Tuesday, April 25, 2017

News!


I'm going to be straight up here. I had this muslin half done about 4 weeks ago. It has been a long time. I haven't touched it since. Then the life changing phone call came, a really good one. Long story short....we will be moving, at least as soon as we sell the house and have the next one constructed.  We now have a definite future home and are beyond excited as are our children. In the meantime it is full bore on purging, painting and constant cleaning. The big yard sale will happen in two weeks. We hope to take as little with us as possible when we move. It will have us leaving very upstate New York on the Canadian border and moving to one of the loveliest Boston suburbs on the North Shore. This decision was as sudden as a phone call from our oldest daughter and husband asking us  to consider building a carriage house on their property and making it our permanent home. Two totally separate residences barely connected by a ghost space. Our home will be brand new. It will be almost the same square footage as we have now  minus the big storage we have here but will not need in the future. It will have a large loft that will be for my sewing. DSIL took his architectural studies and designed a really gorgeous small property that will be in line with the classic New England neighborhood we will be living in.  We are thrilled.

That muslin is getting so ignored. If things settle down here, I will get back to sewing and blogging but for now it is full bore on our future. I am not sure when that will be. I just know I look forward to doing both again, the sooner the better. Property up here is really  slow to move. It is a beautiful beautiful area of the country as you all know from the many pictures I've shown over the years but there is little industry and people are not rushing to move up here other than for retirement and second homes, lots of second homes.  It is quiet, laid back, and a gift from Mother Nature. Culture and the arts are close by as we have six  universitities within 35 miles and Montreal and Ottawa are an hour away.

My husband will be the first to tell you that when I focus on something, I FOCUS and nothing else gets in the way. That's where I am with this move. It is consuming me but I know it will be temporary.

I so look forward to warmer weather.

I so look forward to returning to the Cape Cod/New Hampshire/ greater Boston area, our old stomping grounds. I know there are many sewists there, none at all here.

I so look forward to being so close to our children and grandchildren and their wonderful husbands.

I look so forward to really good food and really good restaurants.

I so look forward to diversity and all that it contributes to a wonderful life.

I so look forward to meeting sewing friends.

I so look forward to not having boots in piles at the back door all winter.

I so look forward to designing an interior with my SIL and husband and starting all new.

I will miss the laid back life that is offered here.

I will miss the amazing friends we have made.

I will miss the best job ever. Maybe I'll really retire this time??/

I will miss our wildlife and the beauty we live in.

Right now I miss talking with you all. I miss sewing. I miss planning wardrobe excitement and learning and trying new sewing techniques. I miss sharing them with you, too. I continue to help out newbies through Facebook groups and an occasional post on PR. At least I hope I am helping!

I am not going to write this post like it is the last ever, but I am writing to let you share in what is happening. I value all of you so very much and so many have become such a great part of my life.  I look forward to staying in touch  with you all as I can and will in the future. I look forward to sewing in a new space, one that we will share and hopefully enjoy together. Love you all,,,,,,,,,,,Bunny

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Vogue 1515, Sandra Betzina Skirt, meh


I am not crazy about this skirt. I started out liking it but now that it's done it just varies too much from what I saw and expected.

I also think some of the issues were the pattern itself. Here's the down and dirty.

Pattern:

This is Vogue 1515, a Sandra Betzina Today's Fit pattern. Today's fit was just fine but there were other issues. I started out with thinking it was all my fault but now really think it's the pattern.  The description is "below waist skirts have wide yoke, piping, cargo pocket, hidden pocket on front yoke facing, and shaped hem." Choosing not to emphasize my already wide hips I did not do the cargo pocket. The interior facing pocket was just too much futz and I was just not in the mood for piping. I wanted a simple skirt with an interesting cut. The pattern photo is a busy print so really hard to see drape and volume. Check out this line drawing:


I really expected a lot more fabric in the bottom layer of the skirt. It looked like the classic circle cut to me and this shape was why I bought the pattern. Alas, you can see that there really is not that much shape and the bottom tier is really just more fabric added to make it more A line. I also thought where the bottom tier met the middle tier the fabric would sort of "stick out", Marcy Tilton style. It didn't. It really just had a rather ugly little puff at the intersection. It looked bad, IMO, so I stitched again to make a smoother transition.

