When to set aside a project?

In this case, when I can’t muster the enthusiasm to work on it and keep thinking of the next project.  I’m afraid that I will be sloppy as a result.

I’ve been working on the top to Vogue 1213, in a beautiful, easy to work with 3 ply silk crepe.  I love the blouse and I will finish it – in fact I don’t have far to go and I’m not putting it completely away.

You see, when I started this project, work was calm.  Then it became a storm – a hurricane.  I think I may have found one hour in an entire month to sew.  And now that things have calmed a bit, I’m not interested in working on it.  Part of the problem is that my brain has moved on to the next project.  And part is that the formal part of my job has ended for a few months (I’ll be working from home) and I don’t need a silk blouse right now.  I need summer dresses.

So here it is, and I do plan to finish it:

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Why do you put something aside?

 

Opinions on a linen dress

I saw this linen on Marcy Tilton’s website and had to have it.  I had in mind a longer, perhaps maxi, dress.  I love the fabric even more now that I have it, but it has a tad bit of body to it (linen, after all).  I haven’t washed it to see if it will soften, but will do so.

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Copeland Digital print linen from Marcy Tilton.
But what to make?  Nothing with gathers, something sleek.  Not sure I want a full length maxi anymore, unless the dress is more a-line than full.

Here are options from my current pattern stash.  Thoughts?  Suggestions from patterns I do not know?  Thanks everyone!

 

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Vogue 8993, View B?
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Vogue 8997; view c is maxi, view b is knee-length.

 

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Vogue 2300

 

 

Rucci Suit Jacket & Skirt (Vogue 1437)

I’ve completed two muslins on the blouse for 1213. But I never finished this post.  I finished the jacket in December, and almost all of the skirt then too.  I was unhappy with  the waist treatment, so came up with something different last week.  Better, but not great, still needs some work.  This was the most challenging combo I’ve ever made, and I learned a lot.  I’m happy/unhappy, and this exercise had many expensive lessons. I blogged the blouse here. I can’t believe this is already out of print.

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There’s just something about this jacket – is it the challenge?  The unusual shape?  It doesn’t scream traditional suit, which I like. I decided to make this three piece outfit in parts, interspersing “quick hits” to give me a feeling of accomplishment.  When I was finishing the Tilton raincoat, I kept thinking about this jacket, and found it distracted me from focusing on the raincoat. I also wanted to re-design the skirt entirely, which I did.

I started with a muslin.  Some reviewers on patternreview suggested that the jacket ran small, and would fit a small back well.  This was mentioned of the blouse, but the fit for me was fine.  Still, I made the muslin not so much for the fit, for the techniques.  The fit across the shoulders would be critical on this jacket (and something I think is problematic with the Tilton raincoat, even cut a size smaller).  But I read the directions several times: with the unusual shaped pieces, slash to dot techniques, etc, I knew I needed a practice version first, to work out the kinks.

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On the dress form, before completing the skirt side seams.

The muslin revealed the following:  BASTE, BASTE, BASTE.  Precision matters – I marked the dots, slashes, notches etc before even cutting. (I usually cut downstairs, carry up and mark later, but fabrics do shift).  Mark with a color scheme (squares one color, circles another). Keep track of the pieces – face side, top etc. I also cut pieces as I needed them.  The actual assembly of this jacket, wasn’t too difficult, once I got going.  It made more sense with the pieces in hand than reading alone.

But when I did the muslin for the jacket, it wasn’t enough.  I only did the one layer (outer) and discovered additional challenges working with both layers.  In addition, because the jacket is self lined, it’s also a bit smaller than a single layer muslin.  It’s close fitting.

One one level, I learned a lot working with this more complex design.  I successfully applied a grosgrain waistband with an underlap in a way that is comfortable.  I learned that with patience I can do a decent job of hand top-stitching.  I feel more confident about tackling more advanced projects.  But I also learned that fabric choices can lead to other things.  Here, my fabric was a bit heavy, and nothing about this jacket is interfaced (it relies on the topstitching).  My wool gabardine needed silk organza underlining at the very least.  After hanging two months on my dress form, it’s sagging against those top stitches, creating drag lines that didn’t exist when I first finished it.

So here is the review, with some live action shots my assistant took of me delivering a lecture this morning.  I do not like this suit with the blouse tucked in on me – it blouses too much, creating even more of a tummy than I already have.

