Archive | March, 2011

An Attempt At Sewing

30 Mar

I am making an attempt at sewing my third JAM jacket.  This one will be Vogue 1036, this Sandra Betzina jean-style jacket:

I’m using this heavy stretch cotton, stylized paisley fabric that I got from Marcy Tilton a few years ago:

It’s difficult to tell on the computer screen, but the colors are dark brown, navy blue, and light gray.  I’m going to top stitch with a gray to somewhat match the gray in the fabric.

Most of the things I sew are less fitted than this jacket, so I’m learning a lot from this very slow process.  I always start by measuring the flat pattern at shoulder, waist, and hips.  I have very narrow shoulders, so normally I will choose the smallest size (usually an eight) to fit in that area.  Even then, I will have to make a narrow shoulder adjustment.  I use to do a full bust adjustment, but discovered that if I simply go out a few sizes under the armscye (usually to a 10 or 12), it works better for me.  For most of the knit tops I sew, those two adjustments are enough.

This time, I am working with princess seams, which is new to me.  I couldn’t decide whether to adjust the shoulder from the armscye, or to take in the princess seams.  I was worried that the 1 1/2 inch adjustment I had to make would put the princess seams too close to the shoulder seam if I adjusted at the armscye.  I posted this dilemma on Stitcher’s Guild, and AnnR came to the rescue.  She had made the same jacket and took in the princess seams to make the narrow shoulder adjustment.  So, that was the first adjustment I made.  I might add that Nancy Erickson, on the same post, thought that 1 1/2 inches would be too much to take in at the princess seam, and suggested I take half from the princess seam and half from the armscye.  Armed with these two opinions, I chose to take all from the princess seam.

Next, I pinned the front and back pattern pieces together and tried it on.  I noticed that there were two points that didn’t match, the bust point and the waist.  I’ve never noticed this before, but I knew I couldn’t ignore it (much as I would like to). The crazy thing was that the bust point was too low and the waist was way to high.  Ya gotta love body oddities.  So I had to split the pattern (both front and back pieces) in two different places to make the adjustment – just below the armscye to make the bust point adjustment, and just above the waist to make the waist point adjustment.

I’m almost embarrassed to show my pattern pieces after the adjustment, but here is the naked truth of my sewing life:

As you can see, I don’t always trace the pattern before I make adjustments, but I usually trace the final, adjusted pattern piece.  I figure, if my body changes, it’s better to go from the traced pattern piece that is always going to fit me through the shoulders, then I can just adjust the parts that are going to change with time.

So after I draw all of the cutting lines on the original pattern piece, with adjustments, I then cut all of the seam allowances off.  It’s just easier for me to see the pattern this way.  At this point, I deal with it as I would a BurdaStyle pattern.  I trace it off, then add the seam allowance with my Olfa rotary cutter with seam gauge.  If I were a really great sewist, I would thread trace the seams instead.  Maybe some day.  Here’s the final, adjusted pattern pieces.

Of course, this is just the front and back side pieces.  I had to alter the front and back front pieces in the same way.

Now I’ll need to go through the facing pieces and see what needs fixing there.  More to come.

Sew Expo, Puyallup 2

16 Mar

A few days to recuperate from surgery, and I can finally post #2 of Sew Expo.

I took two of Katherine Tilton’s classes, The Arty T and Using Raw Edges.  I’m going to start with the raw edges class.

I remember the first time I sewed Vogue 8497, I didn’t realize it had raw edges.  I finished it and hated it!  I just couldn’t wrap my mind, or my style, around raw edges!  I guess when things are really different, it takes me awhile to get accustomed to it, not that I would ever say I’m rigid – I actually consider myself quite flexible (a wonderful teacher-trait) :=). But I guess I’ve been pretty traditional when it comes to style, and now that I’m retired and can wear anything I want, I’d like to break out of my mold a bit.  Nothing too radical, mind you, but a few raw edges here and there will NOT kill me.

Katherine’s idea of raw edges can be pretty radical.  She will just throw odds and sods of fabric on garment edges, and it turns out wonderful.  That would never work for me.  But I will say, she did inspire me.  Here are some examples from her website:

There are raw edges at the bottom of this Vogue 8691 T-shirt.  It’s hard to tell, but I think the vertical piece on the front has exposed edges, as well.

I’m not sure what the above pattern is, but this cardi has more raw edges than you can believe.  Isn’t it cute?  This is one of those garments where she just puts pieces of fabric in different places…and viola!  Looks easy, huh?

I love this cardi!  Check out the raw edges on the bottom and the top (and probably the sleeves).  Katherine will sometimes use the role of the fabric as a natural finish on a neckline.  Also, she will use a double fabric treatment for style and warmth.

Katherine and Marcy both use tule or netting for edges, so I bought some at their expo shop.  I washed it today, along with some other fabric that will go with it.  We’ll see what I come up with.

In the Arty T class, Katherine showed us that you COULD combine fabric that you really wouldn’t think would go together, to make beautiful garments.  What I took away from that class is that fabrics will work together if they have at least one color in there that sort of matches.  Mixing patterns on fabrics adds interest and distinctiveness to a homemade garment.

The last class I took at Sew Expo was a class on using my Babylock Serger.  I have an Imagine, which doesn’t have a coverhem.  In this class, we used an Evolution, which does have a coverhem.  Boy, is that baby easy to use.  I love my Imagine, but I am now officially coveting the Evolution.  NO, I WILL NOT BUY IT!

Speaking of buying things, after much deliberation and research, I purchased this Naomoto HYS-58 gravity feed steam iron:

I’m very excited about this purchase, which I thought I would never say about an iron, lol.  I now must locate an IV stand to hold the water container, then I’m set.  Press on!

