Monday, May 31, 2010

Spring Jacket - can't seem to get started

For spring and summer I have been wanting to make a lightweight unlined cotton jacket, something to wear with jeans and a t-shirt.  Lately I have pulled out a couple of fabrics from the closet and pondered, but nothing jumps out at me.  Right now I am deciding between a
dark turquoise or a purple.  Since I wear so much aqua and turquoise in the summer either will work.  Maybe it is the pattern that I find uninspiring.  Here is New Look 6942, version B is my choice - no need for ruffles on a jacket.  perhaps adding the collar.

NL6942 jacket

Maybe it is the weather that had held me back.  Last week we had a day of heavy rain and for May this is so weird.  Coldest May here in ages.  So the summer clothes have not made much of an appearance.

Or  maybe I am thinking about a jacket I made for Bev last summer.  She showed me a photo from a magazine of a blazer with ruffle sleeves.  In solid deep blue, very pretty.  What I like about this jacket is the shaping, the unexpected juxtaposition of a fitted blazer and bare arms.

Here is the magazine photo - pardon the crease where I folded it and stuffed it in a folder.

Then she purchased fabric, in white/black floral silk dupioni.   Equally gorgeous but not at all what I thought she had in mind.   

For a pattern I used Butterick 5331 which was almost identical to the jacket in the photo.
Here is the finished jacket.  In the end we chose to use the cap sleeve instead of the ruffle.  I made a muslin and the ruffle sleeve made us both think "Little Bo Peep".  Not really the fashion look we were going for, and all wrong for that fabric.  

One note on working with this fabric.  The design did repeat, but it was not symetrical, and it was a large pattern for a jacket with relatively small pattern pieces.  Consequently I took a long time to cut it out, playing with the pattern pieces because I wanted to both show off the interesting floral pattern and avoid having a big black flower right on the bust or having it seem a bit off because of too much black pattern on one lapel or the other.  Note the back,
even with the small-ish pattern pieces of a princess style, I wanted to highlight the floral design.

With a pattern like this a good 45 minutes of staring and moving the pattern pieces around really pays off in the end.

The pattern and the blue jacket both had buttons on the front, but I thought button holes in this very delicate and thin fabric could turn out badly.  Also I played with various styles of button holes but in the end I liked it best with no visible buttons.  I sewed 1/2" black snaps on the inside in place of buttons.  If the jacket is worn open, the small black snaps disappear into the pattern.   The jacket is fully lined, including the sleeves, in white poly satin which gives it some nice body and weight, supporting the lightweight silk.   

One last note about this pattern, Butterick 5331.  I thought the lapel and collar were poorly designed and just by virtue of very careful adjusting I got the collar to sit right. But I don't think I would use this pattern again for that reason.

Here is today's SunnyGal garden photo.    My Valencia orange tree,  lots of oranges and blossoms being pollinated by very determined bees.  Yeah bees !   keep up the good work.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Tulle Time - Part Deux

At the end of the last post for this dress, I was just starting to make the skirt lining.  Lia wanted a very full skirt and some colorful tulle that would peek out.

So after a lot of stitching, I had about 8 rows of various colors of tulle gathered onto the skirt lining.  I didn't take a photo, but for the top row nearest the waist,  I used net instead of tulle as it is much stiffer and gives the skirt that ballet tutu quality she was looking for.

To keep the hem crisp and stand out I used horsehair braid, which is such a funny name for this product.  I picture something from past centuries and I am sure it was originally made from horsehair.  Now it is entirely plastic, and probably a lot longer lasting.  But the package still says horsehair braid.  It is a really useful hem for a lot of different fabrics.

I created the hem fold, pressed it, and then machine sewed the horsehair braid onto the inside of the hem fold, so the stitching would not show.  On past occasions I have hand sewn this in, but I didn't see any reason for that, especially on a busy print where the maching stitches on the inside of the hem would not show. 

Here is a photo of the braid, this is not
the dress but a sample of the method used.
The braid is pliable but just springy enough to give a nice hem. If I were using a really delicate fabric like a satin or silk I would probably interline the hem to keep the braid from showing on the right side.

Here is the dress all finished.

and back.

It was a great project, and I love this fabric, wish I had more.

Today's SunnyGal garden photo, Pink Jasmine in bloom.