Then there was the pattern layout. Look at this skirt well.


No, that's not two different fabrics. I SWEAR each piece was marked on the wrong side with masking tape. Each piece was laid out with a nap layout, nothing turned, that is nothing unless it was indicated.

But I think the issue can be possibly found above. The red serrated line on piece #9 indicates the straight of grain and that is how these pieces were laid out.  The green lines show which sides connect to which. You can see that this is really pretty much a sort of odd A-line. The purple arrow/line shows how other than the higher side seam this pretty much is a flat piece, therefore no volume like the tech drawing. Given all that, is my piece off grain enough to look like a different fabric? At the least it is contributing. Moving around the fabric at this point shows it matches but I think having it cut and turned this way makes it appear "off" As is true to all sewing dilemmas, this was discovered near the end of construction, when hems were interfaced, topstitched,etc. Boo hoo.

Fabric:

The fabric is a black rayon/poly/lycra ponte, mostly rayon but I'm not sure of the ratio at this point other than it is mostly rayon.It's nice looking up close and drapes nicely. It is not super heavy. It didn't call for it but I fused the yoke and the  facing with fusible tricot to help stabilize it. That definitely worked.

Construction:

There are two different "skirts" described in the pattern. One has a zipper, one is pull on so each has it's own yoke. I used an invisible zipper and it came out pretty decent. It had been a while. I really think they are easier than the lapped versions.

I changed the sequence a bit. The pattern has you attach the yoke at the end. I put the yoke on first with the top tier of fabric. It was then very easy to put the zip in with the facing. I used this tutorial from Tessuti as a reminder on how to do a faced invisible zip. At first sight it looks like a Rubik's Cube, but it really is quite easy.


This is the hem I prefer on all the knits I sew now. It is backed with tricot fusible interfacing. It is first stitched on the fold of the hem and then an inch and a  quarter away. The edge stitching really helps the hem drape nicely. Give it a try.

I think, given my work and the folks I hang with, I can wear this skirt with a tunic or long sweater. Hopefully, like most sewists, I will be the only one who sees the shading difference. In the meantime I am just movin' on!

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My next project will be with one of my very favorite fabrics. I used it often. It is Kauffman Essex linen blend, a linen cotton yarn dye. This one is the denim blue. I haven't solidified on a pattern yet, but soon!

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This has been our focus lately so the sewing has to fight for my time. This is primed and ready for wall paint. Plumbers are called for the changeout. Walls will be painted, shelves put up, and cabinets painted as well. Bye Bye "golden oak" that I have detested since day one. ..............Bunny



Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Fur Back Pack, aka, the Swoon Lucy


Is it possible to be in love with a backpack? Yes it is and I am feeling the love. This is so perfect for a winter day up here cruising the boutiques of Lake Placid. I'll wear it to the supermarket, too! Thats how much I loved it. If you saw my post, Fur Fantasies, a bit back, you know these are a rare and incredibly expensive animal. But, hey, we are sewists, right? We can make one of those and I tried and I did  and I think it's a pretty decent knock off of the runway beauties. AND....no animals hurt in this process!  Here is the 411. It was a long process as I am having other distractions at the moment but it got done, yay!


Pattern:

For this project I used the Swoon pattern, Lucy, a sweet little backpack. when I first downloaded it and saw the pieces I thought this is way to small for what I envisioned but I didn't recall that the fur I was using was almost two inches long. The volume greatly expanded once constructed and I was really glad I didn't print the PDF pattern at more than the 100% scale.