The pattern:  Vogue 1437, Ralph Rucci.  Fitted, self lined jacket has front extending into back collar, side panels, no side seams, side front slanted pockets, back seem detail and sleeves shaped at lower edge.  Semi-fitted partially lined skirt has yokes, insets extending into tie ends, left side front slit, very narrow hem.

Pattern Sizing:  6-12.  I made the size 12.   Mine looks both larger (longer) and smaller (tighter in the arms, and I’m skinny armed) than the model.  I made no adjustments to sizing the jacket, and I normally add two inches in length.  As you can see from the back photos, this cutaway style is long.  For the skirt, I think I added to the side seams a smidgen, but I can’t remember.  If I didn’t I should have.  Or I should start exercising more.

The Fabric:  I splurged.  Not because I wanted to, but my preferred fabric sources weren’t offering colors in tropical wool that I wanted.  And I couldn’t wait.  I should have, though they still haven’t offered what I had in mind.  The recommended fabric choices are tropical wool, linen, shantung.  I went with a very fine gabardine from NY Fashion Fabrics, in a blue/turquoise and black.  The lining for the skirt is Amsale black silk crepe de chine from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Look like the pictures/drawings:  Yes and no.  The jacket doesn’t hang nice like on the model (fit? fabric? both?) and I completely changed the skirt.

Pattern Alterations/Design Changes:  For the jacket, I only made two changes.  First, I eliminated the pockets.  The instructions weren’t very clear, and I wasn’t sure I was going to like the finished look.  The size was just big enough to fit a lipstick (the pockets are hidden in the front band).  The bust darts were finished after putting the lining in, so if the jacket flipped open you would see them.  I finished them separately, opened the darts and flattened them, and carefully lined the outer and lining up to stitch together.

I completely changed the skirt.  I liked the inset, hated the high slit and didn’t like the idea of a narrow hem.  It also seemed short.  I started to play around with the color blocking – my original choice was to put the blue at the bottom of the skirt.  In the end, I added three blue insets to the solid black and eliminated the ties.  The blue insets are the same size as the original one inset (3/8″).  The top two are separated by a black inset of the same size, while the third inset was placed in between the middle and lower skirt pieces.  This effectively lengthen the skirt, and made it more a-line.  I did have to edge stitch the black edges next to the insets to get the gabardine to behave.

Three other design changes to the skirt. I fully lined it.  I faced the hem.  And the waistband – the original simply had you sew the lining to the skirt, right sides together and flip the lining to the inside.  No support for the waist – no band, no interfacing, no facing.  Naturally, even with staystitching, it stretched out.  I applied a black grosgrain with an underlap, which helps, but I need to take in the waist, because it’s too big now, and sags in a not-so-flattering way.

Instructions?:  Not good.  The illustrator and the copy writer were definitely not talking about the same things at some points on the jacket.  I even emailed Vogue about some points and they said, yes, that’s wrong, but didn’t give me any clues to remedy things.  It’s been a while since I sewed this, but I will point out some places that were wrong or confusing or could have been done better:

  • The picture on step 7 appears wrong.  The directions say to put the pieces right sides together, but that’s not what’s illustrated.
  • I wrote error on step 11, but I don’t remember why. I think it has to do with the pockets, and one reason why I cut them out.
  • Step 17 shows a non-existent notch, so does 20.
  • Step 18 is not clear.  Same with 22 – I think I basted farther than I needed too, as I noted that I needed to rip the basting out later. (Another note about basting in 23).
  • I wrote wrong on the pattern for steps 25 and 26.  I’m not sure why, but I remember wrestling to finish the sleeve edges and doing it wrong, trimming where I shouldn’t have and generally cursing when I don’t normally curse.  I eventually managed it (using binder clips) but they are a bit wonky.
  • Step 30 has the darts going in weird, but not necessarily wrong, just leaves them unfinished in a place that will show.

