Tag Archives: fabric

Vogue 8804 – Chanel Style Jacket

27 Sep

It’s been awhile since I’ve had anything happening in the sewing room that I felt was blog-worthy.  Now, however, I have an EPIC project that I want to document and share.  It’s the new Claire Schaeffer, Chanel style jacket sans motorcycle helmut and leather gloves:

It’s an epic project because of the preparation and sewing techniques involved.  My goal is to greatly improve my sewing skills during the construction of this jacket.  Hope springs eternal.

I bought the fabric during a wild shopping moment in London.  Don’t ever go to Joel & Son unless you want to unload some cash!  It IS a wonderful fabric store, but I’m glad it isn’t located in my town!  The fabric is a beautiful pewter gray boucle with “Chanel” written all over the selvedge.  I don’t really know what that means, except that perhaps the fabric was made for Chanel?

I purchased the lining at this shop, as well.  It’s a gray stripe silk – a beautiful piece that will look perfect with the boucle.

It took several weeks to accumulate the notions and trims, especially the trims.  Here is what was needed:

I had to get silk thread in this exact, sort of odd gray color, silk buttonhole twist in the same color, 1/4″ cotton woven stay tape, gold chain, buttons, interfacing and trim.  Most of that had to be ordered online, since there were no stores in my area that carried these items.  For the trim, I took some of the fabric apart and made a braid.  I made two other braids with some lighter and darker mohair, then I plaited the three braids together.  If I use this braid, I will put a black petersham ribbon under it, since I can’t find a gray ribbon to match.

The other option for the trim, and one I am favoring at the moment, is to fringe the boucle and use that as the trim.  The fringe on the boucle is really pretty, as you can see in the picture, so that may be the one.

I have just finished cutting out and marking the boucle.  Here are the pieces:

Now I am ready to cut out the lining and interfacing.  I am a very slow sewist as it is.  This will take some time, and I intend to enjoy the process.

Chado Ralph Rucci and Marcy Tilton?

24 Oct

My next project is a Marcy Tilton jacket and Chado Ralph Rucci pants. It seems like an unlikely pairing, but in my mind it works because of the proportions.

The Chado Ralph Rucci pants, Vogue1215, are slim, which I have been looking for.  Slim pants are going to be tricky, because I don’t want to look like a lollipop on a stick, a mushroom, or any other top-heavy shape you can come up with.  I want to look like the svelte model in the picture below:

That will only happen in my parallel universe, where all things are skinny and beautiful (hopefully, y’all know I’m teasing – I’m pretty comfortable in this old body).  I love the shape of these pants, though: not too tight, a bit flowy and feminine – just perfect.

I am pairing these pants with the new Marcy Tilton jacket, Vogue 8693:

I love the drape of this jacket – casual, but elegant at the same time.  This is a similar silhouette to Vogue 8582:

This pattern has become a TNT for me.  I’ve made it up in long sleeves, 3/4 sleeves, scoop neck, and turtle neck.  I like that the narrowest point is just above the waist, which is my narrowest point.  Here is a picture of last top I made out of a rayon/lycra knit:

I realize that the top and the jacket are different in many ways, as well.  For one thing, the jacket looks like it has lots of ease.  That, or the jacket on both models is too big.  I will have to be careful of that, perhaps using the smallest size and adjusting from there.  However, because of the “wings”, there is plenty of ease in the waist/hip area, so I may not have to worry about that at all.

The other difference is the fabric.  I usually look best in a thin, drapey fabric.  This jacket will be made out of an unusual cotton double knit I got from Emma One Sock.  It is a double-sided knit; one side is a gray, heathered solid and the other side is a creamy-white and gray print (sort of a small houndstooth, but not really).

Here are the two fabrics for the project.  On the left is a gray, stretch wool for the pants.  The two on the right are both sides of the cotton double knit I will use for the jacket.  The side I call “houndstooth” and the side I call “heathered solid”.

Marcy shows the latest jacket she made from this pattern in “Marcy’s Closet” on her blog.  Here it is:

I intend to play with the fabric, alternating the sides to come up with a similar effect.

This is my last week of freedom before I have surgery on my foot.  I don’t know when or if I will be able to sew for awhile, since the foot needs to be elevated for about two weeks after surgery. But, you can bet I will do everything in my power to make sewing a priority, especially, since I have this project in mind. Right now, I have visions of me sitting at the sewing machine, legs splayed, one foot on the peddle and the other propped on a pillow sitting atop a chair. Nice visual, huh? I hope it works.

