Imagination and Reality

I finally managed to finish a jacket with fabric that turned out to have lots of issues. I posted a pic on instagram of several holes, which I noticed just as I was laying out pattern pieces. I discovered I could lay out the pieces so as to avoid the holes if I turned the sleeve pieces sideways. After I’d cut them out, I realized there were yet other other problems. There were “not-quite-holes” that showed only when I held the fabric up to the light, and broken threads on the right side of the fabric.

I almost gave up and tossed the fabric. It’s a beautiful wool, probably with some silk in it, with a lovely sheen. I bought it for all of $6 at Our Social Fabric. But I’d been imagining a jacket made from it for six months and even made a wearable toile out of the pattern (see my previous post). And more than that, I’d been imaginingg a whole outfit, involving t-shirts and pants from a matching fabric. Aargh.

What the heck is this?

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That’s damage I couldn’t eliminate — thankfully it’s on the facing, rather than the outside. I used a tapestry needle to pull other broken threads to the wrong side, and then ironed on little bits of feather-weight fusible interfacing to hold them in place. I did the same with the “not-quite-holes”, hoping to prevent further damage.

Here’s the finished jacket. You’d have to look hard to find any remaining fabric problems.

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Like the scarf? It’s a little piece of silk chiffon I was going to serge a rolled hem on but haven’t yet done. If I’d finished this in January, it was meant to go to jungle january 🙂 I doubt I’ll ever have any other jungle prints in my wardrobe.

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I was confident cutting out a size 14 after I’d made the purple short version, but discovered, after I’d sewn in the pockets, that it was too tight in the hips, right at pocket level. More growls. Grrrrr. I had to take out the pockets, reduce my seam allowances on all the vertical seams starting just below the bust. Thankfully that was enough.

There was a lot of ease in the sleeve heads and I had to remove both sleeves once and redo them to eliminate puckers. I had two lines of gathering stitches in the purple version, and only one line in this one. I think I should have used two lines, as I managed more successfully with the purple. I may need to try steaming with a ham for these.

I lined it with some silk from my stash, and applied some copper snaps. I love snaps! Have I said that before? I wish manufacturers would make nicer ones. So far the only decent ones I’ve found have been these copper ones, in two sizes.

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Now, here’s a mock-up of what the whole outfit was supposed to be.

 

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The pink t-shirt is from fabric from Our Social Fabric again. Looking at the t-shirt/jacket combo, I’m pretty sure I’ll never wear them together. The striped fabric is a gorgeous lightweight wool, from the same source. As it turns out it’s fairly transparent, which means I’ll have to line it if I make the pants I’d been intending to make. I don’t really like to make lined clothes much. Lining adds formality as well as bulk, and as anyone who reads this blog probably knows, I like a pretty darned non-formal, if not bohemian, look. I’m kind of regretting having interfaced the fronts of this one for that same reason.

I think the fabric would make a great second folded tube skirt, like the grey one I made a little while ago. Or maybe even a dress, like the Keilo dress, which I like. Anyway, I’ve decided to put the fabric away for now and make some other things. Suggestions for what to do with the fabric are welcome.

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This is the pattern line drawing. I had originally also planned to make it two-tone, using either some cream or brown wool I have in my stash. But then I thought that would be a waste of fabric as then there would be leftovers from two pieces, neither big enough to do anything with.

I envisioned so many things with this fabric! And my imagination got untethered from reality I’m afraid. Does that ever happen to you?

 

 

The ‘New Severe’

This is meant as a working toile of a Burda longer length jacket, 32012, which is advertised as a Chanel type of jacket. The fabric, a small piece that I tried several other patterns on, was just big enough to make a short version. That was fine by me. I wasn’t sure what size to make, and I knew I’d have to lower the darts. This time I wanted to do it right, so I actually cut a rectangle out of the paper pattern where the dart was, and repositioned the whole rectangle down about 1 1/2 inches. After sewing up the dart on one side, I repositioned the rectangle up a titch again. The fabric is a dark purple wool with a lovely stretch because of the way it’s woven. I don’t know if there’s a name for this or not –when one side of the fabric appears to be woven as usual, with horizontal and vertical threads, but the other side appears to be woven on the diagonal? Anyway, the combination of this pretty conservative style of jacket with this dark wool gives a pretty severe look, I think.

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You can see the side panels, which I think allow more movement and comfort than the regular side-seam varieties of jackets. You can also see that the fabric takes on a chocolately hue with any kind of artificial light. It’s a good neutral.

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Looks pretty cool with a goodly dollop of orange, eh?

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Looks like I’ve got plenty of things to wear with this. The orange pants are V9035, you can see info about it here, and the wrap skirt is a vintage Vogue DKNY. See it here. The tops, oh heck I forget.

The pattern called for snaps which are a great alternative to buttons, aren’t they? I found some copper ones with writing cut into them. They were the most natural looking material I could find. I’m disappointed in the pearl, silver metal and gold metal types that my local was offering. They all look fake and cheap.

