Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Oopsie Shirt

I thought  McCalls 6076 would get the designation of "The Eyelet Shirt" but after today I will call it the "Oopsie Shirt. "

Halfway through my construction, after being basted for fit, undone and redone for actual construction, topstitching, grading, etc. I realized there is a pattern to the eyelet. Of course there is a pattern to the eyelet! Duh!!! Why did this never occur to me initially?  I just went full speed ahead into the project and never noticed anything as trivial (hah!) as a pattern repeat. Since you know I don't do wadders, I just kept on going and chalked it up to not enough caffeine.

Truthfully, I can wear this out to work and shopping and no one I know will ever know the difference. But will I wear it to my Claire Shaeffer couture sewing retreat? Probably not, that is unless I can bring an accessory. That would be my scarlet red face and the logo "Embarrassed". ;)  I just really wish I had picked up on the pattern repeat and can't stop swatting myself over it. Lesson learned!

One of the issues with this fabric was the obvious seam allowances as you can see above. There were so many options including lining, serging, and others. I decided not to line the blouse as it really is quite solid when on. but those big SAs had to go.


I ended up topstitching them an eighth of an inch from the well of the seam on both sides. Then I trimmed the SA as far back as possible. I think it looks quite good and is quite sturdy as well. 

At this point the collar and front facings are in and all that's left are sleeves and buttons. Buttonholes? Those are a guaranteed nightmare with the lumpy stitching on this fabric. I may do a faux buttonhole and button and a snap closure underneath. There are definitely some trial samples to be done!
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I learned the neatest trick. Thank you, Pinterest. Yesterday I did a huge purge of my closet and much is going to charity tomorrow. One of the issues I have/had is all my ITY tops. They were folded on the top of the closet shelf but are so slippery that it soon became a hot mess of knit disorder. I definitely didn't want to hang them and get bubbles in my shoulders from that. Then on Pinterest I saw this idea and it is working out really well. So simple! It is a great way to store knits. Here's the link. 


Happy Sewing!...Bunny




Monday, April 21, 2014

Another White Shirt, Simplicity 6076


A new project begins! I believe a girl can never have too many white shirts and I certainly know I can never have enough. Digging in the stash the other day for something totally unrelated led me to this eyelet. I can't remember where it came from, perhaps my former neighbor, Ima. I'm not sure. But, I think it will make a lovely addition to my white shirt collection.


I am going really simple with the pattern here, Simplicity 6076. This is a blouse I have made before and been happy with. I love the two piece 3/4 sleeves and the simple collar, no band! It is shoulder princess seam style.  I think this could even look great with the Donna Karan jumper. And I am up to a bit of natural fiber after all those knits. Speaking of, I did finish another knit top and will have pics of that soon. It was a whip out.

I have to think out this blouse a bit. It is cut out and I see no issues there but for the construction, well, it's eyelet. I don't think I want to line it but maybe just the bodice? That will help hide the seam allowances. It is too lumpy bumpy, IMO, to get a nice french seam and I am not sure how well even the serger would work. You see  I am talking myself into  lining this, don't you?


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Ever have one of those days wear the hurrier you go the behinder you get? It seems like the last couple of weeks have been that way with much taking my attention, one varied thing after another, just lots of unconnected dibs and dabs. I am looking forward to a whole day of sewing soon but that may be a while. A whole day of gardening would go over really well too. I am needing to finalize all I need to do, bring and deal with for my trip to Palm Springs. You've heard it before but I am SO looking forward to this class with Claire Shaeffer. From all I have read it looks to be a fabulous experience. I have one more thing on my notions list to get and that will be taken care of. I will have my tablet and camera with me so I can post, if time allows. I am so looking forward to meeting others who are as passionate about sewing as I am and as you are too, dear readers.  Will surely keep you posted. 

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Our children were away on vacations this Easter so hubby and I spent the weekend close to home but we had a wonderful time. On Easter Sunday, a glorious crystal blue day, we went for a hike at one of our favorite haunts, Meacham Lake. The lake is still frozen but the snow and frost have left enough to get a decent enough hike in. It was utterly quiet at the lake and no one was around except us and one large grunting animal. We never saw it so don't know what it was but it did put us on high alert. All in all in was a lovely glorious day shared with the man of my dreams. I hope your holiday has been wonderful and family have been close by and the spirit of renewal has blessed your day....Bunny

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Vogue 1175, the Donna Karan dress/jumper


We may have hit 70 ยบ today so I figured let's do some outside pics and my handsome photographer gladly accommodated. Of course he wanted pictures close to the river, which is way over its banks right now, but getting there required sinking in the mud a near foot with every step. So outside the kitchen door it was!


 I did have fun with the picture taking today and actually used Caroline's technique of dancing to my favorite music for the interior shots.

I love this jumper. It's a jumper for now and when all was said and done the back did not come below my bra band after all but the front still was pretty low. I can see wearing it with a tank underneath on a hot summer day. I think it is pretty versatile and hubby really liked it as well.

