Friday, October 24, 2008

Small Thrills

Some of my sewn garments were professionally photographed yesterday. It was totally unplanned. The company was updating it “Employee Pictorial Archive”, the collection of employee photos used in company brochures or booklets, typically published around subjects like Diversity, Key Values, Benefits, or Work/Life Balance. A very persuasive co-worker was trolling the offices looking for volunteers. Evidently the email solicitation effort wasn’t successful. And I, thinking it was the regular company photographer said yes. I didn’t even check hair and makeup. Rounding the corner and seeing two unfamiliar photographers and two assistants slowed my steps, but I figured what the heck, if the pictures are crummy, they won’t use them. Ha, Ha, my husband laughed later, as he told me about one of his coworkers, whose unflattering picture had appeared in every company brochure in the past 5 years. I was dressed “business casual” because I was in the factory, having presented to the Factory Management team earlier in the morning. I had on a wine suede jacket sewn from Vogue Pattern 2679 back in 2007 for an ASG meeting presentation I gave on sewing leather; a black turtleneck and the black wool tick weave pants with the pleather yoke made from Vogue Pattern 2987.

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 Faced versus Double Cloth

I think there is sometimes confusion between "double cloth" and "double faced" fabric. The best definitions I found were in the book "Sew Any Fabric" by Nancy Zieman and Clair Schaeffer. Double cloth is a reversible fabric which can be separated into two pieces of cloth with completely different weaves, colors or patterns. Like this burgundy/oatmeal wool. If you look closely you can see the black threads that hold the two layers together.
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.

Purple Progress

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

Jacket Patterns for Double Faced Fabric - Too Many Choices!

I am trying to decide on a pattern for a jacket to be made of a double faced worsted wool that is a deep purple on one side and a muted magenta on the other. I want to use both sides/colors in the jacket. I am a sucker for woven fabrics that are one color on one side and another color on the other. My justification for buying them is that it is doubly versatile; two fabrics in one! I have a piece with a light grey side and a dark grey side, a piece with forest green on one side and olive green on the other, and another with a muted orange on one side and grey on the reverse. And that is just the wools. I won’t list the knits and linens. You get the picture. Burda World of Fashion Magazines often have jacket patterns that call for two coordinating fabrics. The patterns could also be made using both sides of double faced fabric. Here are 4 possible pattern choices for jacket that I like. I printed copies of the jacket line drawings (scanned and enlarged 100%), cut them out and colored them. The colors are not exactly like my fabric, but they are in the right color family with enough contrast to illustrate the idea. I made pants using the dark color last year, and I plan to wear the jacket with the matching pants.

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.