Thursday, February 23, 2012

Vogue 8746 - a basic white shirt

Vogue 8746 is a quiet little shirt pattern with nice lines, I think. I like the pleats at the shoulder, as well as the collar. The collar reminds me of collars I've seen on the BBC series "The House of Elliott." And I wanted an excuse to try out the tower placket from another Vogue pattern - 1204.

Issey Miyake cuff
My last shirt, Vogue 1215, was a bit challenging to fit because I did what I usually do as a slightly pear-shaped person - make the size matching my bust measurement and then make sure the hips are big enough. And the shoulders were too large. That's not overly easy to fix.

sleeve gusset
So with Vogue 8746, I decided to do what Louise Cutting recommends - a kind of slash and spread approach. I started with a muslin of only the shoulder area to get that right. Then I split the front piece as well as the back piece and spread them enough to provide adequate hip room. The fit was really pretty close.

Except for the sleeves. The upper sleeves were too tight. I compared the measurements to other shirts I've made and this one is much more close-fitting. So I inserted a gusset in the underarm seam of each sleeve.

The result is a pretty basic white blouse - a go to item, not too exciting on its own, but definitely a nice filler in my wardrobe.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Blouse Perfected - the muslin version

Just finished stitching together the body of the view A of TBP. Terri K is right. There is a lot of ease. I cut a size S but could have easily gone with a smaller size through the chest/bust. The ease through the hips is just right in size S.

Now I need to ponder whether or not to try a size XS through the upper portion, then slash-and-spread for the lower ease. I have a lovely Liberty cotton that might work just right with this, even with a lot of ease through the upper portion. The armscye is quite a low, similar to a man's shirt. So a certain amount of ease is to be expected in this shirt style. But I must ponder a while before putting scissors to the Liberty...

Now back to the Coco jacket - still more thread tracing to do!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Blouse Perfected

Hooray! The newest pattern from Cutting Line Designs, The Blouse Perfected (TBP), arrived in today's mail. I have been anxiously awaiting its arrival since joining the Shirt-A-Month (SAM) group at Artisan's Square and since taking Pam Howard's Classic Shirts class a few weeks ago. TBP looks to include every detail for a truly classic shirt design:

collar with collar band
slightly dropped shoulder
one front pocket
front placket
tower placket on sleeve
curved hem

I cannot wait to start a muslin for this.

One point of confusion though - I see that finished measurements (thank you, Louise, for including these!) show bust larger than hips for every size. I wonder - is this typical for classic shirts? I'll have to be careful with this since my body shape is the opposite.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Money is Fiber Too

OK, no sewing involved, but I had fun making one of these for each of my 10 grandkids. I used a very nice tutorial online here. There are others online but they are more complicated. I like simple, especially when I do something ten times. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tower Plackets

includes a tower placket
As mentioned in a previous post, I had the pleasure of taking a class on classic shirt details from Pam Howard last weekend. The very last technique covered was the tower placket, the traditional placket found on most men's shirts.

I was totally intrigued and wondered if, perhaps, some day, I too could make a tower placket. There wasn't time to actually try one in the class, but I watched Pam make one. Pam is very dexterous and can fold, press and top-stitch the most amazing details ever. This, as it happens, was better than reading an explanation, better than technical drawings, and almost as good as trying it myself on the spot.

Back at home, I found a pattern - Vogue 1204 - in my stash with just such a placket. I doubt I'll ever make the shirt in this pattern (and definitely never those skinny jeans), but it does contain the tower placket. I'm applying this sleeve finish to another pattern - Vogue 8746.  V 8746 is a bit of a sleeper, I think. I like the shoulder pleats and the collar on view A.

Pattern adapted to include the tower placket
The directions for making the tower placket in 1204 made absolutely no sense to me. Even the technical drawings looked wrong. But somewhere in the deep recesses of my little brain, I could still see Pam's nimble fingers pressing, turning, folding and simulating where to top-stitch.

Voila! It worked. I did have to re-do my first one, but the second and third were fine. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Pam.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

V 1215 Fini!

