Thursday, August 30, 2012

V8839 Jacket

A while back I posted pictures of my muslin for this jacket, Vogue 8839, another ingenious Marcy Tilton design. Initially I spent some sewing energy and good karma trying to determine if it could be made in a woven.

So I made it out of a knit: ponte - one icy gray and the other chocolate brown.

This provided an opportunity to explore raw edges, and to learn more about knits. Ponte is a stable knit - rayon, poly, and lycra, I think. It has a modest amount of stretch crosswise and almost none lengthwise.

not Vogue
Does the pattern call for two-way stretch? I cannot remember. That expression always throws me. Two-way stretch??? Which two ways? East-West? North-West?

Anyway I think that stretch around the body is only needed on the sleeve bands and the hem bands. The bands are slightly smaller than the piece they are sewn to, and so should be stretched while sewing.

Using the selvage, I left the edges raw for the collars - one in each color - as well as for the sleeve bands. As mentioned above, the sleeve band piece is more narrow than the sleeve piece. In order to use the selvage as the raw edge I cut these bands lengthwise - so no stretch. This was easy to fix by just cutting the bands wider.

The selvage for a ponte is not gorgeous but it's a little different.

The jacket hems and the front are also raw edges. (I learned that) a steady hand on the rotary was needed for those raw edges. Since the inside seams show down the front, (I also learned that) a steady hand was required on some seams. I top-stitched most of the seams on either side of the stitched line.

The sleeves were just a bit long for me. Oddly my arms are a bit long for my body, so these sleeves must run longish. Or maybe it needs a shoulder pad. I just cut off about 2 inches and reattached the sleeve band.

I like this little piece quite a lot. I think I'll enjoy wearing it, at least until it gets really cold here. I'm still dreaming of the perfect cozy sweater wool for it. And maybe a woven with two interesting sides...

So many possibilities. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

eDress - It's Growing on Me

Fishhead pose
Or is it just growing?

This is my first ePattern. Though I managed to make it difficult(*), it was really easy and fun. And I think I like the result.

This eDress from The Sewing Workshop is one of several downloadable patterns they issue. It is printed on ordinary printer paper, then with a small-scale schematic, you piece it together. Finally you either cut your size or trace it.

The fabric is a very inexpensive piece of poly knit from the WWIT part of my stash. The bottom piece is ponte, as is the lighter brown trim on the neck and armscye. I did not have enough of the lighter brown to cut it cross-wise, so it doesn't hug in properly. This is sort-of a muslin but I did wear it around the house and DH says it's cute.

Knits are a mystery to me. How do you make a muslin? Do you acquire various cheap knits with varying degrees of stretch? How about varying weights? And how do you know what size? Negative ease? (No) And will it grow as you wear it? So many unknowns.

OTH, knits are very forgiving, so perhaps I fret too much.

(*) It can be more frustrating mentally stimulating if you try to cut your size and piece the pages in one pass.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Vogue 8834 SAM7

See how much fun this Katherine Tilton shirt is? It made me want to do my own Vogue-style photo shoot. More than a few of us sewers took notice of the new approach at Vogue patterns.

My version is basic. Other than a slight change in the buttons, I made no design mods. The pattern calls for 17 buttons to be used in 12 buttonholes on the front.


Closer reading showed that upper buttons are sewn to both sides of the fabric so that there are more buttoning options. I did that but later decided against it. Instead I put the 8 lower buttons on the right side and the 4 upper buttons on the wrong side. This still gives me a number of options for the collar.

The fabric is a wonderful soft cotton shirting of navy blue and white checks. It is so subtle in color, I think it will go with just about any color. And it is identical on both sides. 

I had a couple of very minor problems. The first issue was described in my previous post. Katherine Tilton was kind enough to respond to a query I sent her, confirming that Vogue omitted some instructions (between steps 18 and 19). 

The collar includes *dart pleats.* I had never even heard of this but it was simple enough. I do wish I had finished my thread tails on the right side, because these are located so that the wrong side shows, not the right side. Also I think it would have been better to put the edge-stitching on the wrong side for the same reason.

I hope to make this again. Before I attached the sleeves, I tried it on and I think it would be cute sleeveless. Also it would be wonderful in a fabric with two interesting sides. 

This is my seventh shirt in the Shirt-A-Month challenge over on Artisan's Square, so I'm a bit behind. I could make SAM8 next and be caught up. 

