Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sewing a Kasha Lining

Today I easily managed to sew the lining up for my winter coat. It is Christmas day and my husband and I have had a wonderful day connecting with family both far and close. Since all the hustle bustle has settled down I was able to play with my new tablet, thank you Santa, and hit the sewing studio as well. The design of this coat is simple and the lining is simple but as promised, I am adding a few touches that will make it more tailored, more couture, if you will.

First, let's discuss Kasha. I love Kasha. I think it is warm. I think it is luxurious. It is for dry clean only garments as the piece I picked up from Vogue fabrics is 52% acetate and 48% cotton. It is a shiny satin weave on the public side and a thick flannel on the private side. It ravels like crazy. It sews up beautifully.

I've made changes from the pattern, Butterick 5960. First, the only yardage given for the lining is 45 inches. Kasha is 57 inches wide. I have almost a yard leftover so keep that in mind. I find at Vogue fabrics there is the biggest color selection available online although I wanted an ivory all along so that didn't quite matter. It retails for 14.99 a yard and got to my house in two days, perfectly cut and folded. . It is yummy stuff, IMO. NAYY.

The pattern has rather simple, albeit at times confusing, directions. I kicked them up a bit.

I stayed the shoulder seam with selvedge. This is not mentioned in the directions. I also did all the stay stitching up front before much handling of the fabric was done. The pattern specifies otherwise.

This fabric, like all satins, will telegraph to the public side when pressing. So if you don't want to see the ridges of your seam allowances either use a seam roll of some sort or use manila folders/oaktag to slip under the SAs before pressing.


The pattern has you baste a 3/4 inch hem in the lining and then stopstitch. I chose to serge the edge (so ravelly) and then do a catchstitch by hand for the hem. I love those even little pick stitches, don't you?

Above is a highly corrected pic of the serged and catch stitched hem. While working on the hem the side seams became more and more ravelly. To late to serge, sooooooo....


The edges got hand overcast, a sweet touch. Normally, if the lining were enclosed I wouldn't have bothered but in this pattern the lining hangs freely from the coat, two separate hems. I didn't want straggling threads to rear their ugly heads further on up the road.

Another hint for Kasha: This is the place to use those fine silk pins. Big pins just push through too hard and can leave marks. 

So the lining is complete now and next will be steaming the wool. I seam to have lint-y towels so I hesitate to do the quick pretreatment of throwing the wool in the dryer with damp hot towels. Black and white? I don't think so, untrusting laundress that I am. And the London shrink method isn't quite appealing to me either. So an hour or so of heavy steam pressing and I will be good to cut out this cashmere wool blend. The fabric is lovely with that low glow that only fine woolens have. I have a few trade-ups on the construction for that too!
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I sincerely hope your holidays find you spending it with those you love and the blessings of  the season bring you much joy. You all mean so much to me and I wish you the best of Christmas cheer and Spirit......Bunny

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Back to Sewing with Butterick 5960



Finally I am back to sewing and blogging. It's pretty interesting how intertwined the two are for me. We have had lots of visitors and the holiday has been priority for the past few weeks but I am ready to roar. I am finally excited about my new coat project. It is Katherine Tilton's Butt 5960.
It is rather bath robe-y, isn't it? But that's OK. I wanted something classic, waist defining but roomy and this fits the bill. My version won't be a stunning print like this one but an equally gorgeous wool/cashmere blend in black, ALL BLACK. Yes, much tweeking of the photos will happen so you can see the details as we progress. I have made my muslin and I will share that with you in a moment. I am using this, other than one tiny tweak, straight out of the envelope in the Extra Small size. I love saying that, "extra small size". Pattern land seems to be the only place I get to mouth those words! But an extra small has 46 inch hips and a 42 inch bust, all the better to fit my warm winter clothes beneath. I love the sleeves and they are very comfy.

The area on the upper chest at the join of the front and the side front has a bit of a bubble. I am always narrow there so I will push that over a bit when I sew up the fashion fabric. 

Above you  can see how I caught the fabric up when topstitching on the facing inside. I will be extra careful about that with the wool.


