Good morning readers! Well, let’s first get the obvious out of the way: yes, I’ve been gone for awhile but nothing’s wrong. In fact, everything’s right because I finally, finally, finally got a JOB! Yes, I am once again among the gainfully employed – woohoo! It’s a little tough getting used to a set schedule once again but it’s getting easier every week. This past Sunday I was actually able to spend a couple of hours in my sewing room. I know that’s not a lot but it was very therapeutic. Thanks again to all of you who emailed to check on me during my absence, I’m quite flattered.
Sooooooo, when I went into my sewing room last weekend I thought I’d work on the dress pattern I’d been altering. But, I just didn’t feel like working on that so I pulled out one of my summer favorites, the HP Metropolitan Deneuve Tuxedo Shirt. I’ve made two already and every time I wear one I wish I had a couple more. It’s hot as blazes right now and I can barely stand to have anything touch me so this cool but chic tunic fits the bill.
I bought this Irish linen at Maggi’s For Fine Fabrics about 15 or 16 years ago so I thought it was high time I did something with it. Since it has a woven stripe I decided to cut the bib on the bias for interest. I eliminated the placket and will use bias ties instead (like I did on my heirloom version).
I used Japanese straight tape to stabilize the front edge and the shoulders. At the front edge, I simply cut it in half with the rotary cutter so it would be hidden under my binding.
Then it was just a matter of running the front edges through my 1 1/4″ binding attachment and then running the neckline through. If you don’t have a binding attachment, you would simply use your trusty Clover bias tape maker.
To make the ties, I started binding at the shoulder and then just ran the excess length through the binder.
The ties are very long so I will cut them down later. Stay tuned!
Things have been very busy for me since I returned from Couture Boot Camp! I am still working on my strapless dress whenever time permits but found myself with a free day today so I thought I’d whip up a simple summer dress from Vogue 1224 by Tracy Reese.
I have always loved a peasant style blouse or dress for summer and this is such a cute casual dress that will work well with a pair of flats, don’t you think? As soon as this pattern was released I knew I’d use this jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics that has been in my stash for a couple of years. I’m such a copycat!
I made a size 8 with a 5/8″ full bust adjustment (which I really didn’t even need since there’s a lot of ease) and added 2″ to the length of the skirt. I found the skirt to run pretty large and ended up removing 2″ from the circumference to get the slim look as shown on the envelope. Since this is a very busy print, I omitted the lining. I certainly don’t want that extra layer if I don’t need it. Lastly, I allowed 1.25″ for the hem as I find 5/8″ to look very skimpy.
The directions have you stitch a separate elastic casing into the waistline seam. Since I didn’t want any unnecessary bulk at the waist, I omitted this step and simply pressed the skirt seam allowance up and used it to form the casing. I also made a belt from the leftover fabric to give it a more finished look. The belt was cut 2 yards by 6″ wide and stitched in a 1/4″ seam – perfect to wrap around my waist twice.
I’m really pleased with the way this turned out and the almost instant gratification I got from this pattern!
I also just finished another New Look 6429 which I have made several times already. I needed a summery interview dress that would work well with my white pique jacket and this fabric was perfect.
Instead of a facing, I bound the neckline edge – very fast and easy!
Filed under New Look, Vogue
Once the bodice had been hand basted together and I had another fitting, I stitched the dress together by machine. Notice that I took a smidgen off the bust curve of the Princess seam.
All of the seams were then trimmed, well clipped, pressed and
catchstitched to the underlining.
The next step is to insert the zipper – yay, we are coming down the home stretch! I pinned and then hand basted the zipper opening and will now insert the zipper by hand. Notice that I included the silk crepe de chine lining in my pleats to give them additional fullness and support. The skirt is also underlined with muslin.
I hope to get back to this by the weekend. I have no a/c right now and the thought of standing over a hot iron isn’t very appealing!
Phyllis had asked about my underlining yesterday so I thought I’d go into that a little more. Since my dress has a waist seam (it’s actually slightly low waisted but that’s fine) I was able to sew the boning channels through the two underlining layers. Had I not had two layers I would have stitched separate channels to the underlining. The underlining/boning unit is then treated as one with the fashion fabric. My waist stay will exit the lining (through the use of buttonholes) a few inches from the zipper opening.
When working with a dress that doesn’t have a waistline seam, a separate corselette must be made (which will end at the waist). The corselette can simply be two layers of cotton which are stitched wrong sides together and then boning channels made through those layers. Once the dress and lining have been put together, the corselette is attached to the dress at the top edge only. The corselette has it’s own closure (I like hook/eye tape the best) and is tighter than the dress itself. Here are some photos I took of one of Susan Khalje’s dresses to illustrate:
Notice that the waist stay is incorporated into the corselette whereas mine will simply be hand-tacked to each bodice seam and is otherwise left loose.
