24 June 2013

Kwik Sew 3558 (jacket): Complete

Many thanks to all of you who dropped by and commented on my skirt!  Here is a photo of me wearing both the skirt and jacket.

I super heart this look!  At first I thought the color combo was too stark, but now that I've sewn and worn the garments, I think these colors work very well together.  In fact, I am adding one more piece to my mini wardrobe:  a lime green tank top to go under the jacket and pop with the skirt.  Though there are more shades of blue threads in the boucle', the few green threads are the same color of my intended top.

  • 2 yards of medium navy cotton twill
  • 1 cotton fat quarter for self-made bias tape
  • 2 11" x 2" bias cut fleece for sleeve heads
  • fusible weft interfacing
  • 3 5/8" buttons, 1 1" button
  • twill tape for the lapel roll line
  • regular sewing machine with walking foot for seams
  • 80/12 universal needle
  • serger and thread
Since I wasn't going to line the jacket, I had this grand idea of binding the seams together and then topstitching.  I tested the idea on the center back and side back seams and realized that I would be sewing each seam four times.  Then I thought about this...
Yeeeeeeaaah.  I ain't got time for all of that.  I picked out those stitches with the quickness and proceeded with the serger.  =D  I did bind the facing edges and hem with bias tape, so at least there is a little bit of pretty on the inside.  On a simple jacket like this, going naught-couture works for me. Honestly, naught-couture pretty much describes my sewing style!


I started with a size medium and made very few fitting alterations.  I compared the bodice center and side front to that of Jalie 2559 and found that they were VERY similar - so much so that I considered ditching the Kwik Sew pattern and winging a peplum draft from the Jalie pattern.  I decided against it because...um...hmm...I really don't know why I decided against it. 

The Kwik Sew back bodice pieces were much smaller than Jalie, so I first did a 5/8" broad back adjustment.  Remembering that the Jalie pattern was a bit blousy in the back, I removed the back adjustment and stuck with a straight medium.  The fit is spot on!

The two significant changes I made were to add a center back seam for a 1" swayback adjustment and an addition of 1" to the hem.  The muslin's cut length was where I wanted my jacket to end.  Adding the extra inch gave me the length I wanted.

The waist was a bit snug, so I added 1/4" to the front and back side seams for extra room.   

The shoulder seams for a medium were very long.  So I took 3/4" seam allowances at the front and back princess seams, tapering to 5/8" about an inch or so below the seam.  This corrected the problem and placed the shoulder point closer to mine.  

Lastly, I added one inch to the hem since I wanted the cut length as my finished length.  In cutting out the pieces, I forgot to add the extra inch to the facings.  At first, I thought I needed to remove the extra inch so that the jacket and facings would have the same length.  After looking at the directions again, I realized that I needed to trim the bottom of the facings after they were attached to the front.  So my not adding the extra inch saved me a step in trimming!  In the future, I'll add a 1/4" seam allowance to the bottom of the facing as insurance.

All seams except the sides were sewn, pressed to one side, and topstitched with regular thread.  I meant to press open the shoulder seams but had a duh moment and serged them together.  By the time I realized what I had done, I was attaching the collar and not interested in correcting my mistake.  The shoulder doesn't lie as flat as it could, but it's not that bad either.

I did a tiny bit of tailoring by taping the lapel roll line.  I didn't think to tape the collar roll line, but I will the next time I make this or a similar jacket.

Pattern Instructions
The instructions are very straightforward, though I followed a slightly different order.  I assembled the complete front and back, then attached at the side seams for fit.  The instructions have you sew the bodice front and back first, then attach the completed peplum.

The collar instructions are confusing at first.  Having sewn a couple of jackets, I expected to  sew the jacket, attach the collar unit, sew the facing unit, and then attach it to the jacket. Kwik Sew, on the other hand, has you construct the jacket, add the front facings, add the collar unit, then attach the back facing. I was nervous about following Kwik Sew's instructions but am glad that I did. For once, I sewed a notched collar that doesn't have any pulls, puckers, or gaps and lies completely flat. I think I will follow these instructions from now on when sewing a collar like this.

