Saturday, July 27, 2013

Denim jacket Simplicity 2209 part 2

Have you ever made something and you got too involved in the construction? With the sneaking suspicion that it would not be the right style for you? That is how I felt once I put the collar and facing on this jacket, but I figured I would push on since I had done the sort of fancy bias half lining technique. And I am really glad I did, because it fit my friend Alice perfectly and she thought the fabric was really great. So instead of me having a new jacket she does, and I am really happy that it found a home! Here is the previous post with the details on the bias lining.

A with pocket2
What didn't work on me turned out to be just right on her. She is tall and lean with a swimmer's physique (because she swam competitively in college, whew, that sounds exhausting) but that means she has proportionally broader shoulders than I have. I have been finding that while they fit in most places the Simplicity patterns are too wide across the neck and shoulders for me, causing gaping necklines or shoulder seams falling off if I don't do a lot of adjustment. But for this one I was thinking it would be a casual and loose fitting jacket so I left the pattern as is. 
Here is the jacket on the dress form. I think there are shoulder pads just placed in the jacket in the photo on the left, I was trying to see if that made it fit better. Which it kind of did, but also looked a bit weird and not the casual and soft look I was going for. On the jacket back you can see it without the shoulder pads and the shoulders are collapsing, falling off the from - which is a bit broader than I am so way too big on me. 

Black denim jacket frontblack denim jacket back
The inside, with all my rose red serger stitching.  When I started on this I thought I might do bias tape binding, so I rummaged in my storage box and didn't find enough packages of a single color to use. And then I thought - who am I kidding - I do not have the patience to bind every seam, no way! I would rather put a full lining that stitch all that tape on. It looks nice but I run out of ambition after about 1 yard.

black denim jacket inside front
I did do one nice edge treatment which was to sew on the fusible interfacing and then flip and press which encloses the edge so nicely. I don't have many opportunities to do this because I rarely make any unlined jackets. You can see the facing with the fusible, and then it is topstitched in the same red. I first wrote about this when I made a vintage shirtdress and links to that post still pop up all the time.
black denim jacket facing fusible
I really like this denim and have about 1 3/4 yards remaining so I am going to play around with other patterns and see if I can squeeze a different jacket pattern on it. Unfortunately for Alice it is still hanging around my sewing room because as you can see - no button yet. Could you believe I could not find one button in my vast collection of button jars to put on this jacket. Oh well, Saturday I am heading over to Stone Mountain and I will have to actually buy one. (that sounds cheap but really, who doesn't have a zillion solitary black buttons in their stash, and yet not the right one?)

black denim jacket close up front
Maybe it looks nicer with the front open anyway.  Of course still needs a button since that loop is there!

A jacket front open
I have a few projects in the works including a couple of items for my sister - she never asks me to make anything but recently she did plus she found the right fabric in my stash. A small miracle.

Happy mid-summer sewing, Beth

Here is a pink geranium that I have grown from a cutting. Time to confess I am a bit of a geranium thief. Just snap off a little stem, no one will miss it, and look how nicely it is going. This one came from a planter in front of the post office...our secret, OK?

rose pink geranium

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Denim jacket Simplicity 2209 part 1

After stocking up my closet with some new dresses I figured it was time to change directions. I have been wanting a lightweight black denim jacket and also been itching to try a new technique I saw in Threads magazine for bias half lining.This post could have been titled "All's well that ends well" because in the end I don't have a new denim jacket but my friend Alice does.
I started with Simplicity 2209 which is an unlined princess seamed jacket with welt pockets.

    S2209 Lisette pattern envelopeblack denim jacket tech drawing

That ruffle neck version is kind of frightful and maybe the version I made is as well. In the end what I didn't like is the slight overlap in the front, on me it just looked odd but on Alice it looks very good. is the technique I saw in Threads.  Kind of cool, huh?  Definitely has potential.

Bias half lining Threads

bias half lining article

Although now I can say that it is just as easy to make a regular lining and it might take less fabric. Here is the jacket back with the pattern piece I made according to the dimensions called for in the article. You lay the jacket back over the crossed triangles which are pinned together so they don't shift, cut out the jacket shape, and then carefully put the triangles over the wrong side of the jacket and sew in. It is explained much better in the article than I am doing as you can see in the photo above.