Once all of my muslin underlining pieces were traced and cut in mirror image (so that the markings would end up next to the body) they were hand-basted to an additional underlining of silk organza. Having two layers of underlining meant I could stitch my boning channels through the layers rather than having to add separate boning channels.
Here is my bodice all laid out in order. Looks gigantic, doesn’t it?
I then used these pieces to cut my fabric. I cut from the wrong side since my underlining pieces were in mirror image. The left and right side of my body are just a little different, something that is very noticeable in a very fitted garment. The narrow rows of parallel stitching are my boning channels.
Next, I removed each previous row of basting and hand-basted all three layers together on the stitching line.
Notice that here on the center front panel, a fisheye dart was pinned out and marked. I did not stitch it in this dress but may use it on a future version.
A few pins with your almonds, anyone?
One of the highlights of the week was dinner with Cidell. Finally, after all these years we meet! Left to right are Gretchen, Anna, Susan, Robin, Barb, Me and Cidell (photo courtesy of A Little Sewing). Great fun!
I decided to make a very fitted strapless dress in Couture Boot Camp because a) that’s a tough thing to fit on yourself and b) I’d never done it before!
I selected New Look 6454 as my starting point because I liked the shape of the bodice.
Since I knew I was going to drape my own pleated skirt I only made a muslin of the bodice. I began with my usual size 8 and altered for a full bust on the front.
On the back, I made a broad back adjustment and added a seam allowance at the center back for the zipper. I tend to prefer a CB zipper over a side zipper because it’s easier when you have to fit yourself (since no alterations are made at the CB).
At the muslin stage, the side front was split into two pieces and more material removed through the waist (the shaded area). Notice that all of the stitching lines and grainlines have been machine stitched onto the muslin. One inch seam allowances were added throughout. The parallel lines marked with a “B” are the boning channels.
After the final muslin fitting, I traced my muslin pattern onto a muslin underlining, again marking the seamlines/grainlines (with tracing paper only this time) and adding 1″ seam allowances. Note that, since my body is not symmetrical (whose is?) I traced the pieces in mirror image so that the markings would end up next to my body and be visible from the inside of the garment.
The fabric I am using is a lustrous Vera Wang brocade from A Fabric Place (Michael’s Fabrics for you internet shoppers). Isn’t it gorgeous?
Tomorrow is Bryan’s birthday and he has been hinting that he’d like a spa robe so last night I pulled out this pattern and whipped one up (really, this is a 2-3 hour project). Of course I’ve been meaning to get to it for weeks now but last-minute is how it always ends up. The fabric is a heavy cotton pique from my stash (another bulky piece gone!). I made two modifications to the pattern: adding bands to the sleeves and to the top of the pockets. The bands look so much nicer than plain hems, don’t you think? I know it looks ridiculous on my dressform but you get the idea.
Last night as I was snuggling in my faux mink jacket, I pulled the collar in around my face and really liked the way it looked so I decided to make the collar convertible. All I did was sew some medium-sized snaps to the collar points and the jacket fronts so that I can wear it either way. The snaps are easily hidden in the heavy pile of the fur. I like it!
Between Summerset’s adorable, casual faux fur jacket, Tany’s high-fashion jacket with removable collar and the fur vests I’ve been seeing so much of lately I’ve been having some serious faux fur envy! Alas, there isn’t anyplace locally for me to buy really nice faux fur so I had filed that idea away for later. But, last night I was cleaning my sewing room and found a large remnant of pelted faux mink that was taking up quite a bit of space and I thought, why not make a faux fur vest?
I happened to have the same pattern that Summerset used (Burda World of Fashion 12/2007 #122) and I liked the fact that it had darts so I figured I could just omit the sleeves and line the armscye to the edge. I traced off a size 36 and made a 3/4″ FBA and my usual forward-shoulder and swayback alterations. The shoulders on a 36 are usually too wide for me but on a vest that’s actually a good thing so I didn’t narrow them.
So far, I have sewn the shoulder seams and attached the collar. I cut the fronts so that the facing fold line was on a peltline, figuring it would give me a cleaner edge (which it does). If I wear this closed, the CFs will not match. But, I figured that I would never wear this closed anyway so I’d rather have a full peltline at each edge. I have never sewn with faux (or real) fur before so I’m just assuming that the CF would normally be on a peltline – am I right?
I didn’t have enough fabric for the collar so I cut the undercollar from black Ultrasuede. I had dark brown in my stash as well but the black looked much better (the flash makes the fur look lighter than it is IRL). You can faintly see the casing line for the drawstring along the top edge.
I am not planning on putting in the pockets as per the pattern. I had thought about adding in-seam pockets but I doubt I’d ever use them. If it’s cold enough for me to need to use them I wouldn’t be wearing a vest, right?