Sleeve Heads
In any structured jacket, I like to set my sleeves using sleeve heads.  Not only do they help ease the cap into the sleeve, they provide great structure for the cap area.

Sleeve and Back Tabs
The sleeve tabs are clever and give a casual look to the jacket.  I will have to re-do one of the tabs because the buttonhole is poorly placed and causes the tab to stick out.  Right now I have it tacked down, but I won't keep it like this for long.  I'll probably re-do one of the back tabs as well.  The buttonhole is too far from the point and makes the tab pull the left side too much.

I am very happy with my outfit.  The "scarf" is actually the fabric for the knit top!  If I have enough fabric, I will try to eke out a real scarf to wear with this look.

Now I need to find some shoes to wear with this!  I have a pair of cloth navy pumps, but no sandals.  I suppose this is a more pump-wearing outfit, but still.  It's summer and panty hose are not happening in this heat.

Up next:  McCall's 6078 in the floral rayon knit and the silk suiting skirt.

Until next time, peace!


23 June 2013

BWOF 8-2005-102 (skirt): Complete

BWOF 8-2005-102

This is my second version of this pattern and it turned out just how I envisioned.  Initially, I was hesitant to use this fabric because I wasn't sure how I'd like how the fabric's print would respond to the bias front and back.  I decided to go for it and am so glad that I did!

Fabric & Notions
  • 1.5 yards of cotton-acrylic boucle'
  • about 1.5 yards of French-Fuse fusible interfacing
  • 1.5 yards of Bemberg Ambiance lining
  • 7-inch invisible zipper
  • 1.5-inch wide petersham cut to waist measurement plus a little extra
  • 80/12 universal needle
  • regular machine with walking foot
  • serger threaded with off white serger thread 
Alterations & Fit
Having sewn this before, the skirt was already altered to fit my body.  The only extra change I made was to shorten the upper part of the skirt 1".  On the first version, I took this extra length from the bottom half but then I thought it made the skirt a bit unbalanced.  Taking the extra length from the top seems to have corrected that minor problem.

Prepping to Sew
Boucle is known to be shifty due to its loose weave.  Knowing this coming into this project, I did a bit of research online and decided to block-fuse the fabric first before cutting it out.  For the most part, this was pretty easy.  I had somewhat of a hard time keeping the fabric from shifting too much while fusing.  You can see a bit of a wave in the fabric, though it's not apparent in the garment.

Based on a suggestion I read...um...somewhere, I used French Fuse fusible interfacing.  It has a slight crosswise stretch and is light to medium in weight.  I was concerned that the interfacing would change the hand of the fabric too much.  After testing nit on a small piece of fabric, I was satisfied with the result.  The fabric is definitely not nearly as fluid without the interfacing, but it still maintains some degree of drape.

fabric completely block-fused
Once the fabric was block-fused, I cut out the pieces as normal.

I used 1/2" seam allowances on the side seams and waist and a 3/8" seam to join the upper and lower halves.I sewed this the same way I did the first version.  The side seams were finished first and then pressed open.  The seam that joins the upper and lower halves was serged together and then pressed up.  I omitted the waistband and lined the skirt (faced with petersham) using a technique that I've mentioned a few times before, so I won't repeat it again. Visit this post for a complete picture tutorial.

The hems of both the shell and lining were finished using a rolled hem.  It was much simpler to do it this way than fussing with a wide circular hem that's cut on the bias.

I can't say enough good things about this pattern.  There are only three pieces and it sews up very quickly.  I love how the upper half skims the hips while the lower bias half creates a flirty flare.  I don't have any immediate plans to sew this again, but I do highly recommend it.