Reporting on Sew Expo, Puyallup

8 Mar

Sew Expo – exciting, creative, inspiring, and exhausting!  It will take me a few days to recover. Fortunately, my foot held out well, and I was able to navigate the fairgrounds without issue.

I took some wonderful classes, and was fortunate that not one of them was a dud.  When I was teaching, I would take lots of workshops to either brush up on my teaching skills, or to learn new ones.  I would consider a workshop successful if I took just one thing away from it that I could use immediately in my teaching.  So, I’d like to go through each workshop and highlight the one lesson that I will probably use right away.

1.  Cutting Through the Red Tape, Louise Cutting:  This class was on measuring the body and a little bit about making alterations.  I took several things away from this excellent class, but the most important one for me was the sloping shoulder measurement.  There are two body points you need here: one is the shoulder point, which is made by raising your arm parallel to the floor and then finding that little indent where the shoulder meets the arm; the other is the point on the spine right at the waistline.  Measure between these two points and compare this measurement with the pattern. Lower or raise the slope of shoulder seam accordingly.

Another little tidbit I learned from this class is to measure the width of the shoulder from the base of the neck to the little shoulder indent.  I had been measuring across the back from shoulder point to shoulder point.  Maybe that’s why my shoulder seams never come out just right!

2.  Linda Lee’s class on design for young and old – can’t remember the exact title:  I learned a great tweak for the Hudson pants, and if you are a Sewing Workshop fan, you will want to take note.  The Hudson’s can be made into harem-style pants by simply adding a band to the bottom.  Here is Erin from The Sewing Workshop in a pair she made:

You could make the band any width you want, and if you want the pants a little “blousier”, you could just lengthen them and then put the band on.  Cool!

3.  The Arty Cardi by Marcy Tilton:  Marcy, I love you, pure and simple!  Now I know how to make my favorite t-shirt, which is Vogue 8582, into a cardi (actually, you can make any t-shirt into a cardi with these instructions).

First, you make fresh pattern pieces, then you deepen the armhole by adding 1/2 to 3/4 inches at the shoulder seam.  Add 1/2″ or more (per your preference) at the side seams. For a plain front opening, you add 2 3/4″ to the center front (make sure you mark the center front on the pattern).  Draw another line 5/8″ from the center front – that is the fold line.  Interface, making sure the interfacing goes through the fold line.  Press the fold and make the top buttonhole BEFORE sewing on the neck-band (I thought this was the coolest tip). Voila!

I think that’s enough for today.  My next post will be about Katherine Tiltons Arty T class and the Babylock Serger class.  I’ll also include pics of my Marcy Tilton fabric purchases and my plans for them.

My Sew Expo “Outfit” and Second Jacket for JAM

3 Mar


Pamela’s Patterns Jacket and Marcy Tilton Pants

I really didn’t think I was going to get this done.  I just did not have any sewing mojo at all. But I kept on sewing, and pretty soon some desire to sew returned, which is a lesson learned.

The cardigan is Pamela’s Patterns new Shaped Cardigan.  I made it with a double-sided wool sweater knit; one side is chocolate-brown, and the other side is a sort of brown/copper metallic.  I didn’t take enough advantage of the double-sidedness of the fabric, but I couldn’t find a better pattern that appealed to me.  I modified it a bit, since I was using the metallic side as the public side, and I wanted to show some of the chocolate side.  I turned up the sleeve edges to make a cuff.  I decided to stitch down the cuff so I wouldn’t have to deal with it falling down.

The pattern calls for some elastic at the center back neck edge, in order to create some ruching so that the center front will have a flowing look to it.  Unless you have the kind of elastic that you can sew through without stretching out, this will not work.  In the case of my fabric, it probably would not have worked anyway, because the fabric is too thick.  I tried several different elastics that I had on hand, and then I tried to use two lines of gathering stitches to gather it up for a ruching effect, but neither technique worked, so I ended up just sort of bunching it up and stitching it by hand.

I probably should have done a narrow shoulder adjustment on this cardigan.  I’m still having trouble measuring my shoulders and comparing them to a pattern.  Hopefully, I’ll figure that out soon.  I used the extra-small size with the full-bust option for the front.  There are no darts, but there is some easing in the bust area, and this looks very nice.  I believe it is Shams who uses this technique on some of her tops, and I do like it.

When I was finished with the jacket it looked sort of plain, so I put one buttonhole/button on the front as a closure.

I am so in love with the Marcy Tilton, Vogue 8712 pants.  I made view C without the zipper.  I actually put the zipper in, then took it out.  It was just too fussy for me with the ponte fabric I was using.  If I use a woven to make these pants (which I probably will), I’ll put in the zipper. Instead, I used Katherine Tilton’s method of putting in an elastic waist, which is my favorite (see link at right).  It always comes out neat and tidy.

I used the size 8, even though the envelope measurements would have me in a 10.  These pants have a lot of ease, so if you plan to make them you’ll need to decide how baggy you want them to be.  I added 1 1/2 inches to the crotch, which is a normal adjustment for me, but I won’t do that with the next pair, especially if they are made out of a knit fabric.

I love both of these patterns, and like the way they turned out.  Each pattern has a second view, and I look forward to making both of them.  The second view of the Marcy Tilton pattern has more ease than view C, so I’m curious how they’ll turn out.

I’m going to Sew Expo on Saturday and Sunday.  Surgery is on Thursday, so I don’t know how much sewing I”ll be doing in the near future.  Hopefully, this surgery will be easier than the last and I will be able to do some sewing, but I’m still going to have that cast on, so I probably won’t sew until I get it off (one month).

Next up will be a report on Sew Expo, and my one day excursion with my new Aussie sewing friends.  Stay tuned.

%d bloggers like this: