Friday, January 28, 2011

Oolong Dress - Colette Patterns #1008 - Part 4!

To see earlier updates read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

I wasn't going to post another update but after seeing just how incredible this dress looks with the neckline finally stitched, I just couldn't keep these in-progress pictures away from you.


Well, as you can see the grading worked! The neckline came out gorgeous. Look how neat and professional it all looks? Now, this isn't personal bragging, no, the way it looks is a testament to Sarai's design.


Check out the inside of this dress! The rear neck facing sets off the back nicely. Because it is stitched on top of the lining there is no worry about the facing ever flipping out.

Surprisingly, my favorite part of this dress is now the part I was most worried about in the last update...the front facing.

I LOVE the facing that Sarai developed for this dress. So much, in fact, I wish I could wear the dress inside out because of how cool it looks and because the colors are amazing together. Another ice blue and winter red dress is definitely on my wish list now. I am seriously tempted to make a dress where this color combination and that neckline detail would be seen on purpose. Perhaps I'll attempt it with the Chantilly, my next favorite Colette Patterns dress.

I kind of wish the sleeves were also going to be lined in blue so that the interior of the dress would be as impeccably finished as it is on the outside. However, I think I may have a fix for that.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Stitch Magazine!

Have you seen the new Winter/Spring issue of Stitch magazine?

It's huge! The cover caught my eye immediately because of the cover project, the Felt Confetti Pillow decorated with felt circles and designed by Lisa Cox. Well, this design looked amazingly like my new PJs. Maybe I'll have to make a pillow to go with them or perhaps just a bag to take them in when I travel. How quaint would that be?
The instructions for the pillow (very easy!) can be found here, but you should still check out the whole issue. It is the Techniques issue, which means it covers a lot of sewing techniques that you might want to know about.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Yes, Imma Tease...

Look what I did this weekend!

More details to come later this week...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Oolong Dress - Colette Patterns #1008 - Part 3

To see earlier updates read Part 1 and Part 2.

I can see the end in sight!

First step: I tried on the dress after a couple of months of it hanging in my closet mocking me to find that it was now a bit snug in the chest area. Since this dress has no zipper or opening other than the neckline, I didn't want to risk ripping the seams when I put it on over my head. Apparently I only gained weight in my chest and it was giving off a mono-boob appearance. So I opened up the side seams and reduced the seam allowance to 1/2", resulting in a dress with 1/2" more ease.

Second step was adjusting and reinforcing the front gathers with a strip of twill tape on both the dress and on the lining.

Next step was attaching the facing (made of the fashion fabric) to the right side of the lining (wrong side is showing in picture) As you can see when you stitch on the facing, you have to stitch across the bust gathers on the lining too. I have to admit I was worried how that would effect the fit of the lining later.

Where I am now:

I am sewing the neckline seam that joins the dress and the lining. Then I will have to notch and grade the seam allowances so that the neckline lays flat and has a defined v-shape at the center, like this one:

The very last steps will be attachment of the sleeves and the hemming of essentially two dresses.

Woo hoo - the end is near.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sleepshirt - Kwik Sew 2529 (OOP)

Pattern Description: Sleepshirt View B has a v-neckline with self-fabric neckband, long sleeves, and side hemline slits. Designed by Kwik Sew founder Kerstin Martensson.

Pattern Sizing: Size S out of a multi-size pattern containing XS-S-M-L-XL.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it does.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the fit across the chest and the v-neckline. This is my second version of this top and I am still wearing the first one even though it is a bit snug now.

Fabric Used: I used the coolest printed flannel (a Snuggle flannel print in Ripple Circles on sale for $2.39 per yard) I have ever seen, even though the pattern specifies 25% stretch. I ended up prewashing the fabric in my bathroom sink. It was scary how much ink washed out, yet the fabric is still as vibrant as can be. It took three thorough rinses to get it semi clear. As a result, I will probably wash it by hand from now on.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made no design changes and only one alteration. Because of my fabric choice I needed a way around the 25% stretch requirement. I cut the neckband on the bias and about an inch longer than the pattern piece provided in order to have it fit the neckline.

