Tentative joiner joins

So, for the first time, I’m joining me-made May. I’ve watched others for the past two years, kind of envying them, but I don’t exactly have a lot of experience joining things … I I finally took the plunge this year, after waffling back and forth. My pledge is to wear me-made every day, but I could hardly avoid doing that as I own only a few sweaters and the odd jacket that I haven’t made myself. The real part of the pledge is to never wear the same combination of clothes two days running. This means  I’ll have to a) put clothes away and b)  make a deliberate choice about what to wear in the mornings. It’s easy when you don’t go out to work to throw things on a chair at night before bed and then throw them on the next morning again. This will be a tough challenge!

As to what I’ve been sewing lately, just futzing with a few t-shirts while I prepare to cut into some lovely plaid material for a blouse. I cut up a long-sleeved over-sized t-shirt I made last year, and wasn’t terribly happy with, and made a paper pattern for a sleeveless tank from a couple of different old RTW tanks.

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Sorry for the bad pic — I was taking a few shots for IG. Some of you may remember the fabric. I do like the stripes.

And I like the top so much that I immediately started another one in a small piece of green jersey.

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Um, pardon my toes.

I just made one pattern piece because the difference between front and back is minimal.

So, check out my outfits on IG if you’re interested. I’ll try not to cheat.

Keeping it Simple

I made a second version of Vogue 9193 trousers, using two small pieces of wool gaberdine that came together in one bundle. There was just enough fabric. I love the colour and drape.

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Look at that blue sky!

I like this pattern — it’s a bit funky and a bit sophisticated, I think. I wore these all day today and realized I have to tighten up the elastic in the waist. I had to keep hitching them up. The t-shirt is another of my TNT Butterick pattern that I’ve now made up about 8 times, I think.

It has occurred to me that when I’m choosing what to wear on any given day, the priority is colour. Often I choose grey and white in the mornings because those colours seem really calm. I think this combination of cream and green is also very calm.

I wonder how many people choose clothing for its colour? Is colour more important than the design (the pattern) and the fabric? Actually in this case, the fabrics for both top and bottom are pretty high quality, which is making me feel unusually upscale!

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.

Copying a fashion mag pic!

I know, I can hardly believe I’ve learned enough about how clothes are constructed in these past two years that I can now manage to copy something from a picture. Granted, it’s as simple as pie. But still … facings, closures, darts!

Here’s the magazine picture.imag0418

Notice that there are some lumps up by the front button? I’m wondering if that happened as they arranged the fold to hang a little diagonally. I wanted the diagonal fold, but not the lumps.

I had a small piece of fabric (less than 1 and a half metres, I’d say) that I’ve lain countless pattern pieces on, hoping that they would fit. No go. This time I took the piece, held in crossways around my lower torso, and by golly, it seemed just the right size to take a fold and work as the skirt I wanted.

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You can see that in order to get the fold hanging a little bit at a tilt, I dropped the front fold at the waistline a bit. I had to do a little finetuning where I sewed the facing to the skirt, to create a little dip. I aimed for a slight “v” shape. You can still see a white chalk mark that assisted my calculations.

This skirt is a bit of a cheat. I’m not sure whether the original is actually held together with the front button or not. I was figuring out where to place the seam of the tube so it would be hidden in the fold when I suddenly had the bright idea to put the seam at the back. Once that idea came, I realized I could put in a back zip and use the button as a simple design feature. It’s sewed on, through all the layers of fabric. I also sewed a short line of zigzag stitches at the other end of the fold so the whole folded part wouldn’t slide down.

For the back of the skirt I used a wrap skirt I made here as a model. It had four back darts and two side darts. So that’s what I did. Once I had sewn up the darts, I laid the back part of the tube down on some paper, and traced the curve from the CB seam around the side. From there I just continued straight.

The fabric is a really drapey wool blend of some sort. It has subtle stripes woven into it, which you can see if you look really really closely. The colour is hard to capture exactly. It’s actually a grey with a slight greenish tinge to it. It’s going to work with most tops that I’ve made in the last year.

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I like to have a maxi skirt to wear around the house as an alternative to loose trousers. That’s my plan for this one. I’ve been kind of unable to drive anywhere because of snow and icy streets for the better part of two weeks, so I resorted to a nearby dollar store for a zipper. It’s a pretty darned cheap zipper. But I figure that’s okay because this will primarily be a “leisure skirt” for home wear.

Finally, for the first time ever, my plans coincided with a competition! I’m always a month behind or a month ahead of the monthly stitch challenges, but this copy of a design original has been made during Linda’s  (“Nice dress, thanks I made it”) Designin’ December contest. I’m not out to win anything, believe me, but just to participate in something for a change.

Pink hack

In my last blog post, I said I was working slowly on a severe pattern hack. I’m done! It’s Vogue 9193, a Marcy Tilton, top. I made it fairly recently and you can see it here, in case you missed it. It caused me some grief because the batwing sleeve, as drafted, didn’t suit me and I had to make an alteration. I’m pretty happy with the top, but thought it might be interesting to make it longer and use normal sleeves.

That’s what I did. I added 3 inches to the top front and back pieces, which both lowered the waist-with-pocket seam, and made the whole thing longer. I used the sleeveless version of the top and went rummaging through my patterns looking for a sleeve that might work (I don’t know how to draft a sleeve to fit an arm scye). As it turned out, I found an exact match for the arm scye in a jacket pattern. So I simply used the sleeve piece that went with that jacket. It worked perfectly (although I did pinch in the top of the sleeve because I was making this in a knit fabric rather than woven and so didn’t want all the ease). In fact, to be totally honest, I made a toile sleeve and machine basted it in to check the fit before I cut out the sleeves in the “real” fabric.

I had been looking at a turtleneck t-shirt pattern before I did this project, and decided to also make this version a turtleneck. The pattern I was looking at had a turtleneck attached  to the front and back, rather than a separate piece for the neck. Following that pattern, I drew two lines from the neck/shoulder points to create a tube long enough to fold over once.

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The fabric is a piece I picked up at Our Social Fabric for a few bucks. I thought it was wool, but turned out not to be. I expect it’s acrylic. It’s very lightweight and floaty, and has a nice design in the knit (well, I think it’s nice). It reminds me of some kind of old-fashioned knit fabric.

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It has a really cosy look to it, which means I’ll think it’s warm and cosy and wear it a lot. I love the colour. In fact, expect to see a lot of pink in the coming posts, as Our Social Fabric had a lot of it the last couple of months and I snapped up a bunch.

Now on to a skirt I’m sort of copying from a mag picture. Not quite close enough for Designin’ December, I think, but maybe…

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?