Thursday, February 11, 2016

Vogue 9130 by Marcy Tilton

For about a week now, I have been sewing exclusively with knits, a change for me. I do like knits, at least some of them, but it's not my first choice for a sewing project.

It all started with an ASG class scheduled with Pam Howard, one of my all-time favorite teachers. Over the years, I have learned so much from Pam and this class was no exception. Plus I had a blast sewing with good friends.

After much back and forth in my stash, I settled on two patterns to make, a modified version of the Hudson top from the Sewing Workshop and this relatively new Vogue pattern from Marcy Tilton:

The fabric I chose is a periwinkle medium weight organic cotton jersey from Alabama Chanin. I am still learning how to handle this fabric. It is a pretty stable knit that curls but not excessively. It does not have a lot of stretch, maybe less than 20%. This jersey sews easily with a ball point needle and the recommended polyester thread.

This top has such interesting lines that I decided to highlight them a bit by overlapping the seams rather than sewing them right-sides-together. This took some doing because of the allowed 5/8 inch seam allowances, way too much for overlapping seams. After a little arithmetic and with rotary cutter in hand, I reduced the seams to 1/4 inch providing for a 1/2 inch overlap.

After nearly finishing the top, I decided to adapt view B to use the collar for view C. After much messing around, I abandoned that and now have a basic Stretch-and-Sew collar:

Pam fitted the top to me and I finished at home. Then DH took my picture. Ahem.

DH said, "That is a cute pattern. (pause)" And then "You did a great job making it. (pause)" You can hear the BUT in his assessment from here, I expect. And I agree. It adds pounds to my hips. 

It sure looks cute on the dress form.
Bottom line: cute pattern, fun to make, probably will never be a favorite one to wear.

Since the class I have finished two very basic shells and my Hudson top is still in-progress. The shells are made from Vogue 8793, that classic tee designed by Katherine Tilton for Vogue, the one with zipper teeth trim on the neckline. 

Each shell is made from Alabama Chanin light-weight jersey, one red and one black (which does not photograph well). Although both are labeled light-weight, the black is really more beefy. The red will be a great undershirt. 

The variability in knits is challenging to me.

These were easy to sew and very satisfying. I know I will wear them and enjoy the soft organic knit. 

No doubt I'm still learning about knits.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Winter White

I admire winter white especially during the cold months when nature is in stark relief. I see these gorgeous winter white wool coats. I even bought one when I moved from Texas to New Jersey. Winter white does me no favors with my coloring but it is appealing. For this reason, I am really enjoying looking at this clothesline bowl that I made yesterday.

Lynn in my Fiber Art Fusion group did a lesson on this technique a year or so ago. I obediently bought the clothesline but never did anything with it, until yesterday.

Now if you are looking for something mindless and calming, making a clothesline bowl may be just the balm. I found it to be both mesmerizing and even a little exciting. And some days you just have to make something, anything. This filled the need for a quick and satisfying make.

Armed with $6 worth of Household Essentials cotton clothesline and off-white thread, I started. First I hand-sewed the initial teeny-tiny spiral. Even so the first rounds were a little tricky. Then it became zen. One hundred feet of clothesline later, this is what I have:

Lynn wrapped hers in beautiful cotton batik strips. Gorgeous. You know how rich those cotton batik colors can be.

For now, I will stay with winter white. It might be fun to dip it in a dye bath. I wonder if it would take the color.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Collared Peony

Several readers have asked about adding a collar to the Sewing Workshop's Peony vest. The last two times I have used this pattern, I have added a fairly simple collar.

The first one was the denim vest, which is a work-in-progress, but I wear it. Using Susan Brubaker Knapp's idea, I am filling it with seed stitch, leaving negative space in the shape of various creatures.


I walked my measuring tape around the neckline and added an inch or two. I then cut a straight-of-grain rectangle 6 inches wide X the measured length.


First I stay-stitched the neckline and clipped to the neckline across the back. Then I placed one long edge of the collar on the neckline and sewed right side to right side, 1/2 inch seam allowance. Then I folded the ends of the collar, right sides together, and sewed even with the center fronts of the vest, trimmed and turned. Lastly I turned the remaining raw edge of the collar under about 1/2 inch and slip-stitched in place.

The second one was the black wool-cashmere.


Again I measured the neckline, this time more carefully so that I could put in a seam at the shoulder line. There was no remnant large enough for the entire collar. I was able to cut the fronts along the selvage. This piece was cut 3 inches wide.


 Again, I stay-stitched the neckline but I did not need to clip around the back with this fabric, and with single-layer construction, I wanted to avoid any clips. I chalked in a 3/8 inch overlap on the neckline. Then I layered the collar seam allowance over the neckline (wrong side of collar to right side of vest) and stitched down the middle of the layer.

For a little added stability, I stay-stitched around the raw edge of the black collar.

