Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Vogue 1397 - Tracy Reese dress on the bias

This recent project doesn't fall into any of the neat mental categories that my sewing usually does. It started life as an experiment, morphed into a possible wearable muslin and now is edging toward the "maybe I will wear it" category.

Interestingly I have almost no striped clothes in my wardrobe. The only items I have are a t-shirt and a dress made from the same piece of fabric. So why I decided to do a blog post for Craftsy on sewing with stripes is a bit of a mystery, perhaps deep down I wanted to make some striped things (I do have 3 different striped knit fabrics in the stash that I keep eyeing). This recent interest in stripes and then having just watched the Craftsy class Inside Vogue Patterns: Tracy Reese V1397 sent me zig-zagging down the bias stripe path. I do love bias stripes or garments where the designer has really thought about the placement of stripes to create an effect. And there are so many possibilities. As result I have a post today on the Craftsy blog about sewing bias with stripes so if you are interested in some how-to's check that out.

Now remember - this started out as an experiment so don't expect much. And if you scroll down you can see how it looks when worn.

V1397 Front view top and skirt bias stripes

Here is the pattern envelope. Which shows a dress.  Yep, another dress exactly what I don't need. I was mostly interested in playing around with the chevron effect so I changed it to a skirt which actually worked beautifully. It is meant to be fitted at the waist so I just added a waistband, the fit was very good using a size 12. 
Vogue1397 pattern env

Once I had the skirt finished I had all kinds of fabric leftover, and was starting to think more kindly about it. Might even wear it. But with what? I rummaged through all kinds of blue chambray cotton, then some pink or red, possibly a blouse, or knit top? But nothing matched the color and I happened to see this idea of a two-piece outfit with a waist length top and decided to try it. I actually made the top in horizontal stripes thinking it would be an interesting contrast but it was hideous. Number two is the version you see here. I used my favorite sheath dress pattern (New Look 6643), added a center front seam and angled away! 

V1397 bias stripe top and skirt as worn

The skirt pattern matching gave me quite a thrill - it came out so well. The top is a happy accident, in the sense that the seamed stripes match fine, that I knew as I cut it out. But it is the placement of the blue stripes that I really did not think about when I cut it out, yet it did land nicely with the stripes continuing the spacing from the top to bottom. Sometimes you just get lucky! 

The back view. I made a slight mistake on the center back of the top, neglecting to account for where the overlap would hit when the buttons were done so the pattern was off. In the end I made a change to one side, which brought the edge to the actual center, allowed the chevrons to match again, and put snaps there so there  are no buttons or zipper at all.  
V1397 back of top and skirt 2 bias stripe

And a look at the back on me. Not on my skinny long-torso-ed dress form. So the top is a bit longer. The skirt hem is left raw which is very liberating! That is what is specified in the pattern, although I was thinking, hmm, that is weird and I am not gonna do it. But I did, and it looks good (won't ravel, on the bias).

V1397 Bias stripe top and skirt back view as worn

Two seersucker items in a row - how about that? Must be summer... OK, now I will tell you the scoop on this fabric and you can let me know if it is crazy, weird, or fun. I bought it at this home-dec fabric shop because I needed around 5 yards to experiment with and I didn't feel like breaking the bank on a maybe project. But $ 3.00/yard seemed about right. And it is a cotton, kind of a medium weight. would also work for a jacket. Not really my color, but it is growing on me. You can see the color better in this picture. 

Back of top bias stripe

V1397 bias stripe skirt front

I am only showing you the last dorky photo so you can see the panels and the chevron effect :) Also there are pockets in the front seams (instead of the side seams) which is kind of nice. I was going to leave them off but in the scheme of things doing the pockets took no time at all so I talked my lazy self into doing them. Bonus sneek peek in this photo of a work in progress, a new to me indy pattern company, any guesses?

waistband bias stripe

bias stripe skirt view V1397

No, I am not taking up square dancing in my back yard. Although have you ever been to a square dance? I did go to one in college which actually was a blast. (theme parties were very big - there is not time to list the number of theme events I went to but there was a lot of speed sewing. Toga party, anyone? although that takes the least sewing, yay!) 

