I have little time, but loads of inspiration!

Well, the new position, along with preparing for hurricanes, means I have had little time for sewing regularly or for any extended periods of time.  I have had the week off because of Dorian, but so has the kiddo.  Still, I began to think about the next few dozen projects.

No really.  When I have no time to sew, I plan.  Here’s a snapshot of some of the projects I’m working on, or hope to complete:

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The good news, some are already in progress.

  1. Vogue 1526, Paco Peralta short-sleeved jacket and pant (I made the shirt some time ago).  This is almost finished, as in hopefully this week.  Details coming up.
  2. The Kay Unger color block is up next, as an easy-do-right-now-option.  I’ll be doing it in black and white rayon ponte leftover from other projects.
  3. To the left of Kay Unger is a Molyneux vintage dress. I’ll be doing this in a gorgeous black/silver bamboo woven.  The pattern is vintage – and too small  – so a little pattern grading is in order.
  4. The Kwik Sew men’s coat is cut out.  I promised it two years ago to DH.  I’ve got to take the time to finish it.
  5. The Patterson Couturier will be in a a gorgeous plaid.
  6. The Guy Laroche suit (top left) is cut out and about half done.  I started it last spring, but it won’t be cold enough to wear it for several weeks.
  7. The Butterick summer dress in a Tori Richards rayon challis print for a Luau in October.
  8. The Paco Peralta zip front in a burgundy denim.
  9. The remaining three (bottom left):  Montana, LaRoche and Edith Head – I don’t have the right fabric for these yet.  And, I have many other patterns paired with projects I can work on until I do…

And, my plans usually get upended. I know there are another half dozen projects awaiting my attention, some cut, some long-desired. And I need a coat.  Hopefully, I get the first four on my list completed without deviating. After that, who knows.

And, no, we aren’t in any danger from Hurricane Dorian, though last week we were prepping in earnest!

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Alice & Olivia in Silk Georgette (Vogue 1245)

I celebrated every success with this top! My “sewcation” is over and I have two things left to blog – this blouse being one of them. Both items are redos of earlier failures.

Back in early 2018, I wrote about my attempt with two soft silks. In late June, I decided I wanted to finish a UFO- this time the teal silk georgette off the shoulder blouse from Alice & Olivia. The version I had started was wonky and stretched out. I thought I had enough fabric leftover, but I was a bit short. After a couple of hours, the teal was in the trash.

But some how, I got it in my head that I really wanted this blouse. I didn’t want to order new fabric; after a search through my stash, I found this stunning silk georgette in royal blue from Gorgeous Fabrics. I think I purchased it in 2016, but it wasn’t in my spreadsheet. A single layer layout later I was ready to start.

I noticed a difference immediately between this fabric and the teal (from a discount retailer). It felt more luxurious. It didn’t shed when I cut into it.

Still, I didn’t want to ruin the fabric so I researched the options for stabilizing the fabric. I finally settled on spray starch (I did each edge right before sewing). I tested before to see what would happen- staining while working with it, but not permanent as it washed out in cold water.

I still got a little rippling and distortion, it mostly pressed out. I did have some issues with very thick french seams under the arms and keeping the edge stitching even at the top. But in general, stabilization meant this was an easy and fast make.

I love it! And it has received compliments. I have paired it here with the pattern runway white shorts.

Turmeric and Black (Vogue 8882 & 1620)

I joined two trends that I’ve seen over past year in this skirt/top combination.  First, I chose a mustard color for the skirt.  Second, I made the skirt in a hi-lo style.  Since I jumped onto both trends, you can rest assured both will be out of fashion soon, if they aren’t already.

Originally, I purchased the “turmeric” linen/rayon blend from Marcy Tilton to make McCall’s 7745, view A:

But multiple attempts to fit the bodice in a muslin failed.   From what I’ve read on the web, this view (but not the others), has some real problems.  For me, the sleeves were too small, with no ease and no room for natural movement (among other things).  I abandoned the project.  (I do think this view would work in a stretchy knit, and those that looked best were, in fact, sewn with knits.)

I got it in  my head that I wanted the high/low skirt, and just needed to pair it with a top. Thus, Vogue 8882 (view E, c2013) and Vogue 1620 view B, c2019).

The top:

I think this top was an afterthought for Vogue to include in the Tom and Linda Platt coordinates (Vogue 1620).  The description:  “Loose fitting top has front slit and back neck opening with hook and eye, neck and armhole binding and top-stitching detail.”  The fabrics are not broken down between the suit and the blouse, with the following suggested for both: “crepe, jersey, satin back crepe.”  Hmmm.

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I chose a cotton silk blend woven I purchased way back in 2013 from Gorgeous Fabrics.  It has a satin weave, so mimics a charmeuse, but with more body and easier handling.  The blouse it self it very simple, but consider your fabric choice.  I think I made a good choice, but having made this, I would do the following differently.

  1. Skip the top stitching.    It’s done to finish the seams on the inside and along the front and back slits.  But with this fabric, and probably any other drapey fabric, it doesn’t work.  In fact, I should have loosened my tension even more, since I got puckers!  I did the edge stitching on the front and back first, then the top stitched the back.  I didn’t like it, but couldn’t remove it without damage.  I only did the top stitching around the opening in the front as a result.
  2. Consider narrow facing around the arm holes for a cleaner look.  And the way they ask you to do the binding doesn’t really work.  You wrap the binding around the 3/8 inch seam allowance remaining, but the strips for the binding aren’t wide enough (I trimmed to 1/4 inch seam allowances to compensate.)
  3. Interface or reinforce the strip of binding in the front that attaches the left and right bodice.  It’s cut on the bias, which means it will continue to stretch…

 

Otherwise, I like the blouse.  I may make another one in the future, with these thoughts in mind.

The skirt:

There is absolutely  nothing complicated about this skirt (view E, V8882).  However, if Vogue is going to give me fabric allowances and layouts that are single layer, then please give me both pieces/ halves, especially when they are really large.

The only recommendation I would make about this skirt is that perhaps an inside button is needed at the waist closure:

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A note about the fabric:  it’s a viscose/linen blend (65% viscose).  Marcy Tilton bills it as having the drapey-ness of viscose, with the structure of linen, and less wrinkling.  I bought it for the drape, color, and tightness of weave (very nice piece of fabric).  But it wrinkles like it’s 100% linen.

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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.

Comedy of Errors: Vogue 8816

When I flew recently, TSA had me remove my (oversized) shirt to go through the body-scanner.  Fortunately I had something modest on underneath or I would have been whisked away to one of their “privacy areas”.  I’m currently muslining a Guy Laroche suit (Vogue 2578 OOP).  The jacket has a flared sleeve and a zip front.  And it occurred to me:  “I should make something for underneath, just in case.  And not just for TSA, but for warm days in the car.”

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So, I searched my scrap fabrics and patterns for a shell/shell-like top for it.  I chose Vogue 8816 (OOP), a drape-neck sleeveless top and some leftover cream 3-ply silk. I’ve made the top twice before (pre-blogging days) and have been mostly happy with them. It’s an easy top, and can be made in CDC, charmeuse or lightweight jersey.

How is it that the easy projects always seem error prone?  Here is a list of just a few things that went wrong on this easy project:

  • In a previous version, I cut the tissue paper to a size 8 at the waist.  What?  I guess I was changing it to a more fitted silhouette.  I re-graded to a 12.
  • I was cutting out single layer, as I didn’t have much fabric, and I thought to myself, “this silk is more transparent than I remember.”  I compared it to the (unfinished) blouse and realized that I didn’t prep the 3-ply, but the silk CDC next to it intended for lining the jacket.
  • I was cutting the last piece out, when I realized that I laid the pattern out on the cross-grain, not the length-wise (except the upper front, which is on the bias).
  • Since I couldn’t do french seams with the overlay, I serged to finish the seams.  And serged into both shoulders (but did not cut into the seam). I have no idea how, except that I think the light fabric folded up underneath. I’ve never serged silk CDC before, and don’t plan to again!
  • I thought I kept my hands clean, but when I was doing the machine narrow hem, I saw a spot… hidden in the hem, thank goodness.

Anyway, this is a simple drape neck top.  It’s rated as easy, but definitely more interesting in light silk (the previous two were in silk jersey and cotton jersey).  I used french seams on the lower blouse and to attached the upper and lower parts.  I serged the shoulders and underarms, and used a narrow machine hem (a la Claire Schaeffer) on the lower hem and sleeves. I wasn’t thrilled with the narrow hem finishing on the sleeves, but otherwise this top is a fine piece if I take off the jacket.  Draped necklines can be fiddly, but this one is more modest than most.

