Thursday, September 22, 2016

Morris and Sabrina...

Or what to do with 5 yards of ponte de roma! I picked it up at a very good price at Fabric Mart earlier this year, thinking I would make a long cardigan for the change of seasons. But I've been on the fence about it. A long cardigan would be an almost zero-use item for me, wearable on maybe a few days in January or February. So it's been sitting in my stash, while I've been sewing down the fabrics around it. (I've been on a bit of a fabric fast for most of the year - my stash was getting out of hand. I will totally break out during the Black Friday - Cyber Monday sales!)

So, I decided to go with a second Boyfriend Cardigan as a compromise. Only one pic, because I just don't love it. I do have other plans for it - hopefully I won't re-cut and sew it down to nothing. 

A note here about my hair: it came up blonde in this and two more pics because I took them with the settings I had been using to photograph the moon. Clearly my camera still has the upper hand. I've become very vain about my gray hair - I love it!

With the cardigan behind me, I decided to make another Grainline Morris Blazer, but with a concession - I sewed it to the original drafting, with none of the little changes I made previously to the bottom edge. And I cut it with long sleeves, a simple change. I thought I might like it better than my two previous versions. It's such a cute jacket, and I've seen so many terrific makes of the pattern - the Grainline Flickr group is a lurkers heaven...

 Actually, this one's pretty nice. The fabric works really well, and the fit is spot on. On Emile, pending sleeves:

To keep the facings - neckline, front edges, and hem - nice and fluid, I used tricot knit lining for all my interfacing. The pattern suggests fusible tricot interfacing, but I did not want to risk 'freezing' the fabric, as fusibles often do. 

I hand-basted the interfacing/facing just outside the seam line and removed the basting once the facings were in place. I enjoy hand-sewing, so basting is right up my alley. I baste all the time!

I'm really happy with the result. By the way, as before, I top-stitched along the edge of the front facing. This seems to prevent the fabric drag, between the shoulder and bottom point, that haunts so many Morris blazers.

Added top-stitching, red lines

I could not believe I still had enough fabric to make one more thing. An easy choice - the Love Notions Sabrina Slims are one of my favorite pants. Absolutely like wearing PJs.

And the ponte is all used up, gone, done!

Ciao! Coco

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The slippery slope...baggy pants!

Persistence pays off - I love my new baggy pants!

And the path was anything but straight and level. Pants are hard. I was thinking about it last week, sitting on the floor in the loft, culling my pattern stash. House cleaning. I was tossing pants patterns left and right. It seemed like every other pattern in my stash had some variation of loose leg or wide leg, pleated waist, drawstring waist, elastic waist...I had a bunch of these things.

The house cleaning moment was brought on by completing my muslin of the Style Arc Daisy Pants. They just didn't work. I put a lot of effort into them - redrafting, fitting, ripping, sewing - but I felt like I ended up with a butchered pattern that didn't really work magic for me.

And then I got to the Vogue section of my stash. There it was - Kathryn Brenne's pants, the ones with the upside-down pocket on the leg. Those pants fit me better than any I've ever sewn. I've done them 3 times and wear them constantly. How about just modifying the lower leg?

Vogue 9114

Easy, and I love them.

They fit me so well through the waist, bum, crotch, and hip that I could wear them with a cropped top. The waist is fairly narrow, actually an inch or so less than my hips. But I just do that little wiggle thing when I pull them on, and it's wonderful not to have a ton of gathered fabric around my middle. 

Front view,


And side. No pulling at the pockets.

Just a couple sewing notes:
  • My fabric is Robert Kaufman yarn-dyed Essex linen, purchased from Craftsy. This is a fantastic linen/cotton blend, a perfect weight for pants at 5.3 oz. After prepping it with 3 passes through the washer and dryer, it has a lovely soft, pebbly-textured hand.
  • I used cotton broadcloth for the pocket facing, to keep the weight down in the side and waist seams.
  • A couple pics of the waistband detail:

    Inside and outside. The space on the inside center back is for insertion of the elastic. The seam allowances are basted down so that my elastic insertion gadget won't catch on them.
         Outside, with the elastic inserted and topped with triple-stitch zig-zag - no rolling allowed!

