light weight. It looked like I had cobwebs draped over me. I decided that lining the lace with a colored knit fabric would beef it up, but I needed a different style, one with pattern pieces that could be cut from the original top and the fabric remnants. I picked a blue rayon lycra knit from my stash. And this Vogue 8477 top pattern.

I realized with a little planning and a change in sewing order, I could have a reversible top. So side one is blue with white trim, and side 2 is grey and white lace over a blue background with white trim. I lengthened the sleeve so the bands were at the same level as the under bust band. And I shortened the top by about 3 inches. I like to keep untucked tops to about1/3 my body height, with the hips and legs the other 2/3.