Friday, December 30, 2016

Vogue 1526, Paco's shirt!

I am so thrilled to make this Paco Peralta design, Vogue 1526. I, and many other long time bloggers have been following Paco's blog, career, Pinterest, etc for quite some time. I am thrilled he is now one of Vogue's designers and I really look forward to his future work. Paco's designs are WEARABLE. They are not complicated, yet have couture touches that are manageable, like the buttonhole slit in the top of this shirt. They are very polished.

My fabric is purchased and I can't wait to get going. Some of you may have seen Tany of Couture and Tricot's version, a wondeful white shirt much like above. But it's not a white shirt time of year up here in the North Country and I decided to take a bit different tack with my efforts.


I live in the cold and flannel shirts are standard issue, lined flannel shirts, far more practical, are even more common. My plan is to make a lined flannel shirt with Paco's design. I have probably most sewing books written in the past thirty years and decided I needed to study up and refresh on working with plaids. I went through my books and found the best information in the Vogue Sewing Book and Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Guide. Vogue had a brief couple of paragraphs but Claire's book had pages of info. I studied balanced plaids, unbalanced plaids, even plaids and uneven plaids. Claire even had info on uneven balanced plaids and even unbalanced plaids, etc. Yikes!  I doubt you could find more plaid info anywhere else. I studied Claire's book and feel ready to go. I know from Claire that much will not match, something we also learned in the classes I've taken from her. The important parts are the center front and back and the sleeves. The rest you are downright lucky if it looks good, but that is OK per Claire. 



The other thing I have decided to do is to flat line the shirt, all but collar and cuffs. This will provide warmth and stability to the shirt. After looking at many linings I decided on another blouse fabric, a very thin poly with shiny motifs. Well, I didn't like those and will be using it on the wrong side as you see in the pic above. It has much more of a silk look this way as well. All vertical seams will be flat lined. You can find information on this above in the Tutorial pages. Any questions, just ask. Non vertical seams will have the felled seams as per the pattern. The hem will be a challenge but I think I have it worked out. Does anyone else wake up in the middle of the night and deal with how to incorporate changes from the pattern being used? and worrying if they will work? I do this a lot and by the time I start cutting I have it all worked out. I always have fingers crossed. So if you like the exact way Paco designed this shirt, check out Tany's blog.His design is amazing and her results beautiful. I will be doing this more casual look and I hope he approves. 

Did you notice how I chose a more femine color scheme? I am happy with that. I am surrounded with classic plaid designs up here and really like this different one. It is an even plaid and that will help a lot. I look forward to sharing this process with you. 
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Thank you, everyone, for the lovely comments on my apron dress. It is always appreciated as are all your comments. Happy New Year..................Bunny



Monday, December 26, 2016

Vogue 9108, the Marcy Tilton Apron Dress




I thought I would be finished this sooner. It's not a hard project and there is little fit involved. But my husband had some sudden health issues to deal with. We are back on track now and all is good. I finished the dress that is really a jumper before Christmas and can't wait to share with you all. I'm going to try a little different format for this review.

My concerns about this pattern:



There were many. My first concern was the actual design.  I've made Marcy Tilton designs before and had a few muslin wadders  as well. Would this unique design be another? Luckily, Pattern Review had some great reviews with photos that really helped with my decision to make this.

Another concern was the dress's volume, massive at the hemline. Most makers reduced this. But how much should I take out? Star's Threads took a whopping 54 inches from the bottom hemline. Yes, it's that full! Star's  skirt is positively A line and lovely on her. But I wanted a bit more volume in mine, but just not all that Tilton intended. My version had 24 inches of volume removed from the hemline and I am happy with it. I'll talk more about this in Fit.


I also had concerns about the weight of the garment, even with all that volume removed. I used the two way stretch knits as recommended but dang, these were heavy fabrics and all that volume in the skirt hung from a really rather flimsy  little bodice. I think I managed to overcome that issue fairly well and will get into that in a bit.

And what about those funky "epaulet" style straps that most rejected?  And that really disproportionate hemline?

Then there was the challenge of fabric choice. Four fabrics were recommended for View C, the non-strappy version that I chose. Would they all go together and would I look like a circus clown when it was said and done? I used my personal tried and true method for working with various fabrics in a garment. I will do an upcoming blogpost on that. Fingers were crossed and spirits invoked hoping that this time the formula would work as it has in the past. I think it did. One of my favorite things about sewing is putting various prints together in a garment. No boring solid color blocking for this woman! If it looks clown like, please let me know, but I have hopes you will find the choices appropriate.

While there was much to be pondered before starting to actually sew the dress. I can honestly say the actual construction was quite easy. The  most challenging part was the upper front bodice piece and that was not that bad at all, just the most challenging,relatively speaking.