Bias half lining1

The result is this lining in the upper back of the jacket. The bottom lonf edges of the triangles are folded on the bias so the whole thing has a nice movement and flex across the shoulders and back. I thought it was clever and it came out very well but I doubt I will use it again. Fun to try though.  The lining is something I found at an estate sale, not sure what it is, maybe an acetate but the color is a nice contrast to the black denim. I was thinking I would do a bias binding on all the seams but once I got to that point I thought, who am I kidding? way too fiddly for me to do so I serged all the edges with matching rose red thread. 

black denim jacket inside bias lining
However I did put a bias binding around the armhole because it would have looked kind of strange to see serging there, also in the article it looked good with the bias binding on the armhole. Well their whole jacket looks very nice but honestly if I made that plaid wool jacket it would have a complete lining in it. Itchy, right?

Sleeve bias finish

Finished jacket photos in my next post. 

How about a pink dahlia for my garden photo? Just this one bloom so far but it is perfection.
Happy summer sewing, Beth


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Vogue 1351 dress, some facts and follow ups

Thanks for all the great comments on my purple knit dress, made with Vogue 1351, a pattern from designer line DKNY. I am a big fan of all the DKNY and Donna Karan patterns and this one is no exception. A few commenters had some questions so here are the answers for everyone to read.

  V1351 Purple dressV1351 pattern photo

Girlguycatdog asked 2 questions:
1) whether it can be used for a knit or woven?  the pattern envelope says crepe, matte jersey, charmeuse. Mine is a rayon jersey knit which I did cut on the bias as indicated by the pattern. I think it would be luscious in a silk charmeuse. Rayon jersey, silk jersey, bamboo jersey, these all would be perfect. I think a cotton jersey if it is soft and drapey. No matter which fabric I would stick with cutting on the bias to get the proper drape.
2) Do I adjust my sizing since I used a knit?  No I used my usual Vogue pattern size 12. I really liked this pattern as it was not too big across the back which often is the case  (see my previous Vogue dress where I took it in almost 3" at the mid-center back).  In any case I figured I could take in a bit at the side seam if it was a bit loose at the underarm, and take up at the shoulder a smidge. Which I often have to do and did so with this one.
I have never gone down a size with knits and not had a problem. When I start with a new pattern I take a good look at the printed measurements which you can see here. That circle with X is the bust point and the finished measurements once the garment is sewn are printed for the various sizes. I know a lot of people complain about these but I have never found a glaring error and they are really useful. However that said I do a quick measure for myself to check. Sometimes I want to see the circumference at a point that they have not indicated or just to verify. Below I have the measuring tape making an "L" shape, did you know the measuring tape is 5/8" wide?  so I lay it along the edge for the size 12 and thus have eliminated the seam allowance for my measuring.

Vogue pattern measure
So based on the finished measurement around bust and hip I thought the size 12 seemed fine and it was.

Esti Koen asked if I put in a zipper? No zipper in this purple knit dress but if it were a woven fabric then the zipper would be a necessity. I basted up the side seams and checked if I could get it over my shoulders, which I could so no zipper. By the way here is a little thing I do on the side seams of lined sleeveless dresses, stitch in the ditch under the arm  for about 1-2 inches so that the lining will stay put in that area. Doesn't show from the right size of the dress. 

inside side seam purple dress

sewmanju asked if I do a muslin for knit dresses? Gosh no. I am not much of a muslin maker when it comes to sewing for myself. I weigh the complexity of the garment, expense of fabric, how "serious" the project is and then come up with a few muslins a year.  Coats that will last forever, sure. Dress bodice when I can't get a good feeling from the pattern pieces, yes a quick bodice only muslin. But knit items for myself, so far I have not. I figure if something doesn't work out I will chalk it up to experience although if I waste a good fabric on something unwearable it will be annoying. All that said, I do make muslins for other people, I made the V8787 for someone else and made a muslin in a frightening piece of poly knit in traffic cone orange. I figured if we could see the good shape in that terrible fabric then it had great potential. Despite my reluctance to make muslins for myself I do recommend if you are not sure about a pattern or to try out the fit, and consider just the top half of the dress as that is where most of the alteration angst comes from. 

