Friday, January 28, 2011

Earning My Stripes

Thanks for your suggestions on how to get past the distraction of too many potential new projects. I liked Valerie’s the best. “I think you should take a month or more off from work and get them all done!” Sigh, I wish! What I actually did was promise myself one of the new projects when my jackets were complete. Then I made a list of the sewing tasks remaining to be done on the jackets. Once they were written down, they weren’t so overwhelming and I finished them.

Why was I making two jackets at once? I recently lost two pieces of one of my older SWAP wardrobes. A pair of pants ended up miniaturized because of a poor laundry decision and a jacket had to be thrown away because the trim, made of faux leather, started to deteriorate and flake off the knit fabric backing. I replaced the pants using a TNT BurdaStyle pants pattern.

The fabric I wanted to use to replace the SWAP jacket was maroon wool with faint tan, pink and dark maroon stripes. So I was looking for a jacket pattern that could be made of a striped fabric. During my holiday break, the Jan 2011 issue of Burda Style arrived. The picture of Jacket #127 showed a high hip length, fitted jacket in a solid color. Closer study of the drawing of the pattern pieces revealed that it had a back peplum that was an extension (cut on) of the jacket front.

If the front of the jacket was cut out of a vertical striped fabric, the stripes in the curved peplum would be on the diagonal and they would chevron at the center back seam. I love details like that. Also the vertical dart on the jacket front has one leg parallel to the grain line /stripes and one at a slight angle. When the dart is sewn, the stripes to the outside of the dart would angle slightly up and outward. A nice look.
I have noticed that BurdaStyle often shows striped or plaid fabric in tops with the waist bust dart. I assume this is because this type of dart does not cause the eye jarring distortion of stripes and plaids like a side bust dart would.

There was another piece of striped fabric lying on top of my fabric heap that I also thought would work well with this pattern. In a burst of energy, I decided to cut two jackets using the same pattern, vaguely remembering this recommendation in a sewing book of "Time saving Techniques and Shortcuts for Busy Sewers". It said use fabrics that can be sewn with the same color thread, double the interfacing and lining so you cut the pieces for both jackets at the same time. Sew the jackets simultaneously repeating each step for both, with the real time savings coming from not having to read the directions or think through the construction steps on the second jacket. I reread the book after making the jackets and discovered there was a line I had forgotten. The author goes on to say "It seems a little tedious while sewing, but I always remind myself that in the end I will have two new jackets" Tedious is too nice a word to describe sewing multiple lapel collars, and setting in 8 sleeves, 4 in the garments, and 4 in the linings. And because stripes require careful layout and cutting, I think all the theoretical time efficiency was lost.

Both jacket fabrics were uneven stripes. An uneven or unbalanced stripe repeats the stripe pattern in only one direction on the fabric. An even or balanced stripe repeats the same pattern on both the right and left of the dominant stripe.

For a garment made from a vertical uneven stripe, you can choose to have the stripe repeat around the garment or be a mirror image on each side of the garment. For a repeat, cut the pattern pieces using the with nap layout which is with the fabric folded double with selvedges together, all garment pieces oriented top to bottom on the fabric.

For a mirror image, it is recommended that pattern pieces be cut out of a single layer of fabric. And the left side pattern pieces be in the opposite lengthwise direction as the right side pieces. Uneven lengthwise stripes will chevron only if mirror imaged at the seam.
Rather than cut out each pattern piece from a single layer of fabric, I chose to fold my fabric in half horizontally, making sure the stripes on both pieces were exactly aligned, and cut out each piece double. It achieves the same result.

The wool jacket has subtle stripes. The only one easily seen by the eye is the pink one and it repeats evenly across the fabric. So I used the with nap layout. The jacket works well with my old SWAP blouses.

The second jacket was made out of a 1.3 yard remnant of 54” cotton lycra green and burgundy stripe. I had to use every layout trick I knew of to get the jacket out of the available fabric. All seam allowances are 3/8 inch. The sleeves are ¾ lengths. And the upper collar and front facings below the roll line are pieced together from scraps.

Some of the stripe matching that a perfectionist would do was not possible because of limited fabric. The stripes at the shoulder seams and at lapel collar lines are not matched. I just went for symmetry of stripes on both sides of the jacket. This jacket is more casual and will be worn in warmer weather, if it ever gets here.

Even though my spring Vogue patterns have arrived, I will probably do a couple more winter sewing projects. The cold and dreary weather makes me want to sew warm fuzzy wools and flannel.

Magazine Sources

In answer to the questions about where I get some of the foreign sewing magazines shown in the picture from my last post.

