Sunday, April 1, 2012

Color, Color, Color!

The Raincoat project is suspended. The daily temperature in VA got very warm, very fast.  I have two of the” jackets” cut out and partially sewn. But if it rains I am not wearing a raincoat. I will just use an umbrella.  Instead I switched to sewing separates for spring. My choice of projects was influenced by recently read magazines and Internet surfing, combined with thoughts of an upcoming  vacation and business conference in FLA .
Orange Inspiration

First up, a casual color blocked top in yummy orange and cream, what I think of as Ceamsicle colors.

My mom would occasionally buy these icy sweet treats when I was a child. I liked the colors more than the flavor. I am not a big ice cream fan, which is really unusual given the ice cream lovers  addicts in my gene pool.
The pattern is Burda 07-2011-121.   In the magazine, it  is shown in a dark color which makes it hard to see that the front is cut from a different fabric than the back and that the front yokes are an extension of the back.
Burda 07-2011-121
  But when the fabric used for the back and sleeves is a different color than the front, it creates a color block look.  I made a few changes to the pattern. I shortened the front slit about 3 inches, added shirttail curved hems, and short sleeves using a Burda blouse sleeve pattern from another issue. The fabrics: a thin orange woven material off the drapery remnant table which when washed shrunk to a spongy stretchy texture.  The cream fabric is a woven silk from my stash. I like the look of the color blocking.  But the loose silhouette is taking some getting used to.  If I find the time, I may take out an inch or two of ease in the hip area.

My favorite pair of summer shorts are sort of like exercise shorts, but made out of stretch denim with a very slim fit and elastic waist. The brand is Faded Glory and I have no idea where and when I bought them.

I wanted to duplicate them in other heavy weight stretch fabrics. I chose Kwik Sew pattern 3807 which is described as very close fitting pants, without side seams, elastic at waist. With fabric recommendations of medium to heavyweight stretch woven fabric with stretch on crosswise grain. Suggested Fabrics: Stretch denim, stretch twill, stretch corduroy, stretch velvet, double knit, stretch gabardine.
Kwik Sew 3807
In my stash I had some brightly colored cotton lycra fabric, purchased many years ago when lycra was first being added to denim and heavy cottons. Since bright bottoms are a current fashion fad, here was my chance to use up stash fabrics, add a style shot to my wardrobe, and make a wearable muslin for my shorts.
My hip measurement falls between the Kwik Sew medium and large sizes. I figured this pattern would have little or no wearing ease, relying on the fabric stretch for movement/wearing  ease. The finished garment hip measurement for the large size was the same as mine (so a teensy bit of negative ease is built into the pattern)  Just to be on the safe side, I cut out a large, and sewed the 5/8 seam allowances. Yes, there are 5/8 inch seam allowances on this pattern, not the typical Kwik Sew 3/8 inch. They were too big. I sewed the seam allowance for the medium size. Still too big. So I dug my RTW shorts out of storage and measured key places like the leg circumference at crotch and mid thigh, and hip and waist. I transferred these to my pants and sewed along those lines. This got me the fit I was looking for. Final size was somewhere between a size small and medium width wise, a large in the crotch length, with 1 inch chopped of the back crotch extension (no butt to fill it) and removal of all the shaping along the inner leg for the knee and calves ( no leg shape).  I really think  the amount of stretch in my fabric is what caused the final combo of sizes. The pants are more like heavy weight leggings. But they are comfortable and not too tight.

While measuring my shorts, I noticed they had a shaped side seam unlike the Kwik Sew pattern. Since I especially like the fit of the shorts, I created a pattern from them. I used the "flatten shorts out,  put pins in the seam lines and on straight of grain, put tracing paper over shorts and trace along pin bumps" method of making my pattern.   Much better sources of info on making a pattern from RTW are:
Learn Nancy's top 10 tips for copying ready to wear
 Making a rub off, copy pattern of garment
Sandra Betzina Copy Ready to Wear Video

I used fabric scraps from the leggings project for my shorts. They turned out great and are a very quick sew on the serger. Warning - winter pallor legs.  But by this time next week they will be picking up some color in FLA. Can't wait!