Friday, July 31, 2009

Crushed Velvet Dress

This is Burda 08-2009 #113. I love the fabric they used on this dress. I have some poly/lycra stretch velour and decided to try my hand at crushing it myself. The design is pretty simple. I didn't want to just use plain velour because I thought it would be too boring.

I took a scrap of purple velour and roughly pleated it with my fingers. I turned the iron to Linen, it's hottest setting, and pressed the pleats. I was a little worried about meltage but it was fine. I got this idea from a Threads video I watched a quite a while ago about crushing silk/rayon velvet. This purple velour has been crushed several times. Then I washed it and dried it. I figured if I went to all this trouble to crush it, I didn't want it coming out in the wash.

I don't have enough of the purple so I'll be using this printed velour below. I think the print and texture will work well for this dress.

I'm going to go trace it out. It's one of the rare patterns that comes in a size 34 so I don't have to grade it down. Yay!

Couture Jacket Class -- 7

In my last jacket post I showed you the collar and all the padstitching. I forgot to add this picture. This is from the undercollar side and it shows the turn of cloth. I has always read about it and it made sense but I never got anything that was a great example. This collar is a good example of that. The upper collar is a bit longer and wider which causes it to slightly turn to the underside.

from Threads magazine (here's the whole article):

Why does it matter?
On a beautifully sewn collar and lapel, the enclosed edges turn neatly under to the wrong side, and the seam is not visible from the "public side" (the side that shows when the garment is worn). If the turn-of-cloth isn't taken into consideration, the upper collar and lapel area of the front facing "steal" some fabric from the under collar and lapel, causing the seams to curl back to the public side.

After the collar I attacked the arms. These are two piece sleeves with bias-cut canvas in the sleeve cap and sleeve hem. This sleeve has a rounded sleeve vent.

Here's my free sleeve form. I use a giant cardboard tube. It's comes from the bulletin paper rolls at school. They are stout so I can press on them many times before I need a new one.

The sleeve vents were very fiddly and took me a whole day to put together. When I say "whole day" I mean a whole day with kids "helping". I probably could have gotten it done in a few hours if I was alone. It's a lot of hand sewing and it's all pretty small.

Here's the finished vent from the outside. It's weird because there is a raw edge on the inside. I'm sure that isn't how it's supposed to be but it's there and the lining won't cover it because it goes all the way to the hem. I read the directions repeatedly and I think it's the way it's supposed to be although it doesn't seem right.

Next, I lined the sleeves. You line the sleeves before you set them on a couture jacket. To attach the lining to the sleeve, turn both of them inside out and loosely sew the seam allowances of the lining to the jacket. Turn them both right side in and voila . . .

. . . lined sleeve.

For the sleeves, I machine basted, pin basted (see Ann's tutorial about this), and hand sewed them in. Once it was okay, I machine basted them. Then, I permanently sewed them in.

Don't sew over pins. I did but it was nerve-wracking. I use the tip of my tweezers to push down unruly parts of the sleeve.

Here it is from the front. I have it pinned shut and it's not exactly lined up correctly. There are no shoulder pads in here and I'm debating not putting any in at all (shush! Don't tell Linda!). It fits better without them but I am worried about the chest caving a bit because I am pretty hollow between the shoulder and bust. This jacket has a layer of horsehair canvas in the entire thing plus it has a quilted shoulder region. So there are two layers of horsehair in the shoulder area. What do you think? Do I do the shoulder pad thing anyway? It makes the armhole (armscye?) really tight.

The back doesn't fit as well as I would like. There is a bit of a bubble between the shoulder blades. I'm not sure how to get rid of it but maybe a good pressing will do it? Then the mighty swayback is also there although not bad. At this point, I don't think there is anything I can do about them. I don't mind cutting my catchstitches and re-sewing but I don't think that is what needs to happen.

You can see the top bubble when I pull my arms forward. It's almost like there is too much fabric vertically. We added an inch to the back so it might be that there is too much fabric there. I really struggled putting the sleeves. I took out and put in the right sleeve about six times. After that I was worried about the fashion fabric so, even though it's not perfect, I think I'm going to have to let it go or risk destroying the fabric.

I still think it looks okay especially from the front. I do think I forgot about fit and focused on the details too much.

I still have to figure out the shoulder pad thing, put in the main lining, add buttons, and do some handstitching.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Burda 08-2009 #110 High-Waisted Skirt

Ok, here it is bigger. I'm not sure why I couldn't upload to my server last night but it's all better today.

I love this skirt. They show it well in the magazine in the Paris Chic section. It's below the knee and above the waist by about an inch.

I really like how it looks. I have any other high-waisted skirts or pants but I think I will make more. I was worried about them being too uncomfortable but this one is very comfortable. I made it in a very neutral black/white houndstooth from Gorgeous Fabrics. It's left over from this dress. I'll need to make some blouses to go with the skirt. I mostly wear fitted knit tops during the school year. Now, I'll have to mix it up with some blousier things.