Would you sew it again? I will probably not make this top again as is, but I definitely plan on making the other pieces (the tank and boy-leg briefs) in coordinating colors for the spring. For those I will use either a thick interlock or fleece as suggested.

Would you recommend it to others? Yes, definitely, if they can get their hands on a copy of this out-of-print pattern. It is definitely worth it.

Conclusion: A warm and cozy sleepshirt with a lot of pizazz!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In the Details: Vintage Men's Shirts Pt 2

Yes, here are more shirt pattern goodies. These are from the more experimental 1960-70s.

McCall's 7590

Here are some shirt/jacket hybrids of the 1960s. This one is so cool you can smoke a pipe in in! Note the jacket-like waist band and the side pleat detail on the back. I had a white cotton jacket in the 1980s (McCall's 9637 - very Miami Vice!) that had that same detail.

Butterick 2956

Very Route 66, right? This is the sort of shirt/jacket that I can see made in a cotton/poly blend that would be rain repellant, don't you? The one in the top right has a sporty detail of outside patch pockets placed directly at the hemline. I think I have a soft spot for that hip navy blue and green madras version.

Simplicity 7711

Well, well...father and son pullover shirts. I prefer to just ignore the ones with the lacing, ok? I'm pretty sure those were made with some sort of chamois cloth or Ultrasuede. Instead check out the use of altering the fabric's direction to add interest via horizontal/vertical and straight grain/bias. Also note again, the hemline placement of the pockets.

Simplicity 7145

This is the hipster's version of sporty casual wear, flat front creased slim pants and another version of the pullover, this time without a separate front yoke. Once, twice...three times a lady, there are those low sporty pockets again! I could really dig men wearing these pants again, especially worn with those short leather Beatle boots.

Simplicity 8006

Ooh, this one practically screams Bill Bixby and The Courtship of Eddie's Father* to me! Lovely Nehru jacket design can go as out-there as you want it to go depending on your fabric choices. It strangely is also the first mens pattern I've seen without pockets as an option.

Butterick 5897

Look closely! I had to include this fairly conventional shirt because it actually features princess seams! I suppose they are included to ensure a slim fit on the front; however, they are abandoned on the back of the shirt. You can't ignore View E's super long lapels, now can you?

Images: Out of the Ashes and Stitches & Loops patterns

* Yes, I was a fan in reruns, since the show came out the year I was born.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Love This Dress...

Actress Carey Mulligan in Prada

What I like about it:

  • it is purple*!
  • the fabric has texture and a metallic finish (it is a lurex jacquard)
  • the style
  • the neckline
  • the fit
  • the simple black leather belt
  • it looks a lot like Vogue 8701 with a dirndl skirt and slightly longer sleeves!

Click here for more pictures of the dress in action at the Palm Springs Film Festival on Jan 8th.

*or violet, or eggplant depending on what wire service describes it. I say it's PURPLE!

Monday, January 10, 2011

In the Details: Vintage Men's Shirts Pt 1

Have you seen the new "Negroni" shirt pattern by Colette Patterns? It is a vintage-inspired men's shirt with a convertible collar. It seems to be a great pattern of a style that I have admired from the past. It has just enough difference at the neck from the button-down shirts being worn by the majority of men today.

I know that the men's sections in the Big Four pattern books are sparse and actually carry more unisex patterns than ones just for men. It makes me wonder, did men have more choices in the style of shirts they wore in earlier years? Specifically the 40s and 50s, when I thought men were at their best sartorially? Now, of course, this impression comes from the movies since I'm not old enough to have experienced that live. But just if some men actually dressed like Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Fred Astaire, or Gene Kelly, wow, what a wonderful image.