Up next:  I hope to snap some photos of me wearing the entire outfit on Monday and post the review for the jacket shortly thereafter.  Until next time, peace all!


21 June 2013

Sneak Peek

I think I finally broke the wadder streak.  I've been working on styling my stash (thanks Sarah Liz!) and sewing small, coordinated capsules. 

This is the first group of fabric from which I started to sew.  Each piece has been in the stash at least a year.  In order from top to bottom:

1.  floral rayon knit, McCall's 6078 (top)
2.  raw silk suiting, New Look 6130 (skirt)
3.  stretch cotton poplin, Burda 8497 (blouse)
4.  navy cotton twill, Kwik Sew 3558 (jacket)
5.  chartreuse boucle, BWOF 8-2005-102 (skirt)

Both garments are almost finished.  I was having trouble with my serger's rolled hem, so I put the skirt aside and started working on the jacket.  All the jacket needs is the hem, topstitching, buttonhole, and buttons.

Reviews for both garments will be posted as soon as they're completed!


13 June 2013

Wadder Number...I Lost Count

I had high hopes for the iconic wrap dress a la Vogue 8379.  Maaaaaaaan, this FAIL came straight from the heart.  Where do I even begin?  This dress is just all kinds of wrong.  Each FAIL ranks supreme in its awfulness, so I suppose I should just list the issues as they come to mind.

I made a muslin a couple of years ago and altered the pattern to fit.  I seem to have developed an unconscious affinity to working on older projects with completed muslins.  Obviously I need to rethink or scrap this approach 'cause the shiz ain't workin'.

The look on my face says it all:  I am NOT feeling anything about this.  The FBA I made is too big and gives me SBS (Saggy Boob Syndrome).  The bad thing (or good thing depending on how you think about it) is my boobs aren't even in the saggy area; they're above it.

The bodice is too short for my liking and the V-neck is too low.  That's not a camisole peeking out; it's my bra.

I lopped off four inches of length and the dress is still too long.

The sleeves are tight, but that's because I've been pumping iron.  I do 15-pound curls and 25-pound tricep exercises with free weights.  Apparently it's working. 

Finally the back hem is higher than the front hem.  I forgot to add a wedge for my trunk junk.

The facings on this dress are pure evil and a good lesson in Zen practices.  I unpicked them all and settled on binding.  This was going well until it came time to address the skirt.  You see, the bodice has an attached facing while the skirt has a self-facing.  WTF?  I sort of winged that whole area and it shows.  I tried to bind the bodice and skirt separately, but it didn't turn out so well.  It's a hot mess.

The ties are entirely too short.  You can see the teeny-tiny bow it makes in the front.  To get that little ass bow, I practically had to cut off circulation to my lower half.  
And then to top it off, the current tie location and desired tie location are inches apart. 

This FAIL of epic proportions is going to become one with a landfill.  It is not worth repairing and I would not even donate this to the devil himself - despite bestowing demonic facings upon the sewing world.

I might try to save the skirt because I really do like the fabric.  Anyone who knows me knows that "might try" means "hang it up in the UFO closet until I'm tired of looking at it and toss it at the next purge."
So what number wadder is this?  Four?  Five?  Maybe even six.  I am not at all defeated;  I have already started work on the next project.  

Even though my sewing is in somewhat of a slump, my pottery output is on fire...no pun intended.  Everything is wheel-thrown with a white stone wear clay body.

The first pair of pictures show coffee mugs I made.  The green mug is complete and functional; I had a cup of tea a few hours ago.  The mugs on the right are bisqued.  I glazed them today and will probably get them back next week.

This is a drum I made a couple of months ago.  The horn and drum (sans skin) were both wheel thrown and the tube was extruded.

I learned how to make lotion/soap dispensers and took it to the next level.  I'm really enjoying making bottles now.  The bottle on the right is greenware and needs to be fired, glazed, and fired again to complete.

