Sunday, January 13, 2013

Vogue 1247 - the best skirt pattern ever

Perhaps an overstatement but this really is a great skirt pattern. Note that I made this whole pattern up in July and knew right away that the skirt was  a winner that I would repeat. The top - never to cross my sewing machine again but I will count the whole effort as worthwhile to discover this skirt pattern.

Fuschia skirt

Which turned out quite differently in a fuschia wool gabardine I bought at a sewing guild sale. For a dollar.  Score! What is going on with me? As Pretty Grievances pointed out in her 2013 inspirations post, I have become a refashion fanatic. My satisfaction with projects has a direct relationship with the cost. The less I pay for some fabric the more I like the garment. Perhaps because I have been sewing for my whole life and purchased whatever fabric struck my fancy, then this recently discovered challenge to myself of the incredibile bargain fabric find is spuring on my creativity.  Or maybe I just love a deal. Probably a bit of both. But really, check out this fabric, and the lining was included!
And now we can play - Spot the Difference !  For those familiar with this pattern (76 reviews on Pattern Review) you can see that I eliminated the waistband. When I made the denim one in July that was the first thing that I planned to change, this skirt is perfect for a smooth waistband-less version.
Fuschia skirt frontFuschia skirt back

To do that the waist seam needs stabilization, and I could have fused the entire top but I didn't want the upper and lower sections to have a different weight. Instead I sewed the darts very gently, so as not to stretch out the top, then put stay tape across the waist seams, front and back. I planned to line the skirt as a mirror image of the outer fabric, but it seemed to need just a bit more stabilization across the waist area so I sewed in a 2" strip of silk organza interfacing.  Not using the pattern pieces or anything, just 2 inch by about 6' strips. Perfect amount of stabilization and heft. Silk organza is a miracle product and I use it more and more lately.
And the pockets needed a bit of stabilization too, so I put strips of silk organza there before I sewed the skirt front pieces together. 
skirt silk organza interfacing

pocket interfacing
Rummaging around in my every growing stash of hem lace found at yard sales for 10 cents a package (my maximum price)  I did find the perfect match.  If you look closely at the photo with the zipper tape sticking out above, I confess I did not have the exact color of zipper or anything close. So a dark purple was the winner and it will never show.  
Fuschia skirt hem
How about that jacket I am wearing in the first photo? It is absolutely ancient! Maybe 16 years old. But it still fits perfectly and the black and white houndstooth fabric is so nice. I wore it a zillion times the first few years, such a perfect business travel basic. But the fatal flaw - it was sooo long.  So one day I thought about shortening it, and I knew that bottom buttonhole would not look right. But I did it anyway!  And it does not look right to me.  Oh well.  I still wear it sometimes but quietly loathe that little last buttonhole.  

Houndstooth wool jacketVogue 1820 jacket pattern envelope

Now let's end on a happy note. This week I went to the same sewing guild group - and there was another sizeable piece of this lovely fuschia wool gabardine. I cannot resist a jewel tone and so I snapped it up.  I am thinking about a jacket, V8865, but I will resist the urge to wear it with this skirt and look every so matchy.  Anyway, that is way down the project list.

Stay warm and think of spring. Here in N. Calif. it is time to get outside and trim back the roses but I have not been able to motivate for that task, so nice and warm in the sewing room.
Happy January sewing, Beth

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Year, New Look 6150 wrap knit top

It has been great to read the "year in review" posts recently, the success and failures, the plans for 2013. I thought about doing a post like that, but I am not much for retrospection and 2012 is history. The weather is grey and gloomy here, just right for a bit of hibernation, lots of fabric browsing on the web and some serious weekend napping. I have kept to one of my resolutions of 2012 which was to make separates. Enter New Look 6150, a multi-version pattern with a T-shirt and wrap shirt style with sleeve variations. The relevant word here being variations as I have now made this top four times in the last few weeks.
First version is this one, not sure about the fabric, I think it is a bamboo knit I ordered ages ago from True confession time  - I made a mistake on this one. The front of the armscye seemed to have too much fabric, and the shoulder sleeves tilted to the back which I thought was a problem with the pattern draft, but making it again showed that I had cut the wrong line in that area on the multi size pattern, so that section was a size 16 and all the rest was a 12. No wonder it was a bit wonky in that area!
Aqua wrap top front

Next version was a holiday present for my pal Michelle, who is very near my size and thus the recipient of a few of my creations. (I made the brown polka dot version of this dress for her last year). This is a sweater knit - maybe some kind of acrylic that I got from Sort of a strange fabric and it sat in my stash for a while but it made up as a very lounge-wear type of top and kind of cozy. I like the dusty teal blue and it makes me think this pattern works with slightly thicker knits instead of very thin ones. 

Wrap top sweaterknitSweater knit wrap top

Next version is this grey stripe one for my friend and frequent photographer, Alice.  She bought this fabric more than a year ago when we went to Happy Stop fabrics in Oakland. (a strange little shop where the fabric finds are totally hit or miss). This one was a hit and I think this top feels best in this fabric. It has a bit of body and stretch, I think it is a remnant from a manufacturer of high-end activewear. Ok, I will say it - I am very proud of that stripe matching! front, back, sleeves, neckline.  Let me take a moment to admire my work......... enough, moving on.  This version is a bit longer as she is taller than I am and it is not finished, still need to hem.  I had my doubts when looking at the fabric, thought it would be too much, but once I started making it I decided I do like the stripes very much.

Wrap top knit grey stripe frontwrap top knit grey stripe back

Last version, again for me, in a rayon knit from Stone Mountain fabrics. This one is actually quite thin and drapey with the front armhole sized correctly.

Royal blue knit wrap front
A couple of construction notes, here is a look at the inside. I don't see the need to finish that inside edge of the neckline. If it was folded and sewn then the thicker edge would show through the right side and I really dislike seeing lumps and bumps under fabric. Even if it is serged then on a thin knit it shadows through.  I don't think the sewing police will come and check to see if all my edges are finished.

Aqua knit wrap top inside
One question I have is on pressing knits. I probably had the iron a bit too hot but check out the mark on the center back seam, I pressed it on the right side and got that. Consequently I did a lot of test ironing on fabric scraps with this fabric and most all of them got this shiny press mark. Even when pressing on the wrong side I got that mark sometimes, creating a shadow of the seam allowance. I don't like that!
I think these rayon or bamboo knits in solid colors are a bit fussy - my only previous experience was a printed knit that probably obscured any press marks.  

Aqua knit back seam

Pattern New Look 6150
I made this turquoise top in early December and it has been my most worn item recently. Layers under sweaters, fits under a blazer, casual or dressy.  Sewing satisfaction!  Shown here with my Sewaholic Thurlow trousers. I made these pants as a test version from an old denim tablecloth that someone gave me. I wanted to retest the pattern as I had originally made a size 10 and decided that was not at all right. So I started with a size 6, much better. Now I am sorry I used this goofy thin non-stretch denim as I have a just about perfect pair of trouser jeans. I think I will experiment with this pair and try to make them into some straight leg ankle length pants for summer. By the way, I have just finished the Craftsy pants fitting class with Sandra Betzina and I highly recommend. Lots of good information and tips.
Wrap top aqua and jeans
Here is a link to my Flickr set with all these wrap tops.  I think that is is for this wrap version for a while, but I did buy some fabric for the other version so that will be coming soon.

And now I think it is time for a little rainy day nap.   Happy sewing, Beth