Another option would be to use one of the clever collars from the Sewing Workshop's Now and Zen pattern. One of those is an open-ended tube collar and the other is a double collar. Each has a clever finish that encloses the raw edges of the seam attaching collar to body.

So many options!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Bento Bag

This is one I spotted on Pinterest, I think. It is by Pascale of Between the Lines blog. I like the puzzle-like construction.

I see that the bag is all over the internet and there are at least two tutorials. Here is the second one, the one that suggests boxing the corners. I like that too.

The image of it drew me in.

Pascale used a small piece of leather to gather in the two sides of the straps. I used some of the lining.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Peony Vest

It was first issued by The Sewing Workshop in an envelope with a second vest, the Poppy. I made both when they first came out. Only the Peony is still available from TSW, now as a download. It is such a nice basic pattern so that makes sense to me.

The Peony Vest is a sweet and simple canvas. There are a number of interesting and pretty versions in the Sewing Workshop online gallery. It is such a good layering piece.

It is composed of 3 primary pattern pieces - the back, the right front and the left front. I have made it twice now with two right fronts and an added collar. I like it very much.

The first was in denim and I am still adding stitch to it. The most recent one is made from a fabulous piece of black wool-cashmere, the same piece I used to make the Sydney jacket. I'm still glad I didn't sacrifice it to my near-disaster with that jacket.

This was so simple and so satisfying. I may decide to add some stitch to it later but I look forward to wearing it right away. It is so soft - perfect for this cold weather we're having.

The collar had to be pieced in order to use the ragged selvage as its edge. There is always room on a remnant to cut a pocket so I did, a patch pocket with a flap. So easy with fabric that does not ravel.

With the Sydney still fresh on my mind, I was not overly ambitious with this project. The process was very satisfying and I cannot wait to wear it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sydney Wrap

First, many thanks to readers of my blog who offered sympathy, suggestions and perspective on my Sydney jacket.  Special thanks to Helen near Sydney and Colleen from Tessiti.

I have finished. Hooray!

mine, finished.

Leather trim was an interesting option.  But...
  • I have limited knowledge of sewing leather.
  • Though at times, I fly without a net, the previous mistakes made me cautious.
  • There is probably a great way to make lapped 3/16th inch seams with leather, but I don't know it.*
  • I was able to cut the new piece from my wool/cashmere scraps with just one splice.
two remnants lapped

Here you can see how much I relied on pins to insure a decent lapped seam.

The rest of the construction was easy, fun, and I am happy with the result. The only change I made was to top stitch all of the hems

such sweet pockets tho mine are a bit small
I look forward to wearing it. The low tonight will be about 26F (-3C) so it should feel great.
It is done and I am glad to move on.

the back: not too bad

Yep. It's a wrap.

* tape or glue, maybe.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Saving Sydney

Still playing with fabric beads. See a great tutorial here

If you read my last blog posting, you know that I made a mess out of the lovely Sydney jacket using a fabulous piece of wool and cashmere. To stay calm, I am still making these fabric beads. They are a little addictive. Last night I created the bracelet by weaving them together with a bias tube from a thrifted tie.

But I can be a bit stubborn so I am working thru some fixes for my Sydney Jacket.

First up:

The incorrect pattern piece for the back (and the cut piece of cashmere/wool) is quite a bit smaller than the correct pattern piece, as you can see below. It makes sense to me to slide the poorly cut piece down flush with the lower hem and create a new piece that frames it and becomes the correct size for the back.

I traced the difference between my incorrect version of the back pattern piece and the correct pattern piece, creating a corresponding new pattern piece (adding the 3/8 inch overlap):

It is an oddly shaped piece and, of course, I do not have anything that size in my remnants. Despite this, I proceeded to cut the new pattern piece out of old quilt cotton and put the jacket muslin/toile together. Here is how the sewn back looks in this test piece:

And here is how it looks as a complete muslin/toile with the frame or insertion. I do not have plans to highlight this inserted piece in the final jacket but it is helpful to see how it looks in this high contrast cotton.

So far, so good.

Now I have a major decision to make. This oddly shaped piece will not fit on any remnant I have. Even if I rob the Peony vest pieces, I will have to piece them in order to create the new insertion piece. And I'm not ready to sacrifice the Peony vest, as it may turn out to be a favorite item to wear.

You may recall that while my reptilian brain was in charge, I noticed that I had enough fabric to cut out a vest AND a jacket. So I did so without considering the possibility of catastrophe.

My next step is to see if there is ANY way to piece the remnants into something like this insertion piece.

Alternatively I have been hording saving a beautiful piece of soft black leather, also purchased at Gail K. I'm wondering if it might look cool to add a leather insertion. I could add some other leather accents to the front. The down side is that I have almost no experience with leather so I will definitely be doing my research first!

Stay tuned, if you can stand it!