Marching On with photos

Jersey dress, double jersey from Ditto Fabrics

Now I have the photos for this dress I realise I could do with the dress being a tad longer..  Lesson?  Make the pattern before buying fabric?  Make sure there is enough fabric before getting carried away making patterns?  Probably both to be honest, but I seriously doubt either is going to happen anytime soon!  I have a whole stack of fabric begging to be made up, so I will just have to made do!  😀

Flower is a brooch, detachable and changeable!

Oh, and it is Sewing for Pleasure at the N.E.C. at the end of March – if you are going, what are you going to buy?  Do you have favourite stalls to hit first?  I am looking forward to Rosenberg & son, Fabulous Fabric, Fabrics Galore, and of course, Gill Arnold.  I need to replenish my very dwindling interfacing supply.

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Marching On

Brr, it’s been a cold week!  Snow last night falling on unmelted snow from last weekend has made for a pretty countryside.  But, not good for going outside to take photos of finished work!  On top of the cold, it has also been a different week.  Our most beloved kitty cat passed away on Saturday after being quite unwell, and I cannot get used to the emptyness of the house now that he has gone.  I am without his company as I sew, even if his idea of the best sleeping places wasn’t quite what I would have had in mind!

The best place for a cat to sleep - on my fabric and patterns!

Anyway, life for the rest of us goes on, and we definitely plan to have another fluffy family member soon!  In the meantime I have got on with another couple of projects.  I had some fabulous double jersey from Ditto in Brighton – these guys have some fab fabric, and have very nearly been the cause of me breaking a New Year’s resolution.  I had no idea what I was going to make with it when I bought it, I just had to get it while it was still available, and I figured inspiration would come later.

The fabric is great, but quite bulky, so many of the ideas were quashed.  It doesn’t do multiple pleats or tucks, definitely no gathers either.  So I thought something pared down with a detail in a contrast fabric would do quite nicely.

Jersey Dress

I ran up a toile for a two piece dress, and then coverted it for stretch fabric.  This means taking out a lot of the ease, which is not needed in stretch garments.  Toiling the stretch pattern was pretty simple, but as I didn’t have a fabric to toile in that was similar in weight to the jersey it was a bit of a flyer!  There were a few adjustments to make, but on the whole I had figured the fitting would have to be done on the garment itself.  So out came the fabric and on went the pattern pieces.  Well – some of the pattern pieces.

I had purchased 1.5m – plenty, I thought.  Nope!  Although the pattern was pretty simple, the sleeve is a bell shape and needed some space, and the fabric wasn’t as wide as I was counting on so, not enough!  AArgh!!  Thank goodness Ditto are quick off the mark with their first class postage!  And double thank goodness that there was still some of the jersey in stock!  I ordered online and only had to wait one day for an extra 70cm to arrive so I could cut the back skirt.  Thank you Ditto Fabric!!  😀

I used my overlocker on this project.  It went together like a dream, the only issue I had was the ruffle contrast.  I had started off with a black silk chiffon but it wouldn’t play ball.  As the ruffle got narrower it stood up on end, not quite the look I was going for!  So off it came and I rumaged around in my boxes for something else.  I discovered some light-weight black jersey that has done the job much better.  I used a rolled hem on all the edges, pulling slightly to get a more ruffled look, which disappeared the first time I ironed them.  :s

For fitting I ended up taking in quite a bit more on the sides, and shaping the back seam much more than I had expected to.  I do like the finished article, it is quite warm (needs a long-sleeved t-shirt in this cold though) and my favourite parts are the sleeves.  Definitely doing them again!  The only time I used my sewing machine was for the twin needle hems.

The flower is one I made using this tutorial from Wise Craft, it is such a fabulous little thing, I have made loads over the last few years.   So, photos.  I will get some done this weekend, and hopefully have the next project finished too!  Here’s a sneak peek…

Blouse with oversized polo placket

Fancier than Casual

The things I do for my girls.

Friday.  The day everyone says;  “Phew, glad that week’s over, time to chill.”  Not me.  Not today!  There is something guys just don’t get.  Girls need advance warning of plans.  Girls need to plan.  And daughter no 1’s boyfriend stumbled into this one.  He texted her last night to say he wanted to take her out to dinner tonight.  Where?  That’s a surprise.  Ok, what is she to wear?  Not jeans.  Fancier than casual.  See daughter go into a tail spin!!  She had almost her entire wardrobe out and covering every surface in her room before you could say mushroom ravioli.  Everything was either too casual, or too fancy – prom fancy.

And I walked into the next one.  Remember my New Year’s resolution to say “No”?  I forgot.  I heard myself say, “Do you want me to make you something?” before my brain had engaged to stop those very words leaving my lips.  Thank goodness I have a pretty good dress pattern run up and a stash box cupboard!  A quick rumage revealed some black silk linen, perfect for the top half, and a grey crepe backed satin, perfect for a skirt.  I intended to use the pattern I used for the Liberty Dress and the Reception Dress, with some slight modifications.