The back of the BP has a zipper pocket that is nearly the length of the bag. One of the things I really liked about this pattern is the zipper straps You can use this as a BP or zip up the straps and use it as a sling bag. Love that and I love the look of that zip on the straps.

The inside of the bag specifies grommets in a 3/8 size but I wanted a big statement with a big fur bag so went for the extra large, extra shiny type grommets. The lining sports a divided slip pocket the width of the bag.

I did have an experience with the cutting and folding of the various straps, confusion on my part. I emailed Alicia Miller, designer and owner of Swoon bags late at night and she got back to me the very next morning. It was all clear once I spoke with her and looked at the pattern again. Great to have a quick response and thank you, Alicia.

Fabrics and Notions:



This fur is faux,  gorgeous and looks so much like real silver fox as you can see above. I have used it for hats before, I have tons, and it doesn't get ratty or matte-y. I bought about 7-8 years back from, are you ready for this, Joanns clearance. I think I paid six dollars a yard and I bought the whole monster bolt when I found it. May I say, enabler that I am, never hesitate to buy gorgeous faux fur when you find it. It's use will find you and a little goes a long way. Now, have I seen a faux of this quality since I bought this one? No such luck but I am hopeful. This is something so hard to purchase online.

The lining was a simple quilting cotton in an abstract gray and white print.

The contrast is a gray microfiber faux suede, not the easiest thing to stitch through but a size 14 jeans needles did the trick.


Zippers came from Sew Da Kine. I looked everywhere for these larger, metallic nylon coil zippers. It doesn't show in any of the pics but the zips are very shiny, silver metallic. They read white and are definitely not. One thing I LOVE about these zips is that they can be sewn through like butter. How good is that? The straps added more bulk to sewing than the zipper coils, that easy and they are pretty. They are also now available from Emmaline patterns and hardware, too.  Emmaline is in Canada and Sew Da Kine is in Hawaii. They both ship quickly. Also, Sew Da Kine offers the zippers in "chain" form, meaning by the yard and offers the pulls as well. Emmaline's zips come with closed ends and are called "Vizzy zips".


Grommets and zipper pulls came from Emmaline and are a shiny nickel finish. These grommets have amazing shine and a 3/4 inch hole. They screw in and my set of tiny screw heads and their magnetic holder were priceless for the installation. You don't ever want to be dealing with such miniscule screws without a magnetic screw driver. Trust me.

Interfacings used were  different from what the pattern spec'd. Everything, including the lining got fused with SF101, standard bag interfacing. Obviously I couldn't interface the fur but ahead speak to how I managed that. The flap and the bag bottom got a layer of Peltex. Can you imagine the bulk? I have a work around I'll share in a minute. One thing I did not do, which would have been nice but I couldn't do it at the stage I realized it was to fill the grommet band with maybe Decor Bond. Peltex would not have bent enough for the gathered up edge.

I tried various threads but found that standard Coats and Clark worked best with the triple topstitching.

Construction:

I followed the instructions pretty closely other than the following:


I added a slip pocket to the exterior. This meant that the area behind the pocket had all it's fur shaved off to reduce bulk.


I used the large grommets which added weight to the top band, only interfaced with SF 101 on each side, not enough.  I did something to help carry the weight and it worked. I've seen it in retail bags with grommets and straps. I made circles of the faux suede and backed them with peltex and fusible fleece. I then cut around them with pinking shears. the inside of the circle was cut out to accommodate the grommet holes. You can see what this looked like with the red arrows. While the edges show with the tilt of the photo, IRL, they don't come above the edge of the bag.  Each grommet got one of these hard circles. When everything was lined up with the holes. E6000 glue was applied to the tiny screw holes and the backs of the grommet parts. Then they were all lined up and screwed in.

The ends of the pull cord/strap were passed through these little odd tubes from the jewelry department at Joanns. I like how they dress things up. I ran them through and just knotted the ends.


