Thursday, August 30, 2007

So Much for Pairity

The plan was to put out more than I bring in. I will never just sew from stash and not buy new fabric. But after finishing cataloging all of my fabric, I realized I have more than enough! Well, is there really such a thing? Really.

I do have plans for much of my stash this fall, but I couldn't resist these

The first is a lavender silk noil from Sewing Studio. It was on clearance and I have been looking for some noil. Also, I wanted to make something lavender because I have a couple of necklaces that go with lavender and nothing to wear them with right now. I think I will save this to make a dress next spring.

The two boucle's are from Fashion Sewing Group. The dark olive and black is all wool and I plan on making FSG 1945 with it. The mulit colored boucle is a wool blend and I will probably do the same pattern, but with variations.

This all started because of the green "travel fabric" that I bought for pants. It looks kind of like clerey-colored here, but it's a little more olive. Nancy had a beautiful boucle with deep reds and this green that I really wanted. Unfortunately, by the time I sent in my order, she was already sold out. I was so disappointed. We communicated a bit by email and she sent me some other swatches (all of which I loved) so I had to narrow it down to the two boucles shown here.

I also purchased this pretty wool in a dusty olive and cream to make a skirt. I think It will go well with the olive and black, and a few other things I have on the agenda. The black fabric is a beautiful finish pants weight poplin that I also got from FSG. This will make some very nice slacks.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Easing in a Jacket Sleeve

Sorry I don't have any pix of the process, but I think this will be pretty easy. I learned this tip when I made my coat and also it is in Nancy Erickson's book. I have also read it a few other places since then. This looks like a lot of work, but it's really quite easy when you're doing it.

1. First, when you cut out your sleeve, it is best to cut the sleeve cap notches OUTWARD. Trust me on this.

2. Then, sew up your sleeve and forget about doing the rows of basting at the top. The whole thing is that you want to "thicken" the area at the top of the sleeve so that there are no puckers and you don't have a dimpled sleeve cap.

3. Cut two bias strips of fabric the length you will need to go from notch to notch and about 1-1/2 to 2 inches wide. I used self fabric on this jacket and polar fleece on my coat. On some of my lighter weight jackets, I use a strip of linen. Wool crepe is a perfect weight if you have it. Whatever you use, you want something that will stretch and recover.

4. Line up the edge of the strip with the edge of the sleeve cap, start at the notch and sew a few stitches to anchor the strip. Now stretch the strip as much as you can while you sew the strip around the top of the cap to the next notch. Sew exactly on the seam line. I use a slightly larger stitch (a 3 on my machine) to do this. Cut off any tail left over.

5. Take that sleeve to your ironing board and put your ham into the cap. Press your sleeve so that it looks like it will when it's in the jacket. In other words, the top should already be round and smooth now.

6. With your sleeve right side out and the jacket inside out, pin the sleeve into the armhole. If you are using a two piece sleeve, make sure you have the right sleeve in the right armhole or it will swing backward.(ask me how I know!)

7. BASTE the sleeves into the armholes. Sometimes I skip this step and usually end up ripping out part of my sleeve after!! You can baste it in by machine, but it's actually faster to do it by hand. Check the outside of the armscye and make sure there are no tucks or puckers. If so, release them by cutting the basting and fixing that part

8. Try it on and look in the mirror. Does it sit right? Do you have any pulling? If so, fix it now.

9. If everything is good to go, sew in your sleeve. If you are using a loosely woven or stretchy fabric, you will want to sew the seam with either some stay tape, twill tape, seam binding, or lining selvedge. I took a strip of stay tape and cut it in half to make it narrower on this one. Don't cut seam binding in half or it will ravel away. I didn't want the tape have it tighten up the sleeve too much, so I used a narrow zig zag stitch to sew it. This prevents the armscye from stretching out of shape as you wear the jacket. If your fabric is stable or tightly woven, you can skip the stay tape.

10. Check your sleeve again and make sure there are no tucks or puckers.

11. Now, take that baby to the ironing board and put your sleeve over the ham again. Using a press cloth, press all layers of seam allowance and bias strip toward the sleeve. Let it cool before you take it off the ham. I hand catch stitched it on this jacket, but don't on most.