It's weird but my butt looks a lot less swayback-ish. I did make a large (1.5") swayback tuck.

I'm not sure why I have the wrinkles in my right hip but they are so subtle, I'm not gonna worry about it.

I did something totally different this time with the lining. The lining is orange Ambience I had left over from some projects. I edged it with turquoise bias tape.

Here's the skirt vent.

Many of you have asked how I get some a clean finish on my skirts. You have asked me to do a tutorial. When I did this skirt, I made sure to take lots of pictures. A tutorial will be coming shortly. This is not my technique, but instead a technique I gleaned from Kathleen Fasanella over at Fashion Incubator. Here's part one of the invisible zipper tutorial and here's a link to all her tutorials. Check them out, they are great.

A close-up of the skirt.

Why am I not working on my jacket you ask? Well, my husband bought me coffee so I'm jittery and unable to concentrate. I can handle a skirt. But a couture jacket with hand sewing? No way. With any luck I'll be done (mostly) tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Answers to Questions

Another exciting installment . . .

Shiny Green Penny has left a new comment on your post "Jalie 2215 -- In Red":
LOVE this top! I would like to make it out of a wicking fabric for paddling and running....what alterations did you make (other than adding 4 " to the bottom....I am beyond flashing my navel to the world...after a couple of kids no one would be looking at mine anyway :-)Did you simply leave off the polo collar and not cut the opening? Or something different? Thanks!
All I did was not slit the opening for the polo top. I did cut off the seam allowances to add the neck band. Otherwise, it would have been very high.

Cindy has left a new comment on your post "Simplicity 2922 - In silk":
How is the macaron coming along. I have one in process at the moment! I can't decide if I should add the sleeve or leave it sleeveless!
I don't have the perfect fabric for it and so I'm stalled on it. I do really like the shape of the dress but would hate to pick hideous fabric.

Myra has left a new comment on your post "Simplicity 2922 - In silk":
Wonderful fabric, did it come from High Fashion? I bought silk there once to have a dress made for SIL's wedding. The store is in "Chinatown", really Vietnamese. (I am from Houston).

Yes, my husband knows where High Fashion Fabrics is already so it's the only place that he goes. Us Alaskan folk ain't used to crazy city driving.

Lindsay T has left a new comment on your post "JSterns -- The Tee -- 0041 -- Take Two":
Nice! Did you ever consider turning the stripes vertically for the yoke piece?
As soon as I was done I thought to myself, why didn't I make that vertical?!?!?!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Comment away . . . I dare ya":
I wanted to ask you thing anyway - what better time than now. It's an Alaskan question, rather than sewing. Can you recommend a place to purchase wild salmon for shipment to the lower 48? I'm blogless, so this won't count for a 'prize'.
Hmmmm, that's a tricky one. We always eat our fish here and ship it to our relatives ourselves. I have heard good things about Northwest Seafood. I think they do a good job.

Ivalyn "Tee" Jones-Actie has left a new comment on your post "Comment away . . . I dare ya":
How did you get your eyeballs up there! I love to know how?

The lovely Angie from Quality Time did it for me.

eword10 ( has left a new comment on your post "Questions and Answers":
have a question about your snap press... Do you think it's not worth buying the Prym vario snap kit ( Is it too chintzy? And that's why you bought the snap press?
Inquiring minds want to know! Thanks!

I think if you aren't doing many snaps or if you don't want industrial strength the Prym is probably fine. This snap press is super easy to use and these puppies doesn't come apart once you set them. I don't have any experience with that particular brand though either. I had some really old crappy ones that bent ever time you tried to use them.

Rosesred has left a new comment on your post "Researching Waterproofing Options":
very cool post, and very useful as I´m getting ready to make my own raincoat. Where did you get all this stuff? I´ve been asking around in stores for this kind of thing and nobody knew what I was talking about ±P

I found all of these seam sealers at a place called Alaska Tent and Tarp. They make, well, tents and tarps. It makes sense they would have seam sealing things. I never thought to call them until my husband suggested it.

This is nice too.

I was inspired a while ago by Amanda's simple top. Maybe this one would be better for the patterned silk?

I will get you a photo of the fabric on me. I particularly like Amanda's version because I think I could wear it with a black turtleneck in winter for a bright pop of color. I agree with you guys who said the flounce-y thing would get lost with the bright, busy print. I think the same thing would happen.

This is 11-2008-something.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Too much???

I have this gorgeous piece of silk charmeuse my husband bought in Houston. It's a pretty big print with the circles being about 5" in diameter. I want to use it in a simple top to showcase the fun fabric.

I really like these two patterns out of the new August Burda. Would it be too much to have that big print with a tie or flounce? And remember I'm a pretty small person too. Would it be too overwhelming on me?

