Saturday, July 31, 2010

Vogue 1091, Tom & Linda Platt

Vogue 1091 by Tom and Linda Platt is a great pattern. It is fast, easy and stylish. I completed this baby in 2 hours total. Above you see the dress  as designed, hanging straight and very comfortable. This is not a good length for me but it feels so nice worn this way.
Here you see it with a belt. I think this is the best way for me. The length is better and it is just more flattering.
Here is my one issue. I am VERY narrow in my upper torso. Above you can see that despite taking out a full inch off the elastic, front and back, that it is still too wide and I don't have that square neckline effect in the back. This isn't enough to make me not like it but next time I will reduce the elastic size even more. Nancy K recently made this dress and she also took out some of the length of the elastic. One thing I have noticed is that on Nancy's dress she seems to have more of a neckline. My neckline is quite  high. I think I may try to lower the neckline a bit next time I make this, and there will be a next time!

This is a heavy, very nice quality slinky knit. I took a real step out of the box  with this one, however. I did samples and decided to interface the hems with weft knit interfacing and double needle stitch them. Before I did this I tried the dress on. Blank that! I did as much RTW does, and simply cut my hem edges with a rotary cutter and done, that's it! I can't tell you how I suffered over this technique but now that I have done it, yahooo!!! Gotta love that slinky knit! One thing for those of you who want to try this sort of hem, make sure you cut your seam allowances back at an angle at  the hemlines. My first batch of photos showed them hanging out. So cut those seam allowances at an angle at the hemline. You can do it.  Now will someone please tell my why those muscles in my legs can't be up in my arms???...Bunny

Yipes! Stripes!

I love stripes in fashion! Just look at all these angles. I saw this little blouse in our local/only department store, Peebles, and had to have it, if for no other reason than inspiration! I have always loved what stripes can do. I get stripe envy watching those old 1930's and 40's Edith Head movies where the women wore exquisitely tailored suits with stripes at all sorts of angles, the better to accentuate their positives. Stripes can be such fun. Here are a few details on this blouse that I am anxious to implement on some other garment.
Look at what the topstitching does here, adding another dimension of striping to the garment. It is heavy and repeated in channels.
This sleeve really fascinates me. Only the top is gathered, making great little cartridge type pleats. Love this. If you peak inside you can see that the lower part of the sleeve is flat and the elastic for the gathering runs only across the top. I haven't quite figured out how they did the gathering. There is no stitching on the outside of the garment but inside you can see the channel the elastic is run through. Somehow it doesn't show on the outside at all. The sleeve is not lined. I could see how you could pull this off with a lining but there is only a small facing, a facing that is in there solidly.
And look at all the verticality here. I love how the darts, because of their curve, give a sort of psychedelic effect. All in all this is a fun little shirt with lots of great details that can be implemented on other garments.

If you would like to see another great use of stripes check out Summerset's post here.   You can also see some other great striped fashions on this Google Images page here.    

Yesterday I nearly completed a dress from start to finish in 2 hours. I just have to machine up the hems and then it will be photo time. More to come.........bunny

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Badgley Mischka Lining Changes

Because I wanted to run the line of piping completely around the facing I had to make some changes in the directions on the pattern.
The facing shoulder seams were sewn first and pressed open. This is not the order shown in the pattern. Then the piping was attached. THEN I sewed on the bodices, front and back. I stitched from the facing side so I could stitch on top of the same stitching line used to attach the piping. This made everything come out even.  Next came the tricky part. The armscye and sleeve is cut square about 2 1/2 inches left and right of the shoulder seam, not real evident in the lining because of its flimsiness. I did the same, stitching just this top section of the sleeve again from the facing side so I could be right on the same stitching line as the piping. I think that's real important here. Once this upper squarish darted section of the sleeve was in I then proceeded to stitch the bottom of the armscye. Then came another line of stitching all around, 1/8 inch away. The seam allowance in the upper section was left in tact and serged. In the lower section it was trimmed back to the second stitching line and also serged. By following the stitching line of the piping from the facing side an even installation was had all around.
Another change I made was to the lining sleeve. Vogue has you gather the center of the lining, just like the jacket sleeve, the area where I smocked. I thought this might give too much fluffy bulk so instead pleated out the fullness. The bemberg took the pleats beautifully, really flat, so this was definitely the right move. I don't want to look like I am going to fly away. You can also see in this pic that the seams are french seams. Other than the armseye, all seams in the lining are french seams.
At this point I am still eagerly awaiting my organdy. If you are used to fast internet fabric purchases buying from Stauffers is not the way to go. But I have patience and it will come. In the meantime.....

