Sunday, September 26, 2010

New Bianca

I made another Bianca top today. This time I added 1/4" to the shoulders, and added about 1/4 " to each side seam at the hip. I made the sleeves and bottom hem all 2" longer. I also used the coverstitch to do the hems to provide more elasticity. This time I traced the longer sleeve which is wider at the elbow, and then cut it off at the desired length. This sleeve is much more comfortable than the previous one.

You can see here that the neckline is just serged and turned under. I did use the coverstitch on the hems though.

Before I cut this out, I decided I would line it up with a Christine Johnson top that fits me well. It is from the basewear 2 pattern. Surprisingly, the shoulder slant is already there and matched perfectly my altered shoulder on this top! No wonder I liked the fit of that one so much. The biggest difference is that the CJ has a higher armscye and at least 2" in on each side at the waist for shaping! This top is pretty straight. Unfortunately, I have gained about 10 pounds since I made the CJ tops, so this is probably a better fit for me right now.

I saw a post on Cidell's blog about her serger being out of commission right now. It got me to thinking about how much I use mine. I think my serger is one of the best sewing investments I have made. I bought it about 20 years ago, and it doesn't have any special feet or even a differential. It just serges. I can use left or right needle or both, and can do a flatlock or rolled hem. That's it. Nothing fancy. But it has definitely been a workhorse and I use it on almost everything I sew.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bianca top

I've been working on this Bianca top. I love the fabric which is a rayon jersey. I made this without prewashing, allowing for a little shrinking in length. I did prewash a test 4X4 inch square, and it only shrank in length. Let me tell you, it was SO much easier working with this knit without it being prewashed. The edges didn't curl and it had more body, so it was easy to work with.

I was not happy with the neckline on this. You can't really see it in the picture, but I feel like it did not fit right for some reason. It fit better today than it did last night. Must have been the different bra haha! I decided last night that I would cut off the neck and do it over. I wanted to get a picture first so I could ask your opinions on the before and after. since I cut off the already hemmed neckline, this was a total removal of about 3/4 inch. I think I like the way it looks better now, but I've looked at it so much now that I'm not sure if I can tell if there is a difference or not. I'd like to make it again, so I'd like to know what you think about the neckline and which is more flattering. Also, next time I will widen the arm a bit and lengthen it about 2 inches

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I feel like a stranger in a foreign land

Today I pulled up my beloved bloglines to catch up my blog reading only to find out that as of October first, there will be no more Bloglines! OMG - my immediate thought was, "how will I access all my favorite blogs?" At one time I had them all listed in my blogroll, but it is so much easier to just click them into bloglines, that I have been keeping track of all of you out there that way. It was simple enough to export all of my blog feeds into an OPML following the instructions on Bloglines, and then I imported them into Google reader. But now I am lost. I no longer see the current pictures without opening the blogs. I can't figure out where I'm going or what I'm doing. OK, I only gave it 5 minutes, but still.
Work has been so crazy that I haven't been keeping up with my blogs the way I like to. Now it's going to take me even longer to figure the whole Google Reader thing.

So what do the rest of you do to keep up with your blog reading. Also, since I have an iphone, is there a good reader out there any of you are using that also has an iphone app?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I Like It, I Like It!

Finished the Garbo tonight. Even though this fabric is really too limp for the jacket, I still like the way it turned out. It doesn't have enough body to completely hide the shoulder pads, but it does hang nicely other than that.

It took forever to straighten the grain on this fabric (a rayon acetate blend) and I finally ended up cutting along a thread crosswise and thread tracing along a thread at the fold line. It was extra work, but I'm really glad I did it. When something as loose as this is off grain, it will really pull and twist.

After altering the paper pattern just to raise the shoulder at the neck point (boy that was a quick and easy alteration - so nice not to fiddle with all the darts and tweaking) I laid out the pattern with weights. I traced around it with a marker and then cut with shears. Since the fabric is such a loose weave, I knew snip marks would not show, so I marked the notches with painters tape. This removed easily and did not leave any marks on the fabric.

Instead of using facings, I just turned under the neckline. First I serged it with 3 threads using the left rather than the right needle. I serged 1/4" clear elastic to the edge which stabilizes the seam. It does not show since the edge is turned under and stitched down.

The buttons took forever! The fabric is too loose to support buttons or button holes, so I covered snaps with silk organza and then sewed the buttons on the outside. The top snap looks best since I used two layers of organza. However, it is also the most difficult to snap, so after doing that one, I decided to use only one layer on the other ones. If I find that the snapping gets easier, then I may go back and cover the others with 2 layers. It just looks better to not have the snap showing through so much. When I looked at the jackets in Loes's shop, she told me that she covered her snaps with chiffon.

I really like how this turned out and I must say that I am happy with the fit. I really could not imagine making this without doing a FBA or at least adding a dart. How simple is this?

In my last post, Linda T asked, "How does a class like this work? Is it a "work though at your own pace?" Let us know how you like it." The online "seminar" is really just a PDF with a lot of instructions. I think there was a lot of good information included. Loes is really big on NOT washing fabric before you sew on it. There are other designers that feel the same way and there has been a lot of discussion on this topic off and on on several of the sewing boards. I haven't taken the leap of faith yet, but I do plan on doing it on the next couple of garments I make and see how I like the results. (This is also discussed in some detail in some of Loes's literature.)

