Thursday, January 18, 2018

Kwik Sew 4191

You buy a very special fabric.  You then need just the perfect pattern.  The search goes on … for years.  The fabric sits and sits and finally you make the decision.  Then, because this is such special fabric, you want to take your time to savour every part of the sewing process, and before you know it, you have a very special UFO sitting in your sewing room … for months on end.
Doesn't really fit this mannequin!

The fabric is an Italian wool/silk blend.  Bought at the Creative Festival in Toronto many years ago.  On the way home, my daughter used the package as a pillow – the ladies on the bus called it the world’s most expensive pillow.  (Well, I don’t know … I’ve seen some very expensive pillows out there.)  It was always destined to be a jacket.  (Pillow status being very temporary.)  Finally at the end of last winter I made the plunge, decided on Kwik Sew 4191 and cut the fabric.

Started sewing.  Along came other distractions (among others, a bride who needed help with her outfit), and before you knew it, the weather was really far too warm to be sewing a wool jacket, and the whole caboodle was folded into a basket, covered with an old pillow case (to keep moths and suchlike out) and there it sat … and sat … and sat.  With cooler weather in the Fall, I finally pulled out all those (now) wrinkled bits and pieces and proceeded to procrastinate about every step of the process.  Once again … very special fabric, needing very special attention.
Fits this half-a-body mannequin better.

I did deviate from the pattern a little.  This jacket should have been unlined, but mine definitely needed a lining … a very special lining.  I remembered having a piece of brown silk charmeuse – somewhere.  It once stood in for a shawl many years ago, and was therefore not in the fabric stash.  Took a little digging through the house to find where I had hidden it from myself.  But I did find it, took it apart and proceeded to cut it up.  (It is certainly now much more useful as a jacket lining, than a shawl that only ever saw use once.)

I did not follow directions for finishing the edges of the jacket, which calls for a strip of contrasting fabric to be sewn to the long edge of the jacket before proceeding with attaching the facing.  I chose to sew the jacket and facing wrong sides together, cut off the seam allowance and just bound the edge with a bias strip.
So I finally got to the buttonholes.  I thought of making bound buttonholes, but the weave of the fabric is so loose, I thought that option might not be the best idea in the long run.  (Wear and tear, you know.)  And by this time we had that amazing Pfaff Icon sitting at the store, just waiting to be explored.  Choices, choices.

When you only have one option of buttonhole on your machine, things go much more quickly.  When you have a whole array of buttonholes, well that requires much experimentation and thought.  I knew I wanted keyhole buttonhole, and what I ended up choosing was something with lots of stitching to make for a (hopefully) very durable buttonhole.
Buttonhole selected

More samples

Much sample stitching ensued.  The Icon behaved very well, but with the loose tweedy fabric, I found that the best results came with placing stabilizer top and bottom to keep things nice and smooth so that nothing got caught up on the feed dogs and the buttonhole foot (which, by the way, has some very serious "teeth" and does a wonderful job of grabbing and holding the fabric in place).  Buttonholes sewn, I cut away the stabilizer (the water soluble variety) as close as possible to the stitching, then used a wet Q-tip to whisk away any little bits of stabilizer that were still visible.
Buttonhole with a little stabilizer still visible

Buttonhole  - finally finished
Of course, after all that, the jacket still hung in my sewing room for a while because I needed to get up the nerve to slice open those buttonholes.   Cutting holes in a finished garment always makes me very, very nervous.
Stay tuned for the rest of the outfit.  (Because a new (very special) jacket definitely requires new stuff to go with it.)

Monday, January 1, 2018

Stripey t-shirt

Happy New Year!

I did it!  I signed up for the RTW Fast!  I thought I’d missed the boat, but Sarah extended the invitation through to-day, and after much hemming and hawing I did it.  So what was my big hang-up you might ask?  The part where you need to send a photo.  You know I prefer dummy pictures.  I am the most unphotogenic person on the planet.  I do a great job of hacking off my head, should picture taking day also be a bad face day.  Well, I got over it.  I found the best picture on the computer that I had, cropped to only my head, which made for a rather blurry picture, but probably improves the look.  Done.  (I also first e-mailed my son to get his opinion on the picture, and it passed muster.  Insecurity issues?)
So - while everyone else is tallying up their year’s accomplishments, I’ll just plow ahead with items that have yet to make it to this blog.  I was going to catch up by year’s end, but obviously that didn’t happen.
We’ll skip over the rest of the summer stuff and jump right into fall and winter.

I have a soft spot for “weird” fabrics, especially if I get comments at the fabric store to the effect of “how are you ever going to sew that?”  And so it was with this striped knit.  It’s very stretchy.  It’s wrinkly.  It has stripes that defy matching.  And those are probably the reasons that it sat in the fabric stash for quite a few years.  I had to ponder over it – for quite some time, apparently.  Actually, I did have a plan … of sorts.  Not too long after buying this fabric (and already pondering on how to tackle it) I was at a Met Live in HD performance.  The host(ess?) who talked to the various singers during intermissions (possibly Joyce DiDonato?) was wearing a top (or was it a dress?) out of a fabric similar to mine – weird zigzaggy lines and crinkly.  (Why do I remember weird random details from years back?)  What struck me was that the seams were all on the outside, and they were “bound” in black.  Bingo – that was the way to do it!  I still had to ponder the idea some more, obviously.  Well, I finally did it.  It just took some time to get up the nerve.
To keep seams to a minimum, I cut a kimono sleeve t-shirt.  (I sort of followed this tutorial on turning a t-shirt pattern with sleeves into a kimono sleeve pattern.)

I sewed the seams with a narrow serged seam (say that quickly three times) with woolly nylon thread in both loopers.  This took a lot of sample sewing – despite the differential feed being set at max, it was a wavy mess, until I finally came up with the solution of sandwiching the seam in water soluble stabilizer (yes, the stuff you use for machine embroidery).  It worked perfectly.

Just a small matter of getting rid of all that stabilizer mess at the end.  No need for differential feed, either.  To avoid hemming issues the bottom and sleeves were finished off with bands.  And … the neck was “faced” with a strip of fabric.

And every new t-shirt needs a new pair of pants.  The wool left over from this coat.  Just my usual Vogue 2532.  And yes, they’re lined.

As if that wasn’t enough…  Couldn’t leave any leftovers – heaven forbid.  Seems I had enough for two sleeves.

And then (I must have been delirious from lack of sleep, or something) – I even managed a little cowl scarf.

That was certainly overkill.
There’s another similar fabric lurking in the fabric stash – more black than cream….  May-be I’ll leave that one to marinate for a while longer.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Wishing all my sewing friends
a very
Merry Christmas!