Tag Archives: Sewing

Cutting Line Designs “A New Dimension” Part 2

29 Jun

It’s beginning to get hot in the sewing room, which means I need to turn on the air conditioning.  I’m pretty stingy with the air, since we live in a fairly moderate climate, but I can’t let that keep me from my sewing, so the air must go on.

I just finished the second version of A New Dimension.  Just to spark your memory, here is the envelope cover:

A New Demension

Here is my version:

I made the longer version this time – the one with the cute collar.  This collar is made by fusing the interfacing in three sections with space between so that you can fold and iron the collar as shown on the envelope cover.  I did it that way, but then I decided I like the collar unfolded A LOT, so I left it that way.  In the future, if I want to change the collar, I can easily do that.

I used the extra small sizing, and there is still plenty of ease in the final jacket.  I made no other alterations except to shorten the length.

I cut a bunch of inches off the length (can’t remember right now, but I’m going to say something like seven).  Because I cut off so much, I made sure I did that at the lengthen/shorten line.  I was still worried about losing the proportions, but I don’t think I did.   I generally don’t look good in a long jacket style, and my intention was to make this a “big shirt” type of jacket.  I think it turned out to have a “swing jacket” vibe.

I used a stretch cotton bottom weight that I got from Marcy Tilton.  It will be a nice layering piece for summer evenings, spring, and fall.  I didn’t put in the pockets, since I’m not much of a pocket girl.

I liked both versions of this pattern, and will probably make it again (especially the last version).  A plus is that THE DONALD (DH) likes it. : )


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.

Combating Jet Lag and Other Trip Goals

28 Sep

We leave for Pisa, Italy on Thursday, so this will be my last post before the trip. I have spent the last few days preparing for jet lag.  I’m one of those people who gets slammed to the point of completely missing the first two days of an overseas trip.  I usually feel like someone just dropped me off on Mars and expected me to function without a space suit.

It’s such a waste of adventure, not to mention money, to miss days of a trip due to jet lag, so I try to prepare in advance.  Through trial and error, I have figured out what works for me, so maybe it will help someone else.

About five days before an overseas trip (eastbound), I start going to bed one hour earlier each night and getting up one hour earlier each day.  This is the fourth day, so I will go to bed at 6:00 pm tonight and get up tomorrow morning at 2:00 am.  Last night, I went to bed at 7:00 pm and got up this morning at 3:00 am.  For westbound travel, you would reverse the process and go to bed one hour later each day.

Am I tired?  Oh, you betcha!  I think what really happens with this scheme is that I get the jet lag over with before I go, so that I can enjoy my trip when I get there.  It really works, though, so I’m not complaining.

Some other things I do for jet lag are to drink lots of water on the flight, limit my food intake, walk around the plane a bit, and try to get some sleep.  I try to stay out in the sun as long as possible when I get to my destination.  If I do all of those things,  I can usually stay up until bedtime (overseas time) the first day, which is the main goal.  After a good first night’s sleep, I’m fine.

So, now that I’ve overcome jet lag, what are my other goals for the trip?  I have a list of all the things I want to see, the food I want to eat (it IS Italy, after all), and the places I want to shop for fabric.  But, one of the things I’ve decided to do while I’m there this time is to take as many pictures of middle-aged, Italian women as I can.

Italian women are the style icons of the planet, but every time I tried to find pictures of middle-aged, Italian women when I was planning my travel wardrobe, I ran into a dead-end.  It seems that those lovely, middle-aged women are as invisible as we middle-aged, American women…sigh!

I know I’ll have to be careful when taking the pictures.  I don’t want to look like I’m stalking these poor ladies.  I do hope, however, to have enough pictures to post here, so that we can all get style ideas from them.  I think it will be fun.

It’s a two-week trip, so I’ll “see” you all when I return.

As Promised, Infinity Scarf Instructions

27 Sep

I have decided that making one’s own silk scarf is the biggest bargain in sewing.  At Nordstrom, a large-sized silk designer scarf goes for between $250.00 and $350.00.  No kidding!  I paid $18.00 for 1 1/2 yards of silk at a local fabric store, and it took me about a half hour to make each of my infinity scarves. As they say, it’s a no-brainer!

Here are pictures of my two infinity scarves with the TSW cardigan I just completed:

The first scarf is a brown/seafoam green crinkle silk sheer, and the second is a black and cream polka-dot silk sheer.  I used the instructions from the current issue of Vogue Magazine to make the infinity scarf.  In case you are wondering what an infinity scarf is, it’s a scarf in a continuous circle (redundant?) that can be wrapped around your head a few times to give that current chunky, turtle-neck look.

You will need about 1 1/2 yards of 60 inch silk.  When you get your silk home, even out the ends of the fabric as much as possible.  Also, make sure you know how to use the rolled hem feature of your serger by testing a small sample before you begin.  Did I make a test hem?  No.  Do as I say, not as I do :).

The first thing you will do is fold the fabric in half lengthwise, right sides together, and pin.  Starting about 3 or 4 inches from the cut edge, serge until you get about 3 or 4 inches from the other cut edge (you’re stitching the selvages together):

Both ends will look like this. You will have 3 or 4 inches unstitched on either side.

The next part is a bit tricky.  With right sides together, stitch the ends together from selvage to selvage.  The scarf will be all bunched up at this point, but carry on.

There will be a hole in the middle of the scarf now.  Turn the scarf inside-out, through the hole, so that the public side of the scarf is facing out:

When you are finished sewing the edges and turning inside-out, it should look like this.

Now hand stitch the rest of the selvage seam closed, and viola, you have an infinity scarf!

Happy sewing!

Last Minute Travel Wardrobe Additions

25 Sep

I am really thrilled with this project.  I’ve had The Sewing Workshop Valencia pattern for a long time, and made the pants several times, even modifying them to have a zipper.  I really like these pants.

On the other hand, I’ve been very leery of making the jacket.  It’s everything I usually don’t like in a jacket.  It has drop shoulders (not good on my narrow frame), wide sleeves, and just lots of material everywhere.  This kind of jacket usually makes me look like a Mini-Me version of myself.  Here’s the TSW picture of the jacket:

Here is my version with some modifications:

Let me just say that I love this cardigan (yes, I used a sweater knit).  I really needed a heavy cardigan for the trip to wear in the evening.  I just couldn’t come up with the right pattern.  I wanted an Eileen Fisher-type cardi and the more I looked at this pattern, the more I thought it might work.

I had to make some modifications because I used a sweater knit.  I didn’t use the facings.  This is what the inside looked like after I sewed the back to the front without facings:

The crazy thing about this jacket is that the “lapel” on the front is not a separate piece.  It is actually a part of the front and goes all the way around to the back to make a collar.  Because it was so unorthodox, I got really confused about how to attach the front to the back.  I had it upside down and inside out several times before I finally got it right.

The other modification was to finish the hems and the center fronts with the serger (no turned up hem).  Here is a another picture:

Here I’ve included one of two infinity scarves I made.  But more on that (including instructions) tomorrow.

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.

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