Friday, May 27, 2016

The Evolving Vogue 9081

When Vogue 9081 first came out, I thought, finally, a dress I will love. I always think that, especially when summer days are fast approaching. They always look so cool and comfortable.

Vogue 9081
I liked Vogue 9081 so much, that I made two of them.

I have worn the black one a number of times but every time I put the orange on, I take it off again. I look too much like a speed cone with legs.

Next I dipped it in black walnuts. The color is better but still I do not wear it. Last night I removed the lower panels. Then I added a piece of bias print for the hem tape. I have it on now and I like it so much better as a tunic with pants. I do not know why. I just do. I might even make it a third time now!

Slimmer pants would be even better.
I am holding another bag made from Noodlehead's Open Wide Pouch tutorial.

It is such fun to whip up one of these. The fabric is from a remnant of cotton canvas DD purchased at Ikea. I added a small piece of printed cotton, and a piece of ribbon. And, of course, sashiko.

This one is in honor of today's MMM16 theme - polka dot parade.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


It is not exactly rare that I make a traditional quilt, but it is not something I want to do often. I like little art quilts, little quilted bags, and of course quilted clothing. But traditional quilts are not my forte.

I finished this top maybe a year or more ago. When I showed it to my 7 year old grandson, he was unimpressed. It contained a few blocks made from Lightning McQueen (Lightnin' da' queen) fabric. Didn't I know that he was too old for that sort of thing? I was bored with it anyway so I just folded it up and put it into the dark recesses of my stash closet.

It resurfaced during a spring clean-out of the closet. The offending pieces were still there. After carefully removing almost all of them, I inserted some new blocks, lighter than the others. It is a much better quilt now.

Texas, our Texas
Next I basted it, quilted it, bound it. Lastly I added a bit of embroidery.

Lightnin's BFF
It is now a gift for my brother. Father of three girls, he probably does not know Lightnin' anyway.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Just A Pinch

Without the actual pinches.

Cutting Line Designs recently released this pretty shirt and vest pattern. It is a very easy make, a classic shirt with a twist. I used this pattern for my previous shirt, but it was just a starting point for it, as I was trying to use a thrifted man's shirt for fabric.

This time I started with beautiful Japanese cotton purchased from Cutting Line Designs' new online fabric store. There is almost no wrinkling, and yet it presses beautifully.

 If you have not visited the new shop, I highly recommend it. You may know that Louise has great taste. I have always enjoyed shopping her booth at sewing expos. Now we can shop with her on line!

This cotton has a dobby weave and so a soft hand, a lovely drape. It was a dream to sew and I am enjoying wearing it today. Just a perfect shirting fabric, I think. I found just-right red buttons at Gail K here in Atlanta, using one large one at the neckline.

One twist in this shirt pattern is the placement of the side seam. It has been rotated to the front by several inches and angled inward, slightly. It creates a very slimming effect, I think.

I did have to be careful marking the underarm dot that connects to the standard underarm seam of the sleeve to the shirt body. It's hard to tell in my pictures. It is more like a princess seam than it is a side seam. In fact, I'm thinking it might be a place for a FBA, though I don't need that.

I omitted the collar in preparation for the hot weather headed my way. I also omitted the pinches that are used to create an asymmetrical hem line. I inserted a solid red flat piping into the front seam (the quasi-princess seam) to highlight that aspect of this design.

Just A Pinch line drawing

Liberty line drawing

I had thought Just A Pinch would be more similar to the Sewing Workshop's Liberty shirt. The side seam of the Liberty starts at the underarm in the standard location and then the back piece is sharply angled, toward the front, changing the grainline at the side seam by almost 45 degrees. The increased back width pushes the seam forward, visually. It also increases the hip volume a good bit.

You can see here that JAP back (on top, beige) is longer and more narrow than the Liberty back (bottom white)
Just A Pinch has a more classic shirt silhouette and fit. That is, it is more straight up and down. The side seam has been moved onto the front piece without changing the grainline of the seam. As I mentioned above, it is almost a princess seam. Almost, but not quite. An interesting design feature.

This picture shows that the JAP (beige) armscyc is forward of the Liberty (white)
The drawings appear quite similar but the design is different. Even the collars are very different. The Liberty collar is a Peter Pan collar that is folded up, though it does not show up in the line drawing. The JAP collar is a straight stand-up collar, as shown in its line drawing.

I love both the Just A Pinch and the Liberty, and plan to make more of each. Each offers a unique design and silhouette.

I would love to make the vest next. I am enamored of the idea of a vest and shirt from similar shapes. I like the nesting it creates.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Me-Made-May Now Half-Way

There is something about May. It just flies. Surely it is the shortest month - even shorter than December. And I have been sewing. Really, I have.

Here is what I am currently sewing:

This is a tunic DD purchased at one of those in-home parties. I think she paid more than $200. And it has raveled apart. Well, I'll complain, I mean, blog about that later.

Here is MMM16, the first half:

1. the Olive tshirt and Hudson pants

2. Ivy top and Helix pants

3. MixIt top and Urban pants

4. Odette top, Fillmore duster, Helix pants

5. Now shirt, Helix pants

6. Hudson top and Helix pants

7. Vogue Marcy Tilton tshirt and Vogue Sandra Betzina pants

8. Now shirt and Plaza pants

9. MixIt shirt and Urban pants

10. CLD Simplify Your Life top and Hudson pants

11. CLD Just A Pinch shirt (much modified) and Hudson pants

12. Folkwear Metro Middy blouse and Kwik Sew canvas pants

13. Grainline Lark tshirt and Helix pants

14. MixIt top and Hudson pants

15. Ivy top, Fillmore duster, Hudson pants

Friday, May 13, 2016

Me-Made-May 2016 Friday Theme - Stripes

Day 13: stripe theme with Grainline Lark tee in rayon jersery, Sewing Workshop Helix pants in ponte

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Under the Big Top

Sometimes I get an idea and I cannot let it go until it has run its course. Such was this case with this blouse.