Belt made from layering grossgrain ribbon and metallic lace

The pattern I had made for the other dresses has a gathered skirt.  I couldn’t do that for this one, as the grey satin I dug out of the “fancy fabrics” box had been a dress skirt in a previous life.  It was 4 sections of a very gathered, full circle skirt.  The problem was that it was too much just to re-use onto the tiny waistline I was working with.   I halved the skirt and adjusted the top of the seams so it would just ease onto the width I had, but I left the lower width of the skirt alone.  Satin has such a lovely drape, and on this dress I am glad there is no gathering.  The silk linen bodice was completely interfaced with a fine sheer fusible interfacing for support, and I lined it with a cotton voile.  I didn’t have any black lining in my stash.

Now I am happy just to wear black and grey, but daughter no 1 needed some colour.  I fished around in my ribbon box crate, and found a length of 40mm wide black grossgrain and a length of 20mm wide dusky pink.  She was intending to wear nude shoes with the dress, so I thought I’d work this pink in somehow.  Diving into the lace box I found a left over bit of old-gold coloured metallic lace.  No idea where I got this from, I have tried to buy some recently and got nowhere fast.  I layered the three and I love how they look together.

Fancier than casual?  Check!

Rise Above This

Ok, so the 2 for 1 jacket finally has a name!  Sometimes you just need some space and good music to get the ball really rolling.  And I have to confess to having a most bizzar collection of tunes.  The one that got my steam up was Seether’s, Rise Above This.  Does anyone else listen to music while they sew?  I cannot work when it’s quiet.  So here is the rest of the jacket.  I must also confess that I sort of lost track of taking photos as I got more and more into the making up process!  Oops!  I will be better next time, promise!

I had left of the last time at the shoulder stage, ready for the collar. The under collar is cut on the bias in two pieces, and is slightly smaller than the top collar.  If you have a pattern that uses the same pattern piece for both, trace it off and put a seamline down the centre back of the under-collar and change the grainline to bias.  Add between 2.5 and 5mm on the outside edges of the upper-collar to allow for turn of cloth.  Do not be tempted to just make the under-collar smaller.  I interfaced the under collar with weft insertion on the bias, then sewed the two together at the centre back.  To ensure a good stand, I use a fusible canvas on the under collar.  This is cut without seam allowance, on the bias.  The upper collar gets a lighter interfacing, I used the fine sheer, but if you find your collar is not keeping shape, you could reinforce with some fusible canvas.

Under collar showing interfacing, already applied to jacket neckline

I clip the neck edge of the jacket at approx. 1.5cm intervals to the stay stitch line and then pin the collar on from the centre out – from the jacket side, not the collar side.  the clipping helps to open out the curve and allows for easing.  When you sew the under-collar on, start and stop exactly on the podmark for the collar attachment on the neckline.  Next pin the upper collar to the under collar, taking care to line up the outside edges.  Because you have cut the upper larger than the lower you will have to ease the extra in.  Pin parallel to your edge, instead of perpendicular as this will help to avoid catching tucks.  Then snip the neckline edge of the facing and sew the upper collar to the facing.  There will be a teeny tiny gap at the junction of the collars and the revers.  This you hand hand-stitch closed.  Layer your collar and neckline seams and press them open over a ham.

Upper and under-collars in place, seams trimmed and pressed open

Now we come to the part where I got carried away with the making and forgot to take pictures!  With the collar done you can sew up the side seams of the jacket and do the sleeves.  The sleeve heads should be interfaced with a crescent shape, 10cm deep at the centre.  You can’t see all of this so clearly on my sleeves because I inserted a contrast pleat panel.

One piece sleeve with contrast pleat back showing interfacing on sleeve-head

And that was my run of photos!!  I will take some of the next jacket I do, from the sleeve stage onwards, promise!!  Basically from here on the sleeve seams need to be joined, and the gathering stitch on the head.  Now for jackets you can follow the normal 2 rows of gathering stitch, or try something different.  I do one line of gathering, 2cm from the edge of the fabric.  I ease the fullness along this line, making sure there is no actual gathering, no tucking or puckering.  What I am after is for the sleeve head to form the sort of shape it will have when in the armhole.  When the shape is right, I pin it into the armhole from the sleeve side.  Once the sleeve is in, I use an interfaced bias cut strip, about 5cm wide of jacket fabric and fold in half lengthways.  Then this is sew into the sleeve head to support the cap.

I was going to try to continue without pictures, but I don’t think it is working!!

Here is the finished garment!

The finished jacket.

It was a rather windy day to take photos, I kept getting hair in my eyes, or my mouth!  there are more pictures on Burdastyle, until I pop more on this blog, but they will be in their own post.

And I promise to take a better photographic record the next time! 😀

2 for 1 jacket update

While I was “away” making curtains and doing alterations and making nice things for other people, this project was burning a hole in the back of my mind!  Now the new year is here, the kids are back at school and making for others has quietened down a bit, I can finally get cracking again.  I decided to track the progress of this jacket, to show the internal workings of speed tailoring a jacket.

