Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Vogue 8982 details

ElleC asked about the buttons I used in my previous post about Vogue 8982. Born and raised in Texas, I love some western touches like these old nickel buttons. I guess some really are/were made from old nickels. Mine have either the Native American profile on the face, or the bison. But they are smooth on the back so clearly not real nickels. Here is a picture I found of real nickel buttons. I'm thinking these must be rare finds. Aren't they lovely?
I did not have a set, so I used one buffalo, one native American, and one that contains a kind-of native American mandala on it. I put a spare buffalo on the back neckline. My close-ups are not good. Sorry.
Today I am working on a solid black undershirt for this jacket. I am piping the edges there too. It may be too much but I don't have to wear these items together. 

This little ruler is a big help when I insert piping. I cut the fabric - here silk tafeta - along the bias, 2 inches wide, stitch the rat tail into a groove using a grooved foot on my machine. Then I use the ruler to trim to 5/8 or 1/4. It has a slot on each side - one for each SA. Pretty slick, huh?

The last two days have been great for staying inside and looking outside here in the southeastern US.
It was still coming down here. Now it's a blanket of white. Lovely if you are not stuck in it.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Vogue 8982 view D

Vogue 8982 continues to be a source of great fun for me. I made the knit version of the jacket (view A), sleeveless as a vest, first. I enjoy that one - so cozy, so warm. And it was such a pleasure to make that I needed to try another view.

View D is the jacket version for woven fabrics. The oddly shaped back piece seems to be the only intersection between the various views. The fronts, side backs, and sleeves are different for each view. The back is shaped like an exaggerated letter A, narrow at the top.

Interestingly, for view D only, it was supposed to be cut with the straight of grain across the back, rather than down the back. I am sad that I failed to study the layout before cutting into my fabric. This fabric would have benefited from such a layout.

The fabric is wonderfully comfortable and I really like the colors. It contains white, black and blue threads, a 100% cotton jacquard weave, soft and fairly loosely woven. Hard to match. I'll say no more about that.

I used some 3/4 inch silver buttons - old nickels. I really find those old buttons appealing.

Old nickel buttons, down the front, and one on the back
A little sleeve vent takes it up a notch
I am still enjoying this pattern, so next I'll try view E which is the woven version of the undershirt/vest. Hoping the stash yields something that will nestle under this jacquard jacket.
Piped the seams with black and white checked silk taffeta

Friday, January 24, 2014

In the Bleak Mid-winter

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

 English poet Christina Rossetti
 written sometime prior to 1872

Dye-painted silk crepe de chine appliqued on linen, about 12" x 12", ready for decorative stitch

Not so bleak, maybe

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cardi to Vest

(or Vogue 8839 to Vogue 8982)

Last week I made up Vogue 8839 in a gorgeous red-orange polar fleece. It was pretty on the model, and great on my dress form. And it was soft. And I love the color. But I did not like it on me, partially because it was too tight in the sleeves. But there was also the frump factor.

It needed to be reconstituted, resurrected. But of course, each time the fabric is cut, its potential shrinks. I cut it apart and spread it on the floor like a bear rug to see if that generated inspiration. Hmmm...nothing.

Then Marcy's newest jacket/vest/top pattern arrived in the mail - Vogue 8982. I understand it is sold out over at clubbmv and that it is the #2 best seller there*.

Well, no wonder! This is a truly fabulous pattern. And it is really 4-5 patterns, IMO. View A/B are the knit jacket versions. View B has a smart vent in the sleeve and some suggested hand-stitching. Otherwise they are the same. View D and E are the woven versions (jacket plus undershirt).

Just finished View A/B as a vest, so without sleeves. Now you might think, hey, that's really view C. But view C has different pattern pieces in order to allow it to layer under the jacket as a top. I just love that. Cannot wait to make a jacket and top combo.
You can see that it is nicely shaped here in this pic of the back

My extra vertical lines are visible here.

This is how I will wear it though without houseshoes.

Not too bad from the back.

It closes but I won't be putting closures on this.

The cardi conversion was not without its hiccups. And I was very lucky to have enough left over fleece to cut out the vest back and front facings. The vest fronts and the vest side backs were cut from the spread eagle cardi. And I have enough left over to make more mittens for the grands.

As a result my vest has additional vertical lines in the front, but I kind of like that. I did have to release the vertical bust dart. It was bunching up where my vertical lines intersected the dart. That was a bit of a nail-biter as the stitches, even at 3.0, sink into this fleece and are hard to rip.

The arm holes were simply turned at 5/8 inch and top-stitched.

This is a wonderful pattern, a canvas for artful touches, and a flattering style, I think. The neckline is one that frames the face and draws attention up. Lovely. Ready for some sashiko, perhaps.