There are some interesting issues with this design but I still love it. First, the collar is having an identity crisis. It doesn't quite know it if is folded back all the way down as in some photos on Butterick or is it more a wrap style. The center front is also the facing and you can see the distinction with it being white muslin and the back, sides and sleeves being pale yellow. This is OOOooold soft sheeting and my wool will definitely work differently but I think I gleaned enough about the fit from this to proceed.
I have narrow, sloping shoulders. Shoulder pads are a given for me in any tailored garment. None are specified on the pattern. It looks pretty clear to me that the model is definitely sporting shoulder pads in her lovely version. The back is cut wide and the armholes low but not crazy low. The other day I wore a tunic to work that did not fit in the armholes of my coat. That won't happen with this coat. I like the cut.
Something odd about the pattern you can see above. The front armhole is way shorter than the back armhole. You can see how the sideseam is toward the front and the shoulder seam is toward the back. This is exaggerated on Miss Dumdum. On me everything hung right and looked OK. I realized this was intentional when the directions said to line up the underarm seam of the sleeve with a square that is set back a fair amount beyond the frontal side seam. Of course I realized this after the sleeve was installed.
Speaking of sleeves, that should be OK too. The sleeve has a two inch fold back cuff. You can see the correct length for me here, two inches beyond the hem fold, perfect. So I can make the sleeve as is and fold it up the two inches. I like that retro type of sleeve.

So I think I am ready to go. I am going to do the lining first. This simple looking pattern really needs you to read through the directions at least twice. Took me three times to get the pockets understood. I will save you some time and tell you that there are neat topstitched slot type pockets on the outside. But there are also big pockets in the lining on the inside, four pockets total. But  that isn't real clear in the pattern till the third reading, at least for me, and I found it very confusing. Anyway, now I get it and don't plan on any issues. Read this pattern if you plan on making it. BTW, there are no reviews yet on PR so I will make sure I get this up on there.

I am going to make and complete the lining first. It hangs separately from the coat. That can be easily changed but I think I will just go with the pattern as is at this point. I will be adding a few tailoring details that are lacking here and will post those as I go along. The fabrics in the very first picture are a cashmere/ wool blend, mostly cashmere but I forget the ratio. Sorry for the overcorrected lintladen pic. The wool  is lovely. The lining is Kasha, a flannel backed heavy satin. It makes a really warm lining. I've used it numerous times and love it. It is the same lining you usually see in fur coats.


And what is that bright colored business? That splashy shiny goody? That I am hoping will be my piping between the coat and the lining. Off white lining, black coat in the style of a bathrobe, gosh, I need something to jazz it up so that's what that fabric is bringing to the party. Hope to have more to share soon.
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It has been difficult being just too busy to blog and sew but the trade off is quality time with my family who are usually quite distant. I'll take that any day. I did re-discover, as has happened before, that when I don't have my creative outlet, I am not too happy. Just sort of a gray funk sets in. But get me to imagine making piping out of some extremely gaudy polyester and the rainbow sparkles and the sun sits high. I know you all understand.

Hopefully I will have more posting before Christmas so I will save my merry wishes until then. I will have a bit of a sewcation this week for a few days as I will not be seeing family until the second week of January when I have to travel for completion of some dental implant work. I am hoping to finish this coat during that time. It's great to be back!....Bunny



Sunday, December 1, 2013

Down and Dirty Sewing, Anyone?

The house is quiet. The turkey has been turned into the most comforting soup. Snow is falling once again and all of our guests have headed back home. I've known for the past 2 weeks that my grandaughter was working on a special school project and needed my help. Of course, Grandma acquiesced. Now did I procrastinate a bit? Well, yeah, I did. But I had to deal with all the Thanksgiving dinner, tons of overnight guests issues. And we won't even talk about how  my oven died the night before. I know it's hard to believe that can happen but it did. I told my daughter that I had all day Sunday to make this simple little project and would mail it out overnite on Monday morning. Deadline met!

DGD Sophie, third grade, is doing a special class project on Ellis Island and immigration. She need to find a family relative who came in on Ellis Island if at all possible, and become that person for the day. Luckily, two years ago, when DSIL was laid off he researched all the family genealogy and we had a real great great grandmother who came over from Belgium as a teen. Can't beat that Ancestry.com! Anyhoo, Sophie had to do the research on the era, clothing, etc. Thanks to the internet you can see above actual Belgian immigrant children from the 1880s. I also was provided with this pic:
Sophie and Mom decided she would wear a dress I had already made her out of grey fabric and "old fashioned" to quote Sophie. (eye roll) She needed Bunbun to make the pinafore like you see on the girls in the pic above and a kerchief. Piece of cake - one pinafore coming right up.
I used some washed muslin that I didn't iron too much. We were going for reality here.I used the bodice and sleeve cap of Simplicity 3859 and rounded up the neckline. No facings were used  but the neck and armholes were attached to bias strips, turned and topstitched and the bias cut back to about 3/8ths inch - good enough for a one time modeling job.
Since I doubted the existence of buttonholes at this time I used two ties in the back to keep the thing together. 
The original immigrant image at the top shows all wearing their kerchiefs which Sophie felt she needed for authenticity. So triangle of dark depressing grey print and we are done! One Ellis Island, 1880s immigrant child from Belgium hopping off the boat! Whew!