Australian Stitches magazine

This magazines features fabulous garments made from the latest patterns (6 months behind the USA) with technical instructions, and step x step photos. They are known for sewing the garments and giving honest assessments of the style, fit and pattern instruction sheet. There are also articles on makeovers of real people with wardrobe-planning advice and the latest trends from the USA and Europe.

I have had a subscription for years through the Canadian company Stonehouse Publications. Staff is available 9AM to 5PM Eastern Time, Monday thru Friday to answer any questions at 1-800-461-1640, and to assist with your order. They currently have a very good offer of 15 issues for the low price of $74.63 on their website or if you call. I have no idea how long this offer will last.

Russian Sewing Magazines

I have purchased trial (3 month) subscriptions to two Russian sewing magazines through a US distributor of Russian magazines called Podpiska.
Шитье и крой Translation:Sewing and Cut
Ателье Translation:Studio


Contact Information:
Phone: 1-800-763-7475 (Personnel speaks Russian and English)
Fax: (617) 964-8753

Unicont Enterprises, Inc.
1340 Centre St., Ste 209 .
Newton Centre, MA 02459-2453

60088 ШиК ( Шитье и Крой) This is the Item number and the Russian name of the magazine. You can copy /paste either of them into the search field on the web site to pull up the order info.
Subscription of 3 issues for $28.00

My description - This magazine is similar to European pattern magazines BurdaStyle, Patrones, Mia Boutique, KnipMode, etc. in that the patterns are printed on pages which can be removed from the magazine for tracing. However the garment styles are rather basic and conservative. Except for the styles of the featured Russian designer, which can be rather “different”. Each garment pattern is available in only one size, unlike the other pattern magazines which usually print each pattern in a range of sizes. One issue per year is an exact copy of a previously published Mia Boutique issue. The Nov 2010 issue of Sew and Cut was the Jan 2010 issues of Mia Boutique, same pictures, same patterns, and same sizes.

60073 Ателье This is the Item number and the Russian name of the magazine. You can copy /paste either of them into the Search feature on the web site to pull up the order info. Subscription of 3 issues for $28.00

My Description - This magazine has articles on the latest trends in fashion, articles on drafting patterns using CAD software, and articles on couture level garment construction. There are also articles showing how to work from a fashion illustration or a picture of a garment and drape it on a dress form. I don’t believe there are typically patterns in the magazine, though the last issue had a number of dress patterns, each in one size only. In the Dec. issue there was an article on making the patterns for and sewing wonderful fur hats with shaped insets of contrasting fur.

And this article on draping this haute couture dress with pages of pictures of each step.

I wish there was an English language magazine with this same content.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sewing Sensory Overload

Help, I am paralyzed by sewing sensory overload. I was nearing completion on two versions of this jacket from the Jan. issue of Burdastyle magazine when I received 5 sewing magazines and two vintage patterns all at once.
The magazines: Jan/Feb Threads which was a bit late, two issues of Stitches, the Jan issues of Studio and the Feb/Mar Vogue Patterns. So many ideas and new patterns, I can't focus.

The patterns for all these dress were in the Jan. issue of Studio, a Russian magazine about pattern drafting, designing and industry clothing construction. I want to make every one of them. They all have design details I have never sewn before.

Then the Vogue Pattern magazine arrived. This magazine has improved so much in the past year. More technique articles, and free patterns. They have even copied shamelessly from BurdaStyle. Vogue now has the line drawings of the garment on the photo page, and has the "styling one garment 4 ways" feature that Burda has. "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"

This issue has a lot of new patterns I want to buy, right now. Or at least put in my shopping cart on the Vogue pattern web site so the minute the BMV sale is announced, I can send in my order. Of course none of the new patterns are on the Vogue web site yet. It is so frustrating. Here are my favorites.

I love the ladylike sillouete and seaming on this dress.

And the neat released tuck detail at the neckline of this dress. This pattern is for knits. I am thinking of converting the dress to a top by cutting it off at the high hip.

This Donna Karan dress looks like they took one of the her knit crossover dress patterns and converted it for wovens. Interesting but a bit bulky looking.

I love this Donna Karan shirt dress, though I would make it in a lighter weight woven fabric than the one it is shown in.

This Pamela Roland dress is an update of the sleek lines and A line silhouette of my favorite 60's dresses.

I have the perfect silk print fabric for this Vena Cava dress, but I don't think I can carry off a shapeless silhouette like this one. I don't have the shoulders for it.

And my absolute favorite - the jacket in this wardrobe pattern. Interesting sleeves and seaming, open neckline, and pleated peplum. The perfect casual summer jacket.

Anybody have any suggestions how I can calm myself down and prioritize my next sewing projects?