I'm so happy, as you can see here:
Vogue 8975 appearing in Jungle January! ( Petty Grievances)

*Marcy's dress is number 1. And I love that too, as mentioned in my previous post. So have you ordered these two wonderful patterns yet? If not, I really think you must.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Vogue 8975

the Imalittleteapot pose
Vogue 8975 is that new little French house dress from Marcy Tilton. I love almost everything about it. Well, no, I love everything about it.

  • the close fit through the shoulders on down through the bust.
  • the genius pockets
  • the drape that skims high hip fluff and a multitude of other sins
  • the fact that the pattern is a puzzle
I love puzzle patterns. Sometimes I think I'm happier puzzling them out than I am actually wearing the finished garment. That may be why I am such a collector of patterns. It's fun to fully exploit one pattern, using it in many different forms, but sewing up a new pattern can be exhilarating. 

There were two items that threw me - one instruction-related and one fabric-related. 

Fabric: it always throws me when they require two-way stretch. I know that lots and lots of people read that phrase and know exactly what it means. Not me. I read it and say to myself, "Now is that two-way as opposed to one-way, or two-way as opposed to four-way?"  I really like that Jalie describes their knit fabric recommendations as "horizontal stretch" and "both horizontal and vertical stretch." In this case, it requires horizontal and vertical stretch. I think.

The one step that threw me was step 11 (side seams):

"Pin front to back at sides, matching notches and small circles. Stitch, breaking stitching at small circles. Stitch again 1/4 " away in seam allowance. Trim. Press seam allowances toward back."

I sewed the side seams from the arm hole down to the small circles and tied off my threads. This left about 5/8" of fabric on the back, and 2.5" fabric on the front. I could not determine what to do with the extra 2.5". There seemed to be two possibilities - wrap the excess fabric back around the side seam, creating a fold in the front hem and restitch the side seam, or turn the corner and stitch the excess front side seam to the back hem. I did the latter. And it worked, I'm pretty sure. It seems to have created the hem-cupping that is illustrated in the cover photos. 
excess fabric front piece, side seam

Side seam finished (front hem is almost parallel to side seam in pic

Actually I sent Marcy a note asking for help with step 11. She confirmed that I completed this step correctly. And she told me that this and her wonderful new jacket pattern are the number 1 and 2 sellers at Vogue. And we're not surprised, right? These are just great designs. And the designer is lovely and generous.

I did make a couple of other changes based on my body and my preferences. I raised the neckline and widened the sleeves.

With this wild fabric, it's hard to see the fabulous design lines, so I'm posting inside-out pix. I hope to make this in contrasting fabrics, like Marcy, next time.

Front is longer than back, And I'll wear leggings or tights with this.

Such clever pockets that are part of the genius front drape

As soon as I saw Vogue 8975 published on clubbmv I knew I had to make it. I was (almost) prepared to spend near-full price for it. I am very impatient. But clubbmv came through with one of their wonderful sales and I ordered it (and a few more). 

Katherine Tilton has published another puzzler for Butterick. Just saw Ann's write-up at Stitch Me Up and I know it will be fun to sew too. And have you seen her new pants pattern (also Butterick)? I think it has TNT potential.

Just realized that I am wearing Tilton designs head-to-toe on this cold Saturday morning. Yep, I'm a big fan.

Pants: Vogue 8929 (stretch woven)
Tee: Vogue 8793 (rayon knit)
Vest: Butterick 5891 (double side ponte)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Shirt and a Cardigan

Not loving it
Goes with everything
One step forward, one step back.

Just finished a third Liberty from the Sewing Workshop. I believe I have it out of my system for now.

I used the clever double collar from TSW Zen shirt for this Liberty. I messed it up a bit, but I'm not going to dwell on it. I count this as a success:
  • The double collar was fun to make.
  • The soft 100% cotton shirting was a dream to sew.
  • The fit through the shoulders is just right.
  • It skims over my hips.
  • I've already worn it several times. 
Then, buoyed by this success, I made a blooper. Not ready to toss it out yet, but it's getting close.

Zen collar

Liberty Shirt

Vogue 8839, a Marcy Tilton cardi, came out a few seasons ago, maybe two years now. It looks so darned cute on the model. Why not on me?

This is my second version of V8839. My first one was made with gray ponte for some pieces, brown ponte for other pieces. It was a fun project but did not end up being a favorite to wear. And the sleeves were a little tight.

This second one is made out a very nice polar fleece from Marcy Tilton. It seems to have plenty of stretch but it's too tight in the sleeves. Again. Not comfy over the above Liberty shirt or anything else, except a Tee.

There are still some things to try before I totally give up on it. But it sure zaps the sewing mojo.

You can tell that it is a great pieces of fabric

Might shorten it. Might try to make it a vest. Wah!
Fun fact: The Marcy Tilton design includes the very same clever double collar as TSW Zen shirt.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Craft to Art, and Back Again

This is a small essay. I will be publishing some garment sewing tomorrow.

