Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tucked Away

I had a business trip to Chicago  a couple weeks ago,  while the polar vortex was influencing the  weather in that area.  I thought the breezy cool weather with no humidity  was wonderful. The locals were complaining about wearing sweaters in July.  The  weather  cooled my stalled, overheated sewing engine, and I was able to restart it and finish one of the jackets in sewing limbo.

I had  approximately  1  1/3 yard of  60" wide piece of an off white woven with slubbed  navy stripes.  The fabric actually had a bit of stretch to it.  I am not sure where I got it.   It insisted on being a jacket. The pattern is Simplicity 2728, a jacket with many variations.  Though it came out in 2009, there are still reviews popping up on the PR site.

Simplicity 2728

 I made the collarless view with elbow length sleeves.  There was no extra fabric to spare. The back, front and shortened sleeve patterns barely fit on the fabric. The neckline and hem facings are in a contrasting navy fabric.

Barely enough fabric
The jacket is lined in navy Bemberg rayon.  No surprises on this jacket except that I should have checked ease over body measurement before cutting. It is a bit looser in the bust  than I like. Because there are no side seams; the front extends into the side back, it is a bit hard to tweak the fit. 

Close up of jacket fabric

Simplicity 2728 Jacket front

Simplicity 2728 Jacket Back

Simplicity 2728

 I also sewed the blouse worn with the jacket. The fabric is a pink cotton chambray.  I searched my pattern stash for a  blouse pattern with  a collar that could be worn with a V neck jacket.   The pattern I chose was an older Vogue Anne Klein blouse pattern, 2789 - view A with pin tucks in the waist area for shaping and sleeves with tie bands

Vogue 2789
  I love the look of tucks,  but  I had forgotten how much time and effort they require until I had completed about 5 and realized I had 35 more to sew. A pin tuck is basically just topstitching near the fold of a garment. They can be done with a special pin tuck foot and double needles or a regular pressure foot  and single needle. I use a edge stitch foot with a single needle positioned 2.5 to the left of center.

Stitching Tuck with Edge Stitching Foot

Finished Sample Tucks

Vogue 2789 

Tucks take up fabric in the area where they are sewn. Very few patterns with pin tucks tell you how wide they should be. The patterns typically have the marking for the tuck fold line and that is it.    My waist is a bit thicker than the typical pattern waist measurement,  so I was very careful to make small, even tucks.  While I was sewing them, I thought about other garments that I have made with tucks.  I have been sewing since before internet info sources, sew-alongs,  blogs, and even local sewing organizations.  I would tackle project that tested my sewing skills. Some of them were successful and some were learning experiences.  Back in 2002, Vogue 2621 was a learning experience where tucks and lack of fitting expertise (checking my measurements against the pattern) resulted in a UFO (UnFinished Object). 
Vogue 2621
The jacket has tucks along the hem and the sleeves. The skirt has them in the yoke.    I cut the two garments out of treasured eggplant wool crepe, sewed the tucks using a randomly chosen width, and constructed the garment.  I tried them on and they were both too small. I  wondered what became of those garments. On a whim I checked in my UFO closet.   Cue hysterical laughing. OMG! Look what I found.  With two sets of possible buttons pinned to the front shoulder. It is definitely time for a clean out. What is in your closet?

12 year old UFO

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Did someone say “Contest”?

If you have read my blog for any length of time you know that I participate in sewing contests.  Sewing with a Plan (SWAP) contests, internet fabric vendor sponsored contests, and the wide variety (Pantone color, accessory, vintage garment, etc.)  of contests found on  Pattern Review.   I participate more for the challenge than the prizes, which are usually minimal.  

 The American Sewing Guild  (ASG) announced an Anyone Can Win Contest in early June.

 Every ASG member who entered a garment had a chance to win, regardless of their sewing expertise or experience, because the winners were chosen at random.  The only requirement was that the entries had to be made with one of ASG's Simplicity patterns.  I had Simplicity 1621 in my stash, purchased for the jacket which has a interesting collar that can be adjusted by pulling a drawstring.

This contest was all the incentive I needed to sew the jacket.  In addition to the jacket, the pattern includes a sleeveless tunic/dress with a fitted top, with  flaring below the bust on  all seams; side, center front and back.  It also has a Hi (in front)  Lo ( in back) hem. I decided to sew the dress too, so I would have two garments to submit to the contest and have a complete outfit to wear.
The jacket is made out of very lightweight open weave linen with a dégradé from rusty orange to dusty purple.

 I should call this my” rusty, dusty” outfit.  The fabric was horribly ravely and shifty. I  used French seams, but instead of sewing the first 1/4 inch seam using a straight stitch, I used a 1/4 " wide serger stitch to stop the fraying and sew the seam in one operations .  While I wouldn’t use this technique on finer fabric, because of the weight the serger threads adds in the seam, it did not adversely  impact the side and sleeve seams of this jacket. I added 2 inches to the length of the jacket, because I thought it looked a bit too short on the real women in the review pictures on PR, and  I needed the extra length in the jacket to get the full range of colors in the fabric.

Simplicity 1621 Jacket
 The dress shown on the front of the envelope, which I think is made of a woven fabric, has a unattractive bell like silhouette. I decided to make it out of a knit, hoping the weight and drape of the knit would improve the appearance.  My dress is made out of an inexpensive  T-shirt type knit. The cut edge of this knit curled like a spring. It was sooo annoying to work with.  Rather than finish the neck and armhole edges with bias trim as the pattern instructs,  I cut  facing pieces using the dress pattern.  I cut the facings off at the under bust  elastic casing line (for the view B top).  I added elastic, cut to my under bust measurement, to the bottom of the facing piece which added a shelf bra to the dress. The finished dress was sort of boring. While I was trying it on DS2 passed through the room, en route to forage food in the kitchen, and he asked me "Are you going to bed?" I was really puzzled about his question until I realized I don't usually make or wear this style of dress, but I do wear straight hanging garments in T shirt knits as nightwear.   To liven up the dress,   I hand overcast the seams on the outside  in contrasting rust colored  embroidery floss.    I knew the overcasting  would  create a raised ridge, taking up about 1/8" of the fabric on each side of the seam.  So I sewed the seam allowance corresponding smaller,  at 1/2" so as not affect the fit. I also cover stitched the hem and around the neck and armholes in the same color thread.

Simplicity 1621 dress
overcast seams and cover stitch hem

Simplicity 1621 dress and jacket

 The contest entries were due on July 1st. No announcement of winners or pictures of the garments submitted are on the ASG website at the time of this post. I do like the jacket and was actually surprised to find I like the look of the jacket worn with the dress. I am not so sure I would wear the dress by itself. It echo's my body shape a little to closely, small on top, lots of volume below the waist. Maybe with a killer statement necklace to draw attention up.   I am also not sure this is a work outfit. The jacket with a coordinating tank top ( where did I toss those scraps?) and slacks would be great though.