what the heck are these little cooties? I went to iron my lining with my Rowenta and it has a clear tank. To my horror I saw something floating in the tank. I immediately shut it down and poured out all the water. Out came these two ironing buddies. EEEEeeeeeuuuuwww..................

Friday, July 23, 2010

Book Review "Sew Smart" by Clothilde

If you are like many sewists you have a library full of books about sewing subjects that you have collectd over time. And if you are insane about sewing, like many of my readers, self included, you read and re read these books. Lately I picked up this 312 page book to do some before sleep reading. It was worth the second go around and I did learn a thing or two.

Sew Smart is written by Clothilde and Judy Lawrence. Does anyone really know who Clothilde is? I attended an all day seminar with her about 10 years ago. Never did learn if she had a last name. I found her vivacious, assertive, and an enjoyable speaker. She knew her stuff and had all sorts of great tricks. She spotlighted some of the better notions that she sells in her catalo, including her famous pleater. She had some great garment samples as well. I bought her book at the end of the class and she autographed it for me.

What I find best about this book is it's organization. It is so easy to look anything up. The techniques are in a very logical sequence, not always the case in many books on sewing. I like that it is spiral bound, the better to open up on the table as I use it for a technique. The language is clear, simple, and direct, much like Clothilde herself. This would be an EXCELLENT reference for beginners but there is plenty of meat in here for the more experienced sewist. There are in depth lessons on collars, pockets, sleeves and more. I particularly like a few of her pressing techniques. Once in a while you get  a touch of it being out of date, but not very often. A big example of that are the 50 pages devoted to sewing UltraSuede, all the rage when the book debuted in 1984.  The book comes with a pull out of collar patterns and other things. I have never felt the need to pull it out and open it up so I don't really know what all is in there. I just leave it stapled in the book.

This is available at Amazon pretty reasonably and I would say it is a very good book to have in your library and just as good as many of the classic tomes out there. I recommend.
Now, what will I re-read next?...
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The lining is connected to the facings on the BM jacket. I decided on placing a  white satin flat piping between the linen and the Bemberg lining. I think it is a nice counterpoint to the nubby texture of the linen and a nice little secret hiding inside the garment. It will make me smile when I see it. At this point I am just waiting for the organdy to finish the collar and attach it. Then a quick stitch around for the lining and done. Hopefully soon.

A few of you asked about Stauffers, where my organdy is coming from. It is located in Mt. Pleasant Mills, Pennsylvania and called "Stauffers Dry Goods"  NAYY. It is an Amish run store and primarily caters to the Amish, from there to Alaska. They certainly sell to the general public but being Amish, there are no credit cards accepted and no internet access. You can call them and they will send you samples and an order form. For all of you bundle addicts, they have bundles they sell as well. If you have seen Amish clothing, it is meant to last a long time and therefore the fabric is v. good quality. This would be an excellent source for bottomweights. No silk burnouts here! I will let you know when my order comes in. Until then,,,,,Bunny

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Answers and Ideas

Thank you for the lovely comments on the sleeves. The jacket is waiting for its organdy for the inner collar to arrive from Stauffer's so right now I am working on the lining and contemplating some creative ideas for it. I will wait until I decide what embellishment I will use before I tell you. Have to keep up the suspense, you know!