Before I forget, after this was all finished I saw this dress from the recent couture collections. Ok I am not a Parisian model but diagonal stripes are a thing. This one is fantastic. Perhaps I need a petticoat.

G Valli fall 2014

So I am done with stripes for the time being...I think. I do have some stripe-adjacent fabrics in the queue which should if things go as planned will be sewn up soon. 

Up next, something simple. After all it's summer, time to take it easy or so the thermometer has been telling me.
So this one - wearable or not? let me know. 

Happy sewing, Beth 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Summer Blazer Jacket - Vogue 2853 - completed

Third time is the charm for this pattern which qualifies for my pattern repeat summer series. Lots of those in the pipeline (or completed) but finally here is the finished seersucker jacket.

Seersucker jacket on me1

The first post in this series is here, so if you want to see the start and one of the other versions I have made, which was a winter plaid wool. I just realized that I forgot to mention I squared off the corners of the lapels on this version, the original pattern has a rounded lapel and collar. I like the square and there will probably be another version next year. I think I need a casual corduroy version, maybe in a wine color?
Here is a better look at the finished jacket, which doesn't look all rumply in real life, well maybe it does because that is how things actually look when worn, right?

Seersucker jacket lapels

This jacket has a dart under the lapel, in fact it has two darts in the front that are a bit unusual, the one under the lapel and the vertical dart that finished in the welt pocket. They give the jacket a really nice shaping and fit, at least for me. 
Seersucker jacket lapel

OK maybe this is way too many pictures but after all those construction posts why not?
The lining is a very lightweight cotton that has a slight seersucker texture - kind of perfect. I am sure I bought it at an estate sale or something like that so cost was minimal. Ordinarily I like a slippery lining but not for a summer jacket which I am wearing over a t-shirt or something sleeveless.

Seersucker jacket inside
Here is the back view, which is very plain, no vent. What is with my dress form? Everything looks terrible from the back. Its shoulders are not my shoulders, that's for sure. Now that I see the pattern photo I remember that I squared off the center front bottom hem as well. Looks crisper with the seersucker I think.

V2853AK suitSeersucker jacket back view

Ok action shot, i.e. buttoning the jacket. Which I will never wear that way.

seersucker jacket buttoning

With one $ 4.00 shell button from Stone Mountain. Also the seersucker is from Stone Mountain, very nice quality. 

Seersucker jacket button

Seeing these photos I think it does look good with the sleeves pushed up, will have to remember that. Jeez in this picture I look like I am about to reach out and shake your hand. Welcome to Consolidated Amalgamated Business Industries, we are happy to serve you! Blech!  Not the casual summertime look I was going for. Slim ankle length pants are called for, like yesterday !

seersucker jacket closeup

Anyway - if you are interested in seeing how I got here, the first post in this jacket series is here.
The Flickr set is here if you want to see all the photos but I am lazy and never put any captions or details there. 

So many other things to show you since I started this jacket series! All kinds of pattern repeats. And lots of fabric sewn from the stack that was threatening to overtake the bed in the guest bedroom (that is where I let all fabric purchases marinate, they are spread out over the bed so I can pop in there and cast an eye for inspiration or desperation).

Happy weekend sewing, Beth

Today's SunnyGal garden photo which is getting perilously close to being the last for a while. We are under drought rules now and supposed to water at a minimum level. So the lawns will go and I will save my water portion for the hydrangeas, roses, tomatoes etc. 
Should have put in more drought tolerant things, or so I say every summer. Here is a lovely drought tolerant salvia with some tomatoes peeking out from behind.

purple salvia

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summer Blazer Jacket -Vogue 2853 - part 7

This is the home stretch, the last construction post on this jacket! This one will be a bit of a quick run through as the two major steps left are the sleeves and the lining. This jacket pattern calls for shoulder pads which I have used in the previous two wool versions but for this summer jacket I wanted it to be soft and slouchy, so I skipped them.
Leaving out the shoulder pads should have required a bit of adjustment at the shoulder seam but I decided to leave it as drafted and just narrow the shoulder width. If the shoulder/sleeve area collapses a bit I won't mind in this style.  Where that green pin is at the center of the picture is the center top dot on the sleeve, so I just shifted the sleeve inward by about 1/4 inch and that combined with adding the sleeve head was just right for this fabric.  As with all jacket sleeves, I sewed all around the sleeve with long basting stitches and then tried it on to check both the shape and the sleeve  - looked for puckers or places where the stitching didn't stay right on that 5/8" seam allowance. It is so much easier to machine baste in, then go around twice with regular stitch length once it is right.

pinning sleeve

For some other details on sleeve sewing, in particular seam allowance accuracy, see this post from December about my wool tweed jacket, Burda 08/2013 # 106. (a great pattern I should revisit next winter).

For photos showing trimming of the sleeve seam (less is more) check this post about my rose red wool crepe jacket, Vogue 8865.

For a really comprehensive roundup of the steps involved in sewing a jacket sleeve, this post from Feb 2012  has lots of details on sleeves and some good photos of the sleeve head. Same pattern on that jacket as on this seersucker one.

Going back to my previous post about pressing the lapels, here is a look at the "turn of the cloth" on the front where the lapel starts. This is one of those small things about tailoring that just makes me happy and I like to see the result. The pin is showing where the jacket front turns and creates the lapel. I have the lapel propped up a bit here so you can see the seam which hides from view. When giving the jacket front a good press you shift the seam at that point so it is favored on the underside of the lapel, or the backside of the jacket front. Well that is a run-on sentence but hopefully it makes sense. It is important to keep your tailor's tack or marking at the exact point so you know where to do the shift when pressing.

turn of cloth on lapel

Here are two other things that I do with lined jackets, even if they have a partially bagged lining as this one does. Actually this is the reason I like to finish all the jacket and then hand sew in the lining, so I can do all these steps before putting in the lining. But in any case - here is the jacket front, I am catch stitching the front jacket facing down to the jacket front, so it doesn't separate when worn. Have you ever  had a coat or jacket with a loosey-goosey lining that seemed unrestrained except by the buttons and/or buttonholes? That is because the front facings are not secured in any way to the jacket front. Perhaps that is why I don't like to bag the lining - because I like to do these steps before lining.

catch stitch lapel

Last spot for a bit of hand sewing, another bit of catchstitching at the seam where the upper and under collars meet. Same reasons as above.

stitch collar to jacket

Next step for this pattern is hemming the jacket and the lining. I have done a few posts before about jacket hemming, and it fascinates me that a post on how I hem sleeves seems to have a very extensive life on Pinterest. 
For linings, on this post with my spring coat from the BurdaStyle Handbook, there are some good pictures on adding the center back lining pleat.

I am starting to think I make too many jackets! But they are my favorite thing to make and I have at least two more planned for this year. 

This weekend - final jacket photos, I promise. Took them this afternoon. Although I did recently buy some lightweight grey linen to make a skirt - but I won't wait for that.

Happy Sewing, Beth

today's SunnyGal garden photo, a nice pale yellow rose that contrasts so nicely with its neighbor the purple hydrangea. 

yellow rose

Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer Blazer Jacket - Vogue 2853 - part 6

The call in my last post for you to tell about your sewing related injuries was not a competition but I am calling a winner anyway. Plenty of sewn-through fingers (not as bad as it sounds) but the one that topped the list was Jen L and her iron mishap. Jen, I'm glad you are no longer putting that iron on the floor!
Today I took some inside-out pictures of this cotton blazer, and writing this post I have a sense of that summer refrain we all have heard or said - "are we there yet?" Yes, almost there with this jacket.
Last post I showed my collar seam pressing, so now it's time to sew the lapels.
Before I pin the lapel and collar seams, I usually mark the seam line at all the corners with a light pencil or chalk line. Hey - I am all about sewing things quickly and just one time. If I can precisely turn that corner on the lapel on the first go then that is great.

facing marked
This picture above is slightly out of order as the upper collar has not been sewn on yet, but you can see where I have lightly marked the stitch line and corner angles with chalk. 
Next the upper collar and lapels get sewn to the under collar and jacket body. 