She will get dressed up in her outfit Friday and wear it to school. There she will get "processed" just as if she just got off the boat. I think it will be a wonderful learning experience. I do know one thing. It sure isn't a project like any I had in third grade. Heck, in third grade I didn't even have projects. But what really really mystifies me in all of this is what do kids from Asia or Africa do? And what about kids without sewing at the last minute capable grandmas?  Oy...

I can't wait to start on a couple of projects for myself.It's been a while and it did feel good to get back at the machine today despite the type of project this was.  I have been asked to do some home dec sewing for DD "as a Christmas gift". Not sure that gift is getting done before Christmas!......Bunny


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tunic #2, Vogue 8924

This is my second iteration of Vogue 8924, that tenty little tunic that is so comfortable to wear and looks great with leggings and boots. You can see the first here.  I have worn it numerous times to work. Between rushing in the morning and looking frazzled in a dark winter evening, a self modeled picture isn't coming any time soon. But Graciela, today's name for the form, will accommodate the modeling! One day the form will get a proper name. I am trying out several and leaning heavily toward Graciela.

Pattern:
Vogue 8924, a simple, widely cut tunic with a shaped hem and large pockets.


Fabric:
This is a polyester dotted blouse weight for lack of a better term. I keep buying gray lately, which does give me wardrobing advantages, but I always feel I have to add a spike of color. I did this here with  some yellow and white retro buttons and a bit of shibori stitching in yellow on the back above the pleat. This fabric is very drapery, different from the first iteration, so looks good with a belt and has more of a blouse look. 
Construction:
I did a few changes to the pattern this time. Because I was using a nasty synthetic and because somehow the stay stitched neckline stretched out getting the bodice to fit the collar was a bit of a challenge. Here you can see the nastiness.
A natural fiber would have eased in and pressed out nicely but petroleum based fabric just does not do that. What to do?  I fudged and fiddled and decided it looks great with the collar turned down, not my usual style. I found a good break point for the placket and added a button there and I think it worked out fine.

 I also  changed out the pockets to something a little more fun. Actually it was all about funning up the dour gray fabric. On the pockets I flipped a corner down and secured it with another retro button as you can see in the second picture above. 

This was all pretty much stitched and serged. Nothing fancy happening here. But I did get a good basic garment that has been perfect for  work with some leggings, shoebooties, and a long  sweater vest. Library ladies wear lots of sweaters.  I did get lots of positive feedback when I wore it. And I was comfortable, something oddly becoming more important with each day. I love how this looks from the back. 

While I think I may make more tunics, I think I will retire this pattern for now. I definitely can see it for the summer in some linen with slim white crops. Highly recommend. 
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 My holiday sewing is all out of the way now and I will get going on my winter coat. Finally! I have cut and prepped the pattern and interfacing, a hair canvas sew in. To keep things nice until I get to work on them further I rolled up the tissues on cardboard tubes, one for lining, one for fashion fabric. Have my muslin fabric at the ready and just need to cut. I am thinking this could be a simple project. We'll see....Bunny

Sunday, November 17, 2013

American Girl Double Doll Carrier, McCalls 5019

 
This project was completed last night and this afternoon, quick and cute! It is a gift for my little granddaughter, Carly. Rumor has it that if she is a very good girl Santa may bring her a second American Girl doll for Christmas.  And this is a carrier for TWO American Girl dolls, perfect for girly overnights and friendly visits to Grandma's.

Pattern: 
This is McCall's 5019. The pattern features some cute jammies, a sleep fleece, a robe, a dolly sleeping bag, a "chair/pillow" and the double doll carrier. I don't think there is any other pattern out there like this, one that accomodates two dolls and all their paraphernalia at once. It is VERY easy and is ripe for additional embellishment. which I did. The heart design comes in the pattern. 