Straps were topstitched with regular C&C thread and a triple stitch. I went slow doing this and it took a while but the stitches came out better for it. I did not topstitch all areas spec'd. Those right next to the fur wouldn't show and it was an area of much bulk. 

Another thing I did differently was the interfacing. To add the Peltex to the bottom and the flap without adding bulk I cut it out a quarter inch smaller than the finished size. It was then fused to a piece of muslin. The muslin was then treated as an underlining, getting sewn right into the seams like the top layer. 

One last thing I did differently and it worked, was HANDSEWING the bottom of the bag to the bag sides with a small backstitch, two times around. It's going nowhere. There was no way I was getting all that fur under the presser foot and sewing a really straight line. The backstitching worked great. FWIW, sleeves are sewn into custom tailored suits this way, not on a machine, so don't be afraid to use this technique when you need to. It's a strong stitch. 

In conclusion:

Would I recommend this pattern? Definitely. It's a great backpack pattern and I was impressed with Swoon's customer service response. 

Would I make it again? I would definitely make this pattern again  but not another fur BP. I hope this one will give me years of use and I I am thinking of a summer type BP, something rather preppy. 

Thanks for bearing with me on this loooong journey. I hope you think it was worth the wait. I really enjoyed the challenge of this project and am proud of the results. While modeling on a couture runway is not in line with my genes, do you think I can pull off a couture fur backpack?....Bunny

Monday, February 13, 2017

Bag Hardware


What you see above is a bag fresh from the thrift shop. I paid fifty cents for it. The hardware will be removed by cutting the bag apart. Then I will clean and  polish up what is clearly very dirty hardware and add it to the collection. 


I like to keep as much of the hardware as I can in little plastic ziplocs otherwise the pieces will scratch each other. I also buy hardware as well. Here are a couple of resources:


That nasty bag I just showed you....here's why I bought it:


Is this not the coolest? It is a key fob permanently installed into the interior of the bag. I love it, snake chain and all. I would put one of these in every bag I make if this were available. Hmmm,,,,I think I need to talk to my resources, don't you? 

I have been busy with the fur backpack and it is nearing completion. I have learned that I really need to hand baste seams for the machine to give me accurate seam allowance widths. 


Above you can see how I shaved the fur off off the body of the bag. That is because I decided to add two slip pockets on the exterior and it would be too much bulk otherwise. I have learned that many furs are backed with knits, so really need some substantive interfacing. I've added Peltex all over most of this bag and like the effect. It gets much more shape this way and otherwise it would be a sagging ball of fur. I've also found hand basting is critical to deal with all the layers of fur/lining/suede. This has a nap, albeit much longer than a velvet, and needs that security of basting just like a piece of velvet. Binder clips and/or pins are fine but this really needs to be handbasted. I am liking and enjoying this so much I may make another with a different fur I have. We'll see. Spring will probably call first! 

I would normally have the bag complete at this point but I am remodeling a bathroom, pretty much  on my own. My husband is not in a position where he can help me physically and I really don't want to spend 14,000.00 for this, the cost of my last bath redo. So I am pretty much on my own here with lots of wonderful feedback and encouragement from him and that's great. I have spent the last three weekends working on the bath and then sewing. I ripped out aging ugly wallpaper. Remember Venetian plaster, as in faux wallpaper? I swear I will never wallpaper again. Then it was remove the glue from the walls with two days of work and two different cleaners. That brought us to today which was mudding the sheetrock and letting it dry. Next weekend will be sand and remud as needed then hopefully start to paint. While we have a pretty good idea of what we want for knobs, paint, faucets, etc.....we will go shopping next weekend for all those goodies and see what sticks. It will be a four day weekend for us so hopefully we can make some major headway on this project. I definitely want it done soon so I can concentrate on other distractions. I will keep you posted and hopefully will have that bag done soon. I am really liking the results so far.......Bunny

