Wednesday, June 29, 2016

M5024 Shirt dress

There are an awful lot of very nice new shirt dress patterns out there, but this one has been sitting in the pattern drawer for quite a few years, and I thought that it just might be time for it to see the light of day. 
It hung around the sewing room for a few weeks minus buttonholes and buttons, and I needed an “occasion” to get it finished and worn.  So I decided that Sunday’s lunch at church (which means that I spend hours in the kitchen) was the occasion.  I got up early and managed to finish it all up in plenty of time to wear.  As should have been expected, in fairly short order my skirt was sporting olive oil stains.  Oh well.  I’m good at laundry.
I do like this dress – the style, that is.  I think I’m even happy with the fit. (Made a SBA and lengthened the skirt.)  The fabric – well … not so sure.  The label said 100% cotton.  My fingers said poly.  At the point where the price dropped substantially, I decided to take the risk.  After prewashing (a definite lack of cotton-like wrinkles) and ironing, and even after cutting out the dress, something about the fabric just didn’t feel “cotton”.  I finally decided to burn some threads.  Now this is a chambray-type fabric.  White threads going one way and blue threads going across.  First I burned the blue thread.  Definitely cotton.  I was beginning to doubt my touchy-feely fabric sense.  I had noticed that the selvage edge felt prickly.  Odd.  Then I decided that I would burn the white threads, to see what the results would be.  Definitely not cotton.  There was a definite hard little nob at the end of the thread.  Most definitely polyester.  I still persevered.  I liked   the denimy colour, the little splatters of colour.  There were a few small hiccups in the sewing, but I overcame those.  It’s not as though I don’t have polyester in my wardrobe.  After lunch clean-up, I came home and my daughter decided that pictures needed to be taken, despite the wrinkles that the dress had acquired.  Her reasoning – we’d have to wait for some time before the dress was worn again. (Now I’m not so sure that taking pictures of an exhausted me is such a good idea.  Posture was abominable, and I looked mean.)  

Pictures taken, I went off to change, and only after I had taken off the dress, did I realize just how much heat that fabric retained.  The weather wasn’t as hot and humid as I’d thought – it was the dress that made me feel that way.  And then I noticed the back …   See what happened to the back darts? 
back dart ouchy
The fabric pulled away from the stitching.  I’m a little upset.  The fit is not tight.  I should be able to lift and move and do whatever I need to do in a dress of this sort without worrying that I’ll ruin it.  Especially when the fabric is supposedly 100% cotton.
Does anyone have any brilliant ideas of how to fix this problem?  I’ll still wear the dress at home (though not when the weather is hot and humid).  The ¾ sleeves do not exactly make it cardigan-friendly, so I can’t always cover up the back.  May-be I just have to take note and only wear knits to the church kitchen??
The insides show my latest bit of craziness.  I seem to have acquired a collection of serger threads in colours that I normally do not sew.  I reasoned that if I can use crazy fabrics to make Hong Kong finishes on the insides of garments, then I can use any colour thread to serge my seams.  There are red spots on the fabric, so why not red thread on the insides??
I’m not the only one who’s recently used this OOP pattern – check out the lovely version on Frogs in a Bucket.   I saw this blog post once my dress was well under way.  I swear this time I am not being a copycat.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Vogue 8301 - Military style jacket

I am such a copycat!  How many times have I wanted to make something I’ve seen on another blog?  Does it happen?  Very, very rarely.  But when I saw Erica’s denim jacket, there must have been a firecracker under my seat.  I have that pattern!  I have denim! (or, at least I think I do)
OOP - borrowed the picture from an Etsy shop, but it's sold out
I must have bought the pattern soon after it came out.  Periodically I would look at it, then put it away.  I was waiting for the perfect piece of wool.  I was waiting for the perfect event for which to sew this jacket.  Didn’t happen.  Now why didn’t I think of using denim??

So, yes, I had the pattern.  The denim that I had on hand was leftovers from a Minoru jacket (did I blog about that?) and leftovers of the exact same denim that I used for a pair of jeans.  Pieces.  As luck would have it, this jacket has a lot of pieces, and with some careful laying out, I managed all the important ones in denim. 
Facings had to be cut from a cotton print.  But that turned out well, too.  I had bought the piece for a summer top – nice neutral print in grey, with the hopes that laundering would soften it up some.  It didn’t soften at all, and I was kicking myself for being stupid enough to think that all that stiffness of the fabric was sizing.  As facing pieces on a denim jacket it worked perfectly.  Win, win.