Recommend? Do it again?  Maybe. I don’t like the blouse tucked in with this.  I’m proud of my ability to tackle it and finish it, even if it is far from perfect.  I will likely wear the blouse and skirt as a pair more often (and not the jacket). I may try the jacket with jeans.  I’m not sure I’ll make it again, partly because it is so distinctive.  But you never know. Maybe when my skills improve, and if I found the right fabric…

Action Shots (what better way to see an outfit and how it moves, rather than posed shots, though please excuse the microphone clipped to the collar and reaching under the jacket in the back):

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Action shot

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Survived the freeze…

Yes, yes, I know… world’s smallest violin. But this is not normal for this time of year in Florida. We get winter temps below freezing, but it hasn’t been winter here in a month.  We broke our  record low by more than 7 degrees on the Ides of March (25 degrees, and we’ve been below freezing three nights in a row).  This might not mean much to many of you, but we’ve got crops in the ground and the citrus are in full bloom.  So, if you like your veggies and orange juice, and it’s not coming from California or Mexico, it’s coming from here.

But we did okay! I covered my plants (though not the trees, too big).  Some cold damage, but we came out okay.  Here are some (iPhone) pictures.     More sewing later.

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Empress of India Nasturtium

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Mexican Midget Tomato

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Pentas (Egyptian Starflower)

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Cucumbers are up!

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Meyer Lemon

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Kaffir Lime

Updated Vintage: Vogue 1213, part 1

Image result for vogue 1213

So I fell in love with an embroidered linen, on line.  Bought it, and then had to consider how to use it.  I knew I wanted a skirt, but I needed a pattern with simple lines.  I had had my eye on the top for Vogue 1213 (Lanvin-Castillo) for some time (the jacket too).  I thought I could make a work and heat friendly version of the the skirt and blouse.  One day I will make the jacket, not for a suit, but for jeans.

Lo and behold, I went to make this, and was missing the directions.  I made an appeal and Kate of Fabrikated emailed me photos of the directions from London.  I love our sewing community!  Thanks Kate!

This is an easy, easy skirt: front, back, pocket, waistband.  I didn’t really need the directions for the skirt.  But it was nice to know that I had planned to do the pocket the same way.  You see, the pocket is hidden in that front pleat!!

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The pockets were cut in batiste. I’m basting the pocket to the fashion fabric, right sides together.  The center line with pins is the cutting line.

I still had to do a muslin, as the pattern I had was for someone teeny tiny.  I needed to add 4 inches of girth.  I ended up adding most of it to the side seams, but did shift the center back and center front off the fabric fold by 1/2 inch (one each each total) to shift the darts and pleats to the right place.

I was also watching Susan Khalje’s Couture dress on Craftsy and decided to try out a few things:  the way she cuts out the fabric and uses stitching lines – not cutting lines, how she marks the backing fabric/underlining, and her hand stitched lapped zipper.

 

So the details:

Pattern Description: Vogue Paris Original 1213 by Lanvin-Castillo. “Slim skirt has side front pockets.”

Fabric:  Embroidered linen (white on black) from Farmhouse Fabrics.  Underlining (and pockets) Japanese cotton batiste from Emma One Sock that’s been stashed for some time.

Pattern Sizing:  Size 12, but the old Vogue 12, with a bust of 32 and hip of 34.  I wish.  See above.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes, but the linen isn’t as drapey, and mine is shorter on me. I’m still not sure I like the length, but I’ve got some room to play – and when I do the blouse I’ll post a photo of me in the outfit for comments about the length (hits me mid/lower knee).

Instructions? Great – though I only half used them. I’ll really need them for the blouse.  I love the old school directions.

 

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The hidden pocket

What do you like or dislike about the pattern?  Clean lines, simple. The pocket hidden in the pleat is really cool – it’s not really on the side, but further in on the hip.  They aren’t that deep/big though, so don’t expect to stick your heavy keys or smart phone in there.  I also liked that this skirt is underlined, rather than lined.  I’ve come to prefer this treatment.  It gives the fashion fabric a little something extra, and with linen, reduces wrinkling. I forgot to add in the original post:  when I traced the stitching lines onto the muslin, I noticed the darts were ever so slightly curved – not straight angles.  It made for a much nicer dart, skimming over the curve of the body.

 

Pattern alterations or design changes?  I changed the sizing.  I hand inserted a lapped zipper.  I did serge the seam edges and didn’t give myself enough to do a proper lapped zipper, so I had to insert/baste in some grosgrain, which solved the problem, and stabilized the hip curve.  I also sewed the waist band on according to her out-of-print

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The lapped zipper, with grosgrain added to widen the seam allowance.

book.  There you staystitch the waist, baste grosgrain in place, sew the waistband on, fold it over the grosgrain and finish as desired. The inside of the waist band (facing) is serged, and I sewed it in place by stitching in the ditch.  I finished my edges with the serger instead of hand overcasting.

