Sunday, February 28, 2016

Vogue 9162




"One, two, three pockets, you're out"; "The litle big shirt that wouldn't"; "My first wadder in five years"; yada, yada, yada. These are all titles that came to mind while making this shirt. It took freakin' forever. Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with this pattern. The issues were all with me!

What hubby just called my "bird watching shot", but it shows the top really well:


I have a cotton tank underneath and you will see the fabrics sticks in some of the pics. Lesson learned, wear a silk cami.

So what was the problem here, apart from sewing demons taking up residence in my space? Well, you know me. I can' t leave things alone. I thought the shirt was a bit blah, and if I just jazzed up the big pocket a bit it would be even better. Sew I made a pocket using the pattern provided but added tiny corded piping to the top and bottom of the band. Looked decent enough but once I attached it, the top of the pocket just looked too curved at the corners and I wasn't happy. I slept on it. Did my usual middle of the night eureka thing and came up with a different way of doing the pocket that would surely look much better. It wasn't. But I didn't realize that till it was all installed. And putting it in? I used double sided basting tape which I do all the time but for some reason, I could not get a decent tension. It was definitely the tape as I did experiments and all the layers sewed perfectly without it but this was rather soft, fragile fabric and I didn't want to rip it out for the third time  to make another pocket. . At this point I had had it with this pocket. I was going to cut a new bodice and pocket. Let's see how much fabric is left?  Hmmmm,,,not enough. And that bodice really needs that pocket, or some sort of pocket. I didn't have enough to cut a new bodice, but there was some fabric. I knew I had tons of white linen in the stash and came up with a bit heavier piece of linen. I cut the new bodice from the original fabric with a more solid linen pocket being made out of a strip of the heavier linen. This strip was pieced between two pieces of the original fabric. It looked good. I wrangled a pocket out of the new design and that was put to bed! Whew!

So here you can see how I ran a strip of the heavier linen between two separate pieces of the original fabric and turned it into a pocket. The strip goes from CF t the side seam. Stitching provides the pocket effect.

The pattern called for flat felled seams throughout. I did those on the shoulder seams but that was it. I felt a French seam really would be better with this floaty fabric so for the rest of the shirt  that's what I did. That worked well and if I did this again I would use the FSs throughout.

But the demons haven't left yet. The hems are made on the bodice pieces at the very beginning, before anything gets put together. Well , the demons forced me to put the back bodice on to the front with flat felled seams and ass backwards. I was not about to rip out flat felled seams from this thin fabric. So the back bodice hem got totally ripped out and redone, wrong side in this time. I was so close to the wadder corner at this point but Ms. Persistence powered through.

Attaching the collar was sticky but in the end was OK. Could have been better but I was moving on and not ripping out very narrow seams here. I do like how the closure is designed on this. I swear I read the pattern instructions at least ten times and did have as many attempts at folding and pressing to get it right. All my fault. I really just needed to slow down, keep calm and follow the directions.  When I was done I saw how the pictures and directions made sense. I just wasn't paying attention. Sometimes when we are in finish it mode that's not easy to do. That was another  near wadder moment. But, I love the closure. It is a hidden placket with flat, clear buttons and a tiny loop of fabric and an exposed button at the top, simple and nice. This pic has me lifting up the fold that covers the button placket.


Let me pass on a bit more information:

Fabric:

I wash all fabric the minute it comes into my home and then put it away with like kinds. This was in my linen pile and felt like a handkerchief linen. At this point I really think it is a linen/rayon blend, which is actually better for this garment. That rayon adds to the drape which is part of the charm of a big shirt. You don't want to make a big shirt in something with body. I really like the drapiness of this. I haven't a clue where the fabric came from, The buttons are clear and flat so that they won't show bumps in the outer placket fold. This pattern calls for sew in interfacing, as many Vogue patterns oddly do. I used a fusible tricot in the collar and button band area and it was fine.

Pattern:

This is Vogue 9162, a Kathryn Brenne pattern. I really like it. I think it looks exactly like the picture on the front despite my changes. This is not a beginner pattern. Many of the steps really took thought. They were correct and clear, pictures and all, but you just had to pay attention. Don't assume this is easy. It's not. The pattern has a jacket that is tempting. I found I really like the way the dropped shoulders draped and the look of the sleeves. They were very comfortable.


Fit:

I did alter the fit a lot, mostly to accommodate my petite frame.

* I took height out of the mandarin collar. I am glad I did. I think it is a perfect height after being reduced by half an inch. This is a tall collar otherwise. I have a long neck, too!
* I shortened the sleeves a couple of inches. I really like them. They don't look big like the pattern model's. I'd say they were 7/8ths sleeves, which I like. I can't stand long sleeves. I've made a lot of dropped shoulders over time and if you look at the pics these fall really nicely without all sorts of wrinkles. A certain amount is the nature of such a sleeve but I think these are drafted particularly well.
* I did not take any length out of the pattern. Next time I think I will shorten the bodice by about an inch and a half. And there may be a next time. I can see this in a light chambray.
* I also decreased the size of the original pocket. That was a really good idea and I liked how that worked out with this pattern sizewise. The final pocket choice made that a mute point, however. The important thing to know is that if you are petite, you really need to dial down the details, not just the sizing. The original pocket was reduced by a quarter inch all the way around.
* Before starting I flat pattern measured  the bodice. It was HUUUUUUGE. I took out 8 inches and you can clearly see this is still one big shirt on me. I simply folded out the excess vertically within the shoulder seam and down to the hem.  Looking at this pic, I can't imagine my collar being a half inch higher!


Construction:
 If you are going to use a lightweight fabric like I did, ditch the flat felled seams and simply go with French seams throughout. The most important thing I can say is go slow with this design and read the directions and follow them. Where it says to baste, BASTE, seriously. You'll be glad you did. Pay attention to the side slits. If I were to do it again I would cut the pattern much wider in that area so that the hem of the side slit would be the same as the garment hem. The pattern has one side of the slit end up with a wide hem and the other with a narrow hem. I didn't like that. Cut wide and make them match the bottom hem.

Conclusion:

I really like this top. Every year I try to make at least on neat white shirt. I love white shirts and never have enough. I literally wear them out. A white shirt and jeans is one of my favorite looks, any time of year. This pattern removes you from heavy tailoring and provides a very comfortable, stylish option. I think as long as you pay close attention to the pattern, take your time, and use a drapey fabric, you will be very happy making Vogue 9162.



Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wednesday Words


Back to that Coats and Clark A-Z sewing book - the opening paragraphs say it all, IMO. Here is a re type for you to read more clearly. Remember this book was written in 1967 and the words are not mine but the substance is clear.  My own words are in parentheses.

" Dear Home-Sewer, Dear Reader,

We know a man - no sissy - ( I haven't heard that word in years and don't like it) who made a dress for his wife. He had never tangled with needle and thread before except, in his bachelor days, to sew on a button. But, sitting just a few desks from here, he got curious as to what all this sewing fuss was about. So, asking for no help, he puzzled through a pattern primer (the instruction sheets) and a sewing machine manual. We haven't seen the dress - we can't tell you about fit and finish - but we have his word for it that his wife wore it at a party. So how did he do it?

Why, as were were saying, he read the directions:
......in the pattern layout
.....in the pattern primer (instruction sheets)
.....in the sewing machine manual
Step by step, he followed them.
He took no shortcuts. 
H didn't say: "I can't be bothered with those notches," or "....that marking" or ".....that pressing."
He followed through. 
Now, anybody can do that.
Anybody can read and follow directions. 
Anybody can work step by step.
Anybody can shun shortcuts; Professionals don't take them - why should you?
Anybody can follow through. But, alas not everybody does. We can only hope, dear reader, that you will. ......................................." 