12. Hand Sew a shoulder pad along the shoulder seam allowance only (not along the armscye)before adding your lining. It is important to add the shoulder pad, even if it is a thin one, to support the work you've done and the sleeve.

You should now have a professional looking sleeve!

I'll add pictures the next time I make a jacket. I have several on my to do list.

Oh, here's Gigi Lewis's tip I just found on PR

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Learning: Problems and Solutions

My intent was to cut out my lining today. I decided to first go ahead a take the old lining from the trash and at least baste it into the jacket to make sure the fit was right before I did any cutting. As I was doing this I decided to take the picture on the right to show how I used a bias strip of fabric to ease the sleeve (no puckers) and then pressed it out to create a sleeve head. I also sort of stitched it down lightly since there were so many layers.

After I put in the lining and tried it on, I realized that I had hollow shoulder syndrome. This sometimes happens on my jackets which I now realize is because I have narrow shoulders. I should have cut the armscye smaller at the shoulder. So I debated - do I take out the hand stitching and try to pick out the double row of stitching for the sleeve? I tried it on again. I remembered seeing this picture in Nancy Erickson's book Sew Imagination Jackets She is always emphasizing how even very small increments of alteration can make a big difference in how a garment looks. Although my shoulder problem was not as pronounced as this picture, it was still noticeable to me. I took out both sleeves from notch to notch, thread basted a line about 1/2 inch in on the front and back pieces and pinned the sleeve. It did make a difference! ** look at the picture in the previous post and compare it to the one at the top of this post. So, I reset both sleeves. That took up my sewing time today but I'm glad I did it.

I will be compiling a list of why this is a three dot pattern - but this picture shows one of the reasons. BWOF directions do NOT tell you what to do with the collar after you attach it to the lapels and back facing. I pressed the s.a.s toward the collar to create a better roll line (another trick I learned from N.E. when making her coat pattern) and then hand stitched it to the seam allowance. If you just followed the BWOF directions, this would be loose and not attached to anything except the lapels and under-collar.

OOPS!! The picture is labeled incorrectly. Where it says "collar" it should say "back facing" which is attached to the collar. I'm too tired to go back and fix the picture. Another day - maybe.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Slow but Steady ...

Things have really slowed down here. I have been sick since last Thursday and spent the whole weekend and most of the last two days in bed. Today was my first day back to work. I did get a little sewing done - HOWEVER; I should know better than to sew when I am sick. I was making the lining for this jacket and totally screwed it up - multiple times. I finally threw it in the trash! Well, today I went to JoAnns to buy some more lining fabric, and as providence would have it, they had a much better color than last time. Originally I was going to use navy, but now I have the perfect turquoise to match the jacket. I may get a little sewing done Sunday afternoon. This is my progress so far. I still haven't decided on the buttons, and therefore, have not finished making the buttonholes. I'm leaning toward the ones on the sleeve at this point. Thanks for all of your input - it was about 1/2 and 1/2 between this blog and burdaenglish I think I want to be able to wear this jacket casually and the covered will be a little dressier.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Vintage Singer Sewing Ad

I just had to share this video

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Still working

Well, no voice, but that didn't foil my plans for sewing today (well, not too much) I did get about an hour or so of sewing in and finished the sleeves. The vents on the side are unusual, but I like them. I had a heck of a time with the buttonholes though. The fabric wanted to hang up and jam. I finally ended up using a longer stitch and tear away interfacing on the bottom and water soluble stabilizer on the top. I only finished one sleeve and will do the other tomorrow. All I have left to do now is the lining - which I think will be a big job. More pix to come later.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

BWOF 5/06 Jacket

Ever since I saw this jacket on the cover of BWOF, I've wanted to make it. Especially in that color. Well, a while ago Nancy Erickson came out with this "tropical boucle" fabric in her newsletter. I knew it would be perfect for this jacket. I finally got around to starting it. This is a 3 dot BWOF pattern and I think part of it is the cutting out! There were 8 pieces to this jacket, plus 8 pieces to cut of fusible underlining or interfacing, plus 5 lining pieces! I decided to use a fusible underlining (which I also ordered from Nancy Erickson at Fashion Sewing Group) because of the boucle fabric. I read in the SewImagination Jacket workshop book that fusing a boucle will help the fabric not snag or pull out as easily, so I thought I would try it. I also pre-washed this fabric, which made it a lot "spongier" so I thought it could use a little extra body as well. So far, it is sewing up beautifully. I got confused on the collar/facing directions and thought I was going to have to sew it all by hand, but put it aside last night and decided to go to bed. This morning at about 3:00 I woke up thinking "Aha! that's what I'm supposed to do!"

