Monday, April 29, 2019

It Must Be Spring

I made a dress!

The idea of wearing a dress crops up every spring. I start seeing interesting and lovely patterns for dresses and I delude myself into thinking, yes, I will definitely wear that dress. So I buy the pattern and make the dress.

Actually there are a few dresses from previous springs that are in current rotation. I always get complements when I wear the Memphis from the Sewing Workshop. It is so comfortable. So comfortable that I have trouble remembering to suck in my belly.

The dress that caught my seasonal attention this year is the Adeline from Style Arc. It looks great on almost everyone. I'm not yet convinced it looks great on me.

Since I'm trying to use stash, and I wanted something solid colored, I chose this piece of eggplant cotton sateen from Gail K. It was fairly inexpensive, as I recall, so I figured it would be a good piece to try.

Looks pretty good with the Tremont jacket, I think.
It does not have as much drape as some of the linen Adeline's I've ogled online. I would have loved to make a linen one but just cannot justify a fabric purchase at the moment. Maybe after I burrow through stash a bit more I'll make it again in a soft linen.

As I was making it, I began to worry that it would look like scrubs lengthened to dress length. That V neck and cut-on sleeves might give it that vibe.

I've had good luck with Style Arc patterns. The only trick is to remember they 3/8 inch seam allowance, as well as the 1/4 inch seam allowance on enclosed seams.

wrote myself a note on the back side of the fabric
The instructions are minimal but there's not much need with the Adeline. StyleArc patterns tend to be several notches above something so plain as hospital scrubs. And I think this one is nicely drafted to avoid that look.

It has good bones with its lantern shape and a slight high-low hem. It has big patch pockets. And you're supposed to roll up the sleeves. Both the neckline and the hem is faced. I like a faced hem, especially with top-stitching.

I made one minor change to the size 16, bringing the V up 1 inch. I am always leery of V necks because they tend to be too deep for me. I looked at lots of them on Instagram and Pattern Review. No one mentioned a too-low neck but you can't exactly raise the neckline after the fact.

I actually think I like it. My legs are not used to seeing the light of day, but I can wear leggings, maybe. At the very least, I'll wear it around the house, and maybe to the grocery.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Class with Linda Lee

My local chapter of the American Sewing Guild recently brought Linda Lee in to give a workshop and make a presentation at our semi-annual meeting. The class centered on the Tremont jacket.

Even though I've made this jacket twice, of course I took the class. And, as expected, it was inspirational and made me want to sew even more. In fact, it made me want to sew more Tremont Jackets. Here is one Linda brought in corduroy:

For the class I chose a piece I had purchased from the Sewing Workshop a while back. It's a double knit blend of polyester, rayon and lycra with interesting texture and color. Because it's a knit, the drape is quite lovely.

I mostly finished the jacket during class. I came home with only hems and a button remaining to finish it. But other projects kept jumping in front of it. I finished the hems and even wore it without a button.

I finally added a buttonhole and button to finish it. At Linda's suggestion, I searched a found a buttonhole on my machine designed especially for knits. I made one sample and it worked perfectly. As usual, it's the little things - like learning about something already available on my machine - that make my happiest.

It took me a while to select the right button and attach it. But it is now in use!

Oh, and check out this tip from Marian Scopa in the Atlanta ASG chapter. Several years ago, she demonstrated a simple but elegant way to sew on a button without that initial ugly knot:

Cut a length of thread and thread both ends through the eye of a needle. Allow the loop formed at the bottom to be longer than than the two ends. Take a small stitch where the button is to be placed and slip the needle through the loop before pulling it tightly. I think there must be a name for this knot but I don't know what it is.

This was easy and fun.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Mix It Top, again

And again and again. This is probably the most often reproduced one in my collection - the Mix It Top from the Sewing Workshop. The pattern envelope contains the shirt, the top and the tank. I've made the other two, but the top is my all-time favorite.

After my last sewing fiasco, I was ready for some meditative sewing and some color. This project was just right.

Each time I make the Mix It Top, I adjust it. This time I altered for a forward shoulder and straightened the shoulder seam line. The original seam line is a gentle S curve, something I've not seen in any of their other patterns. With the forward shoulder change, I just straightened it out.

I measured the circumference of the sleeve cap and the armscye. This led to a 3/4 inch reduction in the sleeve cap for a smoother finish.

I also included a back seam that helps with a slight curve in my upper back. Oh, the wages of age - always need a few more tweaks in my older patterns.

That said, this was pure zen sewing. The fabric is a luscious green silk dupion that I washed once. I noticed that there is no give in either length-wise or cross-wise grains, so I cut the pieces cross-wise. This way, the slight linear slub runs up and down. I may send it to the dry cleaners now to keep the color rich. I just love this color!