A question from my previous post on a quick knit top using Girl Charlee fabric
sapphire asked if I cut the fabric on an angle or was it already that way?  The fabric is printed that way, I just cut it out as a regular fabric. It was from their Anchors Away line which appears sold out but the zig zag print is very cute and I may have to try that. I have a few striped t-shirt knits but I may save them for winter tops.

And a follow up on my Vogue 1353 dress. I do like this a lot, and yes the color is fab. I tried it with a belt and actually prefer it without. I was thinking about wearing it this weekend to a birthday dinner but we are going to a new Italian restaurant, Venetian regional cuisine and I KNOW that sure as it will be hot here in July I will get some sort of spot on that solid blue dress and be so mad. Are you with me? Olive oil - tomato sauce - a wayward drop of balsamic.  Restaurants are fraught with danger! A slight obsession with spills in restaurants but at my junior prom the waiter dropped a dish of strawberry sherbet and it landed on the skirt of my white dress. Talk about teen age trauma. OK not really, as I recall I rinsed it as well as I could and carried on with the fun. It was such a cute dress, white cotton pique with cotton lace straps and lace insets at waist and hem. I would wear it today. So for this weekend I think I will wear this dress, one of my one-hit wonders which still has not seen the light of day. About time, and possibly good for hiding tomato sauce :)

print dress 1

Up next, a black denim jacket with a new lining technique.

Stay cool and happy sewing,  Beth

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pattern Love: Vogue 1351 DKNY dress

Is it too early in 2013 to declare this the best pattern of the year? If you have been reading this blog for a while you probably know that I am inclined to superlatives. My favorite color, greatest skirt pattern, most beautiful flower...rarely a shade of grey for me. Opinions, snap judgements, instant thumbs up or down are rapidly determined. So when I started prepping the pattern pieces for this one I had a little shiver of excitement and the dress that resulted confirmed my first impression. This one is a winner!

Vogue 1351 has just a few pattern pieces, is cut on the bias, and very little fitting involved. Here is the result.
V1351 Purple dress
One more time these DKNY patterns turn out to be genius. OK maybe a bit too high with the praise but I really can't say enough good things about this one. Firstly, super easy. So welcome in summertime when you want to get that dress done! Perfect shaping, at least for me. I have not made any knits cut on the bias before and that seems to be what gives this dress such a lovely drape. Also the cowl neckline is not too big or too low. I made V1250 for a friend, another genius pattern from DKNY and on me the shape was just not all that flattering however it suited my friend perfectly. This dress has more of a waist so better suited to my style. But I can tell you that it barely touches my waist and that is how it is designed to fit, just skimming over your shape.  It is the cut and drape of the bodice pieces that allow them to float over the body and look so sleek and yet be uber-comfortable. Another positive is it would be relatively easy to alter, with a bit of forethought if you are not quite the size you could take in or let out at the side seams when you cut it out. The finished measurements are on the pattern and seemed to be close.

Vogue 1351 Purple knit dress back
I did two slight fit adjustments, taking it up at the shoulders about 1/2 inch and a slight swayback adjustment taking about 1/2 inch out of the center back bodice (when I sewed it together after a test baste) to bring that back waist seam to the horizontal. So when I make it next (oh yes there will be a next) I will just alter my pattern pieces. Then it will be one of those 2-hour dresses. Pretty good for a Vogue designer pattern. 
Another thing I like is where the edge of the bodice hits the shoulder, as you know from my last Vogue dress I like the shoulders to be a bit on the narrow side, I think it is more flattering. 
This dress has a full lining, pattern pieces included and the bodice front lining is what makes the neckline so perfect.

           purple dress insideVogue 1351 dress on form
Here is the pattern envelope. It suggests crepe, matte jersey or charmeuse. For some reason this strikes me as the perfect travel item. Dress it up or go casual, roll in a ball and stuff in your suitcase.
V1351 pattern photo
Oh yeah, I am smiling. Pattern love. And a a solid color...what is going on? Not a wild floral. I do have a rayon knit print I bought as soon as I finished this so onward with another version. By the way, this fabric was a rayon knit I added to the shopping cart when buying some stuff from Fashion Fabrics Club. When it came my reaction was, blech, not what I thought it would be, kind of slinky. So it was set aside and in fact I did do some t-shirt testing with it. But it was a lucky choice for this dress, plus the color seems way better as a dress than it did as a piece of fabric. ??? 

