Saturday, March 30, 2019

Fruity Suit

Spring has sprung where I live. Flowers are blooming, leaf buds are bursting out, and weeds are popping up everywhere. All excuses to get outside, either to enjoy the color or work in the garden.

Speaking of color, fashion sources are featuring lots of pantsuits in bright colors.   Vogue Magazine UK calls the trend Fruity Suiting.
courtesy British Vogue
  The styles are often  longer “skim the body” jackets with either tapered/cropped, or wide leg pants.   Similar to the styles of the 1990’s. Being a sewist of mature age, I have many patterns from that time period.  I have wanted a reason to make Vogue 1395, a Claude Montana design, circa 1994 for like..  maybe 25 years. Lest you think Claude is long forgotten, e-commerce site Farfetch recently  partnered with vintage site Byronesque to re-create 11 of Montana's classics.

Vogue 1395 State of Claude Montana

When a  wool blend suiting in "bright plum" (LOL, a fruit color name)  popped up on sale at Fabric Mart, I knew I had found the perfect fabric.

The jacket is unlined, except for the sleeves, and all seams are finished with a Hong Kong finish.  What I really liked about this jacket is that it is all business in the front and back, but with side slits up to just  under the sleeves.  The bottom edge and side slits are bound with bias binding. I stressed and sweated over that bias binding.  Cut from the wool poly blend, I wasn’t sure how well the bias binding would shape to the wide bottom edge curves and the tight curves of the slit top, or if it could be pressed neatly.  It took many samples, careful work, and massive amounts of hand basting, but it turned out great.   I did shave 1/2 inch off the shoulder width as I have narrow shoulders to start with.  Other than that, no changes to the pattern. The jacket is paired with high waisted pants, to provide color continuity from a side view.  I made my matching pants using an old favorite for a high waisted style, Burda 12-2010 108, rather than the pattern pants. For my waist (mis) shape,  darts are better than pleats and a separate  waistband. And quicker to sew.

 And interesting video on high waisted pants and how they can elongate the legs was discussed on a  Facebook group I belong to. It is targeted towards men, but some of the principles apply to women. Should you wear high waisted pants

I mentioned in an earlier post that my mom now lives with us. She moved to Richmond from a small Delaware town. She is making up for lost time on the cultural activities.  This week we attended  both the play The  Book of Mormon, and the Richmond Latin Ballet’s dance tribute to the life and works of Edger Allen Poe (an interesting mashup,  but surprisingly entertaining). She and I like to dress up for these types of events, and this suit was the outfit of choice for me.

The suit jacket and pants can be worn separately with other garments.  While making the pants I noticed that one of the silks, received in a gift box from my aunt, coordinated beautifully.  It was a 4 yard piece of paisley printed chiffon with a jacquard stripe.  Perfect for the New Look 6303 blouse with bias cut, draped double layer (lots of fabric) front.

 Such an elegant, comfortable blouse to wear when made of silk.

New Look 6303

Thursday, March 7, 2019

In The Pink!

I started 2019 “in the pink”, which means in very good health and spirits. I also sewed several items that were pink, so I thought it was a good title for this post. The item that started it all was a holiday gift. A throw for my son’s girlfriend. She loves pink.  She spends her weekend visits to my house wrapped in the wool throws I have scattered in the living area.  When I saw this medium weight wool blend houndstooth knit, I knew it would be perfect for a throw to add color and snuggle warmth to the great grey slab of a couch she and my son have in their apartment.

 As for my son, I reasoned that grayed pinks in a masculine pattern shouldn’t scare a male confident in his masculinity.   I order two yards or the fabric, machine washed and dried it, serged the edges and spent several evenings hemming the four sides by hand.  They also needed some cushions. I bought a gray sheepskin pillow and sewed two others. A pink corduroy and velvet stripe appliqued with the letter “e” cut from sweatshirt fabric.  Both son and girlfriend’s names start with “e”.  And a knitted cabled pillow made from a thrifted wool fisherman’s sweater (a Pinterest idea).

While the threads in the machines were pink, I decided to sew up the asymmetrical wrap jacket from an older Burda pattern 8848.
Burda 8848
Burda 8848 envelope back

 The suggested fabric for the jacket and skirt was “wool”.  No specifics on  what kind of wool, knit or woven.  I used a brushed wool knit. It had the minimal stretch and the feel of a boiled/fulled wool.  When it arrived, the surface was brushed, but flat and matted. After washing (cool water, delicate cycle) and drying fabric by machine, the surface was fluffier. There was very little shrinkage.

This jacket is very easy to construct. The seam and hem allowances are included in the pattern. The only task that takes some time  is mitering the three corners on the front pieces. No mitering lines are given, so use your favorite method.   Hems were sewn with the cover stitch machine.  I like to fuse of hems on knit fabrics in place with Steam a Seam before coverstitching. It prevents stretching and bunching of fabric while hemming.

It is warm and cozy, and reminds me so much of  a blanket sleeper.  Some of you may remember what they were and the way they felt.

Blanket Sleeper

The third item is a loose-fitting  blouse from the Jan 2019 Burdastyle magazine.  It is described by Burda as a raglan sleeve.

BurdaStyle 1 2019 109
 I have always called a design like this, which combines the sleeve and the yoke into one piece, a saddle yoke. I was  interested in sewing a garment featuring a saddle yoke, but had only seen them in older patterns until recently.

The fabric is a hand painted silk.  Several months ago, my aunt, having heard I sewed, sent me a surprise box of fabric. It included many beautiful high-quality fabrics she had purchased while living overseas. This fabric is a Japanese hand painted silk. Really pretty.

Hand painted silk

BurdaStyle 1 2019 109

BurdaStyle 1 2019 109

Life has been a bit busy as we were preparing our house for moving my 82 year old mother in with us. Painting, installing  hand rails on stairs and grab bars in showers, as well as curtain alterations (hemming and converting tabs to pleated headers). Mom is now moved in and we are in the process of blending cat families. My one and her two. If you are a cat person, you probably know how this process is going. Any suggestions  are welcome.