Travel Wardrobe 2

14 Jul

I wonder if there are many sewists out there who have as much trouble as I do putting a wardrobe together from scratch. By “from scratch”, I mean starting with a pattern and some fabric. It’s one thing to go to a department store and try on garment after garment until I find that one that looks the best on me, and quite another to sort through pattern books and online fabric stores, “imagining” what will look best. There are lots of reasons for this:

1. Lack of sewing experience
2. Not completely understanding what fabric goes with what pattern
3. Not completely understanding what colors/styles look good on me when I can’t try them on first
4. Getting over the “sew one item at a time” mentality, and thinking more about making a set of coordinates

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and am trying to make a big change in the direction of my sewing by committing to making mostly coordinates, instead of individual items. I’m sure there will be times when I need a new white blouse; but right now, I have in my closet a multitude of single items that simply have no friends.

So, the fall travel wardrobe is really my first “thoughtful” attempt at planning a coordinated ensemble. Here is what I have so far:

The black fabric is a rayon hopsack – very drapey.  The taupe is a ponte knit that has the same content as the Eileen Fisher ponte – 75% viscose rayon, 22% nylon, 3% lycra.  With nylon in the content, I think I’ll need to be very careful with the iron. The white fabric is a crinkle rayon.  The black and taupe print is a poly/lycra knit.

The dress may turn into a skirt.  I just fell in love with the simplicity of this dress when the new fall Vogue patterns came out, so I included it here, but I’m not sure yet.

I need at least one more top in a knit fabric.  It will probably be this Marcy Tilton top in the turtlneck version:

Also, I have the Eileen Fisher cardigan in a very light weight black wool, and another taupe/black tweed cardigan that I am making.

There are a lot of solid colors here (which is really my style), so I will spiff it up a bit with patterned scarves.  That makes a total of eleven items, plus shoes and raincoat, to pack in my suitcase.  All of the fabrics are light-weight, except for the tweed cardigan, which I may carry on the plane.

I’m sure I’ll make changes along the way.  I always do.  But I think this is the beginning of a workable plan.  I have all of the fabric and patterns, so I’m ready to go.

I spent one day cutting out all of the black rayon.  I’ve completed the pants, except for the hem.  I just love the way the Loes Hinse oxford pant came together, but more on that later.

Off to sew.

Summer Six-Pack

10 May

I am getting ready for Stitcher’s Guild summer six pack.  Here is the plan I have put together so far.

I’m thinking of doing some fun things with the fabrics, switching them up a bit between the patterns.  The three top fabrics are dark navy Italian cotton, all with a different pattern.  They are soft, silky, and wonderful! My idea is to have a monochromatic palette with different patterns thrown in.  It’s a subtle mix of patterns:  one is a houndstooth, another is a plaid, and the last one is a really cool lighter blue dot with “fringe” around each dot.  If you click on the picture you will get a better look.

The three bottom pieces are, from left to right:  a navy blue rayon/lycra knit, a white rayon/lycra knit, and an embroidered cotton.  I think I will end up with a lot of basics that I can use with other things in my closet.

At the same time, I am making my future DIL a dress from our fabric purchase at Mood.  Here is the dress:

It’s Vogue 1152.  I think it’s very cute, but I’m a little concerned about the fabric we got for it.  The fabric suggestion is crepe de chine, charmeuse, and matte jersey.  I am hoping that matte jersey is a knit, because that is what I’m using.  It’s a cotton/lycra jersey knit.  The dress in the picture is obviously a woven.  The pattern calls for a zipper in the side seam.  I’m skipping that because I think it will slip easily over the head without the zipper.

So, as you can see, I have a lot on my sewing plate right now.  Five more weeks of school, then it’s sewing mania at my house!

Coming To Terms With The Serger

15 Mar

I love my serger!  I want to make that clear from the beginning of this post, because I’m mostly going to talk about the down side of a serger today.

My Babylock Imagine is a very special machine.  It will sew through anything, from silk to denim, without making any adjustments at all.  Not only that, but it threads itself while I’m thinking about what I’m going to fix for dinner.  It’s pure and simple heaven!

I feel this way about my serger because I’ve been to the dark side of serger-land.  I use to own a serger that thought every new fabric that entered it’s realm was an alien from another planet.  That serger simply could not tolerate diversity.  It would take me an hour just to warm the serger up to the fact that it needed to be somewhat flexible in its view of a new fabric.  At some point, the serger would win and cry, “Off with its head!”. The battle would be lost.  It wore me down!  (I know I carried that metaphor to the extreme, but I saw Alice in Wonderland last night and couldn’t help myself).