This jacket really went together very easily and quickly. If you eliminate the trim it would be an afternoon project. Here are the changes I made (or would make next time around):
*Shortened body by 2″ (not a usual adjustment for me)
*Shortened sleeves 3.5″ (I usually shorten 1″)
*Narrowed the shoulders 2″ (they were just too overwhelming on me)
*Raised the sleeve cap 1″ (it was much too flat once I narrowed the shoulder)
*If I made this again, I’d use a fitted shoulder and standard sleeve. As much as I want to like the dropped shoulder, I don’t and think a fitted shoulder would give a neater, slimmer appearance to contrast nicely with the front drape.
*Eliminated the crossover bands. They are supposed to control the drape but I’d rather train the folds (much as you would a drapery or Roman shade) than have to fuss with them. If your fabric refuses to be trained, a few well-placed, hidden stitches would do the job.
All in all, it’s a wonderful pattern to showcase a double-sided fabric or even a bulky sweater knit. I’m very happy with the embellishment. It gives me that over-the-top look that attracted me to the original jacket without being stiff or heavy. I rarely embellish anything so this was a fun departure from my usual work.
Some of you have asked about the hot-fix studs. They are 10mm silver donuts and 10mm grey squares that I purchased from Qiagraphix on Ebay. I highly recommend them! Their prices are excellent and I received my order in two days (from California, no less!). BTW, so you don’t overorder like I did, you need 84 10mm studs (placed close together) per yard, per row.
So, what’s next? Well, I’m trying to decide between the leather jacket and the navy duffle coat…
I am really enjoying my mini-sewcation and, despite a slow start, actually accomplished quite a lot this weekend. A couple of people had asked about the sizing of this pattern and, yes, it is a tall. I had to take 2 inches out of the length of the torso and I also narrowed the shoulders by an inch. I know they are supposed to be dropped but they were a little overwhelming on my short frame. I haven’t cut the sleeves out yet but it looks like I’ll be taking 2″ out in length there as well.
The body goes together easily and quickly but, of course, I had to make it harder by flat-felling most of the seams. Not only does it look nice inside and out but the flat-felling also adds a little structure to the wool crepe. I can’t remember if I mentioned this in a previous post or not, but I prewashed and dried the fabric three times. The texture is absolutely wonderful but since I have a front-loading washer it is naturally not as fulled as it could have been in a washer with an agitator.
I added 5/8″ to all outside edges and turned it towards the trim side and hand-stitched it down. In the front where the collar turns, the trim/hem must change direction so I staystitched and clipped that spot so that all of the hemming is hidden under the trim.
Speaking of hand-sewing, I did an awful lot of it on this jacket! Normally I do very little handsewing, only when it adds something to the garment. I don’t like to do it as a work-around. In this case, machine stitching the petersham to the garment left it too stiff so I decided to attach it with a hand-felling stitch instead. Many episodes of CSI later, I’m glad I did. I should mention that the pattern calls for 2″ wide petersham and I accidentally purchased 1.5″ (forgot my glasses again!) which really worked out perfectly. I think the 2″ would have been much too heavy.
I shopped around quite a lot for trims last week. Not only did I not find anything that I really loved but, due to the yardage needed, anything decent-looking would have been cost-prohibitive. I was looking for better than decent (more like over-the-top) and those trims started at $50/yd, eek! So, I decided to use hot-fix studs which give me lots of impact, are reasonably fast to attach and quite lightweight. Plus, mitering the corners is so easy (too bad they cover up my pretty petersham miters!).
Tomorrow I will finish attaching the studs and then cut and set the sleeves. I’m pretty pleased with this so far!
I have always said that, when it comes to printing .pdf patterns, I need a remedial class. No matter what I do, the patterns never seem to print out at the correct size and I waste hours of time, kill a tree or two, and end up with nothing. So, years ago, I filed .pdf patterns in my Life’s Too Short folder and moved on. Until today, that is. But then, who could blame me? How could I pass up this little bit of deliciousness on Burda Style?
Oh sure, I could have found something similar in my vast pattern collection or just drafted it myself but I wanted *this* pattern. So, patiently I sat printing out test square after test square until I got it just right. Twenty-eight pages later, I am ready to tape! I don’t think I’ll be making a habit of this but I’m happy that I was able to get it right (or so I hope!).
Now, I just need to find the proper over-the-top trimmings and put this one in my jacket queue.
1/5/11 ETA: Okay, I feel like an idiot! Elizabeth commented that she thought this jacket was in the Burda Style magazine a few months ago. I didn’t remember seeing it but I had misplaced both 9/2010 and 10/2010 so I tore my house apart last night and and, lo and behold, there it was in the October issue. Looking at the photo now I can see why it wasn’t very memorable. I think this may be one of the worst garment photos I’ve ever seen in Burda Style. It looks like some weird jacket with suspenders.
I have decided to make this in black wool crepe which I’ve now washed and dried three times – it’s so yummy soft now! I bought the petersham ribbon today but I’m really going to have to put my thinking cap on when it comes to the embellishments. This requires nearly 6 yards of trim and anything as heavily embellished as what Burda used would be cost prohibitive so I’ll have to make my own.