Vogue 1351 Purple knit dress front

Gratuitous action shot.  Not really a twirly skirt, more of a fluttery one.

Vogue 1351 purple dress action shot
Two for two with the new Vogue patterns. Happy dance! Time to turn away from the dresses, even though there are so many pretty ones calling out to me.  In progress, a black denim casual jacket using a Lisette pattern, Simplicity 2209.

Of course something purple for today's SunnyGal garden photo. I bought this phlox at the local junior college horticultural department's spring sale. Very tiny flowers but so cute.

Happy summer sewing and I hope you all find the very best pattern, 


Friday, July 5, 2013

Girl Charlee Knit t-shirt and Happy 5th of July

The weather gods are smiling down on us this morning and we are spared from another day of triple-digit temperatures. That is 38C and up for my metric friends.  After 4 or 5 days of 101+ degrees F not much gets accomplished other than the bare obligations. Happily we had a holiday yesterday so I was able to indulge in lazing around, drinking beer, eating fresh summer corn and hamburgers someone else grilled, then topping it off with ice cream.  A perfect summer holiday!
This red and white fabric proved irresistible when I saw it on the Girl Charlee website and it made a perfect red white and blue combo with my most favorite skirt (Vogue 1247).

red and white knit top
I used the Jalie T-shirt pattern which has the best instructions for getting the v-neckline of the binding to be perfect. This started out being a short sleeve t-shirt but when I tried it on all I could think about was how hot I was.  So I unpicked the sleeves, tossed them aside and made it sleeveless. Soooo much better. 

Red white t-shirt Girl Charlee fabric
When I make any binding on knits I cut the length of the binding on the cross-grain of the knit fabric the same length as the opening, sew it with 1/2 inch seam allowances reducing the length by 1 inch and then stretch to fit. So far so good, it seems to work out perfectly. 
I am a bit obsessed with the Girl Charlee fabrics, there are so many I could happily order. Bold, colorful, graphic prints, just my style. I also ordered this one which is a bit wacky but what the heck, another t-shirt will be in the works or maybe a swim cover up.

knit fabric tropical print Girl Charlee
Up next:  I am making a pair of shorts as a test version of this pattern because I want some slim knee length shorts with slant pockets and also am hoping to have a pants pattern for slim trousers when autumn comes. I have an ulterior motive as well because I bought some nice stretch black denim and want to make this jacket and then the slim shorts, kind of a suit but not really. Probably won't wear them together but we shall see. The plain collar version of the jacket, not the ruffle!

                  S1696 pants pattern          S2209 Lisette pattern envelope

Thanks for all the great comments on my last post, Vogue 1353 dress. I like it, I really do! As I mentioned in the post I figure these patterns deserve a thorough critique so that is what I did. One of my all time most popular posts is this one: Compare and Contrast Vogue 1159 and Vogue 1191. Interestingly that includes a Donna Karan pattern (1159) and I did just finish V1351, soon to be blogged. In a word: Pattern Love!  OK, two words.

Happy hot weather sewing (at least in this hemisphere), Beth

SunnyGal garden photo: My first dahlia of the season. Bi-color like my top.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Vogue 1353 dress,