Monday, February 6, 2017

Trimming Fur




My plan for getting the bathroom remodel done and the bag done at the same time got flummoxed a bit this weekend. Bathroom day found me with some fast moving, just short of violent sort of stomach virus. With the mess in that room, my sewing day had to become the bathroom remodel day on Sunday. ALL wallpaper is now finally down. What a chore and I will never wallpaper again! Next weekend will have me doing a TSP wash and then mudding the walls where needed. That will need to dry well so the weekend after it will be paint. Then I will start on the cabinets. We are still not finding the perfect lights but that is more a logistical issue with our cabinets. We'll find them! 

The good news is I feel great now and did get a bit of sewing in this morning before work. I decided on a fur flap instead of the suede and thought you might want to see how I trimmed the seam allowances. 

Once the fur piece is cut out it's flipped to the right side and the fur is brushed to the side, exposing the edge of the seam allowance. 

Then I put a little pressure on the piece and roll it away from the table so the edge of the seam allowance is facing you, sort of standing up. 




With the seam standing up, just slip the points of your shears about a 1/4 inch down and start snipping and sliding down. It goes quite quickly. Cut a few inches. Rub off the cut fur and put it in the trash then snip some more. 




Here you can see the shaved seam allowance, ready to stitch! I find it's good to be a bit conservative with the cutting. The shaved area always seems bigger than what you think you're cutting.

I hope this bit of a hint  helps someone out there. It works a lot better than trying to cut fur out out of the backing with everything laid out flat. Hopefully next time we talk the bag will be close to done.........Bunny

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Lucy Fur backpack continues


It took me most of the day to get everything fused for the backpack. There were all sorts of straps, flaps and the fur pieces.  How do you fuse fur? You don't! What I did was first remove the seam allowances on the interfacing pieces. I cut a piece of quilting cotton the same size as the fur and fused the interfacing to that. Then this fused interfacing/cotton combo was stitched to the fur pieces with a 1/4 inch seam. I found binder clips really helpful with sewing this to the fur pieces.


This is also my lining fabric, a quilting cotton,  but I had extra so that is what I used to fuse the peltex to for this piece.  All of the fur pieces had their seam allowances "shaved". That was pretty easy and I just held the fur taut with one hand and slipped the point of my shears about a 1/4 inch into it and cut a bit at a time. It really went fast and now the seams will be easier to sew.  "Reduce bulk whenever possible." Thank you, Roberta Carr.

Below we have a perfect example of why we stabilize and do test stitching before starting a project The stitches on the left, so nasty, were just stitched on two layers of the faux suede. The top right stitches have stabilizer and you can see how nice and smooth they are.


It's also a good idea to try your stitches with the interfacing that will actually  be used. I know the flap will be topstitched and have a layer of fused Peltex, really thick, hard stuff. I decided on a 3.5 stitch length and a "triple stitch" for the topstitching needed. Here's an example. The stitches on the right are just a plain straight stitch. The others are "triple stitch".


This is the same "triple stitch" that some sewists use to stitch knits. No, no, and more no. Why? It's overkill AND have you ever tried to rip a triple stitch out a knit? I guarantee you will throw out the garment first. So keep your triple stitch for topstitching which it does beautifully and use a simple zigzag or other option for your knits. Rant for the day!

I have a big wallpaper removal project going on at home and have been handling it one day each weekend and the other day for my sewing. It keeps my sanity that way. So this bag may take a bit. longer than I hope but I have a plan to get it done (and the wallpaper, which I've decided I hate),  One thing about this project, and it is a good thing, is that there is a huge amount of fusing, good because the end product is superior. This backpack takes 3 1/2 yards of woven SF101 interfacing! That is because the bag is all interfaced as well as the lining. An interfaced lining really makes a difference, IMO, and you find the better bag Indie patterns specify that. The Big Four never do. I've sewn quite a few Big Four bags and have never seen the linings interfaced. So far all my experiences with Indie Bag patterns have been really positive. Keep in mind I have only made Swoon and Emmaline bags. I do hope to make a Blue Calla bag in the future as well. I really think those three are the top of the heap.