The pattern:

This is Vogue 9108, a Marcy Tilton design. It's described as a "pullover dress, close fitting through the bust."  That sounds right but it really wasn't that close fitting and I don't think it really is on others I've seen. I was not sure what size to use. Did I want to futz with an FBA and do the small size, my usual MO? There was huge volume in the small size so other than needing the larger bust it didn't need any further alteration. I flat pattern measured the bodice area of the garment and found if I used the medium size it would accommodate my C cup and I could deal with all the volume however I wanted. I cut the Medium. It worked out perfectly.

Changes I made to the pattern:
* I DID NOT like the look of the hem in the  back of the dress being substantially shorter than the sides it matched up to. It makes the garment "feature" the back of your knees.  Who's got good back knees? Other than Heidi Klum, I don't think this would flatter anyone in any way. I extended the hem in back a good 4 inches. Since I still liked the detail of the uneven hems where they meet I kept it one half inch shorter than the side pieces.


 
     Below you can see how this half inch difference at the side seams makes a huge difference with its drape and the curved cut of the side pieces. But, it hides the back of my knees and that's good.


*  I did not pleat the lower front as described in the pattern, step #5. The slinky fabric was unexpectedly bulky and it wouldn't work. So I moved the pleats closer to the center and eased in the difference across the front. It worked fine.


* I did not use the suggested facings, choosing a simple binding instead for the neck and armholes. I chose to bind the armholes with black ponte. I didn't want anything disturbing the simple black on the sides or busying up the design any further.  The neckline was bound with the dots.  You can see how the straps, front and back, are sewn into the epaulet. They are wider than the epaulet and I just did a little tuck to make them fit.

* I did not use the specified order of construction. I wanted to check the fit and strap length before binding anything. Many who've made this did without the "epaulets" connecting the front and back straps. When I tried the straps without the epaulets it pulled up the bodice/waist seam to an odd area of the bust. Think "recent Rue debacle" and you'll know what I mean. So for myself, the epaulets put the strap length right where I thought it most flattering,  a little above my natural waist. It was not the "close fitting" bodice that the pattern described but it also wasn't made in the size I usually use. I like the fit and that's all that really  matters.

I found the directions very clear. At the very beginning of the dress directions there is a "note" suggesting interfacing for knit fabrics in the pocket, pocket edges at side front and "upper edges on front" areas with tricot interfacing. Given that knits are the recommended fabrics why is there no interfacing shown in the yardage requirements on the pattern envelope?  There are no yardage requirements inside on the directions either, just that "note" suggesting you use some. Grrrr.... luckily I had some fusible tricot on hand. All in all, the pattern was clear. I love that there are no buttons, plackets, cuffs, zippers, etc., just simple sewing.

Fabrics:

So many fabrics! This was fun to play with and figure out. I decided on four fabrics, sort of. The back bodice and lower front are a really nice jacquard type slinky knit made from acetate and a bit of spandex., the usual slinky ingredients.  I am in love with the ruby red color! It came from a thrift find, a Cold Water Creek large size tank dress that I picked up for a dollar. Gorgeous fabric!

 Next,  I took a hint from many body con dresses I've seen and used black ponte for the side panels, the better to give a slimming, taller silhouette. It's a rayon ponte, matte finish and with a very nice drape . The back panel, front hem bands and some binding were in a pebbly polka dot knit, also rayon and quite textured.

 For the fourth fabric I took the black mesh point d'esprit knit and laid it over the polka dot rayon for the front hem band and for the front upper bodice.

 These were the survivors of many combinations I tried. I really think picking fabrics for this dress s the most challenging aspect but a lot of fun.

The front and back upper bodices were fused to a woven cotton interfacing. This was not specified at all but is really needed to have the strength to carry the weight of the skirt, IMO. The upper areas of the ponte side pieces were fused with more black fusible tricot. I tried the woven but it showed through. Backing these upper areas was important to the their ability to carry all that weight from the skirt and I would highly recommend doing this. It will also help stay your binding areas and prevent sagging. I ran the interfacing from under the arm across to the bodice front. I also interfaced the "epaulets"  as I didn't want the weight to pull on them making wrinkles. I've had that happen before.

There is no lining in this garment and one really isn't necessary.

Construction:

This is all straight sewing and really quite simple. Here are a few things I did differently than the pattern, Some I've already mentioned and won't repeat.

*I stayed every vertical seam with seam tape or selvedge. I didn't want these heavy knits drooping off the seamlines. I think this is really important. It didn't make for the most lovely interior but it is serving its function.You can also see in this pic how I used the tricot on the upper side pieces and the woven interfacing on the slinky bodice.A lot of thought was put into  this because of the weight the small bodice needed to carry.  Seams were stitched twice and trimmed.