Based on recent comments there is a lot of interest in this pattern, Vogue 1353 dress by Kay Unger. For once I have sewn up a brand new Vogue pattern in its release season instead of letting it marinate in my stash until summer, fall and winter have flown by and it is unearthed in the spring thaw.  How about some technical details? I have been a blogging slacker and not shown my process for a while but I have lots to say about this pattern. For my efforts here is the result.
Vogue 1353 front view 1
As the title of this post indicates, I am on the fence with this one. The fabric I used is a stretch cotton poplin, and poplin is one of the fabrics suggested along with lightweight linen and silk duppioni. However it is a bit stiff, which is good for the pleated skirt but doesn't allow the soft pleats in the bodice  front to behave as I would like. However it is the design that really bugged me, and by that I don't mean the fit, which was suprisingly good for the most part and needed only slight adjustments. Well, slight to me, you might think I did a lot.
Here is where I started, with a muslin! yes, for a change. Because I pinned the pattern pieces together just to check where the waistline hit and noticed something odd right away. The small (and annoyingly unnecessary bust darts were way too high) which is not a problem I ever have. In the image on the right you can see where I have used a marking pen so they show. Plus small darts in a princess seam, can create a point where you don't want a point! So I decided to lower them, using the slash method and you can see I wielded the scissors while looking in the mirror, thus the shaky looking slice but it worked. About 3/4" was added and tapered out at the side seam.  This did serve to make the bodice  too big around but that was fixed in a later step.
        wedge detail on V1353front muslin slash method2
Once I sewed up the bodice I needed to take out some of the extra fabric now in the princess seam. It looks like I took out about an extra 1/4" on the stitching line which makes 1" around the garment. For interfacing the pattern included a piece for the neckline, I used silk organza which was just right. Fusible doesn't work with those neckline pleats.
front with princess seam adj V1353
For construction order I used my tried and true method of bodice first, shoulder seams, baste the side seams, baste in the zipper and check the fit. The back is always too wide for me, when I start with a Vogue size 12 so I always have to take in at the zipper, here about 1.25 inches on either side of the zipper tapering to nothing at the waist. I leave the zipper unstitched about an inch from the waist edge which allows me to add the skirt pieces later and then finish putting in the zipper. This may seem like a lot of work but really it is only one more step and the bodice is where most of the fitting issues seem to happen for most people.

back showing zipper V1353
There were some drag lines on the back bodice even after this zipper adjustment and I extended the back darts a little bit. Red pin is original length and then yellow pin is the extension, a tiny adjustment but it made a nice difference.
back dart adjustment 2
Here you can see the lining sewn in, up to about 2 inches from the shoulder seam, but the side seams are not closed. This may seem convoluted but it really allows you to fit on the fly. 
V1353 front inside armhole
I wanted to use rayon lining (not polyester - the temps are too hot around here for that) and only lined the bodice so all I had was this dark for me :)

V 1353 liningVogue Pattern V1353       

V 1353 back viewV 1353 back side view
So my thoughts on this pattern are:


  • love the skirt, could make it as a stand-alone item.  Especially how the pleats go all around in the same direction. 
  • the waist seam is about 1 inch above the actual waist, with the pleating I think this is very flattering. 
  • The neckline shape in front and back are pretty, especially in the back.

Not so much:

  • The shoulders really bug me, I think they are too chunky and against my better judgement I did not narrow them. Which I ordinarily would but I thought, hey, just this once, make the pattern as designed.
  • That darn bodice front dart. Totally unnecessary in a princess seam. I would smoosh it out if I was to make this again, which I am not. 
  • Fabric suggestions, I think in a soft cotton lawn or voile with a lightweight cotton lining it would be very nice, the bodice pleats would be softer and the skirt a bit more flowy. I understand the silk duppioni but I warn against that strongly unless you are really comfortable with that fabric plus marking a lot of pleats etc. 
  • Try a print, which can hide a multitude of issues. I kind of wish I had made it in a print but since I have so many print dresses I thought of this for a change, and I do like this color.
See what I mean, look at those wide shoulder sections.  Mentally doing alteration as I write this...put it on my to do list. This photo is a "run outside for 10 minutes and take a picture because it is 102 in the shade." I will not be wearing my new blue dress for the 4th of July barbeque. Something else in the works for that.

V1353 on me

And another Vogue teaser for you, DKNY pattern V1351 is just about finished, and I declare it a winner. 
Hope everyone is staying cool if possible and now I need to run out and give the tomato plants another watering. Here are some gladioli that I photographed before they wilted in this heat.
Happy sewing, Beth

Pink glads 2