Sunday, April 24, 2016

Not a New Look for me

I have seen the question "What is the inspiration for your next sewing project?" posted on blogs. 

It varies for me. Sometime the inspiration for my next sewing project is the piece of fabric lying on the top of the  nearest pile.  Is this the  LIFO (last in first out) inventory method? Probably not when that piece  recently came from the depths of my stash.

  Our ASG group recently did some community sewing. Duffle bags for foster children  with the local chapter of  Catholic Charities. A group of teenage boys.  So the bags had to be in boy type fabrics. I dug deep into my stash of denims and cotton twills, from the pre lycra era, and pulled out a large piece of sueded, dusty purple colored cotton.  It yielded a couple  of duffle bags, but there was still a big piece left over. On its way back to the depths of my stash it happened to take a rest stop  by a piece of  rayon gauze print. An unfamiliar fabric in non typical colors. A "Why did I order this?" Internet purchase. But they coordinated. So I decided to make a jacket out of the cotton and a top out of the gauze.  I wanted to make a short jacket to go over a longer top. Like the multi layer, cascading look of this HP pattern, which I order, printed, taped together, compared to my sloper and decided the required alterations were not worth the effort.

 I chose New Look 6633 for the jacket because it had simple neckline and princess seams for fitting.    I created facings instead of lining it to the edge and did channel stitching around the front and sleeve edges.
I chose New Look 6213 for the top  because it was long and had the drapey tie in the front.  I decided to make view A with the flutter, cut out shoulder sleeves because the cold shoulder fad is quite big now in RTW.

New Look 6213
New Look 6213

My final feelings on this combo.


Stiff cotton fabrics do not make flattering jackets.
One piece sleeves is stiff cotton fabrics quickly start to look like corrugated pipes.
Donate all old cotton denims and cotton twills to charity !

New Look jacket 6633


Rayon guaze is interesting fabric. light weight but stiff, easy to sew.
Dusty purple and pale pink are not my colors.
The cutout shoulder flutter sleeves

New Look 6213 view A
New Look 6213  - cold shoulder

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Vogue 1493 Part 1 - A Battle with Bias

I have been working on the latest Koos Van den Akker jacket from Vogue Patterns for the past 4 weekends plus some evening session when I wasn’t traveling for work.

 And I am still not done.

 Don’t underestimate the time it will take to make the version of this jacket with the embellishments and appliqu├ęs.  What takes so much time? It requires yards and yards of bias binding.

  ½ “ and 1 “  finished  width, single fold bias binding for the  embellishment on the  garment front, the front band and sleeve cuff. And on the inside, the raw edges of the seams are finished with ½ “  double fold bias binding  to prevent fraying and give  a couture look.  I wanted binding in specific colors and fabrics, which meant I had to make it before I could apply it.

The pattern instructions for forming and applying the bias trim are very clear and complete, however I chose to use some  different processes and tools for making and applying the bias on my jacket.

Embellishment Bias

My embellishment  bias binding was made using a linen  blend.  It was easy to cut  and press into shape.  

Cutting - I used the rotary cutter and a clear see through ruler to cut 1" strips from the fabric, not the pattern piece supplied. This allowed longer strips and less joins.

My method
Pattern methods
Forming  - I used a bias binding maker tool .

Applying -  I applied the  ½ inch binding to the cuffs and front  bands using a 6mm cover stitch. 

Pros – Fast!  Because  both edges are stitched down at same time sides at once.  Con – adds thread/weight to backside of sleeve cuff and neck band pieces.  If you are considering applying the bias with a cover stitch machine, you might want to narrow the binding from ½ inch to 3/8 “otherwise there is a lot of space between the edge of the binding and the stitching.

Inside seam finish bias.  

I always admire the work of sewing bloggers who finish the  inside of their garment with couture level techniques.  But I also think they must have a lot of time on their hands.  No day job or kids etc.  I ignored the "just serge the seam raw edges" thoughts going through my head. and followed the instruction to finish the inside seam edges with bias.  Did I feel accomplishment and self satisfaction? Nope, overwhelming boredom and frustration. The fabric I chose for the bias was difficult to work with and extended this "prep" step. I really wanted to get to the construction of the jacket.

 I used a jacquard acetate/rayon lining fabric to finish the edges of the seams and hems.   Argh! This fabric was horrible to work with because it slithered and stretched at will.

The instructions have you finish the raw edge after you sew the seams.  Essentially you are sewing the length of each seam 5 times if you finish the raw edge with bias binding as the pattern instructs. I decided to make the double fold bias using the bias maker tool.  The fabric I had chosen stretched out of shape so badly the when  I tried using the bias biding maker, it became too narrow to cover the edge of the fabric. My next strategy was to use the bias binder pressure foot for my sewing machine.

 It allows you to feed an unfolded bias strip into a cone shaped opening that folds the binding around the edge of the fabric while sewing it at the same time.  This foot is difficult to use on the edges of fabric  that have already been seamed.  So I marked the seam lines on the wrong side of my fabric and bound the raw edges with the bias binding before I sewed the seams. The binding adds a bit of width to the edge so the seam lines I marked in the earlier step were essential for accurate seaming.

This jacket is described as very loose fitting.  I made a size Small (8-10). My measurements put me squarely in a Vogue size 16 so in theory I should have made the size L/G(16-18). I have slightly narrower than average shoulders and the shoulder seams of this jacket are designed to fall beyond the shoulder. I felt I would swim in a L/G size. 

There are no finished  garment measurements printed on the pattern pieces, so I measured the  width of the  pattern pieces at the hip area and compared it to my hip measurement  The size S finished garment circumference at the hips was 49”, 8 inches over my hip measurement. Plenty of style ease for a  loose fitting garment. The main jacket  fabric is a tencel twill purchased from Denver Fabrics.  it has a sueded surface and a nice weight and drape.

Now I can start the fun  process of  creating the applique.  but unfortunately  it will  have to wait  until  I get back from this week's business trip.