I think that now that the fusing is complete the actual bag will go together quite quickly. Fingers crossed for a completion next weekend! In the meantime, this is what came out of the seam allowances on the fur.....Bunny

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Fur Fantasies.

"Brunello Cucinelli. Mink Fur Backpack, Brown. Brunello Cucinelli dyed mink fur (Denmark) backpack."  You too can have this back pack for  $7830.00. Oops,  you can't have it. It's SOLD OUT. 

Christian Dior, no price available....a little too foofy for my taste

Chris Brown rocking this back pack.  I have loved these fur backpacks since the first time I saw them. 


Be still my heart.  A bit large and more of a "carry-on"" IMO., but still want inducing.


I think you can see where we are going here. I have been smitten with fur backpacks since their arrival in my Pinterest feed a couple months back. They would be so stylish and just perfect for our climate.  I'm going to give it my best shot so here we go. 
                                                        courtesy Swoonpatterns.com



My pattern is the Lucy Backpack from Swoon Bags. The flap and the back of the bag will be a solid fabric. The fur will go around the front and sides and bottom. This is a PDF. As I started to tape the pieces together, small and very few, I realized that the only reason I am taping is because the pieces are bigger than the paper. Duh! So inexperienced with these PDFs but I do like them for bags! I stopped taping and made each piece double so that I could place the entire pattern piece on the fabric for cutting. Much better!

 I have some nice faux furs in my resources and decided on a silver fox with black tips. It looks quite real once made up as you will see. Parts of the bag will be out of a silver grey micro suede and it will have a grey lining of a soft nondescript  print of quilting cotton. 


Have you seen these zippers? The picture does not do them justice. They are a nylon coil that is a very shiny silver metallic and comes by the yard. They have a really nice jewelry effect.  I have seen them in a lot of retail lately and found only one retail purveyor online, Sew Da Kine.    Digressing, she sells the most incredible cork fabric, too, NAYY.  EDITED TO ADD: These, as of a few days ago are also now available at Emmaline Bags  here, again, NAYY. 




I did manage to get everything cut out today. It was a bit of a challenge  because I am using three fabrics, one for lining, the fur, and another for "contrast" parts. The pattern is set up for two fabrics. Here I go making things more complicated again!  The pieces are all cut and marked with tape on their back sides with all the pertinent info. This is  necessary as most of the pieces are  rectangles and they can easily get mixed up. 



All is cut but for the interfacing. I am waiting for that because I think I may use something more substantial than what's recommended. Haven't gotten far enough to make that decision yet. 


To cut the faux fur I turned it upside down and traced around the pattern onto the knit backing with a Sharpie, Then it was cut with the tip of my shears cutting only the knit backing. I have very little stray fur doing it this way and it didn't take any time at all. 

I will leave you with one more bagmaking hint that was shared on Facebook and it has really helped me....my tools!



Bag hardware often has  teensy weensy screws that no human hand can turn. The grommets in this bag will each have four of those tiny screws. Sometimes they are Phillips type. Other times the screws are traditional flatheads. The tool is magnetic and the tiny "heads" just suck right into the handle, nice. There is a hex thing, whatever that's called, and a pro type of tweezer.  Not to sound like Tim Allen on his  old TV show, Hometime, (?), this is the ...............

JACKLY 45 in 1 Professional Portable Opening Tool Compact Screwdriver Kit Set with Tweezers & Extension Shaft for Precise Repair or Maintenance JK6089-A   from Amazon. 