 

 

Would you sew again? Recommend?  Sure.  I haven’t made a skirt with an actual waistband in a while, so let’s see how I like that in the Florida heat.

Conclusions:  A simple skirt, with a fun pocket that allowed me to work on fundamentals in couture.  While I didn’t apply everything I’m learning from couture classes/books, I think what I did do helped considerably:  from the muslin to the backing to hand placing the zipper.  I feel I improved my skills and I’m happy with the final product.  Surprisingly, I found all that basting quite meditative.  The end process is a skirt that I really love that I feel I did a great job on.  Even though it took longer than normal for me to make, I enjoyed every step of it, which is nice.

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Pictures don’t do it justice.  It doesn’t fit the dress form; on me, the waist sits flat and does not flare out.  A new dress form?  Or just time to go outside for pictures? Or find someone to take pictures?

 

 

 

Help from the sewing community, please!

V1213

Does anyone happen to have the instructions for Vogue Paris Original 1213 (Lanvin Castillo)?  I’d like to make this, but the version I bought on e-bay is missing some of the instructions…

I’m sure I’ll figure it out – but there is an interesting pocket treatment on the skirt that I’m interested in…

Repeat: Butterick 6388, view D

B6388, view D, from Butterick’s website.

Pattern Description: Butterick 6388 (c 2016).  From back:  “Tops and dress have side front seams, shaped collar, and back yoke.”  I made view D, with long sleeves, omitting the pockets after reading other reviews.

Fabric:  Luxe navy french terry in cotton (sold out) from Marcy Tilton.

Pattern Sizing:  Size Y XS, S, M.  I liked the fit of the small in the sweater I made previously, but knew I would need to add for waist/hips/thighs to preserve proportions.  I made a size small, grading to a medium at the waist through to the hem.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes, mostly, but longer.

Instructions? fine, I think.   Didn’t really follow them this time, except for the order of construction.

What do you like or dislike about the pattern?  Clean lines, simple. A basic to accessorize.  I used a lovely blue/violet silk scarf the first time, though I felt a little like a flight attendant.

Pattern alterations or design changes?  Increased the size to roughly a size 14 through hips/thighs.  One of the things I didn’t do on the sweater was an adjustment for my long waist.  I always tug at the hem.  Since I wanted to maintain proportions, I added 2 inches at the waist fitting line.  I also added 1 inch to the hem to make this dress a bit longer (about 1-2 inches above the knee, all told).  While I top-stitched the front side seams, I got the ripple effect, even with a walking foot.  As a result, I hand hemmed the sleeves and dress.

Would you sew again? Recommend?  Sure.  This is my second take, though, so probably not for a while.

img_27431Conclusions?  A lovely dress that looks much better on. I felt amazing, professional and pretty in this simple dress. If you maintain the proportions, it accentuates the figure. I’m not as busty as the dress form, so I don’t get the pulling; adding the width to the lower half kept it from riding over the buttocks to pool in the lower back.  It’s plain, so it needs accessories.  It has a very different feel in the soft french cotton terry – very luxurious and dressy – than the wool doubleknit.  That having been said, the collar needs interfacing in the terry to stand up. And, yes, photos on the dress form are after being worn (and tossed in the closet after a long day at work).  I’d love to get photos with me in the garments, but then I’d never get the blog posts done…

Orange. Very Orange. Simplicity 7881 midi skirt

img_2738Pattern Description: Simplicity 7881 (OOP c 1997).  From back:  “straight skirt in two lengths has back zipper”.  Variations include accessories, slit placement.  I made view A, with modifications.

Fabric:  Italian all silk jacquard weave brocade from Emma One Sock (still some left as of this writing).  The lining is silk crepe de chine, also from Emma One Sock.

Pattern Sizing:  Size H 6, 8, 10.  I’m approaching a size 14, so I added a quarter inch to each side seam (1/2 inch total each side) and sewed 3/8″ seams.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes, mostly

Instructions? fine, I think.   Didn’t really follow them.