Fabric:
This is made from inexpensive 100% quilter's cotton from Joanns. You don't need anything fancier than that to make this wonderful, IMO. Whenever I make something for my granddaughters I try to make it in colors that will flatter them. Carly is platinum blond with turquoise eyes and a big tooth missing in front, therefore the turquoise fabrics. And because she loves animal prints I threw in a bit of zebra too. Anyone can do leopard, you know! ;)

The entire outer bag, other than the pocket is interfaced and I used Decor Bond here. The pocket is simple a large rectangle folded in half to make the top edge. I thought that edge was a bit weak so I added the black bias tape and some more calico to give it a little more heft. 

Construction:
This is easy peasy. I cut it out in short time last night. There is a big chunk of fusing to be done here and that took a bit of time. Then I basically made two tote bags, one being the lining. The lining has the pockets added to the sides to accommodate the dolls. Stitch lining to bag, turn, and done! Need a cute Christmas or Hanukkah gift? You can whip this out in no time. I did topstitch the top edge to keep it from turning out. 

Opinion: Easy, great gift, nothing complicated and fun! Highly recommend. It will make your little darling very happy!
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I want to sew. I want to blog about sewing. My attentions lately have not been on either. We have major company coming for Thanksgiving. Since we downsized to our little retirement home in the Adirondacks we have always gone to our daughters' homes for the holidays. They are much better equipped at this stage to do lots of entertaining. But this year, this year it's at our home, at their request, and we really are excited. I will have 8 adults and five children for dinner. Some will go to the lodge up the road, very nice, and others will be staying in our home. We are so looking forward to it. So the past two weeks we have been cleaning, moving furniture, finishing overdue decorating projects, etc You know how that works. I must say the house is looking pretty good. So if I am scarce for the next few weeks you will know why. We will have a repeat at Christmas! Prime rib, anyone?..................Bunny

Here's our new back foyer off the family room, all of which were ruined by last fall's flood. Finally done......



Thursday, November 7, 2013

Woohoo! It's here!



Going to make friends this weekend with my new toy! Woohoo!...Bunny

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Wolves have howled! Simp 2771

Zackie's PJs got finished this morning. Took one hour to whip out the pants. Here's the lowdown:

Pattern:  Simplicity 2771 , "Unisex Pajama". There's a lot I love about this pattern and have used it many times. First it carries every size from little tyke to Big Daddy and is not gender specific. I would love a pair of these for myself. It is pretty easy and you can take it to the next level creatively by doing the piping but not necessary. The only caveat here is dealing with the neckline band. It is sort of counter intuitive. You put on the band AND THEN you face the band after. It looks like the band is the actual  facing but that is not the case and the first couple of times I made this it took me a bit to get my head wrapped around that.

Another thing I like about this pattern is the neck treatment. I've made classic notched collar pajamas. Forget that! With this neckline you don't have pjs coming out  of the washer/dryer with a skewed crumpled collar. I mean really, who is going to iron pjs? Not even moi, who irons everything. With this neckline it always looks neat, especially for those Christmas morning snapshots.

A bit of advice: if you would like to add this to your stash for sewing lots of different sized jammies, wait till a Joann sale and get all the sizes at 99 cents a pattern.All the sizes are in one envelope but by having several envelopes you can cut out each size needed. It will save all the tracing I have done.

Fabric: This is a 100% cotton flannel from EQuilter,com from the North Woods Collection. There are some exquisite flannels to be seen there. It is very heavy, washed and dried with nearly no shrinkage and came out holding its appearance. I've used this line of flannel before and it is a delight to sew with. Be aware that sewing pajamas takes a lot of fabric and this is not cheap. You have long sleeves, pants and bodice. I believe I used 4 yards at 11.95 so you can do the math. BUT, these are being passed through the family, wear like iron, wash beautifully and most of all, the kids love them and ask for them. I have bought cheapo flannel and you never know quite what you are going to get. I highly recommend if you can go the expense. When your grandchildren ask you to make these and it's unsolicited, you know it's worth every penny. 

The piping was also 100% cotton flannel. The bands are interfaced with Armo Weft. 
PIC

Construction: This is pretty straight forward and just take it slow figuring out how to put the band on. It is easy to attach the wrong side which I did the first time I made this. Other than that it is simple.  This would be a great pattern to learn/attempt piping as there are no sharp corners to turn. On my version the seams are all stitched then serged with some being topstitched. There is topstitching next to all the piping which brings out the 64,000.00 question. In my last post how did I get the moon on the pocket to not show the stitches? I did nothing. It is topstitched with the same navy thread but the flash bounced back off the moon and made it disappear. Pretty cool, huh? Now if time were nothing in my life I might have switched threads to a white for the moon but sorry, not this time!  Because of yardage limitations I also did not make an effort to match the band. That could be done but it would require additional yardage and I felt maxed out on the expense of this project already. But that pocket matches and I feel good knowing that.