So I searched through vintage pattern sites to see what was out there for home sewers to make for their men. I choose none of the normal button-down shirts since those have not changed much over the years but instead chose shirts or jackets that were a little different and that might make an impact if worn today:

Pictorial Review 9051

This was the oldest (1925) jacket pattern I found. Can't you just imagine cub reporter Jimmy Stewart wearing that top one with trousers that had deep cuffs and a perfect break over his shoes? I wonder if the average guy could wear that jacket today? He couldn't have a beer gut, that's for sure.

DuBarry 1953 (1940)

A nice polo shirt with high collar and slightly gathered sleeves and cuffs. A simple but effective option. Notice how the pocket mimics the neckline facing. Oh, and look at that price?! If only patterns were that cheap now!

McCall 6166 (1945)

With this shirt all you would have to do today is use a different fabric for the body front than for the rest of the shirt. With the right combination of fabric I could definitely see this being made now. Even something as subtle as a slightly different print or different sized checks. The plaid patterned shirt shown makes me think of Rock Hudson in 1955's All That Heaven Allows with Jane Wyman. Playing an arborist, he's costumed in almost all plaid flannel shirts and coats. Yum.
Butterick 7673 (1956) and McCall's 3087 (1954)

This first one was the pattern that inspired this post. Would a man today (who wasn't a dental hygienist*) wear one of these today? From the pattern illustrations I can not figure how you would get this one off and on though. It doesn't seem to fasten in the back and the front panel doesn't seem to wrap over. Anyone have an idea?

McCall's 3904 (1956)

This one made the list only because they tried to be clever with the turning it upside down! But it's still the same old shirt. It didn't fool me.

McCall's 5758 (1960)

Here is an updated polo style with a more relaxed collar construction and the added bonus of an unusual hem line. Anyone see this lately anywhere? I kind of like the checked version, triangle point and all.

Images: Out of the Ashes and Stitches & Loop patterns.
*Well, isn't that what they look like, those old fashioned dentist smocks?

Friday, January 07, 2011

Little Green Dresses: In More Detail

Last month, I wrote about Little Green Dresses by Tina Sparkles that I had been coveting for months. Well, the publisher, Tauton Press graciously offered to send me a review copy. Now that I've been able to REALLY look through it I have more points to make about this book.

How about the fact that it includes:

  • Complete instructions on taking measurement of the body at thirty-three different places. I was flabbergasted how many! However, only certain ones are needed for certain projects and only two to four are usually needed for the Level 1 beginner projects.

  • Instructions for drafting a complete sloper/fitting shell/template garment (a basic long sleeved dress) based on one's personal body measurements! I will be trying this out in the spring (I need to finish a few things first) and writing about my results.

Also that:

  • The book is arranged to help beginner sewers and pattern makers move up to the more advanced levels. There are four skill levels for sewing and three levels for pattern making, with each project listing the ability the sewist should possess in order to complete each project.

  • Many of the pattern projects are adapted from one beginner "builder" pattern, so that one can build on their prior pattern making skills.

  • Level 3 patternmaking consists of the actual drafting of patterns using one's own measurements, including the manipulation of darts, while Level 4 projects involve refashioning secondhand clothing.
  • Some projects have been contributed by independent clothing designers (including my fave, Elizabeth Dye) in the Austin TX area, and many members of the Austin Craft Mafia (which was founded by the author, Ms. Sparkles).

Some examples:
This use of manipulating darts to create additional pattern pieces in order to incorporate color blocking into this "Swoosh Skirt".

This "Suit Skirt" made from the bottom half of a recycled blazer.

The "Genius" leggings pattern that will not have side seams. This is probably the most intricate pattern in the book.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

2010 Sewing Round-Up

Ok, I didn't make as many projects as I planned to, but the ones I did finish I'm quite proud of. So here's the round up, only 7 projects in 12 months. My personal goal was to make 12 in 12, but oh well....
March 28
Built By Wendy's Sew U black corduroy skirt
A perfect basic. This pattern will be used again definitely. I also have a stretch gabardine earmarked for the jeans in this book too.

