Saturday, October 3, 2015

Butterick 5567 Vest (OOP)

This little vest is another prototype using stashed fabric. I'm not sure exactly when or where I got this, but it's an "ethnic" cotton featuring various strips of fabric sewn onto the red base layer. Because the strips were sewn horizontally across the fabric, I cut it on the cross grain so the strips could be vertical instead. I barely had enough even for this little garment.

This pattern just recently went OOP, but it's still on the Butterick website, and I bet its still in many of the chain fabric stores like Jo-Ann's and Hancock's. I made View C with a couple of changes. I left out the darts because I didn't want to distract from the fabric appliqu├ęs. I also narrowed the hem from 1 1/2" to 1/2" so I could fit it onto the fabric.

I also used a coordinating fabric for the facing and inner collar because of thickness and not having enough left of the red. Fortunately, I had this black batik in my stash!

Is it perfect? No. But it's still something I'll wear anyway. When I make this again, I'll add some width to the front so it'll close (the pattern calls for a snap closure at the neck) and so I can add the darts. I also think this vest is a little too short, even for me, so I'll add some length.

The SewWest Closet: I'm wearing the exact base as on the last post--same photo session! So here are the Walmart T, black TSW Hudson pants, and Fly London shoes again.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Butterick 6176 Kimono

This is a kimono I recently made from a stashed poly chiffon from Joann's. I've been seeing them around lately and thought it would be a nice addition for my wardrobe. This one is a prototype to see how the pattern would work. 

I made view C, which is around knee length. As you can see from the technical drawing, there were several variations of length, trimmings, and a choice of straight or curved hem.


There isn't really much to say about the construction itself, since the pieces are basically rectangles. The challenge was hemming the edges all around the circumference of the garment as well as sleeves.  Because the fabric was ravelly, I serged around all the circumference, then basted in the 5/8" seam allowance before pressing in the double folded hem (including mitered corners on both fronts). Once all that was done, it was fairly simple to machine hem the entire thing. Sleeve hemming was basically the same process. 

I wore the kimono to church on Sunday and was basically happy with it, although I think there's a better way to handle the finish of the garment. I'd prefer to have a more "authentic" kimono treatment (a band) around the front openings, but that should be fairly simple to figure out. I have a couple more fabrics that I'd like to make into kimono jackets since they're nice little coverups for an otherwise plain outfit.

Another view of mine. You can see a little bit better that the fabric is sheer:

The SewWest Closet: in addition to the kimono, I'm wearing a black T shirt (Walmart!) and a pair of black linen TSW Hudson Pants. The shoes are Fly London.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

TSW Hudson Pants

I've made several pairs of these because they're the perfect weekend pants for me. I've dressed them up or down and worn them with a variety of tops and shoes. They seem cooler than a full length pant, but that could also be a function of the cottons and linens I've used.

Below are an illustration and technical drawing of the Hudson Pant from The Sewing Workshop website. It appears they're currently not in stock on the site but can still be found in stores or on the internet.

I don't have too much to say about the sewing. They're pretty basic pull on pants with the addition of narrow darts at the lower hem. One thing I like about the draft is that the back leg is angled at the waistband, so the crotch depth is added at center back, not all the way across. This avoids some of the "clown butt" look (thanks, Debbie Cook for that description!). I modified the pattern for me but started with a size Small, then added 5/8" at each of the outer leg seams. In my opinion, the pant runs a bit large so check the flat pattern measurements against yourself to check the size you'll need.

This pair is made from a linen and rayon blend that I got at a local ASG fabric sale several years ago. I was a bit meh about the fabric but it has a nice hand, so I figured it could at least be used for a muslin.  However, I've come to like it as I've worked on the pants. I don't know if you'll see it again though. An entire ensemble would be too much of a good thing? Probably. The pants are more successful if a fabric with some drape is used vs. something stiff, even if you are using a heavy fabric.

It's important to mark the darts accurately and I've found that a Frixion pen is perfect for this.  Only a tiny spot of ink is needed at each dot. Once pressed, the ink disappears! I've washed the pants since making them and the ink did not come back.

The SewWest closet: the top is from Coldwater Creek (before their bankruptcy), the sandals are from Th!nk.

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Cutting Line Ensemble (Getting Back Up on the Horse)

After the sewing fail and the conference, this is what I've been working on. It's not perfect, but wearable. I took Louise Cutting's all-day workshop at ASG in 2009 and learned a lot of techniques, but there's a lot you forget. And my experience with Cutting Line Design patterns has been largely limited to the two shells (Pure and Simple and My Heart's a Flutter) that I've made over and over again. So I'm branching out, applying some techniques, and testing some new patterns.

For this outfit, I used the camp shirt from Easy, Ageless, Cool. The upper part (neckline, shoulders, armscye) is based on a Small and the rest is a Medium. Comfortably loose, but I think I'll shorten the sleeves a touch next time, as I did for the bodice. This pattern also has instructions to add front and back darts for a closer fit, but I chose the undarted version this time because of the thickness of the fabric and the embroidery. I also left off the pocket this time, which would be totally decorative anyway.

The skirt is from In the Trenches. I traced it much, much shorter than originally drafted. I'll be tracing off a longer version later on. I used a Medium to start with. The pattern includes instructions to refine the fit to your own measurements, so it's narrower than a true Medium as drafted.

The fabric is an embroidered rayon and linen from my stash. I ironed both garments before putting on and photographing the outfit, believe it or not. Hopefully it will become more pleasantly rumpled instead of creased over time. The detail pictures below show the embroidery better. The picture above is probably closest to the true shade.

One of the things that takes some getting used to with Cutting Line Designs is the amount of detail the instructions contain. Each of the patterns I've examined have had at least 6 pages of instructions. The temptation is to skip over them (like we all do on the Big 4), but I found it helpful to actually follow them step by step and not assume...some of her techniques are different than what we're all used to but they work.

Here are some more details of the garments.  The pattern piece for the collar is one piece; that is, you only cut one layer which incorporates both upper and under collar. The front edges are on the fold. One of the things that I did this time that I will do differently is to use a thinner interfacing. I just used some fusible tricot I had on hand and it was a little too heavy--that's what happens sometimes when inspiration strikes and you can't wait!

The collar features a center back seam on the underside. Once the center back seam is sewn, the collar starts to look like what we're all used to. Louise uses the one piece collar on all of her patterns that have collars because bulk is reduced. She credits Judy Barlup for this technique, and I believe there is also an old Threads article showing how to adapt conventional collar patterns to this.

The shot below also features Louise's deep back facing. She claims it helps to balance the garment. I'm not sure about this (yet), but I have seen a lot of RTW with back facings that use this deeper style.

The shot below shows the Louise Cutting elastic waist and pocket. Keep in mind that the skirt is not as gathered on me as it is on the form. My form is a little thinner than I am. :( I had my doubts about this waistband, but it is quite comfortable. It uses a soft and stretchy 1 1/2" wide elastic that Louise has sourced.

The pocket is cut on with the back of the skirt, brought forward, and then topstitched in place. Again, the purpose is to avoid the excess bulk of additional pocket seams and two pocket bags. I don't know if I'd use this style of pocket every time, but it is an interesting solution to side seam pockets.

The back vent wasn't strictly needed for this short of a skirt, but I did like it because the edges are nicely mitered.

The SewWest Closet: Nine West Sandals, Foster Grant sunglasses from Walgreen's (I forgot to take them off because I wear sunglasses all the time outside--the sun is relentless!).

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Catching Up on July and August

I have not fallen off the face of the earth, although it might look that way.

Chalk it up to a busy summer with a bit of vacation travel, and some workplace drama thrown in for good measure. To top it off, I also had a sewing fail that seriously made me wonder what the heck I was doing.