But I have been dreaming about the Marcy Tilton jacket (Vogue 8839) and today I found some fabric to try. So, on to the next project! Never mind that it is still summer here in the southeastern US.

Oh, and Vogue patterns is having a sale!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

V8834 WIP

Once upon a time, I sewed without reading the directions. 


In those days of focusing energy on raising a family and growing a career, my mind just wasn't all that inquisitive at 2 AM when I finally found a few minutes to sew. Luckily I did select the easy-to-sew patterns as much as possible. 

Then one day, I read the directions. Mind-blowing. Shocking, almost. Sewing sequences that often led to successful results. Ways to sew I had never considered. Tips. Oh, my.

I'm like a reformed smoker. Evangelical. Know-it-all. Borderline nag.

Now I love reading a good set of sewing instructions. Vogue 8834 is a good example - interesting design, good instructions, clear illustrations. I love it.

My version is a work-in-process (WIP) right now. I am using a light weight cotton shirting, yarn-dyed mini-check. It is a great piece of fabric to sew. Because it is yarn-dyed, both sides are identical. The collar folds so that the *wrong* side shows.

All the pieces fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. And there are some surprises. The sleeves look like plain straight sleeves. Actually I think they are going to be quite graceful and the perfect finish to the otherwise very unique styling - asymmetrical front, no shoulder seams, a collar that can take many forms.

The shirt calls for french seams throughout the process. I love french seams.

There was one slight omission in the directions:

In order to correctly sew the front yoke pieces to the fronts, it's important to clip the zigzag part of the seam that was previously reinforced. It also helps if you make a french seam only on the straight portion of the seam. 

For the zigzag portion, use a standard RST 5/8 inch seam, sewing the zig and zag separately. Trim and press.
partial french seam

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Stubborn Sewer

Which I am. Stubborn, not disciplined.

Great double collar - love it!
Marcy Tilton's new jacket pattern, Vogue 8839 is so cool. As soon as it arrived from ClubBMV, I knew it would be on the top of the queue. And then she posted her versions on her web site. Oh, you temptress, you. Now I want all of that fabric too.

It is described as a *loose-fitting jacket* but recommended fabrics are *moderate stretch knits.* I sew more with woven fabrics than knits, and I guess I'm a bit intimidated by knits, even after a great class on the subject by Pam Howard.

View A - the shorter version
So, stubborn sewer that I am, I decided to try this out in a cotton muslin fabric. Surely it will work equally well in a woven. After all, it is *loose-fitting.*

It didn't work but it's cute.

The pattern is actually drafted for fabric with stretch. Each pattern piece says *moderate stretch only.*  But I had to try it.

I did learn something helpful. To me, anyway. It's not such a bad idea to make a cotton muslin trial for a future knit piece. It is now clear which pieces absolutely must be made out of a knit, and which ones might be OK in a woven or at least a less stretchy knit.

Sausage arms, shoulders tight too
Must be out of a proper knit:

  • Sleeves
  • Sleeve bands
  • Back
  • Side front
  • Back band
  • Horizontal front bands

Could be made out of a stable knit (seems like Marcy pointed that out on her blog, now that I think about it):

  • Collar
  • Front
  • Vertical front bands

I think the above pieces might even work in a woven, but lesson learned, I'm going to try it in a knit. A knit I don't own yet. Or maybe multiple knits I don't own yet.

Marcy Tilton has made this up in the most perfect fabric. How uncreative would it be to just copy her?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Disciplined Sewer

Which I am not. But, from time to time, I strive to be.

Over on Artisan's Square there is a thread on the 6PAC - six piece autumn collection. I love seeing all the story boards and postings of gorgeous fabrics to go with their chosen patterns. Usually people go with something like two pairs of solid pants or skirts, two to three tops (usually out of same fabric as pants or skirt), and a topper like a jacket or cardigan that magically goes with everything. And I think, that's what I will do.

And then I don't.

The truth is that I am addicted to patterns, to new patterns. Yes, I have a few TNTs, but mostly I just love the puzzle that a new pattern presents. I also enjoy stash-shopping for the fabric - part of the puzzle. My idea of fun.

But. I have a closet full of fun and nothing to wear. You knew it, right?

That's a bit of an exaggeration. I've become more consistent in color choice when I shop for fabric (*) so occasionally I finish a great garment, walk it into my closet, and surprise! It matches something there.