I'm making more of these for sure :-)

Tunic: Butterick 6024

Parting shot: I've been making glass seed bead necklaces, 32" - 34" long. I can't wear most jewelry findings, so I knot mine and use E6000 to secure the knots forever. Here they're hung over my work tray while the glue cures. These are fun. 

Ciao! Coco 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Love Notions Boyfriend Cardigan...

It's fall, and I need a cardigan. Wait - I want to make a cardigan. I have so many and wear them all the time over sleeveless tops and dresses. And like bed jackets around the house when I don't want a full robe. So. A new cardigan.

I settled on the Love Notions Boyfriend Cardigan, after much searching on Pinterest, Kollabora, Jalie, Style Arc (not right now, thanks), BurdaStyle, and the Big 4 sites.

It's a PDF download file, which is becoming a preference with me. I like to flat-measure, draw, and write all over the assembled pattern. Plus, the designer, Tami Meyer, use a great trim-less technique for the tape-it-together exercise. It's easily and quickly done.

However...once I had it printed and taped, I just sat in amazement and kept pushing down the leg (mine) that was trying to kick me. Even though I read reviews and looked at several dozen versions of the cardigan, I had no idea that it has such close-fitting lines.

Beginning below the neckline and continuing to the high hip, the center back has a concave curve that is about 3/4" off vertical at its deepest point, in the area of the waistline. The side seam has an even more pronounced curve starting below the armhole, through the waist, and out to the hip.

Suddenly I had a picture of myself wearing this thing propped on my bum. If I had paid more attention to the examples I visited, I might have caught this - lots of fantail definition going on. But maybe that's popular - I know that not everyone wants to wear loose clothing.

So, I redrafted the main pieces.

 and my cardigan flows.

Sleeve caution flag - there's no angle on the hem allowance. I can't imagine how one would turn and hem this sleeve as drafted.

I like to start the angle about 3" above the bottom edge, which is usually more than I need, but lets me fit the length without fussing at myself...

A few more sewing notes:
  • I sewed the size Large, the best match to my measurements.
  • And did all the seams on my serger. 
  • No side vents - just not my thing.
  • I didn't use any of the neckband options offered by the pattern. I think the hood is cute, but I didn't have enough fabric for this version. The shawl collar - well, it's very shallow, and I doubt it would really fold back nicely.

    So I drafted a plain neckband, 76" long (a generous length, just in case...) and 3.5" wide. I also cut it lengthwise on the grainline so it wouldn't sag or flop. Finished, it's 1 3/8" wide, and it works great!
Inside view of the band finishing.
Outside view of the band and hem finishing.
  • Squeezed for fabric, I used a plain patch pocket, instead of the draped one from the pattern.

    Not remarkable - I just think the letters are fun! Cotton /poly jersey from Girl Charlee.

  • Good stuff -  the length of the cardigan and the sleeves were perfect for me. 
  • This is the top of the armscye, at the shoulder seam. It puts my teeth on edge.

And after a trim.

  • One last thing that had me so perplexed that I had a discussion with Tami about it. The sleeve cap is 3/8" shorter than the armscye at each side. And she said it is intentional, that the armscye should be longer than the sleeve cap on knits.

    I have no way to respond to that - it's her pattern. But I never imagined this would happen, and I didn't measure the two pieces when I was drafting my tissue. Out of fabric, I had no choice but to lose some of the side seam at the armhole. 
Sleeve and sleeve cap (top), sewn into the armscye (bottom).

In the end, I have a nice new cardigan. But I'm officially done with exploring indie patterns for a while. Except for Grainline Studios. I'll sew anything Jen Beeman designs and drafts.

Ciao! Coco

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Simplicity 3786 Pintucked Tunic - like sherbert between courses...