As usual I was short of fabric and so used a piece of plaid silk taffeta from stash for facing the neckline, the sleeves and the hem. The neckline is a current favorite of mine, inspired by the Egyptian shirt from Folkwear.  Often when I make this modification, I turn the facing to the outside. This time, I turned the facing to the inside so that the facing shape is only visible in the top-stitching that holds it in place.

That plaid is way too wild for a stand-alone piece, but I really like it peaking out from the edges of this top.

It was lovely to sew and when I put it on, it fit. Perfectly, I think. I will of course make more Mix It Tops. It's just right for upcoming hot weather, especially in cotton.

This makes me happy.

Friday, April 12, 2019

This Took Forever

Do you have sewing projects like that? This was like a bad penny that just kept coming back, lurking darkly, peaking out of an otherwise cheerful stack of fabric that might be next in the queue.

I started in January, I think. Then as I began to panic over my Station-of-the-Cross project, I had to push it aside.

Right before I had to rip everything out
Generally I don't have garment projects that remain UFO's for long. This one, though! Try as I might, there was always more and more and more to fix, correct, rip out, recut, rethink, and rip again.

There were two major (and many minor) problems with this project. First, the fabric is scratchy. Why did I buy it? I have no idea but it must have been cheap. That's all that I can figure. It is a great weight for outer wear. I'll give it that.

My chosen pattern was the San Diego jacket from the Sewing Workshop. It has their signature cut-on collar that I love. Because of the above-mentioned scratchy wool element, I redrafted this include a separate piece for the collar and front facing. Then I cut it out in the precious leather. Thus began the second major problem with this project.

Because this is outer wear, I wanted it to have  weight and substance.  I quilted cotton flannel to all of the wool pieces, as well as the leather pieces.

It looked OK at the beginning but somewhere along the way I became aware of some ugly stretching in the leather that created pulls and puckers. Yikes! You don't just unsew and resew leather. Those little tiny holes are of course permanent.

I guess it was good that I had to put it away at this point. I was discouraged and sad to have ruined the leather. I will never, ever buy leather to sew again - not necessarily because it's hard to sew but because I cannot help thinking about the source.

So now I've returned to the mess project. The resulting coat is resurrected and quite wearable. In maybe 6-8 months. That's OK. Now I can put it away as a complete garment. Whew.

The collar and front band are made from black silk dupion, a go-to fabric for me. It is not quilted like the leather. The lining is a medium weight silk, similar in weight to charmeuse, but easier to sew. It came in scarf panels.

I am fairly satisfied with the resulting jacket. I used some never-before-used buttonhole features on my sewing machine for heavy fabrics.

I got to use some well-aged heavy buttons, just right for this jacket.

Those little ruined pieces of leather are still in stash. Some way, some how, I'll use them. And now I'm ready for some COLOR!

The dogwood blossoms are fading fast.

Monday, April 8, 2019

TNT and My New Tool

There's a new tool floating around the sewing universe right now. Maybe you've seen it. I must say, it is very cool. It's a simple genius tool I wish I had thought of.

Mine is 12 inches in circumference rather than the 8 shown in this picture. I paid $10 for it from Linda Lee, rather than the $18 Amazon wants for the small version.

A week or so ago, I made a presentation at City Wide Couture concerning two-piece sleeves. Barbara mentioned that she had found a cool tool at the recent expo to replace this old-fashioned and error-prone technique. I vowed to watch for it.

Then I took a class with Linda Lee of the Sewing Workshop. She had curve runners with her and sold them. I didn't use it in her class but took it home and used it right away. I think it'll be an often used tool from now on. It's a winner.

My TNT is the Mix It top pattern from the Sewing Workshop. It's one I've made at least a dozen times. The pattern includes a shirt and a tank, but the top is my fave. It has a mandarin collar and loose cap sleeves. It fits through the shoulders and bust and flows elsewhere. It is my go-to for warm weather.

I often make mods to the neckline and the sleeves. On this version, I substituted a placket closure for the prescribed keyhole opening. For some reason, I always forget that I have to adjust the length of the collar stand to fit with the placket, so that required some creative piecing and use of a linen facing in purple.

I also used TSW's new technique for finishing side seams that have a vent. This technique is in the newest pattern, the Berwick. I would have made 3/4 length sleeves but did not have enough fabric.

The fabric was an end cut from Louise Cutting, a silk twill. I just love it. The color is very rich and changes slightly depending on the light. I goofed when I cut the sleeves and so now I have a little boro patch on one shoulder. I'm fine with that.

The temps will hit the 70s F today so I may be making more of this TNT in cotton or linen.