Back to the 6PAC. I have decided that mine will be evolutionary:

Start with one basic garment, make it, and then use it to choose the next garment. Garment number 2 must coordinate with garment number 1, and garment 3 must coordinate with garment 2, and so on. Of course garment number 1 may or may not coordinate with garment number 3, but I'm going with it.

Garment 1 and garment 2 are finished! Both are made from TNT patterns. And since they are made from the same fabric, they coordinate. Yes, I can do this!

From a much modified version of TSW mimosa pants, I made a pair in brown stretch poplin. And then I made a shell from a fitted sheath (thanks, Pam Howard!) by simply making it short. I used the remnants from the pants and so, of course, I didn't have enough. Hence the seam just below the bust on the center front and center back pieces.

Not too exciting but I am pretty sure it coordinates with something in my closet.

Or it will.

(*) I almost never buy a piece of fabric with an idea of what I will make - do you?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Vogue 8813

Back bodice and skirt
That Tilton Dress is finished. I liked the muslin which sometimes means I'm bored and won't go on to finish the actual piece. But this time I did. And I like the result.

Great fabric (maybe from Gorgeous Fabrics), Fabulous directions. Fun piece.

The fabric is what I would call polished cotton, though it is not overly crisp. Don't know if it is visible in these pictures, but the designer's name - Oqust - appears throughout the print. I think this references Katherine Oqust from the 1970's.

It was a border print with no symmetry at all. You can see what happened when I tried to match the pattern in the center back skirt seam. You might think, well just turn one of those pieces upside down, but the positioning of the print on the fabric meant that it was not possible to mirror across the two back skirt pieces.
Bodice gathers

Anyway I like it unmatched. An opportunity for striped piping, always a favorite of mine. I used the striped cotton as a binding on the sleeves too. I added a little black sashiko to the edges of the pockets to mimic the trim and the overall geometry of the fabric.

Speaking of geometry, the pockets are a wonder of solid geometry. They were interesting to sew and are nice to use.

The skirt hem is quite straight across though when it is on, it appears as if the center panel is shorter. On purpose. More to like about this pattern.

Those Pockets
Initially I thought I might add some gathers in the back near the waist. Given the bold pattern on the fabric and the added piping, I decided against that. In a solid color, a few gathers across the back would be nice.

The front is pretty low, but with all the gathers it fills in nicely and I don't feel exposed. Good thing since there is little there to expose.

I really like the knit versions of this dress I've seen online, but I think one is enough for me. You should make it though, even if it is only to enjoy making those cool pockets.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Letter to Myself

Today is my 62nd birthday and so I am writing a letter to myself. It is a good day to reflect on stitching. Some fifty-odd years of it.

Perhaps I have learned a few lessons from sewing and while sewing. I hope that I will continue to receive new sewing lessons.

Rule 1. Measure twice or even thrice because you may cut only once.

Becoming, 2012, detail
Rule 2. If you forget rule 1, remember that it is now a puzzle with smaller, more numerous pieces. It is still a puzzle.

Rule 3. You will rip what you sew.  As long as you sew, you will rip and sometimes it will be deliberate. After all, the torn edge has an elegance all its own.

Rule 4. Use your sense of touch. Touch is sometimes more sensible than sight or hearing.

Rule 5. Read the directions. If you don't read the directions, how will you ever innovate? Then follow your own internal directions.

Rule 6. Participate in a community of stitchers in some way, even if it is only to encourage other stitchers. And remember those who have encouraged you.

Rule 7. Enjoy the journey and process. It is far more valuable than the final piece because it nourishes real peace.

May your life be richly stitched.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wild Thing

I think I love you.
I want to know-oh for sure.

Sorry about that trip down memory lane. Sometimes a tune starts silently, relentlessly playing while I am quietly sewing in my sunny studio. And it may apply to That Tilton Dress, Vogue 8813. After all, the fabric called out to me. I'm only answering the call.

Goodness, gracious, what a cool pattern this is. It is a little bit of a puzzle how all the pieces fit.

"pocket does not lay flat."

So true. But it all fits together. A small piece of textilian architecture. I would have loved to watch this pattern being drafted. But for now I'm enjoying the process of putting the puzzle together.

I don't know if it will be wearable. But the journey is lovely.