Enter the Imagine.  Sometimes, when I get a new toy, I can begin to feel overconfident in my skills.  I really thought I could do anything with that baby.  So, when the Hot Patterns 1090 instructions AND video said I could sew this beginner dress completely with a serger, I was ready.  Here’s a pic of the pattern front:

Here’s a pic of my completed garment:

Sigh…I’d give anything for a pair of shoulders. Oh, it’s not bad, and I’ll wear it (although it’s not the best style for me, so I’m sure when I wear it I’ll have a cardigan or jacket over it ala pic on right).  Here is the problem regarding the serger:  I think my serging skills are fine for sewing together a simple straight seam; but, when it comes to sewing on bands and things more delicate, I need to stick with my sewing machine.  See how the collar band seam is all ripply?

I really hate that!  I want ALL my seams to be perfectly smooth and straight, or perfectly curved…whatever, just perfectly perfect!

Lesson learned:  Even if the instructions tell me to do something a certain way, I need to consider my sewing skills and then do it the way that is best for me.  After all, Marcy Tilton says she NEVER sews a seam together on a serger, so who am I?

I really love the fabric I used for the dress.  It was an Eileen Fisher cotton/viscose/elastic knit from Emma One Sock. I also bought a piece in “mulberry”. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with that yet.

If you are interested in sewing up that dress, please be mindful of the fact that it will not turn out like the picture unless you take at least 5 inches off the length of the band at the bottom of the skirt.  If you don’t, you will get an a-line skirt, which sort of defeats the purpose of the design, in my opinion.

Up next?  I’m not sure, but I have lots of projects in the wings.  I just know I’m in desperate need of working with a woven.

I Finally Have An “Outfit”

1 Mar

Do people use the term “outfit” anymore? It seems to me that the younger set works very hard at making sure things don’t match rather than match. So for all of the folks of a certain age, I finally made an “outfit”. Here it is:

The top is Vogue 8616:

This top fits great without a full bust adjustment because it is one of those patterns that has sizing for an A, B, C, or D cup. I used a size 10 with a D cup front, and worked my way out to a size 12 from the armscye down. The original pattern called for gathering at the bust, but I didn’t like that at all. I trued the front sides to the back sides and sewed it together straight, without the gathers. The other adjustment I made was to the collar facing. If you fold the collar facing on the pattern fold line, it won’t lie flat. So, I made the back collar a little deeper so that it would.

This fabric is a poly knit and it is very slippery. I used Steam-a-Seam Lite on some of the seams, and lots of pins. The print of this fabric is on the diagonal. The pattern says, “DO NOT USE DIAGONAL PRINTS” or something of that sort. Lesson learned: You don’t always have to follow the pattern instructions. This is a real eye-opener for me, being the compliant girl that I am. I have ALWAYS been a pathetic instruction follower…but, no more! I didn’t like the bust gathers, so I didn’t use them. I did like the diagonal print, so I used it. More power to me!!!

Notice that the sleeves are not on the diagonal because I cut them on the bias, as per Pam Erny’s suggestion with this fabric (see previous entry). I really like the way that breaks up the diagonal line.

The pants are my attempt at being artsy/funky. They are Vogue 8561 (Marcy Tilton).

I wanted these pants to look just like the picture. They don’t unless you make some adjustments. I took in 1 inch on each side seam from the hip to about 2 inches from the bottom band. Then I tapered off about a half-inch more from there through the band. Otherwise, the pants would have been forever known as Janis’ balloon pants, or perhaps Janis’ clown pants. As it is, they are a little silly, but fun to wear just the same.

Next up: A Hot Patterns knit dress. I’m on a roll!

The Fine Art of Buying Fabric

25 Feb

There is a wonderful little “boutique” fabric store in my area.  I take sewing lessons there on occasion, and the fabrics are beautiful and classy.  You really can’t get fabric of that quality anywhere else in all of Portland.  I want to support this shop so it doesn’t go away.  But…the prices are just ridiculous.

I bought this fabric from them a few months ago:

It’s a very nice Maggy London knit.  It attracted me because the pattern is on the diagonal.

When I purchased it from my local shop, it was over $15.00/yard.  I can’t remember exactly how much but $17.99 is stuck in my head.  FabricMart has the same fabric for $4.95/yard.  Even with postage, it would have saved me a bundle buying it from FabricMart.  Sigh…it’s very difficult to support my local shop when the prices are that much higher.

I’m making this Vogue top to go with the Marcy Tilton pants that I finally finished (more on that later):

I’m making the one with the criss-cross neckline.  I was inspired by this Pam Erny top from her blog:

The pattern I’m using says not to use diagonal prints, so we’ll see how it turns out. I’m taking Pam’s advice and cutting the sleeves on the bias so that they won’t have the diagonal look. I’ll post pics when I’m done.

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