Since the last post on July 9 (hangs head in shame), I went to the ASG Conference in San Diego. It's been a while since I went to my last one here in Albuquerque several years ago. And I had gone to the previous conference in San Diego way back when--I think it was the year W. was campaigning for his first term.

This year's conference was at the same place, but I don't really think Town and Country is a resort anymore, and that's a real shame. It's a huge property with a combination of high rises and bungalows, as well as two sizable meeting facilities. However, there were many signs of deferred maintenance that made me wonder about its future. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if large parts are torn down and replaced with something new. The site is large and in a popular area of town, so the land itself must be quite valuable. Fashion Valley Mall is behind the property which was within walking distance and good for snoop and real shopping. We also took advantage of the many restaurants there.

I got some shoes (of course) at Steve Madden and a couple of tops at Nordstrom:

The conference itself was good, although I didn't see as many speakers and vendors as I expected from past experience. It's a huge and expensive undertaking, so that probably accounts for it. I took several classes with Louise Cutting and her assistant, Sandy Miller, learned a lot and was very pleased. I am also wanting a "real" dress form now, thanks to one of the other presenters--I didn't get one at the show but it is on my wish list. I bought several items from the vendors. Louise Cutting of course--I bought several of her videos, some patterns, and elastic.

But I also visited a fabric booth several times where you literally had to dig for the piece you wanted. Here are the fabrics I bought:

Clockwise from upper left--a Missoni-esque knit; white eyelet with an all over floral design; blue and red floral poly; black floral voile; strawberry print poly; splatter print knit; and in the center, a pale turquoise floral poly.

Since coming back I attempted to make a fairly simple outfit that went so wrong I can't even post it. I haven't had that big of a fail in years. Fairly discouraging, even though I know it happens to all of us once in a while. Too bad, because I did like the fabric, but the outfit was just horrible. Oh well.

And then, drama at work. I won't go into details but I'm working on another team now with a different client, and things seem to be going much better. The new team seems to have a more cooperative way of working. What a relief!

I have a few things sewn that I'd like to show you and plan to get some pictures up soon. However, it's been such a long hiatus I didn't want to delay writing for the sake of a photo shoot. Hopefully I will be back on track now that summer is over and will have some sewing projects for you to see shortly!

9/6 Edited to add some photos!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

2015 First Day of School Project

I wasn't sure if I'd have time to participate this year, but decided to go for it during the long Independence Day weekend. I used a different pattern this time, a circa 1998 McCall's pattern that I got from the ASG Trading Post several months ago. I made the little dress featured in the photograph:

As with previous clothes I've made for First Day of School, I mostly used remnants from clothes I've made for myself. This one is made from some cotton sateen I used for a skirt. It's a little shorter than the other two due to fabric limitations, but I'm sure it will work well for some little girl.

The facing on this one is from the Vogue 8645 dress I recently posted, and the green is a faux linen that I used last year to make little girl's pants for First Day of School. The green is more olive than in the picture.

This one is made from a heavyweight rayon that I previously used for this dress:

The construction was pretty straightforward, all machine stitching and serging. I definitely will hang onto this pattern because the dresses were so easy and fast to make! I hope the girls that get these dresses will enjoy them.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Vogue 8645 Dress

I've been on a bit of a linen binge lately, and this dress is another example. I got this fabric last year at JoAnn's, not my favorite fabric store (is it for anyone?). But I have to admit that even they have nice fabrics now and then. It's a linen and rayon blend, based on how it feels and drapes. One of the reasons I chose this fabric was because the design went all the way across the width, so I didn't need to worry about the placement of the pattern  pieces (no bullseyes or twinning).

I've been meaning to make up this pattern for a few summers but something has always gotten in the way until now. The pattern is out of print but is currently still on the Vogue website.

One of the major changes I made in sewing this dress was to eliminate the lining. I just serge finished the edges, turned them under, and topstitched. The linen is heavy enough that there's no show through.

This was an easy sew and I think the pattern's a keeper.

Patent leather slingback platform sandals by Vigotti and my standard silver hoop earrings.