The buttons came from stash.  One of those “Love those gotta have those” purchases.  I must have been thinking of this particular jacket at the time.  As it turned out, I had more buttons than the pattern called for, and the size was a tad smaller than required.  What the heck – let’s put all of them on the jacket and not leave any leftovers.  Yes, there are buttonholes under all those buttons, and hooks and eyes for closing the front.  I did not put in the shoulder pads as directed.
I LOVE this jacket!  Over the years (decades?) I’ve made a few “regulation” jean jackets.  I hardly ever wore them.  Just not “me”.  I’d try again a few years later with the same results.  (Took me a while to figure out that there was no need to keep trying out slight variations of the same thing.  The result would always be the same.)  A denim jacket, on the other hand, is something that my wardrobe could always use.  It works with so many bottoms, and even some dresses.
Soooooo….  Thank-you Erica for putting me on to such a great jacket!
And just for the heck of it – I made a pair of grey skinny jeans.  I needed (more) jeans.  I had the fabric (stretch brushed cotton).  It always feels better if I make a “full outfit”.  The jeans pattern is my self-drafted one – I just narrowed the legs.   Oh, I keep toying with the idea of buying another jeans pattern, but … why?  I’ve toiled over the fit of these, (still tweaking at times), and I really don’t want to start the whole fitting process again.  I should be able to just change up the leg style, if I wish, and the top remains fitting as I like.  Do I really need more than one (well-fitting) jeans pattern?  (Input please!)
even had enough grey print for the insides of the jeans - now is that a matching set or what!
P.S.  I actually sewed both of these in March/ early April, but pictures only happened yesterday.  Apologies for the wrinkles, but these items have been worn, and I was rushing to get some pictures while rain wasn’t coming down.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Granville

I had shirts on the brain for a while, and I thought to try out the Granville from Sewaholic.  Lately I am of the opinion that one really needs two shirt patterns to fall back on:  one that is well fitted for use with sturdier and crisper fabrics, as well as a looser fitting pattern for softer fabrics.  (That’s my thinking to-day.  Tomorrow I might be of a totally different opinion.)  The Granville definitely falls into the “well fitted” category.
The pattern had been lying around here for some time, and in January I finally decided to start a muslin (in muslin, of course). 
muslin front
Before I got anywhere near finishing that, I realized that I needed to sew a shirt sample for my shirt class.  Muslin got thrown aside, and a white shirt was zipped up without too much thought on how it would fit me.  (I’ll deal with any “issues” when the shirt comes home from the store.)  
white front
Once class samples were ensconced in the store, it was back to tweaking the pattern. 
muslin back
First and foremost – the sleeves were far too long.  I’d already sewn the vent and cuff on the muslin (I did intend for it to be a wearable piece), so the only option for shortening was to do it from the top.  Secondly, there was too much sticking out at the hip (the Jetson’s look, my daughter calls it – if you recall how clothes look on Mrs. Jetson in the cartoon by that name).  That was an easy fix.  Thirdly, there was some weird “pouf” across the front.  I seem to have no problem slashing and mangling other people’s patterns to get them a good fit, but when it comes to my own …  I decided to be brave and do what my gut instinct (and all sorts of fitting books and instructions tell me) – I took an inch out of the centre of the front piece.  The bust dart disappears.  (Yeah!  No darts to sew!)  And … problem solved – no more weird pouf.  So, that makes two shirts with darts that are perfectly wearable, just not so perfectly fitted.  Onward.
Japanese print front
A new shipment of fabric at Joyce’s brought a Japanese calligraphy print.  Don’t know why, but I just had to have it.  For a shirt. 
Japanese print back
I added some coordinating black print to take this out of the boring zone. 
By this point, I was also looking at tweaking other bits on this pattern, so I squared off the collar.  So much easier to turn a perfect point when it’s a 45° angle!  And I didn’t add the sewn-on front band. 
I widened the sleeve at the bottom, which added a few pleats so that it would fit into the cuff.  I just happen to like my shirt sleeves a tad wider than what the pattern gives me.
polka dot front
Finally I decided to use a white with black dot mystery fabric, more for the sake of finally using up the fabric, than actually needing yet another shirt. 
polka dot back
This one got front bands on both front pieces.  And heaven forbid that this one should be plain and boring, hence the black piping. 
I actually googled images of “piping on shirts” before I could make a decision of where to use the piping.  Sad, I know.  You’d think that something like that shouldn’t stop production and waste time.  But sometimes you just have to reassure yourself that you’re heading in the right direction.  (By the way – there are so many variations of where to place piping and where not to place piping, it’s rather mind boggling.)
After 4 shirts in under 3 months (I finished the 4th in March, I believe), I’m quite over shirts with collar bands for the time being.  I’m still not 100% happy with my tweaks.  The cuffs are a bit large for my wrists.  I was focusing on other issues, and quite overlooked that fact until I actually started wearing the shirts.  Something to deal with the next time I use this pattern.