Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Red Velour

Dear Reader
I've finished my red velour jacket muslin.  I'm really late getting on the train doing this jacket. It has been around for a while but I really like it. Here in Australia and New Zealand we get the latest patterns in store three months after American release and then if you proctrastinate the fashion has come and gone! I know all that but I wanted to get that darn bow out of my system and I did. In a totally innapropriate fabric. I know that too. You could say I did this jacket for my own amusement. Here it is.

It's cute and a good pattern. The shawl collar variation is a more classic timeless style. My original idea for my silk is for a longer jacket with a shawl collar style. I may use this pattern and make it more classic to go with what the velvet requires. I'll be sort of sad to lose the purely frivolous nature of the bow and the pockets but velvet just swallows them up. They scream out for linen and a tight waist. Sometimes you just have to listen to either the material or the pattern. I might go through my Burda WOF's for a different jacket, I don't know.

I love the late YSL's 'le smoking' and all its variations
which in turn was inspired by things such as this
Can't you imagine just swanning around in that?

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

In Search of Silk Lining - a tale of two shops

Dear Reader
This is an update on the McCall 5815 velvet jacket project that I started mentioning some posts ago. Life and work and other projects kept getting in the way, as they tend to do but I'm glad to say This Is It. I've cut out the muslin pieces, done my usual alterations in advance and cut out the interlining for the muslin and hand basted it onto every piece. Am I nuts? Why? Why not get out the glue stick?
Answers: Nuts? possibly.
Why an interlining? Because my muslin is dress weight stretch velour and to give it the guts needed to make a jacket I had to interline it. I've used left over polycotton from the scrub pants I made my friend recently. The  leftover material, which she gave me, is being put to good use and it was the right weight for the velour.
Why not glue? I didn't think of it until I'd hand basted all the pieces! I grew up watching my Grandmother do hand basting. Would she have beeen appalled at glue sticks? I know she would have loved using a serger if she ever got her hands on one. She might have said 'Use the glue stick you goose'.

I'm killing two birds with one stone, the interlining is also my interfacing. I don't want the garment to end up too stiff. I am cutting very generous corners off to reduce bulk at seam junctions.

To get to the point of my post, I had today off, dear reader, and I decided to go into the central business district (CBD) to have lunch with my daughter. We had Thai, it was delicious. My daughter works within walking distance of several inner city fabric stores. Handy hey. I needed to buy silk lining for the silk velvet jacket that will be the end product of all this effort, when I make it. I'd been to the Surrey Hills Tessuti and enjoyed looking around but I couldn't find what I wanted, so after lunching with my DD I decided to go to a shop in the CBD that has an amazing range of silk. Two floors of silk. Only silk. I knew they were expensive but I thought I'd have a look. Now anyone familiar with the Sydney fabric scene will know of the shop but I will not name them as I refuse to give them any publicity. They mainly cater to the high end high society wedding scene and they have fabric that is breathtaking. They had a material that was not quite the colour I wanted but it was end-of-stock, on special. I thought ok I'll buy 1.2 metres. That would allow for some shrinkage when prewashed. The woman brought the roll down from upstairs then kept rolling pieces that were longer than I wanted off the roll and trying to sell them to me saying she couldn't cut it. There was still some on the roll after she unrolled two pieces. I was wondering why she couldn't cut that. Then she tried to sell me 1.7m or 2.0m 'at a special price'. It was a reddish brown that was definitely a 'that'll do colour' so I couldn't see myself using the extra. I said 'No I want 1.2' she then turned to her boss who said 'No we can't cut it'. I said 'Ok I'll buy some on the internet, thank you. Goodbye' and walked out with them yelling out after me that they could do some deal.
I really really don't like being overcharged for material.
I don't like feeling unwelcome in a store - a fabric store.
I don't like pushy poor service.

Dear Reader I walked around the block to the York Street Tessuti and was greeted with a smile then left to browse. I found the ideal chocolate coloured silk habutae for better price than the other store's 'special' price. I was welcome to leave my intended purchases at the counter while I looked at buttons and Japanese sewing books and patterns. It's the sort of place where people linger and have a look and a bit of a chat. These girls love sewing. Night and Day. This store I will give a bouquet to: They are on my blog roll. You can buy from them over the internet and it's worth reading their blog to see what they are sewing.
Thanks Girls.

The silk habutae lining is on the left. The photo does none of the items justice. The buttons - bought at Tessuti's too are perfect. Dark brown on the rim with a brown shell colour centre and little engraved curlicues on each side of the two holes. I'd better get my behind away from the internet and spend some computer-free time sewing.
Thanks for listening. I feel better now.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

A Quick Burdastyle Dress


Dear Reader I have my red velour muslin for my McCalls jacket cut out! Finally! but I must confess I got sidetracked again. I saw an intriguing little pattern in Burdastyle 6/2010

The 109 dress with under bust gathers that curve around the waist.

The Original Pieces

I had some bargain-table retro looking knit in my stash from last summer. Upon consideration of my body and a few PR reviews I decided that gathers along my waist would not work  and that I would move the horizontal seam up to just under my ribcage. The picture below is my first 'move the seam up' draft. You may also notice in the photo that I hadn't cut along the back seam yet. Even though I could have put the piece on the fold I deliberately put a seam along the foldline to break up the large print and to bring the back neck in a bit.

  When  made up the front was rather amusing.

I liked where the side seams sat so I proceeded to unpick the rest of the seam and take out fullness all along the gathering line.

It still looked saggy so I took more out and tightened the left neckline a fraction.

Almost there. This is what you get when you start experimenting. Pretty soon I was left with no gathers at all.

But I did get a dress I could wear and be happy with. In fact, I like it a lot!

On the technical side:  here is what my revised pattern pieces look like.

The sleeve is lovely, close fitting but comfortable. I am forever taking the too high sleeve ease out of sleeve caps. In fact I tend to judge patterns by the care and expertise given to the sleeve draft. This one reminded me of something I'd read on Kathleen Fasanella's website:

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Ready Set Go

Dear People
The silk velvet that I blogged about a few posts ago is lying reproachfully on the back of my lounge, waiting to be made. I got sidetracked with other projects. Isn't it always the way? I always have more projects planned than I can realistically sew. Then I see something else I like. Then I go to myself 'but I need this or this' or 'I'll just sew this first'. I've almost stopped stashing and I'm learning to prioretise. When captivated by something I say to myself 'but will I have time to sew it now' and remind myself to stop.
Here is one of the things I got sidetracked by, a quick little top from New Look 6922.
Please excuse the sewing mess in the background. The material is a thin knit with not much stretch but I am happy with how it turned out. I altered the back by straghtening the back seam like this
This is my standard alteration on knits with a back shaped like this. If I don't do it I end up with a really baggy back neck. I ended up just cutting the back on the fold and gathering the back neck up a bit.

I'd like to make the short sleeved dress version of this pattern out of a gutsier knit...but enough about being sidetracked. I was wondering what I could use for a quick muslin of my proposed jacket and I dug out a piece of garnet coloured synthetic crushed velour that is almost vintage

that will be perfect for seeing how the pattern fits. I do not always do muslins and I was tempted to just  go ahead but...the silk was expensive and the material is limited and long gone..so for this I am being good! And speaking of planned projects:

Here are some pages torn out of magazines that have ended up on my ideas wall. (OK it's my fridge). They sometimes do actually get sewn up in some form or another. The white dress on the seated model reminds me of  Burda 107/ 3/2009. I've tried to link a picture from the Burdastyle Deutche site but the archives don't go further back than August  Arghhhh.
Anyway I will put scissors to fabric tomorrow! I promise!
Happy sewing.