In conclusion: This is a great pattern. The fabric was wonderful and it's going to a very appreciative young man. I will no doubt make this again and again. I am thinking a pair for me but a winter coat is coming first. Got my Kasha lining today!!!...Bunny



Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Super Fussy Piped Matching Pocket

Tunic #2 is done and I like it a lot. The weather has not been cooperating with my photography needs so pics may just end up on the dress form. But for now I have moved on to a pair of Jammies for my Zackie. He asked me for them with no solicitation. What could I say? Of course Bunbun will make you some winter jammies. I bought the wonderful flannel from the North Woods collection on Equllter.com.

This is my go to jammie pattern, simp 2771. Included are sizes from a 2 year old to Big Daddy, all the family. I have traced off  half of the sizes at this point and of course not the one Zackie needed. My slow brain has since decided the next time Joanns has a Simplicity sale I will just buy one for  each size, duh. No brainer. In the meantime I traced away.

This is a simple pattern, one of the reasons I love it. I've reviewed it here numerous times. This time, however, I am using a very strong print fabric. If I put a pocket on that did not match it would scream tacky and incompetent and I wanted that pocket. I needed to make a pocket with a band and piping in between that perfectly matched the bodice. It took a bit of effort that I will share with you.
I marked the pocket location with a horizontal line on the bodice. I matched the fold line of the band to that location line. Then I drew an outline of the big wolf on to the pattern piece. I matched to a scrap of fabric and cut out the band. I did the same for the pocket. Then I folded them on the seam allowance to see if they would match once stitched together.
I actually cut the pieces larger than needed to make sure I had a bit of fudge factor for matching. I didn't trim them to the proper size until the piping was installed.

I made my piping with a "moon colored" flannel, the cheap stuff so I washed it several times. I attached it to the lower pocket section. I am using half inch SAs here.

There was going to be a lot of bulk and 4 SAs of flannel so grading was inportant. I opened up the piping and cut the inner SA waaaayyyy back. Now it was time to attach the pocket band. I made sure my wolves matched up and stitched on the same seam line. There is a tute on the right sidebar all about how I do my piping if you are interested.
The band SA was graded back as well. Then I pinked what remained.
Success so far!

Now it was time to trim the pocket to the correct size and once again being careful to match to the bodice. I pressed the band on the fold line and trimmed the edge with the pinkers in an effort to keep the bulk down. I folded back the band, pinned it, and topstitched two rows above the piping.
Then I folded back the SAs, mitering and trimming the bottom corners. Too much bulk to do that at the top!

Now here comes the most important information I can give you today. DO NOT TOPSTITCH OVER YOUR PIPING. You will topstitch the bottom pocket first and as a separate process topstitch the band after. At no time will you cross the piping. Also, if you haven't already, take the cording out of the SAs, again, gotta get that bulk down!

I like to stitch a triangle at the tops of my pockets on just about everything. Then I usually follow with a zigzag at the very top but that would have been too bulky so I didn't. I used 1/4 inch masking tape to line up my triangles and stitched starting and ending at the piping.

All of this fiddliness took about an hour but I think it was time well spent. 

 It would have driven me to madness if it didn't and I would be howling at the moon along with these wolves!.....Bunny



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

It's official. Threads has announced the winner of the Fall Jacket Challenge for Sew Stylish magazine. I made it to the finish line and came up a winner. I really really want to thank each and every one of you who voted for me. I also want to say I understand if you voted for one of the other entrants as that was some damn stiff competition! Not sure who I would have voted for if I weren't an entrant. All of the jackets were unique and beautifully made. They really make the case for the art of sewing and how it allows your creative expression to be shown to the world. So satisfying!

Contests like this show the possibilities. We can't all be Van Gogh but we can all paint if we so desire and love doing so. That's what it's really about, knowing the capabilities and working through the challenges to come out with our own artistic expression. You all amaze me every day with your works of art and with your challenges met. Thank you again for your support and encouragement and continue with striving to sew better with each garment. You are the next winner!....Bunny