Monday, November 23, 2015

Tied up

During the past few weeks, I have been out of town more than home. This has meant way too little time in my sewing space. And my mental health depends upon time spent making. Yikes!

I always travel with hand-sewing which is a life-saver when you are spending time in airports and on interstates. But it is not the same. Last week I just started refusing to do anything until I had a little time to myself in my space.

Sometimes, after a hiatus, I jump into something complicated and make a mess. Fortunately I decided to use a pattern I have used before and I made it even simpler. 

Here is my Tremont Vest:

The Tremont Jacket pattern is the most recent of the paper patterns produced by The Sewing Workshop (TSW). I made it first in a medium weight cotton Ikat. 

I goofed and made this fold left over right. So you cannot even tell that the right front is different.

By simply omitting the sleeves, it became a fun little vest. I was surprised at how deep the armscye is. Wow. But still highly wearable, I think. It's a bit kimono-like except the sleeve head sits right at my shoulder line. I like that.

As before I used (mostly) a thrifted man's tie to make binding for the Hong Kong finishes inside. Although one tie generated more than 4 yards of 1.25 inch bias tape, it was not enough to finish every edge. So I used some silk scraps that are similar in color.

When I use a tie to make bias binding, I first take it apart and then wash it in a lingerie bag. This time I even dried it in the dryer. After a good steam press, it was ready to cut. I folded it in quarters along the bias (which is sort of the grain of any man's tie) and made my first cut right down the length-wise middle. Then I made 1.25 inch cuts on each side until I ran out of fabric to cut. Next I opened the strips up and cut off the pieces that were less than 1.25 inch in width. Lastly I stitched the pieces together to make one long 4+ yard bias piece. Tie material is so nice to work with as the fabrics tend to have a little tooth. Even though I choose only 100% silk, they are not terribly slippery.

The Tremont has different right and left fronts. For the vest I decided to cut two left fronts - the left front piece is the larger of the two front pieces. I added a little pocket because I am always reaching for a tissue this time of year.

So how about you? Holidays keeping you away from sewing? I hope not! This season is such a fun time to sew. 

PS - the fabric is a silk-linen houndstooth in black and cream. It's a remnant I picked up at my favorite local fabric shop, Gail K.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Wee quilt for wee grandson

Who arrived 5+ weeks early. Still in NICU. 

Crib entertainment
Pieced, appliqué, embroidery

Monday, October 19, 2015

Very very easy Vogue 9063 - version 2

The fabric is the focus this time. Even the scraps make me happy. I believe that this is Thai Ikat silk. Purchased from Linda Lee at The Sewing Workshop, the blue piece came to me whole. That is, it was a length of fabric sewn into a tube, perhaps to be belted and worn as a skirt. The reds are scraps from Linda's scrap bins. All delicious IMO.

Vogue 9063 is the perfect pattern for interesting fabric, I think.

The back had to be pieced so I covered the seam with a bias strip. I left the finished selvage for the hem but may hem it shorter.

The sleeves had to be pieced too. I just love these colors!

The Ikat pattern seems to glow. The selvages are wide and distinctive. See the pattern transition to solid blue.

And of course I added just a little sashiko to the neckline. Just little red dots, really

The pattern includes an A line skirt and fitted pants, neither of which is interesting to me. But what a great pattern for a beginner! I'm wondering if a third version is in me. This is when sewing is so very satisfying.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Very very easy Vogue 9063

Vogue 9063 is rated Very Easy. And it is, but the rating made me wonder once again what that means. When I googled *What does very easy rating on Vogue patterns mean?*, shams Open Letter to Vogue Patterns was the first article listed. She posits that it may be related to the number of pattern pieces. I also wonder if it is related to the density of instruction.

odd angle, photographer laying down on his hammock

I've been keen to make the top that is part of Vogue 9063 ever since seeing it on BSF, Ginny (see below). Then, like many, saw the painted silk version posted by McCalls patterns. I have just completed my first version, this one made with an inexpensive Ikat cotton shirting from Gail K here in Atlanta.

My version - not too exciting. Maybe it needs sashiko.

BSF's version - so elegant

McCalls version - back

McCalls version - front

The instructions were clear, basic and brief. There was no mention of seam finishing which is a personal pet peeve. In fact the hem instructions strongly imply that you won't finish the side seam edges. But that is OK. I am fairly certain that seam finishes were not on my radar when I was learning to sew.

Changes I made:
  • Rather than hope-to-match my Ikat pattern pieces on the front, I simply omitted the lower band. This was easy because the seam between the front and the front band is strictly a design line. I just placed the band tissue over the front tissue, overlapping by 1.25 inches to account for the seam allowances.

  • Facings have their place in sewing garments, but in this case I was not excited about them. Instead I used a black bias strip to face the front and back neck lines. This was done before sewing the shoulder seams. 
Cut off the corner where the shoulder seams meet in order to use bias binding on neckline

Inside of neckline before finishing the shoulder seam

Outside of neckline

  • Seam finishes: I used a French seam on the sleeve. On the shoulder and side seams, I first sewed the seam RST, pressed open, and then folded the edge under and top-stitched. Does that have a name? And I serge-finished the armscye seams.
Such a simple top. I really like it a lot. This one needs to be in your stash. Maybe it already is? I have several silk pieces I'm considering for my next version. The McCalls version made from that detail of a butterfly wing makes me swoon.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Revisiting Vogue 9057

Vogue 9057 by Marcy Tilton came out in 2014. It is a tee shirt pattern with lots of variations to the neckline, the hem, the sleeves and interesting layering ideas. I made my first version of view D almost exactly a year ago. I've worn it quite a bit and received a number of compliments.