First things first, if you have a wool or wool blend fabric, you need to prepare it.  During the making the fabric will be subject to a lot of heat and steam, and it will inevitably shrink.  There are different ways of going about this.  Usually I cut a  10x10cm piece, zigzag or overlock the edges and pop into a basin of warm water.  If the water doesn’t get absorbed, there is a coating on the fabric, and it will need to be dry cleaned.  If water is absorbed, pop it in the washing machine on a cool, woolens or handwash cycle.  Then check it, has it shrunk?  Has the finish/feel of the fabric changed?  Has the colour run?  If the answer is yes to any of these, dry clean only!  For preparation you will need to steam this fabric.  If not, you can wash it.  Now some fabrics can be shoved in the machine, and others need a different approach.  (Most of the wool I buy gets the machine wash.)

I have a cashmere that is definitely not going in the machine.   I dampened down 2 double flat sheets (you could use old duvet covers) and sandwiched the wool between them.  I rolled the whole lot up like a Swiss Roll and left for the damp to get through the wool.  Then opened it up and draped over a balustrade/handrail.  If you have to use the washline, first cover the wire with a towel, and if possible, drape over two lines, not just one.  Leave to dry, then dry iron to remove creases.  Iron on the wrong side, and check for any imperfections.  Mark these so you can avoid the area when laying out the pattern pieces.

It really is worth taking time when preparing wool for a jacket.  The fabric is rarely cheap, and considering the amount of time you will take to put the item together, it will be pretty soul-destroying to have it go wrong.

Your next job is the interfacing.  I use a speed tailoring jacket pack that I get from Gill Arnold.  On this particular wool I have used her Weft insertion on the jacket shell and the fine sheer fusible on the facings.  I have also used some iron on canvas, and some non-iron canvas.  I interfaced the “T-zone” and all the hem edges with the weft insertion.  This covers all the areas of the jacket that are put under strain or will be sat on and crinkled!  Then I made up the fronts and back.

The next step was to apply a fusible cotton tape to the front seam, this prevents stretching on the front seam.  It is applied about 5mm in from the fabric edge and if you have a curve at the bottom, you will need to snip into it to take the corner.  Once that was done, I made the canvas chest pieces.  This is done to plump out the hollow in the chest that women have just below the shoulder.  You will need the non-iron canvas and some weft insertion for this part, and each pattern needs a different shape chest piece.

The pieces are cut on the bias.  The weft insertion interfacing is a different size to the canvas.  It is 1cm larger on the armhole side, and 2.5cm larger on the neckline side.  Fuse the canvas to the weft insertion, taking care not to attach the overlapping interfacing to anything.  Trim the top corners, cut a box 1×2.5cm and 2.5×2.5cm.  Place the chest piece on the jacket front with the armhole side on the edge of the fabric and fuse the overlapping interfacing to the jacket on both sides.

Preparing the canvas chest piece
Chest piece fused in place
Taped breakline

Next fuse cotton tape to the breakline of the rever.  This helps the rever to fall in the right place, and to stay there!  There is no need for padstitching the create the fall. Now staystitch the neckline on the facings, jacket front and back.

Once that is done, pin on the facing.  The facing is between 2.5mm and 5mm bigger/wider than the front on the rever up to the breakpoint only.  This is to accommodate the turn of cloth.  You don’t want to see the seamline or any of the fabric from the front rever peaking out.  The fabric needs to be manipulated carefully so you don’t get any puckering, pinch the excess at the corner and pin the “blister”.

Sew the front facing on from the podmark for the collar join to the hem.  Snip the seam allowance at an angle at the breakpoint and layer the seams.  Trim both of the seam allowances down by 5mm.  Then trim the seam allowance of the front facing by a further 5mm.  The rever needs to be trimmed too, but trim the front by a further 5mm, and not the facing.  Press the seams open and then  flat.  Ensure you roll the fabric when steaming so there is no seamline showing.

layered seams
Seam layering on front and facing front

Now for the shoulder seams.  Pin the canvas away from the shoulder line and pin the fronts to the back.  Stitch and press open over a sleeve roll.  Remove the pins from the canvas and let it extend past the seamline onto the back.  Turn the right way round and put your hand under the shoulder seam.  Pin along the seamline, going through all the jacket layers as well as the canvas.  Turn to the inside and pin the back seam allowance to the canvas.  remove the pins from the outside and then stitch the canvas to the seam allowance, close to the shoulder seam line.

Canvas pinned back, shoulder seam sewn and pressed open
Canvas extended over back seam allowance and pinned from right side
Canvas stitched to seam allowance, close to original seamline

So that’s the body of the jacket, ready for the collar and then the sleeves.  Happy sewing until next time!

Welcome 2012

Well, it has been a while!  Alopogies for being AWOL.  I must be the most frustrated sewist around at the moment!  I haven’t been able to get near my own work for a long time now.

There is a word of caution to all those who start to sew, and then show off their accomplishments.  Other people want you to “do something” for them.  Hemming.  Repairs.  CURTAINS!!  AAARRRGGGHHH

However, I am chronically incapable of using the “no” word, so I guess the pain has been self inflicted.  My New Year’s Resolution??  To be more disciplined, and to say “NO”!

A very Happy New Year to all, may you have many opportunities to succeed beyond your expectations!