Learning to (sew a) fly. Guy LaRoche pants (V2578).

Wow.  Where did January go?  I was so busy at work this month, I was too exhausted to do much more than read a book before bed.  I started these pants at the beginning of the month, but only just finished them.  Meantime, the passage of time included me taking up running again, which is making sewing (fitting) a little more challenging as my body starts re-shaping itself.

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The pattern is from 2001: a lovely Guy LaRoche pant and jacket.  I had considered making the skirt in stead of trousers, but decided to push my self to learn new skills and work on fitting.  I’m planning on making the suit with a lovely dark brown tropical wool and the jacket multi-toned tan wool.  Description for the trouser:  “Semi-fitted, straight-legged pants have contour waistband and fly zipper closing.”

But since I have limited experience with a fly closure, practice was in order first.  And, as I’ll write below, I’m not sure if it’s my limited experience or the directions, but I did a fair amount of ripping out.

I first practiced the fly with the muslin (though not the waistband, which would have highlighted an error in the instructions).  The muslin revealed (to me at least) horizontal wrinkles, so I graded out to I think a 16 (or between 14 and 16).  The pant is narrow, but my thighs are wide.  I was also going to need length, so I added an inch.  I did not encounter issues with the fly.

Three weeks later, I found time to do the fly again.  And again.  I was proud of my first attempt:

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I’ve pinned out the pleat.

Until I realized that I put in the right fly backward.  I also couldn’t figure out how I got a pleat at the bottom part of the zipper.  I followed the directions, but I think it has something to do with the second step in the middle of the photo – you’re to fold over and press, tapering to nothing.  I can’t see that in the picture, and I clearly didn’t do it right.

 

Rip out, redo.  Looks great.  I proceeded with adding the waistband to realize that the left fly is mis-marked for zipper placement.  I painstakingly marked the fabric, and it’s about 1/2 inch too close to the fold. You can see in the directions below that the fold should line up with the top stitching on the right.  And, when I attached the waistband, I had an extra half inch.  I trimmed it, at this point, because it was too late to do anything else.  However, it did make it difficult to put the button hole in neatly, because there wasn’t enough space…

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My left fly doesn’t line up with the right fly top-stitching as it does in the sketch below, and I ended up with extra waistband and a funky button hole.

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Does anyone know how to prevent the funky turn at the corners you see in the picture below?  I was super careful cutting, stitching and turning, and yet the corners are distorted.  Enough that I will likely wear these trousers only with tops un-tucked.  It’s like I pulled too much and stretched the fabric out of shape.

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Oh, speaking of the fabric:  a tropical wool with stretch, cross-woven black and white to produce a lovely blue grey (from Rag & Bone).  I purchased it as roll end from Emma One Sock last fall.

Other random thoughts:  I intend to wear these with a kitten heel, as they are too short otherwise (even after adding an inch).  I’ll add length to the next pair, to help elongate the legs.  These were lined, btw, but I left out the lining.   I will start the jacket for the suit before the brown pants.  I want to re-muslin giving all the running I’d doing.

And, with that, it’s time for a run.

Unfinished Projects, Part 1: On the Agenda

Unfinished projects, a.k.a, UFOs, or works in progress (WIP)?  This is the first of three blog posts about the status of my semi-abandoned projects.  I’ve been sewing, but I also spent time reorganizing my sewing closet, including the pile of UFOs. In this post, I write about my plans for what I’m calling works in progress, since these are back on the agenda for 2019. In the second part of this series, I look for advice about what to do with other unfinished projects.  I seek advice regarding refashioning several projects in the final post.

 1. The Vintage Vogue Long Coat (Vogue 1083):

I started this project in 2010.  I remember buying this fabric at Rosen and Chaddick’s in New York City.  It was such a fun experience.  The fabric is a merlot colored wool-cashmere blend and boy, was it expensive. The pattern calls for an interlining – I used cotton flannel – and lining (I used black warmback coat lining).  This is a heavy coat, both in weight and in warmth.  It’s too heavy for most Florida days, but I was living outside Washington, DC, when I started this project.

I looked at where I stopped, and I’m ALMOST DONE!  I need to finish attaching the lining at the sleeves and hem, and finish the bound buttonhole.  I remember it taking me a long time, and I stopped because Spring had come.  I also didn’t like the collar, and for some reason it dawned on me that it wouldn’t be that warm because, it only had one button at the neck.  How did I not see that before?  However, we do get some very cold (below freezing) mornings here, so it will be useful for that, even if it doesn’t get much wear.  In addition, when I draped it on the dress form, I liked the unbuttoned, shawl collar effect.  Again, an open coat isn’t an issue here in Florida, so I like the style again.

2. The Short Trench (Vogue 8884):

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Started:  2013.  Another project that should be complete, but is not.  I had trouble easing the sleeves into the armscye properly.  I’ve already cut the lining, so there is no reason I can’t finish this one in 2019.  This coat would get considerably more wear here in Florida in the winter, except for the cold, cold days.

The fabric is a coated cotton from Marcy Tilton, the lining is a black silk twill.

3. The Butterick Tote (Butterick 5540):

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Started: 2013.  I started this project when we introduced my then toddler to the beaches of the Chesapeake Bay.  I got distracted and never finished it.  All I need to do is add the lining.  We go to the beach regularly now (it’s only an hour away) and I’ve got plenty of totes that are more beach-appropriate.  But this one will be useful for day trips in the car.  The fabrics are cotton twill and linen, both from the old Gorgeous Fabrics, and the lining is rayon acetate.

4. The Matthew Williamson Caftan:

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Started:  maybe 2014?  This one never really hit UFO status.  I pick it up every summer and work on it in spurts.  I finished the caftan last summer, 2018, but decided it was too plain (in spite of the fabulous fabric).  I need to add the trim, as in the photo.  That’s it.  I’m definitely finishing this for this summer.  The neckline is too low, so it’s a layering piece.  The fabric is a stretch double georgette that I am almost certain I purchased from the old Gorgeous Fabrics, but it could have been Emma One Sock.

5. The slim, very fitted, tank dress (Vogue 9184):

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Started:  2016.  This dress is more fitted than the pattern let on. It’s also when I realized I was gaining weight (but went into denial).  I let this one out as much as it can go, but it’s a no go.  I held onto it thinking, maybe if I lose the weight…  The plan with this is to finish the armholes and the hem and donate it.  It’s too nice a fabric to just throw away (a linen from Britex Fabrics, underlined in cotton batiste).    I do plan to make this dress again this year, but in a larger size, and after a muslin.

6. The McCall pieced top (McCall 7390, view B, adding a sleeve):

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Started: 2017.  I had made this top before, but decided to make another with the flared bottom and sleeves.  I thought my work was sloppy, so I stopped, disgusted with myself.  After examining it, I think I was being too critical.  Yes, the fabric (a soft silk cotton voile from the old Gorgeous Fabrics) is soft and difficult, but it’s worth finishing.   However, I’ve decided the sleeves are a bad idea.  I only need to finish the armscye and the neckline.  It will be a lightweight summer top.

7. The Carolyn PJs

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Started:  2018.  This one technically never made the UFO pile – it stayed on the sewing table, staring me down.  I started it last February, but kept making error after error. I knew I needed to work on something else and/or take a sewing break.  This was at the beginning of my dad’s precipitous decline, so I think I was struggling to focus, and maybe having a little too much wine.  I’m better know, and desperately need pjs, so it’s back on the agenda.  The Japanese cotton is from Farmhouse Fabrics.

Seven old projects, back on the agenda, many near completion.  I think I can do it, as long as  I remember to intersperse them, along with the mending, with new projects.  Of course, that’s easier said than done!  And, which to finish first?