There's nothing like a known quantity, to recover from a frustrating sewing project! 

After squandering my lovely white lawn on the Style Arc Daisy Tunic, I was practically hugging my black lawn to my chest, protecting it from sewing hazards created by Coco. My provisional plan had been to sew a Daisy in black lawn as well, rounding out a little gap in my closet. But no, no, no.

And flipping through my patterns, I found this one. Head smack. I made it in white embroidered cotton eyelet 3 years ago, and it's on its last legs. So soft, practically falling apart from wear. I love it. Wish (there goes a penny) I had used my white lawn to make another.

For this version, I chose view D, with a modified sleeve and neckline. 

Bunches of pintucks, 5 on each side of center front, and only 1/8" wide. I seldom use tracing paper, but it saved my sanity on this one. I traced the pintuck fold lines and pressed them before I stitched them. Having a presser foot with a 1/8" mark really helps!

Some of the sewing pics are lightened to show the details
I used a white chalk to place the back casing ... thus ensuring that I had white chalk all over this blouse by the time I was done. But, hey, white shows up really well on black!

As with my first version, I opted out of the mandarin collar. Instead, I applied a long (40" x 1 3/4") bias binding around the neckline, leaving 14" hanging on each side.

And I decided to do a mid-length gathered sleeve. This was really easy - I just lengthened the upper sleeve from the pattern (about 18" from the center of the sleeve cap) and gathered it into a narrow cuff. The cuff is 10" in diameter - it doesn't catch on my arm or bug me.

Parting shot:
I've had a list of small house projects hanging around my kitchen counter for months. Progress this week - a trip to Home Depot. Just because I bought all this stuff doesn't mean I'm actually getting anything done - it's all marinating on my kitchen table.


And all of this is such a blessing. I'm so grateful.

Remembering September 11, 2001 - Coco

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Style Arc Daisy Tunic...

The rain has let up just long enough for me to take some pics in the garden. I may look cool and fresh in these photos, but, au contraire...

The lens on my camera kept fogging up!

And  the outfit. I recently purchased the Daisy Designer two-fer from Style Arc's Etsy shop. I was after a baggy-leg pants pattern, but this bundle was a good buy for only a couple dollars more.

Small whinge session:
Style Arc drives me nuts with their sizing. The only finished garment measurements they provide are for their size 10.  Umm. What is that 10? US, RTW, European, AU, equator... I've no idea. Their only helpful hint is that they use a 2" circumference grade from size to size. Useless, and it has kept me away from most of their expensive patterns.

No numbers on the pattern pieces. Come on...

And typically, they're big on drawings and short on pics of their garments on real human beings. They're not alone - Hot Patterns is rather famous for this lazy marketing. I admit I always feel a bit like a sucker when I buy from either of them...because I know that what you see is not what you get.

None of that was intended to offend any Style Arc or Hot Pattern aficionados - just my experience.

Let's look at pictures!

Pants: Love Notions Sabrina Slims
I added the pockets to provide a little interest to the front of the tunic. They're not really meant to be used, as I place them up pretty high. And I do not carry a phone in my pockets!

Fabric: Robert Kaufman Cambridge Lawn, from Craftsy

There's something so liberating about writing all over one's fabric.

I opted not to use the hem bands on the pattern - having looked at the drafting, I doubted that the finishing at the point of the hem would make me happy. Instead, I added 3" at the lengthen/shorten line on the pattern and used a simple folded hem.

Tip: Finish the hem before sewing the side seams.

And a sneak peek at my muslin of the Daisy pants (WIP)...

So, bottom line: I'm kind of meh about the tunic. It's too big across my upper chest, not really loosey-goosey in the skirt, and pretty shapeless in between (that drawing thing again). I know I won't make it again without some serious redrafting. Yep, it will hit the pajama department after I crop it a bit.

Parting shot: beadwork therapy while watching tennis yesterday...

Ciao! Coco