While I was making this, I thought I would make another tank-style top with a bit of hammered silk CDC in chocolate brown.  In the process of looking for that fabric, I found 2 yards of chocolate brown CDC I had never logged in my spreadsheet.  I’ll use that to line the jacket.  But that led me to clean, re-organize, and re-inventory the stash.  I didn’t find any other fabrics. But now that everything is neatly sorted and folded, it’s not overflowing…  Don’t worry, I’m still going to work on sewing more than I buy.

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My camera likes to pick up every wrinkle.  And I wrinkled it getting it on the dress form.

Florals for Fall: Rachel Comey V1170

Take that Miranda Priestly (okay, she was deriding florals for spring…).

I had hoped to finish this some time ago, but this time of year is busy for most people (and pesky little colds get in the way).  I know, I have so many skirts, but I’m always looking for a new style.  I’ve had Vogue 1170 for a while now, and even muslined it over the summer.  I plan to make the top as well, but I have a bit of Christmas gift sewing to do…

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Pattern:  Vogue 1170, Rachel Comey.  Misses top and skirt.  This post is about the skirt. From the pattern: flared skirt has front and back seam details, back invisible zipper and wide waistband.  I’d say more of the “flare” is on the back side, but that may be because I added 2.5 inches to the length.  Other details – you can do Hong Kong seams, as directed, but I serged.  The hem is interfaced and faced. The skirt has tiny little pockets, but I left these out (non functional pockets add bulk imho).  The wide waistband is also high.  The bottom of the waistband sits at the natural waist.  Some not so great photos after wearing front (left) and back (right):

 

Fabric:  A gorgeous stretch cotton sateen that I purchased a couple of years ago from Gorgeous Fabrics.  I love it.  Dark, dark navy with those purple flowers and green leaves… easy to work with, too.

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Nailing that corner? Not so easy.

Construction:  This one is pretty straight forward, and relatively easy to make.  The only real challenge is sewing those corners on the front.  It took me two tries on one of them, after nailing the first one.  I made a size 14 with no further adjustments (except length).  I do wish I had given more thought to pattern placement, as I’ve got a bunch of busy-ness right on the derriere!

I’ve styled it here with a navy silk jersey tank from 2 seasons back DVF, my leather coat from Ecuador (2004!), and last season Sam Edelman riding boots.

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Dirty mirror. And yes, the 7yo left his towel and clothes on the floor.  I’m trying to teach him to pick up after himself.  I gave in later in the day and put them in the hamper.

The flowers and fit on this skirt make me happy.

Statement Sleeves M7630 (& another V1550)

I’ve finally made something with the statement sleeve that seems so popular (but completely absent from the most recent copy of Harper’s Bazaar).  I have several patterns, but finally settled on McCall 7630 as a quick make.  It’s cute, okay, but not really me.  It is very easy.

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Pattern:  McCall 7630, View E, size 12.

Fabric:  a crisp cotton voile I purchased as a roll-end several years ago. I’ve never known what to do with it, and this pattern called for chambray, poplin, denim or crepe.  The sleeve on view E would work better with a softer drape, even though the model appears to be wearing a crisp fabric.

Construction/changes:  I added length in the torso (standard adjustment, but otherwise followed the directions.  One thing of note, the bust apex is mis-marked on the tissue.  It’s almost under the arm.  In fact, there’s about 12.5 inches between the bust points.

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This is relatively simple to construct.  I liked the sleeve drape on the photo, which is more “curved” in reality.  The challenge with the sleeve is the narrow hem with that sharp corner.  I’ve never really done the sharp corner before, and wasn’t sure how to proceed.  I nailed one, the other is a little messy. I’m going to have google the technique for the silk blouse I’m currently working on, which has several of these corners.

Here I am – I like the blouse, it’s cute, but not really my thing.  It’s also a little sheer, necessitating a camisole. I’m wearing it with, wait…

Another pair of the Paco Peralto wide legged pants (V1550).  I love these pants so much I now have four pair – 3 in linen and this pair in super 120s wool.  I’ve worn out the black and purple linen pairs.

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Nothing new on the construction here.  This is a very drapey and somewhat shiny merino wool, with a tone on tone stripe.  I bought the fabric years ago from G Street Fabrics (DC) for pants for my husband.  He declared them too shiny.  I remember paying way too much.  Now I have a very lovely pair of pants. I wore them Monday with the Paco Peralto big white shirt and received many compliments.