Jlynn asked me in her comment if she could use smocking on the above Burda Pattern, 05/2010 #125.  Absolutely! If you have followed my blog for a while you know that I love the look of smocking and love to incorporate it into adult garments and hand bags. Here are a few things I've learned. Smocking can be used  in most places where there is gathering or elastic. Most fabrics smock up with a ratio of  three to one. In other words, unless the fabric is heavy, for each inch of smocking you will need to pleat up 3 inches of fabric. Look at the drawing above, JLynn's choice. You can see that the sleeves are eased in with no gathering into the armscye. That means there is not much width of fabric in this sleeve. So you will not have that 3-1 ration needed. Here is what I would do: I would double a strip of  fabric so that you have a folded edge. That  folded edge corresponds to the bottom edge of the ruffle. The strip would be the width of the ruffle and the gathered area above. It would be cut 3 times wider that the sleeve. I would then pleat it up with maybe just 4 or 5 rows. This will automatically make your ruffle and give you a pleated area to smock. Smock that band and then attach it with piping to the sleeve. The bottom edge of the sleeve should be gathered into the piping to look right. This will take some fooling and fudging but nothing difficult.

On the waist area I would use a different tactic. It would not work to cut the bodice three times wider, so instead we will beef up the area to be smocked. I would interface the area to be smocked on the left and right before pleating. This beefs up the pleats and makes them fill more space. I like to use Formflex for this. I would interface only those areas but would pleat the waistline all the way across. Then I would cut the pleating threads in the middle and pull them out till you reach the area you want to smock, much as I did on the sleeves in this post.

Another option for this blouse is to make a band of pleating, again on the fold with a ruffle, and use that to make the insert around the neckline.

So you see there are lots of options on just this one blouse. 
Here is another idea for Burda #128 05/2010. I would smock a band about 2 inches wide and just insert it between the peplum and the bodice, removing from the bodice the area to be covered. Hope that makes sense. This could be wonderful in a chambray with some woodsy looking beads.

     This one shoulder affair would be absolutely fabulous with smocking. You could do, once again on the fold to make the ruffle and beef up your pleats, a smocked band at the top. I would add that on top of the bottom ruffle layer as you can only pleat so much at one time. this would be fabulous in a navy silk charmeaue with some jet beads worked into the smocking and then having a tie on the bottom edge that would end in some sort of jet beading as well. 
I could go on and on. The opportunities are there. Any where you see gathering think of how you could incorporate smocking into the garment. You can also add a band of smocking just about  anywhere. I have put bands on collars, pockets, and waistlines. all on patterns that didn't call for any such banding. I hope this has helped JLynn and also gotten some juices flowing for the rest of you. We can never have too many tools in our tool box. It is really nice to be able to pull out a technique and having incorporated into your garment, know that there is no other like it and it is couture....Bunny...  I would love to teach classes on how to do this. The idea that I could inspire someone, like I seem to have with Jlynn, is just a great feeling.Wish I could link to Jlynn, but she is unlinkable at this point,,,,,Bunny

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The BM Jacket - Sleeve

Whew! The sleeves are done. I finished the smocking rather quickly. These sleeves required a lot of thread pulling. I pulled a thread first just to establish grain and to be able to pleat the fabric on grain in the pleater. Once smocked I had to deal with cutting out the actual pattern so another thread was pulled in order to line up the pattern piece on grain. This was critical as the hemstitching has to meet at the under sleeve seam and be perfectly straight. Once the pattern was lined up and cut it was time to pull another thread to mark the fold of the hemline. . After the hem was pressed  and before sewing another thread was pulled and the folded edge of the hem was brought up to meet the pulled thread an pressed again. After that it was on to the upper sleeve where another thread was pulled to mark the hem fold and another to meet the hem edge, same as done on the lower sleeve. I found the fold on the upper sleeve much deeper than what it appeared on the pattern photo. It hid too much of the smocking. So I pressed an elipse of fabric up to reveal more smocking. The elipse needed to be secured down so why not one of those beautiful Mother of Pearl buttons from Ima? In the picture it is just pinned on.

Once the upper and lower sleeves were joined  together I hemstitched that upper fold over the smocking. Next came the actual sleeve seam which I stitched and serged. Once the sleeve seams were stitched I could hemstitch in the round with the pulled thread line meeting just right at the sleeve seam. As I said, whew! The rest should be easy, or at least easier. I will be hemstitching down the pleats on the bodice front  as well.