All in all, I'm really happy with this jacket. Also shown in the photo above are the Oxford pants which I made out of some cheap fabric last year. Although I really like the pants, I hate cheap fabric. The pants look good from a distance, but they are already pilling and have snags. Very annoying.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A New Garbo

Last weekend when I was in Loes Hinse's shop, I noticed that all of her jackets were what she calls "cardiganized". In other words, no lining, no separate facings in the back, and the front is extended 1-1/2 " and turned under for a self facing. She is using a lot of knits and loose wovens for a super light feel. She feels the facings cause pulling and give an unflattering look for her flowy style. (even though the patterns include facings.)
Tonight, I cut out a pattern for the Garbo jacket using her fit tips and cardiganizing the pattern. Wow! What could be simpler? Only 3 pieces, no facings, no darts. Normally I do an FBA, forward shoulder, wider at the hips, and narrow shoulder. I would normally have added a dart and/or lowered the front hem. This time I cut a straight small with the only adjustment being adding 1/2" inch at the neckline on the front shoulder.

The fabric I am using is a very loose weave rayon acetate blend. It may be too unstable for this, but we will see. It is an ivory/oatmeal color with a "linen" weave. I really like it and it is soft and silky feeling.

I also purchased an online "seminar" from the Casual Elegance Website called "Sewing with Loes 2000" She recommended this one to me because it has all of the information she gave me on pants fitting. It also has information on stabilizing, her philosophy, fabric choice, sewing processes and laying out the pattern and cutting. Even though I am an experienced sewer, I found it good information and worth the price, which was $35.00.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Loes Hinse

I've known for months that my husband was doing a triathlon this weekend in Pacific Grove/Montery. So my first thought? Loes Hinse's studio is in Carmel, and I'd really like to go! I talked to Andy about it before we left, and he was all for it. So, after a few phone calls, and a good GPS, we made our way to Loes's studio.
I had talked to Sharon Lyon's on the phone earlier when I could not get ahold of Loes. I had told her that I was having some fit issues, so really wanted to get into the boutique and try on the clothes to see what I needed to do. Well, she spoke to Loes before I got there, so Loes was expecting me and my "fit issues" I always thought I could not wear the jackets because of having a full bust (34DD) and the patterns have no darts. I also thought I have narrow, sloping, forward shoulders and wide hips. OK, I do have the wide hips, but come to find out, the forward shoulder is not really my issue at all, but the sloping. Also, I always tried to correct the sloping by lowering the shoulder at the armscye. Loes showed me how raising the shoulder at the neckline would release the fabric that was causing wrinkles in the front of the garments. This also stops the jackets/tops from hiking up in the front. I can hardly wait to get home and try it.

It was great visiting with Loes. Not only did she help me with this top issue, she also gave me suggestions for the best pant and top patterns for my body type (which is very similar to hers, but she's smaller) She gave me tips on how to deal with the waistband because of sway back and how to do a rotation alter for a longer rise in the pants. She suggested the oxford (which I have) and the Hepburn(which I'm ordering) because of the fact that my thighs are larger in the front and wider on the sides than my hips. The best jacket length for me is the shorter. In her store, all of the tops right now are the bianca.

I also got to see the new jacket, top, and pants designs. The jacket is very much like the ascot, but the neckline and collar are a little different. The top (which also includes a dress) is sort of a wider shoulder tank. She was wearing the new pants are very wide. I think she is calling these the "Cabo", but I can't remember exactly. She asked me to share the following things:
The princess tank has been reissued and will only be available at Casual Elegance. In fact, all of her new patterns, which will be on heavier paper, will only be available through CE. Patterns that are at other vendors, once they are sold out, will no longer be available unless they are under a reissue. The Capri pant is the next to be reprinted. I think the jacket is coming out next, and then the pants and the top/dress. She will not even be selling her own patterns through her site - all will be offered through Casual Elegance. The skirt, which was pretty interesting when I saw it in person - not a typical wrap as it looks in the pix - is only available through download.
All in all, I'm so glad I finally got to get in to Loes's shop, and I can't wait to make some new clothes. I saw all (or most) of the fabrics that are available through CE right now, and I love them. Last night I placed an order for fabric to make a jacket, pants, and a couple of tops. I had to order the pants fabric in 2 pieces, so I hope I may have enough left over to make a skirt.

Monday, September 06, 2010

V is for Vest

I have been wanting to make a vest for about 3 years now, and just havent done it. Well, I did make a reversible SafTPockets vest a couple of years ago, but that didn't turn out very well. It was way too big and I only wore it one time and gave it away. Anyway, this is exactly the kid of vest I have been wanting to make. I found this pattern in the May BWOF of 2009. It also has another version with a collar and cap sleeves which I really like.

From Fall2010

This pattern is for a woven, but I had about a yard of ponte knit left over from the last skirt that I wanted to use. Since I was using a knit instead of a woven, I did not cut it out on the bias as the pattern calls for. I debated leaving it unlined, but decided it wouldn't really be much extra work to line it, and I always like lined things better anyway. This lining is left over from a skirt I made a couple of years ago. It actually was the lining for the skirt. Unfortunately, I am too fat to wear the skirt now, but I love that skirt and am hanging onto it with high hopes of fitting into it again.
From Fall2010

I am taking a trip to Tennessee in October to visit my brother, so I am trying to put together a few things that will travel well and fit the weather there. It is still HOT here, but I'm thinking it will probably be cool in Tennessee in the fall. I think this vest will get a lot of use.