Pattern:

This is Vogue 1175, an out of print pattern but one that can be found on Etsy and Ebay with a bit of patience. All the patterns for sale that I found ran from 20 - 25 dollars but I managed to find this one, uncut, still in factory folds, in the right size, for 5.00! Woo hoo!

The pattern description says, "Close-fitting, above mid-knee length, pullover, lined dress has contrast bodice back, seam detail, pleated front and back, side front in-seam pockets and puffed hem." Whew... that exhausted me, but there is a lot going on with this dress. The good news is there is no zipper, no buttons, lots of angles and some very interesting seaming. It is unique. It really is not hard to put together as long as you follow the instructions closely and mark it well. You can make this dress with 2 1/2 yards of fabric. You have to be careful here. Karan has designed this with a back bodice in a contrasting fabric. If you are going to do it all in one fabric, no contrast, you will need   2  1/2 yards, not the 2 yards specified for dress.

This dress is not hard to make. It is just different. And that is what makes it special, IMO! I chose not to do the "puff hem" and liked it long as well so "above mid-knee" didn't happen either. I also did not do the in seam pockets. Why? Maybe someone needs pockets that badly but in this dress, it's not me so I left them out.


I stinkin' LOVE the back of this dress!

Fabric:

While this looks like denim, it is actually a cross dyed linen and I love it. This dress MUST be made in a lightweight fabric and this fabric is just a bit heavier than handkerchief linen, not quite a pantweight. There are seam angles where many layers meet, particularly at center front and back. I did some serious grading , not mentioned in the pattern, as well as understitching to get things to lie flat. This would be wonderful in a lawn or voile, so floaty and pretty. There is no interfacing but I may be tempted to interface the strap area on the lining if I make this one again.

That wrinkle isn't really there. I am just dancing! I think it works better for Caroline than me!

The lining is the anti-static poly from Joanns. I find it relatively breathable and very available to someone needing lining fast. This is lined very differently with the lining for the back skirt being hand stitched to the back bodice.

Construction:

This is definitely not a pattern you can make without reading. There is nothing really difficult about it but you do have to pay attention. Marking is extremely important and I have discussed that in a previous post here. Big squares, little squares, triangles, big and little circles, pleats, it's got them all so pay attention to the marking if you make this.

My first challenge with this pattern was finding out how it would fit. I ended up doing a pivot and slide to get some extra width for a C cup bust. I show that here. The muslin looked good after that. But every fabric is different and this linen really wanted to stretch a lot on all those bias edges. What was a good fitting bodice ended up gaping at the armhole edge once made in the linen and that was despite the edges being stayed with selvedge. The neckline was perfect. It was the armscye that had a tiny bit of a gape. So I added a small dart in the side seam which barely even shows when worn.

 I really think this is because the bodice is pretty flat with the only bust adjustment being the one pleat at center front.  I raised the height of the neckline about an inch and that allowed me to add a second pleat at center bust for  boob accommodation. From the waist down everything fit just fine so no alterations there. I like the length of this without the puff hem. But I am five feet tall so if you are taller  and want the long hem you will definitely have to add yardage.

The pattern does not mention grading or understitching. I recommend both. If I made this in a casual fabric again, I would also definitely topstitch. I think it would emphasise  the unique seaming as well as keep all those edges down. There is serious bulk at the angles and I did not use a mid weight fabric. I also recommend serging the seams as you go along if you are going to leave your lining hanging free at the hem like I did.

Conclusion:

I recommend this pattern to any novice sewist who is interested in a fun but doable challenge and a unique garment. It may not be the best choice for a beginner.  This dress can be very dressy or casual, like my version. It is cut very low in front so if you don't want unwanted admiration  of your mammaries, cut  it higher or wear a cami underneath. Remember to lengthen the center front piece if you do add height to the neckline.  I think the hourglass shape of this is very flattering. I have a narrow torso and didn't have to make any adjustments there but I can see where others might have to. That could be a bit of a challenge. I highly recommend muslin or two to get the fit down. I would definitely make this again and may but not real soon!
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I am making some design changes in the blog and will be adding some pages as well as I try to clean up the layout. My goal is to make things readable, easy to find, and kind to the eyes. It's also just time for a bit of spring cleaning! Hope you like it when it's all done. 

Our raging spring river today:


......Bunny


Saturday, April 5, 2014

V1175, DK jumper #3

The shell is complete and all that is left is the lining which I hope to finish tomorrow. I will try to answer the issue of how I fit the bodice here. But first some things to be aware of. This pattern is amazing. Most bias edges meet straight grain edges. While that will keep the bias under control once it is sewn together, it doesn't help before that.