I like the curved seams on the side fronts and they really do shape the jacket nicely. *If you click on the picture you can see the seams better. This fabric is a wool and poly blend, but it's great to work with. It shapes so easily and eases beautifully. I love working with wool for that very reason. I'm planning on lining this with a navy colored poly lining. That was another thing. I bought the amount specified in the pattern, but it wasn't enough. I ended up cutting two of the pieces on the cross grain in order to get them to fit, but that should work out OK since the lining doesn't really have any stretch in either direction. The picture looks kind of lumpy, but that's because I have it pinned on the dress form.

I haven't done much sewing today because I've been fighting laryngitis and headache. I had to go to the grocery store, and then I had to come home and take a nap because it wiped me out. I'm becoming such a wimp.

So, here's my dilemma: which button do I use? The top button is a satin covered button that is painted to match. the bottom button is a plastic button that has different shades of the turquoise color. I asked my son which he liked, and after he told me that he didn't like the fabric (too old lady) he said they both have different looks, and they both go, but he liked the bottom one better. He actually has good taste in clothes, but never likes anything tweed or boucle = again, too old lady. Oh well, that's what I am now.

So, which do you prefer????

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Trying to get a little sewing done...

Well, it's definitely been Mr. Toad's Wild Ride around here lately. School started this week and of course, we've been inundated with meetings - which I missed most of because I was in the hospital with my daughter. After 3 trips to the emergency room (That's right, when everyone else was getting their classrooms ready on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I was at the ER)they finally admitted my DD for a kidney infection. Poor thing - she has been miserable. She had to stay in the hospital from Sunday night until Tuesday afternoon, which actually, was a day sooner than we expected. I'm so thankful she is "all better" now. But, I think all those trips to the ER got my resistance down so now I have a big cold. Went to the store today and stocked up on Airborne and all kinds of cold medicine so I can make it through the week.
I did manage to get a little sewing done yesterday. This was a quick and easy skirt to whip up. It took longer to mark it than to make it. I know I will wear it a lot, and even wore it today to church. I really like the topstitching stitch I found on my machine. It's perfect for this skirt fabric.
I want to make a white top or jacket with some royal blue embroidery to go with it. I'm thinking about tracing the design and maybe even doing an applique of some type. Not sure yet.

I also cut out the pattern for the turquoise jacket. I prewashed the wool, and am not sure I should have done that - but oh, well. I will probably end up dry cleaning the finished jacket because I'm afraid the fabric will get fuzzy and pill. I think this one is going to be a little bit difficult so it will take some time. And yes, time is a rare commodity these days.

Well, the wardrobe contest is over. It was a little discouraging to find out that i got 7 votes and the winner got 157! Well, Erica has a great wardrobe and everybody always loves what she makes - so a BIG shout out to Erica for a job well done! The second place winner, Laura, was also one of my favorite wardrobes in the contest. I think, however, she could put on a potato sack and make it look good! Add that to the fact that she made some really cool things, and no wonder she placed in the top two. Actually, there were many wonderful wardrobes, so I don't know how anybody made their choices. You can see the finished entries here
Just click on the words "sort by votes" and you'll see them in the order of placing. Congratulations also to all who finished the contest. It was a big undertaking and everyone came away winners with their new clothes! (but I still wish I had more than 7 votes - ;-) lol)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Voting Update

If you have already voted in the wardrobe contest at Pattern review prior to today, you will need to go back and re-vote. They accidentally opened the voting on the wrong day, so they deleted all the votes and started over today.

Coat musings

I have been thinking a lot about the coat. I"ve loved this coat from BWOF January 2007, ever since I saw it in the magazine. So, I may use this coat pattern. BWOF always has such nice details in their patterns and this looks like a good one.