What do you like or dislike about the pattern?  Just a basic skirt with straight lines, amenable to all kinds of changes.

Pattern alterations or design changes?  Increased the size to roughly a size 14.  Underlined the skirt with silk CDC to add a lining and protect the jacquard weave from wear and tear.  Inserted an invisible zipper.   Shortened the skirt to midi length (about 3-4 inches below the knee).  Interfaced the waist facing with pro-weft medium fusible facing from Fashion Sewing Supply.  Made a slit opening in back instead of a flap/vent.

Would you sew again? Recommend?  Sure.  This is my second take.  I made E before – several years ago and still love it.  It’s a bit 90s in feel, so alter to update.

Conclusions?  A basic straight skirt.  It’s not lined, the only drawback.  But quick and easy.  It’s very orange, so I’ve paired it with a navy silk DVF jersey top.  I also wear navy kitten heels. A bit dressy, but school colors. (The fabric will wrinkle.  Photos taken after being worn, and tossed aside for a couple weeks.  I only lightly pressed it again.  And yes, this was started in December, finished early January – life was/is crazy lately).

 

Sadness…

As another local business closes its doors.

I dropped my machine off today for service at my local sewing machine repair shop, only to learn that the repairman/owner was retiring at the end of January.  The local bead/vintage button shop closed last month.

Good bye!  You’ll be missed.

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Wool Sweater: Butterick 6388

BRRRR… it’s cold outside!  So I hear.  In reality, I’m sitting in shorts and a tee with the window open listening to the crickets.  Phenomenal Florida weather.  But I’m going to the land of ice and snow – and when I looked through my winter clothes, I realized I was in need.

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I purchased Butterick 6388 for the collar, and fully intended to make a dress (view D).  I’ve been on the fence about it-I will make it, but I’m not sure about wool.  I made view C for my trip to Colorado.  This is an easy project.

The fabric:  a Mark Jacobs wool doubleknit I purchased from Marcy Tilton in 2011.  Actually, it’s a remnant – I originally paired it with a red knit to make Vogue 1313 (DKNY).  I still have the dress, but I almost always feel like a Trekkie in it.  The quality of the fabric is amazing, and I love the heathered black.  I managed to eke out the top (view C) on about a yard and a quarter.  I did have to piece the collar – not enough space for a fold – adding a center back seam to the back of the collar.  The recommended fabric for this is sweatshirt fleece or french terry.

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Close-up of the front collar; I added top-stitching.

What I changed:  Not too much, actually.  I did top stitch every seam except the side seams to help keep the seams flat – wool double knit can be thick.

Construction and instructions:  The instructions are perfectly fine.  Again, this is pretty easy.  I did add the top stitching.

I have found that Butterick patterns (more so than McCall or Vogue) tend to have a lot of ease – particularly on anything sized XS-S-M.  By the measurements, I should have made the medium (size 12/14).  But I tend to the smaller size of 12 in the shoulders.  I cut the small, but stitched 3/8″ seams at the sides/arm; everywhere else is the traditional 5/8″.  I used my straight-stitch machine, serging after the fact (since I was fitting as I went).  I think my decision was the right one, as the fit is spot on for me.

The top hits right at the hip.  When I tissue fit, I knew I should add two inches to the length since I’m long-waisted.  There is very little shape to this dress, so where the waist hit didn’t matter so much for the top.  I will add it for the dress.

Front and back views, overexposed to show the black, and the dropped sleeves.

What I learned:   I’d forgotten how warm this fabric is!  I won’t get much wear from this here – but it’s cute/casual/sporty. I like it, even thought it’s not much more than a sweatshirt with a fun collar.  I need to be very selective about my wool double knit purchases since I really don’t need any in my wardrobe.  It also means that I don’t have a fabric for the dress. I originally planned to do this in a grey wool double knit purchased at the same time…

Up next:   I’ve been really busy – who isn’t.  BUT I FINISHED THE RUCCI SUIT!  Yes, I finished it a week or so ago.  I didn’t like the pictures on the dress form, so I’m waiting for a chance for someone to take pictures with me wearing it.  I also made an orange silk jacquard midi pencil skirt, but haven’t had time to blog about it yet.  What to sew? I’m thinking the Paco Peralta with the short sleeved jacket, or a vintage Guy Laroche suit, or a lace dress… but no sewing while at my in-laws.