* The hems were interfaced with tricot, edge stitched and then stitched again 3/4 of an inch away. I really like hemming knits this way as it gives a sharp edge and a flat hem that drapes nicely.

* Armholes were bound with matching black ponte so as not to add another element to the design. I wanted to keep those sides all black. No facings, please! The pattern specifies a facing for the armscyes.

*  Back panel, Piece 19, the dots, reduced by 2 inches in width.
    Side panels, the ponte black, were reduced by 5 inches in width on each side = 10 inches.
    Side fronts, black ponte,  were reduced 6 inches each side = 12 inches.
    Total reduction taken from hem = 24 inches.
    The reduction was made with a ruler going from the hemline to the waistline and not altering from     the waist up at all.
    The skirt length was reduced by one inch all around.

*  I highly recommend interfacing the top edge of the pockets. I used a 1 1/2 inch strip of fusible tricot on the slinky.



In conclusion:

This jumper is a darling design that really needs to have volume reduced in the skirt to look it's best, IMO. It also  needs that hem length in the back skirt lengthened. Making the back of a women's knees a focal point just is not a good idea on any level. This dress has no zipper, buttons, snaps, closures, welts or much of anything else for design detail. I LOVE that. What the pattern does offer is a great opportunity for creatively using various fabrics in one garment. I love mixing fabrics and have plenty of experience doing so but I found this garment particularly challenging. Hopefully staying with a tried and true color scheme helped.

I really enjoyed making this and it will be my go to dress for casual Christmas gatherings. I enjoyed the challenge and yet the simplicity. I am even tempted to make it again in maybe a long, sleeveless version for summer. I highly recommend this pattern with the modifications suggested. As it comes out of the envelope,,,,, not so much.....Bunny
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I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. We had a great Christmas weekend with our daughters in NH, lots of family, great food, snow, sledding snow ball fights, more food, and just great memory making. Whatever your celebration, I pray you were surrounded by loved ones and blessed with warmth and joy..........Bunny

New profile photo: I've gone natural with the hair. Yay, liberation!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Last minute gifts!

It's a busy week for sewing bloggers, at least the ones like me that don't plan ahead too well. I stumbled on this tutorial through Pinterest for making "burrito" style pillowcases. I highly recommend it as it very clearly explains the process  and is well photographed. The "burrito" technique is also the name of a method often used on yokes on tailored shirts, same principle and one you can find in the tutorials on this blog. Just click on the tab above. I needed five pillowcases for my grandchildren. Here you can see them all rolled up like burritos and ready for their first line of stitching. All components are in that tube!


Each child's pillowcases relates to them somehow. One loves Harry Potter, another butterflies, etc. A word to the wise if you try this. Any design that is directional will give you a migraine as you try to figure out which way to lay it out so the writing is going the correct way. In the link I've given you there are comments as to how to do this but I found them confusing. I really thought I had it the right way but clearly I didn't. Truthfully, my Zack will be thrilled with his Harry Potter pillowcase and won't mind at all which way the letters are going, so I'm not going to stress about it.


There are three pieces of fabric to each pillowcase. It was a lot of fun coordinating everything. My new steam press was really invaluable on this project which is nothing but flat rectangles. Basically. the pieces are pinned together. The hemband is wrapped around. Then it all is turned right side out through the tube. Next comes making the pillowcase with French seams and then done. Everything is enclosed. No raw seams or threads anywhere!


I put these together "production" style with every process happening to all the pieces before I moved to the next task. I think that really helped me save time. They were all cut out, then pinned and the burrito stitched. Then the French Seams to all of them, easy peasy, done! All five took me an afternoon. These will make great stocking stuffers.

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The Marcy Tilton dress is done and I love it, I really do. I did a lot to that pattern to make it work  for me and my fabric and can't wait to tell you all about it. I wore it to our Christmas brunch at work and received many compliments. While I wanted to take pics then, it just wasn't the right, as in proper, moment to do that. I have the entire blogpost written and will hopefully have pics of me in it soon. I could put it on the dress form but I know that's not what you really want to see. Here's a little tease, the interesting hemline:

The MT post would have gotten up sooner but my husband had some unexpected health issues. He is doing much better now and things are back on track. It did require lots of Dr. appointments and visits to Syracuse for care, hours away. We are good now and all is full bore for Christmas, visiting our children and families. All will be fine and he has great doctors. In the meantime I definitely have my garment sewing mojo back and have lots of things on the burner. Can't wait to share it all with you. ....Bunny