A few seam details there. I’m loving the darts, which I left open at the tip by about one stitch length to give them a nicer look. And I put on a breast pocket at the last minute, influenced by reading another article on the sexism of pocketless clothes for women. I like chest pockets anyway, and often add one to a shirt or tshirt. This time I realized that the proper placement for a breast pocket for a woman is higher up than for a man, between the collarbone and the breast. I don’t know if designers put it there, but it’s just so obviously where it should be!

This fabric really changes colour depending on the light. I think it’s going to get a lot of wear. And I’m about to lay out the pink silky wool for the longer version. Oh, first I’d better give this one an extra press. Wrinkles. I hope they weren’t a distraction 🙂

And, oh, it seems I’m on time to participate in a #dressmakingbloggerchallenge, thanks to info provided by Thimberlina here.

Humble housecoat in velvet

Anyone who reads this blog regularly probably knows that I scavenge fabric. And then create clothing with this “found” fabric, like some artists work with “found” materials.

So, I’ve had a few pieces of velvet in my closet that are way past their due date. I picked them up at an outlet store that closed down at least ten years ago. I thought one of them would be great for a housecoat, something to keep me toasty on cold winter days. Like a cardigan, but not.

I decided to use a shawl-collar pattern that I used for a charcoal duster last winter because I like the pattern, and it has few seams. With velvet, the fewer seams the better, I figure. I practiced everything — sewing with a walking foot, serging, pressing — on scraps of fabric before doing it for real. The only problem was pressing. When I pinned the shawl collar facing to the body, I realized there was a problem. It was going to be a really floppy collar and wouldn’t hold its shape. So I found a very lightweight, open-weave but crisp fabric in my stash and made interfacings. I’m happy with the result. So here it is.

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There was no fabric left to make a tie belt, and I don’t look good in them anyway, so I decided to make an obi style cloth belt for when I want to wear this closed. After constructing various types in my head for a few days, I finally remembered youtube! And yes, there were several versions. I chose the one that suggested making the belt in three parts: one front part and two side pieces. On one side you sew the side piece to the front, and on the other side you only sew the top and bottom of the side and front together, leaving a slit in the middle. I used a sample piece of a quilted fabric for one side, and some leftover silver fabric for the inside. Then I made the tie ends too narrow so I couldn’t pull them right side out. Grrrrrrr. Eventually I managed, by using a pair of tweezers.

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And here’s the last tool I had to use. Found it in my carpentry tool box.

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Can you guess what I used it for?

Textural trousers

When I found some textured, floral fabric at Our Social Fabric, which sells donated fabric for $1 – $3 CAD per metre, I thought I’d found the perfect material for another version of Burda’s Big Girl Play Pants. Then I changed my mind. Then I changed it back. I tried all kinds of other pieces of fabric, draping them over my arm, fondling them, folding them, trying to determine what would have the right amount of drape and heft. I think this is a real skill. You start with the uncut cloth, say two metres or so, and try to determine how it will behave in a much smaller pattern piece. I finally decided this fabric would not be too bulky for the project.

Burda’s pattern is for short pants with wide short legs. Last time I extended the wide legs, and then experimented with off-kilter long darts to narrow the legs. This time I altered the paper pattern, adding a 7″ wide strip to the bottom of the pattern, in line with the outer leg seam. Then I redrew the inseam . I admit I drew it freehand.

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I’m pretty happy with the result. It matches pretty closely to what I envisioned when I first bought the pattern, planning to alter it.

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I don’t have a whole lot to wear with them at this time. They’re the colour of water, a colour I totally love, and cream.

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I had a set of small fabric samples, about 4×5 inches, made of superfine linen. Two of them are shades of aqua, so I used them to make back pockets. I lined them with a bit of turban cotton to give them an appropriate body.

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The fabric is natural, and pretty coarse. It’s either cotton or maybe cotton and hemp. The weave is pretty open, which is why it’s not too bulky. I like the muted floral design. The other side of it is pretty nice too, but I thought this was the correct side to use.

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I had one more square of linen that I pinned to the front waistband as a (Japanese-inspired???) bit of frou-frou. It serves no useful function. And I’m still debating whether to add belt loops. It looks nice with a belt? What do you think?

I know my taste can be a bit bonkers sometimes, and these pants aren’t for everyone, but I do see this style from time to time in a fashion mag, or a Hollywood celebrity mag, and I always perk up when I do, and think “I like those pants!” So, for better or for worse, this is what I’ll be wearing this fall.

I’ve been reviewing what I made this summer. By my count I made 5 pairs of pants, one pair of shorts, three long sleeved woven tops, two woven shells, and 8 or 9 teeshirts. Most items go with most other items, so it’s a good wearable wardrobe. I’m now going to do the same for the cooler months of the year. This is the first item. I’m working on another couple of pairs of trousers, which I’ll post about as soon as I’m done 🙂