20 March 2011

Vogue 1036: Part 1

Plans are going smoothly for my mini wardrobe. Despite having only 11 days left, I am remaining confident in the thought that I can get this done. Currently, I'm working on the jacket and decided to start with this piece first since I knew it would take the most time.


I'm using a 100% cotton bull denim purchased at JoAnn's. I had a different fabric planned for this jacket but I wasn't satisfied with how it meshed with the other fabrics in the wardrobe. The bull denim is 58 inches wide and super, super soft. According to the pattern suggestions, I bought 2 yards of fabric. Rarely do I buy extra for shrinkage - even though I do pre-wash when appropriate. This fabric shrunk a full 1/4 yards - 9 full inches! Da' hell?!! Maybe there's something special about bull denim that I don't know. I've never had a fabric shrink this much after one wash - not even rayon. Fortunately, I managed to gain about 4 inches when pressing out the wrinkles in the direction of the grain. I was also able to cut every pattern piece without having to buy more fabric.


There is a serious amount of topstitching in this garment and it helps to have multiple machines dedicated to one function. I am sewing the seams on one machine, topstitching on a second machine, and serging the edges together on a serger.

I considered using gold topstitching thread instead of tone-on-tone. After doing a couple of samples, I decided on the latter because I thought the gold might make the jacket look too regal. I will probably make this again in black denim and use white topstitching as shown on the pattern envelope.

I messed up when pressing the seams to one side. I pressed the side back seams toward the side and the center front seams toward the center. Of course I realized this after I serged and topstitched everything. The instructions clearly tell you the correct way to topstitch; I just missed it. I'll make it right...on the next version.

I used a piece of quilting cotton found in the stash. It doesn't really match, but who's going to know? That's what I like about sewing. You can customize the garment however you deem fit.

When making the muslin, I sewed two rows of ease stitches from notch to notch along the sleeve cap. As a result, the sleeve set in almost automatically with little to no adjusting. For the actual garment, I will use sleeve heads as a way to set in the sleeve. I cut 2 "wide bias strips out of scrap fleece and pinned it along the sleeve cap from notch to notch. This will help the cap ease into the armhole and provide support during wear. In her instructions, Sandra Betzina recommends using lambswool or mohair. I read somewhere that polyester fleece works just as well.

Final Steps
  • set the sleeves
  • finish facing edges
  • attach front and back facings
  • attach sleeve facings
  • attach front band back bands
  • attach snaps
I have work to do tonight, so I don't know if I'll be able to resume working on the jacket. In the mean time, I have the pieces for the other three garments cut and ready to sew. No pressure. No pressure at all. =)


10 March 2011

When I say "tentative," I really mean it.

You know that wardrobe plan I posted, what, five days ago? It's on hold for now. It wasn't the colour scheme or fit that stumped me. It wasn't a faulty needle, bad interfacing, or even loss of interest. I really like the colours and fully intend to make these clothes. Want to know what tanked the plan? Not enough freakin' fabric to make the jacket! Grr... I tried several different layouts and just could not get it to work. The picture below shows the best possible layout.

The empty space is needed for the front facing. The side front piece pictured on the lower right side is just barely hanging on. I don't have enough fabric to cut out the under collar and back neck facing. There were two other pieces left, but I knew I could cut those out in a single layer. I even contemplated cutting the under collar and back neck facing out of a different fabric since no one will really be able to see it. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a fabric with the right amount of stretch (mine is a stretch cotton pique) or in a colour that was close to my fabric.

Since I want to enter the contest, I decided to forgo any further searching and move on to plan B. The garments in the next plan were on my summer sewing list anyway.

(click image to enlarge)

The patterns are:
The motivation for this plan stems from an outing with my friends, Stephanie and Melody. One day, we met for breakfast and walked the mall afterward. During our walk, we stopped in Chico's where I saw this look. It is a simple sack dress with a zipper-front denim jacket and belt. Once I found the Butterick pattern, I knew this outfit would be in my closet this Spring!

Even though this is a complete change in plan, I think I am making good progress. I already traced, cut, and sewed a muslin of the jacket, V1036.

I cut and sewed a straight size E and find the fit to be wonderful! The sleeve cap did not have a lot of ease and pretty much eased itself with basting stitches. Before I cut into my fashion fabric, I am going to sew a quick muslin of the dress to see if the jacket hits me where I want it.

If I work really hard and plan some sewing each day, I should be able to finish the jacket and the rest of the garments by the end of the contest. The jacket is the only garment that will take the longest to make. I've made the skirt and tank top before and the knit cardigan shouldn't be that difficult.

I'll post my progress as I forge ahead!


05 March 2011

Mini Wardrobe Tentative Plan

I am slowly returning to the sewing room. The first two months of 2011 were busy, to say the least. I did little to no sewing and am excited about getting my sew-jo back. The mini wardrobe contest started a few days ago on PR. The premise is the same: sew four coordinating garments in one month. The twist is that a fifth existing garment has to go along with your set. This shouldn't be a problem as I have lots of ways to work in the twist with my tentative plan. Speaking of plans...

I actually have a plan! I swore off making plans and story boards because in the past, my interest waned significantly once I started sewing. Hopefully four garments won't be too overwhelming and I'll be able to get it done in time. If not, no biggies. I am not going to pressure myself to get it done. So here is my tentative plan, subject to change at the blink of an eye, popped seam, or ill-fitting bust area.

(click image to enlarge)

Patterns (in order from upper left):
At first I was concerned that the plan seemed too dark. Spring is usually filled with light, fresh pastels and here I am channeling Darth Vader. Oh well. I like what I have so far and I can branch off of this palette to start another collection. In fact, the coral jacket will match nicely with another cotton print that is patiently waiting to become a skirt.

I actually feel kinda good about the patterns I selected. I made J965, J2908, and NL6300 multiple times. At Christine Jonson's open house last year, I was given the opportunity to try on several of her samples - including CJ630. I'll only need to shorten the skirt and drop the bust seam a bit. Burda 7866 is loose fitting and appears really easy to make. I completed the muslin for S2422 and am satisfied with the fit (more on this later). The only pattern that may take some work is B5328, so I'll work on this last. That way, if I don't get to finish at least I'll have met the contest requirements with the other garments.

I would start talking about the construction of the Simplicity jacket, but since I don't have enough freakin' fabric to cut out the jacket, I guess I'll have to wait. GRRRRRR... Don't you just hate when that happens? I have --> <-- much fabric left and it is not enough to cut the under collar or sleeve facing. I have tried several creative layouts to no avail. I may have to cut the under collar out of something else. Hopefully I can find a fabric with similar stretch and weight. Sigh.

Until next time!



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