I ordered two different cotton organdies from Stauffers Dry Goods. They do not take credit cards and you must order by mail and with a check. There order form makes reference to their Alaskan customers needing to pay something extra, Alaskan customers! So this is a big operation, run by the Amish basically for the Amish the old fashioned way. The order form says if you overpay they will send you a check for the difference. I was afraid to underpay! One of these organdies will be the under collar for the jacket, I hope. I have three other possibilities on the cutting table and will wait till the organdies come in to make my judgment. In the meantime, I can get going on the lining. I have really enjoyed this project so far.
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I am glad so many of you enjoyed hearing about my visit with Mrs. Miller. It was special and I know there will be more. A couple of you mentioned that it would have been nice if I took pictures. Photographs are anathema to the Amish. They are considered what we called in Catechism class many years ago, "graven images." If you want to disrespect that Amish, take their picture. I wouldn't think of even asking. It is just not their way. I totally waited until Mr. Miller and my husband were away from the house and in the woods  to take the picture of the buggy and horse and I felt badly about that. So remember if you meet any Amish, do not take their picture. I have seen them do barn raisings, incredible, and so wished I could just go up and click away, but I want them as my friends and will not disrespect their ways. Actually, I try to practice that with anyone I meet who is not "like me." I learned that from my Mom and saw the wonderful diverse friends she had over the years. 

Someone emailed me and asked where everything was if there were not cabinets in the kitchen. There is a huge pantry beyond the kitchen, another whole room, not a pantry like most of us might have. There is no fridge in the kitchen. It is not needed. Meat is canned. Milk and butter are kept cool  down in their wells, pretty clever and it works winter and summer. They really have worked this all out for generations. Imagine living without knowing about oil spills, wars in Afghanistan, and Tea Baggers. There is a lot to be said for their life. I think they live it beautifully...Bunny

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Kindred Spirit

The first time I met Mrs. Miller was at the town dump, well close to the town dump. She had her wagon parked on the main road where everyone around here turns in on Saturday and brings their trash. A more entrepreneurial type would call it a great location. Set up in front of her wagon was a table with all sorts of pies, gorgeous produce, jams, cookies and candies. Inside her wagon were two darling daughters making pot holders. No idle time for these children. The oldest  helped her mother deal with customers and make change as necessary. She was there with her wagon and her girls every Saturday of the summer selling her wares and her wares were good! We would do neighborly chat about gardening and  cooking and meet again the next week.

When strawberry season came Mrs. Miller had the best berries around, the most flavorful and the biggest quart boxes you ever saw. One night she and her daughter drove their wagon to our home to see if we needed some more strawberries and of course we did. This is a small town where everyone knows where everyone lives and it was delightful to see her wagon come up the drive with its beautiful gelding pulling the load.

This year Mrs. Miller's berries were so good that I had to have more.  After work I drove to her home on a quiet dirt back road. I bought the last of the  strawberries from one of her 7 daughters, the one assigned to work  the little stand out front of their home. When Mrs Miller saw my car she came out to chat. We talked raspberry blight, deer flies, weather. She and her daughters wore their summer bonnets while working around the home and I just couldn't help admiring Mrs. Miller's. They were of a cotton organdy. The crown of the bonnet was ironed into the finest stiff pleats, less than a 1/ 4 inch deep. Where the tiny pleats met the brim was what I really couldn't help staring at. Each pleat was a perfect matching depth and stitched to the band  with the tiniest of stitches along the idea of a fagotting stitch. The thread crossed a one eight inch space between the brim and the crown. It was perfection in execution.  She promised to come by the house when the raspberries came into season. I couldn't get these bonnets out of my mind.And where did the fabric come from?