It started with my wanting to try to be more eco-friendly in my sewing by using fabric from the thrift shop. By *fabric*, I mean used clothing to cut apart to use in a new pattern.

Finally I made it to the thrift store and exited with 3 large men's shirts, all cotton, and 2 silk ties. Because the investment was small, I did not even try to unsew these shirts. I just cut away the seams and tossed the pieces that were too heavily interfaced to use. So for each shirt, I had a back, two sleeves without cuffs, and two fronts. Later I had to dig a few pieces back out of the trash though!

Cutting Line Designs recently issued an interesting blouse and vest pattern called Just A Pinch (JAP). I wanted to see how I like it, compared to the Sewing Workshop Liberty shirt, an all-time favorite pattern.

Just A Pinch - I omitted the *pinches*

JAP has a wide back piece that wraps, with forward side seams. This creates nice vertical lines on the front of the shirt. It also creates an interesting hem, something that can camouflage hip fluff. The details of the forward side seam are different from TSW's Liberty blouse, where the grain of the fabric shifts dramatically. I like them both. Next I want to make the vest.

The Sewing Workshop's Liberty blouse. The forward side seams shift the grainline quite a lot.

Just A Pinch did create a challenge with my pieces of *fabric,* because no single piece of shirting was as wide as that back piece. I started slicing and splicing.

Then I noticed that both front pieces were flawed. I used harvested pockets from the other shirts to cover the blemishes. That's when I realized that I was definitely in clown territory.

Above you can see the two pockets covering the small flaws in the fabric, as well as the front band I added with buttonholes. The sleeves include the original plackets with the cuffs removed. I added the striped bias binding to the sleeve hems, as well as to the neckline.

I was just about to slit open the buttonholes and sew the buttons on the other side. But I stepped back and took a good long look at this shirt. No way, no how, would I wear this shirt. It belonged under the Big Top.

So I removed the machined buttonholes. Gosh, they looked terrible anyway. I changed the direction of closure from left over right, to right over left. I am not at all picky about the direction but this made the striped front placket less dominating.

Next I removed the contrasting pockets and made new ones from the very small pieces of blue fabric remaining, some of it in the trash bin.

The hem is odd but I like it. I kept the shirt tail curve in the back, and made the front hem straight across. From the side, it looks like the front is longer than the back, but the center back is about the same length as the center front.

I wore it for the first time today. I think I like it. The old fabric is soft but still pretty, I think. And it is very light weight - great for the summer heat headed my way.

Lesson learned: next time, use a pattern that is familiar with straight lines. Many of the CLD patterns would have worked better than JAP with these odd-shaped pieces. This shirt has been modified way too much to call it a version of the Just A Pinch. I think I'll make the JAP again, this time with virgin fabric.

I still have fabric from the other two shirts, so who knows?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Shirt Details

Recently my cousin showed me her collection of shirts. Oh. My. Goodness. I thought I loved shirts.

She doesn't sew but she is a savvy shopper, purchasing great shirts at garage sales, as well as Chico's. And the details are wonderful.

This one caught my eye. Details include an inverted back pleat stitched at the waist, wedge-shaped epaulets, button placket with a 2-3 inch fold-over, and flap pockets.

Placket detail

Pocket detail

Center back inverted pleat, stitched together at the back waist.

I was anxious to try to copy some of the details. The Now and Zen pattern from The Sewing Workshop (TSW) is pretty close to the RTW shirt:

So I started with the Zen. I made no changes to its back pleat. I have hip fluff and decided to skip the part where the inverted pleat is stitched together at the waistline. It is a pretty detail though, so maybe next time.

The placket on the Zen looks more similar that it really is. The RTW shirt has a wider, prominent fold-over placket and, most significantly, the button holes are placed on the shirt, rather than the placket, as in the Zen shirt. I have made the Zen previously and was not crazy about the buttonhole placement. It is a bit awkward to button with the buttonholes inside the placket without easy access. Hope that makes sense.

So I redrafted the placket. It should have been easy, but I got confused several times. I finally got the pattern tissue designed fairly well but then managed to sew incorrectly. I was sewing between trips and babysitting gigs. My mind was not focused.

Having exhausted my enthusiasm on the placket, I abandoned the flaps on the pockets. In fact, I did not manage to center the placket, so one of the pockets had to go. I hope the asymmetry is not too obvious.

This is the Zen shirt with the Now collar, a very clever collar technique.
The cuffs on the RTW shirt were standard with tower plackets and cuffs. My go-to pattern for that shirt element is The Blouse Perfected from Cutting Line Designs.

But I have a vintage Chico's shirt with 3/4 length sleeves that I have always loved. So I decided to try to copy that too. First I cut the sleeves 3/4 length + seam allowance. Then I drafted a facing that is about 5 inches deep. I added it to the hem of the sleeve created an easy vent in the seam just below the facing. I added a button loop in the center of each sleeve vent and a button to hold the sleeve cuff together.

I like the cuff better folded back. I will not repeat this detail in future shirts. There are easier ways to create a 3/4 length cuff. My Lucille Ball cuffs would have been just right!

I will repeat the front placket in my next shirt. I want to improve on that a bit.

I added a small detail to the back and I call this done.

I am wearing it today. It is delightful to wear - a beautiful piece of men's shirting from Gail K here in Atlanta.