This is a replacement casserole dish.  The first one I made stuck to the kiln shelf and cracked.  I was really disappointed because it's the first lidded piece that I made that had a really good fit.  Making lidded pottery takes skill and I finally got it right. 

The picture on the left shows the first casserole dish.  The photo on the right shows the bottom of the same dish.  I kept it so that I could get a decent measure for the replacement.  Clay shrinks as it dries and after its fired, so I made the second bowl's opening  bigger in the hopes that the original lid will fit.
So far, so good!
Up next in the sewing queue:  BWOF 8-2005-102 (skirt)

Finally I want to thank everyone again for their words of encouragement and support.  I am doing the best that I can.  I've started a blog post that gives a bit of detail; I may post it soon.

Until next time, be well!


09 June 2013

Fabric Haul for Two Good Causes

I've been in a funk lately and I turned to retail therapy for a temporary cure.  I've mentioned several times that I have "family drama" going on.  Perhaps one day I'll share some of the details.  For now, let's just say eight years of this drama has worn me down and I just can't take it anymore.  This is the first good cause for the fabric haul.

Twice a year, a local non-profit arts and crafts organization, at which I sometimes volunteer, sells donated fabric to raise money.  For a total of $30, I got six pieces of poly-rayon wovens earmarked and tagged for Express, six wools (coatings and suit-weight), four double knits, a bunch of short-length knits perfect for making underwear, a single piece of cotton broadcloth, and a some lace trims and pieces. 100% of the proceeds goes to the non-profit.  So in a sense I did a good thing, right?  Sure I could have just donated the $30 to the organization and walk away with nothing since I really do not need any more fabric.  Then again, see cause number one.

Here are the pieces that were created for Express.  Each piece measures one meter and has a tag and information sheet from the textile manufacturer.  The sheet lists the fiber content, washing instructions, lot number, and fabric name.  The pieces are rayon-polyester-lycra blends with about 10% stretch across the grain.

I got six pieces of wool, but one piece will be given back to the organization.  When I looked at it again, I noticed that it had a lot of short animal hairs.  I tried to take some of it off, but it's a bigger job than I'm willing to undertake.  The purple, black, and green fabrics are perfect for skirts.  The tan fabric is a heavyweight coating, and the fabric on the far right is a knit boucle'.

    These are the double knits.  From left to right is rayon-poly-lycra, poly-lycra x 2, and wool-poly lycra.  The middle two fabrics are quite stiff and will probably be used for skirts.

    Thee next pieces are short lengths of knit samples, again from a textile manufacturer.  At first I passed on these, but then I thought that these would be great for making underwear.  Jalie 2568 only requires 3/8 yd of fabric and these samples are more than large enough.  Plus, they're all cotton, rayon, modal, or some combination of the three.

    Soooooo...yeah.  Retail therapy has its ups and downs.  I don't have any desire to acquire any more fabric for now.  What I need is relief from the family issue.


    06 June 2013

    Jalie 2680 Completed and Off to Wadderville

    It's not the pattern.  It's not the lining/underlining.  Just the fit, ma'am.  Just the fit.  I made a muslin a year (or two) ago and tried it on.  I thought it looked pretty good, but the finished product says otherwise.

    It is as bad as it looks.  I didn't need the extra width in the front and I could loose some width across the back.  Sure I could fix it, but that would require undoing all of the topstitching and taking in each seam.  I'd rather start over from scratch.  So it's off to Wadderville for this coat.  Maybe someone can use it as a duster or something.

    I finished the facings with bias tape and everything.  Awww...

     Oh well.  On to the next project.


    04 June 2013

    Stitch-and-Flip with Jalie 2680 (photo heavy)

    The weather in Michigan can be stupid sometimes.  There is just no other way to put it.  The high two weeks ago Wednesday was 85 degrees.  The high on Thursday (the very next day) was 50 degrees.  Yikes!  After looking through my coat closet for something lightweight and casual to wear since short sleeves are still not an option, I realized that I had nothing of the sort.  I have two wool coats, two goose-down coats (which, given the weather, are obviously still fair play) a trench coat, and a dressier light-weight coat - but nothing casual.  So I decided to make one.