Fabric for the first version is rayon jersey from Five-Eighth Seams in Charleston SC. Recently I ordered and received some soft grey rayon jersey from The Sewing Workshop. So I decided to make view D again.

It has been a bit of a struggle, operator error for the most part.

First I tried to use Pam Erny's charming split cowl technique on the neckline. That failed because this gray jersey is quite fine and even a little sheer. And it's rayon - too drapey, I now realize. The raw edge was quite prominent and not pretty.

So I unstitched the cowl and cut out the band for view D.  I followed the instructions pretty closely for view D but did not realize the problem soon enough:

The neckband tissue has *extra* length. The neckline tissue measures 26.25 inches on the seam line but the neckband with extra measures 28 inches (!). Even if I had noticed the extra, there is too little difference between the shorter neckband (26 inches) and the neck (26.25 inches). Given the technique described for the neckline for view D and the view D pattern tissue, I was going to be unhappy with the result.

View D band is to be inserted in the round.
Naturally I wondered how it worked out OK in my first version. Now that I revisit that piece, I see that it is a little too large. I probably chalked it up to the different fabrics. Also I cut that neckband on the bias. It still stands a little too far away from the body. But OK.

With this fine rayon jersey, the problems were compounded. Without unsewing the neckband again and risking serious damage to the fabric, I am pretty stuck with some ripples. So next I tried some rows of topstitching:

Some steam and the clapper took out a lot of the ripples.

Still not pretty. Maybe OK.

Meanwhile I decided I really wanted a shorter tee shirt. View D is tunic length and in this fabric, it is too clingy on my hips. It is even a little clingy on the dress form!

View D before cutting off the hem

View D before cutting off the hem - you can really see that it is sheer here!
View A in Vogue 9057 is a standard tee shirt length with a pretty curved line, high over the sides, slightly longer in the back.

View A is a closer fit through the hips than view D. This would not work for me, so I kept the greater hip ease from View D, gently shaping the curve on the sides.

Still not happy, I took needle and thread (#8 pearl cotton) and started stitching the collar. I've left the knots on the outside (DH: cool collar but you missed some threads). And I added similar sashiko to the sleeve hems.

Conclusion: I still like this pattern!

Good layering piece

Saturday, October 10, 2015

This Quilt is Done!

My favorite quilt is a completed quilt. As is usual for me, I became bored half way through the process. It is for my last grandchild. So they say. His room is decorated in gray, taupe and navy. Hmmm...I had to add a little red.

It has two fronts, or maybe two backs:

The quilt-with-legs pose

This started out as the front.

It's a good thing that red is a neutral.

I look forward to meeting this little guy, probably at Thanksgiving.

Monday, September 28, 2015

TSW Ivy (and Urban) Tee

The Odette and Ivy pattern from The Sewing Workshop (TSW) has been out for almost a year, I think. It contains two very different knit tops, so a real two-fer. Previously I made the Odette and like it very much. The tunic length shirt is called Ivy and it is the one I just finished.

I omitted the inset in the left sleeve because I used the same solid fabric for the entire piece. And it's black.
The Ivy contains three separate flanges that float around the hips. I like for things to float around but never land on my hips. Recently, while traveling, I almost bought a black Eileen Fisher tunic that was similar (not as interesting though), but when they did not have my size, I resolved to make my own.

That's what we do, right?

This pattern has some interesting lines and was a fun make. Of course, it is perfect for coordinating knit fabrics but I wanted a basic black tunic. There is always next time for fabric play.

The black knit fabric came from Alabama Chanin, who you may know is a very interesting maker. She designs and sells beautiful hand-sewn (as in, no sewing machine!) garments from USA grown and manufactured cotton knits. She has also published a number of books for those of us in the DIY market where she describes her process in detail. She sells her organic knits by the yard online as well as at The Sewing Workshop. And she offers classes and workshops. All in all, a very generous and conscientious business person.

Back of TSW's Ivy Tee, AC's light weight jersey.

This is the second time I've sewn with the AC knits. I made TSW's Urban Tee during June and never blogged about it for some reason. I think the blue knit is AC's medium weight knit, more beefy like interlock but really nice.

TSW's Urban Tee, AC's medium weight knit

As jersey knits go, it is pretty easy to sew. Not as easy as ponte because jersey likes to curl but still very cooperative. And the AC knit likes the steam iron as much as I do.

I do think that because it is 100% cotton, it does not recover as well as knits containing Lycra. That may be just me, but it seems so. I'm going to do some more research to see if others have noted this.

The recovery issue came into play with the neckline. TSW provides a pattern piece for the rectangle to be cut for the neckline and this is usually just right. You fold the rectangle length-wise wrong sides together and press. Then you sew the short ends right sides together and fold the circle wrong sides together. Using the good old Stretch and Sew technique of quartering the neckline and quartering the neckband, the three layers are sewn together and pressed so that the seam allowances can be top-stitched close to the original sewing line. A nice ready-to-wear detail.

This time though, I could not get it to lay down flat after sewing it on. Perhaps I was too heavy-handed. Before the top-stitching, I removed the offending neckband and re-cut it 1 inch shorter.

It still does not lay down as flat as I would like. But it will probably be fine when I wear it. And we have about 100% humidity right now. That should help.

Has anyone else used this knit? It feels heavenly and I know I'm going to enjoy wearing it. Because it is black I will probably dry-clean it.