On the other hand, I may use Nancy Erickson's pattern from the Fashion Sewing Group. I"ve made it before. I already have the pattern fit. It's a plain, versatile pattern. Nancy Erickson has the multiple look thing down. She has a basic set of patterns. Skirts, jacket, Coat, pants, and twinset.
I subscribe to her newsletter, and along with fabric samples, there are many pages of fashion tips and always some type of variations on one of her patterns. Last month it was all about sleeves. Evaluating the fit, changing the look, how to make vents,cuffs, trims, and pleats. So, Since I've already made the coat once before, perhaps I'll try that one.
Whichever pattern I use, I"ve decided a couple of things
1. I will underline it in flannel. The black fabric will not be warm at all, so I wnat to make it warmer.
2. The lining will be satin - coats need heavier linings than jackets in order to hang right, so satin should be right. It will also add to the warmth.
3. The coat needs to go to my knees or a little below. This is why I will not make the swing coat for this fabric. I don't think it would look as cute in a longer style. But following the fashion advise of several books I"ve read, your coat needs to be longer than the longest dress you will wear out. So, probably my dressier dresses will be longer than 3" above my knees.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Incredible Deal

Last year after I finished my coat, I decided I would like to make another one (well, several actually.) I have fabric to make a twill unlined shorter version in my stash, but many other projects have put that on the back burner. I also decided that I need an evening coat. Now, there aren't a whole lot of evening events to attend where I live. But, should something arise, I would like to have a nice coat to wear for an evening out. I decided I would start looking for a black brocade. I hadn't really decided on the style, but knew that a black brocade would be just the ticket.

Now, I have looked for this black brocade in my local JoAnns, at Hancocks, and many online sites. Of course, during summer, I couldnt find anything even close. Well, last weekend I was in JoAnns and found this beautiful fabric!

(It is a dark black, but looks lighter in the photos)

"Perfect", I thought. $20.00 a yard - "40% off coupon" I'm thinking now. Well, I get the paper, and there is a 50% off coupon just for fabric. Eureka! So, today I finally get my butt down to JoAnns to buy the fabric. Yes- it is still there. The fabric has a little silver thread running through it, but you can only see it from the wrong side of the fabric. "What's the point of that?" I'm thinking, but oh, well, I wasn't looking for sparkly, but it would have been a nice touch. I'd looked at a couple of coat patterns and 3 yards seemed like it would be a good amount to get, but when I get to the cutting counter I tell her "3-1/2" just to be safe. If there is extra, I can make a bag. She tries 4 time to scan the fabric, and finally it scans. "I don't think you can use your coupon" she tells me. "Why not" I ask. "I think it's on sale." Then she shakes her head as the scanner blinks. "How much is it on sale for?" I ask. "Five dollars a yard" As I'm trying to do the math in my head (end of the day - math brain not working well) she hands me the ticket. My total fabric purchase is $8.75 for a $70 piece of fabric! I can't believe it. When I get outside, I open the bag to double check the tag, still not believing the price, and to my surprise, the fabric glimmers in the light. Wow.

This project won't happen for a while, but I'm so excited that I got the fabric.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Voting Has Begun!

If you have not gone to Pattern Review and checked out the Wardrobe contest gallery, you must do so. There are so many incredible collections that people have made. I don't know how anyone will decide which one to vote for. Well, of course, I hope I win one of the prizes, but there are so many fabulous creations. If you would like to vote, just click on the link in the photo gallery that says "click here to vote for this entry".

There are also some great creations at the One Pattern Multiple Looks gallery too. I did an entry for that contest as well, but did not get as many things done as I would have liked to since I was working on the wardrobe contest too.

After all that I did for the wardrobe contest, I really wanted to do something different, easy and fast. I chose BWOF 5/2007 #130.

The biggest obstacle in making this dress was laying out the fabric. I think I fiddled with that thing for over 1/2 hour trying to keep it straight. It was well worth it though, because the dress was easy to make and I like it. I'll probably make the top next since I already have the pattern pieces out. I did pull up the straps a bit to make it not so low cut, but I kind of like it lower, although I couldn't wear it to work like that. I should have lowered the armholes a little so that when I pulled up the straps I wouldn't also be making the armholes smaller. I also thought that this fabric will probably "grow" since it is a rayon knit, so it may stretch out anyway.

I like how BWOF has you do the facing on the inside. The front is faced, the back is not. after you face the front, you pin the sideseams leaving the facing free. Then you pull the facing over the top and stitch the three layers together, thus encasing the raw edge of the facing. Neat.