    Jalie 2680
    Fabric & Notions:
    • about 2 1/4 yards of stretch cotton denim
    • 2 yards of cotton voile for lining
    • fusible interfacing
    • topstitching thread
    • regular thread
    • 90/14 and 100/16 universal needles
    Fitting & Alterations:
    I first attempted this pattern a couple of years ago.  I started with a straight size Z according to my full bust measurement and added a 1/2" vertical wedge to the front panel piece.  I added the same amount to the front yoke, tapering to nothing at the seam line.  I also removed 1" of length in the upper back area.  I know I am proportionately short, but these sleeves must be sized for yetis.  I shortened the sleeve pattern and that still wasn't enough by the time I sewed the jacket; I took of an additional three more inches. 

    In 2009, I took a class on PR taught by the late Shannon Gifford.  The class centered on her method of lining and underlining a jacket using her Stitch-and-Flip (S-F) method.  You can find an article she wrote on her method on pages 50 - 51 in Threads #111.  The basic idea is to make a garment-lining sandwich, sew all layers at the same time, and topstitch in place.  This method works best with vertical seams.  Horizontal seams like yokes and peplums are also okay as well as welt pockets and darts.  Gifford recommends eliminating inseam pockets because there is a point in the construction where horizontal and vertical line sewing intersect and it's difficult to S-F that tiny area.

    1.  Cut out the same lining pieces  as normal.

    2.  Starting at the center back, stack the coat pieces right sides together, then stack the lining pieces right sides together.

    3.  Place the coat pieces on top of the lining pieces, matching notches and seams.  Stitch the center back seam through all layers.

    Here is a view from the lining side.

    4.  When you open out the lining and coat fabric, the lining's wrong side will face the coat's wrong side as intended.  Press the seam to one side and topstitch on the outside.

    5.  Continue to S-F from back to front.  Stack the lining right sides together and the coat right sides together at the side-back seam.  Stitch through all layers, open out, press, and topstitch.  I attached the front and back yokes in the same manner, but after completing all of the vertical seams first.

    Here's how the garment will look after completely stitching and flipping the entire front and back:

    You can stitch-and-flip completely from center back to center front, including the side seams.  I didn't S-F the side seams so that I could take in the jacket if needed.  Additionally, the sleeves can be stitched-and-flipped as well.  You may want to judge your fabric and lining carefully before deciding to S-F the sleeves.  The weight of denim along with the cotton voile and topstitching make my sleeves feel heavy and stiff.

    At first I serged the raw edges of the side seams, stitched, and pressed them open.  But the sleeves on this jacket were designed to be sewn in flat.  I found this hard to do with the shoulder seam open, so I did it the other way.  After stabilizing the shoulder seams with a strips of muslin selvage, I stitched the shoulder seams, set the sleeves in flat, and sewed from the sleeve hem all the way down to the jacket hem.

    Once the lining is in, facings, collars, and hems can be added and completed like usual.  This is all I have so far.  I have to redo the facing because I sewed the back piece upside down.  I don't even know how that happened.  

    The fit is so-so.  I made a muslin of this coat a couple of years ago when I first attempted it.  I tried the muslin on again and thought it looked pretty good.  The coat is roomy in the front yoke area and baggy in the back.  The downside to the S-F method is that you can't do any alterations to the front and back once it's sewn.  Well, you can, but you'd have to unpick all of the stitches.  I'll probably take in the sides some more, but I don't think there's much more tweaking I can do at this point.

    I intend to finish this in the next couple of days.  I'm feeling the need to sew some knit dresses and I don't want this project lagging on much longer! 

    Until next time, peace!



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