pencil line on lapel
I divide this part into three sections where I pin and sew separately one lapel, then the collar part, then the 2nd lapel. No reason to pin the whole thing at once since the stitching stops at the inner corner. It just makes it easier to deal with to divide this into three manageable chunks.
If you would like to see another example of collar and lapel construction, this post from Jan 2011 showed some of these details when I made a winter wool coat for myself.
In the photo above are some of the many little squares created when I trim all the seam intersections. Depending on the garment it can look like fabric confetti around my work area. Trimming and pressing are two real keys to getting a tailored jacket to look right. 
Speaking of pressing, I then press the entire seam allowance open on the lapel and collar. Sometimes I grade the seam allowances first and other times I press first and then grade, it depends on fabric. The thicker the fabric the more important it is to grade and eliminate the visible seam allowance outline that results from pressing an ungraded seam. There is a bit more about an interesting technique for seam grading in this post, scroll down to near the end. 

press seam open lapel

The pressing tool I use to support that seam is the 5 position June Tailor pressing board, see below. I also have a sleeve board where the top part comes off and you can use various accessories that came with it, one of which is a long (20" or so) version of the pointy part shown in this photo below (which is about 8" or so. The long one is really great for pants or long seams in coats and jackets. 

long sleeve board

After those steps it is all pressed up and ready for the sleeves.  I will wrap this up in two more posts so I can move on to other stuff. I have sewn a LOT of other things since I started writing this jacket series which I am ready to show. Including a very oddball bias stripe project that I started so I could write a Craftsy post, got involved in sewing an actual garment, started disliking it intensly and now have come around to being really happy with it, which I never would have predicted. (especially since I was trying to economize so purchased the fabric at the upholstery fabric outlet).  

It actually rained today, for about 5 minutes, so weird for us in July. Not that it did my garden any good. For today's SunnyGal garden photo - these dianthus that are staying alive through winter and summer for about three years. Oh, how I love a nice little plant that persists.

Happy sewing, Beth


Friday, July 4, 2014

Summer Blazer Jacket - Vogue 2853 - part 5

Time for collar and lapels, yippee I see the end in sight. Now I know why I have never done an extensive series on my blog - I am fast losing interest and should just post the rest of these in quick succession. If only I was organized and wrote all the posts so I could just hit schedule. But that would be way too smart.
Speaking of not smart - spoiler alert for the squeamish - this morning I sewed through my finger (with the machine)  If you have never done it you are probably cringing right now but for those of you who have done it you know it is not that bad, and I consider it a rite of passage, perhaps a slightly stupid one but something that happens. The most annoying part is potentially bleeding all over whatever it was I was trying to shove under the presser foot. Anyway - briefly throbbed and now hardly noticeable. Not my first time. So raise your hand in the comments and tell me your sewing injury. After all, there are lot of sharp things, pointy things and seriously hot things involved in sewing, it is not for the faint hearted!

Back to jacket things. After the last post where I sewed the shoulder seams, then the undercollar goes on the jacket body. Sometimes I staystitch around the back neckline so I can clip and more easily pin.
Now I am going to use photos from a previous post where I made this exact same pattern in a grey plaid wool. I took better pictures back so I can illustrate the undercollar.

This is the jacket body with the undercollar sewn on, and then the seam pressed open and catchstitched down. Having this weft interfacing makes it very easy to do the stitching, as you catch the fibers of the interfacing and it never shows on the fabric.
grey jacket collar stitched on

Back of undercollar. Here you can better see the seam pressed open and then stitched down with blue silk thread. This wool jacket also has a black cotton stay across the back.
Grey jacket cross-stitch inner collar

Next up the upper collar and lapel are assembled. In this pattern the back lining piece goes all the way up to the collar which I really like, just a personal preference and I most always change my patterns to have this design.  So picture below; upper collar sewn to lapel and back lining.

collar and lapel inside

Then it gets a good press open and the seam allowance is trimmed. If this were a very seriously tailored wool jacket then I would get super fussy about the seam allowance trimming and the upper collar would be at 3/8" and the under collar part trimmed to 1/4" so when they lay on top of one another the seam is graded and bulk is removed but whoa...this is my cotton summer blazer so let's save that for another time (like a cold November).  

collar seam trimmed
Upper collar pressed and trimmed. Note that the seam allowance trimming stops before you get to the inner lapel notch, leave that for later. 
I am serious about the pressing! Pressing all along the way is possibly the number one thing that makes a garment look really well tailored. OK, well also seam trimming and grading. Those two things!

collar and lapel pressed and trimmed

Next up it is time to sew the lapels. Fun! Wow, my idea of fun might seem a bit strange to non-sewers. But you know what I mean, right?

sneak peek red and whiteNo garden photo today, I will give you a sneak peek at something else floral, my latest finished garment and a summer pattern repeat - to appear here soon. 
So feel free to share your sewing related injury in the comments. 
Have a great weekend and everyone stay safe in the sewing room!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Blazer Jacket - Vogue 2853 - part 4

Now that my jacket construction has past the welt pocket stage it is smooth sailing from here on out. OK, that may not be the case but for some reason on anything with welt pockets I always feel that way, once they are done then the garment will come together with no problems. Maybe because if I mess up the welt pockets the whole jacket front is done for.  In any case, time to move on to assembling the jacket body.

jacket sneak peek

This is meant to be a very lightweight summer jacket, I chose seersucker as it is by nature a bit soft and wrinkly so it won't matter if I toss it around or treat it rather badly on a steamy summer day. This past weekend I did bring the finished jacket to show at the Britex event, then afterwards I searched for a fabric that I could use to make a skirt. Not exactly a match but something complimentary - which was more difficult than expected. I settled on a lightweight grey linen which hopefully will become a floaty bias cut skirt soon. Anyway - by the end of the day this jacket was crumpled in my tote bag and still looked OK when I hung it up later, so mission accomplished for an item that doesn't need careful handling.

Next step in jacket sewing after the pockets are completed. Put together the back pieces, (center seams, princess seams if any) and then I like to add a back stay. On a wintery wool jacket this is a must, and sometimes the back has fusible interfacing also, but in this case no interfacings on the back pieces but I figured the back stay would help the upper back stay in shape and prevent any see through if I added shoulder pads (which in the end I did not).  I notice now that I took this photo before I added the side back pieces but it didn't matter much on this style. On a very loosely woven wool I might extend the back stay further down the armhole.

back jacket stay

For this one I used some white 50% cotton/50% poly fabric. They sell it at Joann's in the quilting department, it is called Symphony, comes in a lot of color and I use it quite a bit when I want a low cost lining that is cotton-ish but not voile or batiste. For a back stay always use pinking shears on the bottom edge so it doesn't show through the outer layer.

OK, up next, shoulder seams. On well made patterns the back shoulder seam is just a smidge longer than the front shoulder seam and needs to be eased, the back to the front. Which creates just a bit of ease over your back and shoulders. Slightly annoying when matching a plaid or stripe but that is a problem for another day. 

shoulder seam markings
Here are my best friends, the tailor's tacks to show that the back side (which is below) is just a 1/8" or so longer. 
Photographic proof in case you don't believe me :).  Not a huge difference and very ease-able by several different methods. 

shoulder seam differential

Another step which I omitted for this jacket but I recommend for tailored wool is to put some stay tape on that seam. I use the scraps of selvedge from linings since it is strong but thin.
After sewing and a good press open on these shoulder seams it is time for the collar and lapels, which I consider the fun parts. 

Whew it was hot here today, around 101º F but it was just a quick heat wave - perhaps the best kind. Although 4th of July is just around the corner and we have had some doozies in the past, in the 110º F range. Do NOT freak out if you are coming to the San Francisco area for any part of your summer vacay - just more fun with our myriad microclimates. 10 miles from my house the temp is actually lower by 30 degrees!  Always gives we Bay Area residents something to talk about. 

Stay cool!  Beth

today's SunnyGal garden photo - one of my favorites, a cactus Dahlia.  


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer Blazer Jacket - Vogue 2853 - Part 3

Onward with my summer blazer jacket. Which is sitting on the dress form waiting for me to sew on a button. Hurray! So today's topic is welt pockets. Or to be more precise, pocket flaps.
You might think that is such a small part of the overall project but I had my camera handy when I was doing them and realized there are quite a few steps I do so here goes.
I am kind of fussy about welt pockets, flapped or not, and have been known to make more than just two pocket flaps so I could get a very nicely matching pair. This time I had all kinds of mishaps, nothing tragic but more funny so you get to see a couple of my mistakes which fortunately were things I could correct.

I will start with the end result and work my way back. Here is the finished pocket with welts and flap
looking ok by my standards. I wanted to show the inside on the left. I just leave the edges raw or pink them but no other treatment, as they will be enclosed in the lining.  Sometimes I round the bottom edge and sometimes not.

pocket inside and out

In my previous post I showed how I outline the pocket in a thread trace, so it is visible on the right side of the jacket front.
Then I make the pocket flaps. I have found the key to good pocket flaps is interfacing, on both sides. Outside garment fabric and also on the reverse (lining side). I use the same interfacing as the side jacket front which is Pro-sheer Elegance.
Once I have applied the interfacing it is time to sew the flaps. I have no problem with drawing the stitch line on garment, using a light pencil or chalk. It helps to get the curve just right, and it shows up well on the white interfacing.

draw pocket outline

Time to sew, and I lift the presser foot when going around those tight corners, turning the flap just a few degrees with every other stitch, because it is very difficult to turn that corner at without doing that. Also I use a very small stitch length here, which is anothe reason to draw the line, because I want to do it just once! with no unpicking.

pocket flap sewing

Time to trim. The seam allowance is trimmed down to about 1/4 inch for this lightweight cotton. If it were a wool jacket then I would grade the seam allowances.

trim pocket flap edge

Now time to press. And I forgot to take pictures so I made a sample pocket flap from some scrap fabric to show this step. 
First I cut small pie shape wedges at the corners, so that when the flap is turned right side out the little wedges close up and fill in that curve. Carefully so as not to cut into the stitching.

pocket flap trimming2

Then the seam allowance is pressed open on the pointy part of the clapper. Press all the way around, this is the key to sharp edges. 

press pocket flap seams

When it is all pressed it should look like this:

finished pocket flap pressed

Then you can turn it right side out and give it a good press.  
And now for my pocket flap flubs. I was being economical (miserly) with fabric and I cut out the pocket flap with the stripes going same direction as the jacket front but for the underside I used some scraps and the strip was going horizontally.
I interfaced everything and sewed them together. And this is what I did. Not sure if you can see in this photo but I have sewn them so the interfacing would be on the visible on the outside of the flap lining. Oops, cut apart and re-sew.  Yes, I did both flaps this way.

pocket flap oops

Flub # 2:  after I sorted that out and re-sewed, pressed etc I sewed the welts and the pocket flaps on the jacket front. Luckily I caught this one after only one side was done. Here I have halfway removed the flap on the right but took a pic for evidence. I have the stripes going the wrong way. I suppose it could have worked but to me it looked off, not how I had intended so the one on the left shows how it should look. And now does. So glad I caught that one before I had finished off that pocket!

pocket flap oops 2

I blame these flubs on TV watching while sewing, which I often do. I started watching Call the Midwife only late last year so I never saw the first season but the last few weeks my local PBS has rebroadcast Season 1, and I have been catching those first episodes. It is a rare show that I actually causes me to put down what I am doing and just watch some scenes.  (also the costuming - fantastic attention to detail).

Ok, last pocket picture. Sew the pocket lining to the bottom welt first, then press down. Otherwise it is enclosed in the pocket and you can't quite get the crisp press that you can before it is all sewn closed.

pocket bag inside

That's all for pockets and flaps. After the welt pockets are done I always feel like it is easy sailing from here on out. 

This Saturday is the event at Britex Fabrics in San Francisco to celebrate their new 4th floor workspace. so that is where I will be, talking about my sewing style and how it has grown and evolved. So I hope to see you there if you are in the bay area, and please introduce yourself, it would be great to meet you!


Today's SunnyGal garden photo is a small hydrangea that is overshadowed by the big mophead one next to it, but this year is putting out a few more dainty blooms. 

small hydrangea
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