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And the most important words of the day: THANK YOU. Thank you for the compassionate responses and condolences. They are truly valued and warm my heart. The sewing community is so special and you make it so. So appreciated.............Bunny

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Wednesday Words are quotes gleaned from the internet, blogs, books, newspapers and more. They are never my own words. They are not my opinions but merely comments written that made me go "hmmmmm,,,,,,,". Some may be provocative, some may not. Some may be my opinion, some may not. My goal is to start a conversation among followers of this blog and hopefully learn as we share our thoughts. I know you will do so respectfully and intelligently and  I thank you for that...Bunny










Saturday, February 6, 2016

Unit Construction




This week is our semi annual book sale at the library. The public donates books all year for the sale. The day of the sale is one of excitement and long lines. Books go for a quarter and fifty cents and the tables are quickly emptied. The books are read, and we believe often redonated, and the cycle repeats itself.

One of the perks of working in our library is getting first grab at the donations, before the sale. We stroll the tables in our down time. There are several thousand books to peruse. I always manage to find a gem or two, read them and usually donate back to  the sale. This sale I found this  great sewing book written by Coats and Clark of thread fame, back in 1967. The writing is clear and straightforward. The technical drawings are as good as they get and what make the book valuable. There are photos to enhance the technical drawings. both of which are just as relevant in 2016 as they were in ' 67.  There is nothing "fashion" related in the book so it easily applies to today's sewing with its excellent illustrations and no dated garments glaring back at you. The only drawback to this book is it's lack of organization. There is none.  It is an alphabetical compendium of techniques covering everything from altering RTW to bound buttonholes, all in no particular order. One of the things that immediately gets mentioned is Unit Construction. A recent comment in a post questioned the order of construction to which I responded that I like to use Unit Construction. I've found the explanation in this book spot on.


From the book:

"This is, however, the simplest and most streamlined way of  assembling a garment."

"The principle of unit construction is to do as much work as possible on one garment unit (garment part) before attaching it to another unit - in fact, to complete it when possible  and to complete all the small units (sleeves, collar, belt, patch pockets) first, so that work on the large ones (bodice, jacket, or other) can proceed without interruption. "

"Do all you can to one garment part(unit) before attaching it to another."

I find I like to sew this way. I get to make the fiddly parts first. This more detailed sewing is what I enjoy the most. I also find this does streamline the process and it seems the garment is completed more quickly.

This sort of construction does not work for garments that are not cut traditionally, such as the Marcy Tilton or Issey Miyake designs. But, for the basic bodice, sleeve, skirt type of garment, it works really well.

I hope this sheds a bit of light on the process. I recommend this book if you come across it. It would be an awesome beginner reference as it is so clear , both visually and verbally.
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I've been missing for a bit, as well as last week's Wednesday Words. My hubby's mom passed away and we have spent the past week travelling to the Cape and attending her funeral and celebration of life. She taught me so much about running a home and was a positively amazing homemaker. Are there any real "home makers" today? The women who did not work outside of the home yet worked very hard at managing their budgets, caring for their children and make the home a place of pride, cleanliness and love?  My MIL could make Martha Stewart look  like a kindergartener. She ran her home like a well tuned machine, socks perfectly folded in every drawer at all times, sheets perfectly ironed. window treatments changed religiously every spring and fall, shelves and shelves of beautiful canned goods in her basement. She taught me how to iron a shirt perfectly and how to fold a fitted sheet so it made a mathematically correct rectangle that would fit a drawer to its edges. I have always been in awe of her skills. I will miss her much  as will my grieving husband. 

We came home and yesterday hubby went for a bone marrow biopsy. Yes, he has been having some health issues for the last year. We finally have the proper diagnosis, quality doctors and treatment. To say my sewing has been on the sidelines a bit is an understatement. I do hope to get in a bit this weekend. So if posts are a bit less regular please understand. I know you will. Here is a pic of my MIL, my hubby and myself at my daughter's graduation from dental school a few years back. I just had to share...........Bunny