Back longer than front
Contrast placket & band
After over a month of tweaking a muslin, fiddling with pin tucks, learning shirt components, and really enjoying the whole process, I have finally finished Vogue 1215, a Chado Ralph Rucci design.

Lessons learned:

  • I must start with a smaller size and then accommodate bust and hips. Tweaking the shoulders was not easy.
  • Tunics are not a good look for me now. I shortened this to a more typical shirt length, but the back is still longer than the front. I will wear it for a while and decide if that needs to go. 
  • Twin needles produce a better look than pin tucks when the tucks intersect, and are on the bias, and include a shoulder dart. All that is needed is to tighten the tension on the bobbin thread and stitch from the right side of fabric. 
  • Though I wanted to use flat-fell seams throughout, they distracted from the design on the top sleeve seam, so they were removed. Yep, did the serger thing there. I did that on my set-in sleeves too. And I like it.
  • My automatic buttonholer on my Bernina did not like the collar band. The older button hole foot that requires I pay attention worked just fine.
  • You can edge-stitch after it is finished - just have to weave thread tails back into the garment.
  • Men's collar stands are edge-stitched ALMOST all the way around. There is a 1/4" gap right by the button or buttonhole.
  • I love contrasting fabrics in (slightly) hidden places.
  • There is (almost) always another way to do anything. The pattern calls for finishing the hem and all the seams with bias binding from the fashion fabric. I initially thought I'd do that because I do love binding. But ultimately I chose to roll the hem and finish the side seams in one pass. I used a flat-fell seam on the shoulder.

Finishing the hem and the side seam raw edges

flat-fell shoulder seam, shoulder darts, twin needle treatment

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Classic Shirt Details

Pam in one of her divine shirts
Just completed Pam Howard's class on the classic shirt. I am barely functioning on sensory-information-inspiration overload. Wow. Great class.

She started with a mouth-watering trunk show. My favorite fabrics were softened linen and also silk dupionni. Both show her fabulous top-stitching beautifully. She covered all the gorgeous classic details and I left with the definite impression that I can do that too! I made some head-way on Vogue 1215, but mostly took notes and tried to absorb everything.
Tower placket

 Some of the details include tower plackets, traditional shirt patch pockets, continuous bias plackets, collars with collar bands, flat-felled seams, rolled hem, and lots and lots of lovely top-stitching. My favorite item that I simply must try next would have to be the traditional tower placket. She demonstrated it but there was no time to practice it, plus no one had a pattern with that detail.

First task when returning home was to (1) dig through the pattern stash to see if I had a pattern with the tower placket, and (2) read some more of David Coffin's book, especially on the tower placket.

Now back to Vogue 1215.
Collar with band
Pam's perfect top-stitching
Continuous bias placket

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Vogue 1215 - Terminator Tucks

Tailor's Tacks - required here!
Pam Howard's class on Shirt Details starts Friday evening. Hooray! This class will no doubt be fabulous. She is the queen of top-stitching and other details.

Vogue 1215 has more details than she plans to cover in the class so it has required quite a bit of advanced planning. I completed my muslin a few weeks ago now. But I was never happy with the way the pin tucks looked. There are two down each front and both sides of the back. They are curved. One parallels the neck dart and then extends. And they intersect. Yikes!

The intersection just never looked good, IMO. I experimented - stop sewing just ahead of the first tuck and jump over it, carefully sew through it, and other variations on the theme. In fact, they more I looked at the pattern photo, the more I saw lumps in that version too. OK, you do have to look closely. I was ready to accept this little flaw, sort of.

Dart in - ready for *tucks*
At Christmas I received a lovely book called *Manipulating Fabric* with lots of technical details. The author suggests an alternative to ordinary pin tucks. It involves using a twin needle and tightening the bobbin tension. I read this while traveling and could not wait to get home and try it.

I think it's the right solution. Now it does bug me some that these are not tucks. BUT they really do look so, so much better than the real tucks.

lumpy tucks vs. twin needle