Yesterday afternoon as I drove home from work I passed a UPick Rasberry sign and wondered if Mrs. Millers were in yet. I stopped by the home  and yes, they were in . After handling our transaction it was time to chat and I asked her daughter if she purchased her bonnets or made them. She smiled as if the thought of buying the bonnet was comical and told me they made them. I asked where they got the lovely fabric and she insisted on getting her mother, who was quite busy, to tell me. Mrs. Miller came out and beckoned me into the house. I didn't want to intrude but she is so friendly. When I passed through that doorway,  behind her and her trailing dark skirts, my breath was taken away. The beauty of the utter simplicity of her home stopped me in my tracks. She was in the midst of canning her peas. A spare trestle table, surely made by her husband, was covered in spotless white vinyl. Sparkling glass jars loaded with hundreds of fat little peas were arranged on the table. All I could think of was that I had walked into a Rembrandt. This very very large room was the kitchen. It had no cabinets. It was ruled by the 5 foot wide black enamel wood fired stove, a beautiful beast , that sat center stage along the empty long wall of the room. It was filled with copper pots of all sizes, dinged and dented but polished to showroom shine. What remained in the room, opposite the trestle table, was a simple sink and counter and a pump to bring up water.

We sat at the table with her jars of peas and discussed fabric and bonnets. She could not tell me enough about them. It was clear she loved to sew, loved fabric, and even had a stash. She showed me the different organdies she used and the advantages of each. She ran out to a mysterious room behind a curtain and produced a box of fabric samples from her source, Stauffer's Dry Goods in Pennsylvania. We went through the samples. There were many. Then she explained how she got her tiny stitches and pleats, all  so perfectly straight and matched. She admired my bag and asked if I made it. I was honored that she even noticed, but another passionate sewist always notices these things. We talked and talked. I left with an order form for Stauffers and a promise to bring some of my smocking to show her. She clearly loves her way of life but is very interested in how others, the "English" live and loves to talk and learn about it. I felt like I had found someone with the same  passion for fabric, hand work, and sewing. She just could not tell me enough about her sewing.  I know I will go back to Mrs. Millers. On the surface our lives are VERY different. In reality, we have a lot in common....

The other day Mrs. Millers husband came up our drive by mistake. He tied off his horse and my husband walked him through the woods to a neighbors where he would close a deal to put a dormer on the roof. This is the world I live in. Sometimes it can be isolating and other times it is very very special...Bunny

Monday, July 12, 2010

The BM Jacket

If I use the pattern as reference this jacket would be the Vogue Badgley Mischka Platinum 1099 White Linen Jacket. Just toooooo much of a mouthful. So the BM Jacket it is and stop snickering.This jacket is quite easy and moving right along quite quickly too.
No muslin for this one! There is little fit here and I measured the flat pattern and should be fine. This jacket is a "swing" jacket. The only adjustment I have made is to the length, taking out 3/4 of an inch.
The bodice is put together and tonight I dealt with the sleeves.  Smockers of apron dresses and bishops will already know how I did this. A thread was pulled and a longer and wider than necessary strip of linen was cut. It was more than twice the length of two sleeve widths. Make sense? It was then run through the pleater the full length of the strip. This is much faster than pleating each individual sleeve. After pleating,  the piece was cut in two in the middle of the length. At this point I am not concerned about the pattern. That will come later. I then pulled out the pleating threads to the left and right of center until I had the correct amount of fabric left to pull into pleats. The amount the pattern suggested for gathering was spot on for the pleating as well.  Eight inches of my linen pleated down perfectly to fit the space on the sleeve. The sleeve lengths are now pleated, blocked, and starched and will be ready in the morning for stitching. I haven't decided on a pattern yet and will go hunting in the morning.

When I first started to crank the pleater it felt and sounded like my needles hit iron. I just knew that awful crunching sound was coming. I very slowly continued and it went along smoothly right to the end of the strip. Whew!  Hate it when that happens.

I have also cut out a  bias strip, not corded, to be placed between the facing and the lining. It is shiny white and will have a little contrast to the linen which should be good. Tomorrow I will order the cotton organdy for the inner neckline. I have been all over the place with what that inner collar should be made of going from lace to just more linen. I have found an interesting and wonderful fabric resource and will get into that on probably my next post. An order for cotton organdy will go out tomorrow....Bunny

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tabbed Sleeve Tutorial

This is really so simple but I feel compelled to share my method for tabbed, roll-up sleeves because on McCall's 6116 I find the directions inappropriate, particularly for printed fabrics. Their directions have you do a 1/4 inch hem and then roll your sleeves up and pull the tab from the underneath and sew it down, corralling the folds. As you can see in the sample above this gives you the wrong side of the fabric on the outside of the garment, not pretty. Here is what I did instead.