April 2
New Look 6838 black interlock tee
Ok, this pattern did not turn out to be the TNT I was hoping for. I have a Burda T pattern coming that I hope will be the one.

May 26
Butterick 4948 purple corduroy 1970's jumper
Love this SO much! It also gets compliments every time I wear it. Turns out when people love purple, they really LOVE purple!

August 11
Sew Stylish "Good n' Plenty" dress
A simple pattern drafting exercise created a dress that I love. This one will be made again too.

September 22
DIY orange grosgrain ribbon bow belt
Too cute and too easy. I have two more to make for my spring and summer dresses.

December 6
Butterick 5429 "Good n' Plenty" twist top
Though the pattern illustration was deceptive about the fit I will alter the pattern and make this again. I want to move away from plain crew-neck t-shirts.

December 31
Butterick 2564 red vintage overblouseI finally finished this fourth item from last year's Pattern Review contest entry. Will make this one again too, but with one structural change.
Though these were the only finished projects for 2010, they were not the only sewing that I did. There were alterations to existing garments, draft muslins for future projects, and most recently, work on the Colette Oolong dress. I hoped to finish it before the New Year, but I had to face the fact that I'm not the same size I was and am now taking a few seams out. My birthday is in early February so that is now the goal I set for this dress.

Goals for 2011:
  • Finish my winter 2010-2011 wardrobe plan because I can still wear them in the spring.
  • Draft a t-shirt using Cal Patch's book, Design-It-Yourself Clothes.
  • Draft a complete fitting shell using the book, Little Green Dresses.
  • Start a small, simple quilt like this, this, or this one.
Not a large list, but remember, that wardrobe plan does include 2 dresses, 1 jacket/coat, 1 shirt, and 1 pair of pjs (these would be done but I didn't buy enough fabric). I am also notoriously slow (see above yearly count).

Monday, January 03, 2011

4. Overblouse - Butterick 2564

Pattern Description: A back-buttoned overblouse with cut-on sleeves and shaping darts at front neck.

Pattern Sizing: Size 14 (Bust = 34", Waist = 26")

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very. Especially after I decided to not do the bound buttonholes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the two set of darts in the front of the bodice. There are two at the collarbone which control the shape of the top above the bust and two that shape the under bust. They are really flattering. The instructions also suggested cutting your own bias binding for the sleeve hems. That worked out really well, I love how it looks since you can see the inside of the arms while wearing it.

What I didn't like were the instructions for the bound buttonholes. Now it's been a while since I did one but these instructions seemed too fussy. Luckily, I did find these on the pattern~ scissors~ cloth blog that sound much simpler.

Fabric Used: A lovely red cotton twill that I'm also using for the Colette Patterns' Oolong dress. I also used four white pearlized buttons from my late mother's button stash.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I applied fusible knit interfacing to the front neckline and on the back facings. I made the right decision in picking a knit interfacing instead of one for wovens because it adhered really well and didn't change the drape of the fabric.

I debated long and hard on doing bound buttonholes. My mind was changed when I started having more tension problems with my machine. What if that effected my machine stitched buttonholes too? So,
I practiced on leftover scrap fabric. After doing that successfully, I then applied fusible knit interfacing to the back facings and carefully measured out my button placement. Luckily, the buttonholes worked out wonderfully, even if I forgot and used two different shades of red for them. Do I really care now? No!

Would you sew it again? I hope so, it very cute with just the right retro flavor. I would probably make any others with a button and loop closure instead of buttons though for an easy slip-on type of top.

Would you recommend it to others? Yes, it's very flattering and easy. What more could you want?!

Conclusion: A great top, even though I will make any others with a button and loop closure instead of buttons down the back. Now, I want to make the coordinating jacket too!