If I used the one with the flounces, I would be careful to match the center front.

I'll probably end up making this skirt too because I love it and school starts in about three weeks.

Couture Jacket Class -- 6

It's been a while since my last jacket post. Like I said in an earlier post, the jacket is not done. I repeat, the jacket is not done. I hate that it's not done; that bugs me. So, to kick my butt into gear, here is another synopsis of what I've done.

The last update I gave you showed the lapels being pad stitched. Here is the final lapels after the padstitching but before the facings. After this we did another fitting. The coat is only basted together at this point.

I ended up taking in the center back and side/back seams about 3" overall in the waist. The chest and hips we pretty much left alone. I permanently stitched the seams and then graded and clipped the seams.

Here's a lovely photo taken by Paulette which is showing how much of a mess I make compared to all the other ladies in the class. I was busy grading and clipping. Gee, thanks Paulette. After this, I catchstitched all the inside seams to the interfacing. I thought I took a picture of that but I guess not.

Then, we move on to the collar. This has a lot of padstitching too. There are three specific parts of the collar. The first is the roll line. You, of course, want that to roll down the neck. Second, you want the main part of the collar to roll around the neck. Third, you want the tips of the collar to lay flay against your jacket.

Here is one of the corners.

Here it is on the table after I finished padstitching it. It wants to roll the right way.

Before I attached the facing I had to choose buttons and do my welt buttonhole. I chose self-fabric buttons because I want them to be neutral. The one on top looks cheap and shiny because I used one layer of fabric. The bottom one, which I'll be using, uses two layers of fabric.

My welt buttonhole wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. I used my Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing and The Complete Book of Sewing Shorts Cuts by Claire Shaeffer.

You can barely see it in the fabric unless I hold it open.

Here it is from the back.

Next up: Attaching the collar and the sleeves.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Book Score

We have this great book store in Anchorage called Title Wave books. It sells new and used books. It's one of those places where you can bring in used books and get "credit" for them and use the credit to buy other used books. Look what I scored for under $30. I've wanted the David Coffin book ever since Melissa of raved about it. I've read about of a fifth of it already and I just bought it yesterday. I'm going to have to make my husband some shirts. Well, we'll see if he can hold still long enough. I love how Coffin breaks it down and he draws out everything he describes.

I also found two of these Threads books. They are compilations of previously published Threads articles. They are dated (both published in 1991) but both of them offer in-depth looks at designers, fitting, drafting, and techniques. I think I'm really going to enjoy them both. I have previously checked out the Fit and Fabric one from my library. I liked it then but I find that I understand so much more of what they are talking about now that I have a little experience under my belt.

I figured I deserved a treat after yesterday. My lovely helper-devil-children put, what I think was, a diaper down the toilet. Of course it plugged the sewer line and sewer water flowed into my laundry room and downstairs bathroom. My father-in-law and I spent about four hours snaking the sewer line until we pushed out the mass of nastiness. Then it took me another four hours to completely bleach and clean the bathroom and laundry room. I love them, I really do. Thankfully, my mother is in town so she was able to watch them while I was up to my elbows in shit. Literally.

Jalie 2215 -- In Red

I love this raglan top so much. I made another version without the polo opening and with 3/4 length sleeves. This one is from a cotton (I know, cotton kills!) from our local Seams Like Home. I really like the sporty look of the fabric. I do prefer running in cotton and natural materials because the other ones get so stinky. Even when you wash them every time you run they still stink. I've even tried the bacteria barrier fabric that isn't supposed to get sticky. But, it does.

Here you can see the texture of the knit. It's really soft and comfortable to wear.

I, again, added another four inches to this top. This is supposed to be cropped but I'm not so into that look post-babies.

I love the stripe on the arms. It's swimsuit material from Spandex House. I made my mother a swimsuit out of this material back in January when I was getting ready to go to Hawaii. For this top, I didn't want to try to fold it over on itself because it is so slippery. Instead, I used my coverstitch machine to stitch the swimsuit material (single layer) to the red knit.

This is what it looks like on the wrong side.

Next, I trimmed close to the stitches. It's not perfect when you look close up but you'll never notice from any distance. It won't fray so I'm leaving the edges as they are.

An update on the Vogue jacket: it is not done. I know it was supposed to be done to meet Claire Shaeffer. But, I don't feel too bad because no one in the class finished their jacket. But, I got a call from my instructor last night saying, "Dawn, I've been checking your blog and I don't see any jacket work." [hanging head and looking sheepish] So, she is checking on us (Hi Linda!) and I will get it done before school starts. I needed a break from it . It is hard from me to work slowly on something for a long time. I get frustrated with not making much progress. At the same time, I knew that I shouldn't get too far ahead because I would miss important things and not be able to correct them. So, I'm going to make a big push here in the next week and get that puppy done. I do owe you several posts on where I am with the jacket. They will be coming too.