The subject of art versus craft continues to interest me, and others, evidently. Or perhaps I am just very tuned into this channel.

Most recently I spotted this post by fiber artist, Kathleen Loomis:
Clawing your way out -- or in

Kathleen makes the case that it is possible to back into the fiber arts, and be recognized or appreciated, if one first obtains a fine arts degree from certain academic institutions. Such fiber art is recognized as art. Even if it is not particularly good.

It has also been pointed out to me that if fiber art is made by a man, then it is noteworthy. It may be viewed as art. When women produce fiber art, it is craft or even domestic crafting. Perhaps I overstate the case, but see, for example, this art show in NYC: alt_Quilts. Two men, one woman, alternative materials. And the pieces are actually very good. Thought- provoking on several levels.

Last night at my quilt guild, a member showed a lovely piece she made that hangs in her *studio.* It was a lovely piece. Art that happened to be composed of fabric and stitch. The guild leader raised her eyebrows at the mention of her studio.

I must confess that I have trouble referring to my space as my studio. I'm much more comfortable calling it my sewing room. After all, I came to fiber art via my attempts to make things that are useful:

Can I wear it?
Can I sleep under it?
Can I put my stuff in it?

The label of artist is not something I come to easily. This denial denigrates my work, ultimately. It is self-sabotage. I don't actually make things, create art, in order to meet a need. No, I make things because I long to create and I am nurtured when I create.

Just tonight, I realized that calling it my studio means that I speak out loud my intention to create art. Calling it my sewing room allows me to just sew. That also means that I am not taking any risk. I am not pushing my boundaries. And that may actually limit my creativity.

My new, new year's resolution is to claim my artistic endeavors, to claim my sewing studio as a haven for my art, and to name myself artist. It will not happen tonight. I wonder if a year is long enough.

And you? How is your art?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Easing into 2014

Uneven miter - inside
It's such a pleasure to have some time in my sewing studio again. But I notice that I'm not quite ready to leap into anything complicated. The garish PJs were a nice warm up, using two TNT patterns.

Today I began another Liberty top, certainly a TNT as well. This time I am using a lovely, soft, cooperative cotton shirting from Gail K. It has that shot weave - white on the warp; black on the weft. The result is a crisp gray color.

Making something with this fabric reminds why I love, love, love to sew. For example, sweet little near-perfect mitered corners are possible, even predictable. Though I've used Linda Lee's miter technique for many years now, I still have to sit back and marvel at how beautifully it works.

Uneven miter - outside
I did make one adjustment in the pattern just to give it a little something different. I'm trying out the double collar from the Now-And-Zen pattern, (also from the Sewing Workshop - TSW). It isn't morphing perfectly, so I'm not sure it will work in the end. But what a pretty, face-framing collar that is! Almost as nice as the mitered corners.

Lastly, as I ease into more complicated projects, I have a little eco-dye brewing. India Flint suggested putting such projects in glass containers so that the color can be enjoyed as it develops. This jar contains white linen, some red onion, a little pomegranate peal, and vinegar.

I do hope your thread work is happily settling into this new year too.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Did I really make that?

I hesitate to blog about this. It's ready for the big top. Just need those floppy huge yellow shoes. This extended cold spell we're having is messing with my color sense. It does not make my heart sing.

But I did make it and I did wear it.And I kept my eyes firmly closed while wearing.

The top is Cutting Line Design's Anything But Ordinary top. Not enough green in the stash for a complete top. The fabrics are cotton knits - the green is a jersey; the pink is interlock. Seriously did I buy this stuff?!

The pants are my favorite PJ pants pattern from Folkwear's Japanese field clothing. These are called monpei. Friend Hellenne who is half Japanese says they are Japanese sweat pants. 4 rectangles = pants!

Triangles are cut from two of the rectangles. These become the pants back. The triangles are rotated up the inseam to create a kind-of crotch curve. Ingenious, right?

That triangular manipulation creates some drag on the pants, making them rather funky, I think. They twist inward just slightly. And they are cropped. Perfect PJ pants. So comfy.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cannot say no

to home dec when my kids ask me. The fabric is not soft, not pliable, and it usually frays like crazy. Wah!

And then I end up having fun anyway.

Sewing is that way, mostly. In fact it makes me think about covering pillows with my own fabric.

Just ordered Marcy Tilton's latest, awesome-est (thanks to DGS4 for the new word) two patterns:

Vogue 8975
Vogue 8982

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Octopus's Garden

8x10, quilt cottons, reverse applique, embroidery

The holidays are not over for me. Still have two grands visiting. I'm able to slip in some hand-sewing after they fall asleep and right before I collapse myself.

May need more French knots.