The good news is it will only set you back  8.79 but I only paid 7.99 a few weeks ago. Just search for the Jackly 45 in 1 on Amazon. My link is tied to my account and I can't seem to copy it without signing out so I will leave the searching  to you kind readers, just this once. 
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Today was a snow day from work and I got so much done. Can't wait till the weekend to get crankin' on the latest project. Spring is always looming and this bag is so Winter!
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It seems my plaid shirt made a big splash and I thank you for all the lovely comments. I really enjoyed making it and the challenge/refresher course on using plaids. Paco Peralta put it up on his FB page and the American Sewing Guild featured it as well. Sometimes I am just so surprised at our connectivity and all the positive magic it can work. I've withdrawn from social media  a bit lately because of all the nastiness and it is encouraging to see it used in a positive manner on sewing pages. Many seem capable of not going near political strife, others have issues. It is not the website's fault either but the comments that ensue regarding the topic at hand which is simply a beautiful garment, a technique shared, a posting of a completed project by a proud creator. Let the sewing world and it's family show the way to adult commentary that does not demean, hurt, insult,extrapolate on things political. Let's just enjoy our craft and share the joy with others. Thanks again for your awesome comments on the shirt and for being such a positive force on the web.....Bunny



Sunday, January 22, 2017

Paco's shirt, Vogue 1526, completed!


This is a WONDERFUL design and pattern by new Vogue Designer, Paco Peralta of Barcelona, Spain. Many of us have followed Paco for some years and are thrilled he is now collaborating with Vogue. I have no affiliation here but I am so impressed with this pattern, Vogue 1526. I did take a couple small liberties with his design and will explain that further. This was not done because the pattern needed any improvement, far from it. I just tried to make it do things for my particular fabics.


Let's get started and then I want to comment on plaids, specifically.

Pattern:

Vogue 1526, designed by Paco Peralta. The pattern consists of a lined  jacket with short sleeves and assymetrical collar, a cuffed shirt with dropped shoulders, asymmetrical collar and off angled pocket. Pants are also included in the pattern and I look forward to making those as well. I had no concerns with this shirt other than making it work with a plaid and also lining it. I will wear this a lot and it is perfect for our winter climate.

The directions were divine. You start with a cut on facing, folded and instructed to "sew invisibly" along the long edge, my kind of pattern and directions! In step 2 there is very clear instruction for a unique inseam buttonhole at the very top of the shirt, easy peasy. As the pattern progresses, I found no areas or issues that were not clear and easy to execute. This shirt has details that boost it up to a fine garment yet the directions are clearly written and drawn.

Fabric:

The shirt is made with 100 % cotton flannel in plaid. It was a refreshing change from the dark plaids seen so much around these parts and I felt the lavender and cream gave it a more feminine vibe.


The lining is a very thin poly silky, actually a bit lighter than most linings I considered. By using it on the wrong side the finish was duller and more true to the look of silk.

For interfacing, I used a woven fusible, not sure of where it came from so won't guess.

Construction:

This is where the fun began! and where I veered a bit from Paco's design. My challenge was to make it work with the plaid and I think I did. Let's talk about that first.

Thoughts on using the plaid:


  • You have to pick your battles with plaids. You also can make your life much easier with an "even" plaid. The fabric used here  is an even plaid. Each unit of plaid is equidisant and exactly like the other units that surround it. Using an even plaid is highly suggested for your first plaid effort. This PDF has a lot of great info on this. I also found Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Guide to have the best and most information out there. 
  • The hem on this shirt is curved and uneven a look I think is flattering for those of us who are short. A decision was made to have  mostly the cream part of the blocks meet the hem. Why? Because  plaid is a very straight line and the shirt hem is curved. Trust me on this one. Uneven hem - don't end it on a bar. 
  • Now that the length of the plaid was decided on I need to decide how it would work on the width. I decided to have the cream part of the blocks be at center front. I like the effect. It looks simple enough to line up. Don't kid youself. This was the hardest part of the whole project. This had yet to be cut and I knew that I had a folded cut on facing. And I had to have it match. It was challenging, made me think very hard, but eventually I got it. You can see how I managed it in this post. 
  • My length and width are now set. Did you see the half dolman sleeves? They will not match, Don't even think about matching this perfectly. With plaid matching, you have to go for the obvious. Since I am short, maybe lots of people will see the tops of my shoulders but in reality, I don't think it is a focal point like center front and back. So, don't worry about it. 
  • Now I had to match the lower sleeve and then its cuff. After A LOT of thinking, I walked away, came back and decided to just cut it on the bias. I centered the bias diamonds with the shoulder seam. I didn't seam it on bars but with mostly the cream centers meeting the dolman edge, the less to emphazise that it isn't matching and never will. 
  • For the cuffs I went back to the straight of grain, matching bars with the corner of the plaid which you see in the pic in the woods. 
  • Hours can go into placing plaids. Using allover prints or solids eliminates that and the shirt should go much faster than mine did. 
  • Bottom line: Straight edges get bars. Curved edges get the cream blocks. Problems get the bias. Placement is important even if you don't match and requires thought. 
  • This all needs to be figured out before cutting the first seam. 
With that out of the way. let's get to my next change. This shirt is not lined and that is fine. But a cotton flannel sticks to your clothes and it's cold up here. I had to have a lining with this. I decided on one of my favorite techniques, flat lining which finishes the seams with a Hong Kong finish and lines the garment at the same time. There are challenges with this as it works best on vertical seams. What to do with the underarm curve of the upper sleeve?

I did two lines of stitching in that area, trimmed back to the second stitching and zigzagged the edge. The seam allowances were cut on the bias  and folded under and stitched to make a clean edge as you see above. 


For the hem I faced the area with a bias strip of lining and catchstitched it to the lining. 


The plaid also made me deal with the collar a bit differently. I hope Paco approves. I like it. His collar is an asymmetrical design. I like it but I wanted my plaids to flow evenly where I could and to be symmetrical. I also had planned to used the buttons on the bars. This meant that I did not use his wonderful top buttonhole. I did make it anyway and it's one of those special little secrets just I know about, hiding in the seam! Making the collar symmetrical and lowering the buttonhole causes the collar to open evenly. I LOOOOOVE this collar. I got many compliments on this shirt when I wore it and more on the collar. It has such a pretty roll line and it is so nice and deep. 

 Here is that awesome little buttonhole that makes an asymmetrical collar with little effort, beautiful detail and typical Paco. 


If you have read me for a while, you may remember that I really don't care for long sleeves or any fabric around my wrists. My plan from the start was to fold back these lovely, deep cuffs and that worked well. You can see them on me all folded back but here is what they look like otherwise. 

Parting shots: When I make another I may take a tiny bit of length out of the back waist area. My issue is one of width,  a narrow back and wide hips. I always have this space. I can fit it away but then I have a different look to the garment. I don't want a fitted shirt here. I like the ease exactly as Paco designed it. I flat pattern measured the pattern and found there was substantial ease in a size six to not make any further adjustments. The dropped dolman sleeves also added to the ease of fitting. Since I planned to roll back the cuffs from the get go, they may have been long for me othewise. Other than that I am really pleased with my fit and it was with little effort. 



In conclusion:  I will definitely make this again. With Paco's clear instructions and the beautiful simplicity of the design it would be fine for an advanced beginner if done in a solid fabric and following his directions. While this is a couture pattern, this is doable by those who maybe have never used a couture Vogue pattern. I highly recommend. The design is so versatile and would be stunning in a white linen or pique. A beautiful look for dressier winter wear with jeans would be in  a washed velvet, yum. Thank you, Paco, for a beautiful design!........Bunny
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for some reason the crop didn't work in my editing software tonight. Hopefully it will rectify with shutting down the computer. I will be back to fix it in that case. And, oh, did you notice the winning button? It is the lighter ringed buttons. I really appreciated all your opinions on that. Thanks to all of you.....Bunny