First, decide where the hem fold will be.Do this before cutting out the sleeve. My hem is about 3 1/2 inches deep. Fold the pattern piece on top of itself at that point. You will see that because the sleeve narrows you need to add a bit of width to the side seams . This way when the hem is folded up you won't be short fabric in your seam. OK, so now you have fixed your sleeve side seams and cut your pattern and your fabric. Good. Next, serge the bottom edge if you can, otherwise turn up a 1/4 inch and press.I don't like pressed roll up sleeves. I like them to look, well, rolled up. So I do not press in the hem fold.
You can see how the hem is folded up and pinned, about 3 1/2 inches deep.Go to the machine and stitch right down the line of the serging. Yes, there will be a stitching line on the right side of the sleeve.
Fold up your sleeves a couple of folds. Pull your tab out from underneath and stich in place with your button. Your rolls easily cover the stitching line of the hem and your right side of the fabric is on the right side of the dress, much better looking and so easy.  And don't mock my "mock tab"!

Yes, this is really simple but how much simpler could it be to just give some better directions on the instruction sheet? I really, really wish I had the job of editing these patterns. I hope some of you try this pattern. It gives so many opportunities for fit. I wore the dress to work today and got good feedback. If you would like to see a different looking version, and a great one at that, check out Coudre Mode. Love how she used the piping.....Bunny

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hemstitching and Some Q & A

Thank you, everyone for the lovely comments on the green dress. I have been thinking a featherwale corduroy would be nice for fall in this pattern. Hmmmm,,,,, I really would like to have a repertoire of TNT patterns like Carolyn and Sherrill do. I think that is something to really aspire to and plan to work at it.

I did have a few questions and comments I would like to respond to regarding the dress. Lena wrote, "... after reading all the alterations you do to the muslins, may I ask how long does it take you to make a garment? And wouldn't it be easier to draft a perfect pattern from scratch instead?"

 I really believe in muslins. The more muslins I make the more convinced I am of their value. They have taught me the alterations I need to do for my body. First I flat pattern measure to know if the pattern is a go or not. Then I make my "usual" alterations to the pattern. I "petite" the pattern as you see in this tutorial. Next is usually an FBA and then a swayback adjustment. At  this point, I cut out the muslin from the pattern. The muslin often does not have sleeves. It has no facings, and generally no details. I only do details to pin down placement and that is only once in a while. The neckline seams get cut off. Once the muslin is made I take pics and reassess. This may all sound like a lot, but I have done these same adjustments so many times that they go very very fast. I can make and judge and readjust a muslin usually within a couple of hours, sometimes less, sometimes more. I don't particularly like drafting from scratch and have yet to see how one sloper can give me all the variety I need in my sewing. I didn't always make muslins. Those were the wadder days. I promise your wadder count will decrease with the use of muslins. Oh, I don't tissue fit either. The paper tears and does not drape. Period.

As far as how long it takes to make a garment, that varies, of course, but making a muslin does not double the time.


An anonymous commentor had several questions. She/he asked if I would explain more about the roll-up sleeve construction. I have decided to do a tute on that and will have that coming as soon as I get a day off, maybe Friday. As far as the underlining, this is when you treat the lining fabric and fashion fabric as one. Both fabrics were placed wrong sides together and  serged all around to keep them together and finish the seams. Then you just proceed with construction as if you were using one layer of fashion fabric. I usually get my anti-static lining from Joanns when on sale and stock up. I just bought the lining for my linen jacket from Sawyer Brook, a Bemberg lining. Hope this helps you, Anonymous.

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Above you can see some samples I did of the hemstitching on this heavier linen. I tried it with pulling out one to three threads or none at all. On the bottom left you can see a hem folded to a line of one pulled thread. That was my final decision and I came up with this sample below as my preference.
 


I pulled one thread and folded the hem up to it. You can tell that I used Stitch #96, width 2.0, length 3.0, wing needle, regular thread, and one thread pulled out. This sample will now go into my collection. It's pretty amazing how often I dig thru those sample for either inspiration or just technique.....Bunny