I have barely touched this pattern piece and look how this bias angle has grown. It's a good habit to place the pattern on your pieces before stitching them together but it is critical with this design. Another suggestion is to use a natural fiber to make this dress. I can't imagine dealing with all this bias and a synthetic fabric at the same time. This angle above is the hem edge so I just cut it to match the pattern, again! But other pieces I steamed back into the proper length after checking them and before stitching. That won't work well  with synthetics. The armscyes and neckline edges were stayed with thin selvedge from the lining. I didn't do that for the other pieces because they  met up against straight grain pieces which will hold them in shape once sewn.
All of those pleats in the front were marked by simply folding back the pattern and using the tailor's chalk that disappears with ironing. It worked great

I've have a request to show how I adjusted  the bodice. First, the front:


You can see how I pivoted out from the shoulder seam a half inch at the underarm. Then I pivoted back to nothing at the bottom. I also added height to the front neckline, starting with nothing at the shoulder seam and raising the center front a half inch. What this did was give me the ability to add another pleat with that extra half inch at CF, a way to add more shape for a C cup. Now for the back:


You can see once again how I pivoted out from the shoulder to the underarm and then back in at the bottom. Because of linen's ability to be steamed and stretched, as well as the bias, there was no problem fitting in the additional length on this seam. Every thing pressed out with the seams looking like they were the exact same size to begin with.

I got the shell finished tonight and have not tried it on yet. It's just too late. I have my fingers crossed  that it fits and we will find out in the morning when I do a try on.  In the meantime, I am hoping for a good night's sleep and a fresh start with the lining bright and early in the morning! More to come.......Bunny

ETA: I tried it on this  morning and it seems to fit much better and I am pleased. I want to add that the same adjustments need to happen to the lining. I did this by simply laying the adjusted bodice pieces on top and matching up the notches. For the center front this meant moving the fold placement over a bit to accommodate the additional width on the bodice front. The lining fits with very little extra ease in the skirt so I morphed that out from a 12 at the hem cutting back to the original cutting line at the underarm. This gave me the extra I needed in the hips for the lining. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing

Another sewing book review! I had wanted to read "Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing"  by Gretchen Hirsch for quite some time and finally got it at the library.


The book is divided into two sections. Part One is on skill building and Part Two is on sewing the wardrobe. Gretchen Hirsch has a very popular blog with the emphasis on sewing vintage styled garments. This same vintage vibe is carried throughout this book. As I made my way through the first six chapters on skills I really liked what I read.  The artwork by Sun Young Park is fabulous and makes the reading experience quite enjoyable. I hope we see more of Park's work in sewing literature in the future.

The writing style here is definitely one of having chit chat with the girls but it still gets across the techniques really well. Gertie doesn't shy away from challenging her readers with hand picked zippers, bound buttonholes, circular hems and more. I love that. The look and writing style are there to appeal to the next generation of sewists. It is  filled with techniques that definitely aren't newbie but also good basic information is there. There are wonderful photos and directions for doing all the basic handstitches, something many patterns and books assume you know. Chapter Four is devoted to "Stabilizing and Tailoring"  with sections that vary from boning a bodice to pad-stitching a lapel. Chapter Six is all about Fitting. Here Hirsch describes her own fitting process. I like that people see that she, like almost all of us, has to make pattern adjustments. That fitting is a part of sewing is something that has to be established from the beginning in the learning curve of new sewists and I like how Gertie has written about that in Chapter Six. I really liked all that I saw in Part One of this book. It has much more than what little I have shared here and covers a very broad range of techniques and knowledge.

In Part Two, "Wardrobe",  we are introduced to the patterns that are included with the book. There is a Pencil Skirt, "Portrait Blouse", the "Sultry Sheath", the "Wiggle Dress" and more dresses, and additional skirts, blouses, a suit jacket and coat dress, PLENTY! One thing I found confusing here was the instructions were all numbered, much as you'd see in any pattern, but the illustrations were all lettered. For example, I am looking at Step 11. in the instructions for the pencil skirt and at the end of the sentence is the letter "J" in parenthesis. Why not just label the illustration 11. like the step that it is. The letters add a bit of confusion, IMO.. Some vintage techniques are used in the patterns, for example, boning a waist.

Hirsch lost me in this section, lost me as a fan who so enjoyed Part One of  the book. Why? Many of the garments have issues with fit and technique. I felt like I was given all this information in the beginning of the book but when I saw the efforts resulting from all that information in the second part of the book I was very very disappointed. I really expected better. Many of these issues are the same ones visible in garments made and modeled on Hirsch's blog, bodices too long, armholes too high, darts past the apex or spot on, pointy horsehair hems, etc. It always bothers me, no matter who is doing it, when someone is teaching something and can't pull off what they are trying to teach others.

In conclusion, I wouldn't recommend this book. I know  many like it and Hirsch has scores of devout followers, many who look up to her for the right way of sewing. She is in a position to set a standard for new sewists but for some reason was not able to pull it off with her own garments and patterns that came with the book. I have to say that in my  research I have seen many make her patterns and fit them properly with excellent skills and they look really great. She just didn't do a very good job. This book would have been much better once Gertie's skills matured to a higher skill level. That comes with time and experience and this book was before it's time.....Bunny