Updated Vintage: Vogue 1213, part 1

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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?

 

 

 

Hot weather comfort: Style Arc Anna Pant + McCall’s 7411

I’ve been away for a while, at 8000 feet, with no humidity.  I’m back in Florida, and not only is my sewing mojo in full swing, it says: comfort clothes, please; nothing too tight!  So, flowing  linen pants paired with a loose cotton voile top was my choice.  I’ve had the Style Arc Anna pant on the docket for a while, and decided to pair it with View C of McCall’s 7411 tank.  The navy stretch linen and the printed cotton voile are both from Gorgeous Fabrics.  I love the fabrics absolutely and both were very easy to work with.  The Style Arc Anna pants are fantastic, the top doesn’t pass the wearability test.

As always, photography is not my strong suit, the pictures are barely adequate.

Style Arc Anna: This is a straight leg pant, with a drawstring.  This pattern is super easy to make and goes together well.  If I make it again, however, I will purchase the pattern, rather than use the PDF.  I had a lot of trouble with lining everything up, and I’m pretty sure the pants are slightly off grain as a result.  I’ve used many other PDFs before, but this is my first Style Arc attempt – it may be my printer.

From the Style Arc website:Anna Pant - Straight leg drawstring pant, casual & sporty

I really love my Lily Pulitzer beach pants, but not the $180 price tag that comes with them. I wear the medium in Lily; here I sewed the 10 with only one modification.  The crotch curve (more of an L than a J) and rise match the Lily pant perfectly.  However, I wanted to make sure that the leg had enough ease to swish – and my thighs measure 23″ at their fullest point (hey, I run). So, I added 1/4 inch to the outside front and back seams, for a total 1/2 inch each leg.  Perfect – not tight when I sit, and the right amount of flowy beach swish when I sit.

The lily pant has three inches of ribbing for a lower rise pant, and the drawstring is merely decorative.  I didn’t have ribbing, so I constructed the fold-over waistband as directed.  I did switch out the fabric drawstring for navy 1/2 inch twill tape (much more comfortable, less bulky) and used 1/4 inch eyelets instead of button holes.

Last, an important improvement over the white Lily pants; – the 31.5 inch inseam is perfect to wear with flats/flip-flops.  The Lily pants are longer, requiring 3 inch heels, hemming, or rolling up.

This was my first Style Arc pattern, and I like it enough to try another, especially in pants.  I also love these pants and can see myself wearing these regularly.

McCall’s 7411 Layered Tank:

From McCall’s webpage, view C

I chose this pattern, but wasn’t thrilled with it.  The line drawings showed potential, even though I didn’t like the way it fit the model. I thought it was simply a lack of effort from the manufacturer, especially since the pressing job was less than adequate.  I also thought the neckline was boring.  I thought I could improve on this one, but I was wrong.

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There is a lot of ease here.  I mean a lot.  I wear a 12, but sized down to the small (8-10).  The finished measurements for the medium are 41″ (bust), 44″ (waist) and 37.5″ (bust) and 40.5″ for the small.

I decided that I wanted to add piping to the neckline and armholes, though I considered other options.  I made my own piping using the facings from view A as a guideline (cut on the bias) with 1/4″ piping.  This decision led me to abandon the order of construction.

I had never made my own piping before, nor added it to a neckline.  I referenced a few sources, but none that I found quickly suggested how to do it sandwiched this way.  I found, after doing the neckline, that the piping foot did not give me a tight “pipe” or abutment to the fabric edge.  I used a traditional zipper foot and was far more successful in getting the look I wanted. You can see the piping in the pictures below, and the rearview problems as well.

For the neck, I made the piping, stay-stitched the edges, then basted it to the overlay.  I then added the base layer and stitched.  I closed the back opening as directed at this point in the directions.  I did the same thing with piping the armsyce, except this time I stitched the piping to the overlay, pressed and then hand stitched the base layer in place (I couldn’t figure out how to turn things otherwise).

I was surprised at how comfortable the fabric is, but how terribly this wears.  I took great pains with the pressing, yet I still end up with the wrinkles and pulls in the chest and “sleeves” as in the model.  I also get gaping at the back opening, and it’s not just from the pose.  The darts are all wrong – two short, wrong angle.  I thought, okay, fine for grocery shopping.  But all the fit/pressing issues only got worse in real life.  So, this shirt is for the charitable pile.  I love the fabric, though and will be re-ordering it, but I doubt I’ll make the top again.

 

 

 

Cafe Society Skirt (Vogue 7910 OOP)

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The fabric, Vogue 7910, and the top that wasn’t.

I’ve been having trouble sewing lately.  Wanting to sew, or too tired to sew, or having failures.  In fact, I keep setting aside projects the moment something goes wrong instead of working things through and learning from it. We have a new puppy (now 16 weeks), who also makes sewing a challenge (all those cords are just so yummy and spools of thread?).  It’s hard to focus when the puppy is whimpering for attention.  And part of the problem with my sewing is that I’m still learning the serger.  I finished this skirt a couple of weeks ago, with no problems, but have been waiting to finish a top to do an outfit post.

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The skirt is view C of Vogue’s 7910 oop full skirt.  You can just see the view in the picture above (sorry still haven’t remedied the photo issues). I’ve made this skirt before in a lovely digital linen, but I have absolutely worn it out.  I love wearing it.  So a new one was in order.

The fabric is a linen-cotton blend from Marcy Tilton (still available as of this moment). It’s got a fun print of tables and umbrellas and flowers.  The fabric has some body, but also shows your legs if you stand in the light, so I underlined it in cotton batiste.  The description says no lingerie show through, and I think that’s right, it’s just being back lit (and I’m on stage at work).  This gives it even more body, helps with the transparency issues and helps reduce wrinkles (but it will wrinkle).

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This is a straightforward, easy skirt, with no fitting issues (for me). I sewed a size 12.  Some people on Pattern Review mentioned that the waistline “grew” on them – I’d recommend stay-stitching the tops of the pieces before you get started.  It’s essentially a six-gore skirt, and the pieces are on the bias, or near bias, so I stitched the seams, then I let it hang for 24 hours before finished the waist and hem.

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The backside blurry iPhone photo.

I also didn’t not do the quarter inch top stitching on the long seams – just the pockets. I still did the pockets, and stayed the pocket edge with organza selvages, to help keep the pockets from stretching out.

As for the top – McCalls 7127?  Ugh. I’m hoping it’s not a wadder.  But I basted the pieces together, and it’s not flattering AT ALL.  I used a white medium weight organic cotton. It’s sitting in my sewing closet for when I feel like revising and revisiting.  I’m working on McCalls 6963 in a black silk jersey for this skirt, but had some fitting issues.  They’ve been resolved, but something else got started in the meantime. I will finish it later this week.  Meanwhile, the blouse in the photos is from Banana Republic a couple of years ago, the ballet flats (so necessary with all the walking I do at work as well) are Steve Madden, this season (or summer) from Nordstrom.

Flat-lining and fitting… (Vogue 2811)

9/10/2014:  I find the fit vastly improved if I slide the skirt down on my hips. It’s supposed to sit one inch below the waist, but it looks better 2-3 inches lower (note the models also do this). I’m also long-waisted so this definitely helps. It also makes the skirt mid-knee now, but the unfortunate bulkiness at the front, right at the prize, still remains.

Still working on basics to fill out some gaps in my wardrobe.  This time, I made an a-line skirt in an off-black linen, which I obtained from Marcy Tilton (still available).  I feel very confident making skirts, so this was about three things:  I’d never done a fly-front, more practice edge-stitching, and the chance to do a fun flat line.

Alice and Olivia
Alice and Olivia

I chose a new (to me) pattern:  Alice and Olivia’s Vogue 2811 (out of print) mid-knee, below waist, a-line skirt.  First, I knew without a doubt that this was not mid-knee!  I added four inches to the hemline, and it’s still two inches above my knee.  Second, I’ve gained weight with the move (stress-eating anyone?), so I cut out a 14 instead of my usual 12.  My measurements suggested I should cut a 16, but I’m glad I didn’t, because the 14 was perfect in some ways, but roomy in others.  More on that later.  I did decide to eliminate the back pockets, and only do minimal edge stitching – this pattern is edge and top stitched.

So, why flat-line*, underline, line at all, a summer linen skirt?   Well, this linen was a little coarse, and you could see light through it.  I still remember pictures of Princess Diana during her engagement of when she stood in the light in a skirt without a slip – oh the scandal.  I’m not a prude, but transparency around my hips and thighs doesn’t work for me.

Still, flat lining (and underlining) has its benefits.  It helps keep linen from wrinkling as much, gives more body to the fabric, and can help prevent seating. Oh, and flat lining allows for a very neat, clean interior:

Center back seam at waist, showing flat-lining.
Center back seam at waist, showing flat-lining.

Here, I used a black and white floral batiste I picked up from Gorgeous Fabrics years ago.  I had made something from  it then, and set aside the rest.  I like it here!

Construction was pretty easy – the only thing I was worried about was the zipper fly – and the instructions were super-easy to follow.  No problem.  Feel like I can tackle it again.

Fitting.  Where I made my big mistake was failing to fit as I sewed.  I know better.  I saw the printed pattern measurement (including ease) for the hip and felt pretty confident the 14 was the way to go.  I was less confident about the waist.  The skirt sits about 1 inch below the waist, so no final girth measurement on the pattern – and I neglected to measure.  Shame on me!  (I was concerned it would be too tight) First the pix:

Back gap!
Back gap! And my mid-section in front looks bulky.
Gap with shirt tucked.
A different view of the back gap, with shirt tucked.

A few things: first the back gap. As you can see in both pictures, The contour waistband does not lie flat, but in fact gaps.  I thought tucking it in would hide it, but the fit is off.  Second, I don’t like the way the front lies on the body (the right side of the first of these two photos).  It looks bulky and a little to big.  If I pull the skirt down to let the back fit lower and better on the hip, the front looks worse (the zipper seems too long).  The skirt sits a bit large on me, but otherwise the fit is okay on me – I didn’t realize how big a difference going to the 14 from 12 would be.

If I hadn’t been in such a zone, I would have stopped to fit as I went, which would have alerted me to these issues.  Too confident in my sewing abilities (and this was fun and easy to make) to stop and work on my weak fitting abilities.  Any suggestions on fixing the fit (particularly the front, which you can see a bit of in the first photo)?  I will make this skirt again though not for a while.

One thing I lost with the move – my brilliant and sweet neighbor.  She would offer such wonderful advice, especially on fitting.  Oh, and she often took pictures, so I can’t always get a finished view on me anymore.

Ambitious sewing agenda ahead, another basic, attempt to finish the white linen top to go with this skirt, and then Wrapapalooza!

* flatlining is a great technique with skirts, because generally the seam lines are mostly straight.  You sew the lining fabric to the fashion fabric, right sides together with a 1/4 inch seam, turn inside out and stitch in the ditch. You do this for vertical seams only, and you must allow for the turn of the cloth and covering the raw edges.  Here, I added 1/2 an inch to each vertical seam.

Pushing myself… But ended up forcing it?

The project, view B
The project, view B

I haven’t made a (button front, collared) blouse in decades. To me, they are super challenging to do well, look professional. I’ve avoided it since starting back, even while amassing patterns and appropriate fabric in the stash.

I took the plunge this week. I had some leftover white linen. I chose a pattern (Vogue 8747 View B). I read David Coffins shirt making book several times. I knew I wanted flat felled seams (a completely finished inside, especially with linen).

So many challenges! Do you know how many tutorials exist for a felling foot? I have a four mm, and after trial and error, and reading Coffin again and again, I got the look I wanted. Very narrow, very finished seams. Not perfect, especially on those front princess seams.  But I liked the look:

Love that side back seam!
Love that side back seam!

Small misstep on the shoulder seams. Still okay.

Tonight I did the armsyce body seam (set the sleeves flat) a la Coffin. Using white linen. My back hurts. I forced it. In one way they look great. I can see the potential. But they aren’t even close to even and with white linen, you can see. Looks worse on my dress form.

Armsyce seam, from the outside, looking at the front.  Yuck.
Armsyce seam, from the outside, looking at the front. Yuck.
And from the inside.
And from the inside.

I’m so close to done. Side seams- last of flat felling, collar, front placket.

But I have to walk away and do something else.

I know I need some more practice! Advice and suggestions welcome!

(Looking at it this morning, yes, it’s bad, but I think I can pull it out and fix it.  Just not yet).

The Past, the Present, and the Future

The Past:  I was cleaning out some boxes over the weekend, when I found three unfinished projects.  One, this skirt, was nearly finished:

ImageThe other two were cut out and still pinned to the tissue (shame on me!)  Judging by the size cut, fabric choices, and the styles, this was from the days immediately following college.  This means that these unfinished projects have moved to seven states.  I’m not sure I could have fit into them even then!  Interestingly, I did make this skirt (sized up) about two months ago in an amazing black wool twill, underlined with black CDC.  I wore it to work two weeks ago and got huge compliments (though it was a bit short).   Alas, I tossed the unfinished projects, as I would never fit into them and the fabrics were of pretty low quality.

 

The Present: This is my International Cut Into That Fabric Day project.

ImageI’ve already written about this project, in View C.  This was coming along well.  I finished the lining and the shell.  Then came the set in sleeves.  Even though I reduced the ease in the sleeve cap before cutting (as recommended for a coated fabric), I still have “puckers and gathers”.  The fabric is not amenable to steam shrinking.  I had hoped to finish it by now, but I’m not looking forward to the tedium of pulling out the stitches (and yes, I did baste them in before stitching).  Not sure what to do, though one sleeve went in almost perfectly.  I guess that means gather my energy and do it again.

I am losing interest in this project, since it will be far too warm to wear it before long.  It has more than 80 steps, by the way! Not an easy one to finish quickly.

 

The Future: 

ImageWith all due respect to Pucci, I will be changing this up a bit.  I don’t want to look like I’m in costume for the set of Mad Men.  Still, I won’t be changing much.  The top needs shaping just a bit, so I’ll nip it in at the waist.  I like the interesting neckline, but it has four large buttons in the back – I’ll switch it to five smaller ones. I did the muslin of this one, and like most patterns from the 60s, the darts are in the wrong place for today’s silhouette, and I don’t want to wear that style bra!  I’m doing this in the plum/pansy handkerchief linen.

The pants seem okay as is, but when I do a muslin, my guess is I will taper the leg a tad more to the ankle, and lower the waistline a little bit.  I find a lower waistline more comfortable.  This one is waistband free, with a lapped side zip (with tab closure).    I’ll do these in the black linen I used for the color block dress.

 

 

 

Something for Spring… Vogue 8944

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Update January 7, 2015:  I just saw this exact same dress somewhere from Calvin Klein, on sale.  Well, not exact.  The style, colors, etc were the same, but the fabric was poly rayon.

I needed something for Spring … a pick-me-up for this very late, and very cool, spring.  So I did Vogue 8944, and in the same (unoriginal) color scheme as on the Vogue website.

Pattern Description: From Vogue’s website – Loose-fitting, lined dress has yoke front, back zipper and narrow hem. Topstitching.

Fabric Used: For the dress, three different linens. I originally chose a different color scheme, but matching the weights of the linens was critical, so the lovely plum linen will be a different project.  The black and white are both from Gorgeous Fabrics.  The “fine weave” black linen is sumptuous, as Ann describes, and I will be ordering more for some pants.  The blue is hyacinth blue from Marcy Tilton. I lined the dress in cotton batiste.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

How were the instructions? The instructions were fine, though I did not always follow them (see below).Image

Things I changed and learned: This was a pretty easy dress.  When I work with something easy, I try to perfect the basics as much as possible.  Here, I wanted to use an invisible zipper, and I’m finally getting them in correctly on the first try.  But that meant that I constructed the front, then the back, with zipper CB, before basting the dress together at the sides. The instructions have you construct the top, then bottom, attach at the waist, then insert the zipper using the slot method. I also wanted to take out some of the ease in the bodice for a more fitted silhouette.  Changing the sewing order and basting the sides allowed me to do that better, and gave me practice matching seams with the color block (basting made that easier).  I also sewed the hem differently (using Claire Schaeffer’s instructions for a machine narrow hem).  Finally, the instructions have you top and edge stitching.  I just edge stitched.

The two areas that I still need to work on: the facing and ease stitching. Getting the facing just right – I simply cannot get it as nice as I want given the instructions (it’s the shoulder seams!) I think one of the shoulders is slightly wider as a result.  I have a few tiny puckers at the waist from improper easing.

Likes/Dislikes: Clean lines, fun, stylish. I wish it was warm enough to wear it.  Only dislike was how loose fitting the bodice was on me.  Of course, I almost always have to take in the bodice and lengthen it. My overall thought is I like it, but I need to continue improving my skills on the basics.  Oh, and pressing with linen?  I think I added a few permanent wrinkles…