Thursday, July 17, 2014

I have a sewing room!

Move #2  (from my family's home, where I was staying while househunting to my own apartment) is just about done.   Another day or two of organizing, and the cats will move in too.   (I decided to have them avoid the furniture-moving and handy-people, etc....)  

The big news of the moment is that I have a sort-of sewing room!    The space that was listed as "dining-area" is far to small to fit an actual dining room table - but it fits my sewing desk rather nicely and leaves a little space for shelves.   Its really more a large passage way than a room, but it lets me have a dedicated space.    The only thing I'm missing about my old sewing-closet (to which I used to draw up a chair)  is a door I can close to keep the cats from nesting on projects when I'm out.

Pictures when it is more than a pile of bags on a table....

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sewing with a plan

For possibly the first time ever, I made a list of sewing projects - and then completed all of them, in order.

 
dress, suit, christening gown, wedding bolero

This never happens.   In fact, it only happened because most of them were for other people. Which also *never* happens.   (My typical response to "Will you make me something?" is "No, but I'll teach you and you can make it yourself."    I find this shuts most people up, and only two people have ever taken me up on this.     If they are particularly persistent and push, I start quoting rates of $100 an hour, and tell them even a sundress will take about 15 hours.    That always shuts them up.   I like to sew for *me*)

However, these were all for a particularly special group of people, with a special set of life events.  (Except Greg, who I wanted to not die of heat-stroke.  But he is special anyway.)

Anyhow, here comes the next plan, with a lot of the same faces.  First, there is something for me, then we have Amanda's wedding present dress and a shirt for Greg's birthday.   Then, maybe, I can get back to my selfish, hermity ways.  

Anyhow, coming up we have Simplicity 2451 - view A (except floor length)

It's currently in progress, I just haven't gotten around to taking pictures.    I always get a kick out of swishy skirts.

Monetas for both me and Amanda:
When we were discussing what she wanted as a wedding present, she sent me a picture of a knit dress her friend had just had made - sweetheart neckline, gathered skirt (but - and I'm not linking to the picture) really badly made.    (I admit to being a total snot)  Anyhow, cruising around the internet I came upon the Moneta - knit, gathered skirt, pockets, and I figured I could wrangle a sweetheart into the scooped neck.   Clearly, this was meant to be.  (And I want one too....)


And the shirt for Greg - V8889:

(He is particularly excited about arms that are long enough, without the body being enormous.    He is also planning to learn to sew, as he has seen how much of my time it takes to make him these things.   It seems his grandmother has an old sewing machine she doesn't use anymore, so I in a couple months I'm hoping there will be a Greg-made item or two gracing the blog.)

Only real problem is he doesn't like covered button-plackets, as they require extra ironing....  I I need to figure out how to deal with that.   (I will say this for menswear - it is taking me out of my comfort zone and I'm learning a lot of new things.)   


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

V8988 - finished!

he'll fight you for it.
Not only is the suit done - but it has had its first adventure.   Greg wore it to an outdoor wedding in Virginia (aka - HOT - although it was only in the low 80s, so it really wan't bad for that neck of the woods)  and was cool and comfy and generally considered to be tremendously stylish.   So, I'm counting this as a major win.


 As with the pants, the directions were a bit of a mess, and my original attempt to follow along for the front pockets was such a disaster, they had to be remade from scratch.   fortunetly, we'd gotten a couple of extra yards, as I was a little intimidated by the project and wanted an insurance policy.


There are a few things I'll change for next time....  The back flap ended up being on a diagonal rather than straight, as I kept taking it in to fit correctly.  Also, the jacket cuffs don't quite lay as flat.  (Greg has also requested that there be an inner breast pocket on the left, as well as the right sides, bringing the total to *10* pockets for the suit.)  (seriously, how many pockets does one man use?   I've polled the ones I know, and none has ever used more than five at once.)   However, other than that (and the directions requiring serious thought to interpret) I'm really liking this pattern.



Once I simplify the waistband pattern, we're going to make a few more pairs of pants in more everyday fabrics.    One of them may end up as his first real sewing project, as the process has gotten him hooked on clothing that fits properly.  He is particularly excited about a shirt with long enough arms that doesn't have a baggy body, and is starting to really take note of the materials in the clothing he already owns.   Cotton/linen blends seems to be the reigning favorite.


 As a suit pattern, I think this is a good way to dip one's toe in the water.   It only has a facing, rather than a full lining, which means skipping the umpteen layers interfacing and pad stitching, etc...    The sleeves are still lined, and have to be put on by hand - but it's both necessary and not really that tricky.


If you are interested in the suit, and would like to see more detail on the pants, check out this link.





Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Pants and Vogue's attempts to violate physics.


I'm very happy with how the fit turned out -- I've never done non-costume menswear before, and was worried about getting the right amount of ease without making it look all baggy and saggy - but I think it turned out rather well.


 I went rogue in a couple of places (there are eight belt loops, instead of six, because I can.)  And get this - I not only read the directions, but I more or less followed them.   (However, they were crap, which I will get to later.)



The pictures are a little over saturated from the bright sunlight, but in person, they are a lovely green and white seersucker that remind me of candy.  (I have no idea why - I can't think of a single green and white candy I've ever had.)  (But there it remains.)

But onto the directions.   They were horrible and confusing.   I knew there would be fit issues, as Vogue patterns always seem to have an extra four inches of ease, but having not bothered to read any instructions in years I didn't realize how convoluted, poorly drawn and poorly planned they were.   (The waist band was absurdly complicated and is going to be redrafted for future iterations of these pants.   However, to illustrate the insanity, I offer your step 82 - making the button-holes for the back pockets.    This comes after everything is all made and you have to slip the pocket into the machine in a manner I haven't figured out yet.   I don't actually think it is possible.)

Madness.
If however, the same instruction had occurred DURING pocket construction, say between steps 39 and 40, I wouldn't have to violate physics.

pocket construction.   a good time for button holes.
Anyhow, the result of all this is, I like the pattern, but the instructions are a confusing mess with nearly useless illustrations.  If you try this, I recommend coming up with your own construction order and ignoring almost everything about the waistband.  (seriously -- cutting something out on the bias and then immediately interfacing it, with no change in shape or ease is an exercise in futility.) (grumble)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

fitting Greg's suit

Somehow, between us, my boyfriend and I got invited to seven weddings this summer.  Then, I shot myself in the foot by convincing him he was insane for wearing heavy jeans all summer, extolling the virtues of linen and seersucker.   Naturally, this wobbled and warped until it became a request for a lovely, lightweight summer suit.   With a deadline.    He needs it for June 21st, which is terrifyingly close.   

Greg's butt. 
As usual, following Vogue's envelope sizing resulted in WAY too much ease - I ended up taking a good inch or two of width out of each leg to get even a vaguely reasonable fit.   I also ended up taking a big wedge out to get it to lay more or less flat.  (show in his right leg - conveniently on the right side of the picture)   The problem with men's pants is trying to find that sweet spot, with enough ease for comfort, but not so much they look lumpy.

I would have preferred a few more test runs, but the wedding this is destined for in in a week and a half, so I'm about a third of the way through the real version of the pants.  (Think happy thoughts) 

super wrinkly
 Th jacket is still very much in progress and we'll be doing a third fitting on it this weekend.   Its still sitting oddly on the shoulders and back, and I'm going to need to add more ease to the area to allow him to comfortably drive.   (I tried to convince him that stylish men take their jackets off to drive and don't really need to pick things up.   He was skeptical.)

Has anyone else made this pattern?  Or a seersucker suit?   (they aren't quite like regular ones, having no real lining, to keep everything as cool as possible)   I'd welcome any advice on getting the fitting set.

V8988

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

another one bites the dust

snazzy baby gown
One more item off my list - still to go is the seersucker suit and (recently added) a sundress as a wedding present.   Then I am done and can go back to being my happily selfish self.

Anyhow - the baby dress!    This is a christening gown for my friends' new baby.   And it even bears some resemblance to the inspiration pictures the mother sent me.   It is made of french seams throughout AND has my very first lapped zipper.



The over skirt and underskirt are two totally separate sections (I always think it looks nicer when they don't share seams)  The main body of the dress is a very soft cotton, for a happy baby, and the overskirt is a floral lace, for a happy mom.


All the internal seams are french as well, and the sleeves are sewn in between the layers of the bodice so that there are no rough edges to scratch or to peak out where they aren't wanted.   All in all, one of the best jobs of finishing I've ever done - and it will probably be worn for about an hour.    C'est la vie.


However, despite all this, it bears only minimal resemblance to the original pattern, simplicity 2457.   I used the basic shapes, but otherwise went rouge to get more or less the desired look.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

a wedding bolero

Long and incredibly rambling story short (its been a hell of a month) I made a bolero for my friend's wedding from the excess tulle of her dress.

look, she's all bride-tastic
We used the perfect shrug pattern, modified to work for a woven (if tulle counts as woven) rather than a knit, in fittings spanning 200 miles and four weeks.

We were both very pleased with how it came out -- but in the end she only wore it for about five minutes.   She also had a birdcage veil, and decided with it AND the bolero, she looked too encased - one had to go and she wanted to keep the veil.  Such is life.  But it turned out well and she was happy, which is really all that mattered.

She may have been trying to sign her marriage licence when I grabbed her.   I pick my moments well.

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