Sunday, March 9, 2014

True Elegance

Steve is away in Atlanta for a bit so I am catching up on old movies.  I watched Funny Face last night with Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire.  

What clothes!  Look at the red tie belt on Astaire's trousers!

Audrey Hepburn's style takes my breath away....

Even when 'hanging out' the clothing is elegant.

 Fred Astaire was 60 years old when Funny Face was made -- wish I could move like that!

 Oh, to be able to dress like that again...


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sheryl's Skirt Finished

A few weeks ago I had posted about a skirt I was making for my daughter-in-law.  It is a simple , nearly straight skirt, with a faced waistband.  It is made with some lovely wool that is at least twenty years old and purchased by my mother back when we had actual stores that sold garment fabric in every city and town!  What made this skirt a bit challenging is that we wanted slash pockets and, believe it or not, I could not find a pattern with no waistband and slash pockets, so I had to do a bit of drafting.

This ended up being a hybrid of McCall 3830 with the front edited for the slash pockets and pocket facings and linings drafted.  We had to play around a bit to get the right distance away from the side seam for the pocket opening.

Because I didn't like the look of the plaid of the pocket facing and the front panel so close together (even though they matched), I inserted some flat piping from a nice black corded fabric I had in my stash.  Sheryl didn't want the wool against her skin, so the waistband facings are done in black linen and not the skirt fabric.  The skirt is lined with bemberg rayon.

I didn't want the pocket openings to stretch, so both the pocket openings and the waistband have Sewkeys fusible woven stay tape over the seam line.  This is the first time I've used Sewkeys and it is a beautiful stay tape -- very light weight. I found that when I was sewing my side seams, the wool was so smooth and soft that there was a small bit of slippage.  Because I wanted the match to be as close as possible I changed to a dual feed or walking foot.  Since I'm not a quilter, I don't often find the occasion to use this foot, but it worked so beautifully in keeping my fabric from shifting, that I may employ it more often. 


I am happy with the result even though it was a bit of struggle since I was on unfamiliar territory with the pockets.  I like when I can learn from something as simple as a skirt and between using the
Sewkeys stay tape for the first time, employing my walking foot to keep my side seams perfectly aligned, in addition to the drafting for the pockets, this simple skirt was a pretty valuable learning experience.  We did two muslins so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it fits well!  Hopefully she will get to wear it once or twice since it is still in the twenties here in New England!


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

PJs - Kwik Sew 3945

I'm just a bit late for the December Birthdays of my twin grand-nieces, Molly and Hannah.  I decided that age 10 was an appropriate age for fancy lounging pajamas.  The only pattern I could find that had lots of variations for cuffs, pockets and collars was Kwik Sew 3945.  So, here they are....

I must say Kwik Sew is not my favorite pattern company, as cute as this pattern is.  They call for 1/4 inch seam allowances which I would never use on a grown up garment, but for pajamas it worked out fine as I serged all seams.  It also does not call for a back facing.  The side facings go as for as the shoulder seams and are tacked down.  I did this as I was in a bit of a hurry, but next time I would definitely draft a back facing.  It doesn't take that much time and I think it is a more polished look. 
It also called for finishing the cuff prior to stitching the entire leg length, then stitching the leg and tacking down the seam at the bottom.  This made no sense to me.  I stitched the entire leg without folding up the cuff, then folded the cuff to cover the seam allowance where it attached to the rest of the leg and topstitched --  much better looking.  It was, however, a bit bulky where the all serged edges met -- next time I don't think I will serge the cuff side seam but will only stitch it and press the seam open since that seam will be completely closed once the cuff is folded and topstitched. 

So, they are ready for delivery.  Since they live a long distance away, I can only hold my breath and hope they fit!!


Friday, January 3, 2014

A Review: Linda Lee, Underneath It All

I just finished taking Linda Lee, Underneath It All, a Craftsy class, and I have never enjoyed an on line class so much.  First, a bit about Craftsy classes.  I came late to the table taking them.  Someone whose opinion I value recommended them to me and so I hesitantly waited until they went on sale (they do go on sale for almost half price periodically) and signed up for a few.

I have always admired Linda Lee, the owner of Sewing Workshop patterns.  I think she has wonderful technique, that her patterns are beautifully drafted, but most particularly because she brings beauty to the simplest designs by her innovative combinations of fabrics in unexpected ways.  I find her work to be elegant.

In this class she covers various interfacings, facings, interlinings, underlinings, and linings (including drafting a lining when your pattern provides none).  She teaches calmly, methodically, and thoroughly.  The classes are divided into chapters and some of them are as long as 38 minutes, but the time flies by.  I honestly took away so much new information, so many new ideas, and so much reinforcement of things I may have known once but had forgotten.

If you have a chance to take this, please do.  Another side note about Craftsy classes.  I did take one on bridal veils that I felt was not up to the standard it should be.  I had found as much information on the subject from on line blogs and a book or two.  When I brought it to Craftsy's attention, they apologized and credited my account.  I hadn't asked for or expected that.  But, I think it speaks to their desire to present high quality classes that even seasoned sewers can learn from.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Creating A Skirt Pocket

I had made a muslin for my daughter in law for a short, mostly straight skirt, with a faced waistline.  The fit was good but when she wanted pockets, I went in search for a skirt pattern with slash pockets and no waistband.  I really didn't feel like re-inventing the wheel.  I was surprised when I couldn't find a pattern exactly the way I wanted it.  So, I began reading up on how to create this.  I also needed to be careful not to interfere with the darts in the skirt front.

Here is my first pattern draft with the pocket drawn out in red. 
  • I started my pocket 2" in from the side seam and, as you will see later in this post, I think it was not in far enough.  I ended the pocket about 6 inches down and then drew in a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
  • Once the beginning point for the pocket is established on the waist, I drew out another line on the waist an additional 2 inches in for the top of the pocket to attach and be sewn in to the facing.  
  • From that point, I drew a line down about 7 inches and began to shape the pocket bag, connecting it to the side seam, making sure to leave enough of the pocket bag to sew into the seam allowance.  And, I added plenty of notches to match everything up later.  

Once this was drawn out, I placed more tracing paper on top to create the actual pattern piece with the pocket edge.

Then the pocket facing and the pocket bag were traced over the original pattern.  The facing, of course, will be cut from the fashion fabric.  For the bag, since the fashion fabric is wool, I will use a lining fabric to cut down on bulk.  The pocket opening will have to be stabilized so it will not stretch out with use. 

Muslin made up.  As I mentioned earlier in the post, I had only drawn my pocket beginning 2 inches in from my side seam.  I think that is way too too close.  As you can see, I've drawn a line on the muslin an inch further in to see if that will be a better placement.  I think it will be.

Hopefully, this all works out.  I'll post more once the muslin has been fitted.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

When You Need A Little Gift

Something for the ladies I sew with on Tuesdays...

Linen sachets.  Machine embroidered with African Wire Work design from Hatched In Africa.  Black velvet loop for hanging.  Antique buttons from my collection (I do hate to part with my vintage buttons, but these ladies are special).  Sachets are stuffed with crushed balsam fir needles.  Sweet  and simple.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Vogue 1274, Lynn Mizono Shirt

I have always been drawn to very structured architectural shirts.  And so, when I saw this shirt by Lynn Mizono, I knew that I wanted to make it.  I could have chosen a much more interesting fabric, but I was contemplating doing it as a class and therefore chose something from the fabric store I work at part time.  It is a grey and white cotton, 44" wide.  I mention that because what I failed to notice on the pattern back was that it called for 60" fabric.  Since I made the XS it didn't end up being a problem, but the shirt is asymmetric and the pieces are large and front and back are cut separately.  If you are making the larger sizes, you will need the wide fabric.  Apologies for the pic -- my shirt is not sitting very nicely on my form which looks a bit busty here.  No one was home to take a shot of the shirt on me, but if I get a good one later, I'll post it.

I made View B.  I cut the XS because the few reviews that I read said that it ran very large, and also because it flairs so much at the bottom that there is no need to worry about hip size.  It is nicely constructed, calling for french seams throughout.  It also has 8 corners which could have looked very unprofessional if sewn straight across, so I took the extra time to miter all 8 of them and I am happy that I did.

 It is definitely different and, I am afraid, not one of my favorite shirts.  As you can see from the side view, I have tucked the 'wings' in.  The other option, as you can see from the technical drawings are to leave them out, bring them together in the back and button them.


Be aware if you want this effect, you need to be certain that you have cut a size large enough as this takes up a lot of the ease through the hips.  I am choosing to let it fall.

The sleeves also have this 'wing' which I chose to fold over and secure it with a button.  It's an interesting look that I like. 

Why don't I like it?  It is so large and architectural that it really has to be worn with leggings or very slim pants and a heel so as not to overwhelm me.  I also think that, though I am drawn to these designs, they may not be flattering on me.  I am only 5'3" and I think they are pulled off better by someone taller. I think my next effort will be something more tailored.

I have also noticed that many sewers are working on 'swaps' -- putting pieces together for a wardrobe in coordinating fabrics.  I really want to give this a try.  Sewing 'as I'm drawn to things' leaves a wardrobe that is a bit incomplete and I'd like to correct that.  So, I got it this shirt out of my system, and will wear it, but it will not be a 'go to' piece.  

For those who share my love of architectural design in clothing, there is an exhibit